Table of Contents Definition and Etymology - 2 Sounding like Trust by Kiernan Kelly - 3 Sideshow Roses by Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks - 16 A Play of Shadow by Mychael Black - 23 Contributors Bios - 30 A Torquere Press Toy Box - 1 .
Definition: n medicine, sounds are instruments for probing and dilating passages within the body, the best-known examples of which are urethral sounds and uterine sounds. Some men and women enjoy using them for urethral play. Urethral sounds are designed to be inserted into the male or female urethra, for the purpose of stretching or unblocking a stricture. There are a number of different types of urethral sounds: • Bakes sounds, also known as rosebud or bullet sounds, have a long thin metal rod with a bulbous bud on the end. • Dittel sounds have a flat end and a rounded end. • Henk sounds have a more pronounced curve at the ends, as well as a metal rib on each end. • Pratt sounds are longer urethral dilators (double ended ones are usually almost a foot long) with rounded and slightly bent ends. • Van Buren sounds have a very pronounced curve at each end, specifically for the purpose of reaching the bladder. Source: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_(medical_instrument) Etymology: Possibly from: "fathom, probe," 1336 (implied in sounding), from O.Fr. sonder, from sonde "sounding line," probably from a Gmc. source (cf. O.E. sund "water, sea;" see sound (n.2)). Source: Online Etymology Dictionary http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=sound&searchmode=none A Torquere Press Toy Box - 2 .
Sounding like Trust By Kiernan Kelly Arthur stood in front of the door, nervously shifting his weight from one foot to the other. The door itself wasn't even vaguely threatening -- there was no lettering on it, no warnings for the faint of heart to stay out, or of any dire consequences that might befall the otherwise uninitiated should they choose to enter. Yet it seemed monstrous to Arthur: alive somehow. He could almost imagine it breathing, imperceptibly expanding and contracting as it inhaled and exhaled like a flat, rectangular snake, ready to strike the moment Arthur made a move for the door bell. He'd been given the phone number of the man who lived behind the ominously innocuous door by Kenny, a member of Arthur's support group. Kenny was much like Arthur, or had been until recently. Now, Kenny was different, more confident, more outgoing, a new man, and he'd sworn to Arthur that his newfound self-assurance had come at the hands of the man Arthur had come to see. Grant Trust. Even his name sounded philanthropic, as if he were born to gift those less fortunate, men like Arthur, whose self-esteem lay dormant within him, untapped and uncultivated like a seed in a forgotten garden, with something wonderful. He hoped that whatever Mr. Trust had done for Kenny would work as well for him. It was nearly six months since Arthur had seen the advertisement for the Be a Man seminar. He'd been shopping for groceries and had spotted the glossy flyer posted to the bulletin board at the supermarket. "Are you tired of being a doormat? Getting passed over for promotions at work? Do people ignore you? Make fun of you? Treat you as if you had no feelings? Take advantage of you? Do you want to be admired and successful? Are you ready to Be a Man?" Arthur had answered "yes" to every question. For as long as he could remember, he'd felt less than everyone else on the planet -- less handsome, less talented, less intelligent, less productive, less worthy. Ever since he'd first set foot in his kindergarten classroom wearing a clip-on tie and carrying his plastic lunchbox, he'd been the kid everyone else had picked on. Through grade school, middle school, and high school, Arthur was the clumsy, gangly, pimply-faced nobody with the bad haircut who no one wanted to sit next to at lunch. The one who stuttered when called upon in class, and who could be counted on to trip over his own shoelaces. The kid who caught on to things a minute or two after everyone else had, as if he were on a time-delay. The eternal "There but for the grace of God go I" poster child. It hadn't ended at high school, either. Instead, he'd grown into a skinny, quiet young man, painfully shy and awkward. In college, he was the one who walked around campus with his nose stuck in a book and a piece of toilet tissue dragging from his shoe heel. He was the one who didn't pay attention to where he was going, the one who walked into walls and the ladies' room by mistake. The one who never raised his hand in class, whose professors sometimes accused A Torquere Press Toy Box - 3 .
him of cutting because they simply couldn't remember his face. After graduation he’d taken a job in a large firm, was shown to a cubicle and promptly forgotten. Although he'd worked there for twelve years, he still had to run down to Payroll every so often to collect his check because the person delivering them couldn't remember who he was or where he worked. Arthur had no close friends and had never had a date. Nor had he ever had the nerve to approach a prostitute -- the very thought made him break out into a cold sweat. He was, at age thirty-three as virginal as olive oil, still gawky, ungainly, and still very much unnoticed. He was lonely and sick of being ignored; so much so that he'd drawn upon every ounce of courage he could muster and had signed up for the Be A Man seminar. It had cost him a bundle -- nearly four hundred dollars, but he'd been desperate. For his money he'd received a workbook, a stack of compact discs, and a six-hour lecture on how he needed to stop letting people walk all over him. The seminar had been given by a dark-haired man with movie-star looks. Somehow, Arthur doubted that the man had ever known what it felt like to have your gym shorts pulled down during dodge ball, or your boss continually forget your name, even after twelve years of service. The man had been a tornado of energy, pacing back and forth across the small stage, whipping the rest of the crowd into a frenzy, pausing every so often to point a manicured finger at someone in the crowd, male or female, and ask if they were ready to Be A Man. "You are somebody! You are beautiful, smart, and people want to be your friend!" That was the self-affirmation he'd been taught during the seminar, the one he was supposed to say to himself in the mirror every morning. It was the way every Be a Man support session started, too. Every Tuesday night in the basement of the Methodist Church, like schoolchildren standing beside their desks reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, Arthur and the other half-dozen members of the group would look into small hand mirrors and say the words together. The mantra was supposed to make him believe in himself. So far, it hadn't worked. Arthur had become disillusioned, convinced that the Be a Man program had been a colossal waste of time and money, and wasn't going to work for him. He'd been getting ready to drop out of the group when Kenny had undergone his miraculous transformation. "Everybody," Kenny had said, addressing the group, "You have to try it. This guy is amazing! He knew exactly what I needed. I feel like a new man!" He'd looked like one, too. Kenny had had his hair cut and was wearing a tight-fitting t-shirt and jeans that looked painted on. He looked good, better than Arthur would have guessed he could, considering the last time Arthur had seen Kenny he'd been wearing a stained dress shirt buttoned wrong, plaid pants that were a half-size too big, and mismatched socks. Even more surprising A Torquere Press Toy Box - 4 .
than Kenny's newfound sense of style was his demeanor. He was standing tall and proud, commanding attention, somehow seeming more there than he'd ever been before. Arthur was glad for Kenny but at the same time, insanely jealous. He was at the end of his rope, and decided that before quitting the group and resigning himself to living in the shadows for the rest of his life, he'd take Kenny's advice and make an appointment with Mr. Grant Trust. After all, he had nothing to lose by trying. Now he stood before Trust's door, his knees knocking and his heart hammering. Kenny wouldn't give him any specifics as to Trust's course of treatment, except to say that it had worked wonders from his first visit. Arthur had thought that Trust might be a psychiatrist, prying into people's psyches and fixing the cracks with mental superglue, but now he doubted it. Surely a shrink would have a more imposing front door than the dull brown one that Arthur was facing. There wasn't even a nameplate above the small round doorbell. Maybe he was a hypnotist. That might account for Kenny's sudden transformation. Subliminal suggestion -- Arthur had read somewhere that hypnosis could help people stop smoking or lose weight. why not gain self-confidence? Yes, that must be it, he thought. He only hoped Mr. Trust didn't have a twisted sense of humor and make him cluck like a chicken. Taking a deep breath, he tried to swallow his misgivings and pushed the doorbell. He could hear a chime tinkling inside, delicate and unobtrusive, like the beating wings of a glass butterfly. A moment later it opened to reveal a stout, middle-aged woman wearing an apron, a net over steel- gray hair, and sensible black shoes. "Uh, I'm, uh. Arthur. Drexall. Arthur Drexall. I've got an appointment with Mr. Trust?" "Ja. He is upstairs, first door on the left. Wipe your feet." Her voice was as severe as her looks, tight and controlled and heavy with a German accent. She opened the door, standing to the side so that Arthur could enter. He carefully did as she'd ordered, scraping the soles of his oxfords on the mat before stepping inside. The staircase she'd pointed to was long and narrow, lit by elegant sconces that cast shadows against the wall. The banister was gleaming dark wood and felt smooth under his hand as he slowly climbed the stairs. It smelled of lemon polish, reminding him of his grandmother's house. The first door on the left was much nicer than the front door, paneled and burnished and even more intimidating. He raised his hand and knocked gingerly against it, his knuckles barely tapping the rich wood. "Come in." The voice he heard was deep and rumbling, like thunder off in the distance. Arthur swallowed hard, forcing himself to grasp the knob and turn it. A Torquere Press Toy Box - 5 .
He found himself in a cozy office suite, too large to be small but too small to be spacious, decorated with tasteful oil paintings, a small desk, and an overstuffed leather sofa. A desk and chair sat next to a floor-to-ceiling window hung with thick drapes. Light came from several wall sconces that glowed softly, and two Tiffany-style floor lamps. Another door opened into the room at the rear, but it was closed. "You must be Mr. Drexall. I've been expecting you. I'm Grant Trust." Arthur blinked at the hand that extended toward him, shaking it almost as an afterthought. He kept his eyes focused on Trust's hand, unable to raise them to meet the man’s eyes. Talk about intimidating! Power and strength clung to Trust like cologne, making Arthur feel even more small and insignificant by comparison. "May I call you Arthur? Ah, you have one of the worst cases I've ever seen, Arthur. Tsk, tsk. Look up at me, Arthur. I do not wish to spend our entire session with you staring at my shoes." Trust's voice was stern, if kind. Arthur's head popped up like a cork, his eyes wide. He felt his ears burn and his cheeks heat, discomfited -- as usual -- and feeling as though he were back in school with a wad of spinach stuck in his braces. "I've embarrassed you," Trust said, a small smile touching his lips. Arthur was struck by how handsome Trust was, how perfectly composed. He seemed easy in his skin, too, like a runway model or a politician. Arthur felt jealousy roil in his gut and his ears burned hotter because of it. He realized that even if Trust had a magic syringe full of self-confidence juice, Arthur might gain poise but he'd still look like. well, like Arthur. It's just not fair, he thought as his eyes dropped back to the floor. "Arthur, please don’t make me ask you again. I want to see your eyes. They're a rather remarkable color, you know. Brown, like the color of good, rich earth, and yes! I can see little flecks of gold and green in them, too, near the pupils. Lovely." Arthur was tempted to look behind him, to see if another man who shared his name might have slipped into the room with them unnoticed. Was Trust talking about his eyes? They were brown all right, but Arthur had always likened the color to mud-covered shit. No one had ever called them "lovely" before. "I can tell you aren't used to compliments. That's a pity, really. You're an attractive man, Arthur. I'd wager that you've been hurt in the past and have been conditioned to keep your head low, under the radar of most people. No matter. I have trained myself to see the beauty in unpolished gems. By the time we're done here you will shine like the Hope diamond, I promise." Arthur didn't know what to say. In the first thirty seconds of their meeting, Mr. Trust had given him more compliments than he remembered receiving in his entire life. What was even more shocking was that they didn't carry the undertones of condescension that Arthur was accustomed A Torquere Press Toy Box - 6 .
to hearing. They sounded. genuine. "Come, let's sit down and be comfortable while we talk." Trust waved gracefully at the leather sofa. Arthur sat at one end, fully expecting Trust to sit at his desk. He didn't. Instead he sat right next to Arthur, so close that Arthur could smell his cologne. It smelled earthy and woodsy, much better than the Old Spice that Arthur had splashed on after his shower. "Arthur, correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume that you came to me because you feel that you are lacking something in your life. You wish to be more assertive, more confident. Am I right?" "Y-yes," Arthur said, nodding. It was the first thing he'd managed to say since he’d walked in, and his voice sounded brittle and unsure to his ears. He felt shaky, his stomach roiling with nervousness.
Arthur's jaw dropped, and he felt the blood that had heated his cheeks a moment ago drain completely away. Should he lie? Yes, maybe he should. Then again, if Trust asked Arthur more questions on the subject, his innocence might be revealed and Trust would know he’d lied, which would make Arthur feel even worse. He fluctuated silently, arguing with himself. Get up and leave. Tell the truth. Lie. Three voices, all of which were his, battled in Arthur's head. "Oh, good heavens, Arthur! You're a virgin?" Either Trust was very, very good or Arthur was as transparent as window glass. The blood rushed back into his head all at once, making him feel dizzy. Too late to lie and too woozy to storm out, Arthur gave a small nod. "Are you a priest?" "N-no." "A Buddhist monk?" "No." "Victim of an unfortunate accident or medical condition?" "No." "You do have a fully functional penis, do you not?" "Yes! Geez," Arthur muttered, his ears burning so hot that he feared they'd melt right off the sides of his head. "Oh, thank goodness! Then I suppose it's safe for me to assume that you masturbate on a regular basis?" Good God, could this get any more embarrassing? If Arthur blushed any harder, he was afraid he might spontaneously combust and scorch Mr. Trust's expensive leather sofa. His tongue felt like cotton scraping against sandpaper, thick, woolly and unable to wrap around words, so he nodded. "All right. You see, Arthur, details about a person's sex life -- or lack thereof -- can tell me a great deal about that person. I've found that if a healthy adult's sex life is lacking, other aspects of their lives might be also, providing they haven't made a conscious decision to be celibate. It's my belief that there is a direct tie between a person's sex life and their overall attitude about themselves. If they can be persuaded to try something different, something exciting and they do so successfully, they often find new confidence that carries over into other facets of their lives. Simply put, Arthur, feeling sexy and virile is empowering." Well, that was the end of that. If the key to Trust's treatment was sex, then Arthur was screwed, no pun intended. A Torquere Press Toy Box - 8 .
"Come with me, Arthur," Trust said, standing up. Arthur didn't move -- he couldn't. A small frown creased the skin between Trust's sleek eyebrows. "You're here because you're desperate, isn't that right? It's okay, Arthur. Everyone who comes to me feels the same way. Your friend Kenny felt that way too and look at how much he's improved! I can do that for you, too, but you must trust me." Trust in Trust. Arthur would have giggled at the thought, if he hadn't been so nervous that he was close to wetting himself. He managed to draw himself up on shaky legs, and followed Trust to the door at the back of the room. Trust ushered him inside the next room. Arthur heard the door close behind him, the soft click echoing in his head like a thunderclap. The room he found himself in was a bedroom. A huge, four-poster bed dominated the center of the room, made over with a thick, cream- colored satin comforter and fluffy pillows in jewel-toned, fringed cases. The only other piece of furniture was an overstuffed armchair, and an eight-drawer, wheeled toolbox, the kind that might have been used by a mechanic. Another door on the far wall opened into a bathroom. "Arthur, you may go into the bathroom and disrobe." Trust might as well have said, "Arthur, you may take the elevator to the roof of the building and jump off." What kind of joke was this? Were there hidden cameras here? Would a laughing reality TV host scuttle out from underneath the huge bed and tell Arthur that he was on America's Funniest Practical Jokes? Arthur turned toward Trust in shock, his mouth flopping open, his jaw practically touching his chest. Trust smiled. "I know what you must be thinking, Arthur. Suffice it to say that everyone who comes to me for help has that same expression on their faces when I tell them to undress, but you must do it. It is imperative that there be no barriers between us. Go on, now. There is a robe hanging in the bathroom that you may put on if you feel it absolutely necessary." Arthur was not going to do it. Absolutely not! And yet, despite the forceful objections that surged through his mind, Arthur's feet had other ideas. They moved shakily over the lush carpeting toward the bathroom. He slipped inside and closed the door, leaning his forehead against the cool wood, his heart pounding. What was he doing? Had he lost his mind completely? Surely he wasn't thinking of doing as Trust had told him to do? He was not going to strip bare-assed! He wasn't! Then he remembered the way Kenny had looked, so poised and confident. He remembered the way everyone else in the group had looked at Kenny, their eyes full of admiration, and how very much Arthur wanted someone, anyone, to look at him the same way. He stripped, folding his clothes neatly, methodically, placing them on the vanity. A Torquere Press Toy Box - 9 .
Arthur didn't look in the mirror; he didn't want to see the imperfections in his body. He knew them all too well. He was too skinny, his skin too pale. There wasn't a single hair on his chest, and his hipbones were sharp enough to slice cold cuts. His cock lay between his legs like a fat, pink worm, balls drooping low behind it. Reaching for the robe, he shrugged into it quickly, feeling a head-to-toe blush suffusing his skin. He cracked open the bathroom door, peeking into the bedroom. Trust was sitting in the chair, facing the bed, his legs crossed comfortably, as naked as the day he'd been born. If there had been a window in the bathroom, Arthur would have seriously considered crawling out and escaping. There wasn't, and he couldn't stay in the bathroom forever, so he fought back the wave of fear that threatened to turn his bowels to water and walked through the door. "Very good, Arthur! You've taken the first step toward shedding your inhibitions and becoming the strong, confident man you always wanted to be! Excellent!" Trust smiled at him, beckoning him closer. "Lie down on the bed, please." Arthur hesitated, clutching the robe tighter around his body, but then his feet sank into the thick carpeting as they carried him to the edge of the bed. He sat and, trying not to disturb the comforter, carefully lay down. The pillows cushioned his head in satin clouds. They were perfumed with Trust's cologne, he realized. "Open your robe, Arthur." Arthur's chest seized, his hands fisting the terrycloth of the robe, sweat breaking out on his forehead. No, no, no! Arthur's inner voice cried. Then another voice, one Arthur had never heard in his head before, countered. For once in your miserable life, take a chance! What do you have to lose? As if he were ripping off a Band-Aid to minimize the pain, Arthur flung the robe wide open, feeling the cooler air of the room raise gooseflesh on his skin. Surprisingly, even though he was embarrassed nearly to tears, it felt like a major accomplishment. He was lying bare-butt naked in front of another human being! Even more astonishingly, Trust hadn't laughed at him. "You have a very nice body, Arthur. You should never be embarrassed to show it off. My, my, I know of many men who would love to look like you. Not an ounce of fat, smooth, supple skin. yes, you're quite attractive, indeed." "I-I'm too skinny and too pale," Arthur said, shaking his head. "I've tried to tan, but all I can manage is to turn darker shades of red." "Tans are overrated, my friend. Besides the danger of skin cancer from sunbathing, tans can eventually make your skin look like old leather, cracked and dry. Your skin looks very soft, very touchable." A Torquere Press Toy Box - 10 .