I walked into the club close to midnight, it was already jumping. A small room, crumbly damp brick walls juxtaposed warm solid wood timbers, and packed with revellers. With just enough room to maneuver, I sidled through the crowd, my eyes on a space that had just opened at the bar. I slid my boots, rather than step broadly, for fear of tripping over someone dancing next to me. They came up knee high and offered some protection against the possibility of an exuberant kick, though there were no guarantees of safety in a place like this. I adored the unabashed wildness of it, this was not a place people came to watch a show, this was the kind of place where the music pounded loud, filling one’s bloodstream and driving you to dance. Not a place for observation, but participation, a refreshing perspective within the society of apathetic small screen voyeurs we had become. There were no selfies being taken here, no minds working on clever hashtags to document what was happening. There is no time to capture a moment when you’re busy living it.
I found my place at the bar and nodded to the burly, white shirted man behind it. The club had only been open just over an hour, but he was already covered in sweat. The band started playing at 1130 and didn’t let up until the morning shift of birds took over. I couldn’t believe my luck in finding this place. Not that I would tell anyone where it was, but even if I told people who knew the city well, there was still the possibility they would never find it.
I followed a rumour one night, desperate for something more. I stumbled across it, more than found it, because of a well timed gasp. It was delicate, and just around a corner I wouldn’t have thought to check. Curious, I moved slowly and saw a woman pressed against a wall, her white blouse open to reveal black lace and gently rounded breasts. Her head thrown back, a few blonde hairs escaping from her topknot, her long slim fingers woven through a dark head of hair attached to a man who knelt before her. They were almost all the way in the shadows, anyone just walking past would likely never have noticed them. He had one of her stocking clad legs over his shoulder, her skirt pushed up, to allow his lips and tongue access. One of his hands held her leg firm against him, so she wouldn’t fall. From the way his other arm moved, I could guess where the other hand was. She moaned again and started to shudder as he leaned in to finish what he had started. I watched her, transfixed by the elegance of her form as she surrendered completely to the pleasure he inflicted. She came hard, her bottom lip caught tight between pearly teeth to keep from completely giving away their position. He held her tight as she folded forward, then deftly loosed her leg and stood, one arm wrapping her waist as the other hand pulled her skirt to a more demure state. She clung to him a moment, her eyes closed, shudders still moving softly across her body until they stilled and she smiled. Then threw her head back and laughed before looking him in the eyes and leaning in for a lingering kiss. I could see her lick his lips, tasting herself and taking as much pleasure from it as he did. He brought his fingers to her mouth and she sucked them deep, eyes closed, a light smile curling like smoke.
I stood completely still, parts of my body throbbing hard enough to make me think my position would be apparent but they didn’t notice me, wrapped up in each other as they were. They stepped from the shadows and headed towards the darkest part of the dead end, where I hadn’t noticed a small recess until now. He held her hand as she stepped down some stairs, how she manoeuvred in those heels, I had no idea. I looked down at the scuffed and worn short leather boots covering my feet, suddenly feeling slightly underdressed. But surely my jeans and nice blouse wouldn’t look too much out of place? It wasn’t like this was some upscale nightclub, it was a modern day speakeasy, that’s what I’d heard, a place to unwind and find joy in the hedonistic pursuits of music and dancing.
I waited a few moments and then, with some trepidation, headed down the stairs. At the bottom was a dark door, clean and free of graffiti, which was extremely unusual in this part of the city. I wasn’t sure if I should knock, or just try to open the door. I hadn’t heard the couple alert anyone to their presence, so reached for the knob when I heard a voice from beside me.
“Are you lost?” It was a deep voice, even through the tiny speaker I could just make out on the wall next to me. I stammered, unsure of how to respond to gain entry. Was there a password of some kind? I thought about all the magic spells I had ever heard, all the stories that contained hints to gain entry into those places forbidden and mystical. Somehow I didn’t think ‘a la peanut butter sandwiches’ was going to cut it. Perhaps honesty was best.
“I think I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.” There was a chuckle from the other side of the tiny box.
“Well, that remains to be seen, my darlin.”
The door opened and a man that could be considered huge by any stretch of the imagination filled the doorway. Though his size and stance were intimidating to say the least, he had bright eyes and a broad smile that suited him. He looked me up and down, not invasively, but I already knew what he was going to say. My stammering out reasons why he should let me in would not sway him in the least. He reached into his breast pocket and pulled a white card, handing it over while he maintained eye contact with me.
“Call her. She’ll help you. You’ve got a bit of a journey ahead of you, darlin. But you’ll get there. I see that fire in your eyes. You’re hungry, that much is obvious. If you don’t focus that desire, you’re going to get burned by your own impatience. Too much too soon will apply.” He put his massive hands on my shoulders, they were completely eclipsed, and lowered his face so it was level with mine.
“Patience grasshopper. Enjoy the ride.” And dropping his hands, he turned back to the door, I caught the faintest whiff of jazz horns somewhere below. He closed the door without turning back. I had been dismissed. I stood there, holding the card, almost ready to cry from frustration at being so close and being denied.
Did I just get miyagi’d by a bouncer?
I looked at the card, completely blank but for a name and a number in black. I whispered it to myself, standing there in the dark doorway, feeling the goosebumps all over my skin.