The social wasn't scheduled to begin until 2:00, so we stopped in a nearby bookstore. As Hawk and I wandered toward their paltry sf collection in the back, I wondered if we'd see any fellow Darkfriends. Bookstores have been common places to meet other attendees unexpectedly. Although this shop was only a block from the restaurant, it was hidden by construction barricades and scaffolding and looked like it was closed. I figured we wouldn't see anybody we knew there.
The only other two customers in the store were also in the sf section. (That section being only one shelf, we were pretty crowded.) One of the two spotted a copy of Legend, I think, and exlaimed with hushed surprise, "Gemmell!!" The other was some meathead of a guy who kept knocking books off the shelf everytime he pulled one out to look at. (In fairness to him, the books were poorly stacked... but it was funny how he kept knocking things over like he was doing a one-man impersonation of a Three Stooges skit.)
We exited the store before Hawk did too much damage to her budget, and headed over to the Tequila Grill. We met Chad outside and walked down together. Joe Shaw and his friend, Chris Anderson, arrived soon. John Novak came in shortly, as did Mike Machionne, Brian Postow, and Elizabeth Cornwell. Hohn Cho appeared a minute or two later and pronounced his name for each of us. Turned out he was one of the two people in the bookstore -- the David Gemmel fan, not the meathead with the butter fingers. He said he heard Hawk call me "Bill" and almost asked us in the bookstore if we were Hawk and Bill, infamous darkfriends.
More darkfriends arrived as we took our seats. Josh Hall, Mike Ikeda, and four lurkers who, characteristically, entered quietly and sat down at the far end of the table without giving their names. When grilled for information, they confessed to be Christian Muly, Alden Stradling, David Ludwig, Greg Probst. One guy came in and announced himself as a Texas Darkfriend. Half the table turned and said, "Dylan?!" while -- simultaneously -- the other half turned and said, "Dyelin?!" With a sigh of disappointment he introduced himself as Clay Blankenship.
Minutes passed as we waited for the arrival of our dear hostess, Judy Ghirardelli. Some of us debated whether or not to order without her; others debated how far lost she probably was at that point. The consensus seemed to be "Somewhere on the far side of Georgetown, still trying to make a left turn to get back here."
Judy arrived about 45 minutes late, along with her friend, Sunny. Sunny quickly dropped into rhythm with the group, though, as one of the first things she said was, "So, which one's ``Diaper Monkey?''" I'm not sure the story behind that name is worth repeating, but the assembly was almost unanimous in agreement that, if any of us were ``Diaper Monkey'', it would be Mike Machionne.
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