Excerpt "For fuck's sake, whose idea was this hot mess?"
Grey peered into the black light room at the unapproved changes. Several large drums had been set on a makeshift stage at the back of the room. Someone had dumped wet paint on top of the drum skins, because every time one of the three g-string-clad men standing behind them struck the top of a drum, neon red, blue, and green droplets spattered onto the screaming, laughing, dancing crowd.
Glow in the dark paint.
Psychedelic colors streaked and spotted the walls, the tables, the floor, the ceiling, and the patrons. It looked like the 60's had thrown up in the room.
He walked inside, turning around in a slow circle, trying to take it all in.
Who the fuck was going to clean up this mess?
Who was going to pay for the patrons' dry cleaning bills?
For that matter, who was paying for the three nearly naked drummers?
Who had turned his club's black light dance room into a fucking psychedelic nightmare?
Something wet hit his face. He swiped at it, and looked at his finger. Neon pink. Fuck!
He sure as fuck hadn't approved anything like this. He was going to blister somebody's ass over it, and he had a sneaking suspicion he knew whose bottom would be on the receiving end of the spanking.
"Craig!" Grey growled, turned on his heel, and went in search of his sub. He paused by one of the cages and motioned to the dancer gyrating inside, a new hire from just last week. Grey wracked his brain for a moment to come up with the man's name. "Darryl, have you seen Craig?"
The dancer, his nicely muscled, albeit paint-splashed body showcased by the almost too-tiny, glow-in-the-dark g-string he wore, paused, squatted down, and cupped a hand to his ear. "What?"
"Craig!" Grey yelled, his voice barely carrying over the loud music, drumming, and noise from the crowd. He noticed paint drips on the bars of the cage as well, and grimaced. What a fucking mess. "Where's Craig?"
"I think I saw him heading toward your office before my shift started, Boss."
Grey grunted his thanks, and stalked off down the hall. He nodded to two of the club's six bouncers, but didn't slow down. He had no time for conversation. Not with his black light room looking like someone had run it through a Crayola blender.
This was only the latest transgression in a long line of them. It seemed lately Craig was purposely pushing Grey's buttons, testing their boundaries, as if trying to see how far he could go before Grey reacted. Well, mission accomplished. Craig was about to learn what pushing Grey over the edge meant.
The door to his office was open. He stormed inside, slamming it shut behind him.
Craig sat behind Grey's desk, his feet propped up on the blotter, holding a cell phone to his ear. He yelped at the loud noise of the banging door. The cell phone flew from his hand, and he nearly fell off the chair in his haste to get his feet off Grey's desk. "Grey! I didn't think you were coming in until later."
"Obviously. Boy, you are buried neck deep in shit. You have three seconds to get your ass out of my chair and out from behind my desk."
Craig scrambled out of Grey's chair, dashing around the desk. He picked up his cell phone from the floor and put it to his ear. "Hello? Yeah, I'll have to get back to you." He thumbed the off button. "I was calling about the new curtains for the main club stage. I couldn't hear very well out in the club, and came in here so I could--"
Grey gritted his teeth. "I don't give a blue fuck about the curtains, or why you're in my office using my desk as a footstool. What did you do to my black light room?"
"Oh, that! Did you like it? I wanted it to be a surprise." Craig had the audacity to grin and look at him expectantly, as if waiting for praise or a compliment.
That settled it. His sub was brain-damaged.
Grey counted silently to ten."What's the name of this club?"
"The name, boy! The one outside on the sign. What's it say?"
"Uh, Shady Business?"
"Does it say 'Craig's Business?'"
"That's better. No, your name is not up there on the marquee. The sign says 'Shady Business.' That's my name. This is my club, my business. No one fucks with it without my express permission, and that definitely includes you,boy."
Craig looked as crushed as a kid who'd just had a basketful of puppies stolen. "You don't like the new drummers?"
"That's not the point, and you damn well know it! You changed something without asking me first. Have you seen the mess they're making in there? It's going to take days and a shitload of money to clean it all up!"
"No, Sir, you don't understand! It's special paint. It only shows up under the black lights. In the daytime or under normal lights, it disappears. There's nothing to clean!" The cocky grin reappeared.
Grey took a step forward and spoke through gritted teeth. "You are not only missing the point, but you're getting on my last nerve, boy."
The smile faded from Craig's face, his eyes growing wide.
Better. Much better. The boy needed to learn his place.
"This is my house. I make the decisions. You should have come to me, asked permission."
"I wanted to surprise you."
"Oh, it was a surprise, all right. I nearly burst a fucking blood vessel. Now, go kneel in the corner, facing the wall. I need time to cool down before I decide on your punishment."
"Oh, and Craig?" Grey hesitated for a moment. "I want you naked."
The way Craig's face flushed red reminded Grey of how nicely his ass pinked under a firm hand, and that memory made a jolt of warmth stab deep in Grey's belly.
He watched Craig strip down, neatly folding each article of clothing and placing it on Grey's desk. Grey hid his smile as he took a minute to admire Craig's slim form. Lovely. Really, lovely.
Why was it that Craig was acting out lately? He'd thought Craig was happy, content with their relationship. Was something going on he didn't know about? Whatever it was, he needed to figure it out before things spiraled out of control.
--from "Spinning the Top" by Kiernan Kelly