This is the curse of our age, even the strangest aberrations are no cure for boredom. – Stendahl
Nearly everything that had ever gone wrong in Ned’s life was due to the fact that he was so easily bored. He rarely finished a book or continued watching a television series past the third or fourth episode; whenever he went out to eat he preferred to go to different places each time; he never kept a car for more than a year. Even wives and girlfriends were replaced as soon as Ned began to tire of them, and eventually he couldn’t even be bothered with relationships any more. So it was perhaps inevitable that he start hiring escorts.
At first, Ned felt that he’d never grow bored with “the hobby”; he could see as many beautiful women as he liked, as often as he liked, without any major effort at all. He figured if he never repeated a girl he would find it exciting for many years. Eventually, though, the women all began to blend together in his mind, and one seemed like another. For a while he sought out the quirkiest, least-conventional providers he could; the more uneven their reviews, the more the tattoos and piercings, the more outrageous their drama, the more he liked them. Then they, too, began to fill him with ennui, and he moved on to fetish providers, dominatrices and every other kinky type he could find. Ned’s sexual orientation was basically vanilla, though, so that couldn’t last long; he just couldn’t justify spending so much money on women who wouldn’t even spread their legs for him. Then he tried street girls and amateurish-seeming Backpage denizens; they soon became just as blah as all the others. Aside from the occasional robbery attempt, freakout or other surprise, whores in general simply weren’t interesting to him any longer.
It was the paying that created the boredom, he figured; he knew that as long as he paid her fee, any prostitute he hired would put out. There just wasn’t any unpredictability in it, and few surprises, and since being able to predict what will happen next is the very essence of boredom, Ned decided paying to play was no longer acceptable to him. Picking up regular women was a lot more fun; he was never sure what combination of smooth talk, presents, alcohol, drugs, lies or outright coercion would work to get any of them in bed, nor what would happen when he got them there. And if he was really lucky, something unpredictable or even dangerous night happen, thereby providing the thrills he craved.
So it was that one night, Ned found himself in a crappy dive in a strange city, hunting his usual game; he had become quite practiced at sizing up his quarry, and so he was deeply intrigued when a woman he couldn’t quite read nonetheless succumbed to his charms and invited him back to her place. On the way there, the conversation turned to the opposite sex, and Ned (who, truth be told, had imbibed more than was strictly prudent) blurted out how bored he was with women in general: “They’re so damned predictable, all of ’em the same. Now you, see, you’re different; you’ve clearly got class, yet you were in that low-class place. You’re too smart to fall for any lines and too beautiful to go for a guy like me, yet here we are together. Other women rarely surprise me, but you? You’re full of surprises.”
“So you like surprises?” she asked quietly, her voice almost drowned out by the hiss of the rain and the blop-blop-blop-blop of the windshield wipers.
“Oh, yeah, I mean what’s life without surprises? I even like the unpleasant ones in a way, because at least they alleviate the same-old same-old.”
“Yes, I understand. Well, I’m glad you find me surprising; I think I can promise you at least one more big surprise tonight.”
“Now you’ve got me even more curious. Care to give me a hint?”
“We’re here; I’ll show you in a few minutes.” The house was another surprise; it wasn’t quite a mansion but it was still fairly large, and situated on a rather expansive piece of property for being so close to town. The garage was under the house, and she took his wet things before they even went in; when he turned to go up the stairs she stopped him and pointed instead to another door on the same level. “I want to show you my playroom.”
Ned felt a bit disappointed; her playroom? Probably a kink dungeon, in other words. Ah, well, might as well go through with it, he thought; he was already here, and at least it hadn’t cost him anything. It had been a while since he’d done anything like this, and maybe she had an interesting twist on it. Besides, she was offering him a glass of high-quality bourbon from what appeared to be a very well-stocked bar, and that made up for at least a little disappointment.
“When you’re ready, we can go in,” she said with a quiet smile.
“No time like the present.”
“Oh, good, I was hoping you’d say that. Close your eyes and let me lead you in, and don’t open them until I tell you to, OK?”
“Sure, baby, whatever you say.”
He did sneak a peek, but it hardly mattered; the room she had led him into was pitch-black. But it was only a moment before she said, “Open your eyes,” and flicked on the light. The place wasn’t quite what Ned expected; it looked less like a sex den and more like an abattoir, replete with stainless-steel surfaces and bloody knives, and a partially-butchered carcass that Ned did not like the look of at all.
The last word he ever heard was, “Surprise!”