Edward O’Dwyer, Unwrapped


I had put on a lot of weight and become rather unattractive in recent years, so I felt it was fair enough that my wife might lose some of the zeal she once had for making love. I didn’t hold it against her one bit, and anyway, she could be accused of letting herself go as well, so it wasn’t as though I was feeling a burning desire for her either.

When I unwrapped my Christmas present from her the December just gone and discovered she’d got me a blow-up doll, I knew well enough that it was because she hoped it would allow her to retire from carnal relations with me. I had no arguments with that and thanked her wholeheartedly for the generous gesture.

Then there was a day in January when things must have been really quiet at the office because she got home early. I didn’t hear the car pull up in the driveway or her key turning in the front door. I was too engrossed in trying the doll out in the living room. We were right in the middle of things when she walked in on us.

Even though it was a gift from her, and for that one purpose, I felt an immediate pang of guilt and began frantically to explain. I was spouting the usual lines about how the doll meant nothing to me, and how it would never, ever happen again, but she just burst out laughing. In a flash, she took out her phone and snapped a quick selfie of the three of us, my mouth, just like the doll’s, a perfect O.

Edward O’Dwyer is from Limerick and is a regular contributor to Dodging The Rain. He is the author of two poetry collections from Salmon Poetry – The Rain on Cruise’s Street (2014) and Bad News, Good News, Bad News (2018). His most recent publication, Cheat Sheets (Truth Serum Press, 2018), consists of 108 very short stories, all dark comedies on the theme of infidelity. He is working on a sequel, from which this story is taken.

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