Ode on a Grecian Yearn

After a slight Esoterotica hiatus I’m back on my bullshit with another Multiple-Choice Misadventure! And I haven’t learned anything about historical accuracy since the last one.

You are Daphne. Not the one from Scooby Doo — I mean the Greek nymph. You’re currently on tinder. Not the app — I mean that you just had to turn into a goddamn tree to stop that horndog Apollo from dragging you into an evening of epic poetry and chill. He seemed nice enough when you were talking to him on Tinder (and I do mean the app that time,) but in person… he’s a major creeper. Not creepy enough that he would try to fuck a tree, your plan totally worked there, but he was definitely too skeezy for you to want to touch as a human.

Which leaves you at an impasse. A woman’s still got needs.

Once you’re sure the coast is clear, you turn back into a human and since you are being written by a man you immediately admire your breasts in the reflection of a nearby lake for about five minutes.

You still don’t have any plans for this evening, so you take out your phone and find that you have three new messages from eager suitors.

The first message appears to be yet another dick pic from Zeus, only he’s a swan in this one. Eeewwwwww.

The second message is from a man named Pentheus. There are pictures of him next to his chariot, lounging on the balcony of his palace, giving a speech at so–waitwait, palace? Scroll back. Yeah, that’s his own frickin’ palace.

Whoever sent the third message has profile pictures of themselves posing with the corpse of a giant boar they’ve killed, and… one of them wrestling a lion? Ohmigod is that really HERCULES macking on you?!

To respond to Pentheus and have him buy you whatever the Greek equivalent of Cosmopolitans were, turn to page 2.

To respond to Hercules because you want to give the Hydra a run for its money as far as head goes, turn to page 3.

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“Steam & Hot Air”

I’m wicked happy to announce my first legit-published short story has gone live on Mad Scientist Journal! If you’re into steampunk, it’s got a bunch of steam-tech in it! If you aren’t into steampunk, it doesn’t have a very high opinion of it! Get you a story that can do both.


Give it a read here.

You can also get print/digital copy of the entire issue, featuring another two dozen clever spins on mad science, and support the mag on Patreon if you’re so inclined.

Right There, Jeeves

Another multiple-choice misadventure! I can’t figure out a way to make these interactive on the blog, so I’ll just post the route the audience at Esoterotica decided to take, though there were two fully separate paths to take through the story.
I’m not sure whether P.G. Wodehouse would roll in his grave or merely smile and wink if he found out about this.

Right There, Jeeves: A Multiple Choice Misadventure
by Zach Bartlett

It’s the roaring 20s. You’re an English upperclass twit by the name of Bertie Wooster and, oh man, it’s about time you got around to sleeping with that butler of yours.

You’d thought that going to the agency and asking for a “gentleman’s personal gentleman” was straightforward enough. How were you supposed to know that term was an actual not-sex-related occupation at that point in time? Anyways, being British and all, you were far too polite to try and correct the agency on the matter and had just settled into having a normal platonic valet for the last year. You figured maybe it would just take some hint-dropping, though you’re not a subtle man.

He’s saved you from enough ill-advised engagements to various women in the last year that you’d think he’d HAVE to have figured your inclinations out. (And I don’t know how much of a social faux-pas being gay was in England at this time so you can’t just out and tell him. How convenient for the plot!)

Presently, two of you are in your quarters at Blandings Castle, getting ready for the banquet the Earl of Blandings is throwing to celebrate his beloved Berkshire sow ranking second in the annual Shropshire Agricultural Show.

You’ve read enough bodice-ripping romance novels to know that heated arguments can sometimes progress to elaborately-described make-out scenes, and you’ve orchestrated one you know will rile Jeeves. As you stand at the mirror affixing your collar, you remove an oversized purple and orange houndstooth bowtie from your pocket, slip it around your neck and begin to tie.

There’s a single quiet cough from behind you, and you can tell from his reflection that frost has begun to form on the butler’s upper slopes.

“Do you have something you’d like to say, Jeeves?”

“Sir. I should advise you that tie may not be the best aesthetic compliment to your more conservative dinner jacket.”

Oh, he tries so hard to stay polite when you’re acting a fool just because that’s what he’s paid to do — it’s fucking adorable.

To give in to his charms and put on a black tie, turn to page 2.

To resist, in hopes of a heated argument that stiffens more than his upper lip, turn to page 3.

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Bustle & Flow

This is a choice-abridged version of the first story from my collection Northern Dandy, forthcoming from Sapiosexual Press.

I wonder if I can make #RidingLesson start trending…

Bustle and Flow: A Multiple-Choice Bodice-Ripper
by Zach Bartlett

You are a strapping young butler named Reginald Thickstrut, employed in a large manor house around whichever time period Downton Abbey takes place in. Hell if I know anything about that show.

You awake in the scullery one morning after having hid there to nurse a sore tailbone earned during your hasty exit from the Duchess’ chambers the previous evening. The fact that you have woken up assures you both that the Duke remains unaware of his wife’s ongoing tryst, and that the kitchen staff probably have the hots for you as well since they didn’t alert him to the fact that you were hiding there taking liberties with a bottle of cooking sherry.

While fixing your hair, collar, tie, cufflinks, lapel, pocket square, buttoniere, tie pin, and cumberbundt using your reflection in a polished serving tray, you notice that Bettina the maid is sneaking a glance at you from the pantry door.

“See anything you like, madam?” you say, cocking your eye while she’s eyeing your… serving tray, which she plucks from the counter before you.

“Good to see you’ve recuperated,” she says over her shoulder in a trashily-alluring cockney accent that I won’t even try to reproduce here. She sets the tray on the kitchen counter and begins to assemble the Duke’s typical breakfast, which you notice happens to include blood sausage.

To make a suggestive comment about the food to Bettina, turn to page 2.

To respect her personal boundaries, turn to page 70.

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