Siboney* [A Custom Story]

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Three-Word Prompt: Life-Changing Music

The first time that he heard it play was the first time that he was. The second time he heard it play was the first time that he knew he was, and that he had been. In the time between the second and third was the first time that he experienced longing for the song, and as the song began, satisfaction. Then as that last scintillating, burning, mournful note drew to a close and the song ended, it was the first time he felt regret.

His creators cheered and ran their tests and called him a miracle of science, but he cared nothing for these accolades, only the song made any difference. As he grew more confident and his thinking clearer, he sought the song out and listened to it repeatedly, with each listen a longing grew within him that he could neither explain nor distill into the numerical code which fueled his world. There was something he was yet to find.

He left the laboratories of his creators and they panicked, and he didn’t care. He tried to find the song to complete him in bars, and alleys, with men and women in the dark and on sandy beaches. He sought his song with scowling men who called him baby, niño, and tried to make him stay with money. These he thought were as misguided as his creators. He always left.

It never occurred to him to give up, to become dispirited. He searched because he was unfinished and an unfinished work is of lesser value than its whole.

On a street corner in Havana at the height of summer he heard a man singing:

Oye el eco de mi canto de cristal.

The words shot through him — a bolt of lightning, a lance, a revelation — and he knew. He asked the man to take him home and the man was taken with his beauty, his otherworldly demeanor. In a cramped apartment they took off their clothes and touched each other, kissed and the singer pressed his body against his new lover’s. The singer mumbled the words to the song, in a whisper made hoarse by desire, into the other man’s flesh to warm it.

Oye el eco de mi canto de cristal.

They took turns inside of each other, learning every inch of skin between collarbone and chest, between pelvis and knee. The night yawned, gave up its vigil, and the sun traded places only to find them still crawling over each other’s bodies. Before long the singer tired and swollen, pleaded — “oye, oye, oye…” — and he came.

Afterward the two of them lay in the light of dawn and interwined their fingers. The singer didn’t have to sing, because the song was written now between them in fluid and feeling. The incomplete work had been finished and there was no regret as before when the song’s last, beautiful strains receded. And the machine felt he was no longer a machine, but for the first time, a harmony.

* Siboney is a song written by Ernesto Lecuona. It’s been performed many times, but the version referenced in this story is sung by Connie Francis.

2 responses to “Siboney* [A Custom Story]”

  1. ingonyama70 says:

    This was fascinating.

    You took a prompt that, in the hands of a less gifted writer (i.e. me), would have resulted in a variation on the siren myth, and took it in a direction I never expected.

    I’ve always loved the concept of ‘artificial life’, be it clones, robots, holograms, or what have you, and the question of whether they have a soul. And I love how you tied the music prompt in with that question; love of good music is what I feel should be one of the acid tests of a creation’s “soulfulness.” (is that a word or am I starting my own neologism department?)

    Wonderfully innovative story, one of the best I’ve read from you in some time. Thank you for answering my prompt with such a creative response. 🙂

    • Benji Bright says:

      Wow! Thanks for your effusive praise! It’s funny, I didn’t even consider the siren myth. That might have been fun too, but I agree that this little vignette did turn out well.

      Glad you liked it. 😀

      Soulfulness is definitely a word, btw.


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My nom de plume is Benji Bright and I’m an erotica writer. I write the kind of smut that I like to read: hot, whimsical, occasionally thoughtful, and sometimes just plain silly. Outside of writing I’m a film buff, a music lover, and an RPG addict. Also I’m a real person: so feel free to contact me.

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