This is tag team kink! Illumin and Tailkinker had been asking me for a while if I'd write about the early days of How Greg Became A Slave in the CollarRedux universe, and I resisted, until Illumin sent me some very graphic ideas about how it might go (Stage 3 is largely based on them, down to some of the dialog), and then... inspired, I wrote this, and Tailkinker wrote the parallel story from Greg's POV. This all takes place fifteen years before the opening scenes in CollarRedux. We'll be taking turns to post chapters: Stage 1-3 today, then 4, 5, Stages 6-7. Hope you enjoy: look for Tailkinker's take on this later!
Stage 1: Debt collection
There were three kinds of debtors, as far as the bailiffs of Slave Administration were concerned: cupcakes, sheep, and weasels. Cupcakes showed up at the Administrative center, papers in hand, and turned themselves in quite obediently. Sheep stayed home. Most debtors were sheep: they seemed to think that if they just didn't report themselves, perhaps it wouldn't happen. Sheep collection runs were tiresome, but easy enough: the sheep sometimes cried but rarely fought. Weasels were the ones who neither turned themselves in nor stayed home. Weasels ranged from ones who were practically sheep - they went to stay with a close relative or a friend, dumbly thinking that if they weren't at their home address, they wouldn't be collected - to ones who were almost rats: they ran and hid themselves so successfully they were hard to find. Rats were the ones who got away, at least temporarily: most were brought in on a bounty months or years later.
Gregory House was a weasel. Not a very successful one, though. When the bailiffs showed up to collect him, he wasn't home. There was a collection of bottles, mostly very empty. The weasel's nest he lived in was littered with takeout cartons with cigarette ends stubbed out in the dried-on food. They found an array of cards and matchbooks from local bars. They'd broken in carefully, without damaging the lock, and left without locking the door behind them. What Gregory House owned was now the property of his landlord - unless the upright piano was his, it probably wouldn't cover his back rent.
They found their quarry in the third bar they tried, easily recognisable from the photos they'd been given. He was sitting with his head practically on the bar, an empty glass in front of him. The bartender was wiping glasses and trying, the bailiffs heard, to urge him to go home.
"He hasn't got a home," they told the bartender, and put their ID cards down on the bar. She looked at the cards and flinched back, as if slavery were infectious. They took their quarry's wallet - the credit cards would be destroyed - and gave the bartender what remaining cash was left. There wasn't much.
One of them held him upright - he was taller than either of them, but so drunk he wasn't fighting - and the other searched his pockets. Keys, cellphone, wallet, a packet of cigarettes and a matchbook - there were three cigarettes left - the usual small detritius of a free man's pockets. They emptied it all into the bag that would be delivered with the slave to the Administration Center.
The bailiff's car was designed to hold weasels a lot more awake and angry. The back of the car was a cage, with rings to fix shackles to. This weasel groaned when he was dumped into it, but went right out: he wasn't going to be any trouble, and they didn't shackle him.
In one sense he wasn't any trouble: they took him out of the car as dead drunk as when they'd put him in. But he'd puked all over the floor, and though they tried, they couldn't make him wake enough to clean it up himself. They dragged him in between them and handed him over to Administration for processing: and then they had to go back out to their car and clean it up.