Although it was approaching 10:00 p.m., and while most casino back office spaces were quiet, in the 'eye in the sky' operations center, the evening was kicking into high gear. Three surveillance agents sat in their workspaces watching the bank of TV monitors that fed images from the casino floor and the various gaming stations. Except for a small reading light at each workspace, all lighting came from the numerous monitors. The atmosphere was a cross between NASA's command center and the NBC Burbank studio control room.
Gene sipped his coffee while his eyes darted from monitor to monitor looking for anything unusual on the blackjack tables. 'Whew,' he thought with a sigh, 'another hour and home to the wife.'
"Gene, zero in on table 45," Bert said into his mouthpiece. As shift supervisor, he was responsible for the entire gaming surveillance system and sat above the U-shaped console that housed the three men at the master control desk. "Watch the dealer and see if there is anything unusual in his money drop."
"Got it, boss." Gene punched up the camera above table 45 and used the toggle switch to get a tighter shot of the dealer's hands as he sold chips and dealt cards from the 'shoe'.
He followed the transactions twice before he was satisfied that the dealer was not stealing. But something caught his eye when he pulled back to a wider shot. "Bert, isn't that Fast Frank playing on the end seat? The guy with the Dodger's baseball cap sitting next to the broad with the ba-zooms." Gene rotated the camera to get a better shot of the guy.
"Oh, yeah, our dear friend, Frank Fongule. And I don't think that the small earpiece is a hearing aid. Thanks, Gene. Good eyes. I'll contact the floor."
Gene waved as he continued to watch table 45 and pulled back even further to take in a 10' perimeter of the table. He smiled when he spotted a rather non-descript elderly woman standing behind the table with her hand up against her mouth. 'Chances are that old bat has some sort of microphone in her hand,' he thought.
"Contact established," Bert announced. Two men in uniform approached the table and confronted Fast Frank and the woman. Without protest, the two left the table and the blackjack dealer continued the play.
"Two more bite the dust," Gene said with a chuckle. As he returned the camera above table 45 to the standard shot, a red light started flashing above a bank of TV monitors that had been installed a month earlier. "Boss, you see the light?" Gene said urgently. The director of security had stressed the importance of responding ASAP if the monitors were ever activated.
"Holy fuck," Bert yelled. "Punch up the picture on the large screen while I call Metro. I'm leaving my mike open."
"Yes, Sir." All casualness evaporated from the room as the atmosphere took on military precision. On the plasma screen, Gene watched with fascination as two men were being followed by a third with a handgun.
"This is Collins at Nero's security. Operation Zebra is on. An intruder has entered the residence. He is armed and has both subjects in his sights. They appear to be walking to the bedroom."
"Okay, Collins. I am dispatching two SWAT teams to the residence. Zebra is activated and the teams are on silent approach. ETA is five minutes. Black and whites will be arriving about the same time as backup."
"Thanks. I'm watching the monitors and will report all activity. Let me know when you patch me in to the team. I'm also going to call my boss."
"Roger, that. Give me any new information you see so I can relay it."
"They've arrived in the bedroom. Gene, punch up the bedroom picture while I call Jim Duncan." Bert watched the screen while hitting a speed dial button. "Jim, this is Bert Collins. Operation Zebra is a go. Bosco has taken our two subjects captive and they are being held at gunpoint. Metro has been alerted and SWAT will be there in three minutes. The black and whites are approaching the apartment complex as we speak."
"I'll be in within 15 minutes. You hold down the fort and I'll call Nick Maggiano. Let's hope that the guys are not harmed. See ya, soon."
Gene focused on the large screen as he watched the two subjects slowly get undressed. He recognized one of the victims as the new resident manager. 'This must be a big deal for Jim Duncan and Nick Maggiano to be called this late in the evening,' he considered. Gene didn't know all the details of the plan called Operation Zebra. Only that there would be a red alert if the dark monitors were ever activated because of movement in the off-site, targeted apartment. He was also aware that the red alert system was independent of the Brink's apartment alarm.
"Boss, this is getting kinda weird," Gene said. The other two surveillance agents swiveled around to observe the images on the screen. The two naked men were securing clamps and chains to their ankles.
"Kinky is more like it. Let me give you guys a quick rundown on this. Gene, keep monitoring the situation. You other two can listen but return to your job scoping the gaming action. Understand this is very confidential and whatever you see is to remain in this room. Now, the perp is a guy who used to work here. Name is Bosco. For reasons I won't go into now, he's royally pissed at the other two. The blond man is Bob Harrington who just started working in marketing. The other is Drew Reichardt, our resident manager."
"What's the business about getting butt-ass naked?" Bert asked. His mouth dropped open when the Bosco character gave the dark-haired guy handcuffs.
"If Metro doesn't get there in time, you may see Bosco inflict pain, sexually, on his victims. From what I see on the floor, he probably plans on whipping the guys before attacking their backsides," Bert replied calmly. "Things may get rough. But if it's dominant role-playing on Bosco's part, we may have time on our side before the situation goes 'south'."
"My money's on SWAT to get in before anything gets outta control." Gene was aware that 'goes south' referred to life-threatening actions. He noticed that Bosco was getting out his clothes. He was silently impressed at the size of Bosco's equipment. 'Man, what a whopper,' he thought, 'and I don't mean Burger King.'
"Metro, this is Collins. Has an ambulance been dispatched...just in case?" Bert asked on his open phone line.
"That is affirmative. ETA is now two minutes."
"All bases covered," Bert said with a nod.
Gene was familiar with the M.O. of some gays being into rough sex. It had been part of his F.B.I. training and he had been on stakeouts at some of the leather bars in New York. As long as the activities between adult men were consensual, he had no problem with what he had observed in the back rooms. Gene had been taught at the academy that dominance and abuse are as different from each other as loving intercourse and rape. The instructor highlighted that BDSM involved consenting adults who expected to derive pleasure from their experience. 'Not my cup of tea,' he thought, 'but different strokes...'
"Bert, check out the weapon that Bosco has in his hand. It looks like..."
"Yeah, a large black plastic dick. If Metro doesn't get there soon, one of those guys is going to have a hard time sitting down," Bert said grimly. "Turn up the volume."
"Well, Harrington, I figure this will get you loosened up just fine," Bosco said as he stroked the dildo. The gun was sitting within reach on the bed.
"Fuck you, Bosco. May you rot in..." Drew didn't have time to finish the sentence as Bosco's backside hand slapped Drew's head, causing an immediate red blemish on the cheek and eye socket.
"Enough." Bosco set aside the 12" phallic object and grabbed two rubber balls.
"Open your mouth," he said, grabbing Drew's ears roughly. Once his mouth was open, Bosco inserted the ball. He proceeded to do the same thing to Bob and then used electrical tape to secure them.
Drew was breathing rapidly and he could feel his heart beating faster. He was pretty sure that whatever Bosco had in mind, his lover would be the first to feel the retribution. His eyes widened when he saw Bosco take a bottle of lube and pour a healthy portion over the dildo.
"Ha, and you didn't think I was caring, Bobbie, baby?" He meticulously covered the surface of the black plastic. "Actually, this is more for me than you. It's easier to get this huge fucker in your hole if it's slick. But you'll find that I won't ease it in and that's a promise."
Drew noticed Bob's eyes narrow and his face grimace as Bosco stood behind his lover. He could only imagine what was going on inside Bob's head. Bob suddenly stood up straight and his eyes widened.
"Oh, yeah, a real tight asshole. I'm going to enjoy fucking it once you get loosened up. Relax...I haven't even gotten the head inside," Bosco said with an evil laugh. "Take it like a..."
"Freeze. Don't even think about moving," said a tall man, dressed in black tactical gear and boots, and holding a service revolver. He quickly moved to Bosco's side and knocked the dildo aside. Three other men, dressed in the same uniform, followed behind to secure the room; the first step being to retrieve the intruder's gun.
"On the floor, belly down and hands over your head," commanded another of the team. Bosco meekly followed instructions, got down on his knees and lay on the carpet. Once he was in place, his legs were kicked apart by one of the men.
"Command, this is Zebra point man. The site has been secured and the perp is under control."
"Do you need any medical assistance?"
"I don't think there's an emergency. One victim may have been assaulted but I don't think that any serious damage resulted. I suggest EMS give him a look-see, though. Please release the black and whites. We'll finish up in here."
"Confirm EMS coming in for routine inspection. They're right outside. I'll dispatch the mobile units back to patrol."
"Great. One of the men will escort the paramedics in." He nodded to one of the officers to go to the front door. "I'll read the perp his Miranda rights."
"Sorry, guys. I wish we could have been here earlier." The tall man carefully removed the electrical tape from Bob's head and pulled out the rubber ball.
"Thanks, Officer. That was too close," Bob said and coughed.
"You doing okay, back there?" the officer asked with concern.
"He didn't get very far. Although I hate to think what would of happened if you guys had arrived later," Bob said with a shrug.
"We'll get you two in some clothes as soon as we can get these cuffs and chains removed, Sir." Drew felt relieved when the tape was cut and the ball was removed. "I might suggest you apply some ice to your face to stop the swelling. You're going to have a little bit of a shiner around your left eye."
"Oh, shit, what a night," Drew said with a sigh. "So, I'm going to have a black eye?"
"Nothing serious. It'll fade in a couple of days."
"Your timing was great. How'd you get in here so quietly? I didn't hear anyone breaking in."
"Part of our plan included your front door keys. We just eased in the key and entered as quietly as possible," the tall officer explained. "There's no damage to your place."
"I'm Drew and he's Bob, by the way." He smiled to himself as he thought the officer was visually checking out Bob and himself a little too carefully.
"As in Drew Reichardt and Bob Harrington, right? All part of the job." Looking down, the officer put his heavy boot on Bosco's butt and continued, "Where are the keys for your little toys?"
"Um, in my jeans pocket over on the bed." Bosco started to move his arms.
"Get those arms back in place," the officer barked. "I'm going to toss your shirt and pants to you. Very slowly you are to get dressed while you are on the floor. After that, I only want to see you breathe."
The officer walked over and felt the pockets. Upon hearing metal strike against metal, he reached in and pulled out three sets of keys. He tossed the obvious house and car keys aside and gave one set to another officer. Try these keys on the ankles while I check out the cuffs." After removing all contents from the pants pockets, he tossed all the clothes to Bosco.
"Bingo," said the shorter officer, who kneeled and inserted the key. "These fit." He proceeded to remove the clamps and chains.
"Man, I almost feel normal," Drew said when his feet were free. The taller man started removing the cuffs.
"Regulation cuffs. This character was really prepared. Men, Justin will help me wrap things up. Why don't you let Mr. Bosco put on his shoes and then take him to the station? We'll meet you back there after we're finished."
"Right you are, Wes." Two of the SWAT team nodded. One officer kicked the loose shoes to Bosco's area of the floor and motioned for the prisoner to put them on. Slowly, Bosco put on his shoes and stared defiantly at the police.
"Okay, Mr. Bosco, get up very carefully and place your arms behind you," Wes commanded.
After Bosco rose and assumed the ordered position, another of the SWAT team placed cuffs on the wrists. Silently, Bosco was grabbed roughly around his secured arm and was led away.
"You bastard cocksucker, Reichardt. I'm going to get you," Bosco yelled at Drew with an intense glare. "And your buddy..." Bosco didn't have time to finish the sentence.
"Shuddup and move," ordered the other officer. For further emphasis, he firmly jammed his nightstick into Bosco's kidney area. "You've got a long night ahead."
"Urghh," was all Bosco could verbalize as he was escorted out of the room and to a waiting squad car.
"I hope that asshole meets some real good friends in jail," Bob said with a small sneer.
"I'm sure that the perp will meet up with some real close friends," replied the short, blond SWAT officer.
"Even though this has been videotaped, I'm going to take a few pictures of all these toys. This will all be evidence," Wes said as he turned and smiled at Drew. "Don't worry. I'm not going to take pictures of you guys. Not that it wouldn't be sought out by subscribers of a hot porn site." He removed the cuffs from Drew tossed the set of cuffs on the carpet.
"Officer, the last thing I need is to have my nude body flying through cyberspace." Drew smiled back and winked. "And my lover would be pissed," he whispered.
"I understand the comment. My life partner of six years would be pissed, too." He subtly pointed his head to the shorter SWAT teammate. The other set of cuffs was removed. "Okay, fellas. Time to get dressed."
Bob went over to the pile of their clothing and grabbed the two briefs. He proceeded to recover his modesty after he tossed the black pair to Drew. "Are we going to have to go with you to the station?" Bob asked.
"No, we can take care of everything here. We'll have this character moved out as soon as we finish with the crime scene."
"Then I'll grab some shorts and tees for both of us." Bob nodded to Drew and walked over the closet, grabbed the clothes and handed Drew cargo shorts. "I feel a little more civil," Bob added, getting dressed.
"Yeah, we don't normally entertain in the buff." Drew smiled, gingerly stepped into his briefs and tucked himself in before putting on the shorts. "I feel more comfortable now."
"Drew, I don't blame you," the officer said. "I'm just happy that everything seems to be resolved."
"Maybe we can all get together for dinner, socially," Drew replied. "Bob and I cook pretty well and you know where we live."
"Here's my card. I'm Wes and the shorter dude is Justin. Give me a call and we'll coordinate schedules. It'd be fun getting together under different circumstances." He nodded silently, dropped the cuffs on the floor next to the other toys and walked over to the shorter guy.
"Justin, would you bag everything in Bosco's pants for evidence? I'll take care of his toys in a minute. I want to get the guys into another room so the paramedics can check them out." He nodded at the door and the two men with emergency medical gear. "Mr. Harrington, the blond man, needs to be examined for any damage to the anus and anal canal lining. From what I can tell, the perp did not penetrate very far but I'd like this checked out. Mr. Reichardt was struck in the face but probably just needs some ice."
"You got it. How about the other bedroom? We shouldn't need more than a few minutes with Mr. Harrington."
"Let's do it. Everything feels okay but I know you just need to do your job." Bob walked out of the room and led the two paramedics into the guest bedroom.
"Drew, why don't you get some ice and wait in the living room? Justin and I will be finished here, pronto. I'm sure you and Bob would like some time alone," Wes said with a wink.
"Okay, I'm going to join my old friend, Jack Daniel's, get some ice and make a few calls. See you guys out there."
"Great, we'll need to tape Bob's and your statement; then we'll get out of here."
"Thanks, guys. And I do look forward to seeing you guys, soon...with our clothes on." Drew shook Wes's hand and silently walked out of the bedroom.
"Well, babe, I think this nightmare is finally over," Drew said, sitting on the couch with Bob. He glanced at the wall clock and noticed that it was just after midnight. The police had left with Bosco in tow a half-hour ago.
"This isn't Elm Street and Bosco wasn't Freddie Kruger, but I'm ready to put this in our past. That fucker has really been a distraction."
"A dangerous distraction. I talked with Jim Duncan and gave him the rundown while you were examined. We were both very lucky and I'm happy that you didn't get damaged down there." Drew put his arm around Bob and pulled him close.
"Drew, there's only one thing I want down there but let's take a rain check. Okay?" Bob snuggled closer and leaned in so that his head was resting on Drew's firm chest. "Thank god Bosco didn't fuck me up back there."
"What I want to do is take you to bed, hold you tight, feel you breathing and inhale your hunky scent." With his free hand, Drew lightly stroked Bob's hair before kissing him on the forehead.
"Umm, I like," Bob groaned. He rotated and rose slightly so that their lips could touch. Before he could go further, Bob let out a deep sigh and started crying. Within moments the light crying became full-blown, body shaking sobs with heaving breaths. Drew held him tightly and resisted Bob's attempt to pull away.
"Hey, buddy, I'm here." Drew looked into Bob's tear-stained face and red eyes. "It's okay." He pulled Bob's quivering body closer. "Let it out." Drew felt the negative energy slowly draw away from his lover and the sobs became less violent. Drew strangely felt guilty about Bosco's intrusion but couldn't figure out why. 'Should I have done something different,' he wondered, 'in setting up better security for us?'
"Oh, fuck. I feel...I feel like such...a baby," Bob said haltingly, with a shiver. He slowly relaxed, moved even closer to Drew and began breathing more evenly.
"We've got all day to figure things out and pick up the pieces. Nick called and said he and Mike Diamond didn't expect us in to work for a couple of days. But I think the first order of business is to go back to our bedroom and hit the sack. You okay going back there?"
"Yeah, I not going to let what happened mess up what we have," Bob replied between a few final sniffles.
"Wes unofficially gave me a few sleeping tablets before he and Justin left. He said that they should do the trick and get us off to slumber land ASAP." Drew untangled himself from Bob and got up. He offered Bob a hand.
"Thanks." Bob rose and gently kissed Drew. "I'm definitely ready for some 'Z's' and some snuggling. Tomorrow is a new beginning." He wrapped his arm around Drew's waist and they walked down the hallway.
"I don't think we're going to need the extensive alarm system. I disarmed it a few minutes ago," Drew said when the entered the bedroom. "Probably should keep the basic Brink's, though. Whatdaya think?"
"I agree. When we go back to work I want to personally thank Mr. Duncan for his help. We would have been in deep doo-doo without his surveillance stuff."
"Let's do that together. Maybe over lunch?" Drew pulled off his tee and watched Bob do the same. 'I guess we did all we could do,' he concluded. 'Man, this guy really rings my chimes.'
"Are we going to have any problem with tapes surfacing, showing what happened tonight?" Bob stepped out of his shorts and naturally scratched his dick after removing his briefs.
"Absolutely not. They are in safekeeping and the surveillance agents are all cleared for top security issues." Drew finished undressing and walked into the bathroom. "Let's brush, take a pee and let the sleeping pills do their thing."
"I'm with ya...now and forever." Bob gave Drew a playful slap on the butt and pushed him forward.
"No rough play tonight. Let's save that for tomorrow." Drew reached behind and gently yanked on Bob's flaccid cock.
"I'm going to hold you to that promise."