The entrance to Les Bains-Douches was at the top of stone stairs on Rue Le Bourg l'Abbe. Heavy wooden doors contained thick glass provided protection for the clientele and our security force or Blck Jack, Mark, and me, the physionomiste ie doorman. Every night hundreds of Parisiennes and foreigners stood on the sidewalk waiting for my green-lighting them inside to Paris' top nightclub. I waved in most of them, but refused anyone who looked like trouble.
I was called 'ras de pe', 'arseloch', pendejo, and bastard by countless of the refused party-goers.
Some threatened me with violence.
The doors gave me a sense of invulnerability.
Once they were shut, no one could get to me.
Or at least that's what I thought, until a short Frenchman with a crooked nose, warned, "I'll be back."
"I'll be here." I had heard his line before.
Once a gang of Puerto Ricans returned to Hurrah's in New York and attacked Jack Flood and me with knives. Jack got stabbed and I was slashed. The old black gangster tossed me his pistol. I shot a round into the ceiling and the PRs fled the club.
I hadn't expected the Frenchman to return, but an hour later he showed up at Les Bains.
It was well past midnight.
No one was on the steps.
I was alone behind the doors.
Big Jack was downstairs dancing with a girl from the suburban projects and Marc was eating his dinner.
The Frenchman glared at me.
I smiled back.
He pulled out a revolver and pulled the trigger.
A bullet pocked the window at the height of my head without piercing the glass.
The next two shots penetrated the glass without shattering it. Both had been aimed at my heart. I stood paralyzed by suddenness of the attack.
The Frenchman put his weapon away and calmly walked out of sight.
After a few seconds the shock wore off and I shouted for Marc. He came running and I pointed to the bullet holes, explaining what had happened and that the gunman was gone.
"Tu a le chance," said my boss, examining the door.
I've always been lucky, but I wished le chance was la chance, because I was a firm believer in lady luck.
"So what are we going to do with the door?" asked Marc.
"Turn it upside down. No sense is buying another."
"No, there isn't." I agreed with my boss, but neither Marc, Big Jack, nor I stood behind the door for weeks, fearing the gunman's return.
He ever showed and I was glad about that.
Every night of the week."