n my mind I wondered if this was some kind of punishment for a crime
against our friendship that I hadn't realized I'd committed. Stepping over
trash and avoiding puddles was the least of my worries. We turned down a
dark alley way, and I half whispered to Wendy, "Are you sure this place is
O.K?" "It's great. Don't worry, It's not as bad as the Ramp." A leather
clad couple stopped making out and stared at us as we passed by. I smiled
warmly at them. The only vehicle in the alley was a van with no license
plate and no back window. We reached the door of the Rendezvous, and Wendy
used both hands to pull open the enormous door. The light from inside
brought little comfort as the hazy patrons were revealed. Once inside, one
of the largest men I'd ever seen walked towards us wearing a leather vest
that stretched it's way across his belly. Wendy immediately went for her
purse. I was afraid she was going for her mace or gun or something.
Instead, she handed him her ID. Godzilla was the doorman. By the time I
had my ID out, Wendy was already high-fiving the bartender. Godzilla
handed me back my ID, and I ducked past him without a word. Wendy waded
back through the smoke towards me carrying two Buds. "Just for effect,"
she said. I think I'd blown my effect the moment I'd stepped into the
Rendezvous wearing my khaki shorts, sweatshirt, and Keds.
There were a couple of bikers standing close to us, close enough to smell.
The one with the most amount of teeth leaned in and said to me, "I like red
heads." Being a brunette myself, I wasn't exactly sure how to take that.
I pretended to absorb myself in the lecture Wendy was giving me on the
nuances of shuffle board. Looking around nervously I tried to determine
how many other women were the bar. It would have been a difficult task
even if I hadn't been afraid to make eye contact.
After an eternity, Wendy said the sweetest words I'd heard all night,
"Let's get out off here. This place is dead." Wendy said good bye to
Godzilla on the way out as he held open the heavy door for us with one
hand. The door slammed shut, sealing in the smoke and music, leaving us in
the quiet alley. My spirits lifting, I asked, "Where to now?" A sinister
smile came over Wendy's face as she answered, "The Ramp."
First published: May 1998