Excerpt from We Don’t Say Gay at Tranquility Bay
Mark stared up at the first picture in the top row of photos framed on the wall, Nick’s Kindergarten year. Then his bleary eyes fell until they found the living face of his son, eleven years older, still staring at him with a childish belief Dad could fix anything, solve any problem, leap any building in a single bound.
Well, I can’t. I’m no Superman. But at least I’m not a God damned queer.
He poured himself another glass of whiskey. Pretty good stuff. It’s helping. I’m keeping it together.
He took a deep breath and let out a giant sigh. “Let’s just get it out, Nick. Better said and dealt with than to go on this way.”
Nick saw his father as if through a telescope. He nodded at the bottle of scotch. “Can I have some of that?”
Mark considered his son from behind the protective wall of alcohol he’d been building all day. Oh, what the hell. Put some hair on his chest. “Sure.” He reached down a glass mug he kept on a shelf above his desk and blew the dust out of it.
Nick rose, picked up the bottle of scotch, poured himself two fingers, and tossed it back like a pro. He poured himself another and shot that one, too.
Where’d the kid learn to drink like that? I’ll ask, but another time.
Nick started to pour a third. “That’s enough.” Mark took the glass and the bottle from him. “Sit down.”
Nick stayed standing.
With the whip back in his voice he repeated, “Sit down, boy.” His rebellious son obeyed but barely, perched nervously on the sofa. “Now, I need the answer: Are you a homosexual?”
Their eyes met in recognition of the inevitable. Nothing will ever be the same once Nick answers. This may be the last moment he’s normal. He held his breath.
“Maybe,” Nick almost whispered. He dropped his eyes, looking at hands clenched in his lap, not looking at his father. “Maybe I am.”
“No!” Mark shouted, leaping to his feet. He’d thought he’d prepared himself to hear those words, but he was wrong. It can’t be.
It won’t be.
“No son of mine is a God damned queer!” He wanted to punch Nick in the mouth, sitting there staring at him with that stupid look of shock on his face. It’s not true! It can’t be true.
WE DON’T SAY GAY AT TRANQUILITY BAY
Expected Publication Date: June 1, 2022