Return to the House of Fabulousbythrillerauthor©
For those who missed "The House of Fabulous", the players are:
Charles Bigelow, ousted CEO of Tyrex Industries, who has heart failure when...
Wall Street raiders Darwin DeVour and Lance Raptor launch a hostile takeover after...
Company lawyer Terry Poindexter comes to work in a dress, before he runs away with ...
Gail Chestnut, his stunningly attractive executive secretary, who knows the truth about...
Doyle Rogers, a chief executive with a secret, who forms a strategic alliance with...
* * *
Charles Bigelow stepped out of his unairconditioned taxi onto a blazing sidewalk in midtown Manhattan and told his driver to wait.
"I'll try, mon, but sometimes the NYPD won't let me."
"If you don't have the balls to wait for me, then I'm not going to pay you," Bigelow said brusquely. Without waiting for the man's reply, he strode across the crowded sidewalk and into the lobby of the brass and glass office tower that was home to Carnivore Capital. As he signed in with security, he saw his taxi driver coming through the doors, and told the uniformed guard to shoot to kill.
Bigelow found the right bank of elevators and hurried into what seemed like a house of mirrors. After the doors closed behind him, he surveyed his multiple reflections with satisfaction while the express elevator zoomed towards the forty-first floor. Tanned and rested, and fifty pounds slimmer after the back-to-back heart attacks which had almost killed him, he looked and felt better than he had in years.
Bigelow closed his eyes and thought back over the past six months. His agonizing recovery from open-heart surgery...the humiliating loss of his position as CEO of Tyrex Industries after a coup orchestrated by his hand-picked successor...day after day with nothing to do but play golf or go shopping with his tarnished trophy wife...endless hours spent watching Bloomberg and reading about what lesser men were doing in the Wall Street Journal.
All of that was about to change.
* * *
"Let's see, who shall I be today?" Terrence Poindexter pondered out loud as he sat down at the vanity to dry his freshly shampooed hair.
Gail Chestnut, who was slicing fresh mangoes in the kitchen of their oceanfront villa in Maui, overheard him and sang out, "You promised you'd be Terry for me one day this week. Let's get dolled up and go to Whaler's Village for a ladies' lunch." When she heard no reply, she went on, "Come on, baby. Pleeeeease?"
Terrence liked to pretend that he really didn't want to dress up for her, but the telltale bulge in his kimono gave him away. Shifting into Terry's voice, he replied, "Okay, you win. What are you gonna wear?"
"What I have on," she said as she walked into the master bathroom. Her sundress showed off her beautiful body to perfection, and with sandals she would be cool and comfortable in the island heat. "The question is, what are you gonna wear? How 'bout my white miniskirt with that pink halter top?" She looked down and saw his member standing at full attention while he tried to pin his hair behind his ears with a pink ribbon. Without a word, she lifted up her dress, stepped out of her panties and sat down on his lap, easing him into her as she kissed his startled face. "We can't have you walking around like that, Missy," she said as she straddled him. "Ummmmm, this feels so good."
Although they had made love twice the night before, Terry's body was eager to respond. As he felt the beginnings of his orgasm welling up deep inside him, he moaned in ecstasy, and his sweat dripping down on Gail's thighs jolted her again and again. "Oh God, oh God," she whimpered as her own spasms begin, and when she felt Terry coming inside her, she threw back her head and cried out in delight.
They clung together as their passion slowly subsided, utterly spent. "You need another shower," Gail finally said.
"I'll put on one of your swimsuits and we'll hit the Jacuzzi."
"Okay, but you're still on the hook for shopping and lunch."
"I'm hooked all right. Reel me in, baby."
* * *
Charles Bigelow and Darwin DeVour eyed each other warily as Lance Raptor introduced them in a small conference room overlooking Park Avenue. "I'm so glad you agreed to come, Charles. Who knows, it if hadn't been for your unfortunate health problems last January, things might have turned out very differently." Business made for strange bedfellows, Raptor knew, and DeVour and Bigelow had a lot in common. After all, each of them had soared into the business stratosphere only to crash and burn in spectacular fashion, and each of them was desperate to grasp the reigns of power once again. The fact that DeVour's ill-fated attempt to take over Tyrex Industries had precipitated both of their declines was ancient history on Wall Street, and Raptor's investment bank would be only too happy collect huge fees while stoking their enormous egos.
"Let's cut to the chase," Bigelow said. "You've obviously asked me here for a reason."
Darwin DeVour sat down heavily and rested his ivory walking stick against the conference room table. Although he had recovered remarkably from his recent stoke, the after-effects still lingered. "We both want the same thing: Tyrex Industries. You want to run it, and I want to own it. The last time we were on opposite sides of the fence, and we both got shafted."
"Let me get this straight. You want me to help you take over Tyrex?"
"Why not? You know the company inside out, and there's no love lost between you and the board after the way they put you out to pasture."
"I've checked your severance agreement, and it does not appear to preclude you from participating in our investment group," Raptor broke in.
"What's in it for me?" Bigelow asked.
"Double your old salary as chief executive officer, a ton of stock options, your old corporate jet...what else did you have in mind?"
Bigelow walked over to the floor to ceiling windows and looked down on the sea of yellow cabs streaming up and down Park Avenue. Back in the game! No more riding in rattletrap taxis, no more taking off his shoes at airports...the money, the expense account, the chance to settle old scores....
He turned around and stared for a moment at Raptor and DeVour. These two bandits would cut a cub scout's throat to make a deal, but what did he have to lose? "I'm in," he said. "What's our game plan?"
* * *
"Madam Fabulous is here for your two o'clock meeting, Mr. Rogers."
"Thanks," Doyle Rogers told his secretary. "Tell her I'll just be a moment." He reached into the lower left hand drawer of his massive mahogany desk and pulled out a photograph of a gorgeous blonde, dressed in a glittering evening gown, belting out a show tune with a bevy of chorus girls behind her. Some of the chorines looked a trifle mannish, but there was nothing in the star's face or figure that would suggest that she was really him.
With a sigh, Rogers put his picture back in the drawer and stood up to greet his visitor. Impeccably dressed as always, Madam Fabulous gave him a hug before they seated themselves in a corner of his spacious office overlooking San Francisco Bay.
"You're looking handsome as always, Doyle," Madam Fabulous said with an impish grin. "Although I must say, I prefer you as Ginger."
"So do I," Doyle sighed. "If our joint venture could afford to pay me what I'm getting as CEO of Tyrex Industries, I'd leave in a heartbeat. But with two hungry ex-wives and a Porsche to feed, I need to pull in seven figures."
"We both know that's out of the question. One of the reasons Finnochio's always attracted such amazing talent was their genuine love for the work, and that holds true for our current performers. Although we're at the top of the scale, if we had to pay our stars what they were really worth, your shareholders wouldn't be very happy."
"How did we do last month?"
For the next half hour, they were all business as they went over the stellar operating results for Finnochio's, the newly-reopened drag cabaret that was once again the toast of San Francisco. Rogers had persuaded the Tyrex board to invest in the joint venture with Madam Fabulous after Tyrex agreed to participate in an outreach program for the transgendered as part of its multi-million dollar settlement with Terrence Poindexter, who was fired by Charles Bigelow for wearing a dress to work.
The fact that Rogers was able to turn the Poindexter disaster into a highly lucrative investment in Finnochio's made him a hero to the Tyrex board. The fact that Rogers had brought down the house on opening night as Miss Ginger Rogers was a deep secret known only to Terrence Poindexter, Gail Chestnut and Madam Fabulous, proprietress of "the salon for boys who should have been girls" known as The House of Fabulous.
Madam Fabulous straightened Doyle's tie after she got up to leave. "Such a shame," she said. "You should be in silk and lace right now."
"Who says I'm not?" Doyle replied, lifting his trouser leg to reveal a glimpse of stocking above his navy blue sox.
* * *
Gail Chestnut carried a tray with glasses and a pitcher of passion-orange-guava nectar into the small study overlooking the Pacific Ocean. She stopped at the door to admire her man, who was hunched over the computer monitor with a look of absolute concentration on his beautiful face. With his sunglasses perched on top of his bleached blonde hair, and his miniskirt hiked halfway up his golden thighs, he looked good enough to eat. "Are you surfing those kinky web sites of yours again?" she teased him as she put down the pitcher and poured them each a glass.
"As a matter of fact, I'm not," Terry replied. "There's something funny going on with Tyrex stock."
"Who cares? I thought you had to give up your options as part of your settlement agreement," she said.
"I did, but that doesn't mean I've lost interest in Tyrex. After all, how many Fortune 500 companies have a closet queen as their CEO?"
"Maybe more than you think," she said as she kneeled down beside him. "I for one would invest heavily in any company run by a guy as hot as you."
"Well, we both know that you're an exception," he said as he sipped his POG. "I doubt if most women would get turned on by seeing their man in a dress."
"Don't be so sure. Today was so cool, doing girly things with you. I mean, it's so much fun to go shopping and have lunch and be the only one in on this incredible secret," she said, sliding her hand up his skirt.
"Doesn't it bum you out when I go back to being a guy?" he moaned as she stroked him through his panties.
"That's the best part of it," she said, pulling him out of his chair. She pushed him onto the floor and tore off his panties. She wasn't wearing any, and she jumped on top of him, impaling herself with a little squeal. "The real girls I do lunch with can't do this for me," she panted as she rode up and down, up and down, eager for her mounting orgasm. When she came, Terry came with her, squeezing her tight with his smooth legs as the sweet waves of pleasure went on and on.
* * *
Doyle Rogers returned to his desk after seeing Madam Fabulous to the lobby. He noticed an icon blinking on his computer screen. It was the program set up by the boys in MIS to alert him to any unusual movements in Tyrex stock.
"That's odd," he said to himself as clicked onto the stock register and drilled down into the details. Carnivore Capital had just acquired 4.9% of Tyrex stock, just below the threshold that would require a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Rogers remembered full well that Carnivore had bankrolled Darwin DeVour's failed attempt to take over Tyrex Industries earlier that year. He scrolled through the stock register until he found the listing for DeVour's company, Great White LLC. It also had been quietly accumulating Tyrex stock, and between the two firms, they held almost ten percent of Tyrex Industries' outstanding shares. More than enough to use as a springboard for another run at the company.
Rogers got up and walked into his private bathroom. A marble monument to the excesses of his predecessor, it afforded him the privacy he required to indulge in his secret fantasies. After he pulled down his trousers and lowered his panties, he had to wait a moment for the thrill of wearing a garter belt and stockings to subside before he relieved himself.
What would Charles Bigelow think if he could see me now, Rogers wondered. The last time they had seen each other, Rogers had just been transformed by the House of Fabulous into a smoking hot piece of ass. The sight of Rogers and Terry Poindexter in drag had been enough to send Bigelow into cardiac arrest, and after Rogers reverted to his male persona and took control of Tyrex Industries, he had moved quickly to oust Bigelow as CEO and install himself as his successor.
What might Charles Bigelow be doing now, he wondered as he returned to his desk. His computer was still logged onto the stock register, and out of curiosity he scrolled up to Bigelow's name. When he saw that Bigelow had also just accumulated a sizeable position in Tyrex stock, the alarm bells started going off in his mind.
Rogers knew that as Chief Executive Officer, he owed a duty to the shareholders that transcended his own self-interest. If their holdings were combined, Bigelow, DeVour and Carnivore would represent the largest shareholder in Tyrex, and he served at their pleasure. But that didn't mean that he had to like it. Besides, if they really were working together, they were in gross violation of SEC regulations by reporting their holdings separately.
Rogers weighed his options. He could bring in the company's lawyers and investment bankers and circle the wagons. He could also contact the authorities and demand an investigation. But the more he thought about it, the more he realized that all he had to go on right now was speculation. To get the facts he needed, he required a private investigator who understood securities law, knew the company, and would not be intimidated by its potential acquirers.
He was scratching an itch under one of his stockings when the idea came to him.
* * *
Gail and Terry were back in the Jacuzzi, looking like shipwreck survivors as the bubbling jets massaged their spent bodies. Terry's swimsuit had a little skirt that helped conceal his shriveled package, although another erection was hardly in him. He was content just to sit next to Gail and slide his smooth legs against hers while the warm water worked its magic.
The spell was broken by the jingle of Terry's cell phone. Who the hell would be calling him here? The only people who had his number were Gail, his parents on the mainland, and Doyle Rogers. Hoping that it wasn't some kind of emergency, he reached for the phone with a dripping hand and remembered to speak in Terrence's voice. "Hello?"
"Aloha, Terrence. How's life in paradise?"
"Doyle! How the hell are you?"
"Okay for a working stiff."
"When I saw your picture in the Chronicle, I thought sure you were going to flick in the business world for life as Miss Ginger Rogers. What happened?"
"Afraid that was a one night stand. Listen, Terrence, I wonder if I might be able to interest you in a little freelancing."
"Well, Gail hasn't blown through my settlement money just yet, but God knows she's working on it." She poked him in the balls with her foot and he almost dropped his cell phone into the water. "Stop that!"
"Sorry. What kind of freelancing?"
"I think our old friends are gearing up for another run at Tyrex, and they may even be talking to old man Bigelow about saddling up again."
"You've got to be kidding! After the way he ran that company into the ground, they'd have to be out of their minds. But this can't be good for you."
"Don't I know it."
"It's funny, but just today I was looking at your stock on the web. You're on a roll."
"That's because Great White, Carnivore and Bigelow are buying. I think they're in cahoots."
"Have you seen their registration statement?"
"They haven't filed one."
"That's a serious no-no."
"If we can prove it. How would you like to do some undercover work for Tyrex?"
"For starters, you're an expert on securities law so you have an idea what we're looking for. Plus, you've already done a number on these guys and you know what makes them tick."
"But Bigelow would recognize me. So would DeVour and Raptor."
"That depends. Bigelow remembers you as a wimp in drag, and the others think you're a hot chick. I'd say you're a master of disguise."
"So who am I supposed to be?"
"That's up to you and Madam Fabulous."
Remarkably, at the mere mention of her name, Terrence experienced an erection. Gail noticed it at once, and she was tugging off his swimsuit as he cried, "I'll do whatever you ask! Mahalo!"
Doyle could swear he heard Gail Chestnut giggling in the background as Terrence rang off. He kept the receiver in his hand and punched in the familiar number. Madam Fabulous herself answered on the first ring. "House of Fabulous."
"Hello, Madam, it's Doyle."
"I just walked in the door. Something we forgot to discuss?"
"No. A bit of new business. You remember our friend Terry?"
"My all-time favorite customer! Except for you, of course...isn't he living in Hawaii?"
"That's right. He's going to need a new look. Something that will enable him to switch back and forth, you know, like a quick change artist. Do you think you could help him?"
"Of course! We do it all the time at Finnochio's. What do you two have in mind?"
* * *
Darwin DeVour's post-stroke regimen included long walks on his treadmill or in Central Park. As summer gave way to autumn, he found himself spending more and more time in the leafy green park. The early morning strolls helped to blow away the gray clouds which fogged his brain each time he remembered his humiliation before the Tyrex board of directors. Indeed, it was the shock of seeing photographs of himself cavorting with a transvestite that had precipitated his stroke during that infamous board meeting. He still wasn't sure how it had all come about, but he had no doubt that Tyrex's surviving management had a hand in it, which made him all the more determined to bring them to gaff.
Thus preoccupied, he didn't notice the mousy young man with a pony tail following him as he crossed through the park. In fact, the same young man had been discreetly shadowing him for weeks, closely observing his comings and goings throughout Manhattan. On this particular morning, DeVour had a breakfast meeting at the Sherry-Netherland with Lance Raptor, and he paid no attention when the young man was seated at an adjoining table. His face buried in the New York Times, the young man was quite overlooked as DeVour and Raptor launched into their conversation.
"Is Bigelow still on board?" DeVour asked.
"I almost wish he weren't. What a pompous ass! He's already measuring his new office for curtains, once we unload the San Francisco headquarters and move the remnants to New Jersey. He's holding us up for a pied-a-terre on Fifth Avenue, which means we'll have to pay for a limo to haul his ass back and forth to Manhattan every day."
"Don't worry about Bigelow. He's just there for window dressing. As soon as we get control, we'll push him over the side along with the rest of the bozos he hired."
"He's demanding a platinum parachute."
"Don't give it to him. What's he going to do when you say no, go back to watching television with his wife?"
"How much are we up to?"
"Thanks to the short term loans our offshore affiliate made to Bigelow, he's now got almost 5% on margin. That gives us a combined stake of just under 15%, more than enough to blow away whatever defenses the Tyrex board comes up with."