The Two Hundredth and Ninety First of One Thousand and One Nights – by Amalaric

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Like any successful business, the Slave Emporium relied on a number of advertising gimmicks and promotional novelties in order to keep its products moving and, in fact, employed an army of behind-the-scenes marketing strategists continuously tasked with imagining new and appealing ways to package and present the near-endless array of strapping young males that would eventually mount the block.

An important way to accomplish this task (and maximize sales) was to fine-tune instincts regarding the latest social trends among consumers. Lately, it was noted, a convergence of diverse movements had coalesced into something of a multi-faceted whole. First, people seemed more and more concerned about their health and, second, quickly made the connection between physical well-being and the quality of the food they ate. Though many became vegans realizing, in posthumous fashion, the cherished dream of Linda McCartney even those who remained carnivorous tried, at least, to cut back and when they did consume meat were concerned that the product was free of hormones and other dangerous substances. Finally, there was a growing consensus that animals had rights and should not be treated cruelly…and that extended to the horrors of industrial farming (which, serendipitously, was responsible for many of the toxic hormones; both by direct injection and an animal’s experience of near-unbearable stress). Certainly, these days one would be hard put to find a hen’s egg that was not sold with the disclaimer that the bird which had laid it freely roamed the green acres of some sun-drenched farm, happy and fulfilled in whatever way a chicken could be.

The marketing strategists at the Slave Emporium were quick to discern some potential and, after careful planning and some experimental trials, came up with the Free-Range line of buck slaves. True, the Free-Range variety were costlier than their counterparts, with fixed prices or bidding minimums set in an eye-watering spectrum…but that was part of the mystique. Quality was everything and free-range living fit the bill (or so it seemed) in any number of crucial ways. The slaves were all young, with strict perimeters set on saleability- at least as Free Rangers- from eighteen to twenty-one years old. They were also vetted, and then chosen, for a look of unblemished vitality, with minimum body hair but, necessarily (as it would appear unnatural), never shaved (except, if desired, the slave’s face; always handsome, often with an almost undefinable ‘baby faced’ quality). Body modifications were also strictly forbidden. A pre-sale Free-Range buck was never tattooed or pierced but some were circumcised, justified as a ‘health measure’, but really to suit the various tastes of potential buyers. Overly bulked-up muscles were also frowned upon (a kind of ‘runner’s build’ was the favoured look), as those types- in the Free-Range category- could conjure images of unhealthy steroids or barnyard bulls brought to the rodeo.

Other characteristics of the Free-Range line did, indeed, justify the higher prices. Young males were selected at an early age and were always farm-bred, never bought or culled from the free population; insuring a sunny, relatively placid nature in regard to their station in life. Always raised in large enclosures in, at least, a semi-rural environment, they were kept naked at all times, night and day, from initial certification into the Free-Range line to the day they mounted the block. Work was strenuous, but not exhausting; usually some menial aspect of organic farming or animal husbandry. Supervised exercise and organized sports were integral parts of the bucks’ routine, and- almost unbelievably- there was even a small amount of time for mandatory, unstructured recreation. If the weather grew exceptionally cold, the young slaves were still encouraged outdoors but were issued thick wool blankets- much as a horse would wear and for the same reasons. If the weather grew colder still, the naked young slaves were kept indoors and engaged in maintenance and handicrafts. Sex with each other was strictly forbidden but personal masturbation was not only permitted but encouraged (in stark contrast to the lot of Emporium slaves not of the Free-Range line!).

Of course, even among the relatively happy and well-treated Free-Range slaves discipline was sometimes required, but this, too, was carefully regulated. Only a leather strap and, sometimes, a broad wooden paddle were permitted and blood was never drawn under any circumstances. Some bruising, of course, was inevitable…but bruises, sooner or later, always faded.

Each of the Free-Range slaves realized that he represented a rare niche of privilege in what was generally a rather brutal industry. The rare escape attempt was immediately punished by the requisite strapping but far worse was the runaway’s immediate re-assignment to a non-Free-Range line. Each of the young bucks also knew that no later than his twenty-first year he would mount the block and, once sold, leave the enclosure and enter the brave new world of his new master or mistress. What ‘free-range’ might mean under those very different circumstances was anyone’s guess.

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