Never a dull moment in this business. Lights, women, action. I suppose it comes with the territory when you’re the boss of the best gentlemen’s club around, although we don’t get many gentlemen these days. We called the club Bermuda, that is my associates and I, I for one thought it was very clever. People tend to lose their way in here, in more ways than one, and a place like this attracts all the right kinds of people for our purposes: the psychos, the addicts, the schemers, even a city official or two, I can’t get into the business of names of course but It provides an ever flowing supply of cannon fodder for our operations. We all gotta start somewhere eh?
I was put in charge of this place a couple of years back – no doubt for my charming personality and detail-oriented mindset. It also helps that I drove a screwdriver into the back of the previous owner’s skull on account of him running his own little side business of drugging and renting out the top girls but I digress. I guess they assigned me here to keep me out of trouble. I’d proven to be an effective problem solver if just a tiny bit unorthodox and quick to anger. Having a place to call my own is nice, not to mention it keeps me invested. From the club’s upper balcony I can see all of the rabble below, the shady deals, the exchanges, the chaos. I am the brooding ruler of this kingdom of sleaze and my word is law. Anyone puts their hands on the girls and we break ‘em. Anyone tries to deal under this roof without our approval and they end up in the river. The people below call me Boss, the handful I actually like call me Donovan, as good a name as any. You could say I’m doing very well for myself. Late thirties, tall, tanned, in shape. My hair is a dark chestnut-brown, neat and slicked back. I don’t have any ink like others in our organization, never saw the point of it. I dress well, blazers and eccentric shirts, stylish business, I am the boss after all. The title Boss is something of a misnomer though as in reality I’m part of a larger order of things, the Chimera: a highly sought-after organization by lesser gangs and lawmen alike. Drugs, guns, wheels, and business involving promiscuity, you name it we own it and the river is filled with those who’ve tried to prove us wrong.
The club itself is the best thing this side of town. Real classy like. People come from all over the city to get an eyeful of what we’ve got and our bar is always open. On the ground floor is the center raised stage, it’s got a glossy wood floor finish and is easily modified depending on whether we have one or multiple dancers on at a time. Jutting out from the center is an island for our main performers, poles and everything. As this part of the interior is purposefully dark we’ve mounted a strip of spotlights along the edges of the stage facing up and inwards towards the dancers but not so much as to blind them, the ceiling lights accompany these and when the show’s in full swing it’s quite the sight to see. Below the stage are a couple dozen tables and other dancing platforms dotted around this area, roughly a third of the ground floor including the stage, this is all sectioned off by steps and a railing aligned in a semi-circle fashion from the rest of the club. We’ve got private booths off to the side of the stage, highly luxurious with satin cushions and fine fabric upholstery shaped into the booths themselves with curtains for privacy. Security is always posted within earshot in case a customer gets too friendly.
Before I took over this place it used to have more of a cabaret-type feel to it. It was criminally outdated, had a tacky décor and played jazz music if you could imagine. We spent a hell of a month ripping out and replacing all the ugly carpet, the dainty stools and the cheap wooden tables. We fitted in a new hi-fi stereo system, dancefloor, even got a few pool tables in the back. Directly underneath the balcony is the bar, a long strip of expensive countertop. We’ve got all the top-shelf brands of shorts and a decent selection of beers and ciders for whatever your preferred prelude to chaos may be, you’ll be thrown out of course if you start shit in here, preferably with a smashed jaw and broken ribs. In-between the bar and the stage is the dancefloor, we rigged it up to the stereo system so that the lightshow plays along to the beat of the music. I’m no stranger to letting loose and getting my groove on every now and then but I usually prefer to take in the spectacle from the balcony, which is reserved strictly for business. The balcony’s where the big deals and decisions are made and where I plan out most of our operations in the city be it heists, large-scale drug deals, kidnappings, murders, and gang wars among other odd jobs, as I said at the beginning: never a dull moment in this business.
Leaning on the balcony railing I’m lighting up a cigarette as I spot some commotion out of the corner of my eye. A group of three, skinheads by the looks of them, are currently being thrown around the pool tables by our security. I notice my right hand man, Cole, in the thick of it as he’s socking one of the scumbags in the mouth with a billiard eight ball. I can’t hear the sound of the scuffle over the music currently playing, some new track from The Bee Gees. I laugh to myself as I exhale the cigarette smoke. Cole’s another from the organization, he’s been working for me the past few years. Used to be a hood before he joined up, wore all them baggy clothes that makes a man look like a shopping bag blowing in the wind. As far as I know he was small-time, a few stick ups here and there making pennies off of local laundromats and the like. I first met him after I got a tip about a big shipment of booze from one of our dock boys on the take. Cole and his crew got to the loot first. When we found out I tracked him down and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, he joined on the spot. A couple of years in and he’s a reliable enforcer and doing very well for himself indeed.
After the commotion settles down I see security drag two of the troublemakers towards the exit while Cole collars the remaining one and starts heading my way. The guy didn’t put up any resistance as Cole effortlessly marched him across the club to the staircase leading up to me on the balcony. I see them both ascend the curved marble stairs illuminated by the flashing lights, Cole has the dual job of getting the guy up the steps and preventing him from collapsing back down them in a stupor. I grab a bottle of expensive whiskey from a table and pour out two glasses before they reach the top.
Cole greets me by way of a nod before throwing his captive to the ground. He rubs some blood off of his hands and curses when he notices that it has stained his white and blue pinstripe shirt. I reach out and offer him a glass of whiskey which he accepts, “Hey, could be worse huh?” I say. I motion with my own glass to the bloody mess on the floor asking, “So, who’ve we got here?” half-interestedly.
After a sip of his drink Cole sets it down on a table and clears his throat, his voice is coarse and deep, “This shithead and his buddies think they own the place. Been harassing waitresses and showgirls all night. When I came over to kick ‘em out they started that shit back there. The other two are bleeding all over the sidewalk, I thought I’d bring one of them up here for a little chat.”
“I see.” I down some of the whiskey. “You think he’s from one of the Aryan groups? With the skin top and the leather and all that?”
“The raggedy ass boots too. Fucker kicked me in the shin back at the pool tables.” Cole shook the guy violently by the scruff roaring, “Who you runnin’ with? Don’t you know better than to fuck around in here?”
The miserable pissant ignored him and just stared at me, as if in shock, his face all bloody and swollen. He reminded me of one of those cartoon caricatures they sometimes do of politicians in the paper with their facial features all over-emphasised. Now that I could see him clearly I could see that he was young, early twenties, a wannabe. “I don’t think he likes you very much, Cole. I don’t think his highly refined ‘world-view’ permits him to speak with you.” I say jokingly, rubbing the skin on the back of my hand to make the issue clear to Cole.
“Won’t talk asshole? Guess you need another few cracked ribs!” Cole dragged the punk by the collar and was getting ready to lay into him before I motioned him to stop.
“Doesn’t matter,” I grin, pointing towards a poorly done tattoo of an iron eagle on the runt’s upper arm, underneath the letters W.I.R were stamped in bold, “I know where he’s from. Break his hands then throw him out.”
(A short excerpt from a co-author project I’m working on)
Copyright Giuseppe Gillespie. All rights reserved.