“I’m hurt,” the bouncer said, still squirming around on the pavement outside Club Utopia.
“It didn’t have to be this way,” Bernie said. “If you’d just answered a few simple questions, we’d have been out of here, no harm done.”
“What kind of questions?”
“About Astrid Jason.”
“Astrid don’t even work here no more,” the bouncer said.
“How come?” said Bernie.
The bouncer shrugged. Then he winced and said, “Ow.” Some humans handle pain better than others. The bouncer was one of the others. “Strippers,” he said. “They come and go.”
Bernie nodded. “And where did Astrid go?” he said.
“No clue,” said the bouncer. “Just didn’t show up the other day. Didn’t even bother cleaning out her locker.”
“She left things here?”
“Costumes, stuff like that.”
“They’re still inside?” Bernie said.
“Maybe,” said the bouncer. “Up in the dressing room.”
“How about we go take a little look-see?” Bernie said.
The bouncer gazed at Bernie. He seemed to be taking a long time to answer. I moved closer to him, got very close, now that I think about it. Were my teeth showing? Possibly.
“Okay,” the bouncer said, his eyes on me.
Bernie helped him up, even brushed him off a bit. “That’s the spirit,” he said.
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