View character profile for: Owen Walker
JP with Wandering Wolf, Sail & Blitzen
"There's no such thing as demons,” Owen replied, his voice a reassuring matter-of-fact nature that, frankly, she found comforting after last night’s marathon reading. ”And this is just your average house call... To the local S & M shop." His cough was more thinly veiled sarcasm than the necessary clearing of the stale hotdog bun from his throat. "He's probably really fat; I mean that Lucky cart looks like it's glued to the spot."
Catbite turned her head, a modest gesture to support the sidelong glance that lifted, only to find a trace of humor on the man’s face. Despite herself, a wry smile traced across her lips as the pair reflected on their shared meal. She was starting to like this asshole…
The firm door slid open, it’s supporting track wheels gliding quietly above them. Catbite’s first glimpse of the interior revealed nothing but shadow, and the rush of cool air the played gently upon the fabric and hair of the woman. Even without her heels, she was tall, statuesque and lithe in the way that was only carried off by black women who strode the catwalks of Paris and New York. Slender fingers clutched the door’s handgrip, a motion yet economical and authoritative as she sized them up dispassionately.
Her eyes settled upon the punk. “You are Kat’rin?” she asked, her voice a deep purr. “From de’ phone?”
“Yes,” Catbite nodded.
“And ‘dis,” the woman’s eyes lifted to meet Owen’s straight on, “is ‘de boy’s papa?”
The mysterious beauty nodded. “Good,” she spoke, her hand lowering to permit his entrance. “Come...not you,” the hand rose once more, palm up to deny Kat. “‘De white girl stays outside,” she regarded Owen carefully. “What you find in here is for you...alone.”
“Fuck it,” Kat shrugged. “I got shit to do. Call me,” she feigned diffidence as she whirled about. Before Owen could utter a word of farewell, the door had glided shut and was locked by his host. “Mista Fourchette is waiting for you,” she offered. “Follow me. Please watch your step. ‘De floor is uneven.”
By all appearances, the main shop space of S&M Iron Works was, in fact, a fully provisioned metal fabrication shop. As his graceful host led the way, Owen took note of drill presses, numatic vices, band saws, and even a little smelting furnace with its’ array of molten metal tools hung close at hand. The place looked convincing enough...but for the fact that everything was spotlessly clean.
The room to which he was taken came as yet another in a string of surprises. Contrary to what he’d expected, this office was pleasant, airy, with sunlight filtering through Roman shades onto a well kept parquet wood floor. An ornate desk sat at one end, flanked by bookshelves that fairly burst with a robust collection of nineteenth century prose and biography. The only hints of Voodoo to the place were a few totems and dolls, arranged as decor in a generally cheerful setting. At the room’s center stood two wicker “papa-san” chairs, angled toward one another to promote conversations of a casual nature. The adjoining table, also wicker, held a tray containing a sweating pitcher of iced tea, two glasses, and all the usual preparations.
“Please be seated,” his comely host bade him into one of the chairs. She produced a small zip-lock bag and a pair of gleaming nail clippers. “Now, Mista Walker,” she bent before him, “please give me your hand.”
The circular chair creaked in protest as Owen carefully lowered himself. His brow raised at her request, this NOLA queen with perfectly kempt hair, but he raised his hand automatically to her while surveying the room in more detail. This ‘shop’ was an intriguing fraud, he deduced, noting the lack of materials or wear and tear on any of the tools or machinery as he’d been led through the front of the shop. What was it? A drug front? His eyes fell on the books, the wicker furniture. Maybe a gentleman’s club? It smelled vaguely of tobacco in the bright and spacious room.
Owen’s gaze returned to his mysterious hostess who had taken his finger in her hands and was beginning to align the clippers, “Hold on,” he said, without recalling his hand, “what’s this about?” His eyes met hers in earnest.
A mild expression of surprise lifted her eyebrows. “Your protection,” she replied as if this were an obvious matter of course. “Mista Fourchette requests fingernail and hair trimmings. May I proceed?”
“My…” he paused, eying the woman. This was the best lead they had, and after banging his head against the wall for hours last night rereading Jaiden’s scrawl, having someone who might be able to spell out where he might have gone next was the light at the end of the tunnel. This foreplay, though, let him know that whomever Fourchette was, he either wanted to project his Voodoo buy-in or swallowed the stuff sinker and all. If he wanted to speak with the man, he’d have to oblige this request. “Well go on, then,” he replied, watching her carefully.
Her movements precise and understated, the woman carefully snipped each of Oewn’s fingernails. “You keep ‘dem well,” she commented, her voice a soft purr as first one hand, then the next, received her attentions. Soon, ten neat little clippings lay in the clear plastic bag. “Now, hair trimmings,” she announced. “Please lean forward. ‘De chair back is inconvenient.”
The silence of the tranquil room was punctuated by the quiet chirp of scissors. She proceeded slowly, fingers brushing the base of Owen’s neck as she collected hair just off the collar line. She took care of his appearance, neatening her work as she went. After a brief period, she held the trophy in one hand, scissors in the other, the job complete. “Please, refresh yourself,” the woman cast a fluid gesture toward the pitcher. “Mista Fourchette will join you momentarily.”
The experience was far more intimate than he expected, accentuated by the alluring tone of her voice. Especially her assessment of his cleanliness. Having been desk-bound by way of promotion for the past five years, he’d left blue collar work behind. His penchant for pipe tobacco, however, had made meticulous cleaning an imperative.
Still, Owen found himself clearing his throat, eyes darting in every direction that wasn’t the woman clipping his fingernails. When bade, he followed her direction for an impromptu trim, still half bemused, half incredulous at the steps he was undergoing just to see the man ‘Fourchette.’ Sweat beads rode down the length of the pitcher which sat directly in front of him, an invitation that needed little coaxing from the beauty who had supplied it.
As he sipped, his gaze fell on a doll not far from him, propped up, clothed, regarding him in his papasan chair. Upon closer examination, tufts of dry, wiry hair sprung from the doll’s head, lending it a macabre visage. Owen leaned forward for a lump of sugar to stir into his tea, eyes on the doll’s meek expression.