THISIS HOW IT starts.
With a joke.
"So, a man walks into a bar," Jeff began, already chuckling. "He sees another man sitting there, nursing a drink and a glum expression. On the bar in front of him is a bottle of whiskey and a tiny little man, no more than a foot high, playing an equally tiny little piano. 'What's going on?' the first man asks. 'Have a drink,' offers the second. The first man grabs the bottle and is about to pour himself a drink when suddenly there is a large puff of smoke and a genie emerges from the bottle. 'Make a wish,' the genie instructs him. 'Anything you desire, you shall have.' 'That's easy,' the man says. 'I want ten million bucks.' The genie nods and disappears in another cloud of smoke. Instantly, the bar is filled with millions and millions of loud, quacking ducks. 'What the hell is this?' the man demands angrily. 'Are you deaf? I said bucks, you idiot. Not ducks. ' He looks imploringly at the man beside him. The man shrugs, nodding sadly toward the tiny piano player on the bar. 'What? You think I wished for a twelve-inch pianist?'"
A slight pause followed by an explosion of laughter punctuated the joke's conclusion, the laughter neatly summing up the personalities of the three men relaxing at the crowded bar. Jeff, at thirty-two, the oldest of the three, laughed the loudest. The laugh, like the man himself, was almost too big for the small room, dwarfing the loud rock music emanating from the old-fashioned jukebox near the front door and reverberating across the shiny black marble surface of the long bar, where it threatened to overturn delicate glasses and crack the large, bottle-lined mirror behind it. His friend Tom's laugh was almost as loud, and although it lacked Jeff's resonance and easy command, it made up for these shortcomings by lasting longer and containing an assortment of decorative trills. "Good one," Tom managed to croak out between a succession of dying snorts and chuckles. "That was a good one."
The third man's laughter was more restrained, although no less genuine, his admiring smile stretching from the natural, almost girlish, pout of his lips into his large brown eyes. Will had heard the joke before, maybe five years ago, in fact, when he was still a nervous undergraduate at Princeton, but he would never tell that to Jeff. Besides, Jeff had told it better. His brother did most things better than other people, Will was thinking as he signaled Kristin for another round of drinks. Kristin smiled and tossed her long, straight blond hair from one shoulder to the other, the way he'd noted the sun-kissed women of South Beach always seemed to be doing. Will wondered idly if this habit was particular to Miami or endemic to southern climes in general. He didn't remember the young women of New Jersey tossing their hair with such frequency and authority. But then, maybe he'd just been too busy, or too shy, to notice.
Will watched as Kristin poured Miller draft into three tall glasses and expertly slid them in single file along the bar's smooth surface, bending forward just enough to let the other men gathered around have a quick peek down her V-neck, leopard-print blouse. They always tipped more when you gave them a flash of flesh, she'd confided the other night, claiming to make as much as three hundred dollars a night in tips. Not bad for a bar as small as the Wild Zone, which comfortably seated only forty people and had room for maybe another thirty at the always busy bar.
YOU HAVE ENTERED THE WILD ZONE, an orange neon sign flashed provocatively above the mirror. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
The bar's owner had seen a similar sign along the side of a Florida highway and
- Pocket Books
- Verlag: Simon & Schuster Uk
- Seitenzahl: 368
- Ausstattung/Bilder: 2010. 384 p.
- Abmessung: 175mm x 114mm x 28mm
- Gewicht: 215g
- ISBN-13: 9781847393630
- ISBN-10: 1847393632
- Best.Nr.: 28523967