The Chicago Way Part 2: Billy Goat’s Gruff

To leave off where we were yesterday, my coworkers and I left Lizzie McGill’s Irish Pub and ventured through the streets of Chicago. Somehow we made it to The Billy Goat Tavern, or as some of us had called it “Billy Goat’s Gruff.”

For those who have not heard of The Billy Goat Tavern, think back to the early days of “Saturday Night Live” and the skit where John Blushi kept saying “Cheezeborger, Cheezeborger.” During the day, this is how the Billy Goat actually was, though the ordering moved at a faster pace. If you were placing your order to the cashier with a thick Greek accent, you wasted no time in ordering for fear of getting chewed out by the cashier or the cooks. However, it was not just the staff that gave the Billy Goat life. The walls were decorated with signs, posters and newspaper clippings of Chicago’s past. If Lizzie’s is my home, the Billy Goat would be my vacation spot.

When we returned that night, it was a calmer atmosphere. Perhaps it was because of the change in staff over the day and that some customers were coming in after a long day of work. For some of us, it was a chance to get some food to hopefully slow the effect of the beer we had drank at Lizzie’s. After we had gotten our food, Kurto bought a round of beers for us. We were joined by our ads guy Joey, who had taken to exploring Chicago by himself.

As most of us were wolfing down our borgers and Libs was matching us in the beer realm, Freese grew excited at the group of journalists – donned in their suits – sitting behind us and talking about their day.

Taking my eyes away from the articles that documented the newest buildings in Chicago, I turned back and glanced at these professional reporters in awe. This is what Bri, Adam and Manda have must have been felt when they were in the presence of top Primerica executives, or how a group of Spokane Indians fielders must have felt when they learned they were sharing the field with some outfielders from the Chicago Cubs.

Besides the professional reporters, there was a group of college journalists, who were attending the same Associated Collegiate Press convention as us, were sitting at a table near the jukebox. We learned this as Kurto selected a couple of Michael Jackson’s songs. As Jackson’s “Billy Jean” filled the air, our table once again busted out in song, much to the amusement of our fellow convention attendants.

After Kurto’s songs were done, the other group picked their own music. As a soothing “When the moon fills the summer house” played from the speaker, Kurto’s eyes lit out as he shouted “The 5th Dimension, this is my jam!”

Just as the band was letting us know that it was the “Age of Aquarius,” Kurto began doing this dance that I can only describe as a combination of belly dancing and crotch thrusting. It was a dance that will forever be burned into my memory. It was a dance that had the rest of us laughing our asses off.

The dance was cut short as Kurto grabbed his coat and said, “I gotta go, there’s no way than to end on that.”

The rest of us grabbed our jackets and followed our friend out of the door, Once we were out of Billy Goat’s Gruff, we once again erupted in laughter before going back in the direction of Lizzie’s. Our second stay was not exciting as our first, though Freese and I shared with each other our past fanfictions.

After one last Kilkenny, I followed my friends back to the hotel and began planning how I would prevent the morning’s hangover.

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About Al Stover

I graduated from Eastern Washington University with a bachelor's degree in journalism. I currently work as a Staff Reporter for the Cheney Free Press. I have interviewed characters like cage fighters, drag queens and dungeon masters. I like Batman, coffee, MMA and beer.

One comment

  1. Myaz_Nuggetz

    Reblogged this on Myaz_Nuggetz.

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