Good Vibrations

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Clara nearly lost the plot when she found out I had been on the internet looking at things I shouldn’t.

She didn’t catch me in mid-wank, mind you. I had been lazy, neglected to delete my search history. She hopped onto the desktop computer trying to order something off Amazon for her supervisor’s going away party, something corporate-related, and lo-and-behold, an adult website with unsavory images popped up.

My interests had been going on for a while. Nothing weird, of course. Unless watching fit university-aged women getting shagged senseless is somehow creepy. Although with me having a daughter roughly that age…well, let’s move on from that, shall we? In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t that much of a big deal. People have admitted to worse, right?

Right?

Anyway, Clara caught me. I could’ve made a fuss about invasion of privacy, respect for boundaries, blah-blah-blah, but the fact is marriage involves entering into a tacit agreement - a contract, we’ve all been told - based upon obligations and policies. And I’m not talking about love or respect or forgiveness, though at the time of being caught I was certainly on the look-out for one (if not all three) of those things. What I mean is that with marriage comes the mutually agreed upon belief that privacy is no longer a given.

This frame of thought naturally tied into the overall theme of our marital issues, in that she wasn’t angry about me watching pornography, as much as she was disappointed I was watching it without her. “Did you not think I would fancy it?” she said after she found out, one eyebrow conspicuously arched, a subtle yet demonstrative movement; this tiny raindrop of emotion belying the possibility that my wife might possess a monsoon of previously unforeseen kinks.

To say that I was flabbergasted would be an understatement. We had never really talked about fantasies. There was one poorly advised attempt at me initiating some new concepts into the bedroom several years back when I bought her a vibrator for her birthday.

“That’s an interesting present,” she said in an unconvincing tone, staring blankly at what I thought was - so to speak - a bang-on gift; it was a response that contradicted her eager removal of the wrapping paper mere moments before. (Clara, like most women, loves presents. Usually.) She jumped back, as though the gift were some exotic, deadly creature. She couldn’t even make eye contact with it. Which made me unable to make eye contact with her. I gazed at my shoes instead.

“You realize that most women want to choose their own, right?”

“Of course!” I blurted, faking naivety. Did specifics really matter? Wasn’t it the thought that counted?

“I mean, it’s very thoughtful of you…” she mustered, her voice trailing off beneath that thinly veiled and uniquely mixed feminine combo of sarcasm and disgust. For a moment she reminded me of when we first slept together and I held her in my arms while she confessed her previous terrible experiences with men. It took her a long time to trust a man, and here I was, giving her all the reason in the world to validate that feeling.

“You don’t like it,” I said, stating the obvious.

“It’s orange,” she replied.

“Yes,” I said, trying to run with what I thought was a rather evident observation. “The color reminded me of…it reminded me of this salamander that I discovered when my family was on vacation in Florida. It was on the curtains in my grandmother’s motel room.”

“You are seriously out of your bloody mind if you think reminiscing about some lizard from your childhood is in any way, shape or form, a turn-on. I mean, really - need we bring your grandmother into this?”

“ I was thirteen,” I stammered.

“Oh, well that makes it alright then.”

“What I meant was, it’s like nature…natural - as in: What we’re doing is perfectly natural.” At that moment I realized my vanity was boundless and harbored no shame.

“But it’s orange,” she repeated, though this time her tone sounded as though she were describing the onset of venereal disease. “Bright orange. Like something you’d see workers using to halt traffic in a construction zone or those blokes who direct airplanes on the runway.”

I had to admit that looking at the vibrator, laying there on the bed, unloved - and possibly feared, if my wife’s trepidation was to be taken into account - this orphaned, electric joy-toy, surrounded by the remnants of wrapping paper and its cardboard container, was a rather inappropriate gift.

“Well, I’ll be…” I said, finally acknowledging that I had made what was clearly an errant decision. I chuckled to myself, shook my head, gave that aw-shucks look that some men try to pull off during rare moments of self-acknowledged stupidity, and finally settled on a demeanor recognizing I had made a grave error that day. I had tried to lighten the mood, to break us out of the Olympic-sized pool of funk we had inadvertently fallen into, and failed miserably.

Clara stifled a laugh.

“What?” I asked, expecting - more like hoping, really - that she was about to offer an apology, or failing that, some sort of compromise.

“You could’ve just gone to the supermarket and bought me a cucumber.”

“I don’t know,” I said rather testily. “This color matches that hideous pair of trainers you bought.”

“Sod off.”

Realizing my dignity long past the point of salvation, I grasped the mighty pleasure toy in my hand and held it aloft like some curious savage inspecting a modern-day appliance. Which, essentially I was, and, in essence, it was. I found it remarkable how this little machine offered so much. I had to admit, I was mystified - jealous even - though also a bit terrified by its supposed power. This? This…thing? More satisfying than my fingers? My tongue? My penis? Not possible! I thought as I turned it on to the lowest setting. It hummed like a buzzing bee. It was the second time I had ever held a vibrator. The first time being when I put batteries in that I had taken from the remote control for the television. Even then, I had to admit I was in awe. But now, with Clara in the same room, I felt like there was nothing left to lose. Certainly not my self-respect, as that had surely left me the moment I clicked the ‘buy me’ tab on the very same website that my wife had used for her manager’s gift.

“Are you sure you didn’t buy that for yourself?” Clara asked, mischievously. “Would you like me to kick off and allow you two some time together?”

My response was to turn off the machine and remove the batteries.

“Where are you going?” she called out as I left the bedroom.

“If you’re not going to appreciate my gift,” I said, sulking my way into the living room, “I’ll just put the batteries back where I found them.” I picked up the remote control, opened the battery compartment lid, and hastily put the batteries back where I found them.

“Well,” she said, smirking from the distant echo of the bedroom doorway, “at least I’ll be able to watch my programs again.”

But that wasn’t even the worst part.

I tried returning the gift several days later. It was still under the 30-day return window, thus I would merely mail the gift back to whence it came. The box that it was mailed in was too large to fit in my leather side bag. So I wrapped it up in the remains of the plastic air bubble wrap, popped it in the bag divider away from the students’ papers, and headed off to class. I would buy packaging at the post office during my lunch break.

But that didn’t happen.

I was sitting on the edge of my desk, lecturing to the nation’s youth about the importance of ethical journalism, when I bumped into my haphazardly placed bag. I had just returned student papers and so the bag was empty save for the sex toy. The force of my contact dislodged the vibrator from its place in the bag and off my desk it went, onto the floor. Right in front of the class! For all to see! It bounced twice awkwardly, shedding sheets of bubble wrap in its wake.

I scrambled to corral the sex toy, but my reflexes, sadly, aren’t what they once were, so I watched as the oblong object eluded my grasp - Boing! Boing! Boing! - where it then eventually came to rest upon a co-ed’s leg. There was a collective gasp.

“Is that…? Is that…? IS THAT WHAT I THINK IT IS?!” screeched Samantha, one of my more overly dramatic students.

“Whoa, Mr. Kroft! A dildo!” said Reg, one of my more agreeable, if not rather vapid, students.

Actually, you silly bastard, it’s a vibrator, was my initial thought, but didn’t think it was too pertinent a thing to rectify, considering the situation.

After I finally managed to return the machine to its rightful place in my bag, I quickly excused the class for the remainder of the period. Students slowly filed out, clearly shocked, as though they were witness to a shocking crime.

“Only a simp uses bubble wrap in this day and age,” tsk-ed a smug co-ed whose name I hadn’t bothered to remember due to her blatant self-righteousness, as she sashayed out the door.

“Well, I’d be happy to hear about how you traffic around sex toys,” I meekly replied. But she was already gone.


Submitted: May 03, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Kurt Garrison. All rights reserved.

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