Why? Fabian had joined a male dance revue billed as “The Perfect Girl’s Night Out.” The promoter promised chiseled bodies, seductive dance routines, and cheap booze. Which meant drunk, horny women. Whoopee.
In my line of work, a proper disguise is a necessity. Letting the prey know what I really look like could lead to unexpected confrontations, fights, or heaven forbid, police involvement. Law enforcement officials consider me a menace and are actively hunting me. Thanks to my magical family, most information the authorities manage to gather mysteriously disappears from their computers and paper files. Unfortunately, some agencies hired witches to protect their officers and headquarters. It was a good thing I belonged to the Vizzini clan. Not only could they deal with the witches, they kept the world safe from demons.
I opened my box of stage makeup and started painting my face. I added wrinkles, zits, and a big black mole above my upper lip. Hmmm. I needed something more. I plucked two long black hairs from the box and attached them to the mole. They protruded outward like antennae on a roach. Yep, those lips were definitely not kissable.
Adjusting my weapons belt, I eyed myself in the mirror. The ponytail had to go. I scraped my long blonde hair into an unflattering bun. Much better. The security uniform was a horrible shade of neon red that gave me the pallor of a long-dead corpse. A satisfied smile curved my mouth. My own father wouldn’t recognize me.
Beep. Beep. Beep. I reset the timer on my watch and quickly popped in brown contact lenses to hide my lavender-hued eyes. Fabian should avoid me like the bubonic plague. But then again, he had switched from young nubile women to old wrinkly grannies. So maybe he would find the mole a turn-on.
The Perfect Girl’s Night Out showroom was swarming with giggling, excited women of every age. All of them had paid good money to see Fabian’s dance moves. It was my job to keep rabid fans off the stage and gather intel on Fabian. Should be easy. Right?
The lights dimmed.
A husky male voice sounded from the speakers. “Are you ready to meet the man of your dreams? Fabian!”
In unison the women screamed back, “Yes!”
Fog rolled down the catwalk.
Six pirates leaped out of the darkness.
The cannons boomed again.
Six redcoat soldiers complete with those funky white wigs charged onto the stage.
The pirates attacked them. Their swords clashed loudly as they broke into a choreographed dance routine. I had to admit they were pretty good for male strippers.
A spotlight blossomed, and there was Fabian, hanging from a rope twenty feet above the showroom. A sword clenched between his teeth, he slid down and dropped onto the walkway.
“Fabian. Fabian. Fabian. Fabian,” the women chanted over and over again.
He bowed elegantly to his giddy fans and prowled down the catwalk.
Yeow. The man was sex on two legs. His red satin pirate’s shirt was cut to expose his muscular chest. Those skintight black leather pants cupped his great ass, and the knee-high black boots emphasized his massive thighs.
Fabian raised his sword and shouted. “Monstrata!” Flames shot from the tip.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think it was an enchanted sword. Nah. It had to be some kind of special effect. There was no way that doofus could battle things that go bump in the night. His ass would be crispy fried in less than a minute.
The redcoats morphed into pretty realistic-looking demons complete with red eyes, scaly skin, and sharklike teeth. They charged Fabian.
The fight sequence was straight out of a Hollywood movie. The man-whore ducked and dodged their six-inch claws while wielding his sword to devastating effect.
The demons’ roars of fury echoed around the room. Fabian laughed and swung his blade faster and faster. Whoosh.Whoosh. Whoosh. One by one, he lopped off the monsters’ heads. Poof! They disintegrated into stinky black ash.
Damn, his swordsmanship was spectacular. Who would have figured?
Two more demons jumped onto the stage. With a flurry of blows, Fabian decimated them. The demonic redcoats were reduced to nothing more than thick black cinders swirling across the stage.
The audience erupted into thunderous applause.
There wasn’t a mark on the man-whore. Yep. Special effects. Really awesome special effects, but the bottom line was, no one was that good. Not even me.
An anorexic woman wearing a tiny pink dress that barely covered her hoo-ha tried to climb up on the walkway. “Fabian! Our children need you.”
Someone was off her meds. I grabbed her leg and yanked her back down. “Guests are not permitted on the stage.”
The heel on her sparkly, four-inch stiletto snapped off. The love-struck bimbo collapsed in a drunken heap at my feet. She waved the shoe at me and shrieked, “You whoring slut, my name is Terie, and Fabian is my husband.”
“I don’t care. Go back to your table.”
The nutcase held out her left hand and pointed to a cheap cubic zirconium set in a gaudy silver wedding ring. “Elvis married us at the Viva Las Vegas wedding chapel.”
Sometimes surveillance really sucked. “Sounds like a real classy wedding, but I still need you to go back to your table, ma’am.”
Terie shot to her feet and teetered unsteadily on her one stiletto. “Fabian is my soul mate. You can’t have him.”
“I’m gay. He’s all yours.”
She stared at my mole for a long moment. You could see the wheels turning in her psychotic brain. Was I after her man or not?
Since I did resemble an ugly prison matron, I did my best to look butch. “Why don’t you give me your phone number, and I’ll have Fabian call you after the show.”
“Do you think I’m stupid?”
Just a bit.
Fabian and the pirates danced across the stage, quickly shedding their clothing.
The bimbo’s worshipful gaze followed them.
The audience hooted and hollered.
A red satin shirt landed on my head. Fuck.
“Mine!” Terie shouted as she snatched it away. She cradled the sweaty shirt against her chest like it was the Hope Diamond.
Enough was enough. I snarled, “Table. Now. Or I will arrest you.”
“Fine. There’s no reason to be rude.” With that oh-so-cutting remark, off Terie went. Step. Hop. Step. Hop. She kind of reminded me of a crazed jackrabbit.
I glanced up at the stage and did a double take. Fabian and the pirates now wore G-strings and boots. Gotta say, pretty damned hot.
Oh, dear God, now what? I hurried toward the screaming.
“Give it to me.” A wizened woman in a motorized wheelchair had a death grip on the red satin shirt. The loose skin on her arms shook like gelatin as she struggled for possession of the shirt.
Wobbling off balance, Terie, the love-struck bimbo, wrenched back with all her might. “It’s mine. Let go.”
“No!” the old woman shouted, putting her wheelchair in reverse.
Great. Just what I needed. A tug-of-war over the freakin’ shirt.
Rip! The sleeve tore off in the elderly woman’s hands. Cackling madly, she zoomed off in her wheelchair.
A heavyset granny wearing way too much makeup grabbed what was left of the shirt from Terie and ran for the exit.
A tattooed teenager tackled granny. In a tangle of arms and legs, they rolled around and around on the floor, fighting over the shirt.
Terie jumped on top of the combatants and began whacking the living hell out of them with her broken stiletto. “Give it back. Give it back.”
Ten dollars an hour wasn’t enough to put up with this shit. “Illo scutella.” A small cloud of magical mace engulfed them.
Screeching in pain, they broke apart and rubbed frantically at their burning eyes.
I picked up the mangled shirt. “Get. Out. Now.”
“Look! That guard has Fabian’s shirt!” someone shouted.
Dozens of avid gazes locked on the red satin shirt.
“Oh crap.” I took a step back.
It was like some switch got flipped. The crazed fans went after the shirt like a pack of starving hyenas.
“Ooooof!” A head slammed into my stomach. Arms wrapped around my legs and bam! I was on the floor and about a zillion women jumped on top of me. Now I knew how a quarterback felt when he got sacked. It totally sucked. I shoved my way out from under the pile of cursing, struggling women.
Females were definitely meaner than men. I crawled over to the corner and leaned against the wall, waiting for the funny black spots to disappear from my vision. Once I could see again, I took inventory of the damages. My uniform shirt was torn in three places. The mole was now stuck up my nose. The antennae twitched with every breath I took. I touched my rapidly swelling right eye and groaned. Great. I was going to have a nice shiner in the morning.
That was when I noticed the other security guards were hiding behind the bar. The bartender was filming the melee with his cell phone.
A knockdown, drag-out brawl didn’t even begin to describe the carnage. Beer bottles, chairs, and drink glasses flew in every direction. Fabian and the dancers were long gone. Smart move.
The doors to the showroom burst open, and cops in riot gear charged in. Yippee. Better late than never. I let out a long sigh. Time for more surveillance. Didn’t that sound fun?