She was just how Barker liked them, thick, round curves tightly encased by a black lace minidress, short but shapely bare legs with dimpled knees in red alligator pumps. Perched on a barstool, a petite figure among large, loud men, she raised a hand to get the bartender’s attention. Eyes focused on that body, Barker strode toward his latest goal, ready to elbow some clown off his barstool to sit next to her. Fortune smiled; a seat opened up beside her. Barker took it.
“Hey, barkeep. Me and the lady here need service, OK?”
Tall, muscular, and heavily tattooed, the bartender shot him a filthy look, plainly annoyed. Barker set a blue hundred dollar chip on the zinc topped bar. The bartender picked up the chip, bearded face now friendly, smiling.
“What’ll it be, chief?”
“Maker’s Mark on ice for me and, honey, what do you want? At least, to drink?”
She turned. Barker saw her face in full, fair skinned but broad nosed, an exotic cast to her features, ample lips split wide in a delighted smile, small white teeth good but for a crooked upper incisor.
“Get me a grasshopper, big boy. Thanks for the treat, Mr.”
Barker swiveled round to face her directly. He smoothed back what remained of his hair, red suit rumpled, purple satin shirt partly untucked.
“So what’s your name?”
“Roxxie. You got a name too, sugar?”
Barker roared with laughter.
“Bet your ass I do. Cam Barker, best damned software salesman Minneapolis ever saw and all around Vegas blackjack champ.”
The bartender set their drinks down. Top 40 jukebox blare warred with the casino’s constant jingle-tingle just beyond the batwing doors. Multi-colored strobe lights turned their faces strange hues, red, orange, green, and purple. She raised her glass high.
“Let’s drink to you.”
Barker clinked his tumbler against Roxxie’s glass with only a little whiskey sloshed. She sipped her drink.
“So you had some luck at the tables tonight, Cam?”
“Some? How about a lot? Just twenty thousand worth tonight alone. I ain’t lying, baby.”
“I know you ain’t, you be living so large. But you’re supposed to celebrate good fortune with others, Cam. You know, live it up.”
Legs were intertwined, soft calves tight against him. She put a small hand atop his. Barker’s eyes locked with Roxxie’s.
“That sounds good. Why don’t we go up to my room and celebrate there?”
She maintained eye contact, drew close, and whispered.
“Three hundred for an hour, OK?”
Barker kept grinning. He’d hoped for true strange, a free shot of leg, but expected her to turn out pro so wasn’t really disappointed. You could use a pro any old way and not even say thanks or goodbye, just turn the light off on the way out. Either way, he wanted his hands on that body.
“Hell, make it four. Take some chips.”
Roxxie emphatically shook her head.
“No chips. And don’t hand me anything here. What’s your room number?”
“Go on ahead. I’ll go to the little girls room once you leave and come up in ten minutes. Have the money in an envelope where I can see it.”
Somewhat irritated at being told what to do by a woman, Barker was so enticed by the prospect of easy sex, almost at whim, that he overlooked this minor flaw and nodded agreement. Roxxie rewarded him with a dazzling smile and a deft hand on his crotch.
“Be sure to make yourself comfortable, darling, so I can get right to showing you a good time.”
Thoroughly primed, Barker shambled from the bar toward the hotel lobby and elevators. At 512, he entered his suite, turned on a lamp, and went to the closet where he got on his knees. Barker punched the combination, opened the safe, tossed in his chips, added most of his cash, and closed the door. Barker slipped the remaining cash into an envelope from the desk and left it on the dresser by the door. He threw his suit coat onto the bed, kicked off his shoes after he untied the laces, and had just dropped his pants when a faint, almost inaudible knock sounded on the door. Shirt unbuttoned, Barker walked over in his black satin underwear and threw the door open.
Roxxie hurried in and quickly shut the door. Barker grabbed her ass, but she held him back, surprisingly strong for her size.
“Let me take care of business first.”
She went to the dresser, checked inside the envelope, and slipped it into her purse, which she set on the dresser. Her legs were wide apart, breasts thrust high, a lascivious smirk on her face.
“Now we can party. Set up drinks so I can get really loose.”
“I don’t have any liquor here.”
“Have room service send up some.”
Barker got irritated again.
“Look. You talked about starting right away showing me a good time. Now you want more free drinks? Do you think I plan to watch you get good and drunk on my dime?”
Roxxie frowned, a hurt look on her face.
“Now, come on, daddy, don’t be like that. A girl needs to get loose if she’s going to turn her freak on, amirite? C’mon, sugar, just one little drink apiece.”
“I’m starting to get really angry here, woman. Are you going to do like you said or do I have to get ugly about this?”
Roxxie said nothing. Instead, she slowly approached Barker. Her hands sensuously stroked her breasts and ass. Mouth wide open, she locked eyes again with him.
“Baby, I ain’t no joke. You just drop them little black drawers and sit down in that easy chair and I’ll show you just how bad a slut I can be.”
She slowly lubed her lips with an outthrust, bright pink tongue. Barker went to the easy chair by the window at the living room’s opposite end. He yanked his underwear down to his feet and sat down.
The whore grabbed her purse from the dresser and dashed out the door.
Barker pulled up his underwear, ran to the door, and snatched it open, but she was already gone. He slammed the door, stamped his feet, and cursed and screamed.
“That bitch. Nobody steals from me.”
He grabbed the hotel phone and hit the red 911 button.
“Security? I want to report a robbery. Yes, in my hotel room, number 512. I’m a guest here; the name’s Cam Barker. A woman broke into my room and stole money from me. If you search now, you can catch her. She only just left the room. Uh, she’s about five-two, maybe a little less, long, black hair, tiny black dress, real hot-”
Roxxie ran down the stairs, pumps in one hand, purse clenched in the other. Always looking for a quick exit, she’d spotted the nearby stairway on her way to the john’s room. At the first floor landing, Roxxie panted as she slipped her shoes on, tried to control her racing heartbeat and pumping lungs, sent into overdrive from adrenaline, fear, and exertion. She took a last deep, controlled breath, put on her innocent young thing face, and stepped into the lobby and the crowd, just another guest or patron out to have fun in Vegas.
It was a short walk to the revolving doors that led outside to the parking lot and her car. With only a big, crew cut, white security guard in the way, directly in front of the doors, a watchful look on his face. She’d only draw attention if she turned around now. No choice but to brazen it out. Roxxie was near the doors when the guard’s eyes swept her way. He was sure to see her. The john must have ratted her out.
“Oh, no, Jesus, George, not here.”
A tourist fell to his knees and vomited on the guard’s patent leather shoes. The guard grimaced, drew a foot back to kick the offender, then remembered he needed a job and bent down to help the man. In the confusion, Roxxie hurried past, through the doors into the familiar 120-degree heat blanket that was summertime Vegas.
She walked calmly and slowly to her Prius. The black car left smoothly and quietly, one of the features she liked best. On the Miracle Mile, far from the suburban hotel/casino where she’d worked the night’s first john, Roxxie pulled over at a mini-mall. She counted the money in the envelope. Only five fifties. He’d folded the bills in half to make them look like more.
Roxxie put the money in her purse, threw out the envelope, and drove off. She switched her I-Phone on.
“Hey, ho. What you doing, girlfriend?”
“Just got shorted by a no good, cheap, cracker bastard. Act like he’s Mr. Big Spender, puts down a hundred dollar chip for a round, then shorts me just coz I’m some ho. Ain’t that some shit?”
“How much he short you, Rox?”
“Only fifty. But I showed him who’s fly when I grabbed my purse and topped my record for the fifty yard dash.”
“Couldn’t slip him that mickey like usual?”
“No. Damn fool had his nose so wide open he wanted it first thing.”
“Best watch out, girlfriend. Come a day, you might find yourself putting out some after all.”
“That day ain’t come. Ain’t some old ho tell me once, I forget who, ‘why should I lay down and give some fool all this when I can just rob his ass instead?'”
They shrieked with laughter.
“We be talking. Got to take care of business, gal.”
Garish, grandiose, gargantuan architecture rolled past on either side, of every imaginable shape and color, all in outsize dimensions, gushing fountains, erupting volcanoes, fairy kingdoms, a luminescent pyramid with laser rays beamed from its apex. Inured and indifferent, Roxxie kept focused. The digital clock flashed one a.m. Getting late and nowhere near what she needed.
A dangerous town teemed with enemies who meant her harm, plainclothes vice cops, hotel security, mean, angry johns with their own criminal plans, men in general with their constant tricks and lies and only one thing in mind. Her kids wanted formula; the crack pipe had to be filled. She needed at least eight hundred more. Roxxie had to go to a big hotel like the Venetian or the Mandalay, where whales hung out, rich and high on party favors. Security was much tighter though, with more guards and eyes in the sky that watched for more than crooked gamblers. Worse, Roxxie was known in several prominent ones, had even been informally warned to leave Caesar’s.
She was alone with no one to depend on but herself. Roxxie had to take another chance just like so many times before. She had to find another john.
Fortress towers built of massive plastic blocks loomed before her. Stylized, giant red and gold neon letters flashed “ALHAMBRA.” A parking valet in gold lame turban and white djellabah bowed low as she pulled through the gate. She ignored him and drove to the side self-serve lot. The Alhambra was one of the few old-style Vegas joints still open. A major draw for big name Hollywood acts in the ’50’s and ’60’s, the place still packed them in almost sixty years later, largely wealthy young hipsters from California, flush with Internet money and besotted by Rat Pack mythology. The Arabian Nights motif extended to wall to wall red Persian rugs, ornate brass candelabras, and the staff turned out in harem pants and veils or Egyptian fellaheen robes. The bar was carved of rose-colored marble in ornate filigree. She scanned the lounge, ready to smile, lock eyes, or wave as the occasion required.
The mostly young men largely ignored her. Many were already with women, girlfriends or recent pickups, others too busy talking or doing shots to notice her. Roxxie was about to buy her own drink when a liver spotted hand pushed her money back into the purse.
“Let me get that. You’re much too pretty to drink all alone.”
Old, at least mid-fifties only mousy gray left in his hair. Yet he was clean shaven and well groomed and his smile seemed pleasant and open, with no hint of inner demons. Best of all was his black Armani suit and the platinum Rolex on his left wrist.
“That’s real kind. Thanks, Mr.-”
“Please. Call me Trevor. My mother named me after the British actor, Trevor Howard.”
“Huh? OK. I never heard of him, but thank you, Trevor. My name’s Roxxie.”
“Uh, a nice name. I’d like another light Heineken too, please. So, Roxxie, you staying here? I am.”
“No, I live here in Vegas. I just like to come have a drink now and then. You know, soak up atmosphere, look at souvenirs, think how things must have been.”
“Yeah, this is a real historic place. I got a bungalow, they said Sinatra stayed there, took dates there. It’s in back, real private like.”
Roxxie looked up from her drink, directly into the john’s eyes. He was transfixed by her gaze. The same, few, simple tricks worked every time.
“Sinatra’s party crib, huh? A sexy guy like you can brag about that, draw the ladies.”
She stood closer, inches away, eyes on his the whole time.
“Oh, I kind of thought it was funny-“
“We could have us some fun, just like Sinatra.”
She was against him, with nothing but thin lace to shield her body.
“Why don’t you show me?”
The john grinned, stuttered.
“Oh, well, OK. Let’s-“
“Four hundred for an hour. Put the money in an envelope where I can see it. Is that OK?”
If he backed out, it’d be now.
“Come on. It’s hard to find at night if you don’t know the way.”
“Let’s take a bottle along. I just got started.”
“Yeah, there’s a liquor cabinet. This’ll be the first time I’ve used it.”
He put an arm around her shoulders as he steered Roxxie out of the lounge and down the long, glass walled corridor that led to the golf course in the back, fringed by flat roofed, stone and brick guest bungalows. Despite the bashful act, Roxxie could tell he was a player, probably an experienced john who spotted her the moment she entered the bar. This made her wary, but Roxxie couldn’t walk out now.
Best foot forward, she put a big grin on her face and followed the john into the bungalow.
“Shut the door, will you, and come in here.”
The living room had a sunken floor and the original, Chinese theme decor, black silhouettes of pagodas, rickshaws, and junks against orange backgrounds. The john went to a black lacquer cabinet and opened it. There was Beefeater’s Gin, Absolut Citron, white vermouth, jars of onions and green olives, club soda, and Tom Collins mix. Roxxie danced for joy at the sight.
“Honey, you got it going on here. How about a nice martini, huh? Good and dirty.”
The john ruefully shook his head.
“I don’t know how to mix drinks.”
“Oh, honey, no trouble at all for me to fix cocktails. You just let ol’ Roxxie get us both a good, stiff drink. Make yourself comfortable. You know, get undressed.”
She took the gin, vermouth, and olives to the adjoining small kitchen. There was ice in the freezer, a cocktail shaker in a drawer. She iced two cocktail glasses and put them in the freezer. The john had his shirt off. Bare chested, he looked fit and strong despite his age. Roxxie shook the shaker.
“Hear that, baby? Means something good’s coming.”
Roxxie poured the drinks. The john sat down on the couch to take his pants off. She took a plastic vial from her purse, checked to see he wasn’t watching, and squeezed liquid Xanax into a glass. Roxxie replaced the vial, picked up the drinks, and went into the living room. The john sat on the couch in his underwear, dental work on full display with a big grin. A brown envelope stuffed full of hundreds was on the coffee table. She handed him a glass and sipped from her own.
“Don’t let any spill. “
She set her drink down on the coffee table and cuddled up to the john, lightly stroked iron gray chest hair with long pointed red nails.
“You’re still in good shape. A real man to the end, huh?”
“I’m a man all right.”
He slurped his drink, set it down, and clamped his now free hand down hard on her knee, twisted and kneaded her flesh until she winced.
“In just a second, I’ll show you just how much- How much a-“
His grip relaxed. He slumped back on the couch, his gaze glassy.
“What’s the matter, baby? Not feeling OK?”
“Uh, I don’t know. All of a sudden things seem so- Feel like I’m wrapped in cotton.”
“It’s probably just the excitement. I’m sorry to get your nose so wide open so quick. Drink up and I’ll take things slower.”
She put the glass to his mouth. Unthinking, unknowing, he drank like a baby at his mother’s breast. The third time did it. His head tipped forward, the drink spilled on his chest, and his body lost all rigidity. Roxxie wriggled away, went to the other side of the coffee table, and watched the john. She bent close to his face and carefully pulled back an eyelid with a fingertip. Nothing but white. He’d be out at least three hours, more likely five or six.
Roxxie counted the money in the envelope, was pleased to find the full amount, then went through his clothes. She found a key ring with a Lexus remote and an old-fashioned, iron key. His wallet had twelve hundred dollars and a Platinum Visa. The name on the driver’s license was “John Wayne Winstead.” Roxxie tossed the money, credit card, and the Rolex into her purse. The john’s luggage was in the bedroom, two large, wheeled suitcases and a carry-on. One suitcase held jewelry, cufflinks, shirt studs, several valuable watches and rings. She put them in her purse.
The other suitcase held a small strongbox. Roxxie pulled it out and set it on the bed. A stout lock held the latch in place. She remembered the key on the ring and fetched it from the living room. The john had slumped over on the couch. He lay with his feet on the floor, head pillowed by an arm. Drool ran from his open mouth.
The lock opened easily. The strongbox held numerous items, neatly stored away, handcuffs and leg irons, a black Hitachi vibrator, a ball gag and a bit, several dildos of various sizes and substances, bottles of lube, and lengths of nylon rope. There was a padded manila envelope at the bottom. Roxxie opened it and emptied the contents on the bed. Earrings, none of which made a pair, some women’s rings, not worth anything. And pictures from a color printer. Young women. Each by herself on a hotel bed, alone. Tied up and naked.
There was a plastic bag with cotton wadding in it. Roxxie opened the bag and recoiled from the chloroform reek. She turned her face away and picked out the wadding.
A little finger rolled onto the bed, leathery and desiccated. A small, silver ring with a blue stone still clung to the severed member.
“Huh. Ain’t that some shit. Guess I got you afore you got me.”
She went to the kitchen to find a sharp knife or something heavy to use as a blunt instrument on the john, but decided against it. Roxxie went to the bedroom and returned with the strongbox, a rare, big, full, honest smile on her face.
She stripped the john, handcuffed his hands behind his back, and put on the leg irons. With an effort because he was out cold and completely limp, Roxxie slowly maneuvered his dead weight until he lay on his stomach on the couch.
“Forgive me if I don’t get every little thing right, now. I’m kind of new at this.”
She was about to slip the ball gag into his mouth, but used the bit instead so he could breathe easier. Very carefully, with lube and taking her time, Roxxie slowly worked the biggest dildo in the strongbox up the john’s rectum. When she was done, she took the severed finger and put it up his left nostril as a crowning touch. She picked up her purse, heavy with loot, and left, making sure to put the Do Not Disturb sign inside so the maids would come in and find him.
She’d had a good night after all.
Mark Mellon is a novelist who supports his family by working as an attorney. He has four novels published and over sixty short stories in the USA, UK, Ireland, and Denmark. Short fiction has recently appeared in Hinnom, Horror Sleaze Trash, and Deadman’s Tome. A novella, Escape From Byzantium, received the 2010 Independent Published Silver Prize for Fantasy/SF. More information about his writing can be found at www.mellonwritesagain.com.