Saturday, July 26, 2008


Years and years ago, there was a fabled rumour of some Chinese restaurant hidden in one of the allies near Main & Hastings (possibly Canada's poorest and "seediest" neighbourhoods; riddled with drug addicts). The rumours included that you brought your own booze and that there was some underground gambling racket going on in the back room. So myself and a couple of friends decided to go looking for it one evening.

We didn't really know where to start but whatever our starting point was, it turned out to be a solid choice because we found it within 5 minutes. In one of the allies (can't remember where) there as a junkie sitting in front of a green door. My memory's a little fuzzy but it was either unmarked or there may have been its name on the door in Sharpie or those gold square decals you see on the back of truck windows boasting the owner's CB handle.

We said "excuse us" to our junkie and she moved aside and in we went. I believe we were greeted warmly and the place was small. We were the only customers. We sat down, ordered a beer and food (we didn't bring our own booze) and soon enough our food came and it wasn't very good. We genuinely felt like the place probably wasn't too concerned about health codes and practices.

While there, we noticed on one of the walls was a number of framed autographed 8x10's of various actors and performers. There wasn't one single actor that we recognized but two did stand out: The Checkerboard Guy and Toothpick The Clown (his site doesn't seem to be properly internetted).

We finished up and left and have never returned. I don't even know if it's still around. A few years after, perhaps it was around 1997 or so, I was in Kamloops, BC and I was in the mall. The mall was having a big side-walk "salebration!" and as I was passing through, I heard some cheering and applause and then saw a number of kids erupt from behind a make-shift performance set/stage; some kind of kid's show had just finished. As I passed the set I saw that it was none-other than my good friend Toothpick The Clown! He was packing some stuff back into a chest and he looked up and saw me staring at him so I kept walking, kind of embarrassed that I was staring at him. When I got about 40 feet from the clown I turned and yelled, "HEY TOOTHPICK!" He looked up. "I'LL SEE YOU AT THE GREEN DOOR!" and then I just kept walking. From behind I could hear him yelling; almost mad, "HOW DO YOU KNOW!? Hey! HEY COME BACK HERE! HOW DO YOU KNOW!!!!" But I just kept walking, leaving the clown with a mystery: How did that guy with the crazy, muppety nose know I went to the Green Door? track down The Checkerboard Guy!

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