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Here is an overview of the 34 chapters in Fighting Slave of Gor:
1. The Restaurant; The Cab
3. The Lady Gina
4. Lola and Tela
5. I Am Taught to Pour Wine; I Am Punished; I Hear of the Market of Tima
6. The Lady Tima
7. I Am Thrown a Woman
8. I Am Shamed; I Will Leave the House of Adronicus
9. I Am Goods Bound for the Market of Tima
10. I Find Myself Slave in the House of the Lady Tima; I Am Recreation for the Lady Tima, After She has Finished her Work
11. The Room of Preparation
12. The Market of Tima
13. The Lady Florence; I Encounter a Slave Girl, Whom I Learn is Owned by Oneander of Ar
14. A Mistress Expresses Curiosity As to the Touch of Men; A Mistress Commands her Silk Slave to Take Her in His Arms
15. I Am Beaten; The Mistress Speaks with Me
16. The Perfume Shop of Turbus Veminius; I Am Captured
17. The Lady Melpomene; The Vengeance of the Lady Melpomene
18. The Inspection of the Stable Slaves
20. I Learn That the Mistress Will Have House Guests
21. The Incubation Shed
22. The House Guests of the Lady Florence; The Vengeance of the Lady Florence; I Am Given a Slave to Sport With
23. A Girl in the Tunnel
24. Another Girl in the Tunnel
25. I Fight Krondar, Slave of Miles of Vonda; Tarnsmen
26. I Make the Lady Florence my Prisoner; We Flee through the Tunnels
27. I See to it that the Lady Florence Performs for Me
28. The Ankles of the Lady Florence are not Bound
29. We Move South; The Tale Told by a Strand of Hair; I Decide to Prepare the Lady Florence for Slavery
30. We Resume Our Journey
31. We Continue our Way Southward
32. I Do Not Listen to the Entreaties of the Lady Florence
33. We Will Enter the Camp of Tenalion; The Leash
34. We Enter the Camp of Tenalion; I Sell the Lady Florence; I Must Now Search fo the Slave, Beverly Hudson
The image below shows the most often used words and terms within Fighting Slave of Gor. The larger the size, the more often the word or term occurs in the text.
"May I speak to you intimately, Jason?" she asked.
"Of course, Beverly," I said.
We sat at a small table, in a corner booth. The small restaurant is located on 128th Street. A candle burned on the table, set in a small container. The linen was white, the silver soft and lustrous in the candlelight.
She seemed distracted.
I had never seen her like this. Normally she was intellectual, prim, collected and cool.
She looked at me.
We were not really close friends. We were more in the nature of acquaintances. I did not understand why she had asked me to meet her at the restaurant.
"It was kind of you to come," she said.
"I was pleased to do so," I said.
Beverly Henderson was twenty-two years old and a graduate student in English literature at one of the major universities in the New York City area. I, too, was a student at the same university, though pursuing doctoral studies in classics, my specialty being Greek historians. Beverly was a small, exquisitely breasted, lovely ankled, sweetly hipped young woman. She did not fit in well with the large, straight-hipped females who figured prominently in her department. She did her best, however, to conform to the standards in deportment, dress and assertiveness expected of her. She had adopted the clichés and severe mien expected of her by her peers, but I do not think they ever truly accepted her. She was not, really, of their kind. They could tell this. I looked at Beverly. She had extremely dark hair, almost black. It was drawn back severely on her head, and fastened in a bun. She was lightly complexioned, and had dark brown eyes. She was something in the neighborhood of five feet in height and weighed in the neighborhood of ninety-five pounds. My name is Jason Marshall. I have brown hair and brown eyes, am fairly complexioned, am six feet one inch in height, and weigh, I conjecture, about one hundred and ninety pounds. At the time of our meeting I was twenty-five years old.
I reached out to touch her hand.
She had asked if she might speak to me intimately. Though I appeared calm, my heart was beating rapidly. Could she have detected the feelings I had felt towards her in these past months since I had come to learn of her existence? I found her one of the most exciting women I had ever seen. It is difficult to explain these things. It is not, however, that she was merely extremely attractive. It had rather to do, I think, with some latency of hers that I could not fully understand. Many were the times when I had dreamt of her naked in my arms, sometimes, oddly enough, in a steel collar. I forced such thoughts from my mind. I had, of course, many times asked her to accompany me to plays, or lectures or concerts, or to have dinner with me, but she had always refused. It did not seem, however, that I was unique in collecting this disappointing parcel of rejections. Many men, it seemed, had had as little luck as I with the young, lovely Miss Henderson. As far as I could tell she seldom dated. I had seen her once or twice about the campus, however, with what I supposed might be male friends. They seemed inoffensive and harmless enough. Their opinions, I suppose, conformed to the correct views. She would have little to fear from them, save perhaps boredom. Then, this evening, she had called me on the telephone, asking me to meet her at this restaurant. She had not explained. She had said only that she had wanted to talk with me. Puzzled, I had taken a subway to the restaurant. I would take her home, of course, in a cab.
She had asked if she might speak to me intimately. I touched her hand.
She drew her hand back. "Do not do that," she said.
"I'm sorry," I said.
"I don't like that sort of thing," she said.
"I'm sorry," I said.
I was irritated. But I was now more puzzled than ever.
"Do not try to be masculine with me," she said. "I am a woman."
"Did that come out right?" I asked, smiling.
"I mean 'I am a person'," she said. "I have a mind. I am not a sex object, not a thing, a toy, a bauble."
"I'm sure you have a mind," I said. "If you didn't, you would be in a very serious condition."
"Men do not value women except for their bodies."
"I did not know that," I said. "That sounds like something that would be said only by a woman whom it would be very difficult to value for her body."
"I do not like men," she said. "And I do not even like myself."
"I do not understand the purport of this conversation," I said.
In so brief a compass it seemed to me that she had touched on two of the major ambiguities afflicting the politics she espoused. First there was the insistence on womanhood coupled simultaneously with the suppression of womanhood, exalting the neuteristic, sexless ideal of the person. One must be insistent on being a woman, rhetorically, and yet the last thing one must be is honest to one's womanhood. The ideal of the person was the antithesis to honest sexuality, a device to inhibit and reduce, if not destroy, it. It was, of course, a useful instrumentality to certain types of women in the pursuit of their political ambitions. In a sense I thought this wise on their part. They had the good sense to recognize that the sexuality of human beings, and love, was the major obstacle to the success of their programs. The desire of women to find love might yet prove fatal to their designs. The second major ambiguity in the politics involved was the paradoxical combination of hostility toward men coupled with envy of men. Most briefly put, on the level of primitive simplicity, such women hated men and yet wished to be men. They hated men because they were not men. A natural consequence of this, of course, was that they, unhappy with themselves, felt hostility toward themselves as well. The answer to this latter difficulty might be a simple one, namely to accept what one is, in its fullness and depth, for the man to accept manhood, and the woman womanhood, whatever it might involve.
"The sexes are identical," she said.
"I did not know that," I said.
"I am just the same as you," she said.
"I see no point in entering into an argument on this issue," I said. "What would you accept as counterevidence?"
"Some unimportant, minor differences in anatomical details are all that divide us," she said.
"What of ten thousand generations of animal ancestry and evolution, of the genetic dispositions in billions of cells, not one of which is the same in your body as in mine?"
"Are you a sexist?" she asked.
"Perhaps," I said. "I do not know. What is a sexist?"
"A sexist is a sexist," she said.
"That is a logical truth," I said. "An apple is an apple. The argument is not much advanced."
"The concept is vague," she said.
"There is little if any concept involved," I said. "The expression is a 'signal word,' a word selected for its emotive connotation, not its cognitive meaning. It is to be used as a slander tool to discourage questioning and enforce verbal agreement. Similar expressions, once meaningful, now largely of value as rhetorical devices are 'chauvinist', 'sex object', 'person', 'conservative' and 'liberal'. One of the great utilities of these words, long since evacuated of most of their cognitive content, is that they make thought unnecessary. It is little wonder men value them so highly."
"I do not believe you," she said. "You may not share my values."
"Does that disturb you?" I asked.
"No," she said, quickly, "of course not!"
I was growing angry. I slipped from the booth.
"No," she said, "please do not go!" She reached forth and took my hand. Then, swiftly, she released it. "Forgive me," she said, "I did not mean to be feminine."
"Very well," I said, irritably.
"Please, don't leave," she said. "I do wish, desperately, to talk to you, Jason."
I sat down. We scarcely knew one another, and yet she had used my first name. I suppose I was weak. I felt mollified. Too, I was curious. Too, she was beautiful.
"Thank you, Jason," she said.
I was startled. She had thanked me. I had not expected that. I felt then that perhaps, truly, she did wish to speak with me, though for what reason I could not conjecture. Surely our politics were insufficiently congruent, as she must now understand, to motivate any expectation on her part that I would supply much positive reinforcement for her own views.
"Why do you wish to speak to me?" I asked. "Before you scarcely passed the time of day with me."
"There are reasons," she said.
"Before you would not speak with me," I said.
"You frightened me, Jason," she said.
"How?" I said.
"There was something about you," she said. "I do not know really what it was. There is a kind of power or masculinity about you." She looked up, quickly. "I find it offensive, you understand."
"All right," I said.
"But it made me feel feminine, weak. I do not wish to be feminine. I do not wish to be weak."
"I'm sorry if I said or did anything to alarm you," I said.
"It was nothing you said or did," she said. "It was rather something which I sensed you were."
"What?" I asked.
"Different from the others," she said.
"What?" I asked.
"A man," she said.
"That is silly," I said. "You must know hundreds of men."
"Not like you," she said.
"What were you afraid of," I asked, "that I would tell you to go into the kitchen and cook?"
"No," she smiled.
"That I would tell you to go into the bedroom and strip?" I asked.
"Please, Jason," she said, putting her head down, reddening.
"I'm sorry," I said. Inwardly, however, I smiled. I thought it might be quite pleasant to direct the lovely Miss Henderson to enter the bedroom of my small student's apartment and remove her clothing.
"There are various reasons I wanted to speak to you," she said.
"I'm listening," I told her.
"I don't like you, you understand," she said.
"All right," I said.
"And we women aren't afraid of men like you any more," she said.
"All right," I said.
She didn't speak, though. She put her head down.
This evening she was dressed as I had never seen her before. Normally she wore garb of the sort tacitly prescribed for her in her intellectual environs, slacks and pants of various sorts, and shirts and jackets, sometimes with ties. Imitation-male clothing, interestingly enough, is often adopted by individuals who are the most vehement in their claims to be women. It is possible, of course, that those who make the most noise about being women are the least feminine of all. But such matters are perhaps best left to psychologists.
"You look very lovely tonight," I said.
She looked up at me. She wore an off-the-shoulder, svelte, white, satin-sheath gown. She had a small, silver-beaded purse. Her wrists and neck were bare. She had lovely, rounded forearms, and small wrists and hands. Her fingers were small, but lovely and delicate. She did not wear nail polish. On her feet were golden pumps, with a wisp of golden straps.
"Thank you," she said.
I regarded her. She had lovely, exciting shoulders. I saw that her breasts would be very white. Her bosom, small, but sweetly swelling, concealed, strained against the tight satin sheath. I felt I would like to tear the garment from her and throw her on her back, naked and helpless, on the table. When she was crying to be used, I could throw her to the floor, there to make her mine. I thrust such thoughts from my mind.
"But that is surely not the standard uniform in your department," I said.
"I do not know what is going on with me," she said, miserably. She shook her head. "I had to talk to someone."
"Why me?" I asked.
"There are reasons," she said. "Among them is the fact that you are different from the others. I know what the others will say and think. I want someone who thinks for himself, who can be objective. In our short conversations it became clear to me that you are one who thinks not in terms of words but in terms of things and realities. Your thinking is less analogous to the playing of tapes than it is to the photography of facts."
"Many thousands of individuals think in terms of the world, its nature and promise," I said, "not in terms of slogans and verbal formulas. Indeed, those who control the world cannot afford not to. They may use verbal formulas to manipulate the masses, but, in their own thinking, they cannot be limited in this fashion or they would not have come to their positions of power."
"I am accustomed," she said, "to those who think only verbally."
"The academic world, too often," I said, "is a refuge and haven for those who cannot manage more. Academic thinking does not have the same sanctions of success and failure as practical thought. The aeronautical engineer makes a mistake and a plane crashes. A historian writes a stupid book and is promoted."
She looked down. "Let us order," she said.
"I thought you wanted to talk," I said.
"Let us order now," she said.
"All right," I said. "Would you like a drink?"
"Yes," she said.
We ordered drinks, and later, dinner. The waiter was attentive, but not obtrusive. We drank and ate in silence. After dessert, we sipped coffee.
"Jason," she said, breaking the silence, "I told you before that I didn't understand what was going on with me. I don't."
"You wished to talk to someone," I said.
"Yes," she said.
"Proceed," I said.
"Don't tell me what to do," she said. "Don't tell me what to do!"
"Very well," I said. "Shall I call for the check?"
"Not yet," she said. "Please, wait. I—I do not know where to begin."
I sipped the coffee. I saw no point in hurrying her. I was curious.
"You will think that I'm mad," she said.
"If you will forgive the observation," I said, "you seem to me, rather, to be frightened."
She looked at me, suddenly. "A few months ago," she said, "I began to have unusual feelings, and urges."
"What sorts of feelings and urges?" I asked.
"They are the sort of thing which people used to think of as feminine," she said, "when people still believed in femininity."
"Most people still believe in that sort of thing," I said. "Your official position, whatever its political values, is a perversion not only of truth but of biology."
"Do you think so?" she asked.
"Clearly," I said. "But I would be less worried, if I were you, about what people believed to be true than about what was true. If you have deeply feminine urges you have them. It is that simple. Let people who have never truly experienced femininity argue about whether it exists or not. Let those who know it exists, because they have experienced it, set themselves to different problems."
"But I am fearful of the nature of my femininity," she said. "I have had frightening dreams."
"What sort of dreams?" I asked.
"I hardly dare speak of them to a man," she said, "they are so horrifying."
I said nothing. I did not wish to put her under any undue stress.
"I have often dreamed," she said, "that I was a female slave, that I was kept in rags or naked, that a steel collar was put on my neck, that I was branded, that I was subject to discipline, that I must serve a man."
"I see," I said. My hands gripped the table. My vision, for a moment, swam. I looked at the small beauty. I had not known I could feel such sudden lust, such startling, astonishing, maddening desire for a woman. I dared not move in the slightest.
"I went to a psychiatrist," she said. "But he was a man. He told me such thoughts were perfectly normal and natural."
"I see," I said.
"So I went to a female psychologist," she said.
"What happened?" I asked.
"It was strange," she said. "When I spoke to the psychologist about this she became quite angry. She called me a lewd and salacious little bitch."
"That was scarcely professional of her," I smiled.
"In a moment," said the girl, "she apologized, and was again herself."
"Did you continue to see her?" I asked.
"A few times," said the girl, "but it was never really the same after that. Eventually I stopped."
"You apparently touched a raw nerve in her," I said. "Or perhaps what you said threatened her in some way, perhaps as not being obviously compatible with some theoretical position." I looked at her. "There are many other psychiatrists and psychologists," I said, "both male and female."
The girl nodded.
"There is a variety of positions in those fields, in particular in psychology," I said. "If you shop around you will doubtless find someone who will tell you what you wish to hear, whatever it is."
"It is the truth I wish to hear," she said, "whatever it is."
"Perhaps," I said, "the truth is the last thing you wish to hear."
"Oh?" she asked.
"Yes," I said. "Suppose that the truth were that you were, in your heart, a female slave."
"No!" she said. Then she lowered her voice, embarrassed. "No," she said. Then she said, "You are hateful, simply hateful!"
"That you might be in your heart a female slave is not even a possibility that you can admit," I said.
"Of course not," she said.
"It is politically inadmissible," I said.
"Yes," she said, "but beyond that it cannot be true. It must not be true! I cannot even dare to think that it might be true!"
"But you are very beautiful, and very feminine," I said.
"I do not even believe in femininity," she said.
"Have you told it to your hormones," I asked, "so abundant and luxuriously rich in your beautiful little body."
"I know I'm feminine," she said, suddenly. "I cannot help myself. I simply cannot help it. You must believe that. I know it is wrong and despicable, but I cannot help it. I am so ashamed. I want to be a true woman, but I am too weak, too feminine."
"It is not wrong to be yourself," I said.
"Too," she said, "I'm frightened. Last summer I did not even take a pleasure cruise in the Caribbean."
"You feared the famed Bermuda Triangle?" I asked.
"Yes," she said. "I did not want to disappear. I did not want to be taken away, to be made a slave girl on another planet."
"Thousands of planes and ships, year in and year out, safely traverse the Bermuda Triangle," I said.
"I know," she said.
"You see, you are being silly," I said.
"Yes," she said. Then she asked me, "Have you ever heard of the planet Gor?"
"Certainly," I said, "it is a reasonably well-known fictional world." I laughed, suddenly. "The Bermuda Triangle and Gor," I said, "have, as far as I know, absolutely nothing to do with one another." I smiled at her. "If the slavers of Gor have decided to take you, my dear," I said, "they certainly will not sit about waiting for you to take a trip to the Caribbean." I looked at her carefully. She was beautiful. I wondered, if there were Gorean slavers, if she might indeed not be the sort of woman they regard as suitable for their chains. Then again I tensed myself, scarcely daring to move. The thought of the lovely Miss Henderson as a helpless Gorean slave girl, at the mercy of a man, so aroused my passion that I could scarcely dare to breathe. I held myself perfectly still.
"You are right," she said. "Gor and the Bermuda Triangle have presumably nothing to do with one another."
"I think not," I said.
"You are comforting, Jason," she said, gratefully.
"Besides," I smiled, "if the slavers swoop down and carry you off, perhaps you will eventually, sometime, find a master who will be kind to you."
"Gorean men," she said, shuddering, "are strict with their slaves."
"So I have heard," I said.
"I am afraid," she said.
"It is silly," I said. "Do not be afraid."
"Do you believe Gor exists?" she asked.
"Of course not," I said. "It is an interesting fictional creation. No one believes it truly exists."
"I have done some research," she said. "There are too many things, too much that is unexplained. I think a pattern is forming. Could it not be that the Gorean books are, in effect, a way of preparing the Earth and its peoples for the revelation of the true existence of a Counter-Earth, should it sometime be expedient to make its presence known?"
"Of course not," I said. "Do not be absurd."
"There are too many details, too," she said, "small things that would not occur to a fictional writer to include, pointless things like the construction of a saddle and the method of minting coins. They are not things one would include who was concerned to construct spare, well-made pieces of fiction."
"They are more like the little things that might occur to one, not a writer, who had found them of interest, and wished to mention them."
"Yes," she said.
"Put it from your mind," I said. "Gor is fictional."
"I do not believe John Norman is the author of the Gor books," she said.
"Why not?" I asked.
"I have been frightened about this sort of thing," she said. "I have met him, and talked with him. It seems his way of speaking, and his prose style, may not be that of the books."
"He has never claimed," I said, "to be more than the editor of the books. They purport, as I understand it, to be generally the work of others, usually of an individual called Tarl Cabot."
"There was a Cabot," she said, "who disappeared."
"Norman receives the manuscripts, does he not, from someone called Harrison Smith. He is probably the true author."
"Harrison Smith is not his true name," she said. "It was changed by Norman to protect his friend. But I have spoken with this 'Harrison Smith.' He receives the manuscripts, but he apparently knows as little as anyone else about their origin."
"I think you are taking this sort of thing too seriously," I said. "Surely Norman himself believes the manuscripts to be fiction."
"Yes," she said. "I am convinced of that."
"If he, who is their author or editor, believes them to be fiction, you should feel perfectly free, it seems to me, to do likewise."
"May I tell you something which happened to me, Jason?" she asked.
Suddenly I felt uneasy. "Surely," I said. I smiled. "Did you see a Gorean slaver?" I asked.
"Perhaps," she said.
I looked at her.
"I knew you would think me mad," she said.
"Go ahead," I said.
"Perhaps foolishly," she said, "I made no secret of my inquiry into these matters. Dozens of people, in one way or another, must have learned of my interest."
"Go on," I said.
"That explains, accordingly, the phone call I received," she said. "It was a man's voice. He told me to visit a certain address if I were interested in Gorean matters. I have the address here." She opened her purse and showed me an address. It was on 55th Street, on the East Side.
"Did you go to the address?" I asked.
"Yes," she said.
"That was foolish," I said. "What happened?"
"I knocked on the apartment door," she said.
"It was on the fifth floor," I said, noting the apartment number.
"Yes," she said. "I was told to enter. The apartment was well furnished. In it there was a large man, seated on a sofa, behind a coffee table. He was heavy, large handed, balding, virile. 'Come in,' he said. 'Do not be afraid.' He smiled at me. 'You are in absolutely no danger at the present moment, my dear,' he said."
"'At the present moment'?" I asked.
"Those were his words."
"Weren't you frightened?" I asked.
"Yes," she said.
"Then what happened?" I asked.
"He said to me, 'Come closer. Stand before the coffee table.' I did that. 'You are a pretty one,' he said. 'Perhaps you have possibilities.'"
"What did he mean by that?" I asked.
"I don't know," she said. "I started to tell him my name, but he lifted his hand, and told me that he knew my name. I looked at him, frightened. On the coffee table, before him, there was a decanter of wine and a heavy, ornate metal goblet. I had never seen a goblet of that sort. It was so primitive and barbaric. 'I understand,' I said to him, 'that you may know something of Gor.' 'Kneel down before the coffee table, my dear,' he said."
"What did you do then?" I asked.
"I knelt down," she said, blushing. Suddenly I envied, hotly, the power of that man over the beautiful Miss Henderson.
"He then said to me," she said, "'Pour wine into the goblet. Fill it precisely to the second ring.' There were five rings on the outside of the goblet. I poured the wine, as he had asked, and then placed the goblet on the coffee table. 'Now unbutton your blouse,' he said, 'completely.'"
"You then cried out with fury and fled from the apartment?" I asked.
"I unbuttoned my blouse," she said, "completely. 'Now open your slacks,' he said."
"Did you do this?" I asked.
"Yes," she said. "'Now remove your blouse, and thrust your slacks down about your calves,' he said."
"Did you do this?" I asked.
"Yes," she said. "'Now thrust your panties down about your hips,' he said, 'until your navel is revealed.' I did this, too. I then knelt there before him in my panties, thrust down upon my hips, that my navel be revealed, my slacks down about my legs, and in my brassiere, my blouse discarded, placed on the rug beside me."
I could scarcely believe what I was hearing.
"Do you understand the significance of the revealing of the navel?" she asked me.
"I believe on Gor," I said, "it is called 'the slave belly'."
"It is," she said. "But Gor, of course, does not exist."
"Of course not," I said.
"'Now take the goblet,' he said, 'and hold the metal against your body, pushing inward.' I took the goblet and held it, tightly, to my body. I held the round, heavy metal against me, below my brassiere. 'Lower,' he said, 'against your belly.' I then held the goblet lower. 'Press it more inward,' he said. I did so. I can still feel the cold metal against me, firmly, partly against the silk of my undergarment, partly against my belly. 'Now,' said he, 'lift the goblet to your lips and kiss it lingeringly, then proffer it to me, arms extended, head down.'"
"Did you do that?" I asked.
"Yes," she said.
"Why?" I asked.
"I do not know," she said, angrily. "I had never met a man like him. There seemed some kind of strength about him, such as I had never met in another man. It is hard to explain. But I felt that I must obey him, and perfectly, that there were no two ways about it."
"Interesting," I said.
"When he had finished the wine," she said, "he replaced the goblet on the table. He then said, 'You are clumsy and untrained, but you are pretty and perhaps you could be taught. You may stand now, and dress. You may then leave.'"
"What did you do then?" I asked.
"I stood up, and dressed," she said. "Then I said to him, 'I am Beverly Henderson.' I felt, I suppose, I wished to assert my identity. 'Your name is known to me,' he said. 'Are you fond of your name?' he asked. 'Yes,' I said to him. 'Relish it while you can,' he said. 'You may not have it long.'"
"What did he mean by that?" I asked.
"I do not know," she said. "I demanded, too, to know. But he said to me merely that I might then leave. I was then angry. 'What have you to tell me of Gor?' I asked. 'Surely you have learned something of Gor this afternoon,' he said. 'I do not understand,' I said. 'It is a pity that you are so stupid,' he said, 'else you might bring a higher price.' 'Price!' I cried. 'Yes, price,' he said, smiling. 'Surely you know that there are men who will pay for your beauty.'"
"Go on," I said.
"I was terribly angry," she said. "'Never have I been so insulted!' I said to him. 'I hate you!' I cried. He smiled at me. 'Being troublesome and displeasing is acceptable in a free woman,' he said. 'Be troublesome and displeasing while you may. It will not be permitted to you later.' I turned then and went to the door. At the door I turned. 'Have no fear, Miss Henderson,' he said, 'we always save one or two capsules, aside from those allotted to our regular requisitions, in case something worthwhile shows up.' He then grinned at me. 'And you, I think,' he said, 'with the proper training, exercise and diet, will prove quite worthwhile. You may go now.' I then wept and ran out the door."
"When did this happen?" I asked.
"Two days ago," she said. "What do you think it means?"
"I think, obviously," I said, "it is a cruel joke, and it could have been a dangerous joke. I would advise you never to enter into such a rendezvous again."
"I have no intention of doing so," she said, shuddering.
"It is over now, and there is nothing to worry about," I said.
"Thank you, Jason," she said.
"Did you inform the police?" I asked.
"I did," she said, "but not until the next day. No crime, of course, had been committed. There was nothing I could prove. Still it seemed to warrant an investigation."
"I agree completely," I said.
"Two officers and I went to the same address," she said.
"What occurred in the confrontation?" I asked.
"There was no confrontation," she said. "The apartment was empty. It was not even furnished. There were no drapes, nothing. The superintendent claimed it had been empty for a week. There was no reason for the officers to disbelieve him. Perhaps he was paid off. Perhaps he was in league with the heavy man. I do not know. The officers, angry, gave me a stern warning about such pranks and let me go. The entire matter has been a pain and an embarrassment to me."
"It certainly seems an elaborate hoax," I said.
"Why would anyone go to such trouble?" she asked.
"I do not know," I said.
"Do you think I have anything to fear?" she asked.
"No," I said, "certainly not." Then I lifted my hand, to call the waiter.
"I must pay half the check and leave half the tip," she said.
"I'll take care of it," I said.
"No," she said, suddenly, irritably. "I will be dependent on a man for nothing."
"Very well," I said. I saw that Miss Henderson had a sharp edge to her. I supposed that a Gorean slave whip, if there were a Gor, would quickly take that out of her.
We then, at the hat-check counter, secured our wraps. The girl behind the counter was blond. She wore a white blouse and a brief, black skirt; her legs, well revealed, were clad in clinging black netting. Miss Henderson received her light cape. She placed a quarter in the small wooden bowl on the counter. I received my coat. I gave the girl a dollar. She had lovely legs. She had a pretty smile. She pleased me. "Thank you, Sir," she said. "You're welcome," I said.
"Scandalous how some women exploit their bodies," said Beverly, when we had stepped away from the counter.
"She was very pretty," I said.
"I suppose you would not mind owning her," said Beverly.
"No," I said, "I wouldn't mind owning her at all. She might be very pleasant to own."
"All men are monsters," said Beverly.
I donned my coat. She held her wrap.
"Why are you dressed as you are tonight?" I asked. "Are you not frightened that some of your "sisters" in your department will see you? Can you afford the risk?"
She seemed momentarily apprehensive. I had been joking. Then I saw that it was not truly a joke. One student can, subtly, belittle and undermine another student in the eyes of her peers and in the eyes of the faculty. It can be done with apparent innocence in the dialogue in a seminar, by an apparently chance remark at a coffee or tea, even by an expression or a movement of the body in a classroom or a hall. The rules for conformance and the sanctions against difference are seldom explicit; indeed, it is commonly denied that there are such rules and sanctions. They are reasonably obvious, however, to those familiar with the psychology of groups. Such things, unfortunately, can ruin graduate careers. Most obviously they can be reflected in the evaluations of the student's work and in his letters of recommendation, particularly those written by strict professors of the correct political persuasions, whatever they happen to be at the particular institution in question.
"Surely it is all right," she said, "for a woman, sometimes, to be a little feminine."
"Perhaps," I said. "The question is indeed a thorny one."
"I have heard it debated," she said.
"Are you joking?" I asked. I had thought I had been joking.
"No," she said.
"I see," I said.
"In my view," she said, "it is all right for a woman, once in a while, to be feminine, if just a little bit."
"I see," I said. I wondered if there were a world anywhere where women, or at least a certain sort of woman, would have no choice but to be totally feminine, and all the time. I smiled to myself. I thought of the fictional world of Gor, which obviously did not exist. Gorean men, as I understood it, did not accept pseudomasculinity in their female slaves; this, then, left the female slaves no alternative but to be true women.
"But you are not just a little feminine tonight," I said. "You are deliciously feminine."
"Do not speak to me in that fashion," she said.
"Even if it is true?" I asked.
"Particularly if it is true," she said.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because I am a person," she said.
"Would you settle for a 'deliciously feminine person'?" I inquired.
"Do not demean my personhood," she said.
"What about 'deliciously feminine little female animal'?" I asked.
"What a beast you are," she said. "It sounds like you want to put a collar on me and lead me away to your bed."
"That would be pleasant," I said.
"You think I'm sexually attractive, don't you?" she asked.
"Yes," I said. "Does that disturb you?"
"No," she said, "not really. I am aware that some men have found me sexually attractive. Some have even tried to take me in their arms and kiss me."
"Horrifying," I said.
"I did not permit them to be successful," she said.
"Good for you," I said.
"I insist on being totally respected," she said.
"Have you ever considered," I asked, "that your desire to be respected may interfere with the development of your sexuality?"
"Sex," she said, "is only a tiny and unimportant part of life. It must be seen in its proper perspective."
"Sexuality," I said, "is radically central to the human phenomenon."
"No, no," she said. "Sex is unimportant, irrelevant and immaterial. Better put, it must be placed in its proper perspective. This is something which is understood by all politically enlightened persons, both men and women. Indeed, sexuality is a threat and a handicap to the achievement of a true civilization. It must be ruthlessly curbed and controlled."
"Nonsense," I said.
"Nonsense?" she asked.
"Yes, nonsense," I said. "Sex may be a handicap to the achievement of a certain sort of civilization," I admitted, "but I do not think I would relish that sort of civilization in which it would be a handicap. Surely it is possible to at least consider a civilization which would not be inimical to the nature of human beings but compatible with their desires and needs. Perhaps in such a society sexuality would not need to be suppressed but might be permitted to flower."
"It is impossible to talk with you," she said. "You are too unenlightened."
"Perhaps," I said. "But one thing, amidst all these complexities, stands out clearly."
"What is that?" she asked.
"That you," I said, "undeniably and nonrepudiably, are an extremely lovely and exciting young woman."
"You are terrible," she said, head down, smiling.
"It is easy to see why the slavers of Gor would be interested in you," I said.
"What a beast you are," she laughed.
I was pleased to see that I had relieved her mind on this issue.
"And your outfit tonight," I said, "like yourself, whether you like it or not, is deliciously feminine."
She looked down at herself. She, without really thinking, smoothed the sheath on her hips. It was a very natural gesture. I supposed slaves might be taught such a gesture. But with Miss Henderson it was totally natural. I found her very exciting. I wondered if there were such things as natural slaves. If there were, I was confident the lovely Miss Henderson would qualify.
"What a hateful and unteachable brute you are," she smiled.
"I have never seen you wear anything really feminine before," I said. "What brought about this sudden change of heart, that perhaps it might be all right for a woman to be just a little bit feminine?"
She put down her head.
"Surely this represents a change," I said.
"Yes, perhaps," she said. "I do not know."
"You bought this outfit recently, didn't you?" I asked.
"Yes," she said.
"When?" I asked.
"This morning," she said. She looked up, angrily, defensively. "I thought it wouldn't hurt to have something that was just a little bit pretty."
"You are more than just a little bit pretty," I told her.
"Thank you," she said.
"And you are wearing a bit of make-up and eye shadow," I said.
"Yes," she said.
"And perfume," I said.
"Yes," she said. "I truly hope," she said, "that none of those in my department see me as I am now."
"They would deride your attractiveness," I said, "and attempt, in envy, to avenge themselves on you in the department?"
"Yes," she said. "I think so."
"This change in you is sudden," I said. "It has to do with your experiences with the heavy man, who, so to speak, interviewed you, doesn't it, he whom you saw in the apartment?"
She nodded. "Yes," she said. "It is strange. I never felt so feminine as when he ordered me, so complacently, to kneel and serve him."
"It released your femininity?" I asked.
"Yes," she said. "It is so strange. I cannot explain it."
"You had been put under male domination," I said. "For the first time in your life you probably found yourself in a fully natural biological relationship."
"I repudiate your analysis," she said.
"Too, you were sexually aroused," I said.
"How could you know that?" she asked. "I said nothing of that."
"You did not have to," I said. "It was evident in your expressions, your tone of voice, the way you recounted the experience."
"You are hateful," she said, irritably.
"May I help you with your cape?" I asked.
"I can manage it myself," she said.
"Doubtless," I said.
She glanced back at the girl at the hat-check counter. The girl then looked away.
"Yes," she said, clearly, a little more loudly than was necessary, "you may help me with my—my wrap."
She then stood there quietly, and I, standing behind her, lifted the cape about her shoulders. For an instant, the barest instant, after the cape had settled about her, I rested my hands on her upper arms. In that brief second she knew herself held. Then I had released her. Her body was tense, rigid, defensive. "Do not think to put me in your power," she whispered, angrily. "I will never be in the power of any man." Then she said, clearly, pleasantly, a bit loudly, for the benefit of the girl at the counter, "Thank you."
Then, suddenly, she half moaned. Then she said, delightedly, "Hello, how are you! How nice to see you here!" Introductions were exchanged. I looked at the two horselike women, in one another's company, a large one and a small one, who had entered. They regarded me, angrily. They beamed on Beverly. "How pretty you are tonight, Beverly," said the larger woman. "It is all right to wear a dress sometimes," said Beverly. "It is a freedom." "Of course it is," said the larger woman, "don't you worry about it. You look lovely, just lovely." The smaller of the two women said almost nothing. Then they had entered the main dining room, and were being greeted by the head waiter.
"I should never have come here," said Beverly.
"You know them from school?" I asked.
"Yes," said Beverly, "they are in two of my seminars."
"You look ill, miserable," I said. "Do you care, truly, what they think?"
"They are politically powerful in my department," she said, "especially the big one. Even some of my male professors are afraid of them."
"So much for them," I said.
"Many without tenure fear their student evaluations," she said, "and, more importantly, their influence on the evaluations of others. Most of our young male teachers, and female teachers, too, do what is expected of them, and try to please them. They do not wish to lose their positions."
"I'm familiar with that sort of thing," I said. "It is called academic freedom."
She tied the strings of her cape. We then left the restaurant.
"I will hail a taxi," I said.
"I am not really a true woman," she said, outside the restaurant, miserably. "I am too feminine." She looked up at me. "I have tried to fight my femininity," she said. "I have tried to overcome it."
"You could redouble your efforts," I said. "You could try harder."
"I am finished in my department," she said. "They will undermine and destroy me."
"You could transfer to another school," I said, "and start over."
"Perhaps," she said, "but I fear that it is hopeless. It might just begin again. Or the word might be conveyed to the new department that I was not, truly, of the right kind."
"Of the right kind?" I asked.
"Of their kind," she said.
"That of the two women you met in the restaurant?" I asked.
"Yes," she said. "They are so strong and manlike, like men used to be, before."
"Femininity is wrong in a woman, and masculinity in a man?" I asked.
"Of course," she said, "it interferes with personhood."
"But it is all right for women to be masculine and men to be feminine?"
"Yes," she said, "that is all right. Indeed, men must be taught to be gentle, tender and feminine."
"Can you not see," I asked, "that women who wish that of a man are not truly interested in what men happen to be, but want, perhaps, actually not a man but a woman of an unusual sort?"
She looked at me, with horror.
"The thought has an alarming plausibility, doesn't it?" I asked.
"I have never known anyone like you," she said. "You confuse me."
"Frankly," I said, "you are not of their kind, that of the two women in the restaurant you met. You are extremely different. Indeed, most women are extremely different from them. They are not even, truly, women. They are something else, not really women or men. It is little wonder they are so hostile, so filled with hatred, so vicious and bellicose. After centuries of disparagement why should they not now, with a vengeance, set themselves up as models for their sex? Why should they not now, so long denied the world, attempt now through rhetoric and politics to bend it to their designs? Can you blame them? Can you not understand their hatred for women such as you, who seem a veritable biological insult and reproach to their pretensions and projects? You are their enemy, with your beauty and needs, far more than the men they attempt through political power to intimidate and manipulate." I looked at her, angrily. "Your desirability and beauty," I said, "is a greater threat to them than you can even begin to understand. Their success demands the castigation and suppression of your sort of woman."
"I must not listen to you," she said. "I must be a true woman!"
"I have little doubt that you are more intelligent, and have a greater grasp of reality, than they," I said, "but you will not, in all likelihood, compete successfully with them. You lack their aggressiveness and belligerence, which are probably indexed to an unusual amount, for a woman, of male hormones in their bodies. They will, through their cruelty and assertiveness, crush you in discussion, and, when it is to their purpose, demean and humiliate you."
"I do not even enter into discussion with them," she said. "I am afraid."
"You do not wish to be verbally whipped," I said.
"I do not know what to think," she said.
"Try to understand and interpret your feelings," I said. "Consider the possibility of being true to yourself."
"Perhaps they are really women, only latently so," said the girl.
"Perhaps," I said. I shrugged.
"What is a woman, truly?" she asked, angrily. "A slave?"
I was startled that she had asked this. I looked down at her. She was emotionally overwrought. There were tears in her eyes. I knew that I was supposed to reassure her and deny vehemently what had been suggested in her fantastic question. But I did not reassure her nor deny, as I was expected to, what she had suggested. Indeed, it suddenly struck me as not only strange that she had addressed this question, presumably a rhetorical question to me, but, too, that this was precisely the sort of thing which, for no reason I clearly understood, women of her political persuasion spent a great deal of time, excessively in my mind, denying. I wondered why they should be so concerned, so frequently and intensely, in denying that they were slaves. Why should they feel it necessary to deny this apparently fantastic allegation so often and so desperately?
"Do you think we are slaves?" she demanded.
I looked down at her. She was small and exquisitely beautiful. She wore a bit of lipstick and eye shadow. I could smell her perfume. The whiteness of her breasts, as I could see them, and of her throat, was striking. How marvelously the white sheath concealed and yet suggested her beauty. I wanted to tear it from her.
"Well?" she demanded.
"Perhaps," I said.
She spun away from me, in fury and rage.
I did not speak to her then, but watched her, as she stood, angrily, outside the restaurant.
I considered her. Thoughts slipped through my mind. I wondered what she might look like, her clothing removed, standing on the tiles of a palace.
How strange it then seemed to me that society should ever have developed in such a way that such delicious and desirable creatures should have ever been permitted their freedom. Surely they belonged in steel collars at a man's feet.
She was aware of my eyes on her, but she did not look at me directly. She tossed her head. It was a lovely gesture I thought, of a girl who knew herself inspected, a slave's gesture.
"Are you going to apologize?" she asked.
"For what?" I asked.
"For saying that I might be a slave," she said.
"Oh," I said. "No," I said.
"I hate you," she said.
"All right," I said. I continued to regard her, her clothing removed in my mind. I tried, in my mind, various sorts of collars and chains on her.
"You are a rude and hateful person," she said.
"I'm sorry," I said. I then considered how she might look in a market.
At last she turned to face me, angrily. "What are you thinking about?" she asked.
"I was considering how you might look on a slave block," I said, "being exhibited by an auctioneer who knew his business."
"How dare you say such a thing!" she cried.
"You asked me what I was thinking," I said.
"You needn't have told me," she said.
"You would prefer dishonesty?" I asked.
"You are the most hateful person I have ever met," she said.
"I'm sorry," I said.
She walked angrily to confront me, but then she looked away.
"I do not see any cabs," she said.
"No," I said.
She turned to face me.
"Was I pretty?" she asked.
"When?" I asked.
"In your imagination," she said, archly.
"Sensational," I said.
She smiled. "How was I dressed?" she asked.
"You were exhibited naked," I told her, "as women are sold."
"Oh," she said.
"If it is any comfort," I said, "your wrists were joined by a long length of chain. The auctioneer showed you off with a whip."
"With a whip?" she asked, shuddering.
"Yes," I said.
"Then I would have had to obey him, wouldn't I?" she asked.
"You did obey him," I said.
"Perfectly?" she asked.
"Perfectly," I said.
"If I had not, he would have used the whip, wouldn't he?"
"Of course," I said.
"Then it was wise of me to obey."
"I would suppose so," I said.
"I was pretty?" she asked.
"Marvelously exciting and beautiful," I said.
She blushed, and smiled. How feminine she was.
"Jason," she said.
"Yes," I said.
"Would you have bought me?"
"What else was for sale?" I asked, smiling.
She struck me with sudden fury and my face stung. "Hateful monster!" she said.
She turned angrily away from me.
"I am not a slave!" she said. "I am not a slave!"
At this point I noticed that a car's headlights went on. It had been parked down the street about a block away. It had been there for some time.
"Hey!" I called, raising my arm, suddenly seeing that, as it approached, it was a cab.
The cab pulled to the curb.
"I will take you home," I said.
"It is not necessary," she said. She was angry, distressed, upset.
The driver came about and opened the back door on the right.
"I have been very rude," I said. "I'm really sorry. I did not mean to upset you."
She did not even look at the driver. "I'm not one of those females you have to patronize," she said. "I am a true woman."
She climbed angrily, distressed, into the cab. The glimpse of her ankle was exciting. I forced from my mind the thought that its lovely slimness would look well enclosed in a loop and ring.
"Please give me an opportunity to apologize," I begged. I was, myself, suddenly upset. I realized that she might be angry, and might not see me again. I could not bear the thought of losing her in this fashion. I had admired and desired her from afar for months. Then tonight we had met, and talked. I found her irresistibly attractive. "Please let me apologize," I begged. "I was thoughtless and rude."
"Don't bother," she said.
"Please, please," I said.
"It is not necessary," she said, icily.
I was miserable. She was an intelligent woman. How offended she must have been by my foolish audacity. How scandalized she must have been by the pretensions of my boorish and foolish masculinity. Did I not care for her feelings? Did I not respect her mind? How tiresome and obnoxious she must have found my inopportune and unorthodox views. Surely there was still time to change them, to please her. I hoped that I had not ruined everything that might have been between us. Was I not strong enough to be solicitous, sweet, gentle, tender and feminine? I hoped she would still like me, that she could still permit me a chance to try to please her. I realized then, with a force I had not felt before, probably because I had not found a woman so exciting as she before, that, in this society, men must strive to please women, that they must, if they wish to relate to them, be and do exactly what the women wish and require, else the women will simply remain aloof. The women, now, were of a whole new breed, somehow magically different from all women of the past, free and independent. It was they who would set their terms, and it was the men who would, if they wished to know them, comply with their wishes. But was this not all right? Surely women have a right to demand that men comply precisely with their wishes. If the men do not do so, the women simply need have nothing to do with them. In my society it was women who called the tune, and the men who would have to dance. If the women, for some reason, wished us to be just like women then we would have to do our best to be just like women. They could decide matters, by the device of granting or withholding their favors.
"Please," I begged.
"You are despicable," she said.
"Please forgive me," I begged.
The driver went to close the door. "Wait," I said to him. I held the door open. For some reason, it seemed, he wished for me to remain outside the cab. He did not ask me if I were getting in or accompanying the lady. It seemed he wished to be on his way, leaving me behind. I did not understand this, but I did not stop to consider it.
"Please, Miss Henderson," I said. "I know I must have truly offended you. For this I am extremely sorry." I was thinking quickly. "But it is late now, and it may be hard to find another cab. If you will not let me take you home, let me, at least, share the cab, so I can get back to my apartment without a great deal of inconvenience."
The driver reacted irritably. I did not understand this. It seemed to me in his best interest to have an extra fare.
"All right," she said, looking straight ahead, "get in."
I entered the cab. The driver shut the door, it seemed to me a bit angrily.
Miss Henderson and I sat side by side in the cab, not speaking.
The driver went around the cab. In a moment he had slipped behind the wheel.
We then gave him the addresses. Miss Henderson lived closer to the restaurant than I. Although the driver was not facing us I could tell that he reacted angrily when I gave him my address, which was farther from the restaurant. His irritation made no sense to me. What difference could it make which fare was let off first? He seemed a surly fellow. Too, he was a large man.
"I am sorry, Miss Henderson," I said.
"That's all right," she said, not looking at me.
In the top of the seat in front of us, that against which the driver's back rested, there was a long, lateral slot. In the top of the cab, interestingly, there was a similar slot. The slot was about an inch in width.
The cab pulled away from the curb and entered the traffic on 128th Street.
"I am a woman," said Miss Henderson, speaking very precisely and very quietly. "I am free. I am independent."
"Of course," I said, hastily.
"In the restaurant you held me for an instant, when you were helping me with my wrap. I did not like that."
"I'm sorry," I said.
"You tried to put me in your power," she said. "I will never be in a man's power."
I was silent, miserable.
"Too, you insulted me, when you wished to pay for the meal and leave the tip."
"I'm sorry, Miss Henderson," I said.
"I will never be dependent on a man for anything," she said.
"Of course not," I said.
"I am free and independent, and a person, and a true woman," she said.
"Yes, Miss Henderson," I said.
She looked at me. "Do you think I am a slave?" she asked.
"Of course not!" I said. "Of course not!"
"Do not forget it," she said.
"No, Miss Henderson," I said.
We drove on in silence.
"Do you think I might see you again, sometime?" I asked.
"No," she said. Then she looked at me, in fury. "I find you utterly contemptible," she said.
I put down my head. I was miserable. My behavior, so boorish and gross, and my foolish attitudes and opinions, so crudely expressed, so unenlightened, had ruined our possibilities for a meaningful relationship. I was miserable. I was not pleasing to her.
"I am free and independent, and a true person, and a true woman," she said.
"Yes, Miss Henderson," I said.
"And I will never be dependent on a man for anything," she said, "nor will I ever be in a man's power."
"Yes, Miss Henderson," I said, my head down.
"Driver," she said, suddenly, "you have taken a wrong turn."
"Sorry," he said.
He reached under the dashboard and pulled two levers. I heard a movement of metal in the door beside me. An instant later, as he had pulled the second lever, I heard a movement of metal within the door on Miss Henderson's side.
He continued to drive in the same direction, not circling about.
"Driver," said Miss Henderson, "you're going in the wrong direction!"
He continued to drive.
"Driver," she said, irritably, her small voice imperious and cold, "you are going in the wrong direction!"
He did not respond to her.
"Turn back here," she said, as we neared a corner. But he continued to drive straight ahead.
"Can you hear me?" she asked, leaning forward.
"Be silent, Slave Girl," he said.
"Slave Girl!" she cried.
I was startled. Almost instantly, as he threw a lever which must have been beside him, a heavy glass screen or shield sprang up, from the top of the seat in front of us, against which his back rested. It locked in the lateral slot in the top of the cab. At the same time I heard two sudden hisses, coming from the back of the seat in front of us, one on each side. I started to cough. A colorless gas, under great pressure, was being forced into the rear of the cab.
"Stop the cab!" I demanded, coughing, pounding on the glass shield with the flat of my hand. It rang softly. It was thick. I do not even think the driver could hear me, or well hear me, through its weight.
"What is going on?" cried the girl.
The cab had now begun to accelerate. I suddenly discovered that there were no handles by means of which the windows might be rolled down!
"Stop the cab!" I cried, choking.
"I can't breathe," cried the girl. "I can't breathe!"
I struck down at the door handle on my side. It would not move. I tried not to breathe. My eyes smarted. I lunged to the other side of the cab, leaning across the girl. I tried to force down the handle on her side, but it, like that on my side, did not move. I then understood the meaning of the two metallic sounds I had heard earlier, one within each door. Two bolts, one on each side, had been thrust home, securing the doors.
I lunged back to my side of the cab, where I might exert more leverage on the handle of the door on my side.
The girl wept and coughed.
I am strong, but I could not begin to move the steel.
I then, again, this time with the side of my fist, began to strike at the heavy glass. It did not yield.
"Please, stop, driver!" cried the girl.
My lungs felt as though they must burst. I tore off my coat, and my jacket, to thrust it against one of the circular apertures, some four inches in diameter, set flush with the back of the seat, now a barrier, in front of us. It was through these apertures that the gas entered our portion of the cab. Each aperture was protected by narrowly placed steel slats. Because of the slats I could not thrust the jacket into the opening. Gas continued to flow in, permeating the cloth, and seeping about and through it. Gas, too, hissing, continued to flow unremittingly into our portion of the cab through the other aperture.
"Please, stop, driver!" wept the girl, choking. "I will pay you!"
I tried to tear loose then the steel slats from the aperture, to wad the jacket inside. I could not get my fingers behind them.
The girl crouched forward, pressing her hands and face against the heavy glass separating us from the driver. "Please, please," she wept, "please, stop, driver! I will pay you!" She scratched at the window. "I'm pretty!" she said. "I will even let you kiss me, if you want. Let me go! Let me go!"
I began to pound at the glass on my side. It, too, as I instantly realized, with a sickening feeling, was unusually thick. It was not a standard safety glass. The door, though it had appeared a normal door, had been especially constructed to receive it.
Suddenly, spasmodically, miserably, my lungs bursting, I expelled air. Then, as new air rushed into my lungs, I felt sick and half strangled. Whatever the molecules of the gas might be I knew they would be soon, and in volume, within my blood stream. I shook my head. My eyes watered.
The girl shrank back, coughing. She drew her legs up on the seat. She looked at me, miserably. "What do they want of me, Jason?" she asked. "What are they going to do to me?"
"I don't know," I said. "I have no idea." The only thing that occurred to me was so horrifying and fantastic that I could not even bring myself to consider it as a possibility, let alone mention it to the terrified girl. It was simply too horrifying even to think about. I looked at her, she so frightened, in the cape and sheath dress, her feet drawn up beneath her on the leather of the seat of the cab. She was a lusciously beautiful young woman, of the sort that might drive men mad for her. I drove the thought from my mind. No, it could not be! They could not want her for that! But what man would not? No, I told myself, no! It could not be! I dismissed it from my mind. The possibility was too horrifying to even consider as a reality.
"Jason," she said. "Help me!"
I turned from her and, with my fingers, tried to find some crack or crevice between glass and steel, to the side and in front of me, anything that I might be able to exploit. I could find nothing.
I turned back to look at her.
"Jason," she said. "Help me."
"I can't," I said.
She knelt now on the leather of the seat, facing to the side, toward the opposite window. She turned her upper body to face the driver's back. "Please let me go," she cried out, miserably. "I will let you make love to me," she said to the driver, "if you will let me go."
I do not know why I then said to her what I did. For some reason I was furious.
"Shut up," I said to her, "you stupid little slave!"
She looked at me with horror.
"Do you, who are owned," I asked, "think to bargain with masters?"
Did she not know that she, if her captors wished, was theirs in her entirety?
Why had I been so angry with her? Why had such terrible words sprung up so wildly and spontaneously from hitherto unfathomed depths within me?
I looked at her beauty. I saw it then, suddenly, and deliciously and marvelously, as a slave's beauty. In every woman there is a slave, in every man a slaver.
She put down her head, not daring to meet my eyes in that moment.
Why was I so angry with her? Was it because it was others, and not I, who owned her?
She knelt, head down, on the leather of the seat. Gone then was the pretense of her politics. Gone then was the illusion of her freedom and independence, and her arrogance and pride. She was then only a frightened girl and perhaps, I feared, a captured slave.
Then, suddenly, I was again the male of Earth, apologetic, miserable, self-castigating, overcome with anguish. How cruel I had been to her! How grievously I had demeaned her! Did I not know she was a person?
"Forgive me, Miss Henderson," I wept. "I did not know what I was saying."
She sank down on the seat. I was kneeling then on the floor of the cab.
"I'm sorry," I said. "I'm sorry." Indeed, I was truly sorry. I had no idea why I had said what I had. In the stress of our strait circumstances it had just welled up from within me, cruelly, insuppressibly, explosively.
Of course she was not a slave! Yet, as I looked upon her, now slumped down, unconscious, on the leather, naught but a pathetic captive, I could not help but remark how maddeningly luscious were her small curves. I could not help but wonder what they would look like, owned, in silk and steel. I could not help but wonder if girls such as Miss Henderson, so fantastically beautiful and feminine, might not, in actuality, be slave girls. If so, why, then, should they not be enslaved? Then I put such thoughts from my mind. The cab, moving swiftly, continued on its way. I could see why men might want Miss Henderson. She would be a prize for the collar. They would not, of course, presumably, want me. I realized now, from the driver's behavior earlier, that he had not counted on my being in the cab. The quarry had not been me, but the beautiful Miss Henderson. It had been an accident that I had been captured as well. Things began to go black. I fought to retain consciousness. I recall looking again at Miss Henderson. I recall, as things began to become dim, the last thing in my field of vision, her lovely ankle. It would look well, I thought, in a loop and ring. I wondered what would be done with me. Then I lost consciousness.
Here is a cover gallery showing all the editions and printings of Fighting Slave of Gor, sorted by year of publication. Click on any cover to see the book.
Here is a cover gallery showing all the editions and printings of Fighting Slave of Gor, sorted by edition. Click on any cover to see the book.