The Hinrinson (Disquiet0076-dreamsound)

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I’m in Detroit. Or what I think is Detroit. Wandering around in the rain. I’m in town to play a show and I can’t sleep. Neon lights abandoned Main Street. Restaurants and artist studios nestled between broken glass windows and crumbling bricks. Harbinger or fossil? Hard to tell.

I pass a shaky-looking guy on the street.

“I’m looking for Hinrinson’s,” I say to him.

“Yeah,” he says. “Just walk up the hill, take the right fork and it’ll be right there on your left.”

So that’s what I do, and there it is. I float through doors and settle into a booth next to the counter amidst the clattering silence of a 2am diner. A young waitress passes by me three times without looking. A waiter comes a few minutes later, fills my water glass and gives me a menu and a ticket and pencil to write my order down. I study the menu for a while, and keep coming back to “The Hinrinson,” described as a pastrami Cuban reuben.

I look up to find a stately man with a shock of white hair standing over me.

“I’m Connie,” he says, “Connie Hinrinson. This is my place. What can I get for you today?”

I try to write my order on the ticket, but only get as far as my name, Dave.

“That’s all right,” says Connie, “you can just tell me.”

“I’ll have The Hinrinson,” I say.

“Mmm, good choice,” Connie says.

“Also a fry plate,” I continue.

“You want a Supreme for 10 cents more? Almost no one gets the plain fry plate,” he says to me.

“What’s that?” I ask. “Is that, like, with gravy and cheese curds like a poutine?”

“Sure,” says Connie. “Just like that.”

“Okay,” I say. “Supreme fry plate, then. And also an unsweetened iced tea.”

“You got it,” says Connie.

I give him my ticket. He folds it into his pocket and takes my menu.

The food arrives and it’s amazing. The sandwich becomes kaleidoscopic, flashing lights and changing colors in my hands as I eat it. Then, I eat the Supreme fry plate in one bite.

Connie comes back around and clears the plate and table and puts down a check for $2.42.

“You look like Rocky Babson,” he tells me. “You remember him?”

“That’s hilarious,” I say. “Thanks so much.”

“You know, there’s a famous spot about an hour north of here. I’d have to drive you, but it’s a legendary punk rock hangout and I think you’d really like it there.”

“Sounds great. Let’s go. My show isn’t until 2moro,” I say.

Connie takes my $$ for the check and snaps his fingers. Then we’re by a lake with a performance stage and all these people I know around me.

Connie leans in to me. “This is Fire Lake,” he says.

I turn to one of the people I know and ask, “Why haven’t I ever been here?”

He shrugs.

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