A dangling, jet bead curtain hung between Mistress Fanny Ferula, the Caning Queen of Cleveland, and her adoring fans who’d arrived from many corners of the world to watch her. Sweat trickled down her neck, and she hadn’t even stepped onstage yet, but she didn’t worry. Her makeup could stand up to the worst. She’d let it cook enough, blended it, sealed it, and she spent plenty of money on the best. She deserved it after all, putting in nights like this all over the country at pride fests, burlesque conventions, fetish balls, and any other event that demanded the presence of the certified fiercest queen in the states.
Fanny took a deep breath. Nerves always hit her right before a show. And of course, playing midnight on the first big night of Decadence deserved an even bigger dose of butterflies. The metal boning of her leather corset bit into the tops of her hips, and she welcomed the little pain. She adjusted the chains wrapped around her wrists, and still she waited.
Beyond the curtain, two pretty boys in silver banana hammocks danced beneath flashing lights. The party revved into a higher gear as a flood of people came in from the street. The hour approacheth.
The lights turned off, dropping the club into darkness except for the glow sticks, necklaces, bracelets, and all the blinking LCD jewelry worn by the men in the audience. She even saw one scrolling belt buckle that read, in bright red lights Bottom. Likes handcuffs. HIV Neg. Fuck Me
. Then it would start all over again. Fanny felt confident they were all men--or, at least, born that way. The two dancers pushed past her, smelling of baby oil and the vodka they’d sweated out through their pores. Fanny wrinkled her nose, but couldn't help slapping one on the ass as he passed, and shouted, “Atta, boy!”
The deep tone of a bell began to resound through the room, tolling out midnight. The place grew progressively quieter.
Then Fanny’s opening song, “Yes, Sir, I Can Boogie,” began to play. The crowd cheered. As the first lyrics came drifting out, Fannie pushed through the beads and stalked onstage. She could hear the sharp ringing of her metal-tipped heels even above everything else. Or maybe she just imagined it.
Her lips moved to the words of the song as she danced across the stage. Beads hit the floor around her as men threw them, trying to get her attention. She picked up a strand of plastic pearls, glowing in the black lights, and ran them between her teeth, biting hard and pulling. Then she wrapped them around the reaching hand of an audience member and then around another, binding them together as she crossed the stage and lip-synched to the song. She danced and spun, feeling the energy of the crowd wash over her. She’d need to harness all of that later, when the time came to MC the big competition. She always loved tapping into the audience’s enthusiasm at these events. It seemed never-ending. She just wished she could ride it forever, like some eternal speed trip.
There was a time that she could, but lately... The years crept up on her. She knew she couldn’t do this forever, and she didn't want to end up a sad old fag in fake eyelashes.
She pulled herself out of her thoughts as the song came to an end. Someone in the audience thrust a wireless microphone up toward her. She took it, mouthed a thank-you, and then straightened. She ran her empty hand down the length of her body, feeling the leather of the corset beneath her fingers, then the lace and tulle of her full tutu. She inhaled, taking a moment to center herself before going forward. The crowd cheered again. She could make them out only by the occasional flash of the LED jewelry that could overpower the spotlight in her face. She smiled big.
“Hello, boys,” she said, pitching her voice at the proper timbre, making it sound sultry and womanly rather than her usual gruffer man’s voice.
“Hello, Mistress,” they all responded as if they’d done this before. Many of them probably had.
“Are you ready to have some fun?” Trite, yes, but it usually got them even more pumped. They certainly wanted to prove to her that they were.
“Yes, Mistress,” they said in unison. In the silence that followed, someone shouted out, “Beat me! Please!”
Fanny chuckled. Sotto voce, into the mike, she said, “Only if you’ve been a really”--she paused for effect--“really
She heard groans from the audience, and someone in the front fake swooned into his companion’s arms.
She reached down with her free hand and drew out the long, thin acrylic schoolhouse cane she had tucked in a special pocket along her boot. As she did, the spotlight dimmed, and the black lights came up. The white dreads in her wig glowed around her shoulders, and the cane bloomed fluorescent in the dark club.
“Have you been a bad boy?” she asked as she struck the side of her boot with the cane, letting the sound bullet through the club. More moans came from the audience, along with a few shrill whistles.
“Hell yeah!” the man who’d asked for a beating cried out. She could see ripples in the audience as the members pushed the man forward to the stage. Hands helped him up, and Fanny suppressed a sigh. It always came to this too, didn’t it? Some slightly buzzed and shirtless pretty boy off the street thinking he wanted to get a whack or two. He had probably never set foot in a bondage club. Had never really submitted to anyone.Maybe he was a bottom in whatever unsatisfying relationships he traipsed through, but true submission... Fanny shook her head, but then remembered the audience and closed the distance between herself and the new arrival.
“How bad have you been?” she asked as she used the cane to prop up his chin. She held the microphone up for him to respond.
“Decadence! Woohoo!” he cried out. He turned half toward the audience and pumped both his fists in the air. The audience cackled in laughter. Fanny could hear their derision and less-than-mild amusement.
She realized she’d get some satisfaction from this caning, just because the guy seemed like such a douche.
“A chair,” she said.
Someone hurriedly pushed one from backstage. She moved it so the seat faced away from the audience.
“Drawers down,” she told the man, “if
you have them, that is, and lean over the back, hands on the seat.”
He did as he was told, revealing a drunk-limp prick between two pale, though hairless, thighs.
When he’d positioned himself, Fanny spread his legs even wider, pushing his feet out with the toe of her pointed black leather boots. She set the microphone on the stage and spanked his ass playfully a few times with the palm of her hand.
“Is that all you got?” he asked, giggling.
The audience had fallen silent. A steady bass beat bled in through the walls from the club next door. Outside on Bourbon Street, the party still raged, but here, in this club, Fanny now held sway. She had the audience in her power, and they waited to see exactly what she would do. How she would respond to this challenge.
She took a few moments to appraise the man now bent over the chair. It was just a show, after all, wasn’t it? She took a step away to give herself plenty of room to swing, pulled back, and landed a single sharp, abrupt strike to the man’s pimpled rear end with the cane. His entire body seemed to seize with the impact.
Even under the dim black lights, she could see the red curve of the cane’s imprint on his butt.
The man straightened and turned to face her. She saw something there in his eyes, a look she was not unfamiliar with, but one she didn’t expect to see: hate, contempt. Leave it to one fool to ruin my evening
. She shook her head. This wouldn’t be pretty, but she’d take care of it quickly. The man bent down and pulled up his underwear and madras shorts. Fanny straightened her back and pushed out her chest just a bit. If he wanted some sort of confrontation, to show what a man he was, then she’d give it to him. Why do they have to do this
? She always managed to find one, a man who wanted to prove something, to be part of the show, and then when he realized what he’d done, try to prove his butchness by picking on the queen.
Too bad for him Fanny was about as butch as they came in four-inch stilettos.
He backed down. Fanny had a few inches on him, probably even in bare feet. One of his friends reached up to the stage and pulled him off.
The DJ, from his perch to the left of the stage, took this as a cue and started playing another of Fanny’s signature songs. She quickly got lost in the routine of the performance. It came to an end too quickly, and then, Fanny knew, the main event would happen.
The lights came up just a little. The leather guard entered from the street. The crowd parted, moving aside so the new group could make its way, uninhibited, to the stage. Five masters, dressed in leather from head to foot, led five slaves in by chain leashes. Some of the submissives wore hoods of various designs. Others had bare heads. One was completely shaved and polished, and an intricate tattoo of chains wrapped around his skull.
Fanny smiled as she watched them approach.
She picked the mike up off the floor. “Gentlemen, the event you’ve all come here to see.”
Finally, true submissives. Too bad they were all attached. She took in the slaves’ leather thongs, their piercings, and the wooden box each carried. Bootblacking
. She loved this contest, and tonight, she would judge. An employee of the club brought out more cane cabaret chairs, and the masters led their slaves onstage. The masters sat in the chairs, facing the audience, and the slaves knelt before them, each in perfect posture. Everyone froze and waited. Fanny took a deep breath. Then a wicked thought entered her mind.
“But what about poor Fanny?” she asked. “Who’s gonna shine the mistress’s boots?” She looked out into the audience. Hands raised. People jumped up and down. Some even pushed toward the stage. She didn’t want any of them.
She saw him, and her heart skipped a beat. Did that just happen
? She watched him, and his gaze, behind its Elvis Costello-style glasses, didn’t leave hers. Fanny took a moment. What was she thinking? He probably stood an entire foot shorter than she, and his white blond hair made him look as if he could be an albino, but his neck and the little bit of his chest visible over the neckline of his wifebeater promised he was fit.
“You,” Fanny said, pointing.
He raised his eyebrows in question, looked to his right and his left and then behind him.
“Yeah, you, Dennis the Menace. Get your sweet little ass up here.”
* * * * *
Gel blinked, and then in a gesture he knew had to appear cliched and geeky, he pushed his glasses up the sweaty bridge of his nose. They slipped right down again.
The woman--drag queen, he reminded himself--scared and excited him simultaneously. Mistress Fanny Ferula, the Caning Queen of Cleveland, the poster at the front had read. Really tall, skinny, corseted, long black-and-white dreads, darkly tanned skin... Gel thought she--no, he--no, she
had to be of some kind of mixed race. He felt as if she had an invisible string tied right to his cock, and she was pulling it up, up, up toward her place onstage.
Gel couldn’t believe what he felt--he’d never experienced this kind of attraction to an individual before. But she wanted him to join her onstage, and...
He swallowed. He didn’t do this kind of thing. He wanted to watch the craziness from the audience, not participate, but he wouldn’t say no to her, he realized. Something about her appealed to him on every level, and before he could stop himself, he felt his feet taking the steps to the stage. She reached down, grabbed the beads he wore around his neck in her hand, and pulled him up.
A stagehand brought out another chair. The mistress took a step back, and her gaze raked over Gel’s body, taking in everything. With her long-fingered, long-nailed hand, she pushed his pin-striped shirt off his shoulders. He let it fall to the floor. She scratched her nails up and down his arms, grinned viciously, and hissed her approval.
“Strong boy, aren’t you?”
Gel couldn’t find any words. His tongue seemed glued to the roof of his mouth.
She chuckled. Her voice sounded rich and deep, not exactly masculine, though, but utterly, completely sexy.
“Gentlemen?” She turned to the masters seated on their chairs. “Do you think you could spare my boy here some supplies?”
The masters leaned over their slaves, and each came up with a different tool, tin of polish, or rag. Those items were passed down the row where the last slave held them up to Gel. He stared down at the equipment, then up into the mistress’s face. Her eyes--piercing emerald, clearly contacts--blazed at him. He never knew green could look like fire. He tried again to force the words out. Maybe “No, thank you” or “Please, choose someone else,” but he couldn’t say anything. Instead, as if he functioned by some remote control and she held it, he sank to his knees in front of the empty chair, and took the shoe polish, brushes, and rags. He stared ahead, unsure what to do next.
The mistress’s murmured “Good boy”--clearly meant only for his ears--sent a shiver of delight through him. He didn’t entirely understand why. His friends were the ones into BDSM. Gel didn’t really go for that. He had his own menage fetish to, well, manage. The way his body responded to the mistress, though, seemed to suggest that he would have to reevaluate his stance on the matter.
Or maybe it was something else entirely--the man...er...woman herself.
Gel had never believed in love at first sight, probably because he never thought one person would satisfy all his needs. But now, Fanny had the hard muscles and lean lines of a man, the strength--and judging from his height--a package to go with it, but all that lay below the glitz, polish, and fierce femininity of a woman’s shell. Gel saw in her everything he could possibly want, and--God damn it--it hurt to realize that.
And she didn’t even know his name. He wanted to tell her, so she would remember, but he still couldn’t get himself to speak.
Her sultry voice floated out from the PA system, and Gel closed his eyes, listening, absorbing.
“It’s not a race,” she said. “It’s about perfection. We all get five minutes. Whoever’s slave does the best job wins a two-hundred-dollar bar tab for the weekend.”
The audience approved with their cries.
“On the other hand, the worst will have to feel his master’s--or mistress’s--wrath. My word is final.”
He heard her heels tap against the stage, and she sat down, placing her foot against Gel’s thigh. The pointed end of her stiletto heel bit into the meat of his leg, and he welcomed the small pain. It helped to focus him, pull him into the moment. He looked down at the slightly scuffed, high-heeled boot, and fear washed through him. He wore canvas high-tops. He hadn’t polished shoes since his father used to make him do it every Saturday night so they were ready for church the next day. Gel had hated that, but now an entirely different feeling filled his chest, gut, and--most surprisingly--groin.
To his left, the slave dipped to his master’s boots and began working. Gel watched for a few moments, then felt the mistress’s heel dig in harder through his denim. It stung.
He didn’t know where to start. The slaves around him polished vigorously, seeming to know exactly what to do and what order to do it in. The masters didn’t speak, just watched them with stony eyes. Gel couldn’t understand the dynamic, but then he looked up into the mistress’s eyes. He saw patience and encouragement there he hadn’t expected. It warmed him, and he bent to the task at hand. He examined each item. A wadded-up nylon? What was that for? The assortment of wax, polish, and other concoctions went far beyond the tin of black shoe polish and old T-shirt his father used to give him.
He didn’t want to waste any more time. He bent to work, randomly selecting a brush and a tin and hoping he’d chosen wisely. He tried to emulate the slave next to him as far as motion and brush selection went. He worked hard. Under the stage lights, bright enough now so everyone could see, sweat broke out across the bridge of his nose. His glasses slipped. He pushed them back up, leaving a perfect black fingerprint of shoe polish on one lens.
After a few minutes, he sat back to inspect his work. He felt pleased. It looked nice. He carefully lowered the first boot to the floor and raised the second to his thigh. He picked up a brush and--
A harsh buzzer sounded throughout the club.
“That’s it,” the mistress said. She clicked her tongue, lowered her foot to the stage, and stood. Gel strained to get a glimpse of what the others had done. They’d finished both boots, each type of leather treated exactly as it was supposed to be. Gel felt his stomach drop. “Wrath,”
she’d said. What did that even mean? He’d watched her cane the man onstage earlier, and the act had made him feel uncomfortable and a little confused. Why did the man want the caning in the first place? And then Gel had clearly seen how the interaction had not pleased the mistress. She’d lost her composure for a moment, and he’d seen a flicker of disappointment cross her face too. Gel knew he didn’t want her to look at him the same way, but he had clearly done the worst of all the slaves.
The mistress declared the slave with the chain tattoo the winner. Gel, of course, came in last. The masters led their slaves offstage, all but one chair was removed, and still Gel knelt there. Fear froze him to the spot. Would the mistress beat him with the cane? Force him to do some menial task like work as her ashtray for the evening? He’d seen that in an old documentary, and the thought of it made him queasy. Not something he was into at all.
He swallowed and tried to find some moisture in his mouth, but there was none. When would this torture end?
He realized nothing held him there. He could stand, wave off the mistress, push through the crowd, and lose himself in the melee of the street in no time.
But for some reason, his muscles would do none of those things. He could not make himself stand.
Oh, God, I want this, he thought. I want her to do whatever it is she will do to me. I may even need it.
So he waited, wondering when it would come and in what form. He envisioned her hands on him, stroking, pinching, maybe even spanking him, and his cock strained against the placket of his jeans. He’d never responded like this in any of the BDSM parties or gatherings he’d casually observed. It had to be the mistress. He didn’t know what went on around him--music, where the people were. His entire world narrowed down to the pinprick of need slowly expanding in his groin, blooming outward like the expansion of the Big Bang. He felt like he might literally burst to pieces when he finally came. If
he finally came. That was something he felt certain he would not do on this stage.
“Stand up,” Mistress Fanny told him.
Now his body responded to her command, and he sprang to his feet.
“Face the audience.”
He spun on his heel.
“You don’t bootblack, do you?”
He shook his head.
“You can say ‘No, Ma’am’ or ‘No, Mistress.’”
“Mistress” didn’t sound right, but “Ma’am” was simple Southern manners. He could do that. “No, Ma’am.”
“But I can tell you’re submissive. You are, aren’t you?” She held a mike up to his lips.
“No... I don’t know. Maybe?”
“Let’s see.” She turned to the audience. “Would you all like to see just how submissive he is?”
The audience shouted, “Yes, Mistress.”
Fanny herself sat down in the one chair that remained. “You’re a little shy, aren’t you?” She patted her thigh. “Lie across here. You can leave your jeans on. For now.”
Gel’s body thrummed as he moved, as if every inch of his skin had become an erogenous zone. He bent over, lying across her lap. His stiff prick pushed against her thigh, rubbing and sending shivers through him.
“Is that a ferret in your pocket, or are you just happy to see?” Fanny asked for the benefit of the audience. Gel imagined her winking to go along with it.
Her hand caressed his ass, and his body felt strung even tighter. He squeezed his eyes shut, afraid of what would happen next.
Behind his closed eyes, only for a moment, he saw his father’s face. The man scowled in condemnation.
Then the first strike hit from the mistress’s open palm, stinging through the denim. It snapped Gel back into the moment, into the full, sensual experience of what the mistress did to him right now. No one had ever spanked him--not his father, his aunts, no one. He’d never even been paddled at school. Now, as a grown man, the sensation only added another tumultuous layer to his bubbling emotions.
“Did you enjoy that?” the mistress asked.
Gel didn’t know what to say.
“‘Yes, Ma’am’ or ‘No, Ma’am.’ It’s that easy.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Every hair stood on end, and his cock throbbed painfully. He rubbed it against her thigh, needing the friction. Right now, only the two of them existed in the world.
“Hold still, you bad boy,” she told him with another spanking, but he could hear amusement and a slight huskiness in her voice that spoke of her arousal. Gel shuddered at the idea of the mistress’s cock, tucked and taped however she did that, straining for freedom. He wanted to kneel before her, lick it, suck it...feel it in his ass.
“You seem to like the spanking, so that was no punishment for the shoddy work on my boots. Let’s try the cane, shall we?”