What do a long weekend, a nasty cold, and Portal 2 have in common? Me delaying this week's Flash Fiction by a day.
Here it is, by the by.
Her hair smelled of rubber and spice. The embrace she locked him in was firm and tight.
After walking for half an hour, she dragged him into a shop with red-tinted windows. Doors opened, and a bell sounded. Murals of semi-nude men and women groping one another decorated the ceiling and walls. A Bettie Page poster hung between two sets of shelves housing a menagerie of sex toys. Rows of novels and DVDs lined the front. Someone slender with a low-cut top and rows of hair extensions stocked the end of one aisle with unseen wonders.
“What are we looking for again?” he asked his associate.
“The latest issue of Clowns on Browns,” the girl said, running her fingers along a display case lovingly.
The man put his fingers up, “This is where you explain why we’re doing such a thing.”
“It’s a gift for my boyfriend,” she half-explained, eying the penis-shaped candles on the shelves. “It’s a joke between him and me.”
He jolted upright, “Boyfriend?”
She glanced back at him, “Yeah?”
“I thought you were with Nikki,” he wondered.
“I am,” she said, surprised. Her eyes shot towards a magazine rack. “Ah, there it is.”
He saw his friend pull out a book. The cover depicted a man in a brightly-coloured wig and red nose pressing his lips against the cheeks of a stunning woman with coffee-coloured skin. White gloved hands cupped the model’s breasts. He tried not to focus on it. “So what’s this about –?”
“What? I’m polyamorous,” she said, tucking the magazine under her arm.
“Since, like, forever?”
“First I heard of this,” he admitted.
Sneering as she picked up a pair of fuzzy handcuffs, she eyeballed him, “Is it a problem?”
Defensively, he dug his thumbs into his pockets, bumping his shoulder against the shelf with mindless abandon, “No. I just didn’t know.”
She kept her gaze on him and nodded slowly, “You’re making it sound like a problem. Also, watch ou –”
Peach-coloured rubber hit his scalp; he pushed a deflated blow-up doll back onto the shelf while she chortled raucously. “Sorry if I am. I’m just surprised,” he struggled to put it back, asking when she had calmed down: “Your boyfriend or Nikki, though, they don’t get jealous?”
She chuckled again and shook her head, “Jealousy’s for kids. No friend asks you to hang out with them and their friends and no-one else. That’s like the definition of a cult. Why should lovers be different?”
“I suppose that makes sense.”
“You never thought of it?” she asked him, dancing her fingers along a row of Kama Sutras. “Having someone else at the same time?”
“Well, no. I just, y’know,” he shrugged, “Once I joked with an ex and said her and I should hold a threesome, and she looks at me and tells me ‘I don’t want to share you.’”
Her face curled like she smelt something sour, “That’s stupid. You’re not a toy.”
“Yeah, but,” he trailed off and put his hands up in a gesture, “Okay, here’s me. When I’m in a relationship with someone, I,” he paused to compile the right words in his head and turned his palms over, “I focus on them. All my energy, all my attention, it goes to them, and if I deviate from those feelings, or if she doesn’t put in the same effort, then it’s like a betrayal. Know what I mean?”
Turning her gaze upwards, she twirled the handcuffs and pursed her lips, “Yeah, sure.”
Lifting his eyebrows for a split-second, he gave a smirk, “No worries. I had a friend tell me my idea of love is rooted in the Eighteenth Century.”
Supportively, she gave his arm a pat, “Nah, it’s just a bit more traditional.” Gaze drifting, she walked to the other end of the aisle, mumbling under her breath: “And a damn shame, too.”
“Sorry?” he asked.
“Nothing,” she said, shaking her head and reaching onto the top shelf, “I think I’ll get this one, too.”
She held up her final purchase. Phallic in shape, the lava lamp gleamed at him. He squinted; it looked like it had several uses.
He didn’t get the signal until later that evening.
Also, brief announcement: I'll be in Korea next week from May the Third to the Eighteenth. As such, I may or may not use this Blogspot account as a travelogue during my stay there.
Here's hoping Kim Jong-Il doesn't shoot down my plane.
See you next time,
EDIT: May 20, 2012. Edited?! Also, this one was kind-of personal and based on a conversation I had with a friend of mine at the time. Whyyyy.