Rocco and Brando kept well out of sight of the light emanating from the Pleasure Tent, unaware that cruel eyes watched them edging closer. Rocco’s gas can made sloshing sounds as he poured it around the base of the tent nearest the light, keeping one eye on the door. Across the midway, Brando mirrored his movements, the stench of gas making him light-headed. As he rounded the edge of the tent, a sweet smell like cinnamon and incense wafted over him, breaking through the fumes of gasoline. Pausing in his movements, he looked across at his brother, his vision swimming. Rocco did likewise, a silly grin on his face.
“Do you smell that?” Brando asked, not troubling to keep his voice down.
“Smells nice,” Rocco said.
Movement from the tent caught their eye as Zara stepped into the light, clad in nothing but a g-string, her long dark hair covering her breasts but only barely. Her metallic eye shadow glinted in the light as she raised a hand dripping with red and beckoned to them. Her tongue ran across her lips, leaving an inviting sheen.
Rocco’s jaw dropped, along with the gas can. Brando was already moving toward her, following as she backed slowly into the tent, shadow stealing over her as the two mobsters entered the tent. The cinnamon and incense smell grew stronger. As it did, their steps grew jerky and halted, their bodies swaying as their belabored nervous systems fought to keep them upright. As they crumpled to the floor, Zara swirled a cloak around her shoulders, hiding her body from sight. She surveyed the unconscious figures with distaste, prodding them with a bare foot. Beckoning to the shadows, two huge Gypsies appeared and lifted them with ease.
“Take them to the chamber,” Zara rasped, fastening the cloak about her neck. “Customers waiting.”
Gasping and spluttering, Rocco and Brando regained consciousness as a bucket of water was splashed over them. Attempting to thrash, they found their arms and legs to be bound straight out, displaying their nude bodies on two splintered wooden tables. Blinking the water from his eyes, Rocco attempted to yell but found his mouth to be stuffed with a gag that tasted of gasoline. Screaming through the gag, he looked over and saw his brother once again mirroring his movements as they both thrashed within their bonds. Zara, now clothed, stepped forward into the circle of light shed by the naked bulb swinging over their heads. She held up their shredded clothes.
“You would burn us alive like dogs?” she said, her eyes smoldering. “Taste gas on your clothing, curs. If you were lucky, fumes would put you back to sleep. But we do not show you such mercy.”
Throwing their mutilated garments to the floor, she gestured. A Gypsy stepped forward, holding a tarnished silver tray which may once have been a cookie sheet. Lowering it to their vision, the brother’s struggles renewed as they beheld the sharp and rusty implements laying on it. Placing a hand on each of their heads, Zara patted them. “Now now, be still. You no worry about these being used on you. Yet.”
Exchanging bewildered looks, Rocco and Brando ceased their futile thrashing and concentrated on breathing through their noses without inhaling gasoline fumes from the gags that had once been their fine clothing.
Stepping back from the brothers, Zara barked an order in another language. Five hooded figures stepped into the light and lowered their hoods. Two women and three men stared at the prone bodies with a look of hunger on their faces. The women were young and attractive, the men fit and looked as though they would be at home in a bank.
“We have two members of local mafia to offer today. They unharmed and last long time, if you want. Examine them before we start bidding,” Zara said, her new raspy voice carrying well in the stillness of the Pleasure Tent.
One of the men and one of the women approached Rocco, the other three went to Brando. The brothers squirmed as they were fondled, poked and prodded by the prospective buyers. The woman flicked Brando’s penis with bright eyes, fondling it as it rose to attention against its owner’s will. She nodded gleefully. One of the men by Brando pulled the gag from his mouth, peeling his lips back to examine his teeth. Brando began to scream, his limbs turning to water in his prone position. Immediately Zara was there, silencing him with a firm strike to the side of the head with a small bit of pipe. Cramming the gag back into his mouth, she shot a furious look at the man who had removed it, who gave her an apologetic glance.
When their examinations of the goods had satisfied them, the five returned to their positions at the edge of the circle of light. All looked excited, breathing heavily as their eyes darted from the tray of tools to their prospective property.
“The bidding starts at one thousand. We start with this one, since he so excited for it,” Zara said with a grin. The buyers chuckled, glancing at Brando’s now wilting manhood. The woman who had fondled him raised her hand. The other man raised his. By the time the man gave up, Brando’s value had reached $27,000. The woman was breathing harder than ever and her eyes shone as she stepped forward to choose her weapon.
“No, you wait,” Zara said, wagging her finger. “We deal with brother first.”
When both brothers had been purchased for nearly $50,000, the losing bidders melted back into the darkness as silently as they had come. The winning bidders, the blonde woman and a man with carefully parted hair and a pencil-thin mustache, waited, looking excited.
“Take them to chambers,” Zara said to the Gypsies before turning to the winning bidders and gesturing. “Please, follow purchase. You find everything you need there.”
The two huge Gypsies came forward and began rolling the tables with the prone figures to separate sides of the tent, out of the circle of light. The brothers were screaming from behind their gags, pleading for mercy as they were separated by the stone-faced Gypsies. Folding screens were erected, shielding them from each other’s view as Zara brought a duplicate tray of implements to each side. The woman had shed her cloak and was tying back her long blonde hair into a tight bun. The man removed his own cloak to reveal a doctor’s scrubs.
“Have fun,” Zara said with a grin. “You remove gags now, they hear each other die.”
Outside at the entrance to the Gypsy camp, Tony had been standing like a statue, watching where Brando and Rocco had vanished. The seconds ticked away. Once enough of them had elapsed, Tony pulled his own gas can from the trunk and began spreading gas around the border of the camp, taking care that each tent received a full dose.
From within the camp, two sets of ragged screams began. Tony seemed not to hear it. He had heard far worse.