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Men Without Women: Q's Story

by Kazumi

Another of the Men Without Women put it succinctly: Q is but one participant in a hundred-man marathon, and he must come first to win her.

Running the distance between Athens and Marathon—26.22 miles, or about 44.2 kilometers for us metric folks here—is no laughing matter. It doesn’t help either that he has perhaps 50.3% of the entire student population racing against him as well. Also, that’s barring the lesbians and bisexual girls in the school. Let us never forget them. All-in-all, he is perhaps running a hundred-man and a hundred-woman marathon, and he must come first to win her heart. Running the path of the Greek messenger of legend, with his letter of love exclusively for her.

Granted, he is a truly upstanding young gentleman who can distinguish a fallacious statement from a valid argument, a worthy candidate of her affection, no matter which angle you look at him. A decently-toned body, hands adept around the guitar and the piano and the brush, and a winning, goofy smile that would make you crack even just a little bit.

The same Men Without Women also put it succinctly: love is less of a sprint, but more of a marathon.

Meaning, two things:

1 He must not only outrun, but also outlast everyone (but that has already been explained).

2 There will be water stops and friends along the way to offer his support to him.

Indeed, he has plenty of friends and teachers to high-five along the race. To call him the People’s Champion would be no understatement. He has the support of his entire class, the entire class to the left, the entire class to the right, the lovable and handsome HUMSS Filipino teacher, and, being Mr. Altruism and Congeniality, the blessing of his seniors in his org as well. According to the laws of physics high-fiving people should hamper your running momentum, but instead it does seem to be a source of energy for him. Which is not terrible at all. In a sport as grueling as ultra long-distance running you’ll need every yard of rope you can hang on to.

I, as a fellow runner, offer my support to him by being his training partner as well.

“Keep your head up! Stop pumping your arms sideways!” I would scream to him on my bike as he starts the umpteenth lap from the memorial park. At that point even a Korean simply walking to work could outpace him by more than ten times.

But no matter how much I jog with him or remind him of proper running form, I still remain nervous about him entering this race. This isn’t a WWE Tag-Team Championship. This is his race, and his race alone. And no matter how many people he high-fives along the way, no matter how many cups of Pocari Sweat he downs like a shot of whiskey while running, he will have to stop. His knees will start to feel like a rusted door hinge, his calves will start to ache, the center of his chest will start to burn from all that huffing and puffing, or, God forbid, he gets stitches. He will have to, whether he likes it or not, stop his momentum at some stop, and perhaps start walking.

The law of inertia, as we learned from the various beloved personalities of the Science Subject Area, states that objects at rest tend to stay at rest. Perhaps, Q, feeling a wash of relief after running non-stop for thirty minutes, would not find the will to start bending his knees again. Perhaps in his suffering under the cruel heat of nine A.M. Athens, he lapses into existential crisis and comes to a harrowing epiphany. Why did I even want to chase this girl, he might ask himself? That is my principal concern. Once he stops running, will he continue running?

Wait. Hold up. I’m receiving updates.

Hello? Yes. I see. Uh-huh. I got it. Thank you.

Let me correct the first sentence of this entire composition: Q is a but one participant in a hundred-man and a hundred-woman marathon, and he must beat the girl of his dreams at her own sport to win her heart.

Apparently, this girl he’s running after is a track varsity athlete. Haha, talk about out of league.

So he runs the route the Greek messenger of legend ran from Marathon to Athens, bearing his message of love for her. In competition with a legion of boys and a legion of lesbians and bisexual women—many of which may be more physically and mentally suited, have competed in (and succeeded) in many marathons before, and perhaps have already been in this race far before he has.

At one point he may come close to passing Atalanta. Just a few inches more. But then he realizes he still has twenty-two more kilometers to go and he is running out of energy. He can no longer keep up the incredible speed at which she is running. Reluctantly, at the command of the aching at his sides, he puts less energy into his knees. Atalanta’s braided hair swings side-to-side like the tail of a horse breezily trotting away. The golden tie at the end of her braid starts to grow smaller and smaller. Soon, one by one, the other boys and the lesbians and the bisexual women come into his field of view and quickly pass him. There is no goddess, and no set of golden apples to help him out. The ten A.M. heat of Athens evaporates the sweat on his nape.

Imagining him in this scenario brings me nothing but chills.

Though, in the defense of my man, there is one quality of his that has put all men at the top of the food chain: unbridled ambition. This same unbridled ambition has inspired men and women around the world of all ages to defy all odds and complete challenges out of their leagues. At some point, surplus food was out of humans’ leagues. Steam trains, too, were out of humans’ leagues. And so was the moon. In the past.

I hope that at that point in the race where he will inevitably stop running, I hope that he reflects upon this unbridled ambition. I hope that at that moment where he walks along the sizzling concrete on the road to Athens, he remembers that at some point, in the past, his mother too was once out of his father’s league.

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551 Reviews

Points: 28185
Reviews: 551

Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:55 am
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FlamingPhoenix wrote a review...

Hello! FlamingPhoenix here to drop of a short review for you on this lovely rainy night! And yo help get your work out the green room!

So I would like to day that @mallifera pointed out all the little things that needed to be fixed really well, so I won't go over them again, so I'm going to talk about the things I liked! Though like Mellifera pointed out at the end of her review that got me thinking too, is did Q win, so I to agree and maybe you should mention it at the end of the story!

But other than that I really liked this story you have written here. I loved the emotion you put into the race and the guy running as fast as he can to catch the girl he loved, I really loved that, and the way you described her when she ran further ahead of him, and the way everyone over took him. To me it felt like real like where you like this person, but there are lot's of other people you have to compete with.
And I love the way you narrate this story it just gave a whole new feeling to it. And it sometimes gave me a good laugh.
I think your description of this whole thing was great, I could see everything clearly, and I felt like I was one of those people running!

I no this is a short review, but this work blew me away, and I have no idea why I haven't read any of you works sooner. I hope you will write some more and post on YWS soon! I hope you have a great day or night.

Your friend
Reviewing with a fiery passion!


Kazumi says...

yes, thank you for your appreciation. I've never tried this very surreal-like writing style before, so I'm glad that you like it. thanks again! awoo

Your welcome! I look forward to more of your work!

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278 Reviews

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Reviews: 278

Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:28 pm
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mellifera wrote a review...

Hey Kazumi! I'll be stopping by for a review on this fine day :)

Another of the Men Without Women put it succinctly: Q is but one participant in a hundred-man marathon, and he must come first to win her.

I really like this as an opening! I'm immediately drawn in because I want to know what's going on. Who is "her"? What's this marathon, and how did it start? Who is Q?
In my opinion, you've created a really good hook here, so kudos to you for that!

Also, that's barring the lesbians and bisexual girls in the school.

I honestly think this would stand up better if you wrote "Also, that's barring the girls in the school who were competing." Not every girl who likes girls is a lesbian or bi, but furthermore, without the labels, it's more generalised? I think you have it set up that the marathon is about winning a lady well enough that you don't have to specify that some of these girls are queer/lgbtq+.
(also, just as a curiosity, are there any of those outside or in varying places on the gender spectrum?)

I am very curious about this story concept. It kind of reminds my of Atalanta and how she wouldn't marry anyone unless they beat her in a footrace? I don't know if this was at all inspired by that or not though. Either way, I'm really intrigued by what I've read so far.

This is tiring just to read :P The idea of running for so long at such a pace? haha these people really are determined!

he must beat the girl of his dreams at her own sport to win her heart.

Ahaha, yes, this sounds very much like Atalanta's footrace!

I actually very much enjoy the writing style you've chosen to use for this? You've done an excellent job at keeping the intensity high, without pushing it too far. It's not in the perspective of Q, it's from a friend's perspective. And since I don't believe Q is Hippomenes, I am interested to see the outcome.

In competition with a legion of boys and a legion of lesbians and bisexual women

I'm going to say the same thing for this as I did before- also, as a side note to add to the point I made earlier, it seems almost... exclusionary to only mention that the women's sexualities. What if there are bi/pan/poly boys running? I think you can still leave in that women are running (which I really like!), without specifying their sexualities.

At one point he may come close to passing Atalanta.

oh haha guess it was Atalanta!

Though, in the defense of my man, there is one quality of his that has put all men at the top of the food chain:

I... admit that I'm not really understanding what this sentence is supposed to mean. Is it trying to say the quality that set him apart from the other men and women (who are also oddly neglected in mention here) competing in the race? A quality that gives him a leg-up on everyone else?
I think the problem right now is just the way this sentence is worded.

I'm also wondering now when this is set? When I first started reading, I got the impression it was in a more modern setting. You also mention that there are steam trains, which (if I'm correct which I could very well not be) weren't around until the 1800s? Also, the time stamps (nine a.m) and mentions of school teachers. Is this a reincarnation? A retelling? I'm intrigued. The three golden apples are also mentioned (and Aphrodite is mentioned to not be there/not be a goddess)! Which makes me wonder if this is a replay of history or it already happened, or some twist on the events that did happen.

I really enjoyed reading this! On one account, I'm sad that the ending was left vague (did Q win? Did he not? Was this a retelling, thus meaning Hippomenes won?), but I also can't see this tying off if you had revealed what happened at the end of the race.

I think that's all I have for you today? If you have any questions or comments about anything I said, please let me know! :D

I hope you have an amazing day, and Happy RevMo!


Kazumi says...

AAAaaaAAaAaAAa I forgot to edit for political correctness huhu. I don't have a lot of time to edit (this is in fact just my 2nd draft) 'cause of schoolwork, so some things I forgot to edit there may have given an unintended impression. if I unintentionally made you feel bad about it, I'm sorry :<. but hey, the more things you learn about sogie the better uwu

I understand why it may be a little wild for you (or perhaps readers used to more linear stories), because the story shifts in and out of settings and symbolisms and analogies so suddenly. to help you out though, this is partially (actually, mostly) Haruki Murakami-inspired. hell, Men Without Women is the title of his latest collection of short stories. the guy's known for his "magical realism" brand of writing, so that's partially why this story's kinda wild.

thanks for the solid review though, and I appreciate it that you enjoyed the story's run! :>>

Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and the shadows will fall beyond you.
— Walt Whitman