The club was larger than it appeared on the outside, with mirrored columns and an arched roof that gave it a cavernous appearance. The pulsing bass beat was evidently emanating from a young man on the stage who was gazing intently at a pair of laptop computers. From time to time he would interact with this gear; I assumed he was actually doing something and not just playing a recording. The music was loud and boring. It was quite dark away from the stage so I couldn't really make out anyone from where I was standing at the back of the room. I worked my way around to the side of the hall toward the front, where there would be a better view.
I ended up in a corner and was able to see the whole crowd, undulating in an approximate synchronization with the heavy techno. As I scanned their young faces I sensed that someone was looking me over as well. I didn't see Billy, but the corner of my eye caught the gaze from a pair of tough-looking men, men who were moving through the crowd to where I stood. They weren't dancing. My danger sense was going ballistic, and I headed for the door. They changed trajectory; I began to walk faster and by the time I reached the lobby I was almost running.
Once outside I went around the corner to a side street. Just when I thought I had lost my pursuers, I was stunned to find them directly ahead of me. A rear exit, of course. Sizing up the situation, I knew that each of the men were bigger than me and were certainly much stronger. I turned and began running back, back toward the square. There was a big Hotel on the square's far side, somehow I felt that if I could make it there I could at least have a chance. As I rounded the corner of the hotel I ran into a woman.
"Sean! My lucky night! Hahaha!" It was Sally, the wild woman from the plane. Of course- the Hotel Borg, she mentioned that she was staying there. We were just outside the main entrance, the thugs were walking quickly in our direction.
"Sally! Am I glad to see you!" I took her arm as nonchalantly as I could then whispered in her ear "I seem to have attracted some undesirables back at the club, would you be so kind as to offer me sanctuary until they lose interest?"
"But of course- you do realize that you'll be in my clutches now, don't you?" She smiled broadly as we were buzzed in to the lobby. The desk clerk, a young woman who had been reading an e-book, nodded to Sally as we entered the elevator.
"You'll see the spider's parlor now, fly-man." Sally's smile was tighter now; the look in her eye was strangely piercing. I was still holding on to her arm, which she took as an invitation to move closer. Her scent was expensive, with a top note of fruity wine. She had been drinking. We got off on the fourth floor and walked down the hall to her room.
"Well. I'm most impressed with your taste." Sally's room had been exquisitely decorated, with original art and expensive furnishings. My Ikea apartment seemed shabby now. The windows faced the square where my adversaries were now loitering, one of them was talking on a cell phone.
"Let me take your jacket, Sean. Sit down, oh! Take off that silly sweater, too, don't worry, I won't molest you… Much. Hah! Excuse me a moment." She winked as she went into the bathroom.
I guess if I had to chose between Sally's charms and a beating by a couple of goons, I'd take my chances with her. I thought it unlikely that she'd fight me, but she just might want to wrestle.