PHASE 10  

A figure sat in an ornate dressing room putting on the final touches of make up and a wig. As a master of disguises this was a plan that had to have a perfect cover and timing. The plan to infiltrate Sal's tight knit club of things, they were not the brightest group but they were a group without a conscience among them, everything had to be perfect. 

Sal had always been suspected of trafficking young pretty girls from around the world to work at his club, but there was no way to prove such a suspicion without being a part of it. There would be no direct way to know what was going on as far as Erin's disappearance. The only way was to not trust anyone, and get the information needed to bring Sal down once and for all. Anyone suspected of double crossing Sal always ended up missing, or eventually showed up in bits and pieces scattered around the city. 

Comodo looked flawless, and he was going to kill Sal. He did not know how or when, but he was going to have his life back and no matter what the cost, or who had to pay. Everyone would believe it was a woman who ended Sal's pathetic, insignificant existence. Again he had the perfect plan. 

Comodo adjusted the wig. He was very proud of this disguise, it was the best one yet. He spied on Sal many times in the BLU VELVET in other disguises, some were not as good as others and it almost ended in disaster, but no one would know who was under the body forming padding and latex. 

As he drove to the BLU VELVET he rehearsed his voice. He even sounded like a beautiful woman. There was always a debate as to Comodo's real gender given his indiscernible, incredibly androgynous looks. As no one could prove it either way, the thousands of dollars sat in a safe at the Blu Vevet until it was proven. Comodo could prove it and take the money, but refused to give anyone the satisfaction of knowing. It gave him a sense of power to keep the mystery. He thrived on the attention no matter where it came from or why. 

He parked his car several blocks away from the Blu Velvet, and went into a coffee shop. He sat at a small table and ordered an espresso from the young waiter who thanked him as madam. He sat confidently sipping his hot treat, then called a cab. Within minutes his ride appeared with a short honk of the bright orange cars horn.

Cab Driver: Where to lady?

Comodo: The BLU VELVET please. He smiled politely. 

Cab Driver: Yeah a beautiful lady like you don't need to be walkin' all that way. You 
                  work there? It's a nice establishment. 

Comodo: No I don't work there. 

Cab driver: Goin' to an interview then? 

Comodo: No.

Cab driver: You mean you're just goin' there tuh watch? I didn't figure you for that 
                 type. Just can't tell these days. 

Comodo: Oh no I'm not, my brother works there. I'm going to see him. 

Cab driver: Oh that'll be nice. Well, here you are lady. Hope you have a good visit 
                 with your brother. 

Comodo: Thank you, I will. 

He paid the driver and walked up to the ticket window. Prior to 11:00pm the price was $50, but after was $75. Sal figured the earlier people came the more they would drink. The reduced rate was what he considered a generous offer. 

Comodo was surprised at how few people were inside. The shows started at 9:00, it was 10:30 and it was usually packed early in anticipation of Erin's routine. Even the girls performing seemed irritated at having to be there. No one seemed to care about anyone except Erin. 

He sat at a small table close to a cluster of people so he did not stand out, even though his disguise was impeccable. He did not want to draw attention in anyway. A physically perfect, young waitress with long blonde hair and perfect tan skin strutted to Comodo's table wearing only brown leather chaps and a cowboy hat. 

Waitress: Howdie madam. Can I rustle somthin' up for you to whet your whistle?

Comodo: Oh my, such a pretty young cowgirl. What might your name be?

Waitress: Filly. 

Comodo: Filly? Well why don't you just rustle up a surprise drink for me. Lets see if 
              you can guess what kind of drinker I am. If you get it right I'll give you a 
              giant tip. Maybe you could sit and visit for a spell too. 

Filly: That sounds right nice, be right back now. 

Clever, Comodo thought. Waitresses who strip, wait, and role play. Nice touch. Guess I'll keep that going when I take over. He scanned the giant room and saw all varieties of waitresses; biker, athletes of all kinds of themes. The soccer player was his favorite so far, wearing nothing but shin guards and half a soccer ball on her head for a hat. Filly might be my perfect spy. I'll use her without her even knowing it. 

Filly: Here ya go. 

She placed a tangerine colored drink in front of him and sat down putting one leg over his lap. 

Comodo: It's very pretty. What is it? 

Filly: Just taste it. It's my own recipe, sweet with a bite. 

Comodo: How you do know me so well. He took a sip and it was perfect sweetness 
              followed by a whiplash of alcohol. It's perfectly me. How 'bout I just run a 
              tab with you tonight? 

Filly: That'd be just fine madam. What do ya wanna do first? 

Comodo: The polite thing to do would be to get to know each other first. 

Filly: Alright then. How do you like your ride?

Comodo: My what?

Filly: Your ride? English, Western, or bareback?

Comodo: I'm going to say Western. 

Filly: Oh now that's funny. Most people say...

Comodo: Bareback? 

Filly: Why yes. You're a funny lady. 

Comodo: Thank you. You look like you're new here. 

Filly: I am. Just rode in last week. 

Comodo: You dance too? 

Filly: Why yes, we all do. 

Comodo: That's nice. You wanna scoot a little closer? 

Filly: Oh no I can't do that out here. You have to reserve a time in another room for 
        that. I have availabilities. 

Comodo: Well let’s make something available right now. 

Filly: Eager ain't ya. Let me go clear it with the bosses. Don't go nowhere. 

Comodo: Oh I'll be right here waitin'. 

He watched her walk to a dark corner with large mysterious figures sitting at a table. Occasionally he saw the red glow of a fat cigar. She stood in front of them waiting to be told an answer. Comodo knew they were looking at him, sizing him up to make sure there would be no trouble. Comodo picked up his drink to snicker behind it without them noticing his expression at their expense. He could not help laughing. They thought they were looking at a gorgeous woman, not their worst nightmare. He knew Sal from the glowing cigar, but who were the bosses. She turned, heading back to his table. 

Filly: You ready partner? They said it's alright. 

Comodo: Oh yeah. 

Filly: I have to tell you there are some house rules that must be strictly followed. I'd 
        hate to see somethin happen to someone as sweet and beautiful as you. 

Comodo: What rules?

Filly: I’ll hafta tell ya when we get to our suite, and you have to pay up front.

Comodo: How much?

Filly: $200 for the first 15 minutes, but it’s cheaper if you go for 30 minutes, only 
        $350. You get an extra 15 minutes for $150 instead of $200.

Comodo could not believe Sal’s rates and that people were actually paying it, but he did find it refreshing that Filly could actually add.

Comodo: That’s insane! 

Filly: What?!

Comodo: That it’s only $350 for 30 minutes of your precious time. You’re worth so 
              much more I meant.

Filly: Ain’t you so sweet.

She stopped at the suite door and waited for Comodo to pay the gargantuan man.

Comodo followed her into a room decorated in the most western motif imaginable. Wagon wheel tables, wagon wheel fabric on the furniture, a covered wagon bed. Not to mention the fake, glowing campfire on the cow rug in the middle of the floor with a real stuffed rattlesnake in a striking position. Next to it, there are small props, toy guns, ropes, and an assortment of harmonica and banjo music to choose from. Comodo stared in disbelief. 

Filly: Well partner, the rules. 

Comodo: What?

Filly: The rules. I have to go over the rules. There will be no….

Comodo: There will be no need to go over the rules. I have no intention of doing 
              anything to you that would require do’s and don’ts. I’d really just like your 
              company and to talk. 

Filly: Company and talk? Oh, is that how you….

Comodo: No you misunderstand. It’s like in the western days, you know how people 
              were discreet, got to know each other first, not proper-like in a whore 
              house, but an innocent relationship. I plan on visiting you many times, so 
              we could call it courting. 

Filly: Courting?

Comodo: Dating, that’s what they called it back then. 

Filly: Oh. You really get into the role-playing. I guess that’s okay since you paid, the 
        bosses won’t care. How does courting work?

Comodo: Well, I guess we talk some for the first few visits, then we’ll see. 

Filly: Talk about what?

Comodo: Well, we’re both girls; let’s talk about girl things. Ask each other how are 
              day was. You can use this job and I’ll tell you about mine. I’ll start. Did 
              anyone upset you today? Give you a hard time? 

Filly: And I just tell you?

Comodo: Sure, it’s just conversation. 

Filly: I don’t know, we get in trouble if we talk about the club.

Comodo: Okay. How about you talk about it, but change the name. If we have 
              different names, they’ll just think we’re playing our own game. If they 
              even find out. 

Filly: It would be nice to talk to someone outside of the business. Everyone is so on 
        edge since Erin went missing. The bosses are horrible since they stand to lose 
        millions if she doesn’t show up for the executives that want to fly in. None of 
        them really care about any of us, it’s her they want. She is the most incredible 
        stripper in the world. There’s something about her, not just her moves, but 
        how she comes across on stage. None of us have it, whatever it is.         

        I haven’t worked here long, but I plan to learn all I can so I will be famous like 
        her, everybody wanting to give me everything, do anything for me. Right now 
        I’m just at the bottom of the totem pole dildo. With no batteries at that.

Comodo: Interesting analogy. 

Filly: Interesting what?

Comodo: Story. Interesting listening to you. 

Filly: Oh thanks. I’m not use to talking to anyone,  never know who to trust. It's 
        nice, and, well, you’re a great listener.

Comodo: Well you’re very easy to listen to. 

Filly: Hey why is a lady like you interested in a place like this anyway?

Comodo: Oh, I was an exotic dance instructor once, until an accident a few years 
              ago. Now I just have to watch from a distance. Like a naked ballet, really  
              graceful and creative. 

Filly: That’s how I see it too! So you’re not a lesbian, or a woman or man in 

Comodo: No, none of those. Just a retired dance instructor trying to connect with a 
              world I thought was stolen from me.

Filly: You seem really nice.

Comodo: So when is that big executive party suppose to happen? You going to be in 
              it? You would be just as good as Erin.

Filly: Oh it’s next week, and I doubt it. The bosses only pick the top dancers and I 
        haven’t been here long enough. I’ll waitress if he even lets me be here. Those 
        things are very private, and they keep the people a secret who come to it. 
        Guess they’d get in trouble of sorts if they were caught here.   

Comodo: How many bosses do you have? I thought only one guy was the boss. 

Filly: I shouldn’t talk about them.

Comodo: I won’t tell, just curious. You’re quite exotic doing such a secretive job. 

Filly: That’s funny, me exotic. I guess I could tell you, Sal owns the place right, but 
        there seems to be several other guys working with him. Couple of the girls and 
        me have noticed Sal meets with them once a month in his back office. Then a 
        week later new girls, just 3 or 4, show up. They dance one show and badly I 
        might add, then they’re gone. We figure they just get fired, but why bring 
        them in at all? Sal’s got plenty of walk-ins and dancers already. We think he 
        might be auditioning for another club. Anyway, none of us know the guys, but 
        we’d like to in case we could start at another club for Sal. This is really Erin’s 

A knock came at the door.

Filly: Oh, I’m sorry our time is up. This was really great but don’t tell anyone our 
        secret okay? I could get in a lot of trouble.

Comodo: Don’t worry I won’t. Comodo reached in his purse and gave Filly a $200 
              tip. I won’t tell if you don’t. See you later. 

Filly: This is all for me?!

Comodo held his finger up to his lips: It’s our secret, and there’s a lot more where 
             that came from.  

Filly: I hope so!

Comodo walked out of the BLU VELVET knowing exactly what Sal was up to. A few more visits and he would know everything Filly knew. It didn’t matter if she would never put the pieces together, he knew where to stack them and how and when to use them. He would torture Sal with everything he learned, and then he would kill him. He thought about killing Filly, but if she never knew his true identity there would be no need. He saw innocence in Filly, innocence he never knew. Maybe he would keep her like a pet. 

Comodo casually walked out of the club’s front door, got in a cab, and rode back to his car by the coffee shop. He thought of his next step in murdering Sal. It would be his most fulfilling moment taking back his club. He would have to be patient and very careful. Sal had spies everywhere, especially in the Blu Velvet. Comodo was not worried, he was happier than he’d ever been in years.