I’ll come for you.
Jim scanned the street ahead looking for a little
known pub tucked away in the shadow of
Muffled music was hammering against the wooden doors of the tacky pub. Bracing himself, Jim pushed it open. A bouncer intercepted him. Jim was reaching for his badge when,
"Just go in, buddy. Knock yerself out."
Nonplussed by the casual greeting, Jim entered the bar.
He’d received a typical Sandburg message on the answer machine when he had returned home late from work.
"Hey, man. The designated driver got into the spiked punch. I’ll crash on some floor... somewhere." There was a long pause. "I’ll see you tomorrow... what? Nah, man... Better yet, Jim, expect me when you see me... Cool.... Bye bye..."
For a long time Jim had stared at the phone, then he had picked up his keys, executed a parade turn and exited the loft.
The bar was dead. A grand total of twelve Ph.D. students and four bar staff were sprawled around the room. Loud beating music made the air pulse. Unerringly, Jim tracked through the ‘crowd’. Settling on the dance floor he could see four students gyrating helplessly to the music. Blair, of course, was dancing. The widest, happiest grin that Jim had seen in a long time graced the grad student’s face. All teeth and gums, Blair sang lustily to Boney M’s ‘Brown Girl in the Ring Tra la la la lah’.
Wiggling merrily, all four were at their exuberant best. The music segued into Village People’s ‘Y.M.C.A.’ to hoots of delight. They knew all the gestures.
There was a certain crystal clarity of thought imparted when you were the only sober person in a room. Unconsciously, Jim assessed his guide – ‘well merry’ was the diagnosis. A warm flush and a light film of perspiration made Blair shine. The young woman next to him flung her hands up in the air in a ‘Y’ a millisecond before the music, and everyone laughed.
Blair caught her by the hand swinging her around. The music faded momentarily, then picked up; the dancers froze, as if playing statues, waiting to identify the song. Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun’ was instantly recognisable, and judging by the sudden wiggling of hips and hand waving it was a good choice.
Blair threw back his head, making his curls bounce, as he sang the chorus.
Jim suddenly wondered if he was imposing and Blair finally saw him.
"JIM!" And the detective had thought that Blair was smiling widely before. The grad student rolled on the balls of his feet. "That’s Jim."
A hop, skip and a bounce and Blair was across the dance floor, grabbing the detective’s coat sleeve and dragging him onto the dance floor. Jim cringed; there was even a silver ball made up of hundreds of tiny mirrors. The music changed abruptly, switching into the Beach Boys. Jim shot the D.J. a dirty look.
"This is Jim, the guy I told you all about." Blair was shaking his sleeve, drawing everyone’s attention to them. "This is my best friend."