Serious business tonight. but we got through it, and assembled at the usual place. Well, almost. Some family had planted themselves in the Corner Booth, so after some hemming and hawing we settled into some tables in the middle of the floor. How disconcerting. We were tonight: Jeff, Alex, Dean, John T., Ferne, Don and me — Tomek. There was a lot of talk about characters and character development, and character-driven stories, and also how many stories we each start, only to put aside to be picked up another day. Split infinitives and commas were mentioned (yes, they, were), alongside theater, horrible employers, bluegrass and Sam Bush, Film Noir and Alfred Hitchock’s Thirty-Nine Steps, some bitter recriminations over someone’s mistaken attribution of Dashiell Hammett’s Maltese Falcon, and some meditation on the value of film adoptions of books. The other end of the table swerved into politics a bit, but we stayed clean and virtuous on our end. (Well, clean. ) As always, a good time was had by all.