Sex with Holly reminded Brad of feeding a crumpled dollar into a bill changer---in a frustrating inch, back out, in a little farther, out, always with her dry mechanical whining. Despite her beauty, or perhaps because of it---the pert nose, ear-length blonde hair, and well-painted lips, she was rather aloof, almost distracted. Brad could tell her mind was somewhere else, perhaps off to the left. Later, after they had finished, he almost caught himself hunting for a Coke and some change. But for the moment he gritted his teeth and endured, if for nothing else than the Budweiser he would reward himself with after she fell asleep.
The thrill was gone. The first meetings, the enchanting conversations, lingering lunches, nighttime walks, all were reduced to an absurd formula. He would meet a girl in lecture or at a party and charm them with his witty, direct manner and astonishing body. Then he would dig up the girl's address on Athena (pausing to read all the files she had left world-readable) and arrange a ``chance meeting'' after covertly following her around a couple days. He'd take her to Uno's (Brad, always the good listener, nodding and asking flattering questions), later a movie, and on the second or third date they would take the long way back to the dorms, around the river, and he would stop her and tell her gosh what astonishing eyes she has, and I'm almost afraid to kiss you, a touch could shatter the moment, and all that. They'd wind up back at her place or his and have a weary night of sex. The adventure in discovering a new body had become offset by the numbing repetition, the same careful advances, trite romances, re-run seduction.
Brad had slept with nine women in the last four months. His partners were never remarkable in many respects, though collectively their range was impressive. He had covered all the sororities and four of the West Campus dormitories. He lacked only the independent living groups, though he wasn't too excited to go after any of their ilk. He even bedded a hyperactive Assassins Guild member, who may have been tolerable had she not insisted on wearing her cape to bed.
He was most puzzled by their general lack of interest, and blamed his own ennui on theirs. Oh, they would certainly do it, and make all the appropriate noises---but later they wouldn't want to talk about it. Brad liked feedback. If they had said ``rub me harder,'' or ``maybe a little deeper please'' he would be delighted, but always the awful silence. Only the Assassin's guild girl---she screamed. But the parade of sorority sisters---nothing.
In the wee hours of the morning after a particularly tiresome tryst Brad found himself in 66-080 perusing ``alt.sex.bondage,'' glancing nervously behind himself whenever anyone passed who could observe his screen. What fun these bondage people seem to have, thought Brad. Bondage partners don't merely ``have'' sex, they became ``masters'' who controlled the actions of their ``slaves.'' They also use strange props---nipple clamps and knots and panties stuffed in mouths, and even cultivate a condescending attitude toward ordinary couples and their ``vanilla'' sex.
The next day Brad went to ``Hubba Hubba,'' a local purveyor of kinko-ware, and spent his entire UROP check on leather and chrome nasties. After dumping the contents of the bag on his bed, he called Holly and told her she was coming over for the night. He dug through his sock drawer for his zip-lok of Columbian and his ``Bexley Design Contest'' steam-powered bong (``espresso smoke,'' they called it). After toking himself stupid, he hid the toys and clove-hitched four ropes to the corner of the bed and hid the ends under the mattress.
Holly arrived toting a backpack full of 5.60. ``Forget the books, baaaybe, tonight we make luuuuuuv!'' said Brad, forgetting his manners.
``Uh, no, Brad...get off of me, I have to work.'' Holly fended off his advances and sat down at Brad's desk, leaving Brad dumbfounded.
Hmmm, this will not do, thought Brad. ``Uh, sorry, I'm just not myself,'' he said weakly, and dug through his drawers for the Vallium. He cracked open four of the pills and poured the contents into a bottle of Evian retrieved from his fridge. ``Here Holly, have some water.''
``Mmm, thanks,'' she replied, sharpening her pencils. Brad sat on his bed and endured ten anxious minutes until Holly took a long pull from the bottle. The drug took immediate effect. ``Uh, I don't feel...I should lie down.''
``Yes!'' thought Brad. ``Here, let me take your clothes off, you'll feel better.'' Holly was too far gone to resist. He tugged off her Phi Alpha Omega sweatshirt and leotards, and after pausing to admire her inert form, removed her underwear and tied her to the bed.
``Wait,'' thought Brad, ``If she's drugged, is it rape?'' Brad couldn't remember. He briefly considered calling Nightline to ask, but decided he had more important things to do. Somehow, the power and control had excited Brad like he hadn't been in months.
While Holly lolled on the bed Brad donned his bathrobe and slipped through the door to the floor kitchen. He returned fifteen minutes later with a pot of macaroni and cheese. Holly barely noticed as he poured the steaming mixture on her bare chest. ``Now, to eat!'' Brad watched the melted cheese run down her thighs as he slurped up a facefull of noodles from her abdomen. ``Mmm, good.'' Unexpectedly, however, the macaroni reacted with the drugs already in his body to form Methyldiethylamylkeytone, a lethal substance that boiled up his belly, burned through his throat, and raged into his brain, causing him to momentarily contemplate the horror of his ways and the terrible act he had committed. Then his brain seized up and he fell on the rug and died.
In the corner of his eye was a little tear.