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Book 1 of the "Jack Be Dead" Series

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She loved the Dorchester. Her suite overlooked the Park Lane, part of London’s Inner Ring Road that runs from the south of Hyde Park Corner, north to the Marble Arch, dividing Hyde Park on the west side from Mayfair east. London’s city lights sparkled like stars through the room’s triple-glazed windows. Triple glazed, she thought with a little giggle. Most luxury hotels only use double glaze, but not the Dorchester. Only the best for its customers. It’s the details that matter. The opulence of the rooms were one thing, but the care to privacy—that’s what makes doing business here so magnificent. Exterior walls faced with cork; floors and ceilings of the bedrooms and suites lined with compressed seaweed; all windows triple glazed; and luscious, sound-absorbing carpeting; and triple-thick, floor-to-ceiling draperies. She could be running chain saws and no one would know the better, Brilliant

            “Baby—” his voice was weak, trembling, pleading.

            Sipping her vintage, 2004 Veuve Clicquot Brute, she ran her fingers through her thick, white, cotton bathrobe and felt the soft cloth move across her naked body underneath. Her client liked reveals. He liked the sight of her in red pumps, arse naked in a genuine Turkish bathrobe.  The pumps and the bathrobe were always waiting for her when she entered the suite. Their ritual was well established after months of wooing. She was always first to arrive. After ordering chilled champagne and room service, she was to undress, leaving a pair of soiled panties in the bathroom for him to find—nothing gross, but stained enough to give a nice smell.  Then she was to put on the shoes, then the robe, and then wait quietly in an anteroom. All this had to be done before his eleven p.m. arrival. And this she did, each time, every week, for three months.

            “Please—fucking God in heaven—please—” Was he crying? Possibly.

            His part of the rite was more straightforward. Upon arrival he was to go straight to the bathroom, undress, indulge his fetish for women’s underwear, and then take his place on the stool. It was a simple piece of furniture, pine wood about two feet high, placed in the center of the bathroom. Above him was a strong light fixture with a noose hanging from it. A pair of unlocked handcuffs hung from the open loop of the noose, and his job was to then put the noose over his head, tighten it around his fleshy neck, and then put his hands behind his back where he was to lock the handcuffs in place. This all usually took twenty minutes, no more. And this he did, each time, every week, without fail.

            And so tonight she danced her part; he danced his. Only, tonight was going to be different. He had probably figured that out by now, as she was usually bringing him to his happy ending by this point. He must have been standing on that stool, with that noose around his neck, for at least forty minutes, and at his age and physical condition he had to be feeling the pain. She finished off her wine, gathered her robe tightly around her, and walked slowly to the bathroom, Time for the big reveal.

            He hung from the ceiling, trembling and covered in sweat, wearing nothing but an old jockstrap. His eyes were wide open and unblinking and they followed her as she moved across the bathroom to stand in front of him.  

            “I don’t like ... this game ... I ... can’t ... stand ... much longer ...” he stammered.

            “Just a bit longer; just for me, love?” In a flourish, she undid the bathrobe tie and threw back the cloth to stand naked before him. She thought his eyes were as wide as they could possibly be, given that he was close to hanging himself. But, no, they actually grew rounder at the sight of her.

            “I think I should get down now!” He said, as his eyes locked on her red pumps. The stool tottered a bit with his unsteady legs, and then his gaze froze to hers.

            “Come on, baby—fun’s over.” The veins in his neck throbbed and his face was flushed with blood. “I’ll double your rate. Anything.”

            She ignored him and walked over to a cabinet and pulled out an antique bag, the kind doctors used to use to make house calls.

            “What’s this bit? What’s in that thing?” he asked.

            “This old thing? It’s my toolbox. It holds my tools.” She switched into sex mode, set the bag on the floor, and walked in front of him. His jock was nearly eye-level to her mouth. She began to stroke him. He lost his footing and nearly fell. She saw the mixed emotion on his face: half terror, half ecstasy. But, the terror was clearly winning.

            “Take me the fuck down! Now!” he ordered.

            “Now, now Johnny.  I don’t think you’re in a position to make demands.” She ripped down his jockstrap with a violent tug, and gave him a blow job. She knew he would be soft, after all, what normal man could hold an erection with a noose tightening around his neck and death just one leg cramp away? Well—she knew of one man.

            From some primitive, animal place deep within, he somehow found the strength to shout in a voice that echoed off the walls like a shockwave, “Help!” It was then she kicked the stool out from under him. 

            She stepped back quickly as his weight closed the noose. His arms struggled against the handcuffs, ripping the skin at his writs. Reaching behind the bathroom door she pulled out a long, wide roll of plastic and hastily unrolled it under his flailing legs. She knew there were only moments before the spine would snap and it would all be over. She also knew that when it was, he would piss and shit himself as his organs ripped and his sphincter muscles released. She didn’t want the blood from his wrists and his shit staining the tile grout. It was going to be hard enough to sanitize the room when she was done.

            She reached out to stop him from swinging beyond the edges of the plastic, and as she stilled him, his limp body let go with a flush of sludge. Even knowing what was coming, she was unprepared for the stench. She checked the floor for splatter and smiled, All clear. It was then she looked ahead and saw John’s final gift to her—“angel lust.” That was one of the names for it, along with “death erection,” “terminal erection,” or priapism. She remembered reading in one of her medical text books that hanging victims, both men and women, often experienced full genital arousal after being hanged. Caused by pressure exerted on the cerebellum by the noose, a penis can reach a full state of erection, accompanied by the forced discharge of urine, mucus, or prostatic fluid. In the middle ages, during public executions, women and young girls would clamor to be front and center at the gallows in hopes of seeing angel lust in all its glory. And if they were pious, and very good they might just get sprinkled with some angel dust. They had a one in three chance, because angel lust was present in one out of every three hangings.

            “Well, Johnny boy,” she said out loud, “tonight, one-in-three is your lucky number.”

            She touched the hood of his cock and pulled it toward her with the tip of her finger, and then let it go. It snapped back against his abdomen like a rubber band. “Time for work.” She kicked off her pumps and knelt down beside the antique bag that had captured his earlier attention. She opened the bag and delicately removed surgical equipment: scalpels, saws, a hammer, and a tube of red lipstick. She removed the cap and in a couple of practiced strokes set her lips on fire.

            After cleaning up the mess, she carefully maneuvered John’s body to the floor and laid him out on the plastic sheet, lying face up. There was no hurry. She took her time. They had the room until the next day, with a late checkout. Rummaging through her bag, she pulled out an old iPod and headphones. Spinning the iPod’s magic wheel, she found the perfect song to energize the hours that lay ahead , and soon a pulsing beat drowned out all noise, all thought, all distraction.     

            Looking at the array of blades lying on the floor, she instead reached back into her black bag and pulled out a shiny pair of pliers. She ran it lovingly down the entire length of John’s hairy torso. But then her attention shifted. She knelt by the right side of his head and with one hand opened his mouth wide. Smiling, she reached inside and with some effort, gritting her own teeth a bit, she ripped out a tooth. Holding it up proudly she said, “He loves me ...” She laid it on the plastic gingerly.

            Then she pulled out a second, “He loves me not ...” and laid it next to the fist tooth.

            Then a third, “He loves me ...” and continued in this way, with great care, being very methodical, and thinking to herself the whole time, It’s the details that matter.

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