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Porn Again-Part Six

Happy’s arrival in the New Orleans comes with a host of expected hijinks…

By lazarusInfinityPublished 28 days ago 38 min read
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photo courtesy of lazarusInfinity

Continued from Part Five…

True to his word, Lucky had practically rolled out the red carpet for his brother upon his return to the Big Easy. A few friends all gathered together for a late night pool party on the roof of the building. That nagging sense of melancholy began to pull at him even further. Candy...he still loved her in spite of things.

On the work front, Happy had been in constant touch with Christopher, outlining strategies for the store and hearing the plans for renovating the place. Over the past few days, the corporate office had been in full swing and was very eager to see what he could bring to the table and bring the store out of the muck. Even though Happy appreciated all the phone calls and pleasantries, he wasn’t stupid. In the end, it’s all about the numbers.

With the city of New Orleans attracting more conventions and special events in the years following Hurricane Katrina, all businesses were sprucing up to attract more money. He knew the pressure was on him to make the store stand out on a street where everything stood out already. The shindig that Lucky threw was nothing less than swanky. Several of the other tenants in the building also came out for the party, sipping cocktails while chatting about the Saints, stock options, big business deals and the like. Guests mingled about in the clubhouse, sampling treats and other illegal substances in between tempting bites of casual flirting. Some women and a few men frolicked about in the massive infinity edge swimming pool overlooking the beautiful skyline of the city. Amongst them was Kitty, every bit the fetching figure she appeared to be on camera. The plan was that they would be in town for a little while before heading back to Los Angeles where she had more magazine and film shoots. This gave Lucky plenty of time to come up with other ways to either stress Happy out or get him into some kind of trouble. Wincing a little from the thought, Happy delighted himself in double fisting a couple of beers.

“Congrats bro,” Lucky beamed. “You’re officially in your new home. Contractors are coming in a few days to work on the store, got a big staff meeting coming up soon. I know things have been a bit hectic for you with the changes and all, but for what it’s worth, I know you’ll end up doing just fine.”

The two shared a toast as they looked out over the skyline. Lucky patted his brother on the back, sensing his uneasiness.

“Hey bro, give it a rest. She’ll come around to the error of her ways. If not...fuck her then. It’s her loss. Now if you will excuse me, it’s party time.”

And with that, he made a beeline for the pool, diving straight in fully clothed to a chorus of laughs and applause. Some guys have all the luck.

“Long night?” an unfamiliar voice called to him.

In his near dismal descent into another booze-filled night of wallowing and humorous regret, the voice that called was almost lyrical to him. Fetching. Complex. Distinguished. Happy spun around to see the most alluring vision of a woman in a tasteful yet elegant red dress. She possessed a walk that carried with it all the class, sophistication and mystique of a classically trained dancer. He could see that she was a few years older, mid to late forties or even early fifties maybe. With each strand of hair neatly pulled back into a modest yet striking ponytail, he could make out a patch of grey near her right temple, making its way all the way to the back. She smiled a most elegant smile to him; regal even, all accentuated by high cheekbones and subtle brown eyes that were more than inviting. Happy could do no more than stare.

“Delphine,” she said suddenly as she extended her hand.

Happy, suddenly feeling embarrassed and out of place quickly clasped both bottles with one hand and squeezed her hand with the other.

“Sorry,” he muttered. “Happy. Harper actually. I’m new in town...just trying to get settled.”

“Ah. Where from?”

“Florida. Fort Lauderdale actually.”

“Work?”

“Yeah. You could say that.”

“What is it that you do?”

Jesus Christ, this lady was forward. No time wasted on trivial banter.

Happy was a bit put off by her direct nature, but there was just something in the way she looked at him that suggested no harm was meant.

“That’s a pretty interesting question,” he chuckled, nearly spitting beer through his nose.

“Is the answer all the more interesting?”

“You could say that.”

She stared at him intently, waiting for his response.

“Well, I spent the last few years managing a Christian bookstore back home. Very interesting work.” “And now?”

“You’re gonna love this,” he continued. “After four years of doing that, I’ve just relocated to New Orleans to be the manager of a sex store.”

He nearly spit out more beer, with the realization of his future cracking him up. Delphine wasn’t so humored.

“Oh come on,” he said. “Don’t you find the irony in that a bit funny?”

“Funny or embarrassing? Because after all, that is what you’re feeling right now...embarrassed and maybe even a bit disappointed in yourself?”

Damn. She hit the nail right on the head.

“I’m sorry. Who are you again?”

“Forgive me for being so forward. My name is Delphine. Delphine Devereaux. My husband and I own a condo in the building and divide our time between here and New York.”

“High society I take it,” he mumbled, almost embarrassed by his own words. In spite of his family being well off and now Lucky enjoying the spoils of the Powerball lifestyle, he’d always been working-class at heart. It was a bit off-putting to be here suddenly conversing with a woman who not only did God only knows what but clearly came from a higher status in life. Even the presentation of the woman herself was a bit humbling.

“Some would say. Our family home is in Baton Rouge, but we spend a lot of time here. It’s convenient...and maybe a little high class I suppose. Never really thought of it that way.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean-“

“Relax Happy. No offense given. None taken.”

“So what is it you do?”

With a sweep of her hand through loose strands of hair as she cradled her wine glass with the other, he could get a slight whiff of the fragrance she was wearing. Amidst that familiar linger of humidity that the city was famous for, it was quite an innocuous but nonetheless invigorating scent.

“You could say our family has made quite the living in Louisiana agriculture-sugarcane, cotton...that sort of thing. My husband along with his father before him also worked hard to establish roots in political circles. He’s the one in the pool...the big guy.”

Delphine pointed his attention to the sight of a tall, jovial and gallant figure with a distinguished Southern charm relaxing in the pool between two other women. Both had to be in their early twenties, very slim and demure. With a wink in his eye and a smile on his face, the man lifted his champagne glass to her. The girls eagerly rubbed his chest, with their fingers getting curled in strands of graying hair. Delphine complimented the gesture with a smile of her own.

“That’s your husband?”

“The one and only Mr. Joseph Devereaux,” Delphine remarked.

“And the girls-“

“Toys for the night I suppose,” she quipped. “Expensive toys for the night, but toys nonetheless.”

“But he’s your husband.”

Delphine looked into the poor man’s eyes with a bit of confusion that was bewildering. “How are you enjoying your stay so far?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“New Orleans,” she replied. “I’d imagine it would be a big transition from Fort Lauderdale.”

He couldn’t believe what he was witnessing. Here was this beautiful, older woman whose husband was half-naked and frolicking around in the pool with two much younger women...and she was more interested in his mundane, hapless life. Happy looked on intently as she placed her glass on the edge of the balcony and reached into her purse for a cigarette. The flicker of light from the flame up to her eyes illuminated her face like a halo. She looked like an angel...or a very beautiful devil.

“Not so comfortable here are you?” she whispered. “Married life not the best?”

He looked down at the wedding ring still on his finger. Only when she mentioned that word, did he feel the weight of what it truly meant.

“Yes...and no. It’s a little-“

“Complicated?”

He nodded. “You could say that.”

“Well, that’s marriage for you isn’t it? That first spark of curiosity, bewilderment and infatuation...then comes the honeymoon period of holding hands, long walks at night, passionate sex. Then all of a sudden it’s ten or fifteen years later and you realize that for all that posturing and pleading of ‘I do’...you did. You made the choice to put heart before head, sex before logic, and then several mortgage payments, cocktails and kids later, you realize maybe you really shouldn’t have. Kids are a nice benefit though.”

“Maybe you should’ve rolled the dice more,” Happy said.

“Maybe you should’ve taken more risks, explored more possibilities-“

“Fucked more often,” he quipped.

Delphine laughed. “Fucked more often indeed. Then again, you can still roll the dice and play from time to time. You’re not dead. Why wallow in regret when you can just get on with it and get messy in life? None of us will last anyway.”

He glanced over at the image of Joseph Devereaux in the pool with the two nubile creatures. Not the slightest bit shy, the man stroked his hands across the wet surfaces of ivory flesh gleaming under a starry, moonlit night. Naiveté mixed with distinguished experience, as Happy could no doubt sense the man’s eagerness at the idea of all the naughty deeds he could do with them. Their witty banter perfumed with laughs and frivolity, Happy could easily feel himself growing jealous at the man’s swagger and candor. Clearly someone of his stature enjoyed the finer things in life: fine wine, travel, material possessions and of course, women. Indeed, money, status and power were and would always be universal lubricants. No matter who possessed them, no matter what their backgrounds were, money was about as democratic as devices came.

“Doesn’t it bother you that your husband is right there groping two other women?”

Delphine smiled. “Does it bother you? Does it make you hard?”

He was at a loss for words.

“Did it bother you when you found out your wife was cheating on you?”

How the hell did she know? Who was this woman? Delphine rubbed her hand across the surface of his skin, reassuring him.

“I meant no disrespect at all. You wear the scent of disdain and betrayal like a coat. It’s all over your face. How did you find out?”

He straightened himself a bit as he looked out into the city. “I came home and walked in on them.”

“Betrayal is always the most bitter when it’s right before your very eyes.

You often find yourself wondering if it would’ve been better to have never seen it at all. Of course that doesn’t change the fact that the pain is still there.”

“And you’re okay with the idea of your husband fooling around with other women?”

Delphine moved in closer to him, lingering close enough to feel him breathe.

“Sweetheart, who do you think picked them out for him?”

He nearly spit out more beer. Never before had he met a woman like this. “Are you guys like, swingers or something?”

She laughed while patting him on the back. “Swingers are either middle-aged or older, out of shape people who know that their lives are practically over, so they resort to fucking anything they can get their hands on as a distraction. We’re not swingers Happy. We’re two mature, consenting adults who understand that true marriage is a partnership.”

“And the part about standing before God and choosing only one makes no never-mind to you at all? How is that sacred?”

“You neglected your wife in favor of working in a Christian bookstore, caught her in bed with another man and now you’ve run down to New Orleans to sell sex toys to the very people you secretly despise. Is any of that sacred?”

Happy didn’t know whether to be offended or enlightened.

“Once again...all over your face,” she remarked. “If you were any more wound up, you’d be a Rolex.”

“You’ll just have to forgive me if I thought I’d married the woman of my dreams. Not everybody’s into the swinging...’consenting’ lifestyle.”

Delphine looked back at her husband in the pool. The trio had become quite the center of attention.

“Marriage doesn’t change the fact that desire, however unconventional may still exist. I can’t stop Joseph from admiring beautiful women anymore than he can stop me from admiring young, handsome, virile men.”

With those words, she continued to stroke Happy’s hand.

“You know, you really should try it more often.”

“What’s that?”

She smiled. “Being ‘happy’. Here, you look like you haven’t had one of these in a long time.”

Delphine handed him the cigarette she’d just been smoking. “It’s been nice meeting you. I’m sure we’ll see each other again soon.”

And with that, she left him to his vices. Amidst the humidity stabbing the air, a subtle breeze blew by him as he watched her walk away...and what a walk it was. For someone of her age, which was still a mystery, she certainly was in great shape. Whether it was yoga or Pilates, every curve of the woman was perfect, and perfectly framing an ass that Happy could not take his eyes off. Without thinking, he placed the cigarette stained with her lipstick in his mouth, enjoying the flavor. As he inhaled the splendor, Delphine looked back to see if he was still watching. He was. Indeed he was...

***

Early morning garbage trucks marched down Bourbon St. in their futile attempts to cleanse away the odious debauchery of the night before. Even in the gleam of the early sunlight, stragglers, tourists and locals milled about through the Quarter in their attempts to appear sober. You can always spot the tourists, courtesy of their long, obnoxious feather boas and Pat O’Briens go cups, singing and cackling along without a care in the world. He grew almost repulsed at the sight of people walking up and down the street with beer and long-stemmed glasses filled with other alcoholic beverages. That’s the thing about New Orleans. This is a drinking city. Drinking isn’t just a passing hobby. It’s a tradition. It’s a pastime. It’s a way of life. And goddammit, we take it seriously.

“I take it you must be the new boss,” a voice from behind said.

He was a burly yet bookish figure of a man in his late 20’s. His long dreadlocks pulled back revealed quite a deceptive face; one that could show tremendous warmth and humor one minute followed by intense fury and vengeance the next. Dressed in a tight black t-shirt that bore the name Insatiable Desires, the letters stretched a bit while hugging onto his chest.

“Doc Martens and campy casual,” the young man said. “Only tourists or corporate types dress like that.”

Happy took a moment to study his appearance and had to admit the young man was right. “No defense I guess. I’m Harper Downman. ‘Happy’ for short.”

“Barabbas Purify. I’m one of your Assistant Managers. Just got promoted a week ago so I don’t have a key to the store yet. We’ll have to wait for Starscream.”

The words caught Happy off guard. “Starscream?”

“Julie actually. She’s got a thing for the Transformers.”

Sure enough, no sooner than he’d spoken the words was the sound of loud, old school Hip-Hop heard. Happy and Barabbas looked on as a large, hot pink Chevy Impala come thundering across Canal St. Perfectly polished and customized with hydraulics and spinning rims, the car pulled up in front of the store, parking next to the local burger joint across the street. Sure enough, he took notice of the huge Decepticon logo airbrushed on the driver’s door. After a few seconds, his mouth widened at the vision exiting the car. She couldn’t have been any more than 5’3”, White, with long blonde hair tied in pigtails with colorful ribbons that matched her outfit. Speaking of outfits, her staff shirt was perfectly tied from the back, exposing a rather tight midriff complete with a schoolgirl’s skirt, long socks and black shoes. She looked more like something straight out of a manga ad. Julie Sussman, a.k.a ‘Starscream’. This was sure to get interesting.

“What up homie?” the young girl said as she motioned to Barabbas, giving him a hug. Happy couldn’t stop staring.

“This is the new boss?” she asked. “He doesn’t look suicidal.”

“Julie, this is Harper Downman,” Barabbas replied. “Harper, this is Starscream.”

Barabbas Purify. Starscream. Where on Earth was he? And suicidal? Where the hell did she get that idea?

Starscream quickly opened the doors and disabled the alarm. The loud thud of the door shutting behind him nearly made him jump. He was definitely in the thick of it now. Happy was immediately given a crash course in early morning opening procedures. Starscream showed him everything from counting the safe, getting the registers ready, to filling out the schedule for the day. Despite overall appearances, she was not only knowledgeable, but also very efficient.

“We usually come in at about nine to setup, and the store opens at ten,” she continued while going over everything.

“Wow. You actually get customers shopping for porn and lingerie at ten in the morning?”

Starscream laughed. “You’d be surprised.”

At that moment, the store’s phone rang. Old reflexes kicking in, he grabbed the receiver.

“Crossroads...er um, Instatiable Desires,” he said correcting himself. This was something he was going to have to get used to.

The caller had a bit of a nebbish, shaky voice. “Yes, I’m looking for a certain DVD and I was wondering if you had it in stock.”

“Well we’re not exactly open at the moment but what DVD were you looking for?”

“I’m looking for Anal Supersluts 4.”

Happy paused for a moment, unable to believe what he’d just heard. Was this guy serious?

“I’m sorry, can you repeat that?”

“Anal Supersluts 4. It was supposed to have come out yesterday.”

Unbelievable. He braced himself. This had to be a joke.

“Sir, no offense but it’s nine in the morning. Have you even had breakfast yet?”

The phone went silent for a minute. “Excuse me?”

“I mean like a bran muffin or a bagel and some juice. How is a porno DVD the first thing you think about in the morning?”

Barabbas and Starscream exchanged glances while trying to stifle their laughter. They already knew where this was going. The caller quickly grew annoyed.

“Ok, we’re going to back this conversation up and start all over because I know you wouldn’t just talk to a customer like that...a paying fucking customer. I spend good money in that motherfucker and I expect a certain level of customer service for my money.”

Happy couldn’t believe his ears. Day one. Day. Damn. One.

“Sir, please try to calm down. I was just saying that-“

“No, you don’t tell me to calm down motherfucker, you’ve just insulted me. Is that how you run your business?”

Starscream could no longer hold in her laughter and motioned for Happy to hand her the phone. He quickly obliged.

“Hello, this is one of the Assistant Managers on duty, how can I help you? Yes, I apologize for that sir, I can guarantee it won’t happen again and we do appreciate your business. What exactly was the title you were looking for?”

Happy watched with growing interest while she diffused the situation. Starscream continued listening.

“Anal Supersluts 4...right. Actually it did come out yesterday but we haven’t received our shipment yet. Maybe if you call back later today or tomorrow, we might have it by then. Not a problem, have a nice day.”

Immediately after she hung up the phone, her and Barabbas both erupted with laughter.

“Ok, that wasn’t funny. Not a cool way to start the day off.” The two exchanged glances once more.

“Mr. Downman, you’re not-“

“Happy. Just Happy.”

Starscream continued. “You’re not particularly used to this sort of thing are you?”

“If you mean selling porn at nine in the morning, then no I can’t say that I am.”

“In case you didn’t notice Happy, you’re in a sex store on Bourbon St.,” Barabbas chimed in. “You haven’t seen anything yet.”

He had absolutely no idea how right the young man was until the phone rang again. Happy hesitated but figured he had no choice. All part of the job now.

“Insatiable Desires.”

The caller’s voice was different this time, a bit more stressed.

“Um yes, is there someone I can speak to about a problem with a product?”

“How can I help you sir?”

“Let’s just say I purchased something in your store last night and I’m having problems with it.”

Happy had no idea where this was going. Could the caller be any more vague?

“Sir, can you be a bit more specific please?”

And then it came...

“Well my wife and I came into your store last night and bought one of those penis pumps. We tried it out this morning and I’m having a major problem with this thing.”

Ok I get it, Happy thought to himself. It’s the first day on the job and the staff is having a bit of fun with the new guy. I’ll play along.

His voice took on more of an official tone. “Well sir, if you can be a bit more specific then I can help you. You should probably just bring the pump back into the store-“

At that moment, both Barabbas and Starscream shook their heads toward Happy in the negative. Both had mortified looks on their faces. This wasn’t something he’d expected. In all his time doing the most thorough research on the company and the store in general, Happy assumed he’d covered all his bases. He’d studied everything from month- to-date/year-to-date sales trends, information on all types of sex toys/lubricants and how to sell to customers. He’d studied merchandising schemes, profit & loss statements, human resources issues with the staff, just about everything one could think of when transferring and taking over another store. He’d taken into consideration virtually all there was to know...except just one little detail. For example, a few months ago...

***

It was a balmy and frenetic Saturday night. Masses of tourists and revelers drank, partied and slithered their way down the street to various attractions and of course, the strip clubs. Jazz bands played for drunken revelers at the corner of Canal and Bourbon, and man oh man was the flesh on display.

Hips and curves meshed with hard bodies revved up on alcohol and adrenaline. Mounted police officers moved through the crowds to help keep the parties under control while lovers strolled hand in hand and kissed each other in the street. Nobody was going to bed early tonight.

At Insatiable Desires, Starscream was the manager on duty as usual. Saturday, affectionately known as ‘Hell Night’, had become a sore spot for her for multiple reasons. In a place such as this, there truly never was a dull moment. Saturday nights however, always managed to kick things into high gear. Whether it was drunken customers either passing out or vomiting in the store, or drunken customers trying to have sex in the restrooms, there was always a fire to put out. After a while, the store had to put in place a mandatory policy stating that only customers carrying receipts for their purchases could use the restrooms. With that much liquor flowing on Bourbon St. and a horde of people completely devoid of any type of common sense, you knew bad things were in store if there wasn’t some sort of order established. And like any hectic situation, whenever you try to enforce order with drunken people in the French Quarter, things are bound to get ugly sooner or later. It was certainly a demanding job trying to keep the drunks out, break up the fights and keep idiotic customers from molesting the mannequins in the store, but this...this was the absolute worst...

A bulky, arrogant figure of a man walked in the store with his wife who was visibly embarrassed. In one of his hands was a crumpled pink bag. Starscream already knew where this was headed, and wanted no part of it...not tonight. You see here’s the interesting thing about retail. When you choose to shop at a place such as Guess, Ambercrombie & Fitch or Forever XXI and you purchase a t-shirt or a hat, it’s perfectly normal to bring said item back to the store for an exchange. Maybe you got the wrong color. Maybe someone got it as a gift for you and they bought the wrong size. Either way, in that particular scenario it’s perfectly ok to assume that the good management and staff at these places will be happy to swap out the item for you. However, when you shop in a sex store of all places...

“How can I help you sir?” Starscream asked.

The man slammed the bag on the counter. “Yeah, I need to get a refund and I need to get it now.”

Against her better judgment, she opened the crumpled bag that seemed to be moist from sweat or some other substance to see what the issue was. Inside was a 12-inch rubber dildo in damaged packaging. Shit.

“Sir, unfortunately we don’t do returns on any lingerie or adult merchandise.”

The man would not be moved. “I didn’t ask for a return. I asked for a refund.”

“Unfortunately we don’t do any refunds of any kind in the store.”

The man inched closer to the counter, his massive gut weighing down on the glass. A menacing look crawled across his face.

“Young lady I don’t believe you understood me clearly. My wife was in your store a few hours ago and you can see she’s visibly drunk. She and some of her girlfriends thought it would be funny to buy sex toys in here, and she bought something that I don’t necessarily approve of. Now you can see she didn’t use it, and I just want my money back.”

Starscream tried to steady herself.

“Sir, I’m not accusing you or your wife of anything. If this had been a t-shirt or a pair of shoes, we’d be happy to do an exchange. However, your wife purchased a product that comes in contact with human genitalia. Because of that we have a strict policy against-“

“I DON’T GIVE TWO FLYING FUCKS ABOUT YOUR POLICY! MY WIFE AIN’T PLAYING WITH NO FUCKING DILDOS ON MY WATCH! NOW POP OPEN THE FUCKING REGISTER AND GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK OR I WILL COME BEHIND THIS COUNTER AND SHOVE THIS COCKSUKER UP YOUR ASS!!”

Every customer and staff member in the store stood silent. Five minutes and two police officers later, the man was hauled out of the store screaming virtually every obscenity he could think of and threatening legal action.

See what I mean?

***

Happy waved the two of them off and continued with his conversation. “Yes as I was saying, just bring the pump back into the store and we’ll swap it out for a new one.”

Starscream and Barabbas tried to coax him out of it, but it was too late. Happy was definitely in on their little prank. He wasn’t always as stiff as people accused him of being.

“Well there’s a bit of a problem,” the caller replied. “I can’t bring it back into the store.”

“And why not sir?”

A brief pause...

“Because I’m stuck in it,” the man said. “I can’t get the damn thing off.”

Wow. In that second, Happy could hear the rising laughter of someone in the background. It was a female. The man had the conversation on speakerphone. As much as he wanted not to, Happy couldn’t help but join in on the laughter. This was much to the man’s displeasure.

“Oh you think this shit is funny? You think it’s a damn game? We’ll see how fucking funny it is when I come down there and kick your fucking ass buddy! You won’t be selling defective merchandise in that store anymore, I can promise you that!”

The caller then hung up. Happy couldn’t control himself. Starscream and Barabbas stood dumbfounded.

“Nice prank guys. Come on, let’s get to work. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the day.”

***

As the hours went by, Happy took his time introducing himself, getting to know the staff and checking out the overall day-to-day operations. Little Starscream was beginning to grow on him by the minute. For a 5’3” colorful character that he never saw coming, she was quite the professional...and could certainly crack the whip when it came to getting the staff in line. Christopher had made his way over to the store, working with Happy and getting a crash course in all operations. The day became a dizzying blur of customer service problems, HR issues, and the antics of the locals and tourists. You wouldn’t believe the excuses women came up with in their attempts to return sex toys:

“I bought the wrong color. It’s okay, it’s never been opened.”

“I was drunk. You can do a refund for that.”

“You can just swap it out for another one. Just put it in new packaging. No one will ever know.”

“My boyfriend says it’s bigger than him, so I need one a little smaller.”

“You told me this toy was great and it wasn’t that great. I only used it once, so can I just get something else instead? I wiped it off and everything.”

Yes, this does happen. If by chance any of you women reading this find any of the scenarios even remotely funny, it’s probably because you’re a part of the guilty party who’ve tried this before and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

In spite of the challenges, his mind continued to buzz with strategies to make the store a success, all of which excited Christopher.

“That all sounds great Hap,” the man said. “Now there is one thing I need to tell you about-“

“Sorry I’m late,” a voice echoed as they were sitting in the office.

Happy spun around in his chair to see the presence of Danielle ‘Cruella’ Ferdinand. On every job, there’s always that one person whom everyone tries to avoid. We’ve all seen them or worked with one of them at least once. It can be a great day on the job, then all of a sudden that one person walks in and completely fucks up the entire energy of the place. Sad thing is, everyone can see it except them. Maybe they had bad parenting, or no parenting. Maybe they never got the prized pony as a child or the star athlete boyfriend in high school. Maybe they were never the prom queen or voted most popular. Maybe they’re just sociopathic, egotistical malcontents who have nothing better to do with their lives except screw everything up for the rest of us.

That’s where Danielle came in. The ‘Cruella’ part was a bad nickname given to her by the staff because as far as appearances went, she looked like something rejected from a Tim Burton film. Long, curly blonde hair mixed with streaks of black and purple, Gothic clothing and a surly disposition that reeked from miles beyond miles and miles away of ‘I hate everyone’. While Instatiable Desires was a sex store looking to cater to the female demographic, it was natural that the staff and management of the place would consist primarily of, well...women. I mean, it’s not like you would go to Hooters looking to get served flat beer and bad chicken wings from a man in a tank top and nut-hugging shorts would you? So why would you go to a sex store looking to buy butt plugs from a man? Well technically you could in this case...but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, the tragic irony in this particular situation was the glaring fact that Danielle was a thirty-eight year old woman working in a sex store...but she was completely uncomfortable around porn and sex toys. In a business where one got paid to sell dildos to a bunch of dicks, Danielle was without question the biggest jerkoff of all. The corporate office had been trying for the longest time to get rid of her, but she never technically broke any policies. Three strikes on any policy usually got you a final warning, followed by eventual termination. Danielle’s employee file was about as clean as a virgin’s honeypot. Something had to give one day.

“Danielle,” Christopher remarked. “We’ve been waiting for you.”

“Yeah, my doctor’s appointment took a little longer than I thought,” she added. “As stated earlier, I do have the requested doctor’s note.”

She quickly handed it to him.

“As I was saying, this is Happy, the new-“

“Can you just add the doctor’s note to my employee file please? I’d hate to see it get misplaced.”

Christopher and Happy both looked on with a bit of confusion and uneasiness at the sight of her standing there, eyes completely fixed on the note in his hand. Never blinking, with eyes circled in black-maybe this was Goth fashion or this season’s ‘I don’t give a damn’ was unclear. What was clear was the disturbing fact that there was clearly something about this woman that was well...fucking disturbing. Whether it was they way she pursed her lips tightly together with that thousand yard stare or the way she nervously tapped one of her black combat boots to the floor, there was something in this woman’s demeanor that said either she was on something or just seriously fucked up as a person.

While Christopher wasn’t exactly the type of person to be intimidated easily, he acquiesced for the greater good of the moment and neatly filed the note away in her folder, albeit under the careful, watchful eyes of Danielle.

“Danielle, this is Happy. He’s the new Store Manager.”

She quickly sized him up, not seeing much that was impressive. Happy offered to shake hands. The gesture was not welcomed.

“Happy?” she remarked. “Your parents named you Happy?”

“Harper actually,” he replied, already getting tired of having to explain that.

“Well I do hope you gave them hell for that,” she quipped. “You managed a Christian bookstore of all places?”

“Yes?”

“How were your sales?”

Happy stood dumbfounded. Was this an interrogation of some sort? “Strong. That is until the recession-“

“How was your shrink?”

Damn, this chick was on the ball. Shrink usually meant the percentage of items that were lost to theft in comparison to the store’s overall inventory. Each year, retail stores hired a team to come in overnight to work with them and count virtually every item in the store for accurate results. Usually if a store got a shrink rate between 1-1.5%, that was pretty good. Anything above 2% was suspicious. If it got way past 2%, somebody in management was getting fired.

“We got 1.3% I believe,” he said with rising confidence. “I believe it was the best overall in the company.”

“Hmm,” Danielle muttered. “Well selling bibles and bookmarks in Florida is a lot different from what we do here. This store’s been through a lot of changes, and we try to keep a tight ship-“

“Danielle, I believe Starscr...um Julie is looking for you to cover her for lunch. I’ll be here getting Happy more acquainted with policies and procedures. If you have any questions-“

“No I’ll just be out on the sales floor...managing things,” she said with a defiant eye in Happy’s direction. The two looked on as she slowly exited the office.

“Quite the piece of work isn’t she?” Happy asked.

“Forget about it Hap. She’s been gunning for the top spot in this store for over a year now. She definitely has her strong points, but she’s not exactly the best when it comes to diplomacy. Still, she’s someone to keep an eye on. Maybe you can mold her into a better manager.”

Somehow he didn’t see that as being a possibility. Christopher began going over the numbers with him when the office intercom buzzed.

“Hello?”

“Hap, we’ve got a bit of a situation. I think maybe you need to come out here,” Starscream said. “Sir if you will just calm down...”

“Oh Lord, what now,” Happy mumbled as he and Christopher headed out of the office.

Amidst a group of customers already packed into the lingerie section, Happy could already hear the commotion coming from the front counter.

“I want a refund and I want it now! Where is that son-of-a-bitch?” the voice echoed.

Happy and Christopher quickly made their way to the front where something they weren’t expecting caught their eye. A man no more than 4” tall was standing by the counter, cursing at Starscream and causing quite a scene in front of everyone. Happy quickly caught the sight of a clear cylindrical item sitting on the counter. It couldn’t be.

“Was it you?” the man shouted. “Were you the son-of-a-bitch that was laughing at me on the phone earlier? I brought this piece of shit penis pump back motherfucker! Now let’s see if you find something funny!”

Well I’ll be damned...

***

“So you think he’ll go for it?” Kitty asked in between lines of coke.

The condo, a virtual den of hazy vibes, posh furniture and of course drugs hours later, Lucky came up behind her, grinding along and sampling a bump for himself. After another long marathon session of gratuitous sex, the dynamic duo was in need of a break. Prancing around in lingerie, it was often confusing even to Lucky how a woman so beautiful could be in porn. Then again, he wasn’t exactly dating her for her thoughts on the economy or global warming.

“He better be. Hap’s been through a bit of a hectic change with everything that’s gone on in his life. So I figured we’d get him out of the house tonight for a bit of old-fashioned New Orleans fun.”

The ‘fun’ Lucky was referring to was Bounce Night at the St. Roch Tavern, a small but nonetheless hip environment near the New Orleans Bywater area. Bounce music was a New Orleans original; a form of call and response Hip-Hop in which hordes of women would engage in ‘popping’ or ‘twerking’. All throughout the city, you could easily find women young and old bent over, gyrating their hips and shaking their ass with such a force that one would wonder if it would ever fall off. In a city known for debauchery and revelry, Bounce music held within it an intrinsic and primal sexuality so potent that once it grabbed you, you were hooked...

“I got that gin in my system...somebody ‘gon be my victim...”

Kitty easily got the hint Lucky was driving at while watching him make a nice treat for Happy. Even she had to acknowledge the fact that he was trying hard. His treat for the night was homemade beignets with so much extra powdered sugar that spots of the stuff nearly covered half the kitchen counter.

“We better get this extra ‘candy’ cleaned up before Hap gets home. If he sees that he’ll freak out.”

Kitty started sweeping away lines of coke, bagging the rest up into a small mound that went into a plastic bag. Lucky couldn’t get the beignets plated fast enough before Happy finally made it home.

“Hi honey, how was work?”

“Very funny. What a day this has been.”

“Rough time?” Kitty asked.

“Not if you count the guys looking for porn early in the morning and the midget who tried to return a penis pump.”

“Wow,” Lucky said. “I guess he kept coming up short.”

They both laughed.

“Did I walk in on something?” Happy remarked, seeing Kitty nearly naked.

“I’m sorry bro, we got a little carried away while you were at work.

Besides, I have a surprise for you.”

Happy noticed all the traces of powder on the counter. “Beignets?” “Exactly, but that’s not the only surprise-“

“Lucky, not today. I just need to unwind for a bit, so whatever it is you have planned, now’s not the time for any bullshit.”

“Hey, no bullshit brother, I just wanted to spend a night out on the town with you. Kitty and I will be heading back to L.A. in a few days and the place will be all yours. Just one night out Hap. What’s the worst that can happen?”

Happy shot his brother an untrusting look but then later relented as he began dabbing his finger in the clumps of powdered sugar.

“Alright Lucky, you win.”

“Great! Kitty and I will get showered up and we’ll head out in a few hours. This will be a night you won’t forget Hap, trust me.”

And with that, the two ran off into the shower. Happy took his time, enjoying a plate of freshly made beignets. While he’d always heard about them, he’d never actually had one before. He had to admit; he now understood why they were so popular. Enjoying them more with each bite, the sugar was incredibly tempting, so much so that he emptied the plastic bag of extra sugar onto the plate he already had, mixing it with the rest.

Only that wasn’t sugar...

In her buzzed and mildly euphoric state, Kitty had completely forgotten the small bag of cocaine she’d left on the counter.

“Just one night Hap. What’s the worst that can happen?”

***

The night was a crisp, clear and yet hazy fog of neon lights, loud noises, street traffic and a cacophony of sounds marching through his eardrums. Everything seemed clearer, energy sharper, reflexes more responsive. Goddamn it feels good to be alive...and why is this leather so soft??? The hours blurred into each other as they had wine at the famous Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone, followed by a few famous New Orleans drinks known as ‘Hand Grenades’. Long stemmed, neon green containers with the shape of none other than a hand grenade at the base, the drinks were a sweet and fruity concoction of only God knew what. One drink was perfectly fine. Two or three of these suckers later, and you will probably be knocked flat on your ass.

When the car finally pulled up to the St. Roch Tavern a few hours later, Happy could feel that infectious beat thundering so loud that it almost felt as if it were coming straight from his heart. Pounding bass and that familiar clap only meant that there was certainly a plethora of Southern ass shaking going on...only he couldn’t imagine just how much when he got inside. The place was small and tightly crammed, filled with the energy of pounding music, flashing lights and sweaty, swaying bodies in rhythm. Lucky’s face lit up like a Christmas tree as he and Kitty led Happy through the crowd. Even though he knew it was wrong, he couldn’t help but notice Kitty’s long legs peeking out from a tight black skirt with matching top. The way she moved, the way she looked and the way she smelled...damn, why am I feeling so good tonight? Why is my skin tingling so much? Why am I feeling a strong erection all of a sudden...and why the hell am I so happy? The dynamic duo led him straight to the bar where they ordered three shots of Jameson followed by a round of PBRs.

“Here’s to the next chapter of your life bro,” Lucky said as he raised his glass. “To hell with that cheating bitch and all the bullshit you had to deal with. You got a new gig and a new home. All the best motherfucker!”

In the haze of loud music and bodies swaying, Happy didn’t quite catch what he said, but he raised his glass to it. Cheers. Lucky grabbed Kitty close, kissing her passionately as the two started grinding against the bar. Happy’s attention became distracted by what he saw on the dance floor. The crowd had made room for a group of rather rambunctious girls shaking and gyrating on a makeshift stage. Never before in his life had he seen women move like this before. It was hypnotic, grungy, sinful...and flat out sexy. His eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw the way some of these women shook their ass. It was almost as if their ass came alive, becoming a completely separate entity from the body of the person carrying it. Moving and shaking and popping and twerking...oh my! He found himself clenching his beer tightly as he watched some of the girls grinding on each other while others did a handstand, shaking their ass against the wall. Jesus Christ, who were these women?

This is the wildest thing I’ve ever seen. So much beauty in motion has never surrounded me in my whole life. I love my life and everything is good. I love my life and everything is fucking amazing!

The club worked up in a complete Hip-Hop frenzy, he suddenly realized something. While Hip-Hop was primarily Black folks’ music, there wasn’t a single African-American in the building. He was shocked. When the hell did White women learn to dance like this??? Kitty was in full form tonight, shaking her ample ass and grinding against Lucky, who once again had that Craigslist look in his eye. The two got so caught up in their own shenanigans that they’d completely forgotten about him. That is until...

“Hey, where the hell is Hap?” Lucky asked.

“He was just here a few minutes ago. Maybe he just went to the restroom.”

“He doesn’t know where the restroom is. He couldn’t have gone-“ And then out of the corner of his eye, Lucky saw it.

Oh fuck...

With the crowd cheering him on, Happy was in a headspace he’d probably never experienced before. Up on stage grinding with one of the dancers, he had his hands firmly planted on some young woman’s ass, gyrating and grinding so hard that they might as well have been having sex. That rhythm pounding from the speakers only encouraged him further.

“Girl you look good, won’t you back that ass up. You a fine motherfucker, won’t you back that ass up...”

Lucky quickly tapped Kitty on the shoulder, pointing her in his direction.

“Oh my God!” she exclaimed. “What the hell got into him?”

“Babe, what happened to that ‘sugar’ I asked you to clean up before he got home from work?”

“What? I cleaned it up like you asked. I bagged it up and left it on the counter before we-“

Oh fuck...

The two watched with a combination of humor and horror as the crowd continued cheering him on. The club shook with the force of an earthquake, bodies erupting, consumed by the beat.

“Call me Big Daddy when you back that ass up. Girl who is you playing with, back that ass up...”

Women hiked their legs up on anything they could find, shaking and gyrating as if there was no tomorrow. Men followed, grinding on anyone who welcomed the action. No one gave a damn. Drinks flowed as well as the good times. This was how it was done in New Orleans. We celebrated love. We celebrated life...and with the entire room filled with beautiful, voluptuous ass-shaking going on, somebody’s daughter was bound to get pregnant tonight. Covered in sweat, Happy ripped off his shirt, swinging it around in the air with the other hand gripping the unknown woman’s ass.

“FUCK THE POLICE!” he screamed. “FUCK THE POLICE!!!”

Happy took it up a notch, bending the woman over even further, dry humping her while grabbing the back of her hair. To his surprise, she enjoyed every bit of it, backing her ass deeper into him, feeling an ever- growing bulge that turned her on even further. She raised her skirt higher, pushing herself deeper on it. He could feel his cock bulging stronger by the minute, desperately struggling to free itself from his pants and make its home deep inside this woman’s ass. She continued to back into him even further...almost begging to feel it against her...inside her. The way it felt, so soft, so supple and tender...he’d never felt anything like this before back home.

There’s truly nothing in the world sexier than a New Orleans woman. Even in the deep funk of a packed club filled with sweaty, swaying bodies, she is incredibly sexy. Even early in the morning when she wears nothing but a tank top and yoga pants, she’s sexy. Even when she’s out on the town having a bad day with that ‘Don’t fuck with me’ vibe, she’s incredibly sexy. From her attitude to her presence and good Lord, that body...there is truly nothing sexier than a New Orleans woman. Keep the silicone, lip injections, butt injections and altered photo images, New Orleans women were real women. If you were ever lucky enough to get your hands on one, grip that beautiful ass real tight and enjoy the ride.

Another young woman came up behind Happy, grinding up on him while pouring a bottle of beer all over him. The crowd grew even more excited and rowdy, cheering them on even further. Happy had absolutely no idea where all this newfound rhythm came from. He was never that much of a dancer. It was something that Candy complained about often, to which he’d always feel guilty. If only she could see him now. Amidst the growing cheers from the crowd, Happy spun around, bending over shaking what could only be misconstrued as an ass, to which the woman continued grinding on him. Now facing the other young woman who joined in, she placed her arms around him while raising a leg up for him to hold. Happy quickly obliged, to which she started shaking as well. He was so caught up in the moment that he never noticed those familiar pigtails adorned with ribbons. Much to her credit or lack thereof, she never truly noticed him until their eyes finally met.

It was Starscream. The hits just kept coming today.

“Starscream!” Happy shouted. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“Boss!” she replied. “What the hell are you doing here?”

Happy’s erection went from 100 to zero as the overwhelming recognition washed over him. What the hell have I gotten myself into?

“This might be a bad time to ask,” she said. “Am I getting written up for this? Technically this is fraternization.”

“GET YOUR FUCKING HANDS OFF MY GIRL!” a voice shouted from somewhere in the club.

Happy looked out of the corner of his eye to see a huge, intimidating presence of a man moving through the crowd in his direction.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing grinding on my girl?” the man asked.

Happy tried to gather himself. The room began to spin a little. Lucky strikes again. He’d definitely stepped into it this time.

“I asked you a question,” the man ordered as he grabbed Happy by the throat.

The interesting thing about this was the fact that normally Happy was the most non-threatening guy on the planet. We’re talking about a guy that used to get bullied by girls back in elementary school and shaken down for his lunch money. Yet in those moments, something that wasn’t ordinary came over him. As they say, cocaine is a hell of a drug. Without warning, Happy’s fist slammed straight into the man’s face, barely knocking him backward. The music immediately stopped. Everyone moved back as the man effortlessly grabbed him, throwing him up against the bar where he saw Lucky watching.

“Got any bright ideas asshole?”

Before he could think, the man rushed toward him, pulling him up by his neck and readying to bash his face in. Some quick thinking on Happy’s part retaliated with a quick punch to his crotch, with Lucky following up by smashing a beer bottle over his head.

“What the hell did you do to me this time?”

“I really don’t think now is the time for this,” Lucky replied as he pushed Happy toward the door. “Let’s argue about this in the car.”

Kitty quickly caught the keys Lucky tossed to her as he helped his brother toward the car.

“I guess I can’t take your ass anywhere,” Lucky quipped. “Some folks just can’t handle New Orleans.”

“Lucky, what the fuck did you do to me this time?” Happy asked, slurring his words. “And why do I feel so strange? Oh my God, I can feel my heart beating!”

“It’s supposed to do that jackass! Get in the car!”

At that moment, the sounds of gunfire erupted, sending hordes of people scattering out of the club.

“GET IN THE FUCKING CAR!” Lucky screamed.

Happy struggled to climb in through the back, with Lucky pulling him in. Kitty quickly turned on the ignition and pulled away, just in time for the man from the club to catch a glimpse of them. More gunshots fired, one bullet just grazing Lucky’s side view mirror.

“OH SHIT!”

“Just keep your head down!” Lucky fired back. “Kitty honey, I love you, but you think you can drive a little fucking faster???”

She quickly swerved in between cars, running a red light and speeding off down the street until they disappeared amidst streetlights and other vehicles on the road.

“So Hap I was wondering,” Lucky said as he lit a cigarette. “With everything that’s occurred during this hectic transition...have you made time for church?”

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART SEVEN…

SubplotRomancePlot TwistFictionCliffhanger
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About the Creator

lazarusInfinity

Writer/Creator-New Orleans. Currently working on my latest novel, TAINTED BLOOD.

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