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Subject: {ASSM} "Choices" and "Lesson One" (Antheros, Vinnie Tesla, Write Club Duel)
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The stories below were presented as part of a "Write Club" duel.  Each
author was given a list of 9 words and had three hours to write a finished
story incorporating those words.  I was the judge of the duel (the verdict
and supporting opinion can be found in the newsgroup  
Both authors deserve praise for their efforts -- please encourage them by
providing feedback and opinions!  Their e-mail addresses are at the end of
each piece and here: 
-- Antheros [antheros A T]  
-- Vinnie Tessla  [vinnie AT]
The stories are copyrighted by the individual authors and should be not be
reprinted, reproduced, or otherwise distributed without their permission. 
Thank you,
Alexis Siefert.
by Antheros 
Amanda entered the room slowly. The decoration of Clifford's 
Tea House was unlike any other she had ever seen; the walls 
had dozens of unusual trinkets hanging from them. Colorful 
masks, swords of all kinds---even a scimitar---, old guns that 
were probably fake, wooden sculptures of different parts of 
the world, small animals made of wood, plastic and metal 
(culminating into one of those classic big plastic pink 
flamingos that nobody understands why were so successful, 
which dominated one of the walls), and much more. Her head 
moved from trinket to trinket, trying to recognize some, to 
appreciate others, to loathe a few. 
"This way please," said the hostess. 
Mark was already there. She expected so, even being right on 
time. He was the advisor for her PhD thesis, and was always a 
gentleman. In his late thirties, Mark was not married, and 
soon after she arrived she heard the rumors about his 
customary seduction of students. She vowed not to fall for 
that one. She had had enough bad relationships in her life to 
find herself into another one that was doomed to have problems. 
Things had not happened that way, however. She quickly became 
the favorite of his tutees, thanks to her culture, desire to 
learn and intelligence. Amanda thought her looks had little to 
do with it. But, while she was really competent, Mark enjoyed 
her appearance. Her dark hair was always pulled tight into a 
bun, and her light glasses gave her a distinguished look that 
pleased Mark. 
"Hello, Amanda, dear. You look very nice," Mark said, when she 
arrived to the table. He stood up for her. Against her wish, 
Amanda felt herself blush. She was liking Mark, too much. She 
knew that she was falling for him, that she shouldn't fall for 
him, and that she should have said that it was not necessary 
to meet him at the Tea House to discuss her thesis. 
Yet here she was 
"Interesting place," she said, to start conversation. She paid 
attention to his brown hair, soft. His jaw was attractive, 
delineating a masculine face that she couldn't help but stare at. 
"Isn't it? One wouldn't suppose that a college town would have 
such an odd place. The old deans probably enjoy their teas, 
but the decoration isn't what one would expect." 
Amanda looked around for old deans. There were none; the place 
was almost empty, in the middle of the afternoon. "They don't 
seem to be here," she said, smiling. 
"It is not five o'clock yet," he replied, grinning. Amanda 
giggled, feeling a little childlike. She had been prone to 
giggles around him; anytime he made a remark slightly amusing, 
she would burst into a delightful giggle. 
The conversation flowed easily between them. It had since the 
first time they met, and nowadays anyone would have taken them 
for friends, and not professor and student, even though the 
age difference was considerable---a little more than ten 
The waitress arrived with a big wooden cart, having the widest 
selection of teas Amanda had ever seen, all stored in tiny 
china pots. She didn't know which one she wanted, and accepted 
the waitress suggestion, based on a few questions about 
Amanda's tastes. The resulting combination of orange, 
cinnamon, ginger and green tea was strong, but delicious. Mark 
went for something more classic---a blend of two dark tea 
Amanda thought Mark full of contrasts. He dressed lightly, 
often with a polo shirt and sport trousers. He enjoyed trash 
movies and Greek poetry. His English had an Oxbridge accent, 
but the words he chose didn't fit the accent. Every time 
Amanda noticed another of these contrasts, she liked him even more. 
"Tell me, how's your thesis going?" he asked at last, after the 
waitress was gone. Amanda had worried---and also hoped---that 
he had invited her with second intentions, and was 
disappointed, to her surprised, that he had moved the 
conversation into that direction. 
"I'm still stuck. I can't seem to move forward and get myself 
unentangled from that messy discussion." 
Amanda's thesis was thriving to survive. She had moved into an 
uncharted territory, looking for an original discussion, and 
now she didn't quite know how to proceed. They were soon 
discussing the same issues they had went through over and over 
again. To Amanda it wasn't boring at all; Mark never seemed to 
be boring. He always had a light comment or a joke ready. 
To Amanda, the tea was over too soon. They said good bye at 
the door of the Tea House. 
And, Amanda thought, as Mark walked back to his office, he 
didn't seem to have second intentions. Those rumors were 
probably just that, rumors. All she knew is she was feeling 
horny, and would have to take care of that. 
  * * * 
A few days later, in another discussion that seemed to go 
nowhere, Mark suddenly thought of a book that could help her. " 
I'll get it from the Library," Amanda said, noting down its 
"It will be difficult. I'm reading the only copy. But I'll 
bring it to you tomorrow," Mark offered. 
"Thanks. I want to take this weekend off to write, it would be 
wonderful to have the book tomorrow. I'm running behind the schedule." 
The next afternoon, Amanda arrived at Mark's office. "Shit," he 
said, when she opened the door. "I forgot your book." Amanda saw 
that Helen was inside, grinning at her with schadenfreude. 
Amanda didn't like Helen. To put it bluntly, she thought Helen 
was a brain-dead slut trying to fuck her way to a nice place, 
possibly nothing more than a marriage. 
"It's all right," Amanda replied, disappointed. "I'll come back 
next week." 
"No, no. Helen was just about to leave, please come in." Helen 
looked at him, surprised; it was Amanda's turn to grin. "Well 
Helen, see you later," Mark continued. Helen had no resort but 
to walk out. 
"Thanks, Mandy," Mark said, when Helen was gone. That was the 
first time she called Amanda Mandy. "I know she's my student 
and all, but she's a pain in the ass. Don't worry about your 
book, I'll give you a ride home and we'll drop by my place 
first. Where do you live?" 
Amanda smiled, grinned, blushed and felt a shiver at the same time. 
  * * * 
"Just come in," Mark said. "Don't mind the mess. I'm a bachelor, 
my house is supposed to be messy." 
Helen entered his house quietly. It was filled with books. 
There were books everywhere, but she didn't see much of a 
mess---her own apartment was messier. The books were all lined 
up in shelves, only the shelves were everywhere. Every wall 
seemed covered with books. 
"Come into my office." 
His office had only a big table, a wooden chair and an arm 
chair---aside from the shelves, of course. The table had piles 
and piles of books on it. 
"Sit. I have to find the book." She sat and waited, browsing the 
shelves with her eyes. The only place in the shelves that 
wasn't covered with books had a strange looking object. She 
was trying to understand what it was, and why it was there, 
when she felt Mark by her side. 
"It's an oracle." 
"An oracle. Do you believe in oracles?" 
She laughed, but he seemed serious. 
"Why, do you?" she asked. 
"Well, I didn't. But this one seems to work. Every time. It's 
spooky, almost. Here, hold the book. Let me show you." 
Mark took the oracle from the shelves, and place it over his 
desk, at the only empty spot there. The oracle seemed very 
old. It was made of silver and brass, in the format of a bowl. 
It had two holders, with intricate ornaments, by which Mark 
had carried it. The body was covered with many symbols on the 
outside; the inside had a irregular but smooth shape except 
for the symbols and a few small holes. 
"You see, to put it simply, this thing works like a roulette." 
He picked a small silver ball from the side. "The idea is to 
throw the ball inside the bowl, where it's going to roll until 
it falls into one of the holes. I could never find out who 
made this thing. I bought it at a flea market, being sold to 
serve soup. It's certainly not Roman, as it is not much like 
the sort of metal work they did then. It wouldn't have 
survived in such a good shape either. It may be from the 
sixteenth century, but I think it's actually from the 
nineteenth. Nobody I showed it has seen anything similar. It 
was probably made for a rich fortune-teller. A sort of 
impressive version of the Tarot. The symbols are the same." 
Amanda examined it carefully. 
"Do you want to try it?" 
Amanda hesitated. 
"I thought you didn't believe in oracles. Funny thing how our 
mind works, uh?" 
She picked the ball from his hand. 
"Just think of a question, and throw the ball inside." 
Amanda did. 
The ball started to roll around, making a remarkably loud 
noise. It rolled around many times, making strange 
convolutions thanks to the irregular shape of the bowl, until 
it finally stopped in one of the holes. 
"The Lovers," Mark smiled. "You--" 
Amanda kissed him. It was an unconscious, primitive action 
that surprised her as much as it surprised Mark. She was raw, 
animal, pulling him to her, feeling her body against hers. She 
wrapped one of her legs around him, and her tongue sought his, 
eagerly. She wanted him. 
He didn't fight. A minute later they were rolling, naked, over 
his bed, Mark feeling her body, warm and inviting, their 
breathing shallow and ragged; he delved into her body, feeling 
the delicate skin, hearing her moans. Amanda just felt inside 
a dream, dazed, enjoying the unique sensations. 
  * * * 
It was close to ten when they finally quieted down. Mark had 
his third orgasm, and was completely spent. He fell asleep, 
holding Amanda in his arms. She wasn't sleepy. She was happy 
and satisfied. There was a feeling of completeness that filled 
her. All was right. Why did they wait for so long? It wasn't 
wrong. She wasn't guilty. 
Then, she had an epiphany. 
Like all epiphanies, it hit her out of nowhere, and it almost 
knocked her out. She felt stupid, a naive girl taken advantage 
of, used and seduced with the simplest trick. She was played. 
She stood up, watching Mark to avoid waking him up. She walked 
downstairs, still naked. Her hair was free, falling behind her 
shoulders. Her body was still glinting from sweat. Her round 
breasts, which Mark had held just minutes before, fitting them 
perfectly into his large hands, juggled lightly from her steps. 
She entered the office in a daze. The oracle was still there, 
and she felt even more stupid. The ball was still in the hole 
it had fell into; the symbol of the lovers was easily seen. 
She noted a few other symbols she recognized; the Hanging Man, 
the Death. She studied the bowl for a while, trying to see if 
it was obviously rigged. 
"Easier," she thought, picking up the ball again. Just as she 
was about to throw it, she saw Mark, watching her from the door. 
"You think I tricked you," he said. He looked hurt. 
"Did you?" 
"You never let me explain what the Lovers meant. You kissed me 
before I could." 
Amanda didn't move. 
"Do you believe in oracles, Mandy? Have you ever had you 
fortune told? Do you read horoscopes, and half believe in 
them? Even non-believers are afraid of a bad prediction." 
She was still silent. 
"What would you do if the ball fell into the Lovers again? 
Would you think it's the confirmation of a prophecy, that the 
bowl is really magic, or would you think it's rigged and hate 
me? Isn't it funny? The same outcome, again, would make you 
act in a very different way. 
"What if I told you know that the meaning of the Lovers is 
another one? Because it's obvious what you asked to the 
oracle. Ironic. You asked a question to it, but I got the 
answer. Anyway, in the Tarot, the Lovers isn't only about love 
and sex. It also means that you have to struggle with 
temptation, make a choice, be true to yourself. It means you 
have to make a decision. Choose between right and wrong. 
"You see, you didn't wait for the rest of the instructions. The 
oracle says you have to throw the ball three times. The first 
throw is the present. The second, the past. It helps you to 
understand the present and to see what you should do. It's 
pretty much like now. You know the past: you hit the Lovers. 
Now you're trying to see if the oracle is rigged. Your choice 
is based on what happened before. 
"The third throw is the future. It's not what your decision 
will be, or even what will happen. It's what will come of your 
decision. The consequences. Things you didn't foresee. 
"Mandy, you have a choice, right now. You can throw this ball, 
or not. Before you do, I'll say one thing to you. I like you. 
I liked you from the moment I saw you. You were different. We 
could talk, we shared interests. I know there are rumors about 
me and students. You decide if they are true or not. You 
decide everything. You have many, many choices. You can trust 
me, just that. You can roll the ball and see if the Lovers 
comes out again. You can throw the ball twice and use the 
oracle's answer. You can just leave. 
"The problem of an oracle, Mandy, is that it gives you an 
answer. And you have to find what exactly the question is. I 
know mine. I'll be waiting for you, in the kitchen." 
Mark turned around. But, before disappearing through the door, 
he said, "Please, stay with me." 
  * * * 
Amanda walked into the kitchen. Mark was sitting, his head 
"Just never tease me about it," Amanda whispered, "and swear you 
love me. That's all I need, except for one other thing." 
Mark looked at her, waiting. 
"Sell that thing. Throw it away. Give to a museum. I don't 
care, as long as I never see it again." 
"It will be gone, first thing tomorrow." 
They stared at each other, steadily, for some time. 
"May I sleep here tonight?" 
Mark smiled. 
"I think you won't be sleeping anywhere else, anymore." 
-- Antheros [antheros A T] 

Lesson One 
by Vinnie Tesla 
"Jesus, Sybil.  These kids are so *dumb.*" Stanley Wojnak said, slumping
into a bar seat.  The bartender waved to him, and began to pour him a

   "Slow learners?" Sybil asked, nursing her port.  He'd been a little late
for their accustomed Friday after-work drink, and she'd started without

   "Naw, naw.  Hell, they're brighter than I am.  I think Sesame Street's
covering SQL these days.  They knew more about Oracle outa college than I
knew after ten years of database wrangling.  I dunno why the company ever
thought they needed a mentor.  Good God, are they morons around chicks,

   "But they're so cute!" she objected.  "A couple of earnest, handsome
young men like your boys shouldn't have any trouble getting dates."

   "Oh, they get plenty of dates," Stanley conceded, "it's making their
dates happy where they're blockheads."

   Sybil nodded.  "Ah, your real area of expertise."

   Stanley had the good taste to blush.  Barely.  "I'm not the only expert
tease in the room" he said, and winked.  The wink brought a flood of very
pleasant memories, and Sybil felt a rush of heat blossom in her chest.  She
wondered, not for the first time, how the hell he did it.  It wasn't like
Stanley was a particularly handsome man, or exceptionally well dressed, or
well spoken.  But when he looked at her like that...

   "They come into the office with this week's sob story of breakups and
strikeouts," he continued, "and I just want to shake the both of them. 
They're cocky where they should be humble, and then meek just when they
need to be bold.  I try to explain to them how they're getting it all

   "Do you tell them that?"

   "I've tried to give 'em a couple tips, but it's so hard to explain..."

   "Maybe you need to give them a hands-on lesson," she teased.

   He met her eye, grinned back.  "Maybe I do."

   The epiphany about his meaning arrived and she broke eye contact, her
face hot, and took a drink of her port, trying to regain her composure. 
She could feel a throbbing between her legs.

   "You son of a bitch," she said quietly.

   He sipped his bourbon and said nothing.

   "You want to gang bang me." she accused.

   "You haven't said no yet."

   She opened her mouth, pressed the tip of her tongue to her upper teeth,
held it there.  "Maybe," she said.

   He smiled, delighted.  "That's my Sybil!" He leaned over and kissed her,
and she gasped into his mouth, startled at the force of her arousal.


   The weekend passed, the week began.  She was laying out a brochure on
Tuesday when email arrived from Stanley.  It's full text:

   My place Friday night?

   She replied:

   Head count?

   The next message, a minute later was possibly the shortest email she'd
ever recieved:


   She went back to the brochure.  Very little got done.  A half-hour
later, another very short email:


   She replied,

   Yeah, fine.

   Five minutes later, Stanley was knocking on her office door.

   He sat down on a corner of her desk.  "Sybil, hon, this is totally
optional," he said.

   She glared at him.

   "I thought it would be fun," he said.  "It was a mistake.  Please,
forget about it.

   She stood.  "Come with me," she said, and led him to the only corner of
her office completely invisible from the corridor.

   "Get on your knees," she demanded.

   He hesitated.  They'd never so much as kissed at the office in all their
years of various sorts of intimacy.

   "Get on your fucking knees!" she whispered between clenched teeth.

   He complied, somewhat awkwardly.

   She hiked her skirt up, tugged her pantyhose and panties down her
thighs, inverting them in the process.  She pointed to the gusset, which
was glistening in the fluorescent light of her office.  "You see that?" she

   He nodded.

   "That's what your little 'mistake' has been doing to me, you distracting
bastard.  Now lick!" and she pulled his head hard against her groin, her
fingers gripping his thinning hair.  As his tongue found her clit she took
a great shuddering breath.

   Finding the angle at which he could actually get her off with his mouth
took a couple minutes of adjustment and negotiation.  A couple minutes
after that, she was gnawing on the knuckles of one hand, while the other
propped her up against a wall as she rode out a shuddering orgasm against
his face.

   He stood, his hair dishevelled, his face shining.  "God, baby--you are
so hot!  Feel how hard I am."

   She kissed him gently on the cheek, patted his hair down into a
semblance of order (too much would be as suspicious as too little on
Stanley, she thought to herself), and twisted out of his arms.  "I trust
you," she said, bubbling with delicious schadenfraude at his discomfort. 
"You'd better get back to your department before you're missed."


   Friday, they happened to meet in the lobby on their way out, and walked,
largely silent, down to their bar.  The bartender greeted them merrily as
they came in.  "Hey, Ted!" Sybil said, "Two teas, please." Ted cocked an

   "Earl Grey for me.  Stanley?"

   "Um...English Breakfast," he said uncertainly.

   When the bartender was out of earshot, he turned to Sybil.  "Tea!?"

   She smiled sweetly at him.  "'Marry, sir, drink provokes the desire, but
takes away the performance.  Drink may be said to be an equivocator with
lechery.  It makes him, and it mars him.'"

   "Shakespeare?" he said.  "I didn't know you'd been so disappointed with
my performance in the past."

   "You've been lovely, Stanley, but today you have to set an example.  And
you're not so young--"

   "--As I once was, yeah," he grumbled, ripping open two packets of sugar
and pouring them into his tea.


   The worst part was between the arrival of the first and the second of
Stanley's tutees.  Small talk was unbearable, and discussion of what was
planned impossible.  Any uncertainty Sybil had harbored as to whether the
boys had been told what was planned was dispelled by the way Jim Li was
looking at her, with a peculiar mixture of terror and hunger.  Stanley, for
his part, seemed infuriatingly relaxed, chuckling merrily at his own
anecdotes of company politics.

   When Peter Snodgrass arrived, she felt a rush of relief.  If this was a
lesson in how to please a woman, her task now was simply to relax and be
pleased.  Yeah, right--relaxed.  There was a buzzing in her head, as she
looked from boy to boy to man.  Stanley wasn't usually prone to pedantry,
but the situation seemed to bring out the lecturer in him, and her
attention drifted in and out of his soliloquy.

   "...isn't some particular technique.  It's more a state of mind that's
open to your own desires and those of your partner..."and more bromides,
many true all uselessly vague.

   "A woman like Sybil here doesn't want to be hesitantly kissed," he
explained to the boys.  "Everyone stand up."

   Standing, he took her by the waist and the back of her head, and kissed
her hard; gripped her by the hair and pulled her head back to bite and
nuzzle at her throat so she moaned and gasped.  Then he propped her back up
and took a step back.  "Jim, you try."

   The boy stepped forward, his hands clenching and unclenching.  He
smelled good.  She smiled warmly at him.  Suddenly he grabbed her waist.

   "Firm doesn't mean hasty," Stanley scolded.  "Try again."

   Jim pulled his arms back, nodded, and took hold of her once more.  He
kissed her hard, his lips and tongue tight and palpably anxious, his skin
hot and a little damp.

   She ran the tips of her fingers through the close-cropped hair on the
back of his neck and she felt his shoulders relax a bit, felt his kisses
soften.  "Kiss me for yourself, because you want to feel my lips," she
whispered into his mouth.  "yes, that's good."

   A minute later, she knew he was hers.  When he released her, she shook
herself and grinned.

   She turned to Peter.  "You," she said, and glided up to him, sliding her
hands up his chest, around his neck, pulling his face down to nip and suck
at his mouth.  When she had him whimpering and shuddering against her, she
stepped back feeling energized, electric.  "They pass," she announced to
Stanley.  "Next lesson."

   "Um, right." he said.  "Next, um..."

   "Oral sex."



   "Oral sex then.  When you go down on--"

   But Sybil was already on her knees in front of Stanley, nuzzling at the
stiff bulge in his slacks with her open mouth, blowing hot air through the
weave of the fabric.

   "Many women like to, um.  Oh!"

   Now she was gnawing at it through the fabric of his pants, massaging his
balls with one hand, while the other cupped his ass, pulling his groin
against her face.

   "What Sybil's demonstrating here is a oh um..."

   His zipper was down, his pants were down, she was sucking hungrily at
the head of his cock, while squeezing the shaft in her hand.  She knelt
back to admire her handiwork.  Stanley's cock curved aggressively upward
like a scimitar, bouncing a bit with his pulse.  He siezed the opportunity
to sit down, spreading his legs for her to continue her sucking.  But she
had moved on.

   Peter Snodgrass's cock was slender and pink as a flamingo's neck, and
felt lovely against the back of her mouth as she bobbed her head on it,
watching his face as he moaned and clenched his fists.  His knees were
about to give out when she left him to clamber gracelessly out of his
trousers as she descended on Jim to take his straight, exquisitely-shaped
cock into her mouth.

   She stood and pointed at Stanley.  "Condom.  Now." Her own clothes came
off her in a flurry.  He'd barely gotten the condom on, when she straddled
him and descended.

   It was going to be a lovely night.
Vinnie Tessla
vinnie AT

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