Nick Lucifer at Club Hell

The setting for Nick Lucifer at Club Hell is Nick’s “somewhat less than respectable but rather alluring and very atmospheric establishment, Club Hell.” The time could be the present or any decade from the 1920s to the 1950s.  Nick is a middle-aged gangster who speaks to us from his table, nursing a drink.  He describes being on top of the highest building in the city with the Old Man’s kid, urging him to jump.  Nick says he told the kid that he jumped and survived with just a limp.  But the truth, he says, was that the Old Man pushed him and he bounced off an awning, breaking his leg.  But that started the legend that he can’t be killed.  He calls the Old Man a psychopath, a destroyer who demands absolute obedience.  He talks about the Old Man knocking up a virgin and getting some poor stooge to marry her, and when his son grows up he lets the kid get murdered.  He talks, too, of Abe who is ordered by the Old Man to kill his own son.  But the Old Man called off the hit.  Nick says that he slept with Lil, the Old Man’s wife, but so did everyone else.  He also slept with the wife of the other son, who he saw lying naked in the garden.  He gave her an apple, not knowing that she and her husband would be thrown out of the garden.  Nick thinks the Old Man is a homicidal maniac who helped him set up his club so he would have someone to blame if anything goes wrong.  He says he heard from Johnny, the kid from Patmos, that something big is coming down the pike.  He says the Old Man is sick and may be dying.  When he dies, Nick plans to take over, franchising Club Hell.  But sometimes, Nick says, he thinks the Old Man isn’t real, that Nick just made him up because he was too scared to be alone.  But, he says, the floor show with naked girls will start in a couple of minutes.  He offers a toast to his imaginary silent partner, wishing him a long and happy death, but planning to bring a gun when he dances on his grave, just in case.  “You can’t trust a son of bitch like that.”

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