Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Samuel and the Body by Chris Ashby

Samuel tries to overcome depression and loneliness by buying a sex doll in Chris Ashby's dark satire.

It was a dark moment in Samuel's year when he decided to buy the doll. All thoughts had directed him toward suicide, so this resolution was intended to stem the flow of these thoughts. That he was only window shopping on their website he was convinced of, until the moment he clicked "order" and switched off the computer to prevent a cancellation. It sunk in; he had purchased a plastic doll to have sex with. It would arrive within seven days. Immediately he worried about the form it would take when packaged - surely a life-size, seventy pound lump of silicone in the shape of a human would be difficult to disguise. Would the guy delivering it be an employee of the doll company, or some innocent postman with a wife and kids who'd think of Samuel as a sick pervert? Would he have to greet this postman at the door? He'd have to open the door, for sure, to let the life-size, seventy pound lump into his apartment. What if he couldn't do that; what if he backed out at the last minute? Would the postman just leave the carcass on his doorstep for the neighbours to look upon? Could he conceivably deny knowledge of its existence or purpose, or what it was doing on his doorstep? Seven days.

And yet the overwhelming desire for physical intimacy with an attractive woman, indeed, the thought of this intimacy in simulated form, steeled his resolution. The doll cost four thousand pounds and was the subject of glowing reviews across the Internet; apparently, it felt like an attractive woman and, for those unacquainted with the blissful experience in reality, was indistinguishable. Samuel felt a stirring in his nether regions at the thought of entering the doll and persuading himself of its reality. When he'd set eyes upon a catalogue photograph it had taken him three glances to realise that he was looking at a synthetic human rather than the genuine article; but after a while the plastic became more and more visible, even obtrusive. But, how was he to presume that real women did not feel like plastic? Or even that plastic wasn't superior in feel or potential for pleasure?

Samuel had thought about using a prostitute. He'd researched painstakingly several red light districts on Internet forums. But there was the risk of sexually transmitted infection, obviously. And the fact that the problem he had was one of interaction - somehow he froze when placed before the opposite sex, and he had difficulty enough conversing with his own kind; so for him the idea of carrying out a transaction with someone he didn't know, who had no reason to like him, indeed had ample reason to hate him, to loathe him intensely, was terrifying. And he doubted he could sustain an erection under those pressurised circumstances. His whole world view was based around caring what people thought about him, and people who use prostitutes are scorned. And he didn't think of himself as a bad person, so prostitution would deal another blow to his confidence. He'd be shaking with fear: he felt awkward returning to the counter when someone gave him a white coffee when he'd specifically asked for black; how could he possibly ask for a blow job?

He looked into those sticks which can be disguised as torches which have a plastic vagina or bottom inside, but to him they offered little improvement on masturbation, and seemed incredibly unnatural. You still have to shake your hand around. And in what way are torches sexually arousing? He figured that, like Internet pornography, these substitutes for true realism would only lead to dissatisfaction.

At times he'd wondered whether it wouldn't be best for him to just drastically lower his standards, and ask to dinner a girl of such unattractiveness that acceptance would be virtually guaranteed and she'd be the proverbial putty in his hands, but unattractive girls offered no foreseeable satisfaction to him whatsoever - the very idea disgusted him. Besides, the problem of social interaction still lingered, insurmountable. Eventually, after nights of lying awake agonising over potential solutions to his virginity he realised that the only hope he had was in these undead sculptures you could buy online. He'd first heard about them in an article and laughed, also being slightly depressed by the purely pathetic characters who sang their praises in interviews with the writer. But he had known at some level, and dreaded, that in time he'd come to see that the positives outweighed the negatives in his situation.

He lay awake again that night, sweating and hypothesising on the direction this next week would carry him. He drifted off to sleep before waking, half conscious, to the thought that maybe this doll he had ordered was illegal in his country and police would arrive at his doorstep before the sex aid. In time the curtain edges will grow light, he always recited to himself in these nocturnal moments of irrational dread, misunderstanding the few words of Larkin he retained, and things will all be bearable.

He woke with an erection, a rare sign of virility he usually enjoyed diminishing, but today he resolved to save himself for the doll, the prospect of which he was warmed to already, the night's doubts washed away by the flow of yellow light through his greasy window. He had a quick shower (his showers had reduced in length consistently over the time he'd spent living alone), brushed his teeth and left the house for an Internet caf&eacute. He has the Internet at home, but he likes a change occasionally, and, sitting with a coffee in public reading articles and writing emails which won't be returned, he feels like he is perceived to be a busy man.

He spent the next four days in exactly the same fashion, save the fluctuating hours required of him by his part time job in a supermarket. And on the fifth day, before he had pulled himself out of bed, there were a succession of knocks at his door. He was in the period of drowsiness during which memory only gradually returns home, and so, until he opened the door to a bearded, hulking deliveryman and his elderly companion supporting between them what appeared to be a mannequin in bubble-wrap, he was unaware of what he had been anticipating for the past sixty hours. Fortunately for him, in this state, the two were wholly uninquisitive - they evidently did work for the doll company and therefore had seen people like him many times before - as they pushed past into his combined living room and kitchen to drop his delivery on the dusty floor, and left. He thought he remembered signing something when he reflected on the smooth transaction several hours later after he had exhausted himself into his recent purchase.

It was pleasant. At that moment, as he lay satiated on the sheets, he believed that it was all the satisfaction he would ever ask for from life. All three ways of playing with the toy were - he assumed - completely authentic, although the suction which pulled his member wasn't something he'd imagined as a force in the process of copulation. What did he know?

In that ruminative period he considered the possible complications of his acquisition. He now had, effectively, a fake dead body in his lodgings, which were under the ownership of someone else, a prying landlord who could theoretically enter at any time. What if this landlord assumed the worst at first sight and informed the police of a murder? It would be horrifically embarrassing. Still, the positives outweigh these hypothetical negatives, he thought. What if his parents dropped in for a visit? He hasn't seen them in over a decade, but if the reunion was soured and cut short by the doll's presence he would be mortified. How would he ever dispose of the doll? He could cut it up into pieces - how easily the plastic would acquiesce to a knife or razor he didn't have any way of discovering without scarring his partner. He could imitate the gangsters on television - shove it in a holdall with some bricks and throw it into a river at the dead of night, but if he was caught during that manoeuvre he might even make the weird and obscure news section in a national paper: the potential for mortification would be huge. He felt a rising in his nether regions and his thoughts and deeds returned to the doll.

This brief honeymoon period lasted for three weeks. Samuel quit his job and lived with his limited savings for this time. When his money finally dried up he packed his belongings into a suitcase and left, leaving the stained, shadowy figure of his lover behind. As he waved goodbye there was a tear in her eye.

Or it may have been ejaculate.

2 comments:

  1. really, really interesting, especially the ending, very clever.

    well done


    michael mccarthy

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  2. I just discovered this site today, and this is the first story I've read. It's a very good story - it's intelligent, humorous and well written.

    Good stuff!

    ReplyDelete