There are two things you can find these days endlessly: Information and Porn.
It is all thanks to the internet. There are thousands of porn sites and millions of pornographic videos on the web. Each day their number is growing.
While most people consume porn occasionally, some grow obsessed with it, addicted even. My Cousin Lester is a prime example.
Growing up, we were pretty close, almost like brothers. There was one thing though that I noticed even as a child. Lester was a typical nobody. He was someone that was not interesting at all and that you quickly overlooked. He was a nobody at school, a nobody at home and once he graduated, even a nobody at work.
He had always been on the short side and grew into a short, chubby man. His whole demeanor reminded you of that of a frightened animal that tried its hardest not to be noticed. It wasn’t uncommon for people to forget that Lester was around.
Now don’t get me wrong, he was not sad or depressed. His life was quite alright. He liked things the way they were. A few years after high school he started dating Lisa. She was quite similar to him. A typical wallflower and as unremarkable as Lester himself. They got married nine years ago.
The two of them might have been odd, but I could tell they were happy.
It was about a year ago that Lester was let go from his job at a literary archive. Budget cuts, his employer said. After working alone in a dusty room for more than a decade, his social skills were nonexistent. Combine that with an average high school diploma and limited qualifications. Yes, finding a new job was tough for Lester.
It was me who suggested that he should search for work online. Lester admitted that he’d never gotten around to using the internet. He and his wife were both old-fashioned and had ignored technological developments. They had missed out on it, except for certain work-related activities.
One afternoon I invited him over to my place and took it upon myself to introduce Lester to the online world. It wasn’t long before he bought his computer and connected it to the web.
At first, there was no day without Lester asking me for help. How could he search for job opportunities, how did the job exchange sites work, how could he send an email, and so on. It was tiring, but before long he got the hang of things and explored the web on his own.
He tried to introduce Lisa to the internet as well, but she didn’t show much interest. She was the practical type, and her main concern was for Lester to find a new job. I can’t be the single breadwinner forever, she’d complain.
It didn’t take long for Lester to stumble upon internet porn.
I found out one evening as I visited him. His browser had been acting up, and he needed me to fix it. While deleting some malware, I also caught a glimpse of his browsing history. There I saw he had found his way to a porn site.
At first, he denied. When I pressed the matter though, he admitted clicking on an ad that took him to the page. He said he had no idea there was that much of the stuff out there. He knew it existed, but that much of it?
Right at the time, I thought it was hilarious. His expression when I caught him was priceless. Lester was never comfortable talking about these things. I knew that Lisa wasn’t much of a sexual person.
One time, during a party, Lester got pretty drunk, and we talked a bit about more private issues. Of course, the two had had sex before. Lester said it was quite awkward though. After their marriage, it soon turned into a once-a-month type of thing. By the time he found out about internet porn I knew it had been years. Couldn’t blame him.
To be honest with you, I was even a little relieved. For the past years, it felt as if Lester had given up on sex. I had believed, he regarded it as one of the many activities that were meant for other people.
Now I knew though how wrong I was. After first Lester only watched the occasional video. He talked to me about it and said it felt wrong, even immoral to watch those videos. I assured him that there was nothing wrong with it. Pretty much everyone watched porn, I’d tell him. Considering his sexless marriage, I was sure he needed the release.
Still, Lester didn’t want Lisa to find out about it. So he did what he’d done as a little boy. He waited till Lisa was asleep, snuck up to the computer and watched a video or two in secret.
As the weeks passed Lester grew frustrated with the job hunt. One day, when we hung out and had a few drinks, the poor guy broke into a bit of a rant. It felt useless and a waste of time, he said. Going through the daily ritual of searching for job offers? Sending out applications that aren’t read by anyone either way? What’s the use?
By now, he said, he had found a couple of YouTubers he liked, and he was posting on Reddit occasionally. He said he needed a bit of a break. To be honest, I could completely understand him.
The problem was Lisa didn’t. It was only a matter of time till she caught him.
One day she got home from work early and didn’t find Lester searching for a job. Instead, her husband sat in front of his computer, masturbating to a video of an orgy.
At first, Lisa didn’t understand what Lester was doing. When it finally clicked, she screamed at him and called him a disgusting freak. The resulting, almost one-sided argument didn’t last long and ended with her leaving.
It was a couple of days later that Lester told me the whole thing himself. I thought it was ridiculous and Lisa had completely overreacted. I assured him she’d be back in the end. For now, I said, he should find a job and get his life back on track.
The problem was that by now Lester had almost entirely given up on looking for work. I didn’t know that of course. He kept assuring me that he was busy sending out applications every day. In reality, though, he was busy with other things.
The next time I came over for drinks though, I found out the truth. Lester didn’t even hide it anymore. As I entered the living room, I saw a fetish porn site was open on his computer.
He was quick to tell me he read about it on Reddit and only clicked on it as I rang the doorbell. He didn’t even have time to close it before he let me in. Yeah, he was never good at lying.
As time went on though, things took a turn for the worst. Lester didn’t talk about job hunting anymore. Instead most of the time he told me about pornstars. Whenever I visited him, he seemed fidgety and in a hurry, as if he couldn’t wait for me to leave again.
I decided to talk to Lisa about it. I told her that her reaction was ridiculous and that she should speak to Lester again. I was about to tell her what state he was in when she interrupted me. She’d been back many times. At first, she tried to talk to Lester, then she confronted him, but soon she realized it wasn’t worth it. He’d not and agree, only for her to find him back in front of his porn videos an hour later.
Lisa said Lester didn’t so much as look up when she packed her bags to move back in with her mom.
As much as I tried to talk to Lester and appeal to him, nothing happened. As with Lisa, he’d nod and pretend to listen. I wouldn’t have it, but even when I grew angry, he shrugged and waited for me to leave.
After my outburst, I’d been avoiding him. It seemed he didn’t care either.
Only once his computer broke again, he called me over and over again, apologizing and pleading me to come and fix it. In the end, I decided to go, if only to bring an end to his constant calls.
The house was different. The grass was overgrown. The windows were dirty and stained. When I looked at the car, I could have sworn it hadn’t been moved since I was last there.
I didn’t even need to ring the doorbell. As soon as I stepped in front of the door, Lester ripped it open, saying how happy he was to see me. He must have been waiting for me at the window.
As I stepped inside the smell was the first thing that hit me. It was a mixture of sweat and a sweet moldy odor. There must be rotten food somewhere I thought. I had to cover my mouth. Lester didn’t seem to mind the smell at all. He was nervous and almost ran back to his computer. Every few seconds he looked over his shoulder to make sure I was still around, following him.
He was slimmer than I remembered him but much more unkempt. His clothes were dirty, unwashed and stuck to his body. His hair was unwashed and greasy.
His hair and beard had grown. I’d never seen Lester with a beard, and now I knew why. He looked ridiculous and not only a bit creepy.
Before Lester had always worn jeans, a belt, and a button-down shirt. Now he wore nothing but a stained undershirt that might have once been white and a pair of boxers.
The worst though was his desk. Empty boxes of delivery food were stacked all around it, and used tissues littered the floor. I felt the strong urge to gag.
Lester didn’t even notice my disgust. He rambled on about what was wrong with the computer cursing between the sentences. His eyes were bloodshot I saw. I joked how it was most likely since he spends all his time inside, in front of the computer. He said nothing. Again he didn’t seem to listen to anything I said.
I wondered what had happened to my friend. Sure he’d always been a bit odd, but now I didn’t even recognize him.
Looking at him the way he sat next to me, he didn’t look like an ordinary member of society anymore. He reminded me of a crazy street person, a savage or a wild animal.
Finally, the computer worked again. He gave me a quick nod as thanks and almost pushed me off the seat. For a while he browsed the web, opening threads on Reddit at random. I could feel how nervous he was. He was desperate for me to leave.
As I was out of the house, I finally told myself that I had to do something. Lester was family after all.
To be honest, I had thought it was a phase that would soon be over again. I would never have thought this whole thing would spiral out of control like that.
After I left Lester’s place, I went straight to Lisa to talk with her. Lester needed help I said to her at the door. At first, she wanted nothing to do with him and closed the door right in front of me. When I rang again though, her feelings betrayed her. She started crying and told me that sure, Lester was never much of a man, but he was her Lester nonetheless. She wanted him back! Since by now it was already evening, we arranged to meet up again in a few days to discuss what we could do.
When the police stood in front of my door the next day I had no idea what was going on. Only after answering their questions did they tell me the whole story.
Lisa had gone over to Lester on her own after we had talked. Inside the house, Lester must have knocked her unconscious with a blunt object. After that, they concluded he dragged her to the bedroom. In there he proceeded to rip her cloth off, bind her to the bed-frame and rape her.
It was Lisa’s mother who’d called the cops when her daughter didn’t return home.
When the police arrived at the house the scene they found was utterly surreal. Most of the house was in chaos. The kitchen was overflowing with the rotten remains of delivery food. The only light in the living room was that of the computer. On it, an endless stream of porn videos was running.
The worst was what they found in the bedroom. The air was damp and heavy with the odors of sweat and body fluids. Sex toys of all sorts littered the floor and the bed.
Lisa’s body was gagged and hanging lifeless between the ropes that bound her. Lester was still on top of her, going at it not even noticing the police. It was later found out that she had died due to strangulation.
It took three officers to tear him of his wife’s body. He was in a frenzied state of almost feral lust. They later found a variety of potency pills and enhancers that he must have taken. He was completely out of it.
When police later checked his internet history, it was filled with nothing but porn. He must have been consuming nothing else for weeks.
In the end, they convicted Lester for sexual assault and manslaughter.
I only visited him once, but he wasn’t the same anymore. We exchanged greetings and talked a bit. After a couple of minutes though, Lester started asking me to bring him some adult magazines.
It was the last time I ever talked to him.