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Dirty Work

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"E flat, Salieri, E FLAT!" Don shouts across the studio. "God DAMN, I hate when YOU play the piano! You sound like a retarded Schroeder!"

Walt bangs a fist down onto the keys, yelling back: "Well, YOU sound like you're raping a congested goose, so do us ALL a favor, get your ass over here and play it yourSELF!"

"I've already DONE the piano for this fucking track, but if you can't at least carry the placehold you're gonna keep throwin' me off. Did your mother ever have any kids that LIVED?" Don is weary and quarrelsome, picking a fight as excuse for a break.

"I know what YOUR mother had..." Walt retorts, plinking a saucy little riff in D minor. "...last night."

Neither is sure who's the source of a single chuckle, but they both snap: "Shut UP!" in perfect unison.

The music room's crowded today, with Denny, Skunk, Jim and their respective kits-n-kaboodles taking up nearly all floorspace not occupied by the vee of twin keyboards with Walt on a stool between them. Don stands on a raised platform in one corner with his back to the backup singers Ruby, Pearl, and Opal.

"At least my mother's worth a fuck!" Don snarls, savagely unslinging the saxophone from his neck and plonking it heavily onto a rickety rack. "I wouldn't touch YOUR mother with your DAD's dick, and I bet HE doesn't anymore, either!"

A syrupy female voice pipes up behind him. "C'mon now, honey, don't be talkin' so nasty 'bout your mommas. There's ladies present."

Don hears a quieter one warning her "Stay out of it." before he turns to glare at the trio. Ruby and Opal each take a small step backward, marking Pearl as the one who'd spoken first.

Walt rises from his seat to stride briskly toward the dias, weaving through stands and cords, asking: "What...?"

Don continues, drilling Pearl with steely stare. "...did you...?"

Walt steps up to join him. "...SAY?" they finish together, their own bicker banished in light of this unwarranted interruption by one of their instruments.

The warning voice is revealed to have been Opal's as she tries again, softly urging Pearl. "Just say you're sorry."

Pearl remains undaunted. "Your momma would wash your mouth out if she heard you sayin' that!"

Don and Walt exchange a weighted glance and a wicked smile before Don pronounces: "What a great idea."

Walt snaps his fingers in direction of drum array. "Jim, c'mere. Gotta job for you."

Don snickers.

They'd seen the drummer chatting up this particularly uppity set of pipes earlier, so believe he'll oblige what they have in mind. Besides, they're especially strict with percussionists (drums being the only essential instrument neither is comfortable playing), so have magnanimously decided to set forth a juicy reward.

Jim thumps the bass once, then stands up to drop his sticks atop the snarehead with a buzz and a clatter before making his way through the musical maze to stand looking up at the tableau atop the little stage.

Don points a finger at Opal, then Ruby, saying "You, and you, get down." They scurry to obey, hopping lightly to the floor.

"Don't go anywhere." Walt tells them. "You're not finished, it's just a break."

Don turns the finger on Pearl. "YOU stay."

"What for?" Pearl asks suspiciously.

"A duet." Don smiles archly, motioning for Jim to join them.

Jim mounts the platform as directed, but protests: "I'm not gonna sing."

"Oh, I think you will.." Don's grin widens.

Walt continues "...if Pearl here does HER job well enough."

Pearl quails under this unexpected development. "What's going on?"

Walt tells her "You obviously need more attention than you were getting as a mere backup singer, so now you get to be a star. You'll show all of us what ELSE your mouth can do. Suck Jim's dick, and we'll forgive your impertinent outburst."

Don looks to the drummer, asking sardonically "I trust you've no objections?"

Jim laughs "Right here, right now?" Looking between the two composers, he sees they're in earnest. "I'm game if she is."

Pearl laughs, too, trying to show she's not intimidated. "You ain't payin' me NEAR enough for THAT."

Don scoffs "We WOULDN'T pay you for this. You're going to do it for glory."

"And kicks." adds Walt. "Unless you're afraid to pay the fee?"

"We know Jim wants you to." Don declares.

"Somebody who can do the job for free." Walt leers.

"But I guess we can be democratic about it..." allows Don.

"Show of hands!" Walt snaps, fierce gaze sweeping the room. "Who wants to watch?"

"Oh, FUCK hands." Snarls Don. "Let's do FEET." He, too, glares at all present in turn. "Anybody who DOESN'T want to see Jim get blown can walk the fuck out."

Nobody moves.

"Right NOW." Walt insists.

Nobody moves.

"Light the candle." Don commands Ruby.

"Put the lock upon the door." Is Walt's order to Opal.

Both ladies cautiously but curiously obey, then return to stand before the stage on either side of Skunk. Denny sits down atop one amp and props his heels upon another.

Pearl forsees terrible trouble, but stays here just the same, enticed by the captive audience and wickedly thrilled at the looming prospect of such dirty work. She needs a little lovin'...her man is out of town.

"On your knees." Don snaps his fingers at Pearl.

"Unzip." Walt echoes the gesture toward Jim.

Neither has to be told twice. As each obeys, Walt moves to stand behind Jim and Don behind Pearl where they each with firm hands position the two much closer together.

"Now pull it out. " Don urges Jim.

"NO!" Interrupts Walt "SHE should reach in after it."

"You're right." Don mellowly agrees, prodding Pearl's shoulder. "YOU pull it out."

Pearl flashes a saucy grin up at Jim as her fingers slip into his open fly, drawing out his stiffened prick. Don can't help but look, and notes that Walt's eyes also rove the spectacle before flicking up to meet his.

"This lady knows her way around a drumstick." Walt breathes into Jim's ear, but his gaze is locked with Don's.

"Show us." Don's fingers tighten on Pearl's arm, voice and grip combining to compel compliance. She leans forward, lips parting and pink tongue emerging to lick a long, languid stroke along Jim's length.

"mmmm" Fagen and Becker utter in unison. Suddenly the eye contact strikes as awkward and each lays rough hands upon the instrument before him to compensate.

With a clenched fistful of Pearl's hair, Don's command is for her, but his regard shifts between Skunk and Denny as he growls "Open wide. Here's a thrill you can't buy."

Walt's firm hand at the small of Jim's back abruptly shoves the drummer's hips forward, but his intense appraisal settles upon Ruby and Opal as he purrs "Watch her take it."

Pearl speads her lips around the swollen head of Jim's cock and takes several inches into her mouth, provoking a long, shuddering groan from Hodder and a sharp rebuke from Becker.

"How do you SPELL that?" Walt scolds Jim's inarticulate noise.

The fingers of Don's hand not twined in Pearl's hair subtly shift through ASL letters "E-C-S-T-A-S-Y." which Walt notices but does not dignify as he instructs Jim: "Use your WORDS, dude."

Pearl continues her expert fellation, tongue swirling around the drummer's shaft as she slides her lips back and forth. Don's grip on her locks remains relentless, but is not driving the action, keeping his rein slack but steady...letting her "have her head", so to speak, while he, too, admonishes Jim. "TELL us how good she is." he pauses to smile. "Unless you'd rather SING for us, since Pearl's pipes are presently plugged."

"Looks great to ME!" Opines Skunk from his front-row vantage. "Better'n the last porno I saw."

Fagen and Becker both turn from their orchestration to address Skunk.

"What WAS the last porno you saw?" Walt wants to know, but Don's sharp command cuts off Baxter's reply.

"Shut the fuck up." Fagen orders. "Or you're next."

Skunk, an exhibitionistic pervert after their own collective filthy mind, grins broadly."Don't threaten ME with a good time."

Walt can't resist. "Wanna suck Jim's dick, too, do you? I had no idea...Of COURSE you may take Pearl's place. Come on up." He gets the reactions he'd intended, gratified to simultaneouly observe Skunk's stammer, Ruby's smirk, Opal's blush and laughter from both Don and Denny (the former cruelly mocking, the latter a touch nervous).

Walt savors the sound and vision of Don laughing, conjuring an image of Fagen's fingers fiercely gripping Skunk's hair, compelling him to service the drummer, as he wonders how much more powerfully persuasive they'd have to be to make THAT happen...Could they?...Usually he knows Don's mind, but in THIS he's uncertain. Doubting the wisdom of pressing the point...for now...he sagely says no more. Let them all think it was just a joke.

Don is trying to laugh off the sudden realization of how much he'd like to make THAT happen. What a rush it would be to achieve even more arch and twisted dominance than they're already exerting, but Walt was only joking...wasn't he? Don speaks sternly to Skunk, but anxiously doubts whether Walt will back him up or shoot him down should Baxter balk his bluff.

"We didn't ask YOU. One more word before we DO and it WILL be you up here on your knees next."

"That's right." Walt is literally breathing down Jim's neck, heated exhalations stirring fine hairs at the nape, but he speaks at a volume their intimate audience can all hear. "It's YOUR opinion we want, so TALK."

"Or sing." Don reminds him. "E flat, if you can manage it."

Jim wishes they'd both shut up, but won't dare offer THAT opinion. These two magnificent madmen have set up...erected...this weird but wonderful show, and he knows they will viciously tear it down if vexed.

Walt snorts. "Getting a DRUMMER to sing on key is like telling a Skunk to suck dick."

Don agrees. "Even if he WANTS to, he prob'ly CAN'T."

Skunk opens his mouth to object, but sees there's no protest he could offer they couldn't turn into an even dirtier joke on him, so wisely shuts it without a word.

"Not NEARLY as well as your mom." Walt quips, bringing them back to the evening's opening number.

This time around, Pearl's too busily working off her previous imprudent remarks for any commentary in defense of mothers, and is surprised when Don drags her away from the task. There'd been almost no wet sounds of smack and slurp during her performance so far (a true hallmark of well-honed skill), but now her vigorously engaged suction is pulled suddenly from Jim's cock with an audibly sticky pop.

"Ow!" Pearl cries out at the none-too-gentle tug on her tresses. "What'd I do wrong?"

Don knows she's not really hurt. "Be quiet." he warns her, conceding almost grudgingly: "You're doing fine."

The whole room seems to be eyeing the few inches of space between the glistening tip of Jim's prick and Pearl's moistly parted lips, but Don is glaring across the stage at Walt. "Quit screwin' around and get YOUR fuckin' instrument in tune!"

Walt considers taking hold of Jim's hair, opting instead for a thumb in the pressure point below his ear. It's Jim's turn to yelp, more startled than pained, and Don cocks his head toward the sound.

"F sharp." He notes dryly.

Becker drops his hand to Hodder's shoulder and throws him the bone of a simple question. "Do you want her to finish the job?"

"Yes!" Jim gasps immediately, struggling valiantly for words, which stutter out in single syllables. "I...uh...I do want...more."

Walt's not satisfied, so jabs one finger roughly between Jim's shoulderblades like a gun's muzzle in a holdup, demanding: "More WHAT?"

Jim is eager to please...BE pleased...but, uncomfortably unsure what's wanted, manages only a beseeching: "More...please?"

Jim's simple, childlike request blazes brightly across two brilliant brains at once, an intoxicating doubleshot more potent than the finest Columbian. He's BEGGING them...

The air upon their little platform practically pulsates with power which all present perceive, but to Fagen and Becker it's a communion more pure than speech, if not quite as keen. The shine in Don's expression and the sparkle of Walt's grin are shared suppression of the same Dickensian wisecrack ("You want some MORE?!"). Their mutual mirth shifts to a solemn, almost grave consideration. Both know a joke would discharge the electric atmosphere, and each is aware the other is recollecting an occasion when one in power over HIM reponded harshly to a humble plea (as neither humility nor begging comes easily to either man, both resolve to probe the other later for shameful specifics of his private memory), arriving together at the decision that with such heavy authority should surely come compassionate, mitigating mercy. They won't tease poor Jim

"That IS the magic word." Walt relents, stick-em-up hand relaxing open to lay flat upon Jim's back in a gesture more bolstering than bossing.

Don releases his rein on Pearl's mane, cracking his knuckles next to her ear just to watch her flinch as he flexes fingers before cupping his palm to rest around the back of her neck, which is slightly sweaty beneath the sheaf of hair he'd held. "You obviously know what you're doing..." he allows " get back to it."

Don has no need to nudge physically once he's done so verbally. Pearl leans forward to resume her assignment, and Jim moans to feel the hot slickness of her mouth reclaiming his engorged length, which had begun to grow chilly while exposed and damp.

The pressure of Becker at his back makes Jim fear he'll be chastised again for failure to speak, so he sighs: "Ohhh...yeah."

"Oh, yeah?" Don's echo is interrogatory.

Walt's is declarative. "Oh, yeah."