So some time ago I went to a local S&M sex club to research a scene for a book. I know what you’re thinking: you suffer so for your art. It’s true. I do, I really do.
Weird thing about the visit was that, while it was mesmerizing, the phrase that would best describe my response was more “morbid fascination” rather than “sexy”.
Anyway, lest you all think I made the trip for other than artistic reasons (and because I’m under a book deadline and have no more original thoughts in my wee brain) I present you an excerpt from Arsenic and Old Paint, fourth in the Art Lover’s Mystery series (written under the pseudonym, Hailey Lind.)
Here’s the set up: Annie Kincaid goes to the Power Play looking for someone involved in a murder. She asks a few friends along to keep her company. The following is a fictionalized account of my actual experiences, from the moment the group approaches the front door…
“Costs more if you keep your pants on,” said the bored-looking man behind the counter.
Wesley had a coughing fit. Mary slapped him on the back. Bryan glared at the receptionist, his eyes cold and dangerous. I stepped in between them, afraid for the first time in my life that Bryan might be moved to physical violence.
“We’re good,” I said as I shelled out several twenties to pay for everyone. It was the least I could do. “They like their pants. Do you happen to know where Kyle Jones is tonight?”
The man’s eyes drifted over me, clearly seeing me naked and, no doubt, in an advanced Kama Sutra position reminiscent of a pretzel. My yoga hadn’t advanced that far and, I hoped, never would.
“He’s usually in the Dungeon, or the Pirate’s Lair. But you could check the Jail Cells, or the Coffin Room.”
Wesley paled. He would have left at that description, I felt sure, if Mary hadn’t been latched on to his arm as though he were the big, bad protector of a woman two inches taller, and no doubt much fitter, than he. Mary had been taking kickboxing for years, and wore serious boots.
“Where do you want to go first?” Mary asked. “It would be faster to split up, but I think we should stay together.”
“Oh, definitely,” I said.
“None of you are leaving my sight,” Bryan said, glowering at a clutch of young men entering the place behind us...
On the main floor there was an empty rec room with Ping-Pong tables, a pinball machine, and foosball games. Kind of like camp for grownups. Another, smaller room was decorated like the great hall of a castle, complete with an iron chandelier and a huge wooden table. I didn’t think much of the paint job, but the concept was kind of fun.
Moving on, we found the Jail Cells, only one of which was occupied by a hopeful-looking young man who had already thrust his hands into the chains on the wall. … A handful of men clad only in towels meandered through the rooms and hallways as though lost. Most of these were middle-aged and paunchy, giving the Power Play more an air of an executive locker room at the gym than a sex palace. …
We paused at the bottom of the stairs.…here there were at least nine men to every woman, and most were wandering the hall, which skirted a cyclone-fence encircled area, where racks, frames, and lots of ropes and chains were set up....
“Don’t touch anything,” Bryan told us in a fierce whisper. “Has everyone had their tetanus boosters?”
A man tottered by in white pumps, wearing a pink Jackie O-style suit, complete with pillbox hat, white gloves, and vintage white patent leather pocketbook. It’s not unusual to see transvestites here in San Francisco, but usually they were sexier and more feminine than half the women in town. This man, in contrast, had no makeup on, and had done nothing special with his short salt-and-pepper hair. He wore wire-rimmed glasses and a glum expression on his unshaven face. It looked for all the world like Murray from Accounting had lost a bet.
A group of at least half a dozen silent, watchful young men started to trail us, duckling-like, as we moved down the hallway past a series of fantasy bedroom situations. I was trying to imagine being willing to lie down on one of those beds; all I could think of was that TV show where they bring special lights and cameras to uncover the invisible cooties on hotel bedspreads.
Mary grabbed my arm and leaned into me to say something. There was an audible gasp from the crowd. They circled around us.
“Back off, you freaks,” Mary said. “We’re not going to make out or anything. Ew.”
One of the young men opened his mouth to say something.
“I said back off!” Mary yelled, taking a step toward them.
Bryan glared at them, and they fell back. But when we continued walking, they followed at a respectful distance.
“We are in a sex club, Mare,” I whispered. “It’s not out of the question to assume we might be game.”
“Freaks,” she muttered, looking around malevolently.
.... I averted my eyes as we passed the rack and a masked man with a cat-o’-nine-tails. The burly masked man came over to stand just on the other side of the cyclone fence.
“Good evening,” he said as though he were a maitre d’, greeting us for lunch. “You ladies care for a turn? Giving or receiving, it’s all good.”