Sheryl And The Straitjacket
Sheryl And The Straitjacket Incident by 3586088863
"Hey, pass me that flow coefficients sheet, will you?"
"No prob. The laminate flow one, right?"
I slide the piece of paper over to the right, and Sheryl cranes her neck down just a tad to get a better look. A few strands of hair fall out over her left ear; with fluttering heart, unsure of what her reaction will be, I restore the wayward strands back to their regal perch.
She turns her head towards me. I'm delighted to see that she's smiling. "Thanks, man."
* * *
I'm a student at a prestigious East Coast university--a mechanical engineering and linguistics double major to be exact. My days here are pretty enjoyable--I've been on a date or two this year, the boys and I usually make it out to watch movies every weekend, school's going well--yes, I really enjoy it here. The girl sitting to the right of me at the lab bench, though, puts me to shame. Shooting for a physics major and a dance history minor, she beats me hands down in academics. She's not a model, and nor does she have a perfect body, but she comes awfully close.
I lean back slightly to study Sheryl's figure. In accordance with her person, she dresses sweetly. Her dark red halter top shows from the back the powerful, yet limber musculature of her back and abdomen, curves no doubt gained from the years of dance that she's mentioned to me. The top disappears into her jean shorts, and my eyes continue to drop. The graceful curve of the thighs--
"...yeah, I thought Sample C's was .072. I've done so many of these problems now, I think I'm going to be dreaming about these numbers tonight... Whoa, what's this?"
Her question rouses me. I lean forward again and look at the sheet that she indicates. I'm expecting to see an imperfectly xeroxed number or maybe one of my incomplete calculations that's confusing her. To my chagrin--nay, to my absolute horror, I behold one of my own sketches.
The slender girl struggles in a mean-looking straitjacket. Face in absolute terror, legs and feet at odd angles, she tries to gain a grip on the floor and drag herself away from the man. The man, meanwhile, has gotten hold of the fabric over one of her violently jerking shoulders and appears resolute in retiring her to her padded cell, the door to which is visible beyond.
I flush crimson immediately at yesterday's lecture sketch. Hadn't I put that sheet away with the others? No time, no time, she's expecting an answer...
"Well, my friend is into that kind of stuff." My mouth is dry. You can't imagine how quickly the nervousness spreads when your love interest happens upon your fetish. "He asked me to do one for him." Okay, standard lie procedure. Supply extra information to appear casual. "He said something like... he wanted to make a good first impression on an online community of some sort. It's called, um, bondage, I think?" Shoot, I don't have a motive yet. "He's promised me a nice little sum for the finished product." There we go. By God, I hope she believes it.
If she was listening carefully, she'd hear that my breathing was now ragged. Perhaps if she was listening very carefully, she'd hear too that my heart was pumping madly.
"Oh. Well." Long pause as she furrows her brow, running her finger over
different parts of the drawing. "It's drawn pretty well. You have the wrinkles
and creases technique down. Like, for instance, the way they radiate from
the guy's hand pulling on her shoulder. I never could quite manage that
in my art classes. They publish huge tomes on just motion creases, did
you know...?" She indicates the width of an imaginary book between her
I breathe a sweet sigh of relief. She's bought it. I might just have a chance at her, I chuckle, as long as I keep my papers straight. I've never seen a real straitjacket in person before, never have been involved as either party to such restraint, and probably will just have occasional vivid dreams that fade away as the sun rises, even though I wish they could last for just a bit longer. But, well, sometimes sacrifices have to be made. I mean, it isn't every day that you run into a girl like Sheryl.
The rest of the day goes uneventfully. The problem set is finished and duly turned in before five. We part for the day and set up another appointment to collaborate, this time back at my room. Extracurricular practices, dinner with friends, some more work alone, and another day passes.
Two weeks have passed since the discovery and awkward explanation. I stand next to the wardrobe in my dorm, trying t-shirt after t-shirt for that perfect look. Sheryl and I have just successfully undergone a gruelling midterm. By comparing answers afterwards, we are fairly confident of our success.
Sheryl and I have been, and still are daily becoming closer. More and more often she comes over to work on fluid dynamics; occasionally we bring our own work, content solely to be in each other's presence. We've decided tonight to celebrate our success by going out, and she's pledged to "thank me for my help." I'm both flattered that she thinks she's learned anything at all from me, and intrigued at the proposed act of gratitude.
Nothing too remarkable--outside of the fun time you typically have with your dream girl--happens over dinner. The one exception, I suppose, is her choice of outfit for the evening. I mean, if I were a girl, I'd hold off on the tight leather pants until the second date at least. I certainly am not going to complain though.
I am about to drive Sheryl back to campus when she seems to start. "Why don't I take the wheel for a little while?" I consider the ramifications of the breach of etiquette but cede her control of the car.
Sheryl finally stops and cuts the ignition in the parking lot of a small strip mall, by now closed and dark. Were I not coming off of a great night with a wonderful woman, I would normally have been worried for our safety. But it seemed my date was clearly in control. "Come on, we've reached our destination. Well, sort of. We don't want to get too close and arouse suspicion."
The night fog settles lightly on us, and as we tread on the grass I can feel the wetness of the forming dew spraying back on my shins. Where I'm from, temperatures like this are common, and I find the setting slightly calming. Sheryl seems less wont to it; she shivers, and I lend her my jacket. "So where are we heading?" I attempt again as we cross a second street.
Sheryl turns to face me, lays her finger across my lips. With raised eyebrows and a suggestive shrug of the whole body, she teases, "It's a secret. But this is something you'll never forget." In the still of night only the distant roar of cars and the footfall of her platform shoes is audible. She slows down as we approach a barbed-wire fence, and the outline of an industrial building emerges from the yellow-streetlit fog. We walk parallel to the fence until we come to a double gate with a card-reader.
From a metal placard affixed to the fence I recognize the name of an local aerospace firm. With a slightly clearer idea of where I am, I survey the complex through the links of the fence. There are maybe five or six squat, poured-concrete buildings; evidently function has prevailed over form in their construction. A windowless tower of similar construction, at least fifty feet tall, lies at their center. There are no signs of activity, save very faint glows at windows--probably just the glows produced by monitors left on by now peacefully sleeping employees.
After rummaging through her purse, my date produces a badge. From a brief glint of light I see her name and a picture of a very smartly dressed Sheryl.
"How'd you make that?" I wonder.
"I work here, silly. Periodic contract job," she offers. I apologize for my assumption. Our manner seems so dark and shady that I could not help for a second but believe we are going to sneak into some plant with a fake ID, commit industrial espionage dressed in black catsuits or something as in the movies--I don't know. But she seems to read my mind.
"What we're doing may be almost as dangerous as breaking in though. A lot of government contracts go through here, and there's a fair amount of classified information that I don't have access to." She points to some red text to that effect on her badge. "I haven't worked here long enough. Anyway, if we were found wandering around--even considering that I do work here--the consequences could be serious. I don't know the law exactly, but it might be federal."
Sheryl swipes her card; a small light blinks green and we hear a small click. She swings the fence gate open. "After you," she suggests.
"Thank you, dear." I lead through the gate, hearing the clang and the click as the gate shuts. The second gate is now ahead of me. "Hey, you'll need to open this one for us too," I observe, turning back. To my surprise, Sheryl has not followed me but instead has stayed outside the first gate. Her card dangles from her hand.
"Looking for this?" she taunts. What in the? I am about to declare in annoyance that I'll climb over the second gate when I look up and realize that the space between the gates is also fenced above. I am indeed effectively trapped in a cage of fencing, the entrance and exit to which both require the badge.
"Good night. I suppose I'll see them dragging you away on the news when they find you tomorrow." She speaks with a certitude that scares me.
I seize the metal webbing with my hands. "Sheryl! You can't be serious..." I shake the fence as much as I can. I shout her name, but she silently turns her back against me, making what seems to be an exaggerated effort to sway her hips saucily as she saunters away.
"Sssh. There are guards on duty," she adds as a final touch. Perhaps it's the cold night air, or my view of the seat of her tight pants, or the fact that she has me where she wants me, but for some reason I'm beginning to feel a little aroused.
I pass several minutes berating myself for not seeing a ruse like that; secondarily I contemplate what federal action might be brought against the poor soul they will find in the morning, frozen half to death, without clearance in a restricted area. Searching for my wallet, I feel something in my pants pocket and extract what else but my English-Russian dictionary. God, how indeed they are going to kill me...
"Miss me, honey?" I hear behind me. I turn to find Sheryl widely grinning across the outer gate. She lets herself in. While we are both confined between the two gates, she avails herself of my inability to separate myself from her and gives me a long kiss--one which, honestly, having just mentally anathemized her for the horrible thing she did to me, I would rather go without for now. "I've always wanted to do that to someone. You had better do what I say here. Because now you know who's in control."
* * *
Soon we've entered into the building complex. Before leaving last week, Sheryl has evidently taped over the door jamb of a side entry so that the lock hasn't engaged.
"They're in the middle of updating a system, so it turns out that entrances through that double gate outside are not logged, but card entrances into the building are. So we can't leave a trace." Sheryl leads me down a series of dark corridors--left, right, left, right--to the other side of the building. Through windowed doors I see glimpses of parts of planes under construction. A growing sense of being somewhere I'm not supposed to be feeds my curiosity and my arousal, so I linger at the doors, but my impetuous guide leads me on.
Finally we see another set of double doors at the end of the hallway. The windows are papered up, but even so a reddish light from within soaks through the paper and suffuses the dark hall with an eerie glow. Above me on the ceiling I see several parallel water pipes and their valves; on the walls I see electrical conduits. I can barely make out the placard above the door:
"VACUUM EFFICIENCY LAB No.2"
"Welcome to my humble abode." Sheryl sweeps her hand with a grand gesture as she backs into a door to open it. We enter and are bathed in the deep red light.
The first thing that strikes me about the room is a hulking monster of a cylindrical chamber, like a can lying on its side but approximately two stories high and at least that much in the other dimensions. Stairs run up to points on the outside of the structure where wires and equipment are connected. The side near us, a massive, massive metal slab at least a foot and a half thick, is set on a colossal hinge and stands ajar.
"This is where we test parts of rockets in space conditions," Sheryl dutifully explained. "Or sometimes satellites for instance. The entire manufactured satellite, well, with solar panels stowed of course—our smallest models are 15 feet tall--is wheeled into this chamber. Through several controls we can adjust atmospheric pressure and temperature. And we can carefully monitor the input power from those testing stations. Set in the door are a series of sensors that report back the communications output. This way we can measure how efficiently our satellite amplifies and transceives.
"But that is irrelevant right now. I want you now, and I've decided that I want you... in there." She strips her top to reveal a tight leather bra to match the rest of her raiment for the evening. She throws a few items aside and heads for me. This is certainly very odd.
* * *
We roll about on the black anechoic foam, working our way deeper and deeper into the chamber, constantly building up our readiness with games and chases. I find myself enjoying the sensation of her face against my chest, her flowing hair, even her individual eyelashes tickling me. But all of a sudden I feel metal against my neck; I hear a ratchet click. Sheryl rises immediately, chest heaving and hair dishevelled.
I get up to inquire, but I find myself attached by the neck to a rather heavy yoke lying on the ground of the chamber. I look up and see that the yoke extends up to the ceiling, where a hoist takes up the chain. Clearly, I note, this relationship has just gone from a little eccentric--ok, very eccentric--to plain kinky. Sheryl continues her delivery, businesslike and calculated.
"It is customary in the testing of flight parts to bring the atmosphere down to a vacuum. For the first ten hours mechanical pumps are used to exhaust the air; thereafter ion pumps are used to reduce the pressure to millionths of a torr -- billionths of an Earth atmosphere."
Sheryl begins to head out of the chamber. I immediately test the security of my attachment; as soon as I pull a little on the tightly applied brace I can feel pressure against the veins in my neck. The blood pressure in my head builds. I quickly release the brace and slap myself on the head. How did I let myself get into this?
I hear steps mounting the stairs and, muffled, a seat being dragged into a suitable place. Then a low rumbling begins, and I notice the hinged face begin to move. "Sheryl, this is really not funny. I already realize you're in charge here," I essay. "I don't know what you want to gain from this. You've done this once already tonight..."
Sheryl continues where she left off, but this time over an intercom. "Because of the long evacuation time, two things will happen. First, no one who is unsure of the contents of this chamber will bother to open the chamber for fear of having to repeat the process and reset all the testing. Second, you have a slow, agonizing suffocation ahead of you."
As the door closes the inside of the chamber grows progressively darker. The crescent of red that marks my path back into freedom wanes like the dying phases of the moon. I grow frantic. "Sheryl, come back. Let's finish what we started?" Then with a thud, the last sliver disappears, and I hear several smaller thuds that must be latches or locks.
When the deafening sound of the mechanical pumps kicks in, I scream at the top of my lungs. Anything, anything, I yell, will I do for her now.
The pumps stop. Says the operator: "Well, there's one thing."
"Yes, yes, yes! What?"
"You'll have to tell me about your fetish."
"Sheryl, I don't know what..."
"I'll tell you something. You talk in your sleep... you can even answer questions in your sleep. I suspected something about you after seeing that drawing. And unless I hear the same admissions here that I was able to cajole out of you a few nights ago when I was in your room, they will find you when the test sequence is over. That's in two weeks."
What choice do I have?
"I told you I'd show my appreciation for your help," she begins, as she peeks around the opened door.
"This is a funny way to show appreciation." I am standing, still dressed in my t-shirt and jeans, and, in order to reduce the pressure, holding the heavy metal bar that hangs off my neck. She treads along the plush floor.
"You need to trust me, sweetie." She places her hand against my cheek. I am inclined to hit her with the metal bar, but that would probably choke me. "'You'll never forget this,' remember how I said that? I promise you, you'll never regret this either."
"I'll never forget this, that's for sure. Hold it against you, probably. That is, if I make it out of here alive."
A look of slight annoyance. "Look here. I intend to work together with you. Collaborate with you. You've admitted your fantasy and I'm going to help make that reality for you. And..." She pauses. "And I'm hoping maybe you can return the favor someday."
From the floor, next to her top, Sheryl picks up and hands me a shapeless gray mass. I let it unfurl, seeing now something that resembles a surfer's fullsuit. Built-in fingered gloves and shaped boots cap the appropriate sleeves.
"Strip--heck, you can turn around if you're shy--and put it on." She seems to remember something and gives a hint of a smile. "You have no idea how difficult it was to keep that flattened and tucked away in my purse this evening." Indeed, I really hadn't noticed anything out of the ordinary, hadn't suspected anything at all. Attraction does that to you.
* * *
The fabric is grey, slightly rubbery, finely porous. It clings and follows every curve precisely. I feel my sheathed forearm through the suit and am surprised my how odd, almost alien, it is to touch myself through the suit. My hand slides easily over my body, and the fabric hums a little when I slide the "skin" over itself.
"Do some stretches. Pretend you're warming up for a run." I don't understand why, but I take her suggestion silently and flap half-heartedly for a few seconds. She comes close, examining the suit on my body to redistribute the fabric a little where it is bunched up or twisted. She wraps her hands suddenly around my left thigh to line up the inseam. A bucking shiver travels up and down me. "Like that, eh?"
* * *
The chamber is dark again, and I am alone, dressed in Sheryl's ridiculous getup. The only sound is that of my breathing, uncannily echoless because of the padded surfaces. It is almost be like sensory deprivation; the hanging is the only thing I feel. She's put my hands into conical leather cuffs and screwed those into the yoke bar about three feet apart. A similar procedure has been repeated with my feet and another bar. After she released my neck, thank God for that, I've been hoisted up to the rear center of the cylinder.
I hang there, swinging ever so slightly, and in a spreadeagle position. Sheryl has been careful to limit the swing by stretching me ever so slightly between the two bars. And as I hang, it comes to me exactly how different from the sweet and innocent Sheryl this Sheryl has turned out to be. Just one week ago I would never even have joked coarsely with her, for fear, more than anything else, that she would be disappointed in me. But now she is privy to one of my darkest secrets and taking it quite in stride. I don't know what to feel. Terror and passion both come to mind. Sheryl’s voice startles me again.
"You probably wonder how I will go about this. First thing I need is a map of your body. I bet you know already; it's just trigonometry—all it takes is two different views of something to derive its depth. You'll notice that the suit you're wearing is gridded." It isn't, but then I suddenly light up dimly. Yes, now it is. How delightful. I now look like something out of Tron.
"Black light and machine-precision painted fluorescent dye. Anyways, one longitudinal gridline every ten degrees, one latitudinal gridline every one inch. If I ask the sensor array to follow a single grid point from this angle"--through the overhead assembly I am swung suddenly and unceremonially so that I face the closed door--"to this one"--I am whisked over some eighth of a turn--"I can figure out exactly where that point lies in the 3-d world. So with all these points over your body and thousands of angles, I will have a perfect model of your external contours. Hope that makes sense."
The black light is evidently turned off again, for I am plunged back into darkness. For an indeterminate amount of time I am spun about mercilessly, sometimes lit and sometimes with a small red laser point travelling over my body.
I realize Sheryl is the sole keeper of my fate. At the controls beneath her fingers she has the power to asphyxiate me, pull me apart, or chill me to death, all torturously slowly. I cannot predict when I will be released. I cannot move my body, and I cannot predict my rotation. I cannot predict when my sight will suddenly be blacked out. With only the suit on I feel naked and vulnerable. And yet the crotch of the suit is hardening.
As the professor expounds and gesticulates, Sheryl and I smile at each other in recollection of the past night's adventure. Sheryl's out of the leather again and back into her usual jeans, sweet and adorable as ever. She's terribly good at keeping hidden exactly what she wants to hide.
I rub my eyes. I had been barely able to get any sleep that night, I was so excited. Her request that I return the favor someday—her willingness to realize my dreams and bring my fetish to life--would she be the one? I had told her as much the night before, that I was looking for someone who would be willing to satisfy me, and I her, throughout our lives. She had agreed to my "fantasy" then, but did she consider that last bit a part of it?
The professor turns his attention to another example. What if, he asks, we apply atmospheric pressure to one end of a ten-foot, two-inch circular pipe whose other end lies in a chamber evacuated to .75 atm? I am watching the side of Sheryl's beautiful face and notice a small grin develop as our lecturer continues on about partial vacuums.
I shift my weight a little and let my hand creep tentatively towards her. Over the handrest it goes, and as it makes contact with her tee she purrs ever so slightly. She pulls closer too, and her head comes to rest on my shoulder. I spend the rest of the hour stroking her side gently.
These auditorium seats are hardly the love seats one finds at the theater, and I have no doubt whatsoever that at least half the students in the rows behind us witnessed the whole thing. Yet I hear not even the slightest whisper. Either they're asleep or in pure shock to see the hair of this angel cascade from my shoulder.
* * *
"So what was in the box?" We're both packing up our notes in the general clamor of the end of lecture. Dazedly tumbling out of the cylinder the night before, I had met her descending the stairs from the outer platform carrying a cardboard box of plastic plates.
"That was your data. Three megabytes. Doesn't seem like much, but remember, it's just numbers. I did some fifty complete rotations and averaged all the data."
"Those were tape spools?" I ask incredulously.
"That's nothing. We use forty-year old equipment in other places. A lot of my work is actually pretty low-tech. When it comes to vacuums, you know, it doesn't take high technology to... suck and blow." A raised eyebrow, then an evil wink. Oh, that was the first pun I haven't minded in a while.
"What are you going to do with the data?"
"You wanted to be totally immobile in your...." Sheryl takes note of all the potentially prying ears filing past us. "...apparel. By God, I guarantee it's going to fit. And damned well."
"The data's useful for other things too, you see. When you become a famous engineer," she jokes, "we can make little stunningly accurate action figures of you. I might want a full-size doll for myself, too." She takes my hand and whispers. "Oh, one more thing..."
"I don't guarantee a perfect fit in the crotch."
"The data were inconsistent between rotations." She responds to my inquisitive
look. Grinning: "It's as if the front came out more and more as I went
story continues in Sheryl And The Straitjacket Incident 2