A Castle of Sand by LongDarkRoad
Chapter 1 Games People Play
“…look around tell me what you see, what’s happenin’ to you and me? God grant me the serenity to just remember who I am…”
After taking the bus from her hotel and then walking the three blocks to this non-descript, four story brick building named simply House Annex Five, Christine Callister now marched down a long, polished hallway, glancing up at every door or two.
Although incredibly excited by simply being in this city (she had actually been able to see the White House as she walked along tenth avenue) she was still an efficient young woman who didn’t like it when there were problems, no matter the circumstances.
Right now, she was searching for room one-forty-four, and it made sense that it would be close to where she was standing, but the numbers before her ended at one-thirty. “K’n I hep you, Missy?” a voice asked from her right, and Christine turned to look down at a grey-haired and elderly, colored gentleman wearing a uniform of sorts; he smiled up at the attractive and smartly dressed brunette.
“Oh, uh, thank you so much. I can’t seem to find this room.” Christine showed the man the index card where she had listed the information: date, building name and address, room number and Miss Gibbons, the woman she was to have an interview with.
The man smiled, “Yessir, that’s the thang, y’see. T’aint no such number y’see, least not that y’all’d know, y’un’erstan’? Foller me, missy.”
And with that, the man shuffled off down an adjacent hallway, with Christine clacking along on the tiled floor in her high-heeled, black shoes. They came in a few moments to a door marked ‘DC’ in large letters, with a tiny number one-four-four at one corner of the door’s window.
“Here y’all be, young lady,” the man drawled, tipping his hat and Christine rummaged in her purse for a quarter which the man accepted with a smile. She watched the man shuffle back from whence he came and turned, straightening her back and setting her shoulders, then reaching for the doorknob.
Well, Christine, she thought to herself, this is it. She turned the knob and entered to the sound of typewriters clacking and the jangle of phones ringing.
Her new life was beginning.
* * * *
Virginia Silverberg adjusted the new air conditioning unit, thinking thank God for inventions. Washington in June was hot and humid and at times almost unbearable. Certainly the riots the year before had made some consider why they lived here. But the Silverberg’s luxurious Georgetown home had history, and also modern conveniences like color television and this new A.C. unit. Virginia sipped her tea and pondered that people like her husband Douglas, contracted (lucratively to be sure) to the government, had no choice but to live here.
Martha, their housekeeper, who looked very much like the German nanny one saw in World War II movies (but was actually from Louisiana) came quietly in to announce that there was a call; Miss Beverly, and she would be arriving around seven.
Late as usual, Virginia considered, but what could one do with the youth of today, with their drugs and hair and music? Virginia chuckled, considering that she could not sit in judgement, even of her own, child.
Not with the life she had led.
* * * *
After standing awkwardly and uncertainly just inside the doorway for a moment, Christine happened to catch the eye of one employee, the only non-white worker in the group it turned out (no males were currently in the room either) and the slender Puerto Rican girl put down her telephone receiver and came smiling broadly, “May I help you?” she asked with no hint of an accent.
“Oh, thank you. I have an appointment with Miss Gibbons,” Christine announced.
The girl moved back to her desk and looked at a sheet, asking. “Miss Callister?” and to Christine’s emphatic nod she motioned to follow her as she headed out one inside door and then through a short adjoining hallway to arrive and quickly stand outside another, inner office. The girl knocked, even though the door was ajar, and announced “Miss Callister,” then turned, and with her bright smile still in place, headed back to her desk amid the bustle of the common room.
Christine moved cautiously into this doorway and saw a modest-sized office containing several file cabinets, one large desk, one wall covered with bookcases and one small woman, her steel-grey hair in a classic bun, round spectacles on her nose, sitting behind the desk; several file folders were open before her.
The woman looked up and called, “Come in, come in, young lady, don’t stand a-gawkin’. Sit here. No wait…” she held up a delicate hand as Christine had begun moving toward the chair indicated.
“No, let’s have a look at you first. Okay, just stand, now turn slowly, yes, good, good.”
Feeling a little like a Galloway cow up for auction back in her home of Glen Rock, Christine turned slowly as Gibbons murmured in response. The older woman observed with approval a smartly and modestly attired young woman of twenty-four; five seven or so, long, dark brown hair with some curl in it (not straight like those horrid hippy-girls) and simple make-up and lipstick; a no-nonsense sort of small-town girl; this could prove interesting, but very attractive.
“Good, good, sit down, sit down,” Gibbons barked as she pulled out a file folder.
The next ten minutes were spent in rapid fire questions with Christine feeling like she was being grilled after a possible homicide. As abruptly as she began the session, however, Gibbons now stood and directed, “Stay here.” Then she was off at a brisk pace, leaving Christine to gaze absently around the crowded room.
* * * *
Douglas Silverberg slipped a Pall Mall from his pack just as Mrs. Clark poked her head in. Silverberg had hired Clark partly because of her excellent references, but also because she was a married woman in her late forties. He was around younger women enough that he needed someone more mature and stable to function as his personal secretary. Some believed his wife had influenced his decision, but nothing could have been further from the truth.
“Call for you, line three, Sir. He wouldn’t give any information,” Clark offered in her business-like way.
“Thank you, Mrs. C.,” Silverberg murmured, placing the cigarette in his mouth, pushing button three and picking up the black receiver. He was not surprised to find Clifford Eagleton on the other end.
No one was entirely sure if Eagleton was CIA but this being Washington, everyone assumed he was and just watched what they said. Silverberg had known the man longer than most however, and even he wasn’t certain if the man was (or wasn’t) a ‘spook’ as they say, but it didn’t matter. Everything Eagleton did smacked of covert, and he loved using Silverberg’s Department of Commerce crew for any number of things.
“How can I help you, Cliff?” Silverberg opened.
“Well, Douglas, why is it that you always think I’m calling to have you help me?”
“I don’t know Cliff, maybe ‘cause you usually are,” Silverberg smiled and then chuckled in response to Eagleton’s laugh.
“Yeah, well, what can I say? Your bunch makes a nice cover and I can trust you, so it’s a no-brainer.” The conversation that followed was not unusual. Eagleton would be placing a young man in Silverberg’s ‘crew’ who would eventually assist in a negotiation with South Korea; and when the man headed over to that country, he would begin providing Eagleton with information. Why, no one asked.
“Back story’s all in place now?” Silverberg asked.
“Everything’s good to go, sir, just keep the fellow away from all those young women of yours.”
Silverberg chuckled, “The ‘Mod Crew’ only buddies-up with clients, Cliff. You should know that.”
“Yeah right; hey, later my friend.”
“Roger that.” Silverberg hung up and lit his smoke, just as the ferret-like face of Agatha Gibbons now appeared at his door.
“May I speak with you, Sir?”
“Absolutely, Commander Aggie, enter.”
Gibbons stifled a smile as she came briskly to the side of her boss’s desk; he was the only one who dared tease her. She knew the girls all whispered ‘commander’ and worse behind her back, but Mr. Silverberg was the only one to say anything out loud.
“I think we have a candidate for the sixth girl on the crew,” she announced.
A recent marriage had claimed Marilyn, and the vacant position had sat now for three weeks. The ‘Mod Crew’, called that by Silverberg and others because it consisted only of young, attractive women whose main purpose was hosting clients, even though they ostensibly worked in the commerce department, was unique and nothing about it, including vacant positions, was ever advertised.
Agatha Gibbons was the one in charge and only she recruited the potential crew members; individually and… personally.
Silverberg looked at the photo and background information sheet that Gibbons now lay before him. “Looks promising, Miss G. It’s your baby, you know that, and it’s your call. I know my place.” He shot her a quick smile.
“Thank you, sir. We have that event tomorrow night, correct?”
“Romanian delegation,” Silverberg nodded.
“That’s it. I would like to invite, um, Miss Callister here to attend and see what it’s like; then she can decide if she wants to try out the position.”
“Sounds like you have this all scoped out, as usual Commander.”
Gibbons snorted softly; she would never admit to enjoying her boss’s teasing, just as she would never give a hint of the feelings she had for him, how she would love to run her delicate hands through his short, thick, albeit greying, hair. “Thing is, Sir, she should probably be going as your companion.”
Silverberg grinned, considering the photo which showed a very attractive, young woman, “You know me, Aggie. Always prepared to take one for the team.”
Gibbons permitted herself a brief grin in response to this. “Fine. I’ll look after everything then.”
“You always do, my dear.” Silverberg said to the diminutive form as it bustled back out the door.
He then sat for a moment in contemplation. Working for the government, even on a contract basis, was unpleasant to a man of action like Silverberg, a man who had seen combat oversees in World War II; who had actually been on the beaches of Normandy as a twenty-one year old private.
But all this nonsense and ass-kissing had never been his thing; ‘politics is the art of the possible’, some wag had warned him his first year on Capitol Hill, now almost twenty years ago. What the hell that meant, he didn’t know. To him, politics was about people looking after number one while stabbing the next fellow in the back and covering their ass; always playing games.
Silverberg knew that was a more cynical view than many, and he still marveled at how he had stuck with the bull shit, all these years. Attending functions with a lovely, young woman by his side (his wife rarely attended these affairs) did make up for some of the more odious aspects of his, ‘politics’, however.
Tomorrow with the Romanians and then Saturday with the Koreans (Silverberg had just read the note on his calendar; this was a busy week with two events) would be a lot of smiling and promising, and hopefully a few large contracts signed, even if some of them needed to be ‘under the table’. And then his fat check would arrive as usual at the end of the month, and he and his wife could continue their lavish life style on the hill, for as long as he could hold his nose.
Silverberg stubbed out his smoke and called Virginia.
* * * *
Christine had checked the room out enough now and was beginning to consider getting up and looking at some of the books on the shelf when the energetic Miss Gibbons hurried back in, plunking her small frame down with a light thud and launching into her next bit of business.
“Okay, so here’s the deal my girl.”
Gibbons then spent several minutes explaining to Christine that this particular office, while dealing with trade, had three levels. The staff were part receptionist and part secretary; at least most of them were. However, six members of the office staff worked as a special group that assisted in all the entertaining of their world trade partners that accompanied ‘the business’ and all the negotiating.
Gibbons emphasized, twice, that the young women provided companionship to the mostly male members of the trade delegations at things like dinners, parties, gatherings and such but, “Nobody sleeps with anyone; the girls all live together in a house that we provide and that’s where you go home to, after the event. This is nothing like the Profumo affair.” Gibbons murmured darkly, referencing a name that was vaguely familiar to her youthful candidate.
Christine sat now frantically trying to process all of this information, which was completely news to her, when Gibbons mentioned about the Thursday party and the chance to consider the offer.
Then the woman stood, saying, “We should meet the crew,” and off they went to do just that, Christine still in something of a fog.
* * * *
Beverly Silverberg carefully grasped the ‘roach’ that her friend Anne passed to her, as it was almost finished, but the resourceful young woman was able to get one last drag out of it as her friend cheered her on. The third person lying naked on the bed, Paul, cheered too, although his eyes were closed and he wasn’t sure what he was cheering for.
Beverly leaned over Paul now, to blow the smoke out and into Anne’s mouth, before kissing her. They kissed several more times before Anne paused and reached down to flop Paul’s flaccid penis around, “Make it wake up, Paully,” Anne fake-whined and Beverly laughed.
“Sorry, ladies, my buddy’s done all tuckered out, thanks to you two,” Paully announced wearily.
“Even if we’re superrrr nice to it,” Anne purred as she took the member in her mouth.
“You can try, Annie-fanny, but it’s kinda like beatin’ a dead, you know, horse, yeah?” Paul smirked.
They all laughed.
* * * *
Christine lay in her hotel room bed; it was only nine o’clock, but she had decided to ‘hit the hay’ early; tomorrow promised to be a very busy day (and the night as well). But even though she was in bed promptly, she worried that she still would not get much sleep; it likely would be a restless night, there was just too much on her mind.
The names and the faces of the other girls in ‘the crew’ kept swimming through her mind.
Connie O’Hanlon (she was the buxom one); Delores, um Dolly, was she the petite red head? No…dark, but she was twenty-nine; Margie, what the devil was her last name? Christine could not come up with it but remembered Margie to be quiet with glasses and reddish blond hair; Geraldine (Gerry) Griffin was the easiest, as the woman was darker-skinned, mixed-race most likely; she was Christine’s height with hair in what people were calling an ‘Afro’ (Christine having learned that today; there were in fact few colored folks back in Glen Rock).
The final girl gave Christine an odd feeling when she recalled her; Lana Gallo. She was the tallest with what seemed like a good tan, but was probably simply a trait of her Italian heritage. The woman had striking and beautiful hazel eyes that held a twinkle, as if she were continually remembering a joke. And she was possibly the most attractive woman Christine had ever seen in her life; but then, coming from a small town, that wasn’t too big a feat; although there were the film magazines. And that was what Lana reminded Christine of, a movie star; she even had a movie star’s name.
Lana’s face was floating above her now, it seemed, smiling down. Her eyes were looking through Christine, seeing everything. Why would she be looking so intently at her, Christine wondered, as she drifted into sleep, a smile on her own plump lips.
* * * *
Agatha Gibbons lay on her bed, too, the day’s events playing themselves over in her mind as well. She felt positive about the new girl; very attractive and vivacious; she should do well.
Gibbons smiled a little, remembering their talk and the standard information she had ladled out. ‘Nobody sleeps with anyone’; what a laugh. This was Washington, for heaven’s sakes. Agatha herself hadn’t ‘slept with’ anyone in a long, long time, but she was pretty sure the lovely Miss Callister would be bent over a couch before too long, her lovely body ready to be pillaged by some diplomat or whatever.
Oh well, she’s young and sex was part of their game, she mused, beginning to feel drowsy herself.
* * * *
“So, anything new in your life, dear? We don’t see much of you,” Virginia asked her daughter as they sat in the family living room, dinner over (Beverly had finally arrived at eight); both women now with glasses of whiskey, a drink Virginia had taken to years ago.
Beverly turned her face, with its head of dark brown hair worn straight and parted in the middle, to her mother. There was always a languid manner to her movements, a sense of boredom, that the girl had cultivated. She knew it made her father crazy, most ‘older people’ in fact, and she liked that.
Beverly Silverberg had been more than your usual rebellious teen, and her parents, fearful of public gossip if not scandal, had sent her to France to complete her education; which she did, quite well in fact. She could be an excellent student if she chose, but after graduation the girl had just gone away, travelling Europe and even the far east, for two full years before she turned up back in Washington; older and different, but still irreverent and challenging.
She rarely spoke of those days and her parents didn’t pester; they were relieved that she was alive and apparently well, although her choice of friends did not inspire them. Her father now tended to avoid her rather than get into the disagreements that usually followed the two of them coming face to face. Doug Silverberg had no use for the anti-war protestors and others who seemed to disrespect America, and all of Beverly’s ‘friends’ seemed to fit that description.
Her mother on the other hand had her own reasons, and had cultivated this relationship, whether her daughter appeared bored with it or not. Beverly reminded her of herself, but where Virginia had settled into a domestic life, Beverly seemed determined to go a different way, and her mother was not bothered by that.
“Oh, you know, same old shit, ma,” Beverly droned.
Virginia shook her head. “No need playing the role, dear. No one here to impress but me, and I know you.”
“Do you, mother?” Beverly asked, then smiled and sat up. “But how about you, life’s good? You sitting at home while Papa does his thing, a girl on each arm?”
Virginia smiled. “He never has a girl on each arm, dear.”
Beverly paused, considering, then asked, “No new girl for you?” Virginia was not taken aback by this question; even though she had never discussed her sexuality with her daughter; something told her that her daughter knew. “I could hook you up with my pal, Anne. She’s, you know, a gate.”
“Swings both ways,” Beverly chuckled and Virginia smiled.
Virginia now pondered for a moment. “Do you…have sex with her?” She asked, strangely not bothered by where this discussion was going.
Beverly smiled, wondering what her mother was up to and feeling it might be time to start having some fun. “Of course, but it’s usually with a guy there, too. It’s not total lez-city, if you can dig it?”
Virginia smiled again at her very attractive daughter, thinking that she actually wouldn’t mind meeting this Anne, as long as she wasn’t too much of a pot-head. “Oh, I think I can dig it just fine, my girl.”
They sat for a moment, studying each other, then Beverly stood, and, languid as always, removed her clothing to stand naked before her mother. “Interested in a piece of this, mother darling?” Beverly crooned.
Virginia sat quietly, noting that her daughter had a lovely body. She noted the modest but perky breasts with their thick brown nipples jutting out from two tiny brown areolas; the slim, almost muscular frame with the flat tummy rounding out to full hips. She also noted the thick, wild tangle of dark brown hair that covered Beverly’s crotch and spread up toward her navel.
Virginia’s own hair, top and bottom, was a much lighter color and texture; Beverly would clearly be regarded as having inherited the darker, Silverberg look.
As Virginia was gazing, Beverly smirked and turned, bending forward slightly so her mother could see how the tangle of thick hair spread up her ass. “Anne says I should shave this, what do you think, ma?”
Virginia held her smile; she did not find this unpleasant; perhaps a little awkward; she would never tire of viewing a nice female ass. “Well, I’ll answer the second question, and I agree with Anne; shave the back, it makes anal intercourse easier. As for whether I want a piece, I can say, no. You have a wonderful body, I knew that already, dear, but I have no desire to be intimate with my, daughter.”
Beverly smirked again, looked back, tossed her clothing over her shoulder and moved, languidly, up the staircase, aware that her mother’s eyes were focused on her buttocks; she smiled at that. We’ll see, Mother, she thought.
Virginia sat, pondering, as she watched the naked body move up the stairs and away; she didn’t feel desire, at least nothing overwhelming, which was good, in many ways.
But Beverly’s little show had made the point to Virginia that it had been a long time since she had…done anything.
Too long for sure.
* * * *
In her hotel, for some reason, lyrics came to
Christine’s mind. ‘Whoa the games people play now, every night and every day now, never meanin’ what they say now, never sayin’ what they mean’…
Cynics would have said to her, welcome to Washington.
(End of Chapter 1)