ROF Towers gets sent a few barmy messages.
We read them, we enjoy them, we don't generally do much with them. If they're hardcopy, we add them to the pile of silent screams on top of the mini-fridge.
If a practising lawyer pings us a weird request, it’s different.
Like when Jacob, the Co-Founder and Legal Director of Bedbible, "your go-to source for sex toys", got in touch asking ROF to amend an article in the Guardian.
Who knows what Google alerts Jacob has on his computer, but somehow a chat on the RollOnFriday discussion board from August headed "A warning about Alan" managed to get his attention in November.
I picture his computer pinging.
Hullo, thinks Jacob. His desk continuously vibrates thanks to the dozens of whizzing silicone ovoids and buzzing lipsticks the other Bedbible staff insist on leaving there, allegedly to test battery life.
Head thudding thanks to the jittering screen, he reads intently. His Google alert for a Guardian article about sexual health has flagged a post on RollOnFriday’s discussion board.
"Jacob! Empty the bins!" yells Zoe from the other room. Jacob ignores her. Finally, there's legal bizzle to deal with, well, kind of.
He tracks down ROF's email address and writes: "Hello. I stumbled upon your page."
Yes, 'stumbled', he thinks. As if he doesn’t spend hours crawling the web searching for something, anything, to distract him from the lubed-up, sex-positive, polyamorous nightmare he's created for himself.
"I can see you inserted a link reference on: 'https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/aug/11/rise-in-popularity-of-anal-sex-has-led-to-health-problems-for-women' to another site".
He’s writing nonsense, he knows that. He's claiming RollOnFriday inserted a link in the Guardian’s story. How could they possibly do that? It's a different publication. A different company. They'll think he's barking. Maybe he is, a little. You’ve got to have some edge to commission articles like ''The 3 Best Bondage Sleepsacks for Total Bodily Encasement'.
"We are actually the original source of this data, and I found your faulty source reference as I just updated the dataset (finished mid-November)."
Jacob nods in satisfaction. It’s right that RollOnFriday should be made aware that he recently updated the dataset. It proves he does more than fetch coffee and empty the bins.
"Please correct this reference ASAP, to the original one: https://bedbible.com/anal-sex-statistics/"
Yes. Tell RollOnFriday to amend the Guardian’s story. That’s fair. Or ludicrous. The headaches make it hard to think straight.
"We have spent years surveying and collecting data, making us an Official Statistics Partner for this dataset.”
‘Official Statistics Partner’ means nothing, but it looks good. Hefty. Now, how to drive his point home? He's interrupted by a muffled shout from a box in the corner: “Credit!” It’s Ben, totally encased in latex inside. Jacob clicks his fingers. "Thanks Ben!"
“So getting credit for it is important to us", he types with a grin.
"Credit!" shouts Ben again.
"Got it, Ben!"
Talking of hefty, a Fun Factory G5 Big Boss (4.8/5, "ready to be the boss of the bedroom") suddenly goes ape on his desk. The thrumming limb bounces along and deals him a savage blow to the solar plexus, winding him. It's been remote activated by Zoe.
"Bins!" she shouts. He's got to finish this fast.
"Please make sure to use the original reference instead. Thanks!"
Zoe’s chore alarm flops into his lap and whips a nut. Jacob fights a wave of nausea as the beastly prong drops to the floor and thrashes away.
Through streaming eyes, he manages to type, "I look forward to hearing from you."
"Bins!" screams Zoe. He knows what comes next.
Jacob's guts convulse as she triggers the Eclipse Thrusting Rotator Probe (4.6/5, "silent, very powerful") she insists he wears at the office.
"Credit!" moans Ben from his bag in the box.
"Not now Ben!" gasps Jacob.
Shivering, he stretches to the keyboard and presses 'send'.
It’s done. Cheeks quivering at 7,000rpm, he gathers up the binbags bulging with explicit packaging and lugs them outside, blinking in the daylight. The Probe picks up a notch and he hunches over. Christ, Zoe.
"I'm doing it!" he says, heaving the marital aid rubbish into the dumpster and staggering back inside.
Zoe powers down the Probe. Ben is quiet. Things are looking up. Jacob's email pings. Hey, it's those cats at RollOnFriday.
"Hi Jacob", he reads. "Are you saying that a poster on our discussion board linked to a Guardian article, but the Guardian article should have linked to your research…?"
Yes, I am, thinks Jacob. Give me- oh no.
"Credit!" he gasps.
"Not you as well”, says Zoe. “Do you want another dose?"
"No - ‘credit’ - it's Ben’s safe word!"
The box is sturdy. Cast iron. No wonder Lucio gave this gimp crate 4.8 out of 5. The crew of Bedbible heave up the lid.
Ben’s inside, of course he is, he can't go anywhere. He's completely encased in a latex vac-bed (4.7/5, "very advanced users only"). He looks like Han Solo in carbonite, if the space smuggler had persuaded Jabba to pierce his nipples and freeze him nude. He's immobile - too immobile; Jacob realises to his horror that the single breathing hole is plugged by what looks like an Inflatable Incubus Gag (3/5, "not for the faint-hearted").
Ben’s broken the cardinal rule of Bedbible - one toy at a time. Otherwise you can't score them accurately. And you might die.
The others lose it. Lucio gibbers about responsible breath play. Katya suggests disposing of him in a rolled-up carpet. Zoe is chanting scores out of five. Basically, their brains have been fried by months of climaxes. But not Jacob. As the resident lawyer of Bedbible, he has experienced no pleasure. Sober, chaste, clear-sighted, he slices the latex around Ben's head with the key to a nearby Hunkyjunk Lockdown Chastity Device (3.8/5, "may not be restrictive enough"), swiftly unbuckles the gag, and employs a pair of E-Stim Nipple Clamps (4.5/5, "delivers as much of a shock as you can take") as a makeshift defibrillator.
Ben thumps back to life, coughing and looking scared.
Jacob breathes a sigh of relief. The others laugh in disbelief at his initiative, slapping him on the back. Even Zoe cracks a smile as she shuts Ben's lid, returning him to darkness. But then she taps her empty cup and mimes turning up a dial. Time for the coffee run. Jacob's correspondence with ROF will have to wait. He sighs and chuckles to himself. Just another day at Bedbible HQ.
That’s how it probably went, anyway: I can’t be sure as Jacob didn’t get back to me.
To be fair to Bedbible, that's good advice.