Terence looks out over the bar from the raised area. Humans everywhere. No animals.
You fuckers. You've left me. What the fuck do I do now? Wait. There are hardly any dancers either. They're all in the dance booths.
There's a grey mane in the corner of the room, at a table. A tail flicks. A paw lands on the shoulder of a nervous human, manhandling him. The human's friends laugh. Terence flies to Jacob's shoulder.
Jacob's smile drops off his face.
“I need to borrow twenty quid,” Terence says, quietly.
Jacob doesn't lose eye-contact. Doesn't move his head. Just pulls out a purple note.
Terence takes the note, pride-smashed. “Thanks. I've just one favour to ask,” Terence says.
“You mean two.”
“Okay, two. Don't mention this to the lads. Please.”
Terence trails back to the girls, stoney-faced, and hands the full wad to them without saying a word.
I want to get out, Terence thinks. There's Peter, coming out of the toilet.
Terence mooches over, avoiding the dancer's gazes, gawping at him from the bar. The hip-hop track changes. He hops up to the Hippo's shoulder.
“I say we make a move,” Terence says.
“Why?” Peter asks, scanning the women.
Terence doesn't have to answer. A blurred image of peach and blonde bursts through the side corridor from the dance booths. The dancer lands, cracking a mirror, slumped crooked against the wall. It's the blonde that danced for Terence.
An entire platoon of doormen charge from the entrance, through the bar, and into the corridor. The customers and dancers shut up. There's a yell. Three doormen bounce back into the room like they've been hit by a speeding car.
Jacob groans. His shoulders slouch. He bounds over to the corridor.
Terence watches the doormen pick themselves up. He can hear Edgar shouting “This is bullshit!” Terence glances to the entrance.
“Stay here,” Jacob orders.
Fuck you, Terence thinks. But he doesn't move.
The doormen wrestle Edgar into view, white shirts bookending black fur in the dim light.
Aaron is waving them back toward the exit like he's some kind of Afrotherian airport marshal. Jacob bounds over, teeth bared. The doormen freeze.
“What the fuck are you doing?” Jacob snarls.
Edgar freezes too.
“You're a fucking embarrassment, you know that?” Jacob shakes, like he's shedding fleas from his mane.
The doormen look at Edgar. Edgar looks at the floor.
“Fluffy would be so ashamed,” Jacob says.
Terence closes his eyes. Fuck.
A doorman mouths to another. Fluffy?
“We need to go,” says Aaron.
Edgar shrugs. The doormen loosen their grip.
“I'll go,” says Edgar. I don't give a fuck.” He walks out. His headpad catches on the door. Clock. “Fuck, it hurts when you do it by accident.”