204 - loose
arco ran his fingers through his hair one last time. Then he gave himself a total once-over in the mirror. He was not the conceited type, but he had to admit that he looked good tonight. He smoothed out his sports jacket and practiced flashing an alluring smile.
His phone chirped twice. Pulling his attention away from the mirror, he checked the message. It was from his friend Anthony, and contained just one word: "downstairs," which meant that he was here. Marco felt more excited than ever. Tonight was really happening.
Anthony was the kind of guy who was somewhat mysterious yet always reliable. When he mentioned getting them into Club Whistle, the most exclusive venue in the city, Marco didn't ask how. But he believed him and jumped at the opportunity.
Marco wasn't even fully sure about what he was expecting to happen tonight. He loved clubbing, but he had never been to a place like Club Whistle. During the past week, quick moments of anxiety slipped into his thoughts. Perhaps he wouldn't fit in at all with the crowd.
But as he checked the contents of his pockets and ran down the stairs to meet Anthony, nothing could temper his excitement. He popped open the passenger-side door to Anthony's idling car and slid into the seat.
The two men exchanged "what up"s and fist bumps with each other. Anthony was similarly dressed, which Marco found reassuring. Looking his friend over, Marco noticed a large gold whistle hanging from a gold chain around his neck. As Anthony put the car into gear and backed out of the driveway, Marco couldn't help himself from asking about it.
"What's the deal with that bling?" Marco asked, gesturing towards Anthony's chest.
"What are you talking about?" Anthony responded, focusing on the road ahead.
"The whistle. Seems a little silly to go to Club Whistle wearing a whistle, unless you're trying to look like a fly gym coach or something."
Anthony just grinned, staring forward into traffic. "Rookie. I forgot that this was your first time." He always liked to dangle his own exquisite experiences in front of his friends and pass them off as ordinary.
"A whistle is part of the dress code," Anthony explained. "Let me guess, that means you didn't bring one?"
With anyone else, Marco would have assumed he was being fed bullshit. Anthony's personality, and the fact that a whistle was actually dangling from his neck, told him that he spoke the truth.
"I didn't know," Marco admitted.
"Your good buddy's got your back, don't worry. I brought you a loaner, just in case. Check the backseat," Anthony said, gesturing.
Marco found a little black jewelry box behind him with a chrome whistle on a silver chain. He slipped it over his neck, feeling a little goofy but willing to do what was necessary.
"Don't worry, it's clean," Anthony added. Marco felt puzzled by this. Did Anthony actually intend for the whistles to be used? Not wanting to sound like even more of a newbie, he nodded in false understanding.
They parked the car on a nearby street and strutted down the sidewalk toward Club Whistle. Even from a distance, Marco could hear and see the throng of people waiting to get in.
Anthony leaned in to Marco as if he wanted to impart some esoteric knowledge. "Since this is your first time, I'll tell ya, some of the things they do inside there might seem a little odd at first. But just stick with me and play along, and I promise you that you'll have a good time."
Marco nodded again.