And that was our grand opening. I was worried that Mr. Rich would be pissed off that I had manhandled one of his cutomers even though that customer was manhandling one of Mr. Rich’s employees, but I didn’t need to worry at all. Instead of firing me or reading me the riot act, he was actually happy to see me the next day. He said the best part was that none of the other customers knew what was going on because I took care of things quickly and quietly. As a sign of trust, he said, he would give me what he called dossiers on customers in the future, and I soon got used to finding a file folder waiting for me at work. The folders had a page or two on each customer, with a photo, the guy’s name, his occupation, and anything else that Mr. Rich–or whoever put the dossiers togther–thought would be important.
This got me thinking. What kind of club knew who its customers were before they arrived? I don’t know much about fancy country clubs, so I guess they must have some information on their clients, but the type of dirt Mr. Rich’s dossiers had was a lot dirtier than anything I suspected the country club might have. Arrest records, for example. Or sexual kinks.
Which brings me to my realization about just what kind of business I was now in. The models, or hostesses, or whatever you wanted to call them who arrived in the black Lincoln from somewhere in New York were clearly high priced call girls. I’m not sure where Mr. Rich found them, but it’s not likely he just went down to Whores R us and picked up a couple. Some nights the girls were the same, but there was some sort of rotation, and I only saw repeats a few times. Also, as the month progressed, Mr. Rich must have decided that this part of the business was going okay, because he started bringing in more girls, sometimes as many as eight. Instead, he must have connections, and a guy with connections like that, who could fill out a file on his customers and then find women who were into whatever kinks those customers had, was either a great guy to have on your side or a great guy to avoid. Maybe both.
Anyway, the business didn’t really bother me at all. If the women wanted to make a living that way, who was I to stop them. It’s not like the work I was doing before Mr. Rich hired me was any more dignified. We were all just doing the shit work for rich guys. I also noticed that not all of them were taking the guys upstairs. For some of the customers, just spending the evening with beautiful young women who pretended to think everything they said was great was enough.
I don’t know what these rich guys were paying because I never saw any money change hands, at least not officially. One night, I saw an older guy–he must have been in his seventies–spend all evening with one of the girls. He talked all night long, about what I don’t know. Telling war stories, for all I know. At the end of the night, he tried to be all discreet and hand her a thick roll of cash. Suddenly, everyone in the room seemed to go totally blind. No one would look at the guy or the money. The girl–the pale strawberry blonde from the first night–laughed an embarrassed little laugh and gently pushed his hand away. When she did that I could see the outer bill was a hundred. If all of the bills in the roll were the same, that had to be at least two grand. If that was the going rate for talk, I wondered what it was to go upstairs with one of the girls.
I guess at this point I should tell you what the layout of the place was, not that it was all that complicated. The Victorian mansion had a wide porch that ran around three sides, so you entered by climbing three steps to the porch and then going in the wide double doors. Immediately to the left was a large closet and a small desk where Arianna sat to greet guests and take their heavy coats and gloves On the opposite side was another closet that had been left open to form my little alcove. A broad staircase ran upstairs to six bedrooms on the second floor. Mr. Rich’s office and a restroom flanked the stairs. On the left side of the ground floor was the gathering room where guests could play cards, talk, or have semi-private meetings. To the right was the lounge, with heavy overstuffed chairs and couches. In the back was the kitchen, and the chef kept himself busy making fancy fingerfoods and sometimes a real meal. And that was about it. The third floor was private, and that’s where the girls stayed when they weren’t entertaining guests.
The rest of the first weekend was quiet. I didn’t have to dig out my kubotan, didn’t even have to think about doing it. More guests arrived the next night, and they all behaved themselves. Sunday night came and was even more calm and quiet. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed.
Monday was one of my days off since Mr. Rich wanted to keep this a weekend and holidays sort of operation. I was sitting at my kitchen table, drinking coffee and wondering what to do with my day when I heard a big truck pull up in the driveway. I got up to investigate and saw it was a delivery truck from a big sporting goods store. A beefy guy got out and started pulling things out of the back and stacking them in my driveway.
“What’s going on?” I asked him as I came out the side door.
“Delivery,” he siad. No shit, I wanted to say back, but I held my tongue.
“What are you delivering? I didn’t order anything.”
He pulled an invoice out of his pocket. “Says here a Paul Rich ordered this stuff and wanted it delivered here.” He looked at the invoice again. “Oh, yeah, and I’m supposed to tell you ‘thanks for doing a good job.’”
“What the hell does that mean?” I asked, but the delivery guy just rolled his eyes and gave me a “how the hell should I know look.”
I signed for the delivery and looked at the boxes and teh truck disappeared down the road. One box had a big punching bag, one of those bags the size of a fifty-five gallon drum. The other boxes had a weight bench and set of free weights. I laughed when I saw that. I guess Mr. Rich didn’t want me to get soft in my cushy new job. I dragged the stuff into my garage and started setting up. I could see he had a point, since I only had to wander around a high-class brothel a couple of nights a week, nothing to keep me in fighting trim.
It turned out to be a good thing, too. As I said, the rest of the weekend went by so quietly I started to worry about getting too bored, and the rest of the month was almost as bad. The last Friday of the night was different, though. To start, Mr. Rich looked nervous or excited when I got to work that afternoon. this threw me off a little, because he is alsways so cool you have to wonder if he’s really alive or if he just a corpse with an electric cable stuck up his ass to make him look lifelike. He kept pacing around and licking his lips and checking on things he had already checked a hundred times. Finally, I took my file folder with the dossiers of the night’s customers and went off to my little alcove to look them over.
The first one caught my eye, and I knew that Mr. Rich wanted it to catch my eye because he, or the someone who put together the dossiers, had marked the top with a red star. The picture of the guy caught my eye first, because it was not the usual studio portrait type of thing. Instead, it was a publicity shot from a bodybuildign competition. The guy was posing in one of those tiny ball pouches in neon green. His oiled muscles gleamed in the stage lights, and his skin had that weird orange tone that comes form tanning booths. There was another picture of him in a white dress shirt unbuttoned to show off his steroid-enhanced chest. His collar was popped, and his short hair was gelled into dumbass little spikes. A real guido asshole, in other words. I looked at his name finally and whistled low, under my breath. If I told you his name, you might recognize him as the son of a local “businessman,” who had let’s just call them real good connections. Junior here was now almost thirty and ran a chain of bodybuilding studios in the Boston-Providence metro area. If popular opinion and gossip had any truth, then Junior’s business was just a convenient way for Big Daddy to dispose of some inconvenient income. A vanity project and money laundering scheme all in one.
I set the dossier aside and thought. Clearly Mr. Rich knew the guy from somewhere, or maybe knew his dad. That would help explain some of the things about him that made me nervous. To get this place up and runnign so quickly, and to have access to the kinds of girls he was importing every week meant he had some connections of some sort. His nervousness, though, didn’t seem like he wanted to impress a business associate by sucking up to his son. There was something else going on, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it yet. Plus, as far as I could tell, this was a strictly invitation-only establishment. Why had Mr. Rich invited this guy?
I was looking out the window when I saw Junior the guido asshole drive up. It had to be him. No one else would drive a pimped out black Hummer like that with a vanity plate that read BODY1. What a fucking asshole. He got out of the car with his entourage of three ugly fucks who all seemed to be competing to catch his attention. They were also all a lot smaller than him both in height and build. This told me something. Junior liked to surround himself with guys who were inferior to him, guys who couldn’t threaten his picture of himself. If his dad really did have some shady connections, he might have been better off with a couple of ugly mugs with guns, guys who could cover his ass if things started to get dicey. Instead, he went with a trio of ass-kissers. My already low opinion of this posing musclehead went down even lower.
Then there was the way the four of them dressed. All of the customers so far had dressed quietly and conservatively, in business suits or at least sober weekend country club gear. These guys, though, were loud. Junior had on baggy but obviously expensive jeans and a glaring white shirt unbuttoned almost to his navel, showing off his fake bake. He had a huge leather and fur coat draped carelessly over his shoulders and sunglasses with rhinestones at the temples. To top it all off he had a thick gold chain around his beefy neck. His boys were dressed in the same way, but a little less flashy.
They came in, making much more noise than the usual customers, but Arianna, to her credit, greeted them in the same warm and polite way she greeted everyone. I gave them my usual unsmiling nod, but I tensed up when it looked like they thought Arianna might be one of the girls and not the hostess. She was used to getting hit on by experts, though (she had previously worked at a very posh restaurant in Salisbury where drunk Hollywood types liked to hang out), and she easily herded them into the lounge.
For most of the evening, things looked okay, though a little louder than usual. The meatheads were not causing any real trouble that I could see, and I was watching them especially carefully. They all huddled in one corner of the lounge and soon got one of the girls to hang out with them. She was a new one, and I remembered thinking when she arrived that she didn’t look quite like the usual girls Mr. Rich hired. She was a very pretty and well-built blonde, but she had a certain trashy air that the other girls didn’t have despite what they were doing. I realized now that Mr. Rich had hired her just for Junior and his crew. They guy knew what he was doing, I guess.
As I made the rounds, I could hear Junior and his crew laughing at some joke he had told. Judging by the way the girls was trying not to look hurt, the joke was probably at her expense. I knew Mr. Rich didn’t like this type of disresepct, but since they hadn’t done anything too outrageous, I left them alone. I was back in my alcove about fifteen minutes later when I heard a scream and then Junior’s voice cutting through it as he shouted, “You fucking skank!”
I was in the lounge bfore the echo from his shout died away, but Mr. Rich was there ahead of me. He looked completely different. Instead of his usual commanding presence, he was playing the bowing and scraping nobody. “I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to keep your voice down,” he was saying as I walked in.
“Fuck that shit,” Junior spit in his face. “This place sucks! What kind of skanks you have working here anyway?”
Mr. Rich smiled apologetically and held his hands up as if to say, “What can I do?”
I moved forward to stand right behind Mr. Rich. I kept my eye fixed on Junior, and this apparently bugged him. I was happy to bug him. He had been bugging me all evening.
“The fuck are you looking at, you fucking monkey?” he yelled at me. “I’ma kick your pucking ass!”
He walked over to me and stood right up against me. I glanced over at Mr. Rich, and the change in his face almsot knocked me over. The suck-up was gone, and the hardass was back. He gave me a tiny smile and an even tinier nod. I turned my attention back to Junior and looked him right in the eye. Then I took a step back and took off my suit coat. Arianna was right there to take it from me.
“ALL RIGHT!” Junior screamed and ripped–yes, literally ripped–his shirt off. He stood there in front of me, flexing his juiced up muscles as if he were in one of his pansy competitions.
I didn’t take the time to admire his physique but punched him hard in the nose. The entire room could hear the bone breaking, and the blood flew. Junior screamed again and swung at me. He was semi-blinded by the tears and blood in his eyes, so I didn’t really have to do much to avoid his wild punch. I turned to the side and let his fist bounce off my shoulder.
I moved in again and fired two quick hits at his side. He oofed out his breath and took a half step back. I hit again and heard a rib break. He screamed again and tried to bring his knee up to crush in my crotch, but I easily deflect it with my leg. As he was off-balance on one leg, I kicked at his standing leg and hit his knee hard. He went down in a screaming, bloody heap.
Mr. Rich came up behind me and put his hand on my shoulder. “That’s enough,” he said. I shrugged his hand away and knelt by Junior’s side, taking his face in my hand. I squeezed his cheeks together and shook his face lightly.
“Look at me,” I said quietly. “Look at me.” His eyes met mine. “Remember this face. If you ever see it again, you’re a dead man.” I let go of his face, wiped his blood off my hands on his expensive jeans, got up, and left.