Rod reluctantly “allowed” us to accompany him to The Cooch Club; this was after all, he informed us, an official police investigation. I've learned over the years that a good dose of gumption and a dash of violence get you a lot further than following procedure, but I wasn't about to tell him that; I suspected his patience was wearing thin. And beneath that slightly sleazy but gorgeous Errol Flynn moustache of his was a man with quite the fiery temper. I'd only ever cross Roderick Sexton if I was in the mood to be tied up and punished.
The Cooch Club was nothing like I expected; I'd imagined a run-down, backstreet Coyote Ugly affair. In reality it had the appearance of an exclusive establishment, albeit one with a bloody awful name. I was familiar with the concept of “cooch”: a sideshow striptease performed at Twenties speakeasies and carnivals. A nasty little dance done on the cheap for some extra cash; I felt glad that Tatiana was above this now. A little degradation is good for us all, and Lord knows I’ve enjoyed my fair share, but I found it unsavoury to think of a horde of sleazy men leering at my Russian doll.
Again, I was taken by surprise; the interior of the club appeared just as respectable as the exterior. White marble pillars, Grecian murals on the walls; my godly namesake would have felt right at home. But Tatiana assured me this was still the club's exterior; the real party lay beneath. Underground.
Roderick flashed his police badge to anyone who'd look until we finally caught the attention of someone who appeared to be the proprietor; a swarthy, bearded medallion man by the name of Helios.
“We're here about Carl Van Der Wood,” Rod told him. Before he could say any more, Helios erupted in denials.
“Never heard of him,” he began, followed by; “he's not been here,” and finally; “he was fine last time I saw him.”
“Of course...” Rod stepped closer to Helios, and I could hardly believe how he towered over the stout Greek; such presence! He didn't even have to say anything else, Helios dissolved into a panicky confession. I couldn't make much sense of it, but when Rod turned back to us, I knew he had the answer.
“The culprit is downstairs,” he told us. “There's a member's area, Helios is going to take us there now – isn't that right, Helios?”
“Y-yes,” he stammered in response. Anything for leniency at this point, I supposed.
And so Helios led us into the underworld of cooch; and I have never been so horrified and aroused in such equal measure.
It was a Caligulan orgy; bodies writhed and intertwined seamlessly, the only incongruity among the waves of flesh being the occasional strap of leather or glint of steel.
Willy's cheeks flushed, and it came back to me how green he was to this world. Tatiana's only response was a single raised eyebrow, but what can one expect? She said she'd worked here, no doubt she'd seen revelry of this kind before.
Roderick stood on the shore of this sea of sex, and turned to Helios.
“The killer?” He asked, and I'll be damned if the club owner didn't almost bow in deference to this copper!
“Lucius,” he called out into the writhing throng, and added to us; “nobody here uses their real name.”
“Shocker,” I said.
A head of dark hair arose from the mass of bodies, and “Lucius” made his way towards us. I couldn't help but be impressed and a little distracted by his roughly hewn jaw, taut muscles and tumescent cock. Believe me, I do not have a one-track mind, but this man looked like an unfinished statue, something raw and hot to the touch.
It was only when he flicked his dark curls out of his eyes that I recognised him.
“Dominic Eyre.” I uttered his name as I would a curse.
“Hello, Adonis.” He smiled at me, a hateful but, shame me, beautiful thing to see.
“Who is this?” Roderick asked, a question that I could see on the lips of both Willy and Tatiana as well.
“This is the man who killed three people before I found him and handed him over to the law.” Dominic almost seemed proud of that fact as I voiced his sins to my friends and the roomful of rutting strangers.
“I wouldn't call him a serial killer,” I continued, “just a deranged deviant who went too far. Three young men ended up in the morgue after spending the night with him. How on earth did you get out of prison?”
“Never went,” Dominic said, smiling again. “Although the prospect of a castle full of men does sound appealing, I prefer the discipline to be on my terms. I had a very good lawyer.”
Ha! The system. I felt like spitting (something I neither practise nor preach).
“I should have known it was you as soon as I saw the bruises on Van Der Wood's neck,” Roderick said. “But why leave the card with the body, if you wished to frame Adonis?”
“Who said anything about framing? I just wanted to make sure he knew I was on the market. Did you like my gift, Adonis? I know you have a soft, or should I say hard spot for the wide-eyed, youthful type.” He fixed Willy with a perverse look, and my latent lust turned to anger.
“You're crazy,” I said, “and at the risk of putting words in my friend's mouth, you're also under arrest.”
“Damn fucking right he is,” Rod said, laying his handcuffs on the bastard. “And this time, the Van Der Woods will make sure you go to prison for a long, long time.”
“It's your turn to be the bitch,” Willy offered, and I put my arm around him proudly.
“Good,” Dominic leered. “I told you, I like discipline. On my terms. My work wasn’t finished. Van Der Wood was my cherry on the cake.”
“I hope it was worth it,” Roderick grunted into his ear as he man-handled him towards the stairs. “I doubt even a deviant like you will enjoy sleeping on prison issue sheets.”
Roderick dragged Dominic upstairs into the club and out to his car, none too gently either. Tatiana gravitated back up to the bar, leaving Willy and I alone together at the edge of the orgy that had continued regardless throughout the entire exchange.
“Asphyxiation,” Willy said thoughtfully, poor young Carl’s demise still clearly on his mind. “What a daft way to go.”
“Oh I don't know...” I pulled him closer. “If I could pick any way to die, I wouldn't turn down the chance to be suffocated between your legs.”
Willy raised an eyebrow, mimicking Tatiana perfectly, and nodded towards the orgy.
“Shall we?” He asked.
“Why the heck not,” I said. “We've just caught a killer, I think we should celebrate!”