‘It’s the latest thing,’ JD continued. ‘First thing they gave me was a vacuum constriction device. It was an elastic band on a plastic cylinder attached to a vacuum pump, and I had to put my digery-doo inside the cylinder, then pump the air out of it.’
Marie closed her eyes. Tried to imagine it. She wished he’d stop calling it a digery-doo.
‘What happens normally, in a normal erection, is that blood rushes to the spot, and it fills up what they call the erection chambers. But with erectile dysfunction that doesn’t happen, so when you pump the air out of the cylinder you get a vacuum, and the vacuum draws the blood in.’ He took a breath. ‘You following this?’
‘I’m all ears,’ said Marie, her eyes tightly closed. ‘So then you’ve got a hard-on, but you’re still inside the cylinder, right?’
‘Right. So then what I had to do, I had to slide the elastic band off the cylinder and onto the shaft of the old digery-doo, down at the base there, so the blood couldn’t get out again. Then I could come out of the cylinder, and I was ready to go.’
‘Hey-presto,’ said Marie with a tiny voice.
‘Precisely,’ said JD. ‘It worked, but it was murder. The girlfriend I had at the time couldn’t stand it. By the time I was ready she’d gone to sleep.’
Marie suppressed a yawn. ‘What was it you called it? The name? Something function.’
‘Organic erectile dysfunction?’
‘Is that another way of saying impotent.’
He flinched, but recovered. ‘They used to say we were impotent, but they’ve changed the name now. There’s not so much stigma associated with the new name.’
‘Why didn’t you tell me this?’
‘I’m telling you now. After the cylinder and the elastic band I could’ve gone onto injections, but I didn’t fancy it. What you do, you give yourself the injection, but I read an article about it where this guy sometimes got an erection that lasted four hours. He’d have to go to an emergency ward in the middle of the night to get the antidote. Put me right off, thinking about it.’
Marie could understand that. Thinking about sex, about the passionate scene she’d been involved in with JD only a few minutes ago, she was definitely put off. Somehow, the knowledge that he had some kind of electrical switch implanted into his scrotum did not work as an aphrodisiac for her.
‘You all right?’ he asked drowsily.
‘Yeah.’ She looked at him. He had his eyes closed. While she watched his mouth fell open and his head sank deeper into the pillow. Apparently the conversation was over.