Danny’s Secret Life by Sean Bracken
Some might call it habit, others superstition. Danny Gibson called it his ritual. It was reserved for these very special days in Danny’s life. His private, secret life.
The routine never varied. At precisely twelve noon, he dropped his classic 1960’s red Corvette into Val’s Car Wash for a complete valet service. The scantily clad girls, dressed in tight denim shorts and tied-up blue polka-dot shirts, always paid special attention to Danny’s car. After all he was an extremely generous tipper. And they just loved the car.
One hour later he entered Finn’s Sports Bar, for lunch. His meal, like everything else never varied. Spicy buffalo wings to start, followed by a huge plate of Finn’s bacon and cabbage with mashed potatoes and a side salad. Barney, who served the tables, looked like he would easily qualify for the ‘Senior Citizen Special’ in Val’s car wash. He knew Danny well enough to keep a constant supply of black coffee coming.
Danny dined at a leisurely pace, giving no hint of the rising excitement he felt in anticipation of the task that lay ahead. As usual he opened the Herald Tribune to the crossword section and methodically filled in the solutions to each clue. First working across, then working down. Nothing tasted anything quite like Finn’s bacon, specially imported from his uncle's farm in County Kerry, Ireland. And Danny did it justice, not leaving a morsel of food on his plate.
These little forays into his covert life should have ended years ago. Danny didn’t need the money. He was a wealthy CEO of a Fortune Five Hundred company, well respected by his peers and loved by his wife and family. “Imagine the shame and shock if my secret ever got out,” he mused. But there was no turning back now. He’d accepted the contract, the second of three that he allowed himself each year. It had started when he was funding himself through college. It paid well and Danny discovered that he was a natural, born for the job. When he qualified with a law degree he tried to quit, but by then he was addicted to the adrenalin rush he experienced every time he worked.
In order to perform well, Danny kept to a strict exercise regime. A year short of his fiftieth birthday, his body was lean and well toned. He had the physique of a man twenty years younger and he moved with the poise and grace of a predatory animal. His wife Bella, adored him for his good looks and incredible stamina. Some of her friends could barely conceal the lustful thoughts they had whenever they met him.
Crossword complete, and a satisfying lunch inside him, Danny called Barney for his bill and one last cup of coffee. He added a handsome tip to the bill, wiped his lips, retrieved his case from below the table and stepped out into the heat of a Vegas summer afternoon.
Next stop was the Sands Hotel and Casino, a short five minute walk from Finn’s Bar. He briefly considered playing Blackjack for an hour, but decided to stick with his routine. Check in early, shower and watch some pay per view TV for an hour. Then it would be time to prepare for the contract. This evenings job should be simple. The Sands was hosting an international Elvis convention in the main ballroom. This suited Danny perfectly, hundreds of Elvis lookalikes milling about the hotel would allow him to merge into the crowd. All he needed to do was get into character, don his costume and voila, a new King is born.
At seven thirty, Danny rolled of the bed and sauntered into the lounge area of his suite. He poured a cup of black coffee and began to prepare for work. Tonights target was very young. An eighteen year old girl. The photograph that came with his contract revealed a very pretty young lady, with golden hair, cut just above her shoulders. Her radiant sky-blue eyes, brought life to the picture. “What’s the world coming to?”thought Danny. If one of his daughters had anything to do with something this sordid he’d have killed them himself. Not that they would have. His children were all decent, honest God fearing people. Danny was proud of them all. “If only they knew,” he thought. They’d never be able to live with the shame.They’d never forgive him. He finished his coffee, shrugged off all thoughts of family and returned to the bedroom.
Danny stripped naked and began to prepare. He massaged his body with sensuous oils, before dressing in his costume, a red sequined jump-suit, with long tassels hanging from the arms and legs, and matching red suede boots. Finally he put on the wig. He inspected his reflection closely in the mirror. Satisfied with his appearance, he picked up his black case, left the room and returned to the lobby.
With practised ease, Danny strutted through the lobby. His elaborate costume gave him complete anonymity, to move freely and to mingle without drawing any undue notice or attention. He made his way down a long corridor covered with a rich, thick piled, royal blue carpet. The walls were lined with expensive looking copies of famous works of art and marble busts of historical figures on tall pedestals. Near the end of the corridor, he entered a recessed doorway, marked “Stage rigging area. Staff access only.” Behind the door, he found a near vertical stairway that led up to various metal platforms, stage lights, ropes and pulleys.
One platform led out over a ball room, thirty feet below. The room was packed with guests. The party below was in full swing as people mingled about, holding canapes or drinks as they exchanged greetings. He could see his target, seated exactly where he had been told to expect her, about ten or so feet to his left. Danny crawled on hands and knees, over to where he would conceal himself, dragging the case awkwardly behind him. His position had been prepared in advance, in accordance with his instructions. He shoved the case in ahead of him, before wriggling into the rather cramped space himself.
Once in position, Danny closed his eyes and began to breathe slowly and deeply. He recited his Mantra, Ma-Ra-Na-Ta, with each breath. Soon he was perfectly composed. Relaxed, but aware of every sound and movement around and below him.
Sitting in the darkness of his enclosure, Danny waited. He listened to the sound of a six piece band, entertaining the guests from a stage at the back of the room. The happy laughter of revelers, the clink of glasses and the aroma of cigar and cigarette smoke surrounded him.
At nine o’clock, Danny heard the sound of many voices singing Happy Birthday begin to echo around the room. This was his cue. He steeled himself and waited for the singing to end.
Amidst cheering and clapping from the guests and a drum roll from the band, Danny jumped out of hiding from the giant birthday cake that had been lowered into position from the overhead gantry. His lips moved in perfect synch to the music track, belting out ‘King Creole”. With a swing of his hips, Danny began to gyrate. Thrusting his hips, he peeled off, first the sleeves, then the rest of his jacket. He danced with abandon in front of the young party girl. She squealed with delight, when, with an exaggerated flourish, he whipped off his trousers, revealing a minute, bejewelled G--String. She tried to cover her face red with embarrassment, when he pulled her onto the floor and danced around.
To Danny, this was heaven. This was all he lived for. The rush of energy that coursed through him as his toned body glistened under the spotlights. The look on the faces of the crowd brought him to life. This was joy. This was heaven.
All too soon it was over. As the party guests whooped and hollered, Danny retrieved his case from the cake, removed a bathrobe and threw in his costume. Waving goodbye to the crowd, The famous “Long Dong Silver”, left the party and returned to his room.
The next morning, after collecting his car, Danny smiled to himself on the long drive home. “Ah yes,” he said. “There’s no business like showbusiness.”