47 Random Fragments of Unauthorised Hope and Despair


IT WAS a dead give-away, having the extra VR set in the bedroom, the his and hers wiring mounted tastefully over our matching bedside cabinets.

There were plausible excuses, of course, or else nobody would have ever had the courage to display it all so blatantly.

Combatting insomnia. That could be one of them. Escape into a world of happy fluffy clouds, serene pink sunsets and gently lapping waves that are 99 percent guaranteed* (*check the smallprint for the legal disclaimer) to bring you within seconds of a blissful and totally natural slumber (WARNING: NEVER LEAVE DEVICE CONNECTED TO BODY WHILE ASLEEP OR UNCONSCIOUS).

Or maybe we could have made out we had nightmares and needed a little dose of nocturnal reassurance with the help of oh-so-real traditional scenes involving the inevitable log fires, grandfather clocks and loving parents (NEW! NEW! NEW! INCLUDE MEMBERS OF YOUR OWN ACTUAL FAMILY - LIVING OR PASSED AWAY!) - so long, that is, as you’ve taken the precaution of having them VR-ed before they depart this world which - I am delighted to report - is exactly what my own dear wife contrived to do, with admirable foresight, shortly before the sad conclusion of her old lady’s prolonged demise. Mumsie will never ever leave you now, little darling!

There are also the usual games, I suppose, but who’s going to want to lie in bed zapping and chasing around when they’ve got the latest Pod set up in the living room, ready to take the whole thing into a different dimension?

No, we all know what the Flexi-movement Micro-mask comfort gear is going to get used for in all but the most freaky of instances.

I don’t think they saw it at first, the couple thing.

They were spending all that energy on trying to perfect the tactile side - and not getting it anywhere near right - when the answer was right there under their scientific noses.

It wasn’t an answer at all for the lonesome frustrated singletons out there, but then since when did they matter, anyway? They would have to make do with the third-rate tactile simulation.

The big money was with the couples, the mainstream big-spending consumer elite who just have to have everything.

And, lo and behold, the product this market needed turned out to be even easier, and cheaper, to produce.

Somehow, someone discovered that in some circumstances the brain’s faith in what it’s sent along the optic nerves is twice as strong as what it experiences in any other way.

Give a child an apple, but show him a VR pear, and they’ll swear it feels like an pear, and even tastes like a pear, just because their gullible brain tells them that’s what it is.

Likewise, it’s amazing how when you run your hands over your wife’s body while under the influence of VR, the contours under your fingers match exactly with what’s coming up in front of your eyes. Your brain adjusts the sensory reality to tie in with the image.

Suddenly, your overweight middle-aged spouse has the body of a 20 year old seductress nymph from paradise.

It really works. I can testify to that, Because, yes, I did have a go on it when we first had it installed. Well, I paid for it, didn’t I?

And OK, I did like the sound of it to start with and I did explore the possibilities pretty enthusiastically for a month or two - maybe longer, if I’m honest.

Even now I can see the advantages.

My wife was hooked on it and, put bluntly, this meant she required my services in bed pretty much constantly.

It wasn’t me she was screwing in her head, but what did that matter to me? The physical outcome was better than if she had been. I certainly don’t recall that degree of energy in the days before her senses and judgement were distorted by the intervention of technology.

She certainly milked the full potential of the equipment, experimenting with programmes of both sexes. Personally I would have thought this was over-stretching the capacity of the brain to rely primarily on visual information.

But it seemed to work for her.

I could detect the presence of a female programme on her module - as confirmed later in our ritual post-coital ‘confession’ - from the unlikely areas of my anatomy in which my wife had been expressing a physical interest.

In fact, I soon realised that the whole thing worked so well for her that I didn’t need to use it any more.

I was already getting what I wanted. Her pleasure was my pleasure.

So I turned it off when she wasn’t looking or just downloaded blank programmes.

I had to keep the gear attached, of course, otherwise she would have realised and it would have spoilt it for her.

I also had to invent the female programme I’d supposedly just been projecting onto her body.

That was the hardest part of all, really, especially as she would then offer some analysis of my choice or attempt to initiate some kind of discussion around it - comparing and contrasting it with her own virtual indulgence.

On one occasion the name I plucked from the air happened to be the very same woman she had herself selected for one of her v-bi episodes.

Although I was rather entertained by the image this conjured up, it did underline a fundamental falsity in the whole procedure that was by then beginning to gnaw at me.

I found my enjoyment steadily diminishing.

Physically, the stimulation was as gratifying as ever, but emotionally I found myself confronted with a virtual void.

That was when I first had the idea of sabotaging the whole thing and, I have to admit, the delicious temptation did restore my interest in the bedtime routine for some weeks.

Eventually, though, the anticipation was replaced with impatience and I just had to get on with it.

The fateful moment followed what, coincidentally, appeared to have been a session of particular satisfaction for my wife.

I like to think now that I did her a favour, allowing her to bow out on a high note.

“That Alexander Borovich is rather nice,” she purred, as she stretched out, free of the wiring.

“Who?” I asked, not because I was interested.

“I downloaded him this afternoon,” she said. “He’s new up on the site. He was in that film we saw about the model village, the turnip collector and the giant slugs, remember?”

“Mmmm...” I said.

“So, who was it for you this time?” she asked. “Anyone interesting?”

I said nothing.

“Oh it wasn’t one of those composites again, was it?” she asked. “Thai Whore Bride 8? Blonde Beast XXX? You men are so bloody unimaginative!”

“No,” I said quietly.

“Who then?” she said, leaning over and stroking my chest. “You can tell me...”

“Someone quite different,” I said. “Who I’ve never had before.”

“Oh yeah? So what’s her name?”

“I shouldn’t tell you,” I said. “You wouldn’t want to know.”

I had to make this work.

I had to finish off this sick charade once and for all.

“Come off it!” she said. “You know I would. It’s all part of the deal. I might give her a go myself, some time, if she’s any good! Who was it, darling?”

“Your mother,” I lied. “Your sick, dying mother.”

That certainly did it.