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  • Chet Baker

Deleted Scene from BLOODLINE RUN

IN THE NETHERWORLD

(Deleted Scene)



I stepped into a wild, frenzied warren of over-indulgence. Beating music, swarms of sweaty hedonists in a grubby, foul-smelling netherworld. Faces and bodies, all sizes and shapes, mostly young, some rich, some threadbare, and all inflamed and meddling with other's bodies.

I pushed through the crowd. Harlequin-painted freak faces, goths, coeds, cougars, cock-hounds, MBAs, rubbing shoulders with bikers in Harley leather, all bombed. Hands moving over me, feeling, pulling, pushing.. I squeezed through to the bar and ordered from a diminutive bartender in pasty whiteface, red suspenders, wispy hair, and bloodshot yellow eyes. "Whiskey."

He squinted. "Where you been?" he said, pouring like he didn't own it. "Been a while. You move or somethin'?"

"Do I know you?" I said, wincing at the burn of the drink. "This isn't Jack," nodding at the Jack Daniel's bottle where it came from.

He just smiled and shrugged. "How you doin' anyway?"

"Doing?" I pushed for a refill.

"She still asks about you, you know."

"Still asks about me?"

Forget it, Peter. He's got you mixed up with some other guy.

I downed the drink. "I'm here looking for a girl?"

"Of course you are. You've always been lookin' for a girl. Aren't we all lookin' for somebody?"

I pushed the glass over for another. He leaned in to avoid a woman trying to get his attention for a drink.

" She's here tonight. I saw her. Go talk to her,” he whispered. “You'll make her day, you know?"

"No, I don't know. And you got me confused with someone else, friend."

He chuckled. "It's okay. No one cares. You are who you are. And so is she. He poured me another, then was about to head down the line bartending. I grabbed his arm.

"Where do they hold the girls?"

He frowned. "Hold the girls? I don't know what you're talking about."

"Petrov. Where does he hide them? I know they’re here. "

"Who?"

"I know about him and his business. He kidnaps em and sells em."

He glanced around. "You better watch yourself." He pried my hand off his arm and was down the line working customers' orders.

I squeezed away into the crowd, looking for any sign of Portman's men. A woman leaned into me and grabbed my ass. I pushed her away. "Here," she said handing me a Red Solo Cup of something. "Lighten up."

It was different from the rotgut at the bar, dangerously aromatic and sharp-flavoured. I found a stairwell and started up, squeezing between people coming and going up and down. Whatever that drink was took hold and kicked in. I leaned into the wall and slid down to a step, my head swimming, fingers tingling, legs heavy. Where'd everyone go? Quiet, so quiet, colors passing over me, mixing, fusing in slow motion.

I struggled up to the next landing and stumbled down dim, gray hallways, past flickering dismal light leaking from under doors, strewn food, trash, liquor bottles, and clothing tossed around. I came upon a small open room with a burly guy filming performances of two actors on a soiled bed under red lights. He stuck out a hand to stop me from getting closer to the sweaty couple.

I moved on to a big, empty ballroom with dozens of dancers in formal ensembles spinning and twirling arm-in-arm. But no music. I slipped to the floor, leaning against the wall to watch. But they were gone. A couple in paint-splashed smocks wandered by. One kneeled down, a gap-toothed queen with a flashlight and a blue mixture in a 7-Up bottle. She found an empty cup on the floor, filled it and handed it to me. It went down smooth. Soon, I was floating in a sea of bulging eyes, red-painted faces, horse-tooth grinning, slobbering mouths. I felt like crying but yelled out instead, "Anyone seen what I'm looking for?" The empty cavernous room echoed back–anyone seen what I'm looking for, looking for, looking for…

Can't do this alone, Pete.

I tried to call a number, but couldn't aim correctly–4. 4444 4444444. Lily stared at me from across the room. I blinked and she was gone. I'm alone, it's cold.

Nicki stands before me holding her pink bunny. Who you looking for, Uncle Pete?






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