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This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Red Velvet Rope (The Killer Nightlife Series)

If there was ever a moment frozen in time then this was definitely one of them.

Dean could scarcely believe what he had witnessed and with ever increasing horror he realized just what that meant. What he had witnessed. Dean McMahon, 28 year old nightclub impresario, legendary lothario and the creator of the world’s smallest nightclub lounge room had just witnessed a professional assassination.

For many an idyllic teenager and perhaps a few older romantics who have the courage to confess it, a scene such as this is the fodder of comic book dreams, the chance to parlay the immortal one liner from your favorite movie into reality.

The scene that Dean found himself  knee deep and pants down in  was fascinatingly and perversely hypnotic, as witnessing death so often is. Everything around Dean seemed to move in absolute slow motion. As a fanciful and idyllic romantic who had whiled away many a dull college afternoon in heroic daydream reverie, Dean had often wondered what the point was of having slow motion scenes in a movie. The point now was obvious. Any scene that is slowed down enables one to witness the intricate details of the scene regardless of how fantastic, over and over again all in slow motion. For Dean, this moment in his life thawed agonizingly slowly from frozen in time to quicksand slow motion and then to incredibly frenetic hyper drive fast.

The next two seconds however, would be the longest and slowest of his life.

The man in black raised his gun…his smoking gun no less, and pointed it directly at Dean’s head.

Dean had always thought that if confronted by a situation just like this that he would be heroic and defiant when confronted with such adversity. Perhaps he would launch his body dramatically at his assailant, try to wrest the gun from his grip. At the very least he would utter some timeless movie line bravado that would cause his adversary to pause, stunned into inaction by the brilliantly wry humor and courage he was witnessing.

Instead, he quacked.

Perhaps he was trying to say something courageous and his lungs and gumption failed him. Perhaps he didn’t have time to properly breathe in and fully project his vociferous one line of contempt. Whatever the reason, this immortal moment in time that would be replayed in slow motion, over and over again, for the rest of his life, was punctuated by Dean’s ignominious, honking, quack.

Vince was not too surprised to see a half naked girl with her panties flailing around one ankle running screaming down the corridor. He had seen many a girl skulk away quietly from that little den of inequity, though usually they would exercise much more discretion.

After Richie had returned to the door, Vince had been on his way to do a positional sweep of the club. “Sweeping” the club was a walk around the club ensuring the security were in position, paying attention to the crowd and not just the club girls, and to see if the bartender, barbacks, hosts and dancers were all on point and doing what they should be doing. Too often, staff members forgot that it was an actual job that they were doing, losing themselves in the giant adult playground and ignoring their duties.

As he turned the corner he stopped, and looked around shocked as he took in the sight of the wreckage, the heap of flailing broken wood and dusty drywall. His shock turned to alarm as he saw Dean with his pants down by his ankles facing a stone faced man dressed in an impeccably pressed black suit, who was pointing a very large gun at Dean. It was an awkward, dusty, frozen strobe light moment in time and Vince found himself spellbound in the lurid moment.

The man in black looked at Vincent. Vince looked at Dean. Dean looked at the man in black. The man in black looked at Dean.

That was the moment when Dean quacked. The spell was broken and the man in black pulled the trigger. Dean threw his hands in front of his face and squeezed his eyes shut. Even through the ear rattling boom of the ten thousand watt speakers Dean could hear the “click”.

It seemed that one miracle had collapsed and made way for another as he looked up and saw that the man in black’s gun had jammed. He cast the gun aside contemptuously and reached into his jacket pocket for his back up firearm.

Dean farted.

Vince hurled himself across the room and with one burly arm grabbed Dean and hoisted him violently from the rubble. With his other arm Vince threw his Garmin Rino two way radio, weighing a sturdy 4.5lbs, directly in the face of the man in black. Incredibly, Vince’s aim was true and it connected with a smacking thud against the forehead of the man in black who staggered back, stunned, an ugly red mark immediately beginning to swell. Vince and Dean ran down the corridor, Dean still desperately trying to pull his trousers up and Vince dragging him by his arm. As they barreled down the corridor and turned the corner they collided directly with another man in black, who also possessed a very large gun, and they succeeded quite accidentally, in knocking him on to his back causing the gun to fall out of his hand.

Vince did not have the time to admire the second man in black’s similarly impeccably pressed black suit, nor did he take a minute to consider the fortuitousness of this accident. The man scrambled to his feet and lurched for his gun that lay on the floor, Vincent’s hobnail steel capped work boot hammered against the right side of his face with another smacking thud and the man crumpled to the floor.

Without hesitation, Vince scooped up the man’s Para Ordnance Tac 40 handgun and half dragged, half carried the blood and dust covered Dean McMahon, hopping, cursing and farting out to the front door.