Power Play, chapter 7

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    Chapter 7

    Truth Or Consequences

    Ever notice how time mystically expands or how your thoughts speed up in an "Oh, dear gaw, I’m gonna die!" moment? Well, while I was in zero g, I was thoroughly cursing myself out for not wiping my hands off. For not quitting while I was ahead. For smarting off like that at Angela and saying the biggest "open mouth, insert foot" thing since "Dewey Defeats Truman."

    But the capper? Despite escaping that bike hag, acing Gracie in music history, proving myself the trivia king, standing up to my queen bee boss Louise, not handing over jack to that French-talking gorgon, and even scoring a perfect ten on that lightning round, I’d royally flushed it all down the toilet with my muscle in one stupid moment of anger.

    And the joker to thank for this, ladies and gentlemen? No one else than Mr. Montgomery Winston Bank.

    Whoomp! I landed roughly in what felt like a very big armchair. The armrests under my legs and back felt like they’d been solidly padded almost to bursting, and my left arm landed and draped across two heavy, ample pillows. But where was the seat to this thing?

    Then I heard someone whisper in my ear…

    "Bon soir, mean old Mister Mustard."

    Urk. I let my head float with a slow left turn. And I stared eyeball to eyeball into the face of Creep Suzette. She chuckled once, which made my arm bounce on her enormous breasts.

    "I knew we would ketchup sooner or later."

    Cringing, I covered my head. But instead of smashing my back over her knee like I expected, she stepped off the foam rubber mat she stood on, carried me lightly over to a nearby couch, set me down gently on one cushion, and settled her bulk beside me on the other. Suzette’s face shone sympathy, and a little pity.

    Then Dr. Munroe walked up. "I gotta admit, that was a real heartbreaker."

    After the shock slowly faded, the whole truth hit me like a freight train. "YOU SET ME UP!"

    "Yes," said Suzette, "I am sorry I put you through–"

    I sprang to my feet. "All this bull, the folder, the chase, the–!"

    "Now, Monty–"

    "I can take losing," I snapped, "but I won’t be manipulated!"


    "’Stuff the folder, are YOU intact?’!" I mocked Gracie’s voice. "Ooh, do I have an earful for her! Where is the crazy old bag?!"


    I looked around the room, but didn’t see her. She probably pulled a no-show. "Ah, forget this, I’m outta here!"

    Stepping in front of me, Suzette gently put her hands on the sides of my face. "Wait, Monty–"

    "Oh, no you don’t! You didn’t charm me then, and you won’mmph!" She’d pressed her thumbs upward and clamped my jaws shut.

    "Monty," Dr. Monroe said gently but sternly, "remember how wobbly you felt in the shower?" I didn’t even nod my head yes. "Well, we didn’t want to risk someone with Big Sis possibly glancing at your body’s quantum signature and seeing all those changes. So we scanned it and your genetic identifier during your checkup. Then once we got your pulse, blood pressure, and other vital readouts, we linked an alternate theta radiation power source with the same frequency matching your normal biorhythms. Then once you hit the shower, we changed the spin of your body’s particles. In short, your body’s got a new quantsig right now, and a theta rad battery’s got your old one. The other contestants, too.

    She drew closer, and gave me a glower like Ma gave me when I nearly stepped out into traffic as a boy. "If you grandly stomp off to the surface with that all-new quantsig in plain view of Big Sis’s satellites, you’ll put yourself and the whole club at risk. And we’ll drain you down to the bones if we have to stop you. Got it?" I nodded silently. "Good." She handed me a new pair of shorts, shirt, socks, and sneakers. "Now calm down, put these on, and let’s go see Gracie and the others."

    Suzette released me, sat down with a copy of Mad, and looked away. I donned the new duds, and headed to a fine stained wood door. As I passed her, Suze playfully swatted me on the rump with her magazine.

    "Just for the record, champ," she said with a shameless gleam, "I think you were one of the greatest players we have ever had."

    Yeah, and Japan had a nice 1941. Without a word, I just headed on in, and the doctor followed.

    Gracie sat at a big heavy kidney-shaped desk typical of evil genius villains in the spy flicks. And sitting in black leather couches and lounge chairs around a wide flatscreen TV and a coffee table were Billy, Chantelle, Vicki, Francis, and Angela.

    "Awww," mocked Vicki. "Too bad. And you were doing so well, too."

    "How’s your chin?" I muttered.

    "Ooh, zing," said Chantelle.

    "Everyone simmer down," said Gracie. She got up, and spread her hands to all four of us players. "I’d like to thank each and every one of you for being good sports and playing. You’ve all provided us with some great entertainment, and fun. And as a way of saying thank you…" She reached behind the desk and pulled up a case of Crimson Cow. "Got a six month supply as a consolation prize. Don’t worry about carting it home. Someone will deliver it to your home addresses within the week."

    "Right, then," said Billy. "Got a pen or pencil so I can write mine for you? It’s kinda out in the bush."

    "No need. We’ve got it right here," she said, patting a computer on her desk. Then she gradually, steadily got more serious, and her smile shrank away. "Yes, we’ve got all your addresses. Right here with your phone numbers, passport numbers, other personal data… all courtesy of your Bureau quantsig IDs."

    I saw alarm creep onto my opponents’ faces. They just figured out what I did just before round two.

    "And we’re also hanging onto your quantsigs too. So a gentle reminder: what you did here, what you said here, what you saw here, what you heard here… it all stays here. Because if you decide to gossip about the club or our little activities here…"

    She pressed a button on her desk. Then I felt that twisting drain again. Only it was harder and faster than I’d ever felt it before, like a black hole. And just as I saw my limbs get Ethiopian refugee thin, I instantly dropped to the floor like a bag of wet cement. Or dry bones, rather. I didn’t even have the strength to lift my arms. Thud! Thud! Thud! Right along with me, I heard the other players join me on the hardwood.

    Gracie walked in the middle of us. "Do you understand and accept the terms of service?"

    I couldn’t speak. Even breathing was a struggle. I heard everyone else wheeze emphysemically like me. I heard her walk around.

    "Wink one eye for yes. For no," she said coldly, "close them both."

    What else could we do? When she loomed over me and looked down, I winked my left eye. She nodded with great satisfaction, and moved back to her desk. Then I felt that warm trickle in the pit of my stomach flow to my limbs, and my breathing got easier. I slowly got up to a seated position. So did the others, much more slowly.

    "Lady," Billy croaked as he looked her straight in the eye, "you are flaming out of your gourd."

    She looked straight back into his. And she chuckled very grimly. "I’ve known that for decades. An associate outside will take the flavors you want, and lead you to the elevator up to the surface. Thanks for your time, mates, and we’ll stay in touch."

    We all stood up, and dusted ourselves off. I looked to Chantelle and said, "Hope your family gets to a safer place."

    She nodded. "You too, bo."

    "Phone number?"

    She shook her head. "She’s got it, if you want it that bad."

    The other players filed on out the office. Before I brought up the rear, Gracie caught my shoulder. "Not so fast, mate."

    "Can’t I just get my clothes and go home to my drinks, now?" I asked.

    "Not yet. First off, the Crimson Cow’s a consolation prize for the losers. You’re a winner. No Stampede for you."

    "What?! No drinks?"

    "No drinks."

    "I don’t even get a lousy copy of your home game?!"

    "No. But you do get this."

    And she handed me a box about the size of a family-size box of cereal. Taking it, I flipped it open. Inside were a pink flesh-toned leotard, eight joy buzzer buttons, and a Golden Apple membership card, complete with my name on it. I blinked. "I get a suit?"

    "Yep. All our last players standing get one."

    I snorted. "Wow. I can hardly wait to try it on. With this baby, by next year I could bulk up to, what, about 50 kilos? Maybe even 55?"

    Gracie looked at me cockeyed. "What are you on about?"

    "What good’s a suit gonna do me? I lost my muscle."

    "Didn’t you hear Atalanta after you dropped?"

    I scrunched up my eyes. "Hear what?"

    Dr. Munroe spoke up: "I think he was too busy having his hissy fit to catch it."

    "Oh," went Gracie. "Well, grab a seat, Monty. You might want to look at what the other players got to see. France, Ange, if you don’t mind sittin’ through it again?" I quietly took a club chair, away from the lovebirds’ couch. And after a megafast rewind, I got to see myself in the bonus round on the TV. The questions, the lugging, the straining, the pain… and yes, seeing myself expand into giant mode and deflate again as I threw it all away on one last play. Why’d they make me relive it? It was harsh enough the first time around.

    I hung my head as I said the Coolest Sounding Tell-Off to Angie That I’d Ever Regret. I shook it as I saw myself reach for that lever with that sweaty hand, and the "oh, holy crud!" look on my face when it slipped. "Thoughtcha pulled a Michael Larson, hah?" said Gracie.

    And then I saw the wheel stop on red, and my expression looked just like Wile E. Coyote’s as I dropped through. The audience groaned, then switched over to "Atta boy, Luther!" style applause. Atalanta glanced at my open trap door, then to the camera. "Oh, that was just wrong!" she proclaimed. "Well, too bad for Monty. But you don’t get it if you don’t go for it, right? I guess our first Überhunk will have to arrive another day." She held up a finger. "But in the meantime, Monty drops out of here with his very own masking suit and button set. And… as is the custom with all last players standing in this game… he leaves with the 63 kilos of muscle he won at the end of Round 3." The audience cheered wildly. "Hope you enjoy it, Monty! Thanks for playing, and thanks, folks, for coming to the Apple for Russian Roulette. Until next fortnight," and she winked and pointed to the camera: "watch your step."

    She walked off the platform away from the crowd and its noise. The stage lights faded out, the house lights went on, and the TV screen then cut to black.

    Dumbstruck, I stood up, still staring at the TV. Then I slowly turned to Gracie, who’d folded her hands on the desk and smiled like the Mona Lisa. "Wouldn’t have done to tell you earlier," she said. "You might have been braver about betting it all than you actually were." She pointed over my right shoulder. "Take your last look. Doctor?"

    I turned and faced a full-length mirror. Dr. Munroe pulled out a PDA and tapped a button. And it was one thing to see my body expand and inflate with muscle on TV, especially getting Hulk-sized. But to actually see the process in live real-time in the mirror… that was something else. I grew back from my old 5’9", 99 pound shrimp body to that beefy 6′, 237 pound Samson. I marveled.

    Gracie walked around the desk, propped her hand on it, and leaned forward so we stood eye to eye. "Oh, and a few more details: I may be calling on you to help out on a few errands from time to time. I hope I won’t have to. But if I do, if you balk on doing it, or if I ever learn, or even suspect enough, that you’ve been using your new muscle to abuse someone that doesn’t deserve it… well, remember that little conversation we had with the other players? That goes triply so for you now."

    I quickly started feeling some bile surging up my throat. I thought I’d just lost my appetite forever. Then it hit me: where was I going to get the food to feed this side of beef now? There was no way my ration card would cover it all, never mind my wages. Going to the swimming pool or the beach was out. And washing up: where was I going to take a bath or shower without exposing my new body to the satellites? Even using the toilet was a risk! And what if the buttons needed repairs? What if I caught the suit on a nail and tore it?

    I then realized how much I’d just signed over to Gracie lock, stock, and barrel. This new body wasn’t liberating at all.

    "I’d like to head on up and start my workout now. Explore the club, join us, and have a good time. Doc’ll show you how to put on the suit and care for it when you’re done.” She stepped toward the door. “Oh, and one last thing. Smile, can’t you? You look like you lost the game." And she headed topside.

    With a sigh, I headed out into the landing pad area. “So Doc, how do you put this thing on?”

    “You’re not going to stay?” asked Angela.

    I scowled at the little 5’6” minx. She knew better than to get mixed up in all this. Why’d I ever talk to her? “No, I’m not.”

    She put her hand on my forearm. “Monty, please. Don’t be like this.”

    I grasped her forearm and pushed her hand away slowly. “Don’t you ever touch me again,” I hissed.

    She stared at me for a blink. Then suddenly, she planted her other palm flat on my chest and WHAM! She pinned me against the wall. And behind that hand, I saw her skinsuit seam and a joy buzzer on her wrist. So that was how Francis baffled the officers.

    “I should’ve guessed,” I fumed. “You sold your soul, too, huh?”

    “First off,” she said calmly, “how could something have been mine when it was never ever offered in the first place? Now then. What was all that you said back at the barbecue? Oh, yes, Louise works you to death, pays you peanuts, and rewards your honesty with threats of getting fired. You live in a slum, get robbed and beaten within an inch of your life weekly, and the powers that be drain you instead of the crooks. And now Gracie’s got your quantsig on her Rolodex. Poor you. You’ve lost paradise.”

    “Mate,” Francis added, “this ain’t eternal damnation. All those guys and girls out there… you think they got all their bodies from the game? Me, my mates and I were so busy trying to drop each other, we never got a chance to build up the final score. I barely got up much more than normal. And Ange DROPPED on the first round.”

    “What breed of dog is Snoopy?” asked Dr. Munroe. I stared at her. “Go ahead and tell me. Ten seconds.”

    “Beagle,” I huffed.

    “Ange said Boston terrier.”

    “Shut up,” said Angela.

    “These bods of ours are built up on favors and (gasp!) the old fashioned workout,” said Francis. “And do you think the club’s all smiling because Gracie told them all she’ll drain ‘em if they don’t? For your benefit? Get over y’self, mate.” He spread his hands. “Right, Gracie’s balmy, I know it, you know it, even she knows it. But she likes you. And she’s watching out for us. She just wants to make dead sure you know the real stakes here.”

    Just then I heard an elevator bell ding, and the doors open way down a hallway. As the heavy footfalls drew closer, Angela eased her hand off and smoothed down the spot on my shirt. “We’ll be up in the gym,” she said. And she and Francis headed on up the stairs, leaving me with the arriving hall walker: Suzette.

    In green Spandex shorts, a taut red T-shirt, and standing bigger than half again my new size, she put her hands on her hips and stared down at me. “You have ruined me, you know.”

    “What are you yammering about?”

    “Gracie has had me follow and test possible contestants for a while now. And there were only two types of people: those who went straight on to deliver the envelope so we never met face to face, or those who ALWAYS gave up the folder to when we did. Either I convinced, charmed, bribed, or scared them into handing it over. Every time. You would have been the first time I had to actually pull it out the prospect’s grip. And NOBODY has been clever or determined enough to escape me before. Why? Was it my breath or something?"

    I wanted to come up with something clever and witty to deflect that question. But I just said, “I had my reasons.” She drew closer. I said, “Why should you care? How many else had flunked your little test anyway?”

    “What does it matter? No one cares about the 99 dollars in their wallet when they are scouring the house for the one she has lost.”

    I shrugged. “Well, I can’t help you there.”

    “It is driving me nuts, mon cher. I want to find out why. Over dinner and a workout?”

    I mulled it over for a second. Then I remembered something. “Sorry, I’m still expecting someone else to show up.”

    “Oh? I did not see anyone asking for you.”

    “Well, I’ll give her ten more minutes, but that’s it.”

    She reached into her t-shirt’s breast pocket. “Well, in the meantime, here is something you asked for that I never gave you." And she reached in her pocket, pulled out a business card. "Back at CCHQ, you wanted my number, oui?"

    I nodded. "Yeah, well if she does show, I don’t want to leave her in the lurch; France says she hasn’t gone out in months. Let me entertain her, show her a nice time, and with my luck, it’ll be a crashing failure, she’ll dump her fruit smoothie in my lap, and I’ll be wide open again."

    She giggled uncontrollably at that. "Well, Monte, mon petit chou, I definitely hope it is NOT a crashing failure." She pushed her card to me, and added, "And I honestly don’t think it will be." In perfect American English.

    I did a double take. She simply handed me the card. It read:

    Martissa Morgan

    Head of Internal Security

    Crimson Cow Beverage Corporation

    And it had her office and cell phone numbers in print, and her home number in ballpoint ink.

    "And yes, Gracie’s got me by the quantsig, too." she added sympathetically. "Gave me the down-to-the-floor speech and everything.” She put a hand on my shoulder and put her French accent back on. “Do you want to talk about how much it … how do you say… royally sucks?"


    The whole club’s patronage was waiting for me upstairs. They glad-handed me, and cheered me on. I felt it was kind of excessive, like rooting for the third string geek on the JV football team when he actually tackled somebody, but whatever. And I had a lot of fun testing my new body and seeing how much it could press. I could bench 400 lbs. before it got to be a noticeable strain. I wanted to see what Suz… er, Martissa could do, but she told me she’d done her routine already, and simply wanted to chat while she spotted me.

    It turned out Martissa was really an expat from Cohoes, upstate New York. She lost her job with the paper mill there when the economy went south in post-Zap America, and had made her way to Australia when Gracie found her working at a Cristofan casino blackjack table in Atlantic City. She loved doing community theatre and foam rubber sword live-action role-playing on weekends, and liked spending her school summers on the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. She told me she could also sing every “Weird Al” Yankovic and They Might Be Giants song out there word for word from memory on perfect pitch.

    Once I was done pumping iron, she wanted me to stay for a congratulatory dinner. So we showered off, and Francis and Dr. Munroe showed me how to put on the suit. It fit like a typical leotard, until it was time to put on the buttons: one on each wrist, one on each shoulder, two down the middle of the chest, and one above each ankle. And how did I fit 237 pounds of steer manure in a 99 pound sack? Well, have you ever sucked on a coffee cup’s inside until it stuck around your mouth and chin without anything holding it in place? Well, that’s how my whole body felt: just like my chin and mouth in the cup. As I cranked up and ratcheted the buttons, it got tighter and tighter, and I saw and felt my body constrict and shrink until it was my old 5’9” scrawny, wormy pre-Apple look. I wondered where the 138 extra pounds went, but Francis and Doc said between dimensional shifting and matter storage, they’d probably get it wrong if they tried to explain it.

    Out of the shower and locker room, Martissa was waiting for me wearing a billowy burgundy blouse and khaki slacks at a table by the juice bar. Angela was at another table waiting for Francis. And she was sipping a wine cooler. Mmngh. She drank, and I didn’t. It wouldn’t have worked out anyway. Ma and Dad would’ve had some quiet words with me about that.

    “I went ahead and ordered for both of us,” Martissa said. And right on my plate were two grilled chicken filets with melted cheese, a salad, two yeast rolls, and a fried onion blossom with zesty dip, with a frozen yogurt banana split off to the side. Heh. “And I know it’s not good to drink caffeine immediately after strenuous exercise,” she said, “but I couldn’t help myself.”

    And I wanted to kiss her right there and then.

    Right between my mug and hers was a big pot of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.


    After controlling a hearty belch, I mimicked Johnny Bravo: “So, pretty mama, want a manly man to escort you to your ride?”

    “I sure do,” Martissa said. “But I don’t see any near, so I guess you’re gonna have to do.”

    Blowing her a mild raspberry, I walked alongside her out the corridor and through the fire door. But she pointed left down a tunnel leading away from the iron staircase up to the dive I came in through. “I’m in the Martinburg Street parking garage. This way.”

    “What a coincidence,” I said. “My ride’s that way, too.”

    And after a minor hike, we took five flights up into my parking garage. Once we surfaced, she snapped back to her French accent. Turned out her body’s current true quantsig was ID’ed on Big Sis’s computer files as Suzette Termagant. She’d be Gerta Drachenfrau from Lake Geneva next week once Dr. Munroe changed it and synched Suzie’s stats to a battery.

    And not too far from Karen’s ute was a Harley Davidson Fat Boy. “I chose that one because I like having something big and powerful to ride on,” she said.

    “And I thought it was because you couldn’t fit in a car,” I quipped.

    “I’ll stuff you in your petrol tank in a moment,” she playfully shot back.

    I grinned. Then I let out a wistful sigh. “Why so glum?” Martissa asked.

    “Just kicking myself for not quitting while I was ahead. I mean… 476 pounds, hon. And I was too steamed thinking of you back at CCHQ for it to be enough. I blew the real test of strength… my ego.”

    Martissa played with a lock of her hair. “Well, I don’t think that was the REAL test. I think you aced it back in the breakroom, and again when you talked classical music with Gracie.”

    “I did?”

    “Yeah.” She put both hands on my shoulders. “You didn’t go along with something you knew was wrong just because someone stronger told you.”

    “Well, thanks very much, Marti. I’ll definitely give you a call, okay?” And I unlocked my ride’s door and got in.

    She seemed a little disappointed. “Okay,” she said. And she turned to go.

    Before I closed the door, though, I leaned out and called to her. "Hey, Martissa?"

    She turned around and came back. "Hmm?"

    I looked her up and down. “You got this way from the game, right?”


    “I can tell you beat the Conan wheel and didn’t drop through on the last handle pull."

    "Mm-hmm," she nodded.

    I peered at her. "I gotta know: did you quit while you were ahead… or go all the way?"

    She stood there silently for a moment. Then without a word, Martissa kneeled down, reached under the ute and gripped the undercarriage. Then without straining or even a grunt, she slowly lifted the whole vehicle off all four wheels. As I gasped, and she steadily rose to a full standing position, she rocked the passenger side up. And with a gentle shake from her, I fell forward and landed on her chest, her big bust cushioning my drop. In the same blink, she nimbly clapped her left arm around and caught me, and shot out her left knee under the ute so she wouldn’t drop man or machine. And after about five seconds of hanging and staring into that peaceful, lovely, endearing face, on an impulse I smiled and gave her cute button nose a peck.

    She shook her head no. And as she leaned forward to ease my ride back down, her soft lips engulfed mine in a very long, slow, powerful kiss. Stunned, I simply wrapped my arms around her neck and long, soft, full, thick hair and kissed back. After she set the ute back on its tires, she straightened back up, and with both rock-hard arms tugged me as closely and tightly against her ample bosom and solid, smooth tummy as comfortably possible. Finally, she let me break off and go up for air.

    "Congratulations," I said breathlessly.

    She nodded with a chuckle. "You, too."

    And Martissa placed me back in my seat, buckled me in, and twirled a lock of my air around her finger. Her soft cheek brushed against mine, and she whispered into my ear, "Drive safely and call me, mon petit TimTam." And after closing my door, she walked off to her motorcycle and zipped off.

    I sat there for quite some time to let the afterglow fade. The last thing I needed after this night was to get ticketed for a Martissa DUI.


    Quite some time after that, I’d reported for work as usual. I was feeling unusually casual. Almost chipper. And after I logged into my IM, I looked up my Ma’s deleted ID and added it again my list.

    Th3Fu11M0nt33: Hi, Ma. You’re up at the butt-crack of dawn as usual, I see.

    BahamaMamaBank: Hi, Montykin. Where are you typing this?

    Th3Fu11M0nt33: The office. Sorry I haven’t been in touch with you lately.

    BahamaMamaBank: It’s okay. I’m sorry you got in trouble.

    Th3Fu11M0nt33: Don’t worry, it won’t happen again. I may be incommunicado with you for a short while, though.

    BahamaMamaBank: Look, we can send you money for a phone card if you like.

    Th3Fu11M0nt33: Not just now, Ma. My mailing address is gonna change before too long anyway.

    BahamaMamaBank: I’m sure if we could talk about this with your boss, we can work it out.

    >>LHarridan has been added to the conversation.

    Th3Fu11M0nt33: Speak of the devil.

    BahamaMamaBank: You can always come and join us if worse comes to worst.

    I typed "Got other arrangements, Ma. And I haven’t seen ‘go preach’ in the clouds lately. I’ll be OK. Thanx, wuv oo." But…

    >>You are no longer part of this conversation.

    >>BahamaMamaBank is no longer part of this conversation.

    LHarridan: Monty. In my office. Now.

    I quietly closed the IM window, logged out, and pulled out, opened, and dialed on a new doo-dad I’d never had before: a cell phone. "Yes?" asked the voice on the other side.

    "Almost done here," I said. And I put it in my shirt pocket, picked up the plastic grocery bag with my few desk things, and headed over to Louise’s office just quickly enough to get it over.

    But midway down the hall, my nostrils started to burn. I turned. "Mrs. Summerlin?"

    Ms. Way Too Much Cheap Perfume Wearer rounded the corner. "Oh, hiya, Monty! Fancy meeting you here! Hey, that offer about dinner at the Mercure? Forget that. Got something better. How about the Islander on North Stradbroke Island?"

    I didn’t have time for this. "How’s your husband, Mrs. Summerlin?"

    "On vacation in Cairns. The Islander’s much nicer, though. Right on the beach, lovely gardens, lots of activities." And she stepped up really close. "And the restaurants got a beauty of a sunrise view over the ocean. Perfect for breakfast."

    I refrained from making a whale watching tour joke. Barely. "Sorry, not interested."

    She stared at me, stymied. "Why not?"

    "Because it would look very inappropriate. People might think we were having a liaison."

    She did a double take at my bluntness. But she slipped back into a cool smile. "Monty," she said simply. "Do you know how much of a hassle it would be for me to simply pick you up and carry you over there like a sack of potatoes?"

    "How much?"

    She reached over, grabbed me, swung me over her right shoulder and settled me on it like a 1980s boom box. "None whatsoever."

    I kept my tone even. "Mrs. Summerlin, put me down, please."

    "Right, right," she chuckled. "As soon as we get to the hotel."

    "Ms. Harridan is waiting for me, Mrs. Summerlin."

    "She’ll have to take a number." And she gave my left buttock a pinch.

    And then I did something I never did to a superior around here: I let my anger show. "This is sexual harassment, Mrs. Summerlin. Put. Me. Down. Now."

    She stared at me for the longest time. Then she stared daggers. "Where do you get off, you little twit?!"

    "Right here, right now. I am not attracted to you at all, and I wouldn’t want a promotion this way even if I were. Don’t make this any harder for you or easier for me."

    "Monty!" shouted Ms. Harridan.

    I took a breath to call out to her. Mrs. Summerlin clapped a hand over my mouth quickly. Then she set me roughly back on my feet. "Fine, then," she huffed. "You just blew it. We’ll see how much of a future you’ve got in this company."

    "I don’t have one here at all. We all know it. And I don’t want one." And I stepped to Louise’s door, but not until I looked back over my shoulder. "Oh, and three words of advice on perfume. Quality, not quantity." And I ducked on in without looking back and shut the door behind me.

    Louise looked at me from the desk. “Take a seat, Monty,” she said.

    “I’d rather stand, please.”

    She glowered. “Sit down.” Out of habit, I did, back straight. She looked at me. “Well?”

    “Well, what?”

    “You’ve had two weeks to check the numbers. Lucky for you our potential retailer had to postpone their meeting with us till this afternoon.”


    She drummed her fingers on the desk. “Well?”

    “Well, what?”

    “Well, why are the numbers the same?”

    “Because that’s still how many we sold.”

    “I thought we had settled this.”

    “You had. I never promised anything.”

    She locked her fingers together. “Do you like working here, Mr. Bank?”

    “Frankly, no.”

    She started at that. “Do you like having a paycheque here, then?”

    “’Like’ isn’t the word. I’ve just settled for it.”

    “Have you seen how small the want ad section has been in the paper lately, Mr. Bank?”

    “I haven’t been able to afford my own copy since I’ve worked here, Weez.”

    She recoiled. “What did you just call me?”

    “Something much nicer than what I really want to call you.”

    She started to turn red and growled, “Get back to the computer, fix the numbers to something more appealing to our future buyers, and if you’re lucky, I’ll forget this conversation ever happened.”

    “Can’t. Computer access is for employees only.” I pulled out a paper from my bag and placed it on her desk. “I went ahead to Human Resources and the plant manager and put in my resignation as of 10 a.m. today.” Louise’s watch beeped. Right on time. “I explained why and said I wanted as little grief about it as possible. While the PM isn’t going to even reprimand you, she simply wished me luck. Give my replacement my condolences.” I stood up.

    Louise stood herself and folded her arms. “Good luck surviving in America.”

    “Hmm? I’m not going there anytime soon.”

    “Well you’re not staying in Australia, that’s for sure.”

    I looked hard at her. “What do you mean?”

    “I warned you. You could have played along, Mr. Squeaky Clean Stickler. But I’m sure my friend Shelly in customs can find something amiss in your work visa.”

    “What happened to ‘spectacularly dependable and never missed a day or called in sick’?”

    She picked up the phone. “The brighter the picture, the darker the negative.”

    “I haven’t done anything wrong at all and you know it.”

    She smirked nastily. “Did I say you had?” She pointed to the computer. “Of course, if you can do some very fast calculating, I’ll let you log in here, tweak the accounts, and go gently into that good night. I’ll even put in a commendation.” I autonomically shook my head no. “Very well. Be careful around La Guarda Mexicana.”

    That’s when I fished out the cell phone that I’d pocketed. I’d never hung it up or closed it, though. “Did you get all that?” I spoke into it.

    “Loud and clear,” said Gracie on the other end.

    After a gobsmacked instant, Louise pounced on me over the desk. “YOU LITTLE–!” she screamed as she knocked me to the floor and wrapped her fingers around my throat. I could have stood my ground and pushed back, or rolled back and thrown her through the cheap thin office walls, but I didn’t want to explain it to the brass or cops. “Wiretapping is illegal, you little puke!” she snarled.

    “So’s fraud, blackmail and assault!” I rasped through a squashed voice box. And I quickly flicked my phone under a bookcase where Louise’s thick fingers couldn’t get it or Gracie’s number. “Last chance. If you won’t let me leave quietly, my partner will send that sound file straight to the police. And if you ever try to put me on a deportation plane, I’ll put you in a patrol car, and then a prison bus.”

    She seethed for five seconds. But at last her fingers opened and freed my neck, and she backed off. “Get out of my office,” she grumbled. “You are totally unfit for this operation.”

    I staggered up, took a pencil out of my bag and used it to push my phone out from under the book case. “Now that’s a recommendation.” And I put them both in my pocket, grabbed my bag and left.

    Mrs. Summerlin was just outside playing a round of I Wasn’t Eavesdropping. She just stared at me dumbfoundedly. “How’d your bottom get so hard in a hurry?" she asked quietly.

    I looked up with a half smile. "Can you keep a secret?" She nodded yes. "So can I."

    And I turned away, walked out, clocked out for the last time ever, turned in my time card to the HR desk, and left Brisbane Hosiery for good.


    “You can’t just leave us!” Chalky whined. “Who’s gonna play our video game? Or drink our caffsub? Or wash, wax, or clean the ute?”

    I munched on the scrambled eggs, toast, and soy links. The food here wasn’t much to sing about in general, but it was hard to louse up a proper breakfast. “Don’t worry; I’ll be back in the neighborhood every now and again.”

    Karen filled my cup. “Well, I’m really happy for ya, Mont.”

    ”Thanks very much for all your help,” I said.

    “Glad to, ducks,” she said with a motherly smile.

    Just then, a Chinese teen burst into the pub. He shone with sweat and breathed like he just double-time marched a whole mile. He looked straight at me. “Pardon, you Mista Monty?”

    “Monty Bank, yes. What can I do for you?”

    He showed a bright red Manila envelope. “Package from Mista Elliott.”

    “Ah yes, thanks.” And I took it. He looked expectantly. “That’s all, thank you. Do you need something else?”

    He blinked puzzledly, “No, just… well, thank you.” And he ducked on out.

    Chalky blinked. “What’s that?”

    “Something from my new employer.”

    “What’s in it?”

    I looked at him mysteriously. “The world must never know,” I whispered lowly. “’Scuse me, I gotta water the daisies. Can you watch after my suitcase?”

    “Sure will, ducks,” said Karen. And she came around to get it.

    I took off and went into the clean though ancient men’s washroom. And I checked out the envelope. It was still sealed shut on all ends. I held it up to the light: no signs of tampering. I split the seal, ignored the blank CD-R, and looked at the paper inside.

    It had only five words on it: “We can trust this one.”

    I got on my cell phone, and hit the three way call on my speed dial. “Yes?” said Gracie.

    “Ja?" said Martissa, alias Gerta.

    “He passed,” I said.

    “I thought he would,” said Gracie.

    “Shall I pick you up now?” asked my Drachenfrau.

    “Give me 15 minutes to finish my meal, please.”

    I went back out, finished my breakfast platter, chatted with Chalky and Karen, and reassured them I’d be back often, and thanked them for a decent meal. As soon as I heard the Harley roll up, I paid up, scanned the ration card, and rolled my suitcase outside. And checking to make sure it was clear, I hefted it up by the handle, and put it lightly on the luggage rack on the back of Martissa’s machine.

    “Guy was pretty nervous,” I said. “Did you intimidate him?”

    “No,” she replied, “he never saw me. I think he was scared of the rough neighborhood. I tailed him to make sure he made it back safely.”

    “How sweet of you.” I hopped on the back and wrapped my arms around her waist. “Well, I can hardly wait to get to Gracie’s and use the sauna.” And the weights, too.

    “And the burgers,” she added. “And I’d love to play some pool, too. Though I’ve heard that’s not your strong game.”

    “It’s okay. I can handle a Street Fighter machine well enough.”


    of Power Play

    But Monty Bank will return in the Asian adventure Child’s Play

    Special thanks to marknew742 for the coaching and original story

    Apologies to Gunnar Wetterberg


    Very nice!!! Very well written, as always.

    I only have one criticism. You could have put a more graphic description of Suzette and other females, along with more muscle interaction. It was a little too subtle for my taste (maybe also for others in this board). It would’ve been "hotter" if that was the case.

    Other then that…you write really well, and managed to create a really, really good character. Very well done! I’m anxious to read the sequel.


    I am humbled by the depth of your writing. You Marknew and a few others continue to raise the bar for FMG.


    That was awesome Mr.Dimples.

    Thanks for sharing this very cool expansion to the world as altered by Marknew.

    You’ve given this tale an Ian Fleming espionage feel and a human heart. Not to mention impluasibly developed amazon beauties 😛 .

    Very Very Cool.

    Be assured I’ll greedily consume the next installment once the procedures of real life and your muse leave energy for more writing.

    The tale moving to China is going to be quite interesting especially the reversal of the emphasis on the value of the firstborn son in terms of inheritance of property.

    However before the People’s Revolution there WAS an empress in control. 😈 Who’s to say how the Mandate of heaven might be reinterpreted after the Zap.

    There might even be a few American fraus that managed to get a boost from the big Zap on account of teaching English in one of the larger cities.

    Thanks again Johnny great story.

    Mark Newman

    Great work Jimmy. Thanks so much for carrying it all the way through.

    I think the muscle growth game show idea is one that other FMG writers should play with too. It has all sorts of possibilities.

    Stay in touch.



    An excellent story AND a Michael Larson reference.

    Two thumbs up.

    And that sequel had better not get Whammied.



    A great end to a highly entertaining and well written story. I look forward to the further adventures of Mr. Monty Bank (that would make a wicked series of movies) 8)



    First and foremost, I’d like to thank all of you for your comments, suggestions, and praise. You wouldn’t know how good it feels to have impressed a forum first crack out of the box.

    I’m especially pleased that Marknew felt that my sequel did his work justice. And I’m thrilled that it actually got Cowprobe’s head wheels a-turnin’.

    Buuuuut… may I tell you guys something else, too?

    *Martissa brings in a big soap box, hefts Jimmy on*

    You might have noticed that there’s a denoted lack of cursing, graphic violence, nudity or its… erm… affiliated activities.

    If this thing ever did become a film, I reckon it’d score a PG-13 rating from the MPAA, and only Vicki’s flip-off moment in Chapter 5 would have to be edited out to make it ready for network prime time.

    And that’s one thing I aim to do in my writing. I hope to write so that I don’t have to worry about my kids (if I ever am lucky enough to have ’em) stumbling onto it.

    While I appreciate the powerful full figured female as much as the next fellow, I think the writer shortchanges his talent and his readers if he simply settles for something that makes the hormones fizz. There are all sorts of directions one can take a writing piece if he thinks of where it can go from here. It’s a little extra work, but well worth it.

    And I am most thrilled that while this is a forum where the woman gets the strength, size, and power, a guy can still leave his mark here if he simply stands his ground and doesn’t compromise.

    And I think the compliment I like best in all 7 chapters here came from "Great Honking Fleejeebers!" saotomeproject:

    "It’s an FMG story with enough plotline and characterization that you could even consider mailing it to a non-FMG-fetishist member of the female half of the species!"

    Now of THAT, I’m proud. 8)

    Thanks deeply. Everybody. Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta put Biotopia in the works.

    *Martissa helps Jimmy down, they go off to the study*

    Rob W

    I liked it a lot!

    Just one quick query… Where is Brisbane do you live? 🙂

    RobW (in sunny Redcliffe)


    Nowhere, I’m afraid. I’m currently teaching English in China. I got the info on Briz from a good online friend, and a fellow teacher, and picked up more with a few web searches.

    Although… I’d LOVE to visit it one day if I ever get the cash and the time.

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