You’ve probably heard of our backwater berg by one of it’s nicknames? The City of Roses is the most popular. It’s landed Portland on some of those yuppy award lists like ‘Top Ten Most Family-Friendly Places’. Then there’s Stumptown, Bridgetown, Beertown, and PDX.
These aliases are like the miracles of plastic surgery, because if someone peers close enough, microscopic scars of crime become visible.
Ben ‘Bugsy’ Siegel considered building Las Vegas on Sauvie Island, only the constant rain forced the gangster to reconsider. A star witness for Robert and John Kennedy’s Rackets Committee Hearing, Big Jim Elkins, was a Portland native.
And if a criminal requires an oasis to lie low in, don’t underestimate Portland’s adult entertainment industry; more strip clubs per capita than Vegas or San Francisco.
Brown ponytail flopping in a damp breeze, software designer Alec Winter and his personal bodyguard, former light heavyweight boxer Antonio Mercer entered Mary’s Club, a stripper bar on downtown Broadway Boulevard.
Winter was an entrepreneur on the lam. Five years ago he hit the cover of Forbes and publicity behind his persona compared him to Bill Gates and Quentin Tarantino. Three years ago his wife arrived home early on his birthday to plan a surprise party to find his dick in an Asian immigrant. His wife was three months pregnant.
Mercer got kicked out of boxing for using steroids and gambling.
Winter and Mercer found a vacant table that was just being cleared off.
“I’m hungry,” Mercer blurted, unfolding the food menu. “What appetizer do you want to share with me?”
“Christ, Tony. You just swallowed that bacon maple bar from Voodoo Donuts practically whole, and you haven’t been training for months.”
“How about a veggie platter with hummus then?” the boxer slurred through a gold front tooth that wasn’t quite the exact size as his other teeth.
“Good choice,” chimed the Goth waitress in fuck me pumps. “What do you wanna’ drink?”
“Two pints of PBR,” Winter said. He watched the petite minx hip-walk away. “I love me the curvy proportions of P-Town girls. Plenty of meat on their bones and more ass to ride than . . . Hey! You spot a cop or something?”
“I want what he’s getting.” Entranced, the boxer’s square-shaped head nodded at the back of the dive.
Winter glanced at the lounge chairs lined along the walls.
“There are lap dances,” the software programmer explained, before his eyes bulged and mouth fell open with lust. “And then there’s dry fucking.”
The brunette in leopard-print latex lingerie straddled and slid around the thighs of a twenty-something blonde-haired punker that looked like an extra in a grunge music video. The kid traced a finger along the dancer’s thigh. He also said something that made her flip her head back in laughter.
“Dumb ass.” The boxer snorted through his crooked nose. “I bet the bouncer tosses him out.”
Sideways from the rim of his glass, Winter glanced at the hulk of a bouncer at the bar, while a shorter one carded customers at the entrance. Neither one of them must’ve noticed because they didn’t do jack shit.
“Thirty-six/twenty-three/thirty-five. . .” Mercer groaned at the stripper, tilting his head sideways to get another angle of her supple curves. “Wow.”
She braced her hands on the punker’s shoulders to snuggle in against his crotch. As she started to sway to and fro, her shoulder length curls brushing through the course spikes of the kid’s buzz cut, his hands gripped the plush arms of the lounge chair tight. When her hips began to grind harder, she unhooked the whip coiled at her waist.
Unfurling it with a flick of her wrist, she then braced the back of the punker’s head to pull his face into her breasts.
“Shit,” Winter said and spilled some beer down the front of his sweater, glad it wasn’t one of the thousand dollar suits he missed wearing in a Silicon Valley boardroom. “Not even the dancers in Bangkok touch a man that much.”
The three-song set ended. After the punk kid slipped a fifty-dollar bill into the dancer’s panties, he headed for the restroom, the back of his frayed, worn out shirt read ‘I ♥ boobies’.
When the guy came back from the john, Mercer intercepted him.
“My boss would like to buy you a drink.”
“Thanks,” the punk said. “Maybe later. I’m busy. Hey, Sandra.” He offered a pair of twenties to the Goth waitress. “That offer for a dance still good?”
With a thick smile accentuated by gold hoops in her red lips, Sandra undid her apron, grabbed the kid’s hand, and pulled him to a couch.
Shoulders slumped, Mercer retreated to the table. “Sorry, Alec. Guy’s not interested. Can’t say that I blame him.”
Winter dug into his pocket and withdrew a large roll of cash that was almost the size of a canned ham. Most of that bankroll he owed to his ex-wife for child support. He peeled off a pair of bills and tossed them at Mercer.
“Offer these to him,” he said, then flinched at the screams of an orgasm from the Goth stripper that didn’t sound fake.
The punker didn’t turn down the green. He joined Winter and Mercer at their table. The stripper had to go back to the bar and serve other patrons, but she made up for her absence by getting three others to take her place. Four rounds of PBR led to tequila shooters, phone number exchanges, and enough sexual innuendo to make Doctor Ruth blush.
While a red head escorted Winter to a couch and proceeded to show him more than her tattoos, the punker smuggled himself to the bathroom and unflipped his cell phone.
“This is Matt Grudge,” the punker said. “You know that deadbeat dad that owes two years of child support? I’ve got him wrapped up,” the private detective explained to his police contact. “No, he’s not going anywhere. The dancer I set him up with has a fetish for handcuffs.”