Johnny Wade stands in the middle of the street, staring up at the brightly colored neon sign of the nightclub in front of him. His pal Ian Lewis stands next to him, puffing a menthol cigarette that's burned straight to the butt. Johnny turns his head to his friend and makes a disapproving tongue smack.
Ian glances at him and without removing the cigarette, asks, "What?"
"You've been smoking that damn thing for ten minutes now! I'm about to slap it out of your mouth," Johnny says, crossing his arms in impatience.
After a curtly eye-roll and stomping the cigarette out, his friend looks to him for any irritation he has left. "There, it's out. Are you gonna keep complaining or are we gonna get in there and throw some money at people?"
Johnny gives an amused harrumph and pats his friend's shoulder. "Yeah, man."
Ian grins and the two men stroll into the nightclub. In front of them is another door guarded by two bouncers. They can hear the sound and bass of the music clearly from behind the door.
The bouncer on the right is tall and largely built. His shoulders are broad and his muscles press tightly against his shirt. His face is square-shaped and his features are chiseled just like his body. His raven black hair is put in a messy bun that has stray hairs sticking out. His skin is a golden tan and a pair of sunglasses obscure his eyes.
The bouncer on the left is shorter with a body less bulging but still strong. His face is shaped like an oval and his round nose is the most prominent feature. His hair is black and densely curled. His skin is a rich mocha brown and his brown eyes are almond-shaped.
Ian leans close by Johnny's ear and whispers to him, "You think they'll kick our ass?"
Johnny breathes in, pushes Ian back and steps in front of the two men. He hides any sign of nervousness and puts on a charming face. "Hey. How's the club life treating you fellas?"
The bouncers don't give him an answer, they remain frozen with their unforgiving expressions. Johnny hides his insecurity with a smile. "You guys having a good day? I'm sure me and my friend here would too if you let us through."
The shorter bouncer shifts his weight and tilts his head. "Nah, you ain't getting in."
Johnny pulls out his wallet and takes two five dollar bills, one for each man. "Guys, if you let us in that club, we won't come by again."
The two men glance at each other and the taller man nods his head. The shorter bouncer holds out his hand and Johnny hands over the money. "We catch you 'round here, we're gonna beat your ass."
Johnny nods his head gratefully and his friend sneers. "Thank you, guys. We won't come here now on." He looks back at Ian with a triumphant smirk and the two head inside past the bouncers.
Ian smacks his friend's arm and yells over the music, "Way to go, slick, you got us banned!"
"Fuck off, I'm rusty! I haven't had to talk my way in since that pool party back in high school!" Johnny hissed. His friend snickers at the memory and he grumbles something about giving Ian an ass kicking.
Johnny's back is bombarded with hard pats from Ian's big hands and his friend is pointing excitedly at the dancers on the stage. "Look, look! See that blonde chick over there? She's like, one of the best pole dancers here!"
Johnny takes a glance at who he's talking about and nods, not exactly interested. His eyes scan the crowd and he places his hands into his pant pockets. Ian already left to get a closer view of the blonde woman. He tries to look at the women dancing on the poles and get into their rhythm. He looks intently at how they move, swing, and bend their bodies but he can't bring himself to actually be interested in them.
I should be having fun, but I'm not feeling it, he thought. He chews his lip as he looks elsewhere, and is thankful when he spots a bar. He weaves through the crowd to the bar and sits down on a stool.
The bartender comes by, a slender man with a face to match and thick, dark hair that sweeps his shoulders. He wears a pair of black-rimmed glasses and his nose and lip are pierced. Johnny feels more positive just seeing the man now.
"Hey, what can I get you?" The bartender asks.
Johnny chuckles, thinking he can salvage the night and have a good and only time here. "Well, I was thinking..."
Tony King checks the fitting of his outfit in the mirror. It's not too bad, he thinks as he makes different poses. I'll have to ask Jeannie to make the material a little stretchier.
"How does it feel?" He turns to see Jeannie herself and smiles.
"Oh, hey Jeannie. Uh, it's alright, it's just the material is a bit tight. It's not that big a deal, really." He scratches his neck and grins nervously while she checks the outfit.
He flinches when she snaps one of the straps and she says, "You're right, it doesn't have a good snap to it. I'll give you something better after your show, okay?"
"Yeah, that's fine," he replies, and she steps on her toes to smooch his cheek.
"Do a good job out there, big guy," she said, waving her hand as she leaves. He watches her go and lingers for a moment, feeling a bit off. He pushes it out of his mind.
I can't be distracted right now. I have to go onstage, he tells himself. He feels more confident now and waits for his cue.
Tony spots his boss, Mr. Biggs, going up onstage after the other dancers finish and go to their dressing rooms. This is his cue to come out, when he finishes talking.
Mr. Biggs is holding a microphone and gestures to the DJ to stop the music. He's a big man, a whopping six feet tall with a stocky build and broad shoulders. He always carries a classy cane with him wherever he goes. He's one of the richest entrepreneurs in the city, owning not only this club but also the casino on the other side of town. The other businessmen call him The Bull, for his bulky body and aggressive attitude.
"Hello everybody! I hope all of you are having a good time and throwing your money at our girls!" His statement gets a round of applause from the crowd and he welcomes it with a cool headed grin. He puts one hand up to silence them and continues. "Now, I won't take up any more of you guys' time so I'm gonna get straight to the point. Please give a big welcome to the best dancer here, Tony King!"
Mr. Biggs steps off the stage and Tony sticks his defined left leg out of the curtains, then dramatically sweeps them aside. The crowd goes wild with excitement, fighting to get the closest view. The DJ starts the music back up and Tony goes to work, holding onto the pole as he moves his body, twisting and spinning around with a few suggestive moves every now and then. The crowd is eating it up, throwing whatever money they haven't spent onto the stage. Mr. Biggs is standing in the corner grinning eagerly. He takes a cigar out of jacket and lights it, watching Tony get the crowd's money with hungry eyes.
Johnny hears the commotion of the crowd from his place at the bar and looks back. He points and asks the bartender, "What's going on over there?"
The bartender looks to where he's talking about and dismisses it with a wave of his hand. "Oh, that guy? Does that every time he comes out, getting everybody worked up."
"That guy?" Johnny asked, doing a double take. He sees him now and his breath hitches for a brief second. His mouth goes dry and he instinctively downs his glass of cocktail.
"Yeah, he's like, one of our best dancers here. Mr. Biggs considers him his favorite, mostly because he gets the most bands," the bartender answered, taking Johnny's empty glass.
And I can see why, Johnny thought to himself as he watched the man onstage. It feels different seeing him dance compared to the women. It just feels right seeing him do it.
"I'm gonna go over there," he whispered softly. He leaves his money at the bar and squeezes his way through the dense crowd to see the dancer. He looks up at the man, eyes filled with captivation. His plumps lips are parted open slightly and his breath stops as though he's forgotten how to breathe.
Johnny sees the man look in his direction and give him a wink. He breathes in sharply and starts to cough when he inhales his own spit. The man smiles at that, or at least that's what he thought he smiled at. Johnny clears his throat and reddens with embarrassment.
The show ends and the man saunters backstage while other bouncers pick up the bands and put them in bags for Mr. Biggs. Another round of female dancers come out and Johnny stands there, lost in thought. Then he looks up at one of the women. He tries to let himself be aroused by her, but he can't. None of the women arouse him.