These days there’s an almost endless supply of two things: information and porn.
It’s all thanks to new technology and the emergence of the internet. There are thousands of porn sites and millions of pornographic videos out there, and each day the number is growing.
While most people consume porn occasionally, some grow obsessed with it, addicted even. My cousin Lester was a prime example.
Growing up, the two of us were close, almost like brothers. Even as a child I noticed that Lester was different. He was a typical nobody. There was nothing interesting about him, and he was overlooked wherever he was. He was a nobody at school, a nobody at home, and once he’d graduated a nobody at work.
He’d been a tiny and unremarkable child and grew into a short, chubby man. His entire demeanor, his gait and his slumped down shoulders gave you the impression of a small animal trying not to be noticed. It wasn’t uncommon for people to forget that Lester was even present.
Now don’t get me wrong, Lester was strange, but he wasn’t sad or depressed. He even liked things the way they were, and his life was alright. A few years after he graduated high school, he started dating Lisa. Soon after, the two of them got married. They were made for each other. Lisa was a typical wallflower and as unremarkable as Lester himself.
While the two of them were an odd couple, I could tell they were happy.
About a year ago Lester lost his job at the literary archives. Budget cuts, his employer said. After working alone in a dusty room for more than a decade, what little social skills Lester had before were now gone. Combine this with an average high school diploma and limited qualifications and you knew finding a new job would be tough for him.
It was me who suggested he should search for work online. Lester admitted he didn’t know a thing about the internet. He and Lisa were old-fashioned and had ignored most technological advances.
One afternoon I invited him over to my place and took it upon myself to introduce Lester to the wonders of the online world. He was hooked, and about a week later he bought his first computer and connected it to the internet.
At first, there was no day without Lester asking for my help. How could you search for a job online, how did the job exchange sites work, how could he send an email, and so on. To be honest, it was quite tiring, but before long he got a hang of things and explored the internet on his own.
He tried to introduce the internet to Lisa, but she didn’t show much interest in it. She was a practical person, and her prime concern was for Lester to find a new job.
It didn’t take long before Lester stumbled upon internet porn.
I found out by accident when I visited him one evening. His browser had been acting up, and he needed me to fix it. While I deleted some malware, I also caught a glimpse of his browser history. There I saw that he’d found his way to a porn site.
At first, he denied it. When I pressed him on the matter though, he admitted he’d clicked on an ad that took him to the page. He knew this content existed, but not that there was so much of it.
I thought it was hilarious. His expression when I caught him was priceless. Lester had never been much of a sexual person and was never comfortable talking about those things.
One time, during a party at my place, Lester got drunk, and we talked about these more private issues. Of course, he and Lisa had sex before, but Lester said it was always an awkward affair. After their marriage, it turned into a once-a-month type of thing before they eventually gave up on it. By the time he found internet porn, I knew it had been years since he’d last had sex. I couldn’t blame him for finding it interesting.
To be honest, I was even a little relieved. For the past year, I’d thought Lester had given up on sex and it had become another thing he thought was for other people.
At first, Lester would only watch the occasional video. He talked to me about how it felt wrong or even immoral to watch those types of videos. I assured him, though, that there was nothing wrong about it and almost everyone watched porn. Considering his sexless marriage, I was sure he could use the release.
Still, Lester didn’t want Lisa to find out about it. So he did what he’d done as a teenager who still lived with his parents. He waited for her to fall asleep, snuck up to the computer, and watched a video or two in secret.
As the weeks passed, Lester grew more and more frustrated with the job hunt. One day, when we hung out together, the poor guy broke into a bit of a rant. It felt useless and like a waste of time. Why did he even search for job offers and send out applications if no one read them, anyway? What use did it all have?
By now, he said, he’d found a few YouTubers he liked, and he enjoyed posting on Reddit. He said he needed to take a break for a bit. To be honest, I understood how he felt.
The problem was, Lisa didn’t, and it was only a matter of time till she caught on to some other things he did online.
One day she got home from work early and didn’t find Lester searching for a job. Instead, she found her husband 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, calling him disgusting. The resulting, almost one-sided argument didn’t last long and ended with her leaving.
A few days later Lester told me about the entire thing. Truth be told, I thought Lisa’s reaction was ridiculous, and I assured him she’d be back, eventually. In the meantime, Laster could focus on finding a new job and getting his life back on track.
The problem was, Lester had given up looking for work. I didn’t know it of course and he kept reassuring me he was busy sending out applications every day. In reality, though, he was busy doing other… things.
The next time I came over, he didn’t even bother to hide it anymore. The moment I stepped into the living room, I was greeted by a hardcore fetish video that played on his computer.
Lester told me he’d only read about it on Reddit and clicked on it when the doorbell rang. He didn’t even have the time to look at it, much less close it. He was never good at lying.
As time went on, things got worse. Lester didn’t talk about job hunting anymore. Instead, all he talked about was porn and different pornstars. Whenever I visited him, he seemed fidgety and nervous as if he couldn’t wait for me to leave again.
I finally told Lisa how ridiculous her reaction had been and that she should talk to him again. I was about to tell her what state he was in when she cut me off. She’d been back many times already. At first, she’d tried to reason with Lester, then she’d confronted him, but soon she gave up. All he did was to nod in agreement without even listening to her. An hour later, he’d be back in front of his porn videos.
Lisa said Lester didn’t even look up when she packed her things and moved back in with her mother.
As much as I tried to talk to Lester and to reason with him, nothing happened. As with Lisa, he’d nod and pretend to listen, but he wasn’t there the entire time. I wouldn’t have it though, but even when I got angry, it was the same thing. He’d not listen, shrug, and wait for me to leave.
After my outburst, I didn’t bother with him for a while.
I only saw him again when his computer broke. He called me over and over, apologizing and pleading with me to help him fix it. In the end, I went, if only to bring an end to his constant calls.
When I arrived his house looked different. His usual well-cared-for lawn was overgrown and almost wild. The windows were stained and the curtains dirty and closed off. When I looked at his car, I could’ve sworn it hadn’t been moved since I was there the last time, more than a month ago.
I didn’t even need to ring the doorbell. As soon as I reached the door Lester ripped it open, telling me how happy he was to see me. I could tell he must’ve been waiting for me all day.
As I stepped inside after him the smell was the first thing that hit me. It was a mixture of sweat and the sweet moldy odor of rotten food. I had to cover my mouth, but Lester didn’t seem to be bothered by it at all. All he cared for was his computer, and he almost rushed back to it. Every once in a while he looked over his shoulder to make sure I was still there.
He was slimmer than I remembered him, but also much more unkempt. What few clothes he wore were dirty, unwashed, and stuck to his greasy body. His hair and beard had grown out. I’d never seen Lester with a beard, and now I knew why. He looked ridiculous and not only a bit creepy.
While the rest of the house was dirty, the worst was his desk. More than a dozen empty delivery boxes were stacked on top of it, and used tissues littered the floor. I had to fight the urge to gag.
Lester didn’t even notice how disgusted I was. He rambled on about what was wrong with his computer, cursing every other sentence. As I looked up at him I saw how tired he looked and how bloodshot his eyes were. I joked about how he should spend more time outside and was about to invite him out, but he didn’t even react to it.
I wondered what had happened to my cousin, my friend. Sure, he’d always been an oddball, but now I didn’t even recognize him anymore.
As I watched him now, nervous, fidgety, dirty, he looked like a different person. Where once had been an ordinary member of society was now nothing but a crazy street person, or hell, a wild animal.
Finally, I got the computer working again. Lester thanked me with a quick nod and a few mumbled words before he pushed me off the seat. For a while, he browsed the web and opened a few threads on Reddit at random. I could feel how nervous he was and how desperately he waited for me to leave again.
The moment I was out of the house, I told myself I had to do something. Lester was family, after all.
To be honest, I’d thought this little obsession with porn was a phase that would be over quickly. I’d never thought things would get this bad, but who could’ve known that it would spiral out of control like that.
I went straight to Lisa and told her Lester needed help. At first, she said she wanted nothing to do with him anymore and closed the door in front of me. When I rang again though, her feelings betrayed her. She started crying and told me Lester had never been much of a man, but he’d been her man. She wanted him back!
Since it was almost evening, we arranged to meet again in a few days to talk about what we could do about him.
When the police showed up at my front door, the next morning I didn’t understand what brought them there. Only after I’d answered a few questions did they tell me the full story.
Lisa had gone over to Lester on her own right after we talked. Inside the house, Lester must have attacked her and knocked her unconscious with a blunt object. After that, they concluded he’d dragged her to the bedroom, ripped her clothes off, and bound her to the bed frame. Then he’d raped her.
It was Lisa’s mother who’d called the police when her daughter hadn’t returned home all night.
When the police arrived at Lester’s house the scene they found was surreal. Stacks of half-rotten delivery food were everywhere. The only source of light was the computer in the living room on which an endless stream of porn videos was playing.
They found the worst in the bedroom. The air was damp and heavy with the odor of sweat and body fluids. Sex toys of all sorts littered the floor and the bed.
Lisa’s body was gagged and hung lifeless between the ropes that bound her. Lester was still on top of her, going at without even noticing the police. It took the combined effort of three police officers to tear him off his wife’s body. He was in a frenzied state of almost feral lust.
A later examination showed that Lisa had been dead for hours and must’ve died because of excessive strangulation.
Lester himself had taken a variety of potency enhancers and other pills.
When the police checked his computer and internet history, they found nothing but porn. For weeks or even months, Lester had consumed nothing but porn.
The trial was quick and simple, and Lester was convicted for sexual assault and manslaughter.
I only visited him once. The moment he entered the visitation area, I could tell he wasn’t the same person anymore.
We exchanged greetings and talked for a bit. He didn’t say a word about Lisa, but within minutes he turned the conversation to porn. It was terrible here, and he wasn’t allowed to use a computer or to watch any of it.
When he smiled at me awkwardly and begged me to bring him some adult magazines, I left.
It was the last time I ever talked to him.
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