The Brimmton College YearbooksThe Brimmton College Yearbooks


Note: This work of fiction is written in the second person. Though the written characters are female, the language will work whether you, the reader, are male or female. All written characters are 18 or older.

Synopsis: Brimmton College has a reputation for beautiful yearbook pictures. What happens when a rebel like you doesn’t want to smile for the camera?

First posted: April 2007


“The Brimmton College Yearbooks”

You’ve probably noticed that the positive feeling you get when you look at Brimmton College’s yearbooks, is amazing. You get the distinct impression that the students love everything about their school. Prospective students see the yearbooks, and enrollment increases. Wealthy donors peruse them, and choose to support the institution over large universities. Yet to scan the pages, you can’t quite put your finger on why. What brilliant scheme does the Brimmton College Associated Student Body have in place to create such persuasive yearbooks?

When it comes time for photos, you’ll learn the answer.

The Brimmton College ASB has an elaborate studio in place for taking yearbook photos. The process of having your photo taken occurs in the form of a ride, just as it would be in a small theme park. While you wait your turn in the outdoor queue, you’ll see the next student being asked to sit in a chair, mounted on rails. When they’re seated, the attendant will connect their seat belt, and secure the safety restraints around their arms and legs. The student will be told to “enjoy the ride!” and the chair will come to life, and disappear into the studio.

You can look up at the monitor and see the finished head shots, cycling like a slide show, as they’re taken. All of them look wonderful. They’re perfectly lit, professionally framed, and most surprisingly, everyone’s photo includes the most beautiful smile. You’ll see that there are students standing in the queue who look shy, or introverted. Some might look bored. One might look sad, or maybe just lonely. One of them might complain, saying “I’m not smiling for this stupid photo.” But he must be sarcastic or joking, because when his picture shows up on the monitor a few minutes later, he’ll be smiling delightedly. You might see a woman dressed in all black, with black makeup, looking rebellious about the stigma of smiling at all, let alone for a photo. Yet, when her photo appears, it will include a smile so broad and lovely that you’d think she was the friendliest, most outgoing person you’d seen pictured.

You’d like to one-up this system, wouldn’t you? Think back to your childhood; you always liked to spoil your family photos with some divergent face. You were just maintaining your own style, right? Sometimes, you’d insist on maintaining a straight face in a photograph when you were supposed to smile. Just holding on to your uniqueness, right? And you’ve made it clear how you feel about school spirit. You’d rather go a week without meals, than show up to a pep event. You’ll plot to be the only bored face in the Brimmton College yearbook, won’t you? Don’t worry, that’s fine. Soon, you’ll be at the front of the line.

The attendant will escort you into the chair, secure your seat belt, and fasten your safety restraints. No doubt, you’ll be looking for some way to sneak your arm out just so you can retain that feeling of control as the ride begins. If you try, you’ll find that your arms and legs are totally stuck. That’s all right; you’ll still be able to move your facial features.

“Enjoy the ride!” your attendant will say. Then the chair will jump to life, and you’ll plunge into darkness.

The ride will begin with elaborate multimedia. You’ll be able to look around as the chair passes through a hall filled with monitors showing the beautiful photos taken of students at Brimmton. Deeply comforting music will play around you. The recorded announcer will say something about urfa escort the memorable experiences at the college, and you’ll notice how perfectly the smiles around you fit that theme. You’ll be tempted to let your guard down and relax. Go ahead, though. Keep fighting it. In a few minutes, you’ll slide into the studio.

Your chair will stop right in the middle of the room, and the lights will come up… on you! Three women will be there to greet you: all members of the Associated Student Body, two photography majors. They’ll be dressed in matching blouses and skirts, almost like cheerleaders, to match the cheery theme of the room.

“Hi, Brimmton College colleague! Time for your photo!” the one on your left will say.

As the music plays, the woman behind the camera will prepare to snap the picture. The woman on your right will instruct you to look at the camera and smile. You might smirk out of politeness, but you’ll immediately settle into your rebelliously bored expression. They’ll take a picture, and you’ll think the worst is over.

“Come on now, friend. Smile! Chin up!” And they’ll take another one, but you won’t work with them. Time to learn a little more about how the studio works.

“Well, it looks like our dear colleague here is a little sad!” the woman behind the camera will say.

“I think you’re right! We’ll have to cheer our dear friend up!” the woman on your right will respond.

The woman on the left will approach you. She’ll kneel down in front of your chair, look you right in the eye, and smile kind-heartedly. This is the one that isn’t the photography major. She’s a psychology major.

“I believe it’s time to help improve your mood a little,” she’ll say sweetly. She’ll draw your attention to a remote pad in her hand. “I wonder what this does…” With exaggerated curiosity, she’ll press one of the buttons. Your chair will start to whirr. She’ll look at you, open-mouthed in feigned surprise. You’ll immediately realize why: your legs will be extending outward until they’re completely straight.

She’ll give you a mischievous grin as she scoots around to your feet. She’ll begin to remove your shoes, and any other footwear, until you’re left with the soles of your bare feet facing directly toward her. She’ll look up at you again, with that kind-hearted smile, and start cooing:

“I think you can smile for us. I think you want to. And I think you’re going to do it all… by… yourself.” She’ll begin lightly tracing one finger in confident ellipses around the sole of your foot. She’ll be observing you as you attempt to remain passive. You’ll try to breathe slowly and hold a straight face, and she’ll know exactly what you’re doing. Then, with some unpredictable adjustment of her technique, she’ll make a smile start to appear on your face, and you’ll press your lips together to suppress it.

In doing that, you’ll have given her all the information she needs. She’ll know exactly where your breaking point is; the point below which, you can relax and ignore the imposing sensation, and above which, you’ll have no way to stop the reaction of your body to her techniques. You’ll realize this, and look back at her out of nervousness. She’ll be smiling at you.

“It looks like our colleague would like to smile after all…” the woman on your right will observe.

“I think you’re right,” the woman at your feet will respond. “In fact, I think our dear friend will give us a simply wonderful smile in exactly fifteen seconds,” she tells the lady at the camera. That’s what they’ll do to you. They’ll inform you exactly when you’re going to smile for them, and then they’ll make you watch yourself do it.

“Fifteen. Monitor on, please,” she’ll say.

The lady by the camera will adjust a control, and an image of you will appear on the wall. You’ll be able to see yourself, strapped to the chair, the soles of your feet facing balıkesir escort the camera. The lady by your feet will count down in a whimsical voice. When she reaches twelve, she’ll raise her hands slowly, placing one set of fingertips on the sole of each foot. When she reaches eleven, she’ll look at you with a smile and a nonchalant raise of her eyebrows.

When she reaches ten, she’ll begin to trace her fingers in a pattern around your soles; all ten at once. The feeling will be much more intense than her initial test, and you’ll have to tense your entire body to keep your composure. You’ll be able to withstand it, but as you resist, you won’t be able to help giving her all the clues she needs. As she counts down through nine, eight, and seven, she’ll be testing you for sensitivity based on the reactions of your feet, your face, your breathing, and the tension in your arms. As she passes each of six, five, and four, she’ll flick her nails in slightly different spots under your toes. Each sharp sensation will come extremely close to taking you over, and you’ll only just be able to maintain control.

You won’t want to admit it, but by this point, she will have demonstrated that she’s capable of manipulating you with excellent precision. She’ll lean toward you, looking you right in the eye.


You’ll hear the woman at the camera making adjustments. The woman to your right will watch you intently.


The woman at your feet will circle her nails around your heels, causing you to feel an intense sensation. It will be so distracting, so disarming, that by the time she finally says “one,” you’ll feel as though you need to scramble to get your mental resistance back. But there won’t be any time, and the woman at your feet will be a step ahead. In one expertly smooth motion, she will run her nails around the sides of your feet, over the balls, and upward again from your arches to linger in effortlessly light strokes under your toes. You’ll have no choice but to enjoy the ride, and feel your anatomy take you over. Your cheeks will tighten in an expression of joy. Your lips, which you’ve been trying to clamp together, will fly apart to reveal a broad, delighted smile.

At that moment, the flash will go off.

“I knew our colleague wanted to smile for us,” the woman on your right will say.

“It appears that my prediction was correct,” the woman in front of you will say. “I knew you had a wonderful smile, dear friend. There’s no need to blush. How was the picture?”

The woman at the camera will respond, “the smile was great, but our colleague wasn’t looking at the camera.”

And you’ll realize that they can’t beat you. Even if they can force you to smile, they can’t force you to look into the camera. There’s no possible way they can make you do that, right?

The woman on your right will approach you, kneel, and look into your eyes. “Are you going to look at the camera for us, dear colleague?”

You’ll realize that this is the first direct question they’ve asked you. You’re resistant, but you’re not impolite. Caught by this appeal to your manners, all you’ll be able to think of is to shake your head “no.”

“Does our colleague really not want to look into the camera?” she’ll say to the woman at your feet.

The woman at your feet will rub her chin, as though considering this seriously. “Is our friend really that unwilling to uphold the spirit of Brimmton with a nice yearbook photograph? I find that extremely hard to believe. Why, just look at the utter enthusiasm our friend has for our school spirit.”

As she says this, she will begin using her techniques seriously, stroking quickly under your toes, on the balls of your feet, around your heels, and up and down the soles. Before you can even try to resist, that joyful smile will return instantly your face, accompanied by equally joyful laughter. trabzon escort You’ll be laughing so frenetically that you won’t be able to form a response.

“You’re right!” the woman on your right will say. “Look at that school spirit! Go, Brimmton!” You will find yourself unable to disagree with her cheer, as you continue to laugh and laugh.

“Even our friend’s feet are enthusiastic! Just look at the dance they’re doing!” the woman at your feet will say. Sure enough, your bare feet will be flexing, and your toes will be curling and splaying in total accordance with her observation. While she continues her manipulation of your body, allowing you to listen to your own laughter, and watch your own feet flail and dance, she’ll look at you calmly, lean in a little bit, and ask you…

“With so much enthusiasm, I’m sure you would be more than willing to look at the camera. Isn’t that right, dear friend?”

And for some unfathomable reason, the small amount of energy available to you will manifest itself in another weak shake of your head.

“I see,” she’ll say, as though she’s genuinely puzzled. “It’s just so confusing, because you’re obviously enjoying this photo session. In fact, you’re enjoying it so much, that I predict you won’t even be able to laugh in sixty more seconds.”

The woman on your right will smile sweetly, and introduce her hands to your sides, squeezing and exploring. Your mouth will be lock open in laughter. You’ll be able to feel her fingers up and down your torso simultaneously with the set of fingers playing smoothly around the soles of your feet, and under your toes, keeping them dancing.

Then, the woman at the camera will approach and kneel behind you. While you’re preoccupied with the singular task of attempting to plead for them to stop, the woman at your feet will press another button on her remote. You’ll feel your arms slowly extend upward, until they’re pointing straight to the sky. The woman behind you will begin to run her nails up and down, under your arms. Your body will twist and turn every which way as you continue to laugh and laugh, your attention diverting from forming a plea, to merely acquiring enough breath.

The woman to your right, who had been working on your sides, will sneak her hands underneath your legs and dive into your thighs. The sensation will be so consuming that your head will throw itself back, and your laughter, just as predicted, will continue only in the form of silent spasms inside your body. Through it all, you’ll be able to feel those fingernails travelling up the soles of your feet, fingernails swooping up and down your underarms, and fingernails delving into the unbearably sensitive interiors of your thighs, as the women look into your eyes and smile lovingly. All you’ll be able to do is occasionally glance at the monitor, at the image of yourself, arms pointing straight up, dancing bare feet out in front, laughing and laughing with an expression of absolute joy.

Minutes later, outside, a student in line will look up at the screen and see a picture of your face, looking straight at the camera, with the most wonderful smile. What they won’t see is the sweetly-smiling psychology major, sitting at your feet, stroking her hands once more over your soles. Only this time, you’ve agreed to let her do it.

Later on, sitting out on campus toward twilight, you’ll be asking yourself about the day. You’ll think about how they demonstrated control over you, made you helpless, and caused you to smile for your yearbook photo. How could they justify doing that? Yet, if you had simply smiled when you entered the studio — if you had felt disposed to make that simple gesture in support of the school, and in support of your colleagues — you wouldn’t have known any of it.

You’d have guessed that many people would question Brimmton’s unusual photography procedure. But, thinking over the loving disposition of the studio staff, you’ll be left with the slightest suspicion that on some level — though they took you beyond comfort at first — they were just trying to make you feel more at home, at your school. While you can’t quite put your finger on why, you’ll probably notice the same feeling, next time you scan the pages of the Brimmton College yearbooks.

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