Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Jack Ruby Orders the Chicken Salad

I / Jack Ruby Orders the Chicken Salad:
November 21, 1963

You know how I need it, Sweetheart: all my orders are To Go.
I’m the king of Carry-Out. Today I’m good for a dozen – half rye,
half rolls. These are heading down to the station, so pile it on
a little thick, OK? They know me there. I’m a regular
no-baloney guy making sure the cops get a decent shot at lunch.
You can’t say I don’t love Dallas, but still: give me Chicago
for cold cuts a man like me could die for – hot pastrami, corned beef,
tongue that doesn’t quit. I go for sandwiches in a big way, a handful
of good will folks can sink their teeth into. And people remember
certain things. Don’t get me started on how crazy it is sometimes
to be me, in Texas. But then I’ve always liked going out of my way

if it lets me in on the action. When you’re the one with the sandwiches,
you let other people do the talking. Just look who’s talking now,
right? I need sandwiches, I’m friendlier. So to speak. Human nature,
if you ask me. I’ve studied it. I’m talking my whole life. Go ahead
and ask me is there anything I don’t know about human nature. I’m here
to tell you mostly it’s not much: I’m talking one sorry load
of chicken salad sandwiches bagged up in the front seat of a car
in the Dallas sun. At noon. You know it won’t be long before
it goes completely bad. And we’re Texas, down here so Deep
in the Heart that it’s never been lip-smacking good to begin with.

So what do I finally owe you? Here’s a twenty. Keep the change
and get yourself something later. Something you’ve always been
meaning to. On me. I’m talking something extra: a little bit
of trouble or excitement you don’t really need. That we can live
without either one, thank you, is no good reason. I’m talking America,
getting whatever we deserve. Human nature: remember that. Remember me
to the rest of the shift. I’ll be back. I’m always coming back.
And next time, you can cut the Mister jazz. Jack is good enough.


II / The Chicago Cowboy
III /Jack Ruby Talks Business with the New Girl
IV / The Difference a Day Makes
V / Jack Ruby Spends His Last New Year’s Eve with His Sister


From Jack Ruby’s America
By David Clewell


My review of the book from 2000 when it was new makes much of this opening movement.

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