50 Shades of Brown

Chapter 1:

At that time I was still just your average millennial young woman -- a painfully shy, 21-year-old virgin who doesn't have a computer or even an email address. I had big dreams to be a reporter someday, but also to fall in love and get married so I could finally find out how babies are made.

But that was before I met Chet Brown.

You know Chet -- or as he likes to be called, Charlie -- Brown. He's the self-made owner of the biggest company in Detroit, Brown Enterprises, manufacturer of car alarms and cheap coffins. He grew up inside a cardboard box and is now a trillionaire!

And handsome. I always saw him on the cover of the Detroit Free Press where I am interning in the Feel Good News Department, grinning with his beautiful cleft chin jutting out from his face like a firm, shapely butt.

Well, one day I was working on an op-ed about a YouTube video of a baby hugging a kitten, when I got a call from my boss. He said I was now going to be doing the big interview with Chet Brown! I asked if he thought I was up for it, and he said no, but that the other reporter on the job had just been murdered on his way to work that morning. (It was the third reporter we'd lost that month!)

When I arrived at Brown Enterprises HQ I took a deep breath and adjusted my bolo tie. I wanted to look extra professional for my first big interview. Just the building itself looked intimidating: The spherical shaft of the main structure rose high into the air from a base of two equal-sized domes and was capped by a bulbous, purple penthouse. I couldn't even think of what to compare it to. A fortress?

I went in and took the elevator to the 68th floor -- one floor below Mr. Brown's penthouse. The secretary gave me a glass of water and a skeptical look that said, "Aren't you a little young to be interviewing trillionaires, missy?" Then she adjusted her bolo tie and sat back down.

Just as I was thinking of fleeing in embarrassment, in walked Mr. Brown. He smiled his super wide, ultra-bright, obviously dentist-enhanced smile, which let you know he was a straight shooter and not some kind of sexual sociopath. His clean shaven chin looked even more butt-like in person.

"Why are you blushing?" he asked.

I couldn't answer.

"It's my chin, yes? It... looks like a butt."

I nodded. How did he know what I was thinking?

"Mr. Brown," said Chet's secretary, "remember after the interview you have your 3pm appointment."

"I see," said Mr. Brown, "the one where we go over the important business documents and the stocks and bonds and the corporate feasibilities."

"Yes. That's the one."

He ushered me up the stairs into his office with my head still swimming from all the big business words.

My jaw almost hit the floor when I saw the interior. His desk was made of stained mahogany. It had a computer on it. I had never had one of my own before, just the one in the communal office where I scoured Getty Images for cat pictures. How did it stay on when it wasn't even plugged in? Was it magic? I would have to ask the Google later.

I should probably also mention: everything else in the office was made of splash-proof vinyl. Even the swing. "A grown man with a swing in his office? How peculiar," I thought.

We sat down across from each other and I pulled out my notepad.

All right, my first big-league question as a reporter. Better make it a good one, Ana:

"What's the cutest thing you've ever seen a kitten do?"

Fuck. I blew it.

"Is that really what you came here to ask me?" He asked me. "Wouldn't you like to know about how I went from living in a cardboard box to working on the 69th floor of my own corporate headquarters."

"I have to go to the bathroom," I said.

Good save, Ana.

I got up and began walking back towards the door, but Mr. Brown grabbed my arm. It felt strangely titillating because the media has inured me to some forms of violence against women.

"Please, use my bathroom," he said, "It's back here in this room, which I call my--"

Suddenly he looked me deep in the eyes. It was so intense I wondered if this wasn't how you got pregnant. (Another thing I'd have to ask the Google.)

"Can I trust you, Jennifer?" He said, "Your sensual green eyes tell me I can, but since the whole Don Sterling thing, well..."

"My name is Ana, my eyes are actually hazel, and yes," I said breathily.

"I call it my brown room of weird sex stuff. Do you still want to go in?"

"Okey-dokey," I said, not questioning what was happening for even a second.

Inside I found a toilet, a single bare bulb hanging from the ceiling and more CCTV cameras than I could count.

"Thanks. Could you wait outside for a second so I can have some privacy?" I said.

I was shocked by his answer:

"No," said Mr. Brown, "I don't think you understand. I like to be in control..."

"Well, what's that got to do with me?" I asked in a tiny little school girl voice, which I probably should have mentioned earlier is my normal voice.

"...in control of people's bowel movements."

"Ooooooooooooh," I said, finally putting 2 + 2 together to make 4. "That's what all the cameras facing the toiler are for."

He nodded knowingly.

"I don't know," I said, "I've never even brushed my teeth in front of someone before!"

He pulled a toothbrush out of his pocket. "Oh, we'll get to that in time, my dear."

Even then I had no idea what a long journey of sexual self-discovery I was about to embark upon, certainly not one long enough to fill three thick volumes without getting slow and repetitive. Over the course of those many months, I would find out what it meant to be a women (mostly whatever a rich man told me it meant) and I would even go on to win the Pulitzer for my work! Not for the story on Chet Brown -- I never finished it -- but for my op-ed, which blew the lid off that baby hugging a kitten video.