Fletcher looked at the tape held in his hands, an old VHS cassette, marked: “Marquesa- Session 1.” Dr. Gomez, his supervisor, had expressly warned him that this material was off limits in general, much less to junior residents. Fletcher had only been working at the Kleinman Center for the Study of Human Sexuality for two weeks. He had learned of the existence of the tapes just three days ago. But since then the curiosity had been building inside him uncontrollably.

The mystery had begun last Friday, about an hour before the Center closed for the weekend. Fletcher had reported to Dr. Gomez’s office to do final rounds, only to find him strangely agitated. “There will be no rounds,” Gomez said distractedly, fussing with his hair and tie while checking his reflection in the darkened monitor of his computer screen, “you may go home a bit early today.”

“Is there an inspection?” Fletcher asked. He had been told that various administrators from the university or the municipal government came through at odd times, to check on aspects of the Center’s operations. “I’m happy to lend a hand.”

Dr. Gomez looked up from his extemporaneous grooming, slightly irritated. “This is not an ordinary inspection. It is a little ritual that happens here once a year. I don’t know if you are ready to take it in.”

This intrigued Fletcher. “I’m not in a rush to get away,” he replied. “I know that I’m very green to the way the Center operates, but I would like to get acclimated as fast as possible.”

Gomez thought about this for a moment. “Okay,” he resolved, “You can observe. But don’t ask any questions until the Trustee leaves.”

Fletcher followed Gomez to the front desk that marked the demarcation of the Center from the rest of the hospital. The receptionist was standing in acknowledgment of the visiting Trustee, who had already arrived. “I hope you haven’t been kept waiting long, Goddess,” Dr. Gomez stuttered, shuffling to add speed as he and Fletcher approached.

“Not at all,” the Trustee answered somewhat archly, clearly amused by Gomez’s eagerness. Fletcher wondered at why Gomez had addressed her as “Goddess,” though her appearance gave some clues. She was a bit young to be a trustee, looking to be in her late forties or early fifties. Her exact age was difficult to guess, however, because she was so torridly sexy. She wore a tight-fitting and severely short black dress that accentuated her curvaceous figure. Blonde curls framed a face that seemed carved from alabaster. Eyes of bewitching jade green seemed lit with a permanently knowing smile, and the three words she spoke sent shivers of arousal up and down the spine. She was the kind of woman that haunts one’s dreams. Fletcher was glad for the camouflage of his lab coat as his body responded involuntarily to her allure. He could not help reflect that she was an odd creature to encounter at the Center for the Study of Human Sexuality, since she was obviously in a class by herself that merited special investigation.

The brief moment of attention deepened Gomez’s discomposure. He hesitated a few steps from the visiting Trustee, trying to decide whether to offer her his hand. After a few moments she offered hers, and asked, “Who is the handsome newcomer?”

“Dr. Fletcher just joined us as a resident,” Gomez answered with a gesture from his free hand, “He will be observing. This,” Gomez said addressing Fletcher, shifting to indicate the alluring visitor, “is Goddess Marquesa, a special member of the Board.”

Goddess Marquesa held out her hand to Fletcher. He kissed it chivalrously, eliciting an appreciative laugh. “Are you a psychiatrist?” Fletcher asked.

“No,” the Goddess answered, “I am an erotic hypnotist. I helped the Center with some early work and was rewarded with a Board appointment. This yearly visit is my only real duty.”

“Shall we?” Dr. Gomez asked with a twinge of impatience, gesturing toward the interior of the Center.

The trio worked their way down several corridors, traveling toward precincts of the Center with which Fletcher was unfamiliar. Finally they stopped in front of a locked door marked “101.” Dr. Gomez produced a ring of keys from his lab coat and worked the mechanism, producing a hollow metallic squeal as the deadbolt slid free.

The room inside was dimly lit and sparsely furnished. An elderly man dressed in gray pajamas sat slack-jawed on a rumpled hospital cot, eyes open but otherwise seemingly catatonic. “Goddess Marquesa is here to see you,” Dr. Gomez declared as he entered, stepping aside to clear her path and making a “voilà” gesture with both hands.

“Hello pet,” Goddess Marquesa breathed as she approached. Fletcher watched amazed as the zombie on the bed stirred to life. Awareness flared in vacant eyes, the slack form launched itself from the bed with sudden animation, falling to all fours before Goddess Marquesa. Emitting strange snuffling sounds and grunts, the old man crawled forward and bent down to kiss the Goddess’s feet, tasting the silk of her stocking with obvious greedy delight. As the Goddess stood indulgently, the unkempt creature worked his way up her calf, planting bristly kisses the length of her gorgeous leg.

When he reached her mid-thigh she laid a gentle restraining hand on the top of his head and stepped back. “That’s enough, pet. Heel, boy,” she commanded. The creature obeyed instantly, scuffling back to resume his original posture on the bed, all signs of life extinguished once more.

Fletcher turned to Gomez, mouth gaping, a question forming in his throat. Gomez held up an imperious palm, demanding silence. “Thank you, Goddess,” Gomez cooed, gesturing the whole party toward the door. Once the bolt was secure, Gomez signaled that Fletcher was excused. “I’ll walk Goddess Marquesa out,” he declared.

“It was very nice meeting you, Doctor,” the Goddess said, favoring Fletcher with one more dose of her charm. He kissed her hand in farewell and watched her hips undulate gracefully as she glided toward the exit under escort by Gomez.

Fletcher made his way back to the central office suite in a daze, questions swirling through his mind. Who was that catatonic old man? Why was he housed here in the Center rather than in the Psych Ward?

“What was that?” was all Fletcher could summon through the confusion that fogged his mind, once Dr. Gomez returned from seeing Goddess Marquesa to the door.

“That was Dr. Alfred Kleinman,” Gomez replied.

“The founder of the Center?” Fletcher gasped in disbelief.

“The very one.”

“How did he get to be that way?”

“He used himself as the subject in an experiment,” Gomez answered, frowning. “Goddess Marquesa was the test case. The experiment was conducted over a period of about twenty weeks, at the end of which he became as you saw and she joined the Board of Trustees. The whole affair is not spoken about now, for obvious reasons. Dr. Kleinman is housed here to prevent word getting out that might compromise the work of the Center.”

“What was the nature of this experiment?” Fletcher asked.

“Never mind that,” Gomez warned sternly. “All records of the experiment are off limits. You are a talented physician, Fletcher. Don’t impede a promising career by poking your nose into affairs best forgotten.”

That was how Fletcher had ended up here, in a back room of the hospital’s audiovisual lab, with a box of VHS tapes and files that he had pilfered from the Center’s archives. The need to know had seized him like an addict’s craving. What had done that to Kleinman? What force could be that powerful?

When Fletcher was being honest with himself, he also knew that it was not really Kleinman that haunted him. It was her. The sparkle in her green eyes as he bent to kiss her hand. The scent of her perfume. The motion of her hips and ass as she walked away. Fletcher had caught a glimpse of what Kleinman had seen, and he could not help but want more.

The feeling had built in him steadily for 72 hours, when he finally gave in. It was not difficult to satisfy his urge. Hospital staff are conditioned to respect MDs’ position at the top of the caste order. The young intern in the archive had needed little cajoling to show him where “restricted” materials were kept.

Fletcher popped the tape into the VHS player built into the work station at which he was seated, making a screen set at eye level spark to life as the video began to play. Goddess Marquesa’s image filled the monitor, photographed full-body, seated in a plush chair center screen. She wore a low-cut blouse and short, tightly fitted skirt, and looked younger, but again her raw sexiness made guessing how long ago the scene had played out difficult to do. How long had she been coming to the Center to play out the scene Fletcher had witnessed? A time stamp appeared in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. The date: May 3, 2003. Fifteen years ago.

“This is the first session of Project Artemis, an experiment to test specific potentials of erotic hypnosis,” said a voice that must have been Kleinman’s, speaking from off-screen. “The test participant has agreed to record our work on video tape. For the record, please state your name.”

“I am known in my field as Goddess Marquesa,” the Goddess replied, a glint of mischief in her eyes. “Some know me as Lady Krystal Mesmer.”

“I see…and how long have you worked as an erotic hypnotist?”

“For more than ten years,” came the coy answer.

“In this study we will be examining the aphrodisiacal potential of hypnosis. That is to say, we will be testing whether hypnosis can actually be used to increase a subject’s erotic desire. Since the discovery of Viagra everyone has become obsessed with chemical remedies for sexual dysfunction, but we would like to explore whether the mind’s own powers of concentration can be harnessed to those purposes. Goddess Marquesa has agreed to assist me, I will serve as the test subject.”

“Why is that, Doctor?” Goddess Marquesa asked, interrupting Kleinman’s businesslike recitation.

“The test subject in this case must have special training. I have studied for years to learn how to gauge my own feelings, and have a clinical language in which I can quantify and comparatively assess my own desires.”

“But you said that this study would measure the increase in your desire…” the Goddess intoned. “Does that mean that you already desire me, Doctor?”

A nervous cough resonated from off screen. “Well…yes….” Kleinman confessed. “I hope it does not offend you for me to say.”

“Don’t be silly,” soothed Goddess Marquesa, “why should I object?”

“I would never note the fact unless it was clinically significant for our work.”

The Goddess pursed her lips in a moue of mock innocence that magnified her allure. “Of course not…” she simpered. “But tell me about this desire of yours, Doctor, so I know what I am working with. What do you feel?”

“I find you very beautiful…I am very drawn to you…” Kleinman began tentatively.

“Yes…” the Goddess encouraged, “You would like to touch me?”


“Kiss me?’

“Yes…” The sound of Kleinman’s breathing had become audible on the tape.

“Make love to me, if you could?”


While she spoke, Goddess Marquesa had produced an amber-tipped wand, held in her right hand, and begun sliding its tip up along the surface of her leg, beginning at her shapely calf and running it slowly up her luscious thigh. Its slow motion drew the eye involuntarily to the exquisite curves of her legs, cast into delicious relief by the sheen of her gray silk stockings. Fletcher could feel his eyes dilating and his heart rate slowing as he watched and listened to the deliberate cadence of her rich voice. The effect on Kleinman was palpable, the sound of his breathing had become a steady ambient hum below the voices on the tape.

Fletcher pressed “Stop” on the VCR. “Wow,” he interjected. Goddess Marquesa was not kidding. She was a very effective hypnotist. But could hypnosis induce the kind of state Fletcher had observed in Kleinman three days prior? He had a tantalizing glimpse of what the experiment entailed, but that only served to fire his curiosity.

Fletcher could not resist picking out another tape, one marked “Marquesa Session 14,” dated to July 2003. Placing it in the cassette slot, he focused as the monitor sparked to life again.

“How are you feeling, Doctor?” Goddess Marquesa asked at the outset.

“I have not been sleeping well,” Kleinman replied from off screen, a pronounced tremor in his voice, as if he were struggling to maintain his composure. “I am kept awake by thoughts of You. I find that my yearnings increased intensely after our last session. I lie in bed, picturing Your legs…Your breasts. Craving the sound of Your voice. The touch of Your body. My wife has noticed my arousal and tried, on occasion, to initiate sexual contact, but I find that I cannot maintain an erection for anyone but You. I frequently leave bed and lock myself in the bathroom to masturbate while fantasizing about You, but as soon as I return to bed the yearnings torment me again….”

Fletcher pressed “Stop” and “Eject,” retrieving the casette. He looked down at the box of tapes. The sessions continued through December of 2003. If Session 14 showed how far Kleinman had deteriorated within the first two months of the study, Fletcher could not imagine what later tapes would reveal. He picked up a tape dated to October 2003 and placed it in the VCR.

The scene that filled the screen was different. Marquesa was sitting in central focus, as usual, but a man in a white lab coat was kneeling on all fours at her feet, his lips pressed to her right calf, an ecstatic look on his face. Fletcher could not contain a gasp of shock. He had assumed that Kleinman was now in his late seventies, but the man in the video from fifteen years ago was no older than forty-five.

“Shall we begin, Doctor?” asked Goddess Marquesa from the video screen, her voice inflected with impatience and concern.

“Mmmm….please….” the crouching figure of Kleinman mumbled, “let me touch You just a little bit more. I’ve been waiting so long….so long….” Kleinman’s words were choked off by a strangled sob. It was difficult to tell on the grainy video image, but Kleinman’s face seemed to be wet with tears.

Fletcher stopped the tape. Looking down into the box, he found the casette marked, “Marquesa: Final Session.” Removing it from its protective sleeve, he swapped it into the VCR.

Goddess Marquesa was center screen again, alone but for a pair of clasped hands in the lower left-hand corner of the image. Kleinman must have been flat on his face off camera, hands held out in a gesture of supplication.

“PLEASE!” a hoarse voice, barely recognizable as Kleinman’s, blasted forth, somewhere between a sob and a scream, “I can’t go on without You….PLEASE let me be with You…I can’t think…I can’t work….”

“Stop being silly,” the Goddess replied in a soothing tone, “think of your wife…”

“She left me,” Kleinman replied. “I didn’t try to stop her. There is only You…You….I have no other cause to live. You are my whole reason for existence.  Please let me be with You….Oh Goddess, I’ll do anything. Make me Your houseboy. Your chained pet. I’ll cook for You. Clean for You. Lick You clean after the toilet. Anything to be near You…to touch You…”

“These sessions must end, Doctor,” the Goddess declared.

“But the experiment is not over…” Kleinman protested, rising to his knees so that his face, now pale with horror, became visible screen left. He continued, making an obvious effort to restrain his expression, “We don’t yet know how intense my desire for You can become. There is more You might make me feel…”

Goddess Marquesa rose to her feet. “I don’t doubt that is true,” she said, “but I’ve seen enough. Goodbye, Doctor.”

“NO!!!” Kleinman screamed, his face instantly transformed into a mask of anguish. He flung himself at the Goddess’s feet and clutched at her blouse. “Don’t leave me! Please…I’ll go mad…I’ll….I’ll…”

Kleinman’s eyes rolled back into his head. Froth flowed from the corner of his mouth as strangled gargles emerged from his throat. Two hospital orderlies appeared and seized Kleinman’s arms, fighting to drag him away as he clung tenaciously to the Goddess’s clothes.

“PLEASE…” Kleinman moaned, “Don’t abandon me, Goddess. Have mercy….promise that You will come visit me. Promise and I can go on living…otherwise….otherwise…”

Goddess Marquesa’s eyes were filled with pity. She placed a gentle hand on Kleinman’s cheek, instantly calming him. “I promise,” she said softly. At this Kleinman relaxed his grip, surrendering to the hold of the orderlies. His whole body went slack, the light seemed to leave his eyes. It was the same vacant look that Fletcher had seen in the prematurely wizened zombie now warehoused in Room 101 here at the Center.

Fletcher paused the tape. He turned back to the boxed archives and searched through the paper files they contained. After a few minutes he found what he was looking for: a carbon copy of an order drafted by Doctor Ferdinand Gomez, formerly Deputy Director of the Center, newly appointed Interim Director in response to Dr. Kleinman’s sudden “leave of absence” for health reasons. It announced Dr. Kleinman’s retirement from his permanent seat on the Board of Trustees and his replacement by Ms. Krystal Mesmer. She would receive the Doctor’s annual honorarium in exchange for her agreement to perform a special yearly inspection of the premises.

So that was how it had gone down. Gomez had feared that the donors would shut down operation of the Center if they got wind of the full truth. Kleinman had been the animating force behind the Center’s founding, if he was discredited the whole shop might have folded. So Gomez had stowed Kleinman in Room 101 and secured Goddess Marquesa’s cooperation in keeping him pliant by offering her Kleinman’s seat on the Board.

Fletcher shivered. His pulse was racing, his palms were sweaty. At first he was confused about what was agitating him so, until he became aware that his cock was rock hard. This realization drew his eyes immediately to the image of Goddess Marquesa, paused on the screen, frozen in sultry splendor. Before he could think, Fletcher’s hands went to work spontaneously, freeing his cock from his pants and stroking himself to explosive catharsis while his eyes remained glued on the Goddess.

Slumped in the afterglow, Fletcher felt profoundly relieved but not entirely satiated. He still craved the Goddess’s image and voice. His eyes drifted to the box of cassettes. No. That was a bad idea. And yet….




“Why are there two of them?” Goddess Marquesa asked Doctor Gomez, surprised on entering Room 101 during her yearly visit to find that her pet Kleinman had a new roommate. The second man was much younger than Kleinman, but in similarly decrepit shape, his hair a tangle of knots, his vacant eyes staring from deep, black-rimmed sockets set in an emaciated face.

“This is Doctor Fletcher,” Gomez replied.

“The handsome young resident who was so charming on my last visit?” asked the Goddess in disbelief.

“Yes,” Dr. Gomez answered, coughing in mild embarrassment. “After your last visit he pilfered the tapes of your sessions with Dr. Kleinman and began viewing them during his off-hours at home. He watched the entire series multiple times. I confess, I was obtuse not to have seen the signs of trouble earlier, but I only realized how serious the problem was when Fletcher was found.”


“I called the police when he had failed to show up for work for more than a week. They discovered him seated naked in front of his television, dehydrated and catatonic, surrounded by soiled tissues….”

“For Heaven’s sake!” cried the Goddess in disgust.

“Please forgive me, Goddess. I meant no offense. I felt we owed it to Dr. Fletcher to care for him along with Dr. Kleinman…”

“And of course you gave no thought to the reputation of the Center,” the Goddess remarked with a heavy note of irony.

“Um…er…” Gomez grunted, guilt and embarrassment rendering him speechless.

“Oh, well,” Goddess Marquesa sighed, “there’s nothing to be done. Let’s get on with it.” Raising her voice, she addressed the two inert forms seated on the beds, “Come, pets!”

Hearing the Goddess’s voice, Kleinman and Fletcher sprang to life. As they scrambled forward on all fours Goddess Marquesa could not suppress a soft, sardonic laugh. “Make it last, pets,” she intoned as greedy lips worshipfully pressed against her feet and calves, “there will be no more Goddess until next year.



The End