At the Bar Where F. Scott Fitzgerald Drank Gin

F. Scott Fitzgerald, circa 1920. (Photo: Minnesota Historical Society)

—even though I drank wine,
and then only half a glass—I felt I

owed it to myself and to the guests
who’d sat politely through the reading

—and to everyone in every
college and university 20th Century

American Literature class
throughout history—to get drunk

off my ass, just for the literary
symmetry of it, just for the laughs

and the high-society flap that would
surely ensue. I stood there outwardly

sober, but within I was disorderly
with the desire to be—to the very

rowdy, raunchy, reckless, and
innocent fiction of it—utterly true.

Commodore Hotel, 2008

Todd Boss is the poet laureate of Nina’s Café on Cathedral Hill, which was named for the madame who once ran a brothel there. Todd doesn’t drink gin unless F. Scott or Nina is buying.


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