Wednesday, April 18, 2012

As Francesca

By Martha Baer

Elaine Botsch is a rising young star at the New York firm where she works. And all her hard work is about to pay off as she is now in line for a serious promotion.
Elaine has a secret life, though, that no one at work knows about, not even her closest friends. In the evening, at home, she goes to an online chat room where she engages in rough, masochistic cyber sex with a person she knows only as Inez. But one night, excited and looking forward to being verbally abused by her cyber sex partner, Inez, Elaine accidentally logs on with her real name, not her chat name, Francesca. Although she quickly catches her mistake, in a few days and from a few revealing comments, it becomes clear that "Inez" knows Elaine in real life. But after making these few slips, the Inez chatter vanishes from the chat rooms. Which leads Elaine to a devastating discovery: she needs her chat room encounters with Inez, they empower her and help her perform at maximum efficiency. Without Inez, her whole world is collapsing around her.

Well, this was an odd story. A woman finds being abused empowering. Seems like it would be just opposite, I would think. But that is the wacky premise of this story and of how Elaine copes with and struggles to replace the abuse that is so vital to her well-being. Strange story. Kind of disgusting but still it was an engrossing read, even if the premise seemed a bit out there to me.

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