Mike Mazurki

Mike sweeps a hamhock fist in the direction of the buffet where Sylvia is serving Lou Nova. It claps like summer thunder in his palm. Lou waves, unable to consider that he is not the object of Mike's gesture. Mike smiles and shouts, "The great Lou Nova!"

All Mike's friends are great. The great Lou Nova is great for knocking out the great Max Baer in the first fight ever televised. Lou is a walking history of fashion shock. His ceaseless jaw ascends into an angora goat on top of a fatted head. He rips his clothes off the Vasareli rack. The aroma of camphor wafts through the room and mingles with the corrupt smell of cigars. Inexplicably Lou recites us a poem, twitching and dodging imaginary fists and screaming bells, BELLS, BELLS, seething with anger, buried a breath beneath desperation. His career is over. It is out of courtesy that not until Lou has gone does Mike mention roughing up Tyrone Power.

Perhaps feeling some contact insanity from Lou's recital, Mike grabs Korky by the lapels and growls, "That sonofabitch didn't move at all. He stayed right there. And he howled like...." The rare bird ruptures into a frightened howl. Then he smiles and Mike continues; they've done this all before. "So Power cries, 'Get him off me. He's killin' me!' And he runs off the set. So George Jessel says, 'Mike, goddam it! You hurt my star!' He says, 'What're you doing?' He says, 'You'll never work for me again.' I say, 'Gee, George, I'm sorry.' Finally Ty comes down and says, 'I'm sorry.' He says, 'Gentlemen, it was my fault.' And after that, we became friends. I used to see him at the playgrounds, things like that. But if you hit a star, you never work again. This much I know." "No shit," choirs Korky in French with a cockeyed grin.