Sunday, February 13, 2011
My nephew took me pub crawling when I did research for The Shadow Warriors. Of all the bars we visited, the one described below was the most interesting. I changed it's name and I'm sure the interior has changed in the passing years. I made up the music, the crowd and even the "disco whisperer."
We retreated back along wet sidewalks toward the center of town, for Marcus and Christof had decided we should top the evening off with a visit to a disco. Marcus turned into a wide but dilapidated entryway, which led into a dim, blue-lit cave. Behind a counter, an aging longhair collected a few marks cover charge, and stamped Euclid across the backs of our hands in neat purple letters.
We advanced further into the cave, which had a seedy, disreputable look, with sloppily painted walls and cigarette butts ground into the concrete floor. Now we heard voices over a pulsing beat, and met a phalanx of bodies, noise and smoke. We pushed our way into a large dark room. Above the heads of the mob of drinkers, the skylines of Paris, Moscow, New York and London were painted starkly on the walls.
Again, with nowhere to sit, we stood together in the crunch of bodies and guzzled beer. Time was a rubber band, stretched taut at one moment, slack the next, and in its elastic intervals, I didn't know if we'd been drinking there for a few minutes or a few hours.
From the dance floor, the music called with demon logic. Marcus had disappeared to order more beer, and Christof asked in his best English, "You dance, Ms. Davis, pardon, you dance, Emma?"
"Thought you'd never ask," I cooed.
Christof steered me through the swarm and up a few stairs to a packed dance floor. The number was over, and a few couples left, so we did a crowd swim and squeezed in. The Village People's “Macho Man” started pulsing, and the dancer's began moving. In my dopey universe, I felt a pleasant intimacy in the boozy closeness of strangers. Bodies twisting, elbows pumping, Christof and I were really getting into the spirit. I heard the low voice, but it wasn't until a hand touched my shoulder that I registered that the voice speaking to me.
"Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson, Mrs. E. Robinson, why do you follow me?"
Crazies on the dance floor. I didn't turn to look, but a tiny alarm sounded. A moment later, the voice spoke to me again.
"You are making life difficult, Mrs. Robinson. Difficult for me. Dangerous for you. Go home and sit on your sofa."
Goofy English with an odd, non-German accent, succinct and scary. I tried to twist around to look at this joker, but the dancers surged, blocking me. When at last I turned around, I didn't recognize anyone.
With his knees bent, and his arms flung out, Christof hurled himself about like a crazed St. Vitas.
"Mrs. Robinson, do you still have the photographs?"
Soft with menace, the disembodied voice approached my ear again. I tried to bring up some intelligence, but my brain was too deep into the twin narcosis of booze and pot, and I was simply afraid.
"Get out of Göttingen, Mrs. Robinson. Go back to Hong Kong. Or Singapore."
Jesus! I whirled and danced with the stranger behind me. He grinned and gyrated, too friendly to be the Whisperer. The throb and thump of the music stopped, then ABBA started it up again. Trying to find a face to attach to the voice, I stared over the room at hundreds of faces, but they were all intent on pulling the most pleasure out of a rainy Friday night.
Then I saw him, slipping into the cave that led to the entrance, the man from Stanley Market, the angry man I knew in my mind as “Dark Eyes.” His glance flickered back to the dance floor, and our eyes met. He smiled with his lips and teeth, raised his arm, pointed his index finger right at me, and slowly squeezed an imaginary trigger. Then he disappeared into the blue cave.