Hematophagy, Pt. 13

The door to the strip club opened easy and swung wide. Why shouldn’t it? The hard part to get to would be in the back. Up front, there were girls and drinks and all the distractions from the modern world that your stereotypical chauvinist pig of a man could ever ask for. If this were an old movie and I were a hard-boiled detective, I’d start at the bar, catch the eye of some wounded bird, and sweet talk Manny’s whereabouts out of her. Or else I’d subtly threaten the bartender, watch sweat dampen his collar, his fingers nervously drum on the countertop until finally he cracked.

Instead, I walked up to a one of the bouncers that looked less like a local tough and more like a soldier in a crime family and said, “Hey. I got to talk to Manny.”

“You got an appointment?” he growled. He was a good six inches and fifty pounds heavier than me, some of it in his gut but a lot of it muscle, with a nose that’d been broken and knuckles covered in scars. He cracked them in front of my face, made a big show of it.

“No, I don’t have a damn appointment. I’ve got cash, though. How about that?”

The gorilla of a man grinned. “Sounds like an appointment to me.” I reached into my pocket, pulled out my wallet, slipped him a hundred and some odd bills. He looked it over, grunted, and led me towards the back of the club, the rooms where the girls change and the management keeps its offices.

Loyalty came pretty cheap, it seemed.

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