Sunday, June 29, 2008

Novem: The Muses Playhouse

BABBAGE PALISADE--From the outside, the large gray stone and brick Richardsonian Romanesque building looks staid and somber to Mr. Dodgson. But as he ascends the wide stone steps to the oak doorway, his impression begins to change. Sounds of excitement and joie de vivre spill out of the building as he opens the door. He walks in and is immediately greeted by a lovely young girl, dressed as a fae. "Welcome to The Muses Playhouse, Mr...?" the nymph says. "Dodgson," he stammers nervously as the young woman takes him by the elbow and seats him at a table near the stage, giving him an an unobstructed view of a vision in feathers and sparkles. He'd read about these fan dancers, but had never seen one in the flesh. He sits, mesmerized by the undulating movements of the practiced terpsichorean. The dancer approaches the table and smiles at Mr. Dodgson. She offers him a quick peek at what's behind the feathers, whispers something to him, and then dances over to the next table.

A tall, willowy brunette slides onto the chair next to Mr. Dodgson and extends her hand to him. "Hello, Mr. Dodgson. I'm MissLily Nightfire. Welcome to Novem: The Muses Playhouse." Her smile puts him at ease, and her warm hand in his, is comforting. "I run this establishment with my sister, MissVivian Looming."

"Thank you. I'm new around here. What is this place?" he asks, looking around at the other patrons: people drinking, dancing, watching the dancer on the stage who has just shed another article of clothing behind her ostrich plumes.

Lily watches as he watches the dancer. "The Muses Playhouse is an Emporium of the Erotic, Mr. Dodgson. We have events on Wednesdays that are themed to a different aspect of the steampunk aesthetic each week; we have dancers, like Miss Ayres up there; and, of course, there are the Muses of Novem, who will delight and inspire you. They are quite lovely and will fulfill your wildest fantasy."

"This is a brothel?" he asks, continuing to survey the room. Lily laughs politely, "A brothel, Mr. Dodgson, and so much more. Yes, the Muses are available for conversation and dancing, as well as more intimate activities. But A large part of our draw is our entertainment." Lily notices that his gaze has come to rest on the buxom blond at the far end of the room. "Ah, yes...that's Miss Kowalski. She makes quite an impression, doesn't she? Would you like to meet her?" Mr. Dodgson nods blankly. "Come along, dear," Lily says as she takes his arm. "Let's go introduce you to her."

As they reach the table, Miss Kowalski stands to greet them. She wears a blue and silver brocade corset, which offsets her deep blue eyes and her nickel colored hair. Though she wears brown striped slacks, she could not look more feminine. "I am so very pleased to meet you Mr. Dodgson," she says as she takes his hand in hers, letting the handshake linger. "How do you know my name?" he asks. Miss Kowalski laughs, "That would be telling, now, wouldn't it! Actually, Mr. Dodgson, I saw you looking at me and I inquired as to your identity. Come have a seat next to me." She pats on the settee next to her, motioning for him to join her.

"This is quite a place," he says as he sits down, leaving plenty of room between himself and Miss Kowalski. "Could you tell me more about Novem? For instance," he says, motioning to his attire, "am I dressed properly? I had no idea I was stopping in, so I didn't clothe myself specially for this visit."

"Honestly, you look fine, Mr. Dodgson. There is no formal 'dress code' at Novem, but we do prefer our guests to dress in the spirit of steampunk or the Victorian era. Or if we are having a themed event, like our celebration of clockwork entities, we ask that people try to dress according to theme. But it is not mandatory."

"Do you, um,
work here, Miss Kowalski? If you understand what I'm saying...." Miss Kowalski smiles at the nervous man, "Of course I know what you mean. Yes, I am an escort, meaning that my time is paid for by my clients. It can be as inexpensive at $L25 for a dance, or as much as $L2000 for an hour of my time. All of the Muses of Novem are available to clients for the same rates. One simply purchases the appropriate ticket from the vending machine, and gives it to the Muse of his choice." Miss Kowalski places her hand on Mr. Dodgson's and runs her fingers lightly along his fingers. "On the second floor there are pictures of all of the Muses, along with notecards detailing their special...attributes. You would just click on the picture and contact the Muse, and she will get back to you. Or, if you choose, you can speak directly with the Muses that are attending or working whatever event is taking place."

Mr. Dodgson's eyes widen. "What sort of special attributes?" he asks.

"I thought that might catch your interest. We have a variety of ladies who work here. There are the classic Human beauties...and we have a Shemale working with us for those with specialized tastes..." Mr. Dodgson blinks, and glances about the room again. Miss Kowalski covers her mouth and laughs slightly before continuing. "We also have Neko girls on staff, and we even a life-sized mechanical Doll programmed to satisfy the needs of any gentleman caller! So you see, we have something for almost everyone."

Mr. Dodgson feels Miss Kowalski's foot brush against his ankle beneath the table. He straightens up in his chair.

"We're always looking to hire more women to escort and dance, so if you hear of anyone who might be interested, please refer them to MissVivian Looming. She handles most of the personnel details. MissLily Nightfire deals more with putting the events together, for example, procuring prizes for contests, finding props for themed events, etc. And of course they both work the events, which are hosted by Dr. Darien Mason, who himself has quite a bit of experience hosting throughout the area. Some find him charming, some irritating, but never dull!"

He leans forward to whisper. "Dr. Mason? Isn't he a Mad Scientist or something?"

"He's a bit eccentric, yes, but he's really nice once you get to know him. And he so loves to entertain!" He nods slowly and leans back in his chair.

"When is your next event?" asks Mr. Dodgson.

"Our events are typically held on Wednesday evenings, from 7 to 9pm, Second Life time. However, there is music playing 24 hours a day, so people are invited to come and dance at any hour. I think it's a very nice place to spend time with a friend or a new acquaintance, curled up on a settee or sitting at a table having a sip of Absinthe." She tilts her head, smiling coyly at the guest. "I'd be especially happy if our friends from the Southern hemisphere discovered Novem and spent time here. We plan on hosting an event at an accessible time for them to attend."

"Miss Kowalski, you have been most kind to spend time talking to me. Would you care to dance?" Mr. Dodgson asks as he rises from the settee and extends his hand to her.

Miss Kowalski stands as well and accepts his hand. Together they find a place on the dance floor. "Of course Mr. Dodgson. The first dance is on the house," she says with a wink.

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