Holding back tears they exchanged contracts and read each other’s. When they finished, Paul said, “No, there has to be another way.”
They sat in silence for awhile. Finally Ann said, “If it were just the money maybe we could do something, but our names on those papers, the papers you had me sign...he has those. Oh, Paul, five years in prison would kill me and you too.” She wrapped her arms around him and sobbed against his chest. Tears ran down his cheeks. They held each other in silence for a long time. When she felt all cried out, she looked up at him, “We don’t have a choice, do we?”
“It’s three months of virtual slavery for you and Hell for me or years in prison for both of us.”
They made love that night, but slept only a few hours. The next morning Ann picked up her cell phone and punched in the numbers on the card Watts had given them. Rona answered with a question, “What have you decided, Ms. Gardner?”
“We have no choice. We’ll sign the contracts.”
“You’ve read them carefully? You understand the requirements? You know all of them must be met without exception?”
“Yes, we understand.”
“Bring them with you. The signing needs to be witnessed. Be here at the office at six o’clock this evening. Do you have paper and pencil handy?”
“Then write this down. You are to wear no undergarments, none: no bra, no panties, and no stockings. Go shopping this morning. Buy a short skirt, shoes with a four inch heel, a very shear blouse, bright red lipstick, gloss, mascara, nail polish...red, and a good perfume and body oil. Come to the office wearing these new clothes and shoes. Use the cosmetics to make yourself look as sexually desirable as possible. Have your husband rub your body with the perfumed oil. Do not have sex of any kind with him. Make no plans for tomorrow. Did you get all that?”
“Then we’ll expect both of you at six this evening.” There was a click as she hung up. Ann handed the list to Paul and began to cry.
Paul read it, then took her in his arms. “I’m so very sorry. This is all my fault and you are the one who will pay for it. Oh, Ann!” He, too, felt the tears begin.
After several minutes Ann looked up at him as she wiped her face, “It will be ok,” she said. “In three months this will be behind us, no more debt, the stock holders will have been repaid, the company will be solvent. We just have to help each other through the ninety days.”
At five o’clock Ann stood before him in the things she’d bought that afternoon. Her bare legs and arms shown with the musky scented oil. Her face was changed dramatically by the glossy red lipstick and dark mascara. The tight black skirt reached only to her knees and moulded her ass. It was obvious she wasn’t wearing panties. Under the shear white blouse the outline of her breasts was visible. As she’d been instructed, she’d painted her fingernails and toenails with a red polish that matched her lipstick. She had trouble walking in the four inch black leather pumps. At first she had to hold onto things. After practicing she was still unsteady but managed. Paul couldn’t believe the transformation. Neither could she. She studied her image in the full length mirror. “I look like a prostitute.” She felt the tears well up again, but held them back.
Earlier, when he was rubbing her with the oil his cock had hardened. It hadn’t subsided. Looking at her now, he knew that he’d probably cum just by touching it. He’d hardly ever seen her naked and even then it was a quick glimpse in the darkened bedroom. He hadn’t fully realized what a splendid body she had; the tiny waist, the smallish but high and firm breasts, the long pink nipples, the firm apple-round ass, the muscled calves and tiny feet. He sat there seeing his wife for the first time, “No Ann, not a prostitute. Not that at all. You look like a young model or movie star.”
She turned to look at him a flash of anger in her eyes, “My God, Paul! You read that...that obscene detestable contract. I’m to give myself to them....to black men. Isn’t that what prostitutes do?”
Even though it was a warm and humid September evening, she took her long brown raincoat from the closet and buttoned it, pulling the belt tight. “I absolutely won’t go out in public looking like this,” she said. She glanced down at her bare feet in the stilettos and shook her head, “I don’t think I’ll ever learn to walk in these.” Paul put the folded contracts in his coat pocket.
A half hour later they were once more in the reception office of “Watts Import Export Incorporated”. Rona, the receptionist, frowned seeing Ann was wearing a long raincoat. “Mr. Watts ain’t gonna like that,” she said, pointing at the coat. She pressed a button on her desk, “They’re here,” she said. The door behind her clicked. She gestured toward it. Paul pushed it open. Watts was behind his desk. Ms. Ying stood near the bar at the side of the room. If Watts was angry because of the raincoat, he didn’t show it. He pointed to the two chairs facing his desk. When they were seated he leaned forward, “So, you’ve decided?”
Ann met his gaze. “We had no choice. It was either sign those hateful contracts or go to prison.”
“Ahh, well yes.” He smiled at them. “To use an old cliché’, it seems you are between a rock and a hard place. I assume you have the contracts?”
Paul nodded. “Please, Mr. Watts, isn’t there some other way? What if I just signed the business over to you and our house as well? We could go somewhere else and start over.”
Watts chuckled, “Whatever would I do with a failing trucking operation that is deeply in debt to its stockholders? Why would I want your house? Think of it this way; your wife is in our service for ninety days. We are paying off your gambling debt of almost ninety thousand dollars. That’s like a thousand dollars a day. We are also obliged to rescue your business by paying back the stockholders you scammed. In addition, I’ve promised to rescue your bankrupt company and make it profitable again.” He paused narrowing his eyes and staring hard at them. “You come here disregarding my instructions.” He gestured toward Ann’s raincoat. “You come here talking about “hateful contracts”. You come here with a fucking superior attitude when you should be on your knees thanking me.” He waited a full minute letting his anger subside. “Now, sign the contracts and listen to what I have to say or don’t sign them and get out.”
Paul looked at Ann who nodded. He placed both contracts on the desk. Watts pushed identical copies across to them along with a pen. “A set for each of us,” he said.
Ms. Ying crossed to initial all four copies as a witness. Paul put their contracts back in his coat pocket. The other two copies remained on the desk. Watts picked them up and sat back in his chair reading Ann’s contract. “Just to make sure I know you understand the rules,” he said. He looked directly at Ann. “Your parents were killed in an accident when you were five. You were raised by your grandfather and grandmother. They live at 205 Walnut Avenue, West Hempstead, Long Island. It’s a little cottage. The mortgage is paid off. They live on a small pension and social security. Your grandfather has a heart condition and your grandmother suffers from diabetes. He is eighty and she is seventy-nine. His name is Andrew and her name is Elizabeth. The last name is Shelby. Are these facts correct?”
Ann was visibly shaken, “Yes, but what...”
“There is a clause in your contract that warns if you fail to honor any of the requirements we may choose to penalize one or more of your family members. I want you to be aware that we know who and where they are. It’s something you should keep in mind.”
“But they are old and helpless. Surely you wouldn’t...”
“We would.” He leaned forward staring at her. She nodded. He continued, “Your contract refers to our organization as the NWS. Do you know what that stands for?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Negro Worship Society”. We in the organization believe African American is a label that diminishes us. “Colored” is a name they once put on toilets and in buses and other public places to let us know we were inferior. Negro is the name of a proud race of strong resilient people that can be used by both blacks and whites. Nigger is a derivation of that word once used by whites to demean us but recently embraced by black men and women as their own and accorded the same respect as the word from which it came. It is not to be used by whites.” He shook a finger at them. “When you, Mr. and Mrs. Gardner, refer to us you will say ‘My Master’ or ‘My Mistress’.” He directed his attention to Ann. “Would you like some coffee?”
Her throat had gone dry. “Yes, I would.”
“Wrong answer. Are you stupid? What did I just say?”
Ann felt the color rise to her cheeks. She hesitated then said, “Yes, Master.”
Watts nodded, “Saying it will be awkward at first, but in a short time it will be automatic because that’s how you will begin to see us. You will think of us as your Masters.” He looked at Paul, “Both of you.” At a signal to Ms. Ying she brought three cups and set two on the small table between Ann and Paul. The other she placed on Watts’ desk. He sipped his coffee ignoring them for a few moments. Then looking up at Ann he said, “I’ve been told you teach a history course emphasizing what you call ‘African American’ culture?”
“Yes, I do.”
It took her a moment to realize what he wanted. She looked away and said softly, “Yes, ah...uh...Master, I do.”
“Stand up,” he ordered. She hesitated then stood. “Take off that goddamn raincoat.” She glanced at Paul then slowly unfastened the belt and unbuttoned it. Blushing, she shrugged it from her shoulders and draped it on the back of her chair. “Walk across the room and back,” he said. Unsteady in the heels she crossed to the door and returned.
“Turn around,” he said. “Your wife has a fine ass, Paul. I thought she did the other night at your house, but with those oversized jeans it was hard to tell.” She was about to sit down. “Not yet,” he said. He crooked a finger at her, “Come over here and ask me to feel your ass.” She shot a glance at Paul, then crossed to stand in front of him. Her legs were trembling and her face was scarlet. He looked up at her, “Well?”
She swallowed struggling to get the words out, “Feel me...I...I...mean feel my...my ass.”
“Wrong,” he said. “That sounded like a white bitch giving an order. You are asking for a favor. Try again.”
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