It would be one more evening with just Boo and me. And since we both like Chinese food, a detour over to Tremont Street and a stop by Chang's was the routine.
Chang's was the place for locals when it came to Chinatown chow, a real classic. The place was the model for Chinese restaurants everywhere, from the red and gold tapestries that covered the walls to the koi fish pond that moated the entrance to the paper lanterns that bobbed in the evening breeze to the menus with the Columns A.B & C. I loved Chang's and Chang's loved me.
"MacKenzie!" Nothing like hearing my name with a Chinese twang. "What your cat want to eat tonight?" Lily was an institution here, the granddaughter of Old Man Chang himself, though her last name now was O'Brien, having married some plumbing contractor in a fit of cultural rebellion. Three or four nights a week, I'd swing by and pick up a bag of this and that to feed old Boo and me.
"Lil, I think I'll have some chicken for me and how about some shrimp for Boo." That's all I need to say and it somehow got translated into eight little white boxes oriental delight. "Thanks, Lil."
"You say hello to Miss. Boo for me, MacKenzie. She too good for you. I gave her extra shrimp."
By the time, I returned to the street, darkness had come and someone had turned on the lights. There's nothing more alive than the gaudy, buzzing neon of Chinatown and nothing more sinister than the shadows it casts. A world unto itself, it is, an enclave of mystery and opium smoke with its own unseen law at work. Crime took care of itself for most part in this section of Boston. Matters were somehow just taken care of by some invisible hand of justice.
The routine for coming home was pretty much the same. Wait for the doorman to unlock the door. Stop by the mailboxes. Turn to tumblers on the lock left C, right G, left C, right B. "Hey, not bad," I thought, "one bill, one newsletter from my U.S. Navy Reunion, and two hand addressed letters. Tonight the stairs to my floor. Barking dog. "Hey, Mrs. Polski." Fetch my keys. Unlock the door. "Hey Boo. How ya been, boy?" Yes, Boo was a tomcat contrary to Lil's mistaken assumption. Kitchen table, set down the bag of Chinese. Keys on the table, gun and badge in the cookie jar. Coat on the kitchen table chair. Shoes kicked off and sent sliding to the kitchen corner. Pet Boo who by this time was standing on the table, up on his haunches, peeking into the bag, sniffing out the shrimp.
"And some people say I need to get a life!"