Howard Johnson’s, Broadway and 45th (by Carl Burton 2011)

Tendersweet Clams

Some nights, after I finish filing and clerking at the law firm where I’m a file clerk and where I wonder what it would be like to be a lawyer but never consider law school, instead of taking the train home to have dinner with my parents, I meet Terry the Moose at the Howard Johnson’s in Times Square and we split some of their famous tender-sweet clams on a toasted bun. He cuts his soft eyes down to my own yearning-to-be-famous tender-sweet clam and smiles as he orders for us. Then we go upstairs where he works at the Gaiety Burlesque; dancing for grimy old men sitting in the dark seats of the shabby third floor theater, floors cum-sticky from the grimy old men who jerked off in the dark at the last show.

Strutting out onto the small stage in nothing but a gold lamé g-string, he finds his light, looks over one shoulder and through his bangs at the audience. His thick brown hair in a Farrah-Fawcett shag always badly in need of a trim.  He winks at me and waves to the street whores resting in the back row, feet up on the seats in front of them, airing out their own clams before heading back out to the street to work.