“The Middle Manager” is a standard office blackmail story following about the same storyline as many other BDSM stories.
A young man, a computer geek, works for a slightly older woman who disrespects him and plagiarizes his work for her own advancement. He exacts his revenge on her by witholding critical reports unless she performs an escalating series of sexual humiliations for him. His power over her is enhanced by his claim that he can help her get a promotion to a senior management position.
She does not know if he can fulfil his promise of a promotion but does know that he can scuttle her career by witholding the reports that the senior managers want and only he knows how to generate.
The humiliations begin simply enough, showing him her breasts for a few minutes, and escalate slowly through a paddling and nipple clamping to allowing herself to be offered as stakes in a poker game and having sexual intercourse with two strangers.
Throughout, she makes it clear that she has limits and that she will abandon her career before she will allow herself to be raped or injured.
To her surprise, the geek does ensure her promotion to a vice presidency. To his surprise, she has secretly had his software reverse engineered so that she is no longer dependent on him and fires him.
This is a surprise ending for the genre. In the typical office blackmail story, the geek would have used videos that he has taken to blackmail her forever, forcing her to abandon her career and become his full-time sex slave.
For the most part, readers liked my ending, though some were bothered because the unethical, and largely unlikeable, middle manager successfully defeated the geek through her unethical practices. Worse, she attributed winning to her own cunning, discounting everything that the geek had done for her.
I liked the ending because that is analogous to what I have seen happening in real organizations over and over.
I also liked my characterization of the geek. The manager makes the mistake of stereotyping him as sexually unsuccessful. Towards the end, he reveals that her assumption is wrong – he is married with a child and has another on the way – and that, by making the assumption that his personal life was a failure, she insulted him deeply. That insult was his primary motivation for seeking revenge on her.
I expect that most of my readers accepted the manager’s assumption at the beginning of the story and are as surprised as her when the geek reveals that he has a normal personal life at the end of the story.
While no sexual blackmail story in a corporate environment can be completely realistic, I tried to make this one more believable than most by making the blackmail fairly mild and giving the manager a strong motivation for submitting to his demands. She agrees, not so much because she is helpless, but to buy time because she knows that she will be screwing the geek over as soon as she has reverse-engineered his software.
As well, the manager is involved in an unsatisfying romantic relationship that she is about to terminate. There is irony in the fact that the geek has a more successful personal life than she does. Her failing romance leaves her free to enjoy some sexual satisfaction from her illicit behavior.
There are a couple of new sadomasochistic activities in this story that I like. One is when the geek pours a box of thumbtacks into the manager’s panties and demands that she keep them there for several hours. This sounds like it would be a terrible torture, but, as explained in the story, it shouldn’t be as painful as it sounds. They are fairly blunt, aren’t pressed hard against her, and are not specifically positioned to penetrate her flesh. But I’m not certain because I didn’t bother trying this on myself.
The other activity is a solitaire game that uses a shuffled deck of cards to determine how often and how long a person’s nipples will be clamped by wooden clothespins. Again, I have not tried this personally, so I cannot guarantee that it will feel as I have described. But I have received letters from readers suggesting that they have played the game and did not find any inaccuracies in my account.