……So I’m having lunch at my usual spot, Il forno trattoria (affectionately known as “The Joint”) downstairs from my office in Santa Monica. Sitting at my usual table (for those of you who’ve read the book, you know it as table 24). A guy reluctantly walks up to my table and says,”Mr. Mancini, I just wanna say, I’m a big fan and I read your book”. Now, inevitably, when I hear “Mr.Mancini”, I’m looking for my father. So after I reassured the guy to call me Ray, he asked me if this was the table that was featured in the book. When I confirmed that it was, he asked me if Ed O’Neill would be stopping by. I told him that I hadn’t talked to him yet this day, but he might be coming, you never know. He then asked if Mr. Mamet would be coming. I pointed to a table that was across from mine, where Dave was having lunch with another gentleman. My guy,”Mr. Reluctant” had a smile from ear to ear. I asked if he wanted to meet his literary hero, but he graciously declined. He said that just seeing him was enough. He then inquired, “is it possible that the fat cop from NY might show ?” I answered the best possible way I could. ” I’m a believer in all things possible. I’m the ultimate optimist, but this just ain’t gonna happen. Not in this lifetime. Considering that the officer, Louie Eppolitto, is serving life, with no chance of parole. Being convicted on twenty something charges of murder for hire”. Before leaving, he asked if he could take a picture of me sitting at the table. I said, “my pleasure”, I figured, a table here, pretty much looks like a table anywhere. He said because of the book, Table 24 is now famous. After the photo op, we shook hands, exchanged pleasantries and said good bye. As I watched him walk away, with a broad smile, shaking his head side to side, I thought,”only in America, only here at the Joint”!!!