How Long Until You Find Yourself A Strong Man, Princess?
by Why Now

Natalia Hewitt put down her sign and gazed across the crowd.  Before her, spanning the breadth of the United Nations sidewalk, were thousands of protesters.   The fury of righteousness possessed the crowd, and nearly half carried anti-establishment placards.

"What do we want?" she called into the microphone.

"Redson Out!" The masses replied.

"When do we want it?"


Rapturous applause followed her away from the podium.  Dylan Robertson, her boyfriend of four years, kissed her and moved to address the audience.  His sandy blonde hair fell into his eyes, half-concealing his flaming green eyes.  He waited, dramatically, for complete silence.

"You just heard Natalia speak," he began, "about the evils Redstone pulls over America's eyes every day.  Cosmetics no one needs.  Movies without substance or even a plot line.  Rampant consumerism ingrained into the soul of America.  And who would know better than Natalia?  Her father is on their board of directors.  His own flesh and blood, his own daughter, has exhibited the strength necessary to see through the capitalist ruse her own father perpetrates daily on you and me and everyone else within shouting distance of a radio or television.  She is a shining example for all who would free the people from the devils of capitalism and corporate America.  Now, so they can hear us up in the boardroom on the twenty-first floor, what do we


Twenty-one stories above the sidewalk Mark Redson inspected a picture of a beautiful girl.  Barely out of college, she wore a gritty Army jacket and black jeans.  Her jet-black hair cascaded loose and unkempt below her shoulders.  The camera must have caught her in the midst of an altercation, because the girl in the photo appeared to be throwing a bottle at someone a
little to the right of the photographer.

"She's an embarrasment, Jason." the man said.

"I know, Mr. Redson," a man replied from across the table.  "I don't know what's gotten into her.  Her mother and I sent her to the best boarding schools in the country.  She's smart as a whip.  Maybe too smart.  When she started arguing labor politics at the dinner table, I should have known the liberal education she received was a little too liberal."

"Don't blame yourself.  We traditionally have limited control over our children.  Usually that little control is enough to keep them out of trouble.  Sometimes, more persuasive methods are necessary.  Tell me, Hewitt, would you mind if the company intervened in your daughter's problem?"

Hewitt's face blanched.  "Of course not, Sir.  Redson Enterprises must come first at a time like this."

Dusk's stillness enveloped them both as the last light of the day filtered though the floor to ceiling windows and onto their shadows.   A light, set on a timer, activated.  Redson's hands were poised on his lap in a pose that suggested prayer; Hewitt wrung his fingers and brushed imaginary dust from his black suit.

"Yes it must, Hewitt," Redson said.  He pushed a red button on his desk console.  "Denise," he continued,  "Please send one of the retrieval specialists in to take Hewitt's information on his daughter."


Natalia Hewitt and another woman pulled their coats close against the Soho winter.

"No, Becky, I'm not using my credit cards to get you a pizza.  Credit is immoral if overused.  Corporate America wants you to spend, spend, spend, even though you can't pay for what you want."

"But it's just a pizza, Natalia.  I believe in the cause of the people just as much as you, but we've got to eat, you know."

"We have food back at the loft.  Only four more blocks."

"Can we at least take a cab, Nat?  I mean, really, it's not like you're poor or anything."

Natalia silenced her companion with a glare and walked a little faster.  I used to be rich, she thought, and there's no way to escape it. Everyone thinks I have it so easy.   I have to work doubly hard to get anyone in the underground to take me seriously.  What did that guy say in Chicago?  "Poor little rich girl off slumming with her boyfriend.  How long until you find a
strong man, princess?"  She steeled her mind against the cold and stuffed her hands into the pockets of her army jacket.

"You go on, Becky.  I think we're out of sprouts.  The market near Houston should still be open.  I'll get some and meet you home."

"Well, whatever you do," Becky replied, "hurry up.  It's too cold to be out walking.  Delivery was invented for nights like this."

As Becky crossed the street Natalia moved toward the curb.  She had neared the stoplight when, beside her, she heard her name.


She turned and peered into a dark cab.  "Yeah?" she replied.

The door opened and out sprung a pretty blonde.  She wore a long fur coat and tall black boots.  Natalia almost lost her balance when the girl assaulted her with a hug.

"Natalia!" she cried, in a bright, tinny voice,  "I thought that was you!  Do you live in the city?  Why...why are you dressed like a pauper?  Are you trying to fit in or something?  Oh, I loved the grunge look too, but...really, Natalia."  She ruffled her fur coat and looked back at the vehicle idling in the street.  "Oh, anyway, I don't want to argue with you the first time we meet since, when, college?  Do you want to share a cab anywhere?"

Natalia extricated herself from the hold of her attacker and stepped back.  "Hi, Debbie," she said.  "Good to see you too.  Out shopping, I bet?  Hitting the department stores?  I believe it's been three years, by the way, since we talked.  Since I organized the anti-fur protest at NYU."

Debbie's eyes darkened.  "Oh, I thought that was a phase, you know?  Rebelling against our parents and all that.  But college's over, Nat.  Are you still the queen of causes?  Do guys like that kind of thing in their women?  I mean, check that, do guys from our neighborhood like those kinds of girls?"

"I'm not from your neighborhood anymore, Debbie," Natalia replied, her voice and even and dangerous.

Debbie grabbed Natalia's arm and pulled her to the cab.  "At least let me give you a ride, sweetie.  It's too cold and we haven't talked for so long."

Natalia let herself be led to the cab and closed the door behind her.  She felt a little guilty watching passing pedestrians navigate the slippery sidewalks as the the warmth of the car's heater enveloped her.


She woke to the smell of cedar.  Natalia rose with a start from a red velvet easy chair in a huge library of an old mansion.  A fire crackled on one end of the room's rectangle.    Beneath her robe she wore a tight black lace tight and matching panties.  She kicked off tall black heels and ran toward a set of double doors that appeared to be the only exit.  The handles turned but the lock didn't give.

"Don't waste your energy, Miss Hewitt.  Please, take a seat."

Natalia whirled in the direction of the voice.  Behind a huge oak table sat Mark Redson.  He didn't seem worried at the presence of a half-naked girl, the daughter of one of his underlings, in his office.  A mild, bemused curiosity emenated from his eyes.

"How did I get here?" Natalia asked.

"Sit down first, Natalia.  May I call you Natalia?" he replied.

"No, you may not, Mr. Redson.  This is kidnapping.  I hope your lawyers aren't too busy with other litigation to defend you in a criminal case."

Redson looked at his watch.  "Dear, you must be strong.  So much fire, Natalia.  I hope you retain some of it for your new existence."

"What the hell are you talking about, Mr. Redson?"

He steeled his eyes on her.  "Take a seat," he said, a little louder than before.

Natalia's legs began to shudder.  She suddenly felt like she hadn't eaten in a long, long time, and began to move slowly foward.  Another recliner sat in front of Redson's desk.  Once she obeyed his command a wave of pure, serene contentment washed over her body.

"That's better, Natalia," Redson said.  "Believe it or not, I was getting a bit worried.  I thought you might trash my library before the process took effect."

"The...the process?" Natalia asked.

"The process,"  Redson said as he smiled for the first time.  "I find it very interesting that those who would protest against the actions of corporations like mine seem to take us so lightly.  We're criminals, you say, but your type seems shocked when our criminal side springs up in your own backyard.  Redson Enterprises has a research arm that rivals the CIA for its stealth and focus.  That cab you entered?  Ours.  If the police were to run a check on it they would think the driver was just another foreigner eeking out a living, but he works for us.  Very well paid, to be frank.  Attended the School of the Americas.  Quite deadly, really.  Those men shouting you down at your demonstrations? Spies of ours.  Debbie?  Well, let's just say she sat in that very chair not long ago, asking the same questions as you are now.  Of course, in Debbie's case, our intervention was probably a godsend.  Those looks weren't going to last forever, and she doesn't have a whole lot going on upstairs."

Natalia found it harder and harder to follow Redson's train of thought.  She pushed her hair over her shoulders and tried to stammer out a defense, but couldn't.

"You seem confused," Redson continued.  "The end of stage two.  Don't worry, your intellect will survive unscathed.  In fact, it'll be quite useful.  Allow me to clear up a few of those itching mental paradoxes for you."  He drank from a highball glass in front of him and put it back, empty, on his desk.  "But first, dear, how about fetching me a drink?"

Natalia stood, shaky, and picked up the glass.  The bar was no more than ten feet away, but an eternity seemed to pass before she reached the pitcher, replenished Redson's highball, and returned to her seat.  Another wave of contentment, this one slightly stronger than the first, passed through her veins.

"Thank you, Natalia," Redson said.  "Stage three is beginning.  In case you were wondering, and our profile says you're a linear thinker, five stages exist.  I'll keep you posted as to your progress.  As to those controversies, why don't we handle this using the Socratic method?  I believe you majored, much to your father's chagrin, in philosophy.  You could have made a worst choice, I suppose, but he was quite horrified.  Now, shall we begin?"

"Y...yes?" Natalia replied.

"You're not sure, are you, Natalia?" Redson said.  "The confusion extends itself to very simple questions.  A hallmark of stage three.  Who are you, Natalia?  Where did you come from?  Let me rephrase my point into a more succinct form.  Children rarely stray from their culture, correct?  And you're a rich, spoiled Jersey girl, are you not?"

"I...I was born in Jersey," Natalia replied.

"Yes, you were.  In a nice neighborhood to a nice family.  Not too many poor people around, were there?"

"No, Mr. Redson, there weren't."

"Natalia," Redson replied, his tone one of simplicity and patronage, "You'll always be a spoiled Jersey girl.  You'll always be a materialist.  You can leave, if you want, and go play games with that rabble-rouser boyfriend to your heart's content.  But you'll be back.  Did you really think you'd play the role of the people's princess for the rest of your life?  Our kind was not meant to mingle with the serfs, Natalia.  If they're dumb enough to be poor, the shouldn't be pawing at our daughters."  He threw up his hands in disgust.  "You already know what I'm going to say, Miss Hewitt.  I don't need to explain your roots to you.  Keep the robe and lingerie.  The heels as well.  My present to you.  The rags you call clothes are in the other room.  A cab is waiting.  We'll be in touch.  You're free to leave."

Natalia stood, eyes wide, and backed away from the desk.


Becky didn't question the hour of her return, and Natalia didn't offer an explanation.  The cab (surely one of Redstone's, she reflected) dropped her off at her apartment near sunrise.  Both she and her roommate slept through most of the day.  She woke to the sound of the doorbell as the clock neared four.  A package, sleek and long, lay on her doorstep.

Natalia took it to her room and opened it.  Inside was a pretty black dress.  She held it up against her form and admired its cut.  Perfect for her, she thought, although probably a little pricy.  A card was taped to the top of the box.  She reached out and slowly opened the envelope with her free hand.

Shareholders Social
Redstone Enterprises
Trump Towers
9:00PM Sharp
Black Tie Only

Handwritten below the invitation was another message:

You have an appointment at Dinah's Salon for your hair and nails at 5:30PM.  A room has been booked for you at the Towers.  You may dress in your room before the event.  I will pick you up and escort you to the ballroom.


"Darling, you have the most beautiful hair, I have no idea why you let it fall into such disarray."

The hairstylist fussed over Natalia as he chastised her, combing her hair into curls, bringing out its luster and body.  A younger girl worked on her toes and fingers, polishing the nails and scraping off dead skin.

"May I ask," Natalia said, "Who made this appointment for me?"

"I just work here," the stylist replied, shrugging his shoulders.  "It's pre-paid, though.  You must have a secret admirer."


Natalia stood in front of a jewelry store and admired a pair of diamond earrings in the window.  She covertly peeked down each end of the street and snuck into the store.  A few minutes later she added a small box to the growing stack in the waiting cab.  Questions streamed through her hunger for affluence.  Why am I doing this?   I never wanted earrings before.  They're just another example of the hoops men put women through in order to get a date.  I can take care of myself.  But they're, they're so, so pretty.

"Driver," she said, her finger touching the intercom button. "Trump Towers."


She stood in front of her room's bathroom mirror and inspected her outfit.  The earrings finished the ensemble perfectly.  Her breasts pushed against her chest and spilled a little over the top of the low-cut dress.  The lingerie Mr. Redson...Mark...gave her complimented the outfit well.  She practiced in the heels, back and forth across the room, re-orienting her legs to the
footwear until she appeared lithe and graceful on her toes.  What's wrong, she thought, with getting dressed up?  You only live once.  You might as well have fun.  She shook the thought from her head and raised her eyes to the tuxedoed form of Mark Redson in her doorway.

"Ready, Natalia?" he said.

A tsunami of rage and recognition blew through her soul.  She covered her breasts with her arms and stepped back against the windows.  "You!" she said, her voice barely a whisper, "What did you do to me?  Why am I here?"

"You ask the most boring questions, baby," he replied.  "Now shut the fuck up.  I'm getting a little sick of the damsel in distress routine.  Get your purse.  Look pretty.  Smile a lot.  Agree with me.  Flirt with the old men.  You know what it means to be a trophy wife, Miss Hewitt.  Act the part."

"Fuck you.  There must be some chemicals running through my body.  A lab will turn them up.  You'll go to prison, you asshole."

Mark laughed.  "Sweetie, my company owns the prisons.  The federal government supplied us with a few decent incarceration contracts a few years back, but that's another story.  Why are you angry, Natalia?  I'm not making you do anything.  This world is where you belong.  You crave conspicuous consumption.  You're a spoiled brat from the shore who always dreamed of finding an older man to take care of her.  That's what women are, right?  Pretty ornaments to hold a man's arm.  Attractive dolls that make sure the house staff does their jobs.  Breeding machines that knock out a few babies between trips to the health club and liposuction clinic.  Toss some prozac and gossip into the mix, and you've got half the neighborhood."

"But that's not what I want," Natalia replied, tears forming at the edges of her eyes.

"That's what I tried to escape."

Mark looked at his watch.  "Well, you failed.  The life of the Jersey socialite is the only role you truly understand, babe.  Now, don't get too used to these philosophical discussions.  Stage five should be taking hold.  Pleasure from obedience, and obedience only.  Let's go. Now.  We're late."

Natalia closed her eyes tightly.  When she opened her eyes again, she was surprised to find her legs guiding themselves down the hall toward an elevator.  A trophy wife.  She knew the role.  Her father's colleagues all had them.  Young, bubble-headed bimbos who fell all over their benefactors and were dismissed once their physical charms faded.  Another wave of contentment
weakened her knees.  She leaned on Mark for support and giggled.

"I'll be a good actress and play along," she said, "If you just keep that feeling coming."

Mark smiled.  "After a while you won't be acting, honey.  Oh, almost forgot." Redson said.  "Put this on."  He handed her an opulent diamond engagement ring.  Natalia gasped under her breath, her eyes shut tightly, at the onslaught of pleasure that roared through her body.  She leaned against Mark for support.

At the next floor an older man, dressed in a back suit, boarded the elevator with a girl, even younger than Natalia, on his arm.  She wore a glittery gold dress, huge hoop earrings, and skyhigh heels.  Her escort held her hand.  Natalia noticed the girl's eyes reflected a mix of fear and confusion back at her own.

"Still cruising the high school graduations, Miles?" Redson asked.

"It's the only way to fly, buddy," the man replied. "Hey, I've got an idea for that new teen magazine cosmetic marketing campaign.  Got a minute?"

Mark laughed, then touched the elevator's "stop" button.  Both men tapped their dates on their shoulders.   Within one minute two women were side to side, blowing their men, while a discussion of subliminal messages in print took place inches above their heads.  Natalia tried to follow the words, but the focus she needed to maintain her balance on heels and please her
fiance left her unable to comprehend the talk above her.


The party was a bore.  Shareholder after suspicious shareholder shook the hand of the "protester" who arrived with Mr. Redson.  She nodded and giggled when Mark said she would be going on television to recant her views and support Redson enterprises in any way she could.  After a while, Mark led her to the dancefloor, where she found herself holding him tightly while society paparazzi furiously snapped photographs for tomorrow's tabloids.  From a distance she could have sworn she saw Becky dancing with her father.

"Mark, is my roommate here tonight?" she asked, as they walked, hand in hand, from the party.

Mark smiled.  "Your Dad had to get something from the deal, didn't he?"


Natalia leaned against the bathroom sink as her fiance entered her from behind.  She closed her eyes and groaned.  He was easily thirty years her senior, if not more, but his cock was heavenly.  She met each thrust with her own and slid, at his signal, into the bed's warm sheets.  Natalia still wore the black lace bra and heels Mark had given her at their first "real", in her mind, meeting.  She had never dreamed, until she grew old enough to appreciate manhood, how gorgeous he was. She had always seen him as Mr. Redson, a fat, obnoxious bastard who worked with her father.  But that was when she was young and stupid, she considered, as she positioned her legs on his shoulders, opening her slit to him.  He was smart and rich and understood her background.  When he appeared to be winded she let him rest and slid onto his cock from above.  The dress he gave her for an engagement present lay crumpled in a pile on the floor.  Natalia retuned the favor for the present in the form of her lithe, sweating body drawing the come from his testicles.


"Is it true, Mrs. Redson, that your'e quite close with Mr. Redson's ex-wife?"

Natalia smiled at the sea of reporters before her.  She adjusted her long, fasionable skirt and leaned toward the microphone.  Her long hair fell in stylized ringlets, courtesy of her private hairdresser, along her shoulders.  A full-length mink coat warmed her against a bitter wind.  Expensive heels, evidence of another shopping trip with Debbie and Becky, adorned her feet.

"Maureen and I are friends," she said.  "She agreed to leave the home upon my arrival.  Mark deserves to be happy.  I make him happy. She still comes over on occasion."

Another reporter raised his hand.  "Is it true you were together before the divorce was finalized?"

"I don't need to answer that after the photos of our Greek vacation appeared in the Post," Natalia replied.  "Those beach shots more or less proved it, did they not?"

The reporters laughed.  A voice from the back threw out another question.  "Is it true you're working in Public Relations at Redson now?"

"Yes, that's true."  Natalia said.  "I believe strongly in free choice for America.  I was mistaken before when I stood in front of this very building and spoke out against the company.  Why not let Americans make the choice?  Our advertising is no more aggressive then anyone else's."

"Three last questions, Mrs. Redson.  Is it true your old boyfriend, Dylan Robinson, now works for your husband?  How do you feel about your best friend marrying your father?  And what about reports of a pregnancy?"

Natalia laughed.  "I know it's a privilege to be in the public eye, but really!  Yes, Dylan, after some prodding from me, and a few appointments with Mark, now heads security here at Redson.  Becky appears to be very content, doesn't she?  And I've never seen my dad happier.  Finally, well, yes, I might as well admit it before the gossip columns get a hold of my medical
records.  I'm pregnant.  Mark may be much older than I am, but he's still got what it takes to keep me in the kitchen and bedroom until he wants me out in public."

The reporters shouted out more questions, but Mark took the microphone.  "That's enough, gentlemen.  My wife and I have an appointment with an ultrasound marchine.  With any luck, the child will spin just in the right way for the camera, and we'll make sure he's a Mark and not a Mary."

Security escorted them past the protesting crowds.  Chants of "sell out" and "traitor" bounced off Natalia's steely exterior.

"Why don't you all get jobs and earn an honest living?" she called out.  "And get a boyfriend, for Christ's sake," she said, pointing at a pretty young girl carrying a "Redson Hates Women" sign.  "Clean yourself up and put on some mascera.  A woman needs a strong man.  It's biological.  It's the way things are.  Get used to it.  You'll understand once you grow up."

Mark laughed when they were safe in the limo.  "Don't fret, darling. The crowd will be thinning out soon."  As the limo pulled away she saw Debbie chatting excitedly with the pretty blonde protester that received Natalia's verbal lashing moments before Debbie, taking advantage of the attention the crowd paid to the moving limo, pulled the protester into Redson's lobby without anyone noticing.  Two security guards, one vaguely familar to the Natalia, dragged the struggling girl into an elevator.

"Darling," Mark commanded, "Some attention, if you please."  She turned, pushed her hair out of the way, unzipped his zipper, and lowered her head to his lap.

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