Saturday Morning Post #87: Until the Thrill is Gone (part 4)

In another story from “24 Exposures,” meet Dan and Sylvia, a couple who can’t quite keep it in the bedroom. Or the house.

The conclusion of the saga of Dan and Sylvia’s ever-expanding search for more exciting public sex. Watch for a character from one of the previous stories to drop in at the end.

A little over a week later, they were standing on an overpass above the 405 freeway, halfway through the mountain pass that separated LA’s rich Westside from the equally rich West Valley. It was five o’clock on a Friday afternoon, and traffic was moving in its usual fashion in both directions, so many blood cells stuck in an artery long since made useless by auteoporosis.

Dan had taken care in choosing this overpass. It wasn’t one of the main roads crossing over the freeway. It was an off-street, one lane each way, an obviously long-forgotten political payoff to some rich residents on either side of the manmade canyon. It was also hard to get to from both directions, narrow twisting roads up through the hills that doubled back on themselves. Dan had stood there for an hour a week ago, and not a single car had driven by.

They had parked as close as possible to the end of the overpass, then walked to the center and stood there, Sylvia’s simple floral print dress occasionally wafting in a sudden, short breeze. They could see the freeway for a mile in either direction, and the freeway could see them.

“Oh, Dan,” Sylvia said when he took the blindfold off of her. “This is… how did you find this place?”

“It took work,” he said. “Just like it would take work for anyone to get to us.” He kissed her and she melted into him, pulling his shirt up, which he quickly tossed off. She was out of her dress just as fast, fingers fumbling as she tore open his pants and he let them drop to the ground, stepped out of them. It was just the two of them up here and hundreds of commuters down there and it was perfect.

She leaned against the chain-link fence that wrapped the overpass and Dan stood in front of her, stooping slightly as he slipped inside. He wrapped his fingers in the fence, kissed her on the shoulder, then looked beyond, at the cars below. Traffic had just slowed to an almost dead stop, and he could see faces looking up at them through windshields. Horns honked, but they were not the angry horns of traffic. They were acknowledgements, admissions. “We see you. Thanks!” Safe in the anonymity of their cars, these people could do what they had mostly refused to do before — admit they were watching.

He saw big rig drivers give thumbs up and flash their lights, saw a convertible full of young women raise their shirts and flash their breasts, caught a glimpse of some guy in a Beamer with a blonde head bobbing in his lap. He saw them all and they saw him, they all saw him, they all saw him —

“They can see me — “ he thought, in time to his frantic hip-thrusting. In out, in out, one two, three four, they can see me, they can —

He threw his head back and almost screamed as he came like he never had before. That’s when he saw the helicopter hovering above them, but he didn’t care. This had been the moment they’d been looking for. He put his hands on Sylvia’s breasts and kissed her right between them and she moaned, “Oh god, Dan…” and then it was her turn to frantically writhe against the fence, like she’d never stop, and she probably wouldn’t have except that the sudden short whoop of a siren right next to them cut through everything, froze them in their tracks.

Two police cruisers, one from each direction, parked at angles across the road, two officers approaching from each. Dan and Sylvia looked at each other. She smiled and came again.

Dammit. Dan wished he had that ability. All he could do was smile vaguely at the nearest officer and say, “Hi.”

* * *

There had been no formal complaints filed. Sylvia’s father’s lawyer had insisted on that point and maneuvered the DA into an absolute interpretation of the law. George was an expert at that sort of thing, so they were only charged with disorderly conduct. Of course, they’d made the evening news, thanks to that helicopter, and although everything was blotted into a video mosaic onscreen, they both knew that the real footage would get out, creep around the world and perpetuate their act for years.

But the terms of their probation demanded that they attend group counseling, one of those stupid twelve-step groups for sexual compulsives. Yeah, that was the best way to treat a bunch of addicts, put them in a room together to talk about what most compelled them. Except that, after listening to their sad, twisted stories for a while, it all got depressing and, for the first time, Dan and Sylvia felt a little bit ashamed about all the things they had done.

They were walking through the mall one weekday afternoon, holding hands and saying nothing, just window shopping, when they heard the calliope tune of the carousel. They looked at each other, smiled.

“Ah, the old days,” Dan said.

“You want to go for a ride?” Sylvia asked him, but there wasn’t even a hint of suggestiveness in her voice. “Just for old time’s sake?”

“Sure,” he said, and they walked down, bought their tickets and got in line. When they got on the carousel, they picked separate horses, next to each other, and held hands as the thing started to turn, hidden mechanisms lifted them up and dropped them down and the world outside spun into a blur. There was something just so… sweet about a Merry-Go-Round. A horse race to nowhere, with no winners and losers, none of the mess or danger of real horses, everything turning in a proper circle until the end was reached. But, since it was a circle, there was no beginning and no ending. You came out where you came in, moved without moving.

Sylvia leaned her cheek against the rod that skewered her horse, looked at Dan, who was staring forward, smiling. He sensed her looking, turned. At the same time, both of them simply said, “I love you.”

And at last the great wheel stopped moving. Dan climbed off his horse, helped Sylvia down and then there was a loud thud, the carousel rocking slightly to one side and turning a few degrees forward. Screams echoed from the mall and people came running. Dan and Sylvia stepped off, walked around and saw the crowd that had gathered. Some poor, dumb schmuck had just taken a header from one of the balconies above and had landed on top of the thing, torso dangling over the side of the main axis, mirror cracked where his face had hit, bounced off and stopped to stare lifelessly at itself.

“Let’s get out of here,” Dan said, and they did.

They didn’t talk about the man who fell the rest of that day, but they both thought the same thing. Maybe it was a warning. At least it was a reminder. They sat very close together on the couch while they watched the news that evening, then they went to bed, Sylvia in a long silk nightgown and Dan in pajamas. Dan reached for the bedside lamp, shook his head. “That poor guy,” he said. Then, he turned out the lights and, in the dark, under the covers, they quietly made love, then fell asleep in each other’s arms.

* * *

Saturday Morning Post #87: Until the Thrill is Gone (part 3)

In another story from “24 Exposures,” meet Dan and Sylvia, a couple who can’t quite keep it in the bedroom. Or the house.

The story of Dan and Sylvia continues, as they seek ever bigger sexual thrills.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to welcome your Los Angeles Dodgers…”

The crowd went nuts as the players trotted onto the field, Dan and Sylvia in the nosebleed section of the bleacher seats. It was a bright summer evening, the sun streaking in from the west, making half the stadium glow, leaving the other half dunked in shadow. Neither of them were really baseball fans, but they decided to give this a try and were now sitting high up, away from much of a crowd. It was always like that when the Dodgers played some small town, who cares team. Dan did know enough about baseball to have selected this game for that reason.

But they’d also decided to wait until the first home run to do anything. Their actions would be dictated by the figures dashing around the field below, beyond their control. They held hands tightly in anticipation. It could happen at any second, or not at all.

It didn’t happen at all during the first four innings. There were RBI’s, to be sure, each of which they celebrated with a long kiss, but nothing over the fence.

At the end of the top of the fifth, they were both getting a little antsy. “I wish these guys could hit better,” Dan grumbled as the next batter came to the plate and managed only a base hit after two foul pop-ups into the stands. The next batter struck out and the third took a bean ball walk to first. The fourth batter put one right in the left-fielder’s mitt.

“Aw, shit,” Dan said.

“We still have four innings left,” Sylvia explained.

“We can change the rules…” Dan suggested, but she gave him a sour look.

“That’s no fun now, is it?” she answered. Before he could say anything, there was an enormous crack from the field and the growing wave of a cheer from the crowd. They turned to look as the ball arced into the air, climbing for right field. The batter was already running for first base and the outfielders were going long.

They held each other’s hands tightly as they stood, watching the white dot go, their grip tightening as it reached its summit, seemed to hesitate in the air for just an instant, then began its descent. The journey only took a few seconds, but seemed to last an hour. The ball arced downward, the right fielder ran for the fence as fast as his legs could go. He lept, raising his gloved hand into the air, above the fence, the ball whizzing right toward it.

“Fucker’s going to catch it,” Dan muttered, disappointed.

But he didn’t. The ball sailed two feet over his head, over the wall, out of the ballpark. The crowd went nuts as the three runners came home.

“Grand slam,” Sylvia said.

“No, one runner short of that. But it’s time for us to round the bases.”

The sun had dropped below the edge of the stadium by now, and though the stadium lights were bright, it seemed dim enough and distant way up here. Sylvia eased herself onto Dan’s lap, facing the field, and he ripped open the Velcro on his fly and slid into home. To anyone watching, it would have just seemed like a wife sitting on her husband’s lap, bouncing up and down excitedly at the game’s progress. Thousands of people, and none of them would have known better…

Which was kind of the problem, Dan realized. This wasn’t quite as exciting as he’d imagined. He leaned forward and licked Sylvia’s ear, but he could tell she wasn’t quite getting the thrill she’d hoped for, either. Down below, another batter struck out and a wave went around the stadium and the game went on, everyone oblivious to Dan and Sylvia.

That just wouldn’t do, he thought. As they went into the top of the sixth, the two of them just going through the motions, Dan ran his hands down Sylvia’s thighs, grabbed the hem of her dress. He hesitated, then lifted it, up past her hips, exposing the game already in progress. She realized what he was doing but didn’t stop him. If anything, she started grinding with more fervor.

Dan watched the crowd below, still oblivious, but then he noticed a man a few rows ahead and twenty feet to the right who seemed to have spotted them. As Dan looked over, the man turned away, nudged one of his buddies, and they both looked. Pretty soon, the whole group of them was glancing over, about a dozen of them, smiling and saluting with their beers. Dan smiled back and grabbed Sylvia’s hips, guiding her banging, whispered in her ear, “We have an audience down there.”

Sylvia looked over, saw the men staring at them, felt herself pushed closer to the edge. She looked across the stadium, the distance deceptively vertiginous, the lower stands smearing back forever before rising into the upper decks, colorful dots that were the fans swimming and swarming. Then, they both heard the noise, rising from the crowd while no one was at bat. It was a mixture of cheers and hoots and laughter, a growing muttering.

They both caught a glimpse of the diamond vision screen, before the image changed to an innocuous shot of the bullpen. It was them, the two of them, dozens of feet tall, fucking in living color for an audience of thousands, for just an instant, but that instant was enough and both of them went off in a shuddering, quaking orgasm.

The men in the bleachers applauded as Sylvia pulled her skirt down, got off of Dan’s lap and kissed him. He kissed her back, then noticed the movement far below, the blue blazers starting to climb. “Time to go,” he said. She nodded and they hustled along the back of the bleachers, down the far side and out an exit, into the parking lot, managing to avoid security but getting several appreciative nods and thumbs-up from the peanut vendors and ushers they passed.

Too bad that game hadn’t been televised, but they’d given the fans something to talk about for a long time. As for Dan and Sylvia, the memory was enough ammunition for a short time, a week of reliving it, before things got boring again. Not that they would ever be bored with each other, but they had moved the boundary again, had further to go next time. Always further, but they were both coming up short on ideas. They stopped by the gym again one morning, but the old desk boy had moved on and the woman behind the counter looked too butch and humorless to appreciate a show, so they left after legitimately working out. They rode the subway some more, even performed once for an approving audience of skater boys, but it wasn’t the same.

They banged on a crowded beach, in full daylight, but everyone pretended to ignore them. Sure, everyone was probably staring when neither Dan nor Sylvia were looking, but when either of them glanced at the crowd, it was as if they didn’t exist. They didn’t even finish, just suddenly stopped, Dan rolling off her, pulling his trunks back on. “What is with these fucking people?” he said.

“It’s this town,” she answered, wriggling back into her one-piece. “Everybody is too jaded, thinks they’re too sophisticated to be disturbed. Maybe we should have picked a beach where they have lifeguards, at least they would have noticed.”

“They would have arrested us.”

“Is that such a terrible thing, though?” Sylvia wondered aloud. “What do they do, give you a ticket and send you on your way?”

“With our luck, they probably wouldn’t even notice.”

“We have been lucky,” she said.

“Well, what are we expecting, really?”

They lay there for a while, baking in the sun. Maybe this was the wrong place. The crowd was mostly young, college kids, tweenies, no children, no old people. Half of them would probably have done the same thing if they had the guts. He glanced over, saw a young couple lying on top of each other, making out. They were fully clothed but obviously dry-humping each other silly. Maybe Dan and Sylvia’s performance had been inspiration for that. Maybe it was just hormones.

“Dan…” Sylvia started, then went silent.

“Yes?”

“You remember that night in the park? When the police showed up?”

“Oh yeah,” he said. “How could I forget?”

“When I saw them going into that bathroom, knowing you were there… it got me really, really excited.”

“Same here, when I heard their radios. And you’ve never tried to climb out a small window with a hard-on.”

“I want that,” Sylvia said. “How do we get that again? Where can we go, what can we do?”

“I thought this was the place,” Dan shrugged, sitting up, grabbing his shirt and putting it on. “Let’s go,” he said, standing.

“Where?” she asked. He shook his head. He had no answer.

* * *

Saturday Morning Post #87: Until the Thrill is Gone (part 2)

In another story from “24 Exposures,” meet Dan and Sylvia, a couple who can’t quite keep it in the bedroom. Or the house.

The continuing story of Dan and Sylvia, and their search for every more extreme public sex.

“Somebody is watching us,” he whispered in her ear, but he didn’t stop rubbing the lather all over her breasts, didn’t stop plowing her from behind. She turned her head slightly, blinking water out of her eyes, but she couldn’t see anyone. They were in the men’s locker room at his gym, a twenty-four hour place, and it was four in the morning. Other than the desk attendant, the place had been deserted when they’d come in. Dan hadn’t told her what he had in mind, but she figured it out when he lead her in there, past the rows of lockers, opened his own and quickly put his clothes in, gesturing for her to do the same. She was ready to jump on him right there, but he pulled a soap container out of the locker, smiled and walked to the showers.

“Let’s turn around,” she whispered back and Dan obliged, putting his back to the water, Sylvia facing the entrance at an angle. She looked through the opening, couldn’t see anything at first. Then she saw the shadow, on a bank of lockers, caught a glimpse of an elbow, moving up and down. A head tilted ever so slightly into view, just an ear and an eye, a shock of hair. She pretended not to be looking, eyes half-closed.

“I think he deserves some sound to go with this picture,” Dan whispered to her again, one hand sliding down her body, one finger finding the right spot. Sylvia let loose the moaning, in overdrive, but she wasn’t faking it. She never faked it, never had to. “Fuck me,” she spat out. “God, fuck me, fuck me, harder.”

Dan was grunting out a counterpoint to her fugue, a basso profundo, “Yeah. Oh, yeah. You are so tight…” From out in the locker room proper, there came a single half-stifled groan. Sylvia saw the shadow go rigid, an uplifted chin, and then she just lost it, screaming and clawing her thighs and flying up on tip-toe, bouncing her ass as hard as she could while Dan slammed into her with several loud “Uhng” sounds and then they were finished, turning to face each other, kissing once, rinsing off and hurrying back to get dressed.

The locker room was empty now, but they both saw the pearly glop on the floor, smiled at each other. For once, an audience that hadn’t feigned indifference. As they left the place, the boy at the desk glanced up, then pretended to look at his magazine with great interest. Dan and Sylvia held the laugh until they were outside.

“What a little pervert,” Dan said, and Sylvia cracked up again. She’d grown thoughtful by the time they’d gotten to the car, quiet on the drive home.

“What are you thinking?” Dan finally asked her.

“I never realized how exciting it was to have a stranger watching us,” she said. “I mean, to know that somebody was there. And even if he hadn’t been playing with himself… the idea — “

“Is a huge turn-on,” Dan finished, nodded. “And it didn’t matter to me who it was. Desk boy, or another member, whoever. I think we found out something interesting this morning.”

“What next?” she wondered, putting her hand on his on the center console.

“I’m sure we’ll think of something,” he answered.

And, of course, they did.

* * *

The desk boy at the gym served their purposes for a while. It got to the point where he’d be heading over to lock the door immediately after they went through to the weight-room, they could hear the click, and once he even forgot to take down the “Temporarily Closed” sign before they left, Sylvia had noticed that. But he properly kept his distance, always spying on them from outside, never approaching. The closest he had gotten was to stand in the doorway once while they were facing away. Sylvia could see his reflection in one of the chrome fittings, but he wasn’t really doing anything, just standing there, one hand down his pants but strangely motionless. As she turned around to face Dan, the desk boy vanished like a shadow.

They got bored with him eventually. He never mentioned what he’d seen and they’d never brought it up. After all, the point wasn’t to seduce the college boy at the counter. It was to know they were entertaining him without any of the awkwardness of actually being caught. They got as bold as to go at it on the rowing machine one night, gym clothes tossed aside, and she saw him looking at them in one of the many mirrors, his pants around his ankles, hand pumping furiously, but she could tell he was having a really hard time keeping it up. They’d become routine for him, and for themselves, and she told Dan when they got home that it was time to move on.

They were walking in Hollywood one evening, trying to come up with ideas, when a woman tore out of a small theatre, slammed into them and kept going up the street, losing a shoe in the process. “Crazy bitch,” Sylvia said. Dan picked up the shoe, watched after her as she ran to the subway entrance, kicked off the other shoe and descended.

“Who the hell takes the train in this town?” he muttered, but then Sylvia’s eyes lit up and she didn’t even have to say it. Dan took her hand and they headed for the station.

The mezzanine was deserted as they trifled with the ticket machines, bought round-trip fare for the two of them, then headed to the escalator down to the platform. There was a train in the station as they reached the bottom, door open. Dan and Sylvia ran, hopped inside just as the doors closed. This car was empty, the last one. Through the far window, they could see the woman sitting, at the distant end of the next car, just staring into space.

“Next stop, Hollywood and Highland,” the driver’s voice announced, and the train was already decelerating.

“That wasn’t much of a trip,” Sylvia commented.

“No,” Dan said, “But the next leg looks like it’s about seven minutes.” He was staring at the schedule on the wall, grinning. No one got on at the next station, and the second the doors shut, they were out of their clothes, Dan hanging onto the overhead rails as Sylvia pulled herself up, balanced her feet on two seatbacks and slid into position. They were done and dressed again just as the train pulled into the next station, which was crowded, but everybody seemed to be going the other way. Again, no one got onto this train. Dan could still see the woman in the next car, but couldn’t make out her face from here. On the next leg of the trip, which was the last, they dared each other to get naked and walk to the end of the car. When they got there, they realized the woman in the next car had dozed off. She wasn’t even paying attention to them.

A little disappointed, they got dressed again and behaved themselves all the way back to where they’d started. Maybe this trip had been a bust, but it still gave them some ideas, and in the next few weeks they performed for various audiences, always one car away, many of them ignorant of the goings-on, others plastering their faces up against the window and staring. They even perfected their timing so they’d still be naked when the train pulled into the station, but clothed and ready to exit by the time the doors opened.

They hit the high point two weeks later, when there was one other passenger with them, a man with an expensive camera who nevertheless looked somewhat rumpled, seedy and world-weary. He sat at the far end of the car, staring out the windows as the seven-minute stretch began. Sylvia didn’t have to look at Dan twice. They were at it in a New York minute, up against the back wall of the train — and the man started taking pictures, just casually firing off shots, no flash needed in the brightly lit car, but they could both hear the click and whirr of the thing, one shot after another and they stared into each other’s eyes, climbing to a higher, wider plateau than they had before, Dan practically banging Sylvia right through the rear door to an appreciative but anonymous audience. They were so excited they nearly blew their timing at the next station, actually having to crouch in a rear seat still pulling their clothes on as more passengers entered. But none of the new crowd caught them or noticed, luckily for them, since two uniformed LAPD officers hopped on at this station to check tickets. They finished their round trip with silent smiles. Dan had wanted to thank the photographer, but he had vanished when they stopped, slipping away into the night.

“How soon do you think we’ll be famous on the Internet?” Dan wondered.

“We can only hope,” Sylvia smiled at him.

They never did find the pictures online, despite the best of Dan’s searching abilities, which was disappointing. Just the idea that millions of strangers could get a look at what they’d done excited both of them, but without verification, it was an empty hope. Dan had suggested setting up a webcam and performing for the world, but Sylvia didn’t like that idea. It was too impersonal, too safe. It didn’t have the danger of a real-life intruder.

“We could always go back to the gym, see if that kid wants to join in,” Dan suggested.

“He never will,” she said.

“We can find somebody who would,” he went on, hopeful. But Sylvia just shrugged, reached for her blouse and wrung it out to drape over her shoulders. It was cold out here in the middle of the park in the middle of the night, wet grass all over her back. The sprinklers had come on while they were going at it, which had been a thrill at the time — were they automatic, or did some groundskeeper do it, and was he watching them? But now it was just uncomfortable and she was shivering. Dan got up, knocking grass off his legs. “Be right back,” he said, walking away, clothes still scattered.

“Where are you going?” she asked him.

“I have to pee,” he said, trotting now toward the small outbuilding with the dingy yellow light glowing from inside. Sylvia watched him disappear, hoped no one else was in there. Being an exhibitionist was one thing, but walking naked into a men’s room in a park in the middle of the night could be very easily taken as the wrong kind of invitation if Dan weren’t alone.

For once, she was a little worried, so she put her clothes on despite their dampness, then gathered up Dan’s clothes, about to head for the restroom when she saw them — two cops, in uniform, hands on their billy clubs. She crouched to the ground, skittering sideways to hide behind a bush, wondering what to do. The cops walked past the outbuilding, peering into the park, shining flashlights at random. She ducked, watching the beams play past her, hoping the cops didn’t see her. One of their radios squawked in the distance, the only sound. Then, they turned and walked into the men’s room and Sylvia froze. She couldn’t do a thing to warn Dan now. What could she do, scream? That would get the cops away from him, but there’d be so many things to explain. She watched the yellow rectangle of light, expecting to see Dan being dragged out in handcuffs, every second adding to her excruciating wait — and, she realized, every second, she was getting more turned on. What if they weren’t really cops? What if they were, but they liked the idea of finding a strange, naked man all alone in a men’s room? Maybe they had Dan cuffed to a stall right now, giving him a thorough cavity search —

And then there was Dan, appearing from around the corner of the restroom, racing for her, and this adventure had excited him, too.

“Come on,” he said as she got up. He took his clothes from her, but carried them under his arm as he ran to their car, opened the door to let her in. He ran around to the driver’s side, got in, but didn’t start the thing.

“Right now,” he pointed to his lap. “Quick, quick.”

Sylvia didn’t need to be told twice. She dove down on him, taking him all the way to the back of her throat. He tensed up almost immediately, shot his wad with his hand knotting in her hair, then started the car and drove off down the road.

“What happened in there?” she finally asked him.

“I heard their radios before they came in,” he said. “Climbed out the window. They almost saw me.”

“They could have arrested you.”

“Yeah, I know. Isn’t that hot?”

“It would have been big trouble.”

“Exactly…”

He grinned at her and she knew he was right. She realized she’d been casually fingering herself since they got into the car, started moving her hand in earnest now.

“Having to explain to them, they’d probably take you away with a tarp over you, you’d be stuck at the police station until I came to make bail. There’d be a police record, a court case. Everybody would know. Everyone would know about… everything, I’m sure, and those photos would turn…”

She never finished the sentence, since she’d finished herself at that moment and Dan pulled into their parking space, stopped the car, got out. He opened her door, still naked, and she stumbled out, still a little shaky. “What about your clothes?” she asked.

“Leave ‘em,” he said. “I’ve got my keys.” He lead the way back to the apartment and was ready to go again before they even got in the door. As they entered, she was already pulling her dress off and he flicked on the lights, shut the door and opened the drapes. They did it two or three more times, right in front of the window, finally falling onto the floor exhausted as the sun was coming up. They knew for certain that several joggers and the guy delivering the Times had seen them, one of the joggers stopping to trot in place for a long time as they put on their show.

They fell asleep in the living room and didn’t get up until early afternoon. They went to see a movie, but only held hands in the theatre. They were practically the only ones in the place, and everyone else was sitting in front of them, focused on the screen. No point in doing anything that wouldn’t be appreciated. They started making out in the car afterwards, but it was the middle of a weekday. The lot was deserted. They gave it up before they’d proceeded to anything more and went home, not even having time for a quickie before Dan had to go to work. He asked Sylvia if she wanted to come by later, but she said no. Why bother? The place would be empty. The gym? Maybe, but the kid had already seen them enough times and never did anything, what was the point?

“Want to go fuck on the police station steps?” Dan winked at her.

“Even for us, that’s a bit much,” she answered, kissing him good-bye. “See you later,” and he left. She made herself a cup of tea and sat at the computer, searching for “subway sex” and “subway couple” and every other combination of words she could think of that might blaze the ethereal pathway to their one recorded moment of glory, but there was nothing. It had been a lot of good times with no absolute proof, other than their memories, which were morphing as they sunk into the past, better probably than they’d been in originally happening, but far short of… something, some ultimate, some unknown thrill that was floating out there somewhere, waiting to be discovered but refusing to hint about itself.

Dan called her around one in the morning. He was going to be late. “The troublesome twins up to their old tricks,” he said. “This time, the fight got started inside, so I have to give a witness statement.”

“You really have to make them stop that,” she sighed.

“Yeah, what do I care, I don’t own the place, and people always tip more afterwards.” He paused, then she could hear the suggestion in his voice, “The place is crawling with cops.”

“Keep your pants on,” Stacey told him, not rhetorically. She hung up and went to bed, knowing Dan wouldn’t do anything that extreme. He couldn’t. She wasn’t with him, after all, and that was the entire point of the game.

Together, chasing the thrill. But what could they possibly do next?

* * *

Saturday Morning Post #87: Until the Thrill is Gone (part 1)

In another story from “24 Exposures,” meet Dan and Sylvia, a couple who can’t quite keep it in the bedroom. Or the house.

This is another story from the collection 24 Exposures, in which a sexually adventurous couple keeps pushing the boundaries — but how far can they go?

Dan and Sylvia hadn’t done the carousel for a while, but they had done it long enough to perfect their timing. Jump on last, just before it started, find an empty horse on the inside track that wasn’t near anyone else, and climb aboard, Sylvia in front.

As soon as the horse started moving, Dan would undo his fly and Sylvia would lift the back of her skirt. Neither of them often wore underwear anymore. Then, it was a simple matter of them riding the Merry-Go-Round, her riding him, and they’d perfected it so that both of them would cum just as they felt the motor disengage and the great wheel begin its slow deceleration. They had an entire four minutes from that point to rearrange things and pretend it had just been an innocent children’s ride, climb down laughing, and walk away through the mall, no one but them the wiser.

It had been their first game, early in the marriage one Tuesday afternoon. They were bored, they went shopping, the mall was practically deserted and there was this huge, old, beautiful wooden carousel.

The horses looked like they were made of wedding cake frosting but the lights and the gold gilding gave off the giddy heat of a long-lost sex trade midway. Neither of them remembered who suggested it first. It was probably something they both thought of at the same time, exchanged that look, smiled, and bought their tickets.

It had been the beginning of their big adventure and, all things considered, it had been a pretty tame effort. Eventually, they’d do it on a Sunday afternoon. Now that was exciting and dangerous, the mall jammed with people, the carousel stuffed with riders. But it was still pretty safe and no one ever noticed and they never got caught and it only took about a month or two of doing that trick at least once a week for them to both decide that they needed something… more.

They had that discussion one night at three a.m., in the afterglow of a particularly rough, loud fuck that made the glasses rattle in the racks above the bar where Dan worked. Sylvia was lying on the bar, smoking, while Dan zambonied her crotch with a rag. Their clothes were scattered all over the place, but it didn’t matter. They were the only ones there, even though Dan had left the door unlocked.

“Can you imagine doing this with a full Saturday night crowd?” he asked her.

“Oh yeah,” she answered, still a little tingly. That rag was hitting the right spots.

“Right on top of the bar like that, everyone sitting here watching. Bet the tips would go way up.”

“Like yours did, she thought,” but she wasn’t really listening at the moment. She grabbed his wrist, held his hand tight and she didn’t have to say what she wanted. Dan smiled, adjusted his technique slightly and hit the magic spot again.

Sylvia’s hips flew off the bar, taking his arm with them, her feet shot straight out and she let loose a guttural half-moan, half-scream. Dan certainly envied the instant-reset ability of women. It would be five or ten minutes more before he was ready for another round.

Sylvia rolled off the bar, went for her panties, which she had been wearing this evening. She sat on a bar stool to put them on, but Dan leaned over, took them from her hands, sniffed them, then pulled them on his head.

“I like that outfit, barkeep,” she said. “Now give me a stiff one, straight up.”

“I think I already have,” he smiled before kissing her. Sylvia was amazing. He had dated a lot of women before he met her, and with all of them, it had always been the same. If the sex didn’t start out dull and boring, it got that way quickly.

Dan couldn’t count how many times he’d be at the two month point and find himself humping an inert lump in the bed, a hot-looking woman who nevertheless started acting like an appliance once things got serious. Place on back, spread legs, insert tab A into slot B…

Sylvia was different. She was as adventurous as Dan was, with just as nasty an imagination. Two months passed, then three, then a year and then he knew he was in love and he proposed to her on St. Patrick’s day, in this bar, and they’d been married on Hallowe’en and celebrated their first honeymoon bang on a balcony of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, high above the neon lights and thronging tourists. If it wouldn’t have gotten him fired, he would have laid her right there on the bar during happy hour. Hey, they were adventurous, but neither one of them was stupid.

That was the key to everything — the illusion of danger, the possibility of getting caught, but only a possibility, never a reality. Being seen was one thing. It was a big thing, part of the thrill. The trick was making passers-by only think they’d seen what they’d seen, or to only be seen in places where no one could immediately do anything to stop them. The police were to be avoided at all costs, and both of them had perfected the ability to get completely in or out of their clothes in eight seconds flat. Speed was not necessarily an asset, and Dan had discovered the joys of Velcro flies after one near-accident with a zipper.

They’d been married for three years now, and it just kept getting more interesting.

Sylvia had slipped her dress back on, was smoothing it down, looking for her other shoe. It was just icing on the cake that a woman with Dan’s appetites was also so attractive. She had butterscotch skin and an oval face with high cheekbones, green eyes that just wrinkled slightly when she smiled. And she had one of those long, graceful swimmer’s bodies, high hip bones that dove into legs that went on forever, an absolutely flat belly with an oval navel from which Dan had frequently tongued maraschino cherries or olives or whatever else they happened to have handy. And, like Dan, she was completely clean-shaven. Unlike Dan, she had only deigned to get one small tattoo, a tiny sunburst right above the point where her spine curved between her buttocks. It was a very sensitive spot, as Dan well knew.

He was staring at her and she noticed, smiled. “Let’s get home,” she said. He nodded, looked for his jeans. Sylvia watched. He was still sweaty, the slick glow on his skin under the bar lights helping define his muscles. He was one of those guys whose body was built wide but shallow, so he looked more hulking than he really was, with an almost rectangular torso between wide shoulders and wide hips, which ran straight down into massive thighs. His face didn’t quite fit the image, although Sylvia thought that just made him sexier. He had an innocent, All-American boy kind of face, with pouty lips, long nose and doe eyes. He shaved everything but his eyebrows, had tattoos on both biceps, his lower back, his left thigh and his right ankle, and had five silver rings in one ear, two silver studs in the other, along with piercings in his tongue, both nipples and his navel. She knew he’d probably soon add a small silver ring to the head of his penis, since he’d been talking about it, though Sylvia tried to dissuade him from that idea at every opportunity. She didn’t want that part of him out of commission for a single moment. He’d always remind her that his tongue had recovered perfectly well, and could fill in when necessary. She’d counter with, “A dick is different than a tongue.” He’d stick his tongue out at her, wiggle it triple-time, then say, “And you know it.”

He was very talented with his tongue. And his fingers, and every other appendage. He had once gotten her off with his big toe under the table in the back booth at Canter’s while they were having dinner with her parents. Was it any wonder she loved this man?

“Ready?” he asked her, lifting the pass-through to come out from behind the bar. He was now completely dressed, her panties sticking out of his shirt pocket. She took his arm, smiled.

“Always,” she said.

As she waited just outside the door while he locked up, Dan said, “Hey, next time, let’s do it in the parking lot. Butt-naked, right on the asphalt, right over there.”

At the time, it had been one of those, “Yeah, sure, right,” suggestions. They were adventurous, but neither one of them was stupid.

But then, inevitably, even the carousel and the bar and fucking on a deserted beach in a rainstorm and blowjobs on the freeway at rush hour got a little routine. They both sensed it, that’s how in tune with each other they were. They were still very much in love, still bringing each other to mind-numbing orgasms on a staggeringly frequent basis. But somehow, it just wasn’t quite the same as early on.

“Does it feel like the thrill is gone?” Dan asked her one afternoon while he was finger-fucking her on the sly in a crowded elevator in a very tall building. Even though she was clenched around him like a vice and was practically panting, she still nodded, said, “Well, yeah.”

“Me too,” he whispered in her ear before the blood went to her head and she started vibrating, biting her lip so as not to make any telltale noises. He removed his hand, put his arm around her shoulder and she could smell herself on his finger. She wondered if anyone else could, but she knew that even if anyone had, they wouldn’t say a thing. Maybe that was the big problem. Nobody paid attention. They might as well have been doing this on a desert island, for all the intentionally averted looks and exaggerated ignorings they had received.

“We’ll think of something,” he said. And, eventually, they did.

* * *

Friday Free-for-All #73: 10/10, casino, hotel, lonely

Here’s the next in an ongoing series in which I answer random questions generated by a website. Here are this week’s questions. Feel free to give your own answers or ask your own questions in the comments.

What’s your go to casino game?

First of all, everything in a casino is rigged in the house’s favor. Well, not even rigged. It’s just that the way that the odds work, you’re most likely going to lose unless you happen to walk in and win that $500,000 jackpot with your first dollar in a slot machine and then cash in and walk out.

Otherwise, slot machines aren’t known as “one-armed bandits” for nothing. They’re based on the concept of an intermittent reward. After you’ve put in maybe ten coins and won nothing, then you might get a payout of eight and feel like it’s a big deal, but it’s an illusion.

That’s because your brain immediately thinks, “Hey, I just eight bucks gambling one,” forgetting the other nine that went in before that. So you feel like you’re up instead of down, and keep going.

In theory, casinos do have to pay out slightly more than they take in on the slots, but it doesn’t have to be per hour or per day. Instead, they will tend to tighten up the slots — decrease payouts — during times that the tourists are there, then loosen them up — increase payouts — when it’s going to be only locals.

If you want to even have a chance of winning at the slots in Vegas, you want to go play in downtown Vegas in the middle of a day in the middle of the week, in the afternoon.

The other huge sucker’s game is roulette. Avoid this one entirely. The best you can do is bet black or red, but it’s a 1:1 payout on a not quite 50/50 chance. Did you ever wonder why a Roulette wheel has either one or two green slots, zero and, sometimes, double-zero?

That’s right — so that a red or black bet will be less than a 50/50 chance. It also slightly reduces the 1:36 odds on any individual number. But if you’re betting on single numbers, you might as well just take that money and donate it to charity.

Craps can involve a little bit of strategy, but unless you want to take the time to learn the intricacies of it, it’s probably not worth trying. Likewise, poker is the one game you might actually win at, but there are two reasons. One is that it requires skill on top of chance. The other is that you’re mostly playing against the other players, not the house.

Video poker is different, by the way. The actual odds of any particular hand coming up for you have, naturally, been skewed in the house’s favor and those hands are not random.

So my casino game of choice is blackjack, even though I haven’t been to a casino in years. My reasons are simple. It’s a group game where you can be as social (or anti-social) as you want, the rules are easy to learn, and the dealer is on a somewhat equal playing field. Not entirely, but closer than in any of the other games.

I do have a few rules, though. Any time I go to a casino, I set aside a certain amount that I’m willing to lose. Or, as I think of it, this is what I’m willing to spend playing blackjack. When it’s gone, I’m done, period.

Second is that I stick to the really low-limit tables, $1 or $5, although I have a feeling that one-dollar tables are a thing of the past — that’s how long it’s been since I’ve been to Vegas. Or any casino, although I’ve been close to the ones in Palm Springs and have been tempted.

Other than that, always split Aces, never split tens or face cards, learn how to double down, and keep your winnings and what’s left of what you’ve come to lose separate. With any luck, you can keep it going for a while. With a lot of luck, you actually can walk out with more than you brought in.

What three activities would you rate 10/10 would do again?

There’s really not a lot of detail to any of these, so here they are in no particular order:

    1. Canoeing on a mountain lake. Preferably in the front of the canoe. There’s just something remarkably calming about gliding across the glass-like surface of the water and yet feeling the power and control via the paddle while going relatively quickly.
    2. Sex. Even when it’s bad, it’s… okay, but when it’s average it’s amazing. Get up into the realm of good sex and beyond, and you’re already way past a 10.
    3. Visit New York City, only with time to actually enjoy it. I am kind of odd in that I love both dense urban environments and unspoiled natural landscapes, but New York just has an energy that’s unmatchable. (I would have said San Francisco, but apparently she’s not what she used to be.)

If you built a themed hotel, what would the theme be and what would the rooms look like?

I would definitely create the Fandom Hotel & Resort — and yes, that’s a play on Wyndham. Each floor, or group of floors, would be themed to a particular fandom and designed accordingly, with the rooms and suites also being themed.

It could cover fandoms like Star Wars, Star Trek, Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, Firefly, X-Men, Marvel, DC, Pixar, Harry Potter, Disney, Pixar, the Askewniverse, and on and on and on.

Keep in mind that this is a fantasy hotel, because most of the franchises on the list would never license out to a third party or, if they did, the rights would cost so much that rooms would have to cost a million dollars a night to break even.

If this were going to be a real thing, then it would be a Choose Your Own Adventure sort of place, although not based on the books — and the name might have to change. The idea is that the floors and rooms would reflect certain genres, and might even incorporate 3D projection windows to replace the outside views with images appropriate to the genre.

For example, in a SciFi room, you might see a starfield and planet(s) out the window, while adventure might show you towering mountains with a roaring waterfall and wide river from a ridiculously high POV.

The trick would be coordinating the serving staff to match the theme of the floor so that you wouldn’t have a generic bellhop bringing you room service — then again, for a SciFi floor, a dumbwaiter delivery system that would simulate a working replicator might do it, although there’d still need to be some way to tip whoever got the meal together and loaded it in.

As an added touch, there could be nightly shows, separated by theme floor and guests, using motion simulators. The main shopping, retail, and restaurant area might combine all of the themes vaguely separated into zones.

It would be sort of like a Disneyland you could stay in, and participate as much or as little as you wanted to.

Why are there so many people who are lonely? Why is it so hard for people to make real connections when almost everyone wants to make real connections?

The thing holding people back the most is fear. Fear of rejection is the big one, and so people don’t put themselves out there in the first place. You can’t be rejected if you don’t ask, after all. But if you wait around for someone to ask you, you may just wait forever.

But when you have met someone, the next level of fear is that of exposing your true self and being vulnerable. We put up walls, always worrying, “Will they still like me if I tell them that?”

Some people exaggerate and embellish to fight insecurity and try to impress others. The problem is that this always fails when the embellishments and lies fall apart or inconsistencies and impossibilities begin to pop up.

“Wait — you said you remember being at Elvis’ last concert? But you were, like, two when he died.”

Pro-tip: You have to do a lot of work to remember your lies. You don’t have to do anything to remember the truth.

But we won’t break through the walls to meet other people in the first place, and then we all put up more walls which prevents us from making real connections. We say that we want to make real connections, but that scares us, because then we have no secrets and we’ve exposed our true self.

But those are the only ways to actually make that connection. You have to be willing to strip emotionally naked, or no one will ever know who you are or connect with you.

Friday Free-for-All #59: Multiple viewings, theater or home, hobby time, techsplosion

The next in an ongoing series in which I answer random questions generated by a website. Here are this week’s questions. Feel free to give your own answers or ask your own questions in the comments.

What movie have you seen more than seven times?

For starters, I know that I’ve watched Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey way more than seven times. Once home video and DVD happened, watching 2001 on New Year’s Day instead of a certain parade became a long-standing tradition with me.

The more than seven viewings is also true of several of his films, including Dr. Strangelove, or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb and A Clockwork Orange.

I can’t leave off The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I’m pretty sure I saw that more than seven times in high school alone, and The Wizard of Oz, It’s a Wonderful Life, and The Ten Commandments also make the list because they are still being rerun at least once a year on TV.

I can’t forget the Star Wars Original Trilogy and most of the Prequel Trilogy. The Sequel Trilogy hasn’t been around long enough yet. As for Star Trek, The Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home are the only ones I’ve definitely seen that often.

There are a few James Bond films — definitely Goldfinger, Live and Let Die, and Moonraker (one good, one okay, and one cheesy as hell) again because of the TV return thing.

I’m not sure, but I think that Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (that’s the amazing Gene Wilder-starring version and not the Tim Burton travesty) probably also makes the list. Oh. Also, Cabaret, All that Jazz, and Westside Story.

There are probably others, but these are the ones that I can definitely put in the more than seven list.

Do you prefer to watch movies in the theater or in the comfort of your own home?

This is an answer that’s changed enormously. Once upon a time, my reply would have been absolutely in a theater, because that’s where they were made to be seen.

But then as my interest in seeing all the latest MCU/DCEU franchise films fell to zero, waiting for home video or streaming became enough mostly — although I would still go out for the big event films that interested me, mainly Star Wars installments and Bladerunner 2049.

The last film I did see in an actual theatre was Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, back in February 2020. It was a mid-weekday thing and there were about four of us in the place.

So already having discovered the joys and convenience of streaming, not to mention the lower cost if it’s something on a service you already have, by the time the theaters shut down it was a no-brainer, and I’m not really inclined to go back anytime soon.

Honestly, seeing a Marvel movie on a big screen doesn’t really add much to it, not compared to the quality I can get at home. Plus I also don’t have to put up with other people, sticky floors, or an endless parade of pre-show trailers and adverts.

What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?

I would become a total model train geek, although it would be about more than just the trains. I’d want to create an entire miniature city in a dedicated room, like a full basement, and build it in something like N Scale, which is ¾” to 1 foot, or 1:160 scale.

This would make a model of the Empire State building just over 9 feet tall at the tip of its mast, although it would take 33 linear feet of model to make up one mile of street, so it wouldn’t be a very big city. (Z scale would cut this down to 24 feet per mile, but definitely sacrifice some realism.)

To get a scale model of all of San Francisco into an area 33 feet on a side, you’d wind up with city buses being just under half an inch long and a tenth of an inch wide. You’d only need to cut the N scale in half to model two square miles of Midtown Manhattan.

But wait… it does say that time and money aren’t an issue, right? So instead of building a single square mile of city in a basement, why not go for a warehouse or buy an abandoned big box store? Aim for something that would fit fifty or a hundred square miles of city, and if it had multiple floors, go for various layouts — urban mega-city, suburban smaller town, historical city — with a scale ten mile footprint, you could easily build two separate 19th century Main Street towns surrounded by countryside and connected by railroad and telegraph.

And I wouldn’t need to go it alone. Hell, it could become an entire project that would employ model and miniature makers, urban planners, painters, designers, builders, electricians, programmers, and more. Give the big city a working harbor and airport, also have miniature cars and people moving around, design it to not only have a night and day cycle but seasons and weather as well, and it could be quite a thing.

It could even become a tourist attraction. Hell, they already did it in Hamburg, Germany.

And why does the idea fascinate me so much? Maybe because I was into model trains as a kid, although never had a neat, permanent layout. But this also led to me becoming a big fan of games like Sim City, in which I could indulge my curiosity about building and creating things and see where they led — especially urban landscapes.

Hm. Give me all the resources, and I just might make TinyTowns a major tourist destination.

Why did technology progress more slowly in the past than it does now?

I believe that this is because technological development is exponential, not algebraic. The latter is a very slow, additive process. You go from 1 to 1+1, or 2, then to 2+1 for 3 and so and so on. Repeat the process 100 times, and you land on 101.

Take the simplest exponential progression, though, in which each subsequent step is double the one before it. That is, go from 1 to 1×2, or 2, then 2 to 2×2 for 4, and so on. After a hundred steps, your result is 1.25×10^30, or roughly 1 followed by 30 zeros, which is one nonillion.

For perspective, a yottabyte — currently the largest digital storage standard yet set — is equal to one trillion terabytes, the latter currently being a very common hard drive size on a home computer.  The number noted above is ten thousand times that.

It’s exactly how we wound up with terabyte drives being so common when, not very long ago, a 30 megabyte drive was a big deal. That was really only within a generation or so. This relates to Moore’s Law, stated in 1965 as “the number of transistors in a computer chip doubles every 18 to 24 months.”

What wasn’t stated with the law was that this doubling didn’t just affect the number of transistors, and therefore the number of simultaneous operations, that a chip could perform. It extended to every other aspect of computers. More operations meant more data, so you could either speed up your clocks or widen your data buses (i.e. length of allowable piece of information in bits) or both.

And this is why we’ve seen things like computers going from 8 to 64 and 128 bit operating systems, and memory size ballooning from a few kilobytes to multiple gigabytes, and storage likewise exploding from a handful of kilobytes to terabytes and soon to be commercial petabyte drives.

Perspective: A petabyte drive would hold the entire Library of Congress print archive ten times over. If would probably also hold a single print archive and all the film, audio, and photographic content comfortably as well.

Now, all of this exploding computer technology fuels everything else. A couple of interesting examples: Humans went from the first ever manned flight of an airplane to walking on the moon in under 66 years. We discovered radioactivity in 1895 and tested the first atomic bomb 50 years later. The transistor was invented in 1947. The silicon chip integrating multiple transistors was devised in 1959, twelve years later.

And so on. Note, too, that a transistor’s big trick is that it turns old mathematical logic into something that can be achieved by differences in voltage. a transistor has two inputs and an output, and depending how it’s programmed, it can be set up to do various things, depending upon how the inputs compare and what the circuit has been designed to do.

The beauty of the system comes in stringing multiple transistors together, so that one set may determine whether digits from two different inputs are the same or not, and pass that info on to a third transistor, which may be set to either increment of leave unchanged the value of another transistor, depending on the info it receives.

Or, in other words, a series of transistors can be set up to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. It’s something that mechanical engineers had figured out ages previously using cogs and levers and gears, and adding machines and the like were a very  19th century technology. But the innovation that changed it all was converting decimal numbers into binary, realizing that the 0 and 1 of binary corresponded perfect to the “off” and “on” of electrical circuits, then creating transistors that did the same thing those cogs and levers did.

Ta-da! You’ve now turned analog math into digital magic. And once that system was in place and working, every other connected bit developed incredibly over time. Some people focused on making the human interfaces easier, moving from coding in obscure and strictly mathematical languages, often written via punch cards or paper tape, into not much improved but still infinitely better low level languages that still involved a lot of obscure code words and direct entry of numbers (this is where Hex, or Base 16 came into computing) but which was at least much more intelligible than square holes a card.

At the same time, there had to be better outputs than another set of punched cards, or a series of lights on a readout. And the size of data really needed to be upped, too., With only four binary digits, 1111, the highest decimal number you could represent was 15. Jump it to eight digits, 1111 1111, and you got… 255. Don’t forget that 0 is also included in that set, so you really have 256 values, and voila! The reason for that being such an important number in computing is revealed.

Each innovation fueled the need for the next, and so the ways to input and readout data kept improving until we had so-called high-level programming languages, meaning that on a properly equipped computer, a programmer could type in a command in fairly intelligible language, like,

10 X = “Hello world.”

20 PRINT X

30 END

Okay, stupid example, but you can probably figure out what it does. You could also vary it by starting with INPUT X, in which case the user would get a question mark on screen and the display would return whatever they typed.

Oh yeah… at around the same time, video displays had become common, replacing actual paper printouts that had a refresh rate slower than a naughty JPG download on 1200 baud modem. (There’s one for the 90s kids!) Not to mention a resolution of maybe… well, double digits lower than 80 in either direction, anyway.

Surprisingly, the better things got, the better the next versions seemed to get, and faster. Memory exploded. Computer speeds increased. Operating systems became more intuitive and responsive.

And then things that relied on computers took off as well. Car manufacturers started integrating them slowly, at first. Present day, your car is run more by computer than physical control, whether you realize it or not. Cell phones and then smart phones are another beneficiary — and it was the need to keep shrinking transistors and circuits to fit more of them onto chips in the first place that finally made it possible to stick a pretty amazing computer into a device that will fit in your pocket.

Oh yeah… first telephone, 1875. Landline phones were ubiquitous in less than a hundred years, and began to be taken over by cell phones, with the first one being demonstrated in 1973 (with a 4.4 lb handset, exclusive of all the other equipment required), and affordable phones themselves not really coming along until the late 1990s.

But, then, they never went away, and then they only just exploded in intelligence. Your smart phone now has more computing power than NASA and the Pentagon combined did at the time of the Moon landings.

Hell, that $5 “solar” (but probably not) calculator you grabbed in the grocery checkout probably has more computing power than the Lunar Lander that made Neil Armstrong the first human on the Moon.

It’s only going to keep getting more advanced and faster, but that’s a good thing, and this doesn’t even account for how explosions in computing have benefited medicine, communications, entertainment, urban planning, banking, epidemiology, cryptography, engineering, climate science, material design, genetics, architecture, and probably any other field you can think of — scientific, artistic, financial, or otherwise.

We only just began to escape the confines of Analog Ville less than 40 years ago, probably during the mid to late 80s, when Millennials were just kids. By the time the oldest of them were second semester sophomores in college, we had made a pretty good leap out into Digital World, and then just started doubling down, so that two decades into this century, the tech of the turn of the century (that’d be 2000) looks absolutely quaint.

Remember — we had flip phones then, with amazing (cough) 640×480 potato-grade cameras.

Compare that to 1920 vs 1900. A few advances, but not a lot. The only real groundbreaker was that women could now vote in the U.S., but that wasn’t really a technological advance, just a social one. And if you look at 1820 vs. 1800, or any twenty-year gap previously, things would not have changed much at all except maybe in terms of fashion, who current world monarch were, or which countries you were currently at war with.

And that, dear readers, is how exponential change works, and why technology will continue to grow in this manner. It’s because every new innovation in technology sews the seeds for both the need and inevitability of its next round of advancement and acceleration.

We pulled the genie out of the bottle in 1947. It’s never going back in.

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