Mitch arrived at the club around eleven, a bit early for him, but by the way he hovered around the bar tossing back shots, Liam figured he must have had some serious business to tend to. Fifteen minutes later Dom arrived. He was dressed to the nines, a maroon silk shirt, unbuttoned to his midriff, where a gold chain hung in among his chest hair. He left his tailored leather jacket hanging open, to show off a gold plated belt buckle the size of Miami. The bottom of his tight black trousers barely fit over his grey and beige snakeskin cowboy boots, which may as well have had spurs on them with the noise they made.
“Gimme a JD, Harry, will ya?”
“Comin’ right up, boss.”
Harry grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniels from the bar shelf and poured a generous amount into a tumbler. He handed it to Dom.
“Bottoms-up.” Dominic raised his glass to Harry and pounded back the whiskey, followed by a vigorous shake of his head. “Gotta keep up with my pal here.” Dominic winked at Mitch, who proceeded to turn away.
“Aw, c’mon now, Mitch. We’re pals, right?” Dominic slapped his hand on Mitch’s back and pulled him in close until he was breathing down his neck. Leaning in, but looking out into the crowd, he whispered, “We’re such good pals that you’re gonna give me a heckava fucking deal for this joint, ain’t that right Mitchy baby?”
Mitch squirmed out of Dom’s embrace, and Dominic laughed heartily.
“What the fuck’s a matter with you, Mitch? This is how we do business, right? Now, have yourself another drink. Harry, pour Mitch another drink.” He turned to Mitch. “What are ya having, Mitch, Crown? Harry, make that two Crowns.”
“No, Dom, I’m having lighter fluid,” Mitch said with dry sarcasm. “Harry, get Dom some lighter fluid. I’ll have a Crown, neat.”
Liam chuckled quietly from where he and Genevieve sat in the corner, shielded in shadow.
“You have to admit,” Genevieve said. “That was pretty clever.”
Just then the side door opened and in walked three of Dom’s goons. They sauntered over to the bar and lingered there, glancing nonchalantly around the room. One of them ordered a water with a twist, leaned against the bar to watch the show. The other two just stood around chewing gum, looking bored. Within a few minutes the door opened again and Fran appeared out from the shadows of the dark alleyway. Smoldering in a fitted gold lame evening dress, with a Tiffany heart around her neck and an ornate gold charm bracelet on her left wrist, she looked the perfect part of the club owners wife. Barely able to walk in her strappy Jimmy Choo’s, she did her best to stay upright while making her way over to the bar where Dominic stood with her husband, Mitch, their tongues hanging out. Liam, who had been watching the men’s jousting match with interest, now turned to Genevieve.
“Is this your solution?”
Genevieve looked down and smiled coyly, hiding her nervous enthusiasm.
“What are you doing here Franny!” They overheard Mitch remark. “You never come down to the club. It’s late. Shouldn’t you be in bed? You should be in bed.” Mitch knew he was lecturing his wife and making a scene, but he didn’t know what else to do. Everyone at the bar stared as they watched Fran teeter to a halt.
“I’ll have a whiskey sour, please, Harry. Lots of sour.” Then she looked at her husband and said bluntly. “I came to see you, honey. G said you’d be here. I came to talk.”
Mitch was speechless. This visit was completely unexpected and now he was faced with dealing with Dominic in front of his wife, or vice-versa. Dumbfounded, he didn’t know what to do or where to begin. Start with the truth, he thought, but how? All of a sudden, from the back corner of the upper seats Genevieve appeared in her strapless minidress and brown wedged heels. Her hair was pulled back in a bun, but loose strands fell onto her shoulders and down along her cheekbones, seductively framing her face. Liam was at her side in a flash. It looked like a scene from the Godfather, only with the most oddball cast of characters; Mitch, dressed as always like a used car salesman in plaid trousers, light green shirt, dark green sport jacket, and colorful paisley necktie, Fran, his tarty looking wife, Genevieve, the evocative heroine, and Liam Irish, the burly tattooed hero. The cheap looking con man, Dominic Diaz, of course played the bad guy, along with his band of not so merry men. Around them circled an array of made-for-movie misfits, including Savannah Porsche, Mindy Maverick, Della, and of course Harry the bartender.
“Line em up, Harry. A round.” Dom slammed his shot glass on the bar and looked around for approval.
“Actually, Dominic,” Genevieve said matter-of-factly. “You’ll have to excuse us. We need a word with Mitch and Fran if you don’t mind. Alone.” Mitch looked at Genevieve with fire in his eyes.
“What the fuck? Who are you all of a sudden, a Prima Donna? Who made you god? This is my...my...”
“What? Your club, Dom?” Genevieve glared at him in satisfaction. Dominic was silent.
“Well, you had me fooled,” said a bewildered looking Fran, drawing first blood. “I could have sworn you bought this place from us five years ago, only to discover via the nightclub grapevine that you didn’t. And now you want to buy it again? What’s wrong with this picture? Mitch, what’s wrong with this picture?”
The cast was spellbound, waiting for someone - anyone - to step up to the plate. Mitch shuffled uncomfortably, picked up his glass and drained what was already gone. The music started and a new act began, which drew the attention of the patrons away from the scene at the bar. Genevieve looked at Dom to remind him that he should take a hike, so Liam took the opportunity to steer Mitch and Fran over the where he and G had been sitting. Dom shot Genevieve another searing look before he walked away.
“You think you’ve got this all figured out, don’t ya bitch? Well, I’ll tell you, you don’t know the half of it.” He paused. “If I were you, miss priss, I’d watch your back.” He spat on the floor. Genevieve was unfazed.
“Shut up Dom. Don’t threaten me. I’m not afraid of you anymore.”
“You outta be.” The backstage door slammed behind him, and he was gone.
By the time a rattled Genevieve reached the others in the back corner seat, Liam had begun to lead the conversation toward resolution.
“Listen, Mitch. There’s no reason for you to be upset. This is a simple matter of dishonesty - on Dom’s part, not yours.” His eyes didn’t leave Mitch’s but he could feel Fran staring at him, wondering, needing answers, and frankly, so did he.
“You own this club,” Liam went on, grasping at straws. “You always have. We all know that times are tough, but you don’t have to sell your club to make ends meet. There are other ways.”
Mitch sat for a long time, as if trying to think of what those other ways were. The pitch of the music got louder and more frenetic. Liam tried to keep both Mitch and Fran focussed but it was getting more difficult to do with the show going on. He could see lights and colorful movement from onstage, but hesitated to look so as not to distract them any more than they were already. Della swung by the table with a tray of drinks; one whiskey sour, one Crown, on the rocks this time, one Highball, and one Ginger on ice with a twist of lime. Liam nodded at her and smiled. He wished he could include Della on their conversation. He knew she would be an asset, supporting both Mitch and Fran, as well as giving some insight into the goings on at the club, sharing things that they wouldn’t - couldn’t possibly know. But her time would come, and he knew she understood this. He and Genevieve would catch her up on things later on.
“Mitch, why didn’t you tell me? We used to talk about everything. What happened? What is it you can’t tell me?” Fran’s boobs were spilling out of her flashy tight lame dress, which made it hard to take her seriously, but she sounded so desperate, almost defeated. Mitch kept his head down, embarrassed that he hadn’t been honest with this wife. He knew better than to mess with Fran, and wondered if this disaster could ever be fixed. Liam made a move to butt-in, to try to help make things right between them, when Genevieve moved her hand under the table and placed it on his thigh in a gesture to ease him off. She squeezed gently. He too, reached his hand down to meet hers and their fingers clasped onto each other eagerly. The excitement rose in each of them, but they were quickly brought back to the table when Fran spoke, almost screamed.
“Mitch! What’s going on? What kind of place has this turned into?” Fran stood up in indignation. As she did, her drink went flying off the table, ice and whiskey everywhere. They all looked at Fran, who was now ashen white, then followed her eyes to where she was looking. Then they saw what she saw. Up on center stage, spotlight beaming, in full view of the entire Foxy Lady Strip Club, was Mindy Maverick, spread eagle, wearing nothing but a grin.
...stay tuned...chapter 13 will be posted next Tuesday, Oct 11th...