El Rocio – by Chuck Teixeira


(c) Chuck Teixeira, 2017

Miquel, my Venezuelan jefe, was drop-dead gorgeous.  He had not come to Colombia as a refugee – he had merely seized an opportunity outside his country despite his mother’s reluctance to see him go.  Then, as the economy at home collapsed with the price of oil, he became the life-line for his family, sending essentials not available in Caracas, Maracaibo or elsewhere.

Good looks aside – to the extent one can put looks aside – Miquel was also the only manager who had advocated for my hire, and the only one who greeted me with soft eyes my first day at work.  Not surprising, then, that hope soared when, early on, he clarified that the boys in the photo on his desk were his nephews, not his sons – hope that soared then quickly sputtered.

Anyway, I had not come to Colombia to fall in love…

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My Father Cringes When He Sees Kyle Hold My Hand – by Andres Fragoso, Jr.


(c) Andres Fragoso, Jr., 2017

Barefoot I stand over the edge of the pool. Water swells beneath waiting for my soul. I look ahead. My father cringes when he sees Kyle hold my hand. What is my father doing here? He places his hands in a circle around his mouth and screams. I’m sure he’s calling my name. “Jake.” I can’t hear him through the cacophony of the crowd. He runs towards me.

He looks angry. I’m certain that if there were a bat around, my father would use Kyle’s head as a baseball and hit a home run.

Kyles squeezes my hand in reassurance. “It’s okay. We can do this.”

Really? He doesn’t know my father. I’m a dead man. I won’t be old enough to go to the Saloon and have a drink with the man I love. “I love you. No matter what happens, I’ll always love…

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Glitter me Smitten – by Madison Lawson


The first thing you notice is glitter. Glitter everywhere. Yes, that sounds cliché and annoying, but it’s actually fun. It encompasses the entire celebration.

It’s light and bright. It flies through the air, traveling from body to body. It shines with every turn and glints in the sun. It does not hide and will not be hidden.

That’s the whole point of Pride, right? To not hide? To be seen? To shine?

So you go to the parade and you gladly accept the fistful of glitter that is thrown in your general direction. Smiling, you hold your hands out, giving the glitter more body area to cover as it floats down from the sky.

You make the mistake of smiling while looking up, though, and soon you’re doubled over, coughing up glitter.

Even pride pain is fabulous.

You spit out on the empty sidewalk before straightening up, glancing around for…

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Beyond Fresno – by Chuck Teixeira


(c) 2016 Chuck Teixeira

This story was supposed to encourage – if not you — an older friend of yours.  Maybe much older.  Too old to be in a love story.  But not too old for a story about coming to terms with the absence of love.  Legal terms as in a binding accord or agreement.  Your friend, let’s call him Stosh, recently retired from the Agricultural Welfare Commission, is one party to such an agreement; the universe – that universe! — is the other party.  Under the agreement, Stosh accepts dying without ever fulfilling his prayer for love.  In exchange, the universe enables Stosh to persist in that prayer until the final moment without regret or shame.  The agreement provides explicitly that one date can be both an acceptable prayer and a sufficient answer. The agreement also provides that Stosh must stop doubting and complaining — since these destroy the…

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Little Boy Blue – by Alex Hogan


(c) Alex Hogan, 2006

“Where is that boy?  He should be mucking out the stables.  He’s probably asleep behind the hay, like little boy blue.  Beth, go find him and send him here.”

What?  How could mother ask me to do that?  The boy was one of our farm boys, and he could well be asleep by now, since he arrived here every morning at dawn.

‘The boy’ was Jack.  He had been working here for three years.  When he first started I did not take much notice of him – he was just a boy.  But now, I thought he looked very nice.   Trouble was, I had spent two years ignoring him, while he and my brother played stupid boy games, throwing cats down wells and such things. So now he took no notice of me.

I left mother by the clothes tub in the laundry and went out…

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Jennifer – by Michael Ampersant


(c) Michael Ampersant, 2016

jeffreys-picture-450 by Jennifer

The town house was located in an off-center residential street of Amsterdam inside its own red-light bubble: Blue Boys said the neon-sign on the façade. Jeffrey was one of the boys, although he’d come into the picture only after I’d failed to talk up a hot guy who sat behind the improvised bar on the second floor and assured me he’s a customer himself.

The sex with Jeffrey on the third floor was so-so, so we had time to talk. He’d just enrolled with the Blue Boys because he had no place to stay, and no money, and a bright future, provided he could stay with me, that is, at my place, which wasn’t far.

Jeffrey spent one more working night at the brothel and then we had sex one more time, although I failed to penetrate. He pushed me away, wrapping himself in…

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