The Institute Pt. 04 – The Surrogate

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The Institute Pt 4 The Surrogate: For Your Own Good

When I removed my bathrobe to step into the hot tub at my brother Phil’s glass and steel residence nestled in the foothills of the mountains, I looked down at my top and shook my head. The bra was little more than bottle caps connected held in place by a string tied in a bow behind me. I sighed. Little of my rounded boobs was left to the imagination. The bottom with less fabric than an eye patch acted as the `snatch hatch.’

Entering the room with the tails of his loosely belted plaid bathrobe swirling with a flourish, Phil paused to look on the mantle over the fireplace at the bill for my shopping junket in capital land. Raising his eyebrows, Phil said nothing. Phil ignored the neatly folded grey suit and matching satchel upon which the bill laid. Proceeding to whip off his robe, Phil dangled his penis in front of me. “Oh, I’m sorry. I’m generally alone here. I’ll run back to my room to fetch a bathing suit, if you wish.”

Rather enjoying the sight, I reminded Phil, “No need, Phil. I’m a nurse. As a nurse, I’ve seen plenty of those things.” Chuckling to myself indeed, before my husband Tom’s accident, I earned good tip money teasing patients. Like Phil’s ablaze fixed on my nipple tips, the eyes of male patients who liked to dangle their accoutrements twinkled as my magic filled their brains with the illusion of what might be possible.

“Now, that you’ve been calmed down, had a chance to do some shopping,” Phil introduced the topic, “we can discuss your situation.” When I nodded, Phil continued, “Let me get to the point. You owe a considerable amount of money and are cut off from funds you ought to be entitled to.”

Phil spoke authoritatively with the lordly self — assuredness of a medical doctor, but his eyes told a different story. They wandered to the bubbling froth of the surface of the hot tub and the steam rising from it. Phil was imagining the snatch patch beneath. I still had the magic.

“Phil, darling brother,” I cast a loving smile on him, “I didn’t need my brilliant brother, a medical doctor, the jewel of our family to tell me that soon I’ll be in default and facing compulsory indenture. I suspect I know where I’m headed, but what could become of my children, your nieces and your nephew, and my husband Tom whose award is tied up in a trust?”

Yes, our family produced both a prince and a pauper. In the tumult of this new age, Phil had emerged as a member of the new aristocracy with glorious country estates and attended by an obsequious servant class while I had presented to my brother a beggar.

Nodding his head gravely, presenting that practiced air of detached but present concern that doctors are taught to project, Phil replied, “I didn’t call you up here to commiserate. I have some mutually beneficial alternatives I’d like to present. Let’s see what we can come up with for your own good and the good of all concerned.”

`For my own good’ and `for the good of all concerned’ were terms I had heard often of late since this maudlin act in my life story began. Looking out on the twilight in the great Northern forest, still leafy green in the final bloom of late summer, I remarked, “Without curtains, I feel exposed like I’m on stage.”

Only yesterday, after arrival in my brother’s woodland retreat, I voiced a similar sentiment as I sat with my brother in his living room.

“Without shades on a room in a glass windowed house,” I paused and shook myself, “you feel eh–exposed,” I told my brother Phil as we sat on black leather furniture in a glass walled living room perched atop a treed hillside.

Extending a palm as if he were presenting to me the breathtaking vista overlooking a ravine, Phil chuckled, “There’s nothing out there in the glorious northern forest but trees, deer, and an occasional coyote. I do keep my medical consultarium just beyond that ridge, but they’re out of our line of sight.”

Darkness was approaching outside but inside was lit by recessed lighting, glaring down on a sterile, white linoleum floor, more like what you might find in a doctor’s waiting room than in a home. It makes sense I thought to myself. My brother Phil with a grey fringe creeping into his dark brown hair was a doctor, a good one or at least a successful one. With his money, why hadn’t Phil attracted a suitable woman to add a feminine, homier touch to his palace? Perhaps Phil fell in love with himself.

“Meg, you’ve ugh–fallen into some eh–difficulties,” Phil broke into the purpose of the meeting. “Y’know Mom and Dad, before they died, asked me to look after you. They were concerned.”

“Concerned? They tossed me out — age 20 and pregnant, just short of completing my nursing program. Fortunately, Tom was a good as his word,” I recounted, “And Tom and I were doing good. Tom worked construction. He made a good buck — until the accident…” I broke down and couldn’t continue speaking.

I didn’t want to show weakness in front of Phil. I couldn’t help myself. For the past few years, I’ve been like a brick wall holding esenyurt escort up a front for my children and my injured husband, borrowing money against the prospect of a recovery for Tom and then finding all the funds recovered tied up “for our own good.”

Solicitously, Phil did not interrupt my caterwauling. After I apologized for a bout of self — indulgence. “A woman with children mustn’t feel sorry for herself.”

I knew I had few options open to me. After Tom’s accident, I was left without a paycheck — Both Tom and I found ourselves out of work. Tending to Tom and three children, I couldn’t work. To obtain loans I was reduced to pledging my body as collateral. I needed the money to support children. Two hadn’t reached school age. I took the chance Tom’s case would collect. Now it was time to pay.

Unexpectedly, contacted by my brother, I jumped at his invitation for a short vacation at his mountain retreat. Honestly, I hadn’t come to beg. I needed a rest before I faced whatever lie ahead.

What lie ahead was it grim? These days many masters kept slaves and indenturees naked even in public in warm weather. Naked slaves were less likely to run. My proven ability to carry children to term might consign me to Surrogacy; my figure might put me in a brothel. As much as I resigned myself to my fate, I couldn’t turn down a potential opportunity out of pride.

“Why don’t we put off this discussion — for another time,” Phil clapped his hands on his knees preparing to rise, “Often I find after some time working out in the gym, doing laps in the pool or simply relaxing in the hot tub, solutions will manifest themselves. Why don’t we adjourn to the sauna?”

“I didn’t know–I didn’t bring a suit?” I protested.

“A suit?” Phil chuckled, “there’s no one about. My personal staff is off duty. Your children are abed. It’s just you and me.” Phil paused for a sweep of the second hand on his antique clock on a table. Would my brother dare to expect me to join him in the hot tub without a suit? What should I do if he insisted? Phil’s money could bail me out.

However, Phil suggested instead, “if you think it necessary, I’ll have Angie my administrative assistant bring you to town early in the morning to select a suit or whatever other items of clothing you might require.” Thinking aloud, Phil added, “The Head Housekeeper can pinch hit for Angie for a day.”

At that point, Phil was interrupted by Angie, Phil’s tall impassive crew cut aide. The swishing of her grey pantlegs warned of her approach.. Cold and distant, Angie had resisted small talk driving my family from the airport in the capital to Phil’s mountain retreat.

“A problem in my study?” Phil asked. His expression was grave.

I was terror struck. “My husband?” I cried.

“No, Mrs Morgan, Mr Tom Morgan, your husband settled in well enough to his new environment in the Institute’s consultarium,” Angie turned to my brother to report, “Because the incident involves conduct of Dr Trystan Throop –.”

When Phil raised his eyebrow, Angie, glancing quickly at me, waited for Phil’s nod to proceed before she added with emphasis, “Dr Throop with an indentured nurse,” Angie looked toward me, “security suggests you review interim action taken.”

“Well, medicine calls,” Phil rose. “Oh, Angie you won’t mind taking Mrs Morgan to the capital in the morning for a little shopping.”

Early the next morning, promptly at 8AM, arms crossed, Angie, in a more formal grey skirted suit, was waiting cross-armed outside my room. In a friendly tone, I tried to place ourselves on a familiar basis, “We didn’t talk much in the car yesterday. I’m Margaret Morgan, but everyone calls me Meg. It’s kind of a cross between Peg for Margaret and Meg for Megan. My brother told me you’re Angie. Is it Angie a first name or Ms Angie your last name?”

“Angie should suffice,” Angie replied tartly, “shall we go?” We drove me in a Phil’s company car, a black limousine. Angie ushered me into the back seat. “Ah-hem, Mrs Morgan, deference to your position is required,” Angie managed to express respect intoned with an imperious ah-hem.

It was hard to size Angie up. She held an important position, but was she an employee or an indenturee? Indenturees could hold important positions. In the Hospital where I worked, the number of indenturees increased among nurses, housekeepers, and even doctors on staff increased as time went on. Salaried employees were told to accord the indenturee the same respect accorded a co-employee. Did we? It depended.

Respect was one thing I haven’t experienced in quite a while. Deference was an unfamiliar quality in the world of obtaining loans using your body as collateral. The world I had descended into was designed to insult middle class affectations. “If you’re so sure our husband’s injury case will collect, then pledging your person as security for the loan shouldn’t be a problem,” I was told. I sighed. My life was in a tail — spin.

Careening down what Angie described as esenyurt escort bayan “former logging roads which Dr Crenshaw’s Institute has paved over and straightened,” I gulped. Only my seat belt restrained me from rolling round the clothed backseat of the limo. Maneuvering a sharp turn followed by a rough rutted patch, Angie, looking up at me in her rear-view mirror and raising her penciled in eyebrows, added without expression, “paved over and straightened — hmm–for the most part.”

Whisked into a posh shop in a hidden corner of the mall, I, examining the price of the two-piece suits and holding a thong bottom up, commented, “As the amount of fabric shrinks, the price skyrockets.”

Chuckling at my own joke, I looked at Angie who stood by dispassionately. “Hmm,” Angie commented, “one pass of the shuttlecock was all it took to manufacture the trendy suits.”

Holding up the scant fabric of the bottom, I shot her a smile. “With less fabric than an eye patch, this is more like a cock magnet than a shuttlecock, a little birdie flying in the air. Angie,” I shook my head, “You conceal a sharp sense of humor under a rigid exterior.” Putting the bottom back on the rack, I sighed, “too bad. It’s out of my price range.”

Carefully, putting the bottom aside, Angie dryly replied, “A shuttlecock is the part of a loom which goes to — and — fro. As to price, you needn’t worry,” she paused for emphasis, “Dr Crenshaw has directed me to charge your purchases to his account. No need to hurry, Dr Crenshaw expects you’ll need time to make suitable clothing purchases for yourself and children.”

The expression of thanks, forming on my lips, was officiously cut off by Angie when she dispassionately suggested that after I picked some other selections to try on, she’d call for the hairdresser. “Does my brother think I need a touch up?”

Covering her eye with the triangular patch which comprised the bottom, Angie in soothing tones opined. “A woman with three children even one who has the body to exhibit herself in a slit covering thong probably lacks the time for a little self — indulgent, restful,” her timbre turned sharp when he added, “waxing off body hair.”

Ushered into the back with my selected suits and lingerie and positioned on a platform, I was advised, “When you wear exquisite clothing, you’re on stage. Nasty little hairs can’t creep out of your bottoms. A faint mustache can’t peer from your lips.”

“I suppose,” my voice quivered.

Angie’s next request was handed down in the tone of an imperious command to “disrobe entirely. You may place your clothing on the ground over there. Ugh–we’ll decide what to do with those–ugh–things later,” Angie’s nose crinkled; her pitch assumed a haughty quality, “once you’ve obtained appropriate outerwear.”

The previous time I heard such an order to take everything off I was standing with dozen women crammed in a room facing a desk. Some hung their heads in silence; others crunched their eyes holding back tears; still some others nervously chattered away.

The woman next to me waxed philosophical, “Used to be you ran up bills, filed bankruptcy and ran up more. The pendulum had to swing back.” Sighing, she added, “Too bad I was in the wrong place when the wrecking ball swung at debtors.”

In strode, a woman as tall and stone faced as Angie. After demanding silence, the woman perched on the desk. Her calf length front buttoned skirt was open below her knees. When silence fell on the throng, the woman announced, “Each of you has applied for personal loan unsecured by anything other than your person. Take off your clothes,” she ordered, “the doctor will here in a moment to appraise the value of our collateral.”

Undressed in the shop on a platform in front of a three-sided mirror, I reflected on that physical examination. Staring at myself in the mirror, I recalled strange hands feeling my tummy. Then the examiner was impressed. “After my pregnancies, my belly is a little rounder than it used to be,” I told the inspector running long fingers across my abdomen, “but is unscarred by surgical cuts and stretch marks.” The other naked women awaiting examination glared at me in shock at my unabashed self — promotion of the value of my assets. I guess the feeling of being on stage emboldened me.

Then I was more confident in ability to pay the loan than I was today as my hands felt my belly skirting the arc of pubic hair. Running my hand through the curly hairs of my pubic bush, I observed that my pubic area had become a little more hirsute than it was before the most recent pregnancy, likely the influence of hormones. Though I shaved my legs this morning in the shower, stubble was sprouting there. My silent self-appraisal was interrupted by a sharp male voice which bellowed, “Are you paying attention, darlin’? I want to see your ` arms out.'”

I didn’t move. Looking over my shoulder, I noticed a tall, paunchy dark-haired man conferring with Angie. Angie repeated the order, “Eyes front. Extend escort esenyurt your arms straight out and hold them there.” Mechanically I complied.

I heard the click of Angie’s low pumps as she drew closer. “Oh, Angie,” the male voice beckoned to Angie, “quite a flap you had up there in The Consultorium. I had just finished in — processing, when I got called back to depilate Dr Throop, nice lady. I regretted having to shave her bald head to toe.”

“A slave, Mr Henderson, even an important one, who breaks the rules must be punished,” Angie replied. “One with status and privileges must lose them, lest control be lost. One granted position by the master is best reminded how easily that precedence and prerogatives can be rescinded.”

“I understand,” Henderson sighed, “but what gives with this young lady in front of me? This is an unusual request. Doc Crenshaw wants her evaluated. Doc Crenshaw usually has me hustle up to the Institute. I do the young women one after another, assembly line style.” Henderson asked Angie.

Evaluation? I took note. Hmm that’s why I’m here. My brilliant brother is three steps ahead of me.

Standing on a platform in front of a mirror in this high-end shop, caught in the midst of the banter between Henderson and Angie I was reminded of bits and pieces of conversations among the indenturees I overheard at the Hospital. Was this shop one of those stores that encouraged co — eds from Capital land colleges to obtain more credit for frivolities with the backing of a guarantee of personal servitude. “I guess I was lucky,” I overheard a nurse practitioner tell a nursing assistant, “my grades were high enough to make me a special case.”

Angie introduced me in a — `kind of’ sort of way, “Mr Henderson, this, indeed, is a most special case. May I present Mrs Margaret Morgan, Doctor’s sister?”

“Mrs Morgan? A married woman?” Mr Henderson expressed surprise, “first time he brought a married woman to me. As master, Doc controls an indenturees` person, property and personal relations. Doesn’t Doc usually exercise his power to divorce the married ones?”

“Doctor wants to help her,” Angie explained, “and her children out. Mrs Morgan’s husband was in a bad accident. Income shut off. So, I was told.”

I listened. I said nothing. It was important I learn how much my brother already knew.

I mused, should I trust my brother? Why would I do that? Watching people I trusted lock up my husband’s award `for his own good,’ I learned not to easily believe exhortations of personal honorability, especially if they said they acted `for my own good.’ The expression ‘for your own good’ should be deemed forewarning.

“We do persuade ourselves that what we do was for the good of others,” Mr Henderson insisted. Although Mr Henderson’s voice reverberated with a ring as harshly soul shattering as the screech of his donning latex gloves, his touch when, he laid his hands on me and they glided along my underarms into my arm pits, proved to be surprisingly gentle.

When Henderson brushed the sides of my breasts, I leaned back and teased, “Coping a feel?”

In a soft voice Henderson asked me, “How soon before your note gets called and your body snatched up in a body execution?”

Turning my head, I asked, “How did you know I will be soon subject to a body execution?”

With a gentle pat on the bare butt, he admonished me, “Eyes forward. Aside from that’s Doc’s usual reason for sending me a young lady? There’s that little bar code hidden on right cheek. I seen thousands of them up at the Institute.” Guiding my hand, Henderson told me “feel that little ridge right there just below the crest of your hip.” Laughing, Henderson quipped, “How could you forget the branding–for identification purposes on surrender or recovery?”

Mr Henderson laughed when I recalled, “Supposedly the branding is for your own good to prevent an erroneous repossession. That’s what they told a gaggle of naked women applying for unsecured personal loans.”

`For your own protection’ covered a wide variety of sins. In pledging your person as security, branding was the final act of humiliation. The noxious odor of fear blending with a dozen different scents rising from bodies crammed in together choked the air of the room.

The inspectors drew the process out ceremoniously. Bent over the desk with hands bound “for my own protection,” I was told to close my eyes and take a deep breath. My butt was moistened by a damp cloth dipped in alcohol. I cringed. Strong hands held my neck down. Ordered to be still, I felt the sting of 1000 wasps burn into my butt.

Some women cried; a few screamed bloody curses; others passed water. I knew I had to put up a front. “What next?” I asked. Told if I were OK, I could find my clothes, dress and go home. I gathered my things and left while others, less stoic, were held to see the doctor a second time. I waited until I was well away from the building to scream.

In the back of the trendy shop in the mall, I asked Mr Henderson, “what is next?’

“Ok,” Henderson ordered gruffly, “give me a split and crack me a smile.” As I quickly submitted, Mr Henderson rejected Angie’s reproof, “Doc works only with two genders: those who are females and those who are or will soon be formerly men.” As Mr Henderson and Angie tried to speak over my head, I did not fully understand everything, but I had an idea.

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