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Castro Bridge Mix #4: Openings

Oct 13, 2013

The lines leading up to Odyssey were longer than ever tonight. Rumors were circulating that Lady Gaga and Madonna were planning to use the incredibly hot venue to debut their duet one night before it was downloadable worldwide. Only VIP guests had any chance of getting into the club.

Dereck had made a point of never venturing into Odyssey while on the campaign trail. It was far too dangerous for him to become linked to the hedonistic lifestyle it represented. Even if it was San Francisco, there were still many conservatives out there and he did have aspirations for higher political offices outside of San Francisco someday.

He walked up to the team of bouncers who were well trained to keep out the everyday tourists and only admit stars, local celebrities, and club favorites. Dereck was a good looking guy, but he was no club favorite. A burly African-American man with rippling muscles and dark sunglasses gave Dereck his verdict. “Sorry, buddy. Your name’s not on the list and tonight’s a VIP-only party.” What the bouncer purposely omitted was that every night was a VIP party at Odyssey. The club only allowed the people it wanted inside its twelve-foot-high front doors.

Odyssey was four times larger than the next largest San Francisco venue having originally been O’Malley’s Pickle Warehouse throughout the 1940s and 50s. The club had been used for various trade shows until being left vacant and in total disrepair throughout the early 2000s. Locals referred to it as “The Eyesore.” Then, a very clever marketing team transformed the undesirable space with lights, music, and a ton of investor backing into the biggest draw that San Francisco nightlife had ever known. Odyssey traded in shock value and had an insatiable appetite for the latest trends in music, fashion, and media. 7X7 Magazine and San Francisco Magazine both had reporters whose sole function was to detail the San Francisco movers and shakers who regularly spent their evenings at the club. There seemed to be a television film crew inside the venue on a nightly basis. Of course, all of the footage had to be pre-approved before it could be shown.

Dereck debated whether to use the fact that he was the San Francisco District Attorney.  It might be enough to get him inside the club. Although it might also serve to keep him out. He turned as he heard the throngs of hopefuls on line howling at someone walking towards where he was standing. Suddenly, he felt a hand clamp down on his right shoulder, “He’s with me.”

“Anything you say, JT.”  Dereck knew that he was now in familiar company. It was Waffles. Jim T. Madison or JT was an A-list celebrity. That was good enough to get him and Dereck inside Odyssey.

Considering how selective the bouncers had seemed at the door, it appeared that there were quite a few people who had managed to get inside. Dereck was captivated by the cascade of lights forming spectacular images both on the immense dance floor as well as encircling the enormous club’s inner walls.

Dereck put his hand on Waffles’ shoulder. “Thanks Waf–”  He immediately corrected himself  “JT.”

“Forget it, Dereck. Getting into places like this is my long suit. Besides, what kind of man would I be if I didn’t help out a fellow Mae’s Bridge player in his moment of need?” Waffles wondered whether a club so notorious for illicit conduct would be so eager to welcome the city’s District Attorney through its front doors.

Odyssey’s sound system was the most sophisticated of its kind in the world. The club served as a guinea pig of sorts for all of the latest technological innovations that Silicon Valley and San Francisco high tech engineers could dream up. As patrons walked inside the entranceway, they were able to create their own holographic images which they could dispatch anywhere inside the club. Scantily clad young men and women with bodies like models eagerly scouted the club for customers looking for a quick and expensive fix. Waffles knew that the waitstaff was more than willing to perform any number of favors for guests on a case-by-case basis.

Suddenly, Waffles’ cell phone erupted with a cartoon drawing of a little turd with arms and legs. Underneath the drawing was the caller’s name: Poo Butler. Waffles reluctantly answered the call. “I told you never to call me. Yes. Uh huh. Yes. Yes. All right.  I’ll get back to you on that.  But I’ll call you.”

Dereck couldn’t help but notice the picture on Waffles’ cell phone. He had to ask. “Who or what is a Poo Butler, Waffles?”

“Oh, you saw that.” Waffles chugged his drink and debated momentarily on whether to let Dereck in on his little secret. “Well, if you must know. I have a lot of people who help me. Managers, agents, personal trainers, lawyers, financial advisors, personal shoppers, and drivers. But I realized that what I really needed was someone a little different. Someone who could do all the shit that I don’t want to do myself. A poo butler of sorts. So, I got me one.”

Dereck had to hold himself back from laughing aloud. He decided that the easiest thing was to just change the subject. “Were you close with Marc Nesbitt?”  Dereck couldn’t pry the image of Marc’s body falling underneath a MUNI train heading at full speed out of his head.

“Are you here tonight as the gay divorcee or as the DA?” Waffles took aim at Dereck’s two failed marriages, first with a woman and then a man during the brief window when gay marriage was legal in California before finally becoming legal once again. He didn’t want to think about Marc’s death. It made him uneasy for several reasons.

“Sorry. You want a drink?” Dereck motioned to a bartender wearing a fire-engine-red jock strap, black and white checkered suspenders and a shiny red bowler hat.  He observed a prominent sign announcing that due to Russia’s anti-LGBT policies that the club would not be serving any Russian vodka.

“Gin and tonic.” Waffles realized how he had come across earlier. “I was friends with Marc, yeah. For what it’s worth, I don’t think he committed suicide.”

“So, you think he was murdered?” Dereck rarely looked at Waffles, but he noticed how incredibly magnetic he was tonight. For a moment he wondered if he had made a mistake in not pursuing Waffles when he had the chance.

“Dunno, but if he was murdered, whoever did it had no soul. Killing Marc would be like offing Mother Teresa.” Waffles sipped his drink and watched as a huge cloud descended from the ceiling which quickly transformed into a floating dance floor. It was time to move on. “Well, it was great seeing you, Dereck. Catch you back at Mae’s.”

After wandering onto the dance floor, Waffles was startled by a stranger’s voice. “I want to tongue your butthole and pound it ‘til you can’t breathe.” Waffles turned to face a five-foot-tall, heavily muscled man outfitted from head to toe in black leather holding onto a cat o’nine tails in his right hand. A rather large gold Star of David hung around his neck.

Waffles didn’t move a muscle. He’d been through far worse than this tiny toon. “Let’s see. You’re a small Jewish top.” Waffles paused for a second. “I’m being hit on by a dreidel.”

The man clamped his claw-like hand on Waffles’ right butt cheek. “I’ve seen you on TV and movies! You know, you look a lot fuller in real life. You’re a meaty man. I like that.”

“Don’t tell me. You write for Hallmark.” He tried to break free from the tiny leather daddy without causing any attention to himself.

Once again, the aggressive man placed his hand on Waffles’ ass. “You’ve been hanging out in Hollywood way too long. You just can’t recognize a good thing.”

“All right, Bilbo Douche-Baggins. Enough is enough.” Waffles raised his hands in the air like he was prepared to execute his idle threat of striking the muscular man in front of him.

“Is he bothering you, honey?” Dereck put his arm around Waffles and looked sternly at the man who appeared to be threatening his other half.

Waffles felt a warm feeling inside as he continued the act for the overly aggressive giant’s benefit. “No, babe.  He’s just being playful.”

After they were out of earshot of the pint-sized leatherman, Dereck faced Waffles. “So, what are you doing after this?”

“Heading over to the Lone Palm.” He grimaced as he reviewed a text from his agent.

“You mean the bar over in the Mission?” Dereck wondered if Waffles was making a joke about having to go home alone with the prospect of self-gratification.

“Yeah, sure.  That’s it.” Waffles looked over at Dereck and felt the same sensation he had experienced when playing incredible characters in film and television. But he never wished a role would never end as much as he did tonight.

Dereck looked into Waffles’ eyes and suddenly put his arm around him. He whispered into Waffles’ ear. “You don’t have to go home alone tonight.”

 

© Copyright 2013.  Will Morrison.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.