As the doors swung open, my senses were all assaulted at once. The blaring music, flashing lights and the smell of alcohol and sweat hit me like a fist. I blinked but smiled and walked it. As I moved through the nightclub, girls winked at me or shot coy smiles my way. I smiled back while trying to find Mike and the group.

Finally I found them, sitting at a table in the corner. Each of them had a drink in their hands and applauded as I arrived. Mike gave me a large smile "And Alan here thought you wouldn't turn up!"

"Well, now that I'm here, you dipshits better start livening up a little!"

Alan laughed. They moved over to make room for me and I sat down. Alan pointed to a table to the left of us.

"See that girl?"

"Which one?"

"The one with the blonde hair and glasses."

I nodded. "You don't have a shot."

He looked indignant. "Well let's see how big you talk when I come back with a girl on my arm!"

Before any of us could stop him, he stood up and began to head towards the table. Kwan shook his head.

"El stupido right there."

The others all began to chime in.

"Captain Dickhead,"

"Sergeant Bitchtits,"

"General Faggot,"

"Shut up, it's starting!"

At Justin's exclamation, we all shut up and looked over. Alan was leaning on the table, chatting with the girl.

"God he looks like an idiot," Kwan remarked.

Alan had a big goofy grin and the confidence of a douchebag. I strained to hear, but the music drowned everything else out. Suddenly the girl slapped Alan in the face. He put his hands up and slowly walked back to our table, ready to face the endless mocking that was about to come.

"What's wrong Casanova? Couldn't tame the tiger?"

"Shut up Mike, before I stick my fist up your ass,"

"That girl is tougher than you by far. You're a pussy!"

At this, Alan stuck Mike in a headlock and began to repeatedly grind his fist against his head. Justin and Kwan were beside themselves with laughter, and despite my composure, I was on the verge of hysterics. When he let Mike go, Mike was almost choking.

"Well, I'm not going to sit around and risk getting another "beating" from the ladies' man of our little group"

He headed off towards the dance floor. Kwan and Justin looked at each other and stood up and headed off to find a girl. I looked at Alan.

"You doing ok?"

"I'm fine Alex. What do you think I did wrong?"

"Lay off the arrogance. Be nice for god's sake."

With a two fingered salute, I headed off towards the bar.

As I sat down at the bar, I noticed a girl sitting about 3 seats down from me, chatting with another woman. One of her friends I guessed. I ordered up a beer and sipped it, not really tasting it. I decided that I should make a move. In one fluid motion I sat up and walked over to where she was. I put on my best sheepish grin.

"Hey, a guy just pinched my ass. Mind if I hide out here with you till he's gone?"

She looked up at me and arched an eyebrow. A curious smile played on her lips.

"Well, Romeo, can you dance?"

"Well, let's go to the dance floor and I'll show you."

She laughed and turned to her friend.

"I'll be back in a bit."

Together, we headed to the dance floor.

Palson POV

Palson walked down the road towards his workplace. It was a small grey building located on the outskirts of Washington. For all intents and purposes it looked like another warehouse, but the inside was another story altogether. The building had been built during the cold war, and was used as a bunker to shelter in from potential nuclear attacks. Not even a wrecking ball could take this down, so the FBI had decided to use it as a backup safe house. Now it was a hub of action.

Palson looked up and saw his boss calling him over. Christopher Neeson was a rarity among the higher ups. He didn't like bullshit, he didn't suffer fools well and he was still running a station only because he didn't want to get involved with all the bureaucracy in Washington. That was why we loved him. He was around 50, with a crew cut and a perpetual squint. His mannerisms and looks all matched the stereotypical no shit sergeant that you saw in movies. However, today he looked nervous.

"Palson, are you still working on that Clarzet case?"

Palson nodded. "Yes sir. It's going slowly, but I think I might be making some progress."

"Drop the case."

"I'm sorry sir?"

"I said, drop the case. It's officially closed."

"But why?"

He cut me off with a wave of his hand. "Just drop it."

"Yes sir."

As Palson returned towards his seat, he couldn't help but feel that something was wrong.