I have a little file on my computer where I keep a list of stories I’ve written but haven’t released. The other day I decided to update this list. I started going through my hard drive, with an eye on stories that are complete, edited, but for whatever reason I didn’t think were “good enough” for public consumption. By the time I was done the list had doubled in size.
So in the next week or so I’m going to release the first of two self-published/produced ebooks of stories from the depths of my hard drive, Straight(ish) Vol 1 (followed by Straight(ish) Vol 2, of course). Reading through these old stories reminds me that, oftentimes, work that I initially discount winds up seeming pretty good in retrospect. At the very least, the stories in these two volumes are representative of my work and where I was when I wrote them. Here’s an excerpt from the first story in Vol 1, “Playdate.”
Naptime. The girls were asleep downstairs. Allen and I, in a lazy state from a feast of chicken nuggets and french fries (the girls’ choice), were sprawled out next to each other on the couch, yawning and gazing at the TV.
Just another rainy Sunday afternoon playdate. Allen and I had been doing this for the past two months, giving ourselves a chance at a moment of peace while the girls play with each other, on days when his wife and my girlfriend were scheduled to work.
We met through our women, in fact, though the two of us instantly hit it off. Allen, my age but looking as fine as I had in my early twenties, was into working out just like me, and we both liked to party but somehow all these other activities had taken a back seat to child rearing. Playdates were the only time we really got to hang out.
Allen, wearing nothing but a pair of nylon running shorts, his smooth and muscular body sinking back against the couch, flipped through the channels until he came to a documentary about the turn-of-the-21st-century rave scene in North America.
I’d been there, back when I was a senior in college, taking ecstasy and liquid acid and throwing myself into the sweaty throngs of young bodies dancing the night away without a care in the world. I missed those days, those wonder years of peace and prosperity. Mostly I missed the hot tattooed guy I’d made out when I was candyflipping one hallowed Halloween rave evening.
We’d carried on a pretty torrid and passionate affair, and I explored my burgeoning sexuality with him from top to bottom before I got the creeps about the whole thing and scurried into a relationship with a homely Social Sciences major from the local girls-only liberal arts college. One year later beget our bouncing baby girl, and my hunky tattooed trick (with the eight-inch dick – I know because we measured it once) fell into the deep, red, velvet-lined recesses of my memory. I still had some semblances of my youth – all of my hair and my macho, cut body – but I’d went from living on the edge to living in the suburbs of Chicago. It left something to be desired.
Allen adjusted his golden-haired legs, spreading his thighs until his knee rested against mine.
“I went to one of those once,” he said.
“I went to a lot of those.”
“Yeah? They were too expensive for my taste. I dug the scene though. Kinda freaky,” he said, his soft pink lips curling back, his eyebrows lowering in a scandalous smirk. It nearly gave me a hard-on, that look did. In the lazy Sunday afternoon air, though, pretty much anything gave me a hard-on.
Just then, the documentary started talking about the mutability of sexual desire that was present in the rave scene. They could’ve been talking about my life. Interspersed with the commentary was a few shots of boys kissing other boys. I waited with baited breath to see how Allen reacted.
He let out a low whistle.
“See what I mean?” he said, nudging my thigh with his. “Freaky.”