~~ Present Day ~~
“Chug-a-lug! Chug-a-lug!” the crowd of college students cheered as red-haired Ruby Dee Hudson took another shot of tequila, along with a few other females.
The ringleader of them all was a twenty-three-year-old platinum blonde with a Coeds Wiling Out t-shirt on. Mandi was her name. She was a video groupie who helped traveling film crews recruit free spirits of the female persuasion for their work.
Once Mandi saw that glazed over look in Ruby’s eyes, she looked across the lively club at a spiked-haired man with the same logo t-shirt and nodded.
Spike nodded in return. That was the signal he’d been looking for ever since he spotted the beautiful redhead in the club on that second night of spring break. He put his drink down and headed their way.
From the moment Spike saw Ruby in that pink see-through dress with a matching G-string underneath and pink stilettos that laced all the way up her calves, he knew he had to get her on film. That long red hair, smooth skin, unique violet-blue eyes, and those voluptuous curves all reeked of natural beauty.
Since natural beauties were becoming a rarity in that day and age of plastic surgery and enhancements, Spike also knew that he needed to act quickly. Which is why he asked the company’s number one groupie to assist him tonight instead of his usual cameraman. He was also hoping to film a little girl-on-girl action with the hot redhead. That kind of stuff made sales skyrocket in their line of work.
Ruby’s partiality to strong drink, that wild streak she so obviously had, her thirst for attention, and love for cinematography made her ripe for what Spike and his group of adult video entrepreneurs had in mind. Within ten minutes he and Mandi had pulled the twenty-one-year-old college senior off to a side table in the VIP section. It took them less than five minutes to talk Ruby into letting her inhibitions all the way down tonight.
“All you have to do is briefly show a little skin on film,” Mandi said.
“S…sure, but how brief?” Ruby blinked her eyes rapidly as if she was trying hard to concentrate through her thick alcohol fog.
“No longer than three to five minutes,” Spike replied, subtly pushing another drink in front of her. They didn’t want their prey the least bit sober or clear-headed. “And you get a cool hat and t-shirt with our company’s logo on it to commemorate the night you took control of your own life and lived it to the full.”
“Yeah, I’ve done it lots of times before and it was totally liberating.” Mandi smiled reassuringly. “Totally!”
“You can even get some of your girlfriends to go with you, if you want,” Spike inserted. “You can all be free together.” He chuckled.
Ruby shook her head. “They can come along if they want to. But I don’t sh…share the sp…spotlight with anyone,” she replied, slurring a few words and revealing a touch of arrogance all at the same time.
“And you don’t have to,” Mandi assured her. She turned and sent Spike a daggered look. He was about to blow her whole commission by trying to get Ruby to engage in a few lesbian acts.
During the time Mandi spent with Ruby and her companions tonight, she learned that the redhead was strictly heterosexual. Meaning, she liked men and nothing but men. Had Ruby been even slightly bisexual Mandi might have tried to hit on her herself. Since there was no hope of that happening, she didn’t want Spike repelling the girl with that kind of talk.
“Where will we sh..shoot? In one of the club’s back rooms?” Ruby asked, still slurring her ‘S’ words.
“We shoot outside in our totally pimped out tour bus. It’s really cool and so luxurious inside. I could actually live there year-round.” Mandi chuckled, fully aware that certain kinds of filming weren’t allowed inside the club as she continued to do her job – make the girls comfortable and pliable to their company’s will.
Like Spike, Mandi knew that nightclub promoters would only allow them to film the girls dancing and flashing their breasts inside the building. It was good for business and thus worth every dime they had to pay the film crews they hosted. But when clothes actually started coming off, the crews had to do that on their own turf. That turf was usually a tour bus that was splattered with the video company’s logo and parked a short distance away from the club.
“Will a digital camera with HD video be used?” Ruby asked.
“Yes, we always use the best equipment in order to capture a woman’s true beauty.” Spike looked impressed by her knowledge of cameras. “I look forward to showing you my equipment later,” he flirted.
“I look forward to seeing it,” Ruby flirted back.
Mandi fought to keep from frowning as jealousy attacked her. “But first you need to sign one of our little waivers.” She slid a folded sheet of paper and a pen across the glass table at Ruby. “It’s just a formality to keep everything on the up and up,” she added with another reassuring smile. She sighed in relief when the redhead quickly signed on the dotted line. A few other girls followed suit soon thereafter.
“You know you’re not really her type, right?” Mandi whispered to Spike as Ruby and her friends followed a few steps behind them like lambs going to the slaughter. They were on their way outside to the Co-eds Wiling Out tour bus.
“And you are?” Spike hissed in return.
“Neither of us are. She only likes men, chocolate men at that,” Mandi said, sharing what she heard Ruby personally say tonight about her dating preferences.
Spike frowned. His cheek areas reddened beneath the fake tan-in-a-bottle he sprayed on earlier. “After tonight, men and women of all flavors will have a piece of her…on film.” Then he looked back at the gorgeous redhead, grinned, and winked. “The camera is gonna love you, baby.”
Ruby grinned. “Yes, and I will always love it.”
Two months before graduation
After spending three hours at the library doing research, Ruby wearily made her way across campus to her dorm room. Graduation was approaching fast and she wanted to make sure that she aced her exit exams. Thus her tired eyes, tight shoulders, and cramped fingers would just have to wait for relief. Every college student knew that those were simple occupational hazards of pursuing a higher education.
Halfway to her dorm, Ruby got a call from her mother. She immediately answered it. She always promptly responded to her parents. She’d been raised that way. Plus they paid her cell phone bill and all of her other expenses, so she wasn’t about to mess that up.
“Good evening, Mama,” Ruby said, sounding nothing like the country girl she was when she first arrived on the University of Central Florida campus four years ago. It took some doing, but she eradicated her rural accent by the end of her sophomore year. “Thanks so much for those brownies you sent—”
“Ruby Dee, come home immediately!” Mama Hudson interrupted. “Your father just had a heart attack.”
Ruby gasped. “A heart attack? Is Papa…alive?”
“Yes, no thanks to you. We’re paying for you to get a higher education. Not get high on booze and make sex tapes. Your father saw that blasted Co-eds Wiling Out video and his heart couldn’t take it,” Mama Hudson replied, sounding angrier than Ruby had ever heard her before. “Now get home, lil gal! And I mean now!”
“Yes, ma’am,” Ruby humbly replied, starting to shake all over with guilt, fear, and shame. She never knew that the liberties she took that fateful night on that tour bus would nearly cost her father his life. Now her life would never be the same again.
© 2014 by Mi’Chelle Dodson/Suprina Frazier