Sunlight flows through gently billowing curtains onto a pair of silent lovers. She sits on the edge of the bed as he slumbers. “God I’m such an idiot,” She thinks. She knows he’s going to brag to his buddies about her as if she’s just a tally on his scorecard. Still, she got what she wanted out of the deal, a good lay with an attractive guy. It’s stressful being a girl in STEM classes, Tech especially. A lot of those guys didn’t know the first thing about talking to women, but they apparently had some ideas about what they were capable of. The beau stirs behind her.
“Shit you're still here?” He says.
“You’re in my bed,” She replies.
“Shit sorry, usually I take chicks back to my pla- Uhh… I mean, not that I do this often.” He looks at her dumbly.
“It’s fine Alex. I know you do this often. That’s why I came up to you in the bar.”
“Don’t you have a finance lecture to get to?”
“I was just joking, Jen. See. I remembered you name. I’m not some womanizer.”
“I didn’t say you were.”
“But you're right, I do have to go. Hey, this was nice. We should get coffee. Get to know each other for real.”
He puts his clothes on and runs out the door.
He never talks to her again. Until they meet again several years later.
That scene has played over and over again in Jen’s mind as she has walked the halls of Halocorp Futuristics for the past year. She first saw him on the day she interviewed and he just stared blankly back at her, eyes devoid of recognition. She wasn’t that surprised. She didn’t consider herself to have a very memorable face despite many people in her life telling her she’s beautiful. She was less so surprised, however, due to the fact that she was one of dozens, if not over a hundred women that Alex reportedly slept with back in those days. She wondered, on that day when her and Alex’s eyes locked again for the first time in nearly a decade, if his pattern of sexual conquest had continued into adulthood. It didn’t take her long to find out that it had. She was returning home to her apartment one evening when she overheard her neighbor, Sarah, crying loudly though the apartment walls.
When Jen had moved to the city for this job, she was all alone- no family or friends in the area to speak of. She soon started running into Sarah who was right next door, and just about the same age as her. It started with Sarah inviting Jen to her Yoga classes (she was an instructor) when she saw how stressed-out Jen was with the move and new job, and eventually they were talking daily, checking in on each other, even going out grocery shopping together. So when Jen heard Sarah crying, she knew she had to go over to check on her.
Sarah had been dating some mystery man, some bigwig with an MBA that had wined and dined her. Took her to fancy restaurants, treated her to nights at fancy cultural events like the opera or ballet, regularly showered her with fancy presents. All red flags in Jen’s mind, but Sarah kept insisting he was a good man, he just had too much money to spend. Jen saw this ending in catastrophe, and it seemed that prophecy had come true.
“Three other women, Jennifer. THREE!” She screamed between dabs of tissues in her eye. She was halfway through her second box of tissues. She found out on TikTok of all things. Another woman had posted a TikTok of her out and about with her boyfriend, and that boyfriend happened to be Sarah’s boyfriend and that video happened to come up on Sarah’s feed. At first, she thought it might be a case of mistaken identity, but upon investigating the guy's phone she discovered he had an entire calendar dedicated to mapping out his multiple mistresses.
“Who even is this guy, Sarah? Where did you find him?” Jenn asked.
“Oh… I didn’t know how to tell you because I didn’t want to make it awkward… He works for your company.”
“He works for Halocorp? What’s his name?”
That had been about three months into Jen living in the city and working at Halocorp, and now Jenn was coming up on her one-year anniversary. Of course, Alex eventually came to realize who she was (the girl he slept with in college that is, not his exes neighbor) and was of course cordial at first, but that didn’t stop things from being awkward between them, an awkwardness that swiftly turned into tension.
Alex was a pain to work with. While Allison worked in software development, developing top of the line medical programs used in diagnosing and treating psychologic conditions, Alex had gone on to get an MBA (which he was very eager to tell you about) and was head of Sales. He had become the most horrendous combination of a software salesman and Pharma bro. Every week the development team had to have a show and tell with the other teams on the product to get feedback and share ideas on what’s next. The idea was to create a more “collaborative” environment, but all it really did was allow Alex and his Sales lackeys to get their grubby handprints all over the product. All they cared about was making the product look shiny and appealing to upper end private practices while cutting corners on the actual medical uses of the software, the parts that were meant to help people. His reasoning? Profit.
“The less functionality the initial product has the less we’ll have to spend on development, and then we can develop add on modules and charge providers for those! We could market the software as “completely customizable.” We can use language like “tailor the software to your patients' needs” or something like that.”
Jen left that particular meeting fuming. He didn’t care about helping people. He only cared about the dollar signs. She had long decided that she was going to have to teach him a lesson, not just for his utterly unethical profit motive, but for the womanizing habits that had only seemed to get worse. She had an idea of what to do, but the solution had been taking months to get right. And unfortunately, the clock was ticking.
On the week of her anniversary there was a big announcement. Jack, the project lead on this particular product announced that he was leaving Halocorp for a leading role at some big NGO, and that the Alex would be taking over his position. Alex, the man whose influence had sliced and diced what could have been life altering technologies down to marketable money grabs was now going to be in charge of the entire thing. The man with zero experience with either software or medicine would be in charge of developing medical software. Something absolutely had to be done to save the project before it was eviscerated.
That Friday, Jenn loaded up several important files onto an external hard drive and proceeded to spend the entire weekend altering and editing project files to enact the plan she’d been theorizing for months. After working for 46 hours straight she finally loaded an app called MODIFIED THERAPEUTICAL PROGRAMMING FOR WOMANISING PIGS onto her phone. On Monday Morning she would call Alex into her office for a consultation and her bid to save both her program and avenge her best friend would begin.
It started with software designed to test for ADHD. As the QB test was blowing up in psychiatric circles, the CEO of Halocorp Futuristics, a medical software company set out to develop an even faster, more accurate test in order to compete. While the original test dealt in simple shapes and colors flashing on screen, the Halo Test added in numbers and letters as well. The results were unexpected, to say the least. Instead of providing any form of meaningful diagnostic data for ADHD, instead the software seemed induce a focused, trance-like state in subjects. Later, subjects with ADHD reported having an easier time focusing, increased memory, less brain fog, etc. etc. In trying to develop a test for ADHD, it appeared that Halocorp had accidentally stumbled upon the first meaningful non-pharmaceutical treatment for ADHD. The possibilities didn’t end there. Some neuroscientists on the team theorized about possible treatment for epilepsy as well, a sort of anti-seizure trigger.
Jen was hired to work on this project, and a few weeks into the process happened upon some shocking information- the CIA of all places had gotten word of the projects and was making inquiries about some of the more insidious applications to this technology. To think she discovered this because of an email having been left on the printer! Apparently, there was a top secret team working on a version of the software with the ultimate goal of inducing a hypnotic state that would allow someone to alter the subjects consciousness. Jenn did some sleuthing and discovered that this particular team hadn’t made it very far into developing a workable prototype. It seemed they were missing some key data to help bridge the gap from a light trance that helps someone focus, to full hypnotic control. For Jenn however, the changes needed were obvious. All she needed was time and the right test subject.
Jenn had made a habit of getting to the office early, around 8:30 to be precise, to get a bit of quiet time while she began her day. Alex on the other hand appeared to be less prompt, opting to come in at 10:00 am and stay later than everyone else. This gave Jenn an almost painful amount of time to wait for the chance to strike. She ran her plan in her head over and over again while time passed and she struggled to focus on her actual work. Finally Alex strode in ten minutes earlier than normal, casually confident about his late morning arrival as ever. Jenn popped her head out of her office to grab his attention before anyone had the chance.
“Hey Alex, when you get settled in, can I stop by your office to chat? I did some work on the project over the weekend and I wanna get your thoughts on it.”
“Ever the overachiever aren’t you, Jenn? Trying to suck up to the new team leader to try and curry favor eh?” He said it with absolute seriousness, yet it was mixed with a charming sarcasm that Jenn still seemed to find disarming.
“Hehehe you know me. Always the suck up.” She winked, trying to play the role of slut who sleeps her way up the ladder that Alex was trying to cast her in, just till she could get him under her control at least.
“Come to my office in five and I’ll be ready for ya.”
“Come on in, close the door, take a seat!” He said, whipping up his most devilish smile. Jenn breathed a sigh of relief at not having to invent an excuse to get some privacy.
“Okay, so-“ Jenn started to introduce her demonstration but Alex stopped her.
“Actually Jenn, before you begin, I wanted to apologize.”
Apologize? She couldn’t even believe he had that word in his vocabulary. In all the womanizing she observed from him both in college, and recently with Sarah, an apology had never been uttered, but here he was, apologizing to her. For what though? She could only imagine.
“Umm, okay. What for?”
“I know I’ve been a hard ass with you at the team meetings. I’m sure it’s making you think I don’t like your ideas and now that I’m team leader you’re probably thinking your contributions are in trouble. Or maybe you might be thinking that I’m picking on you because of our um… Our history. Anyways the truth is, you actually do have really good ideas.”
Jenn was dumbstruck. “Oh um... Thank you, Alex! This is so unexpected” she replied.
“It’s just clear to me that you have no business sense. That’s all I’m trying to bring in. Have to this MBA to use somehow. Just trying to make you ideas financeable. Otherwise I admittedly feel like a big dummy amongst all you smarty pants.”
And there was. Some how he managed to turn a shockingly touching moment into a backhanded compliment. He really knew how to appear humble and arrogant all at once. It was arresting. And dangerous. And Jenn had to do something about it. She pulled her phone out of her pocked and readied up her program.
“Well in that case Alex, I’d love get your take on this prototype I built over the weekend. Tell me how financeable you think it is.”
She tapped a button on the screen and it started flashing and she shoved in Alex’s face. Almost immediately his jaw went slack. Everything appeared to be working. She just had to test a command.
“Take the phone and keep looking at the screen.”
Slowly he took the phone from her hands and leaned back to relax into the trance. He had already been manspreading in his chair and it was very apparent that he was rapidly becoming aroused, as his man swelled down his skin tight slacks. Jenn smirked and made a mental note. She had added an element of arousal and pleasure to the signal to help the subject be more open to suggestion.
Jenn let the software run it’s course. She knew it was done not only because the screen stopped flashing but because Alex nearly dropped the phone. She waved her hand in front of his face and he didn’t respond. Now was the moment of truth.
“Alex can you hear me?”
“Good. I want you to start treating me with respect, so you are to call me Ma’am. Understood?”
Jenn couldn’t believe it. The Alex she knew would never agree to such a thing. It was actually working. She decided to press further.
“In fact, when we’re alone, I want you to go farther. Whenever we are alone, I want you to call me master. Understood?”
She smiled. Long had she waited for this man to be under her foot. She had always been polite and demure, letting her smarts do the talking. She had been underestimated in her abilities, and yet had managed to succeed, nevertheless. What would happen now if she could finally unleash her inner Dominatrix upon the workplace.
“Alex, we’re going to make several changes going forward. You are not going to have any conscious memory of them but they’re going to take place nevertheless. The first is that from now you are going to obey any order I tell you to. You are to do as I say without question and with abundant enthusiasm. Understood?”
“Excellent! Next change we’re going to make. You can no longer get aroused by women. In fact quite the opposite, you’re going to start finding men arousing. You will not be consciously aware of your shift in sexuality, and in fact will actively try to deny any changes happening. You will still attempt to pursue women, but it will be Men that your body will respond to. Understood?”
“Now despite these changes, you’re going to try and butch it up a bit. Not that you don’t already, but you’ll find yourself more concerned about appearing masculine. About working out and getting big. About being the top dog, looking like an alpha male. Except when we’re alone that is. Understood”
“Now, strip down to your underwear. Let’s see what we’re working with.”
Alex undid his tie and removed his suit jacket and began unbuttoning his dress shirt revealing a cobbled torso. He had kept himself in good shape all these years. Jenn was looking forward to how good he was going to look when she was done with him. He removed his pants revealing the most blasé boxers she had ever seen. That certainly had to change.
“Here’s another change. From now on you only wear sexy underwear and sexy swim wear, do you understand? No more boxes. Only briefs and speedos. Got it?”
“And one last thing- from now whenever I say “Alex, you’re an alpha no more, you’ll return to this state, do you understand.”
“Great. Now hurry up and get dressed. We’ve been in here long enough and I don’t want us to get caught.”
“Great meeting, Alex! Thanks for all the advice!” Jenn said as she left Alex’s office.
“No problem, Ma’am! Happy to be of service!”
“I’ll bet you are.” She winked at him and walked away, leaving Alex puzzled.
His jaw nearly hit the floor when he looked at the clock. They had met for a full two hours. He swore it was only a quick 15 minutes. Not only that but he couldn’t seemed to remember what it was that Jenn had actually showed him, and what advice he had given her. He brushed the thoughts away as he prepared to get back to work. Those marketing plans weren’t going to review themselves. As he got to work he rolled his shoulders back. All he could think about was the need to hit the gym after work. Today was supposed to be a rest day but he was all wound up for some reason. He buckled down and got to work so that he could clear his to do list and hit the gym as soon as possible.
Back in her office, Jenn was making a profile on a hook up site for Alex, eager to implement the next part of her plan.