A Castle of Sand by LongDarkRoad
Chapter 14 What Does It Take
“…it takes an earthquake to move a mountain, it takes the typhoon to churn up the sea, but what does it take to make you take to me…”
How many women and girls had she met over the years who felt like Miss Carson did? How clueless had she been all these years? Christine asked herself these questions as she lay on her bed, Margie asleep and snuggled against her.
In high school and at college she had clearly been wandering in a daze; surely what was happening to her now (she listed in her mind, Hănescu, Bianca, Margie, Madame Dhang, Lana, Beverly Silverberg, Paulette Yee and now this Amy Carson) with these women didn’t suddenly occur; there had to have been women, or girls, earlier who liked her; were attracted to her; wanted sex with her. Why hadn’t she noticed before this?
Miss Dhang’s whore, came again; was that all it was? She wanted, desperately almost, to belong to the woman, to be hers; to be with her, in every way. Was that all it was, to make her accept this? To be a whore.
She had had sex with five men at the same time, five faceless men, for her ‘mistress’, loving the woman watching her and not at all personally involved in the actual sex. But then she had liked being with George Yee. She’d felt, something, as she was instructed by Paulette to watch the man’s cock enter her, and to then watch it move in and out of her naked sex. She’d actually taken part in that, been involved emotionally, even become aroused (a little) and her mistress had not been there.
Why do you do this?
* * * *
Hyun answered the long-distance call, listened for a moment and then handed the receiver to Dhang, saying,
“It’s your asset in the Commerce Department.”
“Yes?” Dhang said, her voice much less-honeyed than with Christine.
She listened to the report which included that Callister had met with Gibbons and then Sullivan, that last evening had gone very well, that tonight Callister was part of the event for the Hungarian delegation and that tomorrow she would be going to a private residence, with Douglas Silverberg in attendance, for a dinner. The group appeared to be staying overnight.
“Very good, I will be back Monday. Call me in the evening. I also want to know which girls in the crew Callister associates with the most. Good day.”
* * * *
“Ahhhhhh,” Paul groaned and collapsed to the right of Beverly, who remained on her knees for a minute. Anne, lying to Beverly’s left, remarked, “See, Paully, I told you it was worth the wait.”
Paul and Beverly had worked twelve hours today in the yard of one of Silverberg’s many acquaintances (arranged through Virginia) and after a shower and dinner had welcomed Anne into Paul’s bed. Beverly lay now between her two partners, then turned to Anne, “You need to finish the job, honey-bunch…” she murmured.
“Well, since you’re talkin’ so sexy, how can I refuse,” Anne chuckled, as she slid down her friend’s slender body, opening her legs.
* * * *
By nine-thirty Friday evening, things had already begun to wind down. For Christine, there had been no ‘fireworks’ of any kind. No one in the Hungarian delegation had made a move on her; Connie had just cruised by, giving her a wink saying, “Looks like we’ll be done soon.”
Julia Sullivan now sidled over; “Hello, Miss Callister; wasn’t able to see you earlier so, uh, how’d last night go?”
Christine paused and then glanced at Sullivan to her right, asking, “If it’s only, um, like a date, what do you, you know, need to know?”
Sullivan nodded. “Roger that. I, mmm, don’t intend to embarrass you, Miss Callister. I will try to be discreet, so I don’t need, um, romantic details, if that concerns you, although…” here she paused and looked up saying, “if Dhang starts using you like a, um, hooker, that could be a problem, you see that, right? Unless you, like being a hooker?”
Christine felt the sting of those words but nodded, a grimace on her face. Put that way, it sounded skanky. ‘Madame Dhang’s whore’; aroused her coming out of Paulette Yee’s pretty mouth, but it also bothered her, and she needed to resolve this. What would being Dhang’s, slave, really mean? Could she be Christine Callister, government employee and a sex-slave, or whatever Dhang was envisioning, at the same time. That whole cake and eat-it-too thing?
She really couldn’t disagree with the hooker word, if she was being honest; Dhang, like a pimp, had been paid money for the sex Christine had provided.
Christine cleared her throat and said quickly, “We had dinner and then spent some time together, in their room, about an hour, and then we parted.”
“With, mmm, both of them?” Sullivan asked, evenly, not looking at the woman.
Christine sighed, bothered by this. “Ummm, yes. And I can tell you we had no discussion of any importance. They asked me no questions about anything, other than small talk of very general things. It was, I guess, just a favor for Madame Dhang.”
“Thank you, Miss Callister.” Sullivan nodded, taking a breath and fighting conflicting emotions. “Mr. Yee used a, condom, with you?”
Christine nodded, bothered by this question as well; why?
Sullivan continued, still not looking at Christine.
“For tomorrow, you will travel to the estate with Mr. Silverberg; Gerry, Margie and Dolly will travel with me. It’s not far, about a half-hour drive. The boss will pick you up at four-thirty. Pack your evening wear but dress in your casuals. Understood?”
And with that, the woman moved away, and Christine noted that people were already departing and Mr. Silverberg was waving at her and there was again a nagging sense of something hovering near her, like a shadow.
Unless you like being a hooker.
She had liked being ‘used’ by the Yees; what was the point in denying that?
And wasn’t it her bosses idea to ‘please Miss Dhang?’ They had no idea, really, of where that might go?
Without analyzing it, Christine Callister recognized that she was getting the ‘Washington Treatment’.
Or being screwed, as some would just say.
* * * *
Saturday morning Christine was up early; she had her errand, and was travelling by taxi to the Woolworth’s on Fourteenth Street. Once inside the busy, crowded store she found the meagre selection of pet supplies. Luckily for her, if that was the correct way to view it, she smiled when she spotted several dog collars, choosing a plain, brown, leather one.
Feeling ‘naughty’ and exposed, Christine tried the collar around her neck to ensure it fit, feeling an amazing rush of desire. She briefly pictured herself on her knees, handing the collar to her mistress, and then shook her head and came back to the present, glancing around to see if anyone happened to be observing her, before strolling to the cashier.
“What kind of dog do you have?” the young woman behind the cash register asked pleasantly, placing the purchase in a small, paper bag.
“One that needs control,” Christine smiled, heading off. “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land,” came suddenly to Christine’s mind, along with the image of Elizabeth Devers, standing and looking down at her.
Followed of course by the image of herself, naked, by Dhang’s feet, a leash attached to her collar, as the mistress took her pet for a walk.
* * * *
The estate, in Fort Hunt, turned out to be a large, elegant old home right near the Potomac River, on a property heavy with trees and the sense of history and old money. The owners were connected to the Republican Party in some way, and the place had been used as a retreat since the days of Eisenhower, as it boasted five bedrooms in the main building and an odd row of eight, small cabins on the northern edge of the property. That was apparently where ‘the crew girls’ would sleep tonight.
Some staff had been brought in for the weekend and when Silverberg’s Cadillac pulled up the drive they were met by two of them. Several of the Hungarian party were already there, as well as Sullivan and her group. Margie came out to greet Christine and show her to their cabin. Like the house, it would be two girls to a hut.
* * * *
A little later, Margie and Christine were browsing (they were told they could wander anywhere on the main floor) in the large, impressive house. “You wanna live in a place like this?” Margie asked.
“Hmmmm,” Christine thought, considering the modest house she had grown up in, “maybe for a while, but it’s just too much. Why would anyone want this much space?”
Margie stopped and gazed at the impressive winding staircase, “Dunno, unless you had a whack of kids. And they did have larger families back then, you know, whenever. I’m just assuming this place is like ancient, hey?”
Just then Julia Sullivan appeared and informed them it would be dinner in an hour and they should get ready. The two women headed for their cabin, Margie saying, “It’s like being back in camp. Well, a very expensive camp; not the kind I went to.”
“I never went to camp,” Christine replied.
* * * *
“Let’s go for a stroll, Miss Callister,” Douglas Silverberg remarked, gazing down at the woman who was looking absolutely enticing tonight, her mass of brunette hair curling around her bewitching face. At times he felt a stab of conscience when what she was doing for the Koreans came to mind; but in his practical way he forced the thought down. This was Washington, he told himself for the thousandth time, and everyone gets used, one way or another.
The two headed out the front and chatted about nothing on the wide veranda. “I say we wander over, cross the roadway, and walk along the river. If anyone is watching, that would be noted.” Christine smiled in response and the two walked off at a leisurely pace. It wasn’t far, and soon they were on a grassy stretch passing through a wooded area, the wide Potomac moving languidly beside them.
They stopped and Silverberg leaned against a poplar’s trunk and lit one of his Pall Malls. “So,” he began in his rich voice, “a lot has happened in a short while, for you certainly.”
Christine gazed at the river and smiled, “I can’t believe it, sometimes. It seems like I’ve been here a life-time and it hasn’t been even a month, so much, like you say, has happened.”
“Is it, moving too fast for you?”
She looked up at him, his face clear in the moonlight, nodding her head. “Yeah, but time doesn’t, what do they say, stand still?”
He sighed and looked sad, briefly, as the thought crossed his mind that this young woman and his daughter were close in age.
He shook that off and smiled, then nodded, and said quietly, “Now, you need to bite the bullet and lean in and kiss me, just in case.”
She laughed and took a step closer, raising her gloved hand to caress his broad chin; then leaning in, as his cigarette smoke curled up around her, she kissed his cheek, gently, and then, without consideration, she kissed his mouth. It tasted of tobacco and smelled fragrantly of Brut aftershave, and his lips weren’t hard like Brian’s. She hadn’t paid any notice to the lips of the Korean men( there hadn’t been much kissing anyway, not on her mouth at least) but these were amazingly gentle.
Straightening up, she smiled at him. The kiss had been very nice; for some reason that pleased her. “That should give them a little to talk about, if someone is, um, there.”
A short distance away, one of the hired staff made a note, then hurried back to the house before he was missed.
* * * *
“So, second meeting in a month, somethin’s up,” Eagleton commented, looking over at his friend Bob Fuller, who tonight seemed to be a man with something on his mind.
Fuller smiled and sipped his whiskey, “Yeah, our last, chat, stayed with me. Your, um, frame of mind, like.”
“My frame of mind?” Eagleton grunted.
“Yeah, you remind me of me, Eagle. We’re like a couple of old plough mules, heads down, doing our job. We’re probably both lookin’ to get out to pasture soon, while we still have some life left in us, huh?”
Eagleton nursed his bourbon unsure of where this conversation was headed. “You getting’ tired of haulin’ in bad apples, Bob?”
Fuller regarded his glass. “That’s the deal, hey? We’ve talked about the new way of things, that there’s no black and white anymore. Somebody sticks up a bank, maybe shoots a citizen, you catch ‘em and lock ‘em up. That’s easy. But this, emmm, crazy brave new fuckin’ world, with the politics…” He paused and looked up, his face tired; Eagleton noticed the lines around the eyes and mouth; same as his own.
“And it started with the war, the big one, not this piece of shit Nam freak show. And it started with makin’ deals, hey.”
“I’m thinkin’ you have something, specific, in mind, Bob?”
Bob grinned, more like a grimace, really, “We both know that the big, well, one of the big fears back then, was that Nazi infiltrators would somehow get into the New York docks and screw up the works, and…”
He paused and looked at Eagleton, who finished the thought for him, “And so we made a deal with the Mafia. They kept the docks clear and we looked the other way on, certain things.”
Fuller chuckled, “Yeah, very diplomatic. Certain things mostly being the heroin trade. I think back then they called it the French Connection.”
“Yeah, from the fields of Turkey and Lebanon to the streets of New York. I think it originally involved some Corsicans, if memory serves.”
“Right, and Marseille was the port of choice. You and I both know that the fascists tried to shut down the trade, and it was American intelligence that helped keep things going, in exchange for the help with our docks, and other, things.” The two drank in silence for a moment.
Fuller continued, “You know, I was in Marseille end of the war. I even saw one of the heroin processing labs, as your OSS guys were trying to recruit me and took me around. Opened my eyes.”
“But then you joined the bureau,” Eagleton chuckled.
Fuller sipped his whiskey, “Yeah, I was young and idealistic. This prick was all on about how much money they were looking to pull in, from fuckin’ dope for Christ sakes, and they would then use it to fight communism. Shit.”
“You sometimes pick your devil, Bob.”
“Yeah, well now I’m not so idealistic any more, and now the devil be damned. I want a piece of that action, Eagle. You and me, we deserve to go out with more than a gold watch, a wrecked marriage and a drinking problem. We need to enjoy life, whatever time we got left.”
Eagleton regarded his friend cautiously; it was not that he hadn’t thought the same thing, but saying it out loud made it more real; and dangerous.
* * * *
Lana stretched her long legs out of the cab and stood on the sidewalk as the car pulled away. It had been three years since she had last stood here, three years since her last conversation with Lucy Nagy, or Madame Lu as she was called then. Lana had been at a crossroads that night; having ended her marriage and tried other things; a professional music career was a dream but not practical.
She had first been approached by Nagy at a concert recital she had performed in, as part of a trio. The woman had seemed elegant, sophisticated and a little mysterious. As the owner of a very exclusive escort service, she always kept a low profile. Lana had met with her more than once, but in the end, took a government job that had opened up, followed eventually by the crew.
All this was coming back to her now as she stood outside the door of a room labelled, High Seas Travel, which contained a legitimate travel agency, but also fronted a more private service for wealthy male (for the most part) clients.
Lana knocked, and Nagy’s distinctive voice invited her in.
* * * *
“It seems like you’ve been thinking on this for a while, Bob. What’s put the burr under your saddle right now?”
Bob regarded his companion and chuckled. “My work, strangely. Or, Jimmy R. Lee, to be precise.” Eagleton tilted his head; the name meant nothing to him, but this was domestic, so it likely wouldn’t. “Jimmy came under my watch after a shooting, in New York, but the local boys reached out ‘cuz they knew this cat had connections that went up quite a ways; in the drug biz.
Now we know what happened after WWII; lots of folks jumped on the opium train; Armenians, Mexicans; hell, even the Canadians for cryin’ out loud. But nobody did like the Chinese and the Vietnamese. And damn-it, Eagle, you know the CIA was in up to their necks, with all of them, especially in the far east. But the road ended up right back here, in the U.S. of A, land of the free.”
Fuller sipped again and started, “But, it didn’t become a major problem until the sixties and the escalation of the ‘Nam war, and our troops coming home, a shitload of them bringing back their addiction. ‘H’ was already big on the streets and now we had service men who were there and are now here with the pipeline going right back there. And man it’s only growing, ‘cuz what’s the next hot spot, Eagle?”
Eagleton sighed, “Hong Kong; we’re hearing of high quality H starting to come out; ninety-nine percent pure, unheard of; Burma, Thailand, northern Laos…”
“The Golden Triangle,” Fuller said quietly, pausing as the waitress brought two fresh drinks.
“I’ve heard, from my new best friend, Jimmy R. Lee, who has connections right back to, Hong Kong.”
Eagleton sipped reflectively, “So, I’m guessing you have a plan, Bob? Or an idea at any rate?”
Fuller nodded, “I do indeed; you and me; working a deal. You find out when a shipment’s coming into New York, and ‘cuz it’s my region, I will follow up and bust it. We’ll seize the product, which is usually north of two hundred kilos, and we’ll keep twenty, don’t log ‘em in. Jimmy R. Lee takes our dope to his people at fifteen grand a ‘k’, we bank close to three hundred large.”
“And?” Eagleton murmured; interested but guarded.
“We do this two times, Eagle, and in a few months, quietly put in our paper work, and the Caribbean Islands, here I come; don’t know ‘bout you. We can pull this off ‘cuz of our positions, right?”
Eagleton regarded Fuller for twenty seconds or more before grunting, “Hmmmmm.”
Fuller nodded and raised his glass, “Right.”
* * * *
Although their beds were side by side in the small cabin, Christine and Margie were laying side by side on Christine’s. “So,” Margie murmured, “you and the boss went off for a moonlight stroll, hmmm. Any news?”
Christine smiled, “We had a kiss; that’s it, kid.”
“Hmmm, seems like you wasted an opportunity there.”
Christine hesitated, not knowing how much she was supposed to share. “Well, I like him, but he is married, and now I’ve met his wife and daughter, so it would be awkward to begin some wild affair. It was a nice kiss, two actually, but that’s it.”
They lay quietly for a moment. “And then there’s your dark-eyed woman, who wants you for, herself.” Margie said, quietly.
Christine sighed; after buying the collar this morning (something she had mentioned to Margie, in a spontaneous moment) and having her, mistress, on her mind a lot, she hadn’t thought of her much at all this evening. “Yes, there’s that. Relationships are complicated, hey?”
Margie lay thinking, “The path of true love is never easy, or something like that. How many damn lost-love songs are out there?” She asked darkly.
“Lots,” Christine murmured.
It was a moment before Margie responded. “Right.”
* * * *
“Well, my dear. It has been so good to see you,” Nagy spoke, looking up. Lana, noting it had been over an hour since she arrived, had stood, signalling her intent. “So good. I really thought I would never see you again, my dear.”
“I’ve thought of coming to see you, several times, but; I wasn’t ready, to have that, conversation.”
Nagy smiled. Now in her early fifties, she was still a handsome woman. “So bring your friend to see me. I think you should at least consider your options, especially if she is as beautiful as you say. The two of you would clean up, my precious.”
Lana bent slightly and kissed both of Nagy’s cheeks, then turned and headed off, her mind going over everything.
* * * *
“Ummmm, good, okay; yeah, you can relax,” Margie said, in a business-like fashion, even though she was kneeling behind a naked Christine’s ass. They were in the shower and Margie had just finished helping with her roommate’s pubic shaving, the hairs between her butt cheeks being the most challenging. “You’re all nice and pure for your, um, queen,” she murmured.
Christine turned around and Margie stood up. “Thanks again, that part is tough.” She smiled, “You know, I’m not sure you’re always joking when you say things, you know, like your queen and stuff.” Christine said quietly, reaching for a towel.
Margie shrugged her shoulders as she strolled out of the shower stall; they were in cabin One, which held all the washroom facilities. “Maybe I’m not always joking,” she said, grabbing her own towel and aggressively rubbing her hair. The two women dried themselves in silence.
Something had changed since yesterday, and Christine could not understand what.
* * * *
Anne and Laverne were enjoying a Sunday brunch when Laverne mentioned, trying to sound casual. “So, I heard from Frank. He’ll be back on Thursday.” She then began to studiously butter her toast.
Anne watched for a moment, then chuckled, “I don’t think that piece of toast has done you any harm, Laverne; show it some mercy, girl.”
The woman laughed and looked up, “I’m so torn up, here, Anne. I’m happy that Frank’s coming home, I am. But God, there’s a knot in my stomach when I think on you. That’s a fact and I’m, disturbed.” She held a napkin up to her face.
Anne smiled across at her lover. The thought had bothered her as well, although she would never say anything.
* * * *
Sunday night, Christine was back lying now on her bed when Margie returned from her evening washroom tasks, wearing pyjama bottoms and a towel around her neck.
Christine looked over at her roommate, who was now sitting on her bed. When Margie spoke, it was in a strangely subdued voice, “Hey, kid, I think I’m just going to crash here, okay?”
Christine sat up and looked over at her friend, a feeling of concern spreading through her. “Ummmm, okay, uh, why?”
Margie looked down, considering. “We’ve become pals, had a little fun, but, um, I kinda need to back off a bit here, Chris. I, uh, well shit, I care about you more than I should.” The woman sighed audibly. “You need to take care of one, relationship, at a time, right. So, I gotta do this, put some space between us…”
A sudden swell of sadness welled up within her and Christine fought back tears. She could understand Margie’s reasoning, but she hadn’t expected the hurt. “I, uh, I don’t know what to say. I like you, um, really like you, Margie. I wouldn’t hurt you for the world. There’s you, there’s Madame Dhang, but you’re separated…”
Margie looked up, “But not for long, kid.” She sat, struggling with her feelings, her face reddening. “You bought a goddamn dog collar, for cryin’ out loud. She wants you to be her slave. Have you really got that in your head, Chris? I’m sorry, I can’t do this. I, um, I’m good to work events and shit with you if they come up, but this other thing, it’s too heavy for little ol’ me. I’m sorry.”
And with that, Margie turned and lay, her face to the wall. Christine sat, numbed, for a few moments before she too lay facing her wall.
Both women crying silently in their own beds.
(End of Chapter 14)