Ray's Amazing Adventure at the Indigo Club
Ray had a hell of a time finding a parking spot by the Indigo Club. The goddamned Magnificent Mile was jam-packed with tourists, the traffic so thick that he was forced to bring the GTO to a crawl. He was perfectly prepared to park illegally and pull his badge out, but it was a Saturday night and there wasn't even illegal parking available. Long, black limousines were parked by the fire hydrants, black and white cop cars were parked in the handicapped spots, and yellow cabs blocked the entrance to every hotel.
Finally, though, he left the car in the circular driveway of the Hotel Diana, flashing his badge and grunting, "Official police business. Be back in five minutes," at the hotel's outraged doorman. He ran down the street, dodging tourists—wealthy-looking couples dressed for dinner, tired-looking families trudging back from Navy Pier, groups of women laden with shopping bags from Neiman Marcus and Marshall Fields—and heading for the Indigo Club's blue neon sign. Outside the club, a smoke blue carpet ran from the huge silver doors to the street; yet another limousine was parked there, though Ray could see no sign of movement behind the dark-tinted windows.
Ray reached for one of the door's semicircular handles and pulled, entering a long foyer which was all blue light and shimmering mirrors. They said that this place was supposed to be classy, but Ray looked down at his blue-tinged hands and felt sick.
"Can I help you, sir?"
Ray looked up and saw an elderly man in a tuxedo standing near a steel podium near a bank of shiny art-deco elevators. "Yeah," he said, and pulled out his badge again. "You got a Consular function here tonight?"
"Yes." The man seemed to take some pride at this. "The Canadian Consulate is entertaining the German Ambassador in Suite B."
"Which is where?" Ray asked.
"On the second floor. I'd be happy to escort you to—"
Ray waved him away. "No, I'll see myself up. Are there stairs?"
"We prefer our guests take the elevator," the man said. Ray grudgingly pushed the button for the elevator. It was like a mirrored blue coffin inside, and Ray stared at his blue-faced complexion as the cab rode with agonizing slowness up to the second floor.
The bell dinged softly and the doors opened, discharging him into an empty corridor facing a large, square art-deco mirror. Ray strode down the thick blue-gray carpet toward the double doors that said Suite B. The carpet had a kind of ocean pattern, and Ray had to convince himself that seaweed wasn't twining up his ankles.
At the door to Suite B, Ray hesitated, his hand on the knob, mentally composing his excuses should he need to deliver them. He would blame this on Lieutenant Welsh and just hope it never got back to him. "Lieutenant Welsh asked me to stop by the party and make sure that the security was adequate." He ran the phrase through his mind once or twice and decided that it seemed pretty reasonable. Then he opened the door.
He wasn't sure exactly what he was expecting—no, that wasn't true. He was expecting a dinner party, some kind of formal dinner party—and just maybe, technically, this counted, but this was like no dinner party Ray'd ever seen. Certainly it was nothing like the other Consular functions of Ray's experience.
The Canadians weren't so much into the techno for one thing. Or the strobe lights. Or the neon. But Suite B was kind of like—like a nightclub designed by dolphins, all blue and smooth, with a metallic square of a dance floor in one corner and some kind of buffet set up in the other. Along one whole wall was a long bar of chrome and black glass.
Ray stood just inside the door, looking over the crowd. The place was full of people, mainly tall people, wearing really funky outfits. Some were wearing conical hats. "... sehen Sie eine offensichtlich prominente Person, kommen aber nicht auf ihren Namen," Ray heard one woman murmur to another. She was wearing a silver hat that looked like an upside-down flowerpot, and holding a wine glass full of blue liquid.
Not dolphins, Ray realized, resisting the urge to smack his forehead with his palm. Germans.
Someone gripped his arm tightly, and Ray was prepared to beat them to death with a conical hat before realizing it was only Turnbull—Turnbull wearing a tuxedo and looking very smooth and James Bond if you could get over the primary fact that it was Turnbull. Colored lights strobed over his long, pale face.
"Detective Vecchio, thank goodness!" Turnbull said. "Not a moment too soon!"
"Where is he?" Ray asked, shouting a little to be heard over the crowd. "Is he all right?"
"He's all right, but..." Turnbull looked at a passing couple—the man wearing tiny round glasses, leather chaps, and a gold lame shirt; the woman wearing a shimmering dress that seemed to be made entirely out of paper clips—and his face tightened with disapproval. "These people! I don't understand what's wrong with them! Remember the Blitz, I say."
"I don't think these people were responsible for the Blitz, Turnbull." Especially since one of them seemed to be traveling with his parrot, Kaspar.
"All I know," Turnbull said, now pulling Ray through the crowd, "is that some guy named Klaus gave Constable Fraser a suspicious-looking pink beverage about an hour and a half ago. And ever since then...well, he's acting totally unlike himself. We can't seem to get him off the dance floor. He won't go home. He..."
Just then, the crowd parted and a tuxedoed and flushed-faced Benton Fraser stumbled off the dance floor, tie askew, and swiped what appeared to be a purple martini from a waiter's passing tray. He downed it in one long gulp, then carefully put the glass atop the fedora of a passing midget. "Thank you kindly," he told the midget.
"Oh boy," Ray said. "Fraser..."
"Ray? Ray!" A glorious smile crossed Fraser's face, and then suddenly he was wrapped around Ray, hugging him tightly. "Oh, Ray, I'm so glad you're here!"
"Uh...it's good to see you too, Fraser." He became suddenly aware that Fraser was nuzzling his face, rubbing his nose and mouth against Ray's cheek. Insight gripped him—Fraser'd been drugged, probably with ecstasy or GHB or some other party drug. Behind Fraser, on the dance floor, two women were dancing back to chest while wearing identical white fur vests and denim skirts, their hands greedily roaming over fur, skin, and hair. Ray'd never done ecstasy himself—back in his day, in the days of Stella and disco, it had mainly been coke on offer—but he knew that ecstasy made you tactile. Whereas coke just made you hostile...or really, really inclined to wallpaper, but that was another story.
Fraser didn't look inclined to wallpaper. In fact, Ray was pretty sure that Fraser was kissing his ear. "Dance with me, Ray," Fraser murmured.
Ray gripped Fraser's arms and spoke in his best, most professional, police voice. "Fraser, listen to me. Are you listening?"
He could almost feel Fraser straining to concentrate; Ray knew that Fraser responded to cop talk like Dief to a dog whistle. "I...yes, Ray. I'm listening."
"I think you've been drugged. I think one of these German guys has put ecstasy or GHB in your—"
"Ecstasy, I think," Fraser said. "MDMA, sold under the street name X or E or—"
Ray pulled back so he could stare, shocked, into Fraser's flush-streaked face.
"—sometimes the Hug Drug or the Love Drug." Fraser stopped suddenly and looked grave. "You don't—you don't suspect foul play, do you?"
"I—what?" Ray couldn't believe this was happening. "You know?"
"Of course I know. I hardly feel like this on a normal basis." Even now, in fact, Fraser was stroking Ray's suede-covered biceps, up and down, up and down. "But I hadn't considered that there might be sinister motivations."
"I—no. I don't think there are," Ray confessed. "I mean, nothing of national importance. Probably just someone trying to seduce you. Could be anyone in this room."
Fraser nodded, perhaps a little too enthusiastically, and gently stroked Ray's cheek and jaw with the backs of his fingers. "That's what I figured. So why not you?"
Ray's mouth went dry; a moment later, he realized he was ragingly hard. "What?"
Fraser cupped Ray's face, leaned in, and sniffed his skin before kissing his cheek. "If someone here is going to seduce me, why not you?" Fraser's tongue was soft and wet as it skimmed over his cheekbone and tongued his ear.
"Fraser—" Ray helplessly clutched at the sides of Fraser's tuxedo. "We're in a public place—"
"Yes. And if my admittedly academic knowledge of recreational drugs is correct, I've got at least two more hours of complete," he paused to kiss Ray's mouth, "unaccountability."
And five minutes later, when Renfield Turnbull scanned the dance floor looking for Constable Fraser, he found Fraser and Ray slow dancing and making out while a drunk German boy in hip-waders twirled in a circle and smiled.
Note: For the Kaleidoscope Eyes challenge at DS_Flashfiction. Er, and all apologies to the Germans. I love the Germans. Some of my best friends are German—and they all wear little glasses and conical hats. Thanks to JaC for a 3 am grammar check!