I will be adding the first three chapters here as they are completed.
Lenoir, North Carolina 1923:
Outside was hot and humid and inside the warehouse, among the rat shit and vats if bootleg whiskey, it felt like Hell. Giant cauldrons mixed with the illegal booze and many of the locals worked the twenty-four-hour distillery. The building hid in plain sight. There was no fear of law enforcement, the local sheriff had been paid to look the other way, but there was still the fear of prohibition officers. Nonetheless, in this rural town tucked away in the Foothills of the Appalachian Mountains jobs were scarce and many earned their keep mixing the intoxicating drink.
“You hear another kid went missing?” Benny was a local man, thirty-five years old with a wife and four kids at home. He was a sweaty, tubby fella who ran the operation. Before making whiskey for the gangsters in Chicago, Benny was a carpenter, but booze is where the real money was.
“You’re kidding me.” Angelo Russo was a guinea from up top. The man had a dark complexion and oily hair, which he slicked back. Angelo always wore a suit and fedora and stood out in Lenoir. People were afraid of the thug. His reputation for killing anyone who stood in his way had traveled back from his home in Chicago, the city he missed. The boss, Sal Battistoni told him to stay down south with five other men to guard their investment.
A deal had been struck a week earlier. Benny had a contract to sell exclusively to Sal’s crew, which royally pissed off the New York rival Luca Caputo. When Benny cut off the booze Luca didn’t take it very well and threatened that if he wasn’t sold booze then nobody would be able to buy it. Angelo and his men were packing Thompson machine guns and were a phone call away from calling in reinforcements, should Luca’s men decide to strike.
Sal’s shipment had already been hijacked three times by Luca’s boys. As tensions rose, it seemed just a matter of time before the small southern town would turn into a war zone, something Angelo promised Sheriff Batts would not happen.
“Yeah, that makes three kids in a week. Someone is taking them and doing god knows what. I shudder at the thought.” Benny pulled out a pack of cigarettes, removed one, and popped it in his mouth, resting between his chapped lips. Angelo lit it for him. “I mean, what kind of monster do we have here? Who hurts children?”
“A sick fuck, that’s who.” The two of them walked along the vats of whiskey, stopping at a table where a few bottles and glasses were waiting. Benny poured two glasses, handing one to Angelo. They threw their heads back and placed their now empty glasses back on the table.
Tommy Jones was counting crates nearby. The boy was sixteen and simple, but a reliable worker. He rode on five trips, moving the booze up north. He would ride in the passenger seat, shotgun in hand and eyes peeled, looking for anything that seemed “not right”. Tommy had been on one of the jackings, even taking a shot at one of Luca’s goons. Everyone loved the kid, except Angelo.
There was no explaining it. There was just something off about the kid. Tommy had these blank stares and it gave him the willies. Angelo would give the kid shit and complain to Benny that he didn’t trust him, but Benny always would be there reassuring him that Tommy was a vital component of the entire operation. “To get rid of him would jeopardize your shipment”.
“What the fuck are you staring at?” Angelo shouted at the nervous boy who said nothing back, he never did. Benny had told him to never speak up, fearing that the simpleton would talk himself into a casket. Angelo’s temper was terrifying, the man had one hell of a short fuse. Last week Jaimie, a black man who maintained the truck fleet, made a comment that Angelo took offense to. He couldn’t even tell you what it had been but after he was done with the man Jaimie was blind in his left eye after being smacked in the face with a large chain.
“He’s just doing his counts.” Tommy turned away from the thug and continued doing his job. Angelo smirked and spit on the floor.
“Fucking kid gives me the creeps.”
“He’s a hard worker.”
“He’s a freak and I don’t trust him.”
“Don’t you trust me?”
“Then trust me. Tommy is alright.” Truth was Benny felt responsible for the boy. Jed, Tommy’s father, had killed himself two years earlier and a month later his mother died of a respiratory illness. Being an only child, he had nobody left, so Benny took him under his wing and set him up with this gig. The boy did well, had a place off Woodward Ave and some paper in his pocket.
“So we are expecting a shipment of two thousand cases to go out on Thursday. Can you make it happen?”
“That’s some short notice but we’ll manage.” Truth was, the whole ordeal would be a major pain in the ass. Over time would be needed in order to get the order ready and his men have already been clocking in extra hours for months. Nobody complained. The pay was great, but how long can a man work before he burns out?
Benny kept thinking of Madame Roxy. A tall, blonde headed woman in her forties. She ran a local brothel. The girls were from all over, not just the local cunny. There were white girls, black girls, Chinese girls (which always had heroin and opium) and girls from all over the country. Benny only cared about one girl, Dorothy.
She was nineteen years old with red hair. Originally from Boston, she found her way to Madame Roxy through an acquaintance of hers. Roxy liked the girl, but she was high maintenance. She couldn’t complain though because she was quite the draw.
“Get your head out of the fucking clouds.” Benny had drifted into space, imagining what his night would be. There was nothing Angelo hated more than a daydreamer.
“Sorry, I got some shit going on at home.”
“Hey.” Angelo held a hand out. “I don’t need to hear your fucking problems. I just need you to make sure this hooch finds its way to Sal. Its important to know that your position rests on this next order. We’re just about dry and cannot afford another hijacking. Send up extra men with guns and tell your men to do whatever it takes to protect my shipment.”
“I’ll have to pay them more.”
“Then do it, because if you don’t I will replace you.” This made Benny shiver. Benny replaced Joel. What happened to Joel? Well after repeatedly missing deadlines, the man disappeared. Everyone knew Angelo’s men killed him. This trade had a short life expectancy, and that’s why Benny had plans to retire in a year or two. That is, if he could survive that long.
“I won’t let you down.”
Madame Roxy’s brothel was a two-story mansion, inherited from a wealthy father. After her mother passed away, she found herself overwhelmed with the mansion’s upkeep so she built a business plan to run a whorehouse. Lenoir was on the bootlegger’s routes. Thugs and many wealthy men drove through this town, and every night Roxy’s house was packed with clientele. Of course there were the regulars.
Men whose age ranged from 18 to 76, and of all types, made this place a second home. Maybe they felt that they were missing something back at the house. I mean, how often do you think the average house wife lets her husband fuck her up the ass?
Some men were just socially awkward and intimidated about meeting a woman’s expectations. When you pay for it, the women make sure to put on quite the show. Thrusting and sucking, screaming and moaning. “Faster Daddy, you’re the best. Your cock feels amazing.” The confidence this instilled in these shy men made them feel like God, even if just for a couple of hours.
Roxy guarantees complete satisfaction and her ability to deliver gave her little brothel in the mountains of North Carolina quite the reputation. Men from California wound up in these beds. Men from Florida, Texas, Montana, New Hampshire; all over they came because they heard from someone that the broads at Madam Roxy’s do anything.
This includes accommodating those with disturbing fetishes. Some choke the girls, hit them, bite them. They would act cruelly, delivering punishment as a way to feel something they normally wouldn’t; power. These women put up with a lot, and for that they were well paid. Roxy was fair. She thought no girl should be a punching bag without the proper paper.
That’s what kept the girls there. Many of them were young with plans to work a few years and save up money to move to the city where the excitement was. A lot of the girls were actresses, or so they wished. Often these women would plan on a short-term stay, say six months, then they would take off to Hollywood to be in the pictures. Then six months turn into a year, then years and before they realize it they hit their peak and now are faced with decline. They wanted to be beloved actresses but wound up a shriveled, aging whore. Sadly some of these girls can’t take the revelation and decide to lay in bed running a razor blade across the wrist.
Many of these women were traumatized victims who suffered immensely but were able to hide it behind perky tits and a round ass. The pigs who came into Roxy’s establishment were carnal beasts, and everyone knows that carnal beasts don’t give an ever loving fuck about how these women actually feel. They selfishly demand and offer only money. No affection, no love. These women lived lonely existences. That is, unless you were a lesbian.
Dorothy Fisher spread her legs and parted her lips for the patrons night after night. That was a job, a way for Dorothy to get by. Truth was, she had no use for men besides earning her keep. Not once in her life had she desired a man, lusted after them, nor had she fought with the other girls for a man’s attention. No, she never cared for men. What she desired were women.
Dorothy knew she was a lesbian when she was around twelve years old. Not once did she feel confused or question her sexuality. She was in no way attracted to men, but women were another story.
In walks Virginia. A tall, thin woman with long legs and a fair Irish complexion. She had an explosion of freckles all over her face, a feature that made Dorothy melt.
The two of them had started a relationship just a few months ago. At first Virginia was embarrassed to admit to the beautiful woman that she also wanted to be romantically involved. Dorothy leaned in to kiss her as the two of them sat on Virginia’s bed. They had been up all night drinking and listening to records. After doing the Charleston for a bit the two of them collapsed onto the mattress, laughing manically. Then there was a pause, eyes locked, and that’s when Dorothy made her move. But Virginia had pulled away. Everything inside of her screamed to kiss that woman but there was the shame and guilt she felt after stuffing the fact that she was attracted to women down for years. There was an awkward pause before a confused Dorothy, confident that she read all the signals right, simply said her goodnights and left.
Two days later, the two of them found themselves alone in Dorothy’s room. The girls threw back shots of whiskey and playfully pulled at each other, clawed at one another, and Dorothy felt once again the urge to kiss this girl. So she leaned in, afraid and expecting rejection, but to her surprise Virginia leaned in and the two women kissed.
What changed for Virginia? What was different this time, what was there that was absent the other day? For two nights Virginia dreamed of Dorothy’s big lips against hers. She dreamed of her breasts against her own as their nipples rubbed gently. She imagined her fingers sliding between her thighs and Dorothy’s face buried between her legs. So when Dorothy leaned in to kiss her, you bet she wanted it.
The two of them had sex, unable to control their lust, the women were very vocal during it. This caused a few of the girls to complain to Roxy. Virginia felt something that had been missing all her life, and she found it in Dorothy and her beautiful green eyes.
Of course, Dorothy was a prostitute first and had to attend to her duties. The men gave her no joy. Each second was another moment away from the beautiful embrace and soft lips of Virginia. Each thrust was an interruption of her day dreams and when she faked her orgasms, she would close her eyes and imagine Virginia’s every curve, especially the one in her back that led into her plump round ass. No, the men didn’t interest her. Well, that was a lie.
Bennny was a regular. Back at home he had a family, but here Dorothy gave him everything that he was missing. It wasn’t just the sex or blow jobs that kept the man coming to see her three to four times a week. Sure, they fucked, but it was the time they spent together after that really mattered to Benny. She’d cradle his head in her lap, the two of them as nude as Adam and Eve, and they would talk.
Benny excitedly spoke of dreams he had after earning enough scratch from bootlegging. He’d buy his family a house. He had plans to visit France with his wife with hopes of rekindling their relationship. Dorothy loved to hear about Paris.
Truth was she liked the guy. Certainly there was no real attraction, but if she had to be honest, she’d be lying that she didn’t enjoy it, just a little, once in a while. It had nothing to do with the fact that Benny was a man. Had he been a woman, well things would be a whole different story, one that may be lacking the presence of Virginia. But she refused to be with someone that she had no sexual attraction to, so despite her emotional involvement with the weird little man the two of them would never be together, much to Benny’s dismay.
“Benny, a beautiful evening, is it not?” Roxy met him at the front door.
Benny smiled, he always smiled at Roxy’s. If he were to put a percentage on his smiles, he’d say about 95 percent are in that room with Dorothy. Sadly, 4 percent of them were at work leaving a lonely 1 percent to his family. It’s not that he didn’t love his family, it’s just, well kids kind of killed their romance.
When they were young, they had a hot relationship. They’d go down by the Mill River, lay out a blanket and make love. They’d worship one another’s body. Every inch of skin was caressed or licked. He gave her oral sex, and she’d wrap those thighs around his head, muffling out the noise of the world. Benny missed those days tremendously and had he not had children, maybe he wouldn’t have to shovel out money to relive his past.
Dorothy was different about the whole situation. The way she cared for him was beyond Roxy’s guarantee of satisfaction. She was a caring, passionate woman.
Benny loved to hear her dreams of becoming a painter, or her stories of growing up on a farm in Oklahoma. Benny adored everything that one could love about Dorothy. He loved her, and this absurd affection he felt led to tremendous jealousy over Dorothy servicing other men.
A couple months back, a young kid named Terry was working at the warehouse. That boy ran his mouth, jaws flapping, word after word, until you were drowning in his rambling. Whatever it was that happened to him, he just couldn’t wait to tell someone. If he ran over a squirrel, seven people will have heard the story within an hour of showing up to work. So when Terry went to Roxy’s and picked out Dorothy, well, he just had to tell the others.
Nobody at the warehouse knew about Benny and Dorothy. Sure, they knew he was often at Roxy’s, some would even see him there, but none of them took enough notice to realize he picked the same dame every time. Terry’s ignorance led to him spilling the beans about his night with the beautiful Dorothy.
“Her tits were amazing, her nipples tasted so sweet.”
“She licked the spot between my balls and my asshole.”
“So I was really giving it to her, in her ass, not her pussy, her butt.”
And Terry ran and ran his mouth as Benny tried to contain his rage. God almighty, did he try, but that love struck fool failed and next thing you knew Benny was pummeling the boy to a bloody pulp. Terry left after that ass beating, took off down the road hitching rides to somewhere where nobody would know he got his ass beat because of his inability to shut the fuck up.
“Is Dorothy inside?” He knew the answer. Roxy waved him in and told one of the girls to “go fetch Dorothy”. Benny moved on into the parlor and took a seat in a comfortable chair. A naked, large-breasted Chinese woman quickly approached him with a heart-melting smile.
“Can I get you a drink Benny?” Her name was Jia and Benny adored her. On a couple of occasions Dorothy fell ill, nothing serious, but he didn’t want to bother someone getting over an illness. On those days, he would pick Jia. She had a darker complexion than the Chinese girls he’d seen previously, not that he’d seen many, and her eyes were a radiant brown. Jia also listened, but Benny was careful about what he said to her. Some conversations were reserved for his one love.
“Yeah, I’ll have a whiskey.”
“Be right up daddy.”
He watched her glide through the groups that were gathered in the parlor. He saw Dickey, a hardcore boozer and womanizer. The man was always filthy, a mechanic by trade and stunk like a skunk’s ass. The girls were professionals, and would never say a thing. They’d look him in his bloodshot eyes and tell the lush how wet he made their pussy, and he’d eat that shit up. Dickey was too poor to be a regular, having a family of seven to look after, so when he did have the money to head on over to Roxy’s he made the most of it. He must’ve been gambling earlier. How else would that poor sap be able to afford not one, but two pieces of coos?
“Here you go daddy.” Jia handed him a glass. He thanked her and handed her a dollar. She smiled and turned around in search of some guy with a fat wallet to shack up with. Some men tipped, and some men tipped very well. Benny tipped Dorothy. He sunk a fortune into her but he was happy to help.
“Hey Benny.” The voice of an angel. Soft, gentle. He felt her presence close in as their aura’s clashed. Benny stood up as she leaned in to kiss him on the lips. She leaned in to his ear and whispered “Let’s go to my room and get comfortable.”
It had been a hot day, but the evening was shaping up nicely. The bugs chirped as the moon let out its gentle glow, lightly illuminating the vegetation all around like some fantasy. Lenoir can be quite beautiful this time of the year and Sheriff Bernie Batts couldn’t think of another place he’d rather live. This was his home, and he was a good ol’ southern boy. Plus, with the bootleggers in town, his pockets have quite gotten full, just to look the other way.
Tonight would normally be spent in his backyard with a glass of whiskey, looking at the stars and imagining what it must be like in space. Tonight he was at the Baptist church, standing before a crowd of townsfolk, all eager to hear what Bernie had to say about the missing kids.
“Do you have anyone in mind, a culprit who is stealing these kids?” Frank, a baker in town, spoke up as others nodded and demanded answers. The crowd was getting loud, Bernie was losing them.
“What we know right now is that three kids have disappeared in town. Obviously we want a swift end to this with the best outcome. As of now, my deputies are preparing to interrogate the drifters in the woods. I’d put a hundred dollars on it that we find our man in the morning.”
“What about the kids?” Glenda asked, practically in tears. “You will find them, right?”
Bernie was not the world’s most optimistic person. He knew those kids were dead. He felt it in his gut and a law enforcement officer learns to trust instinct. The man was confident that the kidnapper was one of the homeless up in the forest. Many of them are loons living in tents, screaming at the moon and eating their own feces.
Kenny was the first he would question. The man had a past, he was arrested last year for putting his hand up a twelve-year-olds dress. He was a rambling madman who could barely be understood. Was it his incoherent speech, his mumbling, or that whiskey soaked voice? Regardless of what it was, Bernie had a son of a bitch of a time trying to make sense of all of it. The man spoke in fragments and jumped into subjects rapidly. Kenny always rubbed the sheriff wrong. But was he stealing children to do god knows what with?
“Who else can it be? It has to be one of the bums.” Someone yelled.
“I think the sheriff if dragging his feet. I say we go out to those woods with some rope and find the fucker so we can hang him high.” Another hollered.
“Please settle down. I give you my word, this man, this monster behind these crimes will be apprehended and these children will be found.”
Bernie was careful not to promise that they would be alive.