His feet started tapping first. White patent leather.
His knees found the beat. Hips gave a little shake within those tight black pants. Soon arms were spread wide, grooving right along.
The dance floor detonated when he walked on.
The DJ saw him coming from a mile away and already had his favorite beat cued up—fresh from Havana, one with a quick tempo and heavy on the horns.
The dancer singled out his preferred partner with a raise of those distinctive heavy eyebrows, she turned her current one away with a comically exaggerated shove.
Bodies parted as they found each other in the middle of a hastily arranged circle, those in the back on tip-toe to catch a glimpse of the master.
Two hands met, another cupped her lower back, the last sat atop his shoulder. Skin on skin, they shimmied faster and faster, whipping the crowd into a frenzy before the first chorus.
The dancer spun his partner toward the front stage, and she deafly caught her balance just in time. He smiled. She met it with glowing eyes and dark hair whipping behind her.
As the song faded out, he released her back into the throng with a wink.
The dancer strode his long strides up toward the second-floor bar. Shoulder pats of admiration.
His whiskey sour was waiting on the edge of the bar before he even reached it.
“How goes it, slugger?” a voice asked from behind his left shoulder. “You’re in some fine form tonight.”
The dancer controlled his grimace as he turned around, shook the admirer’s hand with what qualified as friendliness.
“That’s some piece of ass you had down there,” the latter said with the bluntness of encroaching old age. “You gonna to make an honest woman out of her?”
The dancer responded with a noncommittal grunt, held eye contact a half-second longer than was comfortable. That did the trick. It usually did.
He turned toward the railing with its panorama view of the club, feeling his momentary annoyance recede.
Even here, he wasn’t much of a talker.
He preferred to let his body do that for him. He was a natural dancer, always was. He messed around with ballet for a while, some more classical stuff.
The dancer would never forget his first trip to a salsa club. Sweaty electricity.
From then on, this was home. It still was, more than any other place in the world.
He hungrily took in the scene, the strobe lights darting, slicing through the crowd, occasionally catching a shimmer off the dark walls.
Another new track pumped through the speakers, starting slow and rapidly building toward the climax. His toes started tapping again.
The dancer tipped the rest of his drink down the back of his throat, descended the stairs in a hurry. He caught a fleeting glimpse of his girl amid the mob, but failed to catch her eye. He drew closer, sweat pooling into his crimson button-down.
They were mere feet apart, now, and he reached ou—
“Now batting, number four, Brrraaannndonnn Philllippps.”
An elbow in the ribs further interrupted his reverie. “Votto, you on deck… you all right, man?”
That grunt again, neither yes nor no.
He reached out for his tools, the sticky helmet, the pair of bats.
The slugger worked his way up the dugout steps slowly. An explosion of sound reverberated out of the upper deck as he walked on.
The slugger didn’t even hear the cheers. With a sigh, he grabbed both bats and took some practice cuts.
This is our first chapter of Two-Seam Fiction.