Sarah took off her ribbons and put them on the table. “It’s all about these babies.”
“The ribbons?” I asked. “What do you mean it’s all about the ribbons?”
When cub reporter Calvin Anthony Lang uncovers The Traveling Sex Game, a titillating adventure with thousands of participants around the globe, he’s positive the story is about to go viral. After convincing his editor, Calvin delves deeper into the erotic underground world, where he becomes entangled in a web of questions and curiosity. Why ribbons? What do the colors mean, and how do you spot the other players? Who gets invited to play? When the game becomes reality, Calvin must decide whether he will resist temptation—or will he too succumb to the siren song of
The Traveling Sex Game?
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A HOT TIP
I was having dinner with Bob and Chuck, my very good friends, who happen to be the local radio personalities everyone in Redding listens to. We were having dinner at Jack's Steakhouse, one of the oldest and best-known restaurants in town. I wasn't really paying attention to Bob and Chuck's conversation until I heard Bob ask, "Have either of you heard about this Traveling Sex Game?"
"Traveling Sex Game?" I asked. "What's that?"
"I don't really know. One of my listeners called a couple of weeks ago and started telling me about how she was playing this game," Bob said. "Sounded like she was up all night drinking. I couldn't really understand her."
"That's the key to Bob's morning show," Chuck grinned. "You have to be hungover from the night before for him to sound great."
"I'm sensing a possible story here, fellas. Any idea who called?" I asked.
Bob thought about it. "She calls a lot. I think her name is Sarah. You want to talk to her?"
"That would be great. This might be an interesting story. Something different. You think she might talk to me?"
"I don't know. I tell you what, the next time she calls, I'll ask her if she'd be okay to speak to you."
"That would be perfect. I appreciate that." It was a long shot, but I kept thinking, how great would it be to do a story on a sex game? Sex sells, everyone knows that. People might even buy a newspaper again for a story like this. This might be my ticket out of Redding.
A little over a week went by before my phone rang. It was Bob. "Hey, buddy. I spoke to that lady I was telling you about, the one talking about that sex game. Her name is, in fact, Sarah, and I asked her if she would speak to you."
"And will she talk to me about the game?" I asked anxiously.
"She said she would be willing to meet with you. One condition — it has to be anonymous. She doesn't want any pictures taken or her name used if you end up writing something." Bob was emphatic.
"How can I reach her?"
"She told me to tell you that she loves Jack's Steakhouse. She'll be there alone on Thursday night, at six thirty."
"I love Jack's, too. How will I know who she is?" I asked, thinking that she would probably be the only one sitting alone in Jack's, which has been a staple in downtown Redding for a very long time. It wasn't a big place, but it was popular.
"She'll be wearing two ribbons."
"Two ribbons? Okay. Bob, thank you for setting this up." I hung up, excited. Thursday couldn't come soon enough.
I showed up at Jack's Steakhouse at six thirty. I'm a nut for punctuality. Jack's had the normal crowd around the bar. A few tables were occupied, and a lone figure sat in the far corner. I thought that must be Sarah, but I couldn't confirm until I got closer. As I approached the back table, I saw a blue and red ribbon hanging down her shirt.
"Sarah?" I asked as I approached. "I'm Calvin Anthony Lang from The Record Searchlight." I put my business card in front of her. "My friends call me Cal. I hope you will, too."
Sarah appeared to be in her late twenties, dressed in tight-fitting blue jeans, Western boots, and a great looking white shirt, untucked. Her long blonde hair hung down to her shoulders.
"Please sit, Cal. It's good to meet you." Sarah's voice was pleasant. "Bob asked me if I would talk to you. No pictures or real names, agreed?"
"Agreed," I said, holding out my hand to shake.
"Anything I tell you is on the record, correct?"
I laugh to myself whenever someone uses the term "on the record." Sarah had maybe seen one too many TV newspaper shows.
"Yes, on the record, unless you stipulate otherwise. I'll be taking notes. So, this sex game you told Bob about sounds interesting." The waiter came over, and I ordered a glass of wine. "Would you like another one of what you're drinking?" I asked Sarah.
"Please, that would be great," she responded. "A margarita, no salt please."
As the waiter walked away, I clicked my pen and opened my reporting pad.
Sarah chuckled. "Really? A pen and a pad? No tablet or computer of some kind? Wow, you're old-school for such a young guy."
"I get that a lot," I said. "I like hand-writing my words before I transfer them to my computer. I like old-school ways when it comes to reporting."
The waiter came back, ready to take our food order. It turned out that we were both regulars at Jack's, so we didn't need menus. Sarah ordered a petite steak, and I ordered the prime rib. The second after he left, I dove in.
"So, Sarah, tell me about this sex game."
Sarah smiled, unpinned the ribbons from her shirt, and placed them on the table. "It's all about these babies."
"The ribbons? What do you mean?"
"Let me start from the beginning. A year ago, I got invited to Vegas for the National Rodeo Finals. It was December 2016. I just missed getting into the finals in barrel racing, and some of us girls who were close to qualifying thought it would be fun to meet up in Vegas to cheer on our friends." Sarah was clearly disappointed by not making the finals. It dawned on me that I knew her.
"I knew you looked familiar. You were our rodeo queen at the Red Bluff Rodeo, and didn't you win the barrel racing at the Redding Roundup?"
"Wow, you do know your territory; I'm impressed. Good job, newspaper guy." Sarah continued, "Some of the girls were playing this Traveling Sex Game, and they introduced me to it. I thought they were kidding at first. Then they presented me with my own kit."
"An actual kit?" I asked.
"Yes, they gave me the ribbons and the rules."
"Rules?" — again questioning what I was hearing. I couldn't write fast enough.
She reached down for her bag and removed a large brown envelope. She held it a few seconds as if considering whether to hand it over. I reached over and put one hand on the envelope; she released it.
"This is what the girls gave me, and I am now giving it to you, Cal. The Traveling Sex Game kit."
As she spoke, I opened the envelope to find a classy gray box, about the shape and size that neckties come in. There were also sheets of paper in the envelope, with rules listed like the Ten Commandments, except that there were thirteen.
Rule 1. In heterosexual liaisons, the woman ALWAYS dictates how far the game goes.
Rule 2. NO repeat performances. Meet with a partner only once.
Rule 3. NEVER play the game in your own "backyard." NEVER invite sex partners to your home, and NEVER go to theirs.
Rule 4. NEVER exchange personal information. NO last names.
My eyes bulged as I read.
Rule 5. In heterosexual liaisons, the WOMAN always dictates how far the game goes.
Rule 6. The logistics of where the game is played is the responsibility of the person who approaches the other person to play the game.
Rule 7. The lowest denominator of ribbon color dictates the level the game is played.
"Ribbons?" I asked, looking up from the sheet.
"Under the tissue paper," Sarah said.
Rule 8. NEVER acknowledge previous partners following an encounter.
Rule 9. ALWAYS practice safe sex. Men must ALWAYS wear a condom
Rule 10. All sex must be CONSENSUAL. If someone changes their mind, the date ends without debate.
Rule 11. NEVER inflict physical harm, even those engaged in S&M.
Rule 12. NO illegal drugs.
Rule 13. NEVER accept or receive money from your sex partner.
I contemplated the last five rules. These were the most obvious sticking points when it came to my acceptance of the game. In a world filled with so many kinds of people, how could those last five be guaranteed? But I put aside my reservations and directed the interview back to Sarah.
"How many girls were with you when you played the game?" I asked, returning to my notepad.
"There were six of us. Cathy hooked up with a kid from Iowa, who was playing the game for the first time. It was a pretty wild weekend," Sarah smiled. "It was this kid's birthday, and his friends had just turned him on to the game. It was probably the best birthday this kid from Iowa ever had."
"And who is Cathy?" I asked.
"Cathy is one of the rodeo girls I met in Vegas. She actually introduced me to the game. That's a girl you should talk to. She's been playing the game a long time," Sarah said proudly. "I think she was responsible for all of us rodeo queens playing."
"You have her contact information?" I was now in full reporting mode.
"I can give it to you as long as she's okay with that. I'll have to check with her first," Sarah said.
I was impressed with Sarah. She was smart, attractive, and had an interesting quality. I was fortunate that my radio friend had set this meeting up.
The waiter returned with my wine and Sarah's margarita, as well as our dinner salads. We sipped our drinks. I wasn't sure what to think about this game. I couldn't tell how real it was but was certainly interested in finding out. Once the waiter left, I continued with my questions.
"Tell me how the game actually works," I prompted Sarah.
"It's really pretty simple. When you first get into the game, you're given a registration number and an email so you can register your number. You'll find your registration number in the kit I just gave you. Everyone is given the same ribbons. The ribbons are the key."
"Are the ribbons just like these?" I asked, pointing to the two ribbons Sarah had placed on the table.
"There are nine different ribbons. Go ahead and look under the tissue paper inside the box I gave you. The blue ribbon, like this one, tells other players that you are playing the game. The other eight ribbons tell people your sexual preference."
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I examined the box and found nine ribbons, similar to the two on the table. No two were the same color, and the blue ribbon wrapped around the others was thicker, and of a different texture. I separated them and mentally listed the various colors: orange, red, purple, green, pink, black, white, and gray. Every ribbon but the blue was not much thicker than a pencil, and long enough to tie a bow around a fairly large present. The blue ribbon was more like the kind women tied in their hair — it was about an inch wide, silky, and about half the length of the others, with some sort of logo stamped in gold on the bottom. Looking closer, I discerned the initials TSG.
Definitions of the ribbons were printed inside of the lid. I started to read them to Sarah for confirmation. "The blue ribbon is the common denominator for everyone playing the game. The orange ribbon means you're looking for just simple missionary sex. Nothing more."
Sarah leaned in so that no one else in the restaurant would hear. "Sometimes people just want to get laid," she whispered.
I laughed and thought, she's right. Not everyone had to be into kinky things. I wrote her quote down, thinking I'd probably use that at some point, and then continued reading the list of ribbons and their descriptions.
"The red ribbon says you are into missionary sex and oral sex. The purple ribbon says missionary, oral, and light S&M. Wow! Sounds more than risqué. You're getting into some potentially dangerous stuff here."
"That's why we have the rules about safe sex in safe places. Are there risks? Sure. But there are risks when you go on a blind date, or when you meet someone in a bar or on an Internet hookup site, or hire a prostitute off the streets. Our game has been going on for a while and, so far, I haven't heard of any players being harmed or stalked."
"How many of these ribbons have you actually used?" I asked. "Oh, and did you play that week in Vegas when they first gave you your kit?"
Sarah smiled and simply said, "Keep reading."
"The pink ribbon means you are into threesomes with someone from the same sex," I read, waiting for Sarah to confirm. "The green ribbon is for threesomes, with the third person being of the opposite sex. So, if I have a green ribbon, I'm saying I would like a threesome with two women. And if the ribbon is pink, I'm into threesomes, but with me, another guy, and a woman."
"Correct. You ready to play the game, Cal?" Sarah laughed.
I blushed and read on. The black ribbon means you are into everything. "What does everything mean?" I asked.
"Everything. Anything goes. No boundaries," she said.
"You mean there are no rules with the black ribbon?" I asked with a little concern.
"No, there are rules. The safety and safe-sex rules always apply."
I finished reading the descriptions. "If you're gay, or open to exploring a same-sex partner, you use the white ribbon. And the gray ribbon means you're looking for a bi-sexual hookup." I thought for a few moments and took another bite. "That is quite the list. Which ones get used the most?"
"Most people only use one or two, maybe three ribbons at the most, and you only use one ribbon with the blue ribbon at any one time. Mainly, you want to know your ribbons so you understand who you're approaching, or who approaches you."
I couldn't make my notes fast enough. "Where is the game played? Who decides that?" I asked.
Sarah drank again from her no-salt margarita. She seemed fascinated by my curiosity. "That's rule number eleven. Whoever approaches the other player is the person responsible for the logistics of playing the game."
"So, if I were to approach you to play, it's up to me where we play. And the lowest common denominator ribbon is the level we play at. Is that correct?"
"As long as the place is mutually agreeable and it's not in your own backyard, as the rules state."
"What do you mean by backyard?"
"That's a little vague," Sarah said. "But generally it means where you live or work. For example, if you approached me to play right now, I couldn't play because I reside here."
"This seems amazing," I said as I sat back to reflect. "How many people do you think are actually playing this game?"
Sarah laughed. "I think you'd be surprised. All I know is that when I travel, I have no problem finding partners to play."
"How many times have you played?"
"I play whenever I travel, as much as I want to. If I had to give you a number, I'd say I've played six to eight times."
"And you've never had any issues?"
"In my case, I've never had anything but fun," Sarah smiled, as if to say that I was missing out.
"Sarah, you're a pretty girl. You have an outgoing personality. My obvious question is, why does someone like you need to play a game like this?"
"Cal, I love playing because I like the variety, and I feel safe. It's that simple. There's something exciting about playing this game, and when I play, I don't have to wonder about anything. If I'm approached or I approach someone, both people know the other one is interested. I like that ... It's not about a relationship. It's just about a sexual experience."
"How do people get invited to play? How does someone find out about this game?"
"It's all word of mouth. I've turned on several of my girlfriends to this game. Some are even married. If I have a friend who is sexually frustrated and could possibly benefit from playing, I let them know about it." Sarah next said something that would change my life. "You should interview people playing this game and get their stories. That might help you understand why they play. Everyone has their own reason."
"I'm not sure how I would even start. Maybe with your girlfriend from Vegas," I said.
"Cathy. I'll reach out, but she might not want to discuss the game with you. Remember, most people play because it's discreet and non-threatening. Don't be surprised if people don't want to talk about their experiences. But if you can get people to talk, it would be fascinating for your readers."
"I think you're right. Please try to get Cathy to talk to me," I almost begged.
"I will, Cal." Then she seemed ready for goodbyes. "So, everything I've told you is in the packet I gave you. I brought that in case you wanted to play. It's your game kit. Who knows, maybe we'll run into each other while traveling." Sarah winked.
"My email is on my card," I said. "You can send Cathy's contact information to me there, if you would, please. Also, if you think of any other information, please don't hesitate to contact me." I couldn't wait to get back to my apartment to transfer my notes to my tablet.
Sarah put my card in her purse. "Remember, Cal, no names."
I paid the check. We were the last two patrons in Jack's. "No names, Sarah. I promise."
Later that night, Sarah sent Cathy a note about her conversation with me. Apparently within minutes, Cathy responded yes, it would be okay for me to contact her.
I was at my computer typing my notes when Sarah's email popped up on my screen. I immediately switched over to read it. Now what to do?
Excerpted from "The Traveling Sex Game"
Copyright © 2017 Calvin Anthony Lang.
Excerpted by permission of Koehler Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Marta Tandori for Readers' Favorite Calvin Anthony Lang gives erotica an imaginative spin in The Traveling Sex Game that’ll have readers viewing the luggage carousel at an airport the next time they travel in a whole different light! Cub reporter for a small-town local paper, The Record Searchlight, Calvin Anthony Lang, (“Cal”), hears about The Traveling Sex Game from his friends over dinner one night. One of his friends arranges to have Cal subsequently interview a participant of the Game. The Game is simple: thirteen rules and nine different ribbons. The blue ribbon indicates that you’re playing the Game and the other eight colored ribbons signify your sexual preference. The Game is all nicely wrapped up in a kit which Cal is given. The day after his interview, Cal pitches the story to his editor who gives him one day to find out if the Game is legit. Cal heads to the airport in San Francisco, unaware that he’s about to embark on an epic journey of sexual discovery that takes the pay-it-forward-good-Samaritan concept to a whole new level… The Traveling Sex Game is indicated as being a work of fiction, yet the author of the book is named as the protagonist of the story, which adds another interesting twist to the plot as a whole. The book is clearly a work of erotica and while there’s plenty of sex throughout the narrative in various manifestations, the story is about more than just the sex. It has a well thought-out premise in the form of a traveling sex game, a Sex Game Kit, available to potential players for purchase for a modest amount through PayPal, as well as a set of rules by which each player must abide. The Traveling Sex Game has imagination and plenty of sexual adventure that will be sure to satisfy lovers of the erotica genre – especially those who are “game” for a great game!
The Traveling Sex Game by Calvin Anthony Long Intriguing premise for a collection of steamy stories – Take one reporter Give him a tantalizing newsworthy tip Provide the first interviewee That leads to more information and More people to talk to and You have this book Filled with the stories the reporter heard. The author says this story is fiction BUT it is good fiction because it so easily could be true. I have put ribbons and yarn on my suitcases in the past to help me find them more easily…but…what if those ribbons signified something else entirely to other travelers? What if the ribbon colors chosen indicated one’s willingness to partake in adult games with…a stranger without strings attached…but with very specific rules…hmmm… I found this book definitely worth reading. It was different and made me think and did not posit right or wrong but instead presented information and stories as facts to be enjoyed, sorted through and contemplated. I have a feeling this book will remain with me for quite some time ;) Thank you to NetGalley and Koehler Books for the ARC – This is my honest review. 5 Stars