CHAPTERS 99 & 100 of The Island Country

“I can’t believe we’re really here!” Dolly exclaimed, after she and Fred had met Joyce and Roger outside, where the line to get in was around the block, but Fred said something to the bouncer and they were allowed right in. “I heard that even Bobby Rydell can’t get into this place!”

“Wait until you see the lighting,” Fred said to Roger.

“I hope Sylvester Stallone is here!” Dolly exclaimed. “And John Travolta!”

On their way to the bar, the foursome encountered several people who exclaimed, “Hey, Light Bulb Guy!” The bartender greeted Fred as “Mr. Flynt” and said all drinks for he and his party would be on the house.

“I heard that Warhol and Dalí sometimes hang out here,” Joyce said to Dolly over the loud music, “Boogie Wonderland”.

“What’s that, sweetie?” Dolly asked, looking around.

“I heard that Warhol and Dalí sometimes hang out here.”

“No, this is my first time here.”

“No, I’m talking about Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí. They sometimes hang out here.”

“Who’s Salvatore?”

Roger suddenly pointed and exclaimed, “Hey, it’s Reggie Jackson!” He then cupped his mouth and shouted towards the Yankee slugger, “Hey, Reggie, let’s go Mets!”

Jackson, in black tux and signature metal frames, looked at Roger, then turned to Farrah Fawcett next to him and said, “Yeah, fatso over there can go with the Mets right to last place. Mazzilli is the only Met who can even get in here.”

“Is Lee here?” Fawcett asked, looking around.

By eleven, Roger was loaded and Joyce was yawning. Fred and Dolly were talking to the owner and some other people who weren’t famous.

“Maybe we should take the next train home,” Joyce said in Roger’s ear.

“I want to stay.”

“Alright, Roger. One more beer.”

“Two more beers.”

“Fine. Two more beers. Then we’re going.”

Several minutes later, Roger headed for the men’s room, leaving Joyce alone at the bar gazing at the sea of humanity on the dance floor, but no one she recognized, only a few faces that looked vaguely familiar. So tired was she that she didn’t notice Fred break from his group and disappear into the crowd until he was beside her.

“Had enough of Roger yet?” he asked in her ear, his gravelly voice now gurgling, his hot breath in her lobe.

“Fred!” she gasped, then started looking around.

“He’s not here,” Fred said. “He’s probably in the bathroom puking on himself.”

She tried to get away, but he grabbed her upper arm and tightened his grip the harder she struggled.

* * *

Atop a white steed clopping across the dance floor—

“Over there, Mick! A damsel in distress!” cried Andy, seated behind him, arms around his waist.

“I see her, Andy!” said Mick, at the reigns, steering the horse towards the bar.

The crowd dispersed as the steed approached, until it arrived at the end of the bar, where the large man had hold of the damsel’s upper arm.

“Let her go, Light Bulb Guy!” Mick ordered, elevated Mockney.

“Yes! You let her go, you, you, Mister Meanie!” Andy demanded, pointing, palms sweating, hair awry, glasses slipping off nose.

Mick extended his hand to the damsel.

“Come with us, Miss,” he said.

The man released his grip on the damsel’s arm, and Andy joined the effort to pull her atop the horse. Mick then turned the steed around and steered it back to the middle of the dance floor, where they were swarmed by celebrities—Sylvester, John, Burt, Farrah, Reggie, Mazz, Jack, Liza, Truman, Cher, Brooke, Michael, Diana, Salvador, and the rest—cheering, waving, dancing. ▪

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