House of Jones
Category: Nathan Barley
Characters: Dan Ashcroft, Jones
Pairing: Dan Ashcroft/Jones
Genre: Alternate Scene
Length: 1-5k words
Notes: I originally started this for the challenge (First Meetings) but didn’t finish it in time. This is how it happened in my mind (evil cackle).
Date of posting to BSH: July 2006
House of Jones by The Lizard
It was the height of summer and it was same shit, different day at the ‘Sugar Ape’ office. Jonatton was away for a fortnight on one of his mysterious ‘business trips’, which left the Idiots to slacken off even more than usual.
Dan Ashcroft was in a particularly black mood. He was attempting to work on an article while trying to block out the ironic pop that blasted from the office jukebox and the Idiots staged a ‘Cock Muff Bumhole’ tournament, making noises like geese being strangled underwater. He’d been staring at the computer screen for over half an hour now, slumped in his chair, his brow furrowed. Surely he could think of something negative to say about 15Peter20’s latest art show? The man was a total bibble. The bile was bubbling up inside him but just wouldn’t come out. It was too fucking stifling in the office to think straight. Maybe he should slip outside and get some air.
Wandering down Hoxton Street, Dan smoked, walking in the shadows of the buildings. The intense summer heat had brought with it fashions that were even more absurd than usual. Dan had always felt that flip-flops should be worn on the feet, not on either side of the head. He could feel his blood pressure rising and his jaw tensing. He needed a drink. An ice cold pint might help him relax.
Inside ‘The Nailgun Arms’ pub, Nathan Barley was talking very loudly to another Idiot, both of them collapsing in donkey-like hysterics. Dan headed straight for the bar and ignored their cries of “Preacherman!” He stood with his back to the Idiots, wishing a large hole would open in the floor and swallow them up. What the fuck were they babbling on about now?
However, although Dan tried to ignore their conversation, he found himself listening, vaguely fascinated. They were talking about a local place, where people (“old men who can’t get it up and perverts”) go to indulge their warped fantasies. The place was a house that Dan passed on his way to work. It was, apparently, a very reputable and popular House of Correction….Dan entertained a fleeting thought of going there to write a story, but then decided the heat must be getting to his mind. It was probably run by Albanian gangsters anyway, he’d be killed.
Suddenly, Nathan wandered up behind Dan and put a hand on his shoulder, egotistically assuming Dan had been hanging on to his every word. “Hey, Preach! You should totally write an article about it!” Ashcroft flinched at Barley’s touch, shrugging him off aggressively and spinning round, confrontational, glaring at him. “Fuck off! I am NOT a Preacherman!” Barley stepped back and stood looking at him, hands aloft, wih a stupid gurn on his face. The room fell silent. Dan was aware that everyone was now looking at him, so he gulped down the remains of his pint and stormed out of the pub. Nathan and his Idiot friend looked at each other in a confused yet amused way, then shrugged and carried on talking about………..whatever.
Outside the pub, the humidity wrapped itself around Dan like an unwelcome warm blanket. “I need to try and calm down….”. Dan realised he was feeling especially tense today. He decided to try and walk it off, heading for nowhere imparticular; hoping the physical act of walking would help him work off this funk. It normally worked but today was so hot, he wasn’t sure how far he would be able to get before deciding he’d actually rather be sitting back in the Sugar Ape office, where it was at least shady and cooler, even if it did mean listening to inane twaddle. He’d give it 15 minutes and see where he ended up and then he’d make his mind up.
As Dan paced the baking streets, he waded through the black gloop of thoughts swamping him, sucking hard on the umpteenth of many cigarettes. At the bottom of all of this, he recognised that overall his problem was STRESS. To Ashcroft, stress was a double-edged sword. On one hand, he drew much inspiration from it for his writing; his bile and vitriol was what gave his writing the Ashcroft stamp. On the other hand, however, some days the tension was too much and he found himself unable to channel the rage into anything. Like today: nothing appeared to bring him the release he desperately needed. And it felt particularly unbearable in this damned heat.
Dan stopped, pausing in the shade of a building and checked the time on his watch. He’d been walking for about 20 minutes. Where was he? Somewhere around Aldgate? He wasn’t sure, so it was probably better head back now and give the office a try. Hopefully most of the Idiots had given up on ‘work’ and left for the day. It was 3.30pm after all. He walked back up the street in the opposite direction and soon picked up his trail.
Pausing to cross the road, Dan realised that he wasn’t too far from the house that Barley and his gonzos had been talking about in the pub. Curiosity led him down the street towards it. He’d just wander by and see what’s occurring. If anyone asked what he was doing hanging around outside, he’d just tell them he was doing some research, use his journalistic licence.
The house in question looked extremely uninviting, with its peeling exterior paintwork and graffiti-covered walls. The smell of urine and cat shit baking in the sun filled his nostrils. Bits of old furniture and rusting metalwork littered the ground around the house. It probably had a rat problem. Some of the windows were boarded up, others weren’t, the curtains half-drawn. Dan walked slowly up the pathway and gave the place closer inspection. The front door was boarded up, as if by the local council. Daubed on the grey weathered door in blue paint were the words ‘House of Jones’. “Who is Jones?” Dan mused. It looked like a drug users place. He imagined the scene inside, of scabby, crack-addicted syphilitic whores working out of grimy bedrooms, and Madame Jones, who was probably like an Eastern European Cynthia Payne on acid, beating them regularly for not making enough money. Dan decided he wouldn’t be writing an expose on this place after all. He turned and began to walk away.
“Are you looking for somebody?” a male voice caused him to stop. Dan looked back and saw a young man peering out of the front door, smiling and shading his piercing blue eyes from the sunlight. Dan replied: “Oh, no. Sorry to have bothered you.” and carried on walking. “Hey, are you Dan Ashcroft?” the young man called out, opening the door fully and stepping out of the house. Dan sighed and stopped again, turning to give his stock response to Idiots. The door of the house fell fully open and revealed the hallway, the walls painted purple. The young man was dressed in clean clothes, not like the heroin users he imagined frequented a place like this, and he didn’t seem to be like one of the Idiots who Dan encountered around Shoreditch and Hoxton. Dan’s curiosity was aroused; he was intrigued to find out more. He walked back to within talking distance of the other man and extended his hand. “Yes. I’m Dan. Do you live here?” The two men shook hands. “Yeah, I’m Jones. Want to come in for a cold beer? I’ve got loads in the fridge.”
Dan hesitated. He wasn’t in the habit of accepting invites from strangers into their houses, but something about this place interested him. He wondered exactly what went on in there, if the bullshit Barley had been spouting in the pub was in fact true. There might even be an article in it that he could show around to various editors, some freelance work outside of Sugar Ape. Plus, the sun was at its hottest right now. He could feel it beating through the back of his shirt and strands of his thick mop of hair sticking to his forehead. “Yeah, why not?” he replied and followed Jones into the house.
Dan’s eyes took several seconds to adjust to the sudden change in light as he entered the hallway. He felt immediate relief as he stepped out of the heat and into the shade of the house. The usual crap filled the hallway: piles of junk mail, old free newspapers. He noticed a slight whiff of damp, and the soles of his Converse boots stuck slightly to the carpet, which was grubby and worn in places. Jones led Dan through a small untidy kitchen (painted orange) to a lounge area. He invited Dan to sit down on the sofa while he headed back to the kitchen to get the drinks. Dan place his hands on his thighs and took a glance about at the décor, wondering when the prostitutes would wander in.
Large swathes of material had been fastened to ceiling, creating a Bedouin tent effect. The furniture was comfortable but mismatched. Two large, well-worn settees. Toys and dolls filled some shelves along on wall, bits of music equipment, DJ equipment in one corner that looked like it might be a bedroom area. A huge Pop Art screen-print of Jones hung above the bed. A small portable TV. The curtains half-drawn. The room was lit by two small lamps. Was this a squat? It certainly didn’t seem like a ‘House of Correction’ to Dan. Where was the torture chamber for a start? No sign of a nipple clamp or a cat o’ nine tails. Barley was talking a load of bollocks, as usual.
Jones returned with two opened cold beers, passed one to Dan then flopped down on the opposite sofa. He pushed a hand through his hair and fell back into the cushions, throwing his legs over the arm of the sofa, looking very relaxed. Dan swigged his beer – it was perfectly chilled and Dan enjoyed its effects. In truth, he always felt a little bit uncomfortable in the presence of somebody who was so physically relaxed, especially when he didn’t know them and potentially could about to be rohypnolled and sold on for sex. He crossed his legs, speaking to break the silence and help him feel less tense. Gesturing towards the music/DJ equipment, he asked Jones: “So, are you in the music business?”
Jones nodded. “Yeah. Well, kind of. I DJ in a few places. The Nailgun Arms, Stanley Knives, wherever, y’know?” He held Dan’s gaze for what was probably slightly longer than necessary until Dan looked away, slightly embarrassed. Dan gathered up his thoughts and pressed on with the investigative journalism….fuck it, I’ll just ask him outright.
”You know, I was told this place was a knocking shop,” Dan said. Jones laughed and brought his legs down from the side of the sofa, sitting up straight, facing Dan. “Oh right! Where did you hear that!?” he said. Dan smiled, “Oh, just some bloke in a pub……..” Jones grinned, clearly amused: “And I suppose you’re here looking for business!?” Dan joined in the joke, “Yeah, that’s right. I thought this place was full of cheap whores who could sort me out with a good whipping.” Dan made the sound of a whip crack and the two men laughed together. Suddenly, Jones’ expression changed, serious now. “Well, it’s just me, I’m afraid. And I’m not cheap.”
Dan stopped laughing, almost choking on a sip of beer, and looked incredulously at Jones: “What?”
Jones: “I conduct sexual services from this house.” Dan’s laughter subsided and he became serious. It looked like Barley had been right, for once: “Sorry, mate. I wasn’t taking the piss. So what do you call yourself, a male prostitute?”
Jones shook his head: “No, that’s boy’s stuff.” He sat back on the sofa, throwing his arms out at either side and placing them along the headrest. “I’m what is known as a Master.”
Dan shifted uneasily in his seat but his curiosity was pushing him on, and he was losing his inhibitions with each gulp of alcohol. He gulped down more beer before posing his next question. Get the story, Ashcroft.
Dan: “So, what does that involve?”
Jones cracked open another beer and passed it to Dan: “It’s a bit difficult to explain without showing you some of the equipment. Why don’t you come upstairs to my office?”
Dan hesitated. If he was being a true journalist, he would have to follow this guy upstairs and see for himself what was involved. He momentarily thought about one of his literary heroes – Hunter S. Thompson wouldn’t have hesitated. He’d have been up there like a shot and phoned in his story within the hour.
Dan stood up. “Well, if Hunter would go up there….”
Dan: “Ah, just thinking aloud. Lead the way, Jones.”
Two hours and four more beers later….
As Dan relaxed his large frame into the harness, he felt the leather straps tighten around his shoulders. With some effort, Jones hoisted Dan up and secured him to a large steel loop on the wooden scaffold, facing the wall. The cuffs around Dan’s wrists dug into his flesh as his arms were secured above his head.
Blindfolded, he felt vulnerable, exposed, suddenly conscious of his stomach which drooped slightly over the waistband of the harness, of his nakedness below it. Jones stood up close behind him, gently brushing Dan’s buttocks with the leather thrashbat. He whispered into Dan’s left ear. “Just say the safe word if you want me to stop.” Dan’s cock twitched in anticipation as Jones stepped back and administered the first whack. Dan cursed as the thrashbat smacked hard against his bare flesh, the soreness spreading out through his muscles, making him clench his jaw. Jones yelled at him, told him he was a low-down dirty bastard, a useless piece of shit, then smacked his buttocks again, and again. Each time, Dan gripped the chains above his head, twisting and gritting his teeth in sweet agony, swearing. His cock grew stiff as the pain coursed up his body, his balls aching. Sweat poured from his head and down his back, tickling the hairs above his rump. The skin on his buttocks began to break as Jones continued to physically and verbally punish him.
Dan’s pain thresh-hold was being pushed to the limit. He screamed in grateful agony as Jones paused to examine his work, running his fingers around the bruised and bloodied areas. The pain brought him relief he’d never known before, his cock felt as if it were going to explode. Adrenalin coursed around his body, causing his mind to twist itself into tight knots of ecstatic pleasure.
Dan started to panic, he thought he was going to die. He called out their agreed safeword, exhausted, “Preacherman……” Jones stopped and leant in closely, placing a gloved hand on Dan’s shoulder, his leather trousers rubbing against Dan’s thigh. “OK, big man? Want me to stop?” Jones whispered, softly. Dan muttered, his voice hoarse: “Yes…… Master.” Jones gently stroked Dan’s face, grinning at his new Slave, then left the room, leaving Dan to bask in the gradually subsiding waves of pain and dripping sweat. The relief Dan had been seeking had finally come.
During the days following his visit to the House of Jones, Dan experienced a tranquillity and an ease with himself that he’d not felt for….well, probably never. He still bore bruises and marks around his wrists that felt sore every time they brushed against the cuff of his jacket or shirt, and of course, his backside remained painful for a while. He would wince slightly when his trousers brushed against his rump, and it was a bit difficult to sit down for long, but overall, things didn’t bother him. The pain had a curious calming effect. Even the Idiots in the office didn’t annoy him quite as much.
Dan stared at a blank computer screen, his mind wandering back to the punishment he received at the House of Jones, reliving the thrashbat in his mind and feeling a slight stirring in his groin. It had been fucking amazing. Afterwards, as they chatted in the lounge, Jones had suggested that it seemed that Dan thoroughly enjoyed being humiliated. Dan knew that Jones was right. He continued working at this godforsaken shithole and accepted the treatment that Jonatton gave him, deliberately sending him off on assignments that he knew Dan would loathe, making him toss off builders for cash….there was no end to Jonatton’s twisted games, and yet Dan remained. Jones had helped him realise his masochistic side.
Sasha noticed Dan sitting awkwardly at his desk, looking almost serene. That’s weird. She got up and approached Dan. “Everything OK?” she asked, casually. She noticed that his shoulders weren’t quite as hunched as usual, and that his jaw was relaxed. Dan looked up at her, his face breaking into a broad smile. “Yes. Things are good, thanks.” Sasha smiled back and returned to reception, feeling that something wasn’t right. Dan didn’t do smiling, not even something approaching mild amusement. She assumed he must be on drugs.
Dan’s mobile phone trilled, indicating that he had received a text message. It read: “You will move in with me today, Slave. But you’re sleeping on the sofa until I say you can do otherwise. Your Master, Jones.” Dan smiled and replaced the phone on the desk, suddenly finding himself in the mood to write the article about 15 Peter 20’s latest Piss Portraits.
2000 words? Easy.