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Top 20 August


Celeste's Top 20 stories - August, 1998

Note: Even though guest reviewers write the posted reviews of some of these
stories, I read any story that I think may be likely to win a monthly or
annual award. I personally take responsibility {and blame} for these lists.
If someone else wants to publish an alternate list of awards, that's fine with

Second Note: Since many readers would like to read the top stories for each
month, I have suggested that authors might like to repost as many of these
stories as possible. In addition, I am posting story LINKS with each story in
the Top 20 List. By pasting these into the appropriate line of your web
browser, you should be able to go straight to that story. Please give me your
feedback regarding the effectiveness of this procedure.

Third Note: I have also had great success finding these stories on the World
Wide Web by using the DejaNews Server ( In addition, most
of these stories have been posted and archived through You can even find past issues of my reviews
through these services.

Final Note: Ordinarily, to be eligible for my Top 20 List for any month, I
have to have read the story for the first time that month and reviewed it in
CR. Therefore, reposted stories whose old reviews I repost are not eligible
(unless they are substantially revised), but an "old" story that comes to my
attention and is reviewed for the first time would be eligible. If anyone
else wants to post a "rival" Top 20 list, feel free to do so. You can even
include my reviews, if you don't want to write your own.

- Celeste


This month's Number One Story: "Back to Reality" by Vickie Morgan, which was
also the winner of my Virtual Reality story Contest. The author develops a
highly imaginative, complex plot and handles it extremely well. The story is
a wonderful exercise in imaginative eroticism. For more details, see the
review below.

Here's this month's Top 20 List:
1. "Back to Reality" by Vickie Morgan (romance)

2. "Barley Legal Teens" by Bronwen (romp in the country)

3. "African Dreams" by Stephanie (romance)

4. "Frustration" by Phil (odd sort of voyeurism)
{Not Archived} {AUTHOR ­ PLEASE REPOST!}

5. "Assignation" by Jane Urquhart (cyber-romance becomes real)

6. "Airport" by Unknown Author (satisfaction)
{Not Archived} {AUTHOR ­ PLEASE REPOST!}

7. "Builders" by Nick (voyeurism)

8. "Aphatos" by Yosha Bourgea (emerging sexuality).

9. "The Pedicure" by Lostgirl (sexy pedicure)

10. "Until It Hurts" by Crimson Dragon (ff romance)

11. "Possession" by EazinAlong (consensual power exchange)

12. "Suzette's Passion" by BitBard (romance)

13. "Root of Evil" by Tooshoes (seeking a meaningful relationship)

14. 'The Friendly Couples" by Roger Grayson (swinging)

15. "Principles" by the_story_writer (getting pregnant).

16. "Unmasked" by Jordan Shelbourne (superhero sex)

17. "Voodoo" by mc_writer (mind control) 1-4 5-8 9-11

18. "Whore!" by Nick (talking dirty)

19. "New Beginnings" by Miss Behavin' (romance)

20. "Douglas and Penelope" by Gordie D (romance)

Here are the original reviews in alphabetical order:

"African Dreams" By Stephanie (

Mark's wife has died in a recent, tragic accident. Mark is lonesome for her,
and so is his young son, Dean. They have a virtual playroom that focuses on
an African veldt, as suggested by the set-up for this contest, and Dean has
been spending an inordinate amount of time there lately. One night, after
putting Dean to bed, Mark goes into the virtual world alone; and to his
amazement he finds his deceased wife there. Apparently Dean has wished for
his lost mother, and the obliging dinosaur that manages the virtual
environment has created her. No wonder the boy has been spending so much time
in there!

Nice set-up!

And we have humor too:

<<Mark's fingers ran slowly over his wife's body, and then he slipped
them under the bikini bottom. She looked at him and smiled, "I'm already

Mark couldn't help but laugh back, "Of course you are. We're
standing in four foot of water." He pulled her bikini bottom off and she
removed her top at the same time.>>

Damn! This was a good story! Be sure to read it.

"Airport" by Unknown Author.

Actually, the title is misleading. The story only STARTS in the airport. The
real eroticism begins during the ride home from the airport, while the damsel
in distress with the bodaciously beautiful body slithers and writhes in the
passenger seat sans panties but cum lots of other accoutrements. But suddenly
the perspective shifts from his view between her legs to her own brain a few
hours ago, as she contemplates the impending desolation of being alone at the
end of her air trip to Houston. The first shift in perspective jarred me a
little, but I soon learned to relax and enjoy it, while the perspective
shifted from his to hers as the sexy couple progressed through their

This is an exceptionally good story. If you skip it, you'll be missing one of
the best stories of this month.

Special note: This author does a splendid job at a task that every author
should master: making a woman sound beautiful without expressing her bust size
in mathematical notation.

Quibble department: "As we continued down the corridor, she matched my pace as
I carried the luggage, which was no big deal." Question: WHAT was no big deal
­ his carrying the luggage or her matching his pace. Using a relative clause
to modify a clause (rather than to modify a noun or pronoun), is often
confusing. In this case, it's no big deal; but consider this possibility:
"She gave me a blowjob after I recovered from the beating, which was just what
I had hoped for." Get my drift? {Note: This mistake is an aberration. This
author actually uses the English language extremely effectively. Just as some
guys just can't pass up a niece piece of ass, a good English teacher can't
pass up a chance for a lesson on ambiguous sentence syntax on
­ which is abbreviated ass on a.s.s.}

"Aphatos" by Yosha Bourgea <> reviewed by Fiddler.

The author recently reposted this story and asked if we remembered it. Some
of us do and remember it as a classic.

The frame of this story is a man's indistinct memories of his first love at
13. The girl was 16, an almost unbridgeable gap.

In the story, however, they manage to bridge it. She leads him on a morning
exploration of a neighboring patch of woods that her generation had made their
playground. They exchange small wonders, a few confidences, a few kisses.
They make love.

Memories after that time become fragmented, but the narrator keeps walking in
woods to evoke the bittersweetness of what he has had and lost.

Bourgea fulfills Fiddlers law: "The best writers are the worst posters."
Download this one and reformat it. The experience of reading the story without the distractions of the over-long lines is worth the effort.

"Assignation" by Jane Urquhart. (

The word "Assignation" has three meanings. The only one relevant to this
story is "3. An appointment for a meeting between lovers; a tryst."

The subject of the present case study is a woman who holds an honorable place
within her community but writes salacious stories, and release of this
information would be disastrous. She has jokingly suggested to an on-line
admirer that he ought to try to detect her true identity. Surprisingly, he
has made the attempt and has succeeded; and now she must pay the piper by
meeting with him. She is not really distressed. "In fact, she was filled with
delight. She chose to believe that her very lack of choice released her from
any possible twinge of conscience. Her husband and children would be at the
grandparents' cottage, where she had to be the following day. No one would
ever know where she had been that night; no one would be hurt. Moreover,
having corresponded for some time with her soon-to-be lover, she was confident
that he would make her adventure worth remembering for the rest of her life.
Fantasies were all very well, but reality would be vastly better."

I'm not going to tell you how this all plays out. Instead I'll tell you how I
(moi, as the characters in this story might say) would deal with this. If
someone broke my cover and invited me to have a romantic tryst with him, I
would have him assassinated, as plain and simple as that. The characters in
this story each have their own personalities, and they are each devoted to a
spouse to whom they intend to remain faithful and with whom they plan to
continue to build a relationship. That makes four individual personalities,
without counting children or other collaterals, as military analysts would
call them. While I immensely enjoy the fantasies I read and write about, an
actual romantic involvement with someone else would affect not only me but
these other three personalities as well. I may decide to pull back, and he
may not, or vice versa. My active affection for this man might alter my
unconscious actions toward my husband, who would respond equally unconsciously
toward me in such a way as to fuck up something beautiful that he and I have
worked on. And while he would be trusting me to be acting honestly, I would be
acting under a different set of rules about which he would know nothing. Etc.
No, it would be easier to kill the fantasy lover as soon as he stepped over
the line. As far as I am concerned, "Fatal Attraction" is a book of the

I don't think I'll really have to kill anyone. As the nuns used to say in
elementary school, "A word to the wise is sufficient."

Fortunately, the author has no such qualms ­ at least not in her story. Her
story is sexier than my morose cogitations. And since the story is a fantasy
rather than a newspaper account of a stalker emerging from cyberspace, I found
it to be a simply excellent story. This is not a Janey story, and there's no
reason to believe that it's really autobiographical or even auto-fanciful; but
it was certainly erotic ­ both auto and otherwise.

"Back To Reality" By Vickie Morgan (

Ellen was severely injured when she rescued a stranger at the scene of a
serious accident. She is in great pain, and it is not certain she will ever
walk again. Fortunately, the person she saved is a really rich and extremely
grateful woman, who has sent Ellen for her entertainment a virtual reality
machine. This makes sense: what better way to wile away the time until the
pain dissipates? As I might have put it, "Morphing is better than morphine."

Fortunately, the author has a lot more dignity than I do.

The VR3000 comes with a safeword (which leads to an automatic exit from the
program) and is protected by several fuses and trip switches, so it's
impossible for a power surge to affect it. Most programmes last about a
fortnight (a measure of time in Europe), and so the VR3000 has intravenous
drips to make sure the participant gets necessary nutrients and liquids and
tubes to deal with waste. Etc. The designers have thought of everything.

Or have they?

Ellen first plunges into the virtual world of Romeo and Juliet (a play that
people read and watch in Europe). Her involvement in the play is remarkably
realistic. However, it turns out that Ellen is a lot like me. By that I mean
she decides to deviate from the Bard's plot to see how adaptable the program
is. It's logical that the main characters would be well researched, but how
much time had been spent on minor characters and just what would happen if she
decided to change the plot? Hence, "Kiss me, Mercutio." And then, as the
poet said, the cumshot hits the fan.

I found it reassuring to discover that the VR3000 lacks an effective
spellcheck: we find Ellen upset because she can't stop Arthur from "marring"
Guinevere in the Camelot program. Actually, maybe the 3000 just has a really
good Freudian subroutine.

Anyway, she gets a souped-up version of the program that enables her to travel
through the countryside of Umbria and Tuscany (places where people in Europe
like to bask when on holiday), where this conversation occurs:

<<"I'm sorry. I just wish this was all real. I wish you were real."

"What on earth are you talking about?"

"This is just a very clever computer game. I'm laid in a machine in
England with wires and tubes stuck in me while a load of processing
chips, or whatever they're called, create this whole illusion."

"Have you been smoking illegal substances?" David asked lightly. She
sat up and looked into his eyes.

"I'm serious. None of this exists."

"Are you saying I don't exist?">>

In the middle of this conversation, Ellen realizes that she has forgotten to
set the program to go beyond the prescribed fortnight. Indeed, it's possible
that, like Americans, Europeans get fortnights confused with furlongs and
fathoms. Anyway, what does a virtual solipsist do when it's midnight,
Cinderella? And can you believe that my computer didn't even blink at the
word "solipsist"?

David seems to have the solution: "You have to leave. After all, I don't
really exist and you do. And you are a wonderful person. Never forget that.
One day you will meet a real man who will love you just as I do."

Now, I'm not going to tell you how this story ends. But I know perfectly well
that the producer for "Days of Our lives" reads my reviews. Listen up! The
"Days" storyline sucks right now. Dump your writers and hire this author.
You'll go right back to the top of the daytime ratings.

I don't think this is really the time to ask you this, but I can't help it.
Do you sometimes get the feeling that there are too many solipsists in the
world? I've been thinking about that question a lot lately. And if I can
think about it, I must have Cartesian coordinates. And if you've been
thinking about this too, that means that I might be right. At least I think

"Barley Legal Teens" by Bronwen (

Unless you look at this title carefully, you'll miss its point. Usenet has
generated an elite coterie of scholars known as spammers ­ dysfunctional
dullards who post vast quantities of useless and inappropriate messages in
newsgroups in such a way as to demonstrate their pathetic ineptitude while
annoying the regular users and disrupting the newsgroup as much as possible.
On a.s.s. these simpletons post vast quantities of wannafucks and
advertisements about supposedly free pictures of naked women allegedly
engaging in explicit sexual activities and nubile teenagers who want to lose
their virginity to people who will talk to them on the telephone.

Astute observers have resigned themselves to this sort of foolishness, and
most of us simply ignore the spam or filter it out. Lord Malinov tried a more
creative approach with his Spam Contest in the Fall of 1997. The idea was
that authors had to incorporate spam into their stories. The contest drew
some good stories, and I'll repost my reviews of several of them.

Back to the present story ­ the title focuses on the fact that spammers
typically can't even spell their titles correctly. The original spam title
was supposed to refer to BARELY legal teenagers ­ as in just beyond jailbait.
Bronwen has seized upon this literary peccadillo and has written a story about
teens doing it in barley fields on a small island just off the coast of

This is a wonderful story, and I won't risk ruining it by trying to summarize
it. Just let me point out that although it may be LEGAL ­ albeit barely legal
­ to do it with barley, it's a bit risky. In my opinion, those other blokes
had it right when they recommended strawberry fields forever.

"Builders" by Nick (

Remember the sexy hunk in the Coke commercial of a few years ago? He would
take his shirt off and drink a Coke while all the women ogled him from nearby
windows. {I didn't expect my computer to accept "ogled," but the spellcheck
didn't even blink!"} Well, this story is sort of from the Coke Man's point of
view. He's a working bloke on a tiny island off the coast of Europe, and he
has a bod that the birds and crackers admire ­ sort of a "page three man," if
you can imagine such a thing. And he struts his stuff. This story is a Day
in His Life. No actual sex, but some good voyeurism and exhibitionism. A
really nice little tale. <grin ­ subtle pun>

All of which reminds us of the following story:

Every day the woman watched the young landscape gardener through her kitchen
window. He was tanned and blond with rippling muscles and an enticing bulge in
his jeans. Two or three times a day he'd step behind the tool shed. She knew
what he was doing, and her imagination soared at the thought of what he held
in his hand. Finally, she saw him slip behind the shed and she hurried around
the shed from the other side. There he was in all his splendid glory, pissing on the ground. Her heart leapt when she saw his penis. She blurted, "Mmmm.
I'll have some of that."

"Well," he drawled, "you'd better get a cup quick. I'm about finished."

"Douglas and Penelope" by Gordie D (

Doug and Penny have a chaste courtship, fall in love, get married, and have a
very nice wedding night. That's about it, except that a few details add a lot
of spice. As Doug said afterwards: "That was really unbelievable. I hope
she's not expecting it to be like this every night, though . . ."

Doug and Penny take turns telling the story, and so we get independent
verification of what each one knows and feels about the various events. This
was a very good approach to a very good story.

"New Beginnings" by Miss Behavin' ( Guest review by
BitBard (

I have to admit I was reluctant to read this story. I was getting a little
behind <g> in my email and my other reading, and then there was this story idea I had rattling around in my head. And I'll say the beginning of the un-
coded story did not help my reluctance any either. I mean how many fathers
watch porno flicks with their sons at a bachelor party? So I wasn't overly
thrilled with where the story was going.

And then something wonderful happened as the story moved forward, alternating
between the present and fond remembrances by the husband of his late wife.
Bit by bit the details began to build a story of a man who's been alone for a
very long time and then meets of all people, the best friend of his brand new

The story deals very tactfully with the intergenerational issues but also
deals realistically with the problems of loss and being too long out of the
mating game. All of this makes the sex realistic and tangible, in addition to
being very well written and hot.

I think maybe the story ends too abruptly, but not jarringly so. I think I
would have liked to see an exploration of the intergenerational relationship
after the sex (For instance, how will the new daughter-in-law take to having
her best friend becoming her mother-in-law?). But this is a nit. As
abruptly as the story ends, it ends in a charmingly thought-provoking and very
human manner.

All told this is a wonderful story and well worth your time. It was certainly
worth mine no matter how scarce it happens to be at the moment :-)

'The Friendly Couples" by Roger Grayson (posted by TheEditor grobert@IDT.NET).

Review by Sven the Elder, who may be contacted at

I guess all of Celeste's guest reviewers get blooded on a 50,000-word, close
to 100 page blockbuster at some stage. {Celestial note: <hee, hee!>} Well
after I read a number of the stories posted by TheEditor in the past, Celeste
has asked me to review this one. I have to admit to finding it a pleasurable

This is the story of janet and Greg Richards, and their new friends from the
same Company, Martin and Darleen Kelly.

Martin and Darleen have been planning the introduction of their new friends
into a little bit of swapping. Greg has been working too hard and has been
neglecting his slightly prudish, Midwest wife. Janet, has been starved of her
love and affection, so when the newly promoted Greg has to fly suddenly down
to Dallas on business and miss out on the party the four have arranged.....
You get the picture, Darleen becomes unavailable and the scene is set for
Martin to take a rather intoxicated janet out on his own.

The twists and turns of a furious seduction, powered by alcohol and 'an
aphrodisiac' are well described, as is the blackmail that follows and the
night of aphrodisiac fuelled sex that follows.

The descriptions are excellent, if a little cliched in the way of other
stories I have read that the 'Editor' has posted in the past. I have to say
that having read those, this story follows in the same lines - wronged wife,
seeking revenge against an uncaring husband, followed by remorse, followed by
blackmail, followed by - well you get the picture and may well have read
others in the genre.

But - and this is a big but, this is a very well written story, in a good
Style that is easy and entertaining to read and has some very sexy scenes in
it. As a story the threads might well be taken from folks fantasies of how
they would like this type of scenario to affect them, or not as the case may

It also shows the downside of such relationship with what can only be
described as a rather fraught homecoming to a very frightened wife, which
changes as Greg admits to the reason for the blackmail.

Now at this point I am not going to expose the plot any further. It twists
and turns and goes deeper than you might imagine. There are dilemmas to suit
all tastes. Sex scenes that come close to being over the top, perhaps they
are, but they are still, in the main, enjoyable. The climax of the story, in
every sense of the word is simply awesome. I enjoyed it all, even if there
were a little more cliches than I would normally care for. Somehow, they

"Frustration" by Phil (no further information available).

The narrator is a painter who is enlisted as a confidante for a newlywed lass
who was a virgin on the night she married a bloke whose Whopper was a lot
bigger than the ordinary Big Mac. In fact, her initial payment of the
marriage debt has rendered her a bit bowlegged. She has no lady friends yet in
this part of the country and hubby is away seeking employment in the big city;
and so she shares her thoughts and feelings with the painter, who functions as
a naïve but effective Rogerian counselor. That is, instead of saying, "Tell
me more," his eyes get wide and he marvels, "Really!?"

He takes a break, and they have a picnic. They continue talking about sex,
and it becomes his responsibility to serve as a surrogate sex educator. This
goes on for a long time, but somehow the author manages to maintain our

American readers will be concerned when Angela describes her husband examining
her with a torch. Don't be upset: it's a flashlight. But this incident
reminded me of the first dirty joke I heard as a child.

Little Johnny was going to the bathroom ­ er, to the loo, I think. He saw his
mother naked in the bathtub, and noticed her vagina. "What's that?" asked
Little Johnny. Blushing, the mother responded, "That's my tunnel." The next
day he was taking a leak again when he saw his dad's dick, which was a lot
bigger than his own. What's that?" asked Little Johnny. Taken aback, the
father answered, "I call that my flashlight." Little Johnny was puzzled, but
he zipped up and went to his room. Later at the dinner table, Johnny said,
"Dad, why don't you shine your flashlight up Mom's tunnel?"

I heard this story from an older boy, who had no idea what it meant. There
may have been a priest or minister present at the dinner table in the joke. I
think the cleric may have spit out his food, and that's what my naïve
sophisticate thought was funny.

Anyway, this is an excellent story with a surprise ending.

"New Beginnings" by Miss Behavin' ( Guest review by
BitBard (

I have to admit I was reluctant to read this story. I was getting a little
behind <g> in my email and my other reading, and then there was this story idea I had rattling around in my head. And I'll say the beginning of the un-
coded story did not help my reluctance any either. I mean how many fathers
watch porno flicks with their sons at a bachelor party? So I wasn't overly
thrilled with where the story was going.

And then something wonderful happened as the story moved forward, alternating
between the present and fond remembrances by the husband of his late wife.
Bit by bit the details began to build a story of a man who's been alone for a
very long time and then meets of all people, the best friend of his brand new

The story deals very tactfully with the intergenerational issues but also
deals realistically with the problems of loss and being too long out of the
mating game. All of this makes the sex realistic and tangible, in addition to
being very well written and hot.

I think maybe the story ends too abruptly, but not jarringly so. I think I
would have liked to see an exploration of the intergenerational relationship
after the sex (For instance, how will the new daughter-in-law take to having
her best friend becoming her mother-in-law?). But this is a nit. As
abruptly as the story ends, it ends in a charmingly thought-provoking and very
human manner.

All told this is a wonderful story and well worth your time. It was certainly
worth mine no matter how scarce it happens to be at the moment :-)

"The Pedicure" by Lostgirl (

Guys will tend to skip this one. BIG MISTAKE! To guys a pedicure simply
doesn't sound sensual. This story will disabuse you of that notion.

A guy accompanies his girlfriend when she goes to get a pedicure. I don't
mean to suggest that most pedicures are this sexy. They're more sensuous than
sexy; and most women would prefer to go alone, especially since what happens
in this story is illegal in most jurisdictions that don't have red-light

You'll have to find out the details for yourself. This story - a wonderful
combination of voyeurism and actual contact - is extremely sexy.

"Possession" by Eazin Along ( Guest Review by BillyG

"Possession" is the delightful literary equivalent of Screw the Roses, Send me
the Thorns. For those of you who fined no particular positive energy in non-
consensual erotica, check out this story by EazinAlong. It's a beautiful
example of consensual power exchange. It speaks to the enhanced erotic tug of
trust and risk, expectation and surprise.

The plot is straightforward and to the point. The protagonists, a man and a
woman, remain somewhat mysterious, for they remain nameless. She agrees in
some prior negotiation to do his bidding without restraint. The operative word
here is ‘agrees' for this is a consensual tale. "Freedom" is their safe word;
she has only to utter this word and everything stops. They both know she
always has a way out. Will she choose it? After some very sexy play, he
edges her into new, unexpected territory.

It's a recommended read to experience their erotic play and taste the emotions
of consensual power exchange.

"Principles" by the_story_writer (

Synopsis: The guy doesn't want to overpopulate the world, but he really likes
to fuck his wife. For her part, she wants to have a very large family. She
finds ways to get pregnant ­ again and again and again….

In its own way this story is as "repulsive" as the pedophile and incest stories. I mean, it really isn't a good idea to overpopulate our planet, is
it? But I laughed my head off while I read this story and then went in and
did the big nasty with my husband. Fortunately, he knows how to say
"vasectomy," which is something that our hero does not seem to know about.

"Root of Evil" by Tooshoes (

"Hope springs eternal in the human breast." That phrase occurs in two poems
that I know of - one poem that the English professors love and the other that
they scoff at - "Alexander Pope's "Essay on Man" and Ernest Thayer's "Casey at
the Bat." My husband also recites the line when he's watching my daily tape
of "Days of Our Lives" with me, but he's making a sexual innuendo about a sexy
babe named Hope on whom he'd like to spring eternal.

Anyway, Our Hero is rich but lonely. But hope springs eternal in his human
breast: he still hangs out at the strip bar, hoping not only to get lucky, but
to fill that lonely place in his heart. But that's how a fly is likely to get
caught in a spider web (as Our Hero says), and Casey did strike out (as Walt
Disney tells us).

But fear is the root of all evil. Our hero overcomes his roots and asks the
dancer out, but "Sandra has a problem with dating customers. She thinks a guy
should at least have dinner with a girl before seeing her naked. But hope
spring continues to spring eternal in his human breast. He sees her rejection
as a swing and a miss. Like Casey, he has two more strikes. But Flynn
precedes Casey, and likewise so does Blake. The former is a puddin' and the
latter is a fake. She may not date him, but she does get naked for him; but
that's because he has paid for a table dance. Strike one, the umpire said.

Soon Arnie decides that desire is the root of all evil. Arnie has what the
country western song calls "Scarlet Fever." Scarlet - I mean Sandra - gets
him so hot that he mixes his metaphors. He is a fly, longing for the spider,
imagining the web he is caught in as the trappings of love. He feels the way a
prisoner would feel, looking beyond the cell bars at freedom. He feels as
though he is living a beautiful dream, but the alarm clock is ringing. Or as
the Poet would put it, the umpire said, "Strike Two."

Can I fight my way out of this metaphorical tangle, this labyrinth that I have
imposed on myself by mixing classical poetry and baseball doggerel? What does
it say about me when I can remember almost all of "Casey at the Bat" but
almost none of "Essay on Man"? Such thoughts fill my mind as Arnie goes home
alone to his cats and his pillow.

Will Casey go down without a fight? Even if he fights, will he strike out?
Or will there be joy in Mudville?

Actually, pain is the root of all evil. That's Arnie's third conclusion about
the root of all evil. Thirds are almost invariably final. In jokes, it's
always the third man in the bar or the third person in the priest, minister,
rabbi trio who delivers the punchline. Country western songs always repeat
the refrain three times. Most people sneeze three times if they sneeze at
all. And that's my third example; and Arnie is right about this pain thing.

"Happiness lies somewhere between having money and spending it all." I don't
know who said that. Probably John Milton or Garth Brooks. Or Sandra near the
end of this story.

I'm going to risk ruining the ending. Casey hits a foul ball on the third
strike. In other words, hope still springs eternal - at least for a little

Or as Pope says later in his little poem,

All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee;
All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see;
All Discord, Harmony not understood;
All partial Evil, universal Good.

The sooner Casey figures that out, the less likely he'll strike out. Or at
least it will be less likely that he'll be devastated if he does.

This is a new style of story for this author; and it's very, very good.

"Suzette's Passion" by BitBard (

Lady Suzette is engaged to be married to an old, ugly Italian man. As she
travels from France by ship to meet her fate, she is clad in a chastity belt.

But the ship gets attacked by English pirates; the pirates capture Suzette and
hold her for ransom; Spanish pirates attack the English pirates; the English
fight off the Spanish, but the pirate captain, with whom Suzette is falling in
love, is seriously wounded; but he turns out to be a former street urchin with
lock-picking skills, and so a happy outcome is at last possible after she
nurses him back to health.

The author spins an excellent tale - full of swashbuckling heroics, romance,
and the sort of sex we women all dream about but never see in the pirate
movies. This is another excellent story!

"Unmasked" by Jordan Shelbourne ( Guest review by LeAnna.
(This review means only my opinion, nothing more.)

This is an excellent story. It starts out right after an engaged couple,
Emily and Jim, finish making love. There's a slight problem with their sex
life -- she never orgasms during 'it'. Jim asks her why, and she gives him a
laconic answer. It's obvious that they've been through this before. After
lying together for a few moments, they get up to go through her scrapbooks,
deciding what to throw out before she moves in with him. Jim opens a
scrapbook and discovers that Emily was once a sexy young superhero named "The
Blackbird". The same superhero that fueled dozens of his adolescent
fantasies. He can't quite get over it. The thought gets his hormones pumpin'
(and that's not all that gets pumpin'...)

What is meaningful about this story is the psychology that develops -- even
though she insists that she isn't involved with that anymore and should get
rid of her costume, she still gets revved up by the mere thought of her
previous escapades. The moral here is... no, I won't get into that. :-) It's
a good read -- pick this one up and see for yourself! The dialogue is
impeccable, the sex is clitoris-tingling, and the love between them is

"Until It Hurts" by Crimson Dragon (

Have you ever awakened at 5:28 AM, feeling like shit warmed over, with a
painful headache and a feeling that you don't know where you are and with a
strange woman's hand cupping your breast while she sleeps next to you? Well,
I haven't ­ not all of the above, that is. Not at 5:28 AM anyway.

This story falls under the category of Things That Your mother Was Probably
Right About When She Warned You About Them But Which Sound Like A Good Idea
Near Closing Time And Which Might Work Out OK If You Get Lucky As Hell. The
Dewey Decimal System used to have a number reserved for books on this topic.

The title is taken from advice to runners, which goes something like this: "If
you wanta become good, you gotta run until it hurts." It's an adaptation of
the "no pain no gain" theorem ­ and also a metaphor for life.

The basic plot deals with a woman who has violently broken up with her fiance
after he confessed that he had been boinking his secretary. She gets drunk,
finds herself in the arms of another woman, and adjusts and goes on with her
life. It's an excellent story.

This story brought back memories for me. One of my all-time favorite songs is
"Jose Cuervo" by Shelly West. That song's opening lines will tell you why
this story reminded me of it:

Well it's Sunday Mornin'
And the sun in shinin'
In my eye that is open
And my head is spinnin'
I was the life of the party
I can't stop grinnin'
I had too much Tequila last night

Actually, it's not all that great a song, I guess. But that singer really
turned my husband on, and that turned me on. For about a year all I had to do
was pop that tape into the stereo ­ no it wasn't an eight-track tape - and I
had him eating out of my hand:

Jose Cuervo you are a friend of mine
I like to drink you with a little salt and lime
Did I kiss all the cowboys?
Did I shoot out the lights?
Did I dance on the bar?
Did I start a fight?

Yep, Things That Your mother Was Probably Right About When She Warned You
About Them But Which Sound Like A Good Idea Near Closing Time And Which Might
Work Out OK If You Get Lucky As Hell.

Now wait a minute
Things don't look too familiar
Who is this cowboy Who's sleepin' beside me?
He's awful cute, but how'd I
Get his shirt on?
I had too much Tequila last night

Our daughter who was conceived around that time was lucky that she wasn't a
boy. We were considering naming a boy JC. My mother thought those initials
stood for "Jesus Christ." She didn't drink much or speak Spanish. Nor did I,
for that matter.

I watched a news show the other day in which some "experts" were denouncing
"the porn industry" for causing all kinds of problems in society. This song
is a perfect example of how wrong they can be. I didn't frequent honky tonks,
I had never awakened next to a cowboy whose shirt I was wearing, and I didn't
even like Tequila. Even though I listened to that song about a thousand times
within a year or so, none of this has changed ­ except that I speak a little
more Spanish now.

My husband is in for a wild time tonight. I'm going to find that tape.
"Voodoo" by mc_writer ( Reviewed by Baird Allen
( 1-4 5-8 9-11

"Voodoo" tells the story of a man, displeased with his wife's frequent
"headaches" and minimal sexual responsiveness, who consults a Voodoo
practitioner and arranges to have his wife's passions aroused and her loyalty
assured. In fact, the treatment turns her into his sexual slave, obedient to
his every word so long as he possesses the amulet that controls her.

If that were the sum total of this story's plot, it would be no different from
any other mind control story that you might find on any casual skim through
a.s.s. This one is different, however, in its unexpected affirmation of the
value of free will. How is that difference achieved? Sorry, I can't tell you
that without ruining the plot. The summary above barely skims the surface. I
recommend that you read the story yourself.

Now, a word about the meaning of the numbers at the end of this review: An
email correspondent recently accused me of going soft and giving out too many
10-10-10 reviews. There may be some truth to this, but if so it is only my
attempt to make the ratings on reviews that I write equivalent to the ratings
on reviews written by Celeste herself. Perhaps a 10-10-10 once meant that a
story was exemplary in every way, a jewel among lesser gems; but it is my
perception that it has come to be awarded to stories that do not necessarily
stand out above the crowd of *good* stories, but rather have nothing wrong
with them to justify downgrading them below 10s. I do not want any writer to
suffer for being reviewed by me rather than by Celeste, so a story that has
nothing technically wrong will get a 10 on Athena and a story that has
adequate plot and characters will get a 10 on Venus. The Bear score remains my
own, but if a story pleases me I will tend to rate it highly, perhaps higher
than I would have in the past.

"Voodoo" is a perfect example of what I mean. The writer uses the English
language competently, with no jarring typos or glaring grammatical errors to
jolt the reader out of the story. That gets a 10 on Athena. The plot advances,
twists, and turns, with nothing to disrupt the willing suspension of disbelief
by the reader. The characters are not drawn as exquisitely as those of some of
my favorite mainstream authors, but they are not mere cardboard cutouts
either. So, a 10 on Venus. I liked the story, especially when it turned or
twisted in some way not in accord with the expected formula. OK, a 10 on the
Bear rating as well.

This is a good story, well-written. I suggest that you read it, even if you
ordinarily skip over stories of mind control and magic.

"Whore!" by Nick (

"If you treat a lady like a lady, she'll become a lady. If you treat her like
a whore, she'll become a whore." That's what my grandmother used to say,
some time after Pygmalion (which she probably never read) and before My Fair
Lady (of which she did see the movie version, although she had severe glaucoma
by that time). I think she learned that aphorism in a place called The old Country. In an ironic way, my grandmother's words are the moral of this
story. However, you have to remember that on this newsgroup the connotation
of being a whore is less pejorative than it was in The old Country.

As the story says, "Well what is a lady to do with herself for two hours when
she is on the streets dressed like a tart?"

"Tart" - Now there's a word that's underused by Americans, who prefer the more
mundane "bitch." Undoubtedly, British men are clever enough to realize that
they can call their lovers "sweet tart" and get by with it, because the lover
is likely to hear the less oxymoronic "sweetheart." Blimey!


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