The Doyenne had reasons for everything. Even impulsive moves had reasons behind the impulse, and they were considered before that impulse was acted upon. Greeting Caroline had been one such impulse – and going to shake up Arthur would be another.
It was that kind of night.
The little room in which Arthur watched over Sodom had eyes that could see the entire club. ‘Private’ spaces were not exempt – this was a protective role, and he protected, even as he sneered at the filth he saw happening. It didn’t matter if a door had been closed to a private room, or a shower was in use. It didn’t matter if they were in the darkest, dankest, dungeonest corner of the place. They might be blindfolded while their bodies were flogged and their orifices plundered, but the tiny eyes of Sodom’s cameras saw it all.
Arthur was staff, so he was privy to secrets that guests did not know. But he didn’t know everything.
One thing he didn’t know was that a camera watched over him.
Sodom the club took up the central portion of a two floor building. It didn’t use the entire space – there were rooms that only the staff entered, scattered around the periphery and with their entrances discreetly tucked away. From one of those rooms you could take another door and follow a corridor to reach the staff living areas. But – if you instead took two more doors (each requiring their own keys) and then a further corridor that took a sharp step down, you’d find yourself in a different building entirely.
And that’s where the Doyenne made their home.
After drifting through the club and meeting Caroline, the Doyenne had slipped back through the staff-only areas, listening. While the other staff keyed their discreet headsets on and off whenever they needed to pass a message along, all chatter automatically came through to this one. Jake’s murmured concern over Linus, when he beckoned Theodore across the main floor, was heard. Arthur’s cranky muttering, which he had no idea was broadcast, was heard. Tina’s slight shuffling as she waiting for midnight and door-closure, was heard. Even Jake’s bar-wiping came through. When it suited, it was easy enough to tune it out or turn it off. But for now, it was wanted.
So, it wasn’t the greeting so much as the touching that had set off Linus – that really wasn’t a surprise. The Doyenne had watched the man as he’d visited over the past few years, and continued inviting him, more regularly than some, as there was something … interesting about him. To see him arrive with a partner, though – that was new. Jake stepped up though, going off my hints to the woman. We’ll thank him for that later.
But Arthur. That’s not how he should be behaving. Arthur, though, could not just be walked in on. Having cameras everywhere included the area by the showers and the entrance to his oubliette. And that meant surprising him a different way.
Rather than approach the showering area, the Doyenne instead returned to the other building.
In the Doyenne’s private sleeping quarters, there was a laptop. It was kept locked away whenever not in use, so they retrieved it and booted it up, and opened a certain programme. The programme which showed Arthur’s space, and Arthur.
He was still grumbling. No noise came through the laptop, but now the actions could be seen to match the audio from the earpiece. He was rubbing his right ankle, where the cuff was, body twisted out of true as he kept his eyes on the monitors in front of him. His hair – wispy and practically colourless – was messed, as if he’d been shoving his hands through them, or tugging at the ends.
“Damned stupid bitching people. If they weren’t here I wouldn’t be locked up and my ankle wouldn’t pinch and I could relax and why are they such cunting pervert bastards anyhow?” Rub clank twist. “And I could pee and have more water and why can’t I have a bigger bottle and fuck sometimes I hate my job and why do I bother anyhow?” Clank twist rub.
Oh, Arthur. You are in trouble. This needed to be dealt to.
The Doyenne tapped a setting on her earpiece, opening a private channel between herself and Arthur. It wouldn’t be appropriate for the rest of the staff to hear this.
In a quiet voice, the Doyenne spoke. “You are vile, Arthur. Do you think you hurt now? Do you think you’re uncomfortable now? Do you think you’re thirsty now?”
The was absolute cessation of movement, seen through the screen. “Boss! I … uh… oh, fuck…”
“Do you really hate your job, Arthur, you vile worm? This job you begged for, you slime? Do you want me to give it away, you snivelling toad?”
On the screen, Arthur slid to his knees. The ankle chain clanked. His eyes closed and forehead creased. His look was one of agony.
The Doyenne’s voice whipped out. “Watch the screens! You’re not fired yet, scum.”
A whimper. “Yes, boss. Thank you, boss.”
“Get back in your seat. I expect no more complaints tonight, Arthur. Not from you, not about you. Only talk when you have something to say to one of the staff about something on the screen.”
A frantic nod, followed by a spoken, “Yes, boss.”
The Doyenne continued, “I will let you out when I feel you’ve been in long enough to think about this. When I do, you can tell me if you still want this position.” A pause, and then another thought came to them. “And one more thing. If you’re thirsty, you’re just going to have to drink your own piss. Because you’re not getting any more water, Arthur. Not until I let you out.”
The laptop was closed. The Doyenne smiled. The only sound in the earpiece was quiet moaning.
And the small clock on the wall showed midnight.
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