The cheap carpet on the narrow corridor was dark red, so were the walls and the concealed lights on the ceiling. The stocky doorman was still shouting congratulations after him for his good choice. Martin took off his shades and pushed the bead-curtain aside with the back of his hand.
At the far side of the saloon, under the red and purple lights, a topless woman was twirling and twisting around a chrome pole, trying to follow the mystical tunes of a Turkish music.
Martin watched her from the corner of the saloon. She was tall and blond; looked like a German, not a Turk. She stopped, and shook her buttocks to the audience for a few seconds, then her legs parted away and she bent over all the way, until her long hair touched the floor. Keeping her balance like that, she slowly rolled her G-string down her legs. A chorus of excited voices rose from the crowd. The torturous wait had finally ended; now there was nothing left of her that they hadn't seen.
She finally straightened up, taking her time, and threw her G-string toward the mesmerized eyes. The sweaty hands raced with each other to catch their trophy, many of them rose to their feet to grab it. She giggled, her fingers played with the tiny strip of pubic hair, teasing the sweat-dripping customers even further, as if they needed that at all. Then she grabbed her breasts, lifted them up while squeezing them between her fingers and began licking her own nipples. Crowd went hysterical. Before the howling died down, she had already started turning around the shiny pole once again.
The bar was on the opposite corner; and the counter was conveniently placed at an angle to the stage, so that the bar customers would not miss the show. ‘Whisky,’ said Martin sharply. ‘Make it double.’ This was not a place to be seen as too polite.
The barman, whose black moustache was trimmed like a toothbrush, watched him from under his heavy eyelids for a second; then poured only two-fingers-deep whisky into a fat tumbler.
Martin stared at him in the eye, unamused. 'Put another double on top.'
The barman worked faster this time and placed the tumbler in front of him with a newly acquired respect. 'Two hundred,’ he said. The faint smirk on his face had disappeared.
Martin pulled out four hundred and fifty Marks out of his wallet, counted them slowly under the barman's gaze, and left a bulk of two hundred and fifty on the counter. 'Keep it,' he said, while holding the remaining two hundred loosely between his fingers.
'Thank you,' grinned the barman, showing his gold tooth. 'Do you want anything else,’ he winked; his beady eyes were on the two hundred that was hanging in the air. 'You know, just ask me.'
'I am looking for a friend of mine,' Martin swallowed half of the tumbler. The cheap whisky went down his throat like paint thinner. 'An old friend of mine, Mustapha Aziz.'