Jay’s phone beeps with a text message. He pulls the phone out and reads the text – “ROBERT 07859007525”.
Alan and Derek lead Jay and Stephen as they walk past a long queue waiting outside ON ANON nightclub.
The slender and flamboyant club manager pompously stands at the entrance beside several large bouncers and two club hostesses. He sees Alan approach and forces a smile.
‘Toto the King!’ Alan jovially exalts Toto, the club manager, but Toto isn’t amused. Alan hugs Toto like a long lost friend, but Toto doesn’t reciprocate the sentiment.
‘You took your time,’ Toto says with a soft almost feminine voice.
‘Fashionably late, you know,’ Alan retorts.
‘Hello, Dee,’ Toto says to Derek, and Derek nods courteously at him. Toto turns back to Alan and asks, ‘Just the four of you?’
‘Yeah,’ Alan answers.
Toto turns to one of the beautifully dressed hostesses and says, ‘Take them to table three.’
Toto pulls Alan aside as the hostess leads the others past the bouncers into the club.
‘Monday, okay,’ he whispers to Alan. ‘Don’t fuck around.’
Alan chuckles and says, ‘Take it easy, Toto. Have I ever not sorted my tab?’
Toto cracks a knowing smile and says, ‘Not here you haven’t.’
Alan laughs and walks into the club.
Loud thumping dancing music electrifies the crowded dance floor as the hostess leads the guys through. Alan has made his way past Derek and Stephen, who are both visibly excited, and Jay, who doesn’t appear at all enthused as he intently scans his surroundings, to the front of the pack just behind the hostess. He is also scanning the club, but unlike his older brother who is working out the threat level and exit strategies, he’s scanning for girls, and he sees a lot of promise.
The hostess leads the guys into the VIP room, which is relatively much quieter, although the thumping bass of the music reverberates through the room. She leads them to a table full of alcohol and mixers and watches them sit around the table.
‘I’ll be back soon if you need any more drinks,’ she says to the table, and walks away.
Alan and Derek simultaneously reach for alcohol and two glasses each.
‘Oh, I’ve had enough today,’ Stephen objects. ‘Not good for me.’
‘Fuck that, you whipped fuck,’ Alan chides. ‘You can stay over at ours tonight.’
‘I don’t think so,’ Stephen replies.
Alan doesn’t acknowledge Stephen as he turns to Jay. ‘Now you are certainly having a drink, you need to loosen the fuck up.’
Alan hands Stephen a glass of whiskey and coke, and Stephen feigns reluctance for a moment before he accepts the glass.
Derek hands Jay a glass of vodka and tonic and leans in to whisper to Jay, ‘I only put a tiny bit in there.’
Jay smiles and accepts the drink.
Derek raises his glass in call for a toast and the others follow his lead.
‘To friendship …’ Stephen begins to say.
‘Fucking hell!’ Alan interrupts.
‘No!’ Derek also objects. ‘To a bloody good night.’
‘Yeah!’ Alan shouts. ‘And we are downing this shit, yeah?’
‘Yeah!’ Derek and Stephen answer, and Jay nods in agreement.
They knock their glasses together and all attempt to down their drinks, but Jay stops after a large gulp and flinches.
‘Derek!’ Jay jovially exclaims – it was straight vodka, no tonic.
Derek and Alan laugh heartily.
‘What happened?’ Stephen asks, confused.
Jay attempts to drop the half full glass on the table, but Derek and Alan loudly object.
‘You accepted the glass,’ Derek says. ‘You have to finish it.’
‘Down it, brother!’ Alan commands.
Jay laughs to himself and downs the rest of the vodka.
‘Now let’s go get war hero a girl!’ Alan shouts.
Alan, Derek, and Stephen lead a reluctant Jay through the dance floor, scouting for girls.
Alan gestures ahead to a pair of alluring girls dancing with each other and screams over the thumping music to Jay, ‘What you think?’
Jay shrugs, and Alan sighs before he leads Jay to the girls.
‘How are you girls doing?’ Alan screams at them over the music.
The girls cant make out what Alan says because of the loud music, but force smiles, as they are somewhat interested in the brothers.
Alan leans towards the taller of the girls, so she can hear him clearer, as Jay forces a reciprocating smile at the other girl, but their forced smiles very quickly become genuine as both stare desirably at each other.
‘You girls here with anyone?’ Alan asks the taller one.
She shakes her head.
He gestures to Jay and asks, ‘Want to hang with a war hero?’
‘What?’ she asks, confused.
He again gestures to Jay and says, ‘My brother; war hero! Just got back from Afghanistan!’
‘Oh, good for him,’ she says with a patronising smile.
Alan is taken aback for a moment, but he continues the pursuit.
‘Want to hang out?’ he asks. ‘I’ve got a table in …’
‘No, we’re fine!’
‘Oh, fuck off then,’ he says, more in jest than annoyance.
She is visibly enraged and attempts to speak, but Jay steps in.
‘I’m sorry about that,’ Jay says apologetically.
‘Fuck off, cunt!’ she hurls at Jay, to the surprise of her friend.
Jay nods in acceptance of the insult and leads Alan away back to Derek, who is not amused at all, and Stephen, who is laughing to himself.
‘Fuck off!’ Alan says to Stephen, and Jay joins Stephen in laughter.
Derek gets Alan’s attention with his eyes and quickly glances to a corner of the dance floor.
Alan follows Derek’s glance to a tall muscular man with a threatening demeanour who is staring intently at he and Derek.
Alan quickly turns away and says to the guys, ‘Fuck this! Let’s go back in.’
They nod and head back towards the VIP room, and this time Alan allows the others to walk ahead of him.
Alan cant help but glance back at the man, and the man smiles menacingly at him.