In the interest of not copying the links to the previous instalments every week, I put them on my page. Just click on the "Rebecca" page at the top. It's got the links for "Witch's Moon" and also my other blog serial, "The Adventures of Lisa and Watt." This week's Mooney and Marissa is only the first half of chapter 4, because it was too long to fit all in one post. I hope you like it!
The pic, BTW, is the image I purchased to be the cover for Witch's Moon. Don't steal it; I bought it with real money. But you can look at it yourself right here, of you want. ;)
I was nervous walking into Dante Hancock's bar by myself. It was a shifter joint and I am not a shifter. I can take care of myself, but I prefer not be in situations where I have to keep from being chewed on. Yeah, humans were welcome at the Interspecies Pleasure Club, which the bar was the public front for, but none of them could turn a wolf into a fluffy bunny by accident like I could. Because of this, I was not sure what to expect when I walked through the door.
My first impression was that it was pretty much just like any other blue collar bar. There were a couple bouncers by the door who gave me the stink eye, probably because of the slightly emo look I was sporting tonight. One was decked out in biker leathers and the other looked like a roadie for a rock band. Both had the aural signature of wolves. Most wolves couldn’t tell I was more than a vanilla human unless I was actively using magic, so their dislike had to be a personal style issue. I hadn’t said anything sarcastic to them, so I was pretty sure it wasn’t my smart mouth causing a problem. Not yet anyway. I had just gotten there, after all.
The inside looked as normal as the outside at first glance, but I was sure I'd find something unique if I looked closer. There was a huge bar that spanned the main room with a scattering of tables between it and the door. To the right was a secondary room full of pool tables, dart boards, and hexagon shaped poker tables. To the left was another secondary room, this one with a stage, good sized dance floor walled with booths and a scattering of counter high tables and stools. Towards the back of each side room, there were several closed doors and more bouncers keeping an eye on everything. That made sense, since there had to be a way to get from this public place to the lower levels of the Pleasure Club proper.
The people looked fairly normal, as well. There were plenty of cowboys and girls in various stages of cleanliness. Some were wearing crisp western shirts and starched blue jeans with big belt buckles, Stetsons, and polished boots. Some looked like they were wearing the same clothes they wore to muck out the barn and hadn’t taken the time to clean up before hitting the bar for a well-earned brew. There were more rock band roadies, lots of bikers and biker mamas, a sprinkling of overly dressy folks who were looking for the thrill of slumming, and the obligatory urban pirates with their bandanas, one hoop earring, skin tight t-shirts and heavily distressed jeans they probably paid way too much for.
I saw everything from Carhartts to 7 For All Mankind to Rawcraft jeans on the guys. And here I thought women tended to go overboard with the fashion statements. Just then, I saw a giggling quintet of girls wearing Apple Bottoms and Uggs. Scratch that, some of the females in this crowd were as fussy as the guys about brand checking. I looked around a little, not sure where the sudden influx of bar chicks was coming from.
Along with the Apple Dumplingettes, there were several faux pirate wenches filtering in from one of the guarded back doors. The pirate wench look primarily consisted of peasant tops that only sort of covered boob and butt cleavage, gaudy head scarves, lots of bangles, and a wide array of footwear that was highly impractical for late December in Montana. I resisted the urge to point out to them that peasant tops were not designed to be worn without something underneath.
My black on black Walmart skinny jeans and tunic sweater, combined with my short, funky blue hair, made me stick out very dramatically in this crowd of exotic birds of paradise and everyone had noticed me. I shook my head but resisted the urge to roll my eyes as the faux pirates sneered in passing, glad that Mooney was a Levis and thermal Henley kind of guy. Not that we were together or anything, but his “regular guy” style was much more comfortable to be around.
Mooney hadn't said where in the bar to wait for him, and I wasn't sure yet what part I should settle in to wait. I joined the queue of people ordering their own drinks at the bar to give myself a little more time to look things over. The line seemed to not be moving, but that could just have been because I was standing behind a shaggy giant wearing a fringe leather vest and canvas painters paints. It’s hard to judge line movement when you’re standing behind a mac truck. Finally, it was my turn to order. I eyed the drink cooler and ordered a hard cider for myself and an MGD for Mooney. Normal guys liked MGD, right? Mooney preferred regular black coffee, so I was betting he’d like regular domestic beer, too.
I ignored the belittling look the bar tender shot me, paid for the drinks and headed to the stage area. I had noticed a sign as I was waiting in line that said Desert Gypsy Rose “and partner” were scheduled to do a show in five minutes. I knew her slightly, partially because she was a fellow practitioner of the art and partially because she was a fan of my custom blended herbal teas. I vaguely remembered her mentioning that she performed at the Pleasure Club several nights a week.
Gypsy was a bit of an anomaly to me. She was a tall, curvy, sensuous redhead with some serious psy powers and the rare alternate form of a red wolf. Wolves had just enough magic to switch between skin and fur, which was some pretty heavy lifting, magically speaking, but they usually couldn’t do anything else. I didn’t know much about red wolves, though. Maybe the extra boost in power was normal for her kind. One thing was for certain—Gypsy Rose didn’t have to dance for her dinner. The fact that she chose to meant that her show was bound to be good.
Finding a booth in the now crowded stage section was easier than I had thought it would be. All the urban pirates had staked out tables, though none of them were sitting. Instead, the faux wenches were circling, waiting to be invited to sit in the chairs their male counterparts were guarding. Ah, the mating dance of bar flies. Don’t it bring a tear to your eye?
I slid into the black pleather upholstered booth just to the left of the stage as the lights dimmed. In the blink of an eye, all the pirates and wenches took their positions facing the deep burgundy velvet curtain. All the cowboys and cowgirls settled into booths, sometimes as many as ten crammed into the horse shoe shaped seats. The available standing room filled with bikers and roadies. Just then, I saw Mooney slip into the bar.
--Over here,-- I thought at him and held up the beer I'd gotten for him. He grinned and pushed his way through the wall of people, a very cocky swagger making everyone get out of his way without any argument.