CHOICE A: Pay the cover charge: 5 votes
CHOICE B: Bluff his way in through the front: 2 votes
CHOICE C: Bluff his way in through the back: 2 votes
CHOICE D: Sneak into the back: 2 votes
Charleston was standing in line, trying to decide what to do. He would much rather sneak in through the back somehow. It would just make things so much easier for him, and he would feel much better about it. Unfortunately, he passed the alley before he was able to think of a plan of attack. Oh well. He would just turn his attentions to figuring out a way to get through the front. He really didn't want to pay the cover charge, after all. Perhaps he could say he was a critic or something. All in all, he really should have thought about it before he got into line. At this point, it would be quite foolish to leave the inexplicably long line. Charleston really disliked this line, this whole stupid comedy club thing. Especially the ridiculous notion of a cover charge. Admission, he would understand. He would have still tried to get out of paying it, but would be more willing to pay it than some stupid cover charge.
Charleston looked up from his thoughts, and saw that he had come to the front of the line. A muscular bald man in leather looked down at him, and said, "You goin' in?"
"I'm a critic?" said Charleston.
"You got a press pass?"
"It's for a blog," said Charleston. He had no idea if people with blogs really had any sort of authority, but really hoped they did. After all, some tech kid at TYRIS kept going on about how much authority his blog had. That had to mean something, didn't it?
"One of you people, eh? Well, you gotta pay the cover charge like everyone else."
"How much is it?" said Charleston, with a sigh.
"Is this Aneric guy any good?" he said, handing over twenty dollars.
"You're the critic. You tell me after you sit through his act."
Charleston stood there for a minute staring at what he supposed was the bouncer. A bouncer for a comedy club? This whole thing was bizarre.
"What you waiting for, Hudson Hawk? Get in there," said the bouncer.
"I'll consider it a tip."
Charleston sighed, and went inside. At this point, he didn't want to make a scene. He went through the club's lobby, which looked like the lobby of an exceptionally good hotel. It even had a concierge at the desk. Charleston went though a pair of double doors, and stopped for a moment, and then went back into the lobby. He pulled out his tape recorder, and began to speak.
"Warehouse that was previously headquarters of a vampire cult is now some sort of comedy club. The outside looks like a dance club, the lobby looks like a hotel, and the actual club part..."
Charleston peeked through the double doors again, shook his head, and said, "I think I died when that instability cabin blew up, because none of this makes a bit of sense."
He went through the double doors. There was a bar in the corner, with a black man in a red vest selling drinks, looking like something from the "Love Boat". There was a chubby man on the stage, probably trying to be funny. There were people dancing in cages, and other people convulsing around them. Seizure-inducing lights were being projected everywhere, and over the loudspeaker, he could hear the comedian and the laughter of the audience. Directly in front of the stage, there were five rows of seats, with ten seats in each row. Charleston walked warily through the club, trying to avoid touching anyone, and sat down.
The comedian pulled out a live chicken, and said, "All right, all right, how about this one?" Then he snapped the chicken's neck and tore it in half. The audience laughed, while Charleston just looked at Tim Aneric with a mixture of confusion and horror.
Aneric wiped the blood off his glasses, and threw the chicken on the floor. He looked at the audience, and said, "Okay, okay, watch this." He stood on one foot, and hopped to the other one. "That was a Wyoming flip, everyone. A Wyoming flip." Once again, laugher. Real laughter, not polite laughter. Charleston was becoming increasingly confused. People were dancing to this man and the laughter he somehow induced?
"Okay, okay, watch this. I need someone from the audience. You there, Dick Tracy, come up here!" said Aneric. Charleston waited to see what happened. "Hey, Dick, come up here!"
Charleston chuckled, thinking it was an actual joke.
Aneric became angrier, "You there, in the back row. The guy in the stupid hat and long coat. Get up here!"
Charleston looked around. He was the only one in the back row, but he thought his hat was nifty. In any case, he stood up, and pointed to himself.
"Yes, you! Get your ass up here!"
Charleston made his way to the stage, and he noticed that everyone in the club was staring at him, with smiles. He stood next to Aneric.
"Look at the audience, you son of a whore," said Aneric, "Okay, okay, watch this." Aneric pulled out a gun, and pointed it at Charleston. He pulled the trigger, and a dart shot into Charleston's neck. The audience laughed uproariously, and Aneric patted Charleston hard on the back. He fell onto the stage.
"Good sport, good sport. Someone get this man a drink!" said Aneric, pushing Charleston off the stage.
Someone helped Charleston up, but he was too dazed to see who it was. They helped him to the bar, while everyone clapped, and sat him down on a stool.
"What'll it be?" said the bartender, washing a glass.
"Do you have... Yoo-hoo?" said Charleston, "I like Yoo-hoo. I like waffles, too, but you probably don't have any of those."
The bartender nodded, and poured him a glass of Yoo-hoo. Charleston tried to drink it, but most of it poured onto his shirt. Someone came by with a slip of paper. The bartender read it, poured Charleston another glass of Yoo-hoo, and handed the note to Charleston.
It read, "I'll meet you after the act. TE."
Charleston looked from the note to the stage several times, and drank his Yoo-hoo, more competently this time.
"Sort of wish that lady who brought you over stayed," said the bartender, "Most interesting hair I ever seen."
Charleston looked up from his glass, "I knew a lady who had interesting hair. Knew a few. One had living hair. She was a weird one."
"Nothing like that with this one. Just kept changing color, sort of."
Charleston sat up straight, and looked around, "Where did she go?"
The bartender shrugged, and washed a glass. Charleston stared into his. He remembered what Land Captain said, about people cheating death, and downed his glass. If it had been her, then she probably had her own reasons for leaving so quickly, and would make herself known eventually. Besides, he was here to find information on vampires, and perhaps this Tim Aneric could help.
Charleston could play it dumb, play it cool, or play it angry. He probably had a bit of time before Tim's act ended to decide.
HOW SHOULD CHARLESTON PLAY IT?
7 years ago