Starboard – Chapter 1

Starboard – Chapter 1 Podcast If this reaches 50 plays I’ll read the next chapter

Even though he tried to hide himself from the incandescent orange light emanating from the streetlamp outside his living room window, the light still flooded the room as if they were beams projected from a lighthouse. The warm breeze coming in through an opened window, made the sheer curtains gently billow up, diffusing the incoming light in such a way that the shadows in the living room waxed and waned. Permeating through his closed eyelids, a tinge of dark orange was detected by the cones and rods in the back of his eyes transmitting a signal to his brain. The brain, then processed that signal as: light is still present, therefore, sleep is not required. He tossed and turned, yawned and counted sheep but achieving a mere lucid dream was a fool’s gold.

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Time, ever in such a hurry, did not stop for him to catch up to sleep: 15 minutes of shifting around, became 30 minutes, and 30 minutes became an hour. After waking from his second lucid dream, he defeatedly pulls the sheet away from his bare trimmed chest. Laying on the sofa, with a hand under his head he listens to the chirping of crickets outside and for the next couple of minutes, he lays there in stillness looking at the popcorn ceiling of his living room. His eyes eventually fixated on a spot on ceiling causing the peripheral vision to fade to black, snapping out his light trance, he began to debate internally if he should just get up or not. With some slight effort he rolls onto his side, reaches for his phone on the floor tapping the screen to wake it from its slumber. The blue light from the screen quickly reacts displaying the time for him, 3:15 AM. With a deep inhale, he mutters to himself – “Up we go” -because of his relaxed windpipe the vibrations reverberate within his torso upon exclamation. Sitting upright, he has surrendered sleep to the dead of the night.

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In the dull glow of the ember hued light, ripples of shadows are cast against his upright back. At the center, a deep gorge of saturated black extends from north of shoulder blades to south in between his glutes. Pivoting his body from the spot on the couch he swings his legs out and around so that his feet make contact with the cool wood flooring. The sheet that he used to fully cover himself while attempting to sleep now only drapes part of the upper thigh, trimmed bush and shaft. Leaning forward, he rests his elbows on his knees as his hands, neck, and head, all succumb to gravity. In between the balls and heels of his feet are cavernous blacks that swallow all light, the veins on the top of his feet cast their own faint shadows like the rolling mounds of a prairie. In silence he looks down at his feet, all ten toes spread out and for brief second believes he can hear to blood circulating within his body.

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Another deep breath, another thought has come and gone, but this time, he places his hands on his knees and pushes himself up from the couch and up to stand. Fully standing, he raises both his hands overhead and gently stretches side to side. Highlights illuminate the lateral parts of his body as the rest remains cloaked in darkness. Tapping his phone screen awake once again, the time now reads 4:05 AM. “I’ll just workout”, he whispers to himself. Carefully he begins to walk around the house, even though there is enough light to denote the rough outline of objects, without his glasses he is virtually blind at night. Each stride forward is led by gently placed padded step, thereby, ensuring minimal creaking sound from the hardwood floors. Making his way up the stairs, he passes by some pictures of happier times that have long past, the smiles on those face have faded away and are only accessible now by memory or the elusive dream. When he gets to the landing, he can hear the soft rhythmic snoring coming from two bedrooms, both with doors shut tight.

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Padding past the short hallway he passes more pictures hanging on the wall, some of which, he is not in a part of and has no recollection taking place. When he gets to the door at the end of the hallway, he quietly twists the knob and lifts the door off the hinges, so they do not squeal upon his entrance. There, on a king size mattress, lays a mass covered from head to toe with a duvet. From it, a soft snore can be heard as the center of the mass is plane, rises and falls, between each audible snore. Quietly, he makes his way to the dresser, pulls out a pair of navy blue running shorts and proceeds to slip one foot through a leg opening at time. With one quick motion he pulls them up and around the waist, he follows up that motion by inserting his hand down the front of the shorts and adjusting his manhood from the interior lining of the shorts. Once on, he returns back to where he came from.

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At the bottom of the stairs he heads to the kitchen and quietly opens a sliding door to the back yard. 10 meters away, across blades of grass covered in dew is a shed that has been converted to a workout/office space. Barefoot crosses the threshold and step out onto the patio, with his steps no longer limited by the noise he makes his stride quickens. The damp concrete against the soles of his feet awakens him further but moist grass reinvigorates him. At the shed’s door he punches the key code in and lets himself in, motion sensing lights instantly turn on and illuminate the shed. Thanks to its 12 foot ceiling, it serves perfectly as a workout area. Even though it’s a hot summer night, he still cranks up the heat in the shed to 90 degrees Fahrenheit to maximize the amount of sweat produced. The floor itself is padded from wall to insulated wall allowing him to make a lot of noise with very little noise escaping to the outside. Within minutes the temperature hit 90 and he begins a 45 minute animal flow session.

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Drenched in sweat, he sits on the padded floor of the shed with his arms propped up by his knees. His eyes scan the small workout space and that when the see that his laptop is sitting on a corner desk. Pushing off the floor with one arm he lifts himself up and walks towards the laptop to open it. Hovering over the keyboard he places the cursor on the address bar and types in an address. The screen become white momentarily then a prompt emerges onscreen: Are you male or female? He moves the cursor and clicks on male. The screen is filled with a white text box area and on the left side of the screen are two black squares. Another prompt appears on the screen: allow access to camera and mic? Approve or Deny. He moves the cursor to approve and clicks on it, instantly a very small light turns on by the web camera exposing his sweaty torso on the bottom left box of the screen. In the center of the chat area, is a giant red button that reads START, it lays in wait to be clicked but, before he does, he adjusts the angle of the camera so that everything below his neck to his knees is in frame. Stepping a couple of feet back he clicks start and the first image comes in and a complete stranger, confined to a box on the screen directly above his, appears before him. Instantly, an ellipsis appears on the chat partition of the screen, gently pulsating as the newly welcomed guest to the shed types, it is then replaced by text with a single line command “Drop the shorts”. With the aid of the stored of the sweat the shorts quickly fall down his legs as the soaked fabric splats down around his ankles.

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From the second story window of his house the blue glow of the monitor screen is visible through the privacy frosted shed window. The sound of the metal hooks brushing against the metal rod as the curtains are quickly closed disrupts the high-pitched silence of the house.

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