The title of this piece is a reference to Ann Tyler’s “Back When We Were Grown Ups”. Tyler is one of my favourite writers: wonderful characterisation, effortless dialogue and an understanding that life is never quite what you expect it to be. This story is much darker than Tyler’s stories tend to be, although, like Tyler’s story, it is also about a woman who is reconsidering her life. In re-reading this story before posting it here, I decided that my favourite line is:
“Unhappiness lacks the drama of grief, James. It doesn’t happen suddenly. It’s more like getting old, it occurs so slowly and the loss is so gradual that you notice it only when you suddenly can’t do something that you used to take for granted.”
Back When We Were Happy
(c) Mike Kimera 2002
I wake slowly, my synapses misfiring like an old car on a winter morning. Aching head, dry throat, naked, bound wrists and ankles. Naked? Bound? What the…?
Now I’m alert. I struggle but I can’t get free, I’m taped to the fucking chair. Calm down. Think. You’re in your office at home, taped to your own chair, in front of your own computer. What’s the last thing you remember? Miriam, pouring me a whisky, a large one.
Miriam drugged me and bound me. Why? We’ve never played those sorts of games.
The computer is on. A webcam window is open. It’s Miriam, looking out at me.
“Hello, James. Please don’t struggle. You’re in no danger. I just need to talk to you.”
“Don’t shout dear, no-one will hear you. Isolation was one of the main reasons you bought this house, remember? I’ve gone to a lot of trouble to get your attention, James, please listen to me. I won’t keep you long. I have something to show you.”
A QuickTime file opens on the iMac. Amateur quality. Two men – no, three – fucking a woman. All of them fucking her. A hole each. She’s astride one of them. The big guy fucking her arse is crouched over her, forcing her down, almost obscuring her from view. Shit, I didn’t know Miriam watched this stuff. I didn’t think she was even interested in sex any more. I get an instant hard on. If this is foreplay it’s working better than that headache-inducing Viagra.
“Watch carefully, James, it gets better.”
There’s no sound on the clip and somehow that makes it more exciting. Two of the men, the ones in her arse and cunt, look fit. The one holding her head and trying to choke her on his cock has a beer belly bigger than mine. Her face is pressed into the obscene softness of it.
The camera, which must be handheld, jerks downwards, focusing on the cock tearing into the woman’s arse. Jesus he’s big, bigger than the guy in her cunt, bigger than me. I’m starting to sweat and my cock is up against my belly.
“See anything you like, James?”
The big guy leans back to show how long his cock is as it pulls almost all the way out of her arse. The cameraman must be leaning over the guy’s shoulder to get this shot. A quick glimpse of the woman’s back, then a zoom to her wrists, bound behind her. Discomfort prickles at the back of my brain.
“It’s not a rape, James. She was perfectly willing. She likes being tied.”
A blurred shot of a tacky carpet as the camera moves. The next shot is from behind the fat face-fucker. At first all I can see is his belly and her red hair. Then he pulls her head back so we can see him fuck her throat. Miriam’s throat. I almost don’t recognise her. Her face is flushed, her eye-makeup has run, her hair is matted to her head. Miriam. My Miriam. My wife. I can’t process this.
“Unhappiness lacks the drama of grief, James. It doesn’t happen suddenly. It’s more like getting old, it occurs so slowly and the loss is so gradual that you notice it only when you suddenly can’t do something that you used to take for granted,” Miriam says.
Her words are calm, as if she doesn’t know what I’m looking at. Except, she does know. This is what she wanted to show me.
“I was happy once, just as I was young once. I wish I’d paid more attention at the time. My sexual promiscuity started as a response to unhappiness. I don’t mean that I woke up one day and thought, ‘I’m unhappy. I’ll screw around to cheer myself up.’ It was a more gradual process than that.”
The camera is at the side now. I can see Miriam sucking the end of Fat Fuck’s cock, her cheeks drawn in with the effort, her eyes closed, her pale soft breasts being mauled by the guy underneath her. I’ve got fucking pre-cum on my cock. I’m watching my wife being gangbanged and my sodding cock just wants to blow its load.
“Even before you stopped sleeping with me, I used to masturbate as I lay beside you. You knew that, didn’t you?
You were too polite to comment on it though. You gave me space, slept in the next room so that you wouldn’t disturb me when you left for work in the morning. What a considerate man.
All day I’d be in this mausoleum of a house, alone, about as much use as those expensive golf clubs you bought and never used. You know, I got so angry with you one day that I fucked myself with one of those clubs. I even enjoyed it.”
Fat Fuck pulls Miriam back by the hair. She opens her eyes and sticks out her tongue. He slaps her face with his cock, then wanks across her outstretched tongue. I want to look away but I’m too fascinated. Most of his cum lands on her forehead. Some runs into her eyes. Then he pushes his cock slowly in and out of her mouth.
“I realised then that sex was a relief from boredom and unhappiness. It made me feel more alive. I tried porn. I bought toys. But the effect wears off. The more I did, more I had to do to get the same level of excitement. Then you bought this iMac and the little webcam you were so excited about and never really learned to use.”
Fat Fuck wipes his dick on Miriam’s hair. She looks up at the camera and pushes his cum out of her mouth so that it dribbles over her chin and onto the man below her. Then she lowers her head and kisses him.
“You can contact all sorts of people by webcam. Men will masturbate for you if you ask them to. Especially if they get to watch you push a coke bottle up your cunt. And if you’re careful, they need never see your face. It’s not your face that they’re interested in.”
The camera focuses on the big guy’s face. He appears to be in pain. I watch him pull out of Miriam and spray his cum over her bound hands. It takes several seconds. Then he works her arse with his fingers to show how it gapes open. When he pushes his cock into her mouth I come, splashing my belly.
“I wondered if you’d come watching this. Was it seeing me fucked or just the size of his cock that got you so excited do you think? Yes, James, I can see you. The webcam is on at both ends. Don’t worry, you’re not being broadcast on the Internet.”
Shame induced hatred of Miriam courses through me. If my hands were free I’d smash the computer. As it is, I can’t even wipe the cum off my belly.
“One day I found http://www.fuckmates.com. Their pitch goes: ‘All men cheat. You can put up with it or you can get even. Why not have the best cheaters cheat with you? If your Mr Right is Mr Wrong let us connect you with Mr Rightnow. Get you own back on your back.’ I was amused rather than interested. Then I found out about your little affair. You weren’t even bright enough or polite enough to hide the paper trail. So I thought, ‘fuck it’ and I signed up with fuckmates.”
I’m not excited by what I’m watching any more, but I can’t look away. Time is moving slowly. I’m not letting myself think. I daren’t let myself think. Miriam’s voice has a hypnotic detachment to it. The movie has that live-car-crash appeal; horrible but irresistible. I sit still, just watching and listening and waiting to find out what Miriam wants.
On the screen, Miriam is flipped on to her back so that the last guy can fuck her harder. The other two hold a leg each, spreading her wide. She seems dazed, almost drugged. Fat Fuck keeps squeezing one of her tits between his stubby fingers.
“As you can see, I was very popular. It wasn’t as much fun as it looks. The men bored me. At least I can remember having loved you. They were just meat. I discovered that if I went with more than one there was less talk and more sex. They were clumsy and self-absorbed, but at least there were lots of them.”
The last man comes inside Miriam. I expect him to pull out and shower her. Instead he moves to give the camera a better shot of her cunt. I think it’s over, then it gets worse. He spreads Miriam’s labia, so that I can see the cum inside her, then he pushes all his fingers into her. Miriam’s face is out of shot so I don’t know if she is thrashing around in pain or pleasure.
“For a while I lived off the thrill of doing the forbidden. Then I realised that I was still unhappy. The only thing that had changed was that I was now an unhappy slut who got gangbanged by strangers and didn’t even have the sense to charge money for it. If you’d have been home more you might have noticed the drinking, and the depression. But you haven’t noticed me for a long time have you, James?”
It was true. I’d become expert at tuning Miriam out. I should have known this had happened. I should have stopped it.
“So why am I telling you all this, James? It wasn’t to get you off – although I thought it might, you shit. It wasn’t even for revenge; I’m so far past that that I can’t even remember the emotion anymore. I wanted you to understand what’s going to happen next. You see, I agreed to do one last scene before I quit the group-sex thing. I knew there’d be a camera, but I didn’t have the energy to care. I’d fucked two of the guys before, but not the fat one. He was new. The scene went OK, pretty much as usual, until the end. Watch the end, James.”
This was as usual? What the hell else could happen?
The last guy pulled his fingers out of Miriam and wiped them on her belly. She looked almost asleep. The camera pulls back. It seems like the filming is over. The big guy reaches to untie Miriam. The other guy is getting to his feet. Then Fat Fuck slaps her, hard, across the face. My balls contract at the sight of it. This isn’t pretend; this is real. Miriam opens her eyes, looking angry. The two guys move towards Fat Fuck but they’re too slow. Before they can reach him, he pisses on Miriam’s face. He’s still pissing when the big guy punches him and the other guy knocks the camera sideways. The film ends.
I realise I am crying. I can’t decide if it’s for Miriam or for myself.
“The guys beat the shit out of the piss artist. I didn’t care. I saw the surprise in his face when they stopped him. I’d fucked this man and he’d seen someone it was reasonable to piss on. I decided he was right. I’d turned myself into a human bidet. They gave me the only copy of the film; they gave me the whole camera in fact. That was two days ago. Two days in which you didn’t notice a thing, not even the bruise under my face make-up”
I search my memory. How could I have not noticed? Because I didn’t care, of course. That’s how it must seem to Miriam, at least. Do I care? I’m not sure. I don’t know what I feel any more.
“Have you figured out why I bound you yet, James? I don’t want you to interfere and I don’t want you to be blamed either. This has nothing to do with you any more.”
The QuickTime file must have been set to replay, because the movie has started again from the beginning, but I’m not looking at it, I’m looking at Miriam on the webcam window that has just opened. Seeing her, my balls turn to ice. She looks too calm, too detached, almost as if she isn’t really there.
“I can’t be unhappy any more, James. There’s no point to it. The Internet is a wonderful thing, you know, you can find out almost anything there, even how to die. Hanging is apparently quite unreliable. Slitting the wrists in the bath, Roman style is highly recommended but I hate the thought of all that mess for someone to clean up…”
Oh shit. She can’t mean this, can she? Not Miriam?
“…So I’ve chosen a strong sedative and a plastic bag. Suffocation is quick and the only violence is to my soul. I’m on my bed, the one we haven’t shared in such a long time. I’m clean and calm and ready to take the pills once I’ve finished speaking to you. I’ve been tired of living for such a long time now, James, but it’s almost over. I’m almost over.”
She really means it. I can’t let this happen. I start to struggle against my bonds.
“Don’t get so agitated, James. This is not about you. I’ve recorded this so the police will know what happened. No one will blame you. Even I don’t blame you any more.”
I can hardly hear her. I’m banging the chair against the floor, trying to get loose. I have to get loose.
“Look at me, James.”
Something in her voice stops me. She looks straight at me, straight into me. Absurdly I remember that I originally noticed Miriam because of her eyes: pale blue eyes and rust red hair, my pre-Raphaelite poster girl. When did I stop seeing how beautiful she is?
Speaking quietly, almost whispering, Miriam says, “I really loved you once, James, back when we were happy. Good bye, James.”
The signal dies. Only the damned movie is still playing. I break the arm off the chair by knocking it over. I’ve got to get to her. Got to stop her. Please God, let me be on time.
© Mike Kimera 2002 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without written permission from firstname.lastname@example.org
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