Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
It was published in The Hatstand Express #8.
" Doyle lies in bed examing his feelings about his relationship with Bodie. While he listens to his lover performing the despised ritual, he considers where they are and where they're going."
Reactions and Reviews
Meg Lewtan: What can I say? You improve with every Issue and you started off with damn good stories. I could see Bodie in "Ritual Cleansing", sitting on the bed, broken hearted after coning back from Cowley's bed because he can't sake Doyle understand. Bodie and Cowley do have something special between then and this was an interesting way of explaining it. I'd waiting for the first story where it turns out Cowley is Bodie's father - well stranger things have happened.... I'm hoping for more 'established relationship' stories like "Ritual Cleansing" Meg; much as I like first times, I like seeing how they cope afterwards more (that was a definite hint). Which reminds me is the US spelling for definite definAte - it is appearing more and more often, even in the 'posh' zines and I was wondering if it was now an accepted alternative spelling? 
Your latest effort, "Dog in the Manger", was just as good, but I liked "Ritual Cleansing" better. I don't know how you did it, but you've captured the wonder and joy of coning hone to love perfectly, as well as the heartache and sheer damn misery it can provoke. I found myself crying at the end, and I'm not sure which one I hurt for the most - Ray or Bodie. Love doesn't always work out, and the boys don't have any more guarantees than the rest of us. Bravo, Meg.
Last issue's fiction—oh, God!--last issue I asked whether anybody thought Cowley could be having it on with either of the guys. Well, guess I got my answer, didn't I! "Ritual Cleansing" is one of those brilliantly written stories that I hate—I still can't decide for myself which of the guys is more at fault. I realize I'm prejudiced towards Doyle--but it seems to me that Bodie is causing all their problems here. I understand about Bodie's sense of honor and "duty," his being "obligated" to Cowley, his own code of "morals", etc.— still, it seems that he should've realized that the Old Han was using Bodie's own sense of "honor" to blackmail him into this "arrangement!" I mean—on the very same night of the day that Cowley learns B&D are lovers—HE CALLS BODIE?? What more does Bodie need to show him how selfish and possessive Cowley really is? In that sense, I can't blame Doyle for how he feels--he should be first in Bodie's life, and if he truly is - there shouldn't be any problems with Bodie "choosing" at all. On the other hand, understanding Bodie as he does—and Bodie's "moral" sense, etc.--Doyle should have been able to believe that Bodie's real love HAS for him, too—no easy answers! As for the ending—AAARRGH! Shades of "Call It What You Like." Meg, you really do have a sadistic streak, don't you! (Just don't ever stop writing!) "Dog in the Hanger" presented a Doyle I can fully believe--being a total bastard (and remember, Ray's my favoritel), but I'm a sucker for happy endings, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
Another story where we can chose how the story ends, "Ritual Cleansing"!!!! You do like this sort of thing, don't you? 1 don't mind, though I'm sure lots will be yelling at you. To me, the best part was the extreme loyalty of Bodie to Cowley — it fits what seems to be in some of the episodes. More detailed comments in that letter I owe you.
"Ritual"- another Lewtan treat. Again I hate to see dissension among my favorites, and I include Cowley and Murphy. I do think that in spite of her teasing ending (again!) that Ray told Bodie to dispense with the extra shower. The alternative is unthinkable.
You had me chewing my teeth after they were ground into bits with that story of yours, "Ritual Cleansing." I can't stand these type of endings that make you project your own ideas on "how it turns out". For me, the ending does not exist because (a) it's your reality of S/D (your B/D universe, so to speak!, not mine, so I can't invent the end. I guess I'm small-minded with this but I can't reread it without a resolution to the matter! (Suffer, I must!) I agree with Sue-Anne H. in that I can't see why Doyle didn't figure out that Cowley was jealous with that phone call occurring when it did. I could see Bodie having a blind spot but Ray would have pointed out the jealousy aspect and eventually Bodie would accept it. Maybe Bodie would tell Cowley to buy a vibrator for when he gets horny...or to stick it where! Hell...-well..-what do you know - a story idea. Still not the ending, though maybe....