Title: Now in Flesh Appearing
Author: Logan Zachary
Length: 24 pdf pages
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: m/m contemporary erotica
David’s broke, owing on the perfect Christmas gift for his partner, Ethan. If he defaults, all will be lost. “Get another job,” bartender Tony has stripper Ryan give David a lap dance, not for pleasure but to train him to do it himself. A perfect part-time job, no strings attached. Ryan shows David the ropes and discovers he’s a natural, even with pole dancing. Money is flowing in until an unexpected customer comes in for a lap dance. David learns “…now in flesh appearing…” Who needed visions of sugarplums dancing in his head, when he had Ethan dancing in his bed?
I picked up this very short story for review as I’d read a few of Logan Zachary’s stories in gay erotica anthologies before, and knew he could be relied on to write sizzling hot sex scenes. While his writing is perfectly suited to the erotica market, this story is not likely to please readers on the look out for romance. Fortunately the blurb should give plenty of warning that this is a story featuring what could be considered cheating behaviour (depending on how flexible your definition of what constitutes infidelity).
The story launches straight into the thick of things with David discovering his money has all mysteriously disappeared from his bank account, but the police aren’t interested in pursuing such a small scale cybercrime, and his bank will only compensate him for a small amount of the lost funds. With only a few days to go until Christmas, David will lose the deposit and downpayments on his Christmas gift to his partner Ethan. Intent on drowning his sorrows in a local gay bar, David confides his problem to the bartender, who comes up with the perfect solution.
Within minutes, David is being pulled into a back room of the bar to receive his own personal lapdance from Ryan, who then gives him a tutorial in how to please a client. Two music tracks later, David is already entertaining his first client for money. The speed of how things happen is something I felt ambivalent about. On the one hand, it helped explain why David didn’t listen to his qualms about going behind Ethan’s back, as he literally doesn’t have time to think things through before he’s stripped to his underwear and grinding away on another man’s lap. On the other hand, however, it takes away all the potential tension of “will he, won’t he?”.
If you’re looking for an emotional read, you won’t find it here. This is erotica, pure and simple, and within the space of twenty pages David has “entertained” four different men and learnt how to pole dance. There’s no time for more than the barest hint of guilt to filter through his consciousness–indeed, he enjoys the job far too much to let this bother him unduly. However, Logan Zachary writes erotica really well, and the lapdancing scenes are a sexy tease. David is turned on by them, but although he brings one of his clients to orgasm, he does keep certain boundaries intact. Whether his scruples fit the reader’s idea of how he should behave is another matter, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend this story to anyone who hates “cheating” in their reads.
The breakneck speed of this story continues in the conclusion when Ethan confronts David about his moonlighting, and I felt rather let down when the promised scene of resolution between David and Ethan actually takes place off page. There’s also next to nothing about David and Ethan’s life together here, and I had very little sense of what they were both really like by the end of the story. What you do get in this story, though, is a fun, sexy romp with dubious morals. I enjoyed it well enough and the lapdancing scenes had enough amusing detail to draw me in, but don’t go in expecting romance or character development–it just isn’t that kind of story.