The day Mayor Guilliani’s crime crack down put Davey out of business was the day Davey started making himself and his partner, Junior millionaires. Davey spent about six months watching his fledgling business empire in Times Square get systematically taken apart by restrictive zoning, constant police harassment and a sudden unwanted amount of attention by hordes of citizens who looked down on the adult entertainment business as an acceptable way to make a living. nbsp; For nearly three decades Times Square was left to the strip clubs, sex shops and adult theaters until Hizzoner made it his mission to clean up the place and pave the way for Disney to come in and make the place Disneyworld on Broadway. Nearly overnight, all of Davey’s clients from uptown disappeared. All of his regulars from One Police Plaza and the fire department started going elsewhere during lunch hour. Then the code enforcement guys started camping out on his doorstep and soon after the citations started rolling in. In a few months, Davey and Junior starting spending more time down at the court house than they did minding their store. This resulted in formerly trusted employees suddenly becoming not so trustworthy. It wasn’t long before Junior found himself driving around in Jersey with Davey scouting new business locations. Davey had seen the writing on the wall, and it was this sort of vision that would help make them both very rich. Junior never heard anything bitter come from Davey about being pushed out of the city. He was pretty philosophical about it.
“Junior, it’s a damned good thing.” Davey said, rolling down his window a bit as he lit up a Camel. “It’s things like this here situation we’re in that make ya pay attention. It’s the Man upstairs givin’ you a heads up. I had this idea in my head all along and it took this whole mess with the law an’ the courts an’ everything ta bring it ta the surface, ya know?”
“Yeah Dave, I know what ya mean.” Junior said, only he didn’t know what Davey was talking about. Junior was a nuts and bolts guy. You gave him instructions, pointed him in a direction and he’d go and get it done whatever it may be. Where Davey seemed to have ideas about every three minutes with no effort, Junior’s acquaintance with ideas was more tortured; like passing a stone. If getting any ideas had been hard for Junior in the best of times then it wasn’t a surprise that now, after the collapse of the business in the city, he was at a loss for what to do, but luckily Davey’s brain was always percolating.
Davey squinted out of the windshield watching the flurries swirl around and picking tobacco bits out of his teeth.
“The way I see it, how we been doin’ business has been a little out of date. A little out of touch. We gotta expand our horizons. I mean we’ll still keep the peepshows and bookshop and the live stuff in the mix, but we just gotta change our audience a little. Go to where the money is. That’s why we’re out here drivin’ around. Lookit all these big assed houses, Junior.”
Since they had crossed over from the island they’d been bearing south towards Rawhay. Junior knew the way pretty well; a lot of his family had been down there at the penitentiary. You’d drive the Parkway through south Cranbrook and a couple other bedroom communities and all of a sudden there’s the prison, just spitting distance from a mix of high toned villages and middle class towns. If Davey was gonna tap into some of that, then Junior wanted in.
That’s pretty much what happened. The Keyhole Klub opened in an area of lofts, apartment buildings and small shops smack dab in the middle of a triangle formed by three small towns with tax bases rivaling large Midwestern cities. Places where even the garbage men could afford yearly cruise vacations.
The first year of business flew by and Junior was quickly becoming a millionaire. It was pretty evident that Davey had been right with his strategy. The suburbs were thirsting for adult entertainment. Things were so busy that Junior rarely got time off from the club. They had decided to meet the demand by staying open seven days a week, 16 hours a day. Junior thrived on the work at first and so did Davey. It wasn’t too long before they were driving around again, scouting out a spot for the Keyhole Klub #2.
“There it is! There it is! Lookit! Lookit!” Davey pointed, swinging his arm in front of Junior’s face who was trying to concentrate on his driving. In his excitement, Davey had forgotten that they were hurtling down a two-lane road doing better than eighty. It was snowing like crazy, fat flakes slapping down from the sky and clogging the windshield. Junior pushed Davey’s arm out of the way just in time to see that they’d drifted onto the narrow shoulder. In a split second Junior saw people ahead. And some sort of large dog. Like a Rottiweiler of Great Dane. In an instant they were on them and Junior saw that it wasn’t a dog but some sort of farm animal and someone was on its back. He jerked the wheel back onto the road. Davey was yelling at him about missing the turn off while Junior wrestled the wheel and scanned the rear view. The people were receding; he didn’t even think they noticed him screaming by. As they faded into the swirling white snow fall, Junior saw they were stooped and trudging along. Davey was hollering about catching the next cross over and going back. Junior wanted to just bag it for the day and get out of the weather, but Davey was insistent.
“Look, trust me it’ll be worth it. Just turn around at the next exit and go back. We’ll look at the place. You’ll love it and then we’ll drive back and get out of this shit. But you gotta see, bro. You just gotta.”
They made their way back and it wasn’t far off the road. It was a huge factory type building that in fact had been a furniture outlet place. While they toured the cavernous, charmless space Davey painted the picture for Junior.
“Dude, imagine. It’ll be like ‘CircusCircus’ in Vegas – you loved that place- everything’ll be under one roof in one big room with no walls. It’ll be like a Wal-Mart of adult entertainment. We’ll become a chain!”
And on and on like that for thirty minutes while they walked around. Junior just kept nodding and letting Davey spin his story. In the end Junior agreed to sign the lease on the place and get the ball rolling. After all, they had the money and so far, Davey’s ideas had been successful. However, Junior worried a little about taking on this huge project. He was getting tired of the day to day operation. He wanted to talk to Davey about it, but he told himself to wait until after the New Year. Right now was not a good time. The holidays were their busiest, most lucrative time of the year. nbsp; Except for today, Christmas Eve, which was typically really slow, but things usually picked up again on Christmas night. They drove back and Junior got settled in to his office at Keyhole Klub #1 getting ready for the long night shift. Davey had drawn the Christmas day shift and Junior was glad. He’d need this quiet Christmas Eve shift to think over all the stuff Davey had chattered about during their drive.
Davey was a genius at marketing the business, but one of the things that Junior had thought about and that he’d only mentioned a few times to Davey was the Internet. Davey had dismissed the idea out of hand mostly because Junior thought he just wasn’t comfortable with computers. Junior had a thought that they were really missing the boat by not having something going on in cyberspace. Junior had a few ideas turgidly stewing away in his brain. One was to allot a space in the new club for a porn internet café. And the other, his favorite, was to start self producing a porn soap opera/reality show right out of the new place, using existing workers and maybe a few newcomers. Junior knew the Internet was a vast pool of money, and all he had to do was figure an angle and they’d have their own personal fire hose of money. At least, I will have a fire hose spewing money if Davey doesn’t buy in, Junior thought ruefully. Davey seemed to be thriving on the long hours where Junior was starting to get burned out. Davey loved all the partying, the girls, all the sex. Junior saw it was too much and lately it seemed like he never saw daylight or went anyplace that didn’t smell like stale beer, wet carpet and worked over women. The smell permeated his skin and nostrils. He’d taken to having three or four showers a day. Yeah, getting into the Internet side of things looked pretty attractive. Less overhead, less hours, less…everything. Junior sighed and signed onto one of his favorite web sites. He looked out his grimy rectangular window that overlooked the front entrance and parking lot across the street. There were a few cars but no one moved around out there in the snowy gloom of dusk.
Junior was in the middle of signing up for a subscription to a web site featuring a live porn soap opera when one of the bouncers downstairs called him on the walkie talkie.
“Boss, you gotta come down and see this.”
Junior didn’t want to walk away from his computer. Signing up for things was a pain and he knew if he walked away it would somehow get screwed up and he’d end up starting all over again. He jabbed at the “Talk” button.
“Jesus, Casey! What is it? I’m in the middle of somethin’ here.”
“Jesus is exactly it, boss! You gotta come down here, some of the boys are kinda freakin’ out.”
Junior could hear some yelling in the background. A lot of it in Spanish. There was a fistfight or something going on down there. Junior could also hear muffled thumps and shrieks coming up through the floor. It sounded like it was right in the lobby. Junior book marked his page and logged off. Five or six pop-ups instantly sprang onto the screen. Exasperated he punched the power button off and headed downstairs grabbing the aluminum softball bat that he had leaning against the door frame. Making his way down the narrow stairs his brain was churning away. He liked the porn soap opera angle a lot. They could figure a way to get the women into watching the stuff; maybe get a few big-dicked Fabio types with accents, have them ride around on horses a lot with their shirts off. Junior thought if they got the women into watching porn a lot it would be like getting the soccer moms into the casinos – once you had them it was like having your own personal ATM.
End Part One
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