Velvet Ice, Stripper Detective, in “Viva Las Velvet”
By Lady Jane and Jeb
The plush lobby of Las Vegas’ Belle Amo Hotel was a long way from Capital City; as she was led through its garish displays of bling, and orgies of consumption, Velvet Ice felt rather out of place. She had never had much of a taste for the so-called finer things in life; hadn’t been raised with them and didn’t idealize them. Besides what was it her father had told her? Oh yes: if you want to catch the rats, you have to be just as at home in the sewers as they are!
And who could look more at home in Las Vegas (whether she felt that way or not) than a statuesque stripper? Guests in their expensive designer wear couldn’t help but swivel their heads as she passed: Velvet was wearing bright red stilettos adding nearly three inches to her five and a half foot frame; most of that height seemed to be her long shapely legs, which were covered in fishnet stockings that disappeared into a very short black skirt. Her perky D-cup breasts were stuffed into a tube top covered in sparkling red sequins; as with most of her garments, both were skin tight so as to fully display her gorgeous hourglass figure. Topping off that package was a lustrous mane of highlighted brown locks flowing past her shoulders, and framing a face whose emerald-eyed beauty would have drawn attention even if it weren’t sitting on that head-turning body.
Following the sharply-dressed administrative assistant—every member of the hotel staff seemed to be wearing the equivalent of a month’s worth of Velvet’s usual pay—the young detective was taken through a labyrinth of hallways, leading to the administrative offices. They passed door after door bearing numbers and titles like “Head of Staff” or “Director of Events”. Eventually, they arrived at their destination: the door that read “Head of Security,” and Velvet was quickly ushered inside.
The office was large, though not exorbitantly so, as Velvet had expected from Vegas. There was of course a desk, meticulously organized, a row of file cabinets on one wall and on the opposing side a single book shelf. Velvet noticed an empty picture frame alone on the top shelf, and the rest were lined with the familiar library of the ambitious, hard-driving executive: Machiavelli’s The Prince and Sun Tzu’s Art of War. On the wall facing the desk was a bank of monitors displaying different security camera feeds.
“Welcome, Miss… Ice, is it?” said the woman behind the desk, without turning her attention from the monitors.
“Yes, but Velvet would be fine.”
“Thank you for coming, Miss Ice,” the woman turned, ignoring the invitation to familiarity, and extended one hand. “I am Veronica Grey, head of security for the Belle Amo.”
Veronica Grey seemed to be just a few years older than Velvet, and was tall for a woman; Velvet could tell by her posture she was wearing flats and was still notably taller. She wore a dark gray power suit which had obviously been custom tailored to downplay her femininity, though Velvet still noticed hints of the voluptuous body beneath. The head of security’s face was accented by an expensive pair of black-framed designer spectacles that looked, to Velvet, to be purely cosmetic; her features were molded into a stern look that seemed designed to mask its undeniable beauty, and her glossy blond hair was pulled into a tight bun at the back of her head. Ms. Grey carried herself with poise and confidence and Velvet liked her instantly, despite her drably functional taste in clothing.
“You do of course realize I’m not a licensed private investigator or law enforcement officer,” Velvet began, realizing there were no chairs on this side of the desk.
“I’m well aware of your credentials, or lack thereof,” Ms. Grey said. “However you come highly recommended and from reliable sources.”
“And we require someone with a very specific skill set,” she went on. “For insurance and accounting purposes you will be hired on as a Belle Amo Security Guard. Of course your duties will be quite different.”
“I understand the situation,” Velvet said. “You need me to go undercover in your burlesque…”
“Stage…Show,” Ms. Grey interjected.
“Of course,” Velvet smirked. “…and figure out which one of the girls is seducing your corporate clientele into revealing privileged information.”
“If…if,” Ms. Grey corrected. “I’m not sure it’s one of the dancers but since the corporate executives who frequent our hotel are predominantly male, it seems a plausible scenario.” She bent to her desk and pressed a button on the console. “Have Alexis come in, please.”
After a moment, the office door opened, and another older woman entered. She was shorter, probably Velvet’s height without heels, and had the curve-less body of an aging gymnast; she wore a black velour track suit and tennis shoes. Her red hair was cropped, and her pronounced jaw line bordered on the masculine. She gave Velvet a brief, disdainful glance, but her full attention was on Veronica Grey.
“Make this quick, Grey, the girls are rehearsing a new number for this weekend,” the woman barked impatiently; not the way Velvet would expect the typical hotel employee to speak to the Head of Security.
“May I introduce Alexis Richards,” Ms. Grey said, evidently used to the woman’s brusqueness. “Alexis this is Miss Velvet Ice…the woman I told you about.”
“I told you, Grey, if something’s being stolen it’s housekeeping, not my dancers,” Alexis spat. “Administration hired one too many illegals trying to save a buck, y’know what I mean?”
“That may well be the case,” Grey replied smoothly. “However, my job is to cover all the bases. As you know the Belle Amo normally hosts over a hundred business and corporate conferences each year, over half have already been canceled this year.”
“Oh let me cry myself to sleep,” Alexis scoffed. “You can’t just throw some lead-footed security hag in with my girls,” she went on. “We’re an elite dance team…hell we’re probably half the reason those companies come to Belle Amo.”
“Doesn’t seem to have been enough to keep them from canceling,” Velvet put in; Alexis Richards responded with a dark look that suggested that Velvet wasn’t exactly winning her over. Watch yourself, Velvet, she thought. No point making enemies here.
“Now I understand your concerns and that’s why I’ve personally recruited Miss Ice,” Veronica countered. “As an…uh…exotic, um…I mean…”
“’Stripper’ is fine,” Velvet chuckled.
Ms. Grey seemed to wince. “She is uniquely qualified.”
Alexis Richards scoffed then turned to regard her. Velvet placed her hands on her shapely hips as an appraising gaze swept over her.
"Hmmmm. Plenty of shine and movement in the hair, probably catches the stage lights nicely when you toss your head." Her gaze moved down to Velvet’s chest. "If those are natural, then congratulations, they must perk up nicely before you actually drop anything. And I'll admit those do look like a pair of dancer's legs." Alexis turned back to Ms. Grey. “Fine, she can start tomorrow.” With that the redhead left the office abruptly, and again Velvet noticed the woman’s evident unconcern for the impression she was making on Veronica Grey or the young detective.
“She’s pleasant,” Velvet chirped sarcastically.
“Remember, Miss Ice, discretion in your investigation is vital,” Ms. Grey reiterated, ignoring any reference to Richards’ behavior. “Once the leak has been uncovered and dealt with, then will be the time for publicity. Alexis and I will be the only ones who know about you, and you will report any findings directly to one of us.”
Following a quick discussion of rates and expenses, Velvet was shown to the modest complimentary room she’d be occupying during her stay; more evidence of Alexis Richards’ influence at the Belle Amo was the fact that her dancers were allowed to rent rooms in the huge hotel for cut-rate prices. Probably so she can keep a closer eye on them, Velvet mused. Still, for all the redhead’s bad temper, and her dismissal of the need for Velvet’s presence, the young detective decided she’d rather have the woman on her side than not—she suspected that Alexis Richards would be a formidable opponent if you got on her wrong side. Well, she'd just have to try to mend fences with the woman, since she would be reporting to her, both as a dancer, and as a detective.
Velvet sighed contentedly, and began to undress, deciding that a quick shower and a bite or two in the hotel buffet would be just the ticket before getting started. Despite her initial discomfort, she was very much looking forward to this case, that seemed to combine her comfort zone of exotic dancing with the novelty, for her, of Vegas' bright lights and flashy personalities. Of course, any investigation that seemed to involve hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate espionage would have its dangers… but if there's anything she was sure of, it was that she could handle herself around a bunch of dancers.