(Anyone in need of shelter in Carlow please contact the Carlow County Council on 0599170302)
The bus arrived at the farm and twenty people clambered off. Paddy was on hand to greet them. “Welcome to the farm, I’m Paddy your host, Brianna is my wife and my friends Patrick and Rhondda you’ve already met. Sean has been hired as my assistant in charge of accommodation. I’ll pass all information through him.
“We plan to build permanent housing and medical facilities in some of our outbuildings. These will take some time to construct. In the meantime, a friend at the Curragh Camp, Newbridge, of the Irish Army, has offered us three 18-foot by 24-foot tent army tents for occupancy and a mobile army field kitchen. One of the tents will be for women, one for men and a third for families. For security, we’ll have ex-army military police to patrol the grounds. Living in a tent probably doesn’t sound very appealing. Patrick and I are ex-army and this is the army way.
“I came upon this idea after contacting many of my former comrades in arms. They reported difficulty in returning to civilian life. Some suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, some had developed addictions, others faced mental issues, others were homeless. I wondered if there was a way that I could help some of my buddies by providing medical, psychological and addiction support in a stress-free environment. As you can see I have the land. I’ve applied to the Residential Tenancies Board for a license to rent accommodation. Non-Profit status is being arranged by my lawyer and we will be working with local agencies such as the Carlow Volunteer Center, Carlow Women’s Aid, the Monastery Hostel, Carlow County Council, the Health Service Executive, Gardaí and St Catherine’s Community Services.
“We’ll be offering jobs in construction, cooking and cleaning at current, local rates of pay. We also recognize you as unique individuals with unique problems, please tell us about your situation and any special requirements. We don’t judge or discriminate. We know that some of you are fleeing a violent relationship. We are here for the sole purpose of helping you transition through a difficult period in your lives. That’s all for my speech. Have a look around, ask questions and offer suggestions.”
A man approached Paddy. He said, “My name’s Ted. Will you be having Alcoholics Anonymous meetings here? I haven’t had a beer for thirty days now. At first, I got really sick. It was like the ‘flu. I’d have sweats one minute then I’d be shivering my ass off. My kidneys shut down. I didn’t pee for three days. After four days I went to the doctor. I told him about my problems. He said I was suffering from alcohol withdrawal. He said I could have died. I didn’t know that. He said I should have cut down to three beer a day for the first week, then two a day the next week, and one a day for the following week. Then it would be okay to quit altogether. I’ve had diabetes for the past ten years, so cutting out the beer will be good for that as well.”
That’s a good point, Ted, “Yes we Will be hosting AA meetings. Where are you attending now?”
“Every day I go to St. Catherine’s Community Services Centre. Their meetings are six days a week at 1 PM and 8:30 PM.”
“It will take a while to get AA located here, but in the meantime, we can drive you into town and back so you needn’t worry about missing your meetings.”
“It scares me. I hear these voices in my head. One will say, ‘Stay away from that stuff, Ted It’ll kill you.’ Another voice says, ‘Just have one drink. You can handle it.’ The problem is that once I’ve had a drink my resistance goes down and I’ll keep drinking until I’m unconscious. I’ll wake up and not remember anything.”
He asked the man standing next to him, “Chester, have you ever been in a rehab program?”
“Yes, three times. Each time I told them the same story and each time they said, ‘We don’t want you here.’
“What was the story that you told them?”
“I said, “Each morning I wake up, get drunk, fall down and have fun.”
Ted continued, “I know so much about those places I could be a counselor. In group sessions when you first arrive you have to give a statement. It would start with, ‘I am an addict and I can’t control my addiction.’ Sometimes, when young girls were asked to describe their situation they’d start crying and say they couldn’t talk about it, the counselor would say, ‘Go over and talk to Ted. He knows what’s going on.’ So, they’d come over and I’d say. ‘You have to be open and honest. You say you can’t talk about what happened, but the truth is that you’re not willing to talk about it. The only way this program is going to help is if you put your heart in it.’
“The counselors would question me and I could tell them just what they wanted to hear. They’d say, ‘Ted you have such good retention of information.’ It was like going for a school exam when I’d taken the same exam five times before. These places all asked the same things.” “So how are you doing now, Ted?” “I drink, smoke a bit of pot, occasionally take meth. I don’t drop two tabs like some of these kids; I cut a tab in half and take that. It helps with my sexual performance if you know what I mean. “I made a commitment this morning. I’m going to cut out the hard stuff. A couple of days ago I got really wasted. When I woke up this morning I had the shakes, my legs were twitching. I had two beer, 4.9 percent, and it leveled me off. From now on I’m going to stick to beer.”
“Do rehabilitation centers work?”
“Yes and no. I’ve been in rehab five times. I’m still an alcoholic, but they kept me clean for a while. The longest period was five years. That’s when I was living five miles in the bush. The outreach workers were great. Each Friday they’d walk the five miles into my camp to see if I was okay. They’d bring soup and other food supplies. I felt guilty so I said to them, ‘Instead of you walking here, I’ll be on the highway at eight o’clock every Friday evening.’ So, that’s the way we worked it out.”
A military truck pulled into the driveway of the farm. Two soldiers unloaded the four tents. One of the soldiers approached, “Paddy, you old son of a gun. I haven’t seen you for a while. We’ll have to get together and have a few beers.”
“Declan, I wasn’t expecting you to come in person. It’s great to see you. This group here is in need of emergency shelter. How can you help us?”
“At the Irish Defence Forces, we have the UN Training School. Your request falls into the category of Peace Support Operations: the provision of regional security missions and fundamental human rights. Our commanding officer is very interested in the care and treatment of veterans suffering from PTSD. We have Trainees in Military Medicine, Family Services dealing with domestic violence, drug and alcohol rehabilitation. We also have the Irish United Nations Veterans Association. I’m sure you will have many volunteers when they hear what you’re doing.
“So, we have the tents you requested, the emergency kitchen facilities, cots, blankets and bottled water. After you’re set up let us know of any further requirements, advice or services where we may be able to help.”
“Thanks, Declan, much obliged.” What do you say, folks? How about a cheer for the Irish Defence Forces.”
A cheer arose. They were happy to have a place to stay.
Patrick announced to the crowd, “You’re welcome to stay here. You can help to erect the tents. We’ll serve a hot meal. Brianna is working on it in the kitchen. If you want to return to Carlow I’m sure I can convince these soldiers to drive you where you want to go.
“If that’s it, let’s get those tents up and eat dinner.”
Sean had slept in one of the empty bedrooms at the farm. He joined us for breakfast and agreed to introduce us to his friends. On the drive to town, he chatted about everything and nothing, “I’m pissed off with this Brexit situation. I was born in Scotland, but if Britain separates from Europe I’ll need a passport to travel out of the country. I have a friend in Ecuador, he says there are plenty of harvesting jobs there.
“They should decriminalize panhandling, street prostitution and drugs. And I mean all drugs, heroin included.”
Sean directed us to where a group of people was gathered. Most of them were smoking. They all looked to see who Sean had with him and why?
Sean said, “These two are friends of mine. If anybody has a problem with that they’ll have to go through me. They’re here to help. They got plans to house homeless people. We’ll have access to, doctors, psychiatrists. Most of us have a problem in that department. In the meantime, they’ve offered tents, meals. It’s all free. We can repay them by doing work around the farm. Who’s interested in checking this out? You got nothing to lose but the hassle of the guards (police).
Patrick was concerned about transportation. He reluctantly decided to rent a bus. There was much discussion about local matters. Who’d been beaten, who’d been robbed, who’d been raped.
One woman said, “Whatever happened to that mother with her six-year-old boy. The one that had a tent set up a tent outside the local authority’s offices in Carlow. She had brought proceedings in the High Court challenging the local authority’s refusal to provide them with emergency accommodation.”
“I remember that,” said another.
Carol Singleton and her son Jake, who had been living in a tent outside the local authority’s offices in Carlow, had brought proceedings in the High Court challenging the local authority’s refusal to provide them with emergency accommodation.
In his judgment today Justice Charles Meehan dismissed her action, which had been opposed by Carlow County Council.
Following the ruling, the Singleton’s solicitor Shannon Kerry of Mercy Law Resource Centre said they were disappointed with the decision. She said Carol and Jake did not know where they would be living tonight.
The court had heard that after leaving the tent the Singletons had been living in accommodation paid for through charitable donations, pending the outcome of the court’s decision, the solicitor said.
Carol Singleton had left Dublin with her son in late March and returned to her native Carlow following a breakdown in her relationship. She had stayed with relatives until they were no longer able to provide them with shelter.
In April they presented as being homeless at Carlow County Council’s offices and, while initially having been refused emergency accommodation the Council put them up at B&Bs for short periods up until 12 June.
When the council stopped providing them with accommodation on 12 June last month she staged a sit-in before being removed by the gardaí. She then took up residence in a tent outside the council’s offices.
Due to fears her son may be taken from her, friends and supporters of the Singletons allowed Jake to sleep on their sofas. She had tried but had been unable to secure private rented accommodation.
The Singletons asked the High Court for an order directing Carlow County Council to consider their outstanding application for emergency homeless accommodation by way of social housing support or by any other means.
They had also sought an order quashing the council’s decision that the Singletons could reasonably be expected to use alternative accommodation until the mother was able to rent a property.
The council opposed Singleton’s demands on the grounds it had limited resources available and that her requests had been fully considered.
Justice Heenan, in a reserved judgment, said there was no basis to quash the council’s decision and the Singletons were not precluded from making a fresh application for emergency accommodation should further circumstances arise.
He said a detailed meeting between Singleton, who was accompanied with a representative of Focus Ireland, and the council had been held on 24 May last as a result of which he could not say the council’s decision to refuse further emergency accommodation could be “fundamentally at variance with reason and common sense.”
The judge said he was taking into account the resources the council had available and the competing demands on those resources.
The council had told the court there are 150 other persons in Co Carlow in a similar situation to the Singletons, and the council cannot afford to give the Singletons priority.
The judge rejected claims by the Singletons that the council had not given them adequate reasons for its decision.
He noted that Carol Singleton will have a housing assistance payment available to her where she would be paid a sum of money each month to go towards rent. (The Journal.ie, 14 August 2017)
“That’s no way to treat people,” grumbled the group.
Patrick shouted, “There’s a bus on its way. If anybody wishes to see the farm and the plans we have for it please climb on the bus. We’ll be happy to answer any questions. We’ll drive you back here anytime you want.”
Patrick and Rhondda awoke in the farmhouse to the aroma of bacon and coffee. They dressed in casual clothes then joined Paddy and Brianna in the kitchen.
“Something smells good,” said Patrick as he whiffed the air. He pulled out one of the vacant chairs and seated Rhondda then took the seat beside her.
“Thank you, ” said Rhondda, “I do appreciate the gentlemanly gesture.”
“My pleasure,” he answered.
Paddy waited until everyone had been served their food and drink then cleared his throat. “I’ve been giving some thought to your situation. A photographer will be coming this afternoon to take passport photos. If you’re completely satisfied with your new names I can start the process with your international driver’s licenses. After we have all the papers in order you can apply for health insurance through the Irish Health Care System. Most things are subsidized, but I’ll list you both as employees so you will be covered under the farm’s private insurance.
“Concerning your physical security, I think you are relatively safe here. With new identities, there won’t be any electronic way of tracing you. There would be more to be concerned about in Dublin, it being a bigger place. As I understand it the new owners of the strip club have access to all closed-circuit scanning devices so there will be photos of you circulated throughout the biker network. You’re the first person I’ve discussed this with, so I don’t know what the response will be. There are a lot of soldiers suffering from PTSD. They’ll be pleased to hear of a treatment center manned by other soldiers. I’m going to ask them, ‘Do you want to take lives, or would you rather save them?’ I expect that we’ll have a small army here on the farm. It’ll be no worse getting shot by a biker than it was being a target on the battleground.
That brings me to your appearance. Rhondda you’ll need to have your hair cut.”
“What? No way! I’ve worn my hair long since I was a little girl.”
“Just joking, but you may need an assortment of wigs.”
“That, I can do.”
“Patrick, there’s nothing we can do with you. You’re always going to look like a cop or a soldier. Perhaps you can try one of Rhondda’s wigs.”
“On to other matters, since we’re all in agreement about the possibilities of housing for the homeless. We hope to also build offices for doctors, psychiatrists, drug counselors, and rape crisis staff. We’ll need to know what their space requirements will be. Most important we need direct communication and advice from the people on the streets who are most affected: addicts, alcoholics, trauma and other vulnerable victims. Employing people from these ranks is absolutely necessary. Only a drug addict can counsel another drug addict. That’s a lot to cover. Let’s go into Carlow Town and speak to some interested people.”
Patrick said, “Rhondda and I’ll try to locate Sean. He’ll be able to steer us towards the homeless camps and I’m sure he’ll have some ideas about what works and what doesn’t.”
Rhonda said, “Later this week I’m going to visit Carlow Women’s Aid on Old Dublin Road. I’m sure they’ll be able to advise me. Maybe I’ll sign up as a volunteer.”
Paddy said, “I’m going to talk have an architect visit advise us how to best use the space and hear his recommendations. I’ll also set up appointments with doctors, psychiatrists and speak to the head of the Institute of Technology Carlow. We might be able to set up some cooperative programs sharing school work with hands-on work here.”
“That sounds good,” said Patrick. If you can drive us back to the cottage, I’ll collect the rental car, our personal belongings then we’ll meet you back at the farm late in the afternoon. You might also want to think about temporary accommodations such as military tents and camp gear. It won’t be ideal, as you know, but it’s better than sleeping on the streets.”
After collecting our rental car, packing our bags in the trunk, we headed back to Carlow Town to search for Sean. There he was sitting on the same rock as yesterday.
“Hello, Sean, I was wondering if you’d care to join us at the pub as our guest.”
“That’s an offer I can’t refuse.”
We walked to Scraggs Alley, sat at an empty table. The waiter took our order of a light lunch and a Guinness for each of us. After our meal, I said to Sean, “A group of doctors, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists and philanthropists are interested in providing accessible, mental and substance abuse/addiction care for the homeless in a nearby area. We have in mind an existing building starting with twelve beds. Is this something that you’d be interested in? Are twelve beds enough?”
“A thousand beds wouldn’t be enough, but twelve would be a dozen more than we have right now. Follow up and job placement would be mandatory. These people would need to trust that there was someone to turn to if they had a relapse or things went bad. AA has a helpline that alcoholics can use if the need for a drink is too great. They can also go to meetings whenever they want, some go once a day, some go five times a day.
“You’re asking me about this in what capacity? I’m not interested in rehabilitation for myself. I’m different than a lot of people who need drugs and alcohol. If they don’t get their fix or a drink for a couple of days they get symptoms of nausea, headaches, sweats, diarrhea, insomnia, and anxiety, among others. In extreme cases, alcohol detox can cause death. Sometimes, drugs are used to lessen the effects of alcohol detox. “I’m not one of those people.
“For me, it’s a lifestyle choice. I want alcohol, but I don’t need it. Deciding to give up sex doesn’t mean that a man doesn’t get a hard-on. The want is always there. I used heroin for a while but didn’t get addicted because I don’t have an addictive personality. Also, I wasn’t trying to escape from anything. There was nothing that I wanted to forget. I came to Ireland with five friends, we called ourselves a gang. Can you guess how many of them are still alive? One, and that’s because he’s serving twelve years in prison for murder, or manslaughter. Have you seen the movie Trainspotting? If you haven’t you should. It was filmed near where I used to live in Scotland. Do you remember the urinal scene? I was there. My friends were just like the characters in the movie.
“If you’re thinking of a model rehab situation you should look at Holland. Prohibition never works. See what happened in the States, it put all the money in the hands of organized crime. In Holland, what they did first was to eliminate the money. A drug or alcohol addict could get a government license and he would be provided a limited amount of the alcohol or drugs of his choice. He didn’t have to buy from underground sources, so they dried up.
Sean continued, “You must be willing to accept people who are drunk and/or on drugs. At present these people have been turned away from AA and the Salvation Army. They demand that an addict be clean for twenty-four hours before entering their premises. There is a small window where addicts have hit rock bottom and may decide that they desperately want recovery. If an addict or an alcoholic can resist for twenty-four hours they don’t need a program. In Scotland and Holland, addicts commit to seventy-two hours where they are locked in and sometimes tied down. After that, it’s their decision to stay or go.
“There would need to be a pharmacist to administer the drugs of choice. Methadone is not a substitute for heroin, it replaces the craving and is administered to a user who has given up the drug, much like a nicotine patch is used by someone quitting smoking. You can’t just slap a patch on a smoker and expect any results. They have to have a deep desire to quit. Being told by a doctor that you either quit or die is often enough motivation.
“It’s essential that there be representatives on the board who were down and out drug users or alcoholics and are now in recovery. Nobody else would know the hell that recovering addicts go through. As an example, a man wouldn’t be effective as a counselor at a rape crisis center, unless the man had himself been raped. A healthy youth wouldn’t be effective counseling to elderly arthritis sufferers about how to deal with their pain. As a parent you wouldn’t be effective counseling pedophiles, you’d look down at them with disgust. Am I getting my point across?
“Another thing you would need is security. If addicts can’t get money for drugs they’ll resort to violence and stealing. This causes bad feelings. If both the thief and the person stolen from are in the same room, or if one is outside and the other is inside, they’ll break down the door to get revenge. If you’d like I’d be willing to speak to this group, and could refer other people who may be of value in the program.”
Patrick said, “You’d be a welcome member of our team. The other members would be most pleased to hear your perspective and recommendations. They may also be able to find you a place to sleep. Tell your friends. You can be our spokesperson.”
We drove with Paddy in his Land Rover to his farm outside Enniscorthy, a village in the southeast of County Carlow and close to both the Wicklow and Wexford borders. The house originally built in 1825 has seven bedrooms, a living room, dining room, pantry and kitchen along with a utility room and one bedroom. Upstairs there are six more bedrooms and a family bathroom. Red took photos from every view imaginable.
Paddy said, “My family has lived here for close to two hundred years. There are over 200 acres of arable land. Currently, 60 acres are in tillage with the remaining in permanent pasture. We raise sheep, cows and horses. Beef prices have taken a tumble so this year we may reduce the size of the herd.
“So what do you think? Barn conversions to human habitation are common in this area. In the newspaper, I noticed fifty-one adds for barns that had been converted to homes. I think that with proper planning we could accommodate a hundred or more people and still keep it a working farm.”
Dane said, “This is perfect, Paddy. I can’t wait to get started with a hammer and saw. What do you think, Red? Do you see possibilities?”
“Most definitely. This place is beautiful, just look at the views from every direction. I love the sheep. They look so peaceful.”
“Well,” said Paddy, “since I have your approval why don’t you move into the farmhouse? That would make more sense. Being from America I didn’t know how you would react to farm living in Ireland.”
Dane said, “My ancestors lived not far from here. In 1823 they had a farm twelve miles from Carlow Town on the main road leading south. This is a return to my roots.”
“Have a good look around, then join me in the kitchen. There’s a bottle of Jameson with your name on it. I’ll have my wife, Brianna put out supper when you’re ready to eat.”
“I can help her,” said Red. “You two have a lot of catching up to do.”
They entered the main house were introduced to Paddy’s wife. She said to Red, “Aren’t you the stylish one. What pretty clothes. We don’t get fashion like that in Carlow. In Dublin, perhaps, but I don’t think so.”
“These are from a shopping spree on our last day in Beverly Hills. They don’t seem very practical here and I don’t think we’ll be going back. Like in a witness protection program we’re looking for new identities.
“If you have an apron I can help you with supper and we’ll have a chance to chat while the men are plotting and drinking.”Have you thought of a new name?”
“My ancestry is Welsh and I’ve always liked the name Rhondda with two ‘ds’, as in the Rhondda Valley in Wales. I’ve heard it’s pretty there.”
Brianna said, “I have an idea, Rhondda Redmond. Something new and something old.”
“I like that, now we’ll have to think of a new name for my boyfriend. He’s been going by Dane Cross. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that is the name of a porn star.”
“How about Patrick, you can’t get much more Irish than that. Now for the last name. Any ideas?”
“Pierce would go well with that. Patrick Pierce. Let’s run it by him. Dane, we’ve found some new names. How would you like to be Patrick Pierce and I’ll be Rhondda Redmond? They have a nice ring to them. What do you think?”
“Sounds fine. If, after a while, we decide we don’t like them we can change to something else.”
“Paddy piped up, “Don’t think of changing names too often. Remember, I have to arrange the paperwork. That can get a bit tricky.”
“Red, now Rhondda, asked Dane, now Patrick, “What’s it like building a new life. We can’t be able to see our families or old friends. We’ll have to avoid major cities, especially those frequented by biker gangs. It’s a depressing thought but we don’t know if we will be walking down a street one day, bump into the wrong person and have it all end then and there.”
Patrick replied, “What you say is true, but what guarantees does life offer? When you open a refrigerator door you expect the light to come on; when you close the door you expect the light to turn off, but that’s based on past experience, not a certainty. Every morning we expect the sun to appear over the horizon. But according to the philosopher David Hume, our expectation is wholly irrational. Not only is our belief that the sun will rise tomorrow wholly unjustified, so too are all our scientific theories.”
Rhondda said, “Thanks for the cliche psychology. Next, you’ll be telling me, ‘today is a gift — that’s why it is called the present.’
“There are more permanent solutions. What are your opinions on plastic surgery?”
“Most of the dancers that worked for me had some form of cosmetic surgery, mostly boob and nose jobs. Others had labiaplasty, vaginoplasty even clitoroplasty. I don’t oppose those procedures but have never considered them for myself.”
“If you choose to go that route we have access to the best cosmetic surgeons in the world. Price is no object. You could look like your favorite movie star. I’ll set up a consultation. The doctor can answer any questions you may have. He can even show you computer mock-ups of any”
Paddy was sitting at the far end of the kitchen at a table near the log burner. Patrick asked, “What motorcycle gangs do you have in this area? There’s one in particular that we’d like to avoid.”
“So, you’ve had a wee bit of trouble, have ye? If you’re asking about 1% clubs, we have the four big ones that you have in the US. The Banditos took over a lot of the smaller clubs. Further north is Hells Angels and Devil’s Disciples. It rains so much here that motorcycles aren’t very practical, they haven’t really caught on except with weekend riders. And then there’s the fourteen Prison Gangs. The guards keep them separated or else there would be fights all the time, even so, in the last year there were 107 assaults on guards. A lot of recruiting is done in prison. Joining a gang gives you protection. Then there’s the Mafia. They control most of the drug trade.”
The evening gradually wound down, the Jameson ran out. Rhondda and Patrick walked upstairs to one of the many bedrooms.
I awoke to the comfort of spooning Red. I loved the sight of her hair splayed over the pillow, her elegant delicate hands, her small feet, her voluptuous breasts that would always give me a hard-on, her beautiful shaved mound. I loved her scent, not just perfume but her unique fragrance, the smell of her sweat after a day in the sun, her morning breath, her pussy before she showered. I love the sound of her voice that reminds me of Brandi Carlile whose songs always give me the shivers. To me, Red is the essence of a woman. I worship and adore her and would do anything to make her happy.
She’s opening her eyes. They sparkle as they see me observing her. She yawns and says, “Like what you see?” I reply, “I love what I see and always will. Let’s shower and drive into Carlow for breakfast. I want us to become acclimatized to our new surroundings and, of course, see where my ancestors lived, possibly learn something about them. I know I have some distant relatives in the area but haven’t made any contacts.
“I thought we might breakfast at Teach Dolmain on Tullow Street. It’s Ranked #4 of 80 restaurants in Carlow and has live music. According to Google Maps, it appears to be in the center of town. It has great reviews and I can show you lots of images to help you decide.”
Red replied in her sleepy voice, “That sounds great. I’m famished.”
“After that, said Dane, “perhaps we could visit the Delta Sensory Gardens described as “An Oasis of Peace and Tranquility”, set on a 2.5-acre site with 16 interconnecting gardens located on the outskirts of Carlow Town. The gardens have so much to offer the visitor during all the seasons of the year, from the bright and beautiful daffodils and tulips in Spring to the breathtaking colors of the autumnal foliage.”
During the drive into Carlow, I brought Red up to speed on last night’s meeting with some of my colleagues. We’re a very loose-knit group based on our military connections. We’ve fought together in Afghanistan, the Gulf War and Iraq, but since we’re not officially deployed we’ve returned to our countries of origin. We act independently but call on each other when needed. We’ll be having a visitor this evening to go over specifics of this mission.
Red asked, “If we’re having company, what shall I serve for dinner?”
“We’re not entertaining, remember you’re a full partner with a say in everything to do with this operation. If there’s anything you don’t like, we won’t do it. I’ll shop for some steaks to throw on the barbecue and vegetables for a salad. To remain anonymous, especially from the motorcycle gang we left behind, we’ll choose new names with passports and international driver’s licenses to match.
“Do you have any questions before the meeting? I assure you it will be very informal. You’ll like Paddy. As long as there’s a bottle of Jameson on the table he’ll feel right at home.”
“Tell me more about this organization. What exactly do you do?”
“We do what suits us, as in helping you with the sale of your bar. We’re philanthropic. We each have causes that we like to support. In my case, it’s homelessness and addiction.”
Red said, “That sounds easy so far.”
“Easy peasey! No worries!”
We were nearing Teach Dolmain Pub and Restaurant. I was reminded of how hungry I was. I picked up two local newspapers, The Nationalist and Carlow People. The headline on the Nationalist read “Working Girls: Brothel operating above local employment service.” The Carlow People headline read “Bishop ‘sorry’ about mass walkouts. Parents said abortion talk was inappropriate.” The Teach Dolmain is in an old stone building with a cozy interior. We took a window seat and each ordered a full Irish breakfast with a Guinness. We could see across Tullow Street and all the regular morning activity. Sitting on a rock next to a wall was a man dressed in a grey hoodie, a black leather jacket and a huge pack full to overflowing with a pink towel strapped between the handles. He appeared homeless.
According to the newspaper Carlow Live: “Begging bye-laws for Carlow Town have been passed by members of the Municipal District in order to tackle the “professional and aggressive begging” that has become a regular feature in the town.
“A person who contravenes a provision of the bye-law shall be guilty of an offense and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €1,900. Where a person is convicted of the offense and there is a continuation by him or her of the offense after his or her conviction he or she shall be guilty of a further offense on every day the continuation continues and on each such offense shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not exceeding €129 for each day on which the offense is so continued.”
The man didn’t appear to be begging, nor doing anything aggressive. In fact, I couldn’t imagine anyone being more passive.
We paid our check and left the Dolmain. I was determined to speak to the man. I walked over with Red and handed the man a 5 Euro note. I asked, “Do you mind if I rent this rock beside you for a few minutes?”
“It’s your money, it’s your rock.”
Red leaned against the concrete wall behind. Her Rodeo Drive skirt wouldn’t allow squatting modestly near a public sidewalk. To open the conversation I said, “My name is Dane, with me is my girlfriend, Red. As you may have guessed were new in town. We don’t want to cause any offense through ignorance of local customs. I’ve been told there are some places we shouldn’t go and certain people we shouldn’t cross. We’d be pleased to pay for a guide to show us around and offer some advice.”
“How much pay, how much advice?”
“That part is negotiable, the more valuable the advice the more we’re willing to pay. I have deep pockets. Is that a phrase that makes sense to you?”
“I catch your drift. I watch a lot of American movies. Before we start, I could use a drink.”
“Talking in a pub sounds like the ideal solution. Could you recommend a place where we’d both be safe and welcome?”
“Scraggs’ Alley isn’t far from here. As long as they know someone other than me is paying the tab they’ll probably let me in. It’s been a while since I’ve been barred. We should probably sit near the door in case the punters get too rough. Friday special on the gin is €6.50.”
“Lead the way.” Scraggs’ Alley proved to be popular with college students and football enthusiasts. There was a big screen tv featuring Ireland in Gibraltar tonight for their first Euro 2020 Qualifier.
We ordered Guinness all around. Our guest of few words said, “Cheers, my name is Sean. I’m sure you have some questions. Fire away.”
“How dangerous is it here?”
“This isn’t the information that you’d get at our tourist information office, but The Republic of Ireland is the deadliest place to live in the Irish and British Isles. You are almost six times more likely to be shot and killed in Ireland as you are across the Irish Sea. Supposedly, Ireland stands at the abyss when it comes to violent murderous crimes generally and specifically involving guns. Irish police have extendable batons and pepper spray – Irish criminals have Glocks and AK47’s – there can only be one winner.”
“What about Carlow Town in particular? Is it better or worse than other parts of Ireland?”
“I’ve seen boarded up shops and houses on the main street for more than a decade. Open drug dealing in pretty much every area that people could possibly congregate. Just a wretched place that shows why all the ‘social supports’ we have in place are a woeful idea. This is what you end up with.
“As far as homelessness is concerned, at last count we had 150 people being forced to sleep rough in tents, cars, under bridges or in emergency accommodation. this is in a town with a population of just over 24,000.”
“It’s been a pleasure meeting you Sean. I hope we can do business again. Are you usually around Tullow Street?”
“I’m wherever I don’t get kicked out of.”
“Here’s something to show our appreciation for your company.” Dane slipped a 50 Euro note under Sean’s glass.
Dane and Red exited Scraggs Alley and headed back to their rental car. Dane said, “I’m ready to go home. How about you? I hope that Paddy has better news for us this evening. If we can believe Sean we’re in the midst of a war zone.”
When we arrived back at the cottage Paddy was already sitting on the patio under an umbrella. His bottle of Jamieson was on the table in front of him. He rose from his chair and with a big smile he embraced me with a bear hug and said, “It’s been a while, Mate!”
“Yes, it has, first let me introduce, Red my girlfriend and a force to be reconned with.”
“Hi, Paddy,” said Red.
I said, “You two get acquainted and I’ll bring out some drinks, fix a salad and put the steaks on the barbecue. It won’t take long, then we can relax.”
With supper out of the way, I brought out the chocolate mousse. Now, I felt relieved and was anxious to hear about Paddy’s latest adventures. He was a true storyteller and could make grocery shopping sound exciting. I told him about meeting Sean and the problems he was having.
Paddy said, “This whole Brexit thing has everybody in an uproar. The economy has been bad. Kids leave the farms and rural areas to head into Dublin. The urban areas are getting overcrowded. Reasonably priced rental accommodation is being torn down and replaced with expensive condos. Rents keep going up. It’s harder and harder for ordinary people to survive. It’s especially hard on the vets. That’s one of the things I wanted to talk to you about. I have a large farm outside of Carlow Town and was thinking of renovating some of the outbuildings to create basic housing for travelers, vets who are having problems, ex-felons, addicts and anyone else who is having trouble with reentry into the system. It could be based on the model of an army base. We’d have doctors, drug rehab facilities. People could pay their own way by helping with the farm work, preparing meals. What do you think?”
I said, “I’ve had similar ideas, but didn’t know how to go about it. What do you think Red, is it a good idea, something we could do? Would you be interested? There are a lot of homeless women who could use a helping hand. Money is no problem.”
“I like it,” said Red. “I have some ideas of my own, having supervised women.”
The evening passed pleasantly. Drinks kept flowing and Paddy entertained us with an endless round of stories. He crashed on the couch in front of the fireplace. Red and I retired to our bedroom. It had been an eventful day.
Settled in our cozy cottage in Ireland I received a message from Dane. He’s at a local pub discussing details of assignment. I’m waiting for the keys to turn in the lock, to find him at the cottage door. I miss him. How brilliant he is, he burns like a flame in my mind. I have thought about him so much while he has been gone. I want him near me where it is safe and he is never bound by expectations, only the desire to be here. I want to make a paradise for him.
Returning in a rented car to our cottage I thought of everything and nothing, my mind drifted. What was I going to do? What was most important to me? Who did I need with me? My mind always returned to Red. Whatever I did, she had to be part of it. I didn’t even know how she felt about me. We’d never discussed anything beyond the moment.
As soon as I turned my key in the lock Red opened the door. She must have been watching for my arrival. I have never before seen such a welcome sight. She was dressed in a light chemise, not quite see-through, but light from the roaring fireplace outlined her fabulous figure. We embraced and immediately I felt the security of her love. The world could fall apart, but as long as she was with me I would be comforted and knew that, no matter what happened, our being together was enough. Candles were lit, wine was poured into waiting glasses, sandalwood incense added to the romantic atmosphere. We sat on the overstuffed sofa and closed our eyes. This was, indeed, paradise. There were no expectations just the joy of each other’s presence. We kissed deeply. She said, “You seem stressed, love. Let me massage your shoulders.” She walked behind the sofa massaged the knots in my shoulders, my neck and then my scalp. She suggested, “I’ll run a warm bath, we can take our wine and candles to the bathroom. It will be much more relaxing.”
I was glad to get out of my clothes. I seated myself in the warm water and Red slipped behind me. I felt the cares of the day lift from my shoulders and evaporate into steam that clouded the mirrors. Long legs wrapped around me and I leaned back into warm, soft, slippery breasts. Red continued her massage at my temples. I leaned my head back on her shoulder and surrendered to her completely. I had never felt so relaxed. Her hands came around to cup my pectorals, then slid down the ridges of my abs. Her touch, as always, was magical. With a mind of its own, my cock raised its head above the soapy water. Red took it in her hand and slowly stroked up and down, changing the position of her fingers each time to explore and caress different areas; the slight ridge in front that extended from my balls to the head; the slight cleft that led to the opening slit already glistening with pre-cum, the ridge or corona, so sensitive, then down to my balls, the sac tightening with my building excitement. Her fingers were electric; tingling sensations flashed through my body. I was floating; not in water, but in another dimension — a world that we had created: safe from war, from lies and deception, from the world. It was becoming too much. I didn’t want to cum in the tub like this.
I said, “Let’s go to the bedroom. I stood and Red reached for a towel to dry my hair, shoulders, chest then lower to my crotch that she handled carefully and delicately. I grabbed another towel and draped it over her shoulders, memorizing the feel of each part of her. My face was in her hair as the towel slipped down to dry her arms, hands then to cup and weigh her fantastic breasts that came alive as my fingers lifted, separated and squeezed, finally pinching her nipples. She turned and we embraced giving me the opportunity to rub her beautiful ass as I pulled her to me. It was getting to be too much. My cock was rising between her legs and the warm wetness was enveloping the head. I lifted her in my arms and lay her gently on the bed. It seemed like months since we had made love when in actuality it was only a few days.
Red looked incredible spread out, her mass of red hair fanned on the pillow, her breasts moving gently as I mounted the mattress. I took a moment to fix her image into my memory, to return to when needed as my safe place. Here, indeed, was a paradise where everything we wanted was within hands reach. I nestled close and pulled her body against me. Looking into her warm brown eyes I could see my reflection and our future. I kissed her eyelids, the tip of her nose then found her lips that welcomed me with a restrained urgency. My tongue traced her teeth, inside her cheek then met hers twining around mine. I breathed a sigh of ecstasy having found perfection and the promise of so much more. I bent my head to become reacquainted with the supple breasts that looked so inviting. My tongue traced circles around her nipples, a sensation that I could never get enough of. She squirmed wanting my mouth and teeth. I suckled each breast then bit gently on her erect nipples. Our breathing was becoming faster. I didn’t want to rush. My cock was throbbing, being so close to the center of my desire. My kisses trailed down her stomach and lingered at her navel, continuing again to trace her shaved mound. I felt like a sculptor smoothing and caressing such an intricate shape. I got off the bed, my cock bounding in anticipation, to spread her legs and approach from her feet, her toes pink and wrinkled from the bath. I took each one into my mouth savoring the texture, the shape and the subtle taste of skin. I also felt that I was bowing to her as one might to a goddess. I was at her service to bring all the aspects of enjoyment that I had the ability to impart. My kisses covered her feet, ankles and her inner thighs. I could see the wetness between her legs that had nothing to do with our recent bath. She whimpered in anticipation. I savored the taste of her fluids as I traced her folds with my tongue. The taste was an aphrodisiac that further increased my already overwhelming sexual desire. It was all I could do to prevent myself from pouncing on her to satisfy my need. Instead, I continued tracing and prodding with my tongue, circling the engorged pearl sitting erect above her opening. I could see her mounting desire and didn’t want to cause torture so I climbed back beside her and slid two fingers into the slippery canal. I felt the different textures and rubbed and pressed the one that was slightly ridged. She squirmed in ecstasy and I knew I had found her G-spot. I asked her to tell me how it felt and how I could make it more pleasurable. She urged me to “Just keep going. Don’t stop.” Her breath was in my ear, monitoring the level of her arousal. As her excitement reached its peak. She screamed and I felt fluid squirting over my fingers. I held her tight and entered her with my throbbing cock. It wasn’t long before we both built to a mutual climax.
The cabin is sweet, it smells of sandalwood and lavender candles. We’ve arrived from another world outside and it’s insanity. Unspeakable things that we have little if any control over, horrific things and simple day to day things that exhaust us, haunt our rest and sleep and we have come here to a paradise we offer one another. Dane is tired from his journey and after a brief cuddling session, removes his clothes and steps into the warm tub of water I have run for him, placed candles around the edges and glasses of red wine within reach. My only desire is to please him when we are together. After he settles in I strip and step in behind him, soap my hands and massage his tense shoulders and back, run my hands up his neck and into his hair, I feel him relaxing, letting go. After a while I let my hand gently stroke his cock that hardens in my fingers, gently handle his balls, his breath is coming easily now and we meditate together as though in a trance. Finally breaking the spell, I move forward, my pussy against his buttocks and we both moan aloud.
He turns to face me in the big tub, my legs overlapping his. We deep kiss and the feel of his hand on my face and in my hair is arousing. He whispers something erotic in my ear and I feel the need deep in my sex. My breast in his hands ache, the nipples harden and I long for his lips and teeth to take them into his mouth, tongue and suckle them. I feel the urgency but want to hold back, to make this last. We dry off and he pulls me gently to the bed that we share in this paradise of freedom. When I am with him I feel no inhibitions, I am feral seeking fulfillment that only he can give me. He sits on the edge of the bed, leans back, between his legs I lick his cock, suck it, stroke it. I want him in every way. He motions me to lie on the bed face down, to lift my ass cheeks high where he places a pillow, massages my cheeks with oil, trails upward to my breasts to pinch the taut pink nipples, cupping my swaying breasts in his palms. He strokes his cock against my supple ass cheeks and when I am wet, my juices running down my thigh, he places the head of his penis against my clitoris, finding it hard and throbbing he circles it briefly, finds my G spot with two fingers and I bite my lip, drawing a slight taste of blood. Sliding downward his cock penetrates my pussy. I am breathing fast and moaning, he tells me to bear down and when I do juices squirt against him and down my legs, the feeling is incredible and he pushes deep inside me and we come in waves. Facing him again, I kiss his face and run my fingers through his silver hair and we know that this is our place when we need connection, freedom from worries, where we share our minds and bodies.
We wrapped ourselves in bathrobes, I put another log in the fireplace, refill our wine glasses and we snuggle on the overstuffed sofa. Through the windows is a beautiful view of the lake through the trees. Birds are singing and fluttering from branch to branch. A pair of golden eagles soar in sweeping circles. Bullfrogs and crickets add to nature’s sweet symphony. At last, the troubles of the world seem to have lifted from my shoulders and I breathe a sigh of relief. I pull Red closer to inhale the scent of her hair. I am indeed in paradise.
Without wishing to spoil the romantic moment I feel I should share some of the thoughts that have been mulling in my mind. The world is at war and it is impossible to sift the news from the propaganda. Global corporations and financial institutions ultimately control every aspect of what we once considered to be the land of the free. Accountable only to international board members whose focus is profit, these monsters are free to transgress national boundaries, laws and elected representatives. Our own government lies to us, makes secret treasonous deals and accepts economic situations that would be scandalous if made public.
Red said, “You are so sexy love, but that is not why I care for you so much, you are more special than you know, a beautiful man with a huge heart.” You are an amazing lover.”
I don’t know what I did to deserve such a glowing tribute but it was better than her remark that “I was almost as good as riding her Harley.”
red words the color of love passion and desire bathe me in the red of the paradise you have created
After Red fell asleep my head was still spinning with world upheaval; lack of trust in my own government allowing American corporations to aid and abet the enemy for the sake of profits; tens of millions of probable deaths worldwide. What possible good could come at such a high price in human life? What could I do? I needed to talk with Red She is the organized one, compassionate, sensitive as well as a fighter. She would know how we could be of some service to the greater good. Mostly what I wanted was holding her in my arms, breathing in the scent of her hair, feeling her warmth; my vision of paradise.
Eventually we had to leave St. Kitts. My business partners had contacted me and requested that I join them at The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. The reason was a mystery, obviously something top secret that couldn’t be relayed via email.
After settling in at this landmark luxury hotel Dane was called away to a meeting in another suite. I lay down on the huge four poster bed and took a nap, I felt a bit jet lagged, when I woke the room was dark and a glance at the clock said it was after nine PM. I showered and washed my hair, pulled it up in a butterfly clip, a few tendrils left clinging to my cheek bones. Other than a very deep shade of red lipstick I was without make up and decided to forego the eye shadow. I dressed in a charmeuse slip of a dress, silky, satiny, it clung to my buttocks and breasts, bare beneath the sheer layer. I wanted to smell divine for him, body cream and perfume, light but sultry.
I felt nervous, perhaps he couldn’t get away. Should that be the case I’d probably end up at the downstairs bar. I despise being alone in a strange place. I don’t like being alone. I had left the door unlocked and around ten thirty he arrived looking wonderful. He announced that our next venue was to be Ireland, the birthplace of his ancestors. I was excited about the getaway, looking forward to seeing a country that I had only read about. He was beaming and picked me up, swung me about, his lips on mine, kissed me deep and long and our bodies clung to one another, it felt good to hold him. I felt that warm and comfortable connection that I adore. We took the elevator down to the famous Polo Lounge. Manager Pepe De Anda showed us to an alcove for intimate dates. Dane ordered a late night dessert named Sunset Boulevard 17:Baked Alaska with Swirled Passion Fruit, Orange-Guava Sorbet, toasted Meringue, Grand Marnier. To toast the occasion he ordered a bottle of Ace of Spades champagne, filled our flutes and we held them high, clinking glasses, cheers to a wonderful getaway.
Dane explained some of the details of the new assignment. He had tickets to Carlow, Ireland, flight time 10 hours, 20 minutes. We’d be flying Aer Lingus. I always chuckle when I hear that, it makes me think of cunnilingus, my favorite indoor sport. I’m feeling horny already. On his laptop he showed me pictures and reviews of our next lodgings, the Rath Bán Farm Cottage in County Wicklow near the border of County Carlow. Following is a review by Daryl one of the previous guests: Had a fantastically relaxing stay here with my partner. We spent most of the time relaxing by the roaring fire. It felt like a home away from home. Pádraig was super helpful and friendly, but never intrusive! Would definitely recommend and we will probably be back soon!
“Dane, I’m blown away. I was amazed by our accommodations in St Kitts, but the Polo Lounge is where movie stars dine. How did you manage to get a reservation? I’m overwhelmed.”
“In my business clients pay my expenses. They expect the best service and I charge for the best accommodations. They can afford it and I can deliver what they want. Discretion is their prime requirement. They’re willing to pay for it.
“Here is your own personal JP Morgan Chase Palladium Visa Credit card. It’s made of actual palladium and gold, etched with your information and account number. It’s only available to high net worth individuals who have an investment banking relationship with JP Morgan’s wealth management brokerage. Just showing this card will get you into places you never imagined. I don’t know what shopping is going to be like in Ireland, but here we’re within walking distance of Rodeo Drive. Since we’re not leaving for a couple of days, perhaps you’d enjoy some retail therapy. There’s no spending limit on your card, just remember that we’ll be travelling, so suitcase limits will be a factor at the airports. Have fun, or as an old friend would say ‘Fill your boots.’ “
I smoked a cigarette, wavering on my vow to give up the nasty habit. I could relax here. Later, at Dane’s suggestion we went back to the room. Inside he felt me through the sheer dress, then let it fall to the floor. His hand cupped the curve of my breasts and kissed the buds, licked and sucked. My knees felt watery and I sat down on the edge of the bed, removed his belt and he slipped from his clothes. We fell back wrapped around each other, the heat of our bodies raw and needing. My legs wrapped around him and my hand found his hardened cock, I spread my legs wide, I wanted him and ran his cock up and down my pussy, I held it teasing at the entrance, ran it through the silky fold to linger at my clitoris, then when I could wait no longer I slid it inside me, my breath exhaled with the ecstasy of his strokes, my belly against him, our hips tightly together. I arched higher instinctively, wanting more and more. He thrust harder and faster as we reached our climax, I held my breath with the exquisite thrill of orgasm sweeping through me, tightening my sex around his cock, he went with the rhythm of my orgasmic spasms until he reached his climax with a gruff groan, a lion over his lioness, cum flooding her, slipping down her thighs, her hand cupping her pussy on his withdrawal, tasting the wetness left behind.
On the plane, looking out at the fluffy clouds, it felt like we were leaving all our troubles behind. It was only two nights ago that I was in a bar fight with a biker and left him dead on the floor. That wouldn’t go unnoticed or unremembered. Bikers have an international communications network. We’ll have to remain below their radar. If, or when, we return stateside we’ll need new identities, passports and a new location. Red’s car is in the underground parking garage at the Sailport. We can’t be assured that it isn’t being watched or hasn’t been tampered with. It’s only a car.
America is in turbulence. Red is as upset about the current world crisis as I am. We both see the future as a scary place with our various groups of friends now being discriminated against and assaulted even more than they had been in the past. The Klan has been more active lately, openly staging torch lit parades, wearing full regalia. This vigilante group stands for what they consider to be white supremacy although they also hate followers of the Catholic and Jewish faith. They vilify African Americans, beating and lynching them for no reason. In short they declare war on any individual or minority group who stands in the way of their bigoted ideals and they do this behind the cowardly anonymity of white pointed hoods and gowns. No one is safe from this maniacal mob.
Airborne we’re at peace. We held hands, closed our eyes and imagined a magical future. Red snuggled close to me and calmed me with her regular breathing. I too fell asleep and awoke to the airline hostess announcing, “Ladies and gentlemen, as we start our descent, please make sure your tables and seats backs are in their full upright position. Make sure your belt is securely fastened and all carry-on luggage is stowed underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead bins. Thank you.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have just beencleared to land at the Robert L. Bradshaw Airport in Basseterre on the island of St Kitts. Please make sure one last time your seat belt is securely fastened. The flight attendants are currently passing around the cabin to make a final compliance check and pick up any remaining cups and glasses. Thank you for flying American Airlines.”
St. Kitts in the Caribbean is an island of intoxicating natural beauty, sunny skies, warm waters and white sandy beaches. A couple of weeks without pressure, without listening to news of the world, to simply be in a world of our own sounds idyllic.
Upon arrival at Ottley’s Plantation Inn we were immediately struck by the warm historical appearance of the building. With the luxurious yet comfortable rattan furnishing we even had our own private outdoor plunge pool accessible from the main room. It felt like the chaos of the real world had been lifted from our shoulders. I closed the wooden louvered blinds enough for privacy while still allowing in the fresh Caribbean breeze. Fresh flowers and champagne on ice awaited us. We dropped our bags, undressed and flopped on the gigantic bed. It was heavenly to lie on our backs, gaze at the ceiling fan and know that there would be no distractions.
Red said, “I really should take a shower.”
I said, “I like you just the way you are, but if you insist, we should take it together.” I carried her to the shower room, adjusted the water to a relaxing temperature. Entering the cubicle I kissed her gently on her mouth, sucked on her lower lip, gazed into her golden brown eyes. This truly was heaven, her warm breath on my cheek, fingers traced through my hair. I kissed my way down her neck to her throat. Her breathing and heartbeat indicated her mounting excitement. Her skin had its own unique taste that brought back so many memories. Cupping her breast I brought her nipple to my mouth where I licked, sucked and bit into the tender flesh. Her response was immediate as she quivered and arched her back. These wonderful white orbs now lathered in soap suds moved with my fingers as I kneaded them tenderly appreciating the miracle that was us.
“Red, what I want is to be the best possible lover for you. I’ll do anything to make that happen. Let’s plan to learn Tantra together. I’ll want to be part of your wildest fantasies, take you places you’ve never been before.” I looked at her as if for the first time; stunning, breathtaking, mouth watering. Rodin’s sculpture of Galatea or Gerome’s painting of the same subject — an impossible feminine ideal that had come to life under the artist’s touch. That is what I saw before me. We pulled together, skin to skin, enjoying this marvelous moment. After washing and patting dry with the luxurious towels I carried her to the bed.
I slid south tracing her sensuous curves with my tongue, pausing briefly to dip into her navel. From the bottom of the bed I slid my hands under her luscious buns, lifting her and engulfing her sex with my mouth. I sucked it like a peach and tasted the sweet liquid that was her passion. Slowly my tongue travelled up her slit stopping short of her swelling clitoris. My tongue meandered her slippery folds, teasing and tormenting her desire. I puckered my lips then sucked on her clit, flicking it with my tongue. She writhed under my ministrations. With her hands on each side of my head she pulled me deeper. I rubbed with my nose and speared her opening with my tongue. I continued until I could feel her coming to a climax, then bit gently on the pearl between my teeth. She exploded in an orgasm that wet my face. I gently blew on her angry looking clit. Standing, I took both ankles in one hand and lifted her ass off the bed. With the other hand I smacked first her left cheek then her right, alternating until I counted ten. Lowering her legs I took her wrists in my hand and held them above her head. My other hand slid behind her neck and grasped a handful of hair. Under my control I spread her legs with my knees and plunged my lubricated cock deep inside. Ramming into her with my balls slapping her ass we both came in an explosion of ecstasy. Our bodies slippery with sweat and the fluids of our lovemaking we lay still and let the fresh Caribbean breeze wash over us.
In St. Kitts I could breathe again. I adore Dane for bringing me here, if only briefly I could escape my fear of a human catastrophe looming over us at home. Here with him the sounds of nature held a certain freedom, the birds flying with abandon high above, disappearing into safety among the banana trees, dipping for cover below the crowns. Dane was walking the beach. The nearness of him was affecting me, I felt the need for him. I longed to have his body next to mine, his scent, musk and cedar. I had missed him more than I cared to admit, I have a need to make love to him. I know he adores women and that he fucks them…but of all my lovers and would be lovers, he is the the one I crave most.
We lay on the bed, discussed world issues, in what way he is involved. He daily gets calls from his contacts around the world. Growing quiet we turned to one another, I wanted to make love. Urgently I helped him unbelt his trousers and naked he slipped my tee shirt over my head, buried his face in my hair, pulled my wrap around skirt and panties off. His lips drew my nipples into his mouth and he sucked and tugged them, I felt the most unbearable need in my belly and sex. I stroked his cock and sucked it, licked it like a starving feral cat. Pulling me upward he buried his face between my thighs and I came in wet waves of release. Above me his knees pushed mine wide and he entered me and with slow and steady thrusts that brought me to a frenzy, his fingers pulling at my nipples, my fingernails raking across his shoulders set off my orgasm and I pushed further against his cock, I wanted to feel him come inside me, I did not know when I would have him this way again. Afterward I washed him gently with a warm cloth, kissed his body as though it were a temple.
laid back in dusky shadows, sheer mirages drift across our bodies. Our hands grip Cuba Libre, the clink of ice keeps perfect time with Coltrane. Breathing in your scent, sandalwood and cedar, a thousand moths rise up pleading to be freed. I want to take you with me to a seething force of surge that penetrates the shoreline into the ancient caves where the footprints of lovers are lapped up by hungry waves.
I said, “Now it’s my turn.” She scrambled to her side of the bed anticipating what was to happen. For a minute I just stared at the beauty before me, then I rolled over and gently kissed her on her soft mouth. She responded by sucking on my bottom lip. Our tongues met and danced to music that only we could hear. I looked into her golden brown eyes and an eternity seemed to pass. I felt I was looking into her soul and all was good.
I awoke in soft bedding, with the scent of the Caribbean on the breeze. It felt so good I didn’t want to open my eyes. I had been dreaming of an erotic encounter with Red and had climaxed in my sleep. The pleasure sensation continued. I opened my eyes to find her between my legs sucking my cock and gently massaging my balls. With a mischievous smile she said, “I’ve been waiting to see the expression on your face when you awoke.”
Our bodies were responding to our genitals being in such close proximity to each other. I was still hard and wet from being in Red’s mouth. My cock had a mind of its own and gently probed the folds of her sex. As if for the first time it explored leaving a trail of slippery wetness behind. She gasped as her clitoris was circled by my pulsing glans. It descended into her already wet passage. The feeling was heavenly. Before pressing further I wanted to commit this ecstatic feeling to memory, beginning a new page in the scrapbook of our already wonderful and exciting sexual adventure. While looking into her eyes I pressed an inch further, then pulled back slightly. I could see her want and desire. She arched her back trying to engulf more of me, but I hesitated just inside her opening. I could see her frustration building, so I pressed firmly ahead until I was halted by her cervix. Such indescribable pleasure. I felt my balls tightening, urging me to continue. Inserting two fingers I felt for the ribbed surface of her G spot. With my thumb pressing the sides her hooded clit I continued the steady pumping in and out. Her fingernails dug into my back. The pain was exquisite. My pumping and her arching her back to meet me increased in speed and abandon. She grasped my balls and I entered a frenzy while still keeping our shared rhythm. The pressure was building from deep within and mounted until I felt I would lose consciousness. I felt my eyeballs turning back in their sockets. I heard Red screaming, “Fuck me, fuck me!” as we both fell into orgasmic bliss.
On to more practical matters, I had promised, Red a new wardrobe. St Kitts is known for their beautiful batik fabrics. We planned to visit Sun Island Clothes for swim attire and other essentials also a Harley Davidson store that I knew would be of interest to Red. Another stop on the itinerary would be at the Chop Shop Salon Spa. We both looked forward to a full body massage, manicure and pedicure with complimentary Reflexology. Red suggested that I get a full Brazilian wax. I didn’t know what that was but it sounded relaxing.
That night I lay naked in the soft bedding, listened to the fan softly whir above us, the soft breath of my lover beside me, occasionally quickening in what I knew must be an erotic dream. My hands and fingers roamed and teased my naked body, my nipples firm and aching for his touch, I wet my fingers with my tongue and ran them along the folds of my pussy. Unable to resist the need for him, I gently ran my hand over his cock and felt it stiffen beneath my touch, pulling my hair back I went down between his thighs, flicked my velvety tongue over the head of his penis. I watch it move forward and I thought it was the most erotic and sensual vision I had ever seen. I felt the juices of my own sex fill and spill out onto my inner thigh and perineum. I opened my mouth pulling his cock inside. I sucked it as I had not done before, deep into my throat, my head back, I let my fingers find my clit and swirl the wet swollen folds and tightening entrance. not once losing rhythm, I wanted him to come in my mouth, I wanted to swallow it, I was a ravenous animal who needed all of him. He awoke and placed his hand on my head, moving his cock in and out of my mouth, moaning for me not to stop. He throbbed violently in my mouth, my tongue licking, flicking, my hand stroking the shaft as it moved out of my lips, only to thrust in again. My hand caressed his balls, they tightened, pulled upward and I felt his cum fill my mouth, run out on my lips, I swallowed and wiped my mouth against his belly. I lay there and he lay back on the pillow.
Pulling me upward to his lips our tongues teased and forced our lips open wide, he sucked and tugged and bit my nipples soothing the ache, sending an urgent desire that only he could satisfy. I bit his lower lip, he rose over me, began eating my pussy, massaging my G spot with his fingers, “Fuck me…Fuck me” I pleaded, my nails scraped his shoulders and he moaned and pulled my clit between his teeth vigorously flicking and massaging it, I exploded in his mouth, my eyes closed so tightly with every muscle in my body a spasm of ecstasy. I looked deeply into his eyes,and we smiled slightly,” I want to be your little slut”, I’ve never had a man like you.
We woke early, ate breakfast and drank Mimosas in the dining room, then picked fruit and other goodies from the buffet. I stopped at our room to grab a blanket and a bottle of champagne for a picnic on the beach. Red guided the way to a secluded cave. We spread the blanket, dropped our belongings along with our beachwear. It felt glorious running through the surf then swimming to shoulder deep calm water. Red floated on her back while I moved between her legs and placed my cupped hands on the cheeks of her ass. I was presented with a rare tropical delicacy seasoned with seawater. Like a fresh peach ready to be devoured, or an oyster on the half shell, my mouth watered. I brought her to my mouth and licked slowly from the bottom of her slit to the top. I heard moans of pleasure. The tip of my tongue traced her silky folds, circled the pearl where I sucked and flicked with my tongue. I hummed in a deep voice that resonated on my lips. While flicking rapidly I inserted two fingers in her opening and rubbed her G spot. I could feel spasms of pleasure as she squeezed my head between her thighs and arched her back. There was a dreamy expression on her face that begged kissing. My hands explored her body, cupped her breasts and pinched her pink nipples. I dunked my head under water and kissed, sucked and bit her hard buds. My cock was hard as I pulled her to me and sought her warm pussy. With my hands on her ass cheeks I alternated slowly pushing into her then pulling back. We kissed deeply and I luxuriated in the feel of our bodies and tongues dancing in time to the warm waves swaying us back and forth in an endless rhythm. It wasn’t long before I felt a surge deep within. My legs felt like jelly, my eyes turned back and I exploded inside her. When my legs regained their strength I lifted her with one arm under her knees the other at her back. She hugged my neck and planted a multitude of sweet, salty kisses on my mouth and face. I set her down on our blanket then popped the bottle of champagne. I poured it into the flutes I’d brought for the occasion. We nibbled on grapes, strawberries, nuts and bit into lush mangoes, juice dribbling down our chins. We licked each other’s faces, ate more, drank more, then feeling fully satiated I pulled out some weed and rolled a joint.
Sex in the ocean was magical, an ethereal erotic experience as wild as the creatures that inhabit the sea. Spent we let the current part us, only to find one another again, his arms lifting me from the waves out onto the dunes, gently lowering me to the blanket just outside the deserted cave. Naked but for beach towels, Dane popped a bottle of champagne and we sipped slowly, feeling the bubbles burst on our tongues, the delicious fruity wine went straight to my head as we watched with awe the red sun dip below the sea. Leaning back on his bundled beach towel, he rolled a joint and settled back, offering me a smoke I inhaled deeply escaping the past and future as the smoke exhaled into the air and drifted away. Oblivious to time we suddenly realized it was growing dark. We walked leisurely to our room. I felt all inhibitions dissolve as I watched Dane stretched out on the bed, his tan body a invitation to ecstasy. I whispered to him,” I want to fuck you, do everything with you”. His smile told me he knew I was still feeling the weed. I wrapped a sheer scarf around his wrists and tied it to the posts of the bed. Straddling him, my lips kissed my and tongue flicked his, bit his lower lip and ear lobes. I nuzzled his neck, sucking there as well. Lifting his head he found my breasts, bit and teased my nipples, I moaned and pressed forward as he took in the pink circles around my firm buds. I ran my long red nails down his arms tied above his head. Light pink marks were left behind. I let them travel down his chest and abdomen, my fingers closing around his hard cock, I teased it with my tongue ring, swirling it around the head and down the shaft, finally taking it fully into my mouth I sucked until he was nearly ready to come. I stopped, easing forward like a stalking cat, my breast at his lips again, “bite them please”… he bit until I said that’s enough. Behind me, my hand found his cock very hard and throbbing. I released his hands from the binds and face to face on our sides, I guided his cock inside me, my legs around him he held me closely by my ass cheeks and began to glide in and out very slowly, filling me and then pulling back, and again, slowly. When we felt we were about to orgasm, we stayed still, then once again began to fuck slowly, the intensity rising, I wanted to stay this way forever, but the need for release was building and he began to thrust harder and faster as I pushed against him to feel his cock against my cervix. It set off an intense tightening of my pussy around his cock and it happened, lightening and thunder, I bit my lip to hold back the cry of pleasure, he bit and sucked at my throat, moaned until we were spent. Our bodies separated tenderly, we rolled over and went to sleep. H
We breakfasted at the Inn. The banana pancakes were amazing, as were the omelettes and French toast. Today we’re wore hiking boots, brought snorkel gear and a picnic lunch to visit the Devil’s Caves of Nevis. Red had only hinted at some of the spectacular attractions we were about to see. Leaving our suite we admired the lush greens contrasted with the blue of the Caribbean. As we walked Red told me some of the history of the area. As early as 2000 BC, the island was inhabited by the Carib people. Christopher Columbus landed in 1492 and british immigration began shortly after. In 1695 King Charles established the island of St. Christopher as a Crown Colony of Britain. One of the English nicknames for Christopher is Kit. Slave labor was used on the tobacco plantations and later to cultivate, harvest and manufacture sugar and its by products — rum and molasses. Slavery was abolished in 1834, but it was only in 1952 that Adult Suffrage was introduced. Prior to this, the right to vote in political elections was based on land ownership and income. This qualification barred most of the people of African descent from being eligible to vote. In 1967 St Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla became self governing.
“Where to partner? There’s no need to pack. I’ll buy you anything you need as a starting bonus. How does a sandy beach with palm trees and Iced Margaritas sound? Maybe we could share a hammock in the shade and you could read Aristophanes to me as we’re lulled by the crashing surf. I hear that St. Kitts is nice this time of year. Just a thought.”
“Well, since I have to start over someplace that sounds as good a place as any.”
“Excellent, I’ll make some phone calls and have our tickets and itinerary waiting for us at the desk of the Sailport. I’ll arrange for a large suite with an ocean view. The Skyye Bar and Grill overlooks the swimming pool and serves lunch and dinner. We should arrive just in time for happy hour.”
We entered Tampa as the sun was going down — an explosion of yellow, red and purple over darkening waves. After leaving Red’s car with the valet we entered the marble columned reception area. As promised our tickets, itinerary and room pass were handed to us at the reception desk. The rooms were large and we were greeted by a bouquet of tropical flowers, chilled André Jacquart champagne, Grey Goose vodka, Imperial Osetra caviar and Carrs biscuits on the circular coffee table near the l-shaped sofa.
“May I offer you a drink?,” asked Dane.
“This is a change, you serving me drinks. Is the champagne dry?”
“Brut Nature with hints of praline and hazelnut, but also displaying fresh citrus, chalk and mineral nuances. It’s especially good with caviar.”
“Sounds delightful. I love this breathtaking view of Tampa.” Dane poured their drinks then said, “Let me try to find some relaxing music. How about Blues Train, Cousin Mary and Naima by Coltrane to start.”
“A man after my own heart. You haven’t been reading my diary have you?”
“No, I’ve been reading your mind. What a fascinating mind it is.”
“You’re starting to scare me now. I’m not used to be in the company of a gentleman. Or, are you a stalker?”
“Fear not, I have only your best interests at heart. I propose a toast to a long and successful partnership.”
“Thank you, my sentiments exactly.”
“I also have menus from Ocean Prime, Oyster Catchers, Rusty Pelican, or we could order room service when you start to feel hungry.”
Red was lounging in the corner of the sofa, “Lets relax before thinking of food. Maybe we need to work up an appetite. This champagne seems to be going to my head. Would you pour me another please? Sit close, let’s get to know each other.”
“That’s an offer I can’t refuse.” Dane removed his shoes and crawled closer to reach her luscious lips. “I’ve wanted this for a long time,” he whispered.
“Me too,” she sighed, making room for him. Their first kiss was slow and sweet. Each exploring with lips and tongue the features of the other. Dane smothered his face in Red’s cascading waves of hair. “Mmmmmmm,” he moaned, as his lips brushed her ear, then behind working their way down her neck. Her perfume was subtle, yet exotic, taking him to mysterious places accessible only in his imagination. Her skin warm, welcoming. He traced a trail of kisses and bites along her collarbone to the space at the hollow of her elegant, vulnerable throat. His tongue traced her name then he blew a soft whisper across her damp, inviting flesh.
“Dane, tell me more about your work. I’m not quite sure what I’m getting myself into, or why you’d want to be partners. Why me?”
“In the broadest terms, I help people. At the end of the day my intention is to leave this world better than I found it by living with purpose. I think we have similar objectives in life. I’ve seen you as a rebel biker chick, a server in hospitality who has an easy banter with customers. I’ve also seen you as an employer with the interests of your staff at heart. I admire those qualities.
“On a daily basis I aim for simplicity and balance, to live in the moment. I meditate to free my mind of distractions and to be open to new situations. I strive to follow the principles of truth, honor and equality. I oppose hatred, bigotry and racism. I follow Dan Savage’s Campsite Rule: “I must leave the world better than I found it.” As I said before, I like to think that I’m working on the right side of the fence most of the time. I have no hidden agendas. What you see is what you get.
“I offer a service for a price, not profit based, but on equalizing the balance. I believe that greed is very detrimental to the soul. I also keep an open mind. I was taught by my brother that everyone has a story. Everyone knows something that I can learn from. I’m a student not a teacher. Listening to others, and learning from them is very important. Life isn’t black and white, there are a lot of grey areas. Right and wrong aren’t always what they appear to be. Justice is a matter of negotiation. Any lawyer will tell you that.
“When a client approaches me with a problem my first concern is that I do as little harm as possible. That can be tricky, so I keep my options flexible. I try to respond with reasonable force. Jack Dempsey has been misquoted as saying, ‘the best defence is a good offence’. In his book, Championship Fighting he states, ‘The best defense in fighting is an aggressive defense.’ He goes on to say, ‘Each defensive move must be accompanied by a counter-punch or be followed immediately by a counterpunch. You may have the best attack in the world; but if you’re an open target—if you’re a ‘clay pigeon’—you’ll likely get licked by the first experienced scrapper you tackle.’
“Muhammad Ali said, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” As partners we’ll discuss the client’s needs and decide whether or not we can provide an effective solution. Every case is different. Am I making sense, or am I just rambling?
“I should tell you that I’ve been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, so if I start acting weird there is a reason for it. I have nightmares, flashbacks, trouble sleeping. I may get jumpy or angry for no reason. I may space out at times…
“Let’s not talk. There are more important things we can do to occupy our time. Kiss me again.”
“Gladly.” He pulled her close, their lips met and a cloud of euphoria settled on him. It was as if the two of them were alone on a desert island, sea breezes, rustling palm fronds, the soothing crash of surf, tranquility. Everything he wanted in life was now in his arms. Her breath was coming in gasps. She undid the buttons on his shirt and ran her hands over his pectoral muscles and his abs. Fumbling at his belt buckle and zipper she found his throbbing erection. He pulled off his shirt and slipped off his pants with his underwear. She did the same. Flesh against flesh they consumed each other. His mouth found her breast. Sucking her nipple was heaven. His breathing was ragged. He couldn’t get enough of her. He raised his head then traced kisses down her stomach to her navel where his tongue drew ever expanding circles. He moved his body further down the sofa and slid his hands to grip the cheeks of her ass. Thighs draped over his shoulders as he dove into her wetness. She tasted of ambrosia, succulently sweet and divine, nectar of the gods. His tongue explored and thrust its way into her warm slippery opening. Pressure was building. He felt famished and she was his only nourishment. His tongue lapped from the bottom of her slit to the top ending at her engorged clit. With his tongue he circled, then sucked the bud into his mouth. He milked it with his lips, grazed it with his teeth. Two fingers slid inside her and found her g spot as his thumb moved to her clit. Slowly but firmly he pressed and rubbed, back and forth, beckoning her to come. Straining as she arched her back and crushed his head closer with her hands. His nose rubbed the swollen nub. She was nearly delirious as her pleasure mounted and then burst in a flood of ecstasy.
Dane said casually, “We have a decision to make. We could get dressed and go to a fancy restaurant, or we could order from Pearly’s Beach Eats and spend our time in bed. Pearly’s offers a few interesting items: Fuji Apple Chicken Salad, Fresh spring greens, tomatoes, red onions, pecans, feta cheese, apple chips, and apple vinaigrette, topped with choice of a scoop of chicken salad or grilled chicken, or Blackened Shrimp Cobb Salad, Chopped Romaine, blackened shrimp, ham, bacon, hard boiled eggs, feta, and diced tomatoes, served with lemon poppy dressing. “Do either of those appeal to you?”
“They both sound good let’s share and spend the time in bed.”
Dane made a phone call and put on the bathrobe provided by the hotel. He answered the door when the bell rang. He was fishing in his wallet for a tip, when the delivery boy stopped him. “Hey man, don’t worry, you go for it.”
Surprised, Dane turned to see Red posed seductively, still naked, on the couch.
He said, “You certainly gave him a thrill.”
“He probably deserved it after a hard day. You didn’t say we should get dressed. That was one of the options.” They ate their lunch picnic style on the carpet with their backs against the couch. The food was delicious and they fed each other from the take out containers. After washing the meal down with another glass of champagne Dane bent down to place one arm under Red’s shoulders and the other under her knees. He effortlessly carried her to the bedroom and laid her gently on the already turned down bed.
Red asked, “Dane, are you intending to have your way with me?”
“Yes, any objections?”
“No, not at all. I’m looking forward to it.”
Her perfect body against the white sheets, her red hair splayed on the pillow, she looked like an angel. He saw another side of her — vulnerable, defenceless. He lay beside her tenderly tracing her features with his fingers. For some reason she was different from his many other liaisons. He kissed her softly, told her his innermost thoughts; he spoke of his life, joys and sorrows. She could barely meet his eyes, those silver pools of dreams, and when she did she felt him slip beneath her skin as though they were one entity. She made love to him then, rocked him slowly, felt his tongue circle and suck her breasts. Ran her hands and nails down his back, encircled him with her legs, she never wanted to let him go. Their lovemaking was tenuous, exploratory, illuminating. How was this possible? He’d long lost track of the number of women he’d shared a bed with. He had some regrets, but in the end he was here by his own choices. After making love she fell asleep in his arms. For the first time in his life he felt contented. If he were to die tomorrow he could say he’d lived a full life.
Night was about to commence. He eased his arm from under her and left asleep in the bed. Sleeping had always been a challenge for him. Sometimes it happened, sometimes it didn’t. He had a ritual of listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on his iPod programmed to repeat. Every note was indelibly printed onto his mind. Wearing his headphones, lying on the couch he drifted into a state of limbo where he would do battle with flashbacks, nightmares and muscle spasms. Sometimes he would pace in circles around the room, do calisthenics, try to watch tv. The porn channel was boring. He watched a documentary on the Black Panthers, a group he had supported when he was younger. He had met one of them at a heavy equipment training course held in Charlotte, North Carolina. He invited the man out for a drink but was told, ‘I appreciate the offer and would like to accept, but places where I can drink wouldn’t allow you and places where you could drink wouldn’t allow me.’ At the same course he met, Robert a member of the Ku Klux Klan. At a local bar he sat at his right with twenty others drinking beer around a large table. Robert explained that he was brought up in the Klan, it was family. He said it was like belonging to the boy scouts — they’d get together, have meetings, but instead of a campfire they’d burn a cross or a church. He said he had nothing against people of color, but he didn’t have the choice of leaving the Klan or their activities, he couldn’t even leave the state without permission. As the night wore on and the conversation got louder locals from nearby tables stated their points of view. The topic arose of how people of color were better treated in North Carolina than they were in Mississippi. Something in the conversation irritated Robert who stood up and asked, ‘Who’d like to see a cross burning in their yard tonight.’ Without a word, half of the patrons walked out, their drinks still on the table. The power of the spoken word and the climate of fear had been revealed. That was a moment and that sentence has been seared in memory. As an outsider Dane knew nothing of the histories that had brought this moment to bear.
Another incident involved riding shotgun with five other friends. We were driving through a dimly lit area of Charlotte when next to my ear I heard a loud bang. I turned around to see a back seat passenger with handgun drawn and sparks flying off the pavement near a black man. He said, ‘Don’t worry, I wasn’t trying to kill him, just wanted to see him dance.’ The thought repelled him then as now. What could he have done? An inexperienced boy from the prairie, beyond his depth and uncertain of the future, he did nothing.
Soul On Ice wasrequired reading for my Humanities class at York University. It’s a memoir and collection of essays by Eldridge Cleaver who became an early leader of the Black Panther Party. A group of Black Panthers spoke to us in a theater as part of course content. Angela Davis had close relations with the Black Panther Party through her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. She had addressed civil and women’s rights, poverty and peace, health care and prison reform. This led to her arrest and trial on charges of kidnapping, conspiracy and murder. Davis’ imprisonment for over a year inspired the internationtreated ‘Free Angela’ movement; her case became a symbol of the abusive power of the criminal justice system against minorities. Free Angela Davis posters adorned university hallways and dorm rooms as did those of the Grateful Dead, Jim Morrison — American Poet and Robert Crumb’s Keep On Truckin‘. Chaka Khan attended several civil rights rallies and joined the Black Panther Party in 1967. She went on to win ten music awards and was nominated for another dozen.
It was easy to be impressed and influenced by these highly educated celebrities, as opposed to President Richard Nixon, nicknamed ‘Tricky Dicky.’ An election question concerning his appearance was, ‘Would you buy a used car from this man?’ He was defeated by Kennedy, but won against Johnson. The Panthers spoke against the Vietnam War whereas Nixon supposedly prolonged it for political gain.
Another group, possibly the Weather Underground or Weathermen, also spoke to our class. After concluding their presentation they asked, ‘Why are you people just sitting there? Why aren’t you out protesting or throwing bombs.’
They say that hindsight is 20/20. Why is that? What’s wrong is wrong is wrong no matter when it happens. When was slavery and oppression ever right. They talk about diversity as if it were something new. Everyone is unique. I don’t need to follow another’s religion, or sexual orientation to accept their friendship. We don’t have to be of the same race. These are imposed conditions not choices. The sociological theory of a generation gap first came to light in the 1960s, when the younger generation (later known as Baby Boomers) seemed to go against everything their parents had previously believed in terms of music, values, governmental and political views. My brother John and I were born fifteen years apart. We both liked music by ‘The Killer’ Jerry Lee Lewis, otherwise we disagreed on pretty much everything.
One point of contention involved Kent State University and the shootings of unarmed college students protesting the Vietnam War when confronted members of the Ohio National Guard. Twenty-nine guardsmen fired approximately 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis. John’s opinion, being a Korean War vet, was that anyone stupid enough to put a flower in the rifle of an armed guard deserved to be shot. I vehemently disagreed with such callous waste of human life.
The night passed fretfully. I awoke having to pee, then tried to escape the dream I’d had been living while in a somnambulistic state. Red awakened me wearing a black sexy negligee, “Hey, what are you doing here. Come back to bed.”
“I was having nightmares and didn’t want to disturb you.”
“Can you tell me about them, or are they too painful?”
“They don’t make a lot of sense — explosions of light and sound, being chased, closeups of horrendous faces, blood, lots of blood.”
“Hold me, perhaps I can help you to relax.” Enjoying the comfort of her head on his chest her body nestled close, naked breasts against his skin, the scent of her hair, her perfume transported him to another world where he drifted into peaceful sleep.
He awoke refreshed with Red lying beside him, her head resting on her hand watching him intently.
“It’s good to see you awake. You looked so at ease when you finally fell asleep. How do you feel?”
“Great.” Her hand slid down to his already hard cock. She said, “Somebody else is awake. I think I’ll reacquaint myself with him. She slid between his legs and licked his erection from the base to the head while still holding his gaze. “Mmmm, you taste like us last night. How delightful. She swirled her tongue around the rim before wrapping her lips around him while slowly sliding down and up pausing only to lick him like an ice cream cone.
“It’s my turn,” she said as she straddled him and rubbed the head of his cock against her clit. They were both oozing with juices. She closed her eyes and bit her bottom lip as she manipulated him to her will. Increasing the speed and pressure she slid him inside her and panted, “Fuck me! Fuck me hard!” To which he eagerly complied. Their orgasms exploded simultaneously as he held her hips and pumped her up and down. She rolled to her side keeping him deep within. He squeezed the cheeks of her ass pulling her against him.
“How was I?” Dane enquired.
“If you have to ask, you have a lot to learn. I don’t score lovers on a point system, nor by dick size. Let’s say you were almost as fun to ride as a Harley.”
“Don’t hold anything back just to spare my feelings. I’m a big boy, I can take criticism.” answered Dane. “I have to admit I’ve been going through a dry spell, but I’m open to suggestions, role playing, fantasies, bondage, anything you desire.”
“That’s promising. I wasn’t disappointed in your performance if that’s what you were asking. You’re not the best, but not the worst by any means. Average isn’t a bad thing. Knowing that you’re open to exploring your limits is encouraging. Have you experienced Tantric sex?”
“If that has to do with the Kama Sutra I have read it, or at least looked at the pictures. Most of the positions look to be beyond my acrobatic abilities, although martial arts has kept me quite flexible.”
Red continued, “Sting has bragged that he and his wife have had eight-hour lovemaking sessions using the ancient practices of Tantric sex. Are you interested or have I forever bruised your delicate ego?”
“Eight hours? Wow, I have new respect for the man and I thought he was most impressive for his singing.”
“Tantra is not something that can be learned by reading a book or watching a video. It requires becoming more in tune with your inner self. Translated, Kama Sutra means ‘treatise of pleasure’. By having sex the Kama Sutra way you can truly make your partner feel loved, and provide a sexual experience that would awaken the very essence of their soul.”
“That sounds fascinating. Lead on teacher, I’ll follow. First, let’s pack our belongings, deliver them to the pickup area, have breakfast and wait for the airport shuttle.”
We asked at the Sailport desk about breakfast. Unfortunately, they only served a brunch buffet on weekends. They recommended Datz Tampa on MacDill street about ten minutes away by cab.
The restaurant wasn’t much to look at from the outside, but inside it was colorful and cozy. I ordered the The Eggs Barbacoa. It was phenomenal. Red tried the Chicken and Waffles and said it was very good! For drinks I had a Bloody Mary while Red went for a Mimosa or two. An hour later we were on the plane for St Kitts.
Dane Cross, he liked the sound of that, simple, direct, easy to spell, easy to remember, enigmatic. A life of deception can’t have too many complications or explanations. He was a man for hire, private investigation, bouncer, anything this side of legal. Trained as a black op in combat with a license as a Private Investigator he was equipped for many rolls, most of them quick and dirty. Always the guy from out of town. He had no recorded past, not even fingerprints. He’d traveled the back streets and alleys in the worst districts of the world. What he’s seen, no one should see, no one should take part. The reality was that crime exists everywhere. The removal of low life crooks was his obsession.
Registered in a nondescript hotel he headed down the dimly lit back street in search of a bar. He saw flashing pink and blue neon and followed his instincts. The Playmate came into focus, a strip bar, how convenient. For a single male stranger, new in town, the sources of entertainment are limited. Movie theatres, restaurants are visited mostly by couples. A single person stands out. That he didn’t want.
She’s a Brick House by the Commodores was blaring from the downstairs club:
Ow, she’s a brick house She’s mighty-mighty, just lettin’ it all hang out She’s a brick house That lady’s stacked and that’s a fact Ain’t holding nothing back
Inside, past the bouncer, the ticket booth and the compulsory coat check were the sights and sounds of lust paid for by the minute, also the scent of cherry. He took a seat at a circular, Formica topped table in a dimly lit back corner with a view of the entrance. The wooden chairs were worn but not shabby. The carpet was worn also, paths of high traffic led to to the bar, washrooms and to a stairway that led to the private upstairs VIP rooms. He thought to himself, All that’s required to become a VIP is to hand a stripper a wad of bills.
A scantily clad woman was immediately at his side. “I’m Amber,” she said in a breathy voice. “Drink?”
Again the scent of cherry. “Double shots of Jameson, neat.” It wasn’t that he particularly liked the taste of Irish whiskey, but it reminded him of his roots and The Troubles, also it slowed his drinking. He couldn’t afford to become drunk and conspicuous.
“Coming right up,” she said in a Barbie Doll voice. His drink came soon enough. “There you go,” she giggled.
He gulped it down and said, “Another.”
“You’re a man of few words. With your drink would you like a table dance, or I could take you upstairs to the V.I.P Room. We can be more intimate there.”
“Just the drink, thank you.” As she sashayed towards the bar for his drink he thought. What a lack of creativity. With all the names in the world she chose — a fossilized tree resin, yellow in color. Why didn’t she just name herself Yellow? A wave of relaxation spilled over his crusty mood. The liquid from his glass burned his throat in a comforting way. He remembered his father’s words, ‘If it don’t hurt, it ain’t no good. Don’ t go spendin’ money on fancy labels.’
Amber kept coming back, pressing her thigh against his, placing her hands on his shoulders and letting her breast touch the top of his head. He knew her situation — there was no money in selling drinks, only in table and lap dances. He wasn’t in the mood for either so he walked to the bar.
He pulled up an end stool with his back to the dancers and his eye on the door to see who might come in. “Name your poison.” said the woman behind the bar. He couldn’t help but notice her small delicate hands, elegant fingers with fiery red nail polish to match her luscious lips. He named his usual. As she walked away he noticed her waves of red hair cascading down the sparkling green fabric of her short dress. She had to stretch for the Jameson bottle. Her legs were long and had a graceful shape, muscles undulating as she moved. She had a feline sureness about her as she set down his drink, collected empty glasses and gave the bar a quick wipe. He tossed it back and absentmindedly looked at the rows of colored bottles.
“Another?” she asked.
“Yeah, hit me again,” he replied, gazing into her golden-brown eyes. They had a quizzical, dangerous look about them.
As she placed the drink before him she said, “You’re not like the typical customer we get here.”
“Describe the typical customer?”
“Well,” she said, “you sat at the back, so you weren’t interested in a clear view of the stage. You turned down Amber for a table dance and a visit to the V.I.P Room. That’s not typical.”
“What? Can’t a guy just come to a bar for a drink?”
“Yes, but not usually to this bar. They call me Red. If you need anything just shout.” The honeyed tones of her voice had timbre and resonance even when she was speaking softly. She’s probably a damned fine singer.
Red, he thought, how original.
She came back shortly after and asked, “You’re not a cop are you?”
“And if I was, do you think I’d tell you?”
She lingered before she answered, “No, I suppose not, but we do occasionally have unpleasant incidents — fights, girls being assaulted. It would be comforting to know that we had one officer of the law to keep us safe.”
“I saw your bouncer at the door, I’m sure he can take care of himself and your staff. I also noticed the line of motorcycles out front and the full patches on vests and jackets. I didn’t recognize the name but, surely some of them would come to the aid of a damsel in distress.”
“Have you looked closely at their patches. The top rocker is Sons of Irony, the bottom is Middle Earth, the image is a prairie dog. My dad was a poet, he thought the name was as appropriate as any other. Anyway, bikers can be unpredictable and the bouncer can’t be everywhere or see everything.”
“Well, Red, as they call you, who works in a biker bar, you want to come to me for protection? I should be the one concerned about protection. I don’t like cops any more than you do. If a fight breaks out I’ll stay well away from it. If one of your girls is in trouble I’d have to think, what’s in it for me?”
“I can see that you’re a real gentleman.”
“I know that these places are euphemistically called gentlemen’s clubs, but I don’t see a gentleman in sight, including me. As for ladies, I’ll reserve judgment.”
With that, she left me alone to enjoy my drink. I pulled out a pocket notebook and jotted a few sentences. Sometimes the right amount of alcohol and the right atmosphere brings out the poet or novelist in me.
“What are you writing? Anything about me?”
“I’m writing reflections, observations, impressions, word pictures. Maybe I’ll write about you. It relaxes me.”
“You a professional writer? Do you write for newspapers? Have you published any books, anything I may have come across?”
“You may have read some things that I’ve written, but then I don’t know your tastes in reading.”
“My tastes may surprise you, Rumi, Aristophanes, Baudelaire, Whitman, Gertrude Stein, Mary Oliver, Charles Bukowski, William Wantling…”
“You have eclectic tastes. I’m genuinely impressed and I don’t impress easily. I don’t recognize the last name you mentioned.”
“William Wantling? He was an American poet, novelist, ex-marine, Vietnam vet, forger, drug addict and resident at San Quentin State Prison. After being released he attended university and graduated with a BA and an MA. He became a college professor. He also hung out with Charles Bukowski. He’s considered one of the last beat poets. A line I remember from one of his poems:
Mostly I want you to see we are all in San Quentin.
(“But see how cunningly the trap is baited”)
He gave that line some thought and replied, “He sounds like an interesting guy. I’d love to read his work.”
“You may not find much. I certainly haven’t. He was never a New York Times bestseller, but he wrote reality, his reality, raw, violent, gritty, the life you’d find in prison.”
“That’s more what interests me. Cut the bullshit, tell it like it is, not just to glorify rich people like you see on tv, but for the families scraping to make a living, the people working for minimum wage or less with no pension to look forward to, the waitresses, janitors…”
“So is there a market for the kind of books you write?”
“People buy my books, but I’ll never be a bestseller. In some ways, it’s like this place. You don’t make money off the drinks, customers like me. You make money from sex: the sight of it, the touch, smell and whatever else goes on upstairs. The popularity of my books sometimes depends on the level of sex, violence — things I know about — just enough to get my point across.”
“What is your point?”
“My point is the human condition. I try to understand people, why they fall in love, why they hurt each other, why they kill each other. It’s a mystery, like you for instance. Why is a woman who reads Baudelaire and Aristophanes, serving drinks in a biker strip bar?”
“That would be a long story if I chose to tell it. I don’t just serve drinks. I own this place, inherited it from my father who was a biker. Even when I was underage he would bring me here off-hours if he needed to work on the books. I’d keep myself entertained with the pinball machines, pool table and sometimes Solitaire…”
“I take it that your mother wasn’t around?”
“You don’t pull punches, do you. She died when I was five. I don’t remember much about her. I was raised by my grandparents and my dad. He played a big part in my growing up, so did a lot of the other bikers in here. He was nuts about vintage Harleys. He loved the look of them, the feel and sound when he rode them. He’d go to swap meets, get to know other bikers, buy what looked like a wreck, take it all apart, then rebuild it. Soon other bikers came to him to repair their bikes or buy ones he’d restored. He’d tell me about panheads, knuckleheads, shovelheads, softails, hardtails. They formed a club. I was their mascot. They said I brought them luck. When I was older, Dad would pay me to sweep out the place, wipe tables, wash glasses and ashtrays, clean washrooms. When I was old enough I started serving behind the bar. What about you?”
“Nothing special. I grew up on a small farm. I like animals more than people. I never had much social life. Dad was getting weaker year by year, so I took on more of the farm work. Eventually, he passed on, Mom shortly after. I moved around a lot. Never in one place long enough to make any real friends. I was always the new kid, the guy from out of town. Attended college on a football scholarship. I have the aching joints to prove it. I did my military service after college. I liked the military but didn’t like taking orders, so now I’m what you would call a security contractor.”
As a security contractor, what do you actually work at?”
“I’m open to whatever a client wants me to do, as long as they can meet my price. I don’t come cheap.”
“You’re a mercenary!”
“That’s not a term I use to describe myself. Call me a Private Military Contractor. Mercenaries work for everybody, they’ll go for the highest bidder on either side. As a PMC I like to think that I’m working on the right side of the fence most of the time. The main difference is that a PMC’s role is to protect and escape, rather than engage and attack.
“I do a lot of investigative and surveillance work. It’s not as interesting as the private eye shows on television. One of my former partners did not like surveillance work. He described it as, ‘sitting around and doing fuck all.’ For me, it allows for time to think and occasionally write.”
“If I had a problem and met your price could I hire you?”
“I’d need details. Maybe we could work something out.”
She called out, “Amber, take the bar. I’m going to the back.”
In the back room were open cases of liquor, a large commercial dishwasher, laundry facilities, a door marked Dressing Room, a staff area for coffee and a glass-enclosed office. Red directed me to a client chair in front of her desk. She started by saying, “It’s discouraging the way things have changed. In the early ’90s, a strip club in Montreal started offering lap dances. I visited the club and the owner showed me a closed circuit tv monitor of what was happening in the private rooms. He said they needed the cameras for security in case a dancer was assaulted, also they wanted to make sure the girls didn’t go too far. Prostitution wasn’t allowed.
“I discussed the changes with my dancers and the opinions varied. I didn’t want to force anyone out of their comfort zone. A lot of girls left the business at that time. I didn’t blame them. Some saw it as a way of earning extra money. I decided to leave it up to them to decide whether or not they wanted to offer lap dances, but it’s the dancer who sets the limits. I run a clean club which means no prostitution or drugs. We no longer hire feature dancers. It used to be that we’d book some of the best in the world, real international cabaret stars There were regular tour circuits. Now the girls serve drinks then take turns on the stage. I don’t like what’s happening. I see it as demeaning.
“I worked a deal with a local jiu-jitsu and kickboxing club. The girls get a free membership to learn self-defense. The membership of the club has seen a big boost in enrolment. The guys love seeing my girls training with them in singlets and short shorts.
“These girls, women, are like sisters to me, but more often I have to act like a mother. I hear all their problems. I have a calendar where I mark down when they’re having their period, so I know if they’re going to be grumpy or if they might phone in sick. If they thought they may be pregnant, because they were late, I could check the calendar and see if they’d missed the date or just forgot.
“People always ask me if I thought a lot of dancers had been abused as children. I always answer no to that question. Then follow it with, ‘not a lot of them, all of them.’ And I still believe that to this day. A woman can’t show her body to a man for money unless she’s lost something that once made her body special to her.
“When a girl is fifteen and has to leave home to get away from an abusive situation there aren’t a whole of opportunities out there for her. It’s pretty much stripping and hooking. The government makes it difficult for underage girls to strip, with their license requirements and all that. More of them are ending up as prostitutes instead…
“The club has a problem. A larger organization wants to take over…”
“If the larger organization is a one-percenter motorcycle club, you’ve got a big problem. I’d suggest you do what they say, take your losses and leave.”
“I agree, I don’t have a choice, but I don’t want to give this place away. These are my friends, this place is their livelihood, this is my home. I need a negotiator. It’s not like I can go to our local real estate agent. Do you have any backing?”
“Yes, I can bring in a private militia, as many men and guns as needed, if you want to start a war you can never finish.”
“I don’t want any violence. I want a fair price and protection for my staff during the transition. I want a show of force, not a war. A friend of mine who owned a club similar to this had a very unfortunate experience. He was contacted by a group of supposed buyers. He made an appointment to meet them early in the morning before the club was open. Four very large men were waiting for him at the entrance. He showed them the club. They offered him a lot of money, more than the club was worth. They said they’d drive him to their lawyer’s office. While in the car they threatened him with death if he tried anything. The guys stood around while the papers were signed. They pushed him back in the car. Before they dropped him back at the club one of the thugs grabbed the owner’s face in a large hand and squeezed firmly. He said, and I can still remember the words he used, ‘Welcome to the real world, you ain’t gettin’ nothin’.’
“Okay, work out your selling price, talk to other owners. My senior operatives are on call for immediate response. A local company can provide me with guards in a matter of hours. It’s the same situation with canine patrols and handlers. Those out of town will need to make travel arrangements. Set a date to meet the purchasers. Make sure the meeting takes place here. Tell them to come unarmed. Do you have metal detectors? If not get some. Also, have closed circuit tv covering all areas of the club inside and out. We don’t want surprises. We’ll also need all areas bugged for sound. I’ll have some of my people bring in the equipment and install it. You can reach me at the hotel down the street. Do we have a deal?”
“I don’t know your price yet.”
“We’ll work it into the price of the sale. Let me get some figures and background on who we’re dealing with. Don’t discuss my involvement with anyone. I don’t want to be a target before it’s absolutely necessary. I’ll contact my crew.”
“Okay, I guess you’ve relieved some of my stress. Don’t let me down.”
Two days later:
“Okay, Red, I have details of the audio and visual security. Everything seems to be in place and has been checked for reception. Arrange a meeting with the prospective buyers as soon as possible. Have your bouncer check them for weapons. Take them back to the staff coffee area. My men and I will be out of sight in the dressing room.
Three bikers entered, one wearing a Vice President’s patch. After looking around the room they agreed to be searched electronically for weapons. They were young, muscular and huge. Four men with grey hair and long beards wearing Sons of Irony patches were quietly playing cards at a nearby table. The new arrivals wandered over to talk, ‘You guys look as old as the bikes parked out front. Are you against buying American or can’t you afford Harleys.”
One of the greybeards stood up and said, “I ride a ’41 flathead BMW R71, the one that Harley copied after World War Two since theirs wasn’t good enough for the American Army. Where do you think Harley got their engine and transmission?”
Another of the older bikers said, “My ’73 Triumph Hurricane X75 is a classic. This model set numerous speed and distance records at Daytona and Bonneville. I’ll agree that their market was taken over by rice rockets, but It still gets me where I want to go. Harleys’ are overrated, overpriced and too noisy.”
The old man got up from the table and confronted the VP, “It’s not polite to disrespect your elders. I think an apology is in order.”
“You old coot, I’ll show you disrespect.” With that, he threw a right fist at the other’s jaw. The older man dodged and blocked the punch with his left wrist. His right hand came around the waist of his opponent finishing with a Hip Throw and standing Armbar. He said, “I can break this wrist, or let you walk away after I hear your apology.” The biker’s face was contorted in pain as his wrist was bent near to breaking. The other two bikers were ready to step in when they heard. “You may want to consider the two guns under the table about to blast away your manhood.”
The VP forced out the words. “I apologize. Let me up.”
The older man said, “You telegraphed your punch. You made it too easy.”
“What do you mean I telegraphed my punch?”
“I understand, in this electronic age telegraph is out of date. What I meant was, before you threw your punch you dipped your right shoulder. I knew exactly what you were going to do and counteracted appropriately. Now, do you want to try that again?”
The big man stood up. This time he tried a left hook. The older man defended with his hand to his right ear then attacked with his elbow, downing the biker again. “There, you did it again, you dropped your left. If I hadn’t hit you with my elbow I could have chopped your neck, wrapped my arm around yours, hit you with my right then taken you down with my right leg behind yours. Do you want to try that again?”
“Some other time, old man. I got business to conduct.”
“It’ll make more sense if I demonstrate. Are you sure you don’t want to give it a try. You could learn something.”
“Later. old man.”
The bouncer shouted, “Red, your guests have arrived.” Red walked up as the man was rising from his knees. She said, “Hey big boy, I appreciate respect, but I wasn’t expecting you to kneel. I see you’ve met Sensei Digger, my jiu-jitsu instructor. Would you mind following me to the back.”
They sat at the staff table, “I have some papers drawn up. you may want to have them checked by your lawyer. It’s being offered on the open market: twenty-five thousand square feet including a commercial kitchen, refrigeration, fixtures valued at four hundred seventy-five thousand and stock of twenty-five hundred. Included is the liquor consumption license with an estimated value of $175,000, and a municipal certificate of occupancy for adult entertainment. Sales revenue is four hundred thousand with a cash flow of eighty thousand. Total asking price is nine hundred and ninety-five thousand. Any questions?”
“Look, Bitch, this isn’t the way we do business. We’ll tell you what we’ll pay and you’ll accept it, or else.”
Dane and twenty men wearing street clothes and balaclavas entered from the Dressing Room. They were armed with AR-15 type rifles with a bump or slide fire modification. Handguns were strapped to their thighs. Each had a snarling dog at his side.
Dane said, “You’re not calling the shots here, I am. You’ll play by my rules.”
The biker said, “Hey, dude, that’s some heavy fuckin’ duty security you got there. Is that for our sake? Are those guns loaded or just for show?”
Dane said, “We don’t want to scare the patrons and staff or have someone phone the police. To keep the noise down, Number Two, show the man what you can do.” With lightning speed, he pulled a knife from his sleeve and threw it across the room sticking it inches above the lead biker’s head. It was still quivering. “To answer your question, yes the guns are loaded if needed and the dogs do bite.
“These soldiers are used to fighting in the jungles and rainforests where the breaking of a twig can mean instant death. They’ve learned to fight like ghosts. Nobody sees them coming until it’s too late. The fact that they’re still alive attests to how good they are. Also, they’re international. There’s nowhere you can hide that you can’t be found.
“You may take these real estate papers to your President. After your church meeting phone me with your decision. I can be contacted on this cell phone.” He placed it on the table. There will be no negotiations. If you don’t want a bidding war, or if you’re fussy about your future neighbors we’ll need an answer as soon as possible. Your clubhouse is now surrounded by soldiers with rocket launchers, so don’t consider bringing reinforcements or any kind of retaliation. Your telecommunication and internet devices are being monitored by encryption specialists. We also have audio and video recordings of your skirmish at the front door where you were humiliated twice by an old man. That could go viral before the night is over if we so choose. I’m sure that your home chapter and your enemies would find it very entertaining. You may leave now to make your decision. Call me.”
Dane and Red showed the bikers to the exit. The VP said, “I haven’t finished with you, Red.”
She confronted him and asked in a sweet as honey voice, “I don’t understand, whatever do you mean?”
The biker said with a smirk on his face, “I mean we have some unfinished business involving your legs draped over my shoulders. Your pussy could use a taste of my tongue.”
The smile still on her face she said, “You’re not man enough for my taste.” Her stilettoed foot came up with a right snap kick to his chin followed by a left roundhouse to the side of his head. He fell hard on his back with his legs spread. She placed her shoe on his crotch and pressed, “You owe me an apology, or I’ll crush what little balls you have.” The remaining two bikers were about to come to his aid when they looked at the Sons of Irony at the card table, guns are drawn, smiles on their bearded faces. “I apologize.”
Red said to Dane, “I’m glad that’s over. These soldiers must cost a fortune and you mentioned encryption specialists. I don’t know how I can pay for all this.”
“I’ll take ten percent of the selling price. If costs run over that I’ll cover them.”
“That’s very generous.”
“Well, I don’t expect to need all of them for the full term. As long as our three friends are convinced we have them they’ve served their purpose. They’ll convince the other members of the gang that we’re not to be messed with.
“They’re are on call twenty-four hours a day. We also have access to any other military equipment we may need. If we need a tank to crash through their clubhouse we can do it. Now, we wait for their phone call. If this fails we can probably find legitimate buyers. It’s a fair price and good value.”
Red said with a smile on her face, “This calls for a drink. Will you have your usual?”
“Yes please, ma’am.”
“Don’t call me ma’am. That makes me sound like a grandmother.”
As they entered the bar area, Amber was on stage suspended from the dance pole by her legs. Her body arched back and her long dark hair touched the floor. She slid down to a handstand, then supporting her weight on her hands she came down to a headstand, returned to a handstand. She slowly pulled herself up to her former position, hung on to the pole with her hands and spiraled to the floor.
Dane watched with appreciation. “She’s really very good.”
“She’s a trained gymnast and ballerina. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many jobs that can make use of her skill set and grace. What you saw was a tabletop, going into a lean back, leading into a bridged handstand, back up to a plank stand, ending in a spinning straddle to the floor. She makes it look easy, but it takes an expert to avoid pole burn.”
“So, what’s in her future after you close here?”
“Probably another strip bar in another town. She’ll do alright as long as she stays clean. Drugs take a lot of dancers. It’s not a problem for her now, but so many girls fall into that lifestyle, especially when their age begins to show and they aren’t so pretty or so popular.”
“Do you have someplace where I can crash for the night? I don’t want to be out walking the streets alone. There could be a sniper waiting for me.”
“Are we really in a lot of danger?”
“That all depends on the bikers and the skill of my soldiers. They’ve been issued infrared glasses for night vision. I’ll post snipers on the roof in four-hour shifts. Your windows will be manned. Roving scouts will be patrolling the outlying area and I’ll have snipers in camouflaged blinds, similar to hunting blinds but underground. They’ll be completely invisible even in broad daylight.
Two days later Dane’s phone rang. The voice on the other end said, “Okay, we’re in. Where do we exchange the money and the sales papers?”
Dane answered, “We’ll take two-thirds of the purchase price now. Bundles of large bills will fit in the saddlebags of a single bike. We’ll sign the papers, and count the money in the middle of the parking lot. In two weeks, after the premises have been vacated, we’ll accept the balance of payment and turn over the keys. After that, it’s all yours.”
The voice answered, “Okay,” then the line went dead.
“Okay,” said Dane to Red, “We’ve got the ball rolling. With luck, in two weeks you’ll have the money in your hand and can start a new life.”
“I have a feeling it’s not going to be that easy. We’re not dealing with Mr. and Mrs. suburban couple. These guys are used to taking what they want, on their own terms.”
Dane said, “Then let them bring it on. We’re ready.”
A phone call from the lookout advised, “A group of thirty is suiting up and have mounted their bikes. What should we do?”
“If they turn left towards the strip club launch a mortar shell ahead of them to blow up the road. We’ll see what happens then.”
“They’ve turned right. It may be that they’re planning to circle around and come at you from the other side.”
“We’re ready for them. Hold your location.”
Spotters with telescopes saw small groups advancing from all directions. Dane ordered his men on the roof to fire several rounds of rubber bullets to let the bikers know they’ve been detected. “What’s the reaction?” he asked.
“They’re moving back, but they’re not leaving,” said a spokesman for the shooters.
“Launch a couple of mortars. Try not to kill anybody, but let them know we’re using live ammo. Can you see what kind of weapons they’re using?”
“I see the expected axe handles, chains, handguns, shotguns also assault rifles. I see some Remington Bushmasters, GPCs, Colt CQBRs, CM901s and a Robinson XCR, all American dating from 2004 to 2010. I don’t see any grenade, mortar or rocket launchers.”
“What’s happening now?”
“They’re retreating slowly. I think it’s a standoff.”
“Call out to our roving men and the ones in the blinds. See if they can single out stragglers and hit them with tranquilizer darts. Work from the back of the group to the front. It would be great if we could immobilize their leader.”
“We’ve hit a couple and the leader is walking directly towards one of the blinds. I don’t know if our man has been spotted or not. I don’t think so. I can see a slight movement in the leaves, the tip of a dart gun has emerged. The President is down. Let’s see what happens now.”
“I think a phone call to the VP would be in order.”
“I see him picking up his phone. He looks pissed.”
“Your President is down, so are a half dozen of your men. Do exactly as I say or the next round of bullets will be live and we’ll be shooting to kill. Order your men to drop their weapons immediately or your leader dies first, then you. Raise your arms. You’re surrounded.”
“Fuck you!” yelled the VP as he ran toward the building firing his submachine gun.
Dane said, “He doesn’t have a target, the only damage he’s doing is to the brick walls. Shoot a tear gas cartridge in his path. That should slow him down. If he gets within thirty-five feet we can use a taser to stop him. It would be preferable if we can avoid killing anyone, on the other hand, we are under attack.”
“The tear gas seems to have worked. He’s holding his eyes and coughing. Bring the soldiers out of their blinds. They can approach from the rear. Keep using the tranquilizer darts. Fire more tear gas cartridges if anyone approaches. Bring out the dogs. What is the body count now?”
“There are about six still standing. They’ve dropped their weapons and have their hands above their heads.
“Round them up, use cuffs, herd them into the back room. Lock them in the beer cooler, with the exception of the President. He’ll be groggy, but if he wants this place he should be able to sign his name.”
The leader sat on a chair in the middle of the room, his hands cuffed behind his back. Red asked, “So what’s it going to be. Do you meet our price or do we offer it to another biker club?
“Uncuff my hands. I’ll sign. You’ll have the money tomorrow.”
Red said, “Send a lone biker to our parking lot. We’ll do a count and if we’re satisfied he’ll ride away unharmed.”
The President stood “I assume you’ll release my men now.”
“Yes,” said Red, “all but your VP. He can cool off here until the payment is settled.”
The bikers trooped out of the beer cooler, with the exception of the VP who was on his back with the boot of a soldier across his throat and a snarling dog straining against its leash. They left by the front door and walked the empty street towards their clubhouse.
The financial transaction took place at noon in the parking lot. The VP was released, arrangement for the handover of keys was arranged for later that night and the bikers rode away.
“Thank you,” said Red to Dane, “I really couldn’t have done it without you.”
“You handle yourself well. If you don’t have any other offers I’m in need of a partner with your qualifications.”
“That sounds interesting. I could give it a try. Shall we discuss it over a drink.”
They walked back into the bar, sat at a corner table as Amber poured their usual drinks. “So Dane Cross,” said Red, “what is this job you’re offering me?”
“Don’t get too used to the name Dane Cross, it’s an alias. In my line of work, I don’t like to be tied down to any particular identity or background. I like to stay flexible and creative. I’m usually on the move, but I stay in luxury. We’d be equal partners, share in the decisions and the profits.
“You mentioned spending a lot of your childhood here. I grew up in pool halls as well. When my brother who was fifteen years older, was assigned to babysit me. He’d take me to a pool hall, prop me in a chair and keep me contented with comic books, chips and soft drinks. I was in heaven. He’d be hustling the tables. Things sometimes got ugly if there was a sore loser, but Jack was a fighter, so he could take care of himself.
They talked into the evening. Amber brought sandwiches from the kitchen. After the last of the patrons and staff left and locked the doors they continued their conversation. An hour later the sound of a motorcycle approached and stopped out front. Dane got out of his chair, stood behind the pool table, switched off the overhead light and picked up two balls. There was the sound of feet stomping down the concrete stairs and the crashing of the door as it was kicked in. A spray of bullets from a machine gun broke lights, broke chairs, mirrors followed by the biker. When the dust had cleared he saw Red sitting at a table. She said, “You could have rung the doorbell, but it’s your place now, do what you like to the furniture and fixtures.”
“It was you I came to see, Red. I said we weren’t finished yet.”
“Yes, I remember now, it involved my legs draped over your shoulders. Do I have that part right? Then you indicated that my pussy could use a taste of your tongue. Are you up for that big boy? or was it all talk?”
Dane settled one of the balls into his right hand and pitched it at the biker hitting him between the eyes. The second followed in quick succession. He next picked up a pool cue and smashed the leaded handle on the other’s unprotected neck. The biker staggered but remained on his feet. Dane grabbed a fist full of his long hair with his left hand, jerked the biker’s head down as his left knee slammed into his chin. From his loose right pocket Dane drew his go-to weapon of choice in tight quarters, his spring assisted knuckle or trench knife — brass knuckles combined with a double-edged switchblade. While still holding him by the hair he drove the knuckles into his the side of his opponent’s head, then reached under and jabbed the two-sided blade into his neck, pulled back and slit his throat from ear to ear.
Red said, “I guess now would be a good time to leave by the rear door. My car’s out back.”