$3/month gives you full access to all of the content and there are a number of great projects on there that I have completed this year. In the coming months, I am going to start posting more: updates, vlogs, early access to stories and articles, and bonus content and hard copies for different tiers of subscribers.
Thank you very much in advance for taking a look and
considering signing up. If you need any help with the process, here is a step
by step guide:
I am very excited to be working with Nastia. She is an
incredibly talented artist and designer from Saint Petersburg, Russia. She has
created art for the magazine Sexography that I co-edit and contribute to on
Medium and more of her art can be found on Instagram, Tumblr, and Dribble:
• Nikita and I have published a new story in our project The
Moss titled The Sock Fetishist. You might remember this story as receiving an
Honorable mention in the fiction contest I participated in over the summer. You
can find the story here:
The Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest featured thousands of contestants from over a dozen countries, ranging from new independent authors to NYT best-sellers and celebrities.
Readers’ Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.
We receive thousands of entries from all over the world. Because of these large submission numbers, we are able to break down our contest into 140+ genres, and each genre is judged separately, ensuring that books only compete against books of their same genre for a fairer and more accurate competition. We receive submissions from independent authors, small publishers, and publishing giants such as Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, with contestants that range from the first-time, self-published author to New York Times bestsellers like J.A. Jance, James Rollins, and #1 best-selling author Daniel Silva, as well as celebrity authors like Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty), Henry Winkler (Happy Days), and Eriq La Salle (E.R., Coming to America).
“When the right books are picked as winners we pay attention. We will be spreading the word about Readers’ Favorite.” –Karen A., Editor for Penguin Random House
Readers’ Favorite is proud to announce that “The King of FU” by Benjamin Davis won the Silver Medal in the Young Adult – Coming of Age category.
The day the Second Coming of Jesus Christ revealed himself, I’d stubbed my toe really bad. I limped into the kitchen. My girlfriend, Y, had CNBC pulled up on her iPhone 8+ and they were talking about Him. He was wearing jeans, a HARVARD sweatshirt, and His name was Abu. He was floating twenty feet above the Chrysler building.
“Do you want me to get you some ice sweetie?” Y asked.
“Nuh-uh.” My toe was throbbing. I just needed a minute.
Then Abu, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, cried out:
“I am here to bring the world JOY!”
And as He said JOY, I felt it. I could see that Y felt it too, the most exquisite and intense orgasm rang through my body. I seized and all thoughts, all pain, all feeling but overwhelming ecstasy left me.
It stopped when they blew Him out of the sky with a surface-to-air missile, shot from 3rd and 42nd. It took the top of the Chrysler building with it. I checked my pants to be sure they were dry. Y looked at me like she’d just finished a sub-portioned appetizer and raised an eyebrow. My toe began to hurt again.
“Actually, could you get me some ice?”
She sighed and got up. She took a Ziplock bag and filled it with ice. She wrapped a dish rag around it to protect from the cold. We turned back to her phone and, as the debris cleared, we saw Abu rise again, His clothes gone; He had no belly-button or penis and His hair was all burned off. He looked wild.
He wiped the dirt from His face and said,
“I’ll be back. Motherfuckers.”
Y turned the phone over. I placed the make-shift ice pack on my toe, and it began feeling better. Y ran her fingers through my hair and asked if maybe I’d feel like having sex in an hour.
“I don’t know,” I told her. “It’s up to my toe, really.”
Featured art by Nikita Klimov. Originally published in The Moss.
And, to his credit, the doctor did say it was a trained squirrel before he let it loose. I was on the table as he said it and I thought back to my early twenties.
“I’ve got a stomach of steel!”
I’d told my friend who’d just poured me a shot of hot sauce. Then, I downed it in one. I was twenty-two.
I’m thirty now. It turned out my stomach was steel, but my colon was made up of those little flecks of dust you find floating in the air of old attics.
The doctor spoke to Y who sat beside us and took notes:
NO SPICY, NO SALTY, NO SWEET, NO DAIRY
“…and make sure you don’t love him too much. This boy has had too much love already.”
I would have been glad at least to have been called “boy” at that moment if the doctor hadn’t tapped my ass as he said it and I could feel the squirrel hide and the doctor cried,
I forced myself to relax.
“Are you okay?” the doctor said.
“I’m okay–yeah, I think so,” I told him.
I heard a squeak, a pinch, then another squeak.
“Good,” the doctor said. “Good, good.”
NO RED MEAT, NO SODA, NO ALCOHOL, NO JUICES, NO YEAST, NO EGGS, NO SUGAR, NO PICKLES
The doctor made some kissy sounds and finally, thankfully, the squirrel emerged. I took myself out of downward-facing-dog and sat there. I looked at Y and I thought, “you still want to have sex with me, right?” But she seemed to be hard at work making sure to write down everything the doctor said in feverish detail.
NO CORN, NO TOMATOES, NO PASTA, NO BREAD, NO LOVE!
I thought about when I used to go to the doctor with my mother and they’d tap my knee and it would tickle a bit when they put the stethoscope to my chest. The doctor would say things like:
“there you go,”
“just a little cough now,”
And then when they’d all finished up, they’d turn to my mother and say, “looks like the little guy has a cold. It’s a couple of days of ginger ale and ice cream shakes for you, young man!”
I’d take my mother’s hand and she’d lead me back to the car and say, “now let’s swing through McDonald’s, what-a-ya-say?”
And I’d say,
I pulled up my pants as the doctor sat and calmed the squirrel. “There you go, good, brave boy,” he told it before tucking it in a drawer and turning back to me, Y was busy rolling up her notes.
“You will come back in one month,” he told me.
Y took my hand and led me to the car.
“When do you have to be back at work?” she asked.
I checked my phone and adjusted myself in the seat.
“Ten minutes ago.”
This story was originally published on Medium in The Moss. The fantastic illustration seen above is by Nikita Klimov.
I stood in the swank lobby of a SoHo high-rise arguing with the domesticated ex-marine leashed to the front desk. He had a hole-punch of a mouth and little black eyes. His name was Jim.
I pointed at my face. “Jim, you’ve seen my face a thousand times. Look!” I pulled at my nose, eyelids, and ears. “It doesn’t come off, Jim, this is my god-damn face. Just buzz me up.” Jim stood and shoved a thick finger in my face. “You — ” but he was cut off by the ding of the elevator. Quin came sliding out in a Ferrari-red speedo. “Hurry up!” he said and dipped back into the elevator. I looked at Jim. He lowered his finger and sat back down. I ran to catch the closing elevator doors and slipped in beside Quin.
Quin was bouncing on the balls of his feet; he was waxed from the neck down. The years had not been kind; he looked like a pile of mayonnaise; a weak gut, thin arms, and flabby thighs — the left one decorated with a half-assed pinup girl tattoo.
“Yeah — ” He looked at me, even his eyes bounced, “yeah, yeah,” he said.
“Yeah, baby, yeah.”
“You gonna tell me what’s so great I had to leave work?”
Quin watched the floor numbers climb. “Why does this take so long!”
I leaned against the side of the elevator. “Well you could move to Jersey City with me, I live on the second floor. I can even take the stairs, and — huge upside — I can’t get lost in my apartment.”
“Mhm. Yeah man, yeah.”
The doors opened straight into Quin’s penthouse pad. There was a spiral staircase to the right, floor-to-ceiling windows straight ahead. In the middle of this Taj-Majal on top of the world that Quin called home, there was a massive steaming hot tub. It was solid gold.
“Another hot tub?” I asked, unimpressed.
Quin smirked side-long at me. “It is The Fountain of Youth!”
I walked up to it. The jets kicked on. I stepped back, “You’ve nicknamed your hot tub the fountain of youth?”
Quin sighed at me, “No, idiot, I had them turn it into a hot tub.”
“The Fountain of Youth! Don’t you listen?”
“Dude, The Fountain of Youth isn’t real,” I reminded him.
He gave me a pitying smile, “Everything is real if you pay enough,” he reminded me. “Now step back. Okay, you are here to make sure nothing goes wrong, you gotta watch me.”
“Like a good little friend,” I muttered. “Okay, so, say I believe you, what do you want The Fountain of Youth for anyway? You’re thirty-two.”
“Yeah, but don’t you want to go back to being a teenager?” He glanced down at his mayo-belly.
I shook my head “Hell no, I hated being a teenager.”
“Ah, you were one of those.”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “What is that supposed to mean?”
Quin climbed up onto the side of the pool, “Oh you know, those people who are always bitching about high-school and how anyone who was cool is now a truck driver or some bullshit like that. Not true. I tell you; I was cool as shit and look at me now. Bet you wrote poetry, didn’t you?” I glared at him. “Thought so,” He said. He rubbed his hands together and winked.“Bet your poetry was rubbish.”
I gave him the finger.
“You’ll pull me out if anything goes wrong, yeah?”
“Yeah, yeah alright.”
He stepped in and submerged himself. I waited. Nothing. I looked out of the window. I could see the curvature of the damn planet from that window.There was a sound from behind me, a splashing. I turned back to the tub as a young boy’s head appeared, it screamed, then disappeared again. I ran over to the edge.
I followed the shrinking shadow below the surface then plunged my hands in and pulled out a newborn baby boy. It coughed up a bit of water then cried like hell.
“Shit,” I told the baby, it cried some more. “Dude! Hey man, Quin?”
“Wahh!” Quin said.
“Alright man, alright. I’m going to get you to the hospital. Hold on.”
I held him at arm’s length and ran for the elevator; the pinup girl tattoo growing more harrowing, shrinking as we went. I hit the “Lobby” button with my knee. Quin wailed as we descended. I looked at him. “You idiot,” I cried, “You stupid baby” — then panic hit me — “what the fuck am I going to say to Jim?”
It took until my late twenties for all of my excessive bad habits to catch up to me. And, it was two years after that before I started (trying) to improve my health in different ways; LASIK, Yoga, trying (and failing) to quit smoking.
These four essays reflect milestones in this process and they were published over the past six months in Human Parts. I hope you enjoy them.
That Time I got Illegal Butt Surgery in Russia
I was working as a journalist in Saint Petersburg when the butt pain started. The doctor’s heavy Russian accent made me believe I had “gemroids,” which sounded like asteroids made of gemstones, which seemed a lot better than what I actually had: hemorrhoids. More than a month later, it had all gotten much, much worse.
A D.A.R.E. officer visited my high school and told us, “Young people think they’re invincible. This isn’t true!” I sat in the back of the room with my hands under my bum. A voice in the back of my head said, “But I am, though.”
After graduating high school, I spent the next 10 years unable to sleep, socialize, or exist past 5 p.m. without excessive amounts of alcohol or drugs. We called the drugs “cheat codes.” Want to sleep? Drink this or take that. Want to have fun? Drink that or take this. Want to socialize? Want to not be bored?
All of this drinking resulted in three years of on-and-off debilitating digestive issues, the pain of which I masked with (you guessed it) alcohol. It took months of blood and pain, ending in emergency surgery, before I finally thought, “Okay, maybe that D.A.R.E. guy was on to something.”
A typhoon tore through the city that weekend. In Seoul, South Korea, that means dark clouds, 30-plus mph winds, sideways rain, and falling skies. Survival involves dodging branches, skirting garbage, bracing for hail, and a whole lot of running. A typhoon is like pulling a fire alarm in the great outdoors. Think: friendly fire from God, a biochemical attack, and a weapon that targets a population’s umbrella supply.
You can imagine the locals’ surprise at seeing me strolling through this mess in drenched clothes and sunglasses with a world-class, dumb-fuck smile tucked under my nose. Why? Simple: A handful of Korean doctors had just shot laser beams into my eyes.
My watch alarm buzzed. I dodged a falling branch, skirted a flurry of garbage, braced myself against the hail, and ran into a semi-covered alley between two buildings. I lifted my sunglasses and squirted a generous stream of fake tears into my still-healing eyes. I blinked, looked ahead, and saw an old lady, stopped dead, staring at me. As my brand-spanking-new perfect vision cleared, I smiled. For the first time in my life, without contact lenses, without glasses, without squinting, I could clearly see the look on her face.
Dr. Lee is a startling woman. If I stood in the middle of a field with my mother on one end (a smile and open arms) and Dr. Lee on the other (rolled-up newspapers in each hand), and they both said, “Come here, boy,” without a second’s delay I’d bound my way over to Dr. Lee. Not for safety, not for comfort or health, and certainly not for a good ear-scratching. I’d do it out of pure, primal fucking fear. So when she told me it was time for me to quit smoking, I had a horrible realization: I was going to have to ghost my doctor.
The teddy bear was a surprise. They dressed me in a blue robe and squirted a bucket-load of anesthetic into my eyes. Two nurses led me into a dark room where three giant X-ray machines waited. They laid me down under the first machine, placed a teddy bear on my chest, folded my arms around it, tucked me in with a blanket, and said, “Shhhhhhh.”
I looked up. A black disk, two inches in diameter, looked down at me. In the middle was a small opening, like a little mechanical butthole. The nurses circled around me, out of sight. The doctor came in. A small tool was placed into my eye to hold the lid open. Someone grabbed my head from behind.
The butthole machine descended. It was heavy and pressed hard over my left eye. Then, suddenly, I went blind. It felt like my eyeball had been sucked up into this cold dark mechanical butthole forever and was being digested. I didn’t know what to expect, but it wasn’t that.
“I’m blind!” I cried. I felt the nurse’s hands on my arms. She pressed them into the teddy bear and said, “Shhhhhhhh.”