Dr. Burundanga | The New Engagement

Dr. Burundanga

By Alexis Cohen

Dr. Burundanga picked up the phone and held it to his ear. “Yeah?” he asked. “It’s done,” replied the voice on the other end of the phone. Dr. Burundanga nodded, although the speaker could not see him and responded, “I will, of course, require some evidence before we can complete the transaction.” “Naturally,” replied the voice. Dr. Burundanga listened intently as his caller spoke for a minute or two more, scrawled some numbers and a location on a piece of scratch paper and thanked the caller, before disconnecting the phone and deleting his call log. He starred for a moment at the piece of scratch paper, folded it into a small square and slid it into a secret compartment in his wallet. He paced for a moment, before sitting in his office chair and turning his attention to his file cabinet.

He slid his hand across the metal of the cabinet, just before grasping the handle and opening the drawer. As a psychiatrist and neurologist, his cabinet contained what one would expect. There were patient files, complete with notes from his patient sessions, as well as treatment plans. There were files containing neurological exams, including the Mini Mental Status Exam, in both Spanish and English, the Trail Making Exam, Forms A and B, and various other assessments designed to enable him to discern the cognitive and psychiatric capacity of his patients. Somewhat abruptly, as though he had suddenly recalled something forgotten, Dr. Burundanga sprung to his feet, fully opened his semi-cracked office door and thoroughly scanned the hallway in both directions. After ascertaining that it was empty and that all of the other clinicians had either left for the day or were similarly locked away in their offices, he closed and locked the door to his office, before returning to the file cabinet.

As he pulled the files in the top drawer towards him with his left hand, he placed his right hand on what appeared to be the inside back of the drawer. As a knowing and nefarious grin slowly spread its way across his lips, he pushed inward and upward on the metal, which slid up to reveal a private compartment. This was no ordinary filing cabinet.

***

Dr. Burundanga had a wealthy, if emotionally depriving upbringing. What his parents lacked in love, solid parenting, healthy communication and emotional availability, they made up for in money. Dr. Burundanga attended only the most elite private schools. It did not matter that his grades were average, at best. Should he fail his classes or be expelled by the Headmaster, due to illegal or indecent behavior, his parents would simply buy his way back into that school the following year. Though his parents would run the gamut from treating him as a narcissistic extension to completely verbally eviscerating him, they would always compensate financially. When it came to “things”, Dr. Burundanga wanted for nothing. If he asked for it, it was bought for him; clothing, cars, travels. Money was no object to the Burundangas, and through the years, Dr. Burundanga made a keen observation. Money, he thought, could buy anything. Everyone had a price, and no matter what he did, Dr. Burundanga knew that he need not worry about the consequences of his actions or behavior, as his family’s fortune could and would buy him into or out of any situation he desired. This was power and this power was a very heady feeling for him. Some nights, he would even lie awake, masturbating to these narcissistic fantasies of omnipotence.

Dr. Burundanga’s mother, though kindly, was slave to his father, who was nothing short of a tyrant. A ticking time bomb, Dr. Burundanga’s father could explode at any moment toward him, people in general, and most especially, toward his mother. Dr. Burundanga frequently observed the slave/master dynamic between his parents, and consequently, he came to learn that a woman was a man’s possession. His father would order around his mother, barking demands, making decisions for her, demeaning her, and even displaying physical violence, as he felt the situation warranted. One would expect that such a man might have numerous dalliances with other women, but his abusive behavior was sharply juxtaposed with his religious background. Both of Dr. Burundanga’s parents were devout Catholics who attended church weekly, and despite their affluence, they practiced asceticism in most areas of their life. Though Dr. Burundanga was over-indulged, his parents would not spend money on themselves or others, unless they absolutely had to spend it. Moreover, they dressed modestly, bargain shopped, and they forbade Dr. Burundanga to date or even to attend school dances, even through to the end of his high school days. Any sense of sexuality was repressed, which only heightened Dr. Burundanga’s curiosity and fetishistic impulses.

On his fifteenth birthday, Dr. Burundanga’s parents bought him his first high quality, long-range camera. He had expressed an interest in photography, so the Burundangas had purchased a seventeen-hundred dollar camera for him. It was a bit extravagant for a birthday gift. Dr. Burundanga had not been doing well in school and had recently been expelled for shoplifting. However, he was their only child, it was his birthday, and he was a boy. Boys, after all, would be boys, right?

He treasured his camera and took it everywhere with him. The camera went along on road trips, beach outings and even on routine day-to-day errand runs. The Burundangas did not pay much attention to their son’s interest, nor did they display interest in Dr. Burundanga’s photo du jour. He captured sunrises, scenic backgrounds and waves lapping against the shore’s edge. “Very nice,” said Mrs. Burundanga dismissively, as she barely looked at the photos taken by her son. “Stupid bitch,” he muttered under his breath. He was privately angered by his mother’s failure to acknowledge what he believed to be his brilliant work, but he dared not express it, for fear of his father’s vitriol. Dr. Burundanga could not understand how parents who were so overly intrusive and controlling with respect to virtually every area of his life, had such minimal regard for his immense passion of taking photographs.

It did not matter, Dr. Burundanga told himself. He still loved to take pictures and if he took an interest in doing so, then it must be noteworthy, he told himself. One day, while on family vacation, Mrs. Burundanga suggested the family “take some air” and explore the view from the mountain housing their cabin. Dr. Burundanga grabbed his camera and closed the door to the cabin. Trailing along behind his parents, who barely looked at one another let alone spoke, Dr. Burundanga held up his camera, snapping away. Periodically, he would flip to the menu button, so that he could review the pictures he had taken. As he scrolled past photographs of sky, mountainous climbs and various types of botany, one particular photo caught his eye. It was a photo of the sun peeking out from behind a rocky structure, but he noticed that he had captured a figure in the distance.

As he hit the “zoom” button, Dr. Burundanga slowly brought into view the figure of a woman. He could not entirely make out her face, which was okay, because this is not what interested him. She had long, wavy brown hair, cascading over her well-developed breast. Dr. Burundanga could not ever recall feeling more excited. He continued to hit the “zoom” button until he could maximize the breast without distorting it, and when he was satisfied with his work, he pressed the “save” button. The picture, no longer boasting an expanse of sky, a brilliant sun setting or a glorious view from a mountain top, was now simply, an unknown woman’s breast. He wanted her and he wanted her badly. He did not even know her; her name, her voice, even her face. None of this mattered to Dr. Burundanga. He coveted this most illicit and secretive of photos, and would refer to it often, in the quiet hours, alone in his room. Sexuality was no longer enough, in and of itself to satisfy Dr. Burundanga. If it were not somehow secretive and illicit, it did not carry the magnitude of excitement, needed to make Dr. Burundanga feel “alive.”

In stumbling upon that picture, Dr. Burundanga realized that his camera could be just the vessel he needed to get what he felt was denied him. There was a particularly exquisite sense of excitement that came from knowing that his parents had spent a small fortune on something that would now enable him to procure everything they forbade him from having. It was as if he were getting something over on them, and that was the most delicious feeling. After all, the most important thing is winning, he thought.

Dr. Burundanga’s passion for photography and videography only continued to grow from there. With the help of his parents, he continued to amass these devices. The smaller and more obscured, the better. This would offer him the option of “planting them” in places, where unassuming women might offer him glimpses of the forbidden. He could spend an hour in an open-air flea market and take as many as several hundred pictures. Naturally, there would be multiples of each woman he would capture. Their race, age, physique and attractiveness of their face mattered not to him. Often times, in fact, women’s faces were omitted from the photographs, in favor of a picture showcasing legs, breasts, lips, asses or crotches. He was compelled to do this and could not stop himself. The excitement would build, as he scanned his environment, seeking his next victims. His heart pounded and the adrenaline coursed throughout his body, as he would attempt to “hide” his behavior. The harder it was to accomplish this task, the more thrilling it was to him. After he had completed the picture taking, he would feel a rush of relief, like a discharge of frenetic energy.

The feelings of excitement would continue, as he would take his secret pictures to his home, upload them into his computer and store them away under secret, passcode-guarded files. He had quite the cache of pictures. As his parents were not terribly technology-savvy, he knew they would be unable to uncover his dirty secret.  From there, he would delete all of the evidence on his camera, only leaving “decoy pictures” (innocent photographs he had taken), to give the unassuming impression of being the “Average Joe.” I should work for Intelligence, I’m so crafty, Dr. Burundanga thought to himself, with a smug sense of self-satisfaction.

***

“Here is the brochure we all order furniture from,” said Hank, the office manager for Dr. Burndanga’s clinic. It was Dr. Burundanga’s first day on the job, and while he had the basics (a desk, computer, chair and a couch for his patients), his office was lacking in furnishings. Dr. Burundanga had thanked Hank and had spent a few minutes thumbing through the brochures. He knew he would need a filing cabinet and perhaps a few comfy chairs. He also knew that he would need a private storage compartment for his materials, and that his office would need to be the place to house this. Storing them in his apartment was too risky. He frequently had women in his apartment, unable to feel satisfied if he were not “keeping” at least one woman at a time, and women were nosy. Sure, they were great for providing for his needs; cooking, cleaning and fucking him, but they were also a pain in the ass. They wanted things in return, especially information, and Burundanga was a very private man. Women also seemed to have what Dr. Burundanga would label “paranoia,” but was actually solid intuition, as they would begin to realize that Dr. Burundanga’s stories did not always add up. At this point in time, their behavior always followed a very predictable trajectory, Burundanga noted. They would ask a lot of questions, including follow-up questions and questions calling for specifics. They would try to catch him in lies and would call him out on the inconsistencies of his stories. When this was beginning to happen, they would turn to people who knew and interacted with Dr. Burundanga, explaining the situation and seeking additional answers. When this failed, they began to snoop, and that was the beginning of the end. He absolutely could not risk his secret being uncovered, and therefore, he would need to find a place to store things, where only he could access them and no one would suspect anything.

Dr. Burundanga picked up his phone and called up to the front desk. “Hi Dr. B,” Hank’s friendly voice replied, “What can I do for you?”

“I’ve circled the items that I want for my office, so you can come by and pick up my list now,” Dr. Burundanga advised him.

“Sure thing,” Hank responded. “I’ll be right there.”

After Dr. Burundanga handed over his list of required furnishings to Hank, he asked Hank to close the door to his office upon leaving, and Burundanga turned his attention to his computer. He spent the next forty-five minutes researching custom-made filing cabinets, until he came across a manufacturer that he was certain could build him what he needed. The price was lofty, but Dr. Burundanga was used to getting what he wanted. After placing his order, he submitted his requisition form to Hank, insisting that the clinic foot the bill for his filing cabinet. Hank advised Burundanga that he would try to push through the request, but that it was unlikely the company would pay for it. After all, there was a plethora of perfectly good filing cabinets from which to choose, in the brochure given to Dr. Burundanga.

Dr. Burundanga went back to his office, where he surfed the internet, played a few online games and texted with two of the women with whom he was currently involved. He would do anything to avoid working. Patient work was so boring and the patients were all such pitiful creatures anyway, he thought. It did not matter if he saw two patients in a day, or twenty patients, his salary was the same. As an attending physician, he felt that it was “not his job” to see patients, so he often outsourced that responsibility to his residents and medical students. They needed to earn their degrees and they could not expect to do so, without a positive evaluation from Dr. Burundanga. Burundanga’s actions and disinterest in working was transparent to all. His colleagues did not respect him for his poor work ethic, and his trainees privately fumed. Still, his trainees knew they had no choice but to cater to Dr. Burundanga’s wishes, and Burundanga thrived on the power.

As he contemplated how he was going to sneak away to have sex with both Janie and Lila without his staff missing him or either of the two ladies discovering the other (Both ladies worked in the clinic, thankfully, on different floors.), his office phone rang. “Dr. Burundanga,” he answered with an edge. “Hey, Dr. B, this is Hank. I tried, but unfortunately your request for reimbursement of your custom filing cabinet was denied. I’m so sorry.” “That’s fine,” Burundanga responded quietly, “thanks for trying,” he continued, as he hung up the phone. It was not fine. After all that he did for the clinic, and given how important he was, how dare the administration deny his request! Silently seething, he gave himself permission to leave his office for as long as he wished. He would discharge his anger into these two women, while “getting back” at administration, by not being in his office to be available for patients, trainees or staff consultation.

***

Three days later the cabinet arrived. Dr. Burundanga had managed to get his parents to foot the bill, insisting to them that his work would not provide him with the much-needed filing cabinet for his confidential patient files. Emphasis on the confidential part, thought Burundanga. He was quite pleased with his purchase. “Yes, this will do quite nicely,” he said aloud to himself, as he inspected the product. Over the next day, he filled the cabinet. First, he placed the dividers, followed by a series of manila envelopes, some of which were labeled and filled with papers, and others which would be filled at some future date. Next he compiled all of his testing materials, filling in all available “visible” space, shoring up free space in and under his desk. Lastly, he filled the secret compartment. He had taken a locked briefcase with him into work, which was filled with mini-cassette tapes. The tapes had slid around considerably in the briefcase, as Burundanga was not the safest of drivers. It did not matter. Dr. Burundanga took his time, neatly aligning them in columns of alphabetical order. On the thin edge of each cassette tape container was simply displayed a name; “Bridget”, “Erica”, “Lizette” and “Lauren”, just to name of a few. Every cassette contained the name of a woman.

***

Dr. Burundanga sat at his desk silently, thinking back to that day that he had first set up the cabinet. That was nearly seven years ago. So much had happened since them. There had been so many women, so many exquisitely exciting conquests, so many headaches when the women began to “act up”, and so many times when his indiscretions made their way into the workplace, nearly costing him his job. He had always been “okay”, though, as his object choices typically followed a set pattern. He had always selected women who were inferior to him in status and position. These women often relied upon him for positive evaluations, letters of recommendation and educational opportunities. Therefore, they were never in a position to deny him any of his requests. Moreover, should they no longer work as his trainee, or if they were not under his direct supervision, he would ensure they were still a trainee of some sort or an employee of minimal standing, where the clinic would not want to risk losing an attending physician and would dismiss that woman’s complaints. Finally, due to their subservient standing, they would become dependent upon him, and he could use his financial position to influence them. At the very least, they would not financially be in a position to take legal measures against him, as his behavior often warranted. This was his general modus operandi and it had always worked, until he met Madelyn.

Madelyn, an internal medicine physician, was his equal. Though she was younger in age by more than a decade and though she made less money than he, she was a well-respected attending physician, who was also the Director of a General Medical Residency Program, within her unique specialty. Madelyn was unlike other women. She was not weak-willed, subservient or a woman to be controlled by any man. Fiercely independent, she was strong, accomplished and pulled up by her own boot straps. In some ways, she was everything that Burundanga was not. Whereas he was in his early fifties and his parents still paid for everything (his home, his car, his filing cabinet), Dr. Madelyn Montgomery had put herself through school and paid for all of her expenses along the way. She had taken minimal student loans, instead working hard, living frugally, and maximizing the number of courses she took per semester, in order to minimize her time in school and the amount of student loans she would acquire. Fiscally savvy, she knew how to invest, diversify her portfolio and get lowered interest rates by consolidating her loans. Thanks to her diligence in making regular payments, her interest rate was dropped an entire percentage point after only one year. Within the next couple of years, she had secured a job offering student loan forgiveness, and effectively eradicating all of her debt. She was an excellent saver and knew how to balance enjoying life with living on a budget and saving for a future. She had savings, job stability and a sense that she would always be able to support herself, as she always had.

Madelyn had another extremely attractive quality, in that she had this way of speaking her mind, often putting others in their place, without their even realizing it. She was extraordinarily bright and interpersonally adept, which made her great at dealing with staff and patients. She also had many friends and was never at a loss for plans, dates or people with whom to spend her time. Even more impressive to Burundanga, was that despite having so many people who wanted to be around her, Madelyn could enjoy time on her own. Actually, this was an understatement. She craved time on her own. Burundanga hated to be alone, as it made him sit with himself, and that was a scary place to inhabit. Madelyn, on the other hand, would unapologetically don a dress and high heels and take herself to an upscale restaurant for dinner and to the ballet. She could just as easily attend a movie on her own, as with another person, and she never felt badly about flying solo or being single. She would even hop a plane on short notice, go to a Caribbean Island where she did not speak the language, in order explore a new place on her own. She was fearless. She was dynamic in a way that was unlike any other woman he had ever met. She had an energy that made Burundanga hungry to possess her.

He pursued Madelyn with a ferocity and a fervor he had not displayed before. From the moment she arrived to work at the clinic three years before, he was on her like white on rice. He tried initiating conversations with her, attempting to “accidentally” run into her, and inviting her to lunch. He offered to help orient her to the clinic, and he insisted that the two of them coordinate their respective services, as patients who needed medical care often had psychiatric comorbidities and might need either a psychiatric or neurological consultation. She could not argue this latter point, and from there, the two were in contact about their shared patients.

Madelyn had proved a tough conquest, more so than any other before. Whereas other women were easily roped into a monogamous relationship with Burundanga and they fell for him hard, Madelyn did not. He was used to women wanting to spend all of their time with him, and not requiring “alone” time. He was used to calling the shots. He would come up with an activity and the girl of his choosing would happily go along. When he asked to see them the following day, their response was always an emphatic “yes.” Madelyn, on the other hand, always seemed to have an excuse. She would tell Burundanga that she had errands to run, or that she planned to go see a show. Burundanga, like a puppy dog, would ask if he could accompany her, but his attempts at connection were always stymied.

When they were just two weeks into their courtship, Dr. Burundanga had stared passionately into Madelyn’s eyes, professing his love her, only to be told by her that he could not possibly love her, as he did not really know her. Something in the way she said this took the wind out of him and put him in his place. It was not said with insecurity and drama; her remark was matter-of-fact and disinterested. He responded with a mini-tantrum, which not only failed to have the desire effect of drawing her closer, but seemed to push her further away and out of his grasp. He had never wanted anyone so much before and he could not understand why. She was not the most beautiful woman he had ever dated. She was not the youngest woman he had dated. She did not even have the best body of any woman he had ever dated. It was something deeper. This was a bright, strong and mature woman of substance. This woman was far out of his league and he knew it, but that did not deter him from his pursuit. It only served to intrigue him further.

Dr. Burundanga pulled out all of his usual stops for Madelyn. As with all of the other women, he led with the only thing he knew how to, which was with money. He would buy her nice things and take her to nice dinners. She was always appreciative and always said “thank you,” and she did something else that no other woman had done. She would always pull out her wallet and offer to pay. In fact, at times, she grabbed the check before he could do so. When he would pay for the movie, she would purchase concessions. If he took her to a nice dinner, she would purchase tickets and take him to the ballet. This was something he had never seen before in a woman and he could really appreciate it. Nevertheless, there was something about it that also left him unsettled and uncomfortable. He later identified it as lack of control. If Madelyn made her own money and could comfortably provide for herself, then she did not need Burundanga. He did not like that feeling.

While Dr. Burundanga admired Madelyn’s strength, he resented and wanted to harness it. Her ability to put him in his place was remarkable, and in some ways exciting to him. Behind that excitement, though, was a slow-building anger. Burundanga was used to getting what he wanted, when he wanted it, and he neither liked waiting nor being at anyone’s mercy. He did not like how Madelyn set boundaries with him. He especially did not like when she was out of his sight and when he was not included in her outings. He had no way of knowing what she was doing, or who else might be pursuing her in his absence. Surely, other men had taken notice of her strength and intelligence, if not her ass, and if he were not there to protect his interest, then who would?

“So, what are we doing tonight?” Burundanga asked Madelyn.

“I don’t know about you,” she responded, “but I’m heading out with Cristina.”

“What do you mean?!?” Burundanga demanded.

“I mean, I’m having a girls’ night with my friend,” Madelyn stated calmly but firmly.

“Well can I come?” he asked.

“No,” Madelyn stood her ground, “it’s a girls’ night.”

“Why? Are you planning on hooking up with other guys?”

“Of course not,” Madelyn affirmed. “A girls’ night means a night with just the girls for girl time and girl talk.

“Well, where are you going and when will you be home?” Burundanga persisted.

“Probably Café Saint Germaine, and I’m not sure, but probably not too late.”

Burundanga scowled for some moments, eventually skulking away when it became clear that Madelyn was not indulging his petulance.

He hated how when he told her he loved her she did not say it back. When he would inquire about her feelings, she would tell him directly that she was not yet in love with him and would ask if he preferred she lie to him and say something she did not feel. Of course, he did not want that. He wanted her to love him, but could not understand why she did not feel that way already.

It took months, but eventually Dr. Burundanga wore her down. When those words came, it was a shock to his system. He was literally stopped in his tracks, and he asked her to repeat herself, unsure he had heard her properly. When she said, “I love you” to Burundanga for the first time, a tear actually came to his eyes. Madelyn was genuine. Her love was hard-won, but sincere, and although Burundanga experienced most emotions other than anger rather shallowly, this was a moment that actually resonated. He responded in kind and the two kissed passionately. In some ways, that moment had felt to be the true start of their relationship, which had actually started months earlier. That moment was so long ago now. So much had happened since. Several years of bliss, slowly devolved into a nightmarish hell of gas lighting, lies, infidelity and ultimately, Madelyn’s leaving.

Dr. Burundanga’s relationships often devolved in a manner similar to this, however, as he had never before been with someone of Madelyn’s intelligence and strength, he had never had to go to such dastardly lengths to attempt to obscure his bad behavior. Moreover, due to the power differential between Burundanga and his previous paramours, no former lover dared defend herself publicly or fight back against Burundanga in the workplace, which he used to his advantage, to oust former paramours out of the workplace and to preserve his imagined image. Madelyn was a force to be reckoned with, however. She did two things that no previous lover had ever done: 1) – She litigated against Burundanga for unlawful behavior in the workplace, ultimately leading to his behavior being exposed and his being terminated from the clinic; 2) – When she was done with Burundanga, she was really done. He continued to call her, text her, email her and seek her out in public, and she never again looked him in the face or spoke one word to him. The former hurt his narcissism, but the latter actually hurt his heart. He had been spoken to harshly by Human Resources and had been told that under no circumstances was he to approach or to have communication with Dr. Montgomery. Dr. Montgomery was quite adept at avoiding Dr. Burundanga, but on one day as they passed, Burundanga wiped a tear from his eye, as he realized he would never connect with Madelyn again. He was hurt, and hurt quickly turned to anger. Anger swiftly amplified to rage, and rage fueled his action. He had not been good to Madelyn, but he had been vulnerable to and in love with her, to the extent that he knew how to do so. She had destroyed him, he felt, and for that, she had to pay a price.

***

Dr. Burundanga turned his attention back to his filing cabinet and the tapes contained within the secret compartment. As he slid his fingers across the cassette tapes, his hand settled on the one labeled “Madelyn.” He removed the cassette from its container, popped it into his hand-held tape recorder and pressed play. Burundanga was careful to keep the volume low, and the sound screen outside of his door was turned to its highest volume, in order to prevent anyone outside of his office from hearing anything. This tape began the same way as all of the others, with light, steady breathing and the occasional brief snore. Then, the questioning could begin.

***

Dr. Burundanga was only seven the first time he had witnessed the questioning. His father, also a psychiatrist, had an office in the home. His father was treating a patient with Chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, with acute symptoms and “screen memories,” which she could not piece together to form a coherent narrative. He had attempted talk therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement and Desensitization Reprocessing) Therapy, and even hypnosis, despite the latter not being indicated for uncovering memories. Now, he would attempt something more radical. As he instructed his young patient to relax, he administered the sodium pentothal, also known as truth serum. After some minutes, he began to question his patient. First, he began with some basics, like asking her name, her age and her occupation. Then, he began probing a bit deeper, eventually uncovering all of the previously repressed memories surrounding the trauma that had been plaguing the patient.  This wonder drug had removed the young woman’s conscious and unconscious blockades to recalling and articulating material that she neither wished to acknowledge to herself or to others. As the young boy of seven observed through the keyhole in his father’s study, his pulse quickening and his pupils dilating, he wondered to himself if this drug could be the key to unlocking everyone’s secrets.

The following day, Dr. Burundanga attempted to get into his father’s study, but as it was kept locked at all times when unoccupied, the young boy’s efforts were thwarted. He continued to return to the study every night that he could, attempting to observe administration of the drug and its effects again. His efforts were for naught, as he was regularly disappointed, instead watching his father simply ask questions, write prescriptions and perform brief physical examinations to screen his patients for extrapyramidal side effects from their medications.

It was not until the age of eleven that Dr. Burundanga observed his father utilize this drug again. This time, however, he had not administered it to a patient; he had administered it to Dr. Burundanga’s mother. At first, the eleven-year-old was unclear about what he was observing, as he had not actually observed the administration itself. Through the cracked bedroom door, the little boy observed his mother appearing to be “talking in her sleep,” as she was lying down with her eyes closed while answering her husband’s questions. He watched as his father questioned his mother about her daily activities and what she had done while he was out and at work, unable to observe her. The little boy watched and listened for some time, before returning to his bedroom. About ten minutes after returning to his bed, he heard his father’s footsteps and pretended to be asleep. Through closed eyes, he experienced the light coming in from the hall, as his father opened his bedroom door to check that he was asleep. When his father was quite satisfied that his son was sleeping soundly, he closed the boy’s bedroom door and headed down the hall to his study. The eleven-year-old waited a few minutes before quietly slipping out of his bed and down the hall to the study.

Through the cracked door of the study, he observed the back of the tall leather chair that held his father, and he saw only his father’s arm and hand, which held a mini tape recorder. As the young boy listened to the recording, he heard his father’s voice asking questions and his mother’s voice responding. He had wondered why he his father would do this, and was quite curious as to the questions being asked. For instance, why was his father asking his mother about other men? His mother had never acknowledged speaking to other men, unless they were work colleagues or were directly related to her. This was corroborated on this particular recording, as well. When the tape recording had finished playing, the young boy observed his father remove the cassette tape and insert another. This time, however, the boy watched his father press the “record” button and speak into the tape recorder. As the man spoke, the boy realized that he had witnessed that which he had been waiting four years to see. “Ethel was given a dose of sodium pentothal and is behaving as I would expect. However, her co-worker Arthur seems to speak with her at regular intervals, so I will need to keep an eye on that to ensure that nothing untoward occurs,” spoke the man.

In his excitement, the boy nearly let out a shriek of delight, revealing himself to his father. As the sound began to escape his lips, he covered his mouth and silently backed away from the door. He heard the creak of the leather chair, spinning toward the door, as his father arose to his feet, in response to the stifled noise. The boy ran back to his room, carefully turning the door handle as he closed his bedroom door, so as not to make a noise. He raced into bed, pulled the covers up to his neck and shut his eyes. His heart was pounding. He would not be getting any sleep tonight.

The following day at school, the young boy asked if he could be excused from the lunchroom, in order to go to the library. He wandered up and down the aisles until he found what he was seeking. There, in a more secluded section of the library he found books on the mind and how to make it conform to one’s request. Over the next few months, Burundanga signed out every book he could find on mind control, hypnosis and social psychology studies on conformity and persuasion. When he had exhausted his school library’s supply of these books, he began to go to the public libraries, to expand his knowledge base. This became a trickier proposition, as his mother would accompany him, and therefore, would see any books he would check out. As a result, he often photocopied segments of books, and on more than one occasion, he lifted a book and slipped it into his backpack, without checking it out. The library would not miss it, he reasoned, and certainly, he could put it to better use.

By the time Dr. Burundanga had turned fourteen, he was a master of manipulation. Though he did not have friends, he prided himself on his ability to make others do what he wanted them to do. He was quite adept at figuring out others’ “pressure points”, and blackmail was not beneath him. At times, he applied these techniques to get what he wanted. Sometimes, however, he used them just for the rush of adrenaline that came from exerting control over another. Keeping his skill set sharp was important as well, so that he was prepared in situations when he really needed it.

As he sat at the kitchen table having an after-school snack, he starred out the window, smiling to himself as he thought about his latest transaction. It was sixth period, gym class. After working up a sweat for the better part of 45 minutes, he and his classmates returned to the locker room to shower and change.

“Hey Scott,” Burundanga said, as the two changed their clothes. “Jason has pretty nice junk, don’t you think?”

“What?!?” Scott responded, quite flummoxed by the question. “Why would you say that?”

“Because I saw you checking it out,” Burundanga countered.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Scott retorted.

Burundanga continued undeterred. “Oh, I think you do. In fact, I saw you inspecting it up close and personal,” Burundanga stated, as he pulled some glossy photographs from his locker. As he held up the photographs for his classmate to see, Scott’s face quickly went alabaster, all of the color draining as he registered the horror confronting him.

“Where did you get those?” Scott shrieked, tearing the pictures from Burundanga’s hand.

“Take them. Take the lot,” Burundanga said unaffectedly. “I have other copies.”

“Why are you doing this?” Scott questioned, very nearly on the verge of tears.

“Listen closely,” Burundanga said. “Here’s how it’s going to work. You are going to write my English term paper for me and I expect no less than an A, unless you want the entire school to know you’re a fudge-packer. Any questions?”

“W-What if I can’t get an A?” Scott asked, his voice nearly a whisper.

“Oh you will,” Burundanga shot back, “I have confidence,” he said, glancing toward the photos. “Other questions?”

Scott shook his head ‘no’, unable to speak.

“Then we have a deal?” Burundanga inquired with an extended hand. Scott nodded and shook Burundanga’s hand before rapidly fleeing the gym locker room.

“How useful this stuff is,” thought Burundanga, as he finished his Oreo cookies and washed them down with a glass of milk.

As the years went by and the young boy became a young man of nineteen, he graduated to using increasingly more sophisticated techniques. Photographing and video and audiotaping unsuspecting victims were a natural part of his repertoire. Choosing more helpless and dependent female victims, who would naturally “need” him, was also a standard aspect of his work. Although he was quite good at reading people and could often uncover bits of useful information, he knew that there would only be one true way to control and possess his women in the way that he desired; he needed the drug.

As he pondered the logistics of getting the drug, he realized that there were several barriers to procuring the substance. First, there was the matter of getting into his father’s study, which was under lock and key. Moreover, he would need to do so unobserved. Next, he would need to locate the substance, which meant another drawer or cabinet, which was also locked and had a separate key. He would also need to take some, without making it known that any had gone missing. Lastly, he would need a way to continue to get this drug on a regular basis. There were many women out there and in order to be effective, he needed to administer the drug on a regular basis to ensure he was obtaining the most up-to-date knowledge and information. The answer became clear: he would need to have his own set of keys to the study, cabinets and drawers. It was but a moment later that he knew how he would do this.

Dr. Burundanga’s mother was prone to bouts of anxiety and difficulty sleeping, for which his father prescribed her a sleeping pill. One day while home on break from university, Burundanga went into his parent’s bathroom with a plastic baggie and opened the bottle of sleeping pills. As his mother fastidiously kept count, he knew that he could not take any of the individual pills. Also, as they were in capsule form, he would be hard pressed to slip them to his parents without their knowing. As he stood over the counter, he opened six capsules and poured the medication inside into his plastic baggie, before resealing the capsules. The powder would easily dissolve in liquid, and a dose this size would knock out his parents, without killing them or causing any serious damage. As he set the dinner table that evening, he filled his parent’s water glasses, placing one-third of the powder into his mother’s glass and the remaining two-thirds into his father’s glass. He knew that a man’s liver metabolized alcohol at twice the rate of a woman’s, so he naturally assumed that the same would be true for medication. He was careful to thoroughly mix the concoction and wait until the water settled, to insure that the particles did not become visible after stirring. He was not disappointed.

As they sat down to dinner and Burundanga told his parents about his college classes, he noticed a lethargy come over them. They had begun to slur their speech and their eyes had become droopy. Burundanga’s father made it through the meal, stood up and went to the couch to watch television, as he had always done after dinner. He barely made it to the sofa, before he passed out and began to snore. Burundanga’s mother had fallen asleep at the dinner table, so Burundanga helped his mother up and put her to bed. Burundanga turned on the television, sidled up next to his father and reached into his father’s right pants pocket to get his ring of keys. His father did not even stir.

With a rush of adrenaline, Dr. Burundanga ran out of the back door, hopped into his car, and popped over to the local Walmart, just a few blocks away. So many keys, he thought, as he looked at the overwhelming cache in front of him. No matter. It could not hurt to have a copy of all of them. He would sort out which led to the Holy Grail later. Besides, who knew what other treasures the other keys might unlock? As he detached the part of the ring securing all of the keys, he liberated the keys from their circular prison. He worked quickly, cortisol coursing through him, as he made copies of every key, courtesy of the Walmart kiosk. Dr. Burundanga knew his father to be every bit as meticulous as his mother, so he was careful to take note of the order in which the keys were placed on the ring, so that he could replicate it, once done.

With the last of the keys copied and the originals secured back in place, Burundanga raced back to his parents’ home and stealthily re-entered the house. His father remained seated on the couch, deeply slumbering, as Wheel of Fortune played in the background. Burundanga slipped the keys back into his father’s pocket and silently congratulated himself on a job well done. He slunk down the hall to his parents’ bedroom to check in on his mother, before closing her bedroom door and entering his father’s study. It took quite a number of tries, as there were easily twenty some keys and none of them had been marked. When he made it to the eighth key, Burundanga heard a ‘click’, and the door to the study opened. Smiling, he went over to his father’s desk, located a black sharpie and wrote “S” on the key. Now began the search for the medication. Burundanga worked quickly, exhausting key options, as he searched for the one that would open the drawers. When he had succeeded, he again used the sharpie to label that key “D.” He flipped through files, envelopes and assorted office paraphernalia, before locating a locked box. Again, he used the keys and found that the key located next to the drawer key opened this box. Contained within the box, there were a menagerie of labeled pill bottles, and then some unlabeled bottles. There were an awful lot of medications ending with the suffix –pam, and Burundanga wondered what these medications might do. He also wondered about the unlabeled bottles and what useful substances might lay within their confines, but he left them all unopened, as none contained what he wanted.

Burundanga was nearly out of options. As he reassembled the contents of the box and the drawer, closing and locking all of the aforementioned, he knew that there were two possibilities. Number one: the sodium pentothal was in the cabinet. Number two: his father had run out of the drug and had yet to refill it. Burundanga silently prayed for the former. As he fumbled with the keys, he located the one that opened the cabinet, which he then labeled “C.” He ran his fingers across the bottles and came across something delicious: 3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate. This medication worked in much the same way as sodium pentothal, but did not require injection. It could be absorbed through the skin, through ingestion, or even through inhalation. The instructions said as much, and Burundanga was familiar with this through his years of research. He found a number of containers of this, and slipped one out from the back, replacing it with a similar looking container. His father was unlikely to notice being one bottle short for quite some time, and given that his father had no knowledge of the extra key set made by Burundanga, his father would not assume theft. The plan was brilliant. Burundanga locked the cabinet and scanned the room to insure he was leaving it exactly as he had found it.  When he was satisfied, he locked the door to the study, made his way to his old bedroom and contemplated his first subject.

***

Stephanie, his first girlfriend from college had been lucky subject number one. Though she was generally happy to spend most of her time with him, there were times when they were apart. He did not see her when she attended classes that the two did not have together. Moreover, Stephanie belonged to a sorority, which meant she was obligated to attend socials at fraternities, where she would socialize with other young men. Burundanga hated that the most. He had first tried persuading Stephanie not to attend the socials and instead, to go out with him. There were times she obliged, but as the sorority had requirements about attending a certain number of socials per month, Stephanie could not bow out of all of the events. He next implored her to invite him along, but this was neither permitted by the sorority, nor the fraternities hosting the socials. He eventually wore her down with guilt and anger tactics, convincing her that the sorority was trying to break them up and shaming her into feeling like she was a “whore” for socializing with other men. Stephanie eventually became an inactive member of the sorority, no longer paying dues or attending events, but maintaining a good standing as she “left” the sorority. The damage, however, was still done. Stephanie had met many men over the course of her time in the sorority, and Burundanga could not be sure that she did not see them in classes or socialize with them outside of sorority events. Burundanga was always looking for other women to add to his menagerie, and as he had several flirtations and dalliances that he had met through classes, his natural inclination was to project his infidelities onto Stephanie.

One evening, as Stephanie sat on the bed in Burundanga’s dorm room, waiting to start the movie that the two decided to watch, Burundanga went to his fridge to get two beers. With his back to Stephanie, as he opened their beverages, he infused her beer with the 3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate. He went over to the bed, drinks in hand and lay down next to his unsuspecting girlfriend. As she pressed the “play” button to the DVD player, he handed her the doctored beverage, toasted to “the truth in their love”, and smiled menacingly, as he watched her consume the beer. The two only got as far into the movie as it took for Stephanie to finish her beer, before Burundanga was on top of her. He took her with an intensity and possessiveness like never before, which Stephanie innocently mistook for love. He held her afterward, as they finished what was left of the movie and as he waited for her to drift into a sleep.

As her breathing slowed and he was assured she was sleeping soundly, Burundanga went for his tape recorder. As he pressed record and listened to the sound of her steady breathing, he began by asking, “What is your name?” The question may have sounded silly, but it was actually quite intelligent. Not only would this help him to better track and label his recordings, but it would be useful if ever he needed to use the information. Without a visual, no one could validate that it was Stephanie who was speaking. If, however, she provided her name, followed by the necessary information, he had what he needed to own her. “Stephanie Anne Miller,” she responded, as she slept. The questioning continued. “Tell me your birth date and your social security number.” In case anyone wanted to accuse Burundanga of getting someone to imitate Stephanie, he could validate her identity via information that would not be available to the general public. “My birth date is May 29, 1969. My social security number is 223-07-9486.” “Are you in love with me?” Burundanga asked. “Yes,” she responded. “What did you do today?” Burundanga questioned. “I got up, went to classes, had lunch with Mandy, studied for a little bit and came to see you to watch a movie.” “Did you talk to any men or did any men talk to you today?” he inquired. “Yes, Mark came up to me after class and asked if we could study together sometime,” Stephanie replied. “What did you say and how do you feel about him?” Burundanga pressed. “I told him we could, but that we would have to keep it a secret, because my boyfriend is really jealous. I definitely think Mark likes me and I kind of have a crush on him, but I would never say anything to my boyfriend.” Burundanga was visibly agitated, but could not, as yet, act on it. Stephanie had betrayed him. She was lying to him and keeping things from him. He could not lose her, and he could not allow her to go unpunished for her indiscretions. Before turning off the recorder and finishing the experiment he asked Stephanie the following questions: 1-What is the most embarrassing or humiliating thing that has ever happened to you? 2-What are you most ashamed of? 3-What is the worst thing you have ever done? 4-Tell me all of the things you are afraid of, in order from most to least. 5-What, if exposed or done to you, would push you to the brink of insanity or suicide? As he recorded her answers, he smiled through gritted teeth, downing several more beers and texting with a girl from his chemistry class, with whom he had hooked up earlier in the day.

As the weeks went by, Burundanga’s treatment of Stephanie became harsher and more sadistic. As they sat in the school cafeteria one afternoon eating lunch and talking about their morning classes, Burundanga saw an opportunity and seized it. He began talking about his communications class, where a fellow classmate was asked to give a speech and presented as quite unprepared. As he described her fumbling through her notes and stuttering and stammering over her speech, Burundanga said the following, “It was as if she was caught with her pants down.” Stephanie, who had just taken a bite of her broccoli, stopped chewing abruptly, staring at Burundanga, who was now smiling menacingly back at her. “Do you know how that feels, Steph?” he asked. As she uncomfortably gulped down her mouthful of broccoli, she laughed nervously and responded, “What? You mean feeling unprepared for something? Sure, I’ve felt unprepared before.” She moved the food on her plate around with her fork, but she already knew she was done eating. “No,” Burundanga shot back, “getting  caught with your pants down.” Stephanie laughed him off, denying that she knew this feeling, but she could not make eye contact with him. He returned to talking about his classmate’s speech innocently, all the while surveying Stephanie’s response. She pretended to be nonchalantly listening to him, but her mind was elsewhere. She had suddenly flashed back to her most embarrassing moment.

She was a young girl, playing with some of the other kids in her neighborhood. While she was over one of their houses, one of the children had suggested that they play “doctor”, which included a thorough examination of one another’s bodies. Stephanie had been unsure about this, but her overwhelming curiosity got the better of her, and she participated. As it was her turn to be the patient, her friend’s mother walked into the room to check on all of the children. Stephanie looked up at her friend’s mother, her own horrified countenance mirroring that of her friend’s mother. Stephanie had literally been caught with her pants down. She quickly fumbled to pull up her pants and began to panic, as her friend’s mother separated all of the children and called each of their parents to apprise them of what had happened and to have them pick up their children. Stephanie had gotten in trouble for what had happened. As a result, she was given an early bedtime for a week and was no longer permitted to play with those children. That, however, had not been the worst part. Her parents shamed and humiliated her endlessly, bringing in her Roman Catholic upbringing and telling Stephanie that she could end up going to hell for her sex play. She was mortified and ashamed from this point forward, and this shame and humiliation often played out in her relationships. Case in point: she managed to choose a boyfriend who would shame and humiliate her throughout their relationship. She silently prayed that Burundanga would never find out about this incident, but she could not shake the overwhelming feelings of shame that surfaced from Burundanga having used those words.

Though Stephanie had been deeply infatuated with Burundanga, her feelings of shame and disgust overtook her and caused her to begin to feel that she needed to get away from them. By contrast, Mark was so kind, smart and interesting. He was also a great study partner and had clearly shown interest. As they studied together and got to know one another better, Stephanie realized that he was more the type of guy she needed to date. Even if they never got together, and Stephanie did not necessarily feel prepared to jump from one relationship to the next, through her interactions with Mark, she saw that all men were not possessive, controlling and aggressive.  She knew what she had to do.

Later that day, Stephanie knocked on Burundanga’s dorm room door and told him that they needed to talk. She said that she did not see things working out between them and said that she thought they would be better off as friends. Burundanga instantly became unhinged, calling her a “slut” and accusing her of cheating on him with Mark. Stephanie denied this emphatically, as she had not cheated on him with anybody, but he would not calm down. He swiped his hand across his desk, sending papers flying and he grabbed her arms so fiercely, that it later left a black-and-blue mark. He told her that she was a nobody and that she would never find someone like him. She eventually ran out of his dorm crying. She felt terrible and sad, but knew that she had made the right decision. He later called her, begging her to come back to him, insisting that he meant nothing of what he said. When she refused, he tried to guilt her into returning, even threatening self-harm, saying he could not live without her. He sent flowers the following day and showed up unannounced outside of her classes and at her dorm room. He tried every form of manipulation possible, but his behavior only served to reinforce Stephanie’s decision in her mind and to push her further away. When this continued for several days, Stephanie told him that she felt the two could no longer be friends, as he seemed incapable of that. He continued to call, but she ignored all of his calls and would lock her dorm room door and refuse to answer, when he would come around.

Hurt turned to rage, and rage propelled him into action. Over the next few weeks, Stephanie attempted to repair the pieces of her broken life. She immersed herself in classes, spent time with her close friends and took steps to re-instate her position in her sorority. She had begun to spend time with Mark in a social setting, but only as friends. Though she was open to seeing where things might go, she needed to move slowly and work on reconnecting with the parts of herself and her life that had been seemingly lost. As she got dressed for a sorority social one evening, there came a knock on the door from Jana, the president of her sorority. “We need to talk,” Jana said. As she invited Jana into her room and over to her futon to sit and talk, Stephanie instinctively knew that this would not be a pleasant chat.

Jana looked Stephanie squarely in the face and said, “I will need your sorority pin back. You are being terminated as a sister of this sorority.” “What?!? Why?” Stephanie asked, clearly shocked. “Because you have betrayed the bonds of our sisterhood. We know you shared the secrets of the sorority with your ex-boyfriend.” “What are you talking about? I never told anyone anything about the sorority secrets. I’d swear it on my life! Where are you getting this from?” Stephanie pleaded with her sorority sister. As Stephanie sat anxiously on the verge of tears, Jana placed her cellphone on speaker mode and played a recording of Stephanie’s voice clearly revealing all of the secrets of the sorority, revealed during the Initiation Ceremony. Stephanie was stunned. She knew it was her voice, but she also knew that she had never spoken this information to anyone. “It must be some sort of mistake!” Stephanie insisted. “Maybe someone was setting me up by audiotaping me privately during our Initiation. “I had a feeling you might say that,” Jana responded calmly. As Jana pressed rewind on the recording, Stephanie heard another eerily familiar voice. It belonged to someone she knew intimately, and as his voice calmly asked her about the secrets of her sorority, she calmly responded with the requested information. “I don’t understand,” Stephanie said. “That never happened! I would never –“

“I’m sorry,” Jana cut her off coldly. “You are no longer a sister in this house. I will need your pin immediately and I will come by tomorrow to collect everything you own with our letters on it.” As Stephanie stared at Jana wide-eyed and incredulous, Jana stood and exited Stephanie’s dorm room. As the door clicked shut, Stephanie began to sob uncontrollably. “What is happening?” she said aloud to herself. “I just don’t understand. How could this have happened?”

Stephanie spent the night by herself in her room. She wanted to reach out to her non-sorority friends, but she was paralyzed. What would she even say? How would she explain it? People would think she were crazy. Also, she felt an overwhelming sense of shame. She washed off her make-up and got out of her sorority social “uniform” of black pants and a sexy tank top and cardigan. She attempted to watch a movie, but she could not concentrate, and this only made her feel worse. She was sick to her stomach and out of options, as she was not one to turn to substances of any kind to solve her problems. Resigned and exhausted, she turned out the lights, pulled the covers up to her neck and cried herself to sleep.

The following morning, Stephanie woke up feeling mostly crappy, but with the resolve to soldier forward. She knew where Mark spent his Sunday afternoons studying in the quad, so she decided to go find him. He was kind, funny and always made her forget her troubles. He was probably the one she should have dated all along. After showering, dressing and grabbing a mug of coffee, she set off to find him, in his usual spot under the tree. “Hey you!” she greeted Mark warmly. She was determined to make today a good day, irrespective of the horrors of the previous night. “Oh hey,” he said, without his usual warmth and an uncomfortable look. “What’s wrong?” Stephanie asked concernedly. “Umm, nothing. I just need to study. Mind if I do it alone?” he asked. “No, of course not. I’ll see you in class,” Stephanie responded as she walked away. She tried to shrug of the nagging sickening feeling growing in her stomach, but she knew something was terribly wrong and she had a feeling she knew who was behind it.

When she arrived at class the following day, Mark was not in his usual seat. He was sitting with other friends, talking and whispering. “Can I talk to you?” Stephanie asked. Mark reluctantly joined her in the hall. “What is going on?” Stephanie demanded to know. “I’m sorry, but I don’t think we should hang out anymore,” Mark said. “Please tell me what happened,” Stephanie implored him. There was a sadness in his eyes, or perhaps it was a pitying look, as he told her, “I just think we are too different.” That said, he turned on heel and rejoined his friends. Stephanie noticed there was more whispering and snickering coming from behind her, as she attempted unsuccessfully to focus on her Biology class lecture. She had no idea what had happened and was frantically trying to piece together this enigma of her seemingly great life systematically crumbling around her. She did not know how he was doing it, but she knew that her ex was somehow behind this.

With the help of one of Stephanie’s classmates, who had been paid to videotape her reaction to the snickering and to Mark’s rebuff of Stephanie, Burundanga was able to view the results of his crafty work. Mark was a good guy and one of the things he had liked best about Stephanie is that she seemed like a good girl. She was in fact, a really good person, but like everyone else, she had some less than attractive secrets that most people have the privilege of concealing from others. Thanks to Burundanga, Stephanie’s love interest and many people in her immediate circle now knew the worst thing she had ever done, and boy was it juicy!

Over the next few days, Stephanie’s friends also backed away from her. It seemed there was nowhere she could go where she did not appear to be the brunt of a joke that everyone but her knew. It was a terrible feeling. She could not eat. Her sleep was interrupted and nightmarish. Her ability to study and retain information was next to nil. After one particularly rough day, for the first time in her life, she found herself contemplating suicide. She called her parents and while crying hysterically, she begged them to bring her home. The following day, with the help of her folks, she packed up her dorm room, withdrew from her classes and left the school. She had lost her friends, her sorority, her school and in a way, her life. She was a strong woman at the core, and she would eventually recuperate and re-enroll in a different school, starting anew. However, the damage was done. She had lost much, and she now carried a trauma indelibly scarred on her soul, destroying her sense of trust and upending her view of the world.

***

Dr. Burundanga listened to the Madelyn cassette tape one last time, as a single tear slid from his left eye. He wiped it away quickly, as he swiveled his chair away from the recorder and back to the brown boxes in his office. Dr. Burundanga went to his book shelf and began to pack up his books and personal effects. After months of gas lighting Madelyn, she had finally left him, making clear that he was never to initiate contact with her again. Not one to be dismissed, Burundanga pursued relentlessly, despite unambiguous warnings from the Corporate Compliance Department not to do so. Scorned and rageful, Burundanga had shared some of the contents of the Madelyn cassette tape with underlings and support staff. He knew none of them would have the courage to report his illegal behavior. Moreover, as they were prone to gossip and quite envious of Madelyn, a young woman who seemed to have it all, they were happy to spread rumors and contribute to the sullying of Madelyn’s good name. When she had had just about all that she could handle, Madelyn resolved to look for a new job. Not one to run away, she knew that removing herself from this toxic environment was the right thing to do. In the meanwhile, however, she needed protection. A woman named Faith Forbes, Esquire, came to her rescue. After retaining Ms. Forbes services, it was only a matter of months before Dr. Burundanga was told to resign.

Ashamed, humiliated and anxiety-ridden, Burundanga tendered his resignation and spent the majority of the two weeks hiding in his office and doing minimal work. He was worried about finding new work and how this blemish on his reputation and work history might appear to future employers. He was embarrassed to be seen by colleagues, trainees and other staff members who, aware of his bad behavior, had known that he had been forced to resign. He was deeply hurt by all of Madelyn’s actions, as he had never expected her to leave him, much less to take legal action. He had been unable to sleep much since she left him, leaving him with a great deal of time to think about how he might punish her for her betrayal. Her betrayal had been enormous to him, as he had never loved someone as deeply as he loved her. She had cut him off completely. She had gotten him fired. She had exposed him and his game to the world. A bigger betrayal warranted a bigger punishment, and as far as Dr. Burundanga was concerned, this was the ultimate betrayal. He would need to go further than he had ever gone before; do something that he had never realistically considered doing to another human being until now. Dr. Burundanga pulled a business card from his wallet, one that had been tucked away in the secret compartment. Dr. Burundanga picked up the phone and held it to his ear.

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