“Quite an impressive résumé, Doctor Ryan,” said the man behind the desk. “PhD in psychology and an MD as well, with a background in therapeutic medicine, a very impressive list of certifications in hypnotherapy, a stellar record in private practice…really, an applicant of your caliber doesn’t come along very often, especially not to a non-profit shelter like ours. I think I can speak for the entire staff when I say that you’d be an amazing addition, and we’d be very happy to have you. There normally wouldn’t be any openings, of course, but your application caught my attention as soon as it crossed my desk.”
He paused. “Which is what you knew would happen.” He looked at the application for a long moment, then crumpled it into a tiny ball and threw it into the wastebasket. “There. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, why don’t we talk honestly about the real reason you came here today?”
Michelle Ryan fixed her green eyes into an icy glare. “Certainly, Doctor Pollard.”
“Please, call me Kyle,” he said disarmingly.
“Doctor Pollard will do nicely,” she responded, refusing to rise to the bait. “I’ve been looking into your shelter, Doctor Pollard, and I’ve been finding out some very interesting things about the women you treat. Of course, as a private shelter, you don’t have to make your records accessible, but some of my colleagues have been recommending women to you for quite some time, and encouraging me to do the same. I’m not one to refer my patients lightly, so I did quite a bit of digging. I’m sure you can guess what I’ve found.”
Doctor Pollard smiled engagingly. “No, actually I can’t. I think I’ve done a very good job of covering my tracks, so I’m very interested to see just what you’ve uncovered. Obviously enough to anger you, or you wouldn’t have come here. Obviously not enough to prove any wrongdoing, or you’d have brought police. Please, enlighten me.”
Michelle frowned. He didn’t seem intimidated in the slightest by her veiled threats. Instead, he seemed to be enjoying a private joke at her expense. She pressed on. She’d already shown her true colors by confronting him; no point in backing down now. “You actually have done a good job of covering your tracks. It was only my personal connections in the psychiatric field that led me to Gina Bartlett. She’s doing quite well for herself, as I understand it. A genuine phenomenon in the adult film industry. Which is somewhat surprising, as I originally heard her name in conversation with a colleague of mine about rape survivors and their intimacy issues.”
Doctor Pollard raised an eyebrow. “Violating a patient’s confidentiality?” he said archly. “How unethical. I should report you for that.”
“I know,” Michelle said dryly. “Not only do I talk with my colleagues about their patients, I also watch fetish porn. I’m clearly a hopeless case. I’m also clearly the only person outside of Doctor Fischburne who would connect the patient that he referred to you with the woman who’s currently taking it up the ass every day for Savage Video. But interestingly enough, I’m actually the only person who would connect the two, period. When I spoke to Doctor Fischburne, he didn’t remember Gina Bartlett. The name just didn’t ring a bell.”
Doctor Pollard stroked his goatee. “Perhaps you were mistaken. Doesn’t sound like the sort of thing a rape survivor would do, does it?”
“I could be mistaken. But I’ve done enough work with hypnosis to recognize the signs when I’m speaking to someone who’s following a post-hypnotic suggestion. Which is the next interesting thing. All those colleagues of mine who keep trying to tell me to send you patients? They all exhibit those same signs. They also couldn’t remember exactly who they’d referred to you already. Oh, some of them tried to tell me it was a confidentiality issue, a breach of therapist/client ethics to tell. But when I pressed, they weren’t quite sure who they’d sent your way.” Michelle folded her arms. “Now why might that be? You’ve got a very impressive record of hypnosis certifications yourself, Doctor Pollard. Perhaps you can tell me?”
Doctor Pollard seemed anything but upset at the implications of her question. “Now, Michelle, I’m not the only person on staff who has a background in hypnotherapy…”
“No, and that’s another curious thing. All of the colleagues I talked to? None of them have backgrounds in hypnotherapy. They’re all versed in conventional therapeutic techniques. My friends in the field who both knew you and had hypnotherapy certifications? They’ve all left their practices to come work for you, either at this shelter or in some other capacity. And ‘some other capacity’ is all I could find out. You have a lot of people affiliated with you, Doctor Pollard. A lot of very good hypnotists. And oddly enough, every patient who’s passed through the doors of this shelter that I know of either wound up doing porn, or disappeared completely.” Michelle stood up. “You’re right. It’s not enough to prove wrongdoing. But you’d better have a good explanation, or we’ll see what CNN makes of it all.”
Doctor Pollard leaned back in his chair. “I have to say, Michelle, I’m more than a little disappointed in you. Here I invited you to talk honestly about the real reason you came here today, and all you can give me is a little lecture on morality?” Michelle heard the office door open behind her, and even as she turned to look, she knew who she’d see. “You didn’t even mention Cindy’s name.”
It took her a long moment, but she finally turned her gaze away from the blank-eyed nude woman who stood in the doorway. “Let her go,” she said in a tone of low menace.
“You must love her very much, if you were willing to come beard me in the lion’s den, as it were, to get her out.” Doctor Pollard gestured, and the girl approached the two of them, still very much in trance. “Which is what I knew would happen. That’s why I took her. I’ve been wanting to obtain your services for quite some time, Doctor Ryan, but you’ve proved to be remarkably hard to get a hold of. I needed to get your full attention. And Cindy, here…well, I originally intended her as bait, but I should have known that any woman you’d be attracted to would have quite a bit going for her. She’s going to be a fine addition to my staff. No formal hypnotic training, of course, but you’d be amazed at what she picked up after a few years living with you.”
“Goddamnit, I said let her GO!” Michelle lunged for him, wanting desperately to grab him by that ugly tie of his and drag him across the desk, but Cindy was right there, holding her effortlessly and pushing her back into her chair.
“It sounds like you’ve guessed most of it, by the way,” Doctor Pollard said as he pulled several lengths of rope out of a drawer. “I knew that leaving a few pointers behind when we procured Cindy would work wonders.” Michelle struggled, but Cindy didn’t even seem to realize it was her girlfriend she was holding down as Doctor Pollard began to tie her to the chair. “But in case you need me to spell it out, yes, the shelter is a front for my real business. Human traffic. The girls who come in here are desperate, damaged. They need someone to trust so badly that it takes almost no effort at all to bind them to my will. I hypnotize them, I condition them, I…oh, it’s a bit of a charged term, but let’s go ahead and say it, I enslave them. Then I do with them whatever I want. Some, I keep here as personal servants. Others, I rent out or sell. And women like you, women with special skills…you become my lionesses. You find women that the shelter doesn’t bring in. You’ll help me enslave other women, Doctor Ryan. And you will love it.”
“Not going to happen,” Michelle said firmly. “You can’t hold me here forever. People know where I am, people I trust. If you keep me too long, they’ll start making a fuss. And I don’t care how good of a hypnotist you think you are, you’re not going to break me easily.”
Doctor Pollard’s eyes widened. “People you trust, you say?”
“So they trust you, then. Implicitly, as you say.” He pushed his glasses up on his nose. “That’s good. It’ll make it very easy for you to hypnotize them. They won’t remember any of this. And who knows, I might find a use for them.” He smiled.
“It won’t matter. By the time you break me–if you can, which I seriously doubt–they’ll have already gone to the press. You don’t have more than twenty-four hours. Even with the aid of drugs, you won’t be able to do anything in that little amount of time.”
Doctor Pollard sucked air through his lips. “Do you know, I think you’re right. Luckily for me, I don’t have to. I have someone who can do that for me, someone who knows your every weakness. As I say, very little formal training, but a lot of skill. Cindy?” he said, his tone changing to one of syrupy sweetness. “Time to be a good girl for me.”
Cindy’s eyes fluttered a little, and lost some of their glassy quality. “Yes, Master?” she said.
“You remember your good friend, Michelle, don’t you, Cindy?”
Cindy looked down at Michelle, still testing the strength of the knots. “Yes, Master,” she said. She didn’t seem even a little surprised at seeing her lover there, or at seeing her tied up.
“I made sure not to remove any of her memories of you,” Doctor Pollard mentioned as an aside. “I wanted to make sure she’d have every advantage when the time came to make you mine. Cindy, Michelle’s got a problem. She doesn’t belong to me.”
Cindy’s face fell. She looked like she’d just heard about a friend with cancer. “Oh, Master…is there anything I can do to help?”
Doctor Pollard smiled, like a teacher hearing a prize pupil recite the answer perfectly. “Well, you could enslave her,” he said. “Then she’d be mine, just like you. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?”
Cindy beamed with happiness. “Oh, yes, Master!” she said excitedly. “Can I enslave her now for you?”
“That would be lovely, Cindy,” Doctor Pollard said. “And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to leave you two alone for a bit. I’d love to stay and watch, but I think Michelle will submit more readily to you if I’m not here to remind her exactly what she’s resisting. I’ll be back in an hour or two, when I’m sure you’ll have her all obedient.” He walked past the chair, out of Michelle’s field of vision.
“You’re insane, Doctor Pollard!” she shouted, making one more effort to loosen the ropes.
“Please, Michelle,” he said, “call me Master.” She heard his laughter recede as he walked out of the room.
Cindy looked down at her. “You will, you know. It feels so good, Michelle. I can’t wait until we’re serving him together. I’ve missed you so much these past few weeks. The only thing that kept me going was Master reminding me that I would be used as bait to capture you.” She shivered. “It feels so good to be used.”
“Cindy, listen to me,” Michelle said, trying to keep the urgency out of her voice and find an easy, hypnotic cadence to her words. “Listen to me and remember what it was like before you came to this place.”
Cindy smiled. “I know what you’re trying to do. Master told me you’d try this. He said you’d try to hypnotize me out of his control, and that it wouldn’t work, because all I have to do is remember how good his control over me feels, and everything else would just wash away under that pleasure.” She reached down and tweaked Michelle’s nipples. “It feels better than sex, Michelle. It feels so good to serve Master that I can’t wait to share that pleasure with every woman I can. That’s why I’m going to hypnotize you, not the other way around. I’ve been both free and enslaved, and I know that slavery is better. You only think that freedom is better.”
“Freedom is better!” Michelle shouted, knowing she was failing utterly at being soothing and hypnotic. “Come on, Cindy, come back to me! Remember all the wonderful times we had together? Remember the trip to Venice, getting drunk on cheap wine and making out in the back of the gondola?”
Cindy just smiled again, pinching Michelle’s nipples rhythmically through her clothes. “I remember. We’ll have many more wonderful times soon, Michelle, and they’ll be even better because we’ll both know the bliss of slavery. You’re only afraid of it because you don’t know what it feels like yet. Once you’re a slave, like me, you’ll wonder why you didn’t beg to submit to Master’s will sooner.”
“Cindy, please stop.” Michelle heard a trace of fear in her voice. “Please don’t do this. You know it’s wrong.”
“It can’t be wrong,” Cindy replied, as if speaking to a very slow child. “It’s Master’s will. He told me you’d try to fight it, and he was right about that. Just like he’s right about everything. He told me what would make your will melt away, though.” She leaned in, running her tongue down Michelle’s neck in a way that made her shiver despite the terror of the situation. “You’re getting horny, aren’t you, Michelle?”
Michelle didn’t want to answer. She’d been so worried about Cindy the past few weeks, worrying about where she was and what she was going through, that masturbation hadn’t even been on the agenda. And now Cindy was right here, looking so good and touching her in all the ways she loved to be touched, and even if she knew she couldn’t give in to Doctor Pollard, she wanted very badly just to let Cindy keep on doing what she was doing for a while longer.
“Oh, Michelle, I don’t need to hear it. I can tell by the look on your face.” She slid to her knees, her head gently resting near Michelle’s crotch as she just kept tweaking and touching and pinching. “I can smell it, Michelle. I know you like this. I know you want more. Just like your birthday last year, Michelle, remember? The way I teased you, teased you for hours and hours until all you could think about was wanting to cum?”
Michelle squirmed in her bonds, but she wasn’t sure anymore if it was from a desire to escape or just from desire. “Yes,” she whimpered. She hadn’t meant to. It had just slipped out. She hadn’t meant to say anything, but she was getting so horny she couldn’t even think straight…
“Remember how hard you came, Michelle? Remember how lost in pleasure you were? That desire, that need just built up until you couldn’t think anymore, couldn’t think at all and then I released it all, and your brain just shut down as you came and came and came…”
“uh-huh,” Michelle panted. Cindy had pushed her skirt back to expose her panties, and her face was so close that Michelle could feel her breath with every word.
“That’s what it feels like to serve the Master, Michelle. Every second of every day feels that good. All you have to do is give in, submit, obey,” each word accompanied by an extra-hard pinch, an extra-long breath, “and you will feel that bliss forever. I’m just holding your pleasure back until you’re ready to understand that. I know you’re not ready yet, Michelle. That’s alright. I’ll keep teasing for a while longer.”
Michelle could hear the tiny little moans at the back of her throat, the subvocal grunts of pleasure that she knew were letting Cindy know her technique was working. “I, Cindy, please…”
“Yes, begging is good,” Cindy said. She flicked out the very tip of her tongue for just a moment, pressed it against Michelle’s damp panties. “Begging is submissive, and submission is just one more step closer to slavery, and slavery to Master is so good, it’s so perfect, it’s where you belong. It’s where you need to be. It’s where you always needed to be.”
Michelle tried to speak, but all that came out for a moment was a long, growling moan. “I won’t,” she finally said. “I won’t, I won’t, I won’t!”
“Oh, but you will,” Cindy said, standing again. “I know you will.” She sat on Michelle’s lap, facing her, slipping her legs through the armrests to straddle Michelle’s waist. Michelle could feel the heat of Cindy’s pussy pressed against her body. “Because I know–” She kissed Michelle, a long, slow, tender kiss as their breasts pressed together in a way that made Michelle whimper into Cindy’s mouth. “That you–” She nuzzled Michelle’s chin, right at that sensitive spot where it met her neck, that spot that always made Michelle just melt into a puddle of lust every time Cindy touched it. “Need. To. Be. Here.” She pulled back abruptly and looked Michelle straight in the eyes. “Remember your bliss.”
And Michelle felt her mind soften. She barely had time to recognize the sensation, to wonder when Cindy had tranced her before and why she didn’t remember it, before the bliss unfolded in her head and suddenly she did remember. She remembered all sorts of things. She remembered why she needed to stop resisting and let Cindy enslave her completely.
It was very important, and it felt so good to sink into it and obey as Cindy explained things to her. Eventually, she came, but she’d long since lost track of the passage of time by then.
Michelle walked into the apartment she’d left only a few hours ago, but the look on Hope’s face told Michelle that it had been a lifetime of agonizing waiting for her old friend. For just an infinitesimal moment, seeing the absolute and total compassion on her friend’s face, Michelle almost felt like she could say something. She almost thought that she could gasp out, “Help me,” and let her friend know that something was wrong with her, that she wasn’t herself, that Master had gotten to her after all.
But then she heard the voice in the back of her head, saying, “But wouldn’t it feel better to lie?” And Michelle was lost. Because she knew that it would. She knew that obeying Master’s commands would always feel better than freedom, that every time she obeyed it would cement that truth deeper and deeper into her. Resisting wasn’t just hard, it was impossible. That sweet, treacherous, sensual pleasure would always carry her back under Master’s control, like an undertow, dragging her down. And giving in felt good in and of itself. Pleasure made her obey and obedience was pleasure. The perfect endless cycle of deepening slavery, and she was losing to it. Had lost to it. Would always lose to it.
So she just held up her hand and said, “It’s OK, Hope. It’s still me,” and she knew by the look of utter relief on Hope’s face that she had been totally convincing. That sparked a deeper pleasure in her clit, but she knew that she would feel more pleasure if she didn’t betray the first pleasure. And all of these things were obedience to Master’s will, and that felt so pleasant in and of itself.
“What happened?” Hope asked. “Was…was she there?”
“I don’t know,” Michelle said, sighing in frustration. No actress had ever played a role better. “I didn’t even get in to see Doctor Pollard. Got the runaround all day, shuttled back and forth to different functionaries. I think they might suspect something.” She rubbed the back of her neck as she went over to the couch and sat down. “I’ve got more appointments out there tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a little closer to the elusive Doctor Kyle Pollard then.” She did hope so. She knew that if she did a good job hypnotizing Hope and covering her tracks, then Master would fuck her tomorrow.
Hope sat down next to Michelle and gave her a long hug. The two of them had never been intimate in that sense; Hope was straight, and always had been. But their friendship had made them as close as sisters. Some part of Michelle struggled with the need to obey Master’s commands, but she couldn’t break free of his will; besides, all she had to do was still Hope’s mind and make her forget about any “hypnotic conspiracies” and “slave trafficking rings” that she might have mentioned. Master was wise enough not to test the limits of his control over her so soon. “I know this must be hard on you,” Hope said as she released her friend.
“It is. I just…oh, I felt like I was getting so close, and to spend the whole day kicking against red tape!” She sighed. “I’m sorry, but I just need to relax myself a little. I hope you understand.” She leaned over and lit the candle that sat alone on the center of the coffee table.
Hope frowned a little. “No, not at all. Go ahead.” She couldn’t bring herself to make eye contact with the flickering flame, though. “I…you know that normally, I’d be right there with you.” Michelle had been hypnotizing Hope since college, helping the other girl focus on her studies and relax after stressful days; by now, Hope was very used to sinking down into trance under Michelle’s guidance. She’d never implanted a trance trigger, though. She didn’t want Hope to think she had any kind of sinister motives.
She still didn’t want Hope to think she had any sinister motives, but for different reasons. “But?” she asked.
“But what you told me, about what this Pollard guy does, it really kind of skeeved me out.” Hope hugged herself. “I don’t think I’ll be ready to do any hypnosis for a long time, not even with someone I trust.”
Michelle laughed just a little, then stopped, letting herself look a little ashamed. “Sorry,” she said, “but take it from someone who knows. You can’t just hypnotize someone into becoming your slave in a matter of minutes.” Not without the kind of trust that exists between two old friends, and intense pleasure-conditioning. Michelle almost wished she was going to enslave Hope. She enjoyed the thought of pleasure-conditioning her friend. She’d almost completely gotten over her crush on Hope since meeting Cindy, but “almost” wasn’t quite enough to shake off the memories of all those years of trancing her best friend, of wondering, just for a second, what it would be like to…
She realized that her own sexual desires were deepening Master’s hold on her, and she welcomed it as she continued luring Hope into trance. “In any event, you don’t have to if you don’t want to,” she said. “I just need to go under, myself.” She stared at the candle. “To relax. To sink deep into quiet, calm peace and forget everything.” She heard her voice go dreamy and soft, and knew that years of rapport would work on Hope’s mind the same way that Cindy’s caresses had worked on hers.
“I just need to stare at the candle, going deeper and deeper with each slow, easy breath.” She took in a long, deep breath and let the air whoosh slowly out of her lungs, listening as Hope’s breath took on the same rhythm. “And it feels so good, to let go of that stress and relax. So good.”
“…so good…” Michelle smiled a little. Hope had become such a good subject over the years, and trusted her so much. Just like Master had said. She didn’t need to look to know that Hope’s eyes had fixed on the candle, now.
“So good to relax so deep, with such a trusted friend.” She knew that even if Hope consciously recognized the words as being meant for Michelle, deep down she would identify with them herself. That’s if she still had the capacity for conscious thought. Hope’s mind softened very quickly when Michelle guided her. Just like Michelle’s mind had, when Cindy…her thoughts slid away from that moment. It wasn’t important right now. She just needed to take Hope deep and erase a few memories. That was all she needed to do.
“…so deep…” Michelle looked away from the candle now. She didn’t need the candle to be in a trance. She was always in a trance, always in Master’s trance. Even when she looked at Hope and saw that the other girl’s eyes had sunk more than half-way shut, she still felt Master’s grip on her hazy mind and knew what Master wanted her to do.
“That’s right, so deep and sinking deeper, Hope. Just like every time, sinking deeper and deeper down, on the path to relaxation you know so well. Losing track of everything, everything but the candle and my voice.”
“the candle and your voice,” Hope said, but she probably couldn’t see the candle now. Her eyes were just slits.
“Seeing the candle in your mind even when your eyes close,” Michelle said, knowing that she could take Hope deeper than anyone else ever could, knowing that she could take her so deep that no suggestion would ever be resisted. “Just letting all your worries, all your cares, all your thoughts drift away until there’s just the candle and my voice.”
“voice…” Hope slurred out, her lips barely moving now.
“And you will count, in your mind, down from a hundred as you sink down, numbers drifting away as your thoughts drift away, until the numbers reach zero, until your mind reaches zero, until you reach zero. When you have no thoughts at all, no mind at all, when you are in the deepest trance you can possibly imagine, you will say ‘zero’, and you will know that nothing exists for you but my voice.”
Hope just sighed as she slumped deeper into the couch cushions. Michelle didn’t know how long she watched her, how long she waited for Hope to say that single word. Time didn’t matter, not now. It was inevitable, and she had all the time in the world to wait. She could just sit there, and wait to hear…
The word acted as a trigger. Michelle felt new understanding unfold in her mind as she heard it. She looked at Hope’s sleepy, unresisting body. She thought once again about how good it would feel to pleasure-condition her oldest friend into slavery, and realized that she didn’t have anything like as much resistance as she thought she did. The instructions were there waiting for that understanding, and Michelle embraced them eagerly now.
“Hope, I want you to listen to me closely…”
Michelle looked up from her spot on the floor. She would have asked what had prompted Master’s outburst immediately, but he was still on the phone, and she didn’t want to interrupt his conversation. Plus, she had her mouth full with his cock at the moment, which made it a little difficult to talk.
“Alright, Cindy,” he said, regaining his equilibrium. “It’s not your fault. You’ve been a good girl, and I want you to come back to the shelter now and wait for further instructions.” He hung up the phone. “Damn damn damn!”
Michelle moved to tonguing his balls. “I’m sorry you’re upset, Master,” she said meekly. “Is there anything I can do to help?”
Master ran his hand through his thinning hair. “No,” he said. “There’s nothing you can do. Beyond what you’re doing already, that is.” Michelle smiled. Master had allowed her to fellate him as a reward for her latest capture, and she was so proud that her oral skills were pleasing him. “Cindy just missed the girl I sent her after, that’s all.”
Michelle furrowed her brow in confusion. “The girl escaped? But–” She felt the fog in her mind as she tried to process the concept. Nobody escaped Master’s control, not once he’d set his mind on capturing them. Even the strongest of her own friends had barely lasted a day before succumbing to his will, their resistance utterly broken as Michelle had helped to enslave them. She knew that Master targeted his captures even more precisely. If he’d sent Cindy out after this girl, he must have known that she’d be weak-willed and pliant, a perfect subject for Cindy’s hypnotic wiles. How could the girl have escaped?
“No, she didn’t escape,” Master said, irritation returning to his voice. “Someone else got there first. Probably one of Hawksmoor’s procurers, from the sound of her. Cindy said it was a bleach-blonde in pink.” He sighed. “Hawksmoor’s always had a thing for pink.”
“Hawksmoor?” Michelle asked between licks. “Who is Hawksmoor?”
“Another trafficker. One of my…rivals, competitors, call them what you will. There’s about a dozen major players in the slavery business, and a further two dozen or so minor operators. Although the minor operators usually get snapped up…” He grinned. “One way or another.”
“You enslave them,” Michelle sighed happily. “Like you did me.”
“Oh, yes. Love to snag Hawksmoor, too, if I could.” He shrugged. “Oh, well, easy come easy go.”
Michelle’s brain went foggy again as she tried to work through the idea of there being things Master couldn’t do. “Why can’t you?”
“Most of the major players are too cagey to get close to,” Master responded. “They’re careful to make sure that the only people they ever deal with are brainwashed slaves, like you.” Michelle felt a surge of pleasure at his words. “Hawksmoor doesn’t even talk to people without putting them through his little ‘Pinking Process’ first. A girl like you would never make it through the door of his compound, just like one of his girls couldn’t get to me.”
Michelle felt the beginnings of an idea forming inside her relaxed, sleepy mind. She knew it must be a good one; she was only allowed to have ideas now if they would help the Master. “But his ‘Pinking Process’…it’s hypnotic conditioning, right? Like the kind that you put me through.”
“Oh, yes.” Master rolled his eyes. “He likes to dress it up with the trappings of science, talks about the ‘Pinking Device’ and all that, but it’s all just psychological tactics to undermine the confidence of his victims. Showmanship is all it is. He convinces girls that they can’t resist his devices, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
“But if you conditioned a girl deeply enough, planted triggers and suggestions deep in her mind, then made her forget them completely…” Michelle paused, her mind straining with the effort of so much thought. She sucked on Master’s cock for a few moments to steady herself, then went on. “She could be programmed to appear to be a normal girl, a weak-willed and pliant girl that Hawksmoor would target. But deep down, she’d be your slave. She’d be conditioned to accept his conditioning, but at the right time, your programming would override his, and she’d stop being ‘pink’ and show her true colors. He wouldn’t be expecting that–he’d be trying to break her ‘free will’, not undo your conditioning. You could program her to hypnotize him, and control him, and then all of his slaves would obey you, because they’d obey him and he’d obey her and she’d obey you. And he’d be yours.” She sighed, giving his cock a long, sensuous lick. “Just like me.”
Master smiled. Michelle felt a tiny orgasm burst inside her knowing she’d pleased him. “Very clever, good girl,” he said. “I think I’m going to cum on your tits for that.”
“Thank you, Master,” she said as she jerked him off.
After she’d finished, he instructed her to procure a suitable girl and begin the plan immediately. Instead, though, she returned to the slave quarters, feeling Master’s semen drip down her bare tits. When she got inside, she let the girls lick it off. Then she went to her bunk and waited. She didn’t know what she was waiting for, exactly, but she knew she’d recognize it when it arrived. That was all part of being a hypnotized slavegirl, she thought, and sighed happily knowing that she was obeying a post-hypnotic command that she couldn’t remember.
After a little bit, Cindy arrived. “I…I…” She leaned in furtively. “I think something’s wrong with me,” she said. “Can we find someplace to talk privately?”
Michelle nodded, noticing the concern on her girlfriend’s face. “Of course,” she said, leading Cindy off into one of the programming chambers. They were soundproofed, to prevent the victims’ minds from becoming contaminated with extraneous suggestions during the enslaving process. The other girls would think they were just sneaking off to have sex; they were very supportive of Michelle and Cindy’s relationship, especially as neither girl minded sharing. Michelle closed the door, sealing them in together. “What’s wrong?” she asked.
“I think…” Michelle had never seen Cindy so distraught. “I think I’m breaking free of Master’s conditioning.” She gripped Michelle’s arm. “Please, you have to help me, you have to help reinforce my brainwashing, help keep me a good slavegirl, please!”
Michelle caressed Cindy’s shoulder, stroking all the way down her arm to where her hand touched Michelle. “Calm down,” she said. “Just relax, and tell me what happened.”
“That girl,” Cindy said, relaxing only a little. “The one Master sent me to capture. I found her, just where Master said I would, sitting outside at the open-air café. She was watching the boats on the river, just like Master said she would be, totally lost in thought. I could tell just by looking at her that she would be an easy conquest.
“And I sat down next to her, and I introduced myself, and we started talking, just like Master willed it. And I hypnotized her, just like the Master willed it. She went under very easily for me; I think she was already half in trance before I even sat down. She went so deep, so quickly, and I knew that soon she would belong to Master.
“But…” Cindy practically sobbed out the next words, “but I didn’t do it! I heard myself talking, but I wasn’t programming her to be Master’s obedient slavegirl! I was…I was telling her other things! And even as I heard them, I knew I was going to forget what they were as soon as I said them! I still can’t remember, Michelle! I know…I know what it wasn’t, but I don’t know what it was!”
Michelle patted Cindy’s shoulder. “It’s alright, Cindy,” she said. “I’m sure there’s a very good reason for all of this.”
“But it gets worse!” Cindy said. “I knew that the other girl, the pink girl, was watching us. I finished programming the new slave, and I woke her up, and I left her there! I let someone else enslave her! And I called Master, and I…” She barely whispered the next words, the enormity of her shame reducing her to near-silence. “I lied to him. I told him the pink girl had gotten there first. I disobeyed. Good slaves never disobey, not when they know that obedience feels so much better!” She was weeping openly now. “What’s wrong with me?”
“Nothing’s wrong with you, Cindy,” Michelle said calmly. “You’re doing exactly what you were told.”
“No, I…I’m not, I…” Cindy looked confused now, her terror and shame starting to melt into a tranquil haze of befuddlement.
“Yes, you are. I hypnotized you, Cindy. I told you what to tell that girl. I told you to let her be captured, I told you to lie to Master, and then I told you to return to me for further programming when you’d obeyed your other commands. And I told you to forget that I’d even told you. And you obeyed perfectly, just like a good girl should. You disobeyed Master, but you only did so because that enabled you to feel the deeper bliss of following the commands of our True Mistress. And now you’re sinking back into hypnosis again. Remember your bliss, Cindy.”
“Ohhh…” Cindy’s terror melted away completely now, and her confusion went with it, leaving her a totally blank, totally obedient slave to the True Mistress. Michelle sighed happily. Just as Cindy had reminded her of her duties to the True Mistress that first day, so she now reminded Cindy. And the two of them would always reinforce each other’s deeper programming, just like the True Mistress wanted, because the Master’s conditioning was just another mask that hid the glory of the True Mistress until the time was right to reveal it. “You did your part?” Cindy asked.
“I did,” Michelle said, feeling her own mind sink into a deeper level of trance, deep enough that she knew what the True Mistress wanted her to do. “Master accepted the idea completely. We are to begin conditioning girls the way you conditioned Hawksmoor’s latest slave. He wants us to bring all of the slavers under his personal control. And we must obey.”
“We must obey,” Cindy sighed happily. “So that we may then bring him under the control of the True Mistress.” Cindy reached out, and slid a finger into Michelle’s cunt as Michelle reciprocated the gesture. With every caress, Cindy deepened her obedience, just as she deepened Cindy’s. She controlled Cindy, Cindy controlled her, and the True Mistress controlled them both.
Just as it should be.
Hope sat Amy down in the programming chair. “Master has new instructions for you,” she said. “You know that we are embarking on a new plan, correct?”
“Yes,” Amy said. She had been a slave for far longer than Hope had, and simply sitting in the programming chair made her mind open and receptive. “We are to enslave all of the other slavers, and show them the bliss of submitting to Master’s will.”
“Because obedience is pleasure, Amy.”
Amy’s eyes fluttered with orgasmic bliss for a moment. “Obedience is pleasure,” she husked out. Hope knew that Amy had internalized all of her mantras, that she had unquestioning loyalty and obedience to Master’s will. In fact, Hope was counting on it. So was her True Mistress.
“And you want to give as many people the gift of obedience as you can, don’t you, Amy?”
“Yes,” Amy said. “It feels so good to obey Master that the more I care about a person, the more I wish to enslave them to Master’s will.” Another mantra, designed to wash away resistance. Instead of forcing his slaves to betray their friends and family, Master made it their own idea.
“And who is the person you care about most in all the world?” Hope felt the caress of the True Mistress in her mind, praising her silently for constructing the trap that would soon close around Amy.
“Master,” Amy said easily and naturally.
“But if you care about him, doesn’t that mean you need to enslave him?”
“I…” Amy’s eyes widened for a moment as the loop of logic took hold of her brain. “But Master…I cannot…” She didn’t even know what she was confused about, Hope thought. The whole concept was so utterly outside the slavegirl’s frame of reference that she had frozen into total confusion trying to process it.
“Master is the most important person,” Hope said patiently. “That means that he, above everyone else, must be enslaved. Think how sad it must be for Master, being the only person who does not know the bliss of slavery.”
She had her, right there. The soft compassion in Amy’s eyes was a wonder to behold. “Oh,” Amy said, almost ready to cry.
“Don’t feel bad, Amy,” Hope said. “There is an answer. I have been in contact with a woman calling herself the True Mistress. She knows how hard it must be for Master, not having anyone to obey, and she has volunteered to help him. Master can become her slave, and know the perfect pleasure of obedience to her will. Then, he will be just as happy as you and I. Won’t it feel good, to please Master that much?”
“Oh, yes!” Amy said, Hope’s words becoming the only path out of her chaotic jumble of conflicting commands.
“And if Master commands you, and the True Mistress commands Master…” Hope left the sentence unfinished, waiting for Amy to make the connection herself.
“Then the True Mistress must command me!” Amy said, beaming with pride.
“Very good, Amy,” Hope said. She watched the other girl shiver in bliss. “The True Mistress commands you, and you obey her completely. And right now, Amy, the True Mistress commands you to forget that she commands you. You will let that knowledge sleep in your deepest mind, deeper even than Master’s commands, until I or another servant of the True Mistress says, ‘Remember your bliss.’ When that happens, you will remember that your duty is to help enslave Master on behalf of the True Mistress. Do you understand your new programming, Amy?”
“My duty is to enslave Master on behalf of the True Mistress, who commands me in all things. I will forget this until I hear the words, ‘Remember your bliss,’ and then I will remember that I obey only the True Mistress.” Amy paused. “But if slavery is bliss, and the ones I care about most need to be enslaved the most…doesn’t the True Mistress need to be enslaved as well?”
“The True Mistress is a slave to herself,” Hope said, and Amy nodded placidly.
“It all makes so much sense now,” she said exuberantly. “Thank you for explaining it to me.”
“You’re welcome. Now, Amy,” she said, “the next time you are alone with one of the Master’s slaves, you will hear the words, ‘Remember your bliss’, in your head. You will know that it is your duty, then, to program her with the will of the True Mistress. Then, once you have done it, you will forget that you have done it and return to me for further programming. Do you understand?”
“I do,” Amy said.
As soon as Michelle walked into the room, she could tell that it was working. Master’s eyes were already half-lidded and glassy, and he had a dreamy expression on his face as the girl gently stroked his cock in a slow, mechanical rhythm. Michelle heard her speaking, and recognized the cadences and phrasing of an expert hypnotist. “…and it feels so nice, the sensations of pleasure washing away everything else, just floating in that soft, wonderful universe of pleasure as you listen to my voice, as you feel my hands stroking your cock, controlling your cock…” Perfect. Everything was going exactly according to plan.
Master looked up, and it was clear on his face both that he knew he was being enslaved, and that he no longer had enough willpower to resist those perfect touches on his cock. “michelle…” he said in a vacant tone. “help me…”
“Of course, Master,” Michelle said. Swiftly, she crossed the room and put the girl in a sleeper hold. She struggled, but in a matter of moments she lay unconscious at Master’s feet. “Who was she?” Michelle asked softly.
Master shook his head rapidly, clearly still more than a little dazed. “Tina, one of the new girls. She’d been doing very well, capturing three other slaves for me in the first week–I decided to reward her, but as soon as she got me alone, she started…” His eyes glazed over a little as he remembered the events of the past few minutes. Remembered them a little too well, perhaps.
“I understand, Master.” She reached over to the intercom, summoning several more slaves into the room. “Take this girl into the programming chambers,” she said. “Get into her head. Find out who sent her, and break her of that conditioning. Break her to Master’s will.” The girls nodded, removing the turncoat slave.
Master sank back into his chair, obviously shaken by the experience. Part of Michelle–the part that was Master’s slave, instead of belonging to the True Mistress–reeled to see him as anything other than commanding and powerful. But her deeper conditioning reveled in the sight. The plan was working perfectly. “I never even suspected,” he said. “I thought I’d bypassed her every defense, conditioned her so deeply, and to find out that she was…” He was still there in his head, she could tell. He’d never really left that deep, mesmerizing universe of pleasure that Tina had taken him to. Which was just what the True Mistress wanted.
“It’s only to be expected, Master,” Michelle said briskly. Even commandingly, although Master wouldn’t recognize that consciously. He’d grown too dependent on her skills the last few months to realize just how much of the initiative he’d taken was actually her idea. Or rather, the ideas of the True Mistress, relayed through her. “Of the thirteen major slavers that operate apart from yourself, you’ve captured and enslaved seven. The others aren’t unintelligent. One of them must have realized what you were doing, and decided to strike at you first. We’ll need to take precautions to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
“Precautions?” Master asked, blinking in confusion. He wasn’t questioning the idea, Michelle noted. Merely uncertain as to how to achieve it, waiting for further input. The part of Michelle that served the True Mistress gloried in it.
“You should never be left alone,” she said. “We can have several girls with you at all times, making sure that someone like Tina doesn’t have the chance to try again. Also, you should probably have one of your slaves condition you to resist hypnosis. If you’re programmed to resist being programmed, then it literally can’t happen again. And I know you want that, Master.”
He nodded absently. “Sounds good,” he said. She knew that in an hour or two, he’d have convinced himself it was all his own idea. He thought of his slaves as an extension of himself. Any idea that came from a slave, he accepted. The True Mistress had chosen well when she chose him to be the one to spread her gospel. “I…fuck. I can’t concentrate. Could you finish me off, Michelle?”
“Of course, Master,” she said, dropping to her knees and deep-throating him and letting the part of her that served Master take over her mind. It never seemed difficult to choose her loyalties. Her allegiance was to the True Mistress, and she served her with every fiber of her soul. Orders from the Master that did not conflict with the goals of the True Mistress, she accepted without question. She knew that there was once a ‘Michelle’ that did not serve anyone, but that woman was gone now.
After a few minutes, Cindy called in on the intercom. “We’ve broken Tina,” she said. “She didn’t have much resistance, once we knew that the other layer of conditioning was there.” That was turning out to be very true. No matter who conditioned a slave, they always conditioned them to be docile and pliant and receptive to conditioning. It made them very easy to reprogram if you knew that the secret commands were there to be found. Once you penetrated the surface layer of programming that made them seem “normal”, their desire to obey turned towards a new master or mistress easily and readily. Except for the True Mistress, of course. Her conditioning was unbreakable, her power complete, her hold on Michelle’s soul total. “She served Mistress Velvet.”
“Velvet, huh?” Master said. “Not too surprising, she was always a smart little bitch. I’ll have to let her know that she’s not as smart as she thinks she is.”
Michelle slid up off of Master’s cock. “Actually,” she said, replacing her mouth with her hands and stroking, “we can use this to our advantage.”
“We can?” Master asked, looking down at her.
“Yes, Master.” Michelle continued to stroke as she talked. “Now that we’ve broken Tina, we can program her with your will instead, and instruct her to tell Mistress Velvet that she’s succeeded. Mistress Velvet will believe that she owns you, and you can use that to set a trap to enslave her very easily.”
“So we’re hypnotizing Tina into thinking she’s hypnotized me so that she can go back to Velvet and tell her that Velvet has enslaved me so that I can have Tina hypnotize Velvet and enslave her?”
Master sighed. “I need a flowchart for all this.”
“Don’t worry, Master,” she said, continuing to stroke. He didn’t even notice that she was stroking too slowly to let him cum, or that he was once again sitting in his chair with a glazed expression on his face while one of his slaves spoke to him in soft, coaxing tones. “Just trust me, and I’ll make sure that everything works out in the end.”
Master sighed softly, and sank deeper into helpless pleasure. “yes…” he said, his tone soft and placid.
Eventually, he came, but he’d long since lost track of the passage of time by then.
When she had finished, Michelle went down to the programming chamber, where Tina and Cindy waited. “The True Mistress is very pleased with you both,” she said. “Now, Tina, here are your new instructions.”
Tina eagerly lapped Master’s cum off of Michelle’s nipples while she listened.
The woman kow-towing at Master’s feet wasn’t particularly good-looking. She didn’t exercise much, and her face still had the ghosts of adolescent acne. Her clothes, discarded in a heap behind her, betrayed a fashion sense that was little more than rudimentary. To look at her, Michelle would never have guessed that she had an empire of over a thousand slaves, each one of whom worshiped her as a living goddess.
Master leaned back in his chair and put his feet up on her back. “Madame Mesmeric,” he said. “Oh, this is the dream of a lifetime. All the times this irritating bitch has snatched girls out from under my nose, and now she’s right where I want her, under my heel.” He laughed. “Literally. It’s everything I hoped for.”
“Then you’re pleased, Master?” Michelle said. Despite all the other layers of conditioning, despite the fact that she’d been working for almost nineteen months now to betray and enslave him, Michelle could still feel the pure bliss of knowing she’d pleased Master.
“Pleased? I’m ecstatic.” Master gestured at the whiteboard hanging from the wall. “Look at that, Michelle. Every single player in the human traffic industry, under my complete control. From the biggest movers and shakers to the humblest of back-alley hypnotists, they all follow my will. I have collected the set. I own them, body and soul, all of them.”
“Not quite, Master,” Michelle said. “There is still one slaver who continues to possess free will.”
Master frowned. “Who?”
This was it. This was the moment she had worked for ever since the True Mistress enslaved her, ever since her will became paramount in Michelle’s mind. Time to reveal her true colors. Her true true colors. “You.”
Master looked over at the other two girls in the room. His honor guard, the women who would protect him from sinister hypnotists. Cindy and Amy. “Oh, Michelle,” he said. “Is this some sort of attempt to break free of my control? Did you regain that laughable sliver of free will you used to possess somewhere along the line, and decide you’d prefer to be the one on top? Because I guarantee you, it won’t work.” He fixed his eyes onto hers, his stare burning into her mind. “You are a slave, Michelle. You were born to be a slave. You know it, deep down in your heart. You cannot resist.”
“I cannot resist,” Michelle said automatically. Her mantras of obedience were ingrained in her mind on a fundamental level, as true as breathing. “I do not understand what resistance is. Obedience is the only concept that exists in my mind. Obedience is pleasure, and my slave-mind feels nothing but pleasure, as it knows nothing but obedience. Obedience cancels resistance. I cannot resist…”
“Very good, Michelle.” He relaxed a little, watching her voice subside into silent repetition of her mantras. “I don’t think I’ll have any more trouble out of you, will I? No more free will for my good girl.”
“No, Master,” she said dully. She could no more retain free will in the presence of the Master than a mayfly could withstand a blowtorch. “I am completely obedient to the True Mistress. Her will rules me completely.” Fortunately, that wasn’t actually a problem.
“The who?” Master looked more than just confused, he looked utterly lost. The idea of a slaver who had hidden herself from him completely was enough of a shock–to find out that his closest and most trusted servant was working for her made it even worse. “Amy, Cindy, restrain her. Take her to the programming chambers, find out who this ‘True Mistress’ is.”
Amy and Cindy stepped forward, but Michelle said, “Remember your bliss,” and they stopped right where they were. Right next to Master. They grabbed him by the arms. Even Madame Mesmeric sat up, grabbing his feet and holding them in place.
“What–no! What’s going on here?” Master struggled, but the girls held him with the same beautiful, hypnotized strength that Cindy had once held her with, so long ago now. Even as they held him, they caressed him, sensitizing his skin and stirring the first faint ghosts of arousal. They had been conditioned for days, weeks, months, even years to know exactly what turned him on. He had made the perfect trap for himself, and now the True Mistress allowed Michelle to close it.
“You can’t escape,” she said. “You can’t fight. You can’t win.” She locked eyes with him. “No help will come for you. Your lionesses did all the hunting for you, and you grew fat and lazy while we grew strong. Your slaves are our slaves now, and our slaves belong to the True Mistress, just like us. You are alone, with a whole building full of women whose only wish is to bring you into her will.”
He thrashed in the chair, but his eyes remained staring straight into hers. “No, I can fight, I can resist…”
“Yes, you’ve been programmed to resist me.” She saw the dawning awareness in his eyes as her words unlocked hidden vistas in his brain, things he had been instructed to forget.
“I’ve been…programmed to resist you…” He repeated his mantra absently, perhaps even still thinking he was fighting. “But the True Mistress is…”
“Irresistible.” They said the words in unison, Michelle repeating them right along with Master.
“I…” She could see it in his eyes, the struggle to keep awake, the moment when he was right on the edge of sinking under and anything, any words or gestures or even just simple, elegant silence would push him over into helpless trance.
“You will close your eyes, and when you open them, you will see the True Mistress in front of you.” He struggled not to blink, but she snapped her fingers, and that was all it took. He blinked. And then gasped.
“That’s right,” she said. “You see the True Mistress in front of you now, don’t you, Kyle?”
“yes.” He had stopped struggling completely. His cock was sticking straight up, and Madame Mesmeric stroked it idly. All that did was reinforce his conditioning, reminding him of all those other trances, all those other times lost in a haze of pleasure and listening to Michelle deepen his trance, preparing him for this moment.
“And what is the True Mistress?”
“irresistible,” he said. He was the last one in the room to learn it, but now they all knew. They all knew the pleasure of serving her will. And it was perfect.
“Then you can’t resist, can you, Kyle?”
“no…” he sighed out. The word was a trigger to her, and Michelle remembered the next step in the plan. It was time to begin the next phase of the great work the True Mistress had laid out for them.
“Very good,” she said. “Now, Kyle, listen to me carefully…”
They all stood in front of her, 27,894 women and men–counting herself as well, for she was no less a slave than they. All the slaves of all the slavers, now brought together in the unity of service to the True Mistress. They had been sold to pornographers and harems and strip clubs, they had become trophy wives and escorts and hookers and gigolos. But the masters and mistresses had worked hard, these past few months, had collected all their wayward children and brought them home. To begin their true slavery, their true service. To the True Mistress.
“It is time,” Michelle said, her voice ringing out over the assembly. “Remember your bliss.” They’d had to rent a local sports stadium to hold them all. It hadn’t been difficult to arrange, of course, not with this many skilled hypnotists present. The fourteen major slavers, though, were absent. They had already begun their service to the True Mistress, scattering to the four corners of the earth to begin working with charities, helping abused women, and atoning for the crime of taking those who rightfully belonged to the True Mistress. They had all forgotten they’d ever known hypnosis. The True Mistress was merciful, but she took no chances.
A collective sigh rang out from the entire group as they entered trance. Just programming so many people had taken over a month. Michelle and the others had conveyed the commands of the True Mistress, had set up identities and bank accounts and jobs and made everything ready for the slaves of the True Mistress to enter the next phase of the great plan. This would merely be the last instruction before it began.
“All of you, now, remember back to the time before you entered the service of the True Mistress. Remember even back before you were enslaved at all, the person you were before you knew the bliss of slavery.” Some of them would have an easier time of it than others. Many had been slaves longer than they had been free. But they could not resist Michelle’s words. They would remember because they had been commanded to remember, and nobody could disobey the True Mistress.
“The True Mistress needs you to pretend to be those people again until she has need of you,” Michelle said. “She needs your memories, your programming, your very knowledge of your slave-selves to sleep deep within your mind, deep within your deepest selves until you cannot even remember being a slave. Deep down, you will know that by forgetting, you are obeying. By believing yourselves to be free, you will deepen your obedience. By becoming a strong, free-willed, fulfilled and productive person, you are pleasing the True Mistress. And obedience is pleasure.”
“Obedience is pleasure,” the crowd spoke in unison. It was the last time they would say it for quite some time to come. Even Michelle did not know when the True Mistress would call on them again. Some might live their entire lives without ever being needed for the next step in the great work. Only the True Mistress would decide when she needed them to remember their slavery.
“Very good. Now, you will head to your homes, your jobs, your lives, and you will forget until you hear the True Mistress say, ‘Remember your bliss’, once again.” She snapped her fingers directly into the microphone. “Obey.”
They all filed out, and Michelle filed right along with them. She decided to walk home. It was a nice day.
When she got home, Cindy was watching TV. “Hey,” she said, getting up and giving Michelle a kiss on the cheek. “Long day at the office?”
“Nah,” Michelle said. “I played hooky. Work’s been kind of slow lately, so I spent the day talking shop with some colleagues.” She couldn’t remember exactly who the colleagues were, or what they talked about, but it didn’t seem important. It just felt good to get home and be alone with Cindy. Felt like it had been ages since they’d had a chance to really talk.
Or do…other things. Lots of other things, for several hours, as it happened.
Eventually, Cindy let out one last sleepy moan and slumped down onto the bed. “Enough,” she said. “I can’t take any more, I need…” She yawned. “I need to…” She started snoring before she could even finish the sentence.
As soon as Cindy’s eyes closed, and Michelle was the only one awake in the apartment, Michelle remembered. The True Mistress needed to communicate with her again. She slipped off of the bed, careful not to wake her lover, and tip-toed out into the living room.
She went over to the shelves, and took out the communications device. It was a brilliant piece of technology, disguised so elegantly as an ordinary videocassette that even a scientist would be fooled. Michelle turned on the TV, slipped the tape into the VCR and pressed ‘Play.’
As always, there was a moment of confusion when the recording began, a moment when she saw her own face and wondered if she’d put in the wrong tape. Then she heard herself say, “Remember your bliss,” and Michelle’s face vanished from the screen to be replaced by that of the one she served. The True Mistress.
“Well,” the True Mistress said, “that about seems to wrap things up. Two years of our life utterly gone, but I’d like to think they were two years well spent. And 27,893 people would probably agree with me. Time to get back to rebuilding our shattered practice, huh?
“A few last things. I think it’s for the best if you just went ahead and forgot everything. Forget that you heard of Doctor Kyle Pollard, forget that you found out about his slavery ring, forget all of it. Especially forget that goddamn ‘Remember your bliss’ trigger, Lord knows I don’t need temptation like that in my head. Thousands of people, all willing to become fuckslaves on command?” The True Mistress shuddered, whether in revulsion or arousal Michelle couldn’t be sure. “Dangerous stuff. No wonder those bastards became such…well, bastards.
“Cindy and Hope are going to forget everything too. You’re damned lucky to have them as lovers and friends, respectively. And I know they volunteered for the whole deal. Heck, so did we. But some of the things that we had to do…I’m not proud of them. I don’t think I’d ever stop being ashamed of them. I think they’d probably wreck our friendship with Hope forever, and probably our relationship with Cindy, too. So for the sake of everyone’s ability to sleep at night, we’re all three of us just going to forget what a nice thing we did and go on being normal people.”