Your Love

Happy Independence Day!

And, in a sense, today is Independence Day for me; I finished the first draft of the new Scotty book, Royal Street Reveillon, last night. The book is very sloppy, and needs a lot of clean-up work, but I am so happy to be finished. I haven’t completed a draft of any novel since late 2016; so I feel like I have finally once again proven to myself that I can actually write a book, you know?


And I am now on my vacation. I don’t have to return to the office until Tuesday; I have sis glorious days to revel in here at home. I will have to go out of the house to go to the gym and I have a luncheon date on Friday, and I will also have to go to the grocery store at some point as well. But in the meantime I can blissfully relax and clean and organize and slowly work on things I want to work on. I’m excited about new project; I can also make some headway on it, and I may even write the first chapter of Bury Me in Satin. I do have a couple of short stories I need to work on as well, but over all, I am extremely happy and relaxed and feeling oddly, strangely, HAPPILY carefree this morning.

Which is so lovely you have no idea.

I can also focus on reading Lou Berney’s November Road, which I started reading the other night and is already, despite being only two pages in, remarkably well-written and compelling. If you’ve not read Lou’s work, I strongly encourage you to read The Long and Faraway Gone, which won every crime writing award under the sun for which it was eligible, and is one of my favorite crime novels of all time.

We also continue to watch Big Mouth on Netflix, which just gets funnier and funnier with every episode. Seriously, it’s so refreshingly funny and honest about a difficult subject–puberty–that sometimes I just shake my head as I laugh at it. We also watched Hannah Gadsby’s powerful stand-up special Nanette last night, which is so amazing. Watch both her special and Big Mouth….you won’t be disappointed.

I’ve been spending some time lately, in the evenings, while Paul works on a grant and I’m too mentally fatigued to read, rewatching movies from the 1980’s that I remember either fondly or as a cultural marker of the decade. So far, I watched Masquerade (still holds up), Children of the Corn (frankly, wasn’t sure I had watched it originally and am still not sure; a lot of it seemed very new–but wasn’t young Peter Horton beautiful?), and Less Than Zero, which I thought was bad then and was even worse on a rewatch. I feel an entry about Less Than Zero might be coming soon, once I arrange my thoughts a bit more, and perhaps even one on Children of the Corn, which would entail rereading the short story and perhaps watching the film once again. I’d really like to watch Body Heat, Against All Odds, and Tequila Sunrise again; I recently rewatched Streets of Fire and should probably watch it again–I was making notes in my journal and not really paying attention to it. There’s a piece about neo-noir from the 1980’s brewing in my head that I’d really love to explore, especially since the 1980’s was such a strange, transitional period for the culture and our society as a whole.

Things to ponder, certainly.

The next story up in Promises in Every Star and Other Stories is “Man in a Speedo”:

I love you, man in a speedo.

I know your real name is actually Jason.

But I always think of you as man in a speedo.

That was what you were wearing the first time I saw you.

And what a sight it was.

It was a Sunday afternoon at the Country Club on Louisa Street, do you remember? It was July, and so fucking hot and humid. I was sitting on one of the lounge chairs on the deck, sipping a vodka tonic out of a perspiring clear plastic cup. I had just sat up to rub some more tanning oil on my chest when you came walking out of the building to the pool area. You were wearing sunglasses, your thick black hair slicked back, a pair of leather sandals and a baggy pair of basketball shorts. Your skin was darkly tanned, Italian looking with that tint of olive to it, and your body. Oh my god your body. Your pecs are the size od my head, I swear, and those purplish nipples so big and inviting. Your stomach, flat, not defined, like you don’t mind eating a bacon cheeseburger every now and again, not like those other arrogant boys who won’t eat carbs after seven p.m. or watch every gram of fat that crosses their lips, your muscular legs looking like tree trunks, shaved smooth. I sat there, my mouth open, and you walked to a chair on the other side of the pool, set your bag down, sat down, slipped the sandals off, and then stood up again. You stretched, yawning, your arms and pecs flexing, the lats springing out, the curly black hair in your armpits glistening and wet. You reached down and slid the shorts down, revealing a bright yellow bikini that made your tan look even darker. The suit hung off your hips, revealing an amazing pouch in the front. You turned, and stretched again, and I saw your ass, hard and round and muscular, flex inside its yellow lycra container which was barely covering it. I could just stare, my dick hardening inside my own speedo. I knew then that I had to have you, at some point in my life, I had to have you. I wanted to stick my head inside that beautiful ass, run my tongue down its crack and then underneath to the balls, suck on your cock while pinching those amazing nipples, feeling the rounded pecs, staring up as you flexed your massive arms. You took the sunglasses off for a moment, looked across the pool, and our eyes locked. You gave me a small smile, nodded your head, acknowledging me, and then sat back down.

You noticed me.

I know you did.

You acknowledged my interest.

I spent the rest of that afternoon watching you, trying to steel my nerve to go over and talk to you. You had nodded at me, after all, I knew you were interested, but it was such a bright day, and everyone around the pool would notice me walking over there, even if it was just in their peripheral vision, and see me sit down, and what if, by some weird chance that was barely comprehensible to me, you weren’t actually interested? There was that, and my own fear that if I even got close to you, my dick would get so hard everyone could see it, and in my white speedo it would be pretty obvious, and there was the very strong chance that I would crawl up between your legs and suck your dick right there. Somehow I didn’t think you were the exhibitionist type–yeah, sure, you liked to show off your body in that little piece of yellow lycra, but somehow I didn’t think you were the type who liked to have their cock sucked in a public place.

Finally around four you got put your shorts on and left. You turned at the door and looked back at me. My dick was so hard it hurt. My balls ached. I should have gone after you, but I didn’t. That was stupid. I’ve regretted it ever since.

When I got home I had to beat off. I lay down on my bed and covered my aching dick with lube. I closed my eyes and started stroking, remembering every move you made, every inch of your body, the way your muscles moved, the way your pecs moved when you laughed the way your ass moved when you walked, everything. I shot a big load for you, man in a speedo, a big load that even hit me in the face….I had never shot a load that hard before jacking off. I’ve shot them before when I was with a guy that really turned me on, but never ever when I was jacking off. It was you. I knew then you were my fate, my destiny.

We were meant to be together.

This is, if anything, neo-noir gay erotica. It’s really a dark story, about sexual obsession, and I wrote it for an anthology. The editors came back to me and were like, um, yeah, really love the story but it’s way too dark can you write something else? And I did, and put this story away. It’s roots were indeed in a dark place; back when I was living a horrific double life of deception and omission, of misery and despair, I also worked as a bank teller. Fridays were our busiest days, since it was pay day; the teller line was so unbelievably long, almost from the moment when we unlocked the doors at ten until we locked them at six; and often there were so many people still inside and in line that we weren’t finished and out of there until after seven. The one bright spot on my Fridays was a Pepsi delivery guy who came in to deposit his paycheck every Friday around three or four. His blue and white striped shirt with the Pepsi patch sewn on above his chest on the right, was very tight. He had a small waist and a flat stomach and his blue uniform pants were tight over thickly muscled legs; his ass was exceptional as well. His arms were gigantic, and he had blue-black hair and blue eyes and darkly tanned olive skin. He was gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous, and it was a GOOD Friday when he wound up at my window. I don’t remember his name, but I do remember he was in his late twenties–and back then, nineteen times out of twenty, if a guy was single in his late twenties (he didn’t have a joint account, and no wedding ring) and took care of himself, and worked out, he was most likely gay (although I never saw him in any of the few gay bars in town, on the rare occasions I was able to get to them; which of course meant nothing). I fantasized about him and his body all the time–and then during that summer I was invited by a friend to hang out and drink beer by her apartment pool…and he showed up there, just as he did in the story, stripping down to a skimpy bright yellow bikini exactly as described, put his headphones on after slathering oil on his amazing body, and just tanned, talking to no one. I kept sneaking glances over at him, hoping he’d jump into the water and emerge dripping wet; he never did.

And when I got back to my apartment, I wrote down the opening of “Man in a Speedo.” It’s a dark story, of obsession, and even the erotic parts of the story are fucking creepy. Every time I tried to get it published it always got rejected; because, I always believed, of it’s darkness.

Or maybe it wasn’t good, who knows? I included it in this collection because I wanted it to be read, and I’m proud of it. It could probably be expanded into a noir novel, a short one; and I’ve always thought it should be.


And now back to the spice mines.


Jesus To A Child

Yesterday was my second of two twelve hour days this week at work. I am so tired this morning. Yesterday, after working twelve hours on Tuesday, I got up at seven to meet Wacky Russian at eight, came home and answered emails and did the dishes and started laundry before heading to the office, where I had non-stop clients all day until it was time to walk to the Pub for bar-testing before walking back to the office and driving home.

Oy. Despite a good night’s sleep I am still tired, and my brain is a little fried. I don’t have to go to the office until 4:30, so I have a nice relaxing day of writing and editing and cleaning before I venture down there, but right now all I need is caffeine.

Lots and lots of caffeine.

Today’s short story is one of Stephen King’s that I read again recently. Stephen King is a great short story writer; I didn’t really read short stories when I was a kid other than the ones we were forced to read in classes until Night Shift came out. I also thought, at the time, “ugh, short stories” but I was a big King fan after the first three novels and so I thought, ah, what the hell, why not read his stories? I didn’t much care for the first story in the collection, “Jerusalem’s Lot,” which, because of the title, I thought was going to have something to do with the novel (which I loved, and still do love), but it didn’t. I put the book down after that, and it wasn’t until later that for some reason I idly picked it up and read the next story, “Graveyard Shift,” which creeped me the hell out…and I kept reading.

Burt turned the radio on too loud and didn’t turn it down because they were on the verge of another argument and he didn’t want it to happen. He was desperate for it not to happen.

Vicky said something.

“What?” he shouted.

“Turn it down! Do you want to break my eardrums?”

He bit down hard on what might have come through his mouth and turned it down.

Vicky was fanning herself with her scarf even though the T-Bird was air-conditioned. “Where are we, anyway?”


She gave him a cold, neutral look. “Yes, Burt. I know we’re in Nebraska, Burt. But where the hell are we?”

“You’re got the road atlas. Look it up. Or can’t you read?”

And with that, the story “Children of the Corn” is off and running. The story, which is, indeed, a short story–in the collection it accounts for a whopping 29 pages–was originally published in Penthouse, back in the glory days when magazines not only published short stories, they also paid very well for them (sobs softly to self). It seems odd that a short story spawned a movie franchise (ten at last count; I am sure it’s due for a reboot soon), but there’s another story in this collection that was filmed as well–“Trucks” became Maximum Overdrive, directed by Stephen King himself and it had an awesome AC/DC soundtrack. I didn’t think the movie was that terrible, but it’s apparently considered one of the worst movies of all time. I haven’t, of course, watched it in years, and when I did see it I was stoned out of my gourd (which may have been why I liked it). But I digress.

“Children of the Corn” isn’t my favorite Stephen King story; it’s not even my favorite story in this particular collection (that would be “The Last Rung on the Ladder”), but it’s a damned good story, and what King manages to accomplish in those 29 or so pages is quite remarkable. Burt and Vicky are a couple whose marriage is falling apart, and in one last attempt to save their marriage, decide to drive across the country together to a family wedding on the west coast. (Which, of course, is a truly terrible idea; at least to me. Paul and I rarely argue, even more rarely get angry with each other–but going on a long drive together in a car definitely puts us both on edge and we end up bickering a bit. Nothing serious, nothing bad–but it still happens. If Paul and I were on the verge of breaking up, the worst thing I could think of to do was going on a long cross country drive together. I don’t know, maybe it would work for some couples; anything is possible. But…BAD IDEA.) They got lost somewhere in Nebraska, and as they try to figure out where they are in Nebraska, Burt turns his attention away from the road and hits something–something Vicky insists is a little boy. They stop the car…and the fun starts. They are near a small town called Gatlin–and as they examine the boy’s body they realize he was dead before they hit him.

It’s a great set-up; a classic trope in horror stories–traveling strangers come across something unexpected and horrible, and then have to stop whatever it is/escape whatever it is/do something; the theme of course being survival. Usually in these types of stories, the author will have the disparate group–or couple–get past their differences in order to work together; what makes this story so genius is Burt and Vicky’s conflict, no matter what happens to them in Gatlin, Nebraska, never really goes very far away. They still annoy each other, are still annoyed with each other. For me, that makes the story resonate more and makes it more realistic; it was also the first time that a young Greg read such a story where the conflict between the characters wasn’t overcome by the need to survive.

One of the reasons I always loved Stephen King, and thought he was a great writer (long before the literati came around, if they ever did) was because he made his stories–and his characters–so real; the characters always seemed like people you actually knew, and he peeled back the layers and the facades so you could see their reality. It was a lot of fun to reread the story for Short Story Month; and I promise, Constant Reader, that as soon as I finish the two projects I am working on I will read some new stories to discuss with you.

In honor of “Children of the Corn”, here are some hunky farmers.