A Dubious Artifact


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A Dubious Artifact – Published 10/31/2012

  Chapter One

“Give me the damn papers, I’ll sign them,” Colton Banyon roared to the man across from him, seething with anger. Banyon was in his lawyer’s office in downtown Chicago. The matter being discussed was distasteful, but necessary. He quickly
signed the documents and pushed them back to his lawyer, Kim.

“You’re doing the right thing,” Kim Denkewalter told him.

“It just isn’t right,” the businessman Banyon replied, shaking his head in shame.

“Look, the housing industry has been in a slump for several years now. There is not enough business to keep the company afloat. Since, you established your holding company in Nevada; you personally will not lose any money. Only six people will lose their jobs and the debt will be erased. It is the best that we can do.”

“Putting one of my companies in bankruptcy is repugnant to me. It says that I failed,” Banyon responded.

Kim, his longtime friend and lawyer, had never seen Colton Banyon so upset. “Look, you still have five other companies that are making money. That’s pretty good, considering the current economic climate.”

“Can I at least give the people some severance pay?”

“Not from company funds. If you want to give them anything, it has to come directly from you as a gift.”

“That sucks,” Banyon lamented.

“It’s the law,” replied his friend.

“Okay, how do I do that legally?” Banyon asked with a degree of sarcasm.


Two hours later, Colton Banyon headed for his home in the suburb of South Barrington, Illinois. He owned a sprawling ranch on two acres of prime land. His green Jaguar XJ8 knew the way; Banyon was too busy thinking to pay any attention to the scenery.

It seemed so wrong to him. Just sign some papers and be free of all the debt built up by Ajax Fasteners, LLC. He had originally just wanted to take his own money and pay the debt, but his lawyer had talked him out of it. He said that it was foolish and unnecessary. Banyon had been rich before and poor before, as well. He preferred rich, so he listened to Kim, but the whole procedure made him uncomfortable and angry.

The deeper root of his anger actually had to do with what was happening in America. Suddenly, it was okay to lose. Not having a job was acceptable and everything you bought was from China. He worried about the future for his three sons.
Banyon was retirement age and did have plenty of resources, but he worried about what their future would be.

As he rounded the corner, entering his street, his mood quickly improved. Parked haphazardly in the middle of his circular driveway he saw a tiny, red Porsche. It meant that Loni was home. He hoped that she was packing for the trip to their condo in Las Vegas. Loni usually packed and repacked her luggage at least three times per trip. It was the middle of the fall and like many other people, Banyon hated to winter in Chicago. He had bought the condo last year for a steal, ironically, because of the poor housing market. In three days, they would be soaking up the desert sun until late spring in Nevada. Banyon alsonoticed a service truck parked by the side of the road, but paid little attention to it.

He parked his car in the garage and entered the house through the kitchen. When he tossed his satchel up onto the dark granite countertop of the island in the kitchen, he saw that the mail was already there. Grabbing the pile, he noticed that one piece of mail was a certified letter. He guessed that Loni must have signed for it, but decided to open it later. Right now, he wanted to find Loni.

“Hey babe, where are you?” he called out.

“Be right there, but don’t come into the bedroom,” he heard her sweetly reply.

“Why is there a man in there?” he joked.

“Well, actually, yes, there is.”

Banyon was distracted by the certified letter that he held in his hand and her response didn’t register for a few seconds. Suddenly, his head jerked up. “What did you say?”

“It’s not what you think, Colt. But you still can’t come in yet.”

“Elizabeth, are you here?” Banyon called out. Elizabeth was his longtime housekeeper. If anybody knew what was going on, she would. Banyon knew that she was incredibly nosey and a snoop. There was no reply.

“I sent her home early,” Loni called from the closed door of the bedroom. “She is too nosey.”

Banyon tapped the letter with one hand as he waited impatiently. He debated whether to open it or wait for later. Certified letters were almost always bad news; he had had more bad news then he wanted already today and it wasn’t even noon yet.

Finally, the door to the bedroom opened and Loni came bounding out. Her long, black hair was pulled back in a severe ponytail. It made her look like a teenager. Her lithe body was dressed in tiny white shorts and a navel-revealing, green tee
shirt. She could easily pass for twenty, but was considerably older. She bounced over to him, displaying unconcealed excitement and grabbed him in a big bear hug. Banyon was of average height, about six feet tall, but the top of her head only came up to his chin.

“I was hoping that you would be late,” she exclaimed as she leaned back and targeted him with her clear dark eyes.

“And why would you say that?” he asked.

“Because, I wasn’t ready for you,” she cryptically replied.

Banyon suddenly noticed more movement by the bedroom door. A large young man came out of the bedroom carrying a bag of tools. He wore bib overalls and no shirt. His
muscles bulged and Banyon could see a layer of sweat on his brow. He had been exerting himself. This only added to Banyon’s confusion and concern. Loni was well known to be impulsive and it had gotten them in considerable trouble in the past.

As the man reached them, he said, “All cleaned up, miss.” He then looked at Banyon and said, “Lucky guy.” He didn’t slow down and turned down the hallway, making for the front door. Banyon noted the saying on the back of his overalls. It
said, “Tom Taylor does it better”.

“So… what is going on?” Banyon asked Loni.

“You’ll see in a minute,” she promised, disengaging from him and heading back to the bedroom suite. “Don’t come in until I call you.”

Banyon was now intrigued. He looked at the letter in his hand and quickly tossed it on the granite island. He now stood with his arms crossed, wondering what she had done.

“You can come now,” he heard her say. It was her sexy voice and Banyon found himself moving towards the bedroom like a fly to honey.

The first thing that he noticed was that all the furniture had been moved. Next, he saw that Loni’s clothes were thrown all across the room. She was very messy with everything and didn’t seem to care where her things went. Since, Loni had moved in to Banyon’s house, the part-time housekeeper, Elizabeth, had become the beneficiary of a full-time job just cleaning up after Loni. Banyon was shocked to see that the far end of the bedroom was now had a half-circle, floor-to-ceiling curtain covering the corner of the room. He was becoming concerned that Loni had done something crazy, but when he looked around the room, he couldn’t find her.

“I’m over here,” she called, stepping out of her personnel walk-in closet. As she had many times before, she took his breath away. Her hair was still in the ponytail, but she was dressed in a sheer pink negligee and nothing else. She posed by the door and then runway walked over to him. Her eyes were riveted on his. She grabbed his hand and led him to a small leather couch that was set in front of the curtain. Banyon didn’t recall owning the bright red leather couch. She pushed him down on the cool leather.

“Loni, what is going on?” he managed to ask.

She stood before him, hip cocked and with a sly smile on her face. “Remember that I told you that we should have more spice in our life?”

“Vaguely,” he mustered.

“Well, I was reading the paper the other day and found an advertisement that will work,” she told him like it was a necessary thing.

“What advertisement?”

“An advertisement to teach woman pole dancing,” she said. “The class was very crowded and I learned some really cool tricks. My instructor said that I am a natural. I’m going to give you a pole dance and then a lap dance. They taught us that, too.”

Banyon was completely shocked, but before he could say anything, Loni danced over to the wall and turned on the in-house stereo; blasting, rhythmic beating exploded into the room. She then pressed two more buttons on the wall. The curtain flowed open from the middle, revealing a small, wooden parquet floor. In the middle of the floor stood a floor-to-ceiling, gleaming, brass pole. Colored lights flashed from recessed cans in the ceiling.

“Colt, it is the latest thing. Don’t you just love it?” she asked with the excited enthusiasm of a teenager.

“I’m speechless,” he replied, meaning it.

“Looks just like a strip club, doesn’t it?” she said, proud of her work.

Forgetting all his worries and agreeing with her, Banyon quipped. “How would you know? You have never been to one.”

“Have so. Where do you think that we practiced?”

Stunned again, Banyon asked, “With real men?”

“You’re the only real man I know,” she coyly replied. “Now watch.”

She came up on her toes like a gymnast and launched herself at the pole. She grabbed it about halfway up and spun around, causing her negligee to fan out, allowing her perfectly rounded rear end to show. Banyon started to enjoy the show. Loni then clamped her strong thighs around the pole and leaned backwards, hanging by her legs from the pole. Banyon knew that she was very athletic and also very flexible, but marveled at her performance. He was becoming excited. Her pole dance really worked, he thought to himself as he watched her straddle, twirl, and spin on the brass phallic symbol. All too soon, the song ended and Loni dropped to the ground facing him. She was breathing hard and her body was flush from excitement. His was too.

“Want me to do it again? It is so much fun.”

“For me, too,” he said as he got more comfortable in the seat.

“Why don’t you take some of your clothes off? I want to see if this really works on you, Colton Banyon.” Banyon knew to never argue with her when she called him Colton. The shirt and pants and underwear were quickly gone.

Another song started and Loni went into another act. She pulled the headband off her head and threw it at Banyon as she whirled around the pole. Her long, black hair now spread out and trailed after her every move. Banyon noticed that she was watching him very carefully, looking for the proper reaction. When the song ended, she dropped to the ground and glared at him with a smoldering look.

“Loni, I think that it is working,” he croaked.

“Good. Now, I’m going to give you a lap dance,” she announced, gliding over to the leather couch just as another sexy song started. When she reached the couch, she tossed off her sheer garment and, facing him, climbed up on his lap.

About halfway through the song, Banyon grabbed her ass and stood up. He deposited her on the nearby bed.

“Well, I guess I need to service me a cowgirl,” he said with a cowboy twang.

“I love it when you talk like a cowboy,” she said from her prone position.