Thomas was clearly embarrassed by the prostitutes, and did not even reply to their advances. However, Frank and Ante made a few quick remarks that were neither rude nor dismissive, before entering the casino.
"Not now Ladies!" Frank said with a smile.
"Let us at least get a few drink first!" Ante continued.
The girls remained outside in the cold as the men entered the casino, and Ante asked a bouncer on the way in to keep an eye on them.
"Don't let them bother us," Ante said. "We're not really up for that kind of fun tonight."
"Sure," the bouncer answered. "We're keeping an eye on them. Just let us know if they get too offensive."
The casino was still relatively empty, but that suited the men just fine since it gave them an opportunity to find a table with a nice view of both the bar and the dance floor, as well as a stage that was hidden behind a velvet curtain.
Almost immediately on sitting down a very attractive black girl appeared from behind the bar, ready to take the men's orders. They all ordered a beer, with the exception of Ante who ordered an alcohol free cocktail.
"We prefer it if you pay as soon as you get your drinks," the girl informed the men in excellent English. "Alternatively, we can put it on your Gram card if you prefer."
"Nah, we all have plenty of tokens," Ante replied. "We'll pay as we go."
The men took off their jackets and laid them on a little shelf on the wall behind them, and Thomas put the weight of his balloon on top of the pile of jackets, so that the balloon became suspended above the pile as an easily recognisable landmark. And when their waiter returned with their drinks, they all paid immediately with their casino tokens. The woman was quick to find change for everyone, and disappeared quickly behind the bar again where she appeared to check the received tokens for counterfeits, just like Aung had done in the restaurant.
"So we can't smoke in here, but guns are allowed," Espen commented, looking over at Frank with his gun and gun belt clearly visible.
"Smoking kills!" Frank answered with a smile. "You know! Guns don't kill people... I kill people... with guns."
Frank leant back in his chair, pleased with his joke, and his colleagues smiled in response.
"But seriously! What sort of a twisted place is this, where smoking is forbidden, yet guns are all right?" Espen continued.
"I guess the owner doesn't like smokers," Thomas replied. "It's his casino after all."
"Or maybe he figures most people actually prefer a smoke free environment, and that he will get more people into his casino if he bans smoking," Bjorn suggested.
"Hard to say," Ante replied before taking a sip of his cocktail. "Only Jan knows... Why don't you ask him when you see him, Espen... I'm sure he'll appear again tonight."