Twenty minutes later, I arrived at Samedi’s. It looked exactly the same. The big, garish, blood red neon sign; the heavy oak double doors with gruesome scenes engraved on them; and Bull, the bouncer. He was a big fellow – six five, over two hundred pounds – with mottled skin and dead white eyes. He watched me as I approached. He didn’t say a word, but I detected a subtle smirk. I ignored him and entered the club. Just before the main saloon, there was a small foyer where you could leave your coat. Above the second set of doors that led to the saloon, stood a mahogany board engraved with the words “All Flesh Must Be Eaten”. That was Romero’s motto during the riots. What a joke!
The saloon was as spacious as I remembered it. A sea of tables and booths spread over three tiers. There was a big stage at the far end, but it was dark and quiet right now. The lighting was subdued and the speakers were crooning “Zombietown”, an old hit from an era when it was hip to “shamble”. The place looked busy, with many clients looking for dangerous shambling action, mostly from outside Zombietown, ironically. I had no difficulty locating the Baron, as he liked to be called. He always dressed in white Necromani suits to contrast with his dark, overstretched skin. I walked over to his table. When he saw me, he smiled.
“Well, well, well! The prodigal son returns!” he said, standing up and throwing open his arms as if to embrace me. I knew better than to trust anything he did or said. The Baron was a cold, heartless son of a bitch. Dealing with him was dangerous.
“Samedi,” I said coldly.
“Sit down, my friend,” he said jovially, returning to his chair. “How long has it been? Ten? Fifteen years? I want to know everything that happened to you since then, but first…” He signaled a passing waiter and ordered a bottle of champagne and a steak for me.
“I’m not hungry,” I said. I still felt a bit sick from the odors of the street and I didn’t trust Samedi’s source for flesh.
“Oh, don’t be silly! I know what you’re thinking. That it’s unregulated flesh. It’s not. I’m legal. In fact, I cornered the market in the city. I’m responsible for ninety percent of all import and distribution.” That was news. I remembered that Samedi started investing in it after the riots, but I had no idea he intended to create a monopoly. “See? You can eat it and forget that dreadful, synthetic golem-flesh crap.”
The waiter brought the champagne. Samedi popped the bottle and poured two glasses. I left mine untouched.