Lawrence smiled at Joshua’s expression. “First Class. Better food. Prettier stewardesses.”
Joshua laughed. “You actually had a stewardess? I usually end up with some college guy from El Salvador on my flights.” Joshua grinned. “Enjoying all the pleasures of life, my friend?”
Lawrence returned the chuckle. “As many as I can, Josh. Some of the pleasures I enjoy are not always readily available.” They shook hands and turned towards the baggage claim, walking evenly.
“How was the flight?”
“Rather tedious actually.” replied Lawrence. “But the food was decent. I paid extra. And one of the stewardesses felt the need to pamper me.”
Joshua sighed. “Ah…the pleasures of being rich. I envy you.”
Lawrence grinned. “I don’t fritter my money away like you.”
Joshua shook his finger. “Now wait a moment. You invested in this little venture of mine quite voluntarily.”
Lawrence put up his hand. “Very true. I was only teasing you, my friend. So…how goes our venture? Tomorrow is October 1st. To be honest, I was busy completing a real estate deal in Newark so I wasn’t able to look at your last report. Forty million dollar office parks don’t just sell themselves.”
Joshua pushed open a glass door and motioned Lawrence ahead of him. “You didn’t miss much. We’re ready. The dress rehearsal tonight will be for a few select reporters and gossip-mongers, not to mention the odd Congress critter or two. The kids have been rehearsing for a month now and I have to tell you that the set designer you recommended was even more incredible than you told me. But…you’ll see for yourself. No one has ever encountered an attraction such as this. Ever.”
Lawrence nodded. “That is what I’m counting on. Have you pre-sold tickets?”
“Absolutely. We did a promo flyer for all of the hotels on the strip that would let us. In fact a few of them bought a large number of the tickets. Since we do the no line reservation, we’ve already had about 2,700 prepaid, time slotted reservations.”
Lawrence nodded in understanding. “Excellent. At $200 a ticket that’s already a tidy sum. What’s the bottom line?”
Joshua shrugged. “We’ll see how it turns out, but the cost analysis looks like almost sixty cents on the dollar. Much higher than the original estimate. I took a couple of short cuts on staffing that really panned out.”
“All the permits attained?”
Joshua nodded as they stopped at the luggage conveyor belt. “Of course. You can’t do business in Vegas without the correct permits.”
Lawrence smiled as he leaned forward and pulled his black leather satchel from the luggage return. “I look forward to sampling tonight’s performance then.”
Lawrence surveyed the three hundred or so individuals standing at the front door of the Mansion. Its dark gothic carvings, so loving lit with torches at the sides, seemed to exude a dark, sultry evil. A dark, blood red, ribbon was stretched across the door, forbidding entry. The lights of the Strip only softly illuminated the crimson silk rope queue and Lawrence stood at the back, taking the opportunity to observe his fellow theater-goers.
The slightly shabby clothes of a few select entertainment reporters clashed horribly with expensive suits like Armani and Venetti. Lawrence took a tall flute of champagne from the waiter in a tuxedo as he observed the awkward assembly. There was that pompous senator from New England, scotch in hand, and of course the Governor. Lawrence recognized several CEOs of major corporations as well. All gathered together in tight little cliques.
“Well Lawrence, I think we are ready to begin. Do you want to be up front with me for the ribbon cutting?” Joshua said after stepping up to Lawrence’s arm.
Lawrence shook his head. “No. I prefer to remain in the background on this one, Joshua. No one needs to know I’m your financial backer on this project.”
“Sure. Just wait here at the back. We’ll go through together.”
Joshua moved through the crowd until he stood at the ribbon-clad doorway, glancing at his watch. There was an excited murmur and then a hush. He stepped up to the microphone that sat to the side of the entry.
“Gentlemen, and the few ladies who have graced us with their presence, welcome to the Las Vegas Haunted Mansion. I thank all of you for coming tonight at invitation.” Joshua paused a moment, holding up his hands. “As you are all no doubt aware, haunted houses are cropping up all over America during this month. Creepy ghoul shows, haunted hay rides, and a multitude of gore laden attractions will stimulate our nation’s public with horror, evoking disgust, fear, and perhaps even outrage.
“But the Haunted Mansion, which lies before you and behind this simple ribbon, is much more. Here in this beautiful city of light, we have created a dark and sinister nightmare beyond your imagination. Be prepared to face your own mortality, your own weaknesses, and most importantly, your darkest desires. Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to the Las Vegas Haunted Mansion.”
Joshua turned and held out his hand to a beautifully dressed woman who was holding a scythe. A laugh rang through the crowd as she pushed it forward and Joshua raised it high, bringing it down in a single motion, cutting the ribbon. The doors opened with a loud creak from the hinges, and the gathered guests moved forward, indulging in laughter and speculation about what they were gong to see. Lawrence stayed to the rear, as much to watch the reactions of the guests as to see for himself Joshua’s creation.
The crowd entered a large room, which was only sparsely lit. Tables and chairs stood at various spots throughout the room and a fully stocked bar complete with bartender and four scantily clad waitresses dressed in the perverted version of a witch’s outfit quickly moved out through the crowd, offering drinks. As Lawrence moved into the room and took a glass of complimentary champagne, he noticed that one bright spot in the center of the room was roped off and brightly illuminated with a series of red, green, and yellow lights. Lawrence watched as the excited guests gathered round the rectangle, blocking his view of the center spectacle. From their conversation and the low whistle which came from some awed reporter, Lawrence assumed it would be good.
“You need to see our centerpiece for the waiting area.” A voice whispered in his ear. Lawrence turned to see Joshua grinning at him.
“You have my attention already. It looks like most of your guests are attentive too.” Joshua gripped Lawrence’s elbow and pushed him slightly forward.
“Excuse us.” Joshua said politely to a reporter who was busily scribbling on a small notepad.
They pushed their way through the sea of broad shoulders and Lawrence let out an involuntary gasp when he saw the coffin. It was dark cherry with gold handles, lined in brilliant red satin, but it wasn’t the coffin itself that elicited Lawrence’s astonishment, but the contents. His dark blue eyes drank in the sight of the gray lifeless body resting heavily in the box, her thick lustrous blond hair combed and prepped for a funeral viewing. But the fact that her body was totally bare, her breasts and sliver of sex totally exposed to the staring astonishment of the men that brought a smile to Lawrence’s face.
Photo Credit: Vampire Sex
“My God.” Lawrence muttered in amazement. “That looks so real! How did you get that dead gray color?”
Joshua laughed. “Hold on. That isn’t a mannequin. She’s real. Her name is Rachel.”
Lawrence’s head turned in surprise. “What?”
“She’s real. That’s makeup on her skin. It takes about an hour and a half in the makeup room to get her that color. One of the reasons she doesn’t get up is that there is a stripe down her back of regular pink skin.” Joshua replied evenly. “Lets her skin breathe.”
Suddenly the girl in the coffin opened her eyes to the startled gasps of the guests. The pupils were a filmy gauzy white, like dead fish.
Joshua smiled again. “White contacts. She can see through them though.”
“Beware the halls of the dead and those that haunt them. There is safety in numbers of only thirteen. Beware…” the dead girl intoned solemnly, and closed her eyes.
A gong sounded at the other end of the room and Lawrence took his eyes away from Rachel. Two robed figures stood to either side of a large stone archway and beckoned the guests forward. Lawrence glanced once more at Rachel who lay in her death’s bed.
“Come brothers, feast your eyes upon the dead and those who are about to die. Drink in their misery and rejoice at your own sanctity of life!” One of the cowled monks intoned. The other counted off guests as they entered, stopping at the thirteenth. Lawrence wasn’t part of the first group and looked at Joshua.
“It’s hard to coordinate the movement through the Mansion, so we break the groups off. We have the regular tickets numbered so we keep on schedule. Each stage is set for a limited number of people for safety reasons. We’ll go in with the next group.” Joshua explained.
Lawrence looked back Rachel. “So she just lays there?”
Joshua nodded. “Gives the guests waiting something to look at. She’s got a whole act we aren’t seeing. She wakes. She spouts poetry. And there is a gory looking bone shaped vibrator in the coffin with her. At one point she lifts her legs and props them up on the side of the coffin and spends about twenty minutes masturbating.” Joshua grimaced. “Actually, I find it a bit gross. They have her put this tablet inside her and when the tablet is crushed by the vibrator her fluids become red. By the end of the night her loins are stained and that bone thing looks like it’s been used to kill people.” Joshua shuddered. “This is actually a waiting room for several of the groups. Rachel relieves the monotony.”
Lawrence shook his head. “You’re really strange. But I can honestly tell you she’s attractive enough to rouse all the necrophiliacs out there.”
Joshua just laughed. “Are you kidding? Rachel said this was the best sex job she’s ever had!”
Lawrence grinned. "I knew I was right to trust you. So what's next?"
Joshua motioned toward the doors at the end of the hall. "You'll find out in just a moment."
Stay tuned for more Haunted Mansion!