Two stories set in the American West, then and now. Some things never change: the dizzying heat, the rugged landscape, and the ruthless drive of one man to dominate another.
Step by agonizing step, “Beast of Burden” recounts the process used by a merciless prospector to break the will of a strong young helper. Monahan is determined to make Joshua into a passive tool—not just to work the mine, but to satisfy Monahan’s every need. Alone in the harsh desert, far from civilization, under a blistering sun Monahan subjects Joshua to a series of cruel ordeals, stripping the youth of all resistance. Flash-forward to a university town in modern-day Texas. In “The Fratboy and the Faggot,” a shy college boy plays peeping Tom on the muscular, abusive fratboy who lives next door. Larry the fratboy is one of the self-styled Gods of the campus, and represents everything Ted despises. But when Larry invites “the faggot” upstairs, Ted finds himself submitting to a degrading game of cat and mouse. Humiliated and frightened, Ted is unable to resist as the dominant fratboy reduces him to a plaything for the Gods. Susie Bright: “When people ask me what great erotic literature is, I say: It’s a matter of taste—and memory. But if you are looking for expert craft, you couldn’t go wrong with Henry Miller…Pauline Réage’s ‘Story of O’…Aaron Travis...They take my breath away.” Michael Bronski in Gay Community News: Aaron Travis is “known for his exceptionally hot, and smart, short fictions.”