Gromet's PlazaLatex Stories

Karen's Compartmentalization

by trembleevermore

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© Copyright 2009 - trembleevermore - Used by permission

Storycodes: MF+/f; F/f; D/s; vacbed; public; display; latex; bdsm; toys; cons; X

Karen had already been dripping sweat before she slid nervously between the sheets of her cocoon, but now that the air was ever so gradually being sucked out of the vacbed, she felt so wet she thought she might slide out one side.

She had tried not to notice all of the people in the club watching her volunteer to have fifteen minutes of fame as a vacbed toy for the general public. Indeed, they had tried very hard (and largely without success) to not ogle her as she stripped down to pasties, back-seamed fishnet stockings, a lace boy-thong (all of the utility of a g-string, with a construction more flattering for a woman with a real butt). She pinned her voluminous, curly copper hair back into the tightest bun she could manage. She thought they must be performing that time-honored dance of loving the one they were with while dreaming of being with her - at least the straight guys, lesbians and bi girls, and in her experience most girls became pretty bi when presented with the opportunity to grope a beautiful, blinded, latex-sheathed stranger, and most gay guys were pretty fascinated by boobs anyhow.

Smiling at her own deviancy, she removed the pasties now that her breasts were out of the law's sight, with a thrill like when tucking a secret, far-too-tight pinstripe pencil skirt into her backpack and past her mother at age 17. The horde of butterflies in her stomach threatened to explode as checked her position one last time, making sure that the girls looked their best.

Before the hands inevitably came, she wondered at the experience of being cocooned. She was compressed a bit laterally, though it wasn't very noticeable. One thing she hadn't anticipated was how the taught latex, like a balloon at a concert, picked up the pulsating industrial dance beat and transmitted it her to tingling skin. Despite liberal amounts of talc, she couldn't move save to wiggle her spread-eagled legs up or down, which was perfect.

A hand - the domme's, she thought - traced from just below her ankle, up her shin, to the inner side of her knee, to her inner thigh, just over her cunt, up her tender side, cupped her breast, squeezed her nipple sharply but quickly, and traversed up to gently, sensuously cup her neck, all as if to whisper, "You are under my control." She imagined the domme promenading back and forth on her stilettos as she explained the ground rules to the crowd, who must've still been trying to conceal giddy anticipation. Then, she felt a presence near her face. She was cheek to cheek with the domme, who, one after the other, cupped Karen's cunt, kissed her cheek ever so softly, and painlessly - but with firm, unmistakable authority - squeezed the front of her neck, her hand cupping throat and her fingers grasping muscle, as if to say:

"You are my property. Maybe not in the law, maybe just for the next fifteen minutes, but you are mine - because you want to be."

And she was right. Karen could taste the bitter bile of love in her throat, the sweet tears of ecstasy, and she imagined - nay, hallucinated, as one is wont to do when deprived of sensory information - a lifetime of adoration and servitude: bound; gagged; filled with awe, fear, love, lust and an endless arsenal of rubber intruders; objectified; immobilized; adored; and, though cinched, contorted, helpless, hooded, with perfect lipstick and eyes shining through tight, rubbery blackness: powerful. If she hadn't been immobilized, she would've leapt down and started licking her boots right then.

She came out of the timeless void of subspace-compounded-with-sensory-deprivation for a second just then, just long enough to chuckle at her own lonely, horny heart, falling in love with some woman she'd barely met and probably didn't have anything really in common with. But that, she reminded herself, was part of why she liked being objectified - she could let go of all of the trappings and fears and anxieties of Karen Ross, MSW, and just be Kinky Club Girl Karen, who mainly wanted to be fucked and spanked and held. Of all a woman's burdens, she mused, the profound difficulty of not thinking for a few minutes and enjoying a good grope was perhaps the most tragic.

And then she gasped, as she was forced out of that split-second of reflection. Had a breathing tube not been forced into her throat and her skin trapped in latex, she would have cracked a wicked smile of shock and pleasant surprise. Sure, she'd been touched in latex before (just now in fact), but the hands came at her all at once, like lying in the ocean and with the waves crashing over her - except waves were not so deliberate, nor so perverse.

They must've been coordinating, though she couldn't hear. Someone zigzagged a liberal amount of cool lube over her front, and the hands, in unison, decided to spread it out evenly and smoothly, brushing past her erogenous zones but without intent. Like during a deep-tissue massage, she felt absolutely at peace and brimming with euphoria.

She began to slip again into hypnogogia, her mind attempting to stitch together her sightless, soundless, hyper-aroused experience into a narrative. She imagined the hands cupping her tits and pinching her nipples were Justine's, doing what denied she wanted to do. Deftly tracing her waist was the perfectly cut guy in leather pants and a pewter shirt she had drooled over earlier, his distinctly strong and determined features now holding tentative fascination. An older man slowly caressed her mons veneris, unashamed of his desires. Tracing their hands over her wide, striking fishnet stockings were an experienced and very polyamorous couple, a man and a woman kissing softly as they contemplated adding Karen to their list of conquests, breathing faint descriptions of who would do what to whom, and with which toy.

And then it continued. The patrons rotated, some clearly adoring the latex, some clearly adoring the helpless, pear-shaped social-worker-by-day, and some who were, perhaps, more concerned with her body parts than her as an embodied person, which was just fine in Karen's spinning mind. She had been ticklish, in that faraway life with its slacks and button-down blouses, but somehow, since she could barely laugh and absolutely not get away, she became like dry sponge for pleasure: everything felt good.

Then, something she should've anticipated started to happen. After all, in her shockingly formal prep session with the domme, she had discussed many things as hypotheticals. After all, if they'd had some kind of script, that would've been incredibly boring. But, if the domme had a pencil in her hand when she said, "...vibrate you to orgasm with a Hitachi Magic Wand..." she probably would've put it to her teeth and involuntarily bit it in half for all the raw, unmitigated sex that dripped from her tongue.

Reflecting on this, she came. After all, Alfred Kinsey established many years ago that under anyone, man or woman, can cum in about thirty seconds under optimal conditions. So, when she shook with orgasm, the she imagined that the domme musing to the crowd that the shudder ripping through her might've been an orgasm, or it might've been a twitch, so she'd better keep going.

And the hands, of course, did not stop.


Aftercare, she thought, was proof that kinky folks were far more logical and sane than normal people. There was no going to get a beer after a heavy scene, no "I sleep alone," there was only the community-sanctioned, utterly mandatory aftercare, and she liked it with a big fuzzy blanket and hot cocoa. She talked a bit with the domme, whose name, for all her temporary aspirations of enslavement, she had already forgotten, but she mostly was conscious of the warm, comforting hands and her genuine, caring smile.


So, it was with tired feet and deadened nerves that Karen and Justine exited the club some hours later. Dancing all night in tan-soled, black, 4-inch pumps may have been a miscalculation, she thought, and maybe cybergoths, with their high but blessedly flat boots, didn't look so silly after all. She reviewed the happenings of the night with her girlfriend, talked about the cute boys they'd danced with, and applauded Justine for exchanging email addresses rather than phone numbers. Justine couldn't believe she had gotten her to go to such a weird club, but the guys had been pretty nice and the outfits were sexy.

She briefly probed Justine on what she'd done while Karen, from the safety of her latex cocoon, got to third base with a hundred people. Justine was hesitant, evasive, and briefly alluded to getting a drink and talking to some guy with hair and pants and a shirt and a tattoo with a job. Kinky Club Girl Karen silently cackled to the moon at being fondled by her closet-bisexual best friend, but Karen Ross, MSW, knew better than to rub it in her face.

Just then, Karen almost fell flat on her face.

One of the joys of living in a big city is that you can compartmentalize your life. The odds of running into, say, your vampiric, spiteful coworker in a clubbing district - while wearing a coat that does not quite disguise a leather collar, wrist and ankle cuffs, and a naughty bondage-Secretary outfit - are so close to nothing as to be essentially impossible. Statistics, unfortunately, are lies.

Embarrassment in no way encapsulates what she felt. She was outraged at the world for putting bitchy, politicking Diane's trendy dive bar right betwixt her fetish club and the subway station.

They caught sight of each other in the same instant, their gazes meeting in the clammy November air. A look of disgust and shock passed Diane's gawking face, and then she smiled as sweetly as if she were lying to her own grandmother:

"Wow! Karen Ross," she bleated, so that a few heads turned, "What ARE the odds of seeing you here!"

Karen murmured what she hoped was "Fuck off" in some language or another.

"You look so hot! Wow! At least some SOCIAL WORKERS know how to have a good time! Don't worry! Your secret is safe with me!"

She wondered: at what cost?

Karen Ross, Mild-Mannered Social Worker, stared at her coffee and mini-bagel with low fat cream cheese as if it were her last meal. She knew that Diane, like the guard coming to lead her down the Green Mile, would come eventually, and her aching stomach wished she would stop trying to fit into her cute clothes for just one morning.

After an eternity of watching her lonesome coffee get cold, after adjusting her not-too-short, pleated, heather-gray, boring-ass skirt (which, on the weekends, might concealed naughty undergarments, but not at work, because that would be a little untoward in her profession) for the millionth time, she came.

Admittedly, Karen had fired the first shot in this war but it wasn't entirely her fault. Karen was a woman who had always, in her driven, myopic way, pursued perfection. She worked her ass off in school, grad school, and in her internship. She dressed flawlessly, always professional, always cute or attractive, but never offensive.

So when she met Diane, they were immediately at odds. True, you don't get into her field without a giving heart, but public service also tended to attract moochers. Entitled, self-absorbed, privileged moochers who, to a certain extent, viewed the public sector as a way to collect the paycheck and pension that were Owed To Them, without doing much work.

Naturally - as every other word out of their boss's mouth was either "budget" or "shortfall," she felt it was necessary to mention that her colleague with slightly greater seniority, Diane, did virtually no work, and in fact played on Facebook most of the day. It was true.

But she had dirt on everyone else in the office, so her complaints gained little traction. And now she had dirt on Karen, too.

And so, Diane, wearing her rose-colored floral blouse like a blood-drenched smock, smiled her big fucking blonde smile and sat down. It was strange, Karen noted, that there was not a shred of malice in her eyes. Perhaps, in her warped world, this was What One Did: systematically blackmail an entire organization into thinking it better to give one a desk and let one do as they pleased.

"So, how are the boys, Diane?" she croaked. Any blackmail attempts would always begin with her two darling little boys, and how hard it was to keep them bratty and privileged even on two sizable salaries Best get it out of the way on her own terms.

"Oh, they're such darlings! Little Brent is going to get his first car this year" - Diane was a Lexus driver, so it wouldn't be cheap - "and I'm trying to save every penny for the down payment!"

Karen blinked, and said nothing.

"Look, I just wanted to let you know that your little secret," she leaned in and whispered unnecessarily, "- that you're a PERVERT - is safe with me. I can keep a secret! But maybe you should stop spread those nasty RUMORS about ME not doing enough work. Don't you think?"

Karen remained impassive, like, she thought, a queen on the chopping block.

"Karen. Sweety. I am NOT blackmailing you. I do not want a red cent! I just want you and I to be friends and get along! But, if you won't help me out, well, I wouldn't be surprised if a few pictures found their way onto Facebook. And in a public organization like this, well, I'm sure the public - especially the religious folks - wouldn't want a PERVERT working with their kids."

It should be noted at this point that PERVERT, like any other epithet, might be bandied about among friends - here, those who pushed the boundaries of eroticism - but for another to use it, especially as if it were wrong or a sin, was a most grievous offense.

"Diane, you are the most categorically useless person in this building. Maybe that I have ever met." She crept closer, not for privacy, but to make sure she was understood. "You ARE blackmailing me, and I will make absolutely sure to see you answer for your deeds." It was a hollow threat, perhaps, but she felt like she should throw down something.

Diane looked away, a ghost of scorn passing through her face. "I'm so sorry you feel that way. really, I just wanted us to live our own separate lives in peace."

Diane trotted out of the slate-gray cubicle, tapped three times on the supervisor's door (you didn't need an appointment after giving your boss head, but who knows what actually had happened at the Christmas party). Sure enough, two minutes later:

can we have a meeting fri at 930. dave

She drank her now-cold Folger's Coffee in one long gulp.

* * *

Karen cried briefly when she got home, the tears of a woman who knew she was too old to be coddled. She got out a few toys, but found that her alligator clips gave bad pain, her Rabbit gave bad pleasure, and her little black latex dress was chafing and, somehow, even made her look fat.

The fetish club would not open for another six evenings. Karen Ross had sacrificed her career so she could be a Kinky Club girl once a week, and occasionally on weekends. She wondered who would get her case files. Would the misguided but artistic fourteen-year-old girl be swallowed up in a deluge of procrastination and hopelessness, and end up working in a fast food joint or a strip club? Or the 8-year-old boy, still flush with the optimism of youth, be doomed to a life of crime because his only role models were either already in jail, or already teaching him to steal?

Really, she thought, she had stood her ground because it was right.
And for her pains, she lay there absent-mindedly forcing an erogenous response that would not come.

So, vibrator still buzzing and gyrating like an alien wind-up doll, she looked at her cell. She could call Adam, and relive Steps 0-6 of letting go. She could also get drunk, then call Adam, and it wouldn't be her fault she fucked her ex again.

* * *

In a rare fit of wisdom, she (now in a pair of plaid pajamas, but smelling vaguely of baby powder) and Justine sat with Ben & Jerry's and an almost-empty bottle of Pinot Grigio, making up songs about what a bitch Diane was.

Lithe, tan Justine, she thought, was the kind of girl that only Orange County could spawn: feminism, vestigial Catholicism, and adventure, sensuality and repression all fighting it out between her stretch capris and frog-print tank top. Normally, such an outfit would be inexplicable in late fall, but for fitness freaks and yoga instructors, it was a uniform.

Like a nun's habit in the summer.

A latex nun's habit like the one in Karen's closet. But god, not in the summer.

"I am so jealous of you. You know, what you do. You can get away with almost anything."

Justine laughed. "I don't have a real job! I'm like a squirrel," she chattered.

"But you're so independent!"

"Independently impoverished, yeah. You know what I do in the mornings?" Karen knew, but looked expectantly at her anyway, mostly watching her pink lips. "I get up, check Craigslist, make tea, check Craigslist, eat a gluten-free muffin, check Craigslist. And, if I'm lucky, by noon I'll be giving a couple of forty-somethings a deep tissue massage."

"And getting propositioned for a threesome afterwards?"

"You have no idea," she groaned, shaking her head in revulsion and sipping some wine.

Karen took her last few gulps of wine and looked, through her increasingly hazy eyes, at Justine - hugely green-eyed, a tomboy at heart, and with lips like ripe, red peppers. A hookup was sometimes like a chemical reaction - put two people together, add a catalyst, and turn up the heat. Then, while there was definitely intent in the orchestration, one had a good alibi for the act.

Over the next few minutes, they grew gradually cuddlier as they watched some dopey romantic comedy, until, sweat beading on her brow, Justine panted that she kind of - no, really wanted to make out with her, but she totally wasn't into girls, and Karen was in a bad place emotionally and it could only end badly.

Karen agreed at some length, a bit deflated but not without hope. They separated, each staring stock ahead, tight-lipped.

But they were still holding hands.

Justine's slender fingers gently breathed over her best friend's palm, her thumb at the inside of her wrist, touching a nerve bundle that a massage therapist would know by heart. It did not strike Karen as a particularly friendly touch, and, vacbeds aside, may have been the most erotic thing she had ever experienced.

No doubt most people have had a first kiss with someone when the appropriateness of said kiss was not certain. You wait, awkwardly, for someone to make a move, feeling electric attraction arc over the space between you. When someone does make a move, it is so simultaneous that each person thinks they went first. So, no one can say whether Justine leapt for Karen, her hands groping for her generous ass, or whether Karen tackled Justine, both hands groping for her nipples, but no one was displeased by the result, either.

After a few minutes of fiery, energetic, inebriated tongue-twisting, Karen grabbed her friend by the wrist and began to stomp off to the toy closet. You know you're a real pervert when it's more or less an entire closet. Normally, Karen smirked, a first scene would call for the elaborate, but she could make do in the face of expediency.

She handed Justine a treasure: a black, red-trimmed latex halter dress with a loose, round skirt, which would fit Justine's slimmer figure nicely. For herself, she picked out her favorite latex waist-cincher, a black pinstripe number that had been in her collection a long time, but was in great condition on account of being a very special occasion item. As she handed Justine some lube and talcum powder, she also decided to wear a few restraints, probably just for effect: matching patent wrist cuffs, ankle cuffs, and a collar, each sporting one heavy o-ring and a locking strap.

Justine did not quite look like the perfect top, fidgeting in her latex dress, but she could learn.

"Isn't it like it's giving you a big hug?" Karen bleated, aligning the door's mirror with her foot and draping her long-limbed friend's arms about herself. Topping from the bottom or not, Karen was an experienced woman who knew what she needed, and right now she needed to let go. Subs require orders, but sometimes dommes require permission.

"Wow. It looks - really nice!"

"You're so strong, darling..." She turned around, gave her a quick peck, then adjusted Justine's tits to achieve perfect cleavage. She wet her lips, and kissed her décolletage, moving slowly up her bosom, to her neck, to her ear, and, gently guiding the increasingly confident Justine's hands to that stiff, black leather collar, whispered, "Tell me what to do."

Justine, it should be remarked, could be a bit gawkish and awkward. Often tall, slender, pretty girls never quite get used to promenading around like models and movie stars all of the time, as was suited to them. But she was also a dancer, used to performing, a romance novel enthusiast, and held a B.A. in English, which was mostly useless in her career, unless she happened to be talking dirty.

And she was obviously getting into the swing of things when she grabbed Karen's collar roughly, and drew her closer.

"On your knees."

Karen complied and fell. She tried to keep her eyes turned respectfully down, but she was overjoyed to watch her friend live out what she knew was a mutual fantasy. Justine fumbled around for some rope and crudely but effectively bound her hands and feet through the O-ring, in sort of a loose, kneeling hogtie.

"You little harlot," Justine breathed, rapture, cruelty, and a bit of roleplay mixing in her now-sultry voice. "Tempting me with that ripe body of yours. Why, I bet you were dripping the moment we met." She had not been, but she believed it for her newly-minted mistress.

"Look at yourself!" A slap across the face, bringing her eyes to the mirror, where she saw her exposed body kneeling before a statue of olive grace. "Those tits -" smack "- and that butt -" smack "- and that pussy - oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you? - all wantonly on display."

"What should I do?" Karen looked up, her eyes donning innocence and her mouth open - but when Justine grabbed her hair and looked her in the eye, she knew it was not a rhetorical question.

"Whatever you want, Mistress!"

"Really? What if I want you head to toe in rubber, with just your three holes showing? Maybe I should bind you up like that and have you fuck a bus full of strangers?" Indeed, she had the gear to do it.

Justine grabbed her nipples and squatted close, pursing her lips in anticipation. "I don't know, Mistress..." A powerful, double twist.

"Wrong answer! I saw you all-but-fuck an entire club! You laid there like a piece of meat. Do you want to know who grabbed your tits? Who rubbed your cunt?"

"Did you, Mistress?"

Justine stood, towering over her. "You impudent little bitch! I should bind you up and rent you out as a sex toy, but then you'd just beg me for it even more! Get me a paddle." It was a very convenient thing for Justine, because rummaging around a closet full of more-or-less uniformly black toys and garments was not very empowering. But for someone who was severely impeded, it was an excellent exercise in submission.

Karen, her torso inflexible and her limbs bound together, stammered that she couldn't. But a few breast slaps later, she found that she had enough play between her hands and feet that she could waddle her spoon-shaped body over to the toy closet, an inch at a time. She began to reconsider her choice of hardwood flooring.

"Oh, come on, you can go faster than that!" In a surprising feat of dexterity, Justine managed to land a perfect slap on her bottom, even through all of the jostling and waving. Then again, it was a rather big target.

Karen redoubled her efforts. She winced for a few more seconds, then, attempting to flex through the steel boning of her corset, grappled a drawer handle with her teeth. She then staggered a few more inches forward, now teetering and threatening to fall, but managed to grasp a paddle in her teeth and bring it to her mistress.

Justine gave her a toothy grin. "Well, it's about time. I suppose I should untie you so I can give you your reward." Karen looked up, hopefully and full of awe. Her arms free, she was ordered across Justine's lap, and waited.

It was not the sharp sting of the paddle which came next. It was, in fact, the wonderful sensation of her mistress tracing her fingers over her bottom, onto her leg, and next to her clit. Letting her left hand go under and continue the stimulation - having long arms must be so nice - Karen knew the office of the other hand.

"Now, Slave, I want you to count the strokes of the paddle. And when you're not counting, tell me the dirty little things you want done to your body."

Karen blushed with excitement and trepidation.

"Well? What are you waiting for?"

"I - I like wearing latex panties under my street clothes, but not to work - One! - because that would be weird, but once I wore a corset under my jacket because my back hurt - Two! - and, um, I wore a butt plug out shopping once, but it dried out and got uncomfortable - Three!"

"I'm getting a little bored, dear..."

"Four! And, I like it when guys stare at my butt - Five! - and when I was with Adam I tried to get him to top me, but he was so vanilla - Six! - and I like to torture my nipples and gag myself while masturbating - Seven! - and I want to buy a Sybian - Eight! - and have someone chain tie me to it while I'm all dressed in latex - Nine - and I want it to be you! I brought you to that club because I wanted you to fondle me or spank me!" She screamed, "Ten!" and continued, "And I wanted you here tonight to seduce you - Eleven! Twelve! - and I wanted to go down on you, and be helpless, and pathetic, and, and..."

She trailed off, sobbing and blubbering a bit, but it was good, because she had a tall, gorgeous lover to protect her, to punish her when she was bad, and to reward her when she was good.

"Well, then, perhaps I will let you have your wish."

Karen dived, hungrily, for her partner's pussy. She savored the concentrated scent of Justine, hard-working, tight and fit, very sweaty and very funky. She wrapped her arms around her legs for support - and, of course, to intuit what made her twitch and what did not. She flicked her tongue over the outer labia, the inner labia, next to the hood, probing scientifically but with great haste. In this aspect of the scene, Karen was at something of a disadvantage. Justine knew Karen was a sub and even kinkier in fantasy, but Karen did not yet know how to pleasure Justine.

But she learned quickly. She tried inserting a finger, and heard a moan. She tried two, and heard a bigger moan. She began to move to the quickly-prepared clitoris, circling it with her tongue. Things were progressing quickly, and rightly so - the biggest sex organ, by any measure, is the brain.

Five blissful, aching minutes later, Justine was grabbing Karen's head and screaming, tense right out to her toes, before she collapsed and smiled the big, blissful smile of Tomboy Justine, no longer concerned with appearing to be the domme of her dreams. They giggled slightly, breaking character, and Karen demanded to cuddle with a blanket and hot cocoa.

* * *

"That was really hot. But I don't think I'd like to actually fuck a bunch of people." It was 7:00, and Justine was getting restless, no doubt ready to scout for more work.

"Oh, that's a shame," Justine laughed, generously.

"Well, I'm going to go to the chopping block in a couple of hours," Karen said, slumping slightly. "I don't know what I'm going to do. It's just not right, but I don't want to be paraded around in some anti-discrimination lawsuit."

"Yeah. Governors can get away with adultery and you can't get away with wearing something sexy at night." Justine hugged her, massaging her shoulders a bit. "We should do it to her! Find some dirt on her and force her out of a job. Bullies can never take a hit."

"That would be wrong," Karen said adamantly.

"But come on! We could be like ninjas! She has to have some place where she keeps things like that. You were saying she blew your supervisor, maybe she has pictures or something and she's using that against him."

"I really doubt it."

They both looked down for a time.

"It's going to be okay."

"I sure hope so."

* * *

Like the archetypal public servant, Dave Donahue was a big man, one whose exceptional height was the cause of his success, and whose exceptional girth was the result of it.

"Ms. Ross, you have to understand that as a public service organization, we have a certain responsibility to our constituents."

"Yes, Sir." This is a prime example of how a sexy phrase in an unsexy context, even to a pervert, was still unsexy and demeaning.

"Now, we are not elected officials, but we must still reflect the morals of the community. And despite what you young secular" - like Diane, he said it as if it were a bad word - "people believe about morality, most of the people in our constituency are deeply religious."

She was heading into dangerous territory. Supplicate, and this petty Pharaoh might spare her. Fight back, and he might be cowed and leave her. But probably not.

"May I ask what I have done to offend the morality of any religion?"

Dave looked at her sternly, which was pretty much the only expression his face, like that of a middle-aged pirate only lacking piercings and a scimitar, could convey. "I believe you know what I am talking about." Yesterday's warlords, today's middle-managers

"I am afraid, Sir" - she wished the word could stab him - "that I do not."

He rattled off like a tax attorney, uninflected and hurried, "It has been brought to my attention that you frequent certain establishments where activities are engaged in that are deemed to be lewd and improper."

He sighed and sat down, his voice taking on a conversational tone. "I don't want to pass judgment on you, Karen. I don't care what you do.
You seem like a really nice, good woman, and if you weren't working with kids, I'd tell you to be discrete."

She felt a sudden passion taking her. "That's why this is so twisted! This country is schizophrenic. I can't be a fully sexual being because it might hurt the kids, but without sex there wouldn't be any kids to protect. It's crazy! I can be who I want to be in my own life, and I can help kids out."

Dave remained quiet, contemplating her words.

"Do you know how much of myself I see in them?"

"I... suppose that makes sense."

"Look, I come to work every day, on time and professionally dressed. I don't have any tattoos or piercings besides my ears. I never swear on the job, I never use the internet except for work. As far as this job is concerned, I might as well be Clark Kent."

"Well, Ms. Ross," he said, again becoming uncomfortably formal, "I hate to be so frank, but it might be easier for you to go unnoticed if you did not take such a hard stance with some of your colleagues." He sighed. "I would appreciate it if you did not repeat that."

She knew the problem. Dave didn't really care so much about the details on the ground. He had the union, the public, his bosses, and the employees to keep in check all at once. When someone made a fuss, it made his life harder. Make his life easier, and he'd make yours easier too. He was not unique, remarkable or even indefensible in this - he just had the bluntness to say it out loud.

Just then, they both perked up as they heard an insistent triple-knock at the door. The knocker did not wait for an answer before bursting in.

"Dave, I - What are you doing in here?"

"I think I'm getting fired, Diane, what are you doing in here?"

"Oh, whatever. What the hell is this?" she held a somewhat abused piece of paper between her bubblegum-pink nails. "Is this some kind of joke?"

"What's going on?" Dave groaned.

"The District Attorney's Office is filing a complaint against me! They want to investigate me for corruption and blackmail..."

"Perhaps you'd better leave, Ms. Ross."

Karen stepped out of the room, but couldn't help lingering just close enough to the door to hear parts of the exchange that followed.

"Oh yes," Dave said, presumably on the phone with the D.A.'s Office. "Very serious charges. Populist outrage, yes. Well, I can see how with - yes, Budget shortfalls - they'd want to - well, that's true I suppose. Look, there's another matter I - oh yes sir, very busy, I understand."

Just then, Karen got a text message: "Gave the da a massage this mrning. very interested in your case!" Apparently, Karen was no longer the biggest thorn in her boss's side, and, from the huffed and hurried expression on Diane's face as she exited the room, she suspected the public would be more outraged in times of stress with full-blown corruption than with venial nightlife activities."


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