The Servant Ch. 04bycaligula97236©
Chapter 04 -- Slave auction
The horrid routine ended on Wednesday at 10:00 am. A couple of guards entered the cell, ordered Trish to face the wall, and cuffed her hands behind her back. Saying nothing, one of them gave her a rough shove to force her out the door. She was led up the stairs and into a moldy shower room. The guards removed her cuffs, handed her a bar of soap, and ordered her to get cleaned up. In spite of her terror, she was more than happy to comply. The water was cold, the soap was little better than laundry detergent, and the floor was slimy, but it was the best shower she ever had experienced.
After her shower, the guards cuffed Trish and led her to the courtyard. There were several police officers and six other prisoners. The prisoners were kneeling in a row. They were naked and had their hands cuffed behind their backs. All appeared to be Islanders. There were five men and a girl who couldn't have been more than sixteen. Trish was ordered to kneel next to the others. As the group knelt and waited, the sentencing judge stood with two other officials discussing paperwork. A burly male cop brandished a whip to remind the prisoners that they were to remain absolutely silent.
Five minutes passed before the two guards returned with another naked Islander, an unattractive woman who appeared to be in her late 30's. Trish overheard the sentencing judge's voice:
"Is that it? All the prisoners are here?"
"Yes, your honor."
"Very well. Stand them up."
The cop with the whip cracked it and ordered the prisoners to get on their feet. They struggled to keep their balance, given that they did not have the use of their hands. They stood quietly while the judge wrote something on a clipboard. He handed a black magic marker to one of the cops and showed him the clipboard.
"Here's the order of this week's sale. Those two..." (the judge pointed at two middle-aged men) "... go first. Then we'll do the women. That one..." (he pointed at the woman in her 30's) "then the American, and then the girl. I'll put the three boys at the end."
"Yes, Your honor."
The cop with the magic marker wrote a number on the chest of each prisoner. Trish would be the fourth prisoner to be auctioned; therefore she was marked with a large black "4" above her right breast.
As the prisoners were being numbered, Trish finally realized what was about to happen. "...the order of this week's sale." Oh shit! So that was why they had her get cleaned up! She, along with the seven Islanders, was going to be put up for sale! Trish looked around in horror at her fellow prisoners. All of them had miserable, but resigned expressions on their faces. The girl and one of the young men were crying.
The cop with the whip jumped in front of her. He cracked it and shouted: "What are you looking at, you fucking delinquent?!"
"Then shut your criminal mouth! We'll tell you what to look at!"
The cop then turned towards one of the young men and viciously struck him across the upper thighs. The prisoner screamed from pain and fell backwards. The cop struck him twice more before pulling him upright. Trish never found out what he did to so upset the official.
Another cop ordered the prisoners to re-order themselves according to their numbers, which left Trish standing between the other two women. A second officer with a camera took several pictures of the row of prisoners.
Trish's knees shook badly. She struggled not to throw up and not to faint. Oh shit...I am so fucked...oh my God...oh fuck... Yes indeed, she fully understood that the chances she'd ever resume her normal life were becoming more and more remote.
Four of the police officers took out their revolvers and ordered the prisoners to walk single file through the courtyard entrance of the courthouse. The group emerged onto a side street and walked, in full view of bicyclists and pedestrians, three blocks to a city park. The park had a raised bandstand in its center. There were several rows of folding chairs placed in a half circle near the platform. Some of the chairs already were occupied by well-dressed Islanders, while others were milling about or talking in small groups.
The audience fell silent when the prisoners approached. The escort ordered the eight captives to line up in front of the bandstand and face forward. A cop stepped up to the bandstand and addressed the bidders.
"Good afternoon, everyone! Today we've got eight prisoners! Bidding will start in 15 minutes! In the meantime, feel free to get a better look at them, and don't forget to take a sentencing sheet! If you read it, a lot of the questions you might have about what you're buying will be answered!"
The cop clapped his hands.
"Fifteen minutes! And I want to see some courtesy around here! Don't block other people from viewing! Take a look and move on!"
Trish stood in numb horror as Islanders, mostly middle-aged men, filed past her. Many of them looked carefully at her face and her belly-button, where the holes from her recently removed piercings were still evident. She heard one comment to a companion:
"I can't for the life of me understand why Americans do that to themselves. I'd buy her, but not with those holes."
"I don't know. They're not too bad. I'll buy her, if I can get her cheap."
A few minutes later she overheard another Islander comment:
"Life sentence. 24. No...I guess not."
Nevertheless, there was some interest in Trish and it was obvious that there were Islanders who planned to bid on her. However, the prisoner receiving the most attention was the girl, prisoner #5. It was clear that, among the servants, she'd receive the highest bid. The men clustered around her and ordered her to turn around several times and bend over. There were rules against touching a servant that had not yet been sold, which was fortunate for both the girl and Trish. The rule spared them from being fondled.
When the bell of a nearby church rang to announce noon, the cop ordered the bidders to take their seats. The prisoners were ordered to kneel. A man in a suit showed up, took his position at a table that had been set up on the bandstand, and cheerfully shouted:
"Good afternoon everyone!"
After the audience responded, the auctioneer ordered the first prisoner, one of the middle-aged men, to join him on the platform and kneel facing the audience.
"First servant. 36-year-old male. 15-year sentence. He has some manual-labor experience in construction and agriculture. Health is fair. Looks like he has a past history of drinking, but no drugs. How about a bid of 500 Florins?"
After a few seconds, a banana farmer raised his hand.
"500...thank you, sir. We've got 500. How about 600? Do we have 600? 600 Florins for a laborer?"
A second farmer raised his hand, eliciting a nasty look from the first bidder.
"600...thank you sir."
The auctioneer turned to the first farmer.
"Would you like to raise your bid, sir?"
"I'll pay 650."
The auctioneer turned to the second bidder, who shook his head.
"Looks like it's 650 Florins. 650...going once. 650...going twice..."
There was a crack of a gavel on the table:
"Sold for 650 Florins!"
A cop ascended the platform and pulled the prisoner to his feet. He scrawled the new owner's last name and the amount of the winning bid on the man's chest and ordered him to rejoin the other prisoners. The second prisoner sold for 700 florins, but the third prisoner, the woman in her 30's, only fetched 400. The auctioneer had to reduce the initial bidding price of 500 Florins, which was a major humiliation for both him and the woman.
Then it was Trish Bousquet's turn. Reluctantly she ascended the stairs and knelt next to the auctioneer. Her brain refused to believe this was actually happening. This had to be a bad dream. It had to be. A nightmare, from which she'd be waking up at any moment. It was the 21st Century. No...there was no way that...
"Prisoner #4 is an interesting one. A female from the United States, 24 years old. Not much work experience...mostly college, it would appear. Life sentence for cocaine trafficking. Past history of drug use and drinking, but her health is still good. Do I hear 500 Florins?"
Several hands went up.
Several hands went up again. The price for Trish quickly rose to 1,100 Florins before bidders started dropping out. When her price went up to 1,800 Florins, only three hands still went up. Her heart stopped when she noticed that one of the remaining bidders was Officer Eve Bousquet. She had not recognized her namesake because the officer was wearing a white dress instead of her normal uniform. However, uniformed or not, there she was, raising her hand in competition with two lecherous-looking men in their 50's. Trish still did not want to accept what was happening to her.
When the price for Trish reached 2,300 Florins, Officer Bousquet stood up and announced:
"Sir, I'd like to invoke my right to the standard police discount of 500 Florins."
"Thank you, Officer. That raises the price for prisoner #4 to 2,800 Florins. Would anyone like to top the bid for 2,800 Florins?"
"I'll top that. 2,900 Florins. Cash."
"Thank you, Sir. 2,900 Florins. Would you care to raise your bid, Officer?"
"Yes, Sir. I'd like to invoke my right to the standard government official's discount of 500 Florins."
"And you cleared that with the sentencing court?"
"Thank you, Officer. 3,400 Florins. The going price for the American is 3,400 Florins. Would you like to place another bid, Sir?
The man gave the cop a vicious look, totally disgusted at the unfair advantage those government discounts gave her.
"Thank you, Sir. 3,450 Florins! Care to bid, Officer?"
"2,500 Florins, plus the two discounts."
"Thank you, Officer. 3,500 Florins. Do you wish to place another bid, Sir?"
The man thought over his situation. Did he really want Trish that badly? Did he really want to spend that much money on her? Maybe it would be better to try for the girl? Besides, that cop seemed to have money to spare, with those damn discounts. How much higher could she go? He really did not want to pay so much for a servant that was 24-years old. The American wasn't worth it.
"No. I'm not going any higher."
"Very well. Officer, do you stay with your bid of 3,500 Florins?"
"Excellent. 3,500 Florins...going once. 3,500 Florins...going twice..."
The gavel cracked on the table. Trish flinched at the bang, which seemed to her as loud as a shot. That gavel announced a turning point in the life of prisoner #4. She had just become the property of another person.
"Sold...for 3,500 Florins! Thank you, Officer!"
Officer Eve Bousquet smiled slightly and nodded. She managed to conceal her joy and relief of having so narrowly won custody of Trish. She had bluffed perfectly. She would not have been able to bid any higher than 3,500 Florins, but fortunately her rival had not realized that.
Meanwhile, the uniformed cop assisting the auction pulled Trish to her feet. On her chest he wrote the sale price and her new owner's last name: "Bousquet". Trish returned to where the other prisoners were kneeling and stared at the grass in front of her...trying to figure out why she wasn't waking up from this horrible dream...
The battle over Trish and the fact that she had been bought by a female police officer added some interest to the auction, but the real bidding action came when prisoner #5, the younger girl, was put up for sale. She was the reason many of the men were attending, and those submitting serious bids knew that the competition for her would be fierce. The judge helping Officer Bousquet knew that as well, which was why he put Trish ahead of the girl. He knew that most of the serious bidders would hold off on offering too much for the American if the girl had not yet been sold. Had the girl been auctioned first, many of the bidders would have settled for Trish, who was the second most desirable prisoner being offered that week.
The girl and her boyfriend were being offered for sale after being convicted of sneaking onto tourist beaches and stealing from hotel guests. That was considered a serious offense in a country dependent on tourism. Stealing from tourists was not quite as serious as drug trafficking, but the teenagers were sentenced to 20 years. For a buyer that arrangement was perfect, because the teenagers would be released at age 36, just as they were about to turn middle-aged. As for the boyfriend, he too had received plenty of attention and also would fetch a high price. He was trembling because he knew what his fate was going to be. Same-sex relationships were taboo on the island, but that prohibition did not apply to servants. Servants were obliged to please their owners, no matter what.
The auctioneer decided to skip the formality of starting with the usual price of 500 Florins. The girl was worth a lot more than that, so he started the bidding at 2,000 just to save some time. Within minutes her price had shot up above 7,000 Florins. Buyers, even ones that would have a very hard time scraping together that much money, continued to raise their hands in a desperate attempt to own the young criminal.
It wasn't until the girl's price had gone above 8,500 Florins that prospective buyers began giving up and dropping out. One of the remaining bidders was the mayor of the second largest town on Santa Eduviges. As soon as he faced off with a single rival, the owner of a palm-oil factory, the politician invoked his public official's discount privilege and pushed the price above 9,000 Florins. The factory owner knew that the mayor had at least one more government discount in reserve, so at that point he gave up.
"9,200 Florins...going once. 9,200 Florins...going twice..."
The gavel smacked the tabletop...
"Sold for 9,200 Florins! Thank you, Mayor!"
Thank you indeed...9,200 Florins was a lot of money, something the police department could always use.
Prisoners #6 and #7 sold for 1,800 Florins and 2,100 Florins. Then there was more excitement when the final prisoner, the girl's boyfriend, ascended the bandstand. He was young and very good-looking, and also the last slave for the week. He sold for 3,200 Florins, which was considered a lot for a male prisoner.
A cop carrying a cash box collected the money from the eight winning bidders and passed out certificates of ownership. Trish later would find out that a Florin was worth about 20 US dollars, which meant that on the island her life was worth $ 70,000.
There was a final detail to resolve before the new servants could be turned over to their owners: they had to be collared. The collaring was done by a European armed with a scary-looking device that looked like a huge pair of salad tongs. The servants were forced to kneel in a row and were collared in the order in which they were sold. When it was Trish Bousquet's turn to be collared, the European slipped the tong-device over her neck and clamped it shut. There was a hiss and a dull click. When the technician removed the device, Trish had a sturdy metal collar around her neck.
The feeling of the uncompromising metal was what made Trish Bousquet realize that no...this was no dream. She never was going to wake up, because she had never gone to sleep. Trish had become a slave. The collar marked her as a slave. Because of the collar, the world around her would always see her as a slave. The collar would become her identity. Nothing else would matter.
As the collar technician packed up his supplies, the auctioneer made a final announcement:
"I want to thank everyone for coming out today, whether or not you purchased. It helps the National Police to have good participation in these auctions. I also want congratulate those of you who placed successful bids, and wish you the very best with your new servants. I have just one reminder: these people are now under your control and you are obligated to take proper care of them. A statement of those obligations was provided with your servant's ownership certificate, and make sure you read it."
That was the end of the auction. The police escort ordered the servants to stand up so their handcuffs could be removed. Unlike the collars, which were considered part of the sale price, the handcuffs belonged to the police.
In the order they were sold, the servants were directed towards their new owners. Each criminal approached his or her master and knelt. The owner told the servant how he was to be addressed and asked if the servant understood. After the servant responded, the owner told his charge to stand up.
It was customary that servants were prohibited from wearing any clothing, but that detail was up to the owner. The owner of prisoner #2, one of the middle-aged men, broke with tradition by handing his new charge a pair of sandals, a jean shirt, and some shorts. He had bought the man to work on his farm and had no desire to see him undressed. There was no hint that any of the other seven servants, Trish included, would ever be allowed to put on clothing again.
Trish watched the three servants that preceded her to understand what she needed to do when presented to Eve Bousquet. For the moment, at least, she wanted to do what she could to avoid getting into any further trouble. Things were bad enough for her as it was, so she did not want another beating or to be returned to that horrid cell.
When the police escort directed her to her new mistress, Trish was ready. Trembling, she approached the woman in the white dress, and when she was about a meter away she fell to her knees.
"Servant Trish. I am Officer Eve Bousquet. I am your owner. You will address me as Mistress Bousquet. When I tell you something, you will respond with 'yes, Mistress Bousquet' or 'no, Mistress Bousquet' to let me know that you heard what I said. Do you understand me?"
"Yes, Mistress Bousquet."
"Good girl. Another thing you need to know is that servants never talk unless their owner asks them a question or requests an explanation. If you need something, you will ask for permission to speak. You belong to me, so you are prohibited from talking to anyone else unless I have told you to do so. That includes other servants. Do you understand, Servant Trish?
"Yes, Mistress Bousquet."
"So what will happen if someone tries to talk to you, Servant Trish?"
"I...I won't say anything...Mistress Bousquet?"
"Close. You will tell that person to speak with me, your Mistress. You won't say anything else."
"Yes, Mistress Bousquet."
"Alright. Before anything else, I want to get you a pair of sandals. I'm not required to provide you with shoes, but I'll do it anyway. Now stand up."
"Yes, Mistress Bousquet."
The comment about the sandals reminded Trish that she was kneeling in a crowded public park, totally naked. She had been naked in public for several hours, but she had been with the other prisoners and too terrified to worry about modesty. Anyhow, her hands had been cuffed behind her back so she had been unable to cover herself.
Now she was away from the others, had the use of her hands, and had time to think about other things apart from being totally scared. She envied that one lucky slave who would be allowed by his master to wear work clothing.
Trish stood up. Unfortunately, without thinking about what she was doing, she tried to cover herself. Eve was not surprised, because it was common for recently collared servants to have one last display of modesty. She was ready for that, and ready to teach her ward the first hard lesson about what it meant to be collared.
Trish complied. Eve had brought with her a pair of handcuffs that she quietly slipped out of her purse.