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#166 Rejected

#166 Rejected

A letter from Shuster Publishing is in my mailbox.  My heart races, I can hardly breathe. I tear open the envelope anticipating an acceptance letter for my sci-fi story. I see the form letter, and my heart almost stops. “We only publish literary fiction. Please don’t submit again. Thank you. Signed, 1st reader.”

My story didn’t even get past the mailroom boy. To me it’s a mystery why highbrows deem literary mainstream superior to any genre. It’s something that intellectuals simply say, “We’ll know it when we see it.”

I address a letter to the editor and say, “Your reply to my manuscript – that I believe to be an excellent piece of work –, is rude and very crude. I want you to know that to me, literary fiction is meaningless drivel, just printed matter. Why, I just look to the past and see books that were banned and disparaged that are now considered some of the best ever written. I’d rather read brochures or flyers with artistically crafted graphics helping me to envision a holiday, a car, a girl, or maybe one of a million schemes to encourage me to buy a product.

“Today, some writing that’s considered pornographic should be recognized as having artistic value by readers like you, who claim to recognize intellectual value in common words. I know literary fiction focuses on style, psychological depth, and character, but so does erotica and pornography.

“Academics contend that formerly cheap novels are now literary works. Did you ever stop to think that the reason for this change may be because readers like you can no longer comprehend the difference between literature and common prose?”

Signed,

“Rejected.”

The End

#166 Rejected

#165 Saturday Night

 

#165 Saturday Night

Today is Sunday, and my life will finally end. Something most men dread, but I anticipate the peace it will bring. I’ll never forget the good loving we almost had last night when we first met.

How we walked on the beach, held hands, and watched the sun set and the moon rise. The stars shone so brightly that their light burned through my heart at a blazing speed, and I became star-struck for you.

Together we watched the moon set, the sun rise, and all that time I thought you were a woman, and I fell in love. You and I lay in bed all night long enjoying one another; until the sunrise lit the room and revealed that you, just like me, are a man.

How could it be that I enjoyed your embrace? Someone who needs to shave, has a cock, two balls, and looks a lot like me. My stomach churns. I want to puke at the thought of touching you, but my little brain remembers the delight and wants to forgive and do it over and over again.

Impossible, I think. I’m a man. Even to think of touching another like me is so unnatural that I can’t believe my little brain is thinking like that. You deserve to die for what you’ve done. Changed me from a heterosexual to a bisexual who, I believe, doesn’t have a place in the human race.

I sharpen the straight razor on the leather strap that my father left me when he died because he thought I was a real man. What would he think if he saw you lying in my bed? I stroke the razor back and forth and press a bit harder with every stroke as images of my family points fingers of ridicule and shame at me.

My honor was at stake. To redeem myself, I did what any real man would do. Took your deceiving cock and balls in my hand and stroked them hard with the straight razor. It cut them off on the first swipe, and when you tried to scream, I filled your mouth with your own body parts.

Your eyes wanted to know why before their lights went out and slowly died. I told you I did it to prove I was still a man. But deep inside, my star-struck heart broke and sent remorse through my blood and it filled my brain.

Why couldn’t I accept you and admit that life with you could have been more than all right? The need to repent for what I had done was too much. The only penance I could do would be to take the razor to my throat and pray for forgiveness before I died.

I gaze into the mirror and put the blade to my throat, wondering if I should cut through my Adam’s apple or leave it intact. Pressing on the razor caused blood to flow. Could I cut off my head before I died, or i should I even try.

Looking into my eyes I saw fear not the relief I sought. They told me I might go to hell for killing myself. I pulled the razor from my neck and told myself there were other ways to redemption. I know you’re dead and it’s too late for you, but to prove I was still a man, on Saturday night I’d wear your clothes and do what you did to me, and if he’s a real man, he’ll end my life and I won’t have to do it myself.

The End#165 Saturday Night