The would-be mushroom-taker told the staff "he forgot he had them." He grabbed his bag and fled westbound on Northwest Highway. He was riding a green motorcycle and wearing a Superman costume.
Although most DarkSiders didn't know it, their club savior, AB, is actually a failed businessman named Wyakie Glenn Hudson. He's a slim black man with a trim goatee and a shiny, bald dome, and, according to an interview he did with The Dallas Morning News, he grew up near Denver, raised by a strict Baptist grandmother. (Emails and calls to Hudson went unanswered.)
Hudson tried to open a few restaurants in the Denver area, he said, all of which failed, before moving to Dallas 15 years ago. Records show that he filed a few assumed business names here, but none of the ventures seem to have ever gotten off the ground. He earned three misdemeanor criminal convictions in 2007 and 2008, two for marijuana possession and one for unlawfully carrying a handgun.
About five years ago, when he was 34, Hudson married a 19-year-old Dallas woman. She filed for divorce five months later, but the divorce wasn't granted until this year because she had some trouble locating Hudson. Another marriage license a few years later expired without Hudson marrying the woman. He told the Morning News he was engaged and had a 9-year-old son.
For Hudson, "everything was spiritual," says Danny Boy, the former security guard. Everyone contained a positive and a negative spirit, he would say, and both positive and negative energy flowed through the universe. Danny Boy had lost any faith long ago, but he'd find himself nodding in agreement.
Then there was Hudson's less holy side.
"He could play with his words," Danny Boy says. "He'd make you think one thing, and behind your back he'll be doing another. A lot of times we questioned what was going on with the money, what was going on with the club."
The club's financial operations were suspect from the beginning, says John Wayne, starting with the very first day he worked there. It was a sweltering August afternoon, and only one of the large portable AC units worked. Hudson told John to wait at the club for some guys who would deal with the AC. John didn't know what that meant, exactly, but he did as he was told.
Eventually three guys in a truck pulled up. They grabbed the only working AC unit and rolled it out.
"Why are you taking the only one that works?" John yelled after them. "I'm not sure if you should take that." They ignored him and drove off.
When John called Hudson to tell him what had happened, "he acted like he had no idea who the AC guys were," John says. And he didn't remember telling John to wait for anybody.
"You done lost my $10,000 AC unit?" Hudson yelled down the phone. John had to work for free for three months straight, and other staff did as well, Danny Boy says, with their wages going to repay the unit John "lost."
"He hustled me, basically," John says. When people started getting paid, finally, it was all in cash. Staff members signed a note card to signify they had received their money. "We really had no idea where the money was going."
Hudson didn't come around much, mostly only showing up at the night's end to collect the money. Other times, he sent friends in his place.
Hannah Dill was 17 when the club got going. A budding graphic designer, she made fliers promoting the club; other times, she worked the door or ran errands. She remembers two of Hudson's associates coming by frequently, a girl named Tiffany and a guy who went by "Face." The cops showed up a couple times when they were there, and the two promptly grabbed the cash box and locked themselves in the closet, Dill says. They sent her and John Wayne to deal with the cops.
As the club reached its height in late 2010, Eppelsheimer kept buying new stuff: more strobe lights, more lasers, more sound equipment. But sometimes, things went out just as fast as they came in. One night, just before New Year's Eve, several people say, nearly everything in the club was stolen. A police report from around that time lists thousands of dollars' worth of stolen equipment, including subwoofers, lights, sound equipment, speakers, a cooler door, an office door and a front door.