This story was originally submitted to the Bartleby Snopes Dialogue Only contest at the end of last month and it was probably the fastest rejection of a story I’ve ever received in my writing career. The turnaround time was the next day after the deadline – pretty sweet if you ask me. People ask me why I think it’s a good thing when stories are rejected quickly. I respond that it’s like the Band Aid thing – if you pull it off quickly, it hurts but the pain subsides just as fast. If you pull it off slowly, however, you’re just prolonging the hurt and who wants that? Plus, when a story’s promptly rejected, you can send it off to another publication for consideration or slap a cover on it, put it up on Amazon KDP and/or Smashwords, and start making money off it.
I chose not to do the latter because the story doesn’t really fit into the Amber Turner brand (though I do seem to keep coming back to the same subject matter of BDSM and dominatrix dens for whatever reason – maybe I was a Dom in a past life) – I’m making a name for myself as a humorous mystery writer so this story would be a little out of left field for the two readers that I’ve acquired since Preppy Little Liars debuted. I didn’t chose the former option because, well, there aren’t that many paying fiction markets that would accept a dialogue only story so I’m posting it here for free so people can see what not to do when submitting to these kinds of contests. If you like the story, feel free to comment, favorite it, tweet it – whatever. If you hate it, same thing.
Take your pants off and have a seat.
Okay. Thank you.
Lose the shirt and jacket too, Armani.
My name’s Cliff actually.
Don’t speak unless spoken to.
Am I allowed to talk?
What do you want to talk about?
…I don’t really know. I’ve never done this before. I’m kinda nervous.
Well don’t worry, Virgin – I’ll walk you through it.
Oh, I’m not a virgin.
I was being flip.
Is Mistress Payne your real name or is it like a pseudonym?
Did I give you permission to speak?
You don’t follow directions very well do you?
Am I supposed to answer that?
You might as well.
I don’t know. I guess not. My girlfriend claims I never really listen to anything she says because sometimes when she asks me to pick up something from the store, I’ll get there and forget and so I come home with a bunch of stuff she didn’t ask for. So I guess that’s like not following directions.
I zoned out somewhere around “girlfriend.”
Right. My bad. I tend to ramble when I get nervous.
How do you want to start – you want to stand and get shackled or stay seated?
I think I’ll stand. This seat’s kinda cold.
Do you want to be blindfolded or would you prefer to watch in the mirror?
I’ll try the mirror. I haven’t done that before. I haven’t been blindfolded either, but-
That question only required a one-word response.
Tell me what you want me to do to you.
…I guess whatever it is you do. Hey, these shackles are tight.
So are you. Unclench.
Unclench. If you don’t and you stay tense, this isn’t going to be the pleasure/pain experience you’re hoping for. Relax.
I’m going to start by using this riding crop. What safe word would you like to use?
Please don’t tell me you’re this vanilla. A safe word: something you say that lets me know that what I’m doing to you is too intense and you’d like me to stop. What do you want yours to be for this session?
“Gretchen” is your safe word?
It’s my girlfriend’s name. Well, ex-girlfriend. We kinda broke up a week ago.
I can’t imagine why.
She didn’t dump me if that’s what you’re thinking. It was mutual. Okay, maybe more so on her end, but I agreed with her decision after I thought about it. We hadn’t been happy for a while-
Again, you’re speaking as if I care about your personal life. I only care about your sexual one. Now – do you want me to asphyxiate you while I work you over with the crop?
No, thank you. Do people really do that? Like, put bags over their heads or ropes around their throats while doing it? Ow!
Every time you speak without being spoken to first, I’m going to bring this crop down on you, is that clear?
Yes, ma’am? Ow!
Yes, Mistress Payne.
Very good. Now look at me and hold still.
Do you like that?
If Gretchen saw me right now, she’d be pissed.
One more unsolicited word and I’m bringing out the ball gag.
Why are you looking at me like that? Yes, you’re allowed to answer.
It’s just that you kind of look like her from certain angles.
Oh dear God.
Sorry, it’s just throwing me a bit. Obviously she’d never dress like you or do stuff like this, but you kind of wear your hair the same way. And you’ve got the same scowl. Man, I miss her scowl.
Maybe you’re confused about where you are. Is there a shingle on my door that says “Dr. Payne?” Maybe I should pull up a couch from the hall and you could lie down while you’re at it?
Is that sarcasm? Ow! God, it was just a question.
You don’t get to ask questions, Cliff. You are the sub which means you shut up and do what I say and only speak when I allow you to, is that clear? Good. Now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to unshackle you and you’re going to kneel down over in that corner. Normally I’d have you kneel on bags of rice, but since you’re a novice, I’ll start you off slow with just the concrete. Use your safe word if you need to.
I didn’t even unchain you yet.
Yeah, I know, but I have bad knees from falling a lot as a kid so I don’t think this is going to work…Why are you sitting down?
I’m waiting for you to regale me with the fascinating tale of why you kept falling as a child. I figured it may take a while so I’d better get comfortable.
Well, it really was an interesting story. See, I grew up in a house on a hill and the way it was built, there was kind of a slope in the floor in some rooms in our house so since I wasn’t the most coordinated kid in the first place, whenever I’d run or walk real fast, I’d trip on a small mound and land on my knees…That was sarcasm again, wasn’t it?
Do you have Asperger’s?
Not that I’m aware.
Get tested immediately.
Do you even want to be here, Cliff? I mean, really – it’s your hour, you could spend it doing anything you’ve ever desired, and you’re standing here babbling about faulty limbs and your evil ex.
I didn’t say she was evil.
Whatever. The point is, you paid me to take you away from reality and yet you seem reluctant to leave it. So why bother?
Now you have nothing to say?
I don’t know why. I guess…maybe I wanted to be close to someone. I didn’t realize how much I needed that connection until I didn’t have it anymore. She was everything. She was the first person I saw in the morning and the last thing I saw at night. She was in my head when I was at work or with my friends and even now with you here looking like her, I can’t stop thinking about her. I feel like she ripped part of my chest out, threw it on the ground and stomped it to a pulp.
I’m being annoying again, huh?
No. I’m sorry.
Why? You didn’t dump me.
I’m sorry you’re hurting.
That’s funny coming from you.
I’m a funny girl.
Have you seen that movie? I love it. I know it’s not manly to admit, but Streisand, God-
Cliff? Go home.