Sam and Carla parked their sleek Mercedes alongside the mansion. As they hurried up the flagstone walk, their hosts, Harold and Brianna awaited them at the massive front door.
Brianna stood wearing her gossamer pool cover-up, smiling. She pulled her shoulders back, apparently flaunting her recent breast augmentation. Harold just smiled and waved a cocktail glass.
Being the country club’s membership director, Harold interviewed Sam and Carla when they applied for membership. They hit it off socially, but the two men had little in common financially. Sam held a good job as a bank vice-president while Harold globe trotted, making millions in the import export business.
“We thought you’d never get here,” Brianna said, exchanging air kisses with Carla.
“Yeah,” Harold added, “I was beginning to think you might cancel out at the last minute.”
“We wouldn’t do that,” their guests replied. “We’ve been dying to see this palatial estate you call home.”
Carla handed Brianna a bottle of wine in a gift bag. “Here is something we saw at a little shop in Chinatown. I hope you like it.”
“Oh, how thoughtful,” she said. “Look Harold, a Chinese white wine from the Yunnan Valley.”
Harold nodded and then said. “Well, come on you two, I took the liberty of mixing a couple of pitchers of Sangria.”
Sam and Harold sat at the bar while Brianna gave Carla a grand tour of the house.
“So, Harold,” Sam asked, “how is the import/export business these days, with all the trade sanctions and disease scares?”
“Doing quite well, actually. Our Pacific Rim trading partners are scrambling to acquire anything American, even if the products are of lesser quality. I call it a reverse ‘Made in China’ policy.
"Next week we’re fulfilling new contracts for denim jeans, and various flavors of jerky and special meat cuts our clients think might compete with the Japanese Kobe beef.”
The ladies returned, and after donning bathing suits, they settled into the lounge chairs by the pool cabana. The sultry afternoon sent them alternating between the cabana’s shade and the pool’s refreshing coolness.
When the sun dipped behind the palm trees Brianna said, “Harold, I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m famished.”
“I’ll get right on it,” Harold said. “Why don’t you refill their glasses love?”
“Are you going to grill up some of those cuts you’re sending overseas?” Sam asked.
“Absolutely!” he replied. “If it’s American, it has to be a quality product. Second opinions are always valuable tools. Enjoy yourselves and I’ll return shortly.”
Harold retreated into the house while Brianna refilled their glasses. After settling back in her lounge chair, she sipped on her drink, watching her guests. Twenty minutes later, Brianna kneeled between Sam and Carla.
“Are you guys all relaxed?” she asked.
“Absolutely,” Sam said, his words slurred.
“Well,” Brianna said. “I think we need to get you out of the sun.”
She led Sam by the hand into the cabana. She gave a peck on the cheek, and sat him on the couch. He smiled, and stared through Brianna rather than at her.
“Okay sweetie, it’s your turn,” Brianna said, returning for Carla.
She sat Carla on the opposite end, and then sat between them. She rested a hand on each of their thighs.
“Listen you guys, the club is pretty exclusive, if you know what I mean. A number of the members like us like to play and are rather picky about their playmates. Harold told me you were a scrumptious looking couple and that we might enjoy.”
“Wow, I don’t know,” Carla said, giggling. “We’ve never done anything like that before.”
“I don't mean to be forward, but would you be comfortable with that?”
"Be gentle,” Carla mumbled as her drooping eyes glazed over.
Brianna patted each of their legs. “Well, I think I will take that as a big 'Yes.'”
She arose and pushed the intercom button. “Harold, I think our guests are ready to play.”
His voice crackled over the intercom, “I’ll be right back out.”
He stepped into the cabana a few minutes later wearing only his barbeque bib apron and carrying a large bag labeled Barbeque Tools.
"How are our guests doing?” he asked, setting the bag on the counter top.
Brianna smiled and waved her hand as though she was a prize model on The Price is Right.
Harold then stepped behind his guests “Geez, that Rohypnol in their Sangria worked really well.”
A loud crack echoed through the cabana as Harold drew back and swung a broad, wooden mallet into the back of Sam’s skull. Sam’s eyeballs popped from their sockets, and rolled onto the floor like dropped martini olives
Carla lay back on the couch cushion with an unregistering stare toward the ceiling. She never moved a muscle as Harold stood over her hand slammed the mallet down on her forehead. Another Whack echoed across the yard.
Brianna helped Harold lay their guests on the countertop. She cleaned the cabana while Harold chopped, skinned and trimmed. After setting aside a couple of steaks he wrapped the other cuts in butcher paper and placed them on a shelf in a basement walk-in freezer with the other cuts.
Harold returned to the grill and stoked the barbeque coals. That evening they ate by candle light, and sipped on the wine their guests provided. Brianna swallowed a forkful of meat and rolled her eyes.
“Oh Harold, I can’t believe how tender these turned out. Our trading partners will love them.”
Harold stepped around the table and kissed the nape of Brianna’s neck.
“That’s why I married you, my love. Your discriminating taste is the only second opinion I need.”
Harold ‘Hal’ Kempka’s short stories have appeared in numerous Horror magazines, including 69 Flavors of Paranoia, Black Petals, Dark Valentine, Golden Visions, Night to Dawn, Sex and Murder, Thrillers Killers and Chillers, and Twisted Dreams. His stories have appeared in Anthologies from Pill Hill Press, Blood Bound Books, and Post Mortem Press. He is a FlashXer flash fiction workshop member, and lives in Southern California.
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