We decided to do our blocking for location shots at the actual locations. Oceanside is right up the freeway, and everyone would get a better feel for their positioning, much better than our usual routine of using the driveway and sidewalk outside the mansion. The city of Oceanside can't say anything to us, we don't have cameras set up, we're just a small group of people hanging out on a sidewalk. Bekka, Elspeth, Ellen, Small Steve and I went to UTC mall and worked on the blocking for those scenes. The shoot in the food court is pretty static, no real work there, just Steve deciding where cameras should go. The shot on the plaza was mostly a matter of timing the dialogue with the amount of distance covered walking. We ended up having the girls walking fairly damn slowly, so we wouldn't have to cover too much distance. The shot in the parking lot didn't really need blocking, it's just Bekka running and throwing herself through the side window of a car. She's practiced that little dive at home, so she's comfortable with it.
The scenes taking place at the club had been somewhat up in the air, so far as where we would work. I'd talked to the owner of the Diver's Club, where we'd shot "Rocker Girls," and he was amenable to letting us work there again. I didn't want to use that place though, it looked all wrong for the vibe I wanted. There are three warehouse clubs in downtown San Diego, and Sue said she was friendly with the management of all three, we could check them out when they were closed and decide which one we liked. Sue said to not worry about any of them saying no to us, they'd all really dig the idea of porn being made at their club. She also suggested that using a portion of our big bag of Ecstasy would get us much further than just offering money.
All three clubs mixed up things from night to night. Thursday would be techno/house, Friday would be electronica, Saturday would be industrial, Sunday would be doom/gothic, like that. We decided we'd hire an industrial DJ for the shoot, that would provide the vague sense of menace I wanted. Our shooting would work much like it had with "Rocker Girls." With Sue's help, I would be throwing a free party, inviting every club kid in the area to put on their party clothes and show up for free beer and music. This would happen comparatively early in the day, maybe around seven o'clock in the evening. Most clubs didn't even start to get going until around eleven. But we'd probably also be doing this on a Tuesday, so we were out of rhythm anyways.
Sue and I met with the managers of all three clubs, and afterwards I gave all three places maybe another six months to live. These people were flakes. One guy's idea to break the ice at a business meeting was to offer us amyl nitrate, a.k.a. poppers. Sue and I politely refused. The guy opened the tiny jar, took a huge whiff, then sat the open bottle down on the desk for the rest of the meeting. At any pause in conversation, he'd take another hit. Sue and I knew enough to wait thirty seconds before saying anything when he would do this, so he would be able to understand the words coming out of our mouths. The next one was a dude with dyed black shoulder-length hair who was so skinny, emaciated, hollow-eyed, and spun out he looked like he'd died four days earlier and just forgot to stop moving around. You could see the detail of every bone on his face. He was also in the habit of inserting a three second pause between when you spoke to him and his response, as if he needed to really process what you'd said. The third was a cheery young woman with a stunning array of facial piercings, and the focus and concentration of a goldfish. She would completely change subjects, in a wide variety of directions, in the middle of conversation. Sue and I had to constantly steer the talk back to the subject at hand, and also back up some to remind the woman what we were talking about to begin with. I wouldn't have trusted any of the three to successfully operate an ATM, much less run a business.
We went with the dead guy's club. He seemed to at least grasp who we were, why we were there, and what we wanted to accomplish. We also liked the club itself the best. It had a main dance floor, a juice bar, and lots of multi-level side rooms and wings with alcoves in them that looked like the perfect places for people to have sex. Bekka and Elspeth both had fuck scenes inside the club, and I knew where we'd shoot them. Outside, the disused loading dock would be great for Ellen's oral scene. We'd park our cars in there, and it would look like patron parking, and felt secluded enough you could imagine a guy and a girl deciding it was a good place to take turns going down on each other. Working with the dead guy would be easy, he lived in the club and was easy to get a hold of. He wanted to know if he could take his own pictures while we shot the fuck scenes. I told him no, but allowed him to watch, and he would of course be getting a free copy of the completed movie. In his deep monotone, he said that was fine, it didn't really matter, he was completely sexually dysfunctional anyway. "The only way I can come is to be hit by a bus," he told us. He may not have been kidding.
We put up flyers at clubs and record shops: free industrial party on such-and-such date at seven o'clock, happening at the Lead Pilot Club. Free beer for those with ID. You'll be the backdrop for a movie in production, so look your best. We also got KCR, SDSU's college radio station, to make announcements. Sue got the word out on the goth grapevine. With the flyers and KCR, I never mentioned that we were making adult video, or the studio name. Sue told the goths that it was a porn shoot for the studio she worked for, but assured me we wouldn't have trouble with the goths as looky-loos while we shot the sex. The goths would dismiss such activity as bourgeois, hyperactive.... Life-affirming and happy. The goths would be dismissive of sex. I asked Sue about that: she was a goth, but seemed to have an active and happy sex life, at work and at home. Despite the appearance of some of the girls, the goths seemed to want to give a vibe of asexuality, that they did not feel passion or arousal. Why was she different?
Sue said, "When I was twelve, my cousin taught me how to masturbate. She'd figured it out and wanted to share the magic. I had my first orgasm, and was hooked. I refused to go into that sexless mode other goths get into, I still wanted to attract boys. Really, I think that in private, most goths get naked and do the same things everybody else does, they drop the act and actually have fun, while nobody's looking. I've gotten together, very briefly, with a few guys who wanted to keep the act up, keep the gloom going even in the bedroom. I'd tell them, 'Look, you're not the Vampire LeStat, you're allowed to smile when I'm sucking your dick. Now either mount up and fuck me, or get your clothes back on and split.' For dudes who wanted to be seen as specters of darkness, it sure was easy to get their dicks hard."
We worked out the blocking and camera locations in one day. Small Steve, Sally the camera-girl, Sue, our three stars, Vince, Andy, and myself car pooled down and worked things out. The dead guy followed us around while we worked, but kept his distance and didn't interfere. The angel having been locked in the trunk of Elspeth's car, we started with an establishing shot of Stella (Elspeth) and the devil entering the club. A long shot of the two of them on the dance floor. Separate shots of them sitting at tables, having drinks and talking with guys (Vince and Andy). Then them going to those wall alcoves and starting the fuck scenes. The devil, Bekka, and Andy had a few lines of dialogue while still sitting. Andy asks the devil, "So, what do you do?" The devil replies, "Bad things. Very, very bad things. I stick with my skill set." Andy: "Okay.... What do you do for fun?" The devil thinks about it and says, "Inflict the weak, cheat the gullible, torment the pure. Oh, and I really like to macrame. I also like to make you mortals come. I can make a mortal man come like a fire hose. I ruin mortal men's lives, because after me, all other sex is a pathetic experience. You want a demo?"
Sue and I were standing to one side smoking while Small Steve and Sally discussed camera positions and distances and lighting. The dead guy came up to us and said, "Do you two get high?" We answered him in the affirmative, and he led us back to his office. We all sat down, and the dead guy pulled a piece of sheet metal from somewhere and set it on his desk. He pulled a bag of dope out of his desk drawer, a good sized bag, and dumped about a gram or so onto the sheet metal. This got crushed up and scraped into three lines. Quite a lot of dope to be doing at once. A stupid amount. Bekka and I may have been addicts, but we would never inflict that level of punishment on ourselves. The dead guy grabbed a tube and snorted up one of the lines. He didn't even wince. Then he held the tube out to us.
Sue and I looked at each other. I said, "You won't be insulted if we don't do all of that, right? Splitting one of those in half would be more than sufficient for the both of us."
Sue added, "Doing all that would have me stuck to the ceiling all night like a swatted moth."
The dead guy made his usual pause, then droned, "Do what you like. Stick with your limits."
Sue got up and took the tube, then bent down and did up about a third of one line. She handed the tube to me, and I did up another third from the same line. The smell and the taste made me realize that this was Boss's dope, and it didn't seem to be cut, either. I put the straw down. The dead guy immediately picked it up, and snorted the remaining line, plus what was left from me and Sue. He even used the same side of his nose he'd used before. I listened carefully, expecting to be able to hear his heart banging around inside his chest like a racquet ball.
I stared at the dead guy for a moment, just to make sure he hadn't started bleeding out of his eyes. Then I said, "You know, we've never discussed payment for use of your place."
The usual dead guy pause and stare. Then he said, "$750 for the use of the club. You pay my bartender and my two security workers. The DJ's fee for the night is $400. You can use the place until four in the morning."
"Remember, the party starts at seven. We'll be here an hour before that to set up." The dead guy slowly rocked his head in what I assumed was a nod.
Sue leaned over and whispered an idea in my ear. It was a good idea. I smiled at the dead guy and asked him, "Tell me, do you like Ecstasy?"
Pause, stare. "Yes."
"Do you think a hundred hits of Smiley would cover everything, including the DJ?"
For the first time I could remember, the dead guy's face actually moved, I'd never even seen him blink. His eyebrows raised, just a little. I swear I heard a creaking noise. He said, "This will be legitimate stuff, not counterfeit?"
I said, "Nope. A hundred hits of pure magic."
The dead guy picked up the phone and dialed a number from memory. After a pause, he said, "Nico, John. Sorry for waking you." (It was five in the afternoon.) "Regarding the party two weeks from Tuesday, the one the porn studio is putting on, would you be willing to barter for your fee? Twenty hits of Smiley.... This guy says it is.... Okay. Thank you, go back to sleep."
Hanging up the phone, the dead guy said, "I will take your offer. I will also trust that you will bring me what you said you would. If it is counterfeit, I will have my security take away your cameras and equipment, and hold them until you provide me with the money you would owe me. How will you get all that Smiley? Even at wholesale prices, you'd be spending more to pay me in drugs than if we just dealt with money."
"If I told you, you wouldn't believe me," I said. "Let's just say I can get it higher up the supply chain than the wholesalers. You will be happy with the product, too."
Sue said, "He's getting the real thing, I've taken it. No games."
"Sue, I haven't seen you around as much for a while," said the dead guy. "What are you doing with yourself these days? I've heard you started making porn."
"I've been making porn for quite a while now, like since last October," said Sue. "I've been spending more time surfing, and hanging out with friends from work. I'm not partying as much. Besides, I learned how difficult it is to explain my job to people around here. Everyone thinks I became a nympho, and I didn't, I became a performer. And to be honest? I'm getting sick of the whole ethos of goth. I had a teenage punk rock girl tell me that I couldn't be as goth as I claim to be. I asked her why, and she said it was because I fuck for a living, I do the most life-affirming thing possible as a career. And I realized she was right. I still love the fashion sense and the music, but I can't hack being around people who have turned suicidal depression into a fashion statement anymore. You may see me around on industrial nights, but not on goth nights anymore."
The dead guy looked at me and said, "Have you ever been to this club before?"
I replied, "No. Not my style. I like live music, I'll listen to any live band play once. You just have DJs here, and the forms of music you play don't hold me interested enough to listen to all night. I can listen to industrial for a half hour, and I'm good. Besides, I have a hunch my sense of humor would put other people off, no matter what night I was here."
Sue started cracking up. "Oh God, Lenny, I just imagined you in a room full of goths. You would be like a human land mine, and you would be blowing up people's brains. We could find you by the trail of sobbing nineteen year old goth boys, whose egos and self-images you had destroyed."
"It would just take the first person wanting to talk to me about Wicca to set me off. Or how they were the reincarnation of a witch from the burning times. Or anyone professing to be a Satanist. I would dare all three to get together, develop a plan, and use their collective powers to destroy me, I'll be at the bar. And for every failed attempt on their part, I get to slap them like the little bitches they are."
"You shouldn't meddle with the beliefs of others," said the dead guy.
I grinned. "I don't. People can have whatever kind of faith they want, so long as they acknowledge they have no empirical proof that their faith can affect the world, and they stay out of my face with it. The type of people I mentioned are always damn eager to bring up their beliefs in any conversation, and keep bashing away at it. They have the same zealous mindset as any Jehovah's Witness, they're just not going door to door. Instead, they interrupt my drinking at a bar while I'm talking to someone about how the Forty-Niners are doing this year. I've probably met a hundred Wiccans in my life, and maybe four of them came to Wicca out of genuine faith. The rest just knew it would piss their parents off."
"The Satanists always crack me up," said Sue. "They'll start going off on how there is no God and Jesus never existed, and I always point out that Satan is a wholly Christian construct. You can't have one without the other. They also don't like it when I tell them they'd never recognize Satan if they met him. No horns, no brimstone, look for a dude in a BMW and an Armani suit."
"So you have no higher power?" the dead guy asked me.
"Actually, I have a few," I said. "They're my bosses in La Cosa Nostra. To tell the truth, keep a little secret here, I'm an associate of the mafia. The men who run the mafia, my bosses, are capable of causing more misery than any Old Testament God, and can create more fear and torment than Satan and all his minions. I am scrupulously honest in my dealings, because I know that I don't risk paying for my transgressions in any possible afterlife, I'll pay for them in the here and now, and it will probably be more painful."
Sue added, "I've met his bosses, and yeah. If you play straight with them, you will be rewarded well. Fuck them around, there's no place to hide, the mafia will find you, and you will suffer. Imagine what it must feel like to have to dig your own grave. The mafia will make you do it."
The dead guy actually had inflection in his voice when he spoke. "The mafia? Do they even exist any more? And in California? What do they even do?"
I said, "Well.... Smiley Ecstasy, for one. Smiley is a mafia product. They found a chemical genius who created Smiley, gave him backing, and set up shop. Now there's 100,000 hits produced a week, which are going all over the place at this point. The mafia's original goal was to corner the market on the West Coast, but the stuff became so sought after, it started getting transported east, too. That's why you can still find the imported Dutch crap, there was a demand vacuum which the mafia couldn't fill. If they had, there would only be one kind of Ecstasy available anywhere in California, Smiley. Besides Ecstasy, the mafia also controls gambling, stolen cars, high-end prostitution, loan sharking, cocaine, guns.... Yeah, we stay busy, and we're not going anywhere. The mafia is a lot more slick than it used to be, especially compared to how things were back East. In California, you don't look for ugly dudes in dark suits carrying violin cases, you look for a guy in a La Coste shirt and top-siders, driving an Audi.... Although he will be Italian. Shit, they drafted me, even with my fashion sense. The mafia is still around, it just doesn't look like what people expect."
Sue and I had been gone for a while. I stood up, Sue followed. I said to the dead guy, "Let's go see where they are. Hey man, you wanna join us for dinner? We're going to the Old Spaghetti Factory, a few blocks away."
"No thank you. I hate food," said the dead guy.
There were a lot of responses I wanted to make to that statement, but I decided to just let it lie. Sue and I went out, down the hallway leading to the main dance floor. On the way I said, "Okay, that dude would creep out Francis Bacon. How the hell do you know him?"
"He's been around the goth and techno scenes forever," said Sue. "I don't know how he got the financing to create this club, but he did, he's been here two years now. Yeah, he is pretty creepy. When I was nineteen, he seemed spooky and mysterious. I got older and realized he's just a particularly self-destructive tweaker. His preference for drugs over food lands him in the hospital about every six months. I'd say he was anorexic, but you saw him, it's not like he cares too much about how he looks. He's lucky, whenever he keels over, he'll actually be out in public somewhere, so an ambulance can be called. They slap him in the hospital for a few days, where he gets fed intravenously. The drugs wear off and he will actually eat food, hospital meals even. Then they release him, he does more dope, and the whole thing starts over. The only solid food I've ever seen him put in his mouth are the olives from the bar."
I said, "This Halloween, I will pay him five thousand dollars to hand out candy at my door."
Everyone was gone from the main floor, so we started searching. We found them in one of the upper lounge rooms. For some reason, Vince and Elspeth were in one of the alcoves, stark naked. I asked what was going on.
Small Steve said, "We're trying to see if there is any graceful way for them to strip down inside there."
"There fucking isn't," said Elspeth. "I hit my head trying to get my shoes off. This is not happening."
"We'll just time shift it," I suggested. "We'll get a shot of them getting in the alcove, then cut to them magically naked and making out inside. There's at least enough room for sex, right?"
"Depends on what they're doing," said Steve. "For doggy style, Vince is going to have to duck a little."
"I'll have to be on my back for the blowjob," said Vince. "I wonder why they put these hidey-holes in here to begin with."
"We'll have to ask at some point," said Bekka. "Jesus, this is definitely the setting for a goth club. They were probably bugging the people at the paint store for a darker color than black."
"Hey, what's this shit?" asked Sally. She was holding a tiny brown jar. It had a label that said, "Locker Room."
I laughed and said, "Be glad you didn't try to figure it out by smelling it. That's a popper. It contains amyl nitrate, a heart stimulant. Smelling the fumes gives you this weird, fucked-up high that makes your head throb. I've never understood its popularity among dance hall brats." I took the bottle. It was, surprisingly, full. "Where did you find this?"
"Behind that table. There's a whole box full of them."
I looked, and sure enough, there sat a case of twenty-four jars of Locker Room. I checked a couple more, they all seemed to be full, and had the safety seal around the cap. Very strange. Poppers cost about six bucks each retail, so somebody may have saved a bit by buying in bulk, but a case would still set them back. Why would they abandon it? The shit wasn't illegal.... Although if a cop found you holding some, it would be impetus to search you for more interesting drugs. Well, we didn't need it. I wanted it gone before Vince, our special needs class escapee, decided he was curious about its effects.
I picked up the case and began walking downstairs, telling everyone to continue on. I got to the dead guy's office door and knocked. A vague monosyllabic sound came from inside, so I went in. He didn't seem to have moved, or blinked, since I'd left.
I set the box of poppers down on his desk. I said, "Hey man, we just found that in one of the lounges. No idea where it came from, but we don't need it. Any clue whose it is?"
And the dead guy scared me: his face changed expressions. His eyes got big, his eyebrows went up, and his mouth went wide with shock. He even had inflection in his voice. He said, "Where did you find those? They were stolen from me Saturday."
"Like I said, in one of the lounges, one of the upper ones where we're blocking. They were just sitting on the floor under a table. Jesus, who wants that many jars of instant headache?"
"I left them under the bar after I bought them, instead of taking them to my living space. Somebody found them and they disappeared. Thank you for returning them."
And with that, he grabbed one of the tiny jars, cracked it open, and poured about half of it into a small pool on his desk. Then he leaned his face over the pool and began breathing quickly and deeply, almost hyperventilating. Everyone else just holds the jar under their nose and breathes in once, this guy wanted to be a bit more immersed in the experience. I watched him as he hunched over his desk, sucking in air through his nose. After about thirty seconds, he finally sat upright, a vaguely confused look on his face.
I said, "Well, glad that's sorted out then, right?"
The dead guy turned his head and looked at me, or at least tried to. I knew there was a whole lot of shit bouncing around in his visual cortex which would block out external images, he wouldn't recognize himself in a mirror at the moment. I figured the ringing in his ears must be deafening. The cognizant parts of his brain had taken a coffee break, and his heart was playing a Buddy Rich solo. I knew all this from personal experience, and that was from just sniffing the stuff out of the jar briefly. I had no idea how huffing the stuff like glue would affect a person.
After about forty-five seconds, the dead guy's face lost its confused look, and settled into its usual form, that of cynicism and rigor mortis. He looked at me and said, "Yes?"
"I just figured I'd stick around to make sure your head didn't explode from doing that shit," I said.
"I thought you had left. Why did you come back?"
"Um.... I brought you your fucking case of poppers, remember? That box in front of you? There's a whole puddle of the shit right there, you went to town on it."
He looked at the box of Locker Room and said, "My poppers. Where did they come from? Where did you find them?"
I walked over and leaned on his desk, but not too far because of the fumes. I said, "I ain't playing this fuckin' game. If you want to ream your brain out like a cantaloupe shell, that's your business. But do it on your personal time. Shit, I should rescind the offer of paying you in Ecstasy. Your brain is so far gone I could give you a bag of Vivarin and you wouldn't know the difference. I'll leave you to playing in your pool of inhalants, we'll let ourselves out. You are aware there are people here working, right? Do you even know who I am, or why I'm here?"
The dead guy stared at the pool on his desk and said, "Don't patronize me. Send Sue in before you all leave, so I can say goodbye to her. I love her, you know. She could have been here with me, we could have created our own bleak dominion together. She decided she would rather expose herself for money, earning a living with her flesh. She has turned towards the light, with the false hope displayed by the weak."
I applauded lightly and said, "Most moving. Really. So tell me, who do you think is funnier, Sam Kinison or Robin Williams? You seem like someone who appreciates a good laugh, and I'd value your opinion. You can answer me the next time you see me. Later, Captain Happy."
I went out the door and back towards where I'd been. I met everyone coming down, they'd wrapped up what they wanted to accomplish. I told Sue, "That lighthearted fellow we were hanging around with is still in his office, and wants to say goodbye before we take off."
"Oh, shit no," said Sue. "You come with me. I'm not risking being attacked again."
"He thinks he's in love with me. He thinks I hold hidden dark magical powers, and suppress them because I'm an agnostic. The last time I was alone with him, he tried to chloroform me and drag me up to the room where he lives. Since he has no muscle mass, it was taking him forever to actually move me. I snapped out of the chloroform while he was trying to drag me up the stairs and bolted. He called and apologized about ten times, saying he had been hypnotized by the government into doing what he did. I told him I would never be alone in a room with him again. And now he's trying to get me in one."
I said, "Jesus, Sue. If you want, I'll go in there and pistol whip this motherfucker, make it crystal clear he is never to speak to you again. We'll just find someplace else to shoot this video."
"No," said Sue. "This really is the best club for our needs, and at least this dude will remember who we are and why we're there when we show up to work. I'd never let him get anything past me again, I just want you as a bit of backup. Remind him that I have friends who will laugh in his face if he threatened them with any kind of voodoo hoodoo. All the younger kids around here are convinced he can cast spells and summon demons."
I told everyone else to step outside and have a cigarette, me and Sue would be back in a minute. Walking to the office, I asked Sue, "So does this dude actually believe he can cast spells and summon demon?"
"Hard to say," said Sue. "Finding the seam between his image and his real persona is hard. And he's so tweaked out, he just may believe his own bullshit."
We stepped into his office without knocking. The dead guy was still in position. Sue stepped up to the desk, I stayed two steps behind. Sue said, "We're headed out, we're going to get some dinner. What did you want?"
Stare, pause. "I wished to see you alone," the dead guy droned. "Why did you bring this person with you?"
"If we didn't make it clear enough before, Lenny is both my boss and my friend. Anything you want to say to me, you can say in front of him. He's good at keeping secrets."
Stare, pause. "Sue, I want you to be with me. We could wield incredible power together, you have the magic in you, and I could harness it. Stop using your flesh to chase money. Join me."
Sue rolled her eyes. "Oh Christ, this again. No. I don't want to be your queen of darkness, and I don't want to live in a fucking warehouse in downtown San Diego. You've got the wrong girl. Whatever it is you see in me, you're wrong. Go chase some other goth bitch."
"Sue, you deceive yourself.... Oh shit." The dead guy had stood up from his chair. When he did, there was the sound of a bottle hitting the cement floor, then rolling. The rolling sound was approaching our side of the desk. I looked down, saw the bottle, and picked it up. It was chloroform.
I tossed the bottle onto the sofa behind me, took a giant step, and jumped up on top of the desk, pulling out my Beretta. Looking down at the floor between the dead guy and the desk, I saw where a small towel had also fallen when he stood up. I smiled and kept the Beretta leveled on him with both hands.
I said, "Okay Spanky, Sue told me about the last kidnapping attempt. That's why I came with her. It would seem you were going to try the same damn tactic, even though it failed last time. It doesn't matter now. I consider you a threat to one of my friends, and that won't do. Nobody threatens my friends, not without paying a heavy cost. So tell me, which one of your kneecaps is your favorite? I'll be nice and blow off the other one."
Stare, long pause. "I am beyond worldly threats like your weapon," said the dead guy. "You cannot harm me. And I believe you are trying to bluff me with a fake gun."
"One way to find out." I swung the pistol over, pointing it at a stereo sitting on a table to one side. Pulling the trigger twice sent two rounds of hollow-point ammunition into the stereo, destroying it in a big way. I turned the gun back towards the dead guy.
His face was actually being expressive. He had a look of shock and disbelief, and his jaw was flapping up and down. Then, in a perfectly normal white guy voice, he yelled, "Oh my God! My Kenwood! You destroyed my Kenwood! Dude, what the fuck, man? You dick! You total dick!"
I jumped back off the desk and shoved the now fairly animated dead guy into his chair, then bashed him in the side of the face with the flat of my Beretta. He squawked at the pain and cowered. I leaned into his face and said, "Okay tweaker, here's how things are. First of all, fuck your stereo. Sue me. Second, you will leave Sue alone. You do not call her, you do not speak to her if you see her, you don't even fucking think about her any more. If you do, I will find out, and the rage I will have as I come after you will shoo away all the forces of evil that guard you, because they'll see I'm a lot goddamn meaner than they are.
"Also, we are still going to shoot our video here, without interference and with every cooperation. What we were going to give you? That just dropped to twenty hits, so you can pay your DJ. You can cover your bartender and security. Speaking of, don't even think of trying to sic your security goons on me, I doubt they're bulletproof. And anything you do that hinders us from showing up in two weeks, throwing a party, and making our video will be seen as a direct affront. You'll have pissed off some mighty bad people. It will take three days for your club to burn to the ground. Am I clear, or should I have put it all to the tune of an Alien Sex Fiend song?"
With a scowl and a pout like a four year old's, the dead guy said, "Oh my God. Dude. You'll really burn down my club if I don't work with you, won't you? And I don't get all that Ecstasy? You are such a total dick. Fine, whatever. I won't even be here that day, okay? Do whatever you want." He paused, then said, "Hey Sue? Look, I think...."
I bashed him in the face with the Beretta again. His cheek was starting to swell. I said, "What I said about you leaving Sue alone? That's already in effect. Shut up. We're leaving, see you in two weeks. If you have any questions, you have my number. But try not to have questions, because I hate having to talk to lame-brains in puffy black shirts. Ciao."
We turned to leave the office. As we did, a whiny voice behind me said, "God, I can't believe I shared my dope with you. Assholes." I looked back. The dead guy was slouched down in his chair, scowling down at the floor in front of his desk. He still had the child's pout on his face.
Sue and I exited and walked towards the doors. Sue said, "Well. He kept up his front hard and well for a long time, but all it took was breaking his stereo to get him to drop it."
I replied, "Yeah, one measly pistol-whipping and his veneer peeled right off. I'll bet he grew up in Rancho Bernardo and still goes to his mom's house to do laundry." I paused and looked up at the roof of the warehouse. "I figure the plague of rabid fanged bats he's trying to summon on me should be here pretty damn quick. Any second now. Okay, never mind. That's a hard curse to pull off, maybe he'll just hex me so the lettuce in my salad at dinner will be all wilted."
Meeting up with everyone outside, Bekka said, "Did I hear shots? I thought I heard shots."
I thought about it for a second, and realized: it's a nightclub. It's soundproofed. I said to Bekka, "Nope, no shots from in there. Now, why would I want to squeeze off rounds at a wonderful person like that man?"
Bekka gave me a look, and we all began walking towards the restaurant.