1996, S Hartwell

(An odd, mildly erotic dream that seemed to be more about betrayal than sex. The company and employees bore no resemblance to anyone I worked with though.)

When I joined the firm I was surprised to find how many of the employees were women - a positive step for equality I thought. The firm occupied several upper floors of a tall office building and had its own security force with a security desk in the foyer. One of the other women enlightened me as to a peculiar policy intended to bond the work force more closely - the MD slept with all of his female employees shortly after they joined.

I laughed this off as an office myth. The MD was an attractive man in his thirties, but I couldn’t imagine him forcing himself on his female employees. Nevertheless when he asked, or rather instructed, me to stay late one evening I tried to make some excuse about needing to go home. I left the office at the usual time, but when I reached the security point the guard stopped me.

"I’m afraid you can’t leave right now, you have an appointment with the MD," he said with a straight face, "It would be best to return to your desk."

I went back and sat at my desk until the MD walked in. He sat on the edge of the desk for a few minutes making conversation, before inviting me to the conference room. It was not any of the conference rooms I had ever seen and instead of a conference table and other paraphernalia suited to meetings, it was more like a bedroom. Evidently the women had not been joking. They had not told me of the man’s incredible stamina though! Actually it wasn’t bad, he was skilled and considerate. Whether he liked to ‘re-bond’ all of the staff regularly I don’t know, but I quite enjoyed ‘working late’ over the next several months.

Several months later a new girl joined as a secretary. She was in her early twenties and engaged; in an old-fashioned way she was ‘saving herself’ for the honeymoon night. The rest of us knew that ‘working late’ would probably destroy her, but no-one wanted to intervene in case we lost our own jobs and our own very good salaries. Eventually I plucked up the courage to offer myself as a stand-in, explaining that it would be unfair on the new girl. I found myself ‘working late’ more often than before.

Then one evening as I stood in the ‘conference room’ looking out of the window to the streets below, Phil (the MD) told me that the arrangement could not continue.

"I am beginning to feel that you have a hold over me, something I really can’t allow to continue," he said.

I nodded, expecting our ‘relationship’ to fizzle out and hoping that he would continue to leave the other girl alone. Even so, I felt a little sad about it.

"Here, have a coffee," he said, holding out a cup.

We sat on the edge of the bed, both drinking coffee, not needing to talk. I began to feel light headed.

"Why not lie down for a while?" he suggested, taking the cup from me. My hands were shaking and the cup was rattling on its saucer by this time.

When I lay down, I realized how dizzy I felt. I tried not to pass out. Even with my eyes open, the room was going dark and Phil’s voice seemed to be coming from a long way off as though my ears were full of cotton wool.

"I’m so sorry," he was saying, "but I really can’t let you have any hold over me."

"What have you done?" I tried to say, but I don’t think any noise came out. The crushing weight on my chest made it hard to breathe, let alone speak.

"Don’t fight it, you will just drift away," he said.

By now I could see nothing though I knew my eyes were open. The coffee had been drugged - not simply enough to make me sleep, but enough that I could feel my heart slowing and my breathing become slow and shallow. Fingers brushed my eyes closed, but I stubbornly refused to stop breathing. Stay conscious and concentrate on breathing, just keep breathing, I told myself.

"I’m sorry it has to come to this," he said and I felt my arm, which felt icy cold, being lifted and the sharp prickle of a needle sliding into the vein inside my elbow, "but I really can’t risk becoming too fond of you, I promise you won’t feel a thing."

I heard roaring in my ears, then silence. The blackness became more intense and the weight on my chest vanished as I no longer fought to breathe. And as I slipped beyond reach, I carried with me an incredible anger.

(No idea what this meant, I woke up as I ‘died’, but the feeling of so much anger that I wanted to pull another person down with me persisted for a long while after I woke up. Interesting that my ‘final’ feeling was not betrayal, but anger.)



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