That night they had Tuscany chicken and risotto with parmesan and peppers. They shared a bottle of Sauvignon-Blanc. They went into the bedroom and looked at the box.
"There's an awful lot of bubble-wrap in there," Andrew said.
He squatted and excavated the package, yanking out wads of paper and inflated plastic pillows. Styrofoam peanuts clung to his forearms. He lifted a baggie. "There's a lot of screws involved."
"That's the idea, all right," Amy said. She helped him pull straps and plastic tubes from the box. "Is there an Allen wrench anywhere? I think we're going to need an Allen wrench."
"I don't see any instructions," Andrew observed.
"There was a picture in the catalog. It looked kind of like a rosebush."
"Where does this hose attach?" he said.
They spread the contents of the package on the floor.
"I'll get a screwdriver," Amy offered. "I'll get tools."
She left the room. While she was gone, Andrew stood with his hands on his hips, surveying the black apparatus at his feet. When Amy returned, he poked the mass with his toe.
"It looks kind of like an octopus," he decided, scratching his neck.
They drove the screws into the ceiling, and attached the hooks. From the hooks they hung the tube-like things, and from the tube-like things they hung the harness. The harness had pointy things. They plugged these into the pointy-thing sockets. The pointy-thing sockets supported the saddle, and the saddle seemed to be attached to everything else.
Andrew tugged experimentally. "It seems to be secure." He squinted at the ceiling. "I think I found a stud."
"Are there studs in a ceiling?" Amy said. "Or only rafters?"
Andrew tugged again. "It's not falling down."
Amy put her arms around him. "I think I found a stud."
They laughed, kissed and cuddled. They took off their clothes.
"Are we sure this is safe?" Amy said. "How does this work?" She gave the sling an experimental poke. It swung away and then back.
Andrew seized one of the microfiber straps. "I think one of us climbs in, and the other--you know." He blushed. "Stands in front." The card was at his feet. He stooped and picked it up. "It says here it's 'like something you have no experience.'"
"Sounds marvelous," Amy said. She was already climbing into the harness. She slipped a leg through the straps, adjusted a breast, brought her arm around behind her head. "Is this how?"
"I think you have to--"
"It seems like you have to loosen that buckle," Andrew said.
He slipped an arm behind her. "Here."
She wriggled away from his fingers. "Did you get it?"
"Not quite. I've got something." Andrew gave a pull. "Uh-oh," he said.
"Is that supposed to come out?"
Andrew held a long, twisted strap in his fist. He pulled on it steadily. A black mass emerged from behind Amy's back, bulging like a birth from the guts of the sling. Andrew prodded it uncertainly. He said, "It's a net."
They considered the situation.
"Maybe," Amy said, "the net goes under us. In case we fall."
"But the net is attached to the sling," Andrew said.
"Right," said Amy.
"And the sling is attached to the ceiling," Andrew said.
"Right," said Amy.
"So if the sling falls out of the ceiling, the net falls too."
"And then we land in the net," Amy said.
Andrew looked at the ceiling. He looked at the floor. He looked at Amy. "Right," he said.
He threw the net over his shoulder. It fanned out like a cape. He stepped forward and reached behind Amy. "If you just hold on, I can loosen this strap. Here, take my hand." He took her hand. Her skin was hot. So was his. "Now pull," he said. "Now lean. Now swing."
"Don't do that," Amy said.
"You'll get caught."
"I won't. I'm caught."
"What did I tell you?" Amy said.
Andrew lifted a foot, and braced it on one of the pedals. "I think if I climb on there with you, I can get through to the other side."
"And what's the advantage of that?" Amy said.
"A fresh perspective," said Andrew. He hopped off the floor. Holding Amy's hand, he pushed off the pedal. The sling swung. The screws groaned. Andrew took his foot from the pedal, and put it on Amy's knee. He lifted his other foot from the floor. He flailed wildly at the straps. With a sound like a saw, the screws tore from the ceiling. The sling and its occupants crashed to the floor.
They writhed in the tangle of cables and cords. Andrew tried to move his arm, but it was pinned under Amy. He tried to move his leg, but it was tangled in the net. He shook his head, dazed with pain. "I thought I hit a stud."
Amy twisted to glare at him. "I'm about to hit you."
Andrew squirmed against her. "If you just move your leg..."
"If you just move your shoulder..."
"Your butt is in the way."
"Now your butt is in my face."
"I'm turning the other direction."
"You're twisting my wrist!"
"If you would just let go of my hand..."
"No, no; don't let go."
"I can't see what I'm doing!"
"I think we're in trouble," Amy said.