nom wrote:me so I can go back to oblivion
Do Mum-n-Maude, know you hang about in that dive?!! 'Confessions Of An Aussie Opium Eater.'
hmmm, 's gorra familiar ring to it
Mum AND Maude? No.
Maude? Yes. Who else could get me
in? The bouncers took one look at her, mumbled muted apologies for something they did somewhere, sometime, while trying to avoid her eyes and simultaneously shine their boots on the back of their legs. Maude didn't say a word, just made the slightest gesture of her head towards me—barely a twitch—and walked in. They nodded, looked at me in a way that seemed to suggest fear and pity at the same time, and waved me in.
Inside was very dark, but surprisingly comfortable. It was a kind of lounge bar with leather booths and couches dividing it up into discrete spaces. I was surprised to hear Miles Davis's Birth of Cool
, or something of that era, playing. It was loud enough that you could listen to it, but still quiet enough that you could hold a conversation without straining. If not for the company I was in, I'd say it was stylish. Cool without pretension.
A handful of people were scattered around the bar. All in groups of two or three, and all just far enough away from the next group to avoid hearing each other's conversations over the music. Maude ignored them all and headed to a small, inconspicuous, door near the bar. The bartender, a huge bulk of a man, apparently held the key to the door, but was engrossed in some papers by the till (could have been a duty roster, or a betting tab, or sheet music of Birth of Cool – I wasn't going to ask). He seemed to be ignorant of everyone in the room until the heat of Maude's stare started to singe the back of his head. The poor guy almost fainted when he turned around. I would have felt sorry for him, but... well... the fact that he knew Maude well enough to wet himself suggests that there are people he's met who deserve greater sympathy. His face blanching, he reached under the till for a key, gave it to Maude, then retreated to the far end of the bar to clean himself up.
Maude simply took the key and used it to unlock the door – I could hear the tumblers click as the key turned. Sliding the key under her bra strap, she looked me up and down as if to reassure herself, then grabbed the door handle and opened the door...