The Dildo That Stole Claire Bonneville's Memory
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from the bedroom, clad in a long robe, her hair was still wet from her
urge to fuck herself again, by force of will alone.
She'd picked up the dildo, which had lint
adhering to it from the carpet, announcing it was past time for her to
the floors. She washed it off in the
sink and put it back in the drawer. She
didn't cover it up this time.
She felt tired.
John was still in the chair, but the dishes
he'd eaten out of were now on the coffee table, along with four empty beer
weariness and she went to sit in her own recliner.
"I used it,"
she said, tersely.
asked her husband, only glancing at her.
"I used the sex
I got for my birthday," she said.
forgotten. It was like magic.
His eyes, as they focused on her were bright,
and a smile formed on his lips.
There was excitement in his voice.
"I had to.
All you do is sit in front of this fucking TV
and drink beer," she said, her voice hard.
on," he said, still ignoring the TV.
He was clearly trying to mollify her.
"You know how hard I work.
When I get home I'm exhausted."
because you sit on your ass all evening," she said.
"Do you know how far I ran
He looked confused.
She realized he
paid any attention to her at all since he got home.
she said. "I used it, and I'm going
to keep using it until you start acting like a fucking husband again."
He blinked, but
his chest rising and falling faster.
"When did you
talking like that? You don't use that
"I do now.
While you've been watching reality shows,
I've been living reality. And I've
asked. "I don't want you to
"I don't think
want me at all," she said, the anger now bubbling out, almost beyond
control. A thought struck her.
Could there be somebody else?
Was he expending his passion on some other
woman? Then she realized that was
impossible. He spent every spare moment
outside of work in front of the TV.
Unless he was
that passion at work. He was a
supervisor. He made his own schedule.
And he had a score of pretty, young women
working for him.
"Are you having
affair?" she asked, suddenly.
He was obviously shocked.
"Of course not! Where would you get
an idea like that?"
"Most men like
have sex," she said. Her inference
Honey. I like sex. I
just don't feel like it as often as I used
to. That's normal. A
man's sex drive diminishes as he gets
hasn't," she said. "I have
needs. You aren't tending to them.
I had to use a rubber penis to have an orgasm!" It came out as a
shout. She hadn't meant to shout.
She got up in frustration and went to
assuage the hunger pangs that were annoying her.
Don't be like that," he called.
"I get it. It's okay.
I don't mind if you do things that way."
She might have
Except that he
that fucking chair as he said it.
She was reading
when the door opened and he surprised her by slinking into the bedroom.
He stopped, just inside.
"You're ... um
not using it right now ... are you?"
She looked down
bedspread that covered her body. She was
holding the book with both hands.
"It doesn't do
anything by itself," she said, sarcastically.
he said, as if that were a surprise announcement. "I'm
"What are you
for?" she asked. "Sorry you
didn't get to see me doing that? I hear
men like to watch."
not." He looked around for some
reason. "I mean, sure, that would
be interesting, but that's not why I'm here."
"Why are you
here?" she asked.
"Why do you
think?" he asked."I'm your husband."
"You want to
have sex?" Her astonishment was
tempered by the realization that she had goaded him into this.
She said it again. "You want to have sex?"
putting the emphasis on a different word.
"Of course I
do," he said, looking slightly offended.
"You're my wife. You just
said you need me."
She almost said
missed his chance, but bit her tongue.
said, beginning to disrobe, "everybody knows that make up sex is the
"And you think
we're making up," she said.
"I hope so,"
he replied. "I have neglected
you. I'm sorry about that.
I'll try to do better from now on."
He stood, naked
her. She examined him.
He was thicker, heavier than when they'd
met. She'd been aware of that, but
hadn't really paid attention to it before now.
He had love handles. And a
paunch. She doubted he could run more
than a mile without collapsing.
He was also
soft. He said he wanted to make
his body suggested otherwise.
"You can't have
makeup sex with that," she said, feeling a little cruel.
"That will take
care of itself," he said, confidently.
"Can I come to bed?"
bed," she replied.
being pernicious. She took a deep
breath. He was being conciliatory.
He was trying to do what she'd said he was
supposed to be doing.
she said.She pulled the bedspread
over, inviting him into the bed. "I
didn't like having to use that thing."
He got into bed
scooted over to lie next to her. His
hand went to her breast.
"Was it that
bad?" he asked.
be you," she said.
He did get
erect, as he got her pajamas off.
He mounted her,
like he always did.
It even felt
he whispered into her ear.
"Was it as good
was being forceful ... manly.
could get anywhere close to an orgasm, he groaned and spurted.
As he rolled
off of her,
thinking he'd done his duty, she wanted to cry.
The dildo had been much better.
day, but her dissatisfaction with events the previous night followed
her like the
cloud around Pigpen in the Peanuts cartoons.
What did she have to look forward to at the end of the week?
Nothing she could think of.
Even the file she was working on was boring.
Movement at her office door caused her to look up.
said Cindy, in her usual cheery voice.
"Lunch again today?"
"I'm not in a
good mood," said Claire. "I
wouldn't be much for company."
"Then we'll hit
street vendor and do some window shopping," said Cindy, undaunted.
"You can tell me all about it."
"Get your work
done," said her friend. "I'll
see you then."
one vendor, and shared a bowl of cheese fries at another.
"I'm going to
to work out extra tonight," said Cindy.
"But it's worth it. I feel
"I pulled a
yesterday, so I can't run tonight," said Claire. "I'll
probably swell up like a
"I doubt it,"
laughed Cindy. "You're in great
shape. I'm so jealous of you
said Claire, but a surge of something happy went through her.
Everybody's jealous of you. The guys all
look at you."
"They do not,"
"Yes they do.
If you weren't married, your dance card would
be full every weekend."
You're embarrassing me."
"No I'm not.
You love it.
Now, you look like you lost your last friend, which is
I'm right here. So ... what's bothering
"Oh, come on.
It can't be that bad."
still, and her face sobered.
"It's not John
is it? He isn't having ..."
affair?" Claire finished the
sentence for her, but kept it as a question with her tone.
Cindy's voice was soft. Gone
was all trace of jocularity. "Baby?"
When Claire didn't respond, she asked
again. "Is he cheating on
What had been
wonderful, rich taste of cheese in her mouth seemed to turn to ashes as
prepared to answer.
said, listlessly. "It's the other
If she had been
before, Cindy's body was like a statue now, as people swirled all
them. Then that illusion crumbled as she
gasped. "What? You? Sweet little Claire Bonneville?!" She leaned, as if she might be in the act of falling over
because paralysis had gripped her shapely body.
Then control returned and she leaned close to her friend.
"With who?" she gasped.
"It's not like
that," groaned Claire. "Not
like you think, anyway."
"Don't you dare tell me you cheated on your husband and then tell me it's not what I think!"
said Cindy, who seemed to be trying to frown and grin at the same time.
"Come on. Give.
Shit! We're almost out of
time. Wait! I
want to hear everything. We have to go out
for drinks after work."
"I can't go out
drinking after work," said Claire.
Do you have a date with your boyfriend, or
something?" The words were tinted
to set her
straight, but she was right. It would
take too long. Besides, she didn't
really want to talk about it. She didn't
want to have to admit the things that were true, which she would have
to do if
she corrected the conclusions Cindy had jumped to.
But she also couldn't let Cindy keep thinking
what she was thinking.
out for drinks after work ... with anyone." She
hoped that would get Cindy's mind off of
the imaginary man she had cuckolded her husband with.
"Why not? You're free,
and over twenty-one," said Cindy.
"You can do anything you want."
"That's a horrible thing to say!" gasped Claire, who was suddenly aware of a number of
black people around them, some of them within earshot.
"It's just a
saying," said Cindy, impatiently.
"We're going out for drinks after work.
I'm calling Danny as soon as we get back to
work and telling him I'll be late. What
excuse will you make to John?" She
blinked. "What excuse do you usually make to John when you ... you know ... get away to be with him?"
It was too much.
Something snapped inside her.
Claire's response was instant, unplanned, and
quite possibly ten or twenty times louder than she would have made it,
had she taken time to think.
"I didn't cheat on my husband with a man! I fucked myself with that stupid dildo and thought about another man while I was
froze in her
throat as her mind caught up with what she'd just screamed.
As a confession, it was cathartic.
Unfortunately, people all around her had
stopped, and were staring at her. Cindy
was too, a shocked look on her face.
There seemed to be a zone around them that was free of both
noise. Then, slowly at first, movement
Then there was
of people exclaiming about what they had just heard that crazy woman
The fight or flight syndrome is very real. And Claire's only option was to run. She did that, blinded by her sobbing tears that made everything
look like it was being viewed through wavy glass. She didn't see the light pole in her path. She only felt it when she ran into it.
There was a a split second where she felt pain in her unhealed gracilis, and then a surreal explosion of pain in her face as she ran straight into the light pole she couldn't see. Her nose crushed and blood spurted wildly from the misshapen nostrils that resulted. She rebounded, staggering like a cartoon character and lost her balance. She was still staggering to regain it when she heard a bloodcurdling scream and the screech of tires on pavement.
being cuffed by a giant, followed by the feeling that she was weightless, until another giant smacked her. And then ... nothing.
instantly, and magically,
groggy. It was hard to see anything, and
she worked her eyes, thinking they were caked with crust from sleep.
There was something in the way.
Something close to her face. She
brought a hand up to investigate and the
movement of that hand released the throbbing pain in her head that she
knew had already been there, like a lion, waiting to leap out of hiding
That didn't help the pain in her head.
The voice came
left. She turned her head carefully,
slowly, and tried to focus. Whatever it
was that was blocking part of her vision stayed there as her head
turned. Her brain identified the voice as
She tried to
information. It came out as, "Whaa
happan?" Her mouth was dry.
The name Claire
ring a bell. She gave a few neurons a
workout as she tried to remember what name did ring a bell.
She had decided that no name rang a
bell when there was another voice.
That voice came
other side, which meant she'd have to turn her head all the way over in
direction. Her brain also provided her
with the information that she hated that name.
She didn't know why. She just
hated it. The fragments of her memories
also alerted her that, whoever this was, she had told him not to call
"Don't call me
that," she groaned. Even in such
pain, and even so confused, she appreciated the irony of the fact that,
she didn't know what her name actually was, she was willing to reject
out of hand.
okay?" he asked.
"I don't feel
okay," she said, quite truthfully.
"Why can't I see right?"
across your face," said the woman.
"And you might have a concussion.
You were hit by a car."
That made no
sense. She always paid very close
traffic around her when she ran. There's
no way she'd have let herself get into that situation.
It occurred to
while she knew she was a runner, and knew what kind of habits she had as
a runner, she still couldn't remember her name.
"You're in the
hospital," the woman added.
"I'll go get the doctor."
If she was in a
hospital, shouldn't the doctor already be there?
her hand on
the side where the man was. Obviously he
wasn't the doctor. Slowly she turned her
head. His grip on her hand was very
possessive. She squinted, blinking her
eyes, and his face came into fuzzy focus.
She lifted her free hand to pluck at the bit of bandage that was
blocking her view out of one eye.
"Who are you?"
she asked, staring up into the male face hovering over her.
"No bones were
broken. Physically, she'll be fine in a
few weeks. We hope the amnesia is
retrograde, a product of the accident and that, with time and rest, her
memories will return."
Claire - that
apparently her name - lay there looking up at the man, who claimed to
husband, and the woman, who claimed to be her best friend.
The doctor was talking to them. He had come in and checked her over, shining a light in each eye and asking her how many fingers he was holding up. Then he had ignored her and started talking to the man and woman. Why
wasn't he talking to her? She was
the one in the hospital bed.
she said, as loudly as she could. Three
heads turned her way. "I'm over
here," she said.
grinned. "Well, that sounds like you.
"You're talking about me to them. Please talk to me, doctor," said Claire, ignoring the blond woman who was so perky Claire
wanted to throttle her. She couldn't
anybody at the moment. She doubted she
could squeeze a marshmallow right now.
"All right," said the doctor, with what Claire recognized as exaggerated patience.
"You were involved in an accident, hit
by a car. Just before that, apparently,
had run into a power pole, damaging your nose.
Your friend, here, says you staggered in front of the car.
When that happened, you were lucky.
You were knocked some ten or so feet,
whereupon your body impacted another car.
Your head hit something, we're not exactly sure what, and you
consciousness. You were still
unconscious when you arrived at the emergency room, and still
I went to work on you, cleaning you up and examining you.
You regained consciousness, during which I observed you were disoriented and might have
on the brain. We gave you a sedative and prepared to go into
your skull to release the pressure, but an MRI showed that it wasn't as
He smiled, like
last little snippet of speech had undone all the problems he'd
"Physically you're in good condition. You'll be sore for a while, and bruised up, but that will pass too. You have
symptoms of something we call retrograde amnesia. That
means there will be holes in your
memory. We have since concluded that
your loss of short term memory was likely caused by the trauma to the
that if you take it easy, it will probably clear up in time."
time?" asked Claire.
a few weeks," he responded. "I
recommend complete rest."
"I have a
job," she said. Then she
frowned. "Don't I? I can't just
take weeks off from work."
"What do you
remember about your job?" asked the doctor, leaning toward her with
to do with numbers," she said. She
blinked. "That's about it."
"You can take
the time you need," said the woman, who had identified herself as
Cindy. She'd also said more than once that she was Claire's best friend, which Claire doubted.
The woman was clearly a bimbo, one of those blond airheads.
"And you know
because ...?" Claire asked.
"I talked to
boss," said Cindy. "Since this
happened to you while you were at lunch, and since we're required to
within six blocks of the office during lunch, somebody decided
workman's comp applies."
"I work for a
company that makes me stay within six blocks of the office during
Claire's voice was skeptical.
"Well, she may
all the time off she wants," said the man who was named John, "but I
don't. I have to get back to work.
They gave me time off, but I have to make it
He came towards
leaned down, obviously intending to kiss her.
She leaned away, frowning.
A look of stark aggravation came over his
"You say you don't know who I am, but you still remember you're mad at me?" he whispered, sarcastically.
"I just don't
strange men trying to kiss me," she said, somewhat astonished at the
vitriol in his voice.
He stood back
up. "I have to go. I'm
glad you're okay."
And then he was
The bimbo, as
out, probably deserved more credit than the one who claimed to be her
"When can she
leave?" asked Cindy.
question he's supposed to ask," said the doctor, who looked toward
patient," said Claire. "When
can I leave?"
smiled. "Well, under ordinary
recommend you stay here overnight for observation.
But your obvious lucidity about who is and is
not the patient encourages me.
Unfortunately, we had to cut most of your clothing off of you
were treating your injuries."
"I'll go get
something to wear and come back," said Cindy.
"I'll have the
charge nurse start getting her discharge papers ready," said the doctor.
Cindy was gone. She was sore
everywhere. It occurred to her that,
since she didn't remember where home was, or what it was like, it made
difference if she stayed in the hospital or not. But
her "best friend" was already
gone, and the wheels of bureaucracy had been set into motion.
She got out of bed and hobbled around a
bit. There was a mirror over the sink
against one wall and she went to look into it, wondering what she
She was a mess.
The bandages were extensive enough that she
couldn't see anything of her normal features, with the exception of a
recognized immediately as being in good shape.
She remembered she was a runner.
Even in the shapeless hospital gown, she could tell she had
breasts. She turned sideways.
Not bad," she mused.
man. What was his name?
He'd left without so much as a how do you do.
Well, that wasn't true. Not really.
But while she couldn't remember anything about being married,
pretty sure that in most marriages, a situation like she was in trumped
work. And, he had called her that
name. She wondered what that was all
about, but couldn't remember. All she knew
was that she hated that name. And she
felt like she'd probably hated it the first time he'd ever used it.
She went closer
mirror and leaned in to see what she could see.
There was dried blood on her throat.
The doctor said they'd cleaned her up, but it hadn't amounted to
She sat in the
chair, rather than getting back in bed.
Beds were for sick people.
She didn't want
to be a
What she wanted
nice, long soak in a hot tub.
Claire tried to
over at the driver. She had to turn her
whole upper body to avoid causing pain in her neck.
"So ... we're
friends," she said. The woman was
obviously going out of her way for her.
She seemed to care more than the husband did.
said Cindy. "And we work
together. Well, not together exactly.
At the same place."
"And where is
Industries," said the woman.
"You're an accountant."
"And what are
secretary to Mr. Zimmerman, the big boss."
You have access to the brass.
That wouldn't have anything to do with the
fact that I have as much time off as I need, would it?"
brilliant. "Maybe a little.
But only a little. You handle the hush hush accounts. You have a top
clearance. They don't want to lose
all my top secret stuff while I'm gone?"
"There are two of you who handle the, 'I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you' stuff. You and Margie Hopkins.
Neither of you is super busy.
Margie said she could handle most of your
load for a while. And some of your work isn't
classified. They're going to farm that out
"And I assume
has something to do with the 'can't be gone
You have valuable information our competitors
might want to have, not to mention foreign governments.
For me it's not that dramatic. Mr.
Zimmerman just can't do without me for
"Your part in
cloak and dagger business I get," said Claire. "But
what does people wanting to bribe
me have to do with six blocks?"
it," laughed Cindy. "They're
not worried about someone bribing you.
You're paid very well. They're
more worried about somebody kidnapping you and torturing you."
me!" said Claire.
And nobody's supposed to know it, but your
watch contains a tracker. If it goes
beyond a certain distance from the office during work hours, they go
"The circle is
larger. You have to have permission to
travel up to thirty miles from home without notifying anybody.
And really, it's not as bad as it
sounds. You can go anywhere you want.
You just have to tell them where you're
paying me a hell of a lot," grumbled Claire.
classified," said Cindy. "All
I know is that one day you told me you planned on retiring when you're
and traveling the world."
"How old am I
"So ... twelve
years to go," said Claire.
joking. Actually, I'm really
jealous. I'm thinking about going back
to college to get a degree in accounting, just so I can take your place
"And we're best
I'm not lying."
"So ... what
of things do we talk about?"
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