Excerpt from We Don’t Say Gay at Tranquility Bay
Saturday afternoon brought an ominous sky. Vanilla colored clouds full of heavy snow marked their time, dimming the light of a weakening sun. It made her nervous so she pulled her black curtains shut and sat on her bed in the dark, facing her laptop.
Angela stared at Penny’s 4URThots Space open on the screen in front of her. The comments about Nick and Penny flooded the page, each one worse than the ones before, getting more ugly by the hour. New voices dumped more of the garbage, and old ones came back to say even worse things, upping the ante. Like a multi-car pileup on the freeway, you had to look if only to spot the dead bodies.
She clicked off that page and checked her own Space. There were a couple of comments from some of the girlfriends of other hockey players, almost all of them cheerleaders. One, Rachel Greeley who went by Rocky, had put up a cute kitten video, which Angela ‘shared’ with her own pals. She left a nice comment thanking Rachel for putting up the video. It was nice to see something sweet after all those nasty comments under Penny’s photos.
Comments, shared pictures, video clips, and updates from other kids at school filled her Angel4U’s Space. Angela couldn’t believe how her popularity rose just by being seen around school and at the football games with Julian.
Well, Mom’s right about one thing, it really is who you know.
She put her computer to sleep and started changing clothes. She had a movie date with Julian this evening, and she wasn’t going to wait until the last minute and then throw on any old thing. She started the process of trying on everything in her closet but couldn’t find anything that would fit. Examining herself in her full-length mirror she realized everything looked baggy, not the look she intended at all. Mom and her boyfriend, Chaz, are in Chicago until Monday. I’ll see what she’s got in her closet.
She finally selected her mom’s favorite pair of jeans and a low cut pink angora sweater. Maybe they were a little tight still, but her girls were in their glory and Angela felt sexy.
Before she left to pick him up, she checked her cell phone and found twelve Chirps since she last looked before noon. She scrolled through them in a hurry.
Oh no. They’re counting on me to help them do something rotten. I don’t want to hurt anybody. I’m not like that. I don’t want to bait a queer or whatever they call it, or call people names, or jump them in the girls’ bathroom. I don’t want to do any of those things. Angela’s breath grew suddenly shallow, she gasped for air and a cold sweat drenched her from head to toe. She wanted to pee so badly she had to clench her thighs together, rocking back and forth on her bed.
But I like being the one they turn to, the one to ask. I don’t want them to think I’m not like them. I am like them! I guess if Julian’s doing it, it must be okay.
She sent a quick Chirp.
She liked being popular. Maybe the price she had to pay to join the club was to be mean. I can be a mean girl if I try. I’ll just do what’s been done to me. That should be easy, no one else has any trouble with it.
She hit send, then left to pick up Julian. It would never do to be late for their date; that might make him angry.
WE DON’T SAY GAY AT TRANQUILITY BAY
Expected Publication Date: June 1, 2022