In the Neighbourhood

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Chapter 29: The Trick

Keith knew it was a habit, now. That was the trick: keeping it at worst a habit, but stopping, or at least slowing down, before it went over the cliff and became a problem. So tonight he was making sure he had, at worst, a habit.

The difficult thing about not drinking was that it kept your mind sharp, sharp enough that you knew you weren’t drinking. Every moment, you were aware that there was no next sip, no next glass to pour, no gradual softening of your mind, of your mood, of everything around you until you were ready to slip into a nice, comfortable sleep.

No, not drinking was no fun at all. He’d scowled through episodes of Cheers and Night Court, both reruns, watched the ten o’clock news to marvel grimly at the growing celebrity of Ollie North. He often didn’t have his first drink until nine or nine-thirty anyway. It wasn’t like he was suffering from withdrawal or anything.

But once Lisa clomped up the stairs, he was left restless and irritable in the living room. He flicked around all the channels, from two to twenty-nine, a couple of times; whole lotta nothing.

And really, why was he putting himself through this? He wasn’t a drunk. He’d known drunks, worked with them before. Andres, the sales guy who stank of booze when he showed up every morning in his crumpled suit, whose hands shook so badly he couldn’t open a packet of sugar to put in his coffee. And Jock, the technician with the bloated nose and squinting, yellowed eyes. Keith wasn’t like them, would never be like them.

But he’d woken up late that morning with a headache so bad that it was hard to hide it from Lisa and her derision. He wasn’t sure what time he’d gone to bed, just that it had been late when he’d crept clumsily up the stairs, peed for what seemed like a half hour, and fallen into bed. Lisa had grumbled something about how late it was. He decided as he was driving home from work, a long, sweaty, stressful day at work, that he wouldn’t have anything to drink that night.

Here it was, maybe five hours later, and he would gladly give up anything he owned for just one nice, healthy tumbler full of scotch.

But no—it would give Lisa more ammunition for the next time they had a fight, and it would make tomorrow morning that much more difficult, and he would have another of those days when simple words would desert him and even regular conversation would be a hassle. That day he’d said “quiet as a—” and couldn’t think of how to end the sentence. Just could not come up with a word.

Churchmouse, he realized as he merged onto the highway and into the homeward traffic jam. Quiet as a churchmouse.

I have to stop drinking so much at night.

He stood up, tossed the remote on the couch, and went to look at the rack of videotapes beside the TV. Empire Strikes Back, when was the last time he’d watched that? The Last Starfighter, Krull, Megaforce. Okay, so maybe some of them were a little cheesy, but he should put one in, just to enjoy an hour or so of something.

He reached behind that rack, to the plastic bag he kept out of sight, with the other tapes. So what if Lisa wasn’t there with him? She wasn’t interested in sex these days anyway.

There was one he hadn’t seen yet, one of Stan’s. He’d just take a look and see what was on it, see whether they were doing anything interesting. Then he’d go upstairs and make it an early night.

And nothing to drink.

Keith had to admit that, if nothing else, Stan’s tapes looked better than everyone else’s. They weren’t Deep Throat or anything—Stan was using a home video camera, just like the rest of them, after all. But there was quality in his tapes, quality that Keith could hardly even put his finger on, much less understand how it was achieved.

Stan was a photographer, wasn’t he? That must have something to do with it. Better equipment or something.

Of course, the really important thing was what was on the tape, not how it looked. And the problem with Stan’s tapes was that Stan and Marie, their scowling faces and their repetitive, mechanical sex, were on them.

The VCR finally finished its grinding and whirring, and the tape started. It faded in (faded in—how on earth did Stan achieve that?) with Stan, on his back on the bed, stroking himself slowly. Normally Keith would have fast-forwarded to wherever some bare tits made an appearance, but this time, he decided to watch the whole thing from start to finish, to give it a full, end-to-end appraisal. He’d be the Rex Reed of the neighbourhood, detached and balanced and intelligent.

Stan’s penis was noticeably large, wasn’t it? There was no frame of reference on the tape, but it did seem big, bigger than average, whatever average was. Keith didn’t normally look too closely at other men’s erection, or even his own, but it was almost certainly oversized, if he gave it an impartial view.

Marie entered the frame, wearing some kind of flowing, silky blue robe. It would have looked like a housecoat except that it billowed and fluttered when she moved.

She approached Stan from his feet and flowed up the bed, settling immediately at his waist, the silky robe coming to rest clinging to her body, around and between her small, tight buttocks. She said something and Stan moved his hands to his sides for a moment, then seemed to change his mind and clasped them behind his head.

Marie left the robe on, which was kind of annoying. The tape wasn’t for appreciating fabrics, it was for appreciating fucking. Some guys might get off on clothed women having sex, but Keith wasn’t one of them. He’d take nudity, thanks.

It not only got in the way of seeing Marie, it got in the way of the action. He could see just the back of her head, bobbing up and down.

Keith had to admit one thing: Marie was pretty good at blowjobs. She seemed to move a long way up and down Stan’s shaft. When you thought about it, blowjobs were a weird thing—they must have been around for centuries, even millennia, but how did they come about? Sticking your cock in a hole too small to fit it all the way, and ringed with teeth no less? They felt great, of course, but where on earth did they come from, and how did any woman get good at them?

Of course, he used to think that about anal sex, too. Until recently he hadn’t seen the appeal in it—there was a nice, wet, made-to-order hole right next door, so why bother with the butt at all? Then Lisa looked at him that one time, just recently, on one of the last tapes they’d made, in fact. She turned and told him to fuck her in the ass. Just like that. Even in the heat of the moment, he would never have said that to Lisa—anything using those kinds of words. It would have been insulting; it would have humiliated him.

But she demanded it, and he’d given it a try, expecting her to stop him and do something less...well, less whatever butt-sex was. He took it really slow at first, easing himself in, and she’d used her own juices—her pussy must have been absolutely dripping wet—to loosen things up.

She loved it. She shrieked so loudly that he was a little worried that Darrell and Sherrie would hear. “Like that. Like that,” she commanded. “Oh, yes, yes, fuck me, fuck my ass so hard—

He came, and fell back on the bed, dizzy from the effort, and she gave him a warm wet washcloth and went for a long, long shower. Keith cleaned himself up, changed the sheets without even looking at them, and took the tape out of the camera, wondering if he should just get rid of it.

But he forgot, and handed it over to Darrell with the others; when he realized, he told himself they had all probably been there themselves, one time or another.

He had been daydreaming about that astounding night, that astounding fuck, and hadn’t been paying attention to Stan and Marie at all; his own cock had grown hard while he thought about that night, too. He considered unzipping his shorts and giving it a pull, but decided against it. He was reviewing Stan and Marie’s movie, here.

Stan stood up, and Marie took his place on the bed, lying on her front, her legs wide open. Stan knelt between her knees, and Keith took another close, impartial look: yes, Stan was well-endowed. Had Lisa ever noticed that when they’d watched Stan and Marie’s tapes together?

He gave Marie a quick feel with his fingers, then grasped her by the hips and lifted her onto her knees. That was something else Keith admired—at least, marvelled at—about Stan’s tapes: the way he threw Marie around. Marie was skinny and petite, and Keith preferred the curves of someone like Lisa. But at the same time, he wanted to try throwing a woman on the bed, flipping on her back, holding her down, watching her struggle fruitlessly against him.

Stan had started fucking Marie, now, and this is where Keith always tended to lose interest. It was boring, the way Stan did it. Take one position, and go at it in exactly the same way for ten minutes. He glanced at the VCR’s clock: he was at the 10:26 mark on the tape. How long would this go on? Keith decided to watch and see.

He watched Marie’s nipples bouncing around for a while, then watched her hips, the way her legs bent forward just slightly every time Stan pounded his torso against her ass. It was like a metronome, almost mesmerizing with its rhythm, its regularity.

At last, Keith studied Marie’s face, expecting her usual scowl. He was surprised to find her expression was much softer, not angry-looking but slightly dreamy. A flicker of a smile was visible at the corners of her mouth.

There was no denying it; she was enjoying this boring, repetitive sex.

Had Lisa ever looked like that?

12:45. Two minutes so far.

Other than the changing expression on Marie’s face, they might have been on a repeating loop, in the exact same part of the frame, the exact same movement again and again—the brief flash of Stan’s shaft as he pulled away, the thrust, the slap as he hit home. Mechanical, impersonal.

She had made fists, was gripping the pillow in front of her.

She was smiling.

Keith’s own erection was long gone. He stood up, paused the tape, then stopped it and took it out.

Was that the key? Lisa had tried it all with him lately, had tried things Keith could hardly believe, had said things that Keith would never have imagined coming out of her mouth. And now, suddenly, no interest.

The question was, what did Stan do that Keith didn’t? Was it that boring, relentless rhythm? His stamina? Was it—and this was hard to even think about, but the thought wouldn’t leave him alone—was it his size?

No, it was all because of that kid of Darrell’s, that fucking stupid kid. Keith didn’t know for sure, of course, could hardly just confront him about it. The kid would deny it if he did.

But the other night, at Darrell’s, the kid had locked eyes, and then—he’d smiled. Keith didn’t need to confront him; he knew. The kid said it all in that smile—I’ve seen your wife.

The kid looked down after that, and started slouching again, and shuffled into the house without another word. But there was no doubt.

His skinny, pale shoulders tensing, his hands on Lisa’s hair as she ran her tongue up and down the underside of his sixteen-year-old cock, wrapping her lips around one soft, down-covered ball, then the other, pressing his throbbing cock against her cheek—

Keith was pacing now, through the living room to the kitchen and back. He had to burn this energy, this anger, somehow.

—the kid’s cock, swollen even bigger now, the head purple and bulbous, and Lisa on her back, waiting, fuck me—fuck me—wanting him inside her, and then he was inside her, thrusting powerfully, monstrous, Lisa screaming from the pain and crying with pleasure, tears falling, pouring down her cheeks as he pounded her, pounded her, satisfied her at last—

Keith ended his last circuit in the dining room, pouring one glass, gulping it down like water, letting it burn his throat as he poured the next.

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