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The Chief of Police was returning a favour to Mr Hawthorne by giving him advance notice that Charles had been picked up, and was on his way to central bookings even as we were speaking. I said I’d go straight down there and arrange bail, and though the guy sounded a bit odd, so I called to Tony and asked him to send one of our “friends” who also worked in the bank – Miles, from corporate legal – along in case I needed help.
We discovered what the problem was as soon as we were there – Charles had been picked up in a drugs bust! Look, it always was pretty stupid to do drugs, but it was just insane now as not only would they ruin your health (and that’s probably why Charles had been looking so drawn and thin recently), but the penalties were very severe indeed. Miles tried to arrange bail, but drugs offences were not eligible at all, and after some heated discussion he came back to me.
“You’d better call old man Hawthorne, Steve. Not only was the son and heir doing drugs, but he had so much of it on him that they’re doing him for dealing.”
“Can’t you do something about that?”
“No. It’s a pretty open and shut case – they have a video of a cop searching Charles, and finding the stuff. And Charles doesn’t even deny it, but just kind of smiles at him, and says ‘peace’!”
“So can we get him out tomorrow?”
“No, Steve. That’s why you’ve got to call old man Hawthorne! For dealing, there’s an automatic penalty: enslavement.”
“You can’t be serious – there must be something we can do… Call someone, use the bank’s muscle…”
“Not now, Steve. If we’d been able to get at them before he was booked we might have stood a chance, but now it’s in the system, and the video is filed as evidence and everything, there’s not a chance. Even though Mr Hawthorne has a lot of friends in high places, they’ll all be afraid to act now that the charge is publicly on the books and everything – it would destroy their careers to be seen to be playing favourites, if a journalist or someone like that found out.”
“But there must be something….”
“The only thing left is to buy him, I guess!”
“OK, I’ll call…. How long do we have?”
“Not long, Steve. It’s mostly an automatic process, and they don’t hang around with enslavement cases, especially not drug-linked ones. He’ll be in court any time now, and if no offer is made for him, they’ll just ship him off to the auctions.”
“You can offer to the courts to buy a slave?”
“Oh sure – there’s a standard price, but not a lot of people pay it, as especially in drug cases they don’t like the risk, and they always hope anyway that they can pick the slave up cheaper in the public auction.”
“Yes – rehab is mandatory for drug-related slaves, and there’s a possibility – some may say probability – that the slave won’t survive it. So why buy him in the court, when he might die? Or come out with his bran frazzled, like a vegetable? And even if he does survive, the auction price is likely to be low as he’ll be pretty much broken down physically…. So all in all, there just no percentage in buying in open court. We may as well wait…”
“Don’t be insane, Miles! I’ll have to buy him, as old man Hawthorne would never forgive me if he slipped through and someone else bought him…. And it might get known that the Hawthorne heir is up for auction, and they might try to put the squeeze on the old man…. No, I have to buy him now”
Miles and I sat in court, therefore, and watched as in just two minutes Charles life was radically altered. The charge was read out, and the judge asked him if he denied it. And when he said “no”, that was that! The judge banged his gavel, pronounced Charles to be a slave, and ordered the bailiffs to strip him, as is of course customary.
I think it was only then that his situation struck home to Charles, as he stood there vainly trying to cover his dick and balls with his hands before he was led away. He wasn’t allowed to stay in the court room to hear “offers” for him as it was considered bad for a slave to know how much he was worth, and so he was “taken down”, his nude body looking oddly pale and frail between the two burly officers. Then, as if he was not expecting any replies, the judge offered the slave for sale – subject to rehabilitation – and was about to move on, when Miles interrupted and said that we would do so.
Fortunately I had enough of my commission saved to pay the price – it turns out that credit cards were not acceptable, but they could do an on-line debit transaction that mostly cleared me out, and then a printer spat out documentation, and that was that! I was a genuine, certified, paid-up slave owner!
It was the first time that I’d ever dared take people back to Mr Hawthorne’s place, but I called Tony to meet me there as I thought I might need help with Mr Hawthorne, and Miles and I took a cab over. Henry was at first reluctant to let the two men in! Well, I suppose as a loyal slave he was following Mr Hawthorne’s orders – and I was glad that Tony was there as he needed all his commanding manner to make Henry cower and cringe: I doubt that I could have done it as he was too familiar with me.
Tony, Miles and I sat in Mr Hawthorne’s study and put through a call to Davos, where the conference was staking place, and it took ages and ages to get through to Mr Hawthorne – and only then after Tony had demanded to speak to the bank’s country general manager in Switzerland, who seemed to be acting as some sort of messenger boy as his CEO was in town. Mr Hawthorne was devastated and almost slammed the phone down, as he barked out orders to get him booked on the first flight out – he always flew the Atlantic by normal airline, as he thought the corporate jet was too cramped, compared with his seats in first class.
So then Miles and Tony and I had nothing to do. Well, you can’t sit there all night worrying, can you? So it wasn’t a wholly bad result, as we simply commandeered one of the luxurious guest suites and enjoyed our sport there. The following morning we set off for the slave holding facility (which is in a very unsavoury part of the city), as I thought we ought to tell Charles what had happened, and I was glad the other two guys were with me. At the reception – which was very shabby, as they evidently didn’t expect owners to visit – we demanded to see Charles, and after a lot of grumbling and moaning, they told us we could, but could not touch him “even if you wanted to”, the surly guard said, as if he knew something we did not. This was the official detoxification centre, and physical contact between owners and slaves wasn’t allowed, we were told.
We were all curious about how this detoxification was to be done, as I’d always understood that weaning guys off drugs when they were common in the old days was very hard. But as these men were only slaves, the answer was simple: the ultimate cold turkey!
They showed us into a long dark space, a space that was lined with cages. Yes, cages, literally. Hunched inside each cage was a naked slave – mostly niggas, of course, but with the odd whitey or Mexican here and there as we were in the north where these were a little more common. I say “hunched” as the cages were so small – not above about four feet on a cube. The slave could crouch or lie huddled, but not stand up or lie down fully. The stench, which hit us as we were led in, was dreadful – slaves were not allowed out of the cages, and they simply had to piss or crap where they were: a concrete channel unde the cages was clearly designed to take effluent away, but they obviously hadn’t hosed it down for some hours. But what was worse was the noise: the poor naked wretches were weeping and ranting – well, those who were not catatonic, at least.
We groped our way along to the cage which we thought had Charles in it – the contorted state of some of the bodies made it hard, at first, to be certain, and there he was, lying there all curled up into the foetal position with drool running out of his mouth as he muttered and moaned. “Not good”, the guard told us. “Not many of them pull out of that state, and it’s the ones howling with the pain in their limbs from withdrawal who do best.”
“Can’t we do anything, anything at all?”, I asked Miles, but he shook his head. “No, Steve. After all the problems in the twentieth century and the early part of this one, they decided to really crack down on drugs, and this is the result. People have to be utterly, completely stupid to even think about taking them, and the state has no compassion for those idiots who give in, or who decided to ‘dare’ the system. Just like slavery itself, there’s no reprieve – once you’re in here, you stay here until you’re cured, or you die. Whilst you and Tony were finishing off that epic fuck this morning I called one of my chums who specialises in human rights cases, and he told me that they’ve taken it right up to the Supreme Court, but no one has ever cracked it. Go into rehab as a slave, and you die there, or come out a ‘normal’ slave. Get enslaved, and that’s it, once and for all, no hope of remission. It’s tough justice, but it generally seems to work there’s far less of a drugs problem now than there ever was before, and crime generally is right down…. In fact, the only good jobs for us lawyers now is in commercial law, negotiating contracts and such like..”
We left in an odd mixture of moods. Miles and Tony seemed to think it was OK, and Charles had got what was coming to him. I suppose I thought the same, especially as the guy had been such a pain in the butt to me, but, on the other hand, it’s a shock to see someone you’ve known for so long reduced to that state. There was worse news yet, though: when we got back “home”, there was a stack of messages on the system waiting for an answer – normally Mr Hawthorne did this for himself, as the slaves were not allowed to touch the confidential messages server, and none of them were for me, of course. But in these exceptional times I assumed that they might be from Mr Hawthorne himself, trying to check up on progress.
As we all now know, of course, they were from the airline, trying to contact the family of a Mr Charles Hawthorne II, and when I called them back, I got the utterly terrible news about the semi-orbital disaster that had wiped out the supersonic flight from Geneva to New York. Only the very wealthiest could afford to go sub-orbital, where speed was of the essence, and after this, and the subsequent chain of disasters (ultimately traced to a tiny, almost insignificant design fault), those airlines unlucky enough to have bought and flown them were almost bankrupt. But as it was, the thing was lost without trace, and with it, Mr Hawthorne!
I watched in amazement as Tony and Miles went into action – as VPs in the bank they had an “emergency contact” list of other key executives, and they began calling to break the news, convening a meeting at the bank that very afternoon to discuss what should be done before the markets opened the following morning and the loss of the Chairman and CEO became known. I felt left out of it, totally, and I didn’t know what my feelings were: Mr Hawthorne had been a considerate owner, as these things go, I suppose, but on the other hand his treatment of me as a free man left much to be desired. I kind of grieved, I suppose, but then began to worry about what would happen to dad as he was, after all, just property, like Manderleigh itself, and, indeed, the apartment where I was now sitting.
On Monday morning Tony was not in his office, but we had no time to think of that – the markets were in turmoil, and all of us dealers worked flat out to minimise the potential losses caused by a run on our stocks as the news about Mr Hawthorne was now out. Mind you, I did manage to turn a profit, by actually “out guessing” the market and selling stuff very short and buying it back later when prices had plummeted even further. At four o’clock, though, Tony appeared with a couple of very high corporate execs, and we all sat in his office.
“We’ve heard a lot about you, Steve”, one of them began. “You have a bright future here in the bank, I believe. Now we just want you to re-sign your contract of employment… Everything’s changed now, as we’ll have a new CEO soon….”
Well it seemed a bit odd. I didn’t understand why I needed a new contract of employment just because Mr Hawthorne was dead, – especially as no one else in the office seemed to be offered one – and I went to scan through the documents. “No need for that, young man”, the suit said. “Just sign, please…..”
I saw Tony looking a bit bashful, as if he was vaguely ashamed, and when I went to flick over the pages in spite of the admonition, he seemed to cheer up. You learn to read little signals like that as a dealer, and I remembered the last time I’d been asked to sign something without looking at it. So I took the papers, and very carefully began to read them.
“What’s all this clause about assigning all rights to both tangible and intangible properties to the bank?”, I asked. “I understand about intellectual discoveries I might make, and so on, but this looks as if I’m giving away stuff I actually own – not that that’s much….”
“Oh, no need to worry about that, young man, just sign, please..”
“Perhaps I’d better have my lawyer read it through….”
“If you don’t trust the bank, young man, perhaps you’re not the kind of person we want working here”, he blustered. And his whole attitude now shrieked at me that something was wrong.
“No. I’ll take my time, and read it through, and give it back to you tomorrow. I’m a pretty good dealer, and if the bank doesn’t want me, I ‘m sure I can take my services elsewhere. I’m not a slave, you know!”
“Now look here”, he blustered again, “Just sign, young man! The bank has been good to you….”
Tony was definitely smiling now, as I think he enjoyed seeing me assert myself, and, taking my side very openly now, he said “Steve, why don’t you get Miles in corporate legal to check it out for you? He probably writes that sort of stuff all the time, after all….”
So I just walked out, leaving them there, and took the express elevators up to the corporate executives’ floor (and where the legal department was, of course). Miles seemed surprised to see me initially, then, when I showed him the contract, at first look puzzled, them amazed, then almost shocked. “Now I know what they’ve all been running around here about all day, like chickens with their heads cut off”, he said, “and why every time I walked past, they went into a secret huddle. I thought we were doing some ultra-secret deal involving a new Chairman, and, well, to a certain extent they are….. They didn’t want me to know, as I suppose someone has told them that you and I are, shall we say, acquainted.”
“You see”, he went on, “They’re asking you to assign to a small committee of the bank’s officers all your rights to any property you acquire that is related to the bank – shares, stuff like that.”
“Well that seems harmless…. I don’t have any.”
“Well that’s the clever bit, Steve: I think you do. Mr Hawthorne is dead, as we know, and I wonder who his heirs are?”
“Well, Charles, I guess….”
“Exactly so! But he’s a slave, Steve, and slaves can’t own property. And when an owner acquires a slave, he normally acquires all that slave’s property, too!”
“You mean like I was enslaved, as I was considered to be dad’s ‘property’?”
“Right again. You are the owner of Charles, so if Charles is left stuff by Mr Hawthorne, you get it. I wonder how much the old bastard left his son? Are there any siblings or anything?”
“Not as far as I know. It was only ever Charles at the apartment, and down at Manderleigh…..”
I stopped, as the realisation hit me. “You mean I might own all of that?”
“Well, expect a fight, Steve. And it depends on Mr Hawhorne’s will, and whether his attorney was clever enough to foresee that his might happen and has some sort of get-out clause in it – you know, ‘I leave everything to my son Charles unless he is prohibited from inheriting by virtue of insanity or enslavement, in which case….’.”
Look, it gets boring from here on, at least the legal stuff does. It took months to resolve, and the bank used all its financial muscle to try to get Mr Hawthorne’s will set aside, even going so far as to suggest that “worthy charities” ought to inherit, rather than “an ex slave”. Miles left the bank and fought my case – he really seemed to enjoy it, and there’s no way I’d have been able afford that kind of representation myself – and he had great satisfaction in being able to point out that there was no such thing as an “ex slave” as, by definition, slavery was for life – I’d never been a slave at all!. “How”, he asked the courts, “could lawyers who were so sloppy possibly even consider placing the management of so many assets, assets vital to the well being of the USA, into some charitable trust? Surely they’d get that wrong, too!”
It took more than a year, but I found myself the tenth or eleventh richest man in the USA! Mr Hawthorne’s assets were deviously hidden, and it took longer to unravel them, but by cross-holdings in various offshore companies, trusts in secretive Switzerland, and other devices, he even owned some ten percent of the stock of the bank. I got particular pleasure from demanding the right to be on the Board, given the size of my holding. Of course there were horrendous inheritance duties to pay, and very fierce penalties to the IRS as you might expect – but they were happy to accept payment, and there was not even a mention of enslavement! It was just as I’ve always thought – the IRS chases the little guy, like dad, to the limit, but the big cheats get away with it.
In all that time I’d not been to Manderleigh as Miles had advised that it was unwise to be seen to be profiting from the assets, in case it should turn out that they were taken away from me and then I might get hit by charges for their “use” in the intervening period. That had made staying at the apartment difficult, too, but when Miles saw I was living in one of the slave “kennels” he said that I should stay on, as even if I were ever to be charged rental, it would be less than I’d have to pay on an apartment. But once the courts ruled in my favour and I was undisputed owner of everything, I knew it was time to go and sort out dad!
By one of those odd coincidences that seem to happen, Charles’ situation got resolved at much the same time: he’d come out of his catatonic state after a month or so, but when they came to assess his state, before handing him over to me, they had decided that he was “fragile” and that if he were released to his owner, me, there was a high probability that he would simply run away, or steal, or do anything to get more drugs. Consequently he’d been moved to a “slave restructuring facility”, as they called it, where he could be made to work at closely supervised jobs such as assembling consumer goods whilst he got over his deadly craving. Now, I was told, he was “ready for collection”, but I left him there for another week or so, as I thought it better to go and actually survey my Manderleigh holdings first.
As a member of the board of the bank I had a right to use the corporate jet, so once more I left New York on a Friday afternoon and arrived at Manderleigh in time for an early dinner. Tony and Miles had offered to come down with me, but this was something I thought I needed to do alone. On arrival, all was very much as I remembered it, except that now, of course, the limo swept up to the vast front doors and I strode up the steps as owner, rather than being required always to use the rear entrance. I sat down in the study, remembering my other times in here, and one of the slaves stood hesitantly in the shadows until I commanded him to bring me a vodka and tonic, and to summon Stryker to my presence.
Stryker must have been waiting to be called ,as he appeared even before the drink did! “You can have my resignation….”, he began.
“No, I need someone to run this place, and you know it like the back of your hand. You will stay and carry on just as before.”
“I can’t stay here, sir. You were a slave….. I used you…”
“I was in fact never a slave, Stryker. And it was me who used you, I seem to remember.”
“No, I’m quitting. I need a change.”
I stood up and faced him. He was much broader and much more muscled than me as he evidently still worked the weights to excess, but I was perhaps an inch or two taller than him. Before he could react, I reached down and grabbed his dick through the tight shorts he habitually wore. My hands closed around the plastic moulding he used, and I sneered at him “Still trying to make out you’re a proper man, eh, Stryker? How will you feel when I let it be known to your new employers, whoever they are, that their big, tough-looking slave manager has a tiny weenie, a shrivelled up little dick that would be better on a schoolboy? Do you think anyone would want to employ someone like that, eh?”
“Yes, I would. I need you here, and here you can stay. I’ll pay you the same as Mr Hawthorne, give you the same powers to run the place, but there’s no question of you leaving…. Unless you enjoy public ridicule, that is….”
He looked for a moment as if he would hit me or something, as I saw his muscled fists clenching and unclenching as he stood there. “Come on, Stryker! Don’t be a fool”, I added, now more conciliatory. “You have a good job, and you know that. Well paid, lots of power… You’d find it difficult to get a better one, anywhere.” I relaxed my grip on his dick and “shaper”, and as he stood there, I simply opened his shorts and pushed them down. He made no move to stop me, as I usually did this when, as a slave, he’d planned to use me and I had instead abused him.
It was hard to take hold of his dick, as it was faintly repulsive lying there in my hand like a dead slug, but I stroked it into life ,my hand easily covering all of it. I held him tight, allowing my fingers to reach down and cup his raisin-sized balls, and pulled him over towards the couch and positioned him to stand behind the back of it. Now it was easy to do as I had so many times before and simply grip his neck and push him, or perhaps it’s better to say “guide” him to bend over it, so that his ass became accessible to me. One advantage of all the steroids and stuff he took was at least that his butt was a pleasure to behold – huge, strong muscles, curving up from his thighs to make a most exciting prospect. He kept his body shaved to emphasise his musculature, and in the glow of the fire it was evident too that he oiled himself to make his skin satin smooth.
The size of a man isn’t all that important, I always find – what matters is who is in control, and even as a slave, once I’d started I never had any problems in bending Stryker to my will. Now, with the added status of being his employer, and a wealthy man, I knew he would be even less likely to resist me, and for a moment I thought that perhaps I should just leave him there: it would emphasise to him that I knew I could take him if I had wanted, but that I’d chosen not to, and this might humiliate him further. But my dick was twitching with anticipation – Tony and Miles were great as fuck buddies, but there’s something very special about using a hard, muscled ass on a mature man, an ass that’s not usually available, and one where the strength and power of it means that you’re going to have to force the cheeks apart, and then batter your way in! By the time I’d finished and was lying forward onto his back with my dick still skewering him after I’d filled him with my cum, I knew he was still in my power.
Although draining myself into Stryker had put me into a good mood, I was still dreading dealing with dad, and so I postponed it until the following morning – a good dinner and a good night’s sleep would make me feel better, I thought – and, after all, dad had been a slave for so long now that another day wouldn’t make much difference.
I asked Stryker to join me for breakfast, and as we ate I told him that I needed to see Joe, and that I had some difficult choices to make about his future – I wasn’t sure, for example, that I wanted him living with me in New York. Stryker looked uneasy, and when I finally demanded that hew tell me what the problem was, he sounded a bit sheepish. “Look, sir, you don’t have any experience of managing slaves…. Well… I guess it’s more one of being managed in your case…. Not that I meant to be rude, sir… But you weren’t a slave anyway, I suppose…. But you only saw one side of it, and only had your own experience. I’ve been in this business a long time, sir, and manage hundreds of slaves, and see how they behave… And….”
“Oh get on with it, Stryker! What’s the problem?”
“Sir, your father – or shall we call him Joe – has been a slave here for a long time now, sir. And Joe’s the kind of man that was big and tough and powerful in the outside world – not powerful as you are now sir, able to order big companies around – but powerful in the sense that other men didn’t argue with him, and looked up to him. Well, sir, as often happens, these men whose whole life depends on them being in control… well, once they’re enslaved, they lose it, sir. They become different people. And they can’t go back, sir….. Joe is a good slave, sir, now… Once he was ‘broken’, sir, his whole view of life, of himself, of his place in things, changed. He’s a slave through and through, and there’s no way he’ll adjust to life as a free man…. He’s a happy slave, sir, but he’ll be miserable as a free man. He’ll no longer be totally confident of his own abilities, and he won’t be able to cope…. That’s what being broken in to being a proper slave does to you, sir… People think it’s about the pain and suffering the slave’s body receives at the time, but it’s the destroying of the slave’s will to be anything other than a slave that’s important, sir…. And there’s no way you can make him a free man again ‘inside’, whatever you do to remove his collar…”
Stryker seemed quite agitated as he said all this, and I understood why when he finished with “So don’t blame me, sir… I had to break Joe, not only because Mr Hawthorne ordered it, but because I have to be able to run the place, sir, and you can’t run it with slaves who don’t understand that they are slaves….”
I nodded, and what he was saying seemed to accord with the changes I’d noticed in dad over the years – the big, super-confident guy who’d I’d always looked up to was now physically stronger and tougher than he’d ever been before, but his manner had changed: he’d become subservient, and he didn’t like it when I was cross about being ordered around… and he blamed me for my anger, rather than blaming the system. He wasn’t the dad I’d known before we were brought here.
I got up from the table and went out on to the terrace, and there, coming up the lawn, was dad, harnessed to the mower with the Mexican guy, Juan, guiding the thing and occasionally flicking at dad’s back with a tawse to “encourage” him. As he got closer I could see that even at this early hour dad was dripping with sweat from his exertions, and as he got closer still, I watched as his cinched dick bobbed up and down, semi-erect, as he toiled away. As he toiled away for me now, I suppose.
If I’d acted then, things might have been different. But as it was, I stood there and said and did nothing. I stood and watched dad turn the heavy mower around and trot off back down the lawn. As a slave, he hadn’t even looked up to the terrace, where he’d have seen me, so intent was he on his work. That wasn’t the dad I knew, the dad who was always interested in what’s going on, and who’d have sneaked a peek up at the figures of Stryker and me as we stood there, risking Stryker’s anger as he needed to constantly challenge and test things. And the moment was gone, lost for ever – I could hardly do anything when they reappeared, could I? I shouldn’t have let dad do another circuit of the lawns as I watched, there was no excuse for me. I should have stopped him that first time, run out and thrown my arms around him. But I didn’t. And now I knew I never would.
To be continued …
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