The place smelled suspiciously of chocolate raisins, which had been discarded in a perfect line along the base of the bar. I noticed the bartender who give a courteour grimace.
"New guy huh? What can I get you?" he said, offering out a weary hand. "The name's Skoob. I'm the bartender guy around here. I can open a tab, but I guess you don't got no money."
I checked my pockets to discover my wallet had vanished. All I had left to me now was a pack of Spearmint chewing gum. I began to scan the crowd of fringe writers for the enigmatical #3, but to no avail.
"What the hell do we do around here?"
"Mark works us pretty hard. You see an article, you write your witty analysis. Most of us are old whips in this trade. There's this woman called Queen Mudder: you gotta watch out for her. She's been here for 6 years."
I gulped into my drink, realising that the social web of this mysterious place was growing larger and larger. Sure, Skoob seemed like the nicest guy on the block (and I had the feeling he was), but something about it didn't seem right.
A young man watched me from the other side of the bar, talking rapidly in French into a battered telephone box. Only the words 'Sarkozy' were distinguishable, before the guy switched to English.
"Yeah, we've got the new guy in who can cover the event sir. No I fully understand. Ok,"
He approached me, and stuck out a hand. He never said his name, and it was concealed by a label.
"Mr Le Fete? Mark's just called. He wants you to check your mails immediately. Something big is going down and he wants you to cover it. Pass, and you get as many points as you can imagine. Fail, and it's a whole other story,"
"Who are you?" I asked, but the guy had vanished. Gazing at Skoob, the former boxer offered me a rare smile.
"Regards Mr. Le Fete. Power is a dangerous game. I suggest you get working,"