* * *
CHAPTER EIGHT - Travel Weary
The following day saw us ready to leave Dundee. Midday was the deadline to vacate our hotel rooms. We left it to the last minute.
To be quite honest I was considering staying another night. When I first woke up I was in no fit state to drive anywhere, let alone some five hundred miles home. But after dosing myself up with pain killers and sleeping until something like eleven o’clock, I found myself feeling a whole lot better. In the end the allure of the Shropshire Hills proved too strong, and I set my sights on returning home.
As I packed my bags I reflected on the fact that today was a Saturday and precisely one week had elapsed since making that memorable trip to Hendry’s.
On reflection I think that was my problem. No matter how hard I tried I could not erase the intrigue and mystery surrounding the events of that night from my mind. To make matters worse, I’d been offered the job of sorting it all out, and a handsome sum of money to boot, yet I’d rejected it out of hand. I was beginning to think myself a bit of an idiot.
I settled the hotel bill for both rooms and also the tab behind the bar. Apart from my whisky bill - which was huge - surprisingly the rest was quite modest. I’d expected a whole lot more, but this was Dundee prices and not London.
In the hotel car park afterwards we stowed away our travel bags and suitcases, then said our final farewells to our Australian friends. This was the last we would see of Bruce and Jenny. We kissed and hugged, shed a few tears, then waved as the campervan drove away around the coast in the general direction of Aberdeen and then Loch Ness.
As the black smoke and diesel fumes cleared, Anthea and myself jumped into my Volvo Estate and set off in the opposite direction. My plan was to cross the Tay Bridge and head south. I won’t bore you with details of that journey, other than to tell you Anthea’s navigation hadn’t improved, and it was quite dark and very late when we finally arrived back in Lower Clunley.
I was also shagged out.
* * *
On the Sunday morning I awoke to find myself sleeping in my own bed with a naked and handcuffed Anthea lying by my side. I noticed I too was naked, but I had no recollection of the night before.
With Anthea still asleep - or at least refusing to open her eyes until she was released from her handcuffs and presented with a hot drink - I put on my dressing gown and shuffled my way down the stairs.
Having located the kitchen - I’m sure someone must have moved it! - I put the kettle on and fumbled my way through the cupboards in an effort to find all the things I needed. Eventually I assembled all the necessary items and managed to make two cups of very strong black coffee. Then, with two cups of hot coffee and a pack of biscuits balanced precariously on a tray, I made my way back to the bedroom.
On passing the hallway I collected four days mail from the letter box. There was quite a lot and I piled everything on the tray.
I removed the handcuffs and helped Anthea sit up in bed. I then placed a cup of steaming hot black coffee in her hands. After that I got back into bed alongside her. Between sips of coffee, I started sifting through the mail. It consisted mainly of bills, bills, and more bills. The rest was just junk mail. But there was one interesting letter amongst the pack. It was postmarked ‘London’ and addressed to ‘Ms. A. Hamilton’. I passed it across to Anthea.
“This one’s for you,” I told her.
She opened up the envelope and, through bloodshot squinting eyes, read the contents. Afterwards she handed the letter back to me.
“It’s from my Accountants in London. It’s details of the clubs Hendry gave to me,” she informed me.
I took the letter from her and browsed through the contents. Basically the details were itemised into two categories. Firstly it listed the shareholders and then detailed the properties involved.
Suddenly I was wide awake and full of interest.
The shareholders I found fascinating. As expected there were four parties involved and each owning a twenty-five percent stake in the business. The full list was Boris Von Reidler, Carlos Rodrigo, Claude Villeneuve and Ms. Anthea Hamilton.
Putting Anthea to one side, I knew one other name for definite. I’d had the misfortune to meet a certain Boris Von Reidler whilst working on my previous case. (See Submissive Work.) He was a major player in Hendry’s drug smuggling ring, and thanks to my humble efforts, was now doing time in a German jail.
I also had a fair idea who this Carlos Rodrigo might be. During my last investigation when I was hot on the heels of Judy Jones, the girl I was trying to track down, I’d met the owner of a BDSM club in Barcelona called the ‘El Calabozo’. His name was Carlos but I never did get to finding out his second name. But, Rodrigo sounded Spanish and if I was a betting man, I reckoned he was the third shareholder on this list.
So that left just one name to identify; a certain Claude Villeneuve. The name was certainly French, and I wondered if it had any connection with the name Duval? Or even Pierre Renard? It was that French connection again and I was beginning to think that the answer to this riddle lay with identifying this mysterious fourth person.
I put the name to Anthea.
“Who’s Claude Villeneuve?” I asked.
Anthea, with steaming cup of hot coffee clasped between hands, looked sideways towards me.
“No idea,… never heard of him,” she answered and sounding most gruff.
I tried another name whilst she was in such a good frame of mind.
“Carlos Rodrigo?” I asked.
Again the same response.
“Never heard of him either,” she replied curtly.
On this one it was the answer I was expecting. It was Sandy that had accompanied me to Spain and not Anthea. However, the final name I knew she would know. I put it to her anyway.
“Boris Von Reidler?” I said.
Anthea gave me a nasty glare.
“The German?” she hissed. “You got him arrested.”
I could see I’d touched a nerve and decided not to push the issue any further. I had no wish to delve into Anthea’s murky past, but if I was a betting man I’d say that she had slept with the German on more than one occasion.
I returned to reading the letter.
The list of six BDSM clubs owned by the syndicate was basically an enlargement of the details given in the hand written letter I’d seen at the Pilliwinks in Dundee. The difference being, I was now seeing the addresses as well as the names. For want of something better to do, I placed them on a mental map of Europe and suddenly I could see a pattern. They formed a straight line north stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to Dundee in Scotland.
I leapt out of bed.
“I’m just going to look something up,” I told Anthea.
My sudden movement shook coffee up Anthea’s nose and she coughed and spluttered before calling me names that are unprintable here. But I didn’t care. I was on my way down the stairs to the lounge.
From the bookshelf I took out my European Road Atlas and opened it out on the first page that had an overall picture of Europe. I then traced a line through the six addresses stated in the letter. The route took me from Barcelona in Spain, through to Toulouse in France, then on to Paris and finally the north coast close to Dunkirk. We then had Hendry’s in London and The Pilliwinks in Dundee.
Suddenly I was feeling wide awake. This just had to be the chain of safe houses used in the illicit Submissive Trade.
For a while I stood there staring firstly at Anthea’s letter and then to my European Atlas. I was convinced that I’d found another piece to the jigsaw and was in a quandary as to what to do next? Somehow I was getting myself deeper and deeper into this investigation, yet officially I had nothing to do with it.
I was wondering whether to contact Fernando and tell him my findings when my own phone rang.
I answered it.
It was Sandy calling from Birmingham.
“Hi sweetheart,” I told her. “How you doing?”
“I’m ready to come home Woody,” she told me. “My mother’s a lot better and can look after herself now.”
I looked to my old grandfather clock. It was just chiming ten o’clock. I knew I could be in Birmingham by mid afternoon. The only thing I was uncertain about was Anthea. I wasn’t sure whether she’d want to come with me or not.
“Look Sandy, be at your flat by about three o’clock and I’ll come and get you,” I told her.
“That’s fine Woody, I’ll be packed and waiting,” she told me, then added: “I love you.”
I left the conversation at that.
I was in no mood to start feeling sentimental.
With an unexpected journey to Birmingham suddenly coming right to the top of my list of priorities, I trudged wearily up the stairs to endure a diatribe from Anthea.
As for Fernando, he would just have to wait. I had more pressing matters to deal with.
* * *
I pulled up outside Sandy’s block of flats. I got out my car, yawned and stretched my aching limbs. I was in my home town of Birmingham and feeling shagged out. I was also on my own. Anthea had stayed behind. She gave one week’s dirty washing as the excuse. But I think the real excuse was she was more travel weary than me.
Once more the lifts in Sandy’s block of flats were out of order and I had to scale the many flights of stairs, which didn’t help my tired legs. The only thing that was going for me was the time. As predicted it was precisely three o’clock when I knocked on the door.
Sandy opened the door and immediately threw her arms about my neck. She then made me all wet from kisses. I got the feeling she’d missed me.
She was packed and ready with her suitcases in the hall. But before I could even contemplate tackling the long journey home I needed a gallon of strong black coffee inside of me.
Whilst we sat in the lounge drinking, and in an effort to keep awake, I filled Sandy in with all the events of the last eight days. I think she was sorry to have missed seeing Bruce and Jenny on their return from Wales, and also sad that she didn’t make the trip to Scotland.
As I drained the last dregs of my coffee, the telephone rang.
I didn’t catch all of the conversation, but I knew who was calling and what he was after. It was Hugo, the owner of the BDSM club Sandy once worked for, and the place where I first met her many years ago.
Sandy put her hand over the mouthpiece and turned to me.
“It’s Hugo,” she told me, “he say’s he’s desperate and needs girls for tonight… he say’s he’ll pay me lots extra if I do this one performance for him… what shall I tell him?”
I yawned and I must admit I wasn’t thinking too clearly. The truth was, I was totally shagged out and the thought of driving all the way back home was the only thing on my mind.
“I don’t mind what you do Sandy,” I told her along with another gaping yawn. “I’m getting too old for all this driving… if you want to help Hugo out, then you go and do it… I don’t mind… I’ll stop here.”
Sandy looked a bit confused. I think she was all geared up to come home with me.
“Are you sure Woody?” she asked.
I yawned again and nodded my head.
“Sure… tell him you’ll help him out,” I confirmed.
I then curled up on the sofa and shut my eyes. Ten seconds later I was fast asleep.
* * *
At eight o’clock that evening, and with four hours sleep on the sofa behind me, I must admit I was feeling a whole lot better and I decided to tag along with Sandy. Hugo, the owner of the Birmingham BDSM Club, had done me a few favours in the past and I don’t think I’d thanked him properly. I was seeing this visit as a chance to at least say thank you properly.
As for getting back to Lower Clunley, I’d spoken to Anthea on the phone and explained that I was too tired to drive back that evening. The plan was to spend the night at Sandy’s and head back tomorrow. Anthea didn’t like it, but reluctantly accepted the situation.
We caught a taxi to Birmingham City centre, then arm in arm we walked the few blocks to Hugo’s club.
Nothing had altered. The neon sign still hummed and flashed, and the letter ‘U’ was out.
There was a bouncer just inside the door. I could see him pacing about through the glass panels. Before meeting Hulk I’d have called this man big, but now I judged him to be of only average size for a bouncer. However, I still wouldn’t like to tackle him head on. In this game size mattered, and he was much bigger than me.
I looked to Sandy.
“Do you know him?” I asked.
Sandy peered through the glass panels and shook her head. The man was a fresh face to both of us. However, this came as no surprise. In reality some four months had passed since we last visited Hugo’s Club, so I guess we could have expected a few changes to have taken place.
Together we entered the double doors and immediately became accosted by the bouncer. I left it to Sandy to do all the explaining. Not that I was chicken I hasten to add; but because it seemed like the prudent thing to do.
The man was dressed in a black suit with white shirt and dickie bow. He was about six feet six tall, in his mid-thirties and had flat greasy hair parted down the centre.
“This is a private club… are you two members?” he asked.
Sandy shook her head.
“No… my name’s Sandy… I’m one of the girls for tonight… I’m here to help Hugo out,” she explained.
The man raised an eyebrow. I got the impression no one had told him to expect us. He looked suspiciously at me. I guess I must have looked like a cop.
I gave him my best smile.
“My name’s Woody… I’m her escort,” I told him.
The man rubbed the stubble on his chin and returned his glare to Sandy.
“Does Hugo know you’re coming?” he asked.
Sandy nodded her head once more.
“He phoned me this afternoon and asked me to come along tonight,” she explained.
There was a phone on a table in the foyer. The bouncer moved across and lifted up the receiver. He pressed a button and put the receiver to his ear.
“I’ll see if I can find Hugo… he’s probably in the bar,” he told us.
Someone from behind the bar must have answered. I listened to what the bouncer had to say.
“Is Hugo there?” he asked.
The answer was obviously no.
“Do you know where he is then?” he asked.
Again the answer must have been negative.
“I’ll try him on his mobile then,” the man answered and pressed the dial-tone button down on the phone.
He then pressed another button and waited. After several rings he got an answer.
“Boss… I’ve got a Sandy here… she says she’s one of the girls for tonight… she’s also got an escort with her… his name’s Woody,” he told Hugo.
I didn’t hear Hugo’s reply, but afterwards the bouncer replaced the phone and turned to us both.
“Hugo’s heading for his office… he says can you both go through and see him there?” he said.
Sandy and myself nodded our heads in unison.
“Sure… no problem,” I told him.
I gave the man a smile, then gathered Sandy up by the arm and walked her through the door into the bar. Hugo’s office was out the back and we trudged on through the bar to the corridor beyond.
The bar was packed with noisy men in fancy dress. I think the theme was Roman. There were senators with laurel leaves about their heads and soldiers in helmets and togas. However, and to be quite honest with you, my mind was not fully focused on the occupants of the room. I think I must have been walking like a zombie, because Sandy noticed my glazed look and shuffling steps. I guess she thought me to still be suffering from lack of sleep.
“Come on Woody… wake up!,” she told me.
I pulled myself together. The truth was I was deep in thought. Something that had happened out in the lobby had set me thinking and I was making comparisons.
Memories of Hulk phoning the bar when trying to contact Pierre were playing heavily on my mind. Amazingly I’d just witnessed something very similar taking place with another bouncer at another BDSM club. The thing was, when Hugo couldn’t be traced, the bouncer had tried to get him on his mobile. Looking at this logically, even though Hugo must have been somewhere in the building, it seemed the most effective way of getting hold of him. Furthermore, there was one other interesting factor to have emerged from this little incident. The number of Hugo’s mobile had been programmed into the phone in the foyer. All the bouncer had to do was press a memory button, and that was it; somewhere in the building Hugo’s mobile phone would have rung.
I could see parallels, and I had just one question burning heavily on my mind. Could it possibly be that Pierre’s mobile number was programmed into that phone in the foyer at Hendry’s Club? If it was, and that was how Pierre had been contacted, then it would answer a whole lot of questions and possibly go a long way to explaining away those missing fifteen minutes.
I was still in a dreamlike state when I entered Hugo’s office. Sandy entered first and I followed on close behind.
The big man was seated at his desk with the mandatory fat cigar in his mouth. If he was a little surprised to see me then he didn’t show it. He smiled at Sandy and looked most relieved at seeing her.
“Come on in,… sit down my dear,” he told Sandy, then offered another chair to me. “And Woody,… it’s so nice to see you again… how are you keeping?”
Sandy sat down and I dragged another chair round to sit by her side.
“I’m fine Hugo,” I told him, “retirement’s doing me good.”
“You two married yet?” he asked.
Sandy looked embarrassed. I guess I felt a little uncomfortable too. We both shook our heads.
“Perhaps… perhaps one day… when I feel like settling down,” I told him and hopefully leaving it at that.
Thankfully Hugo didn’t dwell on the subject. He turned to Sandy.
“Thanks for coming in Sandy… I was getting desperate… I didn’t even know you were at home… I just phoned and hoped,” he told her.
Sandy shrugged her shoulders.
“Well I’m here… so what can I do for you Hugo?” she asked.
Hugo blew a single smoke ring in the air before answering.
“You probably noticed as you came through the bar… we’ve got a private party booked for tonight… They’re a group of local businessmen and they want me to organise a Roman slave market… They’ve asked for at least a dozen girls… At present you’re number eleven and I’m still one short, but hopefully there’ll be a twelfth coming along shortly,… They’re doing this for charity… and all the money’s going to a local hospital, so I want a good show,” he explained.
Sandy gave a little smile.
“So you want me to be a Roman slave?” she asked.
Another smoke ring rifted upwards.
“Please,” replied Hugo.
Sandy held no objections. Compared with some things she’d been asked to do in the past, being sold in a slave market was not exactly demanding. She nodded her head.
“Sure thing Hugo… I’ll be a slave… no problem,” she told him.
Hugo blew a series of smoke rings then turned to me. I could see by the way he was gearing himself up that he had something in mind for me too.
“And Woody,… I was wondering if you could do something for me too… I’ll pay you for your services,” he said.
I raised an eyebrow. I was fascinated.
“What’s that Hugo?” I asked.
A small smoke ring drifted from his lips as he spoke.
“I need someone to auction off the slaves… the person who was going to do it has domestic problems and can’t make it… I was about to do it myself when you turned up… What do you say Woody?… Will you do it for me?” he asked.
I smiled. Domestic problems was a way of saying his wife wouldn’t let him come out tonight.
I considered the proposition and didn’t answer straightaway. I think the notion of standing up on stage in front of a packed audience daunted me a little.
Sandy looked to me.
“Go on Woody… say you’ll do it,” she urged.
I guess I weakened.
I was very much aware that I owed Hugo at least one big favour for helping me out in the past. He’d faked my identity so that I could gain membership to Hendry’s. He’d also guided me into the ways of BDSM by loaning me a pile of videos. Which I still had by the way! So it was true, I owed the big fat man a favour, and I guess pay back time had finally arrived.
“All right… I’ll do it… but not for money if it’s all for good cause… I’ll do it on condition I get free drinks all night,” I told Hugo.
The fat man cackled and the end of his cigar glowed bright red.
“Will a bottle of best whisky suffice?” he asked simply.
I nodded my head.
“Yes… as long as it’s a malt whisky,” I confirmed.
Hugo cackled again and his big frame rocked in his chair.
“Then Woody, you’ve got yourself a deal,” he agreed. “Select yourself a bottle from behind the bar.”
* * *
Half an hour later I found myself up on a little stage that faced the bar over on the other side of the room. I had a white bed sheet wrapped around me and draped over one shoulder. I was also adorned with a few accessories. On my head I wore a laurel wreath donated by someone that was already drunk. He’d tried to balance it on his own bald head several times, but every time he fell over it kept coming off. I also had my hands full. In one hand I held a scroll, its significance uncertain, and in the other I held a small whip. I had my doubts that a Roman slave trader would look like this, especially wearing a suit and collar and tie beneath the sheet, but I guess it had the desired effect.
Whilst getting adorned in the bed sheet, Hugo had briefed me with the rules of the auction. There were about thirty rampant and randy men out there and only a dozen slaves, so obviously some of them were going to be disappointed. Hopefully this would put an edge to the bidding. The auction was to be held in denarius, (I looked up the word afterwards - denarius was a Roman silver currency of the period 100 BC to AD 268.) The exchange rate was one denarius to one pound. So in reality we were just dealing in pounds. Once sold, one hundred pounds was to be deducted for each girl, the rest would go to charity. Once a slave had been sold, the successful bidder would then be allowed to lead his slave away. Twelve rooms had been prepared in readiness out the back. They would then be allowed one hour together.
Stood alone on stage and feeling very apprehensive, I glanced nervously backstage. I could see the girls assembling. After a short while I got a signal from Hugo that all was ready and I turned to confront the party of businessmen. My mind flashed back to Pierre and the way he handled a similar situation back at Hendry’s. I decided to take a leaf out of his book. He had a knack of getting the audience to eat out of his hands. I decided to make him my role model and I try to emulate him.
It was time to address the audience. I held up my arms and called for silence. I then waited for the hubbub to stop. Eventually a silence fell and I managed to grab everyone’s attention.
I cleared my throat.
“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,” I started by quoting a line from Shakespeare, ”welcome to my slave market… and have I got some of the very best slaves in the whole of the Roman Empire to sell to you today?”
A cheer went up and the man who’s laurel reef I now wore upon my head shouted some obscenity. He then clung desperately to the edge of the bar, maintained his precarious grip for a few seconds, then slipped slowly and gracefully to the floor.
I waited for someone to pick him up, but no one bothered, so I decided to carry on.
I turned backstage and signalled with a crack of my whip for the girls to join me. They were all lined up behind a curtain. They were all naked and in chains. Their hands had been manacled together at the front. A short chain went up from the wrists to a ring about the neck, and two further chains dropped down to the ankles. They were also linked in a coffle, with a rope passing through a ring in the chain attached to their necks. Finally a large Roman numeral had been written in felt-tip pen on the left breast of each girl.
I cracked my whip and struck a few backsides in an effort to get everyone stood in a line. The trouble was, there was not much space, and the girls had to squash shoulder to shoulder in order to all get on the stage.
Once I had them organised I looked up and down the line. Sandy apart, I recognised one other slave in the line-up. She was Doreen, a tall and good looking blonde with big tits. She happened to be the first. She was number one (I); Sandy was number eleven (XI).
My mind flashed back to my one and only meeting with Doreen. That encounter had taken place here, at this very club, about four months earlier. We were alone in a room together and I’d asked her to re-enact a typical session held between her and Boris Von Reidler. I must admit that session still held vivid memories with me. I’ll not say any more other than recommend - if you’re ever in Birmingham and wanting a blow job - then this is the person to do it for you. She must surely be the best in the business!
The rope linking all the girls together was not tied or attached to anything in particular and I extricated slave number one (I) from the beginning of the line. I then moved her - with the help of a few cracks of my whip - to stand at the front of the stage.
This was Doreen, and I must say she played her part. She thrust out her chest and wobbled her huge tits from side to side. Immediately cheers and whistles went up from the crowd. I raised up my arms for silence and I reflected on the fact that whoever had decided on Doreen being the lead-off slave had done a good job. From the moment she stepped forward she had the party of businessmen drooling over the prospect of spending an hour alone with her.
I started the bidding.
“Friends, Romans, countrymen, I offer you my slave number one,” I told the drooling pack. “This is Doreen… she’s a native of these parts,… she’s obedient, well trained and responsive to all your needs… as you can see she has fine body, firm breasts and shapely legs… now what am I bid for this perfect specimen of a slave?”
I was expecting someone to give me a bid, but that is not what happened. About half a dozen men moved to the front of the stage.
“Can we inspect the goods first?” one of them asked.
I shrugged my shoulders. I had no objections, but I did not know how Doreen would react or whether this was considered to be part of the rules. I’d not been told whether the inspection the goods prior to a sale was allowable. I looked to Doreen and she gave me a reassuring nod and smile. I think at this point I was the most nervous person on the stage.
“Carry on then,” I told them, “you may inspect the goods.”
From the floor below the stage one of the men made Doreen open out her legs. He then, with one arm raised, began running a finger backwards and forwards along her crack. To begin with the other men seemed happy enough to stand and stare upwards between the slave’s open legs and observe what was going on. Then a couple of them stepped up on the stage and began to run their hands all over Doreen. They squashed her tits, rolled her nipples between their fingers, and even made her open her mouth to inspect her teeth. I looked around and could see the amusement on everyone’s faces, so I let this carry on for a while, and it was only when twitching fingers started to probe too deeply between her legs that I decided to break up the proceedings.
“Right gentlemen, you’ve had your chance to inspect the goods. You can see that she’s a fine slave and most willing to make her new master happy… Now what am I bid for this perfect specimen of a slave?… What do I hear for Doreen?… do I hear one hundred denarius?” I called.
A voice from somewhere near the centre of the room responded.
“One hundred denarius,” came a shout.
I pointed my scroll in the general direction of the bid. I could not see exactly who’d said it.
“One hundred denarius I’m bid,” I responded and the auction was underway.
The bidding went up in twenties to begin with, then dropped to tens once seven hundred had been reached. At this point there were only two bidders remaining and the bidding stopped at seven hundred and sixty denarius.
“Sold to the Centurion on my right for seven hundred and sixty denarius,” I called and closed the bidding with a crack of my whip.
The successful bidder then bustled his way to the front. As he emerged from the crowd I could see that he was wearing a breast plate, toga and helmet, and dressed like a Roman Centurion. However, by his deportment and mannerisms he gave the impression of being a top business director in real life, but to be quite honest I knew nothing about him other than he must have had a lot of money to throw around.
As the Centurion reached the stage a spontaneous cheer went up and the crowd began to applaud. I breathed a silent sigh of relief. Doreen had been sold. That was one down and I only had eleven more to go.
The Centurion joined me on the stage. He counted out seven hundred and sixty pounds in crisp new twenty pound notes into my hand, then took hold of Doreen by the elbow and led her away. They departed the room to a great cheer and whistles.
Whilst all eyes were following the Centurion and Doreen out of the room, I unravelled slave number two (II) from the line and shepherded her to the front.
This slave was the exact opposite to Doreen. Whereas Doreen was tall with long blond hair, this one had a small ‘five feet nothing’ frame and short dark hair; and instead of big round wobbly tits she supported two small conical-shaped breasts. Physically she was a mere slip of a girl compared with Doreen.
I leant down and whispered in her ear.
“What’s your name my dear?” I asked.
“Fiona,” she informed me.
She’d spoken just one word, but from that I detected that she didn’t come from the Birmingham area.
“Where are you from originally?” I asked.
“I was born in London,” she told me.
I smiled. Now I could detect the slight cockney accent.
“Well Fiona, let’s see if we can do as well as Doreen,” I told her, then added. “Waggle your tits and show yourself off and I’ll get the bidding going.”
Fiona moved her body from side to side, but nothing of any significance happened. For starters no flesh wobbled. The only noticeable movement was the chains. Her little titty cones just moved from side to side with the swaying of her body. But more alarmingly the reaction from the crowd was muted.
I felt a little sad for Fiona. I didn’t think being second in the line was a good idea, but the order had nothing to do me and was decided long before I even stepped up on stage.
With Doreen going first the auction had set a high standard which I could not see being beaten. The big busted blond had gone for seven-hundred and sixty denarius, and to be truthful I didn’t expect Fiona to raise even half that amount. Furthermore, I think everyone in the room had a certain limit. The man bidding against the eventual winner had dropped out at seven-hundred and fifty denarius and, looking along the line of slaves, I could see one or two better prospects waiting in the wings for the big tit lovers in the crowd.
I raised up my arms, then waited for silence once more.
“Well friends, Romans and countrymen,” I started once more, “I now offer you my slave number two?… This one’s name is Fiona and she’s originally a native of Londinium… She’s obedient and only too willing to respond to her master’s every needs… so gentlemen, before I start the bidding, would anyone like to step forward and inspect the goods?”
It was a stupid question to ask. Already the same half dozen men were gathered like a pack of wolves waiting to pounce. No sooner had I finished my sentence when two leapt up on the stage and began to fondle and feel Fiona’s small tits. Those remaining contented themselves by looking upwards from the floor and fingering between the legs.
I allowed the groping to continue for a couple of minutes, then called time.
“Right gentlemen, let’s start the bidding shall we?” I said.
No sooner had the words departed my lips when someone from the back shouted: “Five hundred denarius.”
Suddenly all went quiet and heads turned. I then saw who’d called the bid. It was the drunken oaf that had earlier donated my laurel wreath. He was now back on his feet and clinging on to the bar.
I pointed towards the bar with my scroll.
“Five hundred denarius I’m bid,” I called.
For a few awkward moments there was silence. Heads turned and looked to each other. Then everyone started muttering amongst themselves.
I was starting to feel uneasy and wondering why I was doing this.
“Five hundred denarius I’m bid… do I hear five hundred and twenty?” I called a second time.
As I spoke the mumbling stopped and there ensued an embarrassing silence.
“Anybody?… come on please!… shout up!… do I hear another bid?” I asked, and more in desperation than anything.
However the silence remained and I was finding this very embarrassing.
Then thankfully someone called: “Five hundred and ten denarius.”
Immediately I felt a sense of relief. A Julius Caesar look-alike was stood in the midst of the audience with arms raised. I pointed to him with my scroll.
“Five hundred and ten denarius I’m bid,” I called. “Have I any advance on five hundred and ten?”
All eyes returned to the bar. It was now up to the opening bidder to advance his bid. He was swaying and clinging to the bar. He raised up an arm, presumably with the intention of making a higher offer, but the move proved disastrous. He tottered, lost his balance and dropped like a stone. As he thudded to the floor the silence was broken by a great cheer from the crowd.
For a moment or two I remained frozen on the spot. I was unsure what to do next.
Then someone from centre floor called: “Don’t mind him… just carry on.”
I was still pulling myself together when someone on my left joined in the bidding.
“Five hundred and twenty denarius,” he called.
This time it was a Roman soldier that made the advanced offer. I pointed to him with my scroll.
“Five hundred and twenty denarius,” I called. “Do I hear five hundred and thirty?”
After that the auction continued with some semblance of order.
I relaxed. Whilst the drunk remained sleeping on the floor it was possible to carry on as normal.
Fiona finally went for six hundred and fifty denarius. Not as much as Doreen, but far more than I’d dreamed of. I think in the end I felt pleased for Fiona and actually gave her a little kiss on the cheek before seeing her led away by her new master.
After Fiona the sale of slaves number three (III) to ten (X) moved on smoothly. Doreen’s seven hundred and sixty Denarius remained the highest sale, and no slave had gone for less than five hundred. It is also worth mentioning that by now I was settling well into the role of slave master, and a certain repartee had developed between the audience and myself.
Number eleven (XI) was Sandy. I released her from the rope and shuffled her forward.
“Give ‘em your best smile and flash your tits, and let’s see how much we can screw out of them,” I whispered as I manoeuvred her to the front of the stage.
To be quite honest I had no idea how much Sandy would fetch. However, I guess I was biased. But considering what was on offer I didn’t hold out too much hope. Sandy was the oldest girl in the line by far. She was well into her thirties whilst the rest were either in their mid-twenties or even younger. On the other hand this had to be weighed against the average age of the audience. These were a group of middle aged businessmen raising money for charity, and perhaps an older woman would appeal more to their tastes. At this stage all I could do was wait and see.
I raised up my arms and for the eleventh time called for silence.
“Well friends, Romans, countrymen, I offer you my slave number eleven,” I said. “She’s a native of these parts with many years experience… I think she’ll prove a fine slave for any new master… now if you’d like to step forward and check out the goods, then please do so now.”
I then permitted the mandatory inspection to take place before starting the bidding proper.
“Now do I hear an opening bid of one hundred denarius for this fine specimen of a slave?” I called once everyone was back in their places.
I received a bid almost immediately.
“One hundred denarius,” someone called from over on my right.
I pointed to a raised arm in the crowd.
“One hundred denarius I’m bid,” I said. “Do I hear any advance on one hundred denarius?”
As expected the bidding was keen. Another man joined in, and then another, and we started to go up in twenties. At this point there were at least half a dozen going for it, and to my surprise we were up to seven hundred denarius before I knew it. As seven hundred and ten was called I was down to just two bidders.
At seven hundred and fifty the bidding stopped. I could see that it was the original bidder that had lost out on Doreen. I didn’t know whether to feel pleased for him, or sorry that Sandy didn’t quite make the record.
I waited a few seconds then called: “Seven hundred and fifty denarius I’m bid… this is your last chance… have I any advance on seven hundred and fifty?”
Faces in the crowd turned to each other. I could see there were to be no more bids.
I raised up my arm in order to crack my whip, and was about to call sold, when from the back of the room I heard a shout.
“One thousanth,” someone called.
I looked around but at first I could not see the bidder. Then the crowd near the bar parted and I saw who it was. It was that drunk again. He was back on his feet and staggering to maintain his balance. This time he managed to raise up one arm and cling on to the bar with the other.
“I… bidth… one thousanth,” he slurped.
Now what do you do when a drunken oaf makes what appears to be the successful winning bid for your live-in partner? I looked to Sandy. I could see apprehension in her eyes, and I don’t blame her.
I decided to carry on, because basically I had no choice. I’d not called sold and someone had come in with a higher bid. Reluctantly I pointed towards the bidder.
“One thousand denarius I’m bid from over by the bar,” I called, “do I hear one thousand and ten?”
Heads turned towards the bar and then back to me and Sandy. Then people began to converse. I could see men negotiating with others to lend them more cash.
Suddenly there was a thump and the drunk hit the deck again. Two able bodied men stood to either side hauled him back to his feet and held him there. I guess they were his buddies.
Then someone called: “Go on then… I bid one thousand and ten denarius.”
I looked to see a senator with arm raised. I’d not seen him enter any of the bidding before.
Feeling a sense of relief I pointed in his direction.
“One thousand and ten denarius I’m bid,” I shouted. “Do I hear one thousand and twenty?”
All eyes returned to the bar. The drunkard was on his feet and rocking unsteadily between the two gentlemen that held him upright.
“Yeth… one thouthanth… two hundreth,” he called.
Suddenly everyone was talking and the noise level increased dramatically.
I turned to Sandy.
“I’m sorry about this,” I said apologetically.
She returned a knowing smile.
I raised up my arms and called for silence.
“One thousand two hundred denarius I’m bid,” I called. “Do I hear any advance on that?”
The chattering started up again. I looked to the man who’d made the previous gesture, and he shook his head. I could see the bidding had come to a end. I was desperate and didn’t know what to do. Look at it from my point of view. The last thing I wanted was for my Sandy to be locked up in a room for one hour with some drunken oaf. I decided to give it one last try.
“Come on… come on… it’s all for a good cause… and there’s only two slaves left… surely you can do better than that?” I called.
Heads turned to-and-fro and the chattering continued, but no one was willing to come up with a higher bid.
I turned to Sandy and shrugged my shoulders.
“Sorry,” I said sadly.
Sandy smiled back.
“Don’t worry… I can handle him,” she told me.
I raised up my whip. I was ready to close the bidding.
“No more bids?” I called for the last time and looking around the room at the faces.
I think the ‘S’ of ‘Sold’ formed in my mouth when I heard a call, and suddenly all went quiet.
“One thousand five hundred denarius,” someone called from the far side of the room.
All heads turned to the back.
I looked up and to my surprise I identified the bidder. It was Hugo, the big man himself. He’d moved from backstage and changed into Roman attire. He now stood next to the bar looking like Emperor Nero complete with lyre which he twanged to give out a few harsh notes.
I pulled myself together and gave a little knowing smile. I think I understood now. Hugo was part of the businessmen’s circle, complete with secret handshakes and everything that accompanied it. It also explained why he was willing to pay out extra cash from his own pocket and also determined to put on a good show this evening.
I pointed to Hugo with my scroll.
“One thousand five hundred denarius I’m bid,” I called and pointing in Hugo’s direction.
I then looked to the bar. I saw the two men keeping the drunk propped up try to revive him with a slap to the face. I saw the drunk lift up his head in response and attempt to focus on the stage. I not sure whether he intended to make a higher bid or not, but I decided enough was enough.
I cracked my whip.
“Sold for one thousand five hundred denarius,” I called.
Immediately a great cheer went up and a crowd began to gather around Hugo to congratulate him.
I turned to Sandy. I could see that she was feeling relieved.
“Phew!… that was close,” I told her.
She nodded her head and gave me a wry smile.
“It sure was,” she confirmed. “It sure was!”
With the cheers of the crowd still ringing around the room, Hugo came up on stage and counted out the money into my hands. After that, and still to tumultuous applause, he led Sandy away. I didn’t know at the time, but Hugo didn’t actually go to a room with Sandy, they went to his office instead and opened up a bottle of wine.
After that I continued with the auction. I had one more slave to sell. I can tell you now, it went without a hitch. Luckily our drunkard friend passed out again and took no part in the final bidding.
When it was all over I joined Hugo and Sandy in the office, and apart from clinging on to my richly deserved bottle of best malt whisky, we also cracked open a bottle of champagne. In the presence of a few members of the committee, we counted out the money, and after deductions the total amount raised for charity was over seven thousand pounds.
* * *
As Sandy and myself sat in the back of our taxi and heading for Sandy’s flat, I reflected on a couple of things I’d learned that evening.
For one thing my mind had turned to reconsidering that French connection. Pierre had come to the top of my thoughts once more because of two incidents that had occurred that evening. Firstly there were those two telephone calls from the foyer. I was still interested to know whether the phone at Hendry’s had been programmed in a similar manner: And secondly I was reflecting on how hard it had been to stand in front of an audience and hold their attention. Pierre had proved a natural at it, and I was wondering where he’d gained all that experience.
Finally, and not connected with Pierre, I now found myself further indebted to Hugo. I’d tried to repay one favour and he’d come back with another. Somehow it was still one up to him and I was wondering how best to make amends.
As the taxi approached Sandy’s flat I pondered over my next move.
Tomorrow I very much wanted to be back in London. I needed to visit Hendry’s, check on that phone and speak to Fernando. However, my problem was twofold. What was I do with Sandy? Should I drive her back to Lower Clunley? Or leave her here in Birmingham? Or even take her with me to Hendry’s club?
Furthermore, and to complicate the issue, there was also an Anthea to contend with. She had to be kept informed, if only to stop her kicking me in the balls the next time we met. Already she was being asked to spend one night alone. I’m sure just for tonight she’d get by on her own with a touch of self bondage and masturbation, but without the real thing I couldn’t see that situation lasting very long.
So what was I to do?
That was the question!
* * *
End of Chapter Eight