The Magicians Best Tricks

magic-3315128_960_720“Is the trick being lamer than humanly possible?” asked my little brother while we watched a magician pull a never-ending scarf from his wrist. My brother Eli was only 10 but even he had seen that one before.

“Stop it,” I muttered.

“I’m just saying, if that’s what he’s trying to pull off, I’m impressed.” Some of his friends laughed at him and the magician took a little bow. I found him online. He went to a different high school and was an amateur; everyone had to start somewhere.

He pulled a quarter from behind someone in the front row’s ear. I hid a laugh when the magician frowned after the kid took the quarter and wouldn’t give it back.

“You wanted a magician for your birthday,” I reminded him. I wasn’t sure why I’d been the one tasked with handling his party. Mom said something about being a good big brother. Dad said something about proving I was responsible if I wanted a car. I think they just didn’t want to do it themselves. Eli was a tough critic.

“I wanted the guy I saw on TV,” he complained.

“Sorry we couldn’t book Criss Angel,” I muttered sarcastically. My parents hadn’t given me much of party budget. My present to my little brother was trying to pretend like this was quality entertainment.

“Or someone like him.” He looked at the spectacle in front of him with open disgust. “Not this.”

It wasn’t the magician’s fault he was an only child. Or at least his siblings weren’t the right age otherwise he would know that this 10-year-old crowd was too old for the bendy magic wand gimmick. Still, the magician had a smile that never wavered when met with this tough crowd. He also had curly dark hair, rich brown skin, and vibrant eyes. I don’t know. I kind of like him.

Wow. Did he have an actual rabbit for a pet or did he buy a rabbit for his act? Okay, he was a little cliché. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. If he was cliché, maybe he’d get me flowers and candies.

The rabbit was smart. The girls at least perked up when the adorable white bunny appeared from the top hat. Eli wasn’t swayed. “It would be better if he pulled that rabbit out of his-“

“Hey now,” I interrupted.

“I need a volunteer for this next trick,” the magician said. “How about the birthday boy?”

“My brother volunteers as tribute,” Eli said quickly.

The magician looked at me and butterflies appeared in my stomach. See, he was good.

I moved to the front and was instructed to pick a card. “Tough crowd,” the guy whispered to me.

“You’re doing great,” I encouraged.

He smiled shyly. “Maybe you could help me practice later.”

Our hands brushed as he took my card and inserted it back into the deck. Electricity. The trick hasn’t stared yet, but I’m already astonished.

via Daily Prompt: Astonish

No News is Good News

“Oh, it’s my boyfriend,” I announced in a loud, wooden voice. Damn, I guess I didn’t have an acting career in my future. “Hello, boyfriend, I’m going to hold your hand.” My voice was still loud enough for everyone in our school’s courtyard to overhear, but no one even turned and looked our way.

“I’m just a title now, I don’t have a name?” He gave me a quick kiss on the lips in greeting. No one reacted.

I laughed like he said the most hilarious thing. “Oh stop! Let’s just make out right here.”

He held up a hand when I tried to bring my face closer to his. “You’re being ridiculous.” His tone was serious but he had a tiny smile on his face. I recognized it as the look he gave me when I was being amusing but he didn’t want to encourage me.

“No, I’m not. It’s just, WE’RE TWO GUYS, who are about to MAKE OUT in this crowded courtyard. I HOPE NO ONE FEELS UNCOMFORTABLE.”

A guy I’d never seen before walked near us at that moment. I probably didn’t know him because he wore a football jersey and I had filed a restraining order against sports. Sports wasn’t allowed to be within 30 feet of me at all times. Maybe I’d judged sports too harshly, though. because here came this football player who would get all up in our business. Excellent. I mean, terrible.

“Love is love, guys,” he said with a smile and a wave.

I wasn’t pouting. I stood there with crossed arms while my boyfriend grinned at me, definitely not pouting.

“This is a good thing.”

“I know that,” I muttered.

When I came out a month ago, the news was met with overwhelming enthusiasm. There was a slew of supportive Facebook comments, people congratulated in the halls, I was embraced with open arms. There weren’t even well meaning but kinda rude comments of “I know” or “Duh.”

“We’re lucky enough to live in a place where—” my boyfriend started saying.

“Yeah, I really am glad.” It was true. There were people that didn’t have it as easy. I got to kiss my boyfriend in broad daylight and just be treated as normal because I was normal; this was my normal.

Still. “I just thought there might be a little excitement.”

He rolled his eyes fondly. “We’re here, we’re queer, they’re used to it.”

I wasn’t trying to be ungrateful. I guess I just didn’t believe it could be this easy. I’d heard stories, watched movies, and had seen the perils of coming out even if I didn’t experience them. I’d spent a while gaining the courage and strength to be ready to come out. I knew life wouldn’t always be fair. I guess I just wanted to go through the hard part. Get it over with.

“I didn’t want any violence or harassment or anything, but not even one dirty look, really?” It was just another day. Nothing notable happening.

“I could give you a dirty look,” he offered with a suggestive wink.

It was a beautiful day and I was standing in the sunlight with a lovely boy. Maybe there was no point looking for a downside or worrying something might go wrong. Maybe I should just enjoy this.

guy

Daily Prompt- Notable

Daily Prompt: Elaborate

I’m trying something a little different today. I found the prompt word in one of my works, so I’m posting an excerpt from where it appears. This is from my book What Love Means.

Cal pulled me in for a kiss. When we pulled away, he spoke. “I got you something.” hand-1549399_960_720

The asshole never knew when to quit. Was that why he didn’t take me anywhere nice? He got me some stupid trinket that was worth a small fortune instead?

“I don’t want or need presents,” I started arguing.

“Just let me—”

How could someone so smart be so dumb? “Cal, you know I don’t like—” You throwing your weight and money all over the place. I didn’t say that as he held his hands up insistently.

“I didn’t get you anything elaborate.” He shrugged. “It’s more, I don’t know, a gesture.”

What was Cal’s idea of ‘not elaborate?’ “Is it a pony? I won’t be mad if it’s a pony since April wants one.”

via Daily Prompt: Elaborate

Daily Prompt — A Matter of Perspective

kiss-2931833_960_720.pngAn hour ago, I was livid. Now, I’m content. There’s just you and me. I existed only in the space between your arms.

I had been angry because – why?

A bad grade on a test?

Your mouth ghosts across my brow, delivers a kiss to each temple.

Something my parents said?

Your lips trail down the side of my face and your tongue licks across my jaw.

A parking ticket? You deliver a silly peck to my nose.

Whatever it was doesn’t matter now.

It’s amazing how easy new love can turn a bad day into a good one. You bestow kisses onto me again and again.

I’m happy.
via Bestow — The Daily Post

Daily Prompt: Going Beyond Vague

key-3087900_960_720

How did Tyler know if someone liked him? When Justin with the dark skin and wavy brown hair waved at Tyler in the halls, butterflies formed in his stomach and a giddy feeling followed him around all day. That only explained how Tyler felt about the other boy; it didn’t show what Justin thought of him.

Friendly greetings led to careful conversation that gradually turned more genuine as the butterflies inside Tyler grew and got tired of living in their cramped confines, beating their wings so ferociously they threatened to tear out of his body and soar into the air above him.

Looks in the hallways, a flirty word here or there. It could all mean something. It could also be completely innocent. The rules of dating were vague. Yet he wasn’t quite desperate enough to turn to Cosmo or Teen Vogue for tips on how to know if your guy was into you.

What was it his mother said? ‘If I want something done right, I have to do it myself.’ No, he wasn’t going to ask his mom to find out if a boy liked him; that would be worse than turning to a lady’s fashion magazine for advice.

The time for coy words and fond gazes was over. He had to find out for himself. If Justin wasn’t going to ask him out, he’d ask Justin instead.

Infatuation and crushes don’t last forever. Heartbreak doesn’t last forever. To build something solid, you have to put in the work and lay the foundation. To start something great, first you had to start.

via Daily Prompt: Vague

Something Real. M/M short story

a0f543f1595945b06e88826f029116a1
photo from pinterest

“Oh god, is that really necessary?” Three sets of eyes swiveled to Stephen, who was looking around the table with disdain. “Do you need to post pictures of your lunch?” he continued. “No one cares.” I set my phone down, guilty, while the other two carried on without shame.

“But… it’s pretty. It’s sushi!” defended Abby with a pout from across the table.

His withering look was one of my top five favorite looks, which he delivered now while saying, “All of your acolytes have seen sushi before.”

“Is this an acolyte?” Milo said to Abby, pointing at an item on his plate. “I thought it was a California roll.”

Stephen stared at him in horror from across the table. It gave me a chance to speak up, so I did. “Come on,” I shoved him playfully with an elbow and he turned to me and resumed a haughty look. With his blue argyle sweater and wide, dark brown glasses, he was the most adorably offended nerd ever. “Even you know they’re called followers and not acolytes.”

He only scoffed at my remark and I tried to look as bored with him as everyone else instead of pleased. I had a perfect view of the spark in his amber eyes that always appeared when he really got going before he turned to address everyone.

“It’s superficial. Social media is all so fake.” He reflexively moved a hand to sweep his chestnut locks out of his face even though his perfectly coiffed hair was still in place and neat as ever.

“No,” Milo defended, “All my followers are real. I’m not using bots or something. That’s cheating.”

“I’m sure they exist,” Stephen said dryly. “If you can call being attached to a screen 24/7 existing.” He merrily started in on a rant about technology and the superficial nature of consumerism or something.

Abby looked annoyed at Stephen starting another patronizing speech and looked to me for support. I shrugged. Yeah, the words weren’t great, but he looked so good when lecturing about something. I used to be annoyed by it until I got the feelings. It was a pretty good strategy, I thought, having a crush on your most pompous friend made everything he said more bearable.

“Taking picture after picture of the best moments of your life and adding a fun filter is so trivial,” Stephen continued.

“…Sometimes I add a caption too,” Milo muttered, which apparently wasn’t worthy of a response as Stephen turned to me again.

“I can’t believe you’re participating in this too, Will.”

“We’re out of school today and we’re having a nice lunch,” I argued. “That’s something to celebrate.”

That answer didn’t sway him. I pretended to listen to his rant while watching the way his face flushed as he continued to talk and talk.

“No one is authentic anymore. Nothing is real.” Those words filtered through my admiration of his features and his passion. He said he wanted real, but my real big crush on him might be enough to shock him into silence for a full minute. Maybe two if he was especially horrified.

“And that’s what you want?” I asked.

“Desperately,” Stephen said with feeling while looking me in the eyes. He didn’t know what he was asking for. But maybe he was right. Maybe I was tired of pretending. I thought I knew how he’d react if I told him, but all the disaster scenarios I imagined weren’t real. There was only one way to find out for sure.

“Okay, if that’s what you want.” I leaned over and kissed him on the mouth.

How’s that for authentic?

via Daily Prompt: Authentic

Premonition

I discovered Robert Downey Jr. later than those who fell in love with him in Ally McBeal or his movies from the 90’s but earlier than those who discovered him as Iron Man. It was a few years before his Marvel days and a movie was playing on some cable channel when I should have been going to bed. It was ‘Only You’ and I almost turned it off and went to sleep like I should until the most attractive man came on screen and I watched the entire thing for him.

67c23c2908bd858004b10943889da711

The movie is about a woman who strongly believes in destiny who’s searching for her soulmate, Damon Bradley, because a fortune teller and a Ouija board told her that’s her true love and instead of asking for credentials, she believed them. Robert Downey Jr. is of course, not Damon Bradley. Therein lies the conflict, where she must reaffirm her commitment to a man she’s never met because of her belief in fate or take a chance to find love where she wasn’t expecting it.

That’s what I thought of for the prompt premonition, this movie. So how would it work as a gay teen love story? Maybe the main character has a dream of himself in the future. He’s everything in college that he isn’t in high school: he’s confident, he has lots of friends, his acne has cleared up and he has a boyfriend. Of course he doesn’t see his boyfriend’s face, but he’s wearing a distinctive shirt that he sees clearly. I’m going to say a St. Louis Cardinals jersey because the red color could stand out in a dream; everything else would but be hazy but the red cardinal on the shirt would be vivid and clear as day,

The MC lives on the west coast or somewhere far away from the Midwest, but a new kid at school arrives the next day. He’s a transfer student from Missouri, he’s gorgeous, he plays baseball and he’s wearing the same Cardinals jersey that MC saw in his dreams. The main character is convinced this guy is his One True Love, and what makes it even better, it could actually happen because they have a flirty interaction that leads the MC to think the guy is gay.

Except his best friend doesn’t think so. Best friend thinks the baseball player is just fooling around or in the closet and will just hurt and use his friend. And of course, the best friend just happens to have a Cardinals jersey too, but the MC doesn’t find this out until the climax of the story when he shows up to his friend’s house unannounced because he’s on the cusp of getting the guy he’s been chasing over for the first half of the novel and wants to celebrate with his best friend. Only he sees the shirt and asks if his bff just bought that but nope, he’s always had it, he has family that lives in St. Louis. BFF tries to play it off at first but then he kisses the MC and tells him that he thinks he’s the one from the MC’s dreams instead of the other guy, or at least he wants to be.

41039bf64cfdbaf930f7f74447fea8de

And then there’s confusion and chaos, but probably a happy ending. The MC just has to figure out who he wants the happy ending to be with.

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Premonition

I dwell in possibility

Miles left me a watch and an obligation. The watch didn’t even work.

He didn’t die, but he might as well have. His family was moving across the country. Okay, there was the internet and video chat and even freaking letters if we got desperate, but it wouldn’t be the same. I was allowed to be dramatic, I’m 17.

Four of us huddled into Mile’s basement, curled into each other even though everything had been packed up and there was nothing but space. The scotch tasted bitter and burned with every swallow. The smell hung in the air every time my parents opened the bottle, so that’s why I chose it: it was strong.

Miles eye’s were glassy but his voice was steady when he said, “Before I leave, I am going to make out with Greg Morris.” Greg had a mouth that reminded me of pomegranates, a burst of red color, and eyes like whiskey, much more palatable than the scotch we drank, maybe I should have grabbed that instead.

It made sense to want to lock lips with the gorgeous popular boy, but was he even gay? Did he have any idea our little group of friends even existed? Mile’s voice rose in volume and intensity when met with any doubts, voice filled with conviction, until his mom opened the door and told us to keep it down so his parents could pretend they didn’t know what we were doing.

The door closed, and the fight left him like it was never there.  “Fine, maybe I won’t.” All his previous words were forgotten, alcohol probably had that effect, but I didn’t think that’s what this was. His eyes turned serious for a moment, aware and intent, focused on me.

“If I don’t do it, it’s up to you.”

***

Once I had three friends at this school and now I had two.

I looked across the row of lockers, saw the way Greg’s profile looked bathed in light from the sun pouring in through a window, and I wanted.

A text message alert made me tear my eyes away.

Make me proud

Make yourself proud

Greg was so pretty it hurt. And me? I didn’t know how I measured up, but maybe that didn’t matter. I had three friends at this school and was suddenly down to two. I wanted more.

I’m not just gonna walk up and kiss him I texted back.

His response wasn’t surprising. You’ll at least go and say hi, right?

I couldn’t walk over and pull him into a passionate clench. But saying hi? It suddenly seemed easy in comparison. Sometimes it’s not about what you’re given but what you choose to do with it.

I walked over.

title from Emily Dickinson

via Daily Prompt: Inheritance