Last week the best antique dealers in our diamond exchange moved to a new address. Their vacated booth was both minuscule and expensive. The building management had been hard-pressed to find a new tenant in these hard times after Christmas.
I stood by the glass counter with the departing salesman and Jo-Jo the security guard, who were discussing the possibilities for such a constrained space. The salesman was in favor of a rest area for the ill-mannered hawkers of 47th Street. Richie boy hated them and Jo-Jo suggested a bar. It was a good idea, but I had a better one.
"We should open a go-go bar. The girls dance in the window. We have six seats. $10/drink, which have to be finished in less than ten minutes. That's $360 an hour. $3000 a day. Over a million a year. Most of it profit."
Jo Jo and the salesman turned their heads.
"The window isn't big enough for anyone to dance in it." The salesman was thinking normal like most people his age.
"This go-go will be special." I didn't even have to shut my eyes to envision the crowd inside the exchange. The mob on the sidewalk would be five deep. My idea was genius. "We hire midgets to dance in the window. Steel pole hobbits. No dwarfs."
"No dwarfs?" Jo Jo sounded uncertain of the difference.
"Midgets and dwarfs don't get along."
"Don't get along?" Jo Jo was drunk. The redheaded ex-cop had a drinking problem with Buds. I said nothing about it to no one. I wasn't a snitch.
"There used to be a midget bar in the West Village. The bartender never served dwarfs. Midget think that they merely short humans, while dwarfs accept their shortness as normal. Everyone has to have someone beneath them."
"You wouldn't want to be known for prejudice against dwarfs." Jo-Jo knew my politics.
"No, I wouldn't like that." But I had seen fights at that bar between the two vertically challenged groups. "Only one or the other. Not the both. I'll save that for the boxing arena."
"So what would you call the bar?"
"The 147 Club, because that's the average height of a midget."
"And they could be kosher." The salesman laughed at the possibility of shimmishabbah midgets dancing on the go go poles.
"Midgets willing to shave their heads for you." I pointed my finger upward. "Isn't there an office upstairs? That could be the short-time room. I'll be a millionaire in a year."
"The police will arrest you in the first week." Jo-Jo was an ex-cop and all cops are downers on a good time.
"I'll pay them off. For religious reasons."
"I worship Hassidic midget go-go dancers."
Manny my boss was staring at me. He hated my bullshitting. My salary was too low for him to say too much, but we liked each other and I returned to my counter. There were no customers. Business was slow. Last year had been even slower.
"What were you bullshitting about?" Manny wanted to know how I was wasting his time.
"Midget go-go dancers in the next booth."
Manny shook his head. Most of his 80 years old had been spent in New York.
"You live long enough to hear everything. Please get back to work."
"Whatever you want." I returned to my desk and looked at the booth. The 147 a Go-Go was an impossible dream, but for one day it would have been a paradise for midgets. Me too because I would have served dwarfs just to see the shit go crazy. Once a punk always a punk.