Hate me or love me, I get results…

I’m damn good at what I do. Sure, I bent the rules a little bit, but what cop hadn’t? But I was never…I repeat, never…dirty. Ask any of my old partners and they’d tell you that for a fact.

I enjoyed the rigors of the job, the satisfaction of getting the bad guys off the streets, all of that. When I was promoted to detective, the only thing that changed was the clothes that I wore and the trademark fedora that the detectives wore to distinguish themselves from the beat patrol. I was on the fast track to doing some really big things, and I probably would have gotten them done, too.

The funniest thing about setting goals and planning out the future is the old cliché: “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans.”

Life was what happened to me when my childhood partner-in-crime came calling and said the words that would alter my future forever. “I got something for you, bruh. This is going to be a game-changer, I promise you.” I was skeptical at first, if I was honest with myself, so I told him I would think about it and get back to him.

He gave me 24 hours.

By the time he showed me the capital he had at his disposal to keep me happy and pull me away from APD, I jumped at his proposal with the speed of a Shinkansen bullet train. That’s what I did a year ago, and I haven’t looked back since.

He and I go way back. In fact, we were damn near partners on the force together, until he decided to start doing his photography thing and began to blow up. We went our separate ways after that. I never held a grudge against him about it, though. The way I saw it, things had a funny way of working themselves out, and he always said he would find a way to get me out of APD before he felt he had to bury me.

Oh, by the way, the name’s Law, Dominic Law, but my now business partner Ramesses liked to refer to me by my nickname, Dom. He called me that when we were in high school and the nickname kinda stuck. But now, instead of Detective Law of the Atlanta Police Department, you could call me by a different moniker: Private Investigator. I still answer to Detective Law, of course, but the APD part was no longer necessary.

Actually, it’s more than that: I ran the P.I. business, yes, but I was also the head of Ramesses’s security detail at NEBU and Neferterri’s security detail at her club, Liquid Paradise. All in all, they kept me quite busy with everything that went on.

But that’s not all. Thanks to Ramesses’s father’s connections all over the city, I picked up a lot of cases that the various P.D.s couldn’t always deem high priority, especially when sometimes the cases weren’t always “normal” by mainstream standards. After a while, I developed the reputation as the “Kink Detective,” which had its share of perks, at least from a financial perspective. When the occasion called for it, I could be brought in on a consult for the more unusual sex crimes that needed my “specific expertise.” A lot of the crimes were kink-related, coincidentally, and I found myself immersed deep inside the BDSM and Fetish community. It wasn’t like I wasn’t already into the shit to begin with; I could thank Ramesses and Amenhotep for that. I honestly didn’t think that I wanted to be that deep, but when you saw how women like Ramesses’s and Neferterri’s submissives and the slaves at NEBU treated a neophyte Dominant like me, it was very hard to resist learning how to get that same treatment.

Oh, and so we’re clear, my boy had damn near converted me. My only problem, as he saw it, was that I was the new “meat” on the scene. I was a heterosexual black man and my best friend—who was mentoring me, by the way—happened to be one of the power players in the Atlanta BDSM community, and damn near at the top of the food chain within the Black BDSM community. The women on the scene drooled over me once they found out I was a cop at one point in time.

So, what was the problem, you were wondering?

Technically there was no problem, unless you included an ex-wife that happened to be into the same thing that I, when we were married, could really never be a part of, due to the nature of my occupation, as a problem. Even though law enforcement made strides in their understanding recently, fifteen years ago when I was coming out of the Academy, there was no way I could be able to be a cop in the Deep South and try to be discreet doing “kinky shit.”

In fact, it’s one of the “irreconcilable differences” she listed when she filed for divorce a few years ago. Now, not only was I a newbie in the community, but I had to occasionally run into her at munches or at NEBU when a larger community function was going on. Talk about awkward?

I’d dwell on this some more, but you probably couldn’t care less. If you’re like most Americans, you’re simply going to lump me into that collection of oddballs that you thought of as “the strange people.” Well, with the recent popularity of what Ramesses called “that godforsaken movie,” maybe there might not be such a rush to judgment anymore, but I’d been known to be wrong before.

I was one of the popular people at one of the local munches on the west side. Oh, yeah, that’s right, I’m assuming that you knew the “strange person” jargon, so let me get you caught up to speed a bit in case you didn’t. A munch was short for a “meet and lunch” and that was the proper, and original, term for a gathering of people in the bondage, dominance and sadomasochism lifestyle, better known by the umbrella term of BDSM. And while we’re at it, take a minute to add Leather to your mental label for me. Go ahead, I’ll wait. You would be wrong, though. Not everyone into BDSM, the lifestyle as we called it, was a leather-clad “freak.” A lot of us were, including Ramesses and Amenhotep, I’ll grant you, but not all of us…at least, not me.

It’s not like that wouldn’t stop Ramesses, though. To let him tell it, we’d have a plethora of issues to deal with now that the movie had rekindled the fervor of all the wannabes that thought that the “talented” Mr. Grey was hanging out at any of the three other dungeons in addition to NEBU. Trust me, if that dude, or any resemblance or copycat of him, showed up at the security checkpoint, I’d probably have him turned around and revoke his membership based on the illegitimacy of his “dominance” alone.

Look at me, I’m sounding like Ramesses again. Damn it.

Well, he had me convinced, but I had no intentions of sounding like a damn tape recorder, either.

Anyway, munches vary in tone. It’s all to do with the people involved. The West Atlanta munch was mostly made up of the well-educated and well-employed, so the only difference between one of our gatherings and a meeting of your local Kiwanis Club was… well, damned if I knew.

The tone was set by the group leaders—and with this particular munch, it was Ramesses, Neferterri and Mistress Sinsual—and generally the folks who had been around the longest. People also dressed casually: blue jeans, dresses, skirts and blouses, clean sneakers, and even the occasional suit.

The reason I was explaining all of this to you in detail was so you could understand why I wasn’t surprised when Peaches sat down across from me. Well, that’s not entirely accurate; I was surprised, but she didn’t need to know the reason why. Of course, Peaches was not her real name. Let me rephrase that: Peaches was her real name in the sense that it’s the only one she’d answer to because it’s the name her Master gave her.

Shakir Rashaan is the author of the bestselling Nubian Underworld series as well as the Kink, P.I. series (Obsession, Deception and Reckoning) and several anthology credits, including Zane Presents Z-Rated: Chocolate Flava 3. Rashaan is also developing other projects under the pen name P.K. Rashaan. He currently resides in suburban Atlanta with his wife and two children. You can see more of Rashaan at ShakirRashaan.com.