Shortly after this incident Trash had finished a new book and was in O'Reilley's with his publisher. The publisher had booked Trash an appearance on the Johnny Carson show in a few days. Of course Trash was shit faced. Once again I was standing in the middle of the bar chatting with Goesaway . Mike Tooleys husband, Jim , was standing nearby. The fact that Tooley was in a constant state of penury never seemed to stop him from either drinking or dressing nicely. He had to spend a nice buck on his haircuts alone. So Tooley was minding his own business when for some reason Trash walked over to Tooley and grabbed him by the lapels of his freshly pressed suit coat and started screaming at him. Tooley was a good foot taller than Trash and so this spectacle seemed quite ridiculous. And Tooley, being a very easy going fellow simply shrugged it off and resumed his drinking. Trash had accused Tooley of "destroying more young writers " than any other human being in the history of Chicago. The basis for this pronouncement escaped everyone present. Twenty minutes later Trash had once again grabbed Tooley by the lapels and was again screaming at him incoherently. Goesawy leaned over and said to me that he thought Tooley might punch Trash. I said I certainly would. And sure enough, after a few buttons on Tooley's Brooks Brothers shirt snapped off, Tooley pushed Trash away, steadied himself, and aimed a downward blow directly at the middle of Trash's snarling face. Trash immediately went down in a heap. Now this was Trash at his best. Laying on his back he looked up from the bar room floor directly at Tooley and said in his Cagney voice , "nice punch Jimmy." Perfect. Tooley backed away and brushed himself off. Trash's shocked publisher and Goesaway helped Trash to his feet. So far Trash could not have handled the situation better. Tooley even looked a little sheepish after hitting the much smaller Trash . Unfortunately Trash then proceeded to destroy his reputation forever by walking over to the pay phone and calling the police. When Tooley was alerted by the owner that Trash had called the cops he ambled down the street to the Gin House.
Aside from everyone buying Tooley free drinks for the next month, there were other repercussions beyond the tarnishing of Trash's manly reputation . Grafiti immediately appeared in the washrooms of all local bars such as: "Hemingway never called cops." "Trash calls cops." " Trash is a cop caller". I must admit I was the author of more than a few of these washroom postings. But most pressing for Trash was his upcoming appearance on Johnny Carson. He had a major black eye.
The night of his appearance we all gathered around a TV that was expressly brought into O'Reilleys for Trash's appearance . Trash lucked out . He was bumped the first night by a kid that did bird calls. Carson loved the kid. So Trash's eye had an extra day to heal and by the next day with the aid of plenty of TV makeup, you could hardly tell Trash had a discolored eye. Trash, by the way , was a huge success. He had a new theory. Capone didn't die of syphilis, but was instead poisoned by a young priest that was outraged by Capone's criminal ways. This was a breakthrough for Trash seeing as he'd gotten all of the mileage he could possibly get with his theory that Dillinger was still alive.
One amusing sidelight to the Dillinger - Trash saga. One night Ebert asked Trash if he'd ever spoken to Dillinger. Trash, after pausing for dramatic affect, his cigarette still dangling from the corner of his lips said, "yes, yes I did. I went up to his house and rang his doorbell. " Trash now had everybody's attention. "So Dillinger came to the door and - ".
"Yeah, " Ebert said impatiently, "so what did you say?"
"I said," Trash paused exhaling a thick cloud of smoke, "John Dillinger."
"So", Ebert said even more impatiently , "so what did Dillinger say to you after you said John Dillinger?"
"Dillinger said," Trash paused again, this time to take a deep drag on his cigarette, squinting his eyes and again exhaling , " Dillinger said - J..... Robert.....Trash!"