“Come on, Charlie, run it to ground.”
“Shhh, you’re distracting me.”
Hardesty; Crane, the squad captain; and a couple of other vice squad detectives who weren’t otherwise engaged were gathered around Charlie, who was seated in front of the computer screen and madly clicking away on the keys.
The scene was the bedroom with the unusual windows. A smaller screen was inset in the bottom, right corner. This showed just a running text of gibberish but evidently was program data Charlie was chunking away at, trying to get a fix on the origin of the signal.
The screen image was moving between three cameras, one at the foot of the bed and the other two at either side of the bed. As the camera angle changed, the other video cameras, on tripods and unattended, could be seen at the margin of the screen shot.
“What can you tell us?” Crane asked impatiently.
“Just so far that this appears to be live,” Charlie muttered, his fingers still dancing on the keyboard. “The ones caught earlier today were recordings. They apparently are firing these off periodically in short bursts. These apparently are only the teasers, advertisements.”
The scene was of Todd on his back on the bed. His arms and legs were stretched to the four corners of the bed and elevated, being held in straps hanging from a frame out of camera shot above the bed. A big, black stud of a man was on his knees between Todd’s thighs, his hands grabbing Todd’s waist and pulling the young man’s pelvis up to his. He was fucking Todd in long, deep thrusts. The black guy had a black balaclava--a form of cloth ski mask--over his head. But he was wearing nothing else except an elaborate, multicolored tattoo covering one shoulder and arm down to the elbow--what tattoo artists called a sleeve.
The cameras were picking up the action from behind the black man’s back, with attention focused on the contracting and expanding of his bulbous glutes as he fucked Todd. They also were picking up on the root of his cock inside Todd’s hole and the slap, slap, slap bouncing of the black guy’s balls on Todd’s buttocks. The side angle on one side was focused on the long slide of the cock and, on the other side of the bed, on Todd’s face, which was turned toward the camera, his mouth formed in a big “O” and both the contortions of his facial muscles and the expression of his eyes showing the pain-pleasure of each thrust. The soundtrack in the background, which Charlie had turned down low, seemed to be canned panting and “fuck me, fuck me, give it to me” phrases that didn’t go with the movement of lips in the live show.
It also didn’t sound like the voice of the Todd that Hardesty had well set in his own mind from when he was fucking Todd.
“The sound?” Someone behind Hardesty asked.
“Probably canned for the teasers,” Charlie said. “Some shorts have live audio; some have this canned soundtrack. Damn, signal’s off again. They seem to have these things timed for protection.”
The screen had gone blank. Well, not exactly blank. There was a bunch of gibberish posted to the screen now.
“They’re back.” Crane pointed out to Charlie.
“Nope, that’s from another signal location. Breaking in. It won’t last long either.”
“But is that some sort of foreign language?” The squad captain was asking the questions.
“I don’t think so,” Charlie answered. “Best thing I can work out is that’s code for how members of this club can buy a copy of the whole segment--that what we have seen is just a teaser, an advertisement, for a full session.”
“Members. You said members. What is this insidious animal?”
“I think it’s a club,” Captain. “I think men join--I’ve found a chat room connected to the site, but Steve is working on breaking that down. I think these are men who like to watch--and maybe have a go--at a stable of young models--they call them models. They get teasers on this Web site, and they can order full videos, or, I guess, set up an appointment. On the video we had of this young guy with the Mohawk cut yesterday, the invisible announcer seemed to be inviting big, black men to step up to the plate. And here, today we have a big, black guy who’s doing that. I don’t know how they get signed up, though.”
“We’ll have to check into that,” Crane said “Try to get someone signed up and get inside. That blond guy didn’t look legal age to me--or at least that can be our angle.”
“We can’t wait for that, Captain,” Hardesty broke in. “We’ve got to do something now. That young guy . . .”
Hardesty stopped himself from spilling that he knew Todd just in time.
“These things take time and hard work,” the captain said. “This one doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere for a while. It’s deeply entrenched.”
“Well, we gotta keep trying,” Hardesty responded lamely.
“We will, Hardesty. That’s the business we’re in. Look, Charlie, the screen’s come back on.”
Charlie turned back to the screen and started racing with the time on the keyboard again. “This is a rerun. Saw this short earlier today,” he said as he worked.
The scene was in a different room, but there still was one of the unusually shaped windows in the background. A young dark-headed man with dark, curly body hair, a real pretty-boy type; Italian maybe--a shock of curly black hair, alabaster body, only lightly muscled, was on his back in a sling suspended from the ceiling. His wrists and ankles were cuffed high on the four chains. His head was pulled back and down at one end of the sling, with an olive-skinned man, middle-aged it seemed, but in good shape, feeding his cock in the young man’s mouth. The man’s head was covered with a black cloth balaclava. He otherwise was naked.
“The one at the head looks Hispanic,” someone from behind Hardesty said.
“No tattoos that I can see,” said Crane. “Maybe late forties.”
At the other end of the young man was a gaunt white man, with ropey muscles and veins standing out on his arms. He too was wearing only a black balaclava--and a thick leather band around the base of balls and of a cock that must have been quite long, as it was taking a long time to enter and then pull out of the young man’s hole. This time the soundtrack was of heavy panting and slurping noises.
“Curly-cued tattoo framing on the back and down the spine of the one behind,” someone watching said, as the shot panned around to behind him. The scrolling on his back extended from shoulder point to shoulder point, came down to a V and trailed down to his waist.
They’d lost the signal again, to be replaced with a screen of code.
“There must be a way to identify some of these young men,” someone said. “We could approach it from there.”
“Ssst. It’s back,” Charlie said. “Another rerun.”
A voice in the background on screen again.
“You know why you’re here, don’t you, Peter?”
“Yes, I guess so,” a young Asian man was saying. He was sitting on the end of the bed of the other location, huddled in on himself. He looked unsure. The voice was understandable but had an Oriental accent to it--probably not born in the USA.
“You guess so? We told you what we want and that we’ll take care of you, didn’t we?” The German accent Hardesty had heard from the first film.
“What are you doing in D.C., Peter? Tell these men here and the ones out there, watching you.”
“I’m a dancer.”
“And we told you all of these men were going to fuck you, didn’t we?”
“Have you ever taken eight men at one time?”
“No.” And the way he said it made Hardesty believe him.
The questioner with the German accent seemed to appreciate that answer too. His voice had a smile in it when he asked the next question. “And you are here of your own free will?”
“Yes.” A little hesitant.
“Is that Chinese guy on drugs?” someone at the back of the viewing pack asked.
“Probably,” the captain answered in a grim voice.
Back to the scene and the slightly German accented voice. “Don’t be shy, Peter. Lean back. Let all of the men out there get a good look at you. They’ll all want to be your friends, I’m sure. Will want to be good to you, like I’ve been good to you. I’ve been good to you, haven’t I, Peter?”
“Yes, you’ve been good to me.” The Asian guy went back on his elbows. It seemed like he’d ended that by saying a name, giving an identity to the man with the German accent, but any audible evidence of that had been wiped off the videotape.
“Heels on bed, Peter, and pull your cheeks apart. Let us see what all of these men have come to fuck--what all our viewers out there would like to fuck.”
The young Asian man did as commanded. His hole was puckered, open. He was well used.
This reminded Hardesty of Todd, and that made what the young man said enter his consciousness. He’d said he was a dancer.
The figures of six or seven naked men, a few young looking, more tending toward middle age, the black shoulder-tattooed man from the earlier film among them, appeared at the edges of the screen. They were all naked, save for the balaclavas on their heads. Most of them were pulling on their cocks.
“Have you cleaned yourself out as I asked and lubricated yourself well?”
“Yes.” The voice sounded trembly, uncertain.
“Good. And tell all of the men out there, Peter. Have you ever been gang-banged before? They will want to know. They will be especially interested if this is your first experience.”
“No,” the trembling voice still.
“No, what, Peter?”
“No, I’ve never done this before.”
“The boss first then, shall we, gentlemen? Then line up by size, biggest last, please. We’ll give him a progressive drilling effect.”
The back of a man came into view from the center of the screen. A black cloth balaclava covered his head, as with all of the rest. The framing tattooing across his back identifying him as the man at the bottom of the sling in the earlier sequence. A brief shot from the side showed an unusually long cock, leather band around the root, in full erection. He had several leather strips in his hand.
Looking somewhat scared and dazed, the young Asian man was pulling himself up farther on the bed. But when the tall, gaunt man reached him, he turned the Asian man, belly down to the bed, snaked an arm around his waist, and pulled him back so that his feet were flat on the floor. The white man towered over the Asian and he quickly manhandled him, doing it dramatically for the camera so that it could see his wrists being tied together in front of him and his legs being bound close together with straps around his ankles and thighs. The effect obviously was to tighten his hole to accentuate the restriction of the room for a cock inside his channel. Then he was bent over the bed. He cried out--no canned soundtrack here--as the gaunt white man split his buttocks with a thrust of his cock. Three thrusts, accompanied by cries from the Asian and the screen went blank.
All who were watching just stood there, transfixed, no one able to say anything for a minute--until the screen changed to the coded message.
“Gone again, in time,” Charlie muttered. “These last two have run periodically all day. The third one should go into reruns soon.”
“If only . . .” the same detective started to say who had mentioned trying to track the “models” down.
“This last one--the Asian guy--said he was a dancer,” Hardesty said. “And I think I’ve seen the first one on the poles somewhere too.”--this was as close as he could come to saying he knew Todd--“I think I have an angle we can work.”
“So do I,” a voice from the back of the group piped up. Hardesty turned to look at where this had come from. It was Phil, his partner from that night he’d rousted Todd on the street. Phil was looking directly at him.
Oh, shit, Hardesty thought. He must have remembered Todd from that night. Now I’m in the shit.
But Phil didn’t refer to that when he spoke. “I recognize the tattoo on the black guy in the second clip we saw. He’s a pawnbroker up off Connecticut Avenue. I say we give him a visit. Having a member of the club in hand would be a good start.”
No one asked Phil under what circumstances he had seen the torso tattoo of a pawnbroker who liked to fuck young white guys on camera. They knew Phil too well and were too excited about the solid lead he was giving. They were all shaken by what they’d seen in these short teaser films--and by what could be going on in the longer versions.
“I can go get him now. Anyone with me?”
“Yes, me,” Hardesty boomed out before anyone else had a chance to respond. He’d follow the dancer lead later on his own.