Beer Tunnel – 21 November 2013

Posted: November 21, 2013 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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wheel

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“Hi, Dennis,” said Chuck, “Chilly this morning. Do you have the time?” I showed him my watch. ” Twenty to nine. I’m only going to stay another ten minutes. I’ve collected enough for a pizza. After that I’ve got some groceries to pick up. I made my beef stew last night. It was delicious, but I put in too many spices — three Oxo packets. Next time, I’ll only use two. I had the farts all night.

I said, “Yesterday you were telling me all the interesting things that happened when you worked at National Defense. Do you have any more of those stories?”

“No, I told you all the interesting stuff, the rest was drudgery. I had another job as bell boy at the Alexandra Hotel. I sure learned a lot there. It used to be on the north-west corner of Bank at Gilmour.  In its hey-day, it was one of the best hotels in the city. It was called the Alex, and was known primarily for cheap draft at the Leprechaun Lounge. It ended up as a strip joint.  It was disgusting, they hired girls as young as twelve years old to work as strippers. In the late 1970’s  it was declared a heritage site and torched to make room for new development.  I don’t know what’s there now — some high-rise.

“There is a maze of tunnels, called the Beer Tunnels under Bank Street. All  the businesses used them to bring in black market goods. One led from the kitchen of the Alexander to the McLaren apartments.  Weeks in advance, big shots would book a room. They’d enter the McLaren, but instead of going upstairs to the apartments, they’d go downstairs.  Their room would be all ready for them, anything they wanted. They’d phone room service at the Alexandra. We’d we’d bring their meals, drinks, girlfriends or prostitutes through  the tunnel. Nobody’d be the wiser. I won’t mention any names, but some  of our regular guests were Cabinet Ministers and a Supreme Court Judge.  All politicians are crooked.

“At the Alexandra they only served Carlsberg beer. One of the bosses would drive a van to the docks at Montreal and,  miraculously, it would be loaded with cases of beer. They’d drive though the tunnel and unload right at the hotel.

“Nearby there was also a clothing store where my girlfriend worked. She said she could get me a good discount. The suit I picked out was priced at seven hundred dollars, imported from Italy.  I got another priced at three hundred. My son was with me at the time, he said, ‘I could use a suit.’ We got all three for a total of three hundred. It was all controlled by the mafia.

“When I was a kid we used to fish in the Ottawa River.  There was none of this catch and release stuff then. I think that’s stupid we fished to eat not to hurt fish.  We’d take them to the back of this Chinese restaurant. They’d give us fifty cents a piece for them.  They’d mix it in with the chicken to cut their costs.

“There used to be a great bar at the Chateau Laurier. That’s where all the high-class prostitutes would hang out — they were expensive though. A couple of times the hotel was shut down by a food inspector for serving cat, disguised as chicken. The fanciest hotel in town serving cat.

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Comments
  1. Ben Naga says:

    Funny business beneath the covers everywhere you go and forever. 🙂

    Like

  2. Kris Mole says:

    Interesting post. Interesting blog all round, actually.
    I went to Canada once a few years ago on a work trip. Vancouver. And of all the things I remember about the city – a city that I loved, by the way – was the amount of homeless people. It was on a different scale, even to London. I talked with a few of them. One old boy taught me a magic trick with a rubber band, for a couple of dollars. Really interesting now to read the stories on this blog.

    Some time ago I wrote about a homeless guy I came into contact with here in my own home city. If you’re interested, it’s here: http://tescovaluebeans.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/tramp/

    Anyway, I look forward to reading more of your stories.

    Regards from England,
    Kris

    Like

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