Wow! Things have been crazy busy. Harvest has been moving right along. And between some bumper crops and Cosmo's help discouraging the Raiders, things are looking pretty good.
OK, discourage is the wrong word. Lake Havasu City burned for six days and there are still columns of smoke arising from some portions of the wreckage. Cosmo's illusions had the raiders fleeing into the city rather than out of it. The only survivors were the few groups on patrol, and almost all of them have been caught & crucified. I didn't like it, but it did wonders for the morale of the general populace.
Rodrick hired me to go out to his farms and bless the crops, both those being harvested and the new ones being put in the ground. I took his money and turned it over to the soup kitchen.
The overhaul of Thunderdome has been put on hold. They've come up with four different proposals, all of which failed to pass a vote of the Council. Back to the drawing board...
For the last week party invitations have been flying around town. The Cats have really gotten into the spirit of Halloween and a lot of them are having parties, trying to out-do one another. And the unspoken thought on costumes? "Why dress like monsters? It's not very effective anymore." So 'creative' costumes are being encouraged instead. The biggest shindig of all is a Grand Ball being thrown by Jim and only the Major Players were being invited. He and Maisara went all out - the fountains had been flushed, cleaned, refilled, and the light show re-choreographed with all new music and everything! And that was just the outside of the Bellagio!
There are also a lot of smaller parties being planned - pretty much all of the major casinos are holding parties for staff and their families. Leo and I decided to attend just hit Jim's and our own parties. He left the costumes up to me and I surprised him with a very elaborate pirate getup and a matching pirate wench costume for myself.
When he was dressed he looked great! Velvet doublet, leather pants. Thigh high swashbuckler boots and a big cutlass hanging at his waist. I even had one of his House Mages do a tiny Magic to give him a mustache and long hair for the evening. I took one look at him and said, "We're not staying at the party long!"
Rodrick and Allison were at Jim's, too. Rodrick was dressed like a gangster, complete with Zoot Suit and Tommy-guns, with Allison on his arm in an adorable Flapper costume. I'd be willing to bet that those pearls were the real thing. Jim made his entrance dressed in a circa 1960's Air Force uniform and at his side was Maisara dressed in a genie costume, with her skin tinted 'Human pink'.
Rodrick greeted Jim, "Looking good there Major Nelson, where's Major Healey?"
"In orbit" Jim said with a big grin, "You need a drink!"
Olivia and Annike made an entrance - Annike had used Magic to make herself look like a large wolf dressed in a flannel nightgown. And Olivia was wearing a skimpy little Red Riding Hood outfit, complete with picnic basket filled with goodies. Of course her idea of goodies was her spidersilk armor, a few guns, wands, and knives.
Tony was a sight to behold - all tricked out in a purple velvet 'SuperFly' suit. He was walking with a bull-penis cane decorated with gold leaf trim and he had twenty little Kobold women with him all dressed like 1970's Blacksploitation movie hookers, down to their huge afros and teeny-tiny little crushed velvet halter tops and hot pants.
The party was in full swing with people drinking, dancing, schmoozing and politicking when Caesar and Binion made their entrance. He was tricked out as Luis the 14th and Binion was, of course, Marie Antoinette.
Rodrick approached me and said, "Hey Jazz! Let's go pay our respects to the Priestess of Aphrodite!"
She was in a group of people that was made up almost entirely of the heads of the major Temples in town. They were all wearing their formal vestments and I had a sudden stab, "Did I forget something?"
But then I noticed that Annike's second in command was there talking to Thomas.
The Seeker was there, too. He was standing alone and we noticed that he was looking tired and a little shabby and disheveled. Thomas must have seen me looking at The Seeker - he whispered in my ear, "He's lost much favor from the Overlords. They've gotten tired of his pat answer of, 'I don't know. Let me ask for guidance.'."
We were closing in on the Priestess of Aphrodite when Leo cut us off. He has a sixth sense when it comes to trouble! "Jazz! Honey! You look hungry, let's see what sort of goodies Jim has for us."
Then Tony jumped in front of Rodrick to propose an idea; "I've got an interesting idea for you. You are a man of the people - there might be a group coming to you soon. They're looking to start a representative union to make sure that sentient beings of all categories are not mistreated. Establish some ground rules for some collective bargaining. Whatcha think?"
Rodrick said, "We already have that."
"This would be different," Tony explained. "They'd be adding some 'enforcers' to back it up."
Tony continued, "For example - everyone exploits the Wererats. That's not right. And why can't the Werebears get better pay? The 'enforcers' could come along and arrange for some restitution. Can you get behind that?"
"I don't think I could, actually," Rodrick told him. "If I understand correctly, your enforcers would use any means they deem necessary?"
Tony said, "They would begin by pointing out inadequacies and then if there is no action - move on to more 'litigious' actions."
"I suggest arbitration rather than physical intimidation," Rodrick told him.
Tony clarified that when he said 'enforcers' he meant people with papers, "Guys in suits with briefcases."
Rodrick tried to end the conversation, "I would need to think about that - I'll let you know."
"We need to reintroduce lawyers to the system," Tony said. "For the benefit of the little people." Rodrick suggested that Tony get together with some people and contemplate just how that might work. "Grazie!" Tony said and returned to his harem. Allison handed Rodrick a fresh drink and he downed it.
The rest of the party was a lot of the same and Leo and I left at the earliest opportunity so we could go home to play "Pirate and the Wench."
Rodrick's hopes for a quiet morning to recover from the party were dashed when he had to take a call from one of his loan officers, "Sir? There is a distinctly underage person down here, trying to secure a loan. A rather large loan that they're claiming will be secured by another Overlord. It seems this person has a 'relationship' with this Overlord. Sir? You should come down here."
As Rodrick entered the loan office he was greeted by some of his security men who had their hands quite full with a screaming, kicking, teenaged Drow female.
The loan officer told Rodrick, "When she realized that I was calling you she tried to run." Rodrick nodded and gestured for the security people to put her down. That was when he recognized her - Olivia's adopted daughter.
"Debbie? What are you doing here?" he asked.
Debbie explained that she needed the money because, "Some friends of mine are a little short on cash. Things got a little out of hand at the craps table at the Luxor and they asked me if I could get some money to bail them out. And before you ask - I couldn't ask my mother, she'd never give money to Luxor. So can we just drop this whole thing? Pretend like it never happened?"
Rodrick shook his head, "No, I'm afraid not. Let's go to my office, and I'll introduce you to 'my little friend'."
Debbie shrugged, "Hey! Whatever it takes, man."
"No!" Rodrick objected, "I mean. 'Let's go talk to my senior loan officer'."
Debbie started to follow, stopped and asked, "You've got someone calling Olivia - don't you?"
"No. Should I?" Rodrick asked.
"No. Seriously though, can't we just write this off to youthful indiscretion and forget it?"
"Why don't you tell me the truth and I'll think about it?" Rodrick suggested. "You say you don't want Olivia to know about this - why are you really doing this?"
"I could just withdraw it from the account. But Karyn would be all over that. I know 500,000 is a lot, but "
"500,000?!?" Rodrick interrupted. "I'm sorry Debbie - but I'm going to have to call your mother."
He turned to the loan officer and said, "Get Allison and ask her to contact Olivia. Not Lord Aladdin, but Olivia. We'll be upstairs." As he moved to take Debbie's arm, she made a decision and ripped her blouse open with a shout. All the people in the area (except for Rodrick) froze in their tracks.
Leave it Olivia's daughter to have a be-spelled bra!
She tried to pull herself out of Rodrick's grip, "Let. Me. Go!"
He tightened his grip and began to move her out of the area; "You shouldn't have done that."
"I could have gotten out of here! Oh damn. Security cameras. I'd have had to come back for the tapes."
In his private office, Rodrick directed her to a chair. "Put yourself together before your mother gets here." Debbie sulked a little, but did as he told her.
At the Aladdin, Karyn took the call and woke Olivia.
"Is it afternoon yet?"
"No," Karyn explained, "It's the phone. It's Allison."
Olivia took the phone, "What?!? I mean, 'Good morning'."
Allison said, "Rodrick asked me to call you. Debbie is here at the Paris. She asked to borrow 500,000 chips using your account as security."
"My account?!? I'll be right there." As she dressed she asked Karyn if she had any idea why Debbie was doing this.
"Ideas, yes but ."
"Put them in a report for me," Olivia cut her off.
" but they're really more like suspicions really, " Karyn finished.
"And?" Olivia prompted.
"Well she's been out clubbing regularly, her clothing budget is high - but not exorbitantly so."
"Where does she go clubbing?" Olivia asked.
"All over town - not one place in particular."
"Well give me a report. On her and Ilsa as well."
At the Paris, Olivia walked into Rodrick's office, gave him a nod and turned to Debbie.
"Gambling debts," Debbie said.
"Why didn't you ask me for the money?"
"I was embarrassed that I play craps so badly."
Olivia gave her a disappointed look, "Please don't insult me - you know that I can tell when you're lying."
Rodrick stood, "I'll just leave you two alone, now."
"No! Don't!" Debbie practically shouted.
"I mean it's your hotel and everything," she finished in a calmer tone.
Olivia gave her 'The Look' and Debbie began to explain (truthfully, this time), "There's this guy."
Rodrick groaned, "Isn't there always .."
Debbie ignored him, "And he's kind of nice. I mean I really like him and it's kind of serious."
Olivia asked, "Are you using protection?"
Rodrick tried again, "Really! I'll leave and you two can "
They both ignored him, "Mother!" Debbie protested. "Give me some credit."
"So that's why you're here? And why haven't I met him?" Olivia inquired.
"Name and species," Olivia demanded.
"His name is Indigo. He's a Moon Elf."
"Oh thank Crom it's not Lord Mirage," Olivia said. "A Kobold would be too much to take."
"So why does this 'Indigo' want you to get the money?" Rodrick asked.
"What I told you about the craps was true. He was trying to win enough money to buy a ring so he could propose."
"500,000 for a ring?"
"He wanted it to be nice enough to impress Lord Aladdin. Anyway - he got involved doing some trafficking for Lord Luxor - for some quick money. He almost had enough but he wanted to win enough to pay for a big wedding, too. He had a plan to beat the craps table."
"By cheating?" Olivia asked.
"A little. He has a 'way' with the dice and it was going really well for awhile - but then they started cheating back! And when it was over, Indigo was in to the house for 600,000."
"So why ask for 500,000?"
"Well he made 100,000 working for Luxor."
Olivia shook her head and sighed, "Where is this guy now?"
"They arrested him for cheating," Debbie explained. "I wanted to get the money - repay Caesar and ask him for mercy as your daughter."
Olivia was quiet for a moment; "This is what we're going to do. I'm going to have a glass of orange juice and then call Phillips. You are not going to leave my sight. Rodrick - thanks for calling me."
Debbie grumbled, "I knew I should have gone to Jazz."
Rodrick laughed at that, "Oh really? She would have beaten you and then called your mother."
"I need to stick to single men - they're more manageable," she mumbled again.
Allison brought Olivia her OJ (and vodka) while Olivia dialed Phillips' number.
"Good morning," she said, "could I arrange to have a private meeting with Caesar?"
"It's possible," he allowed. "Why?"
"I need to interrogate a prisoner of his. By the name of Indigo."
"Oh. Him. Come on over - there's no need to bother Caesar. Should I have someone put tarps on the floor?"
"That depends on him," Olivia said and she hung up.
"Mother!" Debbie yelled. "I can't believe "
"What? I just want to ask him a few questions."
"You do realize that this could seriously impact our relationship?" Debbie asked. Rodrick had to work at not laughing.
Karyn had Olivia's car brought 'round to take the three of them to the Palace. Phillips had them shown to the 'cell' where Indigo was being held. He appeared to be the Elven equivalent of a forty-five year old man - and was rather distinguished looking, actually.
He stood as Olivia entered, "Lord Aladdin - a pleasure."
"Yeah - whatever." She got him to admit that 'Indigo' is his 'trade name'.
"And your real name?"
He dismissed that with a wave, "I don't recall - I left it behind with my past." Then he got serious, "So tell me - to live longer - what sort of answers would you like to hear?" Olivia explained about her Truth ring. "Right then!" he said. "A scam from beginning to end. You're daughter is very cute and very enthusiastic."
Indigo tried to continue but was cut off by Olivia, "How old were you, Before?"
"Really? She was thirteen," Olivia told him.
"I had no idea when I picked her. And I picked her very, very carefully. You, Lord Aladdin are very well known, as are your 'tastes'. I heard about your daughter - that she was something of a wild-child with a proclivity for clubbing."
He finally acknowledged Debbie's presence, "I am sorry Debbie - but all I wanted was your mother's money."
Debbie was really hurt and began to show it, "I can't believe I embarrassed myself in front of my mother for you!"
He turned back to Olivia, "Let me give you some advice, some information and in return you give me two days head start."
"Your Caesar's prisoner - not mine. Unfortunately."
"Look I'll make it right with Caesar, what's he gonna do? Send me to a labor camp?"
He stopped what he was about to say as Karyn unfolded a tarp with a brisk 'snap'.
"I have information! In exchange for my life?" he said in a rush.
Olivia informed him that next time he intends to commit a crime he should do some more thorough research, "Labor camp? Try crucifixion," she said.
"I've been threatened with that before," Indigo said with a show of bravado, "but right now - you are an immediate threat."
"So tell me what you've got," Olivia said. "If it's worth it - I'll go to Caesar. Or I might just wait and have my friend interrogate your dead body."
"It won't be that easy," he said with an odd smile.
"Well not if you've sold your soul to someone else," she said and was rewarded with another smile.
"Something like that," he allowed. "Let me go. Let me start running and I'll tell you."
"Can you give me a clue?"
"Bloody vendetta," he said.
Olivia snorted, "Could you be more detailed? There are so many out there." He just shrugged so Olivia used some Magic to force some information out of him, and it took the form of a golden lasso that wound about his body. He began to talk.
He explained how he was working for Luxor to get the seed money for his little gambling expedition. His job consisted of delivering certain 'components' to the Temple of the Unknowns. Components (both Magical and mundane) that were to be used to resurrect the first Lord Luxor. And included in these components were Luxor's skeletal remains.
Olivia asked him for some more details and he said that he was sent to Phoenix to obtain a large collection of books on the occult and then to New Ectopia where he arranged for a high ranking Necromancer to be put on retainer for future services.
While he was up in New Ectopia he bought himself a nifty little spell, one that when he dies will cause a retaliatory explosion large enough to kill anyone within a thirty foot area.
Olivia asked him if he had any other Magical items on his person or any abilities himself. He admitted that he had no such abilities, but he did confess to being the proud owner (and wearer) of an invisible cock ring of adjustable size.
Isn't that special?
The golden lasso illusion faded and Olivia thanked Indigo for being so very cooperative, "I really do appreciate it, now, any diseases that Debbie and I need to know about?"
"Please! I'm a thief and a con man. You can hardly win someone's confidence if you have oozing pustules."
Olivia decided to leave that as it was and asked, "So you want to be left somewhere far enough from the city so you can make your escape?"
"Give me a minute, please," Olivia told him. "Debbie - outside."
Outside Debbie said, "I can't believe I fell for it. And he's so old!"
"Consider this a learning experience," Olivia suggested then turned to the guards; "I'll be removing the prisoner."
The guard said, "Ma'am I don't think so. He was caught using Magic to cheat at gambling. He's getting nailed up tomorrow."
"But I sort of promised to take him somewhere."
The guard was about to object again when another man joined them, "Mr. Phillips just informed us to go along with any plan that you might have regarding the disposal of this prisoner."
That Phillips! We should send him some flowers. So, while still outside the 'cell' Olivia used some Magic to protect herself from heat. Then she went back to Indigo and teleported the two of them out to Death Valley, to that spot where Olivia had gotten so badly burned while trying to retrieve an adventurer. She left him there and popped back to the Palace.
Debbie was appalled, "I can't believe you just let him go!"
Olivia assured her that he was not getting off so easy, "Let's go home and you can use my crystal ball to watch him die." The guards made her sign a form stating that she had 'disposed' of the prisoner named Indigo and they were free to go about their business. Back at the Aladdin, Debbie had a change of heart and declined to spy on Indigo in Olivia's crystal and retired to her room.
Olivia did check in on him and was surprised that he'd actually made it a few steps off of the rock towards the nearest semblance of shade before dying and exploding. So with that problem taken care of, Olivia left orders for Karyn to compile weekly reports on the activities of Debbie, Ilsa and all of the harem girls, took a shower and retired for a nap. Olivia also left details on what Indigo had told her and told Karyn to follow up on it.
A few hours later Olivia was well napped and called on Karyn for a report.
"I had someone go out to the first Lord Luxor's 'burial' grounds and they confirmed that Luxor's remains had been taken and replaced with what appeared to be cattle bones," Karyn told her.
"Do I need to call Caesar about this?" Olivia asked.
"Well it's not my place to call him," Karyn reminded her. So Olivia called and was allowed to speak to Caesar. She told him that The Seeker is trying to raise the previous Lord Luxor and his body parts are missing from his 'burial' site.
"Are you sure?" Caesar asked.
Olivia explained about Indigo and that The Seeker had been paying him to run errands, "And maybe that's why The Seeker looked so bad last night."
Caesar was quiet for a moment then asked, "Could you look into this? I can't get involved personally, you understand."
Olivia assured him that we would take a look, "Do you have any feelings on how The Seeker comes thru all this?" she asked.
"I would like to see him answer for the things he has done. If he has done them."
"Yes," Caesar said, "publicly."
Then Olivia told him that she was going to call me, "Since she spoke to him privately on the day that Luxor died."
"Do what needs to be done," Caesar told her and hung up. At that point, Olivia called Rodrick and I and asked us to meet her.
"When you spoke to The Seeker the day Luxor died - what did he tell you?" she asked me.
"Nothing. He came in while I was questioning Luxor's body and asked me if I was finished with him. Then he made some vague threats, basically that when the time comes, I'll get mine."
Olivia wanted to go talk to The Seeker.
I shrugged, "Sure." Rodrick suggested some surveillance as well.
Olivia agreed, "Good idea - we can do that."
"But be careful you don't want to tip your hand too soon," Rodrick warned her.
Olivia decided, "We could start with some scrying."
I told them, "I could find those remains of Luxor and then we could go steal them. That'll make it harder to resurrect him." They both liked that idea and Olivia sent Karyn for a video camera so we could record everything we found.
"So how are they planning on resurrecting him?" Olivia asked.
Rodrick was quiet for a bit then said, "Maybe The Seeker is trying to use Luxor's resurrection to prove that the Unknowns exist? Raise Luxor and then ask him all the questions that people keep asking The Seeker?"
Olivia then sent Karyn to get us some bones, "Some that resemble those of an Overlord."
Karyn asked for clarification, "Some that look like bones of an Overlord or whack an Overlord and then clean the bones?"
"Look like, please."
Then I took a few breaths to compose myself and used some Power to find where exactly we could find Luxor's remains. They were close - at the New York, New York in a maintenance closet in the basement. Someone had taken pains to Magically conceal the door from passer-bys. Inside the room were the bones, still in a sack and the other items that Indigo had admitted to 'acquiring' for The Seeker. There was also a large black volcanic stone that had been carved into the shape of a reclining man with a deep depression in the stomach area.
I described it to Olivia and she agreed with me that it was a chacmool, Central American sacrificial altar.
"Sacrificial?" Rodrick asked.
"Victims would be placed on the altar to have their hearts ripped out," I told him.
"Actually," Olivia said, "it's the thing the hearts were placed on AFTER they were ripped out. Can you see the obsidian knife that would be used in the ceremony?" I looked around but didn't see one. There was a collection of books. Several were about autopsies and there were a lot of diagrams of the human body. There were also instructions on how to skin a live person. Fun stuff. I let the vision fade away.
We waited about an hour until Karyn returned with a box of bones. They'd been cleaned by spending who knows how long in the desert and Karyn told us, "This cost me a favor or two."
"Where'd you get them?" Olivia asked her.
"The evidence room of the LVPD. I promised them that you'd help them in the future if they need something."
"What kind of bones are they?" I asked.
"A drifter the LVPD found out in the desert about five years ago," Karyn answered with a shrug.
Rodrick held up the skull - clearly not Human, "And this?"
"That's an actual tiger skull. I got it from the University."
So it was decided that Olivia would teleport herself and Rodrick to The Seeker's secret room and swap the bones while I kept an eye on them. Olivia gave me her teleport ring, "Just in case you need to come after us." They landed in the middle of the room - right on top of a thirteen-foot circle drawn on the floor. There was an inscription around the circle, in Latin. It was lots of protection & binding stuff from the Key of Solomon. Olivia and Rodrick conferred and after Rodrick got the whole thing on film, they altered a few letters in the inscription, here and there. Then they swapped the bones and returned.
I said to them, "Now, there is no use stealing these if someone else is going to steal them back, right?" So I took the bones to the Cathedral, found a good place to hide them and beseeched Corellon's help to make sure that someone wouldn't do precisely what we had just done.
I Felt Him laugh, "I approve of any plan that messes with the public opinion of other deities." He agreed to lend His Grace to keep them hidden away. While I did that Rodrick and Olivia took the video to Caesar and explained all that had happened.
Caesar said, "I asked your assistance in returning Luxor's remain for proper interment."
"But you said "
Caesar interrupted her, "If anyone asks "
"Right!!!" she and Rodrick said in unison.
Caesar thanked them for their help; "I need to confer with some people now. In private."
"Yes. Discretion is very important, especially with something like this," Olivia agreed.
Caesar sighed, "Despite what my wife may say - I do understand that." So they bid Caesar a good evening and we all met at the pool at the Aladdin for drinks. While we were there - I spotted Debbie slinking away - hoping to not be noticed.
"Olivia, do you mind if I talk to her?" I asked.
She had no problem with that so I chased Debbie down, "Honey? You okay?" She didn't answer, so I took her hand. "Come with me."
"Where?" she asked.
"To the Venetian."
I sent a message to Olivia letting her know that we were leaving and let Leo know, as well. And at the Venetian, out on the private deck (over more than a few drinks) Debbie told me her version of the story.
"Debbie, honey, let me tell you something. Something wise, something important."
"I know men and men are scum," I told her. "They will rip you heart out, use it like a soccer ball and then stomp on it."
"But Leo ?" she said.
"No, not Leo. I got carried away," I admitted, " there are some good ones out there and Leo's one of them - he's a keeper. Like Alfred and Rodrick."
"Uncle Rodrick was mean!"
"Now, now - he had to do it. It was the right thing to do, and he's a little afraid of your mother. I would have done the exact same thing," I told her.
"Yeah - he said you would have. But I really liked Indigo. It's enough to make me turn gay."
"Don't go that far - not yet, anyway."
"But ya know - there are some things men are just just "
"Better at?" I finished for her.
"Oh yeah "
So we had a drink to that and to Debbie not giving up on men. Yet.
Had just a few too many drinks with Debbie last night. Which I didn't realize until this morning when Leo ripped the curtains open with much gusto and enthusiasm (and more than a little pleasure, I'm sure). Then he sat there on the bed, sipping his coffee whilst I writhed in pain.
"So how'd it go?" he asked.
"Fine. I think," I mumbled. Then I remembered something - something important, "Debbie!"
"Yes, what about Debbie?" he asked with excruciating calmness.
"Where is she?"
"After I put you to bed last night, I had some of my people take her home. She's probably going thru something very similar, right about now."
"Oh. Okay. Thanks."
"Hey! She is my niece," he said. "Sort of." Then he took away from me the pillow I was trying to hide my head under and said, "Nope - you have to get up now. Things to do."
"Yes - you have to meet with the people putting together the children's Halloween party tomorrow. Got to approve the decorations and refreshments."
"Don't wanna," I said, "can't make me!"
"Oh yes I can," he said and made some threat about dragging me downstairs in my filthy, stinky hangover clothes if I didn't get up. Well, afraid that the SOB might actually do it - I got up, showered, dressed and gave in to the inevitable.
At least he gave me coffee.
When the party meeting was finished I made my way to the Cathedral to get some work done. I was almost to the main entrance when a young man approached me.
"Your Eminence, I mean Your Radiance "
"I've been feeling sort of troubled and was hoping that you might have some time to speak to me? I need your advice," he spilled out in a rush. I looked at him - he was a youngish Gold Elf and good looking - except for the worry on his face.
"Come into my office," I told him.
He told me that his name was Dave, "I thought about changing it - but nothing really 'Elvish' seems to work for me," he said (almost apologetically)."
I tried to put him at ease, "I know how you feel - I never changed my name either. It's nice to have at least that little link to the past."
It took awhile before he was willing to spill the beans - but he finally did, "This is kind of embarrassing, but I was I was in here - in the Cathedral I mean! I was in the Cathedral, asking for - I mean praying for ... a sign I guess."
"Right - go on."
"I've been feeling kind of lost lately and was hoping to be given - you know, a sign - to tell me what I should do with my life. Well anyway - I was in the Cathedral yesterday and saw you walk past and with you was the most amazing Drow girl "
" And I was hoping you could introduce us? It wouldn't have to be anything big or splashy, maybe we could just go get a cup of coffee?" He looked at me with big puppy dog eyes. I opened myself up - to see if I could get any 'feelings' from him. I got a feeling all right - but from Corellon.
"Oy!" He said, "Another one into the 'exotic' look. What am I going to do?"
I ignored that and said; "Now Dave, do you have any idea who that girl is?"
"Other than the Light of my Life?"
"Yes - other than the Light of your Life."
My sarcasm made him pause - but only for a moment, "I sort of assumed that she was one of yours. No! Not like that - I mean one of your students, an acolyte maybe? But I sure hope she hasn't taken a vow of celibacy because - wow! - the way she was dressed and the way she walked "
"Right! I get it, Dave. Her name is Debbie and she calls me 'Aunt Jazz'."
"Oh," he said.
"And her mother just happens to be Olivia, Lord Aladdin."
"Oh no!" he said, "She's gay."
"No she's not. Not yet anyway. But you need to realize two very important things before this goes any further."
"A) - I repeat, her mother is Lord Aladdin. And B) - she was in a relationship that ended badly. Very badly - just yesterday, as a matter of fact, so she's feeling a little harshly towards men right now."
But Dave was still interested.
"Lady Jazz, have you ever had that feeling - just looking at someone for the first time that your heart has been pulled out of your body and that you just can't continue, just cannot go on another moment until it's been returned to you and makes you whole?"
"Hmm no, can't say that I know that feeling."
No Leo, dear - I didn't feel like that the first time that I laid eyes on you. If you'll recall - the first time I ever saw you - you were holding a K-Bar to Olivia's throat. And my impression of you went downhill from there. Now stop reading over my shoulder, sweetie. I said nice things about you yesterday.
Dave was still going on, "I figure Corellon can't be opposed to it. After all, He let you marry a Human! You must really love your husband to face all the challenges! Not the least of which being the age thing "
"Alright Dave! I get it!" I stopped him. "There's no need to finish that thought - I know how it ends."
I'm getting really annoyed with people!
"I am willing to introduce you to Debbie - under certain circumstances."
"Is it like The Godfather? Do I have to ask the Overlord's permission?" he asked. "I've heard rumors that her office is lined with plastic."
"Not all the time, "I told him. "Now, you have to pass certain tests - starting with me, right here and right now and you'd best be truthful with me," I said while I set a Zone of Truth around him.
"You were saying?" I prompted him to go on.
He was on to me, "Did you do one of those things where I have to tell the truth?"
I saw no reason to tell him the whole truth, so I said, "Yes. So?"
He took a deep breath and said, "I don't intend to hurt her in any way. I saw her and wanted to fall down at her feet and tell her, 'Use me!' She is so beautiful so, so nasty!"
I almost lost my composure and laughed at that - but managed to keep it together enough to ask, "Is your name really Dave?"
"How old are you?"
"And what do you do for a living?"
"I work here at the Aladdin - in maintenance."
"And what did you do, Before?"
"I was in High School - but I never got to finish because - well you know why."
Then I asked him, "What about diseases? Drugs?"
"I'm prone to strep throat, or I used to be, and I took a lot of amoxicillin, but not anymore. And then I had to take "
I cut him off, "Thanks Dave. What about 'recreational' drugs?
"Oh! That kind of No," he said. "I tried pot once - but it made me sneeze."
It was all the truth. "Are you working today?" I asked him.
"Yes - I'm supposed to check and see what that rattling noise is in the confessional-thingie down there on the very end."
"Okay - and when do you get off?"
"Usually after about fifteen minu uh, umm "
"When does your shift end Dave?"
He blushed to high Heaven, "I can't believe I almost said "
"Yeah, neither can I, but let's move on, shall we?"
He nodded - eager to put that mistake behind him.
"Go home after work," I told him, "You live here at the Aladdin, right? Go home, clean up and meet me right here at six o'clock."
"Really?!? You mean it?" he jumped up and grabbed my hand but I stopped him just short of kissing it - I have to draw the line someplace!
"Now go back to work and I'll see you this evening." When he was gone I went searching for Debbie. She was up on the private deck area - wearing nothing but a thong and catching some sun. Go figure - skin like polished obsidian, and she loves to sunbathe.
"So how are you feeling?" I asked her. "Too hungover?"
"Pretty bad," she admitted. "I got home last night and started feeling depressed again - but half of a bottle of tequila later, I decided 'who cares?' And this morning, I knew better than to ask Mom for some of her go-juice so I'm working on it the old fashioned way." Turns out the 'old fashioned' way was a Bloody Mary. Can't beat that! "So why are you here?" she asked.
I explained it.
She was quiet for a few minutes before saying, "What's he look like? Is he a reasonable specimen of Elfish hunkiness?"
"He's a good looking guy."
She was quiet some more. Then she said, "You wouldn't even come tell me about it if you hadn't already interrogated him enough to satisfy my mother, so dish!"
So I dished, "I told him, the very first thing - who your mother is and he didn't back off "
She took that as a good sign. "That took a lot of spine. Maybe he just likes Bad Girls." I didn't say a thing. "Okay," she said, "He can meet me tomorrow at the kid's costume party. Mom's making me go. That way we can have some privacy and Mom's snipers can pick him off if he tries anything." Then she asked, "Tell me - if you and Leo weren't you know would you bang this guy?"
"Hmmmmm, I'd have to yes - if I wasn't banging Leo - I'd bang Dave."
She laughed at that, "It was a hypothetical question!"
She thought some more and said, "'Dave' huh? At least it's not 'Heartbreaker'." Then she blushed. I swear to Corellon, she blushed and rushed to add, "Not that that name has any particular meaning to it."
"Oh Debbie," I said, "you didn't?"
She tried to deflect me, "So at the party tomorrow?"
I allowed myself to be distracted and went in search of Dave to let him know the change in plans and then I told him, "Let me just warn you, little boy, hurt her and you won't have to worry about her mother, 'cuz I'll take care of it first."
Anticipating a late night tonite, I slept in late today. When I told Leo that I would be attending the children's party at the Aladdin this afternoon - and why - he agreed to go with me as long as he didn't have to wear a costume. Since he was looking pretty dapper in his suit, I was okay with that and donned a nice non-scary, G Rated gypsy costume. So, we get there and there's Rodrick, also in a suit. He spotted us and waived us over.
I was looking around for Dave and finally spotted him - off in a corner - just watching things. We walked over and I introduced Dave to Debbie's, "Uncle Leo, Lord Venetian." I was pleased to see that Dave remained calm enough to shake hands and stammer out a. "Privilege to meet you, sir."
Then he blurted out, "Congratulations on marrying such a hot woman, sir!"
Leo shook Dave's hand and replied, "Thank you. You might want to work on what happens when your mouth moves."
"Okay " Dave stammered.
He looked like he was about to crawl into the carpet when Leo, in his finest SEAL voice yelled, "Drop and give me twenty!" Dave froze in place for a moment, but then hit the ground!
Leo grabbed his shoulder to stop him, "Easy son - I was kidding with you." With his hand still on Dave's shoulder, Leo led him a few feet away from me (knowing full well that I could hear everything they said) and he and Rodrick positioned themselves so that poor Dave was standing between them.
While Rodrick stood there glaring, Leo said, "Dave, my wife tells me that you're interested in Debbie. If you're only interest is in a good looking Drow woman, dressed in leather, walking all over you - hire a professional. In the end, it'll be cheaper. And healthier, if you know what I mean." Rodrick nodded in agreement.
"Well, umm, sir, that's not what I had in mind, exactly," Dave said.
"But if you're looking for a life-partner or even for a few years of good times - all right then," Leo said. Then he reached for his wallet, "But if that's not what you're looking for - let me give you some cash so you can go get that pro "
Dave looked at him and said, "Thank you, sir, but no thank you. And please don't make assumptions about me or my personal life - it's really none of your damn business. It's between Debbie and me."
Well, that was unexpected!
Rodrick and Leo exchanged some raised eyebrows and I re-joined them, pointing over their shoulders. "I see Debbie, right now!" They all turned to look.
She was making an 'entrance'. Her hair was all teased out and had been dyed bright red. She was barely wearing a low-cut, high hem, skin tight dress. Matching stilettos, blood-red lipstick and there just had to be a Wonderbra underneath it all.
"What sort of costume is that?" Leo whispered to me.
"I umm well Jessica Rabbit?" I guessed. I glanced over at Dave and said, "Dave - put your tongue back in your mouth, adjust what ever needs to be adjusted so you can walk and let's go."
So I introduced the two and beat a hasty retreat to rejoin Leo and Rodrick. Leo got a big hug, "Thank you, Dear. That was a very good job and it made much more of an impression coming from you than if I had said it." We watched Debbie and Dave as the spoke for a few moments before Debbie led him towards the very back of the room where they were still very much in the 'public' area - but had some semblance of privacy.
I couldn't help but notice at least two little red laser dots dancing about on the back of Dave's head.
Olivia made her entrance just in time to witness Debbie leading a thunderstruck Elf to the back. She watched them for a moment and asked, rather distractedly, "What is she wearing? Did she get that from my closet?"
"You look very nice," I said trying to distract her for a moment. She was wearing a very nice evening gown, had her hair up in a very elaborate knot and was wearing some of the nicer jewels we've picked up here and there. Karyn was standing behind Olivia, wearing her usual dark suit and Rodrick asked her where her costume was.
Karyn indicated her sunglasses and a radio ear-piece leading to her shit collar, "Secret Service - keep your distance, please. Thank you."
Olivia asked her, "Who's that man with Debbie?"
Karyn said, "A young man named Dave. He works and lives here in the hotel and was introduced to Debbie by your sister-in-law."
I looked at my watch, "Wow! Leo - look at the time! We've got to go judge our costume party."
Karyn was continuing, "I understand he is quite smitten with your daughter. But I have people in place to smite him if need be."
Leo looked at me like I was crazy, "No - we have lots of time. Remember? We're doing our party later - after the kids go trick or treating."
Olivia turned away from Debbie and turned to me. I kicked Leo's ankle.
"Oh!" he said.
"So," Olivia said sweetly, "who is he?"
"Do you want that tequila straight or in a margarita?" Leo asked as he slunk away.
I explained all of the circumstances to Olivia and assured her that I had questioned Dave and verified that he'd been truthful. Leo returned with a margarita and Olivia asked him, "What did you think of him?"
"Well - he told me to mind my own damn business. But I am surprised she doesn't attract more like him," he said.
"Like what?" Olivia and I asked together.
"I'm betting that he's a little more than bookish and she is the closest thing to danger that he's ever flirted with. And I mean real danger. He was probably a James Bond fan and loves the 'Ladies Man' image. He was never able to achieve it but did acquire a taste for girls who like that sort of thing." He thought for a moment, "I don't think he's dangerous."
"Not more than once, anyway," Olivia said.
"What he needs is an instruction manual for her and what she needs is a warning sticker on her ass," Leo added.
"There are no instructions for her," I said.
"For any of you," Leo said.
Olivia said, to no one in particular, "Do you think she'll introduce me if I go over there?" Without waiting for an answer, off she went. We trailed along behind - wouldn't want to miss the fireworks! Dave saw her coming and jumped to his feet.
Debbie introduced Dave and he said, "Madame Overlord - I very much want to inform you that I'd like to date your daughter. If that's okay with you."
Olivia paused, looked him up and down and finally said, "I see that you're trying to do the right thing here - so why did you approach her aunt first?"
"I didn't know! When I first saw Debbie, I thought she was a member of the Lady Jazz's congregation or maybe a member of the clergy."
Debbie snorted a laugh, "When I go to church, it's naked under the moon. And we dance around bonfires. You know, the usual."
"Are you a religious person?" Olivia asked him.
"Not very - but I have room in my life for those who are." He stopped, took a deep breath and asked, "Is this a bad time for me to be asking this? This is a pretty public place and quite a few people are watching at us."
"Yes, well, I'm feeling more protective than usual."
"Mother!" Debbie wailed.
"Alright, alright," Olivia said.
Debbie told Dave, "You're going to need a higher level of security clearance."
"See Karyn about that," Olivia told her and then let Karyn lead her off for the judging of the costumes.
Winners were selected, prizes were given, refreshments were consumed and Leo and I said our good-byes so we could get back to the Venetian for the children's party here. Leo judged the costumes and handed out the prizes and once the children were all safely in bed, the party for the adult employees began.
to be contrinued...