It turned out that he introduced new guys to the group all the time, making them feel welcome.
‘Quiet, private Alan’ was essentially the social director.
I thought I had a handle on him – a serious-minded man with a touch of world-weariness who always had sideline schemes for making a buck.
He was close to his two sons, devoted to his mother, and faithful to his wife (and subsequent girlfriends, once he divorced her to save his sanity).
You can’t keep my money.’‘I’m not giving you that kind of cash,’ Alan answered. As it turned out, he wouldn’t need money years down the road.
After that, the most taxing thing you have to do is flick ash (and if you don’t want to stick out, there’s some art to that). They practise this craft night after night in this very room, their ring of little fires amounting to one big campfire where they tell their tales.Johnny had given him control of a trust left by his parents for safekeeping. He couldn’t work regularly, and tended to blow his money on the silliest indiscriminate crap. When I learned this, I wondered if Alan regretted refusing Johnny his last ridiculous wish.He’d finally done one sane thing with it – given it to Alan, so that Alan could dole it out parsimoniously for things that mattered. But he and the guys were there for him while he was alive.He was low-key, unaffected, undemonstrative, a quiet, private guy.That version of Alan is nowhere in evidence at the Cigar Inn.When my wife and I dropped by, he introduced us all around proudly to his pals, who leapt to their feet to shake our hands.