I put two glasses of iced tea down on the coffee table while Emily got her laptop out. She was grinning like a maniac, making me roll my eyes.
Emily was always a travel junky. She took a trip to India after we graduated high school and stayed there for a month and a half. Then when she got her business degree, she took me to Kyoto. Even into our mid-twenties she’s still going abroad wherever she can.
Termezia was the first dictatorship she ever went to, so far as I know. It was ruled by an army officer who overthrew the royal family a few years back and was now its 'Wise Leader' who ruled over 184 million people. It became much harder to visit ever since he took power, since he wanted as few outsiders as possible even though he supposedly kept up imports and exports.
Ever since Termezia started opening up for tourism again, Emily was so excited to see a 'hermit state'. She didn't contact me often but she seemed to be having a blast from what I could tell. She sent me a bunch of pictures of herself in various places, both ones that went back to ancient times and showpieces for the regime like the newly renovated Kervala Square. I have to imagine that she was told which pictures she could or couldn't send.
“Alright, let’s get started.” she said grinning. I was a bit confused when she turned on what looked like a video of a parade instead of a picture of her somewhere. The screen had this weird visual effect on it that soothed away my confusion.
I remembered when I went to get my wisdom teeth removed and the dentist gave me that shot to put me out. I felt the same sort of tingling feeling as I did when I got that shot but even stronger.
The marching soldiers demanded my attention. They looked so powerful, so strong. So virile. I couldn't shake the feeling that just one of them would give me the best fucking of my life. What would a bunch of them do for me? Some women marched into view wearing vibrant green dress uniforms.
“And here we have the Patriotic Women’s League! I got to try on one of their uniforms. It fit me like a glove.” I smiled a bit. That sounded wonderful. The uniforms looked so form fitting, so skin tight.
I could picture Emily and I marching beside them, matching their steps perfectly. The rush of pleasure I felt made me loosen up even more. “I’m thinking you should get a few matching sets of clothes the next time you go shopping,” Emily said. “You could use a bit more conformity in your wardrobe.”
I let out a moan of pleasure when she finished speaking.
“Oh, you like that word? Conformity? It really is an amazing idea. Just going with the flow, following the crowd, not needing to think as much. It’s blissful don’t you agree?”
I nodded in agreement. My mind was like a ball of yarn that was almost completely unraveled. Emily smiled.
"Do you like this so far? It's a propaganda video file with a hypnotic overlay. I've got loads more of them on my laptop. An ingenious innovation by the engineers and psychologists of the State Research Bureau. I was shown the same thing not long after I arrived by someone from the cultural ministry. I felt the same blissful sense of brainlessness that you do now, the feeling that all's right with the world, that you'd believe anything you're told and like you can do anything."
I nodded my head slightly. I felt so nice and her voice sounded so soothing. I also felt myself becoming more energetic too. Her smile widened.
"Now, listen and believe. This pleasure and power you feel is a gift from the glorious nation of Termezia and the Wise Leader. It is only a taste of what you can experience if you give it your loyalty, your love and your obedience. This is what awaits you if you adopt the Wise Leader's teachings and devote yourself to furthering his cause, if you pledge yourself to glorious Termezia. If you become like me."
Emily put her hands in mine. My heart was racing and it looked like there was fire in her eyes.
“Would you do that, Lillian? Will you devote yourself to Termezia and its ruler?”
I saw how happy Emily was when she spoke. I wanted nothing less. The Wise Leader and his government made her this way. And I wanted to be the same as her. I wanted to conform and draw strength from it like her.
I felt so powerful saying that. Emily hugged me.
“Praise the Wise Leader.” she told me.
“Praise him.” I said back. “Did you feel this good when you submitted?”
"You better believe it! I came to Termezia an ignorant foreigner who was just there for vacation. But I was enlightened, molded and given a cause to devote myself to with all of my being. My mind was a canvas upon which a whole new sense of purpose was painted. When I left, I had a new mission. A mission that you share too.”
“How may I serve?” I asked.
“The Wise Leader has decided that it is not enough to just create new ties with other nations. He wishes to craft a better image for himself and Termezia among the people of other countries. He’s especially interested in gaining the support of foreign women like us. His ideas have brought so much improvement to the lives of Termezia’s women and he wishes to help do the same for foreign women. Is there any girl who comes to mind when you ask who may need his wisdom?”
I nodded. My niece Jennifer was coming to stay with me for a few weeks. She was going to be a senior in high school soon and she had her fair share of behavioral issues. Fighting, graffiti, staying out at odd hours, it was a wonder she wasn’t expelled yet. Her mother, my stepsister, was at her wits end.
Jennifer needed guidance and discipline. She needed to be corrected. And I knew just how I was going to do that.
Emily clapped her hands together.
“Excellent. Now how’s about a girl’s movie night?” I smiled, knowing what we’d be watching.
“I’d love to. Before we start, could we get ahold of some of those Patriotic League uniforms somehow? Have them shipped here?”
“Sorry, they’re not for export. But I think I can hook you up with something…”