After Jose hit him, Paco crumbled to the ground; he did not lose consciousness but we could tell he was in pain. The screaming subsided as he writhed on the floor holding his crotch. I was sure he needed medical help but hell if that was my first concern. I gave my savior a crooked grin. “Thanks for the assist.”
“No problem, man.” Jose shook his head and kicked the fallen man in the stomach. “I should just kill you right now.”
“Trust me, nobody would ever find the body.” Jose was definitely not amused.
I liked his approach, but murder was not something I was interested in. “He’s gonna need a doctor. I felt the screwdriver break skin and I’m guessing I may have busted his balls.”
“Good! I hope he loses them. And I’ll make sure everyone hears about it. He’s gonna be a popular bitch back in the hood.”
“Whatever. I need to call Vittorio. Why don’t you get in touch with Carlos while I talk to my grandfather?”
Grandpa was more upset by the attempted rape than I was.
With Carlos in agreement, Grandpa sent a car and a couple of his guys to retrieve my antagonist. I’m not certain what happened afterwards, and I didn’t care. I had a nightclub to open.
A month or so later, Jose stopped in one night and brought me up to date. “He lost a testicle. I made sure I told everyone what happened, and the guys started calling him Onesy. His street cred was shot and last I heard he moved to Orlando.”
About a month out from the opening, I put in motion my marketing plan. We hung a canvas banner in front reading Coming Soon with a martini glass at either end. I invited a few columnists to tour the unfinished space and was rewarded with a couple of them writing decent promotional columns. Businesses in the area allowed me to place drop-boxes on their counters, encouraging people to sign up for our mailing list. The promise of free cocktails and no-charge admission garnered a healthy response.
“That’s good.” Realizing the man behind the plate-glass window could not hear me, I raised both thumbs in approval. I took a couple of steps back on the sidewalk to admire the effect. I had ordered two neon signs, one read PRIME and the one below it Grand Opening. I planned to open for happy hour and during those times you could see inside. Late at night, the blackout curtains would be drawn and provide a great background for the reddish words.
I scheduled the ribbon cutting for a Friday night; the Sunday before, we had an invitation-only soft opening. The response was overwhelming. If the crowd returned when we charged full price for cocktails, PRIME would be a success. For the pre-opening party we offered half-price cocktails with all proceed being donated to City Harvest. The number of New Yorkers struggling to put food on the table any given month was larger than the entire population of San Francisco. I was determined to be a good corporate citizen.
“Did they all pass the casting couch test?” Dante tilted his head to the side and chuckled.
“Don’t be a dick, cuz.” I looked at the two muscle boys by the bar next to a couple of very good-looking, well-built women. All four wore form-fitting athletic shorts and tank tops. Hired to pass out complimentary PRIME Jello shots, I had been sorely tempted to take the light-haired stud to bed. “Of course not!”
“I thought the blond one would have tempted you. Hey, I ate one of those drinks before, pretty good. What’s in them?” Dante had come early in the day to help with last minute details. He had brought clothes, showered and changed in my upstairs apartment, and looked hot in the tight-fitting pants and shirt he wore.
“He did. But I decided to postpone instant gratification.” My admission was met with an incredulous look. “I think it’s going to be our signature cocktail. Champagne, cassis, vodka, and a little ginger ale. We’ll add the gelatin for special events.”
“Give me the exact recipe later. We’ll add it to the drinks menu at the bowling alley, name it the Prime Shot or something like that, and give you credit for inventing it.”
“Thanks, bro. I can always use the free advertising.” The final walk-through satisfied me. We were ready. The security personnel kept their eyes on me as I inspected the entire place. Certain we were set, I smiled and nodded at them.
“It’s a go, people.” I shouted so everyone could hear me. “Let them in. It’s PRIME time!”
Thank you for reading and for all the reactions and comments. I hope you enjoyed the story.