AN EXCERPT FROM THE OPENING OF “CRUSH.”
The first time Amelia saw him, she didn’t think of him as a person so much as an obstacle. Cold eyes and muscles, he was standing in a corner of the club, like a piece of the furniture. Only larger. The Bouncer. No need to wonder why they called him Crush – his hands looked like they could squeeze the air out of her windpipe in a second. The club was called The Nocturne. On Melrose at Clinton. It was one of those night spots with no sign out front, so you had to be cool enough to know about it to even know about it. Inside, all was darkness and colored lights and blaring music. Gorgeous young girls and buff young boys trying to convince themselves they were having the time of their lives. The décor was deep red and studded velvet – Queen Victoria meets Sacher-Masoch. The bar itself was a mahogany monstrosity that the owner lifted from some Gold Rush ghost town. The pretty female bartender was dwarfed behind it, but Crush, stationed at the east end, was big enough to make even that huge bar look pint-sized. In his black t-shirt, fit tightly over his bulging muscles, he faded into the décor, not blending in with the wall, but looking like he was the wall. His clean-shaven head had a nasty scar running from above his left eye, across his skull to the back of his neck, like a racing stripe. Only his startling blue eyes made Amelia think that there was a human being behind the barrier. Crush made no extraneous sounds or movements. Like a good bouncer, he made sure you didn’t notice him unless he wanted you to.