The air changed as we made our way towards the back, taking on an unearthly oppressive quality. Funny how sweat and perfume, two seemingly innocuous scents, can fill you with foreboding in the wrong environment. Maybe there was desperation, too, a sadness that some or most or all of the girls were exuding through their skin, pheromones crying out for help in ways that their voices never could. Pheromones alerting would-be predators that a weak animal, an easy meal, was nearby.
Or maybe I’d just lost more blood than I’d thought I had and it was messing with my head.
“Through there,” the gorilla-slash-bouncer said, pointing at a cheap looking door with the word “Manager” spraypainted on its face. Before I could even respond, the hulking brute was shambling back towards the dance floor, his work done as far as he was concerned. That was fine by me. If Manny were to start screaming for help, the farther away any would-be guards were, the better.
I considered knocking but thought better of it. Instead, I just tried the knob. It turned easily in my hand and the door swung open without protest. The small office behind it smelled of smoke, tobacco and otherwise, and Manny Rotundo sat at a wooden desk far too ornate and beautiful for a cheap thug like him. His eyes were red as cherries, like he’d burst veins in them, and thin streams of blood trickled from both his nostrils. He looked stupid, drugged, but there wasn’t any sign of anything illicit on the desk in front of him.
He sniffed. He smiled a fake smile. “Well, well, well. Fancy seeing you here, huh?”