Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A wacko gets bamboozled by me

Guy comes up to the front door -- remember, we're not being so selective anymore -- and says, "Can I use your phone before I go in?"

I say, "Why? Is it an emergency?"

He says, "No."

I say, "Then go pound sand up your ass."

He goes in. It's early in the night, so there aren't many people inside yet. I follow him, with interest born of intellectual curiosity. I shouldn't have let him in, I think. He's wearing a tight shirt with the logo from The Godfather on it, but on summer weekend nights where everyone's out of the city, we can't afford to turn away business, or so they tell me. And I have to do what they tell me.

He walks up to the bar and orders a Budweiser -- in a bottle, because we don't serve anything on tap. I like drinking draft beer. I wouldn't come to this club for that very reason. There are other reasons, too. He says something to the bartender. She smiles a service industry smile, shakes her head and walks to the other end of the bar. He looks at the ceiling.

"What'd that guy say?" I ask her.

"He asked if I had a phone he could use."

I sit on "the stage" and start up a conversation with Carmine. I ask after a guy who used to bounce with us. How's he doing? He working anywhere else? Look at this stupid fuck with the Godfather shirt on.

"Why? What's up?"

"I'm gonna clean up a mistake before it gets out of hand," I say.

Guy walks up to a group of girls gathered at the front bar. Says something. They shake their heads and collectively turn away. He walks in a circle and looks at the ceiling.

"That guy ask to use your phone?" I ask.


I take my phone out of the inside pocket of my blazer. I carry it now. I text people, and they text me back if they're not busy. I'm pretty sharp at texting. I take my phone, open it up so it glows, and wave it in the air.

"Can I use that?"

"Yeah," I say, "but you gotta go outside. I'm on Cingular, and I don't get any reception in here."

He follows me outside. I shut the front doors behind us, pushing them until they click. Outside feels nice tonight. Fall is coming. I can smell fall long before the rest of you. The beginnings of a line stretch a dozen yards down the sidewalk, and Freddie the ID Checker watches me, waiting to see if I'm collecting. I'm not, but he doesn't know this. We don't trust each other. He'd have my back in a fight -- no question about that -- but he thinks I'm a thief. I think he's a thief, too. We're probably both honest, but when you work the front door of a club, there's no way you can ever think the guy across from you is clean. It doesn't work that way.

The guy asks me for my phone.

"Go over there," I say. "Outside the ropes, where those girls are smoking."

"Here?" he asks, stepping over the velvet rope.

"Keep going," I say.

"Keep going where?" he asks.

"All the way home, you fucking retard. Have a nice night!"

I'm tricky.