OMG, somebody’s giving away jocks, and I have a whole week to win one?! If ever you were going to enter an online contest, this sounds like a good one to me. The jocks being given away are literary, natch — you don’t get a real life baseball player like this guy to come to your house and help you paint your fence or clean your kitchen (or drink a bottle of wine and admire your “etchings…”), but during M/M review site Joyfully Jay’s Jock Week Giveaway, there are 64 sports- and athlete-themed books from which to choose as prizes, and, as you might expect, a story of mine appears in one of them.
Regular readers of Mister S. will remember that last year, everyone’s favorite hunky dipshit Beau and his charming and sexy shooting coach Marcel were among the couples that took the gay sporting world by storm in EM Lynley‘s Olympic-themed anthology Going for Gold. If you missed my story “Hot Shots” but still occasionally ask yourself, How sexy can competitive shooting really be?, then get thee to Joyfully Jay and enter for your chance to find out. A cool feature of this particular contest: she has a blurb and a cover photo for each of the 64 prizes on her site, and you get to list the books you want, should your lucky comment be drawn.
Joyfully Jay has all the details and rules and that, and you can enter to win by leaving a comment on the site up until 11:59 pm EST Saturday night (this Saturday the 2nd).
In Going for Gold, “you’ll find there’s a lot more to competing at Olympic level than being the best in one’s field. Expectations and pressures from family, friends, coaches and country add up, and sometimes it’s only the love of the right man who can make the effort worth it. And sometimes, love is more important than going for gold.” The antho features eight stories by writers in whose company it was my pleasure to be included. Check out this quick excerpt from mine, and then go get you your lucky copy!
(It is, of course, also available on Amazon dot com, in paperback and for your Kindle!)
I was laid up with what had come to be known as my “ice dancing injury,” flipping half-heartedly through a badminton supply catalog, wondering if I could get my parents to spring for an Olympic-quality horse for my next birthday, when my mother hove into the room, locked in a struggle with an upright vacuum cleaner.
“How’s your ankle?” she shouted over the clatter.
“It hurts,” I pouted.
After a prolonged tussle against the root beer shag, she yanked the cord from the wall, and the vacuum cleaner sputtered, clattered, and was eventually still. The smoldering metal monstrosity had been my mother’s first purchase, from a door-to-door salesman, when she’d come to this country to be with my father, and she persisted in using it “in his memory,” never mind that he wasn’t dead, but had rather run off to Florida (with, of all things, a door-to-door saleswoman). “C’est la même chose,” she insisted; same difference. Because it weighed twice what she did and spread more dirt than it sucked, my mother always needed to rest for a considerable spell after an outing with her favorite household appliance, and she sagged dramatically into the recliner that faced the couch across which I was splayed.
“What are you doing?” she asked, jerking her chin towards the catalog.
“Plotting my triumphant return,” I told her.
I shrugged. “Unless you want to buy me a horse.”
“I wish you’d go back to swimming,” she said. “There was very little equipment to buy.”
“There was also very little sleep,” I reminded her.
She rolled her eyes. “This again. My son the athlete—will do anything at all to get to the Olympics. As long as he doesn’t have to get out of bed.”
“I’m just saying, the Olympics are on TV all day—there must be a sport that competes in the afternoon.”
“It’s a question of dedication,” she declared. “You must be willing to get up at four in the morning for your sport, whether you need to or not. Nobody ever got to the Olympics by sleeping in. Ask your cousin Marcel,” she non-sequitured.
“I have a cousin Marcel?”
“Mmm,” she affirmed, a lazy French yes. “Your auntie Francine’s oldest, from her first marriage.”
“Francine had a ‘first marriage?’”
“And what would cher Cousin Marcel know about setting your alarm for the Olympics?” I asked, missing the connection.
“He’s been to the Olympics,” she said, leaving her duh! unsaid but well understood.
“What, you mean like as a spectator?”
“You mean he’s been to the Olympics?”
She nodded. “A few times. He went to Atlanta. And Sydney, I think.”
I sat bolt upright on the couch. “I have a cousin who’s been to the Olympics, and you’re just telling me this now?” I cried.
“Have I never told you this before?”
“You never even told me about Marcel before!”
“Well, that’s pretty much Marcel in a nutshell: he went to the Olympics. He was Luxembourg’s first medal in like fifty years.”
“Mmm. Bronze medal,” she said. “He might actually have two of them.”
“In what sport?”
“He’s a shooter.”
“What is that, like a position in field hockey or something?”
“No, a shooter.” She pointed her finger at me and cocked her thumb. “Pow, pow,” she said.
“Shooting’s a sport?” I asked.
She shrugged. “In Luxembourg it is.”
And just like that, my plan fell into my lap from the sky, fully formed and only an e-mail away. I felt like a jackass; I had never even considered the Luxembourg angle. It had been made clear to all observers that I had neither the drive nor the talent to rise to the top of the highest-funded Olympic program in the world, but I had a Luxembourgish passport—somewhere—and I was immediately and fully confident that I could be a star in what had to be a tiny program. I hadn’t been to my mother’s speck of a country in ten years, and I had never lived there, but I whipped out an e-mail to my long-lost bosom cousin professing a love for shooting that would not be denied, and when his gracious invitation to come and train with him appeared in my inbox, my bags were already packed; I was still on my ice dancing crutches when I hobbled onto what was literally the very next flight to Luxembourg.