Chapter 1: I get a job
"I think I could get you a job at my clinic. We really need an administrative assistant."
I was delighted to hear that from my flatmate Jenny. The company where I worked had just closed down, and with local unemployment at record levels, it would be very difficult to get another job. I knew that the nurse worked at what was really a mental hospital, where wealthy clients went to avoid the stigma of having to say that they had serious mental illness.
"That would be fab, Jenny," I responded. "Any idea what they would pay me?"
"I can't tell you exactly, but probably a bit more than you've been paid. And of course I could give you a lift if I'm working normal hours."
That sounded really great, and I eagerly agreed that she should show my CV to the Director the next day. While I had never worked in the medical area, I had plenty of experience in office work. I was delighted when, the following evening, she said that the Director was very impressed and could I come in one morning for an interview. Well, I had no job to go to any more, so the next morning I went with Jenny.
Jenny's uniform consisted of a white button-through dress, black belt, black tights and shiny black high-heeled shoes. I had often wondered how she could cope with those shoes, presumably spending much of the day on her feet. I'm totally straight, never had the slightest interest in girls, but even so, the sight of that gorgeous girl in that dress, which hugged all her curves and was short enough to show off most of her thighs, did sometimes give me the urge to hug her. Not that I was dressed as a nun either, I conceded. My blouse was tailored to show off my breasts and I had the two top buttons undone. While my skirt wasn't quite as short or clingy as Jenny's dress, it was well above the knee.
We arrived at the clinic. It was a slightly spooky place, a huge rambling old building surrounded by a high wall topped with spikes. I wouldn't like to try to escape from it. The gates creaked open as we approached.
Jenny escorted me in and took me around to the Director's office. His secretary was a woman of about 60, very soberly dressed. She looked me up and down with a somewhat frigid stare. "I'll see if Dr. Gordon is free; sit down," she said in a "you'd better sit if you know what's good for you" tone. She came back almost immediately, suddenly friendlier. "The doctor will see you now, Miss," she said.
I went next door. Dr. Gordon was a fair-haired man of about 40. He was sitting behind a large polished wood desk, but rose to his feet as I entered and offered his hand. I shook it; he had a firm, confident grip. "Very good of you to come in, Mel," he said. "Tea, coffee, cocoa?"
I accepted a cup of coffee and we chatted for a while. It was far more relaxed than any interview I'd ever had. Eventually, he said "I understand you're free. We really need someone urgently. Can you start on Monday?"
"Sure I can," I replied.
"Great. Here's our contract of employment, if you'd like to have a look at it."
I read through the document he handed me. The salary was indeed rather more than I'd been earning, and the terms of employment were all very reasonable. I signed at the end.
"Welcome aboard, Mel," he said, shaking my hand again. "Keep that copy. Here's a second copy for you to sign for our records." I signed the proffered document.
"One more thing, Mel, while you're here, I'd be grateful if you could do me a favour. As you know, a few of our patients are, shall we say, highly strung and need some restraint, for their safety as much as anyone else's. The traditional thing is a canvas straitjacket, but I've just received a new one made of modern materials that's supposed to be much better. You're just the right size for it. Would you try it on please?"
I must have looked a bit doubtful, because he said "Please, it really would be helpful."
"OK, I don't have much else to do today," I agreed.
"Fine, thanks very much. Leave your things here and come with me."
I followed him down a long corridor, and we stopped at a door. Jenny was there waiting for us, holding a black object. The door had two bolts, but they were open.
"Jenny, take Mel into the cell and put the jacket on her. I'll be back in a few minutes," he said, and walked away.
We went through the door and Jenny closed it behind us. Inside, the room was about fifteen feet square and fifteen feet high. There were no windows, but there were some lights in the ceiling. But what struck me most was that the walls and floor, and the inside of the door, were all heavily padded. "Oh, is this what they call a padded cell?" I asked, half-jokingly.
"That's right," said Jenny. "We very, very rarely need it, but every so often someone gets violent and we put them in here, in a straitjacket, until they calm down. The padding makes it pretty sound-proof. Now please take off all your clothes and we'll get you into the jacket."
I was a little surprised that I had to take off my clothes, but I knew Jenny pretty well and of course she was a nurse, so I wasn't embarrassed to strip off in front of her. While I was doing that, she was undoing her bundle. Soon I stood in front of her, stark naked. She held up the jacket.
"Put your arms in the sleeves and get your hands right to the end," she said. I did so. The sleeves ended in fairly rigid pouches. She had to help me force my hands right in. My fingers were cramped; I could hardly move them at all. Moving behind me, she wrapped the jacket around me. It zipped down the back, but it was so tight that she struggled for a few minutes before she could get the zip closed. If my blouse had shown off my breasts, this showed them far more, like a leotard that was a size too small.
"Is this really supposed to be my size?" I queried.
"Oh yes, the manufacturers say that it should be a really snug fit," she replied. "With a violent patient, even a little slack can enable them to hurt themselves. It turns out that so-called 'humane' straitjackets can actually do patients more harm than good." She buckled tight straps around each wrist. If there had been any way I could get my hands out of those pouches before, it would now be quite impossible. "Now, cross your arms behind your back."
"Oh." I was surprised. "Whenever I've seen pictures of straitjackets, they have their arms crossed in front." But I did as I was directed.
"It's more secure this way," she replied. Grabbing the straps at the ends of the arms, she pulled as hard as she could, forcing my elbows close together. She passed the straps through two loops across my belly and buckled them together. Then she went round behind me and tied two straps around my crossed arms, one horizontally and one vertically. My arms were now absolutely trapped and immovable. My shoulders were forced back; this made my breasts press even more against the very tight jacket.
"I can't say it's all that comfortable," I objected.
"Right, noted, we'll see how you feel when it's been on for a while," she replied. "Now, if you'll just stand with your legs a bit apart, I'll fix the crotch strap. That's just a strap to stop you pulling the thing over your head. No, spread them wider."
She made me put my feet quite some distance apart. Then, standing in front of me, she reached between my legs and brought the strap through. She put it through a buckle at the front, at the bottom of the jacket, and pulled.
"Wow!" I exclaimed in surprise as the narrow strap was pulled deep into me, pressing hard against my crack.
"That's good; there's not going to be any slack down there," noted Jenny with satisfaction. It was a strange sensation, having that pressure in my most sensitive and intimate regions. I also noted that the jacket only came down to my waist. The crotch strap was just about wide enough to preserve my modesty at the front; fortunately, I was well shaved there, so no hair showed. However, my bottom was completely exposed.
Jenny threaded a belt through a few loops in the sleeves and on my belly, and tugged it. "Oof," I went, as the air was squeezed out of me by the tight belt. This pinned my arms even more thoroughly.
As if on cue, Dr. Gordon came in. "We're really very grateful to you for this, Mel," he said. He checked me over, tightening everything even more. "Now, what we'd like you to do is have a good struggle to see if this jacket can stand the strain. Run around the cell a bit. Go all out in a real effort to escape. Try to rip the jacket apart, test it like a mad person who doesn't want to be bound. And at the end, let us know how comfortable it feels."
"OK, I'll give it a go," I said.
"And have a sweet to suck," he said, taking something out of a pocket and unwrapping it. I opened my mouth and he popped it in. He and Jenny then left, closing the door behind them. I heard what sounded like the bolts on the outside being closed. There was no way out until they returned.
I tugged as hard as I could, but nothing gave by even a fraction. It was very difficult to keep up sustained exertion in the small jacket. The material was so tight around my torso, and my arms were crossed so cruelly, that I ran out of breath easily. I could do great, short bursts of energetic struggling before I was panting so much that I needed to stop for a moment. Swinging and frantically tugging against the restraints back and forth, again and again.
I rushed around and kept bumping into the walls. It was a good thing that they were heavily padded. As I gained faith that the soft padding of the cell would cushion the thrashing and unexpected falls that came with not being able to use my arms for balance, I renewed my struggles against the straps of the straitjacket with the utmost ferocity and abandon. No matter how I bucked or writhed, I could hardly find any slack in my bonds. As I pulled at the arms, my ribs began to ache slightly from the compression around me. If I tried to raise my arms up at all it would drive the crotch strap even more firmly into me. Not an entirely unpleasant sensation, but of no help whatever in freeing myself.
The sweet in my mouth was fizzing. It must be some sort of sherbet. Some foam came out of my mouth. But I didn't want to spit it out; that would be most unladylike.
During one especially wild gyration, I took a hard tumble to the padded floor. Taking a moment to be sure I was OK, I decided that since I was down there I would remain there and have a rest. I lay breathless on my back on the cell floor, my legs sprawled out. My arms were trapped under me, which wasn't exactly comfortable. Drawing deep breaths kept me ever mindful of the restriction around my mid-section. Not only were my arms pulled very tight, probably too tight, around my body, the entire straitjacket itself was uncomfortably tight. Jenny had said that it was supposed to be that tight, but with each moment that passed I was becoming more and more certain that she had to be mistaken.
The door swung open and Dr. Gordon came in again. He closed the door behind himself.
"Oh good, I'm totally fed up with this thing, it's too tight and it's ruddy uncomfortable," I said.
"Let's have a look," he said. He went over me, and to my astonishment pulled some of the straps even tighter.
"Aren't you going to let me out?" I queried.
"No, Mel. You don't realise the position you're in. The concealed cameras have recorded you thrashing around, literally foaming at the mouth. Jenny's report to me about your behaviour in your flat is confirmed. You're clearly a highly disturbed young lady and urgently in need of treatment here. Maybe the shock of losing your job has brought this on. Fortunately, the second document you signed was a voluntary admission to this clinic; you've agreed to be here for six months. In the circumstances, I'm glad I didn't countersign your contract of employment, so you're not an employee. We'll begin your treatment immediately."