The envelope puzzled him. It was a brown, padded envelope with his name and address printed on a white label. He hadn’t sent away for anything, and in any case there was nothing to indicate the sender’s identity. He so seldom received anything other than junk mail through the post that this counted as completely out of the ordinary.
As strange as this was, the contents were even stranger. First he pulled out the sheet of paper. Again, there was nothing to suggest who the sender might be, and he read the message with astonishment.Dear recipient,
A well-wisher has chosen you to receive this exceptional gift. Enclosed, you will find a special figurine. This figurine will enable you to experience your deepest sexual desires. All you have to do is kiss it, and recite the incantation below. After that, place the figurine in a prominent place in your home and wait for your desires to be fulfilled.
He frowned, sticking his hand back inside the envelope and pulling out the figurine, which was itself contained in a sealed plastic bag, like it was police evidence or something. The figure itself looked innocuous enough. It depicted two lovers entwined, but they were fully dressed, lips just about touching. He knew nothing about such things, but it seemed a cheap item; nothing to be gained from trying to pawn it or sell it.
It had to be a trick or a con or a scam, or just someone who wanted to make fun of him. How was he to know it wasn’t coated in some kind of poison that would knock him out and allow someone to rob him blind or ransack his home? Could be it was just some chancer or other. Could be it was someone who for whatever reason didn’t like him and thought it would be fun to get him high. He could just imagine some of the kids who had made his life a misery at school thinking that would be fun. Except several years had passed, and he couldn’t imagine them even remembering him now. Besides, he’d moved to a different town, and had a job now. It wasn’t much, but it paid the bills and the rent on the poky flat he called home.
As convinced as he was that this was a stupid practical joke, Ben still felt himself drawn to the figurine. What if it somehow did do what the letter claimed? If it did, it would be the answer to his prayers. At twenty-one going on twenty-two, Ben was still a virgin. He’d never found social encounters easy, but got on well enough with women, as friends, acquaintances, colleagues. He just didn’t have the ability to get past that stage, or to approach someone he fancied with unequivocal intent. In any case, the women he fancied were uninterested in him as a romantic prospect. His love life remained spectacularly barren; his sexual life a solitary affair pursued in front of his computer.
No, he decided, life wasn’t that easy. There was no way some mysterious object was going to get him anywhere near a sexual encounter, whatever he did with it. The whole thing was obviously a hoax – though to what end he couldn’t imagine. He stuffed the bag with the figurine and the letter back in the envelope and chucked it in the bin, but not without the twinge of a wish that there really was a simple way for him to fulfil his sexual urges.
He thought no more about it, but the moment he came home from work the next day, that changed. There was a new envelope, this one a plain white affair with his address on it, but no sender. He ripped it open, finding a new note.Dear recipient,
We are sorry that you have chosen to reject the special gift a well-wisher decided to bestow on you. Gifts are important, and we recommend that you accept. Remember, once you kiss the figurine and recite the incantation, you will experience your deepest sexual desires.
Ben sat down on the bed that occupied a fifth of the room and buried his head in his hands. What the hell was this? What was the point of playing a prank like this on him? He even thought of going to the police, but didn’t think any crime had actually been committed. They’d probably laugh at him, take him for a crank; that’s what would happen.
He put a frozen pizza in the microwave, but could only eat a small portion of it. After an hour of mulling things over and over, he still felt conflicted. It was obviously all nonsense, but what if it wasn’t? No sane or rational person would believe for one second that the figurine had magical properties, but what if…? On the other hand, what if there was something fishy, some substance on the figurine that would make him break out in boils?
The padded envelope was still in the bin. Eventually Ben retrieved it, bringing out the letter and the plastic bag with the figurine. He rubbed the figure through the plastic, unable to detect any kind of coating. What if? What if he made a complete fool of himself? Well, who would know? What did he have to lose? He ripped open the plastic and pressed his lips hastily against the plaster. Then he read out the words on the sheet, just as hastily, thinking what a gullible fool he was being. He placed the figurine on a shelf, where it overlooked the compact living area. Then he flicked on the TV and slumped in front of it in his armchair.
Another hour passed. Nothing happened. Of course it didn’t, since this was all stuff and nonsense. Then the doorbell rang. By now it was nearing eight. He couldn’t imagine who it might be, except possibly those bloody Jehovah’s Witnesses who had tried their luck last Saturday. Still, he got up and went to the door to check through the peephole. Outside he could see Gina, looking surprisingly dressed up for a casual visit.
Gina was a good friend. She was also someone on whom Ben had a huge crush. No, not a crush, he was infatuated with her. Unfortunately she was also the kind of girl who never lacked male interest. Though she didn’t currently have a boyfriend, he knew she had regular sex with another male friend, of whom Ben was insanely jealous. None of which he let show.
He opened the door, surprised to find Gina looking nervous and holding out her hand instead of offering the usual hug. “Hi, I’m Gina,” she said. “I hope this is the right place. Are you Ben?”
From time to time Gina could have a very odd sense of humour, but this was weird even by her standards. “Come in,” Ben said, sensing something in her when he didn’t take her hand.
Then his mobile went off in the kitchen. “I’d better take that,” he said, closing the door behind Gina. When he turned around he couldn’t believe his eyes. The room looked suddenly much larger. The bed which occupied so much of it had disappeared. The shabby table where his computer stood was now a proper desk, with camera equipment on it. The posters on his walls were replaced with expensive looking framed prints. His tatty armchair was now a leather three-seater. There was another camera on a tripod too.
The set-up looked only too familiar to him, but he didn’t have time to reflect on it as he headed for the kitchen. His phone stopped ringing as he entered, the sight that met him making him pull up short and say, “What the fuck?”
There was a man there, pushing the door to behind Ben, but the oddest thing about him wasn’t how he had somehow or other managed to enter Ben’s flat and conceal himself there. The oddest thing about him was his pixelated head, which prevented Ben from making out his features. “Hello, Ben,” the man said. “I think you recognize me, don’t you?”
The pieces were beginning to fall into place, though it defied everything Ben knew about the world to believe it was happening. He nodded.
“Today, Ben, is your lucky day,” the man said.
It was too much to believe, but Ben understood perfectly. His abiding obsession, alone in front of his computer, was audition and casting videos. Lacking any kind of confidence or ability with women, he envied the men in them; envied their seemingly infallible ability to persuade seemingly reluctant young women to shed their clothes and have sex with them. So somehow the nonsense with the figurine wasn’t the nonsense he’d thought. Except that had no confidence in his own ability to emulate those men.
Then there was the one further complication. “But it’s Gina,” he said to the man.
He got the feeling there was a smile lurking beneath the pixels. “Is there any girl you’ve wanted to fuck more than her?”
True enough, but, “But she must recognise me, surely? She doesn’t think of me like that.”
“Don’t worry,” the man said, “that’s all been taken care of.”
“Never mind that. All you need to know is that she’s here in response to an ad looking for models. Your job is to get her to go all the way with you. You’ve seen the vids, you know how it works.”
Ben did of course know; some of the videos were etched into his memory.
“I’ll be here if you need me,” the man said. “But you’ll be just fine.”
Ben wasn’t at all sure about that. He was still having a hard time getting his head around this, but he nodded before turning and leaving the kitchen, seeing Gina on the leather couch fiddling nervously with the strap of her bag. Sitting down behind the brand new desk, he could see that the camera was already recording, pointing straight at the couch.
“Sorry about that,” he said. Then remembering the videos, he said, “I get so many calls, you know?”
Gina nodded. Normally she had a slightly shy appearance, with eyes that seemed keyed into secret realms. This look was hardly less pronounced today. She was wearing a tight skirt which had ridden halfway up her thighs, sheer cream-coloured nylons, and a top that hugged her nicely proportioned bosom. It was true what the man had said, Gina gave no indication of recognizing Ben at all.
He swallowed, trying to calm himself down. “So, Gina,” he said. “Tell me what brings you here.”
She didn’t answer at once, looking at him as if she were appraising him. “Right now I work in a call centre,” she said. “But it’s not what I want.”
“So you want to be a model?” Ben asked, surprising himself by finding the question so easily.
“I’m not sure what I want,” Gina replied. “I just saw the ad and thought, why not, you know?”
Ben nodded. “Well,” he said, “modelling certainly pays more than your current job. Is the money side of it important to you?” He was amazed at how easily this was coming to him.
“It helps,” Gina replied. Nervous eyes glanced at the cameras. “Are those on?”
This was the first tricky moment, Ben realised. “Yeah,” he said. “Are you uncomfortable with that?”
Gina shook her head. “No,” she said, her tone contradicting the word.
“Let me explain,” Ben said. “The thing is that the people I work with, they won’t work with someone they haven’t seen. They need to know that you’re, um, photogenic. That’s what the cameras are for.”
“OK,” Gina said. “I thought modelling was about, you know, ordinary photographs.”
Ben swallowed, trying hard to think. “Yeah, um, it used to be,” he said. “But now everything’s moving pictures, you know, like in the video age.”
“I see,” Gina said, still seeming very uncertain.
“Are you sure you’re OK with that?”
Gina seemed to come to a decision. “Yuh, okay, whatever.”
“Grand,” Ben said.
“So how does this work?” Gina asked.
Ben hadn’t the first clue how any of this worked, but bullshitting had worked for him so far. “It’s easy. I, um, send out the tape of your interview to my, um, many clients.” Tape? Surely it was all digital these days? Many clients? At his age would he have had time to build up an impressive agency? Nevertheless, he pressed on. “They decide if they think you’re the best fit for, um, whatever it is they’re looking for. If they do, I, um, give you a call.”
Gina was nodding. “Okay, I get it.” She was rummaging in her bag. “I brought my cv along,” she said, bringing out papers in a plastic file. “I thought you might like to see it.”
Ben frowned. He knew Gina well enough to know roughly what she’d done. She was on her feet, delivering the documents. He accepted them, thinking hard what to say. “Look, I’m glad to take your cv, but, um, it isn’t really necessary.” Now it was Gina’s turn to frown. “All that really matters is that you look good on camera.” Gina was backing up. “So now you’re on your feet,” Ben said hastily, groping his way into this, “you may as well, um, pose a bit, see how it goes.”
Gina looked puzzled. “Like how?” she said.
Ben leaned back in the chair. He was beginning to enjoy this. Occasionally he allowed himself the knowledge that he felt a little resentful towards Gina, due to the unrequited nature of his infatuation. The nature of the situation gave him, perhaps not quite power over her, but something of that nature. “Um, I try not to give directions,” he said. “See, if you’ve got what my clients are looking for, you’ll be, um, a bit of a natural, like.”
“I see,” Gina said, but she wasn’t looking too sure of herself.
“You’ve got one camera here,” Ben said, pointing to the one on the desk, “and that one on the tripod over there. Just play up to them a bit.” Seeing that Gina was looking uncomfortable, he went on, “You’re halfway there, love. You’ve got the looks and then some. I just need to see that you’ve got the moves.”
Gina didn’t really have the moves, but that hardly mattered. Ben couldn’t believe his luck as Gina moved about the floor, trying to act alluring and attractive. He’d desired her for so long, and now he could in all good conscience sit and look at her with no shame. It was all he could do to refrain from touching himself as Gina walked back and forth, trying on a little pout, thrusting her ample bosom forwards. More than anything he loved looking at her legs. The tight skirt left a fair bit of thigh to look at, and the sheer stockings seemed to give off flashes of reflected light.
“That’s great!” he said occasionally. “That’s sensational.” “That’s really good.” “My clients are gonna love you!”
Gina smiled, but it was obvious she was both nervous and out of her depth. That didn’t matter to Ben. Finally, he couldn’t stop himself.
“Right, Love,” he said. “That’s great. There’s just one more thing I want you to do.”
Ben was trembling inside. “Just face away from the desk,” he said, “and bend over.”
Gina looked a bit embarrassed, but she did as he said, bending forwards a little, then looking back over her shoulder. “Bend over how much?” she asked. “Much more and I’ll be showing my knickers.”
Wouldn’t that be a sight, Ben thought. He was on his feet, rounding the desk. “You’re almost there,” he said.
Gina leaned forward a little more, turning her head away from him. He trembled some more, his hands reaching out and touching the nylon stretched across the insides of Gina’s thighs. He’d dreamt about this more times than he could remember, and it was even better than he imagined. His whole being almost exploded with repressed longing.
“What are you doing?” Gina exclaimed sharply, straightening up and turning.
“Sorry, sorry,” Ben said, backing off and holding up his hands, thinking that at least she wasn’t a hologram. If she glanced downwards, she’d see the huge bulge in his trousers, but she didn’t. “I didn’t mean to… I just wanted you to stand with your legs a little further apart.”
“Why didn’t you just say so?” Gina said. But she resumed her pose, now with a slightly greater distance between her feet.
“If you’ll just give a little wiggle,” Ben said.
Gina complied, before turning. “Are we done?”
Ben sensed that this was make or break time. There were always moments like that in the clips he liked to watch. So far things had worked out all right. He’d even got to get a feel of Gina’s nylon-clad thighs. If it all ended here, that was still a memory to cherish. Now he gestured towards the couch, indicating for her to take her seat again.
Gina was staring at him. He could feel himself tremble inside. Get a grip he told himself.
“You did great,” he told Gina. Was it his imagination or did she soften just a smidgen. “I reckon it’ll be no trouble at all getting you shoots.” Gina was silent, waiting. Remembering the clips he watched, Ben ploughed on. “I’m, um, I’m sorry about what happened there. I didn’t mean… you know?”
The apology seemed to mollify Gina, who said, “Fine. I was just scared. For a moment there, I… I didn’t come here to be molested by some perv, you know?”
Ben managed a smile, nodding. He took a deep breath. In for a penny… “I understand,” he said. “Just so we’re on the level here, Gina, I think it’s only fair to tell you that I represent, um, all sorts here.”
“What do you mean?”
“Look, I won’t bullshit you, Gina. The money that comes in from a shoot like this, it’s, um, pretty small beer in the grand scheme of things.”
Gina knitted her brow. “What are you saying?”
“What I’m saying,” Ben went on, “is that if you were prepared to, um, you know, show a bit more, you could get three times the money.” He was bullshitting wildly. He had no idea what the going rates were, but then, he suspected, neither did Gina.
“No,” Gina said, “shaking her head vociferously. “No way!”
Ben leaned back in his chair. “That’s fine,” he said. “I don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to do. Just think about it for a moment. One grand for an afternoon’s work. Just for, um, flashing a bit of flesh.” Where was all this coming from? He’d never had the gift of the gab, but here he was, doing the hard sell like some barrow boy. If nothing else, that was magic in itself.
What he’d said got Gina thinking, he could tell. She was sinking back into herself, as she did when she needed to consider something. He gave her time, waiting until she said, “What, you mean like topless?”
“Sure,” Ben said casually. Topless was a good start.
“What… what kind of thing…?”
He knew her so well he understood her train of thought. “Oh, you know,” he said. “Calendars, that kind of thing.”
“What? Like what you see in garages and stuff?”
“Not page 3? My mum would die if she saw me on page 3.”
Ben smiled. “I’m sure you’d make a great page 3 girl,” he said. “But it’s not in my interest for you to do stuff you’re not comfortable with.”
The combination of flattery and solicitude seemed to work. “And I suppose you want me to… show… now?”
“No-one’s gonna hire you if they haven’t seen the goods, Love,” Ben said.
He could see that his luck was in. Gina kept him on tenterhooks for about fifteen seconds, then she said, “OK!” and stood up.
She pulled the top over her head with astonishing speed, but then she was like that, Gina, once she’d made up her mind. It was all Ben could do not to drool. He’d tried to envisage Gina’s breasts many times, and what he could see of them inside the snug, black lace bra was better than any fantasy. She had her hands behind her back and he said hastily, “Not so fast, Gina! You look really hot like that! Maybe you could do, um, an underwear shoot. What do you say?”
Gina gave him her shy, inscrutable look. “Maybe,” she said.
Ben, feeling he was on a roll, decided to make the most of things while they lasted. “If you could just come in close to the camera and…” He indicated with his hands what he wanted.
Gina, looking a little nervous, leaned in on the camera on the desk and pushed her boobs together. Again it was clear she would never actually make a model, even if she had the looks. That hardly mattered to Ben. “That’s great,” Gina he said. “Absolutely fantastic.” He meant it, too. He could still hardly believe his luck. His cock was throbbing, and he wanted desperately to reach out and touch her. Given his recent experience, this was probably not a good idea. “You look really, really sexy.”
He hadn’t even meant to use the s-word, but to his surprise it made Gina smile. Encouraged, he said, “Now, I don’t want you to do anything you’re not comfortable with, Gina. But if you could strip down to just bra and panties, that would be really good.”
Gina backed up. For a moment he thought she was going to kick up a fuss, but then she kicked off her shoes and began unfastening her skirt. “This feels really weird,” she said.
“Everyone says that,” Ben told her, continuing to bullshit on his feet. “Try and forget the cameras. Imagine you’re undressing for your man.” And if only I was your man, he thought as Gina’s skirt came down.
“I don’t have a boyfriend,” she said as she began peeling her tights down.
“No special someone?” Ben said, sorry to see the tights go, they looked so great on her, the way her legs glistened, but it had to happen.
“No-one at all,” Gina said. That was interesting, no mention of her little fuck buddy. Perhaps she didn’t want him to think she was loose.
“The guys don’t know what they’re missing,” Ben said as Gina pulled the nylon away from a foot.
She gave him that diffident look again. “I have offers,” she said.
This Ben knew only too well, and he didn’t want to dwell on that. “Good,” he said, eyeing her in what he hoped was a professional manner. “Now if you could just move about and pose a bit, like you did before.”
He fancied Gina was eyeing him as if she was trying to determine if he was for real or just some perv. Then she moved around, posing in a slightly stilted manner. Her panties were the full-bodied kind that came right down over her buttocks, with a solid crotch, though they were also black and silky. Ben wouldn’t have minded if they were brown and of cotton. He’d spent so much time fantasizing about Gina, and now it was for real – or perhaps not, but it felt real enough.
He’d thought the feel of her thighs would be enough to sustain him forever, but now that she was posing for him in just her underwear, the urge to touch her again was overwhelming. He thought that would scare her off, and restrained himself, just about. But boy did he want to get his hands on her, to feel her all over.
“That’s great, Gina,” he said. “You’re doing great, you look fantastic. Now if you could just do that thing you did before when you came up close to the camera… You remember?”
She nodded. When she came up close to the camera he could have leaned across the desk and touched her, but restrained himself again, watching her push her tits together. “Brilliant!” he said, trying hard not to sound like a perv. “Now if you could just, um, run your, erm, fingers over your, um, boobs for me…”
Gina looked at him, as if she could see right through him. But she did as he asked. He looked on, imagining what it would feel like to have the fabric beneath his own fingertips.
“And if you could turn around and bend over a bit, like you did before.”
This time she gave him a hard stare.
He held his hands up. “I won’t touch; I promise!”
This mollified her. She did as he said, bending forwards, her gorgeous arse sticking out.
“Give a little wiggle and put your hands on your bum,” Ben said.
Gina gave him a look over her shoulder, the kind of look that said, ‘You don’t fool me!’ But she did as he said all the same. Ben felt a desperate urge to rush over and stick his hand between her thighs, to have her, no matter what. He forced himself to calm down. He mustn’t lose it. Not now.
“That’s great!” he said. “Really great!”
Gina turned around. “Are we done now?”
“We were going for topless, remember?” Ben said, a little admonishment creeping into his voice.
“It wouldn’t be so much topless as pretty much naked,” Gina grumbled.
“True,” Ben said. “But that’s where the money is.”
Gina stared at him, turned, stood, and he could almost hear her the cogs whirring.
“OK,” she said at last. “But you blokes are weird about tits, you know that?”
“What the punters want, the punters get,” Ben said.
Gina kept her back to him as she undid her bra and slipped it off, laying it on the couch. When she turned Ben felt his cock twitch, a tiny ooze of pre-cum in his underpants. Shit! Her tits were finer than he could ever have imagined; perfectly rounded, as big as they could be without losing their shape, and across them there was a dark spread of areola.
“Gina! Gina!” he said. “You’re too good for page 3, believe me.”
He wasn’t sure if her smile was telling him how stupid men were, or if she liked the compliment. “But not for pervy garage mechanics?” she said.
Ben decided to ignore this. “If you could just, um, do some cupping, and some, um, pushing, and then, erm, you know, slide your fingers across…”
“You must really enjoy your job,” Gina said, but not in the hostile way he expected.
He wondered if he should deny that, but decided against it. “The job has its perks,” he admitted.
Gina smiled inwardly, her hands making the move; first cupping her breasts, then pushing them together. It was almost too much to bear, but Ben forced himself to maintain what he hoped was some kind of dispassionate gaze. She slid long, lithe fingers over the heavy mounds, and he thought he spied some swelling. The urge to ask her if she could push her breast up and tease the nipple with her tongue was overwhelming, but he decided against it. Likewise suggesting more advanced nipple play. There were, he thought, limits to how much he could get away with.
“That’s brilliant, Gina!” he said. “You’ve done great. I reckon anyone who sees you will want to hire you on the spot.”
She gave the floor a shy gaze. “So we’re all done then?” she asked.
Ben took his time answering. “That depends on how far you’re willing to go,” he said slowly, deliberately staring at her panties.
Gina’s eyes narrowed. “What are you saying?”
Ben leaned forwards. “I’m just saying that the further you go, the more money you make.” Suspicious eyes met his, but he was getting into his stride. “The more money you make, the more money I make, which makes me work that little bit harder for you.”
Gina thought about this. “These cameras,” she said, pointing at the one on his desk. “You’re going to send out what you record to people?”
“Yeah, of course.”
“What if…” She paused, giving a little twitch of the mouth. Ben tried hard to look at her eyes rather than her heavy breasts. “What if I regretted something of this? Would it still be sent out?”
Ben sighed, trying not to sound too impatient. “Here’s the thing, Love,” he said. “I have to edit this footage anyway. No-one’s got time to watch the whole thing. So if there’s anything you want edited out, just say the word. There’s more than enough to be getting on with.”
Gina nodded. “And none of it ends up on the Internet?”
This was the point at which the men in the videos he watched always lied. Ben took a deep breath. “I don’t do that kind of thing,” he said. “If I did, word would get out in no time and I’d lose business. Simple as.”
Gina nodded. “Can I borrow your bathroom?” she said.
“Sure,” Ben said. “You passed it on the way in.”
He kept his eyes on her luscious bottom as she left the room. Where did he go from here? Was this really for real? He had so many questions. Perhaps the man in the kitchen could answer.
The man with the pixelated head was still there. “You’re doing fine,” he said encouragingly. “Just fine. Like a real pro.”
“Is this… like real?” Ben asked.
“As real as it will ever be,” the man answered.
“So how does it work?”
“Never mind that,” the man said. “Just concentrate on getting what you want. That’s the only rule of this game. All’s fair, you know? The means justify the ends.”
It was unnerving talking to someone whose head was a total blur, whose expression he couldn’t see. “You sure?”
“Hey,” the man shrugged. “All this is what’s in your mind. Enjoy it while it lasts.”
Ben needed time to digest this, but the toilet was already flushing and he could hear the bathroom door being opened.
“You’d better get back out there,” the man with pixelated head told him.
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with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
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