By Joshua Ryan
Chapter 18: Where Nice Guys Finish Up
When you’re standing in a slapholder, everybody on the street can see you, which I guess is supposed to be very shameful and humiliating. A lot of people looked at me and laughed, but I didn’t mind that much. In fact, I thought I was lookin pretty good in my new browns. Also, you can see stuff when you’re hangin in one of those things, which was great because I’d seen practically nothing of the city before, and lots of it was really beautiful, especially the part we were going to, which turned out to be an ultra-rich part of town. It was like one palace after another.
When we slowed down, I saw one that had “Alcazar” on the gate, but we were just slappies so we didn’t go in there. We had to go down and around to the back. Then they let me off the truck and hustled me into this big ugly brick building that you could tell was just for the servants, and right away I was standing in front of a boss slap with NAT on his shirt. “My Name is Nat, How May I Serve You?” But he was actually wearing long sleeves, and pants rather than shorts! All brown, of course, but I was beginning to get the impression that this was a place that was tryin to be, like, over the top when it came to luxury items.
He said a few things that I could tell he had to say because they were official “Alcazar House” things to say, but I wasn’t paying too much attention; I was wondering what kind of a house this was. Then he put me through this huge naked search, and you can make up your own mind about whether it should have taken as long as it did, complete with exploring my ass. After that he took pictures of me, which like you know I always enjoy, especially when they’re nude! But I guess he finally got tired of me—imagine that!–because he did something on his computer and said, “You’re recorded. Put your clothes on. Rickie!” and a slap named, guess what? Rickie, came through the door. He was a skinny white dude and he still had acne, which made me like him because so did I—some. Not much, but some! Although Rickie was a few years older than I was, I guess.
So Boss Nat said, “Here’s the new one. Class E. The Owner sent its name down. Name is Jolt. J-O-L-T. Fix it up.”
“OK boss,” Rickie said. “Come with me, Jolt.”
So that was my new name—Jolt! I liked it! A Jolt from the blue! Or something. Anyway, it sounded good to me.
Rickie took me to another room, where he told me to totally get rid of what I was wearing, because this was where I was gonna get my OWN set of browns, with my name and number stenciled into them. “Everything has got to be exactly right at Alcazar. Stand still, I’m gonna measure you.”
I didn’t think that was completely necessary, although I definitely liked the idea of finally getting some browns that had my name and number on them, and HOW MAY I SERVE YOU and all the rest of it! I just didn’t see why they had to be brand new again. So call me conservative! But I guess Rickie got a kick out of takin a tape to a naked dude. Which, who wouldn’t? Then he grabbed my collar and took my number down.
“OK, that’s that. I’m gonna stencil you in now. Stencil your clothes. Your PERMANENT clothes. The ones with your name and number. So take your ass over there behind that wall, and take your shower. Don’t start tellin me you don’t need one—every slap gets a shower when it comes in here, Owner’s orders. And don’t be drippin when you come out; there’s a towel in there.”
The shower felt good, but I was excited to get into my new clothes, so I guess I rushed it a little, and the towel wasn’t exactly large, so Rickie sent me back to “dry your balls again.” He was still busy with the pile of browns he had on his table, and I had nothin to do but stand around with my hands over my nuts. So he said, “I’m gettin tired of you—go sit on the stool. I’m gonna give you the Class E makeover.” Which meant shaving my skull to the bone. “Yeah,” he said, “I know they leave that fuzz on you sometimes, back at the Coop. That’s why you get your baldy now. You’re Class E, and every Class E wears a baldy. You can get up now.”
I got off the stool and stood naked while he went on spreading ink on the clothes that I knew I would soon be wearing. Watching him, I was havin trouble covering my junk. But I might as well try to talk.
“What’s so special about Class E?” I said.
“The thing that’s special is that there’s nothin special. Most slaps at Alcazar, they’re Class E. Case you’re wondering, I’m a Class D. We get to keep our hair.” I hadn’t been wondering, but OK, now I knew. He took his cap off and ran his hand through his hair. He had beautiful, curly hair. “Mr. Sharma, he’s the Owner, I have reason to think that he’s pretty particular about how the Class D’s look. Grooming comes first around here. Also, what goes with good grooming? A good way of presenting yourself. A good way of talking. That’s why I never use the island talk. Never! You look around, you’ll see that Class B never does that either. And in Class C there’s only a few of them that do. I’m a D, but I’m buckin for C.”
He held up a shirt that he’d just finished stenciling. “Looks pretty good,” he said to himself. “But anyhow,” he continued, turning to me, “the Class E slaps, they live in the South Barn. Class B, C, D, we live in the North Barn. Class A, they don’t live down here. They live up there. Up in the House. Big difference, which class you’re in. D’s and E’s, we don’t go in the house. And like you see, we don’t wear the long pants and the long sleeves. B’s and C’s, they’re the house servants. And the bosses. D’s are the orderlies. I’m an orderly. E’s are the grunts. You’re gonna be a grunt.”
“So what does a grunt do?”
“Don’t worry about it. It’s nothing but mindless labor. Digging, hauling, pulling, pounding. That kind of stuff. Anyone can do it.”
He said some more stuff, but I wasn’t really listening, because all the time he was talking he was fixing up my browns. Hey! My first browns with my name and number! That’s what I’d been looking forward to! And FINALLY he said, “All right. You’re done. Try em on.”
He pushed my new wardrobe across the table at me, and yeah, everything looked right! My cap had a number on the back, and my boots had numbers on the side, and my shirt, which was lying right under my cap, had the whole fuckin thing on it:
My Name Is
How May I Serve You?
“Short sleeves, short pants,” Rickie was saying. “Nothin special. You’ll look like pretty much every other slappie. Even at Alcazar.”
That sounded good. So now I get to put on my suit!
Rickie shoulda been working in a men’s store, that’s for sure. He got my sizes exactly right. It’s sorta fun to be all loose and baggie when you’re just startin out in the Coop—I mean, that’s what you’re supposed to look like. But this Alcazar place was obviously a cut above. I needed to look sharp, and I knew that I would as soon as my balls hit those fresh new y-fronts stamped with my name-and-number. Then the shorts—what do you think about a pair of slick-fittin trunks with How May I Serve You on the butt? I know, sounds like somebody’s takin an order of fried chicken, but that’s what I was! Then the shirt, very professional–a perfect fit. And when I looked down at my chest, my pecs were a PERFECT curve under that brown! No problem having my name on those things—JOLT! Also perfect.
“Yes sir,” Rickie said, “would you care to inspect yourself in the mirror, sir?” I guess he liked me—probably because I kept my mouth shut! There was a full-length mirror in the room, on the back of a closet door, and you could tell he didn’t open it up for everybody. But there I was, in front of the mirror: a big, brown, totally boss lookin slappie! Lookin even better with How May I Serve You on his chest. I put my cap on—perfect! I took it off—still perfect! I could have done that all day. I even turned around to see how my back was lookin. I couldn’t see it, hardly at all, but what I saw was terrific! Who is this big ol’ slappie with the big brown shoulders? It’s slappie number 24250, the one that we call JOLT!
“Very stylish,” Rickie said. “All the slappies are wearing brown this season. But put your cap back on, dude. I get tired of that Class E look. And cmon, I’m takin you back to the boss.”
It seemed like the boss had forgotten me; he looked surprised when Rickie brought me back. Or maybe I was still boring him. “All right,” he said. “Cmere. Lemme see your neck.”
He pulled my collar forward and snapped on a tag. Like the dog tags P and D wore, showing they were the property of the Explorers Bay Resort. I could tell what it looked like by watching the tag the boss was wearing when he leaned into me. It was a round piece of metal with an S in the center and the links of a chain surrounding it. The links were connected by a tiny lock. I got it–“S” for “Sharma,” chain for “servant,” lock for “permanent.” Fuck yeah, permanent! The only difference was that the tag on the boss was silver, and my tag was steel.
After he tagged me he went to his laptop and banged on it for a while. Then there was one of those loud computer sounds and he said, “All right, I just set your distance. You know what that means?”
“Sure,” I said. “I heard all about it. You set my collar so I’ll get caught if I go more than whatever distance you put in there.”
“Don’t get smart,” he said. “Slappie. I’m ‘boss’ to you, and if you forget it again you’ll find a paddle on your ass. We do a lotta paddling at Alcazar.” So I told him how sorry I was, boss, and how I wouldn’t act smart again, boss, and he said, “Your distance is 1200 feet, because you’re on Yard detail.”
I didn’t know what that meant, so I said “Yes boss,” and went back to thinking about how happy I was to be wearing my new uniform.
“Now I’m gonna show you to the Owner,” he said. I guess I should’ve known that was coming, but wow! This should be interesting.
The boss closed his laptop and took out a bunch of keys and led me out of the building. He was going pretty fast, too fast for me to see everything, but we went down a kind of street and through a gate and up a path, and then it all opened out into this huge lawn with beautiful trees and flowers and a huge house at the top, like a place where a king would live. So, dude, I was thinking, it would really be something to be a slappie in a great place like this! But that’s what I was!
There was a terrace coming out of the house, with a pool and a pool house at one end and a barbecue pit and a lanai and lots of flowers at the other, so it was like, everything you’d need to have a party or just enjoy yourself with somebody special. I wondered what you had to do to get such a beautiful place! I guess I’ll never find out. (But what about the somebody special? That’s something different!)
Standing on the terrace was a tall Indian gentleman and a white gentleman next to him, who was Mr. Withers, who bought me. They weren’t near the house; they were as far away as they could get from the house and still be on the terrace, where Class E’s like me might be allowed to come, maybe one time, I guess. Or maybe another time, to clean some shit off the tiles!
I stood at attention, hands behind my back. I knew I looked hot in my new browns. And the tag on my collar—that was the finishing touch.
“So this is my new purchase,” the Owner said, I suppose to Mr. Withers. But maybe to himself. It sort of sounded like that. I can’t say I was attracted to him, he was too scary. But he had beautiful clothes and beautiful eyes. And after all, he owned me!
“That’s right, Mr. Sharma,” Mr. Withers said. “The new grunt.”
Mr. Sharma looked at me closer. Up and down.
“Handsome,” he said. “Fine presentation. But different from what I saw in the catalogue.”
“In the catalogue, it looked . . . sharper. Smarter. Wilier.”
“It looked like a bad boy. A criminal. That is why I named it Jolt.”
“We’ve seen this before, sir. What one notices in pictures . . . . ”
“Never mind. One cannot have everything.”
He stepped forward and looked in my face. What was I supposed to do? I tried to smile, but I don’t know if I made it.
But he smiled.
“Insipid,” he said.
“Sir?” Mr. Withers said.
“The boy next door. Nothing of interest.”
“I’m sorry, sir. But it should be of use. We need more grunts, and this type tends to be docile.”
“No need for concern, Withers. What I buy, I keep. It will do for a grunt. Take it away, boss.”
And Boss Nat led me away.
To be continued …