This story is over 25 years old. So weird to think it’s been that long. For me it feels like yesterday, and for someone who tends to repress memories, that’s saying a lot.
Once upon a time on a dark Omaha night, I had plans to meet up with my friend Christina at the 20s Club.
The 20s Club
Now the 20s Club was an old club that was never quite sure what it wanted to be. There were two rooms. The main room had bands and dancing. The second room had Go-Go Girls. (Yes, I know that’s probably not the PC term for them, but that’s the term I grew up with.) Anyhoo, the men would go from the main room to the Go-Go room, get themselves riled up, and then come back and hit on, dance with and try to pick up the women who were actually available to them. It was a wonderful place to people watch.
About 10 years ago, I went to visit it again when I was in Omaha. It had turned itself into a full-fledged Go-Go bar. Since then it has turned into Omaha’s first full nude strip club and rebranded themselves as “Club Omaha”. Then they picked up and completely moved their location. The 20s is gone.
But That Night..
…They still played Rock and Roll and Christina and I were determined to have us some fun. We agreed to meet there at 9pm.
I saw Christina’s car pulling in ahead of me. As I pulled in, I noticed that the cops had a group of young men on the ground in front of the club and were arresting them. What the hell is going on now?
I packed my car and then hovered at the fringes of all the police action. Christina was not there. I looked around for her, and there I saw her car, slowly moving in the parking lot behind the club. So, I walked on down to her car.
When I got there, I leaned down to talk to Christina through the window and I noticed a man in her back seat.
Christina turned to me slowly, and very carefully she said, “Karin, I’m going to give this man a ride home.”
I said, “Well, maybe I should just come with you.”
She said, “Yes, please.”
So, I got in the passenger seat and off we went.
The unknown can be a scary thing, especially in a heightened situation. I had no idea how this guy had found his way into Christina’s car. I had no idea if he had a weapon. I had no idea why all those men were getting arrested in front of the 20s.
It was a long drive.
But then the guy started talking. He told us wild stories about things he had done for the Mob. A lot of stories. Filled with violence and death. The legs he had broken, the people he’d whacked. He was a big, bad, tough-guy enforcer for the mob.
And it was those stories that made me relax.
The asshole was talking too much. And about the Mob. And if you truly know anything about the Mob, you know that the Mob doesn’t exist. Therefore, there’s nothing to talk about. Ever.
I realized that this guy was a dumbass and the cops were probably arresting his friends for dumbass reasons. He probably didn’t have a weapon. And if he tried anything, well, there was two of us. Which is why I got into the passenger seat in the first place, and why Christina made sure I did.
But he still might have a gun or a knife, so we played it cool. But the tension ratcheted down considerably in that car.
The Drop Off
He had us pull up in front of a house, warned us to not tell, and then stood there waving at us as we drove away. Was that even his house? Who knows! Did he even have a weapon? We’ll never know.
Come to find out that when Christina pulled into the parking lot, he jumped into her car and told her to “drive” while she was looking for a parking place. It wasn’t made clear to her whether he was armed or not. She took her time, in the name of caution for him, to make sure I found them.
We finally made it back to the 20s, and we had us some fun. And maybe that fun was just a bit more meaningful that night.