The hour had grown late and it had been an exciting day, a fact the Governor used as grounds to excuse himself for the night. The stern look he shot Conrad suggested he might also want to retire early.
Instead, Conrad took Ezhno by the arm and walked him outside and to Conrad’s work shack. The weather was surprisingly pleasant given how hot the day had been. The two men navigated the long walk over a small bridge and through a stand of weeping willows abutting a huge oak.
Ezhno jumped when Conrad pushed what appeared to be a piece of bark and a door clicked open.
“Is the door in the tree?”
“It’s not actually in the tree. I didn’t want to cut into it. It’s a regular door with a lever. I painted it in imitation of the bark. It’s dark so it’s difficult to see, but I think it’s a good facsimile for tree bark as no one’s ever found it before. Not even my mother.” Conrad shut the door, directed Ezhno’s finger to the spot beside the door, and once again, triggered the lever.
The door clicked open. “Brilliant! The camouflage as well as the mechanism is extraordinary.”
A bit flustered by the blatant compliment, Conrad passed him to enter the workshop. He worked quickly at lighting the lamps and candles he had scattered around, using a simple striker mechanism that sparked the wicks to flame. The gaslights gave the metallic implements and in-progress creations a romantic radiance.
Ezhno moved through the room slowly, touching nothing, but now and then bending over as if to inspect springs and tiny gears. He stopped at a long table, the table with Conrad’s completed creations, including several miniature mechanical animals. They were simple toys really, driven by gears and winding, but obviously intriguing, for Ezhno continued his inspection.
After an initial pass, he picked up a squirrel in a red military suit, and, finding a turnkey in its back, wound it up. The squirrel performed a joyful jig, waving its arms and legs. Then, it lurched forward, its arms drooping when the energy waned.
Ezhno broke the silence. “You want them to last longer?”
“They last longer if you spend more time warming them up.” Conrad smirked at his own joke. He picked the squirrel up and spent a few moments winding it. He released it back onto the table, where it danced and waved gleefully with no intention of stopping.
“I like the animation. The painting and shaping is very creative.”
Conrad picked up his squirrel and smiled at it fondly as it danced on the palm of his hand. “They were some of my earlier works, admittedly. When I was younger, my father and mother were too busy with politics to spend much time with me. I made my own friends.”
Face warm, Conrad sighed, worried he’d sounded needy. “I was, I suppose. Back then. But I don’t regret my loneliness as it took me down the path of learning to make these diminutive creatures. I began to see how things were put together and how my experiments could make life easier or bring joy into people’s lives.” He set the squirrel down as it stalled.
Ezhno placed his hand on Conrad’s. “You have a sweet spirit, a good heart.”
“My father tells me I have a good heart, but I don’t think he means it as a compliment.” Conrad looked at Ezhno’s hand on his. Taking a chance, he turned his hand over and caressed the underside of Ezhno’s palm.
In response, Ezhno brushed his fingertips over Conrad’s wrist. “What do you think he means by it?”
Conrad bit his bottom lip, unsure he wanted to voice his thoughts. He’d never spoken his fears to anyone but his mother before, and his father would disapprove. He inhaled.
“I think he’s worried I’m vulnerable because I wear my heart on my sleeve.”
“What do you think?”
Looking sideways puckishly, Conrad said, “I think he’d be surprised by how much I think with my cock.”
Ezhno threw his head back and laughed. “Most men do. Few admit it. But I know that’s not all you think with. Your cock didn’t create all of this.” He squeezed Conrad’s hand and slipped away to a row of tables covered by white sheets.
Immediately, Conrad tensed and blushed as he tried to squeeze past Ezhno. “These aren’t finished. They’re not presentable.”
“I want to see what you’re working on, not just your finished pieces. Maybe it’s something similar to my ideas and we can share our experiences and frustrations. Of course, I won’t press if you would rather I not look . . . .” Ezhno arched his brows.
Conrad chewed his thumbnail, a horrible habit he thought he’d left behind long ago. Realizing he was engaged in such behavior, he gave his hand an accusing look, as if it had forced itself in his mouth, and dropped it to his side.
“Well, it’s just . . . those creations, in particular, are much, much, much more personal.”
“I want to get personal with you.” Ezhno’s voice was warm and rich and his words held such promise.
Conrad could not resist. He stepped away and nodded.
Ezhno pulled the sheet back with a dramatic flourish, as if performing the end of a magic trick. While Conrad appreciated drama in many forms, it was painful to watch Ezhno puzzle through the many strange coils and implements.
At first, Ezhno picked up stray gears, bringing them to his eye for closer inspection and then setting them down. He appeared to be avoiding the rubbery object held up by a copper and gold etched stand. The machinery glittered with several silvery cylinders strapped to a few larger gears.
Once Ezhno touched the seven-inch, pink rubber covered cylinder attached to the mechanism he seemed more enthused. Suggestively ridged with what could have been veins, the device came to a rounded tip head. He circled his fingers around it as he crouched, examining the springs attached to the base of the rubbery protrusion.
“There is something alluring about this piece.”
Stepping next to Ezhno, Conrad traced his fingers over the shaft as he eyed Ezhno pensively, unsure if he was being teased. “Can you tell what it does?”
Ezhno turned it to the side, examining the mechanics more carefully. “It appears to jab. Perhaps a mechanism of this sort would be helpful in a fight if you put a knife on the end.”
“Um.” Conrad covered his hot face with both hands.
“Is it for jousting?” Ezhno flipped the switch and the machine began to jab at the air in a thrusting motion, moving firmly forward and then back. The cylinders created humid smoke that puffed into the air like hot breath.
Conrad opened his hands so they cupped his face, preparing to hide again quickly should the need arise. “Are you making fun of me?”
Ezhno cocked his head like a confused dog. “No, no. I would never make fun of you. I’m trying to figure out what it’s for.”
Exhaling, Conrad dropped his hands. They hit his thighs with a smack. He reminded himself Ezhno was on his side. The man had a very liberal attitude and it was possible he would understand. This could be his one chance to find out how to make it last longer, too. It was a pain to have to refill the water fuel halfway to ecstasy.
“It’s a . . . um . . . well, I call it a Fucking Machine. For one’s pleasure.” The heat rose in Conrad’s cheeks, but he kept his gaze level with Ezhno’s.
Ezhno punched the air. “Your pleasure? But all it does is thrust.” Again, he bent to eye the machine more closely, only to leap to his feet a moment later, a look of understanding dawning in his eyes. “Oh, I see. Well, that’s . . . an impressive size.”
“I used myself as a model.”
“Oh.” Ezhno’s gaze snapped to the front of Conrad’s trousers.
“Do you really think it’s impressive?” Conrad was better endowed than most of the men he’d been with, but no one had said it aloud.
With his dark coloration, it was hard to tell when or if Ezhno ever blushed, but by the way he squinted and smiled awkwardly, he looked embarrassed. “It looks big for something going there. At least to me.”
Conrad was delighted to be thought of as impressive but it would be impolite to brag.
“It’s not an invention most people would appreciate. I’m proud of how it turned out. However . . . .” He ducked his head. “I do wish it would last longer.”
“Yes. Certainly. I could help you. How long does it currently last?”
“Usually around fifteen minutes.”
Ezhno raised his brows. “A respectable time, given its occupation.”
Conrad looked at the dildo. “With a partner, I’d agree, but without the sounds and warm skin of another person, my um . . . well . . . the . . . er . . . the act of coming to fruition, let’s say . . . takes longer.”
“I understand.” Without wasting a moment, Ezhno pulled out a pair of gold-rimmed round glasses. The lenses deformed his eyes. He knelt so the machinery was at eye-level and switched it off.
Popping off the casing, he set to work, examining the pistons and then asking for a screwdriver. He fiddled with gears, seeming to find places to tighten, to loosen, and to snap into and out of place. Scanning the table for spare parts, he changed out the springs and switched one gear to a bigger, thicker one.
He then pronounced his repairs finished and flipped on the switch. With a few squeals, the machine began to move, pumping unhurriedly, but tirelessly with a slow, single rhythm.
As the machine pumped and snapped emulating a man’s penis sailing through the air, Conrad’s breath grew unsteady, almost to the point of hyperventilating. It was perfect—the perfect size, perfect weight, and perfectly ready for him to simply bend over. His cock thickened and pulsed. After a long day of denial, it would not be refused now.
“If it works as I believe it should, those new gears and releasing some of the pressure on the tension of the springs should economize the use of your fuel. I hope to have extended the life of your Fucking Machine to at least an hour.” Ezhno pocketed his glasses.
Conrad was excited by the possibility that he may never again need to get the attention of some brash boy or perverted old man to give him what he wanted. Perhaps he could reenter society now. His Fucking Machine would give him the sex he wanted without the social stigma. What could be better?
“I don’t have to tell you how important it is to be discreet about this.” Conrad fingered his cravat as his Fucking Machine plowed the air, begging someone to take it on.