To the bar, where that gorgeous Alex "Kingdom Come" Ross painting of Dubya as a vampire feeding on Lady Liberty hangs. I think we'd all like to put that in the background of our TV shows, but you'd be hard pressed to find a better one than this. A Native American Vampire American is working the bar, with his fangs out. (I bet he gets better tips that way, too.) He's got long straggly black hair, a kind of crazy eye, and a generalized menace: Long Shadow. Like most of the vamps on the show, he manages to strike a pose somehow charmingly disingenuous, ruinously silly, and totally frightening all the same time. It's a whole Max Schreck thing they've got going on. Bill checks out the go-go boy and asks Long Shadow if Sookie can ask him questions, and she shows him pictures of Maudette and Dawn. He recognizes them both. "Great, thank you. And do you also happen to remember who they hung around with?" Obviously, that's not something they notice. Obviously, that's not something she is going to be noticing either, if she's smart. She is. "Okay, then, thank you. I appreciate you taking the time."
Long Shadow reconsiders, holding up the picture of Dawn: "This one. She wanted to die." Sookie asks how he knows. I would too, she seemed like a together kind of chick. "Everyone who comes here does in their own way," he says atmospherically, and keeps going even after Bill's hard look: "That's who we are: Death." In case you didn't get the memo.
Bill pays, and they for a table; Sookie stares as they go. The crowd seems about half-and-half; there's a whole cadre of dog-collared weirdos staring up at the go-go boy like he's a god. No touching. They're hungry for something. It's hot as a fever, hot like rain. A balding man with a '70s nerdstache tries desperately to get his feet to move to the back of the bar. (Oh my God, he's so powerful. So beautiful. The closer I step, the more beautiful he gets... You can do this. Just walk up there and offer yourself to him...)
"A gin and tonic's pretty much a gin and tonic no matter where you drink it," Sookie tells Bill, putting on a brave face; he smiles and says he knows what she means. The balding man seems to be licking the shoes of a man on the throne in the back of the bar: shoulder length blonde hair, eyes lazy but watchful, like a housecat. That's Eric. He's awesome. He watches the go-go dancers while Sook watches him; Bill's ironic about her noticing him, and a little jealous: "Everyone does. That's Eric. He's the oldest thing in this bar." (Or is it something more? Does he make Bill feel like Andy Bellefleur, in addition to Blair Waldorf? But then, Bill's a model of self-control, he'd never abuse his privileges like Andy does. Right? As long as you call him what he wants to be called, and treat him like a king of this world.)