Invasion of Privacy

Not Saying Girl

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When I remember my family as I was growing up, it’s mostly in terms of generalities. Joan, my mother, was a nice lady with a penchant for the exotic: travelling, food, languages, you name it. She had a warm laugh and a forgiving nature. Paul, my father, was a quiet, heavyset guy who was mostly interested in activities that didn’t involve interaction with other human beings: astronomy, country walks, and books. Because we grew up with them, my two brothers and I thought we knew everything about them – and about each other. And yet as I learned, even people you think you know inside out can still hold a few secrets.


When I was in my early twenties, my older brother Johnnie had only just got married to his long-time girlfriend. My younger brother, Will, was a surly teenager still living at home. As for me, I had only just moved away to Carlton University that year, and because I missed the familial nest, I came home more or less every fortnight. I loved feeling like the prodigal son, warmly welcomed every time I set foot through the door. My mother would prepare a special meal: curry, jambalaya, or pad thai. My Dad would ask me about school and the drive over. As for Will, he was generally glued to the television set and only noticed I’d been there after I’d left. While Johnnie and I are good buddies, my younger brother and I have never gotten along.

The particular visit I’m thinking of took place during spring break one year. I had earned a week’s vacation after passing a load of tedious exams. After such an intensive bout of academic effort, I was ready to be mollycoddled, so I packed my bags and headed home.

On the night of my arrival, a Friday as I recall, I couldn’t sleep. I’d probably drunk too much coffee – I tend to do that whenever I need to drive somewhere in the dark, because I’m phobic about falling asleep at the wheel. But everyone else in the house was tucked up in bed, so I crept into the kitchen and tried to keep quiet as I fixed myself a PB&J sandwich. Then, I ducked into the living room to watch late night TV like any good insomniac.

There mustn’t have been anything interesting on, because I went to the bookcase where the family’s videotapes were stored. There were about a hundred tapes with various shows and movies (of both the home and Hollywood varieties) – mostly down to my Dad and baby brother Will, who liked their quiet evenings in.

Going through the tapes, I couldn’t make up my mind. I’d seen most of our selection already many times over. I felt like watching something new, but the only novelties were labelled as recordings of tedious made-for-television movies. And then I found the centrepiece of the current tale: a video I’d never noticed before. It was on the bottom shelf, inconspicuous, looking like an ordinary blank tape. The faded label on it sported indecipherable handwriting I didn’t recognise.

Curious, I popped it into the VCR. I thought it was either a very old home movie of us boys as kids, or else part of my Dad’s seemingly endless collection of Star Trek reruns.

Boy, was I ever wrong!

I set the TV’s volume at a minimum, and then kicked back on our big, comfy old Chesterfield. The tape was obviously home made; it had a gritty quality to it and there were no opening credits. It opened onto an empty bed, and then this gorgeous and very naked full-figured brunette walked it and sat on it. I nearly choked on the last of my sandwich, and then watched, wide-eyed and smirking, as a thin and equally naked blonde woman came into view.

“All right!” I thought.

I settled back, hard-on in the making, as the two girls began to kiss. They ran their hands over each other’s breasts and moaned, getting each other (and me) very turned on. I watched as this went on for a few minutes, enjoying the close-ups on their erect nipples and shapely asses. For all that it was an amateur recording, I was finding it pretty hot, watching those two sexy women getting it on. It made me want to get it on too.

I pressed the pause button, and then listened for a few seconds. I couldn’t hear anyone stirring. Feeling very naughty, I unzipped my fly before pressing the play button again. I watched the two girls fondle each other, French kissing, and slowly began to masturbate.

I was only starting to get into it when suddenly things onscreen got weird. The blonde pulled away from the brunette and looked directly at the camera. She said:


The person behind the camera – a guy, judging by the hairy hand that briefly came into view – tossed something onto the bed. My hand paused as I struggled to see what it was. The brunette in the video was grinning as she reached for the object, which turned out to be a peppershaker. I thought, “What the fuck?”

The blonde picked it up and took the cap off. She pulled her long hair back over one shoulder and sprinkled some pepper into her hand, before passing the shaker to her lady friend who did the same. I watched, agog, as both of them started sniffing it. My hand was still wrapped around my dick, which was already beginning to soften; it seemed to be as put out as I was.

Still, I was intrigued enough not to press the “rewind” button. I watched as the two girls took in pepper like it was grade-A cocaine. They started giggling and touching each other again, rubbing their breasts together, talking about how much the pepper was irritating their noses and how in a few minutes, they’d be sneezing all over each other. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing: this had to be the most bizarre pornographic movie in history.

Masturbatory attempts on my part ceased entirely. True to their word, the two women began to sneeze. The blonde was the first to let go, sitting up very straight on the bed as she wound up for a fierce, throaty “Hissshuh!” delivered into her cupped hands. I could see a messy cloud of sneeze-spray escape through her fingers.

I heard the guy behind the camera hiss: “No, do it on Lacey!”

The blonde bombshell did as she was told. She was raring up for another sneeze, facing the brunette – Lacey. Only as it turned out, the pepper was working its magic on Lacey too, because the two women sneezed at the same time, directly into each other’s faces. “Hissshuh!” from the blonde, and “Asshew!” from the brunette. The girls were giggling, looking as though they were enjoying themselves tremendously.

“I need to sneeze again!” Lacey squeaked.

“Do it on my breasts,” the blonde urged. “I want to feel your sneeze on my nipples.”

Was I really hearing this? I wondered. I was tempted to rewind to make sure, but then Lacey delivered a huge “Aiiaasheww!” that left the blonde’s small, firm breasts shining with mist. Her nipples were taut, their moistened pink tips eagerly poking out. It was actually sexy in a very, very weird way. The blonde, of course, returned the favour. Five seconds and one violent “Hiiiish!” later, the brunette’s more voluptuous chest was glistening too.

A box of Kleenex was tossed onto the bed. Lacey grabbed it and pulled out a handful of tissues, using them to wipe the blonde’s breasts before bringing them to her nose and delivering a good, solid blow. The other woman did the same thing. This was followed by more kissing, with intermittent loud sniffles from both of them, and then Lacey asked,

“Want to try more pepper?”

“Only if you take some too,” her friend answered with a suggestive smile.

It turned out they both wanted to sneeze again. They sniffed some more pepper, and then the camera did a close-up on each of their faces in turn.

“It burns so much,” the blonde moaned, her eyes heavy-lidded and her cheeks flushed, looking pre-orgasmic. “I’m gonna… wait, I… Hiiisshuh! Hiiiish! Hissshoo!”

Then, the camera panned to Lacey, who again was angling for her friend’s erect nipples. Her eyes were starting to look watery and she was fanning the air in front of her face with her hand. “I need to sneeze so much,” she squeaked, her voice oh-so-high in pitch. “I ruh-heaah-ly need… aah… deed to haaa… sdeeze like iii-iiiaashew!” Her chest rose and fell, beautiful breasts jiggling in a most appealing way, and then she sneezed again, louder than before: “Aaaahshew! Iiaaaah-TSHEW!” right on the other girl’s chest. The blonde moaned as she rubbed at her nose, which was looking red and irritated now. The look on both their faces was mid-way between pleasure and pain, strangely mask-like. I’ve seen more flattering expression.

The blonde piped up: “I’m gonna go again, hold on…” she squinted, rubbing furiously at her nose, and then: “Hiisshuuh! Oooh, that felt good. I’m getting so wet…”

“Me too,” Lacey said, grabbing another tissue. “My nose is on fire!” She blew. Then, out of nowhere, she yelled out: “Aaash-IIEEEEWW!” That sneeze was an earth-shaker, so loud it generated a loud buzz of static on the tape.

Suddenly, I remembered where I was and what I was doing. Had any of my family members heard? I turned the TV off and quickly tucked my flaccid (flabbergasted?) penis back into my shorts. I listened carefully, but either everyone in the house was sleeping like a log or else that sneezing hadn’t been as loud as it had seemed. And then I shook my head and laughed under my breath, feeling slightly hysterical.

“What on earth was that?” I asked the empty room.

I could only thank my lucky stars that nobody had come in and caught me not masturbating as I watched a porno flick straight out of the Twilight Zone. Deciding I shouldn’t push my luck, I quickly took the tape out of the machine and took it with me to my room, where I plonked it down on my night table. I kept staring at it, laughing occasionally, until I finally drifted off to sleep.


I could have just slipped the tape back into its innocuous place in the bookcase and never mentioned it to anyone, but that would have been both mature and considerate on my part. I never stopped to think that whomever the tape belonged to might not want attention drawn to it. I was too keen on finding out whose it was, and what peculiar thrill they got out of viewing that kind of kinkiness.

I brought the subject up at the breakfast table the next day:

“I found this tape last night. A movie starring two ladies with a very unusual interest.”

My mother raised her eyebrows. My Dad, hidden behind the pages of his newspaper, said nothing. Will slurped his cereal, ignoring me.

“It was very curious,” I pressed, grinning. “Does anyone know what I’m talking about?”

“Was it the tape from that holiday in Hawaii?” my mother ventured, “The lei-making workshop?”

“No,” I said. “These ladies were rated R.”

“What are you talking about, doofus?” Will said. He looked, I thought, rattled. I grinned like a wolf smelling blood. When we were kids, I used to tease him until he cried.

“I didn’t stumble on one of your carefully guarded secrets, did I?”

“Brian, leave your brother alone,” Dad said. “Let’s enjoy a nice, quiet breakfast as a family, mm?” The newspaper didn’t budge.

“No really,” I went on, “it’s nothing to be ashamed of, lil’ brother. Everybody does it. Only they don’t usually do it with material like that.”

“Really now,” my mother said. “Come on boys. Eat your breakfast. That’s not the kind of thing I want to hear at my table.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Will glared at me.

“I think you do,” I said. “Hey Will, my eggs are a bit bland. Please pass the pepper?”

Will turned back to his cereal. “Moron.”

Dad’s newspaper came down. He gave me an exasperated look, picked up the peppershaker, and gave it to me. “Here. Bon appétit.”

“Thanks,” I said, grinning at Will as I sprinkled my eggs. “Gotta be careful. Wouldn’t want to get any of this up my nose. Might make me sneeze…”

Will continued to eat his cereal in stolid silence, blanking me. I was jubilant – there’s just something about teasing my younger brother that never fails to give me an evil rush of pleasure. I couldn’t say why. I’m sure it’s a fairly common thing. Besides, Will’s been uptight and priggish since birth. To get this kind of dirt on him was like striking oil, and I was on fire.

“Ooh, wait, I… HASHOO!” I fake-sneezed, bursting out laughing.

There was a heavy silence all around.

Everyone at the table was staring at me like I’d gone crazy. They apparently had no idea what I was getting at, and I was laughing all alone.

“Sorry,” I said, feeling my cheeks turning red.

“Gesundheit,” Will smirked, now that the tides had turned.

“Well,” my mother said. “Looks like we’re going to have some nice weather today. The weatherman predicted sunshine for the whole weekend. I might be going for a walk later this morning.”

Mom’s forgiving nature was always one of her best qualities. This was complemented by her ability to reroute any conversation towards subjects both innocuous and pleasant, something for which I was at that moment very grateful.


I should’ve learned my lesson that morning, but of course I didn’t. That night, I waited until everyone had retired and then snuck over to the living room again. Sat on the Chesterfield, I pressed the play button and watched the tape some more. Since I had no intention of jerking off, I felt like I could safely view it. If someone (Will) caught me at it, then he’d be the one embarrassed. I was watching this video strictly for comedic purposes.

I took up where I’d left off. It turned out that the thin, sexy blonde’s name was Kira.

“Oh Kira, my nose tickles so bad,” Lacey moaned.

“Mine too,” Kira smiled. Her eyes were tearing and her nose was red. “Think I’m gonna sneeze again.”

“Do it on me,” Lacey said. “I love it when you sneeze on me.”

Kira obliged. She leaned in close to Lacey’s big breasts, her long hair obscuring her face. Only then, Lacey reached out and pushed her girlfriend down lower. “Do it on my pussy this time.”

Oh boy – this was going to be good.

“Hissssh!” Kira delivered a big wet one right on Lacey’s crotch.

I couldn’t help wrinkling my nose as the drops of spit, or snot, or whatever it is that comes out when you sneeze, landed right on the brunette’s bush. Lacey, however, did not share my recriminations.

“Yes,” she cried. “Again… no wait! I-ah… ashhiew!”

“That was nice,” the blonde said, rubbing her nose. “Think I should try more pepper?”

“If your pretty nose can stand it,” Lacey encouraged.

I couldn’t believe it. I grinned, enjoying myself thoroughly as I watched Kira snort pepper again. That had to hurt. Did Will really get aroused watching this? Did my brother beat off while thinking about those tiny little irritants tickling and burning until the girls expelled them with ferocious sneezing?

I stopped snickering when the camera angle switched. Now Kira was lying flat on her stomach with Lacey’s legs spread in front of her. The blonde looked in agony; her face was a picture of the ticklish pain preceding a truly torturous sneeze. She had one hand poised near her face, and the other making jerky movements over the brunette’s clit. In the background, Lacey was giving mournful little yelps of pleasure.

Suddenly, Kira froze and took a gasping breath. “Huh… Hiiissshuh!” she fairly barked, directly onto the other woman’s crotch. At the same time, she furiously rubbed Lacey’s clit. “Hiiiissssh!”

“Oh yes… oh yes…” Lacey moaned. I could see her head thrashing from side to side. I was no longer laughing – bizarre circumstances or not, seeing a woman that close to orgasm commanded attention. I had no intention of joining into the sexual fun, but I was staring hard at the screen, mesmerised. “Do it again baby, sneeze on me again.”

Kira’s face still bore an intensely sneezy expression. When you stop and look, as this tape allowed me to do right then, people are really unattractive when they’re about to sneeze. Eyes shut, lips peeled back in a kind of agonized sneer, intense concentration bordering on pain…

The blonde snapped. “Hissshooo!” Again, she was rubbing Lacey’s clit as she sneezed, reaping small cries of pleasure from the ecstatic brunette. “Hiiissssh! Oh God… Isssshuh!” They were hard sneezes, throaty and loud. On the third one, I saw the brunette’s hips buck, thrusting forward until her crotch was nearly on Kira’s sneezy face. She arched her back, thighs trembling visibly, as Kira delivered another hard “Hiissshuh!” right where it was needed.

“Oh God, oh yes, oh, oh, oh!” Lacey was crying out for all she was worth as her orgasm shook her. Kira massaged her girlfriend’s crotch, smiling in red-nosed satisfaction.

I looked down and saw that I had a hard-on.

I stopped the tape, freaked out.

I called it a night and went to bed.


On Sunday afternoon, it occurred to me that maybe I’d been wrong in assuming the tape was Will’s. Maybe, just maybe, it belonged to my older, more personable brother Johnnie. It seemed weird to think of responsible, ribald, big-hearted Johnnie having sex at all, let alone owning a porno tape. You usually don’t ponder that kind of stuff when it comes to family members.

I could have just let it lie, but I had to know. Having learned of the tape’s existence, and having found it in my own household, I felt compelled to find out who owned it and why. Well, why was obvious enough – but what on earth could one find sexy about that kind of film?

Johnnie had always been an easygoing, approachable older brother. We joke around a lot together even now. The tape might’ve been his. If not, then I thought maybe he’d know about it, and whom it belonged to. And so I phoned Johnnie up.

He answered on the third ring: “Hello?”

“Hi there. It’s Brian.”

“Hey, Bri! How’s it hanging?”

“Good,” I said, trying to think of a way to introduce the subject without sounding like I was making fun of him. It was very hard. “Johnnie, there’s something I’ve got to ask you.”

“Sure,” he said. “What can I do you for?”

“It’s not a favour, it’s something else. See, I’m visiting Mom and Dad this week, right, and I found this… well, this adult movie. In the living room bookcase. It looked like it’d been there a while.”

“Oh God, not…” I heard a sharp intake of breath from Johnnie. I held mine until he continued. “I’d forgotten all about that. How embarrassing. Did I really leave it there?” I could hear deep-seated unease in his voice as he floundered.

I felt relieved for some reason. I’d figured it out, the mystery of who was behind the tape. Now, I needed to know the why of it: why did he get off on watching that kind of act? Only then, before I could ask, Johnnie went on.

“Look, I feel really bad. It was ages ago. I got it off an old girlfriend, as a gift. If you’ve got it, do you think you could get rid of it before Mom or Dad see it?”

“No way,” I said. “This one’s a keeper. I mean it’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen, brother!”

“How so?” Johnnie asked, worried.

“Come on, you know what I’m talking about. The pepper sniffing? The sneezing? You’ve got to tell me, man – what’s that all about?”

There was a pause at the other end of the line. Then Johnnie started laughing. “Oh boy. You really got me there for a second. I thought you’d found my sexual technique instruction video. But I remember now: I loaned it to my friend Pat, and he never gave it back.” Johnnie paused for breath, but I could hear the smile in his voice as he went on: “God, Brian, I was getting really embarrassed. I thought maybe Mom had seen it or something.”

“You mean…” For a split-second, an image of my mother watching the sneeze-porn tape, enjoying it, flashed through my head. It was so horrifically vivid that it made me wince. I immediately banished the thought, willing myself to forget it entirely. “You mean it’s not yours? You never had a video with two naked women sniffing pepper and then sneezing all over each other?”

Johnnie was really guffawing now. “Stop, stop, you’re killing me. What are you talking about?”

“Never mind,” I said. Now I was embarrassed; I was barking up the wrong tree again. “Just joking with you.” Then, with a bit more enthusiasm to ensure he’d believe me, I said, “I got you good, huh?”

“That was hysterical. So… well, anything else I can do for you?”

“Um… about your sex ed video. Did you pick up any good tips you’d care to share with your single younger brother?

Five minutes' worth of banter later, I hung up nonplussed. I was back at square one. I had a mystery on my hands, combined with a burning need to know. Had aliens invaded my house and planted a porno tape from the Alfred Hitchock Presents collection when no one was looking or something?

I’d thought I’d known my family back to front before this – it was unnerving to think that even people you’d known your whole life could still surprise you.


On the third night, I rewound the tape and started it afresh from the beginning. I thought maybe if I looked closely I could find some hint as to where it had come from. I paid special attention to the guy behind the camera, trying to see if I could recognise his hand or his voice, but I drew a blank.

I’d reached the bit where Lacey was having her orgasm. When I felt a hand on my shoulder, I yelped as if I’d been burned.

“It’s only me,” my mother offered.

I blushed furiously and switched off the television. Of course she’d seen what I’d been watching. I never found out how long she’d been standing there, but to her credit, she looked perfectly calm.

“Brian, we’ve got to talk,” she said.

“It’s not mine!” I cried, suddenly feeling like I was thirteen again, caught smoking a crafty cigarette while I hid in the back yard.

“I know,” Mom said. “It’s your father’s.”

I was struck dumb.

“He’s very embarrassed about your finding it. I’m going to ask you to give it back and stop prying, Brian.”

“It’s… Dad’s?”

It made sense of course. I’d been halfway convinced the tape belonged to Will after all – that seemed the more likely option – but the elimination process I’d been engaged in did logically come to point towards my father. Only… only the truth is, nobody wants to know that kind of thing about their Dad, do they?

“Yes.” Mom must have seen my alarm, because when she touched my shoulder again, her eyes were kind. “Everyone’s entitled to their little secrets. And this interest in sneezing is harmless little quirk of your father’s. Of course, he’d rather nobody knew about it, but it seems like you found out by accident.”

“Sorry.” It seemed like the only thing to say.

“Sure,” my mother said. “Listen, I know this must seem a little strange to you, but Paul and I… well, sometimes at night we-“

And then, it dawned on me that I really didn’t want to know after all. In fact, I very much wanted not to know. What had started off as an amusing quest had become a short-lived obsession, and now it seemed incredibly wrong. I was desperate to permanently erase any knowledge of the tape and of my parents’ strange fetishistic activities from my brain.

“Mom,” I cut her off, “it’s okay. Too much information.”

I got up and raced to the VCR. I pressed the eject button and grabbed the tape as soon as it popped out. I couldn’t give it to my mother fast enough – holding it was like having my hands on a piece of hot coal.

“Thank you,” she said. Then, she got up on tiptoe and gave me a peck on the cheek. In my ear, she whispered: “I’m glad we never had this conversation. Good night sweetheart.”

“Yeah, you too,” I said.

Slipping into bed, I expected to spend a long time staring at the ceiling, my mind forcing me to replay Kira and Lacey’s peppery antics in my head. Or maybe I’d just spend the whole night having stomach-churning visions of my parents engaging in bizarre sexual activities.

As it turned out, I nodded off in seconds and slept like a rock right through to the morning.


Nobody ever mentioned the sneezing porn tape again. It was buried like so much dust under the family carpet. I moved on and grew up, until eventually I founded a family of my own, but that episode taught me a lot about everyone being entitled to keep secrets. There are some things about your family that you’re better off not knowing. There are some things that can change the way you think about them forever.

And then there are other things that never change. Will and I still argue about everything every time we meet. Johnnie and I still joke about his sexual technique tape sometimes, though I confess I feel uncomfortable if we get too specific. As for my parents, they’re gone now, but memories of them will stay with me forever.

Even some things I’d rather forget.