The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions)
Mean Mr. Mustard
Al Bruno III
The brothel was decorated in shades of blushing red and labial pink. Sterile-looking erotic lithographs hung on the walls. The only light in the room came from the fireplace. There were armed guards stationed in every corner, well-muscled men wearing only leather diapers and crash helmets. The whores were lined up for inspection, each dressed in a uniform of rubber, latex and polythene. Their shiny black dresses were complimented by elbow length gloves, suicidally high heels and a mask that hid their hair and every facial feature save for their eyes.
Jack Diamond licked his lips, “Do I get my usual discount?”
“Oh... Of course,” the owner of the Sallow Sultan nodded. He was a tall, stooped man that walked with the aid of an ironwood cane. He wore a silk bathrobe, a powdered wig and an ascot. His skin was the color of old parchment and had earned him the nickname Mustard. “Does anything catch your... Eye?”
“Give me time,” the man in the seersucker suit paused to tweak one of the girl’s breasts, “I want something fresh and juicy.”
“We... Aim to please.”
Mustard hated his nickname almost as much as he hated his career choices. The Sallow Sultan was his fourth brothel and it looked like it might go bankrupt just like all the others. Mustard knew the Sallow Sultan had a good reputation but there was a distinct lack of walk-in business. Was it their proximity to the Hammond Academy campus? College girls giving it away were always a drain on the customer base. It was the old Sluts versus whores thing all over again; skill versus scale.
“I must admit...” Mustard said, “I was surprised to hear you were going to be paying us a visit. I assumed you had moved on to... Greener pastures.”
“What can I say? I got a sudden craving,” Jack Diamond paused beside one of the masked women and inhaled deeply, “that’s what I love about this place. All your whores smell like a kiddie pool filled with Astroglide.”
Mustard chuckled diplomatically. He had literally been praying for a bit of luck, a happy coincidence but of all the possible VIPs that could have come to the door why did it have to be the sleaziest mystic since Alistair Crowley?
And why wouldn’t the man just pick a whore and get on with it? Every damn one of them looked alike, that was part of the Sallow Sultan’s allure, the client could pretend he was with anyone or no one. Again Mustard cursed himself for not opening a bakery or a flower shop. Hadn’t his spiritual adviser Tracey warned him that Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy?
Jack Diamond paused in front of a girl, “I like this one.”
There was a gold name tag over one of her breasts, Jack Diamond read it, “Pam?”
“Yes,” she said, her voice a breathy whisper, “I’m Pam.”
He pinched her, “Well, I’m ready to rock out with my cock out. How about you?”
“Actually I’m not feeling that well, maybe one of the other girls could-”
That was all Mustard needed to hear. He slammed the pommel of his cane into the polythene-clad girl's midsection. The other whores all flinched in sympathy. The girl doubled over gasping.
“Not feeling well?” the old pimp snarled, “I'll give you a not feeling well! You’ll never feel anything... Again!”
“I’m sorry,” she choked, “I didn't mean to-”
Mustard grabbed her arm and twisted it behind her back, “If Mr. Diamond wants you, he'll damn well have you.”
“I'm sorry!” She said again, “I'm sorry!”
“Now now don't be mean Mister Mustard,” Jack Diamond took her arm and pulled it away from the yellow skinned pimp. “She was probably just intimidated by my reputation.”
“Yeah.” She breathed, “That's it. They say you have a cannon in your pants.”
“Damn straight,” Jack Diamond preened. “Come on Pam, I think we'll start with a little massage. I hear the girls here give a great massage.”
“If she doesn’t...” Mustard tapped the end of his cane on the girl’s masked forehead, “Give you the happiest of happy endings... I want to hear about it.”
Mustard watched her lead the leering man upstairs and thought to himself that happy ending or not he was going to beat that girl within an inch of her life.
Once they were out of sight Mustard dismissed the other whores with a wave of his hand and found his way to his favorite chair. It was a deep, plush club chair and he sank into it with a moan of gratitude. One of the whores tried to snuggle up to his leg but he slapped her away.
With any luck Jack Diamond’s visit would encourage other members of the Kuen-Yuin to come calling. Criminals and clergy always made for the best clients.
And if not? If this whole enterprise turned out to be a waste of time? Mustard frowned. He shifted in his seat and rustled around in his bathrobe pocket until he found the little red phial. He held it between two yellowed fingers and glared at the shape squirming within.
He had been given this thing as a gift. He had been promised that it would lead to a ‘coincidental’ increase in customers. It had seemed like such a good idea at the time.
The thought of himself praying before the little tube of red glass made his gorge rise.
“If I’ve been made a fool of...” Mustard whispered to himself, “...I’ll shove this thing down Jason Magwier’s throat.”
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