3025 – Part 4

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

What started as an innocent first date blossomed into a full-fledged, committed relationship shortly after that. Just one month after Anika and Cedric’s first date, they felt bonded in a way that told them they wanted to be together forever. Although people would rarely say this in today’s world, they thought they were soulmates. 

Anika completed her studies in May 3025; she graduated with honors to the delight of her family. Then both moved into the new Binghamton home Cedric was able to afford after his work offered him a big promotion. It made sense to upgrade to this larger house as it had plenty of room to grow the big family they wanted. Life began in earnest for this seriously over-the-top, in love couple. They decided to put off getting married, though, until after their first child was born. Anika and Cedric didn’t have time to plan a wedding, get the house in order after the move, and still have any left over time to enjoy life knowing they planned to have kids right away. 

They immediately put themselves on the register to be notified when they could begin the conception process. As luck would have it, Anika and Cedric only had to wait a week before receiving approval. Even though all kinds of medical procedures were available to conceive and have a child, they opted to try the old fashioned way first. Since they were still incredibly in love, and having tons of sex, it made sense to enjoy creating their love child at home. They rationalized that if there were no results right away, they could always opt-in for medical intervention. Again, good fortune blessed them, and Anika got pregnant right away. 

Everything fell into place. The two were over the moon with joy. Their life, just like their world, was perfect! Her due date as March 10, 3026. Anika’s pregnancy was uneventful, and the months that followed just brought more celebration as she began to show and feel the baby kick and squirm. She was positively glowing in anticipation of the arrival of their creation. It’s birth couldn’t come soon enough!


February 30, 3026 – Binghamton, NY – 11 hours before the event 

Tonight they would celebrate their 11th month anniversary with a recreation of their first date at The Shingle. Anika and Cedric felt like silly teenagers still acknowledging their anniversary month, but this one was important because the baby was due in about ten days. Life would change dramatically after that. Just how much they could have never anticipated.

“Cedric, would you please help me out of the car,” Anika asked as he parked the car. She grimaced as she felt the first twinge in her abdomen, brushing it off as gas or a strong kick.

“Sure, honey,” he said as he turned off the engine. Cedric got out, slammed his door shut and opened hers only to see her contorted, tear-stained face about to let out a scream. Anika’s face was as white as a sheet; the blood vessels beneath her skin looked as if they had exploded. Cedric was visibly shaking.

“Cedric, something is very wrong!” she screamed in his direction. “Call 911!”


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3025 – Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

March 30, 3025 – Elmira, NY – 11 months before the event

“Anika, would you like to meet at The Shingle for a bite to eat when you get done with your studies?” asked Cedric, hoping she would be okay with food from the dive he liked to frequent.

“Yeah, that sounds like a great idea! It’s been a while since I ate there,” Anika lit up enthusiastically, looking forward to something different. The packaged meals at home were getting a little boring. “Way too long!”

“Oh, I didn’t know you’ve been there before. So you like Shingle’s food?”

“There’s a lot you don’t know about me yet,” she said with a smile. “Yes, I like that place very much! I don’t have the time to cook, what with my studies and job. Dinner there will be a real treat!” responding genuinely excited.

“Well, I’m glad to know that you like it there. It is one of my favorite places to go.” Cedric was looking forward to their first date.

“Great, then I’ll see you there around 6ish?”

“Yeah, that’s perfect! See you then,” Cedric said with a big smile. Anika felt a sweet thrill start in the pit of her stomach, then pulsing throughout her body. She had a hunch; this was the beginning of something special.


The Shingle, housed in a small dilapidated bluish-grey building, attracted many customers even though it looked ancient and run down. The City of Elmira also boasted about this hole in the wall as a Must See! Establishment on their web page. Business was good, and it would be a long time coming before they closed its doors. It had been in the family since 1947, prospering throughout because of their ideas and their work ethic. Their staying power was also a testament to the quality of their food and service. The building’s nostalgic feel was the biggest draw for the clientele but also because it was an oddity that stood out in today’s world. The younger generation, especially, wanted to partake of something that was just slightly different, as has always been the case throughout history. It was their way of making something their own, so naturally, it became a hot spot for the younger crowd.

The reason it was called The Shingle was for its favorite item on the menu, a comfort food known as “Shit on a Shingle.” They couldn’t name the restaurant that so it was just known as The Shingle. But everyone knew what it stood for. The dish’s origin dated back to the early 1900s, with slight modifications over the years from what was listed in the Manual of Army Cooks from 1910. The Shingle owners served many variations on the original recipe, trying to customize it to the customer’s taste buds. Like Burger King’s original slogan in 1953, the owners of The Shingle were big fans of allowing their customers to “have it their way.” The formula had worked for over 1000 years and was likely to sustain them for even longer. Some things just shouldn’t change.


3025 – Part 2

Part 1

Genetics had melded all physical features of human population by 3025 so that all people had brown hair, brown eyes, and light brown skin. There wasn’t much to set them apart in this world anymore. The biological sex of an individual only determined whether they would be able to breed, not specify how or as what they identified. The great debates regarding sex and gender identity of the 21st century no longer existed. Their names identified them; their predilections determined their sexual preferences, and their clothing and accessories indicated their style.

In every country, life on Earth had become a place where everyone’s desire for how to live their lives was taken into consideration. An individual’s freedom of expression and consent were considered essential for happiness—it certainly was not a unique idea for existing, but actually enjoying this type of life, one long overdue. The establishment of true liberty for humans was a turning point for creating this utopia.

Before the Great Awokening of 2085, some, if not most, sexual acts were considered deviant in some people’s eyes. Especially if participated in outside of marriage or if engaging in anything more performance challenging than the missionary position. Our world went from bland to fun and exciting. Today, no sexual preference is taboo as all are accepted, with no one shamed for their choices. Live and let live – indeed, became the standard of living.

Also, having sex – a lot, some or none at all – was considered a right. When to have it, how and where was at the discretion of the person or persons involved. Gratifying sexual urges or deciding to have and raise children required all parties’ consent 100% of the time. No one’s morals or ethics were to be questioned, as there was no need. You could let it all hang out or keep yourself discreetly tucked in. No one cared as long as their needs got met. Everyone now lived by this code of conduct, which held each individual’s preference in high regard. 

Since the ethics of consent bound the world’s individuals to this liberty principle, rape and assault were eradicated, and the world became a safer place. Women, especially, could finally breathe a sigh of relief.

No one would dare change this way of life because it brought about the peace and harmony of co-existence that humans have wanted since the beginning of time. Our world was proud to have finally instituted these tenets. Any deviation away from this existence, well that was considered kinky, and more importantly, just wrong. Not one person wanted to lose the freedoms they had gained. It was a long, hard struggle to get where we have ended up. There could be no turning back.

What started in the year 2085 took almost 1000 years to come to fruition, but it was worth getting there. Earth had become a paradise, and all the creatures, great and small, honestly had it all.

It’s a fantastic world in 3025.


3025 – Part 1

It had become a homogenized world, even androgynous and somewhat dull, but thankfully individuals had found a way to present themselves as unique. Otherwise, how would the human species continue in a world where we no longer socialized or procreated in the traditional sense?

Romance in 3025 wasn’t the typical ‘boy-meets-girl’ scenario; instead, it was more of a ‘human-meets-human’ interaction. Sex wasn’t called sex rather a fulfillment of predilections. There weren’t ‘accidents’ anymore either, just planned breeding. In other words, births only occurred as necessary to replenish the population. And it was only those who were willing to bear children and raise them lovingly, which would serve the global well-being and replenishing of the world population. The result being the people ensured the subsequent generations being wanted and nurtured.

The previously ravaged world fully understood the delicate balance of the human species in nature. They finally discovered the perfect population size for Planet Earth. It took a millennia, but harmony was achieved, and all was well with the world. A bit odd compared to the 21st-century living, but life was finally thriving. All the ecosystems, having found their equilibrium, were healthy, and the societies were prosperous, where the well-being of all was the pinnacle.

There were no more right or left parties; it became a world of human values first and protecting the rights of nature so that it would continue fruitfully. Even though cultures melded together, thereby co-mingling values, the basic ones of life held up; the silly traditional ones were set aside for humanity’s sake. Giving birth was still encouraged yet more practical than before. Abortion was non-existent. The world did away with the selfish, single desires to have scads of children without any forethought of how it would affect individual families or the world, for that matter, the act of having children was of global concern. Hence, the mandatory regulation of live births only contributed to the needed amount for the presence of human continuation. It was a perpetual balancing act that had been deemed an essential one to maintain. And nature breathed a sigh of relief and thanked us for it.

Humankind had successfully determined how to co-exist with nature and be self-sustaining in this co-dependent living arrangement. It took life lashing out at us for it to happen. Conservatives and progressives finally faced the inevitable when they realized the industrial age and the corruption of corporations had contributed to pollution, poverty, and our world’s slow demise. Thankfully, everyone was willing to reverse course upon facing the reality of breaching a tipping point. It brought about the social change necessary to keep us alive. Conservatives conceded to this new world order as long as the progressives accepted an abortion-free world. This first steps taken in the year 2085, finally propelled our world in the right direction. Humans generally tend to push back, so the change was slow, but with a majority consensus saying – effectively change or perish – the self-preservation instinct won out.

Life was good in 3025.


Led Astray – Part 5

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

We arrived, arms entwined, both of us looking forward to spending more quality time together. The atmosphere was uplifting in the Langham Infinity Suite, and the rooms were extraordinary, well beyond my expectations. In looking around, I’d say it was more like a 500-star hotel, not five-star as I’ve seen it advertised. Wow, Eliott, I can’t believe you can afford this luxury!

As we entered the suite, ten of the attendees, with drinks in hand, were already there waiting for Eliott to arrive. They immediately smiled when they saw him. I noticed only two of the employees had shown up. I imagined they still had to tear down the event and would follow shortly.

Eliott grabbed two filled champagne glasses, and with a quick clink of the flutes, he toasted, saying, “To a wonderful evening,” and then excused himself to head over to his admirers. He promised he would be back around shortly.

I decided on a quick self-led tour of the suite, knowing it might take some time. The square footage of this suite was enormous. By the balcony stood a white grand piano in front of a beautiful city skyline view. Also, there was a separate meeting room, dining room, and a wet bar. I could get real comfortable living here! Just a guess, but I was sure you could comfortably house an army here with all the space it had. The first bedroom was gorgeous; I couldn’t imagine what else they could add to the master bedroom to make it more opulent. 

There was some mischievous giggling coming from the master bedroom, but the door was open, so I continued towards it. 

“Oh!” I said, a bit shocked. But who wouldn’t be surprised to find five women in various levels of undress on the beds? 

“Well, hello, dear,” said the redhead as she smiled wickedly towards me. 

“Hi. Well, goodbye. Sorry to intrude!” I hurriedly turned and closed the door behind me, heading to the living room.

“Eliott, can I talk to you, please? Privately!”

“Sure. Please excuse me for a moment,” he begged of his guests. “Are you okay, Maxie?”

“I’m fine, but please tell me why you have five almost naked young, most of them extremely young women, in your bedroom?”

“Oh, those are for my attendees. They wanted prostitutes, and some happen to like the underage kind,” he said very casually. “It was tough to manage because my assistant normally takes care of arranging for them, but she recently left my employ.”

“I see,” my mind thinking quickly now. “So, you need a new facilitator?”

“Oh, wow, you’re interested in the job?” he asked, surprised.

“Well, sure, I am! You and I could work side by side. I imagine it would be quite amazing,” I said with a smile.

“Well, okay, then. Let’s get back to the party,” Eliott said, leading me back to the group.

“Gentlemen, Ladies – may I introduce Ghislaine Maxwell. She just accepted my offer to be my new assistant!”


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Led Astray – Part 4

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

So relieved to find out it is some small rag paper. None of the reputable news outlets were making this assertion. Whew! Okay, I feel better now! Just a tabloid story. Influential or successful people like Eliott, always have some asshole wanting to tear them down. Shame on them! They should leave individuals be to live their lives without interference or drama.

Yawn! Okay, enough detective work, time for some shut-eye. I wasn’t lying to Eliott that I had an early morning.


It’s 11 AM, my phone vibrates, and his handsome mug shows up. I immediately smile. It would have been nice to talk, but I was in a meeting, so I slid it to the left to let it go to voicemail. Yes, dear Eliott, I will be calling you back soon!

“Hi, there! Sorry, I was discussing something important with my colleagues and couldn’t pick up right then. What are you up to?”

“Just preparing some final notes for this last day in the series. I’ll need to get back to them pretty soon. But hey, I wondered if you wanted to attend the final workshop scheduled today?” Eliott asked sweetly.

“I’d love to come! What time should I be there?” 

“Can you leave your work early because it starts at 4 PM and runs until 7 PM?”

“Oh, yeah, that’s doable. My schedule is pretty clear the rest of the afternoon,” I said thankfully. “Since I usually work more than my normal 40 hours, I don’t think anyone would blink an eye anyway.”

“And this is why you are also a successful woman, Maxie!” he said, almost hearing him beaming with pride on the other end.

“Thanks for your praise, Eliott! I’ll see you later.”


“You made it right on time!” There was that big smile again as he ushered me into the room towards my seat. Lovely, I got one of the VIP seats at the front. Wonderful that no one will be blocking my view of you, Sexy Eliott! “Sorry, I’ve got to be on stage soon. I will come to get you as soon as it’s over. Have fun!” he said, winking at me.

The lights dimmed slightly. Eliott appeared at the front of the room to thunderous clapping and a standing ovation. All eyes in the audience were on him. He was like a god being worshipped up there on that stage. Very quickly, he motioned for everyone to sit. Obediently, they did and gave him their full attention. The next three hours flew by. We all seemed entranced by the intriguing subject matter, and Eliott was an excellent and confident speaker. He sure knew his stuff. 

After all the applause, people began to disperse, and he came to where I was seated. “You stayed till the end! Hope I wasn’t too boring?” he asked.

“Oh, gosh, no! I thought you were wonderful!”

“Would you like to come to the cocktail party? There is a suite reserved at The Langham. It’s some of my employees and all the VIPs. I do hope you’ll join us?” Always with a twinkle in your eyes, how can I resist you, Eliott?


Hello Readers – Now it’s your turn! Please cast your vote for the type of ending you would like to see in the comments below. Please try to have your choice noted by 5PM CST.
Here are your ending choices this week:


I look forward to writing how the story will end! Here’s hoping you enjoy it! 🙂

Led Astray – Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

“Whatever happened between you and Leslie?” Looking at him empathically, knowing it may be a bit too personal. “If it’s too painful or none of my business, I’ll understand.”

“No, no, it’s fine,” Eliott answered as he adjusted himself in his chair. “It helps to talk about it. Plus, I sometimes find that I zone in on something else that can answer deeper questions for me when I do.”

I was all ears. Perhaps what broke up the marriage could help me make Eliott understand I always was a better match for him. Sighing internally, I realized I’d had more than just a crush on him back then and more so today.

“We had a good marriage, but the problems started when I mismanaged our financials. I was spending way too much, and it put us into debt.” He looked very embarrassed but continued with the details behind the eventual demise of the marriage.

“On top of the problems I was having, I started drinking too much, which led me down an even worse path. It was a vicious circle. I was depressed because of my problems, then drank to self-medicate. It was no wonder that I lost everything. Leslie finally had enough and filed for divorce. That’s what happens when someone becomes more dependent on finding relief in the bottle than facing the problems head-on and working with their partner to solve them.” He leaned back in the chair with a big sigh.

“Wow. That takes a big man to admit his mistakes,” I said with pride for him in my voice.

Eliott shook his head and smiled, “Well, I wouldn’t say I’m a big man, rather a flawed human who had a lot of growing up to do.” Does it ever stop with you being so humble, Eliott? Internally I was giddy that with us hitting it off so well now, this might turn into the relationship I’d hoped for in the past!

“I hate to cut you short now, Eliott, but I have to go home now. Sadly, I’ve got an early morning meeting scheduled, and it’s getting late.” Plus, I need some time to stalk you a bit on Google tonight!

“Oh, I understand completely!” he said very empathetically. “Let’s get you home,” he said as we both stood up and headed out the door.

I turned to say goodbye with a little bit of sadness as we were waiting for the cab. “Thanks for the evening, Eliott. It’s been wonderful seeing you again and having the chance to talk after all these years.”

“The pleasure has been all mine,” he said as he embraced me warmly before I got into the car.


Hello, Google, thanks for being my friend. Wow, I was finding nothing but gold! He sure has built himself an impressive resume online. More affirmation that I needed to continue to pursue him. Hold on, what’s this?

The headline read, “Stedman linked to the rich heiress’s disappearance,” prompting an immediate twitch in me.


Led Astray – Part 2

Part 1

As if I would say no. I chuckled to myself. Eliott, you haven’t been picking up on the signals I’ve put out there.

“Sure, I would love to have dinner with you, Eliott.”

“Great, you choose – hearty burgers, Indian or Spanglish Mexican. That is what is closest to the hotel, and I’ve been to them all,” Eliott offered up. “I can recommend them with confidence as I broke from the meal plan a few times already.

“Hmm, it’s been a long time since I’ve had Indian, let’s do that,” I said, looking forward to eating some Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan bread to dampen the heat. I hoped it was as tasty as Eliott said.

“The seminar is over at 5:30 pm, but I need to wind down a bit and shower. How about you meet me in front of Conference Chicago at 6 pm?”

“See you then!” I said excitedly. A quick hug and we went our separate ways.


“Well, hello again, Mr. Blast from the Past,” I said, beaming as I approached. After a quick peck and a firm but brief squeeze, we made our way to the restaurant. I was looking forward to this evening and seeing how it would progress.

We laughed for hours, picking up where we left off at the coffee shop. Eliott went into more detail about his messy divorce, hitting rock bottom emotionally due to it and explained more about the wrong financial decisions he made. Sadly, it all happened around the same time, and it took a toll on his mental health. I found him very mature to have accepted his mistakes and taking the next steps to get back on track. It’s rare to see a man know when he has to reach out. I found myself drawn into his personal success story and applauding with each detail of his journey towards stability.

“I think that had I not gone through what I did, I would not be where I am today,” Eliott said humbly. Even that was refreshing to see that he wasn’t braggadocious about it. Mr. Stedwell, you are looking better and better every minute!

“Eliott, it sounds like you’ve become a wise man going through all your struggles. I admire that in you.”

“Yeah, I’ve picked up a thing or two. This positive life I have now is one of the biggest reasons I got started in mentoring. I wanted to give something back. Jack Canfield was inspirational and willing to take a chance on me. He brought me onboard his organization after seeing all the progress I had made,” he said and then paused for a bit, just staring into my eyes, reaching in to touch my soul. “Under his tutelage, I grew the confidence to break out on my own.” 

“So happy for you, Eliott!” I said, resting my hand on his. “If anyone is deserving, it’s you. Say, do you mind if I change the subject to something a tad more personal?” 


Led Astray – Part 1

“Maxie!” yelled this handsome man coming in my direction. Chicago sure produced many of his kind, but his broad smile was inviting, and he did look so familiar. I returned the smile. Slowly, I realized who he was.

“Eliott Stedwell! Oh my gosh, it’s been way too long! How have you been?” I said, wrapping him in my arms with a heartfelt hug.

“Pretty good, actually,” he said with confidence. “Life is treating me well now, I must say.”

“So, are you living in Chicago now?” I asked, hoping it was true. I couldn’t help but let my eyes wander over his face with delight. He was still hot as ever, with the charm to match. God, those eyes!

“Well, for the time being, yes,” he said quickly. “But only temporarily. I’m running a self-help seminar at Conference Chicago on State St. It’s a short-term engagement, not just one talk but a series of them taking place over two weeks. The location is perfect because they also offer housing for my attendees, and me, of course. With the meal plans included, it made it rather reasonable for everyone.”

“Wow! That’s interesting, Eliott. I didn’t know you were on the lecture circuit as a motivational speaker. Do you work for yourself or a company?”

“It is my company, but I didn’t start out that way. I got into it because of a seminar led by Jack Canfield. I had a rough patch a few years back, which led to some dark times for me,” he said earnestly. “A friend of mine recommended his course, hoping it could turn things around for me. And did it ever; it was the best thing I could have done for myself!” Yeah, I could see that. He seemed very confident, happy, and of course, hella good-looking to me! I noticed Eliott was wearing a pretty expensive suit, so it really must have worked out to his benefit financially too.

“Well, good for you,” I said with a big smile for him. “That makes me happy to know you are in a good place now. Hey, if you aren’t in a rush, do you want to grab some coffee and catch up some more?” Even though I had a few pressing errands to do, I was glad for the distraction, not wanting to do them anyway.

“Yeah, sure, then I can tell you more about how I went from being a total clod to a minor success,” Eliott said with a boyish grin as we started heading in the direction of the nearest Starbucks.

“Right, minor success,” I said, poking him in the shoulder. “From what I can tell, you seem to be enjoying major success!”

We spent the next few hours reminiscing about old times, mostly but also where our lives had taken us in the last few years.

“Say, I do have to give a seminar later today, but I wondered if you would like to have dinner afterward?” He looked at me, hoping I would say yes.


The Boss – Part 5

“I’m sorry to have to do this, but until we rule out that you don’t have an infectious disease, we will have to quarantine you. Based on your symptoms and the fact you were recently in South Africa, you could be dealing with Yellow Fever. I realize you were vaccinated, and it’s one of the most effective vaccines on the market, but there is still a slim chance you could have become infected during your trip,” Doctor Thompson explained. “As soon as we know what we are dealing with, we can determine if others would need to be contacted. Let’s get your lab results back first. I’ve asked them to put a rush on them.”

I picked up my phone to call my mom to let her know what was going on. “Mom, you’re not going to believe this, but I’m in quarantine at the hospital downtown.”

“What?!?!” she said, almost bordering on hysteria. “This doesn’t make any sense. I thought you said you had the flu?”

“Yes, I thought so because of my symptoms, but the doctor was concerned because of my recent Africa trip. There is a chance it could be Yellow Fever. I should know relatively soon what the deal is, so please don’t worry, okay, Mom?”

Melody calmly but sadly said, “Yes, dear, I will try not to worry,” ending the call.

“Jason, Glenn just called with horrible news!” she exclaimed. “He’s been quarantined because they fear he has Yellow Fever!”

“Oh, no!” Jason was shocked to hear about his condition. “When will we know what’s going on?

“He said we should know very soon,” Melody said, still feeling very shaken. “Look, Jason, I need to share something significant with you.”

Jason looked at her with concern.

“I should have told you this sooner, but we weren’t quite prepared to tell you yet, but considering the circumstances, you should know now,” she said reservedly. “Glenn is your son.”

“IMPOSSIBLE!” Jason said, rather loudly. “I’ve never had sex with a woman ever!

“But that’s not true! You and I have had sex!” Melody screamed back at him.”

“Oh no, we haven’t! Plus, how could that be as we hadn’t even met until you started working here?”

Then it dawned on him like a ton of bricks. “Is your last name Cooper?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said quietly.

“OMG, this may come as a shock to you, but we haven’t ever had sex. I’m asexual, and I have not, nor have I ever had any sexual desire. My identical twin brother, Andrew, slept with you when we were dating, not me,” he looked almost embarrassed.

The phone rang, jarring them both out of their shock.

“Mom, it’s not Yellow Fever, but it is bad news,” trying to keep the anxiety out of my voice. “It’s acute myeloid leukemia or AML for short, and it’s not looking too good for me.”

“Son, we need to talk. Everything we hoped and planned for, well, it won’t work out the way we thought it would,” she said, staring at Jason sadly.


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