Saturday, January 21, 2017

Serving the Queen VI

This will be the last snippet from 'Serving the Queen'. Not sure what is next.


The basement of the palace is a dungeon, belying the opulence of the living quarters above. Concrete, thick, offers pleasant coolness, contrasting the heat of equatorial Africa. But such drabness.

Nurse Audrey Timmons checks her calendar. Caring for seven well conditioned, well hung young blond males is time consuming. Every one is daily freed from his four walls of nothingness, exercised, fed and bathed. And then returned to the monotony of unending darkness, neck and wrists encapsulated by the rigid stock, nose leash tied off to remind of feminine control, placed in the humbler as assure limited mobility.

But one is prepared for caning, the Queen’s daily entertainment.

Today it is Richard, therefore he is to be freed first.

Strolling the hall, the silence always amazes. The detention chambers are soundproofed. No noise in... no noise out. At door number 4, Audrey grasps the heavy bolt, two hands and much effort required to slide the three inch thick rod to the left.

It’s not locked in place. Any one can enter a detention room. But no one can ever leave. There is no way to slide the bolt from the inside, and the interior is nothing more than four walls of more concrete, no windows, no light other than that beaming from the hall... and that only comes when the heavy steel door is swung open.

The manner of captivity is more symbolic than what is required for security. The Queen wants her subjugants to feel owned, to at all times sense the gloom of total capitulation. For as nurse Audrey pushes open door 4, leaning, pressing with two hands, leg muscles flexing mightily, the chamber alights to illuminate he to be caned. A hooded Richard lies on his right side, nose leash tied off to a sturdy bolt, neck and wrists secured in the Rigid stock, knees bent to relieve the tension on his scrotum. Yes, before bedding the subjugant, nurse Audrey has the joy of putting in place a humbler, the device’s appellation so apropos. For the bearer must at all times assume a position of supplication, lest his testicles be pulled away by his legs and thighs.

“Good morning Richard, caning day,” nurse Audrey pleasantly calls out.

“Please no, Miss Audrey.”
“Come now, no begging. You want to please the Queen do you not?”

Nurse Audrey stoops, loosening the wing nuts that connect the two lengths of wood squeezing the male plums. She smiles, tenderly patting the male organs, the Queen’s subjugants all so well endowed. The simple but effective implement is hung on a wall hook, there to await Richard’s return at day’s end. As Richard gasps a breath of relief, finally able to straighten his legs, nurse Audrey releases the nose leash from the wall hook.

Richard has been obedient, the slim cord secured with slack. Bad boys spend the night with their nose and face pressed to the wall.

“Up. Slowly. No pleading. Offering that nice butt of yours to the Queen’s hand is why you’re here. Why we take such good care of you.”

Nurse Audrey jostles the leash. Richard knows to roll to his knees, then slowly rise to stand. She has yet to decide whether to remove the hood. Sometimes she walks the subjugant blinded, sometimes she permits sight. It is at her caprice, depriving her charge of vision, forcing him to concentrate on pulls of the leash. It empowers.

Still, on this morning, much needs to be done. Sighted, the journey to the preparation room is quicker. Thus she, quickly unhooks the leash from the nose grommet, pulls from the opening for nose and mouth, then whisks away the thick black cloth. Nimble fingers quickly return the leash. She has so many times offered such momentary freedom.

Richard blinks, eyes acclimating after many hours of total darkness.

“Come. Much to do.”

Nurse Audrey leads, Richard follows, must follow. Tension on the leash is to be minimized, that a subjugant learns within moments of being grommeted... that a slim delicate feminine hand can offer such instantaneous agony. 

Into the hall, nurse Audrey slowly steps, looks back and smiles. Richard is well over six foot, well muscled. But so tamed, so vulnerable in his complete nakedness, so obeisant to a woman’s controlling hand. Plus his long penis is beginning to swell. Homage to she in charge? Subservience to a woman brings sexual thrill? The hormonal imbalance of endless chastity announcing a need?

Nurse Audrey wonders... but will never know. Still she enjoys... as does the Queen.          

Into the preparation room, well supplied, well designed for the care of the helpless prey of the Queen’s wickedness.

“Down,” comes the command, superfluous as the taut nostril leash mandates that Richard drop to his knees.

Tummy on the narrow padded rubber preparation bench, the leash is tied off to a floor hook, the steel Rigid Stock pressed to the tile floor.

“Spread for me,” Richard humbly parting his knees.

Ankle cuffs await, within moments Richard is made one with the preparation bench, returned to complete immobility, head low, buttocks high. It is a palace dictate, the Queen’s young blond naked prey are either held in thorough bondage or led about naked and leashed. Her Royal Highness insists, the sense of vulnerability, helplessness and ownership be constant... feminine control relentless.

“Fill the bucket for me like a good boy,” the command coming as nurse Audrey directs the swelling penis to collection vessel.

Richard humbly opens his bladder, feeling the directing hand as he performs for the woman in charge.

For those to be caned, supervised bowel movements are forgone. Instead there comes preparation for an enema, the Queen’s flooring not to be soiled with bowels giving way under intense pain. Thus nurse Audrey prepares, beginning with two quarts of warm soapiness, two clear water rising enemas to follow.

She enjoys handling the male, grasping the freely hanging testicles in left hand for leverage, lubricating the anus with gloved fingers of the right.

“Please not too much, Miss Audrey.”

Nurse Audrey smiles. It is not the naked and bound prey who will decide.

“No begging, Richard. You know you must be cleansed, prepared and presented for the Queen’s amusement... which suggests you not embarrass yourself with loose bowels. So I’m going to add another quart. You need to learn obedience. I can be strict with boys who grovel.”

The enema bag further fills. Then a stout inflatable nozzle greets the greased rectum and slips inward with a vigorous thrust. A hand pumps to inflate. In turning on the valve, nurse Audrey notes the penis, the barometer of male arousal. It further swells, belying his pleading words. She smiles. He enjoys, deep within there is joy with her tendance.

While filling, the enema slowly administered, nurse Audrey douses the naked form with warm water. Next comes shaving lotion and a straight razor, the youthful body to be completely hairless. A sponge bath follows, fragrant soap.... effeminately fragrant soap... the Queen not to be offended with male scent. Left wrist then right are momentarily freed, the flesh beneath swabbed then returned to bondage.       

Ten minutes, fifteen? It matters not. Nurse Audrey is in charge, ignoring the squirming, moaning form as the bowels fill.

Finally relief is granted, the nozzle deflated, gruffly pulled away, bowels empty to the floor drain, nurse Audrey standing ready with the hose to bring instant cleanliness, ridding the preparation room of the foul contents.

Rinsing enemas follow, disappointingly limited, to be momentarily held. Then comes a final rinsing spray of the entire body.

Nurse Audrey glances at the clock, noting her timing is credible. Richard’s nakedness needs oiling, the Queen wanting him to glow under the bright lights, the albescent Scandinavian flesh to be well presented to those the Queen will this morning be entertaining. The soft white epidermis welts alarmingly, the raised crimson ridges from each stroke of the cane to be prominently displayed. Nurse Audrey thus massages attentively, excess oil dripping from buttock flesh about to be excoriated.

At 10:00 a.m. a matron arrives. Motiva, a women of size and much disdain for the Caucasian male, greets.

“Good morning, Audrey. The Queen will very much enjoy this one. Prepared like a beast ready for roasting at a banquet.”

“Good morning, Montiva. He’ll not need much hand work either. He’s been enjoying the anal penetration of the enema nozzle as you can see.”

The observation brings girlish laughter, both women peering at a semi hard penis, dangling between parted thighs.       

Richard blushes, aware of his condition, aware that he is to be erect, to enter the caning chamber with a standing penis. The Queen insists. She wants her blond boys paying tribute, firm erections bobbing about. Then she will bring flaccidity, the searing strokes of the cane diverting thoughts of arousal.

Thus Montiva stoops behind the kneeling nakedness. A coal black hand gathers some massage oil. Richard is to be masturbated... partially... never to expel his seed.

And so the black hand strokes, brusquely, wary of bestowing too much pleasure. As she brings Richard to full stand, nurse Audrey releases the ankle cuffs then the nostril leash. When deemed fully erect, Montiva steps back. Nurse Audrey jostles the leash then pulls upwards, forcing Richard to stand, his erection long and thick... bobbing comically.

As Montiva takes the leash, the knowing hands of nurse Audrey apply oil to the tummy, completing the gleaming presentation.

“No tears, Richard,” Nurse Audrey admonishes. “Try not to cry. I’ll be here to treat you when the Queen has finished with you.”

With that Montiva leads from the preparation room, her powerful hand bringing a spark of pain in tugging firmly. And Nurse Audrey? Well there are six other subjugants... these to be exercised, fed, bathed then returned to the dark nothingness where they will await their turn in the Queen’s caning chamber.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Serving the Queen V

Such a convenient way to counter the drudgery of commuting in New York City, Audrey Timmons muses, peering out the tinted window of the black Bentley as the chauffeur inches through a crowded intersection.

No subway train this evening. The apparently wealthy... extremely wealthy... Richard Lundquist insisted his driver take her to her home... a modest lower east side apartment.  

Spending a few hours in the special place, returning Richard Lundquist to the frustration of the heavy steel stock, brings a degree of exhilaration. It’s been ten years... ten years of hum drum nursing. And this evening she was once again elevated to a position of control. There’s certain headiness in sensing superiority.

The Martin Rigid Stock, hand crafted by a German bondage aficionado, proved to precisely fit. The opening of smooth steel enclosed gently but firmly around the neck. The wrists as well. What always impressed Audrey Timmons about the device is.... no locks. Once the wrists and hands are incapacitated, the openings are held closed by slipping simple vertical pins through aligning holes. Same with the neck opening.

Ah, the frustration for the bearer, for he cannot free himself... but any one else can. A mere child can slip out the pins... offer freedom... but not the bearer. Such irony. Such well muscled brawn... yet such docility... forced into capitulation by two inch shards of metal.

The Queen’s palace had security guards, yet in handling the royal subjugants, caring daily, preparing such for weekly canings, Audrey Timmons never experienced any resistance, any physical threat. She was omnipotent! And the feeling enthused... just as it did on this evening.    

Placing Richard into steel bondage, once again slipping in the securing pins, brought a thrill. And then just as Richard’s warped psyche so much desired, she once again put him through the daily regimen he forcibly endured during his three years of indenture.

Later she led him about the sizable penthouse by his nostril leash. Into the kitchen, remaining in the Rigid Stock, he knelt. There the naked neutered male was fed. Not the nutritious gruel of the palace but the sumptuous take out from the restaurant. Alas... that needs to change, Audrey thinks to herself

Yes, the evening brings to nurse Audrey Timmons her own memories... her many years also serving the Queen... but in a less lurid capacity...

Monday, January 16, 2017

'Serving the Queen' published

Available from Lulu is the complete story.

19,400 words. $5.50.

There will be two more snippets posted here on the blog


If you purchased the story before 11:00 a.m. (eastern time) on 1/16/17, please email me. I made slight modifications to the Epilogue which I will mail.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Serving the Queen IV

Look for another short snippet, 'Serving the Queen V', on Wednesday January 18.


“I can see why you reached out to me, Richard,” the calm even voice veiling her surprise. “You’ve converted this room into a replica of my preparation room at the palace.”

Nurse Audrey Timmons pauses to surveil, holding firm the nostril leash. Walls and a floor of tiling, well drained. Plumbing fixtures. Cabinets stocked with... well... items Nurse Audrey no doubt used in caring for the Queen’s many subjugants... daily enemas, shaving, sponge bathing mandated. There are nylon cuffs. There is the low bench over which the well bound and naked subjugant knelt on all fours, head and neck low to the floor, hips and buttocks high, the high colonics slowly administered.

Richard has installed a treadmill similar to that on which nurse Audrey supervised daily exercise. Many miles, much exertion, the Queen insisting that the gluteus maximus muscles offer shape... roundness... inviting the splat and searing heat of rattan.  

Then the gaze goes to the left wall. Hanging is a length of gleaming stainless steel, hinged at the middle where a circular opening beckons the neck... similar smaller openings at the end for the wrists.

“And you even procured a Martin Rigid Stock. Very expensive, Richard. Do you restrain yourself or is it just for show... to titillate your mind... bring remembrances of your indenture at the palace.”

“I... I... cannot lock myself into it.”

“No, it requires the hands of a supervising woman. And at the palace it was never locked Richard. Simple pins were all that was required. There was no need for locks since the device renders the hands useless. How many years did you wear it?”

Audrey Timmons knows full well. The Queen procures her blond boys close to their eighteenth birthday and releases on their twenty first. Three years. But a most demanding and memorable three years. And with her question, forcing memories to burst from the hippocampus, Richard’s imagination percolates, brewing thoughts... that which she knows he relives with each visit to his curious ‘special place’.       

“Almost three years,” the voice quaking, Richard no doubt imagining himself again bearing the heavy length of steel over his shoulders.

The eyes scan further, lowering. Below the Rigid Stock is a humbler, a restraining device specifically designed for the male anatomy. Audrey smiles, stifling laughter. How many times did she bed her charges with an identical device? With it she assured immobility in placing the two conjoined strips of smooth wood at the back of the thighs, separating to enlarge the hole in the middle, capturing the testicles, then closing, forcing the male to either maintain the decubitus position, or suffer with constant tension on the scrotum.

“Whatever is a castrated boy like you going to do with that, Richard?” Audrey gushes, with a snort of mirth.  

“It’s... well... the sight of it has come to...”

“Bring comfort? Remind you of simpler times... when you had balls... and your only responsibility... only function... was to be obedient... and to present your nakedness as the Queen demanded. As much effort and money spent in finding me, you’ve also expended on this room. So this... this special place... brings you back to days halcyon. I can only imagine what my presence does for your fantasies, Richard... once again leashed by the woman who fed, bathed, assured punctual toilet and nurtured... tending to your welted buttocks.”

With that, nurse Audrey Timmons jostles the leash, a simple motion of her hand which she knows brings instant and inordinate pain compared to the slightness of her effort. She so many times utilized a similar message, communicating the thoroughness of her control to young males... muscular, well shaped, well exercised... and well bound.

Richard Lundquist gasps, the agony intense. Yet Audrey Timmons must ask herself. Is he happy?

The controlling hand draws downward, the slim nostril cord tightening to bring a slower, more moderate form of suffering. Richard knows to quickly respond.

“Why not kneel for me, Richard. You paid a lot of money for the Rigid Stock. Do you even know if it properly fits?”

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Serving the Queen III


Nurse Audrey Timmons twirls her finger in the air then stands arms akimbo, her look transforming to one of authority. She has tied the nostril leash to a sconce on the wall of the entrance hall. Though loose, Richard knows to be cautious, the slightest motion bringing agonizing tension, the many nerves of the nose sending an explosion of pain signals to the cerebral cortex.

“I barely recognized you with clothing Richard,” Audrey quips as Richard carefully disrobes. “And boys like you are more comfortable naked... when in the presence of a woman in charge.”

In silence, shoes, slacks, and shirt are tossed to a settee.

“Everything, Richard. I’ve not only seen everything you have, I’ve never before seen you covered.”

Bashfully, Richard slips down his undergarments then steps out, kicking to the settee, the woman in white uniform smiling as male hands go obeisantly to the top of the head.

“Oh so nice, Richard. Completely hairless. And without those unsightly male tidbits.”

Nurse Audrey steps forth hands lowering. The left palms the penis tip and lifts, the right slips between the thighs. She smiles anew in noting that the feet obediently part, allowing better access... seeming to invite inspection.

“So smooth. The elastrator does a fine job, does it not Richard?” the fingers caressing from the anus to the base of the male organ. “You’d never know proud male bits once hung here. You must shave diligently.”

“Laser removal, Miss Audrey.”

“Yes expensive but in the end saves time... and offers such a vulnerable look. No way to hide your humble state... leaves no doubt that you’ve been snipped.”

“Will you... will you bathe me... like... at the palace.”

“I was employed there Richard. Did that for a living... a good living. Tending to my naked blond haired boys. Did you have an arrangement in mind... or just a short visit?” 

Richard smiles wanly. Audrey quickly becomes aware, in searching her out, contacting her, meeting her, there is more needed than the ‘talk’ requested in the email. Yes there is a bond... more than maternal... more than that of child to a tending mother. The ball-less Richard Lundquist desires to dote over she who transformed his life... quickly but cruelly... the pain sharp but momentary... the results to be forever reflected... and displayed to lovers, if any, and to the woman in charge.

“You said you had a place for your memento... your leash,” Audrey stepping back and reaching to the sconce.

Years of experience, fully aware of the potential for intense pain, Nurse Audrey takes in the slack, bringing a wince... leaving no doubt of her authority.

“Which way, Richard... to your special place?”

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Serving the Queen II

Exiting the expensive restaurant, dinner ordered as takeout, Audrey Timmons cloaks her reaction of awe as Richard leads to a gleaming black Bentley.

“What, no Rolls Richard?”

“It’s... ah... at the summer house.”

Audrey nods slipping into the back seat, gladdened to see the opulent rear compartment partitioned from the driver. Her tour of nursing for the Queen known to very few, she seeks discretion yet knows that Richard, though shy, will wish to continue the conversation. Having directed the exchange at the restaurant bar, she resumes.

“What do you expect of me... besides dinner Richard? Should I have concerns... now that you’re clothed, able to move about without direction?”

“I suppose I’m seeking understanding. The ordeal was... well you were there.”

“I was.”

“Spending years in an underdeveloped oil rich African country. Why?”

“Money for one. The Queen pays well, quite generous. Plus the change of pace. Nursing can be tiresome... regular nursing. And the scenery was... invigorating. The weather is sunny yet tepid... though I suppose you were not able to enjoy.”

“There were occasions when I... ah... served... outdoors.”

“Yes, of course. The Queen does enjoy exhibiting her... her playthings. I recall now there was an occasional sunburn on some of the boys. You blond boys all have such fair skin.”

“Boys? There were others?”

“Of course. How often were you caned?”

“If I counted the days correctly, about once per week.”

“So who else do you presume entertained the Queen? You don’t think her misandry would be satiated solely on your buttocks, do you Richard? Yes, there were others. Taking care of all of you occupied much time.”

Audrey Timmons pauses, expecting not a reply, instead letting the revelation broil. Silence ensues as Richard presses open a compartment at the back of the driver’s seat. Retrieving a slim cord, Audrey is first surprised then smiles knowingly, taking the offered length with a warming snicker.

“It can’t be the same one. But it will suffice,” smoothing her fingers over the small snap hook at the end. “Used often Richard? And who’s been at the controlling end?” unraveling to teasingly dangle the length.    

“It’s... well... it’s a memento... kept in my... well... ah... special place.”

Richard pauses, struggling to find the words. Despite the dimness of the limousine’s interior, Audrey detects blushing.

“I’m sure you’ll be showing me where,” gesturing for him to lean and lower his head.

The hand of Nurse Audrey Timmons is quick, her fingers dextrous. Once again going to the nose of multi millionaire Richard Lundquist. In one effortless motion the snap hook is opened, the prongs entering the nostrils left and right. Then it instantly clicks to close within the stainless steel grommet cruelly inserted into the cartilage of the septum.  

Richard softly grunts... the hushed reaction telling. Audrey is sanguine in noting no resistance. Even when she slowly pulls left then right, the obedience is revealing. Despite the tension on a myriad of nerves, head and face follow her motion with precision and without protest.

“The training doesn’t dissipate does it? Your needs ingrained. You’ve missed me... missed a woman’s directing hand,” Audrey muses.

Richard merely nods, returning to the regimen of silence mandated during his servitude at the palace.

“Anyone in your penthouse? Servants?”

“No Ma’am.”  

“Excellent. When we arrive at your building, I’ll walk you with my hand on your shoulder. In the darkness your leash probably won’t be noticed... not that such matters to you.”

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Serving the Queen I

Not that any one has noticed... I suspended posting on my Facebook account. Not a good medium for smut as most folks utilize their real identity in communicating... something that had not occurred to me when I initiated the effort.

New story. Merry Christmas to all.


Serving the Queen

Copyright 2016

By Chris Bellows

“How is it you found me? You must have spent much time and money.”

The white uniformed woman of some fifty years sits, legs crossed, leaning back in the bar stool, the pose one of self assurance. She sips her wine, smiling, amused that her host somewhat fidgets.

“Money... no time. I hired a search firm. With the internet, these types of things aren’t impossible... particularly with a sizeable checkbook.”

“I’m glad to learn you have that, Richard. I assume I can still call you Richard?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” the man’s expression becoming sheepish with his unintended show of servility.

“So your servitude to the Queen was fruitful... in the end.”

“I suppose... in a way... yes. She put me through college... as agreed. And graduate school,” the tone one of conciliation.

The woman becomes emboldened. Expecting a confrontation, the man’s truckling demeanor brings a degree of tranquility. Though the meeting has been at his quest, she finds herself directing rather than responding to verbal examination.

“Glad all is for the better. What is it you want from me Richard? It’s been some ten years since I wiped your ass for you.”

The coarse words bring discomfort, as intended. There comes thoughtful silence as the woman sips again. Richard rattles the ice in a cocktail barely touched.

“Not enjoying your drink?”
“I... I... really don’t drink.”

The woman snickers, her courage mounting.

“Then what is it you do... to relax I mean?”

“I trade. I’m a trader. Stocks... I’ve become rather good.”

“So that’s it? That’s your recreation?”

Richard nods, glumly.

“I’ve read that somewhere... about men... boys... who have been altered. Something about the hormonal changes that bring better balanced thinking and analysis. More focus, less diversions. In battle the Roman generals favored castrates... as advisors... emotionless in formulating strategy... least that was the conjecture.”

“Why did you do it?” the non sequitur query blurted with frustration.

The woman snickers, placing her wine glass on the bar to focus intently.

“Full head of beautiful blond hair, your voice has not changed, limited body fat. And you’re a successful business man. I’d say the procedure has not been overly detrimental,” the woman smiling, deliberately avoiding the question.

Richard finally sips, finding sudden attraction in the alcohol, annoyed with the non response.

“Hormone pills,” he finally explains, finding himself obligated to reply despite the woman’s diversion. “Plus exercise... and an occasional injection.”

Delighted in having taken control of the discourse, the woman pounces, wickedly putting aside all pretense.

“And your penis? I’m told it shrinks. That would be too bad. You were quite a sizable boy. I enjoyed handling you.”  

The brash words bring a flurry of thoughts... recollections... further spurred when the woman reaches forth, left hand extending to gently cradle the back of Richard’s head. A slim index finger of the right hand goes to the nose. In a bold yet smooth motion, otherwise ungracious, the digit instantaneous slips into the left nostril then withdraws.

“How curious Richard, your nose remains grommeted. And here I am without my leash. All the money you’ve been making and you’ve not had it removed.”

“I... I... well... over time you become used to it. I don’t give it much thought. And no one sees it.”

“But you know it’s there. A reminder... of being under control. And the time in bondage? Being tended to like a toddler? Your time... ah... entertaining the Queen? You don’t give all that much thought?”

“It’s all in the past. I try not to think about it,” the reply brusque in frustration.

“Yet you made such an effort to find me. The email sent to my hospital address brought concern Richard. It’s monitored. Rather nasty of you to endanger my employment.”

“Not intentional. I made the note innocuous. I’m aware of the... ah... possible controversy.”    

“Yes. It suggested you needed to talk to me. But it seems I’m doing all the talking.”

“I have a penthouse... upper east side. I know you’re in Manhattan as well. Since you’re nearby, I thought... I... well it would be good to discuss things... better understand.”

“Yes, you want me to come home with you. You find the need to bond with the woman who so tenderly cared for you. Some maternal supervision. It’s common. Having shared in the trauma, patients so often want to marry their nurse. And the castration thing... such remorse over losing two mostly useless glands. Am I to console you Richard? Care for your emotional wounds as I did for the physical. Mentally still feeling the searing sting of the Queen’s canings are you? Need Nurse Audrey’s aftercare?” 

Richard sips again, his hand trembling.

“You’ll not answer my question... why?”

“Why do you think it was I who did it? Most times you were hooded. Did you hear my voice?”

“No. But you’re medically trained. The hands, the soft fingers. You... you... caressed me there just before...”

“Before the life transforming snap of rubber," nurse Audrey Timmons interrupts. “Richard any woman who’s worked on a ranch knows how to use an elastrator. On a sheep farm the procedure is performed by the dozens... quickly... humanely... painlessly... but for that most meaningful snap. Not much happened at the palace without the Queen’s concurrence, Richard. You should not doubt that what was done was under her auspices. Perhaps she wanted to be remembered... offering you a parting gift... a life without distractions... freed of dalliances. You’re well off Richard, focusing on your fortune rather than trivial sex... the fruitless search for the perfect woman. Were the Roman generals wise seeking the input of those without balls?”