Volume 1 Number 2


Spring 2003

The Toading

Asher Black

I was sure the gods had cursed me never to get my rocks off until either I'd die or they'd wither and shrink to nothing. Last year I slept right through Festival. The year before, I got kicked in the throat for trying to hump another male in the confusion. And here, at this very spot, the year I was sure I'd get it right, I found...

Sprawling on the soft earth by the cool waters, the air full of song, the night glittering with stars high in the spectacular Spring of the heavens, lit all aglow and writhing obscenely in the rushes...

Complete disaster.

It was hard enough to pair up in a busy swingers' city like this one, and now there was little chance left of attracting more than another bruised throat. The other inhabitants of our fair metropolis had ceased the sensuous operetta of the hunt, and were crooning the lascivious song of genital pleasure or grunting in a melodic rictus of not yet sated lust.

And I...I had heard an angel moaning in ecstacy, calling my name. I'd taken my time coming to her, you know...drawing it out. And what did I find waiting for me? The most repulsive hag imaginable. And it turns out she was only yawning in her sleep. She was ghastly even while sleeping, that time when relaxation is supposed to enhance beauty. I thought if she were to wake and that face to take on hideous life, I might wither indeed. Even the floating lilies might dry up, and anything else without sense enough to hide its head from this gleaming gorgon.

Now, I'm not overly proud. Pigin, I said to myself, you've got two choices. Wake her up and try hard to squint, or go home in agony. What I did was both:

Smelly and liquory on your thighs
Is the velvety bog
Sticky and slippery is your prize
You darling horny...
She interrupted. "What are you doing?" The sound of her voice! It was monstrous.

"Singing. I was... uh... singing. Good for the throat, they say."

illustration by Amanda Burkinshaw She was even uglier awake than I'd imagined. Deathly pale, skinny, tiny eyes set too close together, taller than me (I like that, of course, but not that much taller!).

Her mouth was all right. A good size, promising in fact, but her lips were huge.

She sat up and dangled her legs in the water, kicking at it lightly. "Really? I didn't know they say that. I can sing, you know."

For a moment, my heart leapt. And then....

Where is my prince, my wonderful prince,
When will you come to my bed?
A kiss will suffice, if it's long and it's thrice,
And happiness once we are wed.

Her singing voice was abysmal. If I had to listen to those tones trilling my name day in and day out... And kissing? Out of the question.


I shrugged.

She sat pulling the flowers out of a twist of honeysuckle, inhaling the rising scent deeply, sucking the nectar out of their stamens one by one. Just watching her would have been a little intoxicating, even had she not obviously known...

"I'll have you know that gentle ladies and gentler men come to hear me sing at home all the time. I'm considered quite good."

"Yeah, I'll bet you play the palace." I didn't mean to be rude, but I couldn't help a little sarcasm.

"I do, in fact." She said it with astonishment, as though I should have assumed so. Then she giggled, an unfortunate sound. I would have believed she was drowning rather than laughing, except that we were still upon the bank.

She was obviously infatuated with me. Despite her appearance, I swelled with all of the masculine energy I could muster. I stretched, bulged, showing off all my assets. I knew she couldn't help but be impressed. After all, I have male pride like any other. I chalk it up to the Festival. Sometimes the urges of the season are excruciating.

But I do have some standards, after all. I was turning to leave.

"Where are you going?" Her lips seemed to pout. You know that infantile manner employed by the better... I confess, she was a creature of wiles.

"Back to the city. I might as well get some rest. Festival continues tomorrow night, and I want to be at my best. Perhaps there is still -- "

"A Festival?" She clapped. "I never get to go to Festivals. 'Not till you're older', my parents say."

I shuddered as she mimicked the voice of something more aurally disturbing than her. That did it. I leapt toward the water, thinking to swim off and put the night behind me. But to add insult to injury, I missed and landed lopsided in the blackest, foulest mud imaginable. I oozed. I couldn't see or hear what she was doing, but I guessed she must be making that horrible sound that passed for laughing again.

I was choking on the foul stuff as I tried to right myself, and what's worse, I began to sink. I kicked my legs and the last thing I heard was a sucking sound as I began to go under. Truly cursed, I thought. And this was to be the end.

Then I felt her hands on me, dragging me out, legs first. Blessed troll! For all her other faults, the bony fiend had saved my life.

She held me by the bank, and I confess I was exhausted. She dribbled water over me and wiped me clean with her hands. She wasn't so bad. In fact, my mind started to drift as her fingers moved smoothly over my spine...

Nnnnnn... maybe...

I lay there, cradled by her, and let her stroke me. Her fingers moved in little circles on my throat, over my eyelids. She even turned me over and rubbed my belly. And she was staring at my sex. As though studying it. I couldn't believe it. Sure, I'm proud of it; it's enormous. I couldn't blame her, really.

She told me how handsome I was, murmuring soft words over me. I began to feel sorry for her. And then, as she was caressing my legs... the punchline.

"I want to see this Festival. For once, I want to go and see."

I started to protest but she put a slender finger to my mouth. "I'm lonely. Sometimes life is so lonely for me."

I could understand.

"Of course there are always young men... boys... pawing at me, and my mother and all the other ladies of our house fawning over me, telling me how pretty I am. That's not the same as..."

It made sense. You couldn't exactly tell her the truth. What mother or aunt would do that? The bit about suitors was obviously imaginary. For all I know, she thought I wanted her, too. But I understood. She'd see a handsome male like myself and be convinced that he had the hots for her.

"...real friendship." She winked.

Pity. Her hands stimulating my skin. Her evident desire. And the aching compulsion of Spring. I knew I couldn't refuse her request.


The city was a thing of splendor. Seeing it reflected in the wet pools of her small eyes reminded me of how beautiful it was. A city on the water. We leapt from platform to platform, her hair ending in little droplets that rained upon the floor and sparkled from the lights floating overhead.

Everywhere was singing. It was the loveliest place in the world, even if we made an odd pair. At least she was pleasantly damp.

We visited the galleries, the museums, the golden orb. I told her the story of how it had come to us, that it had been raised from the waters and erected in the city center; about its mystical properties. It was truly a marvel, and I could see that she found my account of it fascinating. I was witty, dashing, amazing.

We stood under the statue of Ch'an Chu the Wise. I pointed out that his third leg was a symbol of virility. She pretended not to understand; it was odd to see such an obviously wanting creature play at innocence.

We went to the finest restaurant I could afford. Escargot, freshwater mollusks... I was famished, but she ate only the mollusks from my own plate, licking her fingers and her lips, giggling a little. I could see why she was so thin. Perhaps it was the excitement. Or maybe she was fasting. My people fast in the Winter, when we retire from the frozen waters and shelter in languid sleep deep in our catacombs in the earth. We live for the Spring. Live for one thing, of course. Still, she had chosen an appropriate dish.

In the end, we reclined in the cusp of a soft floating dais. She tied one of her ribbons around my throat. Yes. I stretched and could feel my heart quicken. She was very good at this. I had decided. For all her ugliness, she managed to be arousing. This Festival would be different.

"You're a pretty thing," she teased, admiring my collared throat.

It's true. I was starting to realize how much she found me attractive. And who could blame her. Where she came from, the men must've been ogres. Then we slept for a while.

Once, I awoke and licked along the back of her neck. She stirred with pleasure but didn't wake.


"Did you sleep well, my prince?"

"I did, in fact... huh?... prince?" But I realized I didn't mind her calling me that. The night before had been... surprising. It wasn't just the joy of the city. It was her, too. I liked her style.

"My prince and my friend. Don't you know that you're supposed to be a prince?"

Well, since she put it that way... It was clear she was infatuated. It's just hard, that's all... resigning oneself to share the Festival with someone whose appearance makes your flesh crawl. But it would be my one chance to...

"And you, my dear?" It sounded natural, when I'd said it, even if I wasn't sure of it before.

That's when she did it. There and then, I swear... she licked me. From the small of my back to the top of my head and down between my eyes.... It was exciting, exhilarating, magical...

I swooned. She swooned even more and nearly lost her balance. Surely, she wanted all I could give.

She seemed a little startled at the effect it had on her. Mmmm. She was going to love...

"Will you... will you..." I stuttered. I trembled. That wouldn't do. "Will you accompany me to the Festival tonight, my dear princess?"

She said a little hazily, "I would like nothing more."

"Truly. You do want to, don't you?"

"Why, truly. It is my fondest wish. I must go home to my mother now, but nothing will stop me from returning to you tonight." She was a vixen with words. I wasn't cursed after all. By Ch'an Chu's beard, I was blessed!

I leapt about, showing off the vigour of my intentions, and she laughed and clapped her hands with glee.


The moon rose, the stars sparkled. The night sky was like a map of the floating city. I could sense her excitement rising, as those who had slumbered in the day began to give voice to their desire. I sang to her, trilling so sweetly that I was amazed at myself. I had never been more sonorous. My throat bulged with it. I bulged with it. And sure enough, she joined my song, striving toward harmony, answering my call. It didn't matter that her voice was so horrid. I found it arousing, the very response in her.

I plunged into the waters and she wiggled in after me. She was open, curious, obviously desiring me as much as I desired this, my reason for my being. I felt the purpose of my life surging between my legs.

Everywhere, couples were plunging into the cool bath around the platforms. She was wide-eyed with the delight of it.

"This is the Festival?"

"Yes, princess. Isn't it glorious?" She seemed bewildered with wonder.

"Lovely. It's... lovely." Those miniscule eyes were glancing about at the other couples. Then she exclaimed, "Oh, my! He has two heads!"

I laughed and she smiled nervously. I understood. Of course she'd mentioned that she'd never been to a Festival. It was her first time. But I knew she'd warm to the idea. Hadn't she loved me so openly early that very morning? Indeed, she was hot for it.

"Lick me again, will you? I liked it very much the first time."

She shrugged and did and swooned, almost going under the water in her ecstacy.

I swam, gracefully kicking my legs. I dived, popping up right in front of her. She squealed in delight. Then I dove again, this time emerging behind her. And then I mounted her. I locked onto her back... held her tightly around her neck, and in a moment I was holding her just as tightly with my sex. Our heads out of the water, our bodies a graceful symmetry... she cried out in pleasure and grasped the platform in astonishment, and I pushed...

Yes, I was good.

Under the golden orb, we made love. In the marvellous baths among the lilies. I knew indeed it was her first time. She cried out again and again, and it spurred me on. I came. An explosion of pleasure. I was blind with it. She screamed in ecstasy. A shriek of delight.

I had known she'd love the Festival.


I woke beside her. She was shedding tears of happiness. And I cried too, for joy. I dried her eyes with my tongue, drinking down the salt of them. Truly love and the orb work miracles. In the night, she had changed, so that there beside me was indeed a princess in beauty. And even her sobs were a delightful song. Her slick, green skin glistened. Her eyes were large and luminous. She was still larger than me, but now not so much, exquisitely proportioned. No more pale skin, yellow hair, giant red lips... I knew then that she would stay with me for the rest of her days.

I made love to her again that morning.

illustration by Amanda Burkinshaw

Illustration by Amanda Burkinshaw