Bordello della Libertà (Aethertales Book 2)

BOOK: Bordello della Libertà (Aethertales Book 2)
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A
ETHERTALES
:

B
ORDELLO DELLA
L
IBERTÀ

By J. D’Urso & E. Bryan

 

Copyright © 2015
J. D’Urso & E. Bryan

All Rights
Reserved.

 

 

 

Published
by Aether Press, LLC

 

Copyright
Registration File Number: 1-2689695981

Date of
File: 9 September 2015

 

eISBN 978-0-9967899-2-9

 

L
UCIA

The wooden
sign swayed back and forth in the summer wind, hanging from the lip of an open
window. Though the storefronts in that district sported more contemporary
banners, flashing with red neon and tiny, sparkling lightbulbs, Lucia di
Vigilanti
preferred a
more rustic façade. It brought an old-world charm to a neighborhood preoccupied
with dazzling displays and modern glamour, with the name
Bordello della
Libertà
inscribed elegantly in Blackletter calligraphy. Through the
doorway, past the potted marigolds and twin lampposts, wafted the enticing
scent of Lucia’s famed puttanesca, beckoning passers-by to draw nearer; Lucia
was a culinary siren of sorts, as seductive with her cookery as her girls were
with their unrivaled skills in the bedroom, and both held a status of high
esteem in a city that, like all cities, had an insatiable hunger for good food
and good fornication.

It
was lunchtime and her employees were surely in need of a satisfying,
traditional dish. Every one of them was a “hooker with a heart of gold,” as
Lucia would affectionately say, and they deserved to be treated warmly for the
profound success they had brought to the establishment. She provided them with
a safe, secure place to live and work, and she was proud to consider herself a
mother figure to them, who always fought for their best interests, and did her
best to give them whatever was needed to inspire a good, old-fashioned work
ethic and to help them relax after a full day of profitable productivity. She
found her own work in the kitchen to be a pleasant wellspring of repose and
serenity, and she knew that it could be tasted in her comforting puttanesca. Tossing
a handful of chopped olives into the pan of simmering sauce, Lucia deeply
inhaled and savored the tanginess of the literal fruits of her labor: the
olives were picked from the gnarled tree with silvery leaves that stood just
outside her kitchen window like an old friend who gave delectably generous
gifts.

With
an amiable smile two police officers strode past the doorway and through the
shade of the olive tree, and Lucia greeted them with a wave of her hand,
clutching her wooden spoon. She welcomed their presence outside of her
bordello, as they knew as well as she did that disruptive clients were an
occasional and inevitable nuisance, and she found herself gratefully under
their watchful eyes. Of course, their one condition was that she keep her brothel’s
license up to date and legally valid, and it was a deal that she had no trouble
with or opposition to. It was a relief compared to her first experiences with
Talprettan law. When she first arrived on Talpretta, the urban capital of one
of many Caspian system-states, prostitution was a punishable offense, and as a
result of the draconian laws, street walking was the only form of sexual
business to be found. It was a dangerous time, when disease was rampant without
routine medical checks of the working women and men, and violence against
prostitutes was undocumented out of fear. Horrified by the destructive state of
affairs, and the fighting of a living industry that had flourished since the
dawn of Man, Lucia di Vigilanti took it upon herself to organize the whores of
Talpretta, who hoped only for respectable work and the civil rights so many
Arterrans enjoyed outside the Caspian borders. Marching to the voting booths,
the harlots under Lucia’s wing achieved the unprecedented implementation of
Arterran-inspired regulations, not harsh and suffocating, but just enough to
keep her flock safe and dignified.

Brothels
and escort services sprouted across the city soon after, all of which emulated
her newly established business proudly known as the
Bordello della Libertà
.
Street walkers quickly abandoned their line of work as arrests escalated for
this offense: when not sentenced with jail time, the street walkers and their
clients faced punitive fines that whores at their level of poverty couldn’t
possibly afford. Though Lucia pitied the girls, she couldn’t disagree with the
few laws that remained untouched after her liberty-coup; street walking was
risky business, the profits of which were only aggression, sickness and
hopelessness, and it was exactly the sort of affair that she had sought to
change. The girls left their street corners behind and flocked to businesses
like Lucia’s, and their former pimps, manipulative and despicably exploitative,
lost their power. The whores were finally able to invest their money instead of
giving it up to a man who, despite his condescending arguments to the contrary,
didn’t give a damn about his girls’ wellbeing. Naturally, they had to pay their
taxes like everyone else, and though Lucia would have preferred a nearly
tax-free life like those the Arterrans lived, she knew she couldn’t coerce the
Talprettans into giving up all of their prior collectivist tendencies.

A
lascivious moan escaped a bedroom into the kitchen, as emotive as Lucia’s
yearly groans upon filing her taxes, but with such ecstatic force that even the
sound inhibitors along the walls couldn’t suppress it. Sudika had finished up
with her client; Lucia smiled and spread some puttanesca over a plate of
steaming fettuccine to offer to her favorite working girl, who at any moment
would emerge from her room with another satisfied customer handing her a
generous stack of Caspian drachmae or Arterran Talents.

The
silver double doors retracted into the walls as Sudika led her client to the
lobby. “Here’s your tip, Sudika,” the customer said, producing another few
bills from his wallet. He was a middle-aged man like many others, tall, with a
figure that was once muscular in his younger days, but still retained a
hardness that made him appear more maturely masculine. Sudika blushed and gave
him a kiss goodbye on his cheek, brushing her lips against salt-and-pepper
stubble. He stepped out the door and grinned when Sudika called out, “See you
next Thursday!” The girl always managed to turn a one-time client into a
frequent flier, especially if he was a man with a difficult life who only
needed her touch for an hour or two to feel a much-needed repose from his
stresses.

Lucia
passed the plate into her buxom worker’s eager hands, and let down her honey
blonde hair, which she’d kept pulled back while she crushed her tomatoes and
got her hands sticky with garlic. As Sudika raised her fork and spun her pasta,
Lucia pulled out a thin stack of glossy black bills, made of a curious blend of
plastic and paper, and shuffled through them. She checked the green and
cerulean print and presented the money to her carnal protégée. “Ten Talents,”
she told her without a hint of condition in her voice.

“Ten
Talents? What for?” Sudika asked in disbelief. Even a single Talent was worth
at least two and a half times the value of a Talprettan drachma. And besides,
they generally used drachmae in the
Bordello della Libertà
, as most of
their clients were Caspian.

“The
fee you’ll pay for your immigration application,” Lucia explained. “The Dragon
House has offered you the job. They’ve transmitted the offer letter to the
Colonial embassy right here in Talpretta.”

Sudika
cried, “I got in? Hudson! On Acadica! I’ll be moving to the center of Acadia
itself!”

Lucia
laughed and gave her a celebratory hug. “Just as I told you: they say you’re
one of the best whores they’ve ever seen. Your passion and care for your
clients is sublime.” Neither of them had to put into words the recognition of Lucia’s
role in Sudika’s good fortunes, as it was her guidance as a successful madam
that gave Sudika the solid foundations for whoredom and fame.

“Maybe
one day I’ll be as great of a courtesan as you, Lucia!”

Lucia
humbled herself, but Sudika wouldn’t allow it. “You led the inter-religious
delegation representing the entire League of Arterra to the Tellurian
Imperium,” she reminded Lucia. “I know it’s been a long time since you’ve
visited your homeworld in Romaea, but I know for a fact that you’re still a legend
there!”

“Well,
I wouldn’t pat myself on the back too much, but I have to admit that my insides
got those Tellurian men and women more than a few blessings from their marble
gods. Some were so pleased that I bet a few even started praying to the Creator
instead!” She sprinkled a dash of Pecorino over Sudika’s dish and laughed,
“What better form of assimilation is there than in the arms of a fit
prostitute?”

Then
they heard footsteps through the doorway, and a man just as foreign as the
placated Tellurians entered the
Bordello della Libertà
. Sudika assumed
him to be a new client, but Lucia was suspicious. She knew better than anyone
that a man in a dark suit with opaque sunglasses wasn’t just a customer who
wanted anonymity. She’d seen his type before. It seemed the government had
wandered its way through her door beneath a wooden sign.

••

S
UDIKA

The look
on Lucia’s face was disconcerting, and Sudika knew the oddly dressed man was
the cause of it. He wore his black suit with its tan trench coat like some sort
of gangster from an ancient age when prostitution was not the only outlawed
industry, but alcohol as well. His ensemble was complete with a brimmed hat and
spats on his shoes. He looked like he was on official business of some kind,
and based on Lucia’s distrusting glare, it couldn’t have been anything good.
Slipping off his mirrored shades he identified himself before she could even
question him.

“My
name is Trygassi,” he declared, “local representative for the Sexual Labor
Union of Talpretta. I require just a minute of your time.”

Lucia
extinguished the blue flame of her gas stove and threw down her washcloth onto
the tiled countertop. “We don’t have a minute to spare for your kind. There’s
only so many orgasms you can fit in a day, and just like time, orgasms are
money.”

“If
you don’t listen to what I have to say, then all you’ll have is impotence,” he
sneered. “I’m sure you’re aware that on our sensible, collectivist planet, we
only permit brothels to operate if every single employee is a registered member
of the S.L.U.T.”

“I’m
also aware that such a law hasn’t been passed in this city.”

“Perhaps
not, but it has been proposed, and I have no doubt that it will be approved. To
prevent any lapses in employment when that day comes, myself and other
representatives will be organizing all brothels to join our fight against
greedy capitalists who would gladly exploit them.”

Lucia
sighed. “It’s unions like yours that contributed to the devastating collapse of
manufacturing on Old Earth. Thankfully, my ancestors escaped before ever
witnessing such a fall.”

“All
lies, I can assure you,” he insisted. He set his briefcase on the counter and
clicked open the latches, and revealed a mountain of cheap, paper flyers. “If
you’d like to enlighten yourself to the truth, then take a look at this
literature. I implore you to distribute these amongst your employees. These
pamphlets prove in less than two hundred words the myriad benefits of organized
labor.” He pulled out another stack of legal paper. “I only need them to sign
this roster, as evidence that they’ve been provided with such information. I
have quotas to meet, of course.”

Lucia
took a cursory look at the blank list and slowly tore it in half. “They will
sign no such thing,” she growled. “I’m not about to fall into your little trap.
You’ll run back to your bosses and use my employees’ signatures as evidence of
their unwitting decision to join your union.”

“Is
that really such a travesty?” Trygassi asked. “We’re offering them
protection
.
For just a paltry five percent of their income, and the restriction of working
hours to a fairer and far more limited work week to grant the less productive
employees more hours, and the waiving of the right to choose their
clients—because freedom of choice like that will
always
lead to
discrimination and bigotry against minority customers—they will be guaranteed a
secure position in your company, and will be immune to all forms of termination
of employment.” He looked to Sudika, who had pushed away her unfinished plate,
too sickened to enjoy it. “Take them, for your own good, and share them with
your coworkers, if you really care about your job and theirs.”

“This
puttanesca would look better on your face than on my plate,” she snapped. The
man gasped in disbelief and snatched his briefcase and its unwanted contents
off the table.

“This
won’t be the last time you hear from the S.L.U.T.,” he threatened in the guise
of a simple promise. His trench coat swept along the floor as he brusquely
turned his back to the madam and her protégée and stormed out the door. That
was the last they saw of him, at least for the time being. But Sudika
understood that threats uttered by political bullies were rarely idle, and that
it was inevitable that her madam would have to shoo him out the door a second
time, maybe a third. And hopefully she wouldn’t have to dump a pot of her
famous sauce all over his head. It certainly would have been a wasteful shame.

••

L
UCIA

The sun
hadn’t risen but the birds were already starting their morning songs from
behind the silvery leaves of the olive tree. A pleasant breeze brushed Lucia’s
cheek through her open bedroom window, carrying the sweet, fresh scent of dew
on lush, green grass. It was time to relieve her night shift manager, who had
taken up her responsibilities while she drifted off and dreamt of her home in
Romaea, where the cypress trees grew tall and the salt of the sea clung to her
hair on the hot summer beaches. After fixing her hair and slipping a
seductively tight but still tasteful dress over her bountiful breasts and her
barely existent waist, she made her way down the staircase and greeted Jhovern,
who had the reddish eyes of a tired man who was satisfied with his work
regardless, as productivity and self-betterment were more important than sleep.

BOOK: Bordello della Libertà (Aethertales Book 2)
3.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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