“Hey, you’ve got the week off, right? Could you help me out with a work thing tomorrow? I promise I’ll make it worth your while!”
Lucy looked up from her Switch at Katya, eyeing her suspiciously. “What sort of work thing? Can’t you do your own job?”
“Not like that, I’m giving a product demo tomorrow, and I need a live tester so I can really wow the execs. You’d just have to come in with me to the Vaporware office, try out our new model, and then I’d ask you a few questions. C’mon, it’ll be easy, and I’ll buy you lunch after.”
“Katya, I don’t even vape, why are you asking me?”
“That’s exactly why you’re perfect for this! The Vaporware S is going to be our most beginner-friendly model ever, and we really need feedback from a complete newcomer. Pleeeeease?”
“Ugh, fine, I’ll demo your dumb vape for you. It’s not gonna blow up in my face or give me cancer, is it?”
“Of course not, we’ve already finished all the safety testing, what we need right now is just end-user reactions. Thank you so much, you don’t know how much this means to me!” Katya skipped out of the living room, humming cheerfully to herself.
Eh, at least she’s not still mad at me about all those dishes… Lucy thought as she unpaused her game.
Katya badged Lucy into a downtown office building, then led her up to Vaporware’s floor and through an open-plan office to a glass-walled conference room. Lucy sat in the corner scrolling through Twitter as a bunch of white twenty-somethings in t-shirts and jeans filed in.
“Thank you all for coming,” Katya said. “I’m super grateful to Kyle for supporting and encouraging all the work my team has been doing on the S, and now we’re finally ready to show you what will make this our best-selling product yet. To start things off, I’ve brought in a volunteer to try the S and tell us what she thinks. Everyone, meet Lucy.”
There was some scattered applause as Lucy made her way to the front to stand next to Katya.
“Now, Lucy, have you ever vaped before?”
“Nope, not my thing. Never really been interested.”
“Well, try this out and we’ll see what you think afterwards. Just breathe out, put it to your lips, and take a deep breath in.” Katya handed Lucy a sleek black tube with a brushed metal finish and a tapered mouthpiece.
Lucy took the vape, following Katya’s instructions. As she inhaled, small wisps of vapor came out of the far end of the vape, wafting up in front of her face. Rather than a straight line or an expanding cloud, the wisps formed elaborate patterns, dancing back and forth and around in circles, illuminated by flashing lights on the vape just below the edge of Lucy’s vision. Time seemed to slow down slightly as she stared at the ethereal shapes and colors right before her eyes. Finally she exhaled; as she took the vape away from her mouth, the wisps lingered for a few moments before dissipating into the air.
“So, loving it yet?” asked Katya.
“Huh? Oh, yeah, uh, it’s pretty neat.”
“Why don’t you try another hit?”
Without really thinking about it, Lucy brought the vape back to her lips. The wisps returned as soon as she started inhaling, flashing and shifting once again. She found herself breathing slower, trying to prolong the mesmerizing vision, and felt a twinge of disappointment when it finally ended.
“What do you think? Isn’t it amazing?”
“Could you see yourself using it once it goes on the market?”
In her mind’s eye, Lucy saw more of the glowing wispy patterns. “Yes… I can see it… I’d use it all the time…”
“That’s what we love to hear. Thank you Lucy, you’ve been very helpful. You can sit back down and relax. I’ll let you hold onto the demonstration model while we talk about tech and business stuff; you don’t need to pay attention to any of it, it probably wouldn’t make sense to you anyway.”
“Thank you…” Lucy slurred as she slowly went to sit back down, accompanied by more applause. As Katya launched into the rest of her presentation, Lucy continued vaping and watching the wisps, not even processing what was being said.
“As you can see, this disruptive new innovation …”
such lovely patterns
“… subliminals delivered through visual fixation elements …”
the wisps are happy and they make me happy
“… timeline for total market dominance …”
like i could stare into it forever
" … which brings me to our viral brand ambassador program. Lucy!"
Lucy sat upright with a start, a trickle of drool running down her chin. “Huhhh?”
“How would you like to help show other people how good the Vaporware S is? Wouldn’t that make you feel good?”
“Yesss… show everyone… so good…” Lucy was dimly aware of a wetness in her panties.
“Perfect, glad to hear it. Here’s a t-shirt you can wear.” Katya handed her a shirt screen-printed with the Vaporware logo, a stylized wispy V. Lucy immediately stripped off the band shirt she’d been wearing and put on the shirt she’d been given, as the audience whistled and clapped, and Katya grinned proudly.
After a very enthusiastic Q&A session, Katya left the conference room with Lucy following automatically behind. “That went perfectly, you’re such a good volunteer,” Lucy smiled. “Now, why don’t you buy me lunch, and then you can go home and clean the kitchen. Once I get home from work, we’re going to have all kinds of fun~”
“Yes… fun…” Lucy mumbled, taking another hit of the vape.