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"Oh my god! You guys will never believe what just happened at the bar!" a young woman says as she slams the door of her studio apartment shut and throws her purse and then herself onto the bed where two cats - one slender and all black; the other - some kind of Siamese breed - mostly white with a little grey on its chest - are asleep in yin-yang formation. They awake on impact and start crawling all over her and each other, purring and crying with rapt elation. "Frankie, it was perfect! I wish you guys could've been there to see it.
"It was so perfect! My song - 'Twenty-First Century Schizoid Man' - had just started playing on the iBox an like the moment it kicked in the door of the bar like flung open and in walked these two mean lookin' guys, dressed in black suits and wearing sunglasses (despite it being, like, midnight at the time). At first it looked like one of them was carrying this crazy, giant snake, but after looking a little harder, I could see that it was actually just a crazy, giant chain and the flashing hot lights of the bar were making it look like a writhing neon-blooded snake. He said something to Bull the Bouncer as they walked in and Bull the Bouncer stood up and said: 'Hey, what do you two think you're - '; but just then the chain guy did this quick like spinning-swinging move - and seriously, it looked like a firework had gone off in in the air between them with that metal chain whirling around and reflecting all the flashing lights of the bar - and then it wrapped around Bull's neck like three times and the guy jerked his arm toward himself and pulled Bull the Bouncer's stupefied, red face towards his own, like got real close and said, real viciously: 'Didn't I say "don't mind me?" ' Bull just stood there, grabbing at the chain that was asphyxiating him and gasping for air. The guy let the snake uncoil a little from around his wrist and just as Bull was backing away, starting to regain composure and breathe again, the chain guy cocked back and cracked him with his free hand. Ha! I remember Gene used to fall asleep standing up in the shower and I'd come in and he would be just standing there, swaying a little to each side, completely unconscious; and that's exactly how Bull the Bouncer looked (only not naked and hot, more like gross and sweaty and hairy), but just like that: standing on his feet, swaying a little to this way and a little that way, eyes closed, knocked out cold. 'Well, that was certainly demonstrative,' said the other guy - who was a little taller than the chain guy, and up until that moment had not said a single word, had not even moved except to light a cigarette - as he walked past Bull the Bouncer, saying 'pardon me, sir' and brushing up against Bull just enough to knock his massive body off-axis so that it fell with a huge crash that like jingled all the empty glasses and made amber ripples in the others. Which - I should add - was also perfectly timed to my song - the crash happening just as the verse kicks back in after the prog. medley.
"After that everyone was just kind of stunned, but the two mean lookin' guys seemed totally unaffected. They just - what's that, Sake? Oh, yes! that was one of the best parts actually: they were both terribly handsome, and pretty young, too. About my age, I'd say. Well, I'll tell you: they were both wearing sun glasses and black suits, like I said already, with white shirts and black ties and nice, shiny black shoes. The chain guy was pretty tall and he had short dark brown hair and a heavy five o'clock shadow; the other guy - the one who smoked and pronounced demonstrative correctly (which is rare!) - was a few inches taller than him and had a light brown mustache with slicked back light brown hair. He was the one who did most of the talking. I remember he was like standing in the middle of the bar with a cigarette in his mouth, he touched delicately at his hair, and said: 'Allow me to apologize for my friend, Mr. Haymaker. He might still be a little too sober to deal with the public.' Then, turning to Erika, the new girl they've got tending bar down there, he said: 'Miss, please get Mr. Haymaker a double Jack.' And as she was quickly acquiescing, he added: 'And a pack of ice for your bouncer.'
"The chain guy - Haymaker, I guess - was struggling to unwrap his chain from around Bull the Unconscious Bouncer's fat neck when Erika shakingly placed the glass of whiskey on the bar before him. Then he like nodded in gratitude to her and took the entire drink in one gulp and slammed the glass back down onto the bar just as the song ended. 'Feeling better?' the smoking guy asked him, but he didn't answer. He just yanked up the rest of his chain and kicked Bull hard in the ribs after Bull's unconscious body released - what I imagine was an involuntary - groan, or like a sigh of relief after the chain was removed.
"The smoking guy turned again to face his still-stunned audience and said: 'My friend and I are looking for someone; and we were told we'd find him in this shithole.' The chain guy hung his weapon on his shoulder and produced a silver cigarette case from his inside breast pocket; and, without interrupting his speech, without even looking back to see that the chain guy had put a cigarette to his mouth, the smoking guy - the taller of the men, I mean - flicked open a lighter - where it came from, I have no idea - and lit his friend's cigarette; and kept right on talking: 'So I'm going to ask this once - and only once - and if I get the right answer, my friend and I will walk right back out that front door and you'll never see us again. But if we don't get the answer we're looking for - and really, folks, all we're looking for is an honest answer, that's all. But if we don't get an honest answer my friend here is going to tie his little pet chain around these door handles and not one of you - I promise - not one of you lousy pieces of shit will get out of here alive.'
"I was so scared, Frankie! I seriously thought they were gonna rob and rape every one of us. But - if I can't tell my cats this, who can I tell? - I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pretty excited by everything, too. The smoking guy just had this towering presence, ya know? It's one thing to control a party or something with dance moves or a nice outfit, but to control a dozen or so lives with just your words . . . That's something. And, yeah, the chain thing helped a lot. I mean, Bull is a huge guy - that's why he's called Bull. But even before the violence they had the entire room's attention. The violence was exactly what the smoking guy had called it: 'demonstrative.'
"I see that now. But at the time I didn't. At the time I did something very stupid: I got out my phone and started to call the cops. Intuitively, the smoking guy saw this or sensed it or something and walked up to me and grabbed my phone out of my hand and hung it up and handed it back to me and said, in a very calm and measured voice: 'Miss, you're very pretty. So pretty in fact, that if, by some miracle, you happen to survive the next five minutes I'd like to take you out some time. However, if you fucking try to call the pigs again, you will not - I swear to you on my grandmother's dead, blue eyes - live to see your sweet cats again.' No, Sake, I am not lying! He said that, I promise! Well, he must've seen the picture I have set as my background. What do you think I did, Frankie? I said I was sorry and he started to soften up a little, acted like maybe he wasn't going to definitely kill me; but the chain guy was like: 'Pretty Boy, what the fuck are you doing? Haven't your philandering ways gotten us into enough trouble already? Don't get distracted by the scent apple pie now; we've still got a rat to kill tonight.' 'You just mind your whiskey, Haymaker,' the smoking guy said over his shoulder, 'I'm taking care of a situation here.' 'I doubt that little Jewess knows where - ' 'She squealed for the pigs, Haymaker,' the smoking guy said, standing up and facing his friend. I'm not sure if Pretty Boy was like his pseudonym or if it was a popular invective Chain Guy used to belittle him. I didn't have much time to dwell on it at the moment as the next thing to come out of the chain guy's mouth was: 'Then fucking kill her and stop wasting my time.' I almost started crying when he said that, but the smoking guy seemed to ignore him - thank god - and went back to addressing the bar: 'My friend - though quite coarse and very rude - is right. I'm wasting his time and I'm wasting your time. So here's what we we would like to know, here's the million dollar question, the one that everything's riding on. Answer this question honestly and go home to your beds tonight. Tell us: Where is Ron Domino?' "