Thanks to my Editors and Advance Readers!
Honestly, I'm not sure how to describe this story. I think one of my editors said it best by saying it was "a little romance mixed into a sad story with a bit of hope at the end". There are worse things.
If this story offends anyone, I might as well start off by apologizing now.
The theme of the story was a writing experiment: "How do you save someone that does not want to be saved?" This theme bothered me for several years even before the outline for this story was written in early 2007.
For some reason, I wanted - needed to write this story - BADLY. I knew its themes were a bit too odd, and that to put it bluntly, overall reader reviews would be unlikely to be very positive. It original reception was better than I had hoped, but at the time it was a very risky story for me to write. There is some sex in the story, but it's not particularly graphic but does involve some odd story codes (usually mildly invoked). It is absolutely for mature readers who are willing to think awhile and reserve their own judgment until the end of the story.
This story has received a significant re-editing and re-writing. It had not outside editing at all originally and there were a great many typos and story errors. Enough new material was added during the re-write to add about another ten pages of MS Word text, about another chapter. I thought long and hard about cutting out nearly all of the sex in the story but in the end thought it was "important" in several places for the plot flow to logically progress.
Your mileage may vary.
I have a great many crosses to bear working at Montrose Photographics, but probably the single biggest was dealing with our resident airhead, part-time employee, and full time stoner Doug "Dude" Parker, who always acted as if he had smoked a blunt or two before coming into to work each day. He got the nickname easily, as that word comprised about half of his working vocabulary. There was no choice though, and I had to teach the guy how to run our photo development lab. It's 98% automated so that even a caveman could do, but Dave's skull was denser than most of the old skulls I'd seen in museums.
I had a morning class at the University this semester that I had to take if I wanted to be able to graduate early this coming fall semester. Accordingly, someone had to be available early in case there was a priority drop-off that needed one hour service or less immediately after store opening.
It certainly wasn't going to be our owner, who after nearly twenty years of running this small independent camera shop and photo lab still could barely figure out how to use the cash register, let alone the hardcore photo development equipment we had in the lab. He did know cameras well, and our shop had the reputation for being where the Pro's shopped and willingly paid extra for our service, which was better than they could get at any of the big box camera retailers.
We also had one other evening part-timer, a gal like me who was in school and not available any mornings either. The boss didn't pay well, we were a small 'niche' shop and he said he couldn't afford another part-timer.
That just left "Dude", and much against my will, I trained him on how to at least handle the relatively easy 35mm developing machine, which comprised 99% of most of our rush-rush stuff anyway. All of the medium and large format stuff was usually professional 'tricky work' anyway and could wait for me. Those sort of clients always wanted things done 'right' rather than done fast.
I must have told Dude at least a hundred times, that the number one 'Golden Rule' of this store was respecting the privacy of the customers who gave us film to be developed.
We had a history of providing top notch confidential and uncensored photo development. This quite often including very candid photos of a very private and personal nature. We advertise this confidential service in several national magazines and papers and we receive a great deal of mail order business also.
This was how we had made and kept our reputation, and most folks 'in the know' preferred to send us their private bedroom pictures where they could be assured that some pimply teenaged minimum-wage clerk at Walgreens or Wal-Mart wouldn't be making spare sets for all his friends and whacking off looking at them ... or worse, posting them on the Internet.
This was exactly what I was afraid Dude would do ... and indeed he didn't disappoint me but he picked perhaps the worst possible customer in doing so.
It was about noon, and I was just coming in to work after class drinking my luncheon soda with my sandwich in hand. Dude was talking with a customer at the counter and handing him three packages of developed prints and just as I was about to open the glass front door to my lab work area I heard Dude drop the A-Bomb.
"Dude, those were like some totally awesome and hot pics, Dude. I bet that was a hot assed party!"
Oh Fuck! I dropped my drink and sandwich right onto the floor and turned around in utterly horrified shock. The unmentionable had been mentioned.
The customer, whom I had a passing acquaintance with, was named Walt, and he had been getting his pictures developed here for years. Yes, sometimes those photographs were of a very adult nature.
I shoved Dude aside so hard I nearly knocked him down onto the floor, and began my most sincere and most groveling apologies for this intrusion into his privacy that we most shamefully had to acknowledge had occurred. I even got our useless boss out of his office to further grovel and beg Walt's forgiveness, which was eventually forthcoming.
Needless to say Dude was fired on the spot and we never heard anything from the poor stoner again, but I did hear an interesting story about a week later from a friend of his who came by to pickup Dude's final paycheck. He cryptically said something about "Some man putting down some major heat on Dude and made him split for the coast." Whatever the hell that meant.
I did know that the boss was now acting a bit strange too, and had received a couple of private visitors in his office lately and he seemed to be on pins and needles for the next couple of weeks.
Naturally, inside the desk drawer of Dude's corner desk, I found about a dozen packs of developed photos, duplicates of customers pictures that Dude hadn't gotten around yet to taking home. Most of these were fairly tame, mostly nude pictures of girlfriends with a few assorted x-rated shots mixed in for flavor. The usual 'confidential' stuff. These were all run though the shredder, but not before I took a quick look at Walt's last three sets of prints as I ran them one by one into the machine to be destroyed also.
Mostly typical orgy stuff, and pics of a lot of naked (or nearly so) men and women. Why Dude thought these were worth getting fired over, I had no clue, but then again Dude had no clue about a great many things. These were rather typical of Walt's photographs I'd processed for him in the past. I did have to admit that the guy sure did have some interesting friends!
One picture leaped out at me though, it was of a nude young woman with long dark hair kneeling with a collar around her neck before the photographer. She hadn't posed particularly well and seemed much too thin to be healthy. They say that the camera adds ten pounds; in that case she was at least twenty-five pounds or more underweight, as I could count every single rib on her. She was sort of slouching a bit and had a very sad hang-dog sort of expression on her face.
Upon closer examination of the print with a magnifying glass I realized that the marks on her arms and thighs were long parallel scratches. She was a "cutter", and apparently a compulsive one; how sad.
It was her eyes that made the photo work however; she looked into the camera with sad soulful eyes that immediately reminded me of my mother's old brainless cocker spaniel dog "Molly". Molly was a silly little dog that always seemed to have accidents on the carpet and never remembered when punished for it, giving us always a sad look of "Don't look at me, I don't know who did that poop there".
In nearly ten years of working here this was the first photo I ever considered keeping a copy of for myself, but in the end it joined the others and was destroyed in the shredder.
I had seen many photos of this girl before, usually clothed, when doing a brief quality control check on Walt's previous photos before packaging, and if I had to guess I'd say that this was his daughter. I thought I had seen a wedding ring once on some of her older pictures, but this one certainly didn't show one and her hands were clearly visible.
I would have put the entire incident out of my mind entirely except a few odd things kept happening. Twice I was nearly certain someone had been inside my small efficiency apartment and some little things were not quite where I had remembered leaving them.
My advisor at the University, one of my favorite professors, told me right after semester finals that he had an interesting phone call "about me from a colleague" that had asked a lot of questions about my academic and personal life, but he wouldn't say anything about it further so I just assumed it somehow involved my pended application for Graduate School starting next spring. Still, something just didn't seem right.
Classes over, I resumed taking over the early morning duties and things did start to get back into a routine when Walt stopped in one morning to drop off a large package of negatives that he wanted to convert into slides. It's possible to do this (normally slide film is quite different from 35mm film and not many people use it anymore) and I had an expensive machine that could do the transfer but it would be time intensive and frankly not at all cheap to do.
Walt was fine with this and seemed in a very jovial mood; the past unpleasantness was apparently forgotten. I told him that I thought I might be able to have them done by the end of today, if there was any urgency, and he agreed that this would be excellent if at all possible.
Keeping this man happy was now my number one concern in life, and I got to work on the project right away. Unfortunately it was a fairly busy day, with the start of summer there were a lot of holiday pictures coming in and it seemed like everyone wanted rush service rather than having to wait a day or two for their pictures. Our store closed at seven p.m. and I didn't get the last of the slides made until a little after eight p.m.
I called Walt (I had his home phone number with the negatives) and told him I had just finished and he could have them first thing in the morning, but if it was critical that he get them tonight, I could be at his house I thought by about 8:45. It was somewhat critical, he said, and he gave me directions to his home.
I was on my bike today; my old '69 Pontiac Firebird was DOA yet again. I loved that car, but the carburetor and exhaust system were nightmares to keep running, she dripped oil everywhere, including under the dashboard, and on a good day got about seven miles to the gallon. I locked up and headed toward the River Oaks area as fast as I could pedal, and got there right about on schedule.
The house was beautiful and large. Much as I suspected, the always nice and genteel Walt was a man of very apparent wealth, and I felt very much like a boy with his hands caught in a cookie jar. I had seen a great many photos of the 'rich and powerful at play', and thanks to idiot Dude running off his mouth, I was probably now seen as a "security risk" in the eyes of my betters. Lucky me.
I hoped that the truth that I had always been a very, very good boy would maybe only get some of my fingers broken as a warning.
I rang his doorbell and it was answered by his wife Nellie, who offered me a seat in the living room and said that Walter would be right out to see me. She offered me a glass of orange juice, which I gratefully accepted and drank it down nearly at once. I had to sit and wait for awhile and soon I felt rather drowsy. I think I dozed off for a bit, because I remember Walter coming in and shaking me awake a few minutes after ten-thirty and apologizing for being delayed. We talked for a few minutes, my tongue seemed to be still lost in the fog of sleep and I stammered quite a bit but no one seemed to notice.
We shook hands and I left, heading on home and by the time I got home about at about eleven p.m. most of the fog had lifted.
My dreams that night were rather odd, I dreamed that I was back there in Walters home and he was showing me the slides that I had prepared for him on a screen and he asked me questions about each picture. When the photo of "Mollie" appeared on the screen, the same one that I had so closely examined the previous month from Dudes stash, I remember calling out "that's Molly", and telling him the reason I'd given her that name. This interested him very much and I dreamed we had talked about that girl and her problems in great detail.
At the end he asked me what I thought of her, and I think I replied something like "she could be very beautiful, but I don't think she knows how to love or be loved. I think she's hollow inside, or flat just like the photograph. I'd want to take her and hold her tight to me, but she'd just crumple up or tear and fall broken to the ground."
In the morning I passed everything off as just a dream and tried to put it all out of my mind. In a fit of pique I did leave a note on the table at home asking my secret watchers to do something useful like change the kitty litter for me, if convenient, and not to drink the last beer I had in the fridge. Three days later the cat's litter box was changed somehow while I was at work and my last beer did disappear from the refrigerator, probably at the same time. I made a note to myself to leave some cream in a bowl on the kitchen floor for the Brownie.
Whatever was going on, my life didn't seem to be in immediate peril and I saw no need to pack off to the coast myself. I just had to survive six more months of this job and then I'd be in Graduate School. If anything was going to happen, it would probably happen soon or not at all.
The correct answer was of course, soon.
About a week later on a Friday afternoon I got a phone call from Walter (now that I knew his real name I decided not to be overly 'familiar' with him) who asked me if I was available to come by his house again this evening, as he had a possible financial opportunity available to discuss with me.
Ok, sure. I'm as trusting and gullible as it's possible to be, and without any second thoughts I agreed to come by right after store closing. And I did. This started perhaps the single strangest conversation of my adult life.
"What do you remember of your visit to me about a week ago?" he asked.
"Well, I think I slept through most of it, but it involved some sort of CIA truth serum and a lot of naked pictures of your daughter, who would be an absolute stunner if someone could sit on her long enough to get a sandwich or three down her. On second thought, I couldn't sit on her - her ribs are so thin now that they'd probably break. She needs some serious guidance in life, to become something other than an Assistant Crack Whore."
This was all guesswork on my part, but you don't get into Graduate School being a total idiot, even if I had worked a horrible job for a worse boss for nearly ten years of my life, since early High School.
Bingo. He blinked a few times and then smiled at me and offered me a choice of some wine or a beer. I took the beer, and we settled in to get to know each other a bit better with all of the bullshit now gone and all of our cards now on the table.
Walter (well it was back to being "just Walt" again now), told me a bit about himself. He was a Senior Child Psychologist for a big school district here in Houston, and had a lucrative private practice as well. He specialized in the most disturbed kids there were - killers, rapists, and just plain everyday young budding sociopaths. His private clientele was the top of the pyramid of the wealth and power structure of the State.
He knew "literally" where bodies were buried and the innermost secrets of many of the most important people in the State and in the Country. Particularly involving their sex lives at a place called "The Club" and other places like it affiliated around the country. The Club was not the real name of course of this meeting and playpen of the obscenely rich and powerful. Some secrets are too important to even whisper about, and I'd like very much to keep my lips and tongue attached.
I had seen photographs of many of these people, and some of those pillars of society would probably even kill to protect their secrets.
I started to really appreciate Walt's attitude and candor. He was the most pure WYSIWYG (what you see it what you get) person I had ever met in my life. He had no tolerance whatsoever for the slightest amount of nonsense and kept everything straightforward and honest. I could grow very used to dealing with that.
How did all of this affect me and why was I here and now knowing things that could get me killed if I sneezed the wrong way?
In short, he had a "job" proposition for me. The Club needed a trustworthy photographer that had a proven ability to keep his mouth shut, and my qualification in that aspect was beyond reproach. I would be "accepted and trusted" due to my long experience with the areas most trusted confidential photography lab. I was also likely to be a much better technical photographer than their current one (Walt had gotten drafted into handling that job some time ago and was a very indifferent amateur).
The hours would not be long, mostly evenings a few days a week, usually Friday and Saturday nights, that would not interfere with my studies, and if things "worked out" I could be virtually assured of a full scholarship for Graduate School next spring.
All of this I could agree to. My first night would be tomorrow night, and I had no problems about quitting the photo lab nearly immediately. In addition, I would be given a large budget for purchasing several good cameras and professional grade development equipment, and a room somewhere inside the Club would be available for my use as a darkroom and development lab.
The next offer he made greatly confused me, and the more the matter was discussed the less optimistic I felt about it. This all was related to and concerned his daughter.
Much as I had surmised, she was indeed a very, very troubled lady. Her mother had died when she was young, and she had always resented her step-mother Nellie even though Nellie had done everything possible to try and gain her love and trust.
It had never happened. It didn't help that Nellie was very much a sexual submissive herself and she and Walt enjoyed an active bondage relationship together, but theirs was certainly not an S&M relationship.
Mary (my "Molly") had gone to one of the finest elite women's colleges on the east coast, but far from becoming 'liberated' or a strong independent woman ready for a successful career or her own, she was skittery and nervous - seemingly unable to make any decisions for herself at all. Soon she started a relationship with a very domineering and angry young man and found herself in a similar sexual situation to that of her step-mother. That of a Submissive, but the relationship was an unhealthy one as she became increasingly dependant upon her Master in a great number of unsavory ways, and who soon controlled virtually every aspect of her life.
Far from being a relationship based upon love and shared trust (like her parents), their relationship began delving ever deeper into heavy S&M practices. Against her father's wishes she married this man, Donald after graduation, and she willingly endured four years of his abuse before his death about two years ago in an off-shore oil rig accident.
She returned home and found a job as the Benefits Manager in the HR Department of a local hospital. She was living on her own in a house owned by her parents, but she was clearly not thriving. She sometimes attended parties at The Club, but her tastes were usually now too extreme, and she habitually visited the local S&M clubs and underground party houses seeking a new Master brutal enough to satisfy her. Preferably one that was "outlaw" from the local 'respectable' S&M community for being too sadistic and not respecting the "safeword" of his victims.
She was bulimic, suicidal and very definitely into self-mutilation, mostly "cutting", but she would also burn her breasts, vaginal region and buttocks. Every time Walt visited her he expected it to be the last time he'd see her again alive, and every time the phone rang, he'd anticipate the nightmare of getting the message that their daughter had finally killed herself.
There was much more, but this was enough for me to throw up my hands and demand "Why isn't she in a mental hospital receiving treatment. She needs something beyond what you or anyone outside can give her!"
"She has been once, for the involuntary maximum seventy-two hour stay. But since she is not a 'danger to others" they could not legally hold her. Nellie and I were told if we ever interfered again, she would leave and we would never see or speak to her ever again."
"Medications. You gave me something funky and probably under the shelf the other day, what is there available on the market that would work on her?"
"Nothing she would voluntarily take on her own. The "special stuff", and some does exist, would be like trying to perform delicate brain surgery with a chainsaw. Far too messy and the results too uncertain. Sometimes I'll use it to stop a boy who is about to murder his own parents, gleefully and without remorse, but often the cure can be almost as bad as the disease. I'm just not the right person to do this particular brain surgery."
He continued, "But you might be. You're a Senior about to get your BS in Psychology and you have a promising Grad School career ahead of you, and probably then your own Doctorate. If you can help her in anyway and somehow get her trust, then perhaps she can be saved and helped. There is nothing I can do for her anymore, but maybe you can."
The plan was pretty basic and simple. Since she was shopping for a new Master, she would be ordered to help me the next night as my photographic assistant that weekend. I would stick to her like glue and hopefully we would establish a rapport, and slowly maybe I could try and get her trust, or at least become something of a restraint upon her until we could think up a better Plan B. Abnormal psychology was not my forte, but we both agreed that maybe trying something a bit from left field might work.
I told him I had little hope of affecting a miracle, but I would do my best. My terms for agreeing to perform this hopeless task were straightforward and direct also. I needed my car working reliably. If he could attend to fixing and restoring my '69 Firebird to showroom condition, I would work my hardest to fix and restore his daughter to him.
We laughed and shook hands in agreement, and I made plans to come for dinner the next night to meet my new 'charge'. I was given a few other last items in a large sealed envelope that I didn't open until I got home. It contained five hundred dollars in cash, the address of an excellent and very exclusive men's store where I could get a good suit, a signed legal looking letter from Walt and Nellie authorizing me access and permission to trespass onto their daughter's property for the purpose of establishing her well-being, a key that probably fit her front door, and a credit card for any incidental expenses I might have. Such as getting a rental car for the next week or two.
I had a lot of errands to now run now before dinner on Saturday, but I also needed a bit more information on what I was about to be dealing with than had ever been in any of my Psych textbooks. As soon as I got home I called the only person I knew that was remotely associated with any alternative lifestyle. One of my best friends from High School, James.
It was no secret that his wife Lana was a firecracker when outside and about and was as timid as a field mouse indoors. I had asked him why once when we were fairly liquored up one time and he had told me that Lana "really gets off on being spanked hard and sometimes can't orgasm at all unless I'm spanking her bare ass cherry red or worse. She likes 'being in charge' outside the house, but in the bedroom she wants me to be the boss."
I filled him in briefly about my new charge, and he encouraged me to find another occupation entirely. Splitting for the coast was beginning to sound like a wise idea after all.
She was a "basket case", he said, "screwed up by too many idiots that have read a Gor novel and think they know how to train a slave girl, but probably can't tell fantasy from reality."
It was very much, as he put it, as if you took a young puppy and gave it random electrical shocks or beatings for no reason whatsoever. Soon the dog grows up to be nervous and fearful, expecting punishment for everything it does, good or bad. It makes for one heck of a nervous dog, and it is even worse for a young lady.
In short, I was going have to undo nearly all of her prior "programming" and reward her for good behavior and somehow find a way to punish her for bad behavior that wouldn't make her even loopier.
"Good Luck" he said, "He'd be betting against me." I did receive one useful piece of practical advice that I intended to follow.
"Remember when you turned eighteen and were living with that crazy chick Sharon and she took Lana with her to the Eric Clapton concert at the Summit? Remember you were ticked that she hadn't taken you instead and you acted like an ass about it, even calling the stadium to find out what time the show would be over so you'd know exactly when to expect her home? That's almost the way you'll need to treat her. But not like a whiney insecure kid. Put on your big boy panties and act supremely confident, and let her know you're watching her every move and you know exactly what she's up to."
I spent the rest of the night surfing the Internet. There are websites for everything, including how to be a Dom or even a perverted brutal master. Some information sounded good, some sounded like Gorean bullshit, and some of it actually sounded pretty darn useful, written by folks who seemed to have a loving and stable relationships that included S&M based upon trust. They just had a bit more trust in each other than most. The Master was not "taking" from his Submissive, but rather the Sub was "offering" more of herself to him, and that she was really the one with all of the hidden power in the relationship.
This was allegedly a proper "healthy" sort of "power sharing" relationship. It didn't sound at all as if Mary had learned any of this. There were lots of variants of course with Female Dominants, etc, but those didn't seem to relate with what I needed to know to even have a prayer of helping Mary. I had a lot to learn and the testing would start tomorrow. Grading would be strictly pass/fail ... if I failed, Mary would likely soon be dead, probably by her own hand, or find a psycho willing to perform some of her snuff fantasies for real.
Actually I felt pretty good driving up the driveway the next evening in my rented convertible and brand new designer label dark suit. I wanted to express confidence without too much macho bullshit ego. I was going to be "Joe Cool" personified but look and act professional, and I hoped that the rough script outline I had worked out with Walt would do. There were too many variables to map; if she got angry or 'didn't want to play' we were going to be pretty much screwed right from the start and everyone knew it.
Fortunately, the script held all the way through dinner. Mary herself answered the front door and mumbled something that might have been a greeting of sorts, and I went immediately on the offensive.
"I'm glad to finally meet you and I know your help will be invaluable later on this evening. Keep this with you at all times, we might need this later." I briskly but firmly said as I handed her one of my camera bags. She of course would not keep it with her, but it was only a prop anyway and had nothing but several heavy bricks inside it. My Canon AE-1 and my other gear were in the back of the car.
Right away I exerted my authority and proceeded to give her orders, keeping her constantly busy dashing about. I then asked her to get me a glass of wine, then to bring me a family photo that I wanted to closely examine, to fetch me a certain book... 'no not that book', 'no not that one either', and so on. I kept her busy and hopping all the way until dinner time. She wanted to be 'obedient', no problem, I'd keep her too busy to even think.
Dinner went about the way Walt and I had expected it. She was startled to find out that she had been volunteered to attend The Club that night and would be expected to help me, the new photographer throughout and do exactly as I said. I kept her from thinking about this startling development too much by also keeping her busy during dinner, to fetch me the salt, then pepper, then a new napkin, another roll, some extra butter, etc.
It wasn't as if she was eating her own dinner. I finally had to stand next to her and act very provoked that we would be late unless she finished eating. The amount she did finally eat wouldn't have fed a bird, and she made a last second trip to the bathroom to purge even that before leaving.
Of course she had forgotten the camera bag so I dragged her by the hand back inside and make her pick it up and carry it back to the car.
It was going to be a very interesting night!
Arriving at The Club we were admitted inside, Walter, Nellie and Mary being well known to the doorman and I was given a new temporary ID to wear until security got to know me. Once inside the real fun began.
I will say very little about The Club itself except that it was a well known spot for "ladies that lunch" and bored River Oaks housewives that played tennis or racquetball during the day, but at night it was restricted for Private members only. Even the Mayor (not a member) couldn't gain entry inside after hours. The furniture was all either priceless antiques or the most comfortable modern style club furniture that money could buy. A single chandelier or sconce would have probably paid my full tuition all the way through my Doctorate.
There were several large "public rooms" near the main front doors where dining or lectures could be held and the "private" restricted areas were to the back, the main part of which was laid out much like a Victorian old boys network London Club with big oversized leather chairs and small tables with reading lights, but usually not much "reading" occurred. The dress code was 'clothing optional'.
At one end was a long bar made of crafted antique oak and at the other end was a small DJ area with a dance floor. A number of more exclusive private rooms were along the center, each catering to different sexual specialties. Only a "Marked Member" was allowed to get unrestricted entrance into any of those rooms, but a 'MM' could bring an "escorted guest".
I was theoretically still a "Guest", but actually for purposes of mobility I could go anywhere and see anything, but in the private areas I was to definitely ask before entering, at least for tonight.
The "MM" business confused me until I saw several scantily clad ladies, young and not so young, scampering off into the Pink Room (Lesbian sex only, watchers tolerated).
They all had what appeared to be a tattooed mark at the bottom of their lower back, just above the ass crack, and most women also had additional designs to both sides as a larger and more exotic "tramp stamp" decoration.
This 'mark' was technically a tattoo, but it involved a complicated high-tech machine that injected a clear ink under the skin and then used different lasers for the design and coloring. This allowed an exceptional range of tattoo coloring, clarity and precise design details, far more so than traditional needle tattooing. The mark on the lower back was traditional, but some of the women placed theirs directly on their bare pubic mounds. Several others, in a Gorian style, had the mark on their upper thigh or ass cheek, as if it were a brand. A few more mature women had the older original hot iron brand marking of The Club burned into their flesh. There were more than few rather submissive women with additional branding marks, usually the initials of their Master, and this seemed to be a popular fetish here.
I won't even mention the cross-dressers, transgendered and several chicks that had dicks. It was obvious that this was a place where 'anything goes'.
Some men had a more masculine variation of this tattoo as well, but mostly male members simply wore their membership ring which was considered ample for admission anywhere they pleased. The membership ring, or the tattooed back stamp for the women, also allowed them admission, rights and privileges to other similar and affiliated clubs around the world.
Still dragging Mary back and forth while she toted my heavy bag of bricks, I was shown my new work area in the back and it would do well. It was an older laundry room that had been replaced a few years back so it had plumbing and floor drains. It also had a good storage area, was very well lit and had room for all of the equipment that I would later need.
I was told that members and their guests would start arriving about eight, but most of the 'fun' would be much later, but I was expected to be "on duty" between eight p.m. and 2 a.m., unless dismissed by the Club Manager early. The fun sometimes lasted longer, but usually by then the more enthusiastic players will have moved onwards for more private parties.
He would be my nominal boss, but I should feel free to ask Walt if I had any questions or problems. From the deference shown to him by everyone, I could tell that Walt was indeed a very senior member. My job was to remain in the background but be immediately available if anyone wished a photo taken. I was not to otherwise photograph members or guests without their express granted permission. I also found out that I would soon be responsible also for storing The Clubs security camera footage and would be often required to obtain still photos from the film.
I had about twenty minutes to get ready and I used them to run Mary ragged back and forth from the car to the new lab room, loading her down with equipment - most of which I would not need that night. Finally, a few minutes before 8 p.m, I considered myself ready, and now it was time to get Mary ready as well.
"Strip" I ordered her, and she just stood there looking at me. About what I had expected.
"When I tell you to do something, you will do it, immediately and at once, do you understand me?" I told her in my sternest voice and with what I hoped was my biggest frown of annoyance. She nodded her head and started to undress, too slowly for my taste.
"Faster, Hurry!" I barked, and her clothes began to fly off onto the floor. When she was done standing naked in front of me I took a walk around her as if to inspect her, and I found much that I disapproved of.
If anything, she was much thinner than even her previous photos suggested. The way her ribs stuck out was frightening. The only comparable images I had seen even close to this were pictures of WW-II death camp survivors.
She had been quite busy cutting herself as well and there was a row of Band-Aids running down the inner sides of each thigh. I ripped each one off in turn, and told her when I ordered her to be naked she was to be completely naked with nothing on her but her skin.
I took out a small office supply binder clip (I had filled one pocket full of them earlier) and applied it to her clamping down on the upper fleshy region of her left breast (fleshy was not an apt word given her state of emaciation).
Now I explained to her our system of rewards and punishments. If she failed to obey me exactly to the letter she would receive another binder clip (non-damaging but painful enough to get her attention - it certainly beat sticking pins or skewers into her). If she was good, I would reward her with a piece of chocolate that she must eat and swallow or I would become exceptionally angry. The chocolates were some fancy covered macadamia nuts, and at about 1000 calories each, my best idea for getting at least a little bit of food into her without her being suspicious.
I ordered her to kneel, and directed her to spread her legs wider apart in order that she could "show off all of her pretty marks of self-abuse to everyone" and to hold her chest out and keep her back straight and head forward at all times. When she reached a posture that I deemed acceptable I gave her a first chocolate reward. I could tell she didn't want to swallow it but I glared at her menacingly until she did and then threatened to gag her if she did not swallow it for me. Then I loaded her up with two extra heavy cameras around her neck that I would probably not need, plus I put her old friend the camera bag of bricks around one of her shoulders and we started off to make the grand tour of the main lounge area.
She was directed to follow behind me about two paces and stop and kneel whenever I stopped for any reason. I made sure to start and stop a lot. Each time I found her posture to be much at fault, which earning her another binder clip and demerit. By the time we had finished our first circuit of the lounge, one breast was well covered by clips. A second circuit and there was no space left to mount another so I started on her other breast.
By 10 p.m. I had to return to the lab area to refill my pocket with more clips. The reward pocket was unfortunately still mostly full, but her posture was starting to improve and my plan of shaming her by making her display all of her hidden self-mutilations publicly (and being forced to tell how they occurred) was bearing fruit. Along with slouching, which seemed to be a perpetual habit with her, she had the habit of keeping her knees drawing closer to try and hide her self-inflicted cuts.
"What you're not proud of them? Spread your legs even wider, let's give everyone a good view of them, and keep your arms above your head also so your pretty arm cuts can be seen too." I bellowed and her, and she hastened to obey and I gave her another reward.