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Tom, museum curator and expert in Renaissance jewelry, doesn’t think his boyfriend Peter is “The One.” Peter is perfectly happy with Tom, but Tom is obsessed with the artist Benedetto Emilio Nesci—exciting, passionate, extraordinarily talented… and dead for over 400 years.
Tasked with researching a bejeweled codpiece, Tom abandons his professional ethics—and his sanity—to try on the codpiece and is transported halfway around the world and back in time, right into Florence, Italy and Nesci’s workroom.
After his initial panic subsides, Tom seizes the opportunity to allow Nesci to seduce him, but Tom discovers not everything about the sixteenth century is as romantic as he’d imagined. Getting back to the modern world and Peter becomes Tom’s only wish, but desire and reality are two completely different things, and Tom might not get what he wants this time around.
Tom is given a codpiece from an “old pervert”’s estate. The piece is actually a museum quality artifact with a special “magical” quality. Somewhat like a strange lamp, when rubbed it takes the wearer to the maker back in time, in Italy.
Tom’s experience there shows him just how lucky he is to live where and when he does and most importantly, with whom.
What I really appreciated about this short story was the sensory information distilled. Through Tom’s exploration we move from the visual through the tactile to the auditory and finally olfactory. Tom is vaguely put off by his lover’s unwashed hair at the beginning of the story and by the end he realizes that the healthy “musk” of his lover is actually a turn-on when you love the guy.
I thought the story was clever and unique though I never quite got to the point that I liked Tom a lot. He was a dick – his word – throughout most of the story and though it looks like he makes a complete turn around by the end, I never quite got to the point with Peter of forgiveness.
3.5 of 5 hearts