The bar hummed with a tangle of white noise; an entwined chorus of clinking glasses, mumbled conversation, and raucous tunes belted out by a mullet-sporting cover band. People moved around in swarms, balancing cellphones and pints, oozing charm and swagger. Ripley pushed through the crowd, every touch shooting pangs of irritation straight through to his core. The flashing lights and noxious odors of smoke and whiskey and weed were almost too much for him to handle. However his lack of hearing had one upside, and this place was a classic example. He wasn’t overwhelmed by the noise that undoubtedly emanated from the speakers and undesirable crowd. That, and he didn’t have to strain to hear conversational partners.
“Is he here?” Ripley shouted across the sugar-tacky bar...
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