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Friday, August 25, 2023

F³ Useful Bureaucracy 27

             Low on sleep that night, I dragged myself to the City Planner’s office in the morning. I waved to Patty as I came in.

            “Another case, Mr. Allen?”

            “Yeah, you know how it is.”

            “Nope, I just work for the city, but know the drill. Listen, they upped the price for copies, again, especially if you want the city’s seal,” She pointed to a sign giving the prices.

            I nodded. It seemed the city was always trying to make a buck.

            “Any idea when they’re going to get all of these online?” I asked.

            She shrugged. “Not exactly a budget priority.”

            “Yeah, guess so. Anyway, thanks, Patty.

            I sat at one of the computers and began searching. While the full plans weren’t online, except for the most recent ones which were all filed online, they had a database that made it possible to search through to find the records. Most libraries tended to have a better interface, but with the instructional handout taped to the desk, I could muddle through.

In the movies, blueprints or some contractor’s order would show a hidden tunnel. I knew that wouldn’t be the case; the Club would bring people in to dig it in secret and keep it off the books. Likely, some of those were dug during Prohibition. The tunnels wouldn’t be in the plans, but they couldn’t hide something big and out in the open like loading docks.

It was slow going, though. I had to look up properties by their addresses, which, helpfully, I could get through online maps. Unfortunately, the satellite pictures on the online maps couldn’t show the loading docks. Like most old, urban buildings, they built them up a few stories, covering the docks up. I probably could have figured it out by driving around, but didn’t want to risk my car being seen in the area, too much.

So I took the slow way, looking up addresses and plans. On the way, I made notes of the current owners of the properties. I suspected most of the owners were shell companies, but it might be useful information later on. It would be nice if they were sloppy enough to have the same company as owner of the Club and associated buildings, but I wasn’t that lucky.

From there, I went back to Patty and asked her to pull the plans for me. I didn’t bother to ask for copies. I just used my phone to take a picture. I wouldn’t need them as evidence in court or anything, just as a reference on where to park for the stakeout.

Friday, August 18, 2023

F³ Special Occasion 26

             Nikki and I got into her car, laughing until her driver had gotten us out of the parking garage. Once done, I sighed, and took out my notebook, furiously scribbling down what I observed from the members and the hostesses. I didn’t know if it would actually be useful, but since we seemed to be tackling a large chunk of the Fairhaven Club, I wanted to cement the information in my brain.

            Fortunately, Nikki gave me the time and space to get everything down. Only when all of that was done, did I look up.

            “Where are we?” I asked.

            “Currently, we are returning to my club,” she said.

            “You can just drop me back at my office.”

            “Were I to do that, the people following us would no doubt conclude that this was more of a professional matter than personal, and report back to their masters, accordingly.”

            I glanced back through the window. The dark tint didn’t make it easy. All I could see were headlights since it was night out.

            “Which one?” I asked. I was better at tailing cars—only marginally better—than spotting a tail.

            “I have no idea. There could be multiple spies. I’m only certain that I would not let us go unwatched from the club. So we will have to spend a little more time at the club just to make sure that our uninvited guests fully believe you are my boy toy.”

            “You got a movie in mind?”

            “Venusian Vampire Vixens. I’ve been saving it for a special occasion.”

            “Guess I better call Cassie and tell her I’ll be even later.” I pulled out my phone.

Friday, August 11, 2023

F³ What We're Good At 25

             The three of us ambled our way to the club’s entrance, Nikki linking arms with me on the right and Sonia on the left. There were whispers, laughter, and Nikki offered up some very frank innuendos to Sonia, giving the appearance of being drunk. I played my part as well, occasionally stumbling and slurring my words for dramatic effect. I had long-since given up my wild youth, so was acting purely on memory. It was actually pretty difficult to find some kind of balance. Whenever I got drunk, I tended to be philosophical, thinking—what I thought at the time—deep thoughts of the universe. But that wouldn’t work here, so I had to try and be like my brother Paul, who had been more of a free spirit while drunk.

            “You remind me of a girl from Nantucket!” I said loudly to Sonia. Hard as it was to believe, Paul had picked up his future wife Connie with that line.

            Nikki let out a peal of laughter, stumbling into me and dragging Sonia with her. The three of us veered hard to the right, almost crashing into a knot of four men in top hats.

            “Beg your pardon, Gov,” I said with a bad British accent. “Hey, is the governor here? I bet he could give us a pardon!”

            Nikki dragged us back on course, still laughing, while Sonia looked somewhere between amused and horrified.

            We took the final escalator down, me in front. I felt Nikki turn around, playfully bumping my back with her rear. I heard whispers to Sonia, but couldn’t make them out. No doubt Nikki was seducing the young girl even further, creating quite the spectacle as I saw at least three hostesses coming up the other side with their eyes locked on Sonia and Nikki.

            Nikki is really skilled at this. She didn’t need me hanging around. Guess I should be glad I’m not good at political games.

            Instead, I did what I was good at, and observed, cataloging reactions of others, especially those hostesses, noting the names on their tags, too.

Friday, August 4, 2023

F³ Improv Act 24

             It took us almost an hour to lay the plans, which brought us close to the room deadline. Fortunately, we could make that part of the plan, too. As the deadline loomed, Nikki sent a text to Sonia, asking her to come by again. Nikki and I set about staging the place. The wine bottle was empty and on its side. Nikki’s lipstick all over the glass. The pull-down bed was in place with the sheets suitably rumpled and pillows disheveled. I had a double of the Laphroaig that Sonia had gotten for me, and sadly poured half of the rest of the bottle down the drain. There was just no place to store it.

            The timid knock announced Sonia’s return. I left the open bottle next to the sink and dashed for the padded chair. Nikki quickly assumed her seat on my lap, letting out silver laughter, calling out, “Come in!”

            Sonia timidly entered, darting in and shutting the door behind her to prevent prying eyes from seeing what they weren’t supposed to. On the surface, the Fairhaven Club had to respect member privacy above all else, but like any place, gossip would spread, anyway.

            “Ah, Sonia, good to see you again. I trust you are suitably recovered from our . . . assignation?”

            Sonia, who had likely witnessed and endured much debauchery within the club’s walls blushed furiously. While I didn’t know for sure that Nikki had taken blood from the young woman, I well knew the effects Nikki could have on a person. The feeling of being enveloped in a vampire’s will was powerful, and not soon forgotten.

            “Y-yes, Ms. Alexander. I-I—thank you.”

            She had taken a tentative half-step forward at the end, before cutting herself off. Clearly, she was smitten with her experience.

            “Well, you shall have to attend me again, soon. Perhaps all of us, together.”

            Sonia nodded rapidly while Nikki continued.

            “Sadly, our time tonight is at an end. Would you have my car brought around. I’ve had enough business for the evening. Time now for more pleasure.”

            I snaked a hand around her stomach, and tilted in to kiss her neck. “Laying it on a little thick, aren’t we?” I whispered.

            But then I couldn’t argue with the effect on Sonia. She stood and openly looked with longing, her mouth slightly open. It might’ve been my imagination, but I thought her legs quivered, slightly.

            Maybe it’s the heels, or maybe it’s Nikki’s will.

            Nikki patted my hand wrapped around her, then swiftly rose, gliding over to Sonia and bending to whisper in her ear. This hadn’t been part of what we had discussed. I wasn’t crazy about Nikki improvising, but then most of my plans were improvised.

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