May 13, 2014

Cocktail Talk: The Heat Is On

I’ve been re-reading some of my favorite Chester Himes books lately (if you haven’t read Chester Himes at all – then get to it, cause he’s one of the real greats – if you have read some of his books, then let me say, re-reading them is well worth it), and realized that when Cocktail Talk-ing them earlier on this blog, I overlooked some choice quotes. Including the below from the book The Heat is On, which stars (of course) the finest Harlem detectives – and best named detectives – Grave Digger Jones and Cotton Ed Johnson, as well as an albino called Pinky.

     Mamie Louise was sick and the other all-night greasy spoons and barbecue joints had no appeal. They decided to eat in the Great Man nightclub on 125th Street.

     ‘I like a joint where you can smell the girls’ sweat,’ Coffin Ed said.

     It had a bar fronting on the street with a cabaret in back where a two-dollar membership fee was charged to get in.When the two detectives flashed their buzzers they were made members for free . . .

     ‘You want stink, you got it,’ Grave Digger said.

     ‘And everything that goes with it,’ Coffin Ed amended.

     Some joker was shouting in a loud belligerent voice, ‘I ain’t gonna pay for but two whiskeys; dat’s all I drunk. Somebody musta stole the other three ‘cause I ain’t seen ‘em.’

The Heat is On, Chester Himes

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