Simon Schuster looked out his office window and sighed at the familiar view of Manhattan. As CEO of Unnamed Publishing Company, his office was located in the Rockefeller Center, a fact which had once delighted him. His solid gold nameplate, stacks of cocaine, and net worth in the millions had also once delighted him, but lately something seemed… off.
He rubbed his chest, wondering at the hollow ache there. There was another ache lower down that had started with an erotic dream the night before, but he tried not to think about that. What kind of hot shot publishing bigwig fantasized about having a giant, anthropomorphic bird ravish his butt? A twisted one, that’s what. He shook his head and pulled the bottle of scotch out of his desk drawer for his 9am treat.
His assistant knocked on the door. “Sir? I have an offer for you to review.”
Simon had never bothered to learn the woman’s name. Publishing had a high turnover rate, since most people were paid the equivalent of steaming dog shit covered in empty promises, and eventually even the brightest-eyed young intern became exhausted by years of an hour-long commute between the office and the one-bedroom apartment they shared with 12 other depressed publishing interns. Simon supposed someone ought to do something about the low wages in the industry. Not him, but someone.
“Go on,” he said, gesturing to his desk. “What is it?”
The assistant was a pleasant sort, with pretty blue eyes that looked even more striking reddened by crying, as they usually were. She brought him the stack of paper. “Tansy wants to acquire this romance novel. She put together a profit and loss sheet and thinks we should pay an advance of $50,000 per book for a trilogy. Do you approve?”
Was this how most publishing houses acquired books? Simon himself didn’t know, since zero transparency was the number one rule of publishing.
He glanced at the P&L sheet briefly, but there were a lot of numbers on it for an industry run by English majors, so he put it down. “You know,” he said, leaning back in his chair, “when I first got into this business, $100,000 was a lot of money. Now it’s a fairly small advance.”
The assistant’s face lit up. “Ooh, so we can offer more? That’s great. Everyone really loves this book and this author.”
“No,” he said, drawing a big red X through the P&L sheet. “Offer $5,000 per book. Oh, and make sure the payment is spread out in 5 chunks. The first on signing of the contract eight months after it was supposed to be sent to the author, the second on manuscript acceptance, the third on publication, the fourth a year later, and the fifth a year after that, just because I feel like it. They’ll get the full $15,000, minus taxes and agent commission, in approximately…” He paused to calculate in his head. “…Six years.”
Her brow furrowed. “But sir, if they’re receiving some of the payment years after publication, can it still be called an advance?”
He laughed. “Oh, intern. ‘Advance’ is a word publishers use that doesn’t really mean anything. Like ‘midlist,’ ‘accountability,’ and ‘ethics.’”
The intern’s eyes grew watery. Beautiful. “B-but sir,” she said. “These authors need to get paid to survive. How are they supposed to have writing careers on top of full-time jobs?”
“Publishing is a labor of love,” he said, toying with his $10,000 ballpoint pen.
“But we’ve experienced years of record profits, so why are we suddenly splitting payments into fifths?”
“To earn interest on the advance money for as long as possible, obviously.” He scoffed. “Did you even go to business school?” He waved a hand. “Never mind, no one else here did, either. Hey, can you get me another coffee? I need to hit my goal of making ten subordinates cry today, and I’m just not feeling the vibe yet.”
The intern turned and fled, weeping.
“Nice,” he said, checking off the first of ten boxes on today’s page of his bullet journal.
Simon was a good person, which was how he’d risen so high, so fast. His words might have sounded harsh, but everything he did was to challenge his underlings so they learned resilience. Contributing to the character development of a revolving door of underpaid assistants, publicists, marketers, and editors was a part of his job he was proud of and took extremely seriously.
Sometimes he wondered if this was all there was to life, though. Was there something more than a fat paycheck and a skyscraper view? Why couldn’t he be happy with what he had?
Sometimes he thought he ought to get out of the publishing business entirely. Sell Unnamed Publishing Company to the highest bidder (likely a random house he knew only by the name Penguin) in a blatant violation of antitrust laws, then find a new passion.
His butt throbbed.
Deep down in his sphincter, he knew that was what he was missing. That was why he woke up sweating in the middle of the night, imagining getting railed by a shadowy, squawking figure. He was a sick man with a sick interest in sentient, enormous birds, and it was frustrating because he would never actually get to live out that fantasy.
The intern knocked again. “Sir? There’s… someone… here to see you.”
Her hesitant tone caught his attention. “Sounding unsure is a character flaw,” he said out of the goodness of his mentoring heart. “Do better.”
The intern fled again. Damn, he really should address that in her next review, when he decided if she deserved a two cent raise. She was wearing a track in the carpet.
A loud squawk came from the hallway. Simon’s heart started racing. It sounded just like… But no. That had been a dream, not reality. He was cursed to go through this life alone, ass and heart empty.
A shadow darkened his doorway. He looked up… and gasped.
There stood an enormous penguin, easily six feet tall. A black, curious eye regarded him, bright with intelligence. “Are you Simon Schuster, CEO and Publisher of Unnamed Publishing Company?” the penguin asked—or rather, cawed—in a raspy voice that sent shivers down Simon’s spine.
“I am,” he said, jumping to his feet to shake the penguin’s flipper. Was this a dream?
“I’m the Penguin,” the penguin said.
“It would seem so,” Simon replied, still holding that sleek, manly flipper and wondering how it would feel slapping his ass. “What are you doing in New York?”
The penguin let out a screeching laugh. “Let me rephrase. I am the Penguin. Your biggest competitor.”
Simon gasped. “The Penguin who stole eight of our nine recent acquisitions out from under my nose? The one with twenty-four percent of the U.S. book market compared to our eleven percent?”
“One and the same,” the Penguin said. His eyes bored into Simon’s, full of heat and promises. “And I have an offer for you.”
Simon ushered the Penguin fully into his office, then closed and locked the door. He’d grown erect the moment he’d seen the Penguin’s curved bill and round white belly. God, the things he wanted the Penguin to do to him.
As Simon walked to his desk, the Penguin’s gaze dropped to his crotch. “I see you’re ready to drive a hard bargain,” the Penguin said.
“I’m wide open for negotiations.” Simon sat at his desk. “What’s the offer?”
The Penguin settled in across from him. “I want to acquire Unnamed Publishing Company, merging us into a super-house called Unnamed Penguin.”
Simon’s pulse raced at the sultry promise of a merger. “Why me?” he asked.
“Because I looked up your staff photo and thought you were hot.” The Penguin shrugged. “And I took a look at your financials and deduced you’d need to sell soon. Does anyone at Unnamed Publishing have a business degree?”
“No,” Simon said.
The Penguin leaned in, and Simon mirrored the action, feeling like he was magnetized to the magnificent creature. “Here’s how this will go,” the Penguin said. “First, I acquire your publishing house, violating antitrust law and forming a monopoly that will make it easier to control the market and lower author advances due to lack of competition. Editors will be laid off as we consolidate, and agents will have less leverage to secure deals for their clients.”
“Sounds like a great business model,” Simon agreed. “I am constantly trying to think of new ways to reduce author advances. It’s a shame they have to be involved in the publishing process at all.”
“Ungrateful, difficult wretches,” the Penguin said. “Can you believe I offered a debut author two dollars and a bucket of my own piss for the book about their trauma they spent ten years writing, and their agent had the gall to ask for more?”
“It’s like they don’t realize how much money CEOs need. I can’t pay authors a living wage if I’m going to maintain my pedicure and caviar habit.”
“I’m glad we’re in agreement.” The Penguin clapped his bill a few times. “After I acquire your company, the next step is more personal.” He’d been holding something behind his back with his other flipper, and with that, he dropped it on Simon’s desk. “I acquire your ass.”
Simon gasped at the sight of a gleaming golden dildo in a leather harness. It was the most expensive-looking strap-on he’d ever seen. “For me?” he asked breathily.
“If you bend over and take my corporate interest, I’ll fuck you with my golden cock,” the Penguin promised. “And then, together, we’ll fuck every author, editor, and publishing house on the planet. We’ll fuck the entire industry!”
Simon was already on his feet, fumbling with his belt. Finally, his dream was coming true! “Yes,” he said. “Yes to Unnamed Penguin and yes to you merging that dildo with my buttocks.”
The Penguin produced a contract from somewhere. “Sign here.” When Simon reached for a pen, the Penguin shook his head. “Not with ink. With your cum.”
It was the most intimate contract negotiation imaginable. Simon dropped his slacks and boxers to his ankles, grabbed his dick, and started pumping. “Do we need to worry about an antitrust lawsuit from the government?” he asked as he stroked up and down over his rock-hard shaft. If he was an author he’d probably say something like ‘a steely column covered in skin soft as velvet,’ but if he was an author he’d also be poor as fuck, so he stuck to the less creative wording. His dick was hard, and he was going to jizz all over that contract.
“The government can try,” the Penguin said. “But in that case we’ll just go to trial and win. I mean, if you were called to the stand, you wouldn’t say anything silly like ‘we totally lie during contract negotiations’ or ‘we have no idea how to make a book a bestseller’ or ‘we do the same level of marketing for all our books regardless of advance, I swear’ or ‘we would totally bid higher with more competition and yes, we want to reduce the competition but it won’t affect author payments’ or ‘the indie houses combined are basically a Big Sixth house and totally capable of keeping up with us once we have forty percent of the book market’ or ‘all it takes to compete with the biggest houses is a publisher with a vision and a couple of good editors.’”
Simon laughed. “Of course not. Why would I sabotage a merger I’m getting a bonus from?” He eyed the strap-on hungrily. “And what a bonus it is.”
“Come for me,” the Penguin said. “Jizz on the signature line, and then your ass is mine.”
It was all Simon needed. He came with a roaring shout, shooting lines of cum all over the contract. Some got on the signature line, which was good. Simon eyed the white spatters appreciatively, thinking that he should have thought of the dickshake agreement long ago.
“Perfect,” the Penguin said, standing up. He was a good four inches taller than Simon and thick in all the right places. “Now bend over the desk.”
Simon did, planting his cheek against the wood. He listened to the sounds of the Penguin buckling on the strap-on, then shuffling over on his gorgeous webbed feet.
The Penguin drew back his flipper and slapped Simon hard on the ass. “I’m going to merge with your anus so hard, you still feel me next fiscal year.”
“Oh, God, yes,” Simon moaned. “Give me every golden inch of your privilege.”
The Penguin was a considerate lover. After a brief attempt at ass-eating that veered too close to ass-pecking for Simon’s taste, the Penguin grabbed lube from Simon’s desk (a CEO always had to be prepared in case someone needed fucking over) and used their flipper to gently widen Simon’s butthole. “I’m going to monopolize this prostate,” the Penguin said as he pressed the spot in question. “Going to feed you my Big One an inch at a time.”
“Yes!” Simon cried. “Don’t make me wait any longer, Penguin.”
The Penguin thrust inside with one smooth stroke, and Simon’s eyes rolled back in his head. Late-stage capitalism had never felt so good. Even though he had just come all over the contract, his dick swelled again, ready for round two.
“Forget the Department of Justice,” Simon said. “I’m now a supporter of the Department of Thrust-ice.”
After a few more punishing, strategic strokes, the Penguin reached around. He couldn’t grip Simon’s dick, but he could bat it around a bit, and the sensation was so novel that Simon instantly came, covering his desk, his scotch, and his $10,000 pen with a load of jizz that was worth more than the average author take-home pay.
The Penguin pulled out. “Ass acquired,” he announced. He winked as he sauntered towards the door. “See you at the antitrust trial. Just make sure you don’t say anything weird or contradictory on the stand, all right?”
“Right,” Simon said dazedly. “Obviously I would never do that.”
He watched the Penguin waddle away, thrilled that the merger had been consummated so well and thoroughly. Nothing about this plan could possibly go wrong.