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Friday, June 2, 2023

F³ Name Recognition 15

I trudged off in a most depressive fashion until I got out of the room. Once free from unwanted eyes, I began to survey the place. The Fairhaven Club was one of the older establishments in Belport, with the same 19th century stylings that gave rise to fanciful mansions and buildings with hidden nooks and secret passages. I had no doubt such actually existed in this place. The secrets that had been spoken in these walls would likely bring down many great people, and shock the general population as to how many of those secrets were needed to make day-to-day life normal.

But for me, I needed to do two things. First, I needed a room for me and Nikki, later. I had done business in this place before, so that was easy enough to arrange. I flagged down a young woman in her uniform, which resembled a tuxedo version of a Playboy Bunny costume with tux tails instead of a cotton ball and a bow tie instead of bunny ears.

“Excuse me . . . Sonia” I read from her nametag, “I am in need a of a private room for some intimate business.”

“Oh! Yes, sir. We have a number of those rooms. Let me check to see what’s available.”

I suppressed a sigh, remembering that in this place, private could also mean intimate, and that such a room would have some sort of bed, either overtly or a fold-out from a couch or wall.

She pulled something up on her phone, which had been tucked into a thigh-high stocking. “Yes, we do have some of those rooms available. How long will you need it for?”

It was a good question. I didn’t want to commit to anything too long, and while I wanted to be done as quickly as possible, I had a feeling that Nikki and I would have to discuss some things, and make some plans.

“Two hours, in about an hour.”

Sonia gave no reaction to the amount of time I requested.

“Reserve it under Nikki Alexander,” I said as she tapped away.

She blinked, then looked at me. “Oh! Yes, I see.”

Apparently, as the only female member of the club, everyone knew Nikki.

“Will you and Ms. Alexander be needing any special requirements of the room?” Her voice dropped into sultry smooth. “Perhaps someone specific to attend your needs?”

I did the math on that pretty quick. In a club full of handsy old men, it was probably an open secret among employees that it was preferable to get in with Nikki, in whatever capacity.

Love to see the BPD come through here, but I’m sure Collins would tell me that every city official was a member.

“Yes, please ask Sonia, that’s S-O-N-I-A, to join us,” I smiled. I tried to make it a sly, knowing smile.”

“Why thank you Mr.—”

“Allen,” I provided.

She nodded. A few more taps, and she extracted a business card from her bra, then wrote on it before extending it to me. I took the gold-edged card, which had her name, club contact number, and in her hand, a room number and a sequence of alphanumeric characters.

I quirked an eyebrow at her. “Last time I was here there was a physical key.”

“There have been some upgrades over the last year. There was an issue with members not returning the keys. Text the room number with this code when you get to the door and it will unlock.”

I nodded, slowly. Tech really wasn’t my thing, though Cassie and Ira had dragged me into the 21st century.

“Does Ms. Alexander have any . . . preferences?” Sonia asked.

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