Last night I went to Borders mostly so that I could feel books. Be surrounded by them. As a reader, I love books because they’re books, because they’re physical objects of beauty. Paper and glue and ink. I picked one up and carried it around with me, intending to buy it, but I decided not to. Instead I decided to come home and put that money toward a few e-books.

As a writer, I like e-books as well as print books. There’s so many debates over which is better: better to read, better for the environment, better for the author. And they’re all important debates, they’re important issues. My stance has always been that, as a writer, why would I limit the ways that readers can access my work? So, when I have a chance, I’ll have an e-book version of my work available. (Like the digital copies of Blowjob you can still buy, even though the first two issues are out of print!)

My buddy Natty Soltesz has a book for sale through the Kindle store. I have some ethical problems with Amazon’s e-book policies, but Natty’s my friend and he’s an amazing fucking writer so I’m not going to hesitate to support his work. I like knowing that my money is going to him, rather than a publisher who doesn’t give out royalties. That’s one of the best things about e-books, it gives authors a new way to make money, and a new way to negotiate for their rights.

Natty’s book, a novella called 428 College St. is a filthy little time-tested tale about about three college roommates who wind up exploring more than their educations:

“I don’t know about you guys, but I need to beat off,” said Randy. I waited for Darrin to say something, but he didn’t.

“Go ahead,” I said, “I don’t give a shit.” It was an offhand thing to say, I really didn’t expect him to do it. So I was a little shocked when I heard him sliding off his shorts.

“I’ll try not shoot any cum on your beautiful carpet,” he said. I could make out Randy’s form pretty well from the lights outside the window. His erection, which I’d spotted tenting out his boxers before but had never actually seen, was laying against his belly. It looked thin and lean, and about at throbbingly hard as mine felt. He licked the palm of his hand, wrapped it around his cock, and started stroking.

As I watched him beat off, my initial feeling of shock faded, becoming something like jealousy. I desperately wanted to get off too, but something about just doing it in the room with them made me nervous. How could Randy just do it so nonchalantly? It actually started to piss me off, and I was going to say something when Darrin spoke up.

“Are you really jerkin off?” Darrin said. I guessed he couldn’t see. Randy didn’t respond, just kept pounding away at his prick.

“Dude,” I said to Randy, “what the fuck are you doing?”

“I’m beating off,” Randy said, sounding surprised. “You said I could.”

“Fuck, I didn’t think you’d actually do it.”

“Well, what the fuck’s the big deal? You wanna jerk off too, don’t you? Just do it. I won’t look, if that’s what you’re worried about,” he said, then he turned his attention back to his cock.

“Shit,” Darrin said above me. Then he laughed. “Might as well,” he said, and I could hear him sliding off his pants. For a minute I thought everyone around me had gone crazy. But the more I laid there and listened to them; Randy’s labored breath as he pumped away, Darrin’s little sighs as he stroked his own; the less I tried to fight it. I wasn’t about to lay there and let them get off while I was just as hard-up as they were.

I slid out from under my sheets and peeled off my underwear. My cock was hard as a rock, and the moment I let it loose I knew I’d done the right thing. With one hand I cupped my balls, and with the other I took hold of my hot bone, rubbing the pre-cum around to get it nice and slick.

It’s available for only $2.99 on Amazon. Even if you don’t have a Kindle, you probably have a phone that has a free Kindle app, or you can get one for your computer. You should check it out. Support Natty and his writing. Always support your favorite artists.

I really liked this quote from The Daily Rumpus by Stephen Elliott:

I remembered what Tao Lin said about health during our book club discussion. He was asked about his characters who were often vegans who did drugs. They seemed both health-conscious and self-destructive. He said:

“I view “health” as a means to something else, not as an ends. Life itself is unsustainble. Health enhances such things as “staying up all night to be with someone you like” by allowing you to stay up longer, and feel less tired the next day.”

And I thought that was incredibly beautiful and insightful. Life itself is unsustainable. Be healthy so you can stay up all night with someone you like.

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