Bustle & Flow

This is a choice-abridged version of the first story from my collection Northern Dandy, forthcoming from Sapiosexual Press.

I wonder if I can make #RidingLesson start trending…

Bustle and Flow: A Multiple-Choice Bodice-Ripper
by Zach Bartlett

You are a strapping young butler named Reginald Thickstrut, employed in a large manor house around whichever time period Downton Abbey takes place in. Hell if I know anything about that show.

You awake in the scullery one morning after having hid there to nurse a sore tailbone earned during your hasty exit from the Duchess’ chambers the previous evening. The fact that you have woken up assures you both that the Duke remains unaware of his wife’s ongoing tryst, and that the kitchen staff probably have the hots for you as well since they didn’t alert him to the fact that you were hiding there taking liberties with a bottle of cooking sherry.

While fixing your hair, collar, tie, cufflinks, lapel, pocket square, buttoniere, tie pin, and cumberbundt using your reflection in a polished serving tray, you notice that Bettina the maid is sneaking a glance at you from the pantry door.

“See anything you like, madam?” you say, cocking your eye while she’s eyeing your… serving tray, which she plucks from the counter before you.

“Good to see you’ve recuperated,” she says over her shoulder in a trashily-alluring cockney accent that I won’t even try to reproduce here. She sets the tray on the kitchen counter and begins to assemble the Duke’s typical breakfast, which you notice happens to include blood sausage.

To make a suggestive comment about the food to Bettina, turn to page 2.

To respect her personal boundaries, turn to page 70.

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