You Shall Know Our Velocity!
                "Just for the pants. That's why you'd do it."
                Raymond ordered drinks and began talking to the bartender, a young Senegalese woman in a lace top glowing violet-white in the black light. She came around the bar and was by his side, touching his chest. She looked at me and sniffed. I reached over for my beer and waited for Hand to get back from the bathroom. The place was confusing me. I was sick of looking like a leper.
                Hand emerged from the back but was intercepted by a tall thin woman in a halter top and pleather pants. She was built like a fetishist's fantasy -- her legs would reach my armpit and her rear (I can't say ass in this context; could never say ass ) was so round and full it looked like it would pop if lanced. She was leading Hand to the small dancefloor in the back, lit from below and facing a mirror. Debbie Harry was singing "Heart of Glass" and the world stood listless.
                There was another couple dancing, a sailor and a Senegalese woman, but they were dancing with their reflections more than with each other. The man was staring at himself in a way, if directed at anyone but his own mirror image, would have to be considered lewd.
                The other sailors were talking with each other, uninterested in the bartenders or dancers. Who was Hand's woman? I watched them dance, Hand doing a moonwalk and then a kind of samba, laughing. Hand is the kind of guy who has rhythm and can move, but is ashamed of this, so has to goof his way through every song. Now he was doing the sprinkler. Then the shopping cart. He was teaching his new friend the shopping cart.
                After the song he came back with the woman, who was huge, easily six feet tall. She was too thin on top for me, but still, she was magnificent. Senegal: who knew?
                "This is Engela," Hand said. Something like that. "She's studying to become a lawyer." Hand bought shots for them both. He drank his, she left hers alone till he drank it himself.
                I shook her hand and her eyes met mine, scanned my nose and cheeks, and she winced. She played with Hand's ear.
                I was bored. If more people were dancing I could watch or join, but this wasn't working. Now two sailors were on the dancefloor, without women, admiring their own legs moving inside their tight tapered delicately bleached jeans.
                "It is a shame," said Raymond, watching the sailors with half-closed eyes. "This country does not allow its women dignity."
                I thought he might be overgeneralizing, but I didn't really know enough to comment either way.
                "There's Burma," he continued, "there's Thailand, there is Russia. All sell their women. Their souls are sold when born. The men are mice and the women are cattle."
                I drank two vodka-sodas. Soon Raymond didn't like his new friend anymore and wanted to go. Hand's date whispered something to him and he shook his head and whispered back, hand cupped around her ear. She jogged behind the bar and came back with a pen and a little notebook. He wrote something down.
                I went to the bar for a shot of anything. The woman serving me was wearing a white sports bra that looked like it had been mauled by tigers -- desert isle chic. I turned again. Hand was showing his friend something. A piece of paper. A picture. What was it?
                I grabbed it.
                "What the fuck are you doing?" I yelled. It was a picture of Jack. Hand stood and looked at me, heavy-lidded with pity.
                "I told her we were looking for our friend," he said.
                "What does that mean?"
                He was drunk already. He couldn't be, so soon.
                "You know what it means," he

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