It rained for about nine weeks straight when I got the letter. This guy came running through the sheets of water pouring down off the roof of the Meteor. He looked soaked to the skin, but the thin white envelope he pulled from under his coat was bone-dry. “Are you Mrs. Westfield?” God, he had a light British accent that sent chills right to my clit.
“Ms., actually.” I flashed him what I hoped didn’t look like a sleep-deprived smile, and he blushed when he handed over an envelope.
“Sorry, Ma'am. Have a good day.” He turned on his heel and disappeared into the rain again.
Carson appeared at my elbow and glanced between the retreating shape and the letter in my hand. “Looks like you just got served.”
He always had the unnatural ability to point out the obvious. I opened the summons and cringed when I saw the date printed in the second line. I was supposed to meet with Gangplank about a domestic tour schedule on Friday, and their manager had a hard enough time keeping them sober enough to sign their own names, much less getting them to show up before midnight. That meant Carson was going to have to do it for me.
I suspected it was going to happen, though. Left and right, people were being brought under the microscope, because some kid out on Taurus left a concert missing a few ounces of blood. It was the proverbial snowflake that started an avalanche. The banner headline screaming across the news feeds for the last month was how Tryndal Baker Morris was suspected of doping some of their concert concessions. Everyone from bands to barmaids were being brought in to give depositions to a FDA grand jury.
“Does this mean you won’t be there for the tour meeting?” Carson’s forehead wrinkled as he read over my shoulder.
I felt a knot form in my chest, and I swallowed it down before I answered him. “Yes, Carson, it does. Remember when I mentioned that I was putting a package together for Tommy? Well, ‘Tommy’ is Tom Garon, Gangplank’s manager. All you have to do is hand him the package and keep your mouth shut. Let Tommy read it over and translate it into something his band can understand, okay? Think you can handle that?”
“But what if--?”
“Damn it, Carson, stop acting like such a priss.” I rounded on him and almost hit him, but I stopped short. They guy barely had two brain cells as it was, and if I knocked the last of them out of him, he wouldn’t even be able to tie his own shoes. “Look, just walk in, introduce yourself and hand over the folder. If anyone asks you anything, call me. I’ll answer, no matter what.”
“No matter what?” The color threatened to come back to his face.
“Yes, no matter what. Now, find me a cup of coffee, so I can start thinking.”
I kept my phone on vibrate while I sat through the grand jury’s statement of public record. The deputy reading from the data pad looked as bored as I felt. I wondered how many times he’d read it since the accusations against TBM started flying.
After having my mind sufficiently numbed, I was led to a small office at the end of a short hall and asked to sit in a hard leather chair across from a desk that sagged under the weight of dozens of court dockets. The clock on the far wall showed it was just past nine.
At fifteen past nine, a man blew into the office and almost fell into his chair. He smelled of coffee and looked like he’d just woken up. He apologized for keeping me waiting and reached for a small holo-panel on his desk. The screen glowed under his fingertips as he dialed up the dictation server. His voice was alert, and he seemed to have his thoughts in better order than his office.
“Okay, docket sixty-two twenty-five looking into allegations of bio-terrorism at entertainment venues. Could you please state your name for the record?”
The word ‘bio-terrorism’ stuck in my mind, but I pushed it aside. “Olivine Charlotte Westfield.”
“And what is your occupation?”
“Which is what, exactly?”
“You know when you read online that a concert is coming to town? Well, they don’t just show up uninvited. It’s my job to connect entertainment venues with talent people want to see.”
He nodded and opened a worn-looking folder on his desk. “Okay, so according to your tax records, you’ve been in the entertainment business for the last twenty years, is that right?”
“Wait a minute – you’ve been digging through my tax records?” I leaned forward in my chair and tried to get a look at the contents of his folder, but he tipped the edge up and leaned back slightly.
“We obtained a court order. I can have a copy sent to your last known address if you’d like.”
I thought about that. My last address was a tiny flat in the Cirrus cluster. By the time it arrived, I’d probably be eligible for social security. “I’ll pass, thanks.”
“So twenty years?” With one crisp question, he resumed business.
“About that, yeah.”
“And how did you begin?”
“I thought this was about bio-terrorism – why the history lesson?”
“Mrs. Westfield, we’re—“
“It’s Ms., not Mrs. You wouldn’t want me calling you by your husband’s name, would you?”
He looked confused and promptly turned pink along the ridge of his ears. “My wife, Ms. Westfield, isn’t part of this discussion.” The family portrait behind him looked recent. Mom, Dad, and three kids all dressed up to show off their perfect smiles. Very Hallmark.
“Sorry, I get a little bitchy when I miss out on a six-figure signing bonus. I’m sure you understand.”
He looked down at his paperwork and cleared his throat. “How did you get started in the entertainment business?”
I took a deep breath and thought about it for a moment. “I was always into music as a kid. When I graduated high school, I started hanging out with a few friends who knew a few garage bands, and when I started college, I kept in touch with most of them. I’ve always been a people-person, so when a friend asked me to make a few phone calls for her boyfriend, well, I got the band a gig at some dive bar down the road from the campus. The rest is history.”
“Do you remember your first major venue where Tryndal Baker Morris provided concessions?”
“Look, the first major venue I secured was for the pop singer Candice, remember her? Of course not, no one does. She started off as a gospel singer in her church choir when a friend introduced us at a party. She was so fucking high on coke, she almost had a coronary. I called about a dozen places, and you know what each manager said? ‘Does she suck cock?’ I should have told them ‘yes’.”
“But you did manage to get her signed to a tour schedule, right?”
I smiled and glared at the family photo behind him. His pretty little wife. I bet she never blew a guy in a bathroom stall so he’d agree to stage a bratty little half-assed coke head. Yeah, I could just see her in that blue linen dress, down on her knees reaching for the guy’s fly. Her polished make-up in perfect contrast to the beer stains on the guy’s jeans. Hell, I didn’t even remember his name anymore, but his cock looked fucking huge. I couldn’t even fit the whole thing in my mouth. I ended up using my hands more than anything else.The bastard even tried to cum in my mouth, but I felt his balls tighten up and pulled away. I felt the wet heat drip down the back of my neck and soak my shirt. Yeah, little Mrs. Perfect would have looked fucking hilarious.
I smiled at the guy sitting across from me. “Yes, I managed to get her signed to a tour contract.”
“And were you ever approached by Tryndal Baker Morris at that time?”
“I didn’t even know they existed. I was more concerned about how I was going to pay my next month’s rent.”
“So when did you first become aware of them?” He started paging through his file.
I thought about that, too. Looking back, TBM was always there. The logo was on every beer cup in every dressing room as far back as I can remember. They sold nachos and burgers, hotdogs and beer. They were always just…there.
As my thoughts swam back and forth, a memory floated up to the surface. “I’m not sure exactly when it was, but I was at the Trinity Stadium. There was a headlining band called Rapture playing a three-day sold-out show. On the second night, I was led backstage so I could talk to the opening act. They were this motley group of young Goth rockers. The singer was the front man, and their manager was this cute little pixie of a thing. Pale blonde with tattoos up and down her arms. Blue frost on her bangs. Anyway, the guys liked what I had to say, but the pixie wasn’t buying into it. It didn’t help that she was stone sober, so we left the guys backstage so we could talk among ourselves. I led her to a box section I used from time to time, and since the show was all-ages – that means general admission – no one was using it.” I sighed and tilted my head to the side a bit. “I’m not sure just how much of this you want to know, but what the hell. We talked for about fifteen minutes, and her only sticking point was fiscal distribution.”
“Meaning what, exactly?”
“She knew the guys from her band were alcoholics. They were going to end up drinking their money the moment cash touched their pockets. She wanted to know if there was a way to allocate their funds so there’d still be money left at the end of the tour. I told her I could write that into the contract as an ‘insurance’ clause. Hell, it also meant I was going to bank the interest on that money for the year. I told as much too, and she said that was fine.” I smiled. “It was my first real contract negotiation, and we broke into the mini-bar and had a few drinks to celebrate. We used TBM paper cups and drank like they were made of crystal.”
We also watched the rest of the show from the box. The railing was chest-high, the room was pitch black, and we didn’t want security to find us, so we kept the lights off. The more we drank, the closer she got to me, and after her last toast, she inched up on her tip toes and kissed me. It was awkward, and it caught me completely off-guard. I felt her reach up to me, and her lips met mine. She tasted soft, with a hint whiskey. When her tongue darted out to graze my lips, she sighed between drumbeats.
I pushed her back a little by the shoulders, and she looked horror-stricken, like I was about to cuss her out for being this little lezzie bitch, but I set my cup aside and grabbed her head. I swear I must have put my tongue all the way down her throat. I was wet instantly. I'd had a few girl crushes in high school, one close encounter in college, but nothing that felt like this. She groaned into my mouth, and we ended up on the floor. She tasted so fucking good. She also gave as good as she got. She was like a vacuum on my nipples and almost fisted me while she clamped down on my clit...
"Maybe I should clarify, when was your first official contact with TBM?"
"They have you listed as a marketing agent for Garret Pachard?"
"Garret Pach-- oh, that little shit..." I pinched the bridge of my nose. Garret was a fucking worm. I met him when I was managing the teen pop act 'Rogue.' "He used to sell drugs--no, pharmaceuticals. He was a pushy bastard. He wouldn't let me sign the contract unless I slept with him."
"And did you?"
I thought about it. "I don't think I actually slept, no. He had this little pencil of a dick that only felt good if I let him get behind me and fuck me in the a--"
"Okay, that's enough, Ms. Westfield. Did Mr. Pachard ever mention TBM when you were...uh, negotiating the contract?"
"I don't think so, no."
"Last December, a promoter named Mike Douglas was named in a civil suit involving a seventeen-year-old girl. TBM is also named in the suit. Do you know Mike Douglas?"
Know him? Yeah, I knew him. He was as slick a fucking pervert as they can get. I met him in a blues club right after I signed 'Carnation' to a system tour. I started thinking I was really hot shit back then, too. I just started having enough money in the bank that I could feel independent, that I didn't need to compromise, and in that club was a fucking gorgeous singer named Nelson Clyde. He was like Nina Simone, Otis Redding, and Ray Charles all rolled into one. Blind as a fucking bat, but so damn smooth. He could read a phone book and make millions.
Needless to say, I wasn't alone in looking to sign him. Mickey was there, playing at some waitress when I leaned against the bar. I listened to Nelson sing a few songs and had a few drinks, courtesy of TBM, and next thing I know, Mickey's standing next to me, oozing Italian charm. He was tall, radiant, long black hair in a perfect ponytail. He wore a platinum chain and a gold pinky ring. His jeans looked like they were painted on. I could see the edge of his cock against the seam.
"Yeah, I know him."
"You're on the list of character witnesses for the prosecution."
"I'm not a fan of his, but if any of you people think I'm going to line up like a good little soldier against TBM, you're even more fucked up than I thought."
"I'm not looking to put anyone up against anyone. I just want to know how you knew Mr. Douglas."
We got to talking, he said he'd heard of me but didn't think I'd be as cute as I was. Cute! Mickey D knew who I was, and he thought I was cute! Yeah, I should have had alarm bells going off like fucking gangbusters at that point. We chatted, I fawned over him, he felt me up, right there at the bar, and when he took my hand and led me toward the bathrooms, I followed like a stupid little cunt, dripping in my panties all the way.
I blew him kneeling on the bathroom floor, and he fucked me over the bathroom sink. I had my hand pressed against the mirror to keep my head from hitting it. Someone came in and used the urinal right next to me while Mickey drove his monster cock as deep as he could. He pumped what felt like a gallon of cum into me. When he was done, he said it was a shame the singer was already signed, or we could have competed for him. God, the bastard knew the whole time! I had to throw the pants away, because I leaked down the leg all the way home, and the stain never came out.
"I wouldn't be surprised if Mickey D trolled schoolyards for pussy. He doesn't give two shits about people, and once he started working the pop circuit, he got worse."
The guy cleared his throat and tried to get his train of thought back on track. "We have you at an event last year, the 'Storm'?"
"The 'Storm' is a week-long music festival. It started out as a Woodstock-esque event, and over the years, it’s turned into something like Cannes. Music video directors, musicians, film crews, all in one giant creative orgy."
"You were there last year, right?"
"I missed last year. But I went every year before that. Fifteen straight years..." I blinked. My Dad died last year. I hadn't seen him since I was twelve, but Mom called me up and said she wanted me to come with her to the funeral. I didn't want to do it, especially since 'Storm' was around the corner, but Mom won out. She always won out. She didn't guilt trip me; she didn't have to.
"Then you must have some idea what happens backstage?"
I looked at the guy, then his perfect Hallmark photo on the shelf. "You mean the rumors of wild sex parties, drunken orgies, and musicians who can't sing for shit because some teen just lost their cherry on their tongues? Yeah, I've seen some of that..."
"Look, I don't know anything about TBM being into fucking up people's lives, or doping, or whatever the fuck--"
My phone buzzed in my purse. We both stopped to stare at it. He waited for me to ignore it, and I waited for him to tell me it was okay to check. I did it anyway. He rolled his eyes and leaned back in his chair.
Carson's number scrolled across the screen, and I gave the guy a weak smile. "Hello, Carso-"
"What the hell am I supposed to do – they're not even listening. I've tried everything, and I can't get them to even look at me..."
"Carson, slow the fuck down. Take a deep breath and start at the beginning."
There was a hiss of static, and a sound of glass breaking. He grunted, and his voice sounded a little out of breath. Then I heard a muffled groan of engines.
"Carson, where are you?"
"I'm with Gangplank on their tour bus! I followed the manager onto it, and we got to talking, then I had to pee – you know how nervous I get – and then when I came out, the manager was gone. They said I should have a seat, he was going to be right back, and then the bus started moving. The band's sprawled all over the place, there's girls here hanging on them, it smells like a wet gym locker, and – what the hell am I supposed to do?"
I felt a smile curl up at the corners of my mouth. Tommy could be such an asshole sometimes. "Look, when the bus stops, catch a ride to a hotel and put yourself up, I'll meet you at there. I'll handle Tom Garon. Did you at least give him the folder before he ditched you?"
"The next stop?"
"Carson, they're a band, not vampires. Did you hand him the file?"
"Yes! I gave him the damned – no, thank you. I don't think you're even old enough to drink that--"
"Then you did what you had to, Carson. Once the bus stops, get to a hotel and expense it. Treat yourself to a day spa or something. I've got to go." I hung up before he could say anything else and put a quick text out to Tommy before putting my phone away. I kept the message short: 'Not playing fair, Tommy. You're going to pay for that.'
The phone buzzed. 'Look forward to it, Ollie.'
"Everything okay, Ms. Westfield?" He looked annoyed, but he'd get over it. Or not, I didn't really care anymore. He wanted me here to shed some light on my experiences, and he got some. There wasn't anything else left to say. The years had been good to me, and TBM had been there for most of them. If they fucked up along the way, it was on them. If they folded, another company would fill the void. People wanted to be entertained, and they'd find a way.
"Just a minor transportation issue. My assistant is sorting out the details."
"Look, can you think of a single instance where TBM was present, in any form, where excessive sexual conduct didn't occur?"
I thought about that, but for some reason, Tommy kept slipping into my thoughts, derailing my train of thought. Then it hit me. The one time I didn't have a reckless night of negotiations, where there wasn't a wild party going on in the background, was with Tom Garon. It was almost ten years ago, now.
There was a band playing at a local festival near Barrister. I went out on a tip that 'Pyrock' was playing and looking for a new agent. The tip panned out, and I got the deal, swooping in over the heads of about ten different promoters. I was on my way out when I heard something amazing boom out of the loudspeakers. It was a screaming torrent of riffs and a vocal line that made my feet root to the spot. The band was called 'Link', and the singer was this tiny woman with massive white dreadlocks. She looked like a spiky-topped bobble-head up on stage, but her sound was amazing.
I stayed for the rest of their set and then dug my way backstage again, so I could ambush them in the hall. They were shocked, sweaty, tired, and energized, like every band coming down from a stage high, but she had her head on straight, she repeated her lines perfectly. "--look, I'm really excited about all this, but you have to talk to our manager. He's back at the hotel, and the only one who handles all the details. Can I tell him you're coming?"
"Absolutely. My name's Ollie Westfield."
"Want to ride back with us?"
I thought about it, riding the tour bus, and shook my head. "I'll take a cab, thanks."
She smiled and told me the name of the hotel, and the room number of their manager. I shook their hands and watched them disappear through the crowd. Hell, they even moved like rock stars, and they were barely into their twenties.
The hotel was at the edge of the spaceport loop, a chain place with frequent stay rates and club deals. Every fifth night was free, and they fed you in the morning. The room was on the sixth floor somewhere in the middle where none of the windows faced anything worth looking at. When I knocked, I heard the sound of papers shuffling, and the deadbolt slid open. "Come on in, it's open."
Every light was on, and sheets of paper littered the floor. The end table was pulled up to the edge of the bed, and a laptop was open. Three holo-screens hovered around it. I saw the blurred edges of two live shows, and the face of Rocky Manta from Sonic Blade records. When the holo image looked up at me, he smiled. "Ollie, now that's a goddamned surprise. Tommy, we'll talk later. You're about to get mind-fucked here and I've had enough Excedrin for one day! Be nice to him, Ollie." The screen winked out before I could do anything but smile. Tommy still had his back to me; he looked between his screens and a spreadsheet open on his laptop.
"Hold on one second, Mr. Westfield, I just need to make one little notation," he murmured, tapping the keys. He wore black slacks, a little wrinkled along the legs, barefoot, and had a white collared shirt with the sleeves half-rolled, half-pushed up his forearms. There were take-out boxes on the other nightstand, empty coffee cups, and his own alarm clock sitting on top of the one the hotel provided. There were other things scattered around in a clean mess kind of way, but I stopped noticing what was there and started noticing what wasn't... No empty beer bottles, no syringes, no tin foil, no ash trays, no pizza boxes, no sticky porno magazines, and the television was muted on the news channel.
I cleared my throat. "It's Ms., actually."
He bolted around and looked from me to the door and back. He had a pen clenched between his teeth and short brown hair that looked perpetually untidy. His eyes though were an incredible lightning blue. I swallowed hard and held out my hand. "Ollie Westfield."
He shook it, then glanced back at the door again as if a S.W.A.T. team was going to bust through at any moment. "Tom Garon, pleased to meet you."
"Something wrong, Mr. Garon?"
"Um, no, nothing's wrong. I just thought... Call me Tommy," he said and smiled a little. "I just thought you were – I mean, I didn't think –"
"I get that a lot. I saw your band play tonight. I want to sign you to a tour – can we talk about it?" He ran his fingers through his hair, and I saw a change come over him. His nervousness vaporized as he dove into familiar territory. It was one of the most intense, the most precise, negotiations I'd ever had.
When we finished, Tommy went right back to being nervous. He wouldn't even look me in the eye. He walked me to the door, and I felt this crazy weird rush of a moment being lost. I reached for the door handle, and I could feel him behind me. So fucking close. I stopped, and he bumped into me, started to apologize, and I spun around and grabbed him by the sides of his head and kissed him. I had to prop myself up on my toes to reach, but God, he tasted good. Hazelnut coffee.
He held his hands out to his sides, afraid of touching me for some reason, but I reached one hand around his neck and pulled him in deeper. With the other, I flailed behind me and latched the deadbolt. Once it clicked, he glanced up and groaned. His hands found my shoulders, and then the back of my neck. He pulled me into him just as hard. We kissed forever in the doorway; the hum of the computer and the air hissing through our noses was like a siren call.
When our lips finally did break, he instantly bent to latch his mouth against the side of my neck. I gasped, and the heat from his tongue snaked all the way to my toes. I felt like I was melting in my clothes. I dragged my fingernails down his back, and he flinched, but he didn't stop working the side of my neck. I raked him again, harder. He nipped his teeth on me and then shifted to the other side. I gasped, and I swear I flooded my panties. They were little more than a drenched slip of cloth by then.
I gripped him by the shoulders and hung onto him, letting my weight drag him to the floor, and he fell on top of me. I wrapped my legs around his waist and felt his cock press into me through his slacks. He groaned again and lifted up enough to look me in the eyes. "Ollie, are you--"
"Olivine," I said and kissed him. I let go of him long enough to reach between us and grasp his cock. He felt massive in my fist, and his tongue danced with mine. We rolled back and forth, but I never let go of him. When I finally got on top, I slipped down his body and practically tore open his pants. I dragged his cock into the light and felt him pulse as he looked down at me. He watched intently as I kissed the head, then a little more, and then opened my mouth to take just the head and lash the underside with my tongue. His mouth hung open, and he couldn't find his voice. I sucked hard, then pulled back to lick him from the tip to his balls. He dropped his head and finally groaned. I drooled over his cock, getting it as wet as I could and started to pump him, then sucked on the head as I fisted his shaft.
Between gasps, he moaned something about how fucking good it felt, and I upped the ante by taking his balls in my mouth. I tongued them, rolled them, sucked hard until he buckled and started all over again. I must have worshipped his cock for more than forty minutes, teasing him to the breaking point before backing off again. I even stole a few seconds to work my pants open and snake a hand down the front of my panties and touch my clit. Every time I groaned with him in my mouth, his hips would lift off the floor.
His hands found the top of my head, and he pulled on me. I struggled, whined, and didn't want to let go, but he just pulled harder until I couldn't resist. His cock popped loose of my mouth, and I let myself be dragged up to kiss him again. He grabbed my tits through my shirt and then leaned down to bit the nipple poking through. I felt stars at the corners of my eyes, and his hands pulled at my pants. We managed to work them down, and when I opened my thighs, I felt his cock press against my lips. He was wet, slippery, and even with my pants wrapped around my shoes at my ankles, I was able to tilt my hips down to meet him. That first penetration was incredible. I felt like I was being stuffed with a wet heat – a pulsing, hot, thrusting climax machine.
He hit my g-spot every time my thighs reached their limit, and he helped me rise up and down on top of him. It wasn't even a dozen times before I came. He held me still as I panted, but then I leaned back and glared at him, "Don't you dare fucking stop."
He smiled and rolled me onto my back. My pants were trapped under his knees, and his arms pinned my shoulders while he bit the side of my neck. I felt myself gush around him. Wetness leaked into the pucker of my ass and onto the floor. He started rocking his hips slowly, gaining momentum, hitting my fucking g-spot and sending these crazy waves of delirium through me. It wasn't long until he could feel how much I could take and started pumping into me with a wild abandon, slamming into me as hard as he could, his teeth clenched on my skin, his hands holding me down, his cock like a fucking piston that fucked a dozen orgasms out onto the floor.
When he came, he almost screamed and didn't stop pumping until every ounce of him was as deep into me as we could get it. I felt his heat, his throbbing, and the twitching in time to his heartbeat. I felt like I was high, stoned, drunk, and cold fucking sober all at once. If I could choose any moment in my life to be stuck in, that was it. Spent, wet, filled with Tommy's cum, and panting against his shoulder.
"Huh? Oh, the reckless debauchery and limitless sexual escapades of TBM's ongoing bio-terrorism. No. Every time I walk into an arena, or a club, or a stadium, there's always TBM. Are there crazy fucking things that happen? Yes, but not to everyone. That's the allure, right? Everyone wants to feel a little bit of the magic."
"Chemical bioterrorism is hardly 'magic'."
"Look, call it whatever you want. I'm not a fan of TBM, never was. I think they're a part of the scenery in my world. They exist in the same way the people who lay out the red carpets do. The way the catering companies do, the way the people who wash the damned towels at the hotel do. They're there to provide a function, and a service. I appreciate what they do, and they give people what they want."
"I don't think--"
"No, you don't, and I'm not here to give two shits about what you think. You're here to record what I think, and I think we're done."
He sat back, slightly stunned. I stood up and straightened my shirt, and checked my phone. Carson had sent about nine texts since I hung up on him. I glanced at the guy behind his holomonitor. "Look, the world's going to keep right on turning, with or without TBM. And we just have to keep right on turning with it."
I don't know if he ever had a reply, because the last text on my list was from Tommy. He was headed out to Barrister. He wanted to know if I wanted to negotiate a contract for 'Link' over breakfast. He'd already booked the hotel.