Triple Play

Chemist Matt Bauer developed a drug that temporarily transformed any woman who took it into an insatiable nymphomaniac. Then, as it wore off, she forgot what happened. She didn't know what happened OR who had done it to her.

Matt and his two best friends use the drug for a game, bringing drugged women to Matt's apartment for a night of sexual "fun." Then, one night, Matt picked the wrong woman as his latest victim.

Triple Play
By Ellie Dauber
(c) 2004

Author's Note: If you ever wondered whether there was a point to posting comments to a story, this story is your answer. When I first posted it to the TG_Fiction List, it had a different ending. But, after reading and thinking about comments I got from from Jezzi, Steve Zink, and Ron Green, I re-worked it to the ending it has now.

Thanks for the help.

* * * * *

Matt Bauer saw his prey about twenty minutes after he took up position at the bar.

Last week's girl had been young, barely 20, some ex-prom queen who hardly knew her way around the missionary position. She hadn't given very good head, either.

Matt idly wondered if she remembered what they'd taught her. The drug neutralized the mechanism of short term memory transfer. He and the others would never be recognized by one of their victims. Skills, involved "muscle memory", so some of should remain. He sighed a little. He'd never know; the rules of the game said that prey was not to be contacted a second time.

This one, tonight's prey, didn't look like they'd need to teach her anything. She was older, in her thirties, maybe. She had a Meg Ryan sort of face, youthful and pixy-ish and surrounded by a mass of honey blonde spit curls. From the way she carried herself, this was a woman who was happy with her body and enjoyed her sexuality.

She had class, and a little money, too, judging from the cut of the navy business suit she was wearing. That made it more fun. The drug destroyed restraint. When it hit, the most inhibited woman would rip off her clothes. She'd do anything she could to arouse the men, stroking herself, caressing the man and begging to be fucked, like the slut she -- that every woman truly was.

"Well, time to get to it," he muttered to himself. He stood up from the barstool, picked up his beer, and walked over to the small table she was sitting at. "Excuse me," he said, flashing his best smile. "I noticed that you were sitting alone, and I wondered if I might join you."

It was the last hurdle. If she said, "No," or said that she was waiting for someone, he'd have wasted his time. He'd have to find a new prey.

She didn't. She looked up at him for a moment, as if sizing him up. That wasn't a problem. Matt knew that he wasn't bad looking: strong, slender figure that was only two pounds heavier than when he was in college, straight dark hair, killer smile. She must have thought so, too. She smiled and gestured at the empty chair opposite her.

"Thanks," he said as he sat down. "I'm Matt... Matt Bauer."

"Chloe Weaver. Nice to meet you, Matt."

"Likewise. Are you a local? I don't recall seeing you in here before, and I _know_ that I'd have remembered you if I had." It was a slight twist on an old pick-up line.

"I don't get over to this part of town very often. There's a new gallery just opened near here, and I came over to check their collection."

"Are you an artist?"

"Not exactly. I'm a collector of sorts. They had some wonderful new pieces by a couple of artists whose work I follow, Vickie Wyman and Donato Giancolo."

Matt let her talk for a while, pretending to listen and nodding his head and saying, "Uh-huhn" as he thought necessary. Eventually, he did interrupt. "I'm going for another beer. May I get you one?"

"Boring you, am I?" She said it as a joke.

"No, never," he said. He wanted to say, "Of course you are," but that would never do for what he was planning." Instead, he gave her a well-practiced smile and added, "I'm kind of intrigued by those -- what'd you call them -- anthropomorphics you said Wyman did. I may check that gallery out myself." He waited a count. "Or you could join me there some time."

"Maybe." She seemed to like the idea. "For now, I'll settle for a Sam Adams Red."

He nodded and walked to the bar. He was back a few minutes later, a beer in each hand. "Here you go." He put one beer down in front of Chloe. The drug had dissolved by now. It mixed happily with alcohol, leaving no trace color, odor, or taste. Chloe took a sip even as he sat down. That was all the chance the drug needed.

Matt endured another five minutes of her "girly-babble." The woman was drifting off from that stupid art gallery and over to some kind of show at the local museum. He just kept smiling and nodding.

Then Chloe's eyes dilated.

It was the first sign that the drug was working on her. Her face suddenly flushed. "Oh... oh, my," she said, sounding slightly disoriented. "That beer seems to be hitting me rather harder than I expected."

"You're hungry," Matt said firmly. The drug heightened suggestibility. "You need something more than just the nachos they serve here."

Chloe stared at him, blinking her eyes. "Okay." The drug was definitely working now.

'This is going to be fun,' Matt thought. He stood and offered her his hand. "We'll go then."

She rose unsteadily to her feet. "Oopsie," she said with a giggle, her voice even higher. She took his arm and let him guide her out of the bar.

* * * * *

"Here we are." Matt fished around in his pocket until he found the apartment key. Chloe was holding his other arm tightly, as she pressed up against him, her head resting on his shoulder.

"Rest'rant?" She slurred more and more of her words every time she spoke.

Matt shook his head as he opened the door. "No, this is much, much better. You'll like this place."


Two men were sitting on the couch. They stood as Matt lead the woman in. The taller one used a remote to turn off the basketball game they'd been watching. "You certainly took your time, Matthew. I was back with mine more than thirty minutes earlier, last week."

The man was tall and thin, with stylish razor cut blond hair. His green-gray suit was expensive and the latest Italian style. It made a sharp contrast with the denim work shirt and jeans the shorter man wore.

The shorter man scratched his head, running his fingers through his longer, brown hair. "Yeah, and we spent that extra time teaching the dumb slut what we wanted her to do." He looked carefully at Chloe and grinned. "We ain't gonna have to teach this one nothing. She was worth that extra time."

"Thank you for that, at least," Chloe said, suddenly straightening up. "But I very much doubt that this evening is going to be _anything_ like what you three had planned."

"What the hell," the short man shouted. "Matt, she's not drugged."

"No, I'm not," Chloe said, not fully keeping the anger from her voice. She gestured at the three men. "But you are."

The men felt something hit their bodies. They suddenly felt very dizzy. Now, their eyes dilated, and they swayed. It was getting hard to keep their balance.

"Sit down." Chloe's voice was very firm. The two men sank back down onto the couch. Matt simply dropped to the floor. "Over with them," Chloe added.

"Hokay." Matt smiled vaguely. He stood up slowly and staggered over to join his friends.

Chloe idly fingered the broach on her jacket, a stylized silver spindle. "While we all wait for my sisters to arrive, why don't you tell me who you two are, and what the three of you have been up to?"

The taller man rose unsteadily to his feet. "I'm Jimmy... H. James Randolph, and I..." He giggled. "I wasn't doing nothing." He raised his right hand, palm held outward, "S'help me, G-d." He giggled again and lowered his hand before he sank back onto the couch.

"So, help you..." Chloe shook her head. "What about you?" she asked the other man. "Tell me, what you've been doing."

The man grinned. "We... we're just having a little ha-harmless fun with those pills Matt made."

Bauer sat up. "Don't say nothing, Pete. You'll spoil ev'rything."

"Quiet, Bauer." A slender woman in a black sheath dress appeared next to him and pushed him against the back of the couch. Her resemblance to Chloe was obvious despite her long, straight black hair.

Matt Bauer blinked at her. Then he grinned and made a motion across his lips as if working a zipper.

"You," the newly-arrived woman said, "Pete, is it? Keep talking."

Pete nodded. "Pete Edmonds, ma'am. Matt made these pills. They make a chick so horny, she'll do 'bout anything ya want her to." He grinned from past memories. "Then she falls asleep and forgets all about it."

"We take turns," the taller man... Randolph said. "Diff'rent one each week finds a girl and brings her back here for fun 'n' games."

"Fun!" the brunette spat the words. "You three bastards have a pretty nasty idea of fun." She made a scissors motion with two fingers. "Maybe we should just put an end to the three of you."

"Still as bloodthirsty as you ever were, Leslie." The speaker was a brunette in a pale green knit dress that did nothing to hide her lush finger.

The three men blinked in surprise at the sight of a third woman appearing out of thin air. "How'd you do that?" Pete asked.

"Magic," the brunette said, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. "What I'd like to know is _why_ you three did what you did."

"They're men," Leslie Weaver said. "They haven't changed in three thousand years. You know that, Andrea."

"_Some_ of them have learned better," Andrea said.

"Not these three," Leslie answered. "You..." she pointed at Pete. "What made you do such a thing to all those poor women?"

"Wh... why not?" Pete said. "Bitches just wanna find some guy they can sponge off of and wring everything they can outta him. They'll use their bods to... to get what they want."

"And just what could a woman want from you?" Chloe asked.

"Sue, Sue Wagner, she moved in about a year ago, lets me work t'pay the rent and all. Then she says I got her pregnant. She ain't gonna get rid of it. She says I gotta marry her and spend the rest of my days spending my dough on her and the sprout."

"And you don't want to?" Andrea asked, already knowing the answer.

"Why should he?" Randolph asked. "Why buy a cow..."

"When milk is free," Matt completed the cliché.

"Go to sleep," Leslie said firmly to the men. Their eyes closed immediately. They fell against the back of the couch, snoring softly.

"After that line about the cow, I'm almost ready to go along with Leslie," Andrea said.

"I've got a better idea," Chloe smiled a predator's smile. "Andrea, take a quick look at their lifethreads, just give me the highlights." She gestured oddly at the men. "We'll let them sleep, while I rework the threads, and, when they wake up, it'll be to their worst nightmares."

* * * * *

[Matt's Lifethread: Matthew Bauer, Ph.D., a senior researcher and director of narco- and neuro-pharmaceutical research at Quinn Laboratories, author of some 50 published papers. Matt is proudest of his IQ of 178, thinking about it the way a bodybuilder might think of his muscles. He first used a crude form of the drug to discredit a female colleague who had charged him with sexual harassment.]

Mandi Bauer rolled over to look at her clock radio. "Wha... 6:30? I never get up that..." She shook her head. "What am I thinking? I _always_ get up this early 'cause it takes so long to pick out the right outfit and get ready for work." She yawned and stretched, enjoying the feel of the silk sheets against her bare skin. She always slept in the nude -- even when she was alone in her bed.

Mandi climbed out of bed and headed for the bathroom. 'A shower first,' she thought. Her nipples crinkled at the thought of the variable pulse on her showerhead, her _hand-held_ showerhead. "Mmm, I guess there's, like, enough time for a _little_ fun before work."

* * * * *

[Pete's Lifethread: Pete Edmonds, salesman in Franz Sporting Goods Store. He's been dating Sue Weber on and off for almost a year, and he talked her into moving in with him about six months ago. He's not sure the baby is his. He doesn't know if Sue's been exclusive, but he considers himself something of a ladies' man, and he knows that _he_ hasn't been.]

Patty Edmonds Weber took a big sip of the mouthwash, swished it around, and spit it into the sink. She took a breath, feeling the nausea settling in her stomach.

"You okay, hon?" her husband, Stu asked from the bedroom.

She smiled a little. At least the vomit taste was gone. "I guess, so. I think the morning sickness isn't hitting me quite as hard as it did at first." She gently rubbed her stomach, feeling the slight bulge of a three-month pregnancy under her flannel nightgown. "I just feel so... it's like I'm not supposed to be this way."

"Having second thoughts?"

"And third and fourth ones." She shook her head.

"While you're having all those thoughts, here's one thing for you to remember."

"What's that?" She took a step and suddenly felt wobbly. She grabbed onto the sink for balance.

Stu was beside her in an instant. "Here lean on me." He put an arm around her.

"Th-thanks. Now what was that thing I supposed to remember?"

"I just told you, 'lean on me.' That's my... our baby you're having. I love you for it, and I'll be there for you... for the both of you."

Patty felt confused and reassured at the same time and didn't know why. She did know that she was grateful. "Thank you, Stu... for everything." She put a hand on his arm. "I think I'm okay, now." She took a step then another and felt neither weak nor dizzy. "You can finish getting ready for work."

"Okay." He picked out a tie and put it around his neck under his shirt collar. "You want me to fix you any breakfast?"

Patty walked back into the bedroom. "Thanks, but I'll make something after you leave. Right now I just want to get back to bed for a bit, okay." She walked back over and climbed into bed.

Stu came over and kissed her on the forehead. "Okay, then, I'll see you tonight after work."

"Okay, I'll..." She suddenly remembered something. "I... I have a couple appointments this afternoon. I'll be home about six."

He sighed. "I'll be waiting for you, then, with take-out for supper. Is "the Colonel" okay?"

"Extra crispy for me, okay."

* * * * *

[James' lifethread: H. James Randolph, rising junior partner in the law firm of Haskell, Dornan, and Young, specializing in tax and civil law. He is the firm's chief political "player", proudly advising major clients on financial and political matters.]

The intercom on Jaimie Randolph's desk buzzed. "Yes, Mr. Dornan," she answered.

"Jaimie, come onto my office, please, and bring your pad."

Jaimie picked up a secretarial pad and two pens and headed for Dornan's office. Her boss, a stocky, well-dressed man in his late fifties, was sitting at the conference table in his office, talking to another man, a balding man about the same age and equally well-dressed. Both men stood as she entered.

"Jaimie," Dornan said, "this is John Simmonds of the Simmonds Investment Group.

"Mr. Simmonds," Jaimie said, making a mental note of the man's name and business for future reference. In the back of her mind, she had the feeling that she'd met him before. 'That's silly,' she thought. 'Not an important man like him.'

"Shall we get down to it?" Simmonds asked, sitting back down.

"By all means," Dornan said. "Jaimie, this is for a confidential file, but I'll want your notes to review by the close of business today."

"Yes, sir." Jaimie sat down at the corner of the conference table. She opened her pad and made a quick note about the date and time of the meeting, then waited for Mr. Dornan to begin.

Simmonds was planning a major new development, an office park at the edge of the city. He'd hired the firm to handle the legal aspects -- and the political ones. About an hour into the discussion, Jaimie thought that she heard Mr. Dornan misquote a section of the zoning codes that had to be considered. She coughed softly to get the men's attention.

"Yes, Jaimie?" Mr. Dornan asked.

'What am I thinking?' Jaimie panicked. 'I'm not even a paralegal; I don't know about that sort of stuff.' She stammered for a moment, then asked. "I... ah... just thought that if this... meeting was going to go on for a while, you or Mr. Simmonds might... want some... ahh... coffee."

"Coffee, John?" Dornan asked.

"I'm fine," Simmonds said curtly. "Unless your girl has any other interruptions, let's get back to work."

"S-Sorry," Jaimie said. '_Never_ do that again,' she told herself.

"As I was saying," Mr. Dornan said, returning to the topic.

* * * * *

Herb Zimmer's voice cut through the music coming over the shipping department's PA system. "Mandi... Mandi Bauer, please come to my office... _now_."

Mandi's in trouble; Mandi's in trouble," Karen Parker whispered in a singsong voice from the next workspace.

"Stop it, Karen." Mandi stood up. Then she remembered and turned back to her PC for a moment to save the file she was working on. She straightened her mini-skirt and headed for her boss's office. "What is it, Herb?" she asked from his opened doorway.

"Come in, Mandi, and close the door behind you." Herb was a pudgy man in his thirties sitting behind a heavily cluttered desk. When Mandi had shut the door, he looked up at her and asked. "Mandi, Do you remember where that shipment of trialobrin was supposed to go?"

"Oh, sure, to that distributor in Chicago... right?" She smiled sure that she'd been able to remember.

"Then why does the paperwork have a Bridgeport, Connecticut, ZIP code?"

"It can't... can it?"

"It can... and it does." He turned his PC around, so she could see the screen. "You messed up the ZIP code again. We have an "last minute delivery" contract with those folks. If we're late, there's a $50,000 penalty clause."

"I... I'm s-sorry."

"Mandi, this is the third time this has happened since the beginning of the year. That's why I have to double-check your routing before the orders get sent out."

"I... the numbers... I just get, like, confused sometimes."

Zimmer sighed, running his fingers through his thinning brown hair. "But you can't be, not for this job." He sighed again. "Can you give me a good reason why I shouldn't just let you go?"

Mandi reached behind her and locked the office door. "'Cause there's, like, other stuff that I do real good." She walked over to his desk, her hips swaying sensually. Then she knelt down next to him. "Real, _real_ good." She ran her tongue across her upper lip, as she began to unzip his pants.

* * * * *

"Hello, Patty," Dr, Richter said, coming into the examining room. "How have you been since I saw you last?"

Patty put down the magazine she'd been reading. "Not too bad, Doctor. My morning sickness is still a problem, but it doesn't seem to be as bad as it bad been." She took a breath. "I... ah... am a little concerned about my weight. I've been trying to be careful, but I... should I be gaining as fast as I am?"

"It depends on the pregnancy. By the way, is Mr. Weber --"

"Stu." It seemed odd for a moment when she said it, but how could that be?

"Is Stu here today?"

"Was he supposed to be? Is there is problem?"

"No, no, you must have forgotten. Today I'm bringing in the fetal monitor, so you can hear your baby's heartbeat."

'What's the matter with me,' Patty asked herself. 'I barely remembered my prenatal exam this morning, and I _know_ I wanted to share this with Stu? Didn't I.'

"Don't be concerned, Patty," Dr. Richter said, reading her expression. "Pregnancy is a _big_ distraction. If you'd like, we can hook a tape machine to the monitor, and you can play it for Stu at home tonight."

"Oh, would you do that?"

"Certainly." He pushed am intercom button on the wall phone. "Keisha, this is Dr. Richter in room 3. We're not quite ready for you yet. Would you please hook up a tape player to the fetal monitor for when you bring it in?"

A staticky "Yes, Doctor," came back over the phone.

"Now, let's get you up on the table and check everything out." Patty nodded. She talked over and slowly lay down on the low examination table. "Hold on," Richter said. He pushed a button on the side of the table, and it gently lifted upward about a foot. When it stopped, Richter raised two y-shaped bars up out of the base of the table and locked them in place.

Patty lifted her legs automatically, putting one in each stirrup. It seemed odd for a moment, though it was hardly her first gynecologic examination. 'I guess I just feel vulnerable like this,' she thought, 'but it's important to do for the baby.'

A moment later, she shivered as she felt the speculum sliding into her. 'Why can't that thing _ever_ be warm?' She felt the doctor moving the speculum inside her and heard him muttering to himself as he did so. After a few minutes, he carefully removed it. His fingers gently pressed on her stomach.

"Everything's in order," he finally said in a cheery tone. "Now let's hear what the baby has to say on the subject. He took off his gloves and presses the intercom again. "You can come in now, Keisha."

A moment later, a tall black woman pushed an equipment cart into the room. "Hi, I'm Keisha. You ready to hear your baby?"

Patty smiled nervously. "As ready as I'll ever be."

Keisha put on rubber gloves and picked up a small tube of ointment. "Now don't you be nervous, Mrs. Web --"


"Don't be nervous, Patty. I've done this a hundred times, and you know what always happens?" Patty shook her head. "Some happy mama hears her little baby's heartbeat." She gave Patty's hand a reassuring squeeze and began to use the ointment to attach a set of tiny dots -- micro-sensors connected by wire to the monitor -- to Patty's stomach.

"Is the tape recorder hooked up?" Patty asked. "My husband --"

"He'll hear it all," Keisha said. "Starting..." She flipped a switch on the monitor. ""

The monitor hummed for a moment. Then the sound of a heartbeat filled the room. It was followed a few seconds later by a second heartbeat.

"There's an echo," Patty said with a nervous giggle. "It must be some sort of feedback, maybe from the tape player."

Keisha checked various settings and switches on the monitor _and_ the tape player. She cut off first one heartbeat, then the other, before she brought them both back. "That's no echo, Mrs. Web -- Patty," she said, flashing a big smile. "That's twins."

* * * * *

Jaimie was working on a letter for one of the associates when her intercom buzzed. "Jaimie, would you come to my office, please?"

"On my way, Mr. Dornan," Jaimie said. She saved the letter as a WORD file, picked up her steno pad, and headed for his office.

Dornan was at his desk. "Close the door, Jaimie, and come sit down."

Jaimie did as he asked. As she sat down, she opened her steno pad. Dornan shook his head. "Do you remember what this is?" He handed her a file.

"It's my notes from the meeting you and Mr. Simmonds had today. Is there a problem with them?"

"Turn to page 6." He paused while she found the page. "What do you see there?"

"You changed that section about the zoning code. You... you corrected everything you said at the meeting."

"You knew I was wrong, didn't you?"

"Yes, sir, I did."

"Then why didn't you say something -- or even just pass me a note."

"I-I was going to. Remember when I coughed?"

"Yes, and as soon as I asked, you said that all you wanted was to get us some coffee. Why didn't you say something?"

"I was... I didn't think I should, not during a client meeting."

"What about telling me after the meeting, or making a comment when you type up your notes?"

"I-I'm just a secretary. It's not my place to correct you, sir."

"Not even when you _know_ I'm wrong and that my error could create major problems for the firm or -- more importantly -- for our client."

"A secretary isn't --"

"A secretary should -- if she thinks it's important. Or didn't you think it was important?"

"Yes, sir. I knew it could create trouble."

Dornan sighed. "Jaimie, you're one of the secretaries who applied for the paralegal training program the firm is buying into. We're getting two slots, and, on the basis of seniority, one of them should be yours." He paused. "But it won't be."

Jaimie felt as if she'd been slapped. "Why not? If I do deserve it?"

"Because a paralegal has to be aggressive, a fighter for the lawyers she's working for and for their clients. You -- you're just too shy, too unsure of yourself for that sort of work. I'm very sorry."

Jaimie wanted to argue, to throw the words back in his face, but she... it just wouldn't be right to do it.

Dornan sighed again. "Jaimie, I told you this way in the hopes that you'd disagree, but I guess that you just proved my point. Maybe you should see somebody; the firm does pay for counseling. There'll be two more openings in the program next year."

Jaimie shook her head, as she stood up. "What's the use." She tried not to cry as she walked back to her desk.

* * * * *

"Hey, babe, is this seat taken?"

Mandi looked up from her beer. The man was young -- cute, too. He was wearing a gray muscleman shirt that showed off his broad shoulders and six-pack abs. "Sorry," she heard herself say. "I-I'm, like, waiting for somebody." What was the matter with her?

"Lucky guy," the man said, with what Mandi thought was a very sexy grin, before he headed off towards a redhead at another table.

"This is, like, crazy," Mandi muttered to herself. "I don't even know why I, like, came to this bar. Why am I chasing off cute guys?"

Before Mandi could say another word, a slightly plump woman sat down across from her at the table. "Hi, am I late?"

"Late for what?" Mandi asked, "and, like, who _are_ you?"

"Patty... Patty Weber, and you are?"

"If you don't know me, why are you, like, sitting here?"

"Miss, I don't even know why I came into this bar. I should be home with Stu -- my husband." She smiled shyly. "I just found out I'm having twins."

"Like, congrats. So why aren't you... at home, I mean?"

"I... I don't know. Something just sort of _made_ me drive here instead. Then, when I walked in, I knew I just _had_ to sit down here. I was hoping you could tell me why."

"I'm afraid not. I had to, like, come here, too, and sit at this table. I just _had_ to. I don't know why." She offered her hand. "I'm Mandi Bauer, by the way."

"Patty Weber," the other woman said again, shaking Mandi's hand. "Glad to meet you, I guess."

Two other women came to the table. "I see everyone's here," the first woman, a blonde, said. "This is Jaimie Randolph." She pointed to the brunette, who smiled shyly. "Jaimie knew that she was supposed to come over and sit with you ladies, but she didn't know why, and she was too embarrassed to ask."

"H-Hi," Jaimie said, looking down at her shoes.

"Sit down, Jaimie," the blonde said firmly, taking a seat herself. "Sit!"

Jaimie quickly sat down. The blonde smiled and continued. "I suppose that you're wondering what's going on and why you're here. You may even be wondering who I am."

The other women nodded. "You, like, know it," Mandi said.

"I guess the easiest way would be to let you remember." The blonde made an odd gesture at the others, pointing to each in turn.

Mandi felt a cloud lift from her mind. She blinked a moment in recognition, then blurted out the answer. "You -- you're that broad I tried to --" She looked down at herself in horror, at her perky breasts and min-skirted legs. "What happened to me?" Then her eyes widened as she remembered how she'd acted all day. "I-I'm a bimbo, a cocksu --"

Chloe smiled. "Just leave it at bimbo, dear, and be grateful that none of the men in the room were able to hear you just now."

"Matt?" Pete asked, looking at Mandi, who nodded. "And you..." she pointed at Jaimie, "...are you... James?"

"I am," Jaimie said angrily. "You aren't the only one, Matt. I spent the whole day sucking up to Fred Dornan. Walking around like I was on eggshells; letting him and John Simmonds push me around at that meeting, just sitting there and taking notes instead of advising them like I should have. And then letting Dornan bully me about paralegal training. Paralegal, hell, I'm twice the lawyer that he is."

"Twice!" Patty joined in. She rubbed her stomach. "I hate that word. I'm having goddamned twins. And I was actually looking forward to staying home with the little monsters, too." She glared at Chloe. "Lady, I don't know how you did this to us, but it's _over_! You're changing us back, and I mean _now_!"

"Yeah," Mandi and Jaimie agreed.

"Happy to oblige." Chloe repeated her earlier gestures.

Mandi shook her head, feeling her intelligence fading. "This... this isn't what we meant."

Jaimie grabbed Chloe's arm. Chloe looked down at it, and Jaimie pulled her hands away as if she'd touched a hot stove. "Pl-please, ma'am. I-I don't want to be like this."

"Me either," Patty said, fighting back tears. She'd just been so emotional since she got pregnant.

"But you will," Chloe said. "When we re-worked your lifethreads, my sisters and I have arranged things so that you'll all remember who and what you were. The way you acted today was for 'shock value.' You can go with the flow and be that way forever. In time, you'd find that you've come to accept and eventually even like your lives." She paused for effect. "But each of you has the potential to do much better with their lives if you truly wish to do so."

"But, like, why are you doing this to us?" Mandi asked. "Giving us these new lives and making us act the way we did, even if just for today?"

"New lives," Chloe said, a cruel smile curling her lips for just a moment. "But Mandi, Jaimie, Patty, you're all the way you've always been; ask anyone." She played for a moment with a silver broach on her jacket. "As to why I did it: first off, Mandi, that drug Matt created is too dangerous. Now, it never existed, and, I'm sorry to tell you, but you're no longer intelligent enough to ever be able to recreate the drug. That won't change, either."

Mandi looked stunned. "N-never?"

"Sorry, no, never." Chloe looked genuinely sorry.

"That's Matt," Patty interrupted. "What about us?"

"Frankly, the attitude that James and Pete had and the way they were using the drug just pissed me off. Still, you both have chances. Jaimie, if you get that counseling Mr. Dornan suggested, I guarantee that you'll be in the paralegal program. In time, you might even become a lawyer again, eventually."

"And, Patty, if you put your heart into it, you'll find that being a mother and guiding the lives of two children is far more satisfying than selling fishing tackle as Pete did."

"Do we have a choice?" Patty asked sorrowfully.

"Yes, you do," Chloe said. "You can try to make better lives for yourselves, or you can stay the pitiful types you were today. Think about _that_. Now, goodbye... oh, and congratulations on the twins." She made another gesture and, suddenly, she wasn't in the room any more.

"Like, now what?" Mandi asked.

"I want to go home and tell Stu the news." She suddenly realized something. "I guess I can't tell him that he used to be Susie."

"Probably not," Jaimie said. "Maybe... maybe we could get together another time, if you want to, that is."

"Sounds okay," Mandi said. "How about here tomorrow at 5:30? We can, like, compare notes on our new lives."

"Let's make it a once-a-week thing," Jaimie said. "We meet to give each other morale support on this self-improvement thing."

"Sounds good. See you then," Patty said. "Right now, I've got a... a husband to give some good news to." She stood up. "Bye."

Mandi watched Patty walk to the door. Then she turned back to Jaimie. "How about you? You got, like, anyplace to go?"

"I-I don't think so." Jaimie said. She lived in a small apartment, just her and a gray cat named Smoky Joe.

"Then, like, how about we get on with these new lives that woman stuck us with?"

"What do you mean?"

"Those two cute guys at the table by the bar are giving us the eye. How 'bout we go over and, like, see what sort of fun we can have with them."

"I-I couldn't," Jaimie said. She felt her cheeks warm. She didn't want to, but she found herself sneaking a look at the two men. Maybe there were some good things about this new life she was going to have to live.

* * * * *

"Not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning." -- Winston Churchill

The Weaver sisters also appear in my story “Slow Justice.” They are the personification f the Fates of Greek mythology, and, yes, the way I represent them is somewhat based on The Professor’s “Ovid” stories. In the myths, the Fates were three sisters, Clotho (Chloe) spun the thread of a person’s life; Lachesis (Leslie) measured its length; and Atropos (Andrea) cut that thread, ending the life.

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