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Friday, June 16, 2023

F³ Vice Cellars 17

            Instead of the escalators, Sonia led me to a bank of service elevators, at least six of them. She hit the button for B1, as the elevator buttons labeled it, and we sped down the shaft quite quickly. Here we ended up next to the kitchen, which bustled with activity. There were enough cooks for quite a large restaurant, and enough stations to cook . . . whatever. Over there I saw a tenderloin, on that counter was fish, and more, all cooking simultaneously. Bowls of soup and stew were ladled from large pots, and on the far side were baked goods including pies and cakes.

            The very rich get whatever they want, I suppose.

            Sonia hung a right, taking us down a corridor that quickly became a junction. “The wine cellar is that way. Across from that are the more exotic liquors.”

            “I imagine the Club has to keep a stock of nearly everything on hand. Got any Laphroaig?”

            I had a weakness for that particular Scotch. It was way out of my price-range, but I didn’t think Nikki would mind too much, especially as it maintained the appearance of me as just a dandy for the night.

            “Of course. How old do you like her?”

            “Old enough to vote,” I said.

            She nodded.

            “What’s down that way?” I pointed down the opposite corridor.

            “Oh, that’s the Vice Cellar.”

            “the ‘Vice cellar’?”

            She blushed a little at that. “That’s what we call it unofficially. It doesn’t have an actual name, just a series of storage rooms, but it’s got all of the various, um, vices, that members may request.”

            I nodded slowly. “What about those souvenirs?”

            “The Fairhaven Club merch is up this corridor a little farther.”

            She led the way, bringing us to a door with an electronic lock. She pointedly looked at me, and I looked away so I wouldn’t see the code she punched in. Inside, it was a storeroom. As I have come to expect form the Fairhaven Club, it was meticulously ordered with shelves, boxes, and labels for everything.

            “You can choose anything you like.”

            I nodded, moving into the room. “How long will the wine take to decant?”

            “For the one I want to select, at least half an hour. Forty-five would be better.”

            I winced, and sucked in air. Of course I overacted it, but I wanted to make a point. “You better get that started right away.” I gestured to everything in the room. “It may take a little bit for me to find something appropriate, even in this.”

            Sonia bit her lip. “I’m not supposed to leave anyone down here.”

            I put a finger to my lips. “Our secret. I’ll join you in the room as soon as I’m done. Cross my heart.”

            She sighed. “All right. Start over there,” she pointed. “There are crystal wine glasses that she might like.”

            I mimed her point, and nodded, smiling. “Thanks.”

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