I stand at attention in the corner of the room. Mistress sits on the couch next to Amanda. The two younger women sit on the love seat. I have never seen them before.
“So, Cass, these are the two graduate students I am advising that are working on their thesis project. They are both double-majoring in Psychology and Criminal Justice and have taken on this project together.”
“Tabitha.” The woman with the short, black hair raises her hand.
“It’s good to meet you, Cassandra, Amanda has told us a lot about you.”
“and Lauren.” The woman with shoulder-length blonde hair raises her hand.
“I’ve been really looking forward to this, Cassandra.”
“It’s good to meet the both of you. I always love to see women trying to change the world by getting more into the minds of men. Amanda tells me you have a project in mind?”
Tabitha leans forward and speaks.
“Yes, Cassandra. The idea that Lauren and I had was to come up with a new type of prison. A prison that deals specifically with crimes against women. We are working on a rehabilitation program that would condition these men from seeing women as victims, to viewing them with respect, obedience, reverence, and a little bit of fear.”
“That idea sounds wonderful, Tabitha, please continue.” Tabitha and Lauren nod at each other. She continues.
“The prison would be an unprecedented experiment. The warden and guard staff would be comprised entirely of women. Sentences would have no fixed length. Prisoners would be incarcerated until completing their rehabilitation, which requires passing psychiatric evaluations.”
“This intrigues me. How would you go about covering operating costs?”
Lauren clears her throat and leans forward. Tabitha sits back in the love seat.
“Right now, Cassandra, it’s currently the tax-payers who bear the brunt of incarceration costs. Our prison plan follows an efficient for-profit model in addition to a few other changes. In our theoretical prison, it is the inmates themselves that incur the debt and costs associated with their incarceration. Upon being released on parole, their wages will be garnished as they work off their debt. For our purposes, our prison would serve in situations where criminals would choose our prison as part of a plea bargain and could not be sentenced there without their legal consent.”
“How would you convince them to choose your prison?”
“That is a good question, Cassandra. Our surveys have shown that the number one concern about male inmates going to prison is the fear of inmate on inmate rape. The second concern was the fear of male guard on inmate abuse. In our prison, all of the inmates would be kept in chastity belts, eliminating the possibility of inmate on inmate rape. Since the guards are all female, there are no male guards to abuse them. Taking those things into account as well as the possibility for completing their rehabilitation quickly leading to less time served, I believe there are a good number of criminals that would gladly incur this debt over facing the harsh realities of normal federal or state penitentiaries.”
“I have to hand it to you girls, this seems like a thorough and well-planned idea. I have to ask though, how does this pertain to me?”
Tabitha and Lauren look at each other. Amanda speaks up again.
“Cass, they are wondering if they could borrow your slave for a week or so.”
My eyes widen. My fingers fidget within the muff. Please no, Mistress. My eyes fixate on her face. She glances up. Our eyes meet. Her brow arches. I quickly divert my eyes to the floor. My face turns red. I will be punished later.
Mistress turns to the young women.
“I will agree on two conditions. First, tell me everything. Second, I want to be a guard in your experiment.”
My jaw would drop if the gag allowed it. Mistress’s face lights up.
“Do you have uniforms for prisoners and guards designed yet? My shop can have some made for us. What kind of climate is the prison going to be located in? Do you have a place to host this experiment? Do you need funding?”
“Whoa, slow down there, Cass. I’m sure they can answer one question at a time.” Tabitha leans forward and responds first.
“We want the climate to be cold. We were considering hot and humid, but when we considered the quality of life for the guards, you can always get warm, but it’s impossible to get cool.”
Lauren steps in.
“We have received a handful of small donations from women’s interest groups but so far we have just kept the scale small.”
“Let me call a friend of mine. She owns a good deal of land and a lot of equipment. I’m almost certain if we got her involved that you would be able to explore the full potential of your idea. Are you interested?”
“Yes, definitely,” replies Tabitha. I wince. The thought of Dominique as a prison guard makes fear creep up my spine.
“I have another friend, a lawyer. She is a whiz with legal loopholes and I’m sure she would be willing to help you locate states or territories that would give the maximum freedom for rehabilitation practices, as well as what kind of legal limits you might face.”
“That would be amazing, Cassandra.”
“slave, fetch the champagne!”
I depart to the kitchen. I struggle to keep the anxiety at bay. I retrieve a bottle of champagne from the cooler in the pantry. A serving tray. Four glasses. I carefully carry the tray back to the living room.
Mistress waves me over. I hold the tray in front of her. She pops the cork and returns the bottle to the tray. I set it on the coffee table and fill the glasses. I present the tray before each of them and they remove a glass.
I lean over to set the tray on the coffee table. Mistress leans forward and tugs on my collar ring. Her voice whispers.
“The slave should be scared.”
Her voice sounds devious. I swallow. Her faint scent reaches me.
“Finish the chores. I will summon the slave if it is needed.”
I bow and turn. Mistress’s hand slaps my ass. I flinch silently and depart the room. My mind is a mess, full of fear and anticipation for what is to come.