SASHA: Okay, this round’s on me. What are you drinking?
ROMAN: A couple of fingers of Dark Valentine. Or maybe a couple of claws.
SASHA: I’ll have the same. You know, this is my first time at Duffy’s, but I gather you’ve been here once or twice. In fact, I heard from a reader that drinking at Duffy’s counts as your first and second favourite pastimes. I’m all in favour of being a barfly, but why here? What’s so special about Duffy’s?
ROMAN: You know that TV series Cheers? The one in a bar where everybody knows your name? In Duffy’s, no one knows your name. They either don’t want to know it, or get so drunk that they can’t remember it. Duffy’s is ‘a smoky, pokey bar full of sinners’, like in the Vic Godard song. My kind of dive - nowhere near a swimming pool.
SASHA: You know I’m from Toronto, right? In the west end of Toronto, near Bloor and Landsdowne, there’s a bar called Duffy’s Tavern. It’s a bit of a dump. I’ll have to drag you there if you ever visit Toronto.
ROMAN: Sounds great, but I have to get so many rabies jabs when I travel abroad these days that I look like a pin cushion.
SASHA: This is my first time in The City. It’s much darker than I imagined, despite all the neon lights. And the blood soaked streets are a bit slippery. How do you live here without going completely nuts?
SASHA: You know, I absolutely love the fact that Duffy’s has a jukebox, and not just any jukebox, but a real Wurlitzer! How cool is that? I noticed that you just shoved in a bunch of coins. What will we be hearing?
ROMAN: Well, that Tom Waits bloke keeps hanging around asking us to play his stuff. Then there’s Howlin’ Wolf, Warren Zevon...
SASHA: I don’t know if you know this already, but I worked in the music biz for a while, doing bar gigs mostly, and our band usually did a lot of cover tunes. Gotta tell you: I love Bessie Smith – now there’s a classic! We sometimes used to include “St. Louis Blues” in our sets. I hope I did her justice.
ROMAN: Bessie’s “Downhearted Blues” is on the jukebox. That’s a fave of Duffy’s. Especially at ‘twilight time.’
SASHA: I noticed that you also mentioned that Hank Williams is one of your faves. Mine too. But some people dismiss him as just a “country singer.” I think those people are sadly misinformed. Just think about the impact Hank has had on music.
ROMAN: Hank sings to the lost and lonely. The dispossessed. The flotsam and jetsam of life. His ghost is a regular at Duffy’s. There are plenty of spirits here.
SASHA: Our glasses are nearly empty. Ready for another couple of fingers? I mean: claws?
ROMAN: Sure, but let me get this round.
SASHA: My cases have involved some pretty weird people, and as it happens, I often find that sex is a major theme in my investigations. I’ve worked at a phone sex line, I’ve bartended at fetish parties, and I’ve gone undercover as a hooker.
ROMAN: Don’t try that round here in The City. If Count Otto Rhino’s witch-girls see a looker like you trying to poach their clientele … well, let’s just say you’ll be really undercover. Deep, deep cover.
SASHA: Yikes. Thanks for the warning, but not to worry: I left my fishnets and my stilettos at home. Anyhow, seems like your caseload is quite different from mine. You’ve had to duke it out with zombies and aliens. How the hell do you manage that?
ROMAN: The zombies are easy - slow and stupid - but those aliens have lots of sneaky tricks up their sleeves. They should operate a visa system to get into The City.
SASHA: I hope I’m not prying, but does being a werewolf ever get in the way of being a private investigator?
ROMAN: Oh, yeah. Especially when you lose control and munch on your client.
SASHA: Speaking of which, I’m getting kind of hungry. What’s good to eat around here?
ROMAN: Well, when that moon is full and milky … anything goes!