“Can you do muscle?” The request came from the chick with the long ponytail.
“Muscle, please do muscle.” She lifted her arm and bent it at the elbow. Her two friends at the table giggled.
Three drunken Japanese students were my first guests. They passed an exam and came to celebrate it at the Mansion. It was only their third round of very mild cocktails, yet their behaviour changed considerably over the past hour. They turned from timid, young women, who could barely utter an order and whose faces got red each time I came to their table, into chatty, demanding, and at times quite blunt guests.
I made a fist and bent my arm. They giggled and enthusiastically clapped their hands. The ponytail stood up, felt my biceps and promptly removed her hand with a cry as if she had just touched a hot stove.
The shorthaired one, with dark, purple lipstick, being encouraged by the ponytail stood up as well and reached toward me but changed her mind halfway and sat back down, covering her mouth with her hand as she burst into laughter.
“Anyone else?” I looked at the third student, the prettiest in the group, with straight, shoulder-length hair and a pale, gentle face. She smiled awkwardly and shook her head.
“Okay,” I shrugged and gathered the empty plates on the tray. “Can I bring you anything else? Ehmm, my ladies?”
They put their heads together and exchanged words in Japanese. The ponytail spoke up: “Yes, please bring whisky.”
“Immediately, my lady.”
I smiled to myself as I left the table and walked towards the counter. The night was taking an interesting direction.
“You got lucky today. The fourth round already? Look at them, they are here to spend a lot of money.”
“Don’t know about that, Emile. They’re students.”
“Did you see their designer bags and shoes? Besides, regular students don’t come to this place. The entrance fee alone is high enough to keep away average folks. You’re doing well, mon ami."
“What’s with you?” I looked over Emile’s shoulder at his guest, a well-dressed, older man, with a neatly trimmed goatee.
Emile grinned and clasped his hands together. “Oh, I can’t complain. Mr Fujimoto iz the nicest guy.”
“Can I ask you something...are you gay?” It was a question, which lingered on my mind since I first spoke to Emile in the showers. I noticed his occasional leering looks at me, but I also saw him flirting massively with any woman in the hostel that showed some interest.
“Why, are you interested?”
“No, no, I’m not....at all. I don’t mind if you are, I’m just asking.”
He smiled cheekily. “Well, if you already want to know, I play for both teams. But, I do prefer ladies.”
“So, your Mr Fujimoto, he is--”
“Yes, he’s gay, but he doesn’t admit that to himself. When he gets a bit drunk he becomes bolder and throws in a few innuendos and sometimes his hand wanders up my thigh, but mostly he only talks...about his job, family issues and so on. He’s a great customer to have, always ordering the most expensive dishes and drinks on the menu, for me and for him.” Emile leaned in towards my ear. “I think he’s quite infatuated with me. He comes in twice per week and always asks for me to be his butler.”
I was beginning to realize the job at the Mansion was not as ordinary as Emile would have me believe.
“Hey, what’s with the judgemental face? Don’t you come from the so-called sin city of Europe?”
“I’m not judgemental, just trying to understand how things work here.”
“Good, ’cause your next customer might be a man too.”
“I’d prefer to stick with the ladies.”
“No one gives a shit what you prefer, mon ami.”
Emile’s tray full of sushi arrived from the kitchen.
“And now I’m off to enjoy some yummy dinner, ta ta for now.” He winked at me and left. Suddenly I felt hungry.
“Please, sit,” said the ponytail as soon as I served them the drinks.
“No, no, please sit,” she repeated again and patted the empty chair at their table.
“My name is Akiko, this is Hana and this is Miya.” She pointed at each of the girls. “We are law students. What is your name?” All three of them stared at me in anticipation.
“It’s, umm, I’m David.” It was the first name that came to my mind. Emile had warned me earlier against disclosing personal information. Apparently some guests could get a bit stalkerlike.
“Butler David,” the purple lips repeated and they all giggled.
“To butler David, kanpai!" They clinked glasses and, to my surprise, downed the whisky in one.
“Oh, wait, he doesn’t have a drink!”
“Butler David, please go get more whisky, and one for you as well.”
By the time I returned to the table with another round of drinks their faces were considerably redder. We toasted and they bombarded me silly questions. They wanted to know my height, age, weight, how often I worked out, if I liked the colour purple.... I lied about every single thing. The whisky didn’t sit well on my empty stomach and I began to feel the effects.
“Please, take off your jacket,” said the purple lips out of the blue.
“I can’t. It’s a uniform we have to wear.”
“It’s okay, we pay for it, we make more orders,” she insisted.
“Yes, we want, umm...” The ponytail quickly consulted with her two friends. “We want two big plates of sushi, you like sushi?”
“And more whisky,” added the purple lips.
Since I arrived to Japan, I never once ate sushi. It was too expensive, so I stuck with cheap bentos and ramen. The two large plates of colourful sushi pieces I just brought to the table looked delicious, and as I sat down, I was hoping, with saliva gathering in my mouth, they’d offer me to eat with them.
“Now please, take off your jacket,” said the ponytail.
In all truth, I was quite happy to do it. I was getting hot and the jacket was really tight around my shoulders. I got some sighs and wows from the girls as I undressed and ponytail and purple lips stood up to stroke my arms and chest.
“Hey, that’s enough.” I gently removed their hands.
“You are shy, butler David,” said the gentle face, who watched the whole scene from her seat. Her eyes glittered naughtily after she poured her second whiskey from the bottle I brought together with sushi.
I smiled at her. “Not shy at all, just hungry.”
I certainly sacrificed some of my dignity for what happened next, but it was not all that bad, especially with plenty of whisky at my disposal. The girls picked up sushi and fed it to me with their hands, practically competing among themselves, which one could get more pieces in my mouth. Try this, taste this, how about that one with extra wasabi, try mine first...They ate too, but I can confidently say most of the sushi ended up in my stomach.
They soon wanted another bottle, and as I returned I saw one of their bags on the floor. I picked it up and gave it to the ponytail, who sat nearest to it. She smiled, and I was about to sit down when the pretty face sitting across the ponytail dropped her bag, too.
I walked over and picked up her bag too.
“You dropped your bag, my lady.” I gave her a prolonged look, at which she averted her eyes and simpered, looking slightly intimidated.
Such mind games continued throughout the night. They would invent accidental opportunities to touch me, either by casually patting me while talking, or brushing their hands against me as if by mistake, or trying to feed me more of the food they ordered. They liked to show they were in command. Every time I returned with a new order to the table the three of them were drunker and hornier.
At a certain point I found ponytail sitting on my chair. I attempted to sit on her chair instead, but the purple lips put her hand on it and shook her head.
“She wants to sit in your lap,” she said and pointed to ponytail, who swung gently back and forth on my chair.
A smirk played across my lips. “Does she now?”
I put my arms underneath her knees and back and lifted her up from the seat with ease. She let out a little scream, and so did the other two. I sat down with her in my lap and poured myself a glass. The ponytail had a chubby face, and as I looked at her sideways while drinking, her red, round face seemed like a giant tomato.
What followed afterwards was all a bit hazy. I remembered ditching the ponytail, who, while still in my lap, began to rub her bottom a little too intensely against me. I also remembered I refused purple lips when she wanted to replace ponytail and offered my lap to the gentle face, who after some pep talk from her friends accepted. She smelled like peach, and her hair felt soft against my face. She was asking me to say her name, but I forgot all their names or mixed them up, and had to keep guessing, which was the cause for loud laughter and more drinking.
The gentle face relaxed in my lap and her casual touches became less and less casual and focused in the area below my abdomen. My pants became even tighter and I had to lift her up momentary to adjust in the seat. They all giggled, making some remarks in Japanese. I didn’t really care anymore. I was pleasantly drowsy from the large amount of food and whisky I consumed, and as I leaned my head on gentle face’s shoulder I almost dozed off. Caressing my face she whispered in my ear to accompany her.
“Hey, where are you two going? Not fair, she always gets the man,” I heard ponytail complaining as the gentle face dragged me away from the table.
In the corridor that led to the bathroom, I leaned against the wall and pulled the gentle face onto me. She kissed me on my mouth while her hand slipped inside my pants. It had been a long time since I’d had sex and it showed.
“I like it,” she whispered, giggling. “Let’s go inside,” she pointed with her chin towards the bathroom.
“I...I can’t...have to work,” I slurred. I tried to stop her, but could hardly think straight with her hand in my pants. When she noticed I didn’t offer any resistance, she led me further down the hallway. Just as she opened the door to the ladies’ room, a strong hand on my shoulder pulled me back.
“You are required back at your table.” It was Emile.
He said something to gentle face in Japanese. She grinned and excused herself. Emile bowed to her slightly and waited till she disappeared inside the ladies’ room.
“I’m tired, Emile. They are out of control. This is really not my cup of tea.”
“How English of you. Use that line at the table the next time one of them puts her hand in your pants and drags you to the toilets.”
I chuckled, slowly shaking my head. “I just obeyed their wishes.”
“Listen,” he shook my shoulders; “look at me, Nik! Never on the premises of the Mansion, no matter how persistent the guests are. You hear me? That’s the rule here. Ogata sama doesn’t want any complaints or allegations later. You understand what I’m saying?”
I was half-listening. The agitation I felt earlier due to gentle face’s hand gave way to sudden, heavy tiredness.
“I admit, they’re demanding customers for the first time to handle. But it will be soon over. We’re closing in 45 minutes. Just hang on, ok?”
“I’m fine.” I chuckled. “Next time I only take one guest. Like you. But, not a man. A woman. A nice, fine lady, who can handle herself. Did I tell you I like blondes, also red-haired. As long as they have long legs--”
“Ok, ok, now get your ass back there. Your bell is ringing like crazy. Here, take this tray with drinks, say it’s the last round.”
Finally, the damn place closed. I had to support myself against the cold wall of the Mansion while waiting outside for Emile. He came out last together with Sato, exchanging words in a rather unpleasant tone.
The cold air cleared my mind enough to walk without Emile having to support me. I marvelled at how he still looked just as fresh and polished as he did at the beginning of the evening.
At the station, he passed me an envelope “Here, it’s the money from tonight’s shift.”
“So soon? I thought we get it at the end of the month.”
“You’re not a regular employee, remember.”
“Right.” I counted the money. “This is....a lot.”
“It is, and it wasn’t that hard, was it? You complaining ass.”
“Not hard?” I chuckled. “Look at me, I’m trashed.”
“Yeah, yeah, horny more like it. Well, see you tomorrow, tonight actually.”
“Aren’t you going back to the hostel?”
He smirked. “No, I have a lady to see. Au revoir!"