Got a Light?

IcebergWell, I’m having way more fun with NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge than I had with the Short Story Challenge earlier this year, which gave me the boot after Round One. I’ve made it to the Final Round of the Flash Fiction one, and submitted my last 990-word story to the judges over the weekend. Rambling writer that I am, I’m surprised to have made it quite this far in a contest that’s all about getting to the point, but actually the ruthless editing (“Aww, what a sweet thing to say…” Delete!) has been kind of fun.

The assigned genre for this final round was Open, meaning any old genre you want, which I saw first as a blessing, in that it wasn’t “Ghost Story” or “Spaghetti Western”, but then saw as a curse, in that it gave me no direction to go in with the no-help-at-all location prompt — An Iceberg — but have ultimately decided to embrace as a blessing because now I don’t have to categorize the story I ended up with. The assigned item was A Lighter, and it eventually set the scene. Participating writers are encouraged to “interpret your genre, location, and object assignment in uniquely creative ways…” so I’ll either get big points or get disqualified for this one. We’ll find out which in January! Herewith my final entry in this year’s challenge: 

Got a Light?

Of course I knew she was a dude. Just cuz I’m not gay doesn’t mean I have no sense of adventure. She had legs for days and a butt you could eat breakfast off of. I figured if I took her home and fucked her, when we were finished she could flip me over and fuck me right back, and you don’t hit that jackpot every day. That’s what we all loved about the Iceberg: you never knew what was gonna happen, but if you kept your wallet handy and your wits about you, you were guaranteed a wild time.

So named because its street-level frosted-glass cocktail lounge façade revealed nothing of the depravity that hulked beneath as you descended the depths from one sub-basement to the next, the Iceberg was the hottest club in Saint Paul. And it was on the Right Wing’s shit list from opening day. Board it up, burn it down—they didn’t care how they were delivered from its scourge, but Wouldn’t somebody think of the children?! Meanwhile, the queers? The fornicators? The sinners-for-sport? We lined up to get in, to hit the spray-painted stairs and see how low we could go.

I had purple hair, tight abs in a tight T-shirt; I got in no sweat. Clomped down the stairs, blew past the first landing—hometown DJs, go-go dancers, big whoop. The second basement got more interesting. Here the hustlers and the gay-for-pay porn stars took off their shirts and licked their lips, enticed daddies and chubs to pop for a beer or a blow job while the drag queens with the highest hair in the Midwest lip-synched Katy Perry until she would have been sick of the sound of her own voice, had she managed to flirt herself past a bouncer. That’s where I saw her: strong freckled shoulders in a sequined tube top, seven feet tall in platforms, whipping that ponytail around the stage like a propeller, she was as white as any Minnesota blizzard I’d ever shoveled my way out of and called herself Vinda Lou Curry. So she got points for creativity on top of the Perfect Ten her body demanded. When I saw her duck up the stairs after her number, I didn’t think about it, I just followed. She cut between two bars to the back door. I bummed a quick cigarette from some underage twink as he scampered by, hung it from my lip, pushed into the alley. She had a fan club; I elbowed in. “Got a light?” Continue reading

Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia

HAHAT 2014The Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia has ended. Thanks to everyone who participated, and congratulations to commenter H.B., who won a copy of my new book, Love Has Reasons. The hop is over, but homo- and transphobia persist, so I’ll leave my rant against them below for you to enjoy: 

Chocolate LickFull disclosure: I think homophobia is scaredy-cat control-freak bullshit. You don’t know me. What the fuck business is it of yours what me and my husband get up to on the mornings when he just can’t let me sleep past four? (He loved when I was flying international; somehow me being cross-eyed exhausted is a huge turn-on for him.) (I said it was none of your business, I didn’t say I wasn’t gonna tell you all about it anyway.) There’s a tweet (apparently falsely) attributed to Morgan Freeman that used to get passed around with some enthusiasm: “I hate the word homophobia. It’s not a phobia. You are not scared; you are an asshole.”  While I can get behind this quip in spirit (cuz if you actively promote discrimination or bullying or general shit-headishness because Being Gay is Wrong!, you are an asshole, no offense), I take issue with its content.  I think homophobia and transphobia are absolutely driven by fear.  It’s just not me of whom active homophobes are afraid.  If you’re not scared to death of the rainbow-glitter-loving queer pounding on your own closet door and howling for release (ahem), the notion that me going about my gay business is somehow a threat to you or “the children” or “society” should be wholly foreign, if not downright laughable.  I hate to break it to you, but any moth drawn to this flame(r) is a little bit gay already. Everybody loves a chocolate fountain, but you’re not dipping your pound cake in one if you’re not already at the Golden Corral, iyou know what I mean… Continue reading

Singing the Praises of Gay Propaganda

steve-nyman-shirtless-skierAt the end of the summer of 2012, a story of mine was included in EM Lynley’s Olympic-themed anthology Going for Gold.  The collection of eight stories about gay Olympians (and their boyfriends, natch) was something of a Reader Favorite, and has seen renewed interest during the ramp-up to the Games of the Twenty-Second Winter Olympiad in Sochi, which arguably has a higher profile in the Queer community than Games past, due to the visibility and virulence of recent anti-gay laws passed in their host country.  Hell, I’m paying attention, and Michael Phelps doesn’t even ice skate.  Specifically, Russia has outlawed “gay propaganda,” which includes not only art and literature but any kind of public or private speech that seeks to legitimize gay people or equalize their families with any that hew to the more traditional model, in order to Protect the Children from being exposed to these notions.

Laff-a-lympicsAnd frankly, I kind of dig being a part of a project that links Gay and Olympics quite so explicitly at this moment in time.  The International Olympic Committee is not exactly famous for its explicit support of LGBTQ equality.  Yes, we’ve had the Laff-A-Lympics, and the Pig Olympics, and 2014 has already crowned the winner of the Selfie Olympics, but if you travel to Cleveland this summer, you will be invited to enjoy the ninth quadrennial Gay Games, so called because weeks before the First-Ever in 1982, the IOC (and the USOC) sued to block the use of the word “Olympics” in conjunction with this particular sporting event.  More recently, a member of the IOC from Italy called the United States’ inclusion of three gay athletes in its official delegation to Sochi “absurd.”  From where I’m sitting, it takes a certain amount of guts to roll up in a country that has recently chosen  not only to pass, but in some cases to harshly enforce, laws against being visibly gay — you know, lest it harm The Children to behold you — and then go on and be gay on what will, for two weeks, be the most visible stage in the world, but I don’t speak it — maybe that’s what “absurd” means in Italian. Continue reading