The Rendezvous
Kathy Leonard
I 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