An evening spent drowning in the boisterous cacophony that fills Wunderbar. The swanky Old Strathcona club, a known hideout of the Old Ugly criminal outfit, was recently almost shut down after extensive police investigation. I inhale cigarette after cigarette, contributing to the hazy air, sipping at fine imported beer – a rumored byproduct of the extensive smuggling operations alleged of Old Ugly.
A single pillar of light illuminates the stage and, in an instant, the roar of the bar fades into absolute silence. Struggling to see over a rising sea of interlocked shoulders, I can distinctly hear the ring of high heels on the wooden planks of the dais. A voice rings pure and true over the dusty microphone, cutting through the thick air, entrancing the audience. Another night at Wunderbar; another performance by resident singer Caity Fisher.
I stand upon the step of my barstool and finally catch a glimpse of Fisher. She is sheathed in a fitted black dress, her hips swaying as she serenades her captive audience. The silk scarf tied about her neck is one of many presents from lovelorn admirers who frequent the club. She finishes her first number to rapturous applause. A smile forms as her husky voice purrs a sultry, “Thank you, boys.” She pulls out a long cigarette and in an instant three men close to the stage are holding lit matches out for her. She ignites and lets the cigarette drape from her finger as she begins another tune.
A drunken man turns to his companion and speaks, breaking the intense attention of the crowd. His drunken utterances are almost incomprehensible. With a look of disgust, a nearby patron turns and catches him across the jaw with a right hook. The disruptive speaker falls to the ground. My attention reverts to Fisher; for most of the bar, it never wavered.
When her performance ends, applause, whistles and catcalls follow her off of the stage. A gigantic man, roped with heavy muscle – typical of the thugs employed by Old Ugly – blushes and stammers a greeting as he hands her a bouquet of roses. She smiles and glides past him into the back labyrinth of Wunderbar – gone until another night. (Tyler Jack Butler)