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    northie
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
2021 - Spring - Potluck 2021 Entry

Distance - 1. Liam's story

Last thing at night, it's great to relax in bed and run through the good bits of the day. Don't you find that? Admittedly, the rewind can sometimes last half a minute, tops. Work days, for instance. When that bastard AI snoop on my laptop complains the day's click tally isn't large enough. Your recommended throughput is eighty clicks per minute. Eff off, you mouthy sod.

Jeez – reminds me of Mum's non-stop nagging, only your own whines and excuses have no impact whatsoever. Can't risk ignoring the bastard thing though. It's like my kid sister. I'd ignore her sniping for as long as possible at home. Every time, an outburst would follow which brought any adult within hearing distance down on me like a tonne of bricks. Families – don't you just love 'em?

A dodgy click rate sets lights flashing on Steve's computer. Or Fran's. Or Yaseen's. Maybe it's all three of them. You really don't want to attract management's attention. Poor Rick was in floods of tears after one 'Improvement required' encounter. Bastards.

Great guy, Rick. We talk online regularly. He's a New Zealander. Looking to stay around long enough to earn what he needs for the next leg of his world trip. Dunno why he thought this bastard job was suitable.

Being a content moderator sucks. You gotta click so fast sometimes to catch up, your finger freezes. All that graft for barely anything. The rates per image passed or rejected are pathetic. Miniscule. Hours spent blanking out life to earn something noticeable.

Don't people even think for a second before they post stuff?

Not a great line to take before getting some shut-eye. Riles me up every time.

Do they though? Some of the shit you see defies belief.

Oh, for Silicon Valley's automated enforcers, taking stuff down almost before it's posted. That's the theory anyway.

What do we have? A bunch of pissy, easily-ignored guidelines. Who's read them? Anyone? And we, stalwart holders of the line, work in a distributed sweatshop where nobody, but nobody, has got our backs.

Took some stuff down from a serial offender the other day. How's the arrogant fuck even allowed back on the site? It's not as if he's bothering to hide.

Deep breaths.

That vein in my forehead just popped. High blood pressure isn't good, is it?


OK – let's channel Lym. Wonderful, Welsh, 'I'm from the valleys, me' Gwilym. God, he's gorgeous. Plays football rather than rugby. Some of his mates back home call him a traitor. Total bollocks. I like my men athletic and muscled; not built like a prop forward. Don't you think they're closer to tanks?

Lym's a sweetie. Left me a couple of tenners earlier. They'll help me get through to the end of the month. Normally, slaving over a set of whirring laptop fans for sixty hours a week pays the bills. Just. Until the electric or the rent goes up again. This week's migraine fucked that, didn't it? Had to miss a day and a half. Couldn't focus on anything. Sick pay? Dream on.

Need new lenses in my glasses apparently. Goody. One more sodding bill in the queue. Oh, and a left-handed mouse. Mustn't forget that. Don't want that carpel tunnel thing Judith got. No way.

Wish my immune system would sort itself out. How many people harbour an ambition to work in an office? Pathetic, isn't it.

Lym slipped the cash under the toaster. Spotted him in the mirror when my back was turned. He's not meant to be in the kitchen really – all those nasty germs and viruses he might harbour. Anyway, it only took a second or two.

Next I knew, he was off out into the back garden before turning to cut along the side passage. It was already nearly dark and pissing down with rain. The wheelie bin got him on the way. I howled with laughter. Bet his swearing gave old Mrs Nash next door palpitations. She saw us kissing a while back. Big deal. Next day, the interfering cow pushed a pamphlet through the letter box. 'AIDS is our destiny' or some such bollocks.

People.

Is being left-handed and gay the definition of a square peg in a round hole?

Gwilym works for the local council. Not sure what as. Never really asked. Anyway, he says the team aren't bothered by him being out and proud. Imagine working with a bunch of guys, all day, every day. Instead of hiding out here. God, I fucking hate these four walls sometimes. Wouldn't it be cool to have an entire side showing Aberystwyth's sea front, the Coliseum in Rome, or even Brighton city centre in real time?

That'd definitely see off Mrs Nash. At least one camera daily must catch some hot queer action.


Wonder if everyone Lym works with is an ally? Doesn't seem likely, does it? Maybe Mr 'kill_a_fag_today' holds down a perfectly mundane job, nine-to-five, before transforming, Batman-like, into a caped, raging homophobe.

Nah. He's some white, pimply incel, unable to deal with what life throws his way. Or to accept there are lives that differ from his. Successful, loving lives.

Involuntarily celibate? Nobody in their right minds would want to sweep right for that specimen. Imagine – misogynistic, grievance-driven, entitled. Well, that's his mindset – half the issue is, he hasn't got anything. Bet the guy still lives with his mum and can't be arsed to get a job. Entitlement, again. Ten minutes in a pub with the fucker and you'd be excused for ramming his teeth down into his guts.

What was his last offering?

Don't go there, you pillock. You wanna get to sleep this side of the morning?

Here's a thought. Do they leave all the queer shit for me to see? Rick, Judith, and the rest of them. Cos my 'lived experience' and x-ray, rainbow-coloured eyes can spot things they can't? A stinking pile of shit is still a stinking pile of shit regardless of whether its author's straight, queer, or a complete tosser.

And here's another cheering thought. Tomorrow will see me losing yet more money. Mr 'kill_a' broke not one, but two time-limited bans. To see whether he's gonna get a more severe punishment – duh – guess who has to prepare a report in their own unpaid time? People wonder why we permanently ban a vanishingly small proportion of the user base. Rolls eyes

Enough.


Can a round peg fit into a square peg's hole? Oh, yeah. I'd say so. I know so. Been a while. God, I miss Gwilym. Him wielding that club of his is a sight to behold. It's not porno size. That would be bizarre. More than enough to get me going. His dick's uncut and has one of those upward bends when it's hard. Dunno what it is about that curve. Maybe he's channelling the satyr look? Lym's got a cool, glossy beard; no horns though.

Love it when he nuzzles my collarbone, dipping in and out before travelling up the side of my neck. We can be going at it like the world's about to end, me with those weird squeaky gasps I make, but it's not until those hot, breathy tickles that I lose my shit.

Imagining it now. Beard-trimming days are the best. That extra rasp, the slight frisson of pain mixed with love and desire… not that pain's my thing exactly. Lym's a big softy. We played the odd spanking game early on. Shouldn't need to ask who played which role. They didn't last long. My wicked Welsh warrior doesn't enjoy hurting someone, even when they've asked for it.

That's one of so many things I've learnt from him. Yes, making love is about me, and him, but most of all, it's about us. There's little point in being all upfront about your desires and sexual quirks if you don't then listen to your partner. So I don't get spanked. Looking back, it was the thought that got me going most. Weird? Maybe it came from reading too much porn.

The poor sweetie turned beet red when he told me. We were both embarrassed. God – two grown men unable to discuss what turns them on without wishing the floor would open up beneath them. Sex and relationship education at its straight-is-normal best. Turned out OK – we ended up kissing and giggling on the sofa. Soon stopped though when it came to my turn at confession.

The kissing had progressed to… well, what you'd expect. Gwilym asked for a spot of rimming. Not that he was gonna be fucked; it's something he enjoys on its own. Lym's the fucker in this relationship, not me. Though if he offered, I'd be in him in an instant. Anyway, despite him being clean and groomed and all that down there, I hesitated.

“Ell – you OK?”

Jeez, I remember the puzzlement, concern, and Lym craning over, trying to work out my problem.

“I spent bloody hours getting ready. What's wrong?”

This is where you might've wanted to deploy tact or consideration. Instead, a whole stream of words tumbled out while I stared at the deep crimson sofa cushion. Guess whose face was the same colour.

Gwilym sat up. “Why didn't you say earlier the thought of it makes you queasy? Honest and open – yeah?”

So we had discussion round two, followed by the best night's fucking in a long time.

Yn dy golli di, Gwilym.” Is my Welsh improving? Miss you.

Right. Sleep time.


That last post was disgusting. Even to my jaundiced eyes.

For fuck's sake. Don't think about the sodding thing.

Can't help it. Echoes of that final scream ricochet inside my fucking skull. Why doesn't management offer us counselling services? Decompression time? Don't make me laugh. They only have moderators cos they're legally required. Bastards don't say anything about treating the aforementioned moderators like human beings.

How many likes did the post have? Thousands. Man, there're some sick pervs out there. Maybe Mr 'kill_a' was one of them.

And there it was in the feed, just another post nestled up against a vid of some kid's party and a guy looking for a lost dog. It'd be easier if we knew all suspect posts were going to be shit, but they're not. How do breastfeeding pictures get included? And once, there was this random guy doing a nekkid dance for his… boyfriend? Could've been his mum for all we knew.

Wait.

Shit! How could I have forgotten? God, I'm already sniggering. Even my lips are stretching into a goofy grin. Man, feel those cheek muscles crack!

Last summer, June sometime. Must've been soon after the initial diagnosis. I felt like shit. In every way possible. Poor Lym didn't know what to do with me. Particularly after he'd had my mum tell him it was what I, we, deserved. Fucked-up families. Again. Anyway as Lym had been banned from being here as a precaution, he asked me what'd cheer me up.

I'm a mean bastard sometimes. The grin's growing. As is another part of me. That's pretty unusual. Yep – heating up nicely. Hmm.

Must've kept the texts. Where's my phone?

“Oh, fuck.”

You aced that. Now to grope under the bed. Not putting the light on. Fucking thing.

God, the screen's bright. No visuals – swore I wouldn't video anything. Texts are still there. Here's my first one.

Twerking Naked. Out in the garden just as the sunshine floods in. You'll look gorgeous

WTF? I'll look a complete prat! Want me to be arrested?

NO! It'll be early. 4.30

What?

Please! Nobody'll be around

There was a fifteen minute silence. Just checked the times.

You're a mad bastard, Ell

Always

Won't the neighbours see?

Nope. There'll just be me. And you, boyo

K I'll do it. Only for you, Ell


Lying here, I can see him now.“Fy rhyfelwr Cymreig rhyfeddol.” Love the mouthfeel of the Welsh language almost as much as I adore my wonderful Welsh warrior.

The sun rose. Perfect day. Closest we'll ever get to Homer's 'rosy-fingered' dawn. No Aegean Sea though. One overgrown pond hardly counts.

That special early-morning light caressed skin and flesh I know so well. Elemental is one word, god-like, a warrior hero emerging from darkness. Standing tall, those bronze highlights in his treasure trail glowed as if burnished for the special day. That whorl which surrounds his belly button – adore that spot – appeared a filigree spun from copper. Seriously, a god descended from Mount Olympus.

Jeez – how could I ever have forgotten that? Magical. It'll stay with me forever now.

The spell didn't last.

Someone slammed a car door shut. Lym froze. Then Mrs fucking Nash opened her bedroom window. We both saw the tell-tale flash of glass and white plastic. Lym dived for the flowerbed, right up against her fence.

So much laughter, I cried. Breathing was optional. Only the kitchen sink held me upright. Kinda. Lost myself in merriment. Healing, cleansing. Did me a world of good.

Poor Gwilym. He couldn't get out of there fast enough. Made it up to him later.

It, he, the whole performance was as sexy as fuck. My own dick's never been so fired up.

What's the time? Eugh… oh, who cares? Need you, Lym, even while you're tucked up tight in your own bed.

Helo, hyfryd!” Feeling better already. “Yes, I know. Wanna share in some memories?”

It's been a while since I last did a monologue.

My thanks to Parker Owens and Valkyrie for their editing skills. Thanks are also due to you, the reader. Please consider leaving a comment, compliment, or reaction. You might also wish to recommend the story or write a short review.

Copyright © 2021 northie; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
2021 - Spring - Potluck 2021 Entry

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Never thought about the poor human mods who have to look at all the bonkers and nasty stuff on the net. Now I feel sorry for them.

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I really enjoyed this. A nice blend of contemporary subject matter, and heartbreakingly emotional honesty. Never considered it before, but you paint content moderators as the modern day sweatshop workers. I would never do a job like that, although these guys seem as though they have little choice. My blood pressure rises every time I read more than a couple of crazed comments. Lovely work, Northie, keep on writing.

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15 hours ago, Timothy M. said:

Never thought about the poor human mods who have to look at all the bonkers and nasty stuff on the net. Now I feel sorry for them.

Yeah, not a job for the fainthearted. Thanks for reading, Tim. :) 

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11 hours ago, lomax61 said:

I really enjoyed this.

Thank you! Some readers might not consider it a story as such but I love the freedom and challenges a monologue presents.

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What a great surprise, northie. Witty, clever, harsh, bitter, gut-wrenching, and impossibly romantic... and as hot as it was amusing. I absolutely loved this. This short little journey through El's head had me spinning about with the quick sprinkles of madness, my emotions not quite able to keep pace, yet the step behind allowed for a better punch. Marvelous. I'm going to read this again. Cheers... Gary.... 

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8 hours ago, Headstall said:

Witty, clever, harsh, bitter, gut-wrenching, and impossibly romantic

Thank you! What a wonderfully affirming list of adjectives. Especially the 'impossibly romantic'. That coming from you, Gary, is a great compliment. I shall treasure it. 😘

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Aditus

Posted (edited)

That caused some fireworks in my synapses. Still dizzy. Maybe some coffee. Or tea? 

Edited by Aditus
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5 hours ago, Aditus said:

That caused some fireworks in my synapses. Still dizzy. Maybe some coffee. Or tea? 

🤨 😄 But can't thoughts be like that? Bouncing around, sometimes following each other, other times leaping in what appear complete non sequiturs. Especially at night in the dark. Is the hot drink for you or Ell? 😉

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2 minutes ago, northie said:

But can't thoughts be like that? Bouncing around, sometimes following each other, other times leaping in what appear complete non sequiturs.

Absolutely. Sounds familiar.

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