Monday, May 28, 2012

The Lonely War excerpt by Alan Chin

Like most war novels, The Lonely War by Alan Chin envelops all that is unique to war, the horror of battle, overcoming fear, the cruelty of soldiers, the loyalty and camaraderie of men caught in a desperate situation. Yet, it stands alone in two important ways. First, it is a passionate story about a tender love developing between an officer and an enlisted man, revealing a rare and dignified portrait of a couple struggling to satisfy desire within the confines of the military code of conduct. Even more importantly however, it describes the heart-wrenching measures of how much one man will sacrifice to save the life and reputation of the man he loves.

Perhaps the author’s favorite “Alan Chin” story, The Lonely War has just been republished by the great folks at Dreamspinner Press, and is now available in all ebook formats, as well as paperback.

The Lonely War
Dreamspinner Press (4/27/12 reissued)
ISBN: 978-1-61372-459-0 (ebook)
978-1-61372-458-3 (paperback)



The Pilgrim

It has been said that “Common souls pay with what they do, nobler souls with that which they are. And why? Because a profound nature awakens in us by their actions and words, by their very looks and manners.

March 20, 1941
0800 hours

In the spring of 1941, the Japanese army surged across the border from China to extend their bloody campaign to all of Southeast Asia. As war crept south, the French, English, and Americans scattered throughout Indochina hastened to Saigon, where they boarded ocean liners bound for their homelands. Meanwhile, the Japanese army massed on the outskirts of the city, poised for another victorious assault. The city held its breath.

Andrew Waters pursued his father across a bustling wharf, still wearing his boarding school uniform and clutching a bamboo flute. The ship that loomed before him was a floating city—mammoth, with numerous passenger decks and topped by two massive stacks that muddied the sky with exhaust. It had been berthed at the inland port on a tributary of the Mekong for a full week, but Andrew saw the crew now scurrying to get underway.

The wharf trembled slightly, and he heard the rat-tat-tat of gunfire over the sirens blaring from the center of the city.

Andrew’s father sported a tussore-silk suit of superlative cut and a Panama hat tilted so the brim hid his right eye. His tall figure marched purposefully towards the black-and-white behemoth, and his normally long gait lengthened with noticeable desperation.

Andrew, who was nearly eighteen, paused and panted from an acute nervy rush. He searched the sky for planes. They were still beyond his field of vision, but the drone of bombers echoed through the cloud cover. The rumble of explosions grew loud, and the air carried the faint stench of sulfur.

He hurried on, jostling through a mélange of beings—Caucasians dressed in fine western clothes (like his father), rich Chinese in their silks, merchants in long-sleeved jackets, coolies wearing only tattered shorts. Voices all around him shouted while the harsh twang of a military band playing “Auld Lang Syne” vaulted above that unbridled confusion of humanity.

Directly behind him trotted an aged wisp of a monk, who wore the traditional orange robes and held a string of wooden prayer beads. Each bead was the size of a marble and had the chalky gray coloring of Mekong silt. The monk’s thumb deliberately ticked past each bead, one after another, like a timer counting down the seconds. Behind the monk came the porters carrying four steamer trunks.

At the gangway, Andrew’s father told him to quickly make his goodbye then sprinted up the ramp with the porters in tow.

Surrounded in a press of bodies, the youth reverently embraced the monk. The old man wrapped his arms around Andrew and drew him nearer. The monk’s breath tickled his neck, which helped to dissolves his anxieties.

Using the native tongue of South China, he whispered, “Master, I’ll come home as soon as I can.”

The old monk’s face contracted, as if Andrew had posed a difficult question.
“Andrew, war and time will whisk away everything that you love. This is our farewell.”

The youth wiped away a tear that broke free from his almond-shaped eyes and slid down his amber-colored cheek.

“Master, I will strive to apply everything you have taught me.”

“No, Andrew. You will forget my lessons. Such is the nature of youth. But remember this—since you are American by birth, they will surely draft you. So, on the battlefield, resist the hate that is born from fear. Nurture only love in your heart, Andrew. To love all beings is Buddha-like and transcends us from the world of pain, for love is the highest manifestation of life. To experience love’s full bounty is life’s only purpose, so tread the moral path before you and sacrifice yourself to love. All else is folly, a dream of the ego.”

Baffled, Andrew replied, “Master, I do not understand about sacrificing myself to love.”

The old monk’s eyes opened wide and his lips spread into a grin.

“Meditate on what I have said. Understanding will come when you are ready.” He methodically bundled his string of beads into a ball roughly the size and shape of a monkey’s skull and forced them into Andrew’s left pants pocket. “Keep these beads to remind yourself of our time together.”

The pressure against Andrew’s thigh felt awkward, and before the monk pulled away, Andrew became distracted, thinking of how fortunate this man was to be wise and compassionate in the midst of the impending carnage. He realized it took impeccable courage to maintain one’s morality during perilous times, courage that he himself did not possess.

He had always assumed he would live a quiet, studious and spiritual life under this old monk’s guardianship, and eventually become the old man who stood before him. That image was shattered when war turned the world on its head. Now, all Andrew could think about was getting on that ship and sailing to safety, if such a thing existed.

The ship’s whistle cut the air, long and terrible and loud enough to be heard throughout the city. The monk pressed his hands together in front of his forehead and bowed, silently, finally.

Another blast from the ship’s whistle sent Andrew running up the gangway, leaving the earthy world of South China behind.

He joined his father on the first-class deck. Entombed in steel— heavy riveted plates of metal underfoot that curved into walls—he jammed together with the other passengers at the rail, peering down at the apprehensive faces. Their body heat added to the stifling temperature. Sweat dribbled down his neck, and he had to gasp to get enough air.

Lines fell away, and the gangway was hauled aboard. Tugs pushed the ship into the middle of the channel and withdrew, leaving the ship to the whim of the current.

Andrew stared straight down at the dense, opaque surface of the river. It reflected the cloudy sky, making the water seem gray rather than the usual brown, yellowish streaks of oil running with the current. The flat moving surface seemed strangely alive, carrying him along, muscling him downstream, as if it were an overwhelming force whose motives he could only guess at.

On the dock, Asian women held their infants over their heads for a last look. Handkerchiefs waved. The band played on.

He saw the first planes against the darkening sky, droning above the city. Explosions grew even louder, and from his perch on the first-class deck, he saw sections of the city erupting. He turned northeast towards his boarding school. Flames. That entire section of the city was engulfed in fire, as if hell had opened its mouth to swallow it whole.

“Clifford,” he whispered.

A searing stab of regret lodged in his chest. He had been forced to abandon the object of his adolescent love, and he imagined himself dashing through the chaotic streets to reach the boarding school. There was still time, he thought. They could disappear into the forest. They could live on, together. He wanted to perform that fatal act of love, but he wondered if he could really muster the courage to defy his father.

Reluctantly—at least, it felt that way to him—he climbed onto the railing to dive overboard, because he realized the love he shared with Clifford wasn’t a trifling adolescent crush at all but rather a deep and consuming love. A love that had somehow been lost in the joys of youth like water in dry sand, and was only now realized.

His father pulled him back, forcing him to stay and suffer what felt like an unquenchable loss. Locked in his father’s embrace, he entered a narrow canyon of desolation, knowing the days and hours and minutes ahead would be heartbreaking, and that he might not be strong enough to endure it.

The ship’s siren sounded three blasts for its farewell salute. The engines throbbed, and propellers chewed the river. The noise swelled to a din like the end of the world.

The passengers on deck could no longer hide their sorrow. Everyone wept, not only those people parting but the onlookers as well. Even the dockhands and porters shed tears.

The ship traveled downstream as the military band played “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

To Andrew, the orange-robed figure crushed within the throng on the dock seemed at odds with the fires raging across the city. He now fully understood the monk’s words—that war would steal everything he loved, that a way of life, their way of life, had perished. Pain flooded his whole being, like that of a baby prematurely ripped from its protective womb.

He pulled away from his father’s embrace and staggered farther down the deck to cry without being seen. He positioned himself at the rail, one arm folded around a steel support beam and his face pressed against the hot metal.

People on the wharf seemed to hesitate, then regretfully turned and scurried away. He watched the smudge of orange, scarcely visible and standing at the edge of the pier, utterly still, quiescent, until the harbor faded from view and the land disappeared as well, slowly swallowed beneath the curve of the earth.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

King Perry excerpt by Edmond Manning

In King Perry by Edmond Manning, out-of-towner Vin Vanbly witnesses an act of compassion in a trendy San Francisco art gallery, that compels him to make investment banker Perry Mangin a mysterious offer: in exchange for a weekend of complete submission, Vin will restore Perry’s “kingship” and transform him into the man he was always meant to be.

Despite intense reservations, Perry agrees, setting in motion a chain of events that will test the limits of his body, seduce his senses, and fray his every nerve, (perhaps occasionally breaking the law) while Vin guides him toward his destiny as ”the one true king.”

Even as Perry rediscovers old grief and new joys within himself, Vin and his shadowy motivations remain enigmas: who is this offbeat stranger guiding them from danger to hilarity to danger? To emerge triumphant, Perry must overcome the greatest challenge alone: embracing his devastating past. But can he succeed by Sunday’s sunrise deadline? How can he possibly evolve from an ordinary man into King Perry?

In this excerpt, Vin insists Perry asks 50 strangers to take their photograph on the Golden Gate Bridge, all to honor the "Tourist king," King Diego. Perry is still furious with Vin for having been tricked into stealing a baby duck just an hour earlier.

King Perry
Dreamspinner Press (February 26, 2012)
ISBN: Ebook: 978-1-6372-379-1
Print: 978-1-6372-378-4


Perry asks, “How does this photograph thing work?”

“You have to ask fifty people to take our photograph together. I have a second roll of film.”

“You, me, and the bridge?”

“Yeah, but if you want to ask someone to join us, I have no objection. You’re the creative director of this photo shoot.”

He takes the camera from me and fiddles with its operation, verifying that he knows how to work it.

He says, “For the record, if the police show up, I’m willing to photograph your arrest, ducknapper.”

“Duckling,” I say. “I wonder if Mr. Quackers wants his photo taken in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Perry shoots me a look.

“Too soon for duck jokes?”

He asks the first couple he sees, dressed in pastel greens, lemon, and beige, if they will take our photo, and although they present thin, terse smiles revealing mild reluctance, they agree. Who says no to such an innocuous request? Afterward, they hand the camera back to Perry as if it is slathered in spit.

Perry thanks them. He turns and mugs to me. “Forty-nine more to go.”

“Yeah, fifty. Or maybe sixty. You never know.”

“Won’t that put us behind for the four o'clock bank robbery?”

“Your ass is super hot,” I say loudly, causing him to jump, “but it’s not bank robber hot.”

He grumbles and turns away. “Sir, would you mind? Would you take our—thank you, yeah, that would be great.”

After we cuddle up together, Perry says, “When do we meet the King of Vodka?”


Around photo seventeen, it sinks in. Drinking in all this effervescent friendliness, immediately after I broke his heart yet again, changes something in Perry. The comments and the expressions on people’s faces start to wear him down.

“No, of course we don’t mind.”

“Absolutely, I’d be delighted.”

“Would you mind taking ours next?”

“Move closer together now, and big smile.”

Almost against his will, Perry’s smile keeps getting wider, more pleased.

Perry asks a straw-hatted woman in her midseventies, fussing with things in her purse. Our camera chatter reveals she’s from Illinois, road-tripping with her widow friends, grouped nearby fussing in their purses.

After she takes our photo, she says, “Aren’t you a cute couple. I wouldn’t think you’d go for bears, dear.”

“I don’t,” Perry says, surprised. “Not normally. But he’s got this weird, sexy vibe. After a while you let go and enjoy it, like Old Spice.”

I huff and say, “I’m going to take that as a compliment.”

“Definitely,” she says, handing Perry the camera and squeezing my arm.

Perry chuckles after she departs. “How the hell does she know about bears?”

I say, “Gimme.”

I take the camera before he can say anything else and aim for his smirk.


It’s beginning for you, Perry.

Several people refuse, including a woman who calls herself “butterfingers,” and her friend who vehemently agrees. They faux-bicker for us, and we enjoy the show. Two folks ignore us and walk away. But not many refuse; we all came to be tourists, after all.

A few clicks later we meet two best friends vacationing together, a gay man and straight woman, both in their midforties. They have been friends for twenty-one years and know now that if neither of them ever marries, they will always have the devoted love of this lifelong friendship. They decided to take an anniversary trip to celebrate their love, the flavor that it is.

We trade anecdotes with them, discuss favorite restaurants, and they tease each other like a married couple, making Perry and me laugh at their overly familiar commentary. Perry confides in them that we’re on a first date of sorts, and they ask all kinds of wonderful, prying questions.

I can’t resist saying, “Last night, I found out he snores.”

“He’s a criminal,” Perry says. “One of us is lying. And here’s a clue: I don’t snore.”

“You definitely snore.”

As we start making our goodbyes, Perry asks, “How about a picture of the four of us?”

A few minutes later, Perry approaches a family with three kids, two of them shy and one madly dancing brother, clearly the youngest. After the parents help us out, Perry asks each kid their name, but only the dancer answers directly.

He shouts at us, “NICHOLAS.”

Photo twenty-four.

After they leave, I say, “I bet Nicholas would like Mr. Quackers.”

I turn away as if heading back to the van.

“Way too soon,” Perry says, grabbing my shoulder. “I thought you picked that up after your first joke.”

After photo thirty-two, two Chinese men finally approach us. I noticed them a few minutes ago, but I did not wish to embarrass them, so I pretended I did not. With a nod, I invite them to speak, and in hushed words, they do. They noticed us having our photo taken, over and over, and thought we might be international tourists, like them. We discover that for the last half hour they have been looking for someone to approach. They really want a photo together in front of the Golden Gate Bridge; it’s important to them. But they do not want to make someone uncomfortable, nor do they wish to be judged.

“Would you take our photos, please?” asks the first man, with nervous pride.

His partner says, “We know it is more open here, but we are still careful.”

Of course we agree, and I fiddle with their camera lens, testing the light and such, delaying so that Perry has time to talk to them.


They won’t stand too close or put their arms around each other, but in the series of photos I take, you can see joy in their eyes. It’s definitely joy.

The task accomplished, we follow them, and they follow us, wandering down the nearby walkways, scattered with vibrant yellow flowers and shiny green bushes, everyone admiring the magnificent, sparkling bay this glorious day in Eden. We ask questions about living in China. We try to answer their questions about living in the United States.

Zhong and Jian are shy again when they announce their departure. But they are eager to experience the towering redwoods in Marin County. They really want to kiss in the forest. Big secret kiss.

“Maybe more than kiss,” Zhong says, scandalizing Jian.

They laugh together, blushing beautifully, and tip their heads toward us.

Perry stares at the departing figures with wet eyes.

Yup. Fifty photographs ought to be enough.

“Perry, check out that couple over there. Behind those three girls. What do you see?”

“What am I looking for?”

“No. Tell me what you see.”

I continue to ask this before each new photograph, and he eventually starts reading people better. Not that you can ever know someone’s life story by the way they wander around on vacation, but tourists repeatedly choose to make themselves vulnerable, so some of their tells are more obvious.

“Let’s ask them,” he says, pointing to two heavily pierced men wearing Harley Davidson shirts. “Hey, dudes.”

Somewhere around forty, I suggest that he find the ones who need it.

“Need what?” Perry asks.

I shake my head. “Just look around. Who needs it?”

We talk about the possibilities, mostly Perry asking questions and me refusing to answer. If he would give up and look, he would realize he already knows. After a whopper of a candidate wanders into view, I put my hand over his mouth from behind and rock him in my arms, giving him a chance to look around.

My hand muffles the sound when he says, “Her.”

I say, “Good choice.”

A stout woman patrols the second plateau, not far from us. She’s probably late thirties, with frosted-golden locks, a beautiful tangle of curly hair falling over her dark brown shoulders. Purple sundress. She slings three small backpacks over her right shoulder, packs that I bet her kids promised, promised, promised to carry themselves. She and her husband do their best to corral four eager children. The kids race to the chain-link fence to stare at the Golden Gate Bridge, pushing each other to get a better view, and I watch a young dancer named NICHOLAS run over to meet them. Her weary expression suggests they’ve been this hyper all day.

We watch.

I say, “How are we going to put King Diego energy into her?”

Perry says, “Have we been doing that?”

“Follow me.”

We take a few steps toward her; then I stop him with a hand on his chest and say, “Did you love your mom?”

“Yes, I loved her,” he says, surprised.

“So there was never a time in your life where you were ungrateful, or a dick to her or anything?”

His open face creases in hurt, and I see I hit a nerve. Good.

“Go with this.”

He says, “Wait—”

I stride away, closing the distance, forcing him to scurry after me.

“Hi, will you take our photo?”

Tired Mom looks at me with bored anger, like I’m another kid demanding her attention and she has enough of those.

“I’m busy,” she says.

“Please. I bet you’d take a great photograph.”

This earns me a glimmer of real irritation, but I can do awesome puppy dog eyes. Please, Tired Mom, give us a chance.

I say, “I saw your kids so energetic and happy, and it made me think you’d take a great photograph, because you look like a good mom.”

She turns to her husband. “Tim. Watch Devon. I’m taking some damn tourist photos.” She turns back to me and says sharply, “No offense.”

“None taken!” I quack happily.

Perry’s smile isn’t quite authentic because irritating her wasn’t part of his plan, and I have once again made him complicit in another crime—this time, bothering a woman on vacation.

She snaps the photo and thrusts the camera back to me. Her expression isn’t as angry anymore, the experience already over.

“My friend Perry just told me about how the Golden Gate Bridge reminds him of his mom.”

Perry’s eyes open wider, a subtle change not lost on her. “Yeah. My mom.”

She listens attentively now; she recognizes a setup.

Without breaking eye contact with her, I say, “Big secret.”

“She was strong,” Perry says, the words popping out. “Real strong.”

He looks at Tired Mom with anguish and says, “My dad died young, and it wasn’t easy for her. We were broke from medical bills. I—I was horrible those first two years after he died. Even though I apologized over and over after I grew up, to this day I regret how I treated her.”

His voice cracks during the last part. I don’t think he’s going to cry, but the raw emotion coming from this revelation may have been unexpected.

He says, “She died about ten years ago. I would give anything to have those two years back. Anything to hear her voice.”

She looks at him carefully. The world can surprise you sometimes.

“She understood,” Tired Mom says, her voice quiet. “She’s a mom.”

She turns and walks back toward her family. One of the younger girls launches herself right into Tired Mom’s leg, pushing them both off center.

“My mom,” Perry says and turns to me, eyes wide.

I pull him into my chest and hold him. I think he’s taking a moment to see his mother in a new light. Perhaps she was a tourist as well, lost in a city where she never expected to find herself.

I don’t know much about his mom, just scraps I’ve been able to glean without his realizing. Tuesday at the art gallery, he didn’t associate that art gallery painting with Mother’s Day, my first volley checking out his mother issues. During Big Secret, he confirmed how much he missed her. I thought he might be able to see an inspiring bridge and relate it to something remarkable in her. But I don’t want him too emotional right now; we’re not ready for that.

Using a gentle tone, I say, “That one didn’t count because, technically, I asked her. You still have nine more photos to take, pardner.”

Instead of protesting, his chin traces mine until he kisses me.

Our lips meet soft and subtle, the right amount of mutual pressure. Though surrounded, I feel invisible, enjoying a private moment at our own private monument.

We break apart, and I turn him around, wrapping my arms around his midsection, my chin on his shoulder, seeking her. Not far away, I spot her husband retrieving their son from NICHOLAS’s family.

There she is. I nudge his head with mine toward her and say, “Check out Tired Mom.”

The woman stands a stone’s throw away. One child strains in her left hand while two more argue over who’s in the next photo with mama. Tired Mom considers the Golden Gate Bridge.

She looks different.

Maybe it’s an unexpected break. Hell, maybe she started chewing a piece of mint gum. Or, maybe she remembers a piece of her queenship, what it means to truly be strong. And now that I’m thinking of it, constantly run over. You might look at the Golden Gate Bridge and think: Oh. Moms. Got it.

When driving back from Sausalito, I love that first glimpse of the deep orange towers striking the rolling, lush hills, legs battered by the white-crested surf. Only a surrealist painter could juxtapose shapeless foam against steel pylons that will outlast all of us, man’s rare architectural improvement to a gorgeous landscape. On those days when shadow and mist rule the earth, I love driving across, straining to see the high-reaching cables, invisible while I’m directly underneath. Golden Gate’s power remains even when masked by magician’s fog, hidden only by our limited ability to recognize strength.

I whisper into Perry’s ear, “King Diego is not to be underestimated.”

We nuzzle for a moment longer, staring at the bridge, the sky, the everything.

He shivers and says, “It’s cold out here.”

“It’s always cold in San Francisco. At least in Minnesota we get to wear coats. You guys always pretend like this isn’t cold.”

He turns his head and searches the immediate area, another three dozen people replacing the three dozen who were here a while ago. He takes the camera from me.

Perry picks out an older man nearby who looks angry. “Sir, would you mind taking our photo?”

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Purly Gates excerpt by Vastine Bondurant

In Vastine Bondurant's historical romance Purly Gates, a lonely stretch of beach becomes a hiding place for two men who, when their paths cross, are determined not to be ships just passing in the night.

Purlman “Purly” Gates—dark, brooding, mysterious, hiding from his past and the hefty price on his head—is hopelessly attracted to the young man who strolls the beach every morning. At the risk of his own exposure and its deadly consequences, Purly succumbs to his desire and sets out to lure the beautiful enigma into his lair.

Lucky Cleary wants the swarthy stranger who watches him from the shadows of the cottage deck, and his morning promenades finally pay off when the man steps out onto the beach and into Lucky’s life in a move to bring their paths together.

But Lucky has a secret as well—a past mistake following close behind him, promising certain death if it catches up with him.

When each man discovers the other’s identity, the truth forms a powerful bond between them and fans the flame of their passion.

But is the meeting of these two lonely souls a beautiful destiny or merely a cruel twist of fate in which their desire is nothing more than the kiss of death for them both?

Purly Gates
LIG Publishing (April 24, 2012)


Summer, 1930


Even to take a long draw on his cigarette, Purly didn’t shift his gaze from the scene just beyond the deck.

It should have been nothing unusual, really, just a young man strolling the beach. Except it was remarkable as Purly had been told this stretch of shore was secluded, that all its inhabitants had left long ago.

The object of Purly’s study cupped a hand over his brow and squinted ahead at two white Siberian huskies—almost camouflaged against the sparkling crystal sand—accompanying him.

His whistle brought the exquisite beasts dashing to his side to zip frenzied circles around him and spray the shimmering powder against his calves.

For a week now, this man and his canine companions walked the shore every morning precisely at ten.

And every morning, precisely at ten, warmth—pleasing, agonizing, relentless—radiated from Purly’s belly to his groin at the sight of the beautiful passerby.

To call the fellow beautiful, though, was an understatement. Or was it an exaggeration? Purly couldn’t decide. The young man wasn’t conventionally handsome; in fact, if analyzing his looks in one big picture, he might even fall just south of ordinary. And yet something about him twisted Purly into a huge, sweet aching knot of longing.

A snug black swimming suit molded to the man’s fluid form—to the elegant slope of his shoulders, his long, lean torso and smooth ass. A nice body, not athletic by any means but delicately toned.

But his face. Goddamn, his face. Features too perfectly imperfect to be real. Dark lashes offsetting sleepy, pale green eyes—green like Purly had never seen before. Full lips parting in a near kiss, offering the promise of a dazzling smile and a glimpse of not-so-straight teeth.

Luxurious curls, the color of warm, dark honey crowned his head. As the breeze teased stray locks across his brow, he brushed them back with his fingers.

Yes, Purly concluded, the man could be considered beautiful. And what unusual beauty. Arousing, hypnotic. Yet an odd innocence, only vaguely aware of its own attraction, lurked in those green eyes, in that hinted smile. Angelic, almost.

Attraction for other men was hardly new to Purly but it had only existed until now as a very secret, very tightly capped bottle of potential danger.

He’d always kept company with dames—wining, dining and fucking them—and therefore had no explanation for the lure of men’s bodies or the very private quickening in his gut at how beautiful some of them were. But one thing he did know. The annoying preoccupation did not mean he was queer for he’d never considered acting on the draw of a masculine physique.

Until now…

Into his life walked the first man to ignite the desire to do the forbidden.

Love at first sight belonged only in fairy tales as far as Purly was concerned, so he knew his unexplainable infatuation with this person wasn’t some sort of instantaneous amour. Nonsense. Call it obsession, for maybe it was. But it was not love at first sight or anything resembling it.

Instead of sleeping, he did helplessly drift to erotic imagery of the stranger every night. He did imagine touching him, holding him, burying himself deep inside that gently curved ass. He even sensed the need to protect him. Protect him from what, he hadn’t an inkling, only a strong twist of heart advising him that the young man was vulnerable, very afraid of something.

Yes, the almost-Adonis whose eyes matched the ocean right before a storm did perform a morning promenade every day. Never once, though, did he glance up to meet Purly’s eyes though he surely had to be aware Purly so very intently registered his daily passage

But today, just as he reached the deck, he tilted his regal head, met Purly’s gaze and offered a brushstroke of a smile—so slight, did it even count as smile?—and his lips moved to form one solitary, inaudible word.

That nod and the whisper of a word on the traveler’s lips—only God read what he’d said, for Purly couldn’t—triggered Purly’s pulse into a riotous but luscious sprint.

Careful not to expose his pleasure or the newborn erection developing in his trousers, Purly leaned into the wooden railing and took a drag on his cigarette.

For Christ’s sake, the guy had probably only said hello or morning. And, yes, Purly knew it was silly to allow his libido to go off half-cocked just because of a smile—a barely-there smile at that—and an indecipherable word.

Just as quickly as the man’s smile had appeared, though, it faded.

The dogs had tarried behind to investigate a crab and their master turned to whistle at them, waving them to keep up with him.

The stunning dogs ran ahead then returned to gallop circles around him.

Throwing back his head, the lustrous curls jostling with his movement, the stranger let out a pleasant laugh while playing with his partners. Then he stretched for a moment and continued on the path he’d begun. His legs—those smooth thighs—moved in perfect rhythm like the wheels of a very pretty locomotive.

Once the fellow passed the deck, Purly tossed his cigarette into the sand and gazed as the orange glow slowly sizzled from the tip.

He cast one last glance at the man’s retreating figure then crossed the gritty wood planks to the cottage door. Never, during this entire week, had he lingered to observe the morning stroller’s return path past the deck. Somehow, Purly figured, to still be watching at that point would appear a bit creepy.

The recording on the portable phonograph had finished playing by the time Purly entered the house. He closed the screen door, cranked the handle to start the machine up once more and gingerly placed the needle arm on the spinning disc.

The strains of Haydn’s 101st symphony—warbling and tinny but still pleasing and soothing—filled the small space.

Purly lit a cigarette, sank onto the wrought iron bed and allowed his mind to drift with the music and the cool breeze from the rattling little fan on the windowsill. Soon, though, he found his thoughts had returned to the stranger. How absurd to spend so much time thinking on this person, but what else was there for Purly to do while here on this beach but…think? And he had no control over the path his muse took, did he? Absolutely not.

One thing was certain, though. He wanted—no, needed—to meet the green-eyed being who so curiously intrigued him, who had to do nothing but parade the shore to touch a match to Purly’s once-dormant lust. Even if it was only to hear a voice from the full lips, then so be it.

Purly would find a way.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Times Square Queer excerpt by Mykola Dementiuk

Times Square Queer is a landmark book - the first print publication of seventeen stories by Mykola Dementiuk, one of the most distinctive voices in queer literature. Sixteen were published individually on the web as short ebooks; “Missy the Sissy” has never appeared anywhere before. Included are: “On The Prowl,” “Times Square Cutie,” “Eighteen Today,” “Trio At The Movies,” “Love For Sale” and a dozen others.

Times Square Queer also features a moving and penetrating personal introduction about growing up queer in the 1960s amid the sleazy porn theaters and bars crowding Times Square that had become a gay mecca.

Times Square Queer
Renaissance eBooks (February 2, 2012)
ISBN: 9781615084548


He kept trailing her up Broadway and hoping she would turn down a side street, away from the crowds so he could approach and smile and start a conversation. But she continued walking uptown, seemingly oblivious of the bemused staring pedestrians, some gaping in disbelief, others smirking and whistling, and still others taunting and threatening to turn her into a real woman.

It was Friday night and the streets were crowded with revelers and thrill-seekers, the bars and clubs interspersed amid the movie theaters along the avenue all brightly lit, enticing and tempting with loud music pulsing from jukeboxes or live bands playing inside. At most of the establishments tough-looking men stood beckoning to the milling curious passersby, chanting, "No Cover! No Cover!" and gesturing to the photo-plastered doorways around them with provocative pictures of half-naked models pouting out from behind shiny protective glass and offering unimaginable thrills from their seductive and tempting well-studied poses.

He had first spotted her as he had just exited one such No Cover club and stood grimacing at the photos in the doorway. There was nothing like that inside, he wanted to complain to the No Cover man – just a skinny sag-titted woman who had clumsily crawled up on the bar, danced past a few drinkers hungrily gaping up at her G-string and as much as she tried to coordinate the long tassels covering her nipples to sway rhythmically with the music, only succeeded in awkwardly flapping her saggy breasts against each other and tangling the long tassels of one nipple in the studded rhinestone pastie of the other.

No, nothing like the pictures at all, he grimaced, and heard some whistles and laughter and turned and saw her coming up the avenue. She was tall and her body was large and solid and she wore a strange furry and feathery vest which only accentuated her broad shoulders yet covered and concealed whatever bosom she had molded underneath. Her tight red pants, slightly sagging and loose around the hips, did not have the natural fleshy show-off roundness and buoyancy one expected of a woman parading Times Square, but she made up for it by the over-exaggerated swagger of her flat limp ass and her loud clicking high-heels as she moved confidently through the noisy Friday night crowd.

Her ashy blonde-streaked hair was puffed up in an out-of-style beehive roost and her long jingling show-girl earrings, more common in a chorus line or in the come-on doorway photos, dangled from her ears and struck the sides of her face as she confidently pushed into the crowd, certain a gauntlet would open and a path would be cleared no matter how dense that crowd might be.

At times her long gait briefly faltered as she lost rhythm with her ungainly swaying, one foot falling too quickly onto the concrete, her ankle sagging and twisting in the overstrained high-heeled shoe, but she always recovered and pulled her vest tighter around her bosom and sped up the street, her heels scratching and scraping the hard asphalt beneath them.

She neared the girlie-covered doorway and he gaped at her heavily made-up face: thick rouge, lipstick and eyeliner, and all applied with detailed care and precision – yet he noticed at the side of her throat the line of makeup, perhaps through oversight or a smudged mirror, ended abruptly and did not blend naturally into the neck, clearly revealing the red pock-marks and bright seared blotches of recently shaved stubble.

"Getta loada this!" he heard the No Cover man laugh. But he had already noticed; for she swayed up the avenue seeming to disregard the gawking and staring and hooting that circled about her, her cock and balls had somehow stealthily eased themselves free of whatever panty or girdle she wore to keep them in place between her legs and fell down the side of her inner thigh, suspended and outlined in her bright red pants in a large and puffy unmistakable numeral 9. He saw this and open-mouthed watched her pass by, then stepped out of the doorway and began his pursuit of her.

"No Cover!" he heard the man call behind him and gesturing to the milling crowd. "No Cover, gents! Real live beautiful girls right up the stairs. No Cover! No Cover!"

She moved quickly through the crowd up the avenue, crossing streets and for a moment he thought he had lost her somewhere uptown but brightened and sped up as he spotted the top of her beehive bob across the street and continue up Broadway.

The crowds had thinned somewhat – most of the excitement being closer to 42nd street – but her swish and sway remained as exaggerated as before with heads continuing to turn and smirk and call out for a real good time. A few times she had flushed angrily from some malicious taunt, turning to confront her tormentor but his face always gelled in the safety with other conspiratorially smirking faces and she'd end up simply fluttering her long black lashes, pouting her bright red lips, and wiggling her flat red ass up the street, followed by even louder raucous hooting and taunting.

It was Friday night and for decades this area of peepshows and dirty movies, loud bars and dangerous side streets, was synonymous with sex and cheap thrills. It was the place to come to get laid or blown or even watch a skin-flick while jerking yourself off. The purpose and logic, the thrill and enticement of the area was just that: sex, cheap and dirty and quick. On any night, the street scene was often the same: a red-faced geezer hurrying towards some dark sidestreet hallway with a young boy trailing behind him; nervous men in business suits skulking into dirty-movie houses or speeding out of porno bookshops with magazine-crammed paper bags tucked under their arms; ragged old whores roosting atop garbage cans and displaying flabby tits and busted-toothed grins to cars and passersby and sometimes actually negotiating a price with them. On the street, a young boy could lose his virginity to a manipulative wasted cunt as easily as to a scheming diseased dick up his ass. You took your chances when you got to Times Square, and you got what paid for; and more often then not, it was exactly what you were after anyway.

He followed the woman across a street and saw her pausing in the middle of the clock to gaze at a mirrored doorway covered with photos of half-naked girls, just as the one he had stepped out of in pursuit of her. This far from 42nd Street there wasn't even a No Cover man outside, just a bold pink-lettered poster hanging above the photos: Girls-Girls-Girls-No Cover!

He came closer and saw her preening in a slither of mirrored glass around the girlie photos. She puffed up the sides of her hair and flicked her tongue around her bright red lips. He paused behind her as she opened her vest, sucked in her pot belly, and thrust out her unbalanced and knobby bulging blue knit-bloused bosom. She saw his smiling image in the mirror and darted her eyes down his reflection, suddenly gasping and staring at her own bulging crotch; a deep red flush raced up her neck to her jaw and cheeks and nose and she wrapped the furry vest across her chest, quickly turning and racing up the avenue, her gait no longer an exaggerated show-off swagger but a rapid and purposeful flight.

He frowned and looked after her, his own hard penis tightening and pulsing at the side of his own inner thigh. Certainly she didn't think she had tricked anyone with her makeup and hairdo? Certainly she didn't imagine that earrings and high-heels were all that it took to pass as a woman? Yet the image of appearing as a woman was indeed what had mattered, what she had strived for, what she had probably spent hours preening and dolling herself for, what she had dared to risk insult and ridicule, and possibly injury for, only to see that imagined female image shattered by an intrusive pair of male genitalia, her own cock and balls.

Still, hadn't she felt them creeping out of her panties and down her leg? Or had the masquerade been so successful, as least in her mind, and the image so complete that the pleasant oozing of bulbous flesh at the bottom of her groin was experienced as a sort of divine female orgasm?

He watched the blur of her red ass and legs turn off the avenue, racing after her to the corner and saw her entering a side-street building. He darted again and reached the doorway just as the door slammed shut behind her. He paused, peering through the portioned glass door and saw her stooped over, tugging at the inside of her pants leg.

He pushed the door open and entered the hall. She jerked around and pulled her hand out of her pants, stared at him, her mouth open, her eyes wide. He smiled and walked towards her as she braced her back to a wall and eyed him warily.

For a moment they looked at each other when suddenly he reached out and grabbed her between the legs and squeezed her cock. She jerked aside, pushed his hand off but he quickly maneuvered behind her, dipping his hand under her ass and straining to reach the puffy cock and balls from beneath. She slightly sagged and lowered her torso, then spun around, leaning back against the wall.

"Where did you come from?" she blinked, and raised her hands to his chest. He bobbed his head and kissed her mouth, their tongues darting against each other, their teeth clicking. She circled her hands under his arms and clutched his shoulders, raising her leg up his calf and clasped him tightly to her. She pounded her groin against his thigh and he groped and squeezed her cock, feeling her torso grind faster and faster until she desperately buckled and shivered as he held on, his tongue deep in her mouth, her semen oozing out of her dick and spreading through her pants and into his palm. She buckled a few more times, then sagged down his chest and pulled her mouth off his, gasping and smearing her lipstick from his mouth to his cheeks to his throat, nibbling and kissing and sucking his neck. Slowly, she relaxed, regaining her breathing, dropping her leg off his calf and straightened up and pushing him away.

"Boy was I hot!" she blushed, and glanced down her pants and grimaced. The large wet semen stain had quickly spread at the thigh of her red pants. She cursed and said, "What'll I do now?" She brushed at the edges of the dark wet stain. A fat thick globule of pasty scum shimmered in the center of the expanding stain. He reached out and cupped her moist cock and balls and she stiffened, sucking in air, then pushing his hand away, giggling as he raised it to his face and rubbed the damp palm against his mouth and jaw.

"Oh, stop it," she said, slapping his wrist. He grabbed her hand and their fingers entwined. They looked at each other and he tried to pull her hand towards his own hard crotch but she wriggled her fingers free and glanced down at her thigh and grimaced.

"I have to do something," she said, "I can't go back out like this."

He nodded and looked at the glass covered doorway then moved around her, blocking her from view of the outside and reached for her waist. She pulled away but he persisted, stooping down and said, "I'll fix it," and fumbled for her side pants button. She peered over his shoulders at the door then let him unsnap the button and slide down the zipper and open the pants at the side of her hip. He reached down her belly and into her pants. She gasped as his fingers caressed her warm damp flesh and soft panty girdle. He wriggled his fingers in between her stomach and girdle, maneuvering them down to the crinkly pubic hairs at her groin. Her fleshy stomach quivered but she held onto his shoulders as his fingers inched deeper and deeper, groping out of the girdle and leg-hole then sliding down her thigh and grasping her wet cock and balls. He heard her suck in air and gasp as he tenderly pulled up her bollocks, retrieving them back into the panty girdle.

She shifted her weight and leaned on the wall, opening her legs as he gently positioned the sticky wet dick beneath the loose scrotum, pushing it in between her thighs, the head of the penis cuddled by her clammy and hairy flat ass cheeks. He tweaked each tight little testicle on the side of the limp prick, then slowly and carefully moved his hand up from between her legs and up her belly, as the restraining panty girdle closed firmly behind him.

For a moment he hesitated, his thumb circling and probing her belly button and gazing at her wide eyes, then reluctantly moving his hand out of her pants. She faintly smiled and kissed his cheek and let go of his shoulders, tucking her blouse in her pants and tugging up the pants zipper, looping the button shut at the side of her waist. She puffed up the bottoms of her phony breasts with the back of her hands and leered, blinking at him.

"Thanks," she mumbled, and he blushed, but she reached up to his face and smudged the lipstick smear on his cheek and neck. He glanced at her red-daubed finger-tips and tried to catch them with his mouth but she also giggled and jerked her hand away. He pulled out a handkerchief and she took it from him, wiping his face and throat.

"Oh look what I did," she girlishly pouted. "A hickey!" And he reached up and hesitantly touched his lipstick smeared throat and looked at his fingers. "Will you give me one too?" she leered, and fluttered her eyelashes, as he opened his mouth and licked her lipstick off his fingers, then bobbed his head to her neck but she giggled and braced her hands atop his chest and pushed him away.

"Later," she said, and held out his handkerchief. "First buy me a drink, okay?"

He nodded and looked to the door, wiping his neck with the stained handkerchief and cramming it back in his pocket. "Sure, let's go."

She looked at the door and frowned, then forced a smile and asked, "How do I look?"

"Beautiful," he answered, and moved for a kiss, but she giggled and sidestepped around him, darting her tongue along her mouth.

"Lipstick okay?" she asked. He nodded, as she smirked and they walked to the door. He pulled it open and saw her glancing down her groin; the stain was dark but seemed to be blending into a natural shadowed highlight on the bright red pants.

"There's a bar down the block," he said, but she grunted and placed her arm in the crook of his elbow, pulling him out of the building hallway.

"This way," she said, and led him back up to Broadway. Her sway and swagger quickly returned, her hips spinning from side to side and he fell in rhythmic step with her as she parted her furry vest and tightened her belly and thrust out her lopsided bosom. They rounded the corner and she pulled his arm closer as they moved towards the crowds and walked to 42nd Street.

He saw someone smirk and poke at the person beside them but he stared straight ahead at the Broadway lights.

"No Cover!" he heard a man yell, pulling her hand tighter to his chest and concentrated on her clicking and scraping heels fall in step with his own. He knew his stiff dick was pushing out at the front of his pants; he wondered if hers had stayed put. He heard someone laugh. He didn't care. He walked confidently.

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