The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive

DISCLAIMER: The following is a work of fiction and any resemblance between characters in this work and actual persons living or dead is entirely coincidental. This work contains scenes of explicit sex between adults and is intended for the entertainment of adults only. If you are offended by depictions of adult intercourse or if you are less than the age of majority in your jurisdiction please do not read or download this file. Because this is a fantasy, characters in this work engage in unprotected sex in a universe where AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases do not exist. In reality sex without protection is unwise and nothing in this work should be taken as condoning such activity, or any of the other activities depicted herein.


By Downing Street


Cromwell did manage to make it to the law office on time the next morning, but it was a near thing. Shana decided that there was no need to wear underwear beneath her black lace bodystocking “just around the house”, but nevertheless opted for the high-heeled, mirror-black pumps. She had a regular luncheon with some of the other rich wives in the neighbourhood. When Cromwell mentioned it she waved a hand and told him she would rather stay home and clean house.

“Probably just as well you didn’t take this to trial,” Cromwell’s new lawyer told him as they waited in the courtroom. “I wouldn’t relish tangling with that lot.” He nodded toward the other bench. He was a young black man, thin and earnest.

Tawny was sitting on the other side of the courtroom, accompanied by two lawyers, both older and clearly experienced. She was dressed conservatively, in a very long grey skirt, worlds away from the cheerful little minis she used to wear to the office. Her hair was pulled back. She didn’t meet Cromwell’s eyes.

A back door opened and the judge entered the room. Judge Harris was younger than Cromwell expected. She had an air of harried impatience about her. Black robes swished as she marched to her seat behind the bench.

“Well, what have we got this morning,” she said briskly, shuffling papers. “Sleikbody vs. Cromwell. I understand the parties have agreed to a resolution to this unfortunate business.” She looked over at Cromwell’s table. “Excuse me Counsellor, but I have a Ms. Parnell listed on this case.”

Cromwell’s lawyer got to his feet. “Uh, yes, that’s correct Your Honor, but my colleague is, uh, indisposed at this moment and, uhm, hasn’t been able to attend. However, no formal representation will be required, as we have negotiated an out-of-court settlement with the aggrieved party. My client is willing to—”

The door to the courtroom burst open. “Wait! No plea bargain!” cried a female voice. Heads turned toward the attractive blonde rushing into the room. “So sorry I’m late, Your Honor.” She stumbled up to Cromwell’s desk and flung her briefcase on the table. “Penelope Parnell, representing Mr. Cromwell.” She rested a hand on his shoulder.

“Penelope! What the hell?” her associate whispered.

“Ms. Parnell, what is the meaning of this?” the judge demanded.

Cromwell was wondering that himself. Ms. Parnell looked different. She was wearing a fetching pink suit over a frilly white blouse. Cromwell couldn’t remember seeing Parnell in anything except black pants. The skirt on the suit was rather brief for a barrister to wear to court, especially with the pink high heels she had chosen to go with it. Still, as he admired Parnell’s shapely legs Cromwell couldn’t imagine anyone complaining. She had changed her hair too, letting the tight curls flow loosely down her back, with two locks trained to fall on each side of her face.

“I beg the court’s pardon,” Ms. Parnell said formally. “I was detained by... an urgent medical situation. However, I am prepared to go forward with this case as planned, so with my colleague’s permission I will take over from here.” She squeezed Cromwell’s shoulder possessively.

Cromwell’s other lawyer, clearly taken by surprise, started to protest. Parnell glared at him. “I said, I’ll take over from here, John.”

He wilted. “Uh, very well then,” he muttered. He sat down.

Ms. Parnell turned to the judge, smiling.

Judge Harris did not smile back. “Well, if we have sorted out who is in charge, perhaps you would like to explain that dramatic outburst, Ms. Parnell?”

Parnell said: “Your Honor, I have come into... new information pertaining to this case which may influence my client’s decision regarding the proposed plea bargain. If I could be granted a brief continuance, perhaps until tomorrow, to discuss this with my client—”

“I’ll give you an hour recess,” the judge said sourly. “A continuance is hardly warranted just to decide a plea. Court will reconvene at 11.” She scowled at Parnell. “Don’t be late.”

Ms. Parnell was in motion almost before the judge banged the gavel. “Come on,” she said urgently, taking Cromwell’s hand. “We have to hurry.”

“But, but, wait—” Cromwell protested as the lithesome lawyer almost dragged him out of the courtroom. Heads turned to admire the miniskirted blonde as she hurried down the hallway, walking with surprising speed and agility in her precarious pink pumps.

She was still holding his hand as she made her way down the courthouse steps. “Hurry!” she said again, “we have less than an hour.” She led him to a sporty red car parked haphazardly in front of the courthouse. “Come on, get in.” Ms. Parnell grabbed a parking ticket off the windshield and tossed it away, then fairly threw herself behind the wheel.

The car was in motion before Cromwell had his door closed. The blonde lawyer drove with reckless speed through the morning traffic. She didn’t paused to do up her seatbelt or pull down her skirt, which had ridden up fetchingly around her hips.

“That, that light was red, I think,” Cromwell suggested, holding on. “Penelope, what in blazes is going on?”

“Wait till we get to my office,” she told him tersely.

Ms. Parnell jerked to a stop in front of her office building with one wheel on the sidewalk. She grabbed a package out of the back seat and bolted up the steps. She was halfway through the front door before Cromwell caught up with her. “Penelope!” cried a surprised secretary, “Where have you been? I have messages—”

“Later,” she growled, without slowing down.

At last they arrived at Parnell’s small office. The lawyer dragged Cromwell inside and locked the door. She threw her package on the desk.

“Finally!” she said. “I couldn’t get out of that courtroom fast enough.” She slipped off her suit jacket and tossed it over a chair.

Cromwell was breathless. “Penel—I mean, Ms. Parnell, what is this all about? Why don’t you want me to accept the plea bargain? And where were you all day yesterday?”

She stood still for a moment. “Where? Well, I... in a hospital, I think.” Her voice softened, as if she were trying to remember a dream. “Maybe. There were doctors . . . and nurses or something . . . and machines . . .” She brightened. “Well, whatever. Let’s concentrate on the case.”

“All right, but first you told me Tawny’s case was airtight, and now you turn around and—what are you DOING?” Ms. Parnell’s blouse fluttered down on top of her jacket. Underneath she wore some kind of tight, pink bustier, the kind Cromwell liked.

“I’m getting undressed, so we can fuck,” the shapely blonde answered eagerly. She was already working on the skirt. She stopped abruptly. “You do want to fuck me, don’t you?”

Cromwell had no ready answer to that. “I—I—what? What are you—, I mean, Penelope, you can’t m-mean—holy Toledo!” The miniskirt fell to the floor around her feet. Underneath she wore an elaborate pink garterbelt clipped to flesh-tone nylons that sleeked up her legs from the pink high heels. She wore no panties.

“You do find me attractive, don’t you, honey?” Ms. Parnell asked, stepping over the skirt toward him. “I mean, you wouldn’t mind fucking me, would you?” She reached up and unfastened the clip holding her hair back.

Cromwell was bug-eyed. Was this the ice queen that had called him a middle-aged cad and practically thrown him out of her office two days ago? She advanced toward him, her eyes misty with desire. Her lips were parted slightly. She wore bright pink lipstick that matched her underwear. Her lower lips were naturally pink.

“Come on, baby, we only have a few minutes,” the blonde entreated, snuggling up close. “Barely time for a good quickie.” She pressed her soft lips against his, slipping her tongue in his mouth while she began to work his belt buckle.

When she let him up for air half a minute later, Cromwell was gasping for breath. “Ms. Parnell, I—”

“Call me Penny,” she husked, between kisses. “Look, I’ve got something to show you.” Holding him by his tie, she led him to her desk. She swept one hand across it impatiently. Files and papers and the telephone crashed to the floor. She hopped up on top of the desk. Leaning back on her elbows, she carelessly kicked her pink high-heels across the room. Then she reached into the bag she had brought from the car and extracted a pair of black stretch boots.

Without taking her eyes off Cromwell, Penny swung around so one foot rested on the desk, displaying her well-curved leg in profile. While Cromwell watched, she slipped the tight boot on her foot and pulled it up. The boot was barely calf-high, with a three-inch-thick platform and big block heel. She swung the other way and squeezed on the other boot. Then she lay back again, legs spread wide, short boots dangling over the desk, her pussy open and inviting. “You like?” she asked softly.

Cromwell licked his lips. He felt his resistance melt like butter in the hot sun. The boots were glossy and sexy and didn’t match anything else she was wearing. Somehow that only made them look hotter. How had Penny known about his fetish for funky boots? “But, but, what about the case?” Cromwell asked blankly, as his pants slid down his legs. He was as hard as a diving board.

Penny sat up and flung her arms around his neck, drawing him closer. “The whole thing is a set-up, it has to be,” she said. “We are going to fight this trumped-up bullshit every step of the way and I am going to get you a full acquittal. There is no way some underage tramp with a vendetta is going to touch you as long as I’m around, and I don’t care if she has the best fucking lawyers in the country.” She spoke vehemently, but her hands were still busy, pulling down his underwear and stroking his rigid member urgently.

It was more than Cromwell could stand. He surged forward, groaning, letting her guide him into her. Penny Parnell gasped in delight as his cock slid home. “Fuck me, honey,” she cried, wrapping her long legs around him. “Fuck me with my boots on.”

They were both too hot to take it slow. The couple began to piston rapidly, Cromwell standing in front of the desk with his pants around his ankles, the blonde babe in bustier and boots lying on top of it. She slid back and forth on the polished desk as Cromwell thrust into her again and again, grunting with exertion and primal lust. She was tight, wet, wanting, and utterly divine. Cromwell held her by her knees, delighting in the feel of sleek nylons along her luscious legs above the heavy ankle boots.

“Hurry, sugar, hurry,” Penny panted, urging him on. “I’m so close! You are so gooooood!” A light sheen of sweat glistened on her face. One pert breast popped out of her strapless top from the force of her oscillations across the desktop. The nipple pointed at the ceiling like a glazed raspberry.

Cromwell lifted both her legs to give himself a deeper thrust. He kissed the top of one boot. “Penny, Penny, we have to, (gasp) to go b-back into court in a minute. What are we (huff, huff) going to do?”

“Don’t stop,” Penny gasped, throwing back her long, loose blonde hair. “Don’t ever stop. Almost there, almost shit, it’s so good. Don’t worry ‘bout the huh! huh! case, sugar, I’ll ask for... oh yes, ask for, for, forrr a continuAAAANCE!” Her shout was so loud, as the orgasm overtook her, that the entire office was undoubtedly aware of her defense strategy. Cromwell felt her love tunnel spasm around his dick, and the sweet sensation drove him over the edge to his own release. With a series of deep grunts he came powerfully inside her.

There was little time for further discussion. By the time Cromwell and his sex-happy lawyer had cleaned up and gotten dressed again they were due back in court in a few minutes. Penny dashed across town with the same reckless speed as before. She abandoned the car in a stall reserved for judges.

Maybe it was the glow of sexual satisfaction that she radiated or the sexy new wiggle in her walk, but Penny turned even more heads as she clipped down the hallway to the courtroom. Cromwell found he had to look up at her. “Penny,” he cried as they entered the court, “You forgot to take your boots off!”

She looked down. “Oops! Better not let the judge see that. It’s OK, we won’t be here long.”

Tawny and her lawyers had already returned. As before, Tawny refused to look up as Cromwell went by. The older lawyer looked at Penny though, in her mini-length suit and fancy platform boots, and his face registered shocked disapproval. Penny stuck her tongue out at him.

The court appearance did not go very well. Penny entered a new plea of not guilty on Cromwell’s behalf. She stood with her briefcase carefully positioned in front of her feet. Then she asked for a two-week continuance to prepare a proper defense.

Unfortunately, Tawny’s lawyer objected. He told the judge how this matter was terribly painful for his client, how any delay constituted a continued affront to her rights to restitution, and how obvious delaying tactics on the part of the accused should not be indulged when they had turned down a very fair settlement at the last moment. He spoke eloquently, presenting clear and elegant arguments and citing cases without notes.

It was enough to persuade Judge Harris. “I’ll give you one more day,” she told Parnell flatly. “Then this trial begins without further delay.” She banged down her gavel and stomped out of the room.

“What do we do now?” Cromwell asked, as the courtroom emptied around them.

Penny leaned close to him. “Well, since I’m already wearing my fuck-me boots,” she said reasonably, “I think you should take me back to my place, and drill me silly with that gorgeous big peter of yours.” She sighed in anticipation.

“But the trial begins tomorrow! Shouldn’t we be planning strategy?”

“Oh sure. We’ll do that too.”

It was near dinner time when Cromwell finally made his way home. Penny left him with a long, deep kiss at her door, promising to spend the evening preparing his case. She was still wearing her boots, but she had pretty much lost everything else.

Cromwell was nervous about the case. He hoped he could sleep that night. It helped that his wife met him at the door with a warm kiss and his favorite drink. The house was spotless. Dinner was delicious. Afterward, Shana brought him another drink, which he sipped while she gave him a long, satisfying backrub.

She was dressed like a high-school cheerleader. She wore kneesocks, and there were little pom-poms on her gym shoes. Cromwell hardly thought about the case at all.

“Penny, where is everybody?” whispered Cromwell, late the next morning. They were seated in the courtroom, waiting, along with Tawny’s legal team and the rest of the court personnel, for the judge to arrive. Tawny wasn’t there either. The junior lawyer on her side kept slipping out to make telephone calls. The older man looked irritated.

Penny said: “This is so unusual. Judge Harris runs a tight ship. She’s never late.” Penny had pinned her hair back in a long ponytail. Her gold silk blouse was as frilly as on the previous day. She was wearing a tight, wrap-around skirt of some stretchy material. The skirt ended well above the knee, but it was designed to flash a lot more leg every time she took a step. At least she had remembered to wear proper shoes today.

For someone who had stayed up most of the night working on his defense, Penny was in a remarkably good humor. She even offered Cromwell a little head, to calm him down before court. Cromwell declined politely. He didn’t mention that he had already had two delightful bouts from his wife that morning, one to wake him up, the other “for luck” just as he was leaving. Shana seemed to enjoy them as much as he did.

“I just want to get on with this,” Cromwell grumbled.

“Oh, now you are nervous, aren’t you sugar,” Penny commiserated. “Here, let me help.” She took his hand in hers and guided it to her lap. With her free hand she lifted the edge of her skirt a little and slid Cromwell’s hand underneath.

“Penny, what are you—”

She smiled at him. “This way we can both relax. Here, up a little higher. Use your fingers. Oh, that’s nice.”

Cromwell looked around nervously. “Penny, we’re in court for the lovagod, and you—you’re not wearing any—”

“They’d just get in the way,” Penny whispered, guiding his hand.

Finally, Judge Harris walked into the courtroom. The judge was in much better spirits today. She didn’t seem nearly as hurried. She strolled deliberately, almost lazily, to her place behind the bench, a peaceful smile playing on her features. She had changed her hairstyle. Her walk was different too. Cromwell only caught a glimpse as she walked by, but he could have sworn she was wearing spike heels.

“Good morning everybody,” the judge said brightly. “Sorry I’m a bit tardy. Couldn’t be helped. Are we ready to proceed?” Penny had released Cromwell’s hand when she stood for the judge, but the moment she sat down she pulled it back again. Judge Harris waved a hand at Tawny’s attorney. “Counsellor, where is the complainant?”

“Your Honor, my client has not yet arrived in court, and as yet we have been unable to locate her. I suggest we recess until—”

“I suggest you find her,” the judge cut him off. “Maybe she went home to mother.”

“Uh, no, apparently not, Your Honor, she isn’t at home or at work or at the home of any known relatives. I think perhaps she just has a case of courtroom jitters.”

“What does this mean?” Cromwell whispered to his lawyer.

“It means they’re screwed,” she answered, still guiding his fingers. “Oh, you’re making me wet.” She squirmed in her chair.

Judge Harris said: “It is a principle of fundamental justice that the accused has a right to face his accuser. I am not prepared to proceed with this trial until Ms. Sleikbody is in the room.” She tapped her fingernails on the benchtop. They were painted bright red.

The lawyer began treading water. “Uh, in that case, Your Honor, I see no recourse but, uhm, to request a brief continuance, to give us time to, uh, locate my client.”

The judge was not sympathetic. “Counsellor,” she said coolly, “yesterday it was you who would brook no delays in bringing this case to trial. It was you who argued so passionately that any delay was a denial of justice to your client. Well, that sword cuts both ways. If a delay is unacceptable to the complainant, it is equally unacceptable to the defendant. This poor man”—she paused here to give Cromwell a motherly smile—“has been pestered enough by these unproved accusations. I will not tolerate any further harassment.”

“But Your Honor, if we could just have—”

“Oh be quiet. The case is dismissed.” She banged the gavel over the lawyer’s shocked protests. She winked at Cromwell.

“Yes!” Penny enthused. “Oh yes, yes, yes!” Her eyes were half closed. Cromwell wasn’t sure if she was responding to the judge’s decision or to the action of his fingers in her pussy.

“What does this mean?” Cromwell asked. “Am I clear?”

“Oh, they could, mmmmm, still pursue the, oohhhh my, criminal case, I suppose,” Penny responded, thrusting her hips below the table, “but it has, has, oh yes right there, no hope of suc-succeeding after summmmmmary dismissal of the, oh, yes, oh, civillll suit. God, I think I’m about to come.” Without dislodging his questing fingers, she turned toward him, throwing one leg over his lap. She clenched her teeth and shuddered through a quiet orgasm right there in the courtroom.

“Oh, my word that turned out nicely,” Penny sighed, when she could breath again. She licked Cromwell’s ear. Then she buried his lips in a long, hot victory kiss. “Let’s go some place and celebrate!”

Cromwell was in such a good mood the next morning that he was almost whistling. After an afternoon of mostly horizontal celebration with Penny, he had taken Shana out for dinner and dancing, something they hadn’t done in years. His wife shared his excitement that the charges against him had been dropped, although she didn’t seem very interested in what those charges were. She kept trying to give him hand jobs on the dance floor.

The chill in the office was replaced by warm acceptance. Everyone told him how relieved they were that he was innocent. Colleagues became friends again. One of them directed him toward the bulletin board, where he found a full-page retraction and abject apology from Tawny. She had posted the same message to everybody’s e-mail, just to be sure.

Cromwell walked into his office. A scorchingly sexy young woman was lying on top of his desk, like a centrefold model posing for a photoshoot. “Ga!” said Cromwell.

It was Tawny.

“Good morning Mr. Cromwell,” his former secretary said in a little-girl voice. Tawny was wearing a tight-fitting, leopard-pattern minidress so short it made her regular minis look prudish. The dress was low-cut across the bodice to reveal the top third her proud young breasts, so perfect and round they almost looked polished. Sleek, dark nylons graced her legs, capped off with tight, over-the-knee boots. The boots were patterned in the same leopard-skin motif as the dress.

“Ga!” said Cromwell again. “I mean, T-Tawny. What are you doing here?”

Tawny was lying across the desk with her legs bent and her head elevated so her thick brown hair tumbled down. “I came back to apologize,” she said contritely, “for everything. For everything I’ve done to you. I’ve been so bad.” She swung her legs around and got to her feet gracefully, despite the challenging high heels on her animal-skin boots. “I’m sorry Mr. Cromwell, I really am. Please, can you ever forgive me?”

“Tawny, what are you talking about?” He struggled to avoid staring at her legs. He failed completely.

“It, it wasn’t my idea, not at first,” Tawny replied. “It was Klara.” She referred to another office lovely, the one who had held the video camera. “S-she said that you were always, like looking at her, and flirting, and saying things, like you did with me, and, and if we made sure you had lots to drink at the party and kind of goaded you a bit, we could get it all on tape and, well, she said kind of get even and maybe get some money too.” Tears threatened her mascara.

“Oh, I don’t know why I went along with it. I-I mean you’ve been so g-good to me, and, and you’re such a wonderful man to work for, I was the luckiest girl in the world, and now I’ve gone and ruined it.” She stood forlornly in the middle of his office, looking marvellous and miserable.

Cromwell said, “Tawny, it’s over now. The case was dismissed.” Her tight dress stopped a few inches past the curve of her bottom. Just looking at her legs was a sexual experience.

“Please, Mr. Cromwell, there’s one more thing. I, I know I don’t deserve it, and I won’t complain if you say no, but, but, could I, maybe . . .” She hesitated, then blurted: “Could I have my old job back?”

This caught Cromwell by surprise. “You want to work as my secretary?”

She took a step toward him, hands clasped. “Oh yes, please, please, please. Let me be your secretary again, please Mr. Cromwell. I’ll do a really super job, I promise. I’ll take a big pay cut if you want. I’ll make it up to you for what I’ve done. Just give me another chance, please?” She looked up at him beseechingly. Cromwell felt his underwear stiffen.

“Well, I don’t know, after all that...” Cromwell demurred.

“Please, Mr. Cromwell,” Tawny gushed. “Let me be your secretary. I’ll do anything if you’ll let me work for you again.” She stepped up close and slid her arms around his neck. She wore leopard-pattern gloves that came up past the elbow. “Please?”

Cromwell found himself speechless. Standing this close to her, with her dewy eyes gazing into his, he could smell a delicate perfume floating up from the deep shadows of her cleavage. He opened his mouth to say something. Tawny kissed him, suddenly, tenderly, as if taken by an impulse she couldn’t resist.

“Please give me just one more chance,” she whispered, her lips an inch from his. “I’ll do lots more than just type.” She kissed him again. “Look, let me show you how I’ll take care of you.” She was already sliding down, using his body for support as she sank gracefully to her boot-covered knees on the carpet. Cromwell just stared in amazement as his former secretary unzipped his pants, then reached in with a gloved hand to free his maleness. He was hard already.

“Mmmmm, yummy,” Tawny whispered. She cupped him in one hand, lifting his rod like an offering toward her waiting mouth. She swallowed him, somehow taking inch after inch of his cock into her mouth until her throat began to bulge. When had she learned how to do that?

Cromwell was beyond caring. He gasped in delight as her mouth and tongue worked magic. He glanced at the clock on his desk; it was not yet nine-thirty in the morning, yet Cromwell was receiving his second masterful blow-job of the day. As Tawny’s head began to bob rhythmically up and down his shaft, he had already decided to give her back her old job.

Two weeks later, Cromwell put down the telephone and announced: “It’s official. Next week, I’m the newest vice-president.”

From her place behind his chair, Tawny squealed with delight. “Oh, Mr. Cromwell, that’s wonderful!” She was dressed in one of her office outfits, a bright silver microskirt coupled with a tight black sweater and tight black boots. She was standing behind Cromwell’s high-backed chair, massaging his shoulders while he worked.

Cromwell put his feet up on the desk and contemplated how much life had improved in a few weeks. His legal difficulties had evaporated. He had a loyal, sexy wife so far removed from the demanding bitch she had been that they might have been two different species. Her willingness to please him, and her sexual imagination both in bed and out, still amazed him. In addition he had a sex fantasy for a secretary and a sharp young lawyer who insisted on doing all his legal work pro bono. He grinned. Pro boner would be more accurate.

They had done it: that man in the club, the sweet voice on the telephone. He had no idea how they had done whatever they did, but the result was certainly satisfactory. More than satisfactory. Maybe he should let them know.

“Tawny, hand me the card file, will you.” he said absently. Cromwell could have reached it himself.

“Sure,” she replied. She walked around to retrieve the card file off the front of the desk. The little metallic skirt shimmered with the sway of her hips. Cromwell admired the slender perfection of her legs, displayed so fetchingly by sheer nylons and stretch boots. The only condition Cromwell had imposed in return for her job was that Tawny dress to show off those marvellous legs. Her compliance exceeded even Cromwell’s expectations. She handed him the card file.

Now, where was that card. As he flipped through the file Tawny sat on the desk and casually crossed her knees. The micro-miniskirt hiked up around her thighs. Cromwell was distracted. She had done the same thing yesterday, and ended up with her back on the desk and her high-heeled sandals pointing at the ceiling.

That sort of thing took Tawny’s time away from her regular secretarial duties, but Cromwell wasn’t concerned. Klara, Tawny’s co-conspirator in the assault case, had happily volunteered to take over any extra work, in addition to her regular job. She was in the outer office at that moment, catching up on correspondence. She worked diligently, only stopping every fifteen minutes or so to check her make-up.

At last Cromwell found the card the man had given him. He flipped it over. The card was completely blank. If he looked very closely, Cromwell could make out the outline of one digit of the telephone number, that hadn’t yet faded away completely.

Cromwell chuckled. He tossed the card in the wastebasket. He looked at Tawny, leggy and luscious, posing like a pin-up girl on his desk. He cocked a finger at her. Smiling, she slipped off the desk and into his lap. “Let’s celebrate, Mr. Vice-President,” she cooed.

At that same moment, in another part of the city, a man about Cromwell’s age was standing on a driving range. He had been there for some time. He was hitting golf balls everywhere, driving with far more energy than accuracy. His mind wasn’t on his swing.

“Mr. Samson,” said the man beside him suddenly, “suppose I were to tell you that divorce is not inevitable.” He hit his ball cleanly and knocked it for a long drive. He watched it fall thoughtfully. “Suppose I were to tell you that you could have your wife and your mistress, and neither of them would mind.” He paused to tee up another ball. He was tall and wore glasses. “And even that your wife’s cute sister could be persuaded to reverse the rather rude answer she gave you at last year’s Christmas party.”

He leaned on his golf club and regarded the other man calmly. “Would that be worth something to you, Mr. Samson?”