By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
"Were you two worried about the Loren Wade thing at all?" I wonder.
"The what?" asks Cecilia.
"Uh, you know, the shooting in the parking lot a few weeks back," states the Jettster.
"No, I didn't even know about it," she says, shaking her head.
"I reckon ignorance is bliss on that one," I mumble. "So what do you like about the club?"
"I can't say, really, since this is only my second time," she replies. "I do like this kind of music, though."
At the moment, it's raining dimes, 'cause nearby Cecilia and Mang, two more hella-fine females have taken their place at the bar. The Jettster and I slide their way and learn their names are Mana and Sherri.
"You two chicas calientes come here a lot?" inquires the Masuimi Max of the PHX.
"Yup, the last time was for the Allen Iverson party," Mana tells her. "The guys here are hot."
"Ever make a love connection here?" I query, hopefully.
"I met some guy at the Iverson thing," she says, laughing.
"And what about tonight? You lookin'?" I raise an eyebrow.
"Nah, 'cause he's supposed to be here -- the dude I met at the Iverson party!"
Dang, shorties move fast these days. We wish Mana and Sherri happy hunting, cop another beverage from our man Refugio at the bar, and head over to the other side of the room, where we spot the booful Athena, an ebony-skinned goddess in a turquoise top, shimmying to Petey Pablo's earthy growl. She's in the club tonight to dance, drink and unwind from a long week of work.
"I'm a fine-art model at the Scottsdale Artist School," she divulges. "And I teach a dance class called Jungle Belly at Bodyworks Studios on Thursdays."
"Jungle Belly? That sounds so . . . sinful," pants the Jettster, undressing the poor gal with her eyes.
"It's very sexy!" she says, nodding her head, oblivious to the fact the J-dawg's in heat. "It's Caribbean, with a Middle Eastern and African feel."
"Did you have qualms about coming here, because of what happened a few weeks back?" I interject, in hopes of deflecting the Jettster's canine-like lust.
"Well, I have noticed a decline in the number of people here, and it must be because of the shooting. It's not good when you get bad press, especially when it's over a murder. The place has become kind of taboo. But as long as we create a positive energy here at CBNC, everything should be okay."
"You feel CBNC's getting a bad rap?"
"I do because it wasn't CBNC that shot the young man," she contends. "It was another human being who had a choice."
"One more question, baby," interrupts Jett. "You say you're a model. Ever pose au naturel?"
"I have to plead the fifth on that one," says the beauty, a tad embarrassed.
"Forgive my assistant," I apologize, shoving the Jettster behind me. "I'm still looking for one with an IQ higher than room temp."
We cruise around a while until we spot this fly cat named Sonny Long, in a sharp black shirt and white fedora with a black band. Long explains that he's a recording artist reppin' 602, and that his new album, The Resume, featuring a combo of jazz, R&B and hip-hop he calls "gumbo music," will be out in September. I ask him how he'd describe CBNC, as he says he pops in from time to time.
"Laid-back," he states emphatically. "Me, I'm an entertainer. I've got money, and I feel safe in here."
"Interesting you say that. Were you here the night of the shooting?"
"I was," says Long. "They were both my friends. The guy who got killed, and the one who did it. But it happened so quick that night [that] the cops couldn't stop it."
"It's just a sad situation all around," I tell him.
"Thing about it, that sort of shooting could have happened anywhere, really. I've been coming here three years, and I've never had any problems."
Shortly after our confab with Long, last call is announced, and we file out into Papago Plaza, where there's some serious parkin' lot pimpin' going on. But like in the club, everyone's very sociable and pleasant. Well, almost everyone. One dorky white boy, reeking of well-vodka and wieners, holds a hot dog he's purchased from a nearby stall up to his fly as Jett's snapping his pic.
"You know who I am?" asks Mr. Mustard-Breath. "That's okay, you don't need to know."
"Oh, we know," says Jett. "Every club has at least one asshole, and you're it!"