The Dragon’s Mane was the hottest nightclub in Waite Park. Tran Van Kahn held court in the basement, and the security kept out the tabloid journalists, gossip columnists, pickpockets, con-artists, and general degenerates. To get in, you had to be beautiful or know somebody or both. No fleas in The Dragon’s Mane, only young professionals looking for a good time dancing the night away with local celebrities, politicians, millionaires, gangsters, and professional party girls. In the Dragon’s Mane, if you could afford it, you could attain it, a saying they should’ve tattooed on their foreheads or at least stamped on the backs of their hands. It was a place to see and a place to be seen.
Tran, by catering to his own security and privacy needs, had created a haven for the city’s elite, a clientele that now felt comfortable approaching their host with personal problems or desires. Over the years, sure enough, The Dragon’s Mane had become the heart of Tran’s empire, pumping blood into all his enterprises and nurturing the growth of his extending limbs. They say the name The Dragon’s Mane rolls off the tongue in Vietnamese and gets stuck in the ear, or something like that. Maybe it did.
Two bars, one lighted blue and one red, were on either side of the door, which opened to a dance floor with sofas and tables along the walls made of floor-to-ceiling mirrors, where the reflections of the gyrating mass flashed to the visual beat of the strobes. Women in body paint danced on platforms above the crowds, and in offbeat darkness, their bodies glowed fluorescent.