August MacGregor

Celebrating Sensuality. Intended for mature audiences, 18 and over


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Two Tree Branches

Inspired by fellow author Nicci Haydon, I tried writing a story of four sentences. It’s a good challenge, one that I enjoyed as I took a break from editing a novel. Quite a shift in speed to come up with a story in a limited amount of space…

Two Tree Branches

Travis thought of Denise from accounting as aloof until, at the office happy hour, they both complained about the soulless song playing in the background at the bar, behind their co-workers’ chatting. They launched into a tipsy conversation about U2 — with Denise firmly resolved that their finest album was The Joshua Tree, and Travis arguing the band hit more powerfully with War. They finally agreed to disagree and played three rounds of darts, all of which Denise won, then they called it a night — going their separate ways in Uber rides. The next Friday night, after dinner at a Thai restaurant then going to Denise’s apartment, they first kissed as “With or Without You” started, and Travis knew he wanted to draw out much more from Denise — but at a slower pace than he was used to.

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Happy with a Banana

gorilla in store, by Ian Broyles (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Ian Broyles (Flickr, Creative Commons)

The store is filled with sodas and rice and noodles in all kinds of shapes and loads of packaged foods with additives you can’t even pronounce, let alone know what they hell they actually are.

Forget all that. Give him fruit. Give him bright oranges and juicy pineapples and mangoes with colors of blending red-yellow-green that’re so beautiful you’re captivated by the look of them, and then, when you actually eat a bite, you fall to the floor in astonishment, and you have to eat the rest of the mango down there — because you dare not try to eat it while standing on trembling, unsteady legs.

But let’s skip that for today. Today, he’ll just have a banana, thank you very much. He’ll sit on the floor and peel away the yellow gift wrapping and smile because he’s happy.

*****

The photo above is used under the non-commercial Creative Commons license. Click on image to jump to photographer’s Flickr page.


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Crossing the Bridge of Love

During a break in writing, I went through my archives and found a couple of very short stories that I’m going to post today and tomorrow. It’s in the hopes of entertaining you … and I’m building up to the weekend, when I’m offering a lot of my e-books on Amazon for free. Yep, free. It’s a way to celebrate August, the month I love so much that I chose it for my pen name. And it’s nice to spread some free stories 🙂

Smurf on bridge, by Jean-François CAUCHE (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Jean-François CAUCHE (Flickr, Creative Commons)

The Smurf smiled at the couples on the “Locks of Love” bridge as he crossed it over the Seine.

All of these couples hugged and kissed and took photos, as they snapped their locks shut on the bridge, and they tossed the keys into the river below. It was all very romantic, and he enjoyed their celebrations of their love.

His time would come. He knew it in his bones. For a while, he thought Smurfette was going to be the one. But she had eyes for someone else. Or, rather, someone elses — as she never could seem to make up her mind. Blame it on the curse of being the only female Smurf, that she had her pick of the litter. Or it was a blessing, depending on your perspective.

Coming to this realization about Smurfette caused the Smurf leave their village and travel the countryside until he came to a train station. It was effortless to sneak on the train without a ticket — nobody could see him. And it was easy to find food, as bits of food fell here and there, and he had plenty of crumbs to choose from.

Like Smurfette had with men.

This being his first time out of the village, the Smurf didn’t know where to go. But after over-hearing lots of conversations, Paris stood out among all of the possible destinations.
The City of Love. There simply was no better place for a Smurf looking for love to go.
So he hopped from train to train until he arrived in the enormous, bustling city. And romance was immediately detectable on the air. It wafted from people walking hand in hand. It emanated from couples sitting at sidewalk cafes and looking into each others’ eyes. It snapped shut on the locks at the bridge.

The Smurf smiled. Here, in the streets of Paris, he would find love.

*****

The photo above is used under the non-commercial Creative Commons license. Click on image to jump to photographer’s Flickr page.


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Don’t Talk to Me About Love

“Don’t talk to me about love,” she said to him. “You don’t know love. You’re too young. What you think you know about love is actually what you’ve taken from the movies. And those are full of pink roses and froth. Those are falling in love with what you think is the ideal man or woman.”

She continued: “And that’s not love. That’s fantasy. Because love — real love — is more than that. Love is more than the image you have of someone. It’s not just a pretty picture. It’s not just thinking you know someone based on their texts or their tweets or their blog or their profile on some dating website.

“Love is getting to know that person far beyond that surface stuff. Seeing them every day. Seeing them in hard times that are so difficult you want to cry and scream and rage out. And you do those things to let those crazy emotions out. Love is staying through that chaos and staying there afterward. Love is sometimes being pissed off at the other person so badly you want to slap the shit out of them, but you don’t. Love is saying you’re sorry and actually meaning it. And doing things to make up for the stupid mistakes we’re all capable of.

“Love is seeing the ugly shit underneath the pretty surface. Love is dealing with your disappointments when someone doesn’t live up to your unrealistic expectations of them. Love is seeing the other person for who they really are.

“That takes days and days, years and years. Because we clean up ourselves when we go out on dates. We stick to sparkling conversation that tries to show our intelligence and our humor and our charm. We try to make the other person think we’re glowing good souls, when a lot of our selves are petty and selfish and lazy about the things we really don’t care about.

“So don’t jump off and tell me you love me when you haven’t seen me in all that. You love our dating. You love our sex. You love the charm. But you don’t fully, truly love me.

He looked at her for a long moment, his eyes thoughtful as he took all of that in.

Finally, he said, “Then let me find out about love. I want to find out with you.”

Another moment, a longer one than before. “You better be as strong as you think you are.”

“I am.”


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Men Are Pigs

Swedish pig farmer, by Gustav Heurlin (1909)

Gustav Heurlin (1909)

“Here you have it,” Luke said as he slid the trough-like casserole dish containing 7-layer dip onto the coffee table.

“Looks delicious, hon,” Jade replied. “You’ve got your signature dish down.”

Luke scooped some of the multicolored food on a tortilla chip. “Sure do. Fits so well for the Super Bowl and in summer time. Seven-layer dip gets it all done.”

“I like our Super Bowl tradition, but is there any chance you could branch out to other dishes in other times?”

With his mouth full of refried beans and cheese, Luke said, “Hey, I grill, too. I grill all the time in the summer.”

“Yeah, you do. But just in the summer. How about some other foods outside of summer?”

“Okay, okay.” Luke washed the food down with a gulp of Corona. “I’ll look into it. But that can wait ’til later. Game’s about to start. And thanks for suffering through it with me again.”

Jade finished swallowing her food before she said, “Oh, it’s not that bad. I like the huge event part of the Super Bowl. All the hype gets me into it.”

Luke nodded the top of the beer bottle at her, as a gesture with his point: “And you get some good commercials with it.”

That made her give a combination laugh and grunt of disgust. “Some of them are good, yeah. But you have to look for them between all the commercials for men. All those using cleavage to sell you cars and beer and snack chips and even getting your own website.”

He had to grin. “You forgot lingerie.”

Rolling her eyes, Jade replied, “Men are such pigs. Does it bother you that you’re so easy to sell to?”

Luke’s smile merely grew wider. “Not at all. We’ve got simple needs. Doesn’t bother me a bit.” He dug a chip into the thick mound of food.

Jade sighed and offered a small laugh — without disgust this time. “Oh, well. At least you make a good 7-layer dip.”

*****

The photo above is by Gustav Heurlin, taken in 1909, and the subject is a Swedish pig farmer. It is now under the public domain — more details on the photo’s Wikimedia page.


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A Maddening Wait

“Next month, it’s finally here,” he said, his voice thick. “Can you wait that long?”

Her eyes were hard. “Of course I can. I’ve been waiting for a while. What’s another two weeks?”

“But those two weeks could be maddening.” He slid the leather loop of the riding crop down her leg, making her sigh.

“Not at all. I’m living it, anyway.” She shook her hands against the silken ropes as if he needed the confirmation.

“Oh?” He asked with the riding crop poised in mid-air. A question. A potential. “But I’m not a billionaire with six-pack abs.”

“No, you’re not. But you’re better than that.”

The riding crop slowly lowered and teased one of her nipples. “What could be better than a billionaire with six-pack abs?”

“Reality. Christian Grey is in the books and movie. He’s a fantasy. That’s nice, but reality is so much better.”

The riding crop suddenly slashed up, then down, and smacked her thigh — making her jump from the surprise and the sting.

“Good answer,” he said.

He sounded much calmer than how she felt, with her heart thumping and her breath swiftly arriving and departing. This wait was far more maddening to her than seeing a movie based on a book that she had enjoyed. The movie was going to eventually happen. As was the riding crop, and to prove that, the crop’s head was taking its sweet time sliding up her leg, starting from her ankle. Her heartbeat quickened as the leather loop moved upward, the head of a slithering snake, intent on traveling to her core, as if it could see right into her and knew the poundings of her lust and her heart.


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To Ward Off Evil

woman sleeping with garlic, by Patrik Theander (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Patrik Theander (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Linnea’s boyfriends had teased her about the bulb of garlic she placed in bed. They said things like, “If you take a bite, your breath is going to make me sleep on the couch.” And: “Should I get a squirt gun full of holy water? Wouldn’t that do more damage to a vampire than just garlic?”

She took their teasing. Because their teasing meant that someone was in bed with her. That, of course, meant companionship and the very good possibility of pleasure.

But the most powerful thing it meant: she was not alone.

For it was in the alone times that she was the most scared. Dealing with her nightmares of vampires and waking up alone, she felt like she was the last person on earth. The last morsel of human blood for the flock of vampires approaching her bedroom.

When she was alone, she slept with her Bible and garlic bulb. A necklace with a cross. Doing whatever she could to ward off evil.

Because there was evil in the world. As much as her boyfriends teased her, they knew it deep down. They may not even admit to it. But evil existed.

It was in the news every single day, with murder and people being taken. Evil had to be prepared for, and she was going to do whatever she could against it.

*****

The photo above is used under the non-commercial Creative Commons license. Click on image to jump to photographer’s Flickr page.