When he was dressed, he looked outside and saw the taxi was still waiting in front of the shop. He knew he had to deal with this, so he reached into Luis’s back pocket and pulled out a wad of cash. He gaped at the handful of cash for a moment, counting more than five hundred dollars in twenties and fifties, then smiled at Luis and said, “I’ll be back.”
He ran down the back steps and into the grocery store. Before he went outside to the curb, he stopped and glanced in the dairy case window to be sure his hair looked right and his clothes weren’t rumpled and crooked. He twisted the little turned-up wave above his forehead and opened the door. Then he walked over to the taxi, handed the driver two fifty-dollar bills, and said, “I’ll be a few more minutes. Can you please wait?” He lowered his eyelids and flirted with the driver. When he handed the driver the money, he made sure his fingers brushed against the driver’s big, thick fingers. He’d noticed the driver staring between his legs and he figured he’d take advantage of the opportunity now that he was pretending to be Luis.
The driver took the money and stared at it. Then he smiled and said, “I’ll be right here,” without even noticing it really wasn’t Luis anymore. He even winked and added, “I’ll wait for you forever, baby.” Then he looked down between Gage’s legs and ran his tongue across his bottom lip.
Gage nodded and said, “I’ll be back in a few minutes.” There was something about this taxi driver that made him pause. He noticed the driver spoke with an accent he couldn’t pinpoint, and he had those dark, scruffy good looks that always made Gage look twice.
The driver spread his legs wider and said, “I’ll be here.”
Gage tapped the roof and turned to go back to his apartment, feeling vindicated because the taxi driver hadn’t noticed anything unusual, and because he knew the driver was watching his ass as he walked back to his building. When he was in the store, he ran all the way back and up the steps, taking two steps at a time. Before he went back to his own apartment, he went up to the apartment on the third floor and found the hidden key his landlord had told him about. He opened the door to the vacant, sound proof apartment above his and left it wide open. Then he returned to his own apartment, where he found that Luis had crawled halfway across the room. Luis was on the kitchen floor now, working his way toward the door, trying to make an escape.
Gage sent his twin brother a disappointed glance and said, “I told you to stay where you were. You never did listen to anyone. You always did exactly as you wanted all your life. And now it’s my turn.”
Without waiting for Luis to moan, Gage bent down and scooped his brother up in his arms. He carried Luis up to the third floor and focused on his footing so they both wouldn’t wind up falling down three flights of steps. When they were inside the apartment, Gage set Luis down on the floor beside the refrigerator. From what Gage could see, this studio apartment was the exact replica of his. You walked into the kitchen first, the bathroom was to the left, and the living room-bedroom area was in the back. This was really the front of the building because it looked out to the street. Gage switched on the dim kitchen light and looked around. The floors were the same old scuffed hardwood, the twenty-year-old appliances exact duplicates of the appliances in Gage’s apartment. Even the fake marble Formica countertop was the same.
But as Gage moved forward and crossed into the living room-bedroom area of this third-floor apartment, he noticed that was where everything changed. He switched on the overhead light and blinked. A row of red spotlights illuminated above his head. The walls were littered with whips, straps, chains, and dildos in all sizes and colors. There was a shelf lined with butt plugs and a row of hooks beneath the shelf supporting leather chaps, vests, and garter belts. On the floor, he saw another row of kinky leather boots and high heels. When he looked to the right, where the bed was supposed to be, he saw a leather sling suspended from the ceiling, three or four wooden torture devices, thick chains hanging from the ceiling, and a long cushion on a low platform covered with black rubber fitted sheets. When he gazed right and he saw a large cage that resembled an actual jail cell from the Old West, he pressed his palm to his throat and gulped. His landlord hadn’t been joking around about this place. The door to the cage was open and there was a set of keys attached to a large metal ring hanging from the latch.
Gage walked closer and stepped into the cage. On the right, he saw a twin-sized bed with more black rubber sheets, a small nightstand, and a pile of rumpled black covers that looked as if they hadn’t been laundered in years. To the left, he noticed a rust-stained toilet, a grimy urinal, and a small sink. He flushed the toilet and turned on the faucets. The sink and toilet both worked. Then he examined all four sides of the jail cell to be sure it was secure. When he was certain no one could escape from that jail cell, he carried his twin brother inside, set him on the twin bed, and went back outside. By that time, Luis wasn’t wiggling or moaning anymore. He just watched and followed Gage around the room, as if waiting to see what he’d do next.
Gage locked the door to the jail and tugged on it hard to be sure it worked. After that, he walked around the exterior of the jail cell and slid his hands in between the bars. He pulled keys out of his pocket and removed the cuffs from Luis’s ankles and wrists, then removed the gag with the black leather ball.
When Luis could speak and walk again, he jumped up from the bed and ran to the door of the jail cell. The short black robe opened wide and exposed Luis’s naked body. “You’re insane,” he said. “Let me out of here or I’ll call the police and have you arrested, you fucking asshole. What on Earth is going through your mind?”
Gage smiled and walked to the front of the jail. He stepped back and leaned into the wall opposite the cage door. He crossed his feet at the ankles and said, “Temper, temper, Luis. It’s my turn now. I’m tired of watching you get everything you ever wanted and all I get is dumped on. I’m tired of you having all the luck and me being the loser all the time. This was going to be my new apartment, but now it’s going to be yours for a while. I’m tired of you rubbing everything you have in my face. You’ve been doing it all your life, and now it’s time for you to see how it feels to be me.”
“I’ll scream,” Luis said. Evidently he knew he couldn’t get out. “Someone will hear me and call for help.”
“The entire place is soundproof,” Gage said. “This used to be where my landlord and his dearly departed lover made kinky movies. You should feel right at home now. To bad I couldn’t find good old Snake and lock him up with you in here. That would really make me smile.”