tagErotic CouplingsSam Mullone & the Missing Drugs

Sam Mullone & the Missing Drugs

bynightvoice2©

1. The Case

Samantha Mullone straightened her skirt over her nylon knees as she waited patiently outside the office. In her line of work, she could usually get away with dressing casually in jeans and a t-shirt and she tugged at her smart navy blue skirt anxiously, as her feet complained about being squeezed into a pair of matching suede heels. The last time she'd worn these shoes was at a wedding and they felt a lot tighter than she'd remembered.

She felt a little out-of-place here in this smart office building in a research park on the edge of Fentonbridge. She saw most of her clients at the small office that she rented near the centre of town, where she listened to their tales of missing persons and unfaithful spouses. She was keen to make a good impression as the case details she'd heard so far had sounded intriguing.

She checked her mobile but there were no urgent calls or emails to attend to, so she switched it off, using the shiny black screen as a makeshift mirror, stroking her slender eyebrows then tucking a stray curl of chestnut hair behind her ear before a tall, haughty-looking secretary showed her in.

The man behind the large desk stood and extended a hand: "Hi, I'm Dr Bob Hibbert, head of Research, welcome to Kleinwert Pharmaceutical, Miss Mullone." He was a tall, broad man, clean-shaven and dressed smartly in a dark grey suit with a red- and green-striped tie.

"Thanks, call me Sam. Nice office you've got here," she replied politely as she settled into a chrome and black leather chair. Sunlight flooded in from the large window behind his desk, filling an office that was modern and airy with tasteful paintings adorning the cream-coloured walls.

"Thanks, you know I have to admit I was kind of expecting a male investigator," he confessed, twisting his thick gold wedding band.

"Yeah, I get that a lot," she said, forcing a smile. "So, uh, what can I do for you, Dr Hibbert?"

"Call me Bob. Well it's quite a sensitive matter, I need your word that what we discuss here stays within these four walls."

"I'm used to dealing with confidential matters so that's not a problem."

"Right, right, of course but this is more important than investigating someone who's having an affair," he replied, somewhat patronisingly, "so we'll need you to sign a non-disclosure agreement."

"That's fine, no problem" she said, staring evenly into his steely grey eyes, eager to get to the heart of the matter.

He paused and leant back in his chair: "Miss Mullone, I'm not sure how much you know about Kleinwert. We're a small R and D company that carries out experimental research and develops new drugs. For some time we've been researching drugs to help treat male and female sexual dysfunction. Many men struggle with premature ejaculation and maintaining an erection. And many women have problems with arousal for a variety of reasons, maybe post-natal depression or they may have had a bad experience or it may be related to their monthly cycle so there's a lot of demand for drugs to treat these disorders. Anyway, a couple of years ago a freelance researcher came across a previously undiscovered tribe in the Brazilian rainforest. Every year this tribe has a kind of coming of age ceremony where all the boys of a certain age become men and the girls become women, if you know what I mean. Essentially, it's a kind of ceremonial orgy with lots of chanting and dancing. Anyway, the researcher noticed that throughout the evening the participants chewed a special kind of leaf from a tree that only grows in that area. It turns out it's a mild aphrodisiac. So one leaf doesn't have much effect but if you chew leaf after leaf all evening there's a cumulative effect. In particular, they noted that it gave the boys the, um, stamina to perform all night despite it being their first time, if you know what I mean."

He took a breath and ran a hand through his thin, greying hair.

"Well anyway, to cut a long story short we've spent the last two years trying to isolate the active compound in these leaves and we've finally reached a stage where we can begin proper phase one testing."

"So you think you have an effective drug then?" Sam asked.

"Oh yes. Well we've done a lot of in-vitro testing in rabbits, rats and the like so far but the results are looking very promising, there's definitely an effect on mammals."

"How does it work?"

"Well I'm a chemist not a biologist, but we believe that it temporarily dilates blood vessels and increases heart function, leading to higher blood pressure and a temporary increase in performance."

"I see. But it hasn't been tested on humans yet?"

"Ah well that's where you come in. I have reason to believe that someone's been smuggling the drug out of the lab. That's a big problem for us because we make our money by developing these drugs and selling the formulae onto the big pharmaceutical companies for mass production. If one of our competitors or potential customers gets hold of a sample, we could lose thousands of pounds, maybe hundreds of thousands."

"What makes you think it's being smuggled out?"

"Some of the younger members of staff have begun to hear rumours about a new drug that's being dealt in some of the local clubs. Apparently, it turns men into animals, they're calling it 'Bunny'. The effects sound very similar to our drug."

"Bunny?"

"Yeah, as in the Energiser Bunny. You know, that one that outlasts all the others in the adverts?"

"I see." Sam said. "I would have thought the thieves would have gone for something more imaginative like sexstacy."

"Yeah, well maybe the manufacturers will steal your idea, if it ever gets that far," he chuckled. "I shouldn't joke; this drug's never been properly tested on humans before so we've got no idea of the long term effects, particularly on people with heart or blood pressure problems."

"So have you got any suspicions?" she asked.

"Not really it's quite a small team, but they've all been warned that their jobs are at risk if they're caught and we've employed a security firm to do random searches when they leave. My secretary will give you a complete list of everyone who has access, but it's only a handful of employees. I reckon you'll find the culprit in the first five or six names."

"Uh huh," Sam said, looking up. She'd taken out her notebook and started scribbling some notes.

"To be honest we don't have experience of dealing with this kind of drug. We normally develop niche drugs to help with Alzheimer's or heart disease; we've never developed anything this universal before."

"OK," Sam said, still hastily writing, "you say the drug's being sold in local clubs. Any particular nightclub?"

"Uh," he leaned back and stared at the ceiling. "Yeah, I think maybe a nightclub called Suzie's, have you heard of it?"

Sam smiled. Fentonbridge was a provincial town around a hundred miles north of London; although it was quite small it was big enough to have a number of pubs and restaurants and three nightclubs. Suzie's was the smallest of them, the kind of place you ended up if you weren't smart enough to get in anywhere else.

"Oh yes, I've heard of it," she said, unable to suppress a smile. "I'll need that list of all of the employees that have access to this drug along with their addresses and any other details you have before I leave, if that's OK."

"OK" he nodded, "I'll get my secretary to pass that along to you, anything else?"

"No, that's fine for the moment" she said getting up and smoothing down her skirt, "one more question: why not just get the police to investigate?"

"Two reasons," he said, getting up and offering his hand, "one: they wouldn't be interested, they'd say it was an internal matter. And two: I need to keep this in-house, we can't have this story leaking out to the press and damaging our reputation and share price. I can't stress you how important it is that you act with discretion."

Sam shook his hand: "Duly noted. I'll be in touch Bob, thanks for your time."

As Sam bent over to retrieve her handbag, Bob couldn't help admiring the way her sensible navy skirt clung to the curves of her neatly rounded bottom. When his secretary told him she'd hired a PI called Sam Mullone he hadn't thought she'd be a woman, let alone an attractive brunette with a knockout ass.

As she drove out of the car park, Sam felt a rush of excitement. This case felt a genuine investigation, a chance to use all her experience and skills, unlike the routine cheating spouse, missing person or insurance fraud cases she'd been dealing with recently.

She thought about the many evenings she'd spent at Suzie's back when she was a trainee policewoman. Good times, bad times and times she couldn't even begin to remember. What on earth could a woman in her mid-thirties wear and not look out of place? She mentally scanned her wardrobe for the shortest skirts and tightest tops. Did she have anything daring enough to fit in?

--

Sam leant on the bar and tugged at the hem of her dress self-consciously. She'd settled on an old favourite, a stretchy all-purpose black dress that hugged her slim yet curvy figure but felt a lot shorter than she remembered. Her feet had started complaining about her black heels too. She hadn't been out to a club since she split up with her last boyfriend and she'd forgotten how deafening these places were. The electronic music was loud and fast, the floor beneath her black heels shuddered with the heavy thumping bass as brightly coloured lights swept over a tiny dance floor, packed with writhing mass of people, all bouncing in time to the pounding beat.

"Hey, beautiful," said a husky voice right behind her.

Sam spun around ready to lie and say that she was waiting for her boyfriend, but then her lips curled into a broad grin.

"Steve!" she said, hugging the tall, attractive man dressed casually in blue jeans and a fitting black t-shirt. "How are you? I didn't know you still hung out at this dive! You're not on duty, right?"

Steve Williams was a policeman, and once upon a time when she was in uniform they'd dated. But, for reasons she couldn't remember now, things hadn't worked out and they'd agreed to be friends before she'd left the force and they'd lost touch.

"Of course, where else would I get in? No, I'm on the early evening shift at the moment. How are you? You're looking great," he said, his eyes sliding over her body and lingering on her long legs.

"Thanks, you heard I'd gone private right?" she said, leaning in close and shouting into his ear. This close, Sam could smell his after-shave. It was better than the one she remembered, a pleasant blend of pine needles and bergamot, and wondered if his new girlfriend had bought it for him.

"Yeah, I hear you've been pretty successful, good for you. Most ex-cops end up in dead-end jobs as security guards, so we were all impressed to hear you were running your own business as a private investigator. You here with someone?" he replied, looking around for her date.

"No, actually I'm investigating something. Actually, you might be able to help."

"Yeah?"

"So, say I wanted to score some soft drugs, are there are dealers at this place?"

"I assume that it's related to your work, or are you looking to escape the grim reality of your life after breaking up with me?" he joked.

"Come on, stop screwing around," she said punching his chest, which felt pleasingly solid. He'd obviously been putting in the hours at the police gym.

"Yeah, you want a guy called Robert Dolan, although everybody calls him Pirate Bob. He's a pale, scrawny guy with dreadlocks, he'll probably be out back. He's strictly small time though, does nothing more serious than weed and ecstacy. Hardly worth us bothering with."

"Cool. Listen I need to check this guy out, but maybe I'll catch you later," she shouted as she pushed her way through the crowds towards the rear doors.

--

It had been something of an Indian summer, surprisingly warm for September and the rear fire doors were wide-open, drawing cool air towards the hot, sweaty mass of clubbers. The doors lead out onto a kind of alleyway, which was bricked up at one end. At the other, a large, black bouncer blocked the entrance from the street, his huge body squeezed into a tight silver-grey suit, his large shoulders seemingly attached directly to his shaved head without the need for a neck. He eyed her suspiciously as she stepped out.

Opposite her, a short, skinny white guy with thick, limp dreadlocks partially covered by a blood red bandanna played with his mobile 'phone, the ghostly blue light of the screen lighting his face. He had a wispy goatee, making him look like pale, unhealthy version of Jack Sparrow. Sam instantly saw how it worked: the bouncer acting as his minder, and supplementing his earnings by taking a cut of the dealer's profits.

It must have rained since she'd been inside, and the garish green and red neon lights of the club reflected off the wet tarmac as Sam stumbled over a puddle, unused to wearing such high heels.

"Hey," she said. "Are you Bob?"

"That's me babe, you looking for a little something something?" he drawled, flashing her a gap-toothed grin.

"Maybe. A friend of mine told me about a new wonder drug," she said, leaning in close and dropping her voice. "Have you got any of that 'Bunny'?"

"Damn, that stuff so popular right now, I'm near sold out. Might be able to help out a pretty lady like you though," he said, taking a good long look at her. He had an annoying fake 'gangsta' accent that was part-Jamaican but couldn't hide an underlying rural burr that was all Norfolk.

Sam knew she was never going to be a super-model, but with a little make-up and the right dress, she knew she could turn a few heads. She forced herself to stand still and smile politely as his eyes took in her long legs, sliding up over her slim hips. She arched her back a little as his dark eyes lingered on her cleavage, silently marvelling at the engineering wonders of a push-up bra.

"I tell you what; you wanna come back to my place? I can give you a free sample, we can have ourselves a little party, huh?" he said, as he eyed the way her pert boobs bulged against her low-cut dress.

"I'm with my boyfriend, but I've got plenty of cash so..." she said, thanking glancing back over her shoulder to where the music blasted through the open doors.

"Boyfriend, huh? Well, some of us don't need no drugs to keep partying all night, if you know what I is saying, it's satisfaction guaranteed with Pirate Bob, babe," he said, flashing her a broad grin that exposed several gold teeth.

"Listen, if you can't help me..." Sam said, losing her patience and turning away.

"Hey, hey! Come on, I'm just tugging your chain, yeah? Course I can help out a hot lady like you," he said, sliding his hand into the pocket of his jacket. Sam watched as he drew out a clear plastic bag and held it up in front of her face. It contained four shiny black pills, a little larger than Skittles.

"How much?" Sam said.

"Eighty," he said.

"Eighty pounds! That's a bit steep, isn't it? I can get Viagra for a lot less than that."

"Hey, this is some serious shizzle, yeah? Fresh on the market, and selling as fast as I can get hold of it... I tell you babe, your boyfriend's gonna be up for hours, you're gonna have some real hot fun, you is one lucky lady, you feel me?"

"Right," Sam said, fishing in her purse for the money.

"You ain't barely gonna be able to walk tomorrow. In fact, forget that, you ain't gonna want to leave the bedroom tomorrow. And like I say, this stuff's been selling so fast, so you know if you ain't interested..." he drawled.

"Okay, okay, here," she said, thrusting a fistful of notes into his outstretched hand.

"Pleasure doing business with you, you ever want a free sample you just let me know and we can come to some arrangement, yeah?" he said, winking crudely as she shoved the pills into her purse.

"Sure, I'll let you know."

--

Sam pushed her way back through the crowds, feeling elated. Earlier, she'd already collected the profiles of the main suspects at the lab, and handed them to an old friend to carry out background checks. She'd normally do that job herself, but Hibbert had been insistent that she get some quick results.

And now she'd achieved her second goal; obtaining a sample of the drug itself. She hadn't expected that getting hold of it would be that easy, and now she had, she wasn't sure what to do. Obviously, she'd have to find out who was supplying Pirate Bob, but that was for another day. Ideally, she'd like to check if he'd given her the real thing, and not fobbed her off with a fake, but the drug was really meant for men. Dr Hibbert had told her that it only had a mild stimulating effect on women. So she really needed a man to test it for her.

"Hello again. You get what you wanted?" Steve mouthed over the loud music as she tapped him on the shoulder.

"Your flat's not too far from here, is it?" she shouted into his ear, before flashing him an encouraging smile. "Only I need a little help with an experiment..."

-

"So, how's Lara?" she asked, trying to keep her voice neutral as she leant back on the sofa and took another sip of her wine. They were sitting at opposite ends of the same sofa that he'd had when they first started dating. She looked around his flat, which didn't seem to have changed at all from when she was last here, and was bringing back all kinds of unwanted memories of passionate nights and lazy mornings.

"Oh, she's good. She's away at some conference in Manchester this weekend, but everything's great. You seeing anyone at the moment?"

"No, I broke up with Kevin about six months ago. To be honest, I can't say I mind being on my own though."

They chatted for a while about the old days on the job, Steve updating her on who'd left, who'd been promoted, who was dating whom.

"So, uh, anything happening yet?" she asked after a while, nodding towards his thighs.

"Nope, how long's it been? Like ten minutes?"

"Um, nearly fifteen," she said, glancing at her slim silver watch. Sam had felt nervous about taking these unknown pills. The closest she'd come to dabbling in drugs was smoking a joint when she was at university. The pill she'd swallowed with a mouthful of wine had been small, black and shiny. She'd half expected it to taste of liquorice or dark chocolate, but it didn't really taste of anything, just vaguely waxy.

"I'm supposed to get a stiffy that last for hours, and turn into a raving sex monster that tears off your clothes and drags you into my bedroom. I mean, that's what you're hoping for, right?" he grinned.

"Yeah, in your dreams. Come on, you know we agreed we'd just be friends, it's better that way," she said soberly.

"Come on, we could be friends with benefits," he said, waggling his eyebrows.

"Friends with benefits! What is that anyway?" she snorted. "Men and women that fuck each other can't be friends, haven't you ever seen 'When Harry Met Sally'? It's scientifically proven."

"Come on; don't tell me you're not tempted."

"Don't flatter yourself, stud. Listen, we're not going to have sex. This is just an experiment, okay?"

"Well, there ain't much going on down there. Hey, maybe I need a little stimulation," he said, swigging from his bottle of beer.

"Stimulation?"

"Yeah, you know, something to get my engine running, like pull-starting an outboard motor. Why don't you take off your dress?"

"Woah there, tiger! I'm not taking my clothes off!"

"Come on, it's nothing I've not seen before. And it makes sense that I'd need some kind of trigger to, you now, get the ball rolling."

Sam rolled her eyes then studied him over the rim of her wine glass, trying to gauge how serious he was. It did kind of make sense, and he had seen her naked before. A couple of years ago, she'd have been spending the night here.

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