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#5199431 Nov 09, 2011 at 09:59 AM · Edited 8 years ago
1619 Posts
"Uncle Craig!" Sean whined, "I only want you to buy me *one* beer!"

"I said no, Sean," Thundrax answered, glaring at the young man. "No, no, no! Frankly I'm regretting even bringing you to this place."

Sean Doerksen, a slim but athletic looking thirteen year-old, sighed, his gaze alternating between the huge superhero and the numerous tempting bottles of beer on the Club Caprice bar. "Uncle Craig" had been a lot easier to manipulate when he was a kid. Such was the curse of adolescence. A second glance at his would-be guardian confirmed that he was not going to be getting any beer with him around. He sighed, propping his elbows on the bar, watching as the bartender served a pair of patrons, a pair of ladies with reptilian skin and large horns, who smelled uncomfortably of brimstone and were nuzzling each other amorously. "Uncle Craig, I thought this was a superhero bar. Why's everyone in here a fricking demon?"

"Some days I ask myself the same question," Thundrax said, downing a quick glass of Killian's and nodding appreciatively to Joe the bartender. The barkeep smiled and threw Craig's tip in the jar. Thundrax always tipped heavily, at least when he was wearing his civvies, and could actually get bills from his wallet.

"And they look like they're all lesbians," Sean Doerksen added. "But it's kinda creepy, not a turn on. Not like porn."

"Newsflash for you, Sean," Thundrax told the teenager. "Pornography is not a realistic depiction of actual sex, in the same way that most movie fights bear no resemblance to two guys actually trying to beat the crap out of each other."

"This sucks," Sean stated, sighing, looking around for other points of interest. There was a large dance floor with lots of colored lights: at least that looked marginally entertaining. Unfortunately, the women in the club didn't seem like the sort who'd be interested in a thirteen year old boy, even one who looked older than his years.

"Don't wander out of sight..." Craig snapped at the young man, only to be knocked hard by an eight foot tall jet-black demon who was downing a shot of vodka. "Ow!" he snapped. "Watch it."

The demon grunted, took another shot, and again inadvertently battered against Thundrax. Craig growled, but did his best to keep his cool.

"Hey Craig!" a man shouted, entering the bar. He was taller than Craig and dressed in black, the official color of Club Caprice. Craig didn't recognize him -- he was sure he must have seen him before, but either in costume, or in some other garb. He nodded back. The man strode up to the Canadian hero. "Whassup?"

Craig smiled back. "Not much. How's it going with you?"

"Going great!" the man said. "How's your wife?"

"I'm not married," Craig explained. "Sarah and I are taking it slow."

"How long have you been engaged?"

"Eighteen months."

"Dude!" the strange but familiar man said, slapping Craig on the back. "I've been married six times in the last year!"

"I'm Canadian," Craig quipped. "We live our lives at a different pace than others-- oh bloody hell!"

Craig looked across the pulsing cacophany of the dance floor and spotted Sean, pressed against a table, surrounded by a circle of three men and two women. They stared at him with red eyes, their open mouths baring wolf-like fangs, Vampires. Without saying good-bye to his impromptu friend -- he'd try to track him down and apologize later -- the huge Canuck forced his way to the edge of the circle. "Sean!" he called out to the young man. Sean Doerksen had a vacant expression on his face, he was now oblivious to the danger.

The five vampires turned to face Craig, their hungry stares were burning malevolence gazes. "What do you want, Steroid-Man?" the lead vampire mocked. He was (or appeared to be) a handsome young man, with a decidedly un-vampire-like dark complexion, dressed head to toe in black. The rest of the group was similarly dressed, except for the two women, neither of whom were wearing much in the way of clothing. The others laughed.

"The kid's with me," Thundrax said. "Leave him alone."

"It appears he's made his own choice." the vampire stated, stepping forward to close quarters with Craig, a sneer on his face. His compatriots agreed, shifting the circle to include Craig.

"His dad left him in my care," Craig snapped, his fists balling. "He doesn't have a choice, and neither do you."

"Uncle Craig!" Sean whined, though there was very little inflection in his voice. "I want to be free, so I can become his thrall! Duke Bloodslake here is going to make me immortal!"

"Riiight," Thundrax sighed, staring at the vampire. "Let him go now, and no one gets hurt."

"Is that really what you want, mortal?" the lead vampire said. "You would pit your paltry muscles against my six thousand years of evil?"

"Six thousand years?" Craig wondered aloud, eying him with deep skepticism. Most elder vampires didn't look like a more tanned version of Robert Pattison without the sparkles.

"I am a child of Caine himself!" the lead vampire proclaimed, throwing up his hands melodramatically. "Doomed to walk the earth feeding on the herd of lesser creatures. I have faced many so-called heroes over the years and they all have fallen before me. " He glanced over at a tall female vampire. "Tell him, Lilith!"

Lilith, the nearly naked vampire who had forehead horns (she was half-succubus/half-vampire) blinked. "Sorry 'slake," she told the lead vampire. "I was in telepathic congress with other members of Group 666. We got another vamp hater here?"

"We should strike down all mortals!" one of the other vampires said.

"He looks tasty," another one said, licking her lips.

"Yes, another persecuting mortal dork." yet another added. "We didn't do anything, yet you hate and fear us!"

"Didn't do anything?" Craig said. "You've cornered my friend's kid, hypnotized him and are planning to turn him into the walking dead. And the lady over there wants to eat me, and the other guy over there wants to kill all mortals!"

"Can you blame us?" Mister "Strike All Mortals Dead" shouted.

"Uh, yes?" Thundrax answered. "If you want to slaughter my entire species, then yes, I do have a legitimate gripe."

"Go, now!" Bloodslake commanded Craig. "And I'll leave you with your pitiful life." Then he laughed out loud for apparently no reason. Craig had noticed a lot of people in Caprice doing that lately.

Thundrax sighed and eyed the entire group. More like jackals than vampires, he thought. Defiant, stupid jackals. Pack behavior always disgusted him. "Do you posers really want a confrontation?" he growled.

"Posers?" Bloodslake's voice raised an octave in its objection.

"Yeah, posers." Thundrax snarled back. "I've faced real vamps, many times. Twelve years ago in Wallachia, I held Mircea Dracul in my arms when Archdruid plunged a stake of white hawthorn through his heart. I created the storm that led Stephen Bathory and the Army of the Impaled into Dr. Black's trap so Black and White could send them all back to Hell."

"Mircea Dracul? Isn't that Vlad?" one of the vampires wondered.

"Mircea is Vladic's son, older brother of Vlad Tepes," Craig informed. "Read a book."

"Don't listen to this idiot," the other female vampire (who was also named Lilith) replied. "He's making this stufft up. I've never even heard of this guy or any of the crep he's talking about before today."

"The Dracula family are amateurs compared with my dark power!" Bloodslake proclaimed, again laughing out loud.

Craig rolled his eyes. He didn't like tooting his own horn, but he also expected recognition and a little respect. Perhaps that made him a hypocrite, but Craig put such self-reflection aside. "Check the records and you'll find I'm very real," he snapped, his hands migrating to his hips. "Do you honestly think that I'm even slightly intimidated by Club Caprice's latest pack of World of Darkness cosplayers?"

"Who cares?" Duke Bloodslake's dismissal was dripping with mockery. "Dude, take your steroids and your human prejudices and get the hell out. We're going to have fun with our prey, and there's nothing you can do about it."

Sean Doerksen blinked. "Wait a minute?" the young man said. "I'm prey?"

"You hate and fear every vampire!" Lilith said, and then she suddenly turned to Bloodslake and sighed. "This is boring, 'slake. Can I go run off and have sex?"

Bloodslake nodded. "Yeah babe," he said, However, before she could leave, Craig stepped closer to the lead vampire. "You folks are wrong," he told the gathering. "There is at least one vampire I like."

"Oh yeah? Who's that?" Bloodslake asked.

"I'll show you," Craig said, and he grabbed the vampire by the back of his head and began to slam his head repeatedly into the table. "One! Two! Three! Ack, ack, ack!" he said, smashing the vampire's head with every count, pausing only for the fake laugh and head nod. "Four! Five! Six! Ack, ack, ack!" he repeated, shooting lightning from his other hand to add the appropriate flourish. "Seven! Seven noggin knockers, ack, ack, ack!"

A voice inside Craig noted that this sort of violent self-indulgence was a little out of character. He didn't care. After all these months of watching and dealing with vampire cliques, It felt extremely cathartic.

Bloodslake slid to the floor, unconscious. "Dude, that's so uncool," one of the Liliths said. "Let's go, people." The vampires turned and walked away, leaving Sean and the unconscious Duke Bloodslake on the floor.

Sean looked up at Craig with a worried expression on his face. "You aren't going to tell dad about that, are you?" he asked, a subdued, plaintive tone in his voice.

Craig shook his head. "That I nearly let you become a vampire buffet? Are you nuts? Of course I won't."

Sean Doerksen's grin reflected the weight of the world suddenly lifting from his teenage shouldrs. "Awesome," he said, and then he cowered as he saw a circle of bouncers surround them. "Oh, oh..."

The lead bouncer, a man witha comparable height and build as Thundrax, closed to an uncomfortable distance. "Mr. Carson," he said, looking Craig directly in the eye. "Mr. Frey would like to have a word with you..."

Craig didn't blanch at the attempt to intmidate him, but he sighed. "Okay, Steve." he told the man. Steve Gurney. Craig knew him from Carl's gym: he regularly trained with a few of the superhumanly strong bouncers from the Club, and Steve was certainly the strongest, almost in Craigh's weight class. If worst came to worst, Craig could beat him in a fight, but he hoped it wouldn't come to that.

"He'd like to see you alone," the bouncer said, looking at Sean.

Craig shook his head. "The kid's with me. He'll only get into more trouble if we separate."

"Fine." The bouncer replied with a nod, and they escorted Craig and Sean to an elevator. Craig quickened his pace, motivated by the one succubus who loudly proclaimed: "These sparkles aren't Twilight, they're Qlipothic." But Seanwas still people-gazing. He tugged on Craig's sleeve and tried to stop him, pointing at a pair of cat-people.

"Look! Over there by the fountain! Furry people in heat!"

"Yeah," Craig sighed, not hiding his disapproval. "Some days it gets very National Geographic around here. Keep moving, Sean."

A large, concealed elevator opened in the far wall of thye ballroom, and the three men entered. It was a short, smooth ride to Caprice's seldom seen penthouse suite. Passing through an office foyer, Craig and Sean came into a wide, spartan room with a beautiful view of Millennium's Renaissance Center. An aged but still handsome man stood alone at a wooden desk, watching the feed of a dozen cameras on a series of monitors. This was Lewis Frey. Once he was Masquerade, master of disguise and arguably the most feared thief in the world, a man who crossed paths with nearly every major superhero in the 1950s and 60s, until Black Mask put him behind bars in 1971. Since his release in 1985, Frey had opened a series of colorful restaurants and clubs, culminating in the establishment of Club Caprice in 1995. "Mr. Carson, are you bringing violence to my club?"

Craig extended a hand to Frey, and they shook. "What I did was nothing compared to what the ex-members of the Guard would have done if those vamps had hurt this boy."

"Trur," Lewis Frey said. "Even I wouldn't want to be on Ravenspeaker's bad side."

Sean rubbed his hands together. "Yeah, I have the coolest bodyguards." he boasted.

"I'm surprised you even brought a kid into my club." Lewis Frey said.

"Sean was visiting Millennium, and his dad left him in my custody," Thundrax said. "And he shares his dad's gift for persuasiveness."

"His dad?"

"Forceknight." Craig answered.

"Ah," Frey answered. "It's been years since I last saw Wally Thompson. A man of extraordinary vigor. He chased me for hours after I lifted that Distinguished Flying Cross from the Canadian War Museum."

Craig chuckled. "That sounds like Wally. You don't disrespect the Canadian Armed Forces on his watch."

"So I discovered, painfully." Lewis Frey said. "He cornered me and gave me a lecture at 110 decibels. By the end of it, I wish he'd just handed me the beating I was expecting and been done with it."

"Trust me it's still painful," Sean said. "But Wally's not my dad, he's my granddad. My dad's actually Forceknight Number Three. He married granddad Wally's daughter -- that's mom -- and then they had me and my sister..." he paused and turned to Craig. "Am I exposing my secret identity?"

"Sean," Craig Carson said. "You're not a superhero. You don't have an identity, secret or public."

"Oh," Sean said.

"I swear, all of your family trees are getting as convoluted as Black Mask's." Lewis Frey stated, pouring himself a glass of cabernet. "But you really should lay off my patrons, Carson. They mean no harm..."

"Hey!" a demon shouted over one of the monitors. "Let's show these humans who really runs Caprice!"

"...for the most part."

"Tell me Frey, was this what you expected when you set up this club?" Craig asked, pointing at the monitor.

"Hell no, but I roll with the flow," the manager replied. "They pay good money. And even the worst of them aren't a serious threat to me."

"The inmates are running the asylum." Thundrax said. "And most days, doing a crappy job of it."

"Maybe so, Carson," the ex-villain said. "Yet you keep coming back."

"I make my living as a professional punching bag, Mr. Frey," Craig replied. "Masochism is at the top of the list of job requirements."

Frey laughed, and then glanced over at Steve, the lead bouncer, as he filled the doorway to the office. "We have a problem?"

"Not we -- only you!" Steve said. Suddenly his form began to shake in a spastic rhythm, and he screamed. Flesh was torn aside as his body swelled, falling in sickening, bloody clumps, accompanied by the sound of cracking bones as his shkelton shifted and grew to support the new mass.

"Ew!" Sean said, realizing that horror movies were a lot less fun when you were seeing them performed live. In a matter of seconds Steve's handsome form was gone, and in its place stood a horned presence, covered with black mucuous and blood. "Again, is everything in this club a fricking monster?" the young Canadian moaned.

Lewis Frey rolled his eyes. "Oh hell." Thundrax said and he interposed himself between the demon, Sean, and Frey.

"Now I know when we hired him that Steve wasn't hosting a demon," Frey told the creature. "That means you just killed my employee. That was a big mistake."

"The Mephisto Ruby," Demon-Steve growled. "You stole it in 1966 and it was never recovered after you were sent to prison. I want it, Lewis Frey, now."

"I stole dozens of very large gemstones during my career," Frey replied. "I stole for the kicks. I didn't hoard them. I have no idea where it is."

"You lie!" the demon said.

Lewis Frey chuckled, a slightly raspy sound. He threw up his hands in mock surrender. "Okay, you got me. Of course I'm lying," he answered, smiling slightly. "A prize like that, srolen from the inner sanctum of the Scarlet Moon? You don't forget or let it go. But you aren't having it, Hellbreath."

"Why do you want the ruby?" Sean asked.

"Power," Craig speculated. "Souls. Imprisoned master. Take your pick."

"The dimensional leylines have been twisted by the constant demonic activity within this place," Steve explained. "All I need to do is possess the ruby and speak the incantation and this Club -- along with the surrounding environs -- will be plunged into the Netherworld."

"Netherworld?" Sean looked at Craig. "Does he mean Hell?"

"Yes Sean, he means Hell," Craig answered, not really willing to debate the nuances of cosmology at such a precipitous moment. "You know I can't let that happen."

Steve laughed. "You cannot stop me. And I shall be richly rewarded for delivering you, Thundrax. Zorasto has a bounty on the second born Carson."

"I'm sure he does," Craig replied. "How much?"

"One million souls," the demon answered.

Craig whistled. "The bastard always did overestimate my value. But that's all the more reason to not let you touch that ruby."

"You cannot protect the child," Steve said. "I will consume his essence and give his body as a plaything to Necrull. Would you like that, Canadian?'

Craig snarled. Before he could make his move, Sean pulled down his shirt cuff and aimed a sonic blaster that was strapped under his clothing -- Lyle Doerksen's ingenuity was more than represented in his son. The demon reeled, and Craig leapt upon it, smashing it several times. But the demon was only slightly fazed, and he destroyed Sean's sonic blaster with a crushing hand gesture, while sending Craig hurtling with a second, holding him there with a wave of force that pressed Thundrax's face painfully against a wall.

"Alright," Lewis Frey shouted, and he pulled out a case from a drawer. "Take the damn ruby!" He hurled a large red stone on a gold chain at the demon. "Catch!"

Steve reached out with one hand to catch the gem... only to become surrounded in a field of blinding white light as he grasped it. Steve screamed and found his infernal essence being sucked into the gem in a maelstrom of red and white light. Several seconds later, he was a skeleton on the floor, the ruby briefly displaying the image of a demon banging on its prison before it faded.

"Ooops, you wanted the Ruby of Mephisto," Lewis Frey said. "Sorry, that was the demon-devouring Ruby of Zabkiel. My bad." He snickered and looked over at Craig and Sean, who were both struggling to catch their breath for different reasons. "Thanks for the distraction, you two. The idiot might have actually thought to look at what I was throwing him if you hadn't done that."

"Poor Steve," Thundrax said looking at the body.

"He has clone material on file." Lewis Frey stated. "And I know a few mages who can recall his soul if we act quickly. We can bring him back."

"Even so, Frey," Thundrax shook his head. "This place is getting out of hand. Maybe you should consider shutting it down?"

"There's a number of problems with that, Thundrax..." Lewis Frey told the big Canuck. "First of all, not all of the folks here are bad."

"Agreed," Craig said, a little reluctantly.

"Second, even most of the bad ones are pretty harmless when they're contained here. If they didn't have this place, they'd go elsewhere, and cause a lot more trouble. Better to have this place open and keep em all here, where they can be watched."

"I suppose," Craig says. "And the same applies to you as well. God help us all if you get bored, especially with all of the information you've gathered on this city's supers community."

"Why Thundrax," Lewis Frey stated. "Are you suggesting that I'd stoop to blackmail?"

"No comment." Thundrax replied.

"Uh, I just helped defeat a demon." Sean stated, eying the amulet. "Do I get a medal or somerthing?"

"It's all in a day's work, Sean," Thundrax replied.

"Damn." Sean said, and he turned his face toward the monitor cameras. "Is that an Orc?" he asked.

Craig nodded. "That's Duratok Gorehowl of the Kro'Taruk. Want to meet him?"

"Sure!" Sean exclaimed. "Uh, if I ask him for help playing my Horde character in World of Warcraft, will he kill me?"

"Probably not," Thundrax said. "May we be excused, Lewis?"

"Only if you admit the Club's not all bad, Mr. Carson." Frey replied.

Craig looked at the monitor. "Yeah, I've made more than a few friends here, and met some interesting folks. Some days you meet really good people here. Days like today, though, it's a real struggle."

"Why's that naked guy with pink bunny ears jumping up and down on the bar?" Sean wondered.

"Okay, you two," Frey said, "Enjoy your evening. Your drinks are on the house."

"Awesome!" Sean shouted.

"You can stick to colas," Craig stated.

"Colas!" Sean protested. "Not even Mountain Dew?"

"Colas. Decaffeinated." Craig said as he glared back at him. "No... more... caffeine..." he said in strained, Shatnerian tones.

"But uncle Craig!" Sean protested, heading back into the club. It would be far from the last argument they'd have that evening...
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#5199621 Nov 09, 2011 at 10:36 AM
680 Posts
[[ then blue bruiser murdered millions of somalian pirates and drank orange soda in a shanty in mogadishu ]]
What Doctor Awesome's mirror shows.

Are you ready for Pain? Are you ready for Suffering? If your answer is YES, get in CORP FORUMS!
#5199911 Nov 09, 2011 at 11:35 AM
976 Posts
((That was hilarious, insightful and fun to read!!
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#5199962 Nov 09, 2011 at 11:44 AM
1240 Posts

Duke put his hands on his hips and grinned, "Oh Bloodslake, you so crazy!"
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#5200208 Nov 09, 2011 at 12:44 PM
1271 Posts
(( Man, this is a wonderfully astute poke at how Caprice can be received ICly. You've taken an OOC problem and turned it into an IC situation with a reasonable explanation, understandable logic and, even better, poser vampire beatings. Wonderful. ))
#5200728 Nov 09, 2011 at 02:47 PM
590 Posts
((Is Craig the 'strongest one there is' in CO Lore?
#5200865 Nov 09, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Alliance Member
(( Haha, this was a pretty epic read. ))
Just another guy with a face.

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#5200878 Nov 09, 2011 at 03:25 PM
1619 Posts
#5200728 Merrow-by-proxy wrote:

((Is Craig the 'strongest one there is' in CO Lore?

Not even close. At 70 STR. by CU standards, he's in the mid-upper echelon of bricks, strong but nowhere near Grond, Ripper, or a few others in the top tier.
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#5200919 Nov 09, 2011 at 03:34 PM
680 Posts
[[ grond smash, grond strongest there is! ]]
What Doctor Awesome's mirror shows.

Are you ready for Pain? Are you ready for Suffering? If your answer is YES, get in CORP FORUMS!
#5200927 Nov 09, 2011 at 03:36 PM
590 Posts
((Ripper is THAT strong? Bah I'll stick to the belief that Craigy could one shot Grond :D
#5201250 Nov 09, 2011 at 04:58 PM · Edited 8 years ago
1619 Posts
#5200927 Merrow-by-proxy wrote:

((Ripper is THAT strong? Bah I'll stick to the belief that Craigy could one shot Grond :D

Grond is pretty much the poster child for physical sttrength (base STR=90, and he can push it to 110), barring cosmic beings like Astron. Ripper (at 100) is only slightly behind him, as is Gargantua at full growth (also 100). No stats have everr been published for Vanguard: I expect him to be in the 100 STR club if they were.
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#5201276 Nov 09, 2011 at 05:05 PM
1619 Posts
#5199621 Awesome Ventura wrote:

[[ then blue bruiser murdered millions of somalian pirates and drank orange soda in a shanty in mogadishu ]]

Blue! There aren't millions of Somalian pirates! Stop that!
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#5201400 Nov 09, 2011 at 05:40 PM
680 Posts
[[ There isn't NOW! AHHHAHAHAHHA ]]
What Doctor Awesome's mirror shows.

Are you ready for Pain? Are you ready for Suffering? If your answer is YES, get in CORP FORUMS!
#5201484 Nov 09, 2011 at 06:12 PM
1271 Posts
(( One day, the mighty nation of Somalian-Pirate Land will conquer a space planet and it will be Somalian-Pirate Planet. Then there will be millions of Somalian Pirates on Somalian-Pirate Planet and they will sail in Somalian Pirate ships. And then they will come to Club Caprice and then Johnny will kill them, mystery solved. ))
#5201496 Nov 09, 2011 at 06:17 PM
459 Posts
#5200208 Sprawler wrote:

(( Man, this is a wonderfully astute poke at how Caprice can be received ICly. You've taken an OOC problem and turned it into an IC situation with a reasonable explanation, understandable logic and, even better, poser vampire beatings. Wonderful. ))

This exactly. I have nothing more to add, short of saying that this was absolutely fantastic and made me laugh out loud multiple times. Nicely done!
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#5201953 Nov 09, 2011 at 09:18 PM
642 Posts
This was immensely amusing. There are little things better than reading about Thundrax slamming some vampires while simultaneously imitating the Count... and finding out that Caprice is so frequented by demons it could literally be used as a doorway to hell.
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#5202937 Nov 10, 2011 at 04:04 AM
370 Posts
I honestly thought the Vampire bit was lifted straight from RP logs.

Is it?
I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.
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#5203296 Nov 10, 2011 at 06:00 AM
1619 Posts
No The only line directly cribbed from actual RP is "let's show these humans who really runs Caprice".
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#5203786 Nov 10, 2011 at 08:00 AM
590 Posts
((Not listening! Craig could bitch slap 'em all! *wails*
#5204284 Nov 10, 2011 at 09:35 AM
524 Posts
I wonder what Lewis Frey thinks of "Caprice", the person telling everyone that she owns the club... xD