I was living with a couple named Heather and Lloyd.

* make us famous

They’d met at a Trekkie convention and had gotten married in a traditional Star Fleet ceremony in Vegas. They were real New Agey, Pagany, Wiccany kind of folks. There was a mantelpiece in the house you weren’t supposed to touch because it was “for the fairies.” They would put ginger and cinnamon out overnight, and check it in the morning to see if any was missing.

Heather and Lloyd were swingers and were deeply into BDSM. They had chains and hooks hanging from their bedroom ceiling and a whole arsenal of whips and riding crops readily at hand. They were open about their lifestyle, and we often discussed it at length. 

“So, which one of you gets chained up?”

“We take turns. We both ‘switch.’ One night, I’ll be the sub and the next night I’ll be the dom,” said Lloyd. 

“Which do you prefer?”

“Dom, of course. But I gotta get whipped every now and then or Heather gets pissed.”

At the time, all I cared about in the world was smoking weed and playing Starcraft, so I barely noticed the steady stream of men who would come over to have sex with Heather during the day while Lloyd was at work. Mostly they were guys from Lloyd’s Warhammer guild. Sometimes I would hear them whipping each other in the bedroom, but it never caused me any trouble until one day when Heather said, “Could you lay off the bong for a little while? This guy who’s coming over is kind of sketchy about weed. He doesn’t know Lloyd and I smoke.” I was incredulous.

“He’s down with sadomasochistic sex rituals, but weed is taboo?”

“Please, Mike. We don’t want to get in trouble with the guild.”

“All right, all right. I’ll go for a walk or something.”

“You can watch if you want to. Harold won’t mind.”

“Maybe next time.”

When Lloyd came home at night, Heather would regale him with tales of the kinky sex she’d had with their friends that day. I asked Lloyd if he got turned on by the stories, and he said, “Hell yeah. And we learn all kinds of new techniques this way. Heather has picked up something from every guy she’s slept with. Like this new trick where she-”

“I really don’t need to hear those details, Lloyd.”

“If you weren’t such a prude you could try it for yourself. Heather told me she still likes you.”

“I’m not a prude, I’m dating Heather’s sister. Don’t you think it would hurt Stephanie’s feelings if I was over here whipping Heather while you jerk off in the corner?”

“Look, I already told you, I don’t even have to be here. You can whip Heather while I’m at work if that makes you more comfortable.” 

“You know what Lloyd? It really doesn’t.”

In retrospect, I wish I had whipped Heather while Lloyd was at work.