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Of Small Talk at Parties and Everything Else
by Christopher James

"Cyborg"  ©  Flickr user chiaralily 

"Cyborg" © Flickr user chiaralily 


I AM ACUTELY AFRAID of speaking in public, of moths in my bedroom at night, of crapping in the office bathroom when the cleaner is working in the neighboring stall, of being attacked and beaten up in front of someone I care about, of being deliberately vomited over, of my family getting sick while I’m away meaning I have to go back to them, of in-growing eyelashes, of my wife leaving me, of insects laying eggs under my skin, of people who wedge pieces of broken glass into the slides at waterparks, of being in a phone box when somebody wraps a chain around it and sprays petrol over me through the small hole at the top or bottom, of talking on the phone, of asking people to stop smoking in a non-smoking area, of forgetting how to do basic things like walking or breathing or reading, of turning into my father, of the sound of forks scratching on plates, of being trapped in a forest fire and jumping into a pool to stay safe and then slowly boiling, of small talk at parties and of spending the rest of my life doing exactly the same things I’m doing now.


I ordered the sexotron online, from a website I read about in the Sunday papers. Since I didn’t want my wife to see it, I had it delivered to the office, only I hadn’t quite anticipated its size, and the difficulty of getting it from work back home, so for three weeks it stayed in its box (which was thankfully unmarked) hidden beneath my desk. Every morning before heading to work I asked my wife, “will you be out when I get home?” and every morning she said the same, “where would I go?” For a while, I started to think I’d never get to bring the sexotron home, and I even briefly considered unwrapping it at work, coming to the office early (or staying late) and using it then, in the bathroom on the tenth floor. Luckily for me, the sexotron, and the tenth floor bathroom, my wife finally said one of her hospital appointments would certainly run late, meaning she’d not get back until gone seven. I brought the sexotron home.


On the train, I convinced myself the whole world knew what was inside my box. It was an awkward shape for carrying, all bits poking out and bits poking in, and it almost got itself wedged in the turnstiles. The box was made of brown cardboard; or was it glass? Everyone was looking. An older woman in a headscarf made a face. A balding fellow in a yellowed mackintosh winked. A gaggle of schoolgirls giggled as I struggled and straggled down the underground stairs. 


Several terrifying thoughts. What if it started to vibrate inside the box, lulled into action by the clickety-clack of the train’s progress through lightless tunnels? What if it fell open, the adhesive of the tape holding the box together made unsticky by my sweaty palms, the sexotron falling through the bottom and landing at my feet in a suggestive pose? Another thought – what if I got home and my wife was there? Or a neighbor saw me and started asking questions? Or even worse, what if I got home and opened the box and the box was empty? 

Luckily, none of these occurrences came to pass. It and I arrived home safe and sound.


It was three feet high, and resembled a small person. Like a naked midget with large breasts and ample hips and swollen pudenda. Its skin was soft to the touch, and warm, even switched off. Its eyes were closed, and its lips slightly parted in a gentle smile. Its fingers were long and tapered, and its hands crossed chastely in its lap. It looked as if it were sleeping, and dreaming maybe of sunny afternoons. I didn’t know how long I had before my wife would return, so on this first occasion I didn’t do anything but examine its parts. Her - hard to keep thinking of it as an it - her lips opened with only a little pressure, and though there were teeth they were rounded and small. Her arms moved away from her lap with just as little push, and stayed wherever they were moved to. Her labia were firm but elastic, and hot to the touch. Her buttocks parted to reveal a similarly firm, elastic hole. Her legs, though short, wrapped easily around my hips. Her toes moved with manipulation, but gently returned to their original position when left alone. She needed charging, but thankfully the battery made no sound. I plugged her in, and left her in the garage where I knew my wife would never go.

I made spaghetti for dinner, my wife’s favorite, and cleaned the house while I waited for her to come home from the hospital. She’d be tired after her tests, and in a bad mood, and besides, I was keen to get her off to bed as early as possible. I wanted to try my new toy, and I’d not been so excited in years.


I drank more at dinner than I’d intended, and even persuaded my wife to have a second glass of red. The doctor had said her prognosis was good, better than last time anyway, but she still needed to stay on her pills. So not that good, after all. Sometimes it was hard to know if the doctors really thought you needed medicine, or if they were just pushed by the hospitals to write as many prescriptions as possible.

“Yes, yes,” I said. “Anyway, you must be exhausted.” 

She was, and I had her in bed shortly after nine. I told her I’d join her soon. I had a little manual work to finish off first.


I locked the garage door. Stuffed rags at the base of the door to muffle any sound. Took her back out from her box. Carefully turned her on. 

She opened her eyes, looked at me and smiled. 

I’d heard horror stories before, of other robots causing problems, and had come prepared with a carrot, which I slid first between her thighs, then in her mouth, then in her anus, and finally into each hand, wrapping the fingers around the root veg. I examined the carrot carefully, and it appeared fine. It was my turn. 

Despite knowing she was only a machine, it was difficult not to talk with her. “Does this hurt?” I asked, entering her. “I like it,” she told me. Her voice was throaty and wonderful. “You’re so big,” she said. 

Her vagina closed around me, and started to pull me in. She was vibrating, but it made no noise. “Do you mind if I moan with pleasure?” she asked me. “Quietly,” I said. “Mmm. Ohhh.” 

Her movements were more intelligent than I’d given the makers credit for. With one hand she stroked my back, with the other she tickled my balls.  Her mouth was the right height to gently nibble my nipple through my shirt. And always, sucking me in, sucking me in with her hot vagina.  

“You’re so good at this,” she whispered.  “I’ve never had a lover as accomplished as you before.”

“God,” I said. It had only been a minute, and I was ready to come. 

“Would you like me to slow down?” she asked. 

“No,” I said. “No, no, no.” 

After it was done, she smiled again. “Don’t forget to clean me,” she whispered, “and plug me back in.”


Over the next month I used Elizabeth almost every night. I named her Elizabeth, because there was nothing pleasing about calling her sexotron. Sometimes we didn’t even have sex, we just kissed, or cuddled, or talked. Mostly, though, we had sex. 

Meanwhile, my wife’s condition worsened. The doctor had missed something, which now meant that she was going to have to spend more and more time at the hospital. She would have to start staying there overnight, at least once or twice. Horribly, I was excited by this.

For a few days I vowed to stay away from Elizabeth, but the first night my wife slept in the hospital she’d been gone barely an hour before I went to the garage. 

“I missed you,” she told me. 

“And I you.” 

“It’s your wife, isn’t it?” 

I nodded. “Let’s not talk about her.” 

“Ok,” said Elizabeth. “Would you like to enjoy anal sex now? That way you needn’t look me in the eyes while you deal with your guilt about your wife.” 

“Yes,” I told her. “I would like that very much.”


The doctors called it a miracle. My wife should have died in the operating theater, but instead she was healthier than she’d ever been. A bona fide miracle, said the doctor. “A miracle,” my wife repeated, exhausted but happy, like a woman holding her child for the first time.

“So she’ll be coming home?” I asked. 

The doctor smiled at my wife. “I’d like to keep you here a couple more nights, if you don’t mind, just in case. But basically, yes. She can leave whenever she’s ready.” 

“I want to go now,” said my wife, reaching out a hand towards me. “I miss home.” 

“Maybe you should stay a couple more nights,” I said. “Listen to the experts, honey.” 

“You’re so sweet,” said my wife.  “I just want to sleep in my own bed again.” 

“Doc? Shouldn’t she stay? Just in case?” 

“It’s up to you,” said the doctor, talking to my wife – not me. My wife closed her eyes, sleep finally ready to take her. 

“Home,” she whispered.


“Where have you been?” asked Elizabeth, the next time I was able to see her. “It’s been a month.” 

“My wife,” I explained. “She’s back from the hospital. I couldn’t get away.” 

“Your fucking wife?” said Elizabeth. 

“She’s back from the hospital. But she’s out with her sister tonight. I thought we could enjoy oral sex.” 

“You thought wrong,” said Elizabeth. “You fucking asshole.”


I tried to make it up to Elizabeth, but the truth was – things had never been better between my wife and me. I gave Elizabeth flowers, but I gave my wife flowers too. Nicer flowers. The time between my visits to the garage grew further apart. In the Spring, there was some wonderful news. My wife was pregnant, and the doctors said she was safe to keep the baby. 

I decided to break it off entirely with Elizabeth, and on the weekend my wife went to tell her family the good news, I did. 

For a minute, Elizabeth said nothing at all. Finally, though, “I’m very happy for you and your wife and your unborn child.” 

“Oh, thank god. I was worried you wouldn’t understand.” 

“No, of course I understand. I’m very happy for you.” 

After that, I wasn’t sure exactly what to say. I decided on an embrace, an awkward, well-intentioned, poorly-executed embrace. 

“Would you like to enjoy full penetrative sex for the final time?” asked Elizabeth, her lips parting in a gentle smile. 

“Ok,” I said. “I think I would like that.” 

I kicked off my shoes, stripped quickly, and lowered myself into Elizabeth. We kissed, and her hand stroked my back. She took me inside her vagina, and began sucking. Sucking. Sucking harder. Harder. 

She pulled my hands behind my back, and bound them together, which we’d never done before. Still sucking, kneading, bringing me to the point of climax. 

Still sucking. 

She slid one of her long, tapered fingers into my anus, which was a first time for me. It felt great. But then she slid in another finger, and another, and another, and one more. 

“That hurts,” I said. 

“Shh,” she told me. She slid her other hand into my anus, and began to pull the two apart. 

“Jesus! Please stop,” I said. There were tears in my eyes. Still, she sucked, sucked, sucked, sucked, 

I came, but she didn’t stop sucking, and now that too was beginning to hurt. 

She found my nipple with her teeth, and bit. Hard. The nipple burst open, and blood started pouring down my shirt. Still sucking, still pulling my anus apart. She bit the other nipple, and blood poured from that too. 

“Fuck,” I said. “Stop. Stop. Stop.” 

There was supposed to be a safe word, but I couldn’t remember what it was. 

My wife came in then, and she was carrying a knife. 

“Thank you Elizabeth,” said my wife. 

“What the fuck?” I screamed. “What the fuck is going on?” 

“Elizabeth told me everything,” said my wife. 

“But I love you,” I shouted. “I love you.” 

“Shh,” said Elizabeth. She sucked harder, and something in my penis broke. Warm surrounded it, which I horribly suspected might be blood. 

“Shh,” said my wife. “This will hurt a little.”


I am acutely afraid of everything. Of everything. Of it all. 

Christopher James lives, works and writes in Jakarta, Indonesia, and has had pieces published online by McSweeney's, Tin House, Camera Obscura and Smokelong, among others.