She was a stunner. Out of the red patent-leather stilettos came slim ankles, sculptured calves and strong thighs that seemed to go on forever. As he followed them up, unable to draw his eyes away, he was reminded of an old saying from his military days; ‘legs that go all the way up to the arse then make a pussy of themselves…’ He giggled into his drink.
She had accentuated their length with black-seamed stockings, which made them look so long they’d wrap around him twice, if ever he was lucky enough to be in such a position. Her legs disappeared underneath a red mini skirt, though not one of those micro ones girls seemed to be so fond of these days, the ones that left very little to a bloke’s imagination.
From there on up, she had a figure few women possess but many desire. Her waist dipped in then out, as true as a violin’s curves. All that was missing was the ‘f’ holes. She had on a crisp black blouse, tucked tightly into her skirt, with a wide red belt holding the outfit together. Her dark auburn hair hung down to the middle of her back and looked well kept and expensively cut.
From his side view, she didn’t appear to have large breasts, not that he liked them too large anyway. He remembered something else from years ago; ‘more than a handful is a waste’. Again, he giggled to himself. She must have heard because she looked over her shoulder at him. He looked away but not before catching her eyes. They were an incredible green colour, almost almond shaped and defined by thin lines of well-applied eyeliner. Her lips were the same red as her skirt and stilettos. She smiled at him. He went to mush and felt his face going red. He heard a husky giggle and looked back up. She was still looking at him and smiling.
“You sure do blush, don’t you?” Her pronunciation of ‘sure’ was ‘shoo-ar’ and her voice sounded rich and unbelievably sexy.
“Er, ahhm, are you talking to me?” His voice almost cracked like a pubescent teen and to prove her point, he blushed again.
“Well, honey, there is no one else here in the room whose face is as red as my skirt.” She laughed again.
“Er, sorry, can’t help it.” He picked up his drink and drained it, realising he needed another quick smart. He took a quick look up and saw the woman moving towards him. He tried not to blush a third time.
“Can I buy you another?” Her voice was a purr and she smelt so sweet and good, before he could stop it, he was becoming aroused. He quickly crossed his legs, trying to divert her attention by nodding his head and embarrassingly over doing it.
“I’ll have a Jack and coke, please.” The woman raised her hand and the bar tender was in front of her, as if by magic.
“Can I get another for this fine man and my usual, please Stevie.” She sat down next to him, placing her hand delicately on his shoulder as she got comfortable, withdrawing her hand as she crossed her legs and smoothed creases out of the little bit of skirt covering them. His shoulder smouldered where her hand had rested. “Well, if I’m buying you a drink, I better know your name. Mine’s Rose.”
“Mark, my name is Mark.” The saliva in his mouth became steam. He held out his hand and she took it gently, as though he was an intimate friend and not a stranger. He was tempted to kiss it but he let it go instead.
“Hi Mark, where you from?” She sounded like a southern belle but could have been from New York, for all he knew.
“I’m from Sydney, Australia. Where are you from?”
“Whoa, you’re a long way from home, then.” She laughed but didn’t answer his question, not that it mattered. She was the sort of person who put everything into a laugh; her eyes, her body and her hands, which she clapped together in delight. He watched as she laughed, her red lips reminding him of how long it had been since he’d slept with a woman other than his wife. He chased the thought away.
“So, Mark from Sydney, Australia, what are you doing in Vegas?”
“I’m here to report on an IT conference. I’m a journalist.”
“Oh, you’re a writer. How cool.”
“No, no, not a writer, a journalist. There is a difference. I’m not really creative. I just take facts and rework them so dumb people can understand them too.” He smiled at her, hoping she would understand he was joking. In response, she burst out laughing again, reaching out and tapping his knee.
“Oh, I’m sure you’re creative in ways you don’t even know.” She smiled at him, looking right into his eyes.
He laughed a bit too loudly, and then checked himself. The bartender put another drink in front of him. He thanked him and took a big swallow. The drink was really strong but good. He took another swallow and looked back up at her. She was still staring at him. He felt a little blurry. The drink had been a lot stronger than he thought.
12 Hours Later…
He woke up in a room similar to his own except reversed. The television, tuned to some evangelical channel but thankfully muted, flashed light across the headboard. He rolled over onto his back and realised he was naked although he didn’t remember taking his clothes off. In fact, he didn’t remember much at all from the evening before.
He shook his head, trying to place his movements. He could remember meeting and talking to Rose but not much after that at all. What struck him as really odd was that he could drink like a fish normally and remember everything.
“Is there anybody here?” he asked aloud. There was no response. In fact, there was no sound in the suite except for the low hum of the AC unit on the wall. He sat up and groaned in pain. His back hurt, his legs hurt and, in fact, there wasn’t a part on his body complaining about having to move.
He stood up, hobbled across to the television, and switched it off. The room plunged into semi-darkness. He hobbled back to the bedside table and switched on the table lamp. Then he looked around for his clothes. They weren’t on the bed or on floor anywhere. He hobbled to the bathroom, which was empty and clean. He felt as though he’d been kicked in the groin. He had a pee, threw some water on his face and grabbed a towel to wrap around himself.
He hobbled back into the main room and across to the windows. He pulled the curtains back. The bright sunlight dazzled him. He put his hands up to shade his eyes. He wondered what the time was. The bedside clock said it was 9:47. “Shit,” he thought, “I’m late.”
His hunt for his clothes began in earnest now. He opened drawers and cupboards and checked under the bed but still couldn’t find anything. He was really starting to panic when the phone rang. The voice on the other end sounded vaguely familiar. “Good morning, sleepy head. How are you? I hope you’re not too sore.” The voice then giggled throatily.
“Erm, well, I feel like I’ve been run over by a bus…”
The voice laughed again. “A bus? A bus! Oh, how charming. I’ve been compared to many things but not a bus. I hope you mean you’re feeling pretty good. You sure enjoyed yourself last night. At least, you acted like you enjoyed yourself.”
He finally recognised the voice. “Rose?” His question was tentative.
“Of course, honey, who did you think it was? I hope you haven’t got sick of me already?” The laugh he’d started was still in her voice.
“Look, I don’t remember much of last night but I’m not in my room and I don’t have any clothes or my keys or my wallet, for that matter. You don’t know where they are, do you?”
“Yes, of course I do, Mark darling. In fact, I know where you live, where you work, and, most importantly, where your wife works. I’ve been toying with the idea of sending her one of the photos just to let her know what you’ve been up to while you’ve been away from her, you naughty boy.” He waited for her to laugh again but she didn’t this time.
He looked at the phone. “Pardon?” There was no reply. He giggled a little to himself, and then said, “Hey, good one. So, where are my clothes?”
“I wasn’t joking, Mark darling. I am considering ringing your dear wife. I think I might tell her how much you enjoyed being my little bitch. I think I might tell her about how much you enjoyed being fucked up the arse, darling. I think she might be a little shocked to find out all about your… secret passion.” Now she laughed again. The malice in the laugh was something new, though. He looked at the phone again then gently hung it up. It rang not even ten seconds later.
“This is either a really good joke or I’m in deep shit,” he thought. The phone rang insistently. “Oh, this is ridiculous,” he said aloud as he picked it up again. “Hello?”
“You hang up on me again and the next call I make will be to Amanda, okay?”
“Mandy,” he responded.
“No one calls her Amanda. Her name is Mandy.” He wondered why he was telling her this, a woman who just threatened to call his wife and reveal his infidelity, which, to make matters worse, he couldn’t remember. Then the questions came, in a rush. “Why are you doing this? What do you want? What did I do to you?”
She laughed again, throaty and malicious. “Do you know what a mark is, Mark?” She laughed some more at the pun.
Her laugh was starting to get to under his skin. “What do you mean? Are you trying to con me?”
“Not con, honey, blackmail. I’m blackmailing you. I take it you’ve heard of blackmail in Australia?” Her sarcasm leeched what colour he had left from his face.
“Yes of course I know what blackmail is, but I can’t believe you’re blackmailing me.” He tried to sound strong and angry but sounded more pathetic than anything else. His mind raced and he wondered if this was a dream. “Where are my clothes? Where are my things?”
“I’ve got to be sure you won’t go to the police, Mark darling. I will tell your wife everything, show her pictures and even send her a video of your performance if you do. I know you might not think so but I mean it.”
He lost it. “Where are my fucking clothes? How can I do anything if I’m stuck in this fucking room without my clothes, without my wallet, without a fucking thing?” He fairly spat the last words out at the phone.
“Oh and where is that gentleman I met last night, Mark darling? Has he gone away? Is he hiding behind the scared little voice I hear now? Listen, I understand you’re upset. But if you don’t maintain some decorum…”
“Decorum! Fucking decorum! How can you say that when you know I’m standing here naked listening to some stupid bitch telling me she’s blackmailing me? Fuck decorum and fuck you!” He nearly hung the phone up again but caught himself.
All through his tirade, she calmly repeated his name. Now she said, “Have you finished? Are you feeling any better? Right now, I’m thinking I might just call your wife anyway. If I didn’t need the money you’re going to give me, I would do it just for a laugh.” She proved her words with another of her heartless giggles. “Now, Mark darling, I’m going to tell you what I want you to do and you’re going to listen carefully and not interrupt me, okay?”
She waited for him to say something. He didn’t so she continued. “I will be sending a friend up to the room with your clothes, your phone and wallet. There will also be an envelope. The envelope has some information in it to show you how serious I am. There are also some instructions you will need to follow in order for this thing to go smoothly. I don’t want any mistakes made otherwise your wife will get a phone call. Are we clear, Mark darling?”
“I don’t have much.”
“Have much what?”
“I don’t have much money. I don’t know what you think I have but I don’t have much.”
“Oh, don’t say that, Mark. I don’t care. You will pay me because you have no choice. Well, actually that’s not true. You do have a choice. But I’m sure you’d be happy to pay me, won’t you?”
He voiced his assent so softly she didn’t hear him. She repeated her question. “Well, aren’t you, Mark darling?”
“How do I know you won’t call my wife anyway, I mean, once I’ve paid you?”
“Because this is a gentleman’s agreement and I am nothing if not a gentleman.” She laughed heartily at this. He didn’t understand what was so funny. He didn’t understand any of this. He felt sick and sore and he desperately wanted to go home. “I will call you back in two hours, Mark. By then, you should have had time to think about what I’ve told you. I’ll call you in your room.”
There was a knock at the door at the same time as Rose hung up. He felt like he was an element in a precisely planned manoeuvre, where everything was beyond his control. There was a louder knock at the door.
He opened the door to reveal ‘Stevie’, the barman from the night before, only dressed in a bellhop’s uniform and holding Mark’s clothes and a large envelope. He thrust the items into the shocked man’s hands without saying a word then turned and walked away down the hall, still silent. Mark stepped back into the room, pushing the door closed behind him.
He sat on the edge of the bed and opened the envelope. He up-ended it onto the bed. Out fell his wallet, his mobile phone, his room key and finally, a smaller envelope. His wallet still had cash in it, although he could tell someone had been through it. Things weren’t in the usual places. His mobile phone was still on. He checked his call logs but it only showed the last call he made, to Mandy. He had no missed calls.
He then turned his attention to the smaller envelope, which was bulky in the middle and sealed. He tore it along the sealed edge. He felt the smooth surface of photo paper under his fingers. He reached into the enveloped and found a video tape. It was titled “Rose and Mark - Copy”. Attached to it was a folded note. He unfolded it. It was typed and unsigned and read:
You won’t be able to watch the tape until you get back to your room. But I want you to watch it. I want you to understand I’m not playing games. If you try to leave the Hotel, I will know. If you try to talk to Hotel Security, I will know. Put your clothes on and go back to your room. Watch the tape.
He screwed the note into a little ball and threw it across the room. Then he pulled the photos from the envelope. The first showed a man lying back on a bed with another man between his legs. Neither of their faces were visible. The next shot showed the view from the other side. He threw the picture away in disgust and shock. The picture showed him lying back while the other gave him head. He still couldn't make out the other man. He looked at the next picture. It showed him kneeling on the hotel bed with the same unidentifiable man sodomising him. Mark gagged and ran for the bathroom.
Cleaning himself up and rinsing his mouth out wasn’t enough to get rid of the bad taste. Regardless of the shots, he still couldn’t remember a thing. The photos lay spread across the bed. He tried not to look as he gathered them up but he caught flashes of images. He featured in every one but he had no recollection of any of those moments.
He dressed slowly and tried to gather himself before leaving the room. He walked stiffly down the hall, understanding now why he was so sore. Stevie was standing in the lift lobby. Mark walked past, ignoring him completely. He pressed the elevator call button and stood back to wait. The other man sniffed. Mark wanted to say something but didn’t have the words.
The elevator dinged and the doors opened. He stepped in and pressed his floor number. As the doors started to close, the other man stepped in, holding the door open. He looked at the panel then turned to Mark, nodded and smiled. He stepped out and let the door shut. As it did, Mark flipped him the bird. Stevie smiled wider.
Mark got off at his floor and walked to his room. He fumbled for the key and ended up dropping everything. As he bent down to pick it all up, he heard the elevator doors open again. He looked at the lobby and his shadow stepped out of the other car and leant back against the wall, all the while glaring down the hallway. Mark picked everything up, unlocked the door and went into his room, slamming it shut behind him.
He showered, shaved, and made a cup of coffee. The sachets were stale and he had to use three before it tasted strong enough. He used his mobile to phone an associate. He lied and said he had a stomach complaint. His associate laughed and said it was probably too much bourbon but as it was Mark’s first time in Vegas, he’d forgive him.
Mark hung up then picked up the envelope and took out the video. He slipped it into the player and waited. The picture shook around before focussing on Rose, sitting on the edge of the bed, right arm around his shoulder. He looked to be either very drunk or sedated as his head was sagging against his chest. Rose lifted his head up to the camera. She said something to the camera then laughed but thankfully, there was no sound. She held a small vial up to his nose, and as he sniffed it, he jerked around like someone having a fit.
The picture cut to the next scene to show Rose standing in front of Mark, her skirt pulled up high. The cameraman moved around and she had ‘her’ penis in his mouth. Mark turned away from the television. They'd turned him into a sick sex toy for a transvestite, transgender whatever and that sleazy bartender/bellhop dude who took the pictures. He wondered what the hell he was going to do. Then the phone rang.