Jeffery Self, Riverdale Avenue Books

And Now For Something Completely Different… 50 Shades Of Excerpt

Chapter One

“Can you do me a huge favor?” Matty asks,
poking his head into my bedroom and looking paler
than La Toya Jackson with a stomach virus.

Matty has never been shy about asking for favors.
That’s the territory that comes with being roommates
and best friends for four years, the expectation of
favors. Like having a boyfriend you can depend on,
but without the sex, intimate connection, or expensive
birthday gifts. My favors for Matty have run the gamut
from 4 a.m. airport drop offs to plucking some really
unfortunately placed back hairs before we went to Gay
Days at Disney World, which led to even more favors.
The weirdest of which involved my driving Matty and
the eerily youthful-looking thirty-five-year-old man
who played Peter Pan to what would later become the
worst date in Matty’s dating history. So I’d learned
years ago to brace myself when those words came out
of Matty’s mouth: “Can you do me a huge favor?”

I pause the episode of The Real Housewives of I-don’t-
even-know-where, and answer a tentative
“Sure.”

“It’s a work thing, so I’ll throw you forty bucks.”

This is a relief to hear, and not just because it
involves forty bucks—although I could certainly use
that, as I am currently living off of cater waiter gigs
I’ve found on Craigslist. More importantly, however,
Matty works as a reporter for a very popular
entertainment show called The Star Report. They’re
sorta like Entertainment Tonight, except more popular
and without Billy Bush’s uncomfortable energy.

I’m an aspiring writer myself, and this wouldn’t
be the first time I’ve covered something for Matty. I
wrote a really positive review for the movie New Years
Eve, which went kind of viral because it was literally
the only positive review for New Years Eve. What can
I say? I’ve got a soft spot for movies about the
holidays and Robert De Niro in hospital beds. Besides
that, my professional writing experience has, up until
now, been limited to a Live Journal I kept during my
first year living here in Los Angeles that as of today
still has only twenty views. One of these days,
however, I’m going to write a book.

“Sure. What is it?” I ask, hoping he’ll say the two
words I’m basically always waiting to hear: Meryl
Streep.

“I’m scheduled to go to the press junket for this
new Taylor Grayson movie. It’s called The Last…” He
continues, but I’ve stopped listening. Taylor Grayson
is one of the most beautiful movie stars in the history
of beautiful movie stars. In fact, People magazine has
ranked him “Sexiest Man Alive” every year since I
was a freshmen in college and he was playing one on
TV. Matty continues explaining the favor, but I’m lost
in thought, remembering that scene from The Yard, a
movie where he played a talented college football
player who did something important that I can’t
remember. What I can remember is that I spent the
whole movie replaying his four minute shower scene,
where steamy close ups show tiny beads of hot water
dripping down a perfectly tanned six pack
Michelangelo couldn’t have carved if he’d tried, and a
thirty second shot of his gorgeous round butt that may
or may not have been paused on my DVD player for
most of 2009.

“So will you do it?” Matty asks, his story
apparently finished. I look up at him, having not heard
a word he said, and reply, “Sure.”

Matty looks at me closely, the way he always
looks at me when he knows I’ve not been listening.
It’s almost as if he’s trying to look into my soul, but in
actuality I know he’s really just thinking “Why doesn’t
this asshole ever listen to a word I say?”

“Okay, cool. So you’ll need rubber rain boots, a
machete, and about three and a half feet of knitting
yarn.” Matty says, nonchalantly.

“Sorry. I wasn’t listening. I got distracted.”

Matty rolls his eyes and explains the situation.
The Star Report is scheduled to interview Taylor
Grayson about his new movie The Last Hero at a press
junket at the Beverly Hills Hotel. It’s a standard junket
interview: reporter comes in, has four minutes to ask a
series of approved vague questions, then leaves. Matty
is supposed to go, but because he’s come down with a
stomach flu, he needs a replacement, and no one else
from the blog is available.

I remind Matty that I’ve never done on camera
interviewing before, or anything on camera for that
matter…unless you count the video tape of my
exceedingly underwhelming performance as Tevye in
my high school production of Fiddler on the Roof—
which, for the record, I do not.

As usual, Matty’s perception of my ability is a lot
better than my own. Matty has a way of being so
confident in people that it almost seems offensive, like
“How dare you think I am that smart? Haven’t you
listened to a word I’ve ever said? Don’t you know me
at all?!”

“You’ll be great. All you have to do is be excited
to talk to the star and excited to talk about the movie.
Both of which you can handle. Need I remind you, it is
Taylor Grayson? I’m sure you can muster up some
enthusiasm for him.”

Matty has a point. It wouldn’t be hard to get
excited over Taylor Grayson. For one, he would be the
most famous person I’ve ever met, and two, I’m
already getting aroused just thinking about him.

“What would I ask?” is the next question I direct
to Matty, attempting to steer the subject away from
anything having to do with the way Taylor Grayson’s
biceps seem to stretch out every shirt sleeve he wears
to what must be the verge of ripping out completely.

“Standard press junket questions… What was the
hardest part of making the movie? Why did you take
this role? Who was your inspiration for the
character…he plays a firefighter, by the way.”

I nod, as if I’m hearing about this for the first
time. It isn’t that I’m some psycho Taylor Grayson
stalker by any means, far from it…but I’d be lying if I
claimed I hadn’t masturbated, on multiple occasions,
to the moment in his new movie trailer where he does
something like forty pull ups without taking a break.
Taylor Grayson is a lot of things to America—
internationally beloved movie star, magazine cover
model, tabloid favorite—but most of all he’s a member
of just about every gay man and straight woman’s
“spank bank.”

“So will you do it?” Matty asks me, with a look
that combines the eyes of a sad puppy and the face of
someone wanting you to do their job for them.

How often, I think to myself, does one come face
to face with one of his ultimate sexual fantasies? Sure,
I live in Los Angeles, but it’s still not every day. I saw
Brad Pitt in a Trader Joe’s once, and I still talk about it
at dinner parties…and, to be honest, I’m not even
100% sure it was Brad Pitt. At the very least, this face
to face, this one on one with Taylor Grayson could be
just that—wonderful dinner party conversation. Like
the latest Pink album or whatever crazy thing Sherri
Shepherd has recently said on The View.

I worry, for a moment, about the age old advice:
“Never meet your idols.” But Taylor Grayson isn’t my
idol, he’s just someone I find very hot. Very, very,
insanely, drop dead, getting hard even thinking about
him…hot. Without a second thought, or a single doubt
in my head, I answer an immediate and eager: “Yes.”

*Excerpt posted with permission from Riverdale Avenue Books*

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Jeffery Self, Riverdale Avenue Books

In Which 50 Shades Just Got A Little More Colorful – 50 Shades of Gay by Jeffery Self

Little by little the pieces and squares began to come to life and exchange impressions … Everything had acquired sense and at the same time everything was concealed … Only in the final instant was their secret spectacularly exposed. – Vladimir Nabokov (Chess)

I may very well be the one and only grown woman on the planet who has never read E.L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey. If you think that’s a heaping bit of hyperbole, well, it probably is, but I can at least say without the slightest exaggeration that I’m the only woman in my immediate family who hasn’t read it. Truth. And having made that point clear enough, now let it be known that my thoughts on Jeffery Self’s 50 Shades of Gay are not at all being influenced by any sort of comparison between the two books. Let it also be known that I can say with utmost confidence, never having read the other, that this version of the story is probably at least…100% more gay than the original. Just a guess. I don’t know much about the other, but I do know it’s a boy/girl story, so there.

What’s most definitely not a guess, though, is that I thought Jeffery Self’s version of events was pretty darn fun, and funny, and erotic, and if it maybe—just the teeniest bit—satirizes the one that started it all, I’m pretty much on board with that, even if it does give Christian Grey fans a wee case of the snits, and that’s okay. I’m very protective of the books I love too. But they do say impersonation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all, right? And, oh yes, where Alex and Taylor are concerned, turn-about is also really, really fair play.

50 Shades of Gay is narrated by loveable virgin and aspiring writer, Alex Kirby, a Michigan transplant to LaLa Land, who’s making ends meet as a cater waiter until he gets his big journalist break, which, as it happens, comes when his reporter roommate and all-around best friend Matty gets sick and asks Alex to fill in for him in an interview session with über-hunkalicious movie star, Taylor Grayson. Okay, maybe it’s not a big break, but it certainly is pivotal, even if it’s not quite pivotal in a journalistic sense, and even if the ultimate lesson nearly turns out to be that sometimes fantasy and reality are things best left unmet; otherwise one tends to influence the other until neither is quite capable of measuring up, which eventually leads to a lot of pain of the decidedly non-sexy variety for these two guys.

Taylor takes a rather instant and intense interest in Alex during that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it interview, and really, why wouldn’t he? In a town and in a business that’s a constant stream of mouth-spewing and spinning various forms of artifice into truth, Alex comes across as a refreshing breath of sincerity, albeit a not so slick sort of sincerity in that particular moment, but genuine nonetheless, and Taylor’s not about to let Alex get away until he’s had the chance to get a better feel for exactly who Alex is.

You can all probably guess right here and right now that Taylor Grayson is hiding a big fat secret from the world. Two big fat secrets: one that he’s gay, and the other that he’s into a bit of the kinkier side of sex. But you know what? That’s not even all there is to the enigmatic Mr. Grayson— He also has a deep-seated aversion to intimacy of any sort. And the most gnarly secret of all, the one that puts paid to any of Alex’s hope for a relationship, is the one that he discovers in quite possibly the most humiliating and painful way possible. Imagine all the conflict that combination breeds when Taylor sets his sights on perhaps the only man in Los Angeles who’s not looking to be anyone’s contractual obligation, even if that anyone is gorgeous and sexy and loaded, and has been the object of plenty of Alex’s masturbatory fantasies over the years.

And imagine Taylor’s surprise when Alex won’t sign on the dotted line and play the good little submissive the way he’s expected to. There’s nothing quite like having the tables turned, when the master gets schooled, and having options thrust upon you that force you into making a choice and shows you the difference between giving up a little control, or risking losing it entirely. It’s not an easy lesson to teach a man who’s in the business of controlling every aspect of his life in a business that has little to no regard for personal boundaries.

And then I cheered, because this is the part where Alex gets total props for taking Taylor on, beating the Dom at his own game of control, and finally making the man see that love should never have to be a win-lose proposition. Or even worse, what was very close to being a lose-lose proposition. Sometimes love, like chess, is a game of strategy and sacrifice, except in this game, Alex and Taylor both win.

In case it’s not all that obvious, I was so rooting for these guys. If you’ve read E.L. James’ books and any of this plot sounds at all familiar to you, then I can’t guess how you’ll react when/if you decide to read 50 Shades of Gay. Maybe that’ll depend upon how much you liked the “Grey” series. One thing I can say for sure is that I have a very distinct feeling that Alex and Taylor’s romance progressed quite a bit differently than the one in 50 Shades of Grey. Again, just a guess, but again, hello, boy/girl. 50 Shades of Gay ends up a case of complete role reversal for Taylor and Alex, then in a system of checks and balances, and I liked it in all its erotic potential.

After all, truth isn’t always stranger than fiction; sometimes truth just becomes the fiction.

And this fiction was truthfully a lot of fun for me.

You can buy 50 Shades of Gay here:

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