Featured Story - February 2008:
Good At Math (excerpt)

The following week [Justin] brought a check with him bearing the signature of his mother. It was in an unsealed business envelope, heavily bonded so the shape of its content could not be deciphered, and embossed in the corner with the name of the firm with which [his father] was a senior partner. The sum on the check wasn't an unreasonable price for my summer freedom. Justin smirked when he handed it to me. For that, I made him clean my toilet, naked.

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About the Story

I was asked to submit a story for the Best Gay Asian Erotica by its editor Joel Tan. At the time I hadn't been writing for more than two years, the longest stretch of time in my adulthood where I had been unproductive. I wasn't sure if I had lost my mojo. It didn't help that Joel was asking me to write an erotica. First, I was thinking about how to write about sadomasochism with an Asian slant, examining control and power in private versus public. Second, for me, the joy of S/M is really the discovery of sex and self, so I also wanted the two characters to be young. This was how I came upon the idea of one of them being a Math tutor to the other: a tutor is both a superior and a servant. I still don't know what 'erotica' is, or what it is supposed to do. Does it only need to describe sexual acts, or should it also inspire them in readers? At what point does it cross the line and become pornography? And how many different ways can you refer to a penis and still make it sound sexy? I still don't know. But this is one of my favorite stories. It was one of those rare instances where the final product was pretty close to (or even better than) what I had in mind when I started the story. It made me want to write again.