The Mystery of the Baton Rougebyalexbernaise©
The name's Jack Wayne. I'm a private detective. It all began on a sweltering Friday in June. I was sitting behind my desk thumbing through a paperback of "9 & 1/2 Weeks" and sipping a glass of bourbon when my secretary stuck her head into the office.
"Hey, Jack." she said in an annoying tone. "Jack, put the book down for a minute!"
"What is it with you?" I growled. "You always butt in when I'm getting to the best page, Betty!"
"Excuse me for interrupting your reading hour!" she replied, tossing a handful of her jet black hair over her shoulder. "But I thought you'd like to know that there's a lady out here to see you."
I sat up and quickly tossed back the whiskey.
"Send her in." I said, shoving the glass, the bottle and the book into the desk drawer. A moment later an elegantly-dressed woman walked in. Her light brown hair, which was pulled back into a bun, was highlighted by a few streaks of silver. This wasn't the kind of clientele I was used to. She was classy, like a linen napkin or a glass of single-malt scotch. She was smooth and relaxed as she introduced herself.
"Olivia T. Kendrich." she said, offering me a gloved hand. I didn't know whether to shake her hand or kiss it. I reached out and gave it a polite squeeze. She smiled and squeezed back. "You come highly recommended, Mr. Wayne. An acquaintance of mine, Miss Stephanie O'Hara, said that you were quite effective. Do you remember her by any chance?"
Stephanie O'Hara was a cute little red-haired debutante from the right side of the tracks who'd hired me to tail her fiancee' who she suspected of two-timing her. I shadowed the guy for a month and it was clear he wasn't up to any hanky-panky. When I went to her father's house to tell her so, she accused me of covering for him and demanded her retainer fee back. When I told her no dice, she started getting physical. She kicked my shin a real good one, then started slapping my face. I tried to stay cool, but she'd smacked me until I didn't have a cheek left to turn. So I grabbed her by the arm, threw my foot onto the nearest chair and tossed her over my leg. She twisted like a demon. Apparently, she'd figured out what was coming next. It was all I could do just to hold her in place. Then I started slapping her fanny like it was going out of style. She had a thick wool skirt on, but I didn't let that stop me. I just laid it on all the harder. The way she kicked and screamed, you'd of thought I was killing her. It's too bad her rich daddy never gave her that kind of attention, but I figured it's never too late to learn. When I was done spanking the little brat, I pushed her onto the floor and walked out. I remember looking back as I was heading out the door. She was lying there, in tears, rubbing her ass and demanding at the top of her lungs that I come back, but I just kept moving.
"She mentioned what a worthy adversary were."
Ms. Kendrich continued.
"Oh, is that what she said?"
"Yes, she did. I'm to understand that you two had a little run in."
"Well, there was a bit of a scuffle. Is she still sore about that?"
"She was... for quite a while."
"It wasn't that big a deal. She ought to put it behind her."
"She hardly had a choice." Olivia smirked.
"Yes." I agreed. "But certainly you didn't come here to talk about Miss O'Hara."
"No. What I want to talk to you about is this." She took a dark-pink envelope from her purse and slid it across the desk. I picked it up and opened it. Inside was a type-written note which read:
"Go down a red road and find a three. Then add a three. Now do it again. When you hear the bell, turn to your left and you'll see me just above the earth. Take me in hand and turn me over. You'll know what to do next."
"It came in the mail." Olivia told me. "I have no idea what it means."
I examined the envelope carefully. There was no return address and no postmark.
"This was delivered by hand." I stated.
"Some of the best things are." she replied. I turned the note over in my hand and tried to think of what the words could possibly mean.
"It's a riddle all right." I muttered.
Olivia took a checkbook and a pen from her purse.
"How much is your retainer?"
She seemed ready to write down any number I chose. I reached across the desk and put my hand over hers, closing the checkbook.
"I couldn't take a dime from you Ms. Kendrich, not for something like this." I said, softly. I left my hand on top of hers as long as I dared then slowly pulled away. "Like I said, it's some kind of riddle, so it's got to be some kind of joke- probably not worth looking into." She nodded in agreement, but I could see a lot of disappointment in those lovely, blue-green eyes. You could have written Tootsie-pop right on my forehead- I was such a sucker. "But I'll tell you what- I'll work on this for a day or two and, if I come up with anything, I'll let you know."
She smiled sweetly as she put her things back in her purse and stood to leave.
"That sounds fine." She handed me a card with her phone number and address. "Come over for dinner when you have it figured out. I want to hear all about it. How does poached salmon, steamed turnips and raspberry sorbet sound?" Once again she offered her hand. This time I leaned down and pressed my lips to the silk knuckles of her glove.
"I can almost taste it." I said.
She blushed warmly as she walked to the door.
"Good luck, Mr. Wayne. Remember, I'm expecting a blow-by-blow account."
With that, she was gone. I walked over to the window and watched as she got into her white Mercedes and drove away. Her perfume drifted faintly in the air like a ghost. An old song began to play in my head.
"What was that all about?!" Betty's voice cut through the music like a chain-saw. I slapped my hands together and pointed at her.
"Go make me a big pot of coffee, honeybuns! I've got a mystery to solve and it may take all night."
"Good!" she said, picking my paperback up off the desk as though it were a soiled diaper. "I guess that means I can throw this piece of trash away?"
"When did you become a literary critic? Do you even read books?"
"I'll have you know I'm just starting a book! It's all about Sleeping Beauty and how she-"
"I don't have time to hear about your fairytale stories! I've got to get to the bottom of this Kendrich case."
"Yeah, I bet that's not all you're trying to get to the bottom of."
"One of these days, Betty!" I waved a threatening hand at her.
"Promises, promises!" she pouted, tossing her hair as she left the room.
I spent the rest of the night kicking that riddle around my office. The road and the numbers- those were the keys. Then, at about midnight, it hit me. The red road was a street and the numbers were an address! When I took a three and added another and did it again, I came up with 369. I checked a city street map for something with red in it and found Scarlet Lane. I dialed information and found that 369 Scarlet Lane was the address of Grayson's Pawn Shop. I caught a little shut-eye on my office couch and headed over there the next morning.
Grayson's was a run down little joint, but it possessed a kind of dusty charm. As I'd expected, a bell rang as I came through the front door. I turned to my left. There were several shelves of junk lining the walls, but only one thing caught my eye- a huge globe circa 1955 sitting right at eye level and above that was a wooden paddle hanging by a strap. It was about a foot and a half long and maybe four inches wide. I heard a woman's voice behind me say:
"Checking out the old board of education, eh?" she asked in a friendly manner. "Hi, my name's Lucy Grayson."
She was a nice looking lady. I'd say medium in most respects, average in height and weight. Her auburn hair was shoulder length. Maybe she was a bit plump and her voice was a little rough, but she had a nice smile and that goes a long way with me.
"Nice to meet you, Lucy. I'm Jack Wayne."
"So, what's your interest in the fanny-whacker? Is the little woman getting out of line?"
We both laughed.
"It looks like a classic piece of workmanship."
"Yeah, it's a real tear jerker. I bet that one kept a few ladies on their toes!" she replied with a wink.
"Really? Do think that's an adult toy?"
"Oh yeah!" Lucy said as she reached up and brought the paddle down. "See these little hearts carved into the corners? This was a romantic gift between two grown-ups, not something a school principal would use. My folks had something like this. I found it under their bed once when I was a kid. You never know what people get up to behind closed doors."
It was heavier than I'd expected- smoother too. I ran my hand along it's flat surface and let it fall into my palm a few times. I flipped it over to find some writing etched into the wood.
"It's time to get personal with June. Maybe some time in the corner is needed. Want some candy? Just remember that the hand moves faster than the eye. Now, get cracking!"
That afternoon found me back in my office, mulling over those cryptic words. Was June a woman's name? What did time in the corner refer to? The rest of it made even less sense. Betty brought me some coffee and a couple of doughnuts. She noticed the words from the paddle which I had scrawled onto some paper in front of me.
"What's this?" she asked.
"Damned if I know!" I said and took a bite from the old-fashioned with strawberry icing.
"Is this part of that Kendrich case?"
"Yeah, and I've got to admit, it's beginning to get the best of me!"
"Well, don't get slap-happy over it, especially if she's not paying you!"
"Wait. How do you know I'm doing this for free?"
Betty started to get a little flustered.
"I- uh... Well, I mean-"
"Have you been listening at the door again?" I said as I got up and walked toward her. Betty was forever listening in on my private conversations and I'd finally had enough of it. She backed out of the room and tried to make for the front door, but I cornered her.
"Now hold on, Jack. You've got it all wrong!"
I picked up a newspaper from her desk and started to fold it lengthwise.
"Come here, Betty! Your bottom has a date with the classified section!" Her hands covered her backside as she attempted to out-maneuver me. She faked towards the door and then made a break for my office. I lunged forward and grabbed hold of her wrist before she could slam my own door on me. Then it was just a matter of dragging her over to the couch and pinning her over my lap. Betty made a lot of noise, but didn't put up much of a fight. In fact, for a second there, I could swear I caught her starting to giggle.
"She won't be laughing long!" I thought as I lifted the newspaper. And that's when I saw it out of the corner of my eye. It was right there on the paper. Just below "Help Wanted" and "For Sale" was the word, "Personals".
"This is it! The personal ads!"
"The what?" Betty gasped.
"The clue on the paddle said to 'get personal'. That's where I'll find the answer." I sat Betty up and got off the couch. She tried to regain her composure, not to mention her breath as I grabbed my jacket and headed out the door.
"Where are you going?!" she said, almost sounding disappointed.
"To a dirty book shop, sweetcheeks. I'll just have to toast your buns some other time." I was outside and getting into my car when Betty stuck her head out the office window.
"You're a real jerk?!" she shouted. Then she started addressing her comments to the world. Jack Wayne is a complete jerk and he doesn't know how to finish what he's started!"
"Why are you mad at me?! I didn't lay a hand on you!" I shouted back. That just seemed to tick her off even more.
"Oh! You make me furious!" she screamed and slammed the window down.
"Women!" I thought to myself as I hopped into the car. "Will I ever figure them out?"
Pinky's Adult Books was a neon covered building in the red-light district. They had every girlie mag and erotic novelty item anyone could ever want. Never mind how I knew about it. I went to the spanking literature. And there it was- the June issue of "Corner Time", a publication dedicated to the fun side of corporal punishment. I flipped through the pages and stopped at the personal ads. There were several of them, so I decided to buy the issue and study it back at the office. When I got there, Betty was gone. There was a note on her desk. As I picked it up, I could see that the ink had been smudged by her tears.
"Dear Jack, I thought we had something special, but I stand corrected. You've always had the upper hand in our relationship, why couldn't you take advantage of it? The bottom line is, I'm leaving. It's not like me to turn tail and run away, but what else can I do? Good-bye. Love, Betty Storm"
Strictly speaking, I don't go in for office romances, but I have to admit that Betty always did have a special place in my heart. I stood there for a while staring out the window with her letter in my hand. I thought about calling her home number, but I'd never thought to ask for it. She was right, I was a jerk. But there wasn't much I could do about it, so I decided to get back to the business at hand.
I scanned through Corner Time, checking ad after ad as the night wore on. There must have been a thousand naughty ladies looking for some firm-handed guy to adjust their attitude, but nothing caught my attention. It wasn't until I'd reached the next to the last page that I finally struck pay-dirt. It was an ad next to a picture of a gorgeous blonde which read:
"I've been a bad, bad girl and need some serious behavior modification from a man who's hand moves faster than his eye. So get cracking and call Candy Maxwell!"
At the bottom of the ad was a phone number for an answering service. I called it and left my office number. Five minutes later my phone rang.
"Jack Wayne's office."
"Mr. Wayne?" a soft feminine voice asked.
"Yes it is."
"Hi, I'm Candy. I'm so glad you called. I was on the edge of my seat waiting!"
"Do we know each other, Ms. Maxwell?"
"No, but we have a mutual acquaintance."
"And who would that be, Candy?"
"I'm not comfortable talking about it over the phone. Why don't you come over to my place so we can meet in private?"
"Is this for real?"
"Why don't you head on over here and find out for yourself?"
Within a half-hour, I was pulling up to Candy Maxwell's house. It was a big Victorian place with an iron gate up front. I walked up to it and pushed the buzzer on the intercom.
"Hello?" Candy's voice crooned through the speaker.
"It's me, Jack."
"Great! Come around to the backside of the house. I'm having a swim." The gate slowly swung open and I walked across the driveway past a pink BMW with red leather interior. It looked to be brand spanking new. As I came around the side of the house, I noticed a small wooden structure in the backyard. It was an old woodshed from the days when people needed such things to stay warm. I could hear splashing as I rounded the corner and when the pool came into view I was overcome by a vision. There, swimming naked before me, was the most beautiful woman I've ever almost dropped dead from seeing. She stopped swimming for a moment and waved to me.
"Care to cool off?" she asked.
Sliding naked down a glacier wouldn't have cooled me off right then.
"No thanks." I said, trying to keep my eyes in their sockets. She paddled around in the water as though it was nothing to swim nude in front of a stranger.
"I'll be right out." she said, heading for the stairs at the shallow end. I needed a distraction to keep from losing my cool. I fumbled around in my pockets for some cigarettes or a lighter before remembering that I don't smoke. Then, like Venus rising from the sea, Candy stepped out of the pool and stood before me shaking the water from her long, golden hair.
I was harder than Chinese arithmetic.
"You're quite striking." I commented.
"I hear the same about you." She walked over and took me by the lapels. "Isn't it a little hot for this?" Our lips almost met as she slid my jacket over my shoulders, down my arms and casually tossed it onto a nearby deck chair. She placed her hands on my chest and gave me a little shove. I fell back onto a chaise lounge. Just as I sat up, she climbed over my lap and arched her bottom at an angle that would tempt even the most amateur spanker. I couldn't help but notice how pink her cheeks were, the shade of bubble gum.
"You have an incredible back porch." I said.
"It could use a man's touch, though. Care to take a whack at it? Or maybe several?
"Looks like someone's already done that today."
"I got a little cheeky with a friend of mine, so he bent me over and showed me the error of my ways. But that was hours ago."
"Does it still sting?" I asked, giving one of her cheeks a squeeze.
"Marvelously!" she moaned. I let my hand roam across her perfect pink ass. Candy rolled her shoulders in anticipation. I lifted my hand and was poised to give this minx a spanking she'd never forget. Unfortunately, the moment was shattered by the sound of an angry voice.
"What the hell's going on out here?!" it said.
I turned to see a large powerful-looking man in a business suit approaching us.
"Who are you?!" he demanded.
"Jack Wayne. I'm a private detective." I stood, pulling Candy to her feet as I did.
"Well, I'm Melvyn Maxwell and the woman you had bent over your knee is my wife!"
"Melvyn, you're making a scene!" Candy said.
"Me?! The guy had his hands all over your ass!" The man grabbed Candy by the arm and took her to his side. "Where are your clothes?"
I handed her my jacket which she quickly wrapped around her shoulders.
"Thanks. I'm glad to see there are still some gentlemen left in this town!" She sneered at Melvyn who paid no attention to the dig.
"Get in the house and put something on!"
As Candy went off to the house in a huff, Mel and I stood there for a few awkward moments.
"I suppose you answered one of those ads." he asked in a semi-polite manner.
"Yes, but it wasn't as simple as that. You see, I'm working on a case-"
"I see. So it's part of your job to spank beautiful naked women?"
"If only that were the deal!" I chuckled.
"Look, I don't blame you for wanting to spank my wife. I do it three times a day myself! But her ass isn't public property, okay?!"
Candy came back out of the house with my jacket over one arm. She was wearing a white blouse, a plaid skirt, ankle socks and black patent leather shoes. The ensemble was fetching, but it sort of looked like a school girl's uniform.
"Here, Jack." she said, handing me my jacket. "I'm sorry things didn't work out. Mel can be a real wet blanket!"
"That's enough, Missy!" Melvyn replied. "Now, go march yourself into that woodshed and wait for me!"
"But I don't want another trip to the woodshed! I want this guy to spank me!" she cried.
"I'm going to count to three!" That's all he had to say. Before he could even start counting, the beautiful young woman walked away with arms angrily folded and her lower lip sticking out. "I'm sorry about all this, Mr. Wayne. It looks like you've been set up."
"Yeah." I put my jacket back on and we both walked toward the front of the house. I went straight for the driveway, he veered off toward the shed. "Don't be too harsh with Candy." I said.
"Are you kidding?" Maxwell laughed. "She's in there eating this up with a big spoon! Let me tell you, if I didn't keep her fanny as hot as a pepper at least eight hours a day, she'd drop me like a bad habit! Good luck, Mr. Wayne."
On the way out I could here the fireworks show starting in that woodshed. Melvyn's hand was making solid contact and Candy was squealing and begging for mercy. The smacking sounds followed me all the way to the car.