Cocktober19: Results and my entry, “The Article”

The results for Cocktober19 have been released! Thank you to everyone who read the entries and provided feedback. Also, Aborigen deserves a ton of gratitude for organizing these contests.

Regarding the feedback that I myself received, it was thoughtful and useful, as is the norm for SizeRiot. Perhaps the best, at least in my selfish opinion, was from a reader who started “My favorite of the contest.” 😀

Other feedback was indicative of our modern economy. One person stated that “The real fantasy in this story is that someone got an unsolicited job offer.” Which was a bit sad, but nonetheless rang true.

Another reader stated “Good for Brad!” which confused me a bit as there are no characters with that name! 😉 For an instant, I fretted that their kind words were actually intended for a different story that featured a Brad. However, I think they merely mistook the name of my protagonist “Bruce.”

Overall, the most consistent feedback indicated that my chosen subject probably was better suited for a longer format. It was suggested that was it too complex for a 2,000-word story, that the ending felt a little rushed, and to try again with a larger word count.

Accordingly, I will do just that in the future. I still need to expand upon my GentleApril19 entry “For Better, For Worse,” and I’m currently revising my longest story yet, “Dr Hehant’s Growing Orgy.” Nonetheless, a writer could do worse than having many stories on their to-do list.

All that said, below is my entry as originally submitted.

*** The Article ***

Bruce, a 29-year old columnist, stopped walking down the sidewalk in order to answer a telephone call. The aroma and sound of frying eggs and sizzling bacon floated out of a nearby diner to his right. Several cars passed by on the road to his left. Broad clouds filled the gray sky above him. The early sun stubbornly forced its rays through several gaps in that thick cloud cover. The peaks of the Rocky Mountains were visible over the surrounding cityscape. He held the telephone up to his ear.

“Yes, heading to the office now.” Bruce said.

“I remember. You got that appointment so I’ll send it straight to the printers.”

“Well, I haven’t decided yet, but yeah. Uh-huh, of course. I’ll write my article and have it done by close of business. Nothing controversial, got it.”

“Of course Steve, I know this is important. Uh huh… it’s my top priority. I’m heading to work now. Relax, okay?”

The call ended. Bruce approached a few middle-aged men standing inside the commuter train station. They wore blue jeans and faded flannel shirts.

“I saw it on the evening news last night. There the 400-foot tall Titan was, proud as could be, strutting and swinging that massive pecker around for the whole world to see! They didn’t even try to censor the image.” The tallest of the working-class gentlemen said.

“No one censors the Gods! If I had a cock like that, you can bet I’d show everyone!” One of his companions replied.

“They’ve never appeared before without clothes. Never had sex before either.” One of the middle-aged men said.

“That’s what people say, but I don’t believe that. Ask me, the Titans were naked the very first time people saw ’em. I figure that the Maker created the first man and woman and then the Titans showed those two how to… um, reproduce.”

“Blasphemer!” One of the fellows said, but with a smile.

Bruce passed them by and walked to the train platform. Boarding the train, Bruce sat down. He read the text on an advertisement pasted to the wall. It announced an upcoming concert performance of the tabernacle choir. Two mature ladies chatted, loud enough for others to overhear, in the seat behind him.

“Did you read today’s Honeybee News? Somebody called Bruce Roth wrote an opinion piece saying companies shouldn’t be allowed to fire homosexuals solely because of their sexual orientation.”

“Can you imagine? Telling good people who they can and cannot fire is religious discrimination. What will fools like him want to support next? Sex with minors? With animals? Support homosexuality and the rest will follow.” Her companion nodded.

“The writer probably can’t get a woman. He’s hoping to make the gays happy so he can settle down with a man. The only people who support his column are queers and deviants.” The woman’s friend replied.

“I don’t know why Honeybee keeps him on their staff.”

“Trying to be so-called balanced.”

“Harrumph. That columnist is just wrong. Nothing balanced about wrong thinking.”

“That’s the Maker’s honest truth you’re speaking Myrtle. If the newspaper owner had half a brain he’d have fired that guy a long time ago. The letter column is always full of complaints about that writer.”

Bruce slowly stood up and walked to another section of the train. He recalled a few letters of support. “Not every letter is a complaint.” He thought, and then shrugged. “But management did warn me about my so-called off-center perspective.”

He was alone in this new section of the train until another stop was made. Then a young man and an elderly man entered his car while talking loudly. “Please don’t be more bigots complaining about my work.” Bruce thought.

“Hey, you got my tea?” The junior of the two asked the other.

“Yeah, still in the bag. Thought I already gave it to you. Here.”

“Thanks.” The dark skinned man took a sip of the steaming hot beverage. “I thought the Titans weren’t going to show up during my lifetime.”

“Not me, somehow I knew they’d visit while I was around. My father lived his entire life without them making a single appearance. They only appeared once during my grandfather’s lifetime. He was a teenager when they appeared in Europe and he read about in the papers.” The gray-haired person said.

“I’m not sure that the Titans are teachers.” The younger man said.

“What you talking about Bill? What else would they be?” The older man furrowed his brow and brought his bushy white eyebrows closer together while he looked at his friend.

“I don’t know, only saying that perhaps the Titans aren’t Gods. Maybe they’re just long-lived aliens who occasionally visit Earth for kicks.”

The senior of the two made the sign of the martyr and looked up toward the train’s ceiling. “Please forgive him Maker.”

“Not trying to upset you Shaun.”

Shaun frowned. “Didn’t they teach you nothing in Sunday school? For example, what about written language? The Scarlet Book instructs us that more than five thousand years ago the Titans gave humanity written language when they visited Mesopotamia and carved a glyph on a hillside. They’re the reason that the Scarlet Book exists, reason that all books exist.”

“If that’s true then how come there are so many different languages in the world? Why do people write words using dissimilar markings? How come archaeologists can’t find that very first letter or the hill it was on?”

“The Book doesn’t say that they taught humans to write a certain language. Just that the Titans gave mankind the idea of making marks on clay tablets to record things, like spoken words. Egg heads call that ‘idea diffusion’ I think.”

Bill replied. “So, what instruction did they give humanity this time? The Titans only appear for a few hours, then they disappear for decades or even centuries before they show up again. Every time it’s only for a brief time. So, what did they teach us now? How a man and a woman can perform oral sex? They didn’t give information that I didn’t already have!”

He continued. “So, what do you think this visit meant? Can’t tell me the Church isn’t going to struggle to explain why the giant couple was naked. Or why the female Titan decided to give him a blow job, and he returned the favor.”

The elder took a deep breath. “Not sure I understand what it means.”

“Just glad they didn’t do it downtown, what a mess that would have made.”

The gaunt man looked at his companion with a furrowed brow and narrowed eyes. “You know good and well they never appear inside populated areas. Just close enough for people to see, but not so near as to be a threat.”

“Well, I think they showed that sex ain’t gotta be a big deal, and folks should chill out.”

A loud chime sounded. Bruce stood up and exited the train walking toward his office.

Minutes later, he put his worn coat on a hangar. Bruce sat, sighed and squared his shoulders in front of his computer monitor. His finger tips tapped the keys on the keyboard in front of him. A capital “T,” then a lower-case “h” appeared on the screen. Then Bruce stopped. He sighed once more and paused.

“My editor wants me to write that the Titans showed that sex should be between a man and a woman only, but that’s not the impression I got.”

“Fuck this job.” Bruce said out loud, to no one but himself. Afterward, the sound of cracked knuckles followed. Once more, fingertips struck keys. But now, passion drove their movements. Bruce tossed caution into the waste basket. “Ain’t gonna be around next time the Titans appear. Ain’t going waste this opportunity!”

Bruce wrote his article. First, he outlined what the four-hundred foot tall, muscular ebony-skinned giants did. He tried to describe how beautiful the curvy female appeared, her long, curly raven-black hair flowed down encircling her generous bosom. He tried to explain how majestic the male appeared, his thick hair consisted of tight curls that stuck out around his head. His sinewy arm and leg muscles flexing with every movement. Their appearance mirrored the descriptions given in the Scarlet Book. Yet, seeing them on the TV News, made it all more real and impressive. Primitive cameras captured the last visit in blurred, sepia tone. Never before had the Titans been filmed in such clear detail and vivid color.

Then Bruce described in much less detail, how the female Titan performed fellatio and the male Titan performed cunnilingus. How the Titan’s cock had been displayed without shame, without effort made to conceal arousal. How he had permitted the searchlights and cameras an unhindered view of his manhood.

Then Bruce came to the section where his analysis was required. Bruce assessed that the Titans purposely portrayed the intimate pleasures consenting adults could provide to each other. They did this, Bruce asserted, because oral sex was beautiful and not something to be condoned. “Perhaps…” Bruce wrote. “ the Titans demonstrated that restrictions on sexual practices between consenting adults are wrong. That the government and society did not need to peek inside and judge or legislate activities inside the privacy of people’s bedrooms.”

“They’ll say that I’m overreaching. Reading more into what happened than is justified. But how can the Bishops ban oral sex, even for married couples, and discipline members for consuming pornography after what the Titans showed us? Maybe the Church was wrong about intimate relations all along?”

Bruce e-mailed his story to the printers, then called to verify receipt.

The Honeybee News daily edition was published the next morning, including his opinion piece concerning the Titans’ visit. Bruce was briskly walking down the street having just left his local cafe. His phone rang. Bruce answered the call and heard angry words. The conversation ended quickly.

“Whelp, I don’t have to be in a hurry anymore, no point. Guess I ain’t getting a paycheck this week. Shit, I’m already a month behind in my rent and my student loans aren’t going anywhere.” He thought and then took a deep breath. “Dammit, what have I done?” He got up and began his journey home.

“Fuck.” Bruce said to himself. “I was unemployed for over a year before I got this job. What is my girlfriend going to think? She’ll say I cocked things up, that’s what she’ll say.”

A few minutes later, his cell phone rang once more.

“Hello?” Bruce responded to the interruption in his now aimless strolling.

A high-pitched, clearly enunciated voice emitted from his phone’s speaker. “Hello, am I speaking to Bruce Roth? This is Cynthia Washington. I read your article over breakfast, very insightful.”

Bruce chuckled. “My boss didn’t think so. Just got my termination notice, effective immediately. Heard from him right before you called actually.”

“Really? I’m sorry to hear that Mr. Roth. However, and please forgive me for my bluntness, but perhaps this is an opportunity. How would you feel about working for the Tribune? I think your progressive perspective would be a good fit for our organization.”

Bruce’s lips turned upward slightly. “I could be amenable to that proposal. What would the, uh, financial compensation entail?”

She told him. Bruce’s eyes opened wide and he dropped his phone. It clattered against the pavement.

“Bruce? Still there?” She inquired while he clumsily snatched up his phone.

“Yes, sorry. Uh, regarding payment, I… think your offer is generous.”

“Just commensurate with your experience Mr. Roth. When would you be available to discuss?”

“I’m heading to the Green line on my way downtown as we speak.”

“Great, my office is on the ninth floor, I’ll tell my secretary to expect your arrival. See you soon.”

The call ended. Bruce leaped into the air and laughed. Then he ran down the walkway, appearing near weightless as he moved with renewed purpose.

***

All Rights Reserved.

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