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Friday, April 12, 2024

F³ The Clothing Unheist 60

             Nikki deposited a reusable shopping bag on my desk.

I arched an eyebrow at her in a question.

“The fruits of my labors. A complete hostess outfit for the Fairhaven Club.”

“Really? Wow. That was fast.” It had only been a day since we had planned the heist. “Jen,” I yelled to the outer office. “Wardrobe’s here.”

She came in, look at the bag on my desk, and sighed. “Can’t believe I have to do this. I’m getting overtime for this,” she said.

“And hazard pay,” I nodded.


“Absolutely. Nikki’s paying. I’ve been giving myself hazard pay since the first trip to the Club.”

Jen nodded, and took the bag into the bathroom. We needed to make sure everything fit properly in case we had to send Nikki back in for a swap.

Nikki sat down in the chair across from my desk and glared at me. “Really, Matthew.”

“Uh, yeah. I should create a whole new pay scale just for Fairhaven Club stuff. A step below dealing with storm riders, but there’s almost always a chance of losing life, limb, or soul in that joint.”

“Storm Riders?” Nikki quirked an eyebrow.

Whoops. Not supposed to mention them, so much.

“So how did you get the goods? Please tell me it was a heist. You did your own little heist, right?”

Nikki smiled. It was a layered smile. No doubt she would ask me later about the Storm Riders, but underneath that was the amusement of the story.

“Would you really like to know?” she teased. “It is somewhat salacious.”

“In that place, I would be shocked if it wasn’t.”

“Very well. As with any heist, a great deal of preparation went into the operation. Though I did not need an independent crew, I felt it necessary to make sure that all steps of the plan were laid out before I went into action. I was prepared for a great deal of misdirection to cover my tracks.”

I grinned, getting into the vibe. I was ready for this.

“So, are you ready?”

“Oh yeah.”

“Very well. Just inside the Club, I requested a private room to conduct business and for space to set up all of my special equipment.”

I nodded.

“Then I called for some red wine.”

Not the direction I had expected, but this was the early stages of her caper.

“When the girl arrived, I requested the clothing in Jennifer’s size. The girl brought it to me and charged my account.”


“The end.”

“What? That was awful. And what gives, Nikki? You just jeopardized our entire heist. After it’s over, they’ll look and see you bought an outfit and—”

“Do nothing,” she interrupted. “Hundreds of outfits are sold each year.”

I felt my brain screw into a knot. “What?”

“It shouldn’t surprise you, Matthew, that many of the club members are men with outrageous tastes. Some of those tastes extending to dressing people as club hostesses. Perhaps more common are that club members will accidentally stain or otherwise mar the clothing, requiring them to be charged for replacements.”

“So there’s going to be too many to check at any given time,” I concluded. “But won’t they suspect you because you’re a woman?”

“This is not the first time I’ve purchased the garments, either, Matthew.”

I opened my mouth, but instead of asking the questions I wanted to, the bathroom door flew open, revealing Jen.

“What the hell? This skirt barely covers my butt, but every time I take a step in these death-trap heels, the skirt rides up. How do they even engineer that? Matt, I want at least double for this. This is way beyond what you two described.”

I shrugged, then nodded.

“I think you look rather fetching, Jennifer. Perhaps you should wear it for Halloween?”

I’d never seen Jen glare at Nikki before. They usually got along great, but this time daggers flew from Jen’s eyes. Nikki, though, appeared unperturbed.

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