People don't read as much as they once did. That would explain why some members of the general public are unclear on the concept of fiction versus how-to manual when it comes to their choice of reading material.
Steven Lock is such a confused individual.
His other half is equally clueless.
The courts will now attempt to clarify the definition of fiction for them.
Mr. Lock and his unnamed lover mistakenly thought that E.L. James' novel was an instructional guide, rather than accept it for the make-believe that it is.
In this Internet-driven world, the online bookshops don't have shelves and sections to guide the purchaser. If the couple had gone into Eason's, for example, they would have found the book in the "Fiction" section, along with other works of non-reality. They might have gotten a clue that way.
But to the surprise (and extensive bruising) of a woman unnamed, they did not.
Mr. Lock is facing assault charges in an Ipswich courtroom, making for a phenomenally embarrassing period of his life.
It's all come out: the chaining, the whipping, the goings-on in his home on Plover Road.
It doesn't take a novelist to imagine the twittering and gossiping passing over fences and down the street, through the queues in the shops, and at his place of employment. The man will have to take up an assumed name and move far from Ipswich once this is over.
According to Mr. Lock the master, his slave agreed to having her genitalia tattooed with his name, and she was all for being chained to the floor of his bedroom. Agreed to be whipped as well, for disobedience.
However, as he pointed out during testimony, she was a willing participant and they used Fifty Shades of Grey as their instruction guide. No one was injured in the novel, now, were they? So how was he to know that the thing wasn't a true account, something to provide guidance to the bondage rookies?
They followed the rules. They had their code word to indicate when the kinky sex play crossed the line.
Unfortunate that the slave was so shocked by the intensity of the pain that she could do no more than scream and cry. There's nothing in the book about that, you see. The manual lacked an appendix for those finding themselves outside the novel's text.
Twelve jurors must now decide if Mr. Lock is to be found guilty of assault, or sent home to suffer the pain and anguish of public censure.
What are the chances that the ten men will find him innocent, and lucky to have lived out a sex fantasy even if it ended badly, while the two women will be holding out for life behind bars?