Eventually we spilled, like clowns from a Volkswagen, out into the alley. I stopped to tie my shoe, and when I looked up, everybody was gone. Stumbling around a corner, I saw Chang disappearing into another shoebox-sized bar, but when I followed, it was empty except for a couple talking with the bartender. I stood in the doorway, swaying confusedly, until the bartender pointed at a tiny staircase. I squeezed up and emerged inside a music box designed by a demented gay Austrian prince. It was a room entirely upholstered and painted in bordello red. Every inch of wall and ceiling was covered with dripping ornamentation: taxidermied antelope heads and crystal chandeliers and glowing glass bunches of grapes and gilt-framed oil paintings of zebras and lions and sad clowns.
Ansari was slumped on one of the red leather banquettes. Chang was sitting next to him, holding out a glass of whiskey.