George Raft’s Spinning Coins

There were two clubs in the city, one over on 44th and the other one closer to downtown. They weren’t exactly the only clubs in the city, but if you just said “the club” and didn’t modify it beyond that everyone knew what you were talking about. The club on 44th street was a dingy hole in the wall affair, which suited the neighborhood fine. It wasn’t a bad neighborhood, not anymore, but you were more likely to see broken down jalopies parked on the curb than sedans. The club on 44th was open to anybody who wanted to walk in, though few did, and even fewer were allowed to become members. A guy named Rocky Fortune ran the joint and kept his eyes peeled for new talent.

The other club was in the middle of downtown, and was very exclusive. If you weren’t their kind of people, generally speaking you couldn’t even spot the place, though the signs were big enough and garish enough for anyone with the right kind of eyesight. Even assuming you could see the club for what it was, there was still the problem of getting inside. No stairs climbed the twenty stories to its unassuming front, and no door opened in either direction. If you belonged in the club, you knew how to get inside. If you somehow made it inside despite everything and couldn’t convince any of the bouncers that you maybe ought to be on the member rolls, out you’d go again, tied hand and foot and gagged, all the way down those twenty stories, generally bouncing once or twice off the pavement before settling down and spreading out.