Stories Page 1

 

 

My Black Guitar     

      by Michael K. White

I don’t know whether or not this particular guitar was born cursed. Life’s too short to be superstitious, but the facts are the facts. Maybe it was made in the Fender factory in Mexico on the 13th hour of the 13th day of the...well there is no thirteenth month unless you count the Simpsons’ Smarch, so let’s just say that there is the possibility that this guitar is cursed. Maybe a luthier was crushed to death between the string rollers or something, like in that movie, “Christine.” Or not.


It was a beautiful black Fender Telecaster with a white pickguard and a light maple fretboard. It felt heavy and substantial, like a gun, yet it was sleek and mysterious and easy to play and it sounded like a crystalline clear chime. Its chrome hardware gleamed  substantially. Its polished elegant headstock was thrillingly emblazoned with the declaration; “FENDER ‘TeleCaster.”

Ever since I first saw it I coveted it.

The first time I saw it was in 1993, when I went to my friend Pete’s studio one day to find his hillbilly buddy Donnie Bird and a large amount of expensive music equipment filling the space. Donnie was Pete’s boyhood friend who liked to appear unannounced and remain for days at a time jamming with Pete and a couple of other musicians for epic stretches. Pete was not there, but Donnie explained to me that he had come into possession of all this equipment more or less unexpectedly and needed a place to stash it for a while. There were two guitars, the Telecaster and a beautiful Gibson black acoustic. There were three amps, including a six foot bass amp with a vintage tube head; much prized indeed by tube amp enthusiasts. There were parts of a drum kit, symbols and stands, a couple tom toms and funnily enough, the black padded stool.

When Donnie played the Telecaster that day, I was awed by its sinister beauty and sharp sound. I asked him how much he would sell it for, but he looked offended and didn’t answer. He put the guitar back in its case and went to make a phone call. In fact, Donnie Bird never spoke to me after that. I had crossed some invisible line that I was unable to fathom. Not being a real musician myself, I sometimes stumbled into territory that was familiar to me but I seemed to do all the wrong things. I was a wannabe and it showed.

In the coming months Pete had many financial crises which necessitated his selling off piece by piece the music equipment that Donnie Bird had stored with him. Pete was funny that way. Once something came into his possession he left it only if it could provide Pete with money. Legal ownership had nothing to do with it. Not that Donnie Bird owned any of this stuff. He didn’t. And that was the logic Pete used when he pawned, first the amps, then the drums and reluctantly, the acoustic guitar, for which he got almost five hundred dollars. (In the pawn shop they had it on sale for a thousand. It was a really beautiful guitar.)

The day came, of course when Donnie Bird reappeared at Pete’s studio, ready to play and sing in his high pitched twang for thirty six straight hours, only to find his shit gone and Pete telling him a lame story about being robbed and everything stolen. Donnie quite rightly pointed out that all of Pete's stuff was still there, like his cameras, etc., how come only his stolen music equipment was taken? Pete didn’t have an answer for this. Pete’s method of lying was straightforward. He stared at the ground and doggedly stuck to his story no matter what. He was a mountain and you were a single shovel.

Donnie did not stay to sing that night and in fact this ruptured his friendship with Pete. Pete knew he had gone too far, but as was his way he did nothing to rectify it. He did, however, stop playing the Telecaster. Yet he wouldn’t sell it, which was unusual for Pete. When I asked him about it, he became moody and mysterious. It sat in its coffin-like hardshell case, and once in a while I would take it out and fondle it.

Around this time, after groping the guitars in Pete’s studio for a number of months, I started to play. I learned three chords and suddenly Pete and I were writing songs. I bought a black Korean acoustic guitar. I could play four songs. They were our own songs of course, I couldn’t play anything else. My friend Jeff started playing with us. Jeff was from the Eddie Van Halen School of rock, Pete was from the Dave Gilmour School of rock and I was like an idiot savant primitive finger painter who employed arresting shapes and colors. For some reason it all worked.

We played every Friday night, blowing through our set while smoking huge amounts of pot and burning whole forests of incense. I should say that Pete and I were smoking pot. Jeff, easily the most mature and level headed of our trio, disdained it, preferring to drink Guinness from black, long necked bottles. Like all lead guitarists, Jeff could be fussy and stubborn. It was hard to get him to just cut loose. He played a Rare Bird guitar that was custom made for him by tiny Belgian luthier elves working in secret guitar workshops deep in the petrified black forests of Colorado. Jeff had an equally nice acoustic guitar which, while not made from the supernatural powers of small homunculi, still had a chiming kick ass ring to it.

Pete was savvy and equally good in a totally different way. He could play in any style but he had a tendency to vamp the same vamp over and over and if Pete did not want to play a particular song then we didn't play it. Pete always wanted to play Jeff’s guitars, and Jeff, sensing rightly that this would be a big mistake, was reluctant to let him.

Then there was me. I was like a caveman beating two rocks together. So I sang. Because after all, they were my songs. Pete and I wrote them in a pot smoking frenzy and they were instant classics. There was “Worried About Anthony Quinn,” “John Boy’s Got A Boner” (A tribute to the Waltons), “Messin’ With Magnets,” “Troy’s new car is Dirty”, “Jack Ruby’s Gun,” and “Fat Dog in America.” We burned bright. But one night it all came crashing down.

It was a rainy Friday, just on the cusp of autumn and before we started Pete asked Jeff if he could play his acoustic guitar. Jeff’s guitar was fairly high end while Pete’s was of the pawnshop variety. Pete explained that his guitar’s “intonation” was bad, a phrase Pete employed often in order to play someone else’s guitar. I had no idea what he meant by that and I suspect Jeff didn’t either, but I may be wrong, because Jeff silently handed over the guitar trying not to look too worried.

That night was by far our best performance. And we were foresighted enough to film it on a cool grainy Fisher Price video camera for kids that Pete had stolen from someone. The picture was blurry and cutting edge and avant garde. It looked so cool. We played with fire and particularly on the last song, “Troy’s new car is Dirty,” we burned through it.

About three quarters through the song Pete’s guitar playing changed. I just figured he was trying something new, but he raced to the finish and as the last notes died out, he turned his back to us. Jeff and I grinned at one another because we knew we had really played good, and we exchanged shrugs at Pete’s floor staring shuffle. I stepped from the microphone and walked out front to talk to Jeff’s wife Jenny. As I did we both watched in horror what happened next.

Jeff was putting his Rare Bird guitar back into its casket when Pete walked up to him, still clutching the acoustic guitar in playing position.

“Jeff, I gotta tell you something.”

Pete was serious and his voice carried the hint of resignation. Jeff looked up from his beauty, his mouth open. Instinctively he slammed the case for the Rare Bird shut and snapped the clasps without taking his eyes off of Pete. Pete had let go of the acoustic guitar’s neck and the headpiece dangled from steel strings like a limp penis. Pete had snapped the neck while playing “Troy’s new car is Dirty.”

“I always hated playing that fucking song anyway," Pete would say later, but now was not the time for such statements. Jeff was in shock. I was in shock. Jenny was mad.

Jeff stood slowly, deliberately, his face betraying nothing as Pete slunk out of the guitar and handed it to him.

“I’m sorry,” Pete said in a mournful voice. He then started jabbering about paying Jeff back for it, paying to have it fixed, whatever it took to make it right, etc,...But Jeff wasn’t listening. None of us were. We stood transfixed as Jeff cradled his dead guitar, staring at it in disbelief.

“It’s…okay...” he said slowly, mechanically. His face was frozen. “I...can...get...it...fixed...”

Pete suddenly thrust the black Telecaster at Jeff. “Here man,” he said, his voice trembling with guilt and shame. “Here, take this. I want you to have it. You can sell it and get a new acoustic. I’m so sorry man. I’m really sorry...”

Jeff held out his hand as if repelling an attack. “No, I don’t want your guitar,” he said, still in a robotic shocked filled monotone. He looked at the dangling headstock and shook his head sadly. “I don’t need your guitar.” He didn’t say it to be mean and it didn’t sound that way. But Pete insisted, throwing the Telecaster down.

We only played a few more times after that, but it was never the same. Eventually Pete and I had a falling out over the usual things Pete fell out over, mainly his appropriation and sale of other people’s belongings. Jeff moved to Iowa and Pete ended up in Australia. Jeff never played his acoustic guitar again, even though he spent two hundred dollars having it repaired. He said it was never the same and I believed him. He never touched or looked at the black Telecaster. This I knew was my opening. I offered to buy the Telecaster from him. He didn’t hesitate. He said if I gave him sixty bucks I could have it. And that is how I came into its possession.

I treasured my new guitar and I bought a small pawn shop amp to play it through. I would stay up late smoking pot and grinding with headphones on at full volume. I got a little better but I really didn’t improve upon my three chord repertoire. I did however milk a lot of riffs from those three chords. Eventually I fell into a band with my drummer friend Dan and his vato grindcore fanatic friend, Lee. We jammed and thrashed; we called ourselves noisecore or candy punk and we also had some killer songs. I have a video tape of us playing a long instrumental jam. This was the night that I played so hard and so free that I raked the fingernails off my hand and kept on going, staining the Telecaster’s white pickguard with my blood. Rock and Roll! After a while most of the blood flaked off, leaving only fine rusty lines in the minute scratches on the white plastic.

For some reason my toddler son was obsessed with this video, watching us play this long song over and over. When Lee happened to come over one day my son was shocked and amazed that a TV star would actually come to his house.

One beautiful fall day, I had loaded the amp and the black Telecaster into the trunk of my car to go play with Dan and Lee. I had just unloaded my son out of his car seat and handed him off to my wife and was three blocks away when an old man ran a stop sign and t-boned me. The car was destroyed, I was badly jangled but the Telecaster (uncased) appeared to be unharmed. I took it to a music store to have it checked out and explained what had happened to the mullet-headed dude behind the counter. He smiled wrongly; taking the guitar saying that it sounded like the “intonation” was fucked up and we would have to charge the insurance company a hundred bucks to fix it.

After that I stopped playing it. I hung it on the wall, like a trophy or a sculpture, its heavy black body and light neck, its shiny chrome and bloodstained white pick guard. I would often look at it, admire it, but I could never bring myself to pick it up and fondle it. It started gathering dust and I felt guilt now every time I looked at it. “It’s so handsome, so sleek,” I would think admiringly, and then I would go to touch it and pull away.

A few years later, after a devastating divorce and a subsequent move, I came home to find I had been robbed. Among other things, the black Telecaster was gone. Its distinctive shape was still outlined in dust on the wall where it had rested. I felt an odd sense of relief. It was truly Karma that this guitar should be stolen from me, that it should return to the ether of stolen guitars or the reality of someone’s bedroom, where it will either once again wreak its havoc with the lives of all who possess it or will unlock the music in someone and redeem itself.

Donnie Bird died last year under mysterious circumstances. When I talked to his sister, Stormy, she said that he died alone in a room devoid of any furniture and that all he owned in the world was “A guitar. A black guitar.”

 

Bio: As one half of the semi-legendary playwriting team Broken Gopher Ink, MICHAEL K. WHITE spent his youth tricking and fooling producers into investing their dirty money in his lurching, lumbering plays. Incredibly this led to forty play productions, including fifteen off-Broadway runs that cloaked the author with a bogus literary credibility he misuses to this day. His low cholesterol mega monologue play, "My Heart And the Real World" ran for almost two years in New York City, enabling the authors to eat at John's Pizzeria. In 2007 his story “13 Halloweens” was chosen as one of the ten best stories published in 2006 by the super cool folks at Story South.

A shy, humble man who lives with the cows in Colorado, White, a frequently published, deeply scarred veteran of the furious litmag scene of the 80s, is now content to live in solitude with his debts and addictions. Recently he was unpleasantly surprised to find an extended family of black and yellow snakes living inside the crack between the steps and his house. He found this out the hard way.
Contact: Broken Gopher Ink
www.brokengopher.com, brokengopher@frii.com
 

 

Celine

          by  Milan Smith

 

 

Celine and I love the theater, we love it so much we go to every show the city puts on, even the bad ones, which is all we really get here in Cervantes. And though we adore the dramas and the comedies, we love musicals the best. Music is Celine's life, her drug of choice, she even sings for tips in a local night club – if you want to call it singing – and would do it for nothing if she had to. 
     
In a small town like Cervantes we never get to see anything professional, so when we heard a Broadway show was coming we bought tickets the first day and waited with all impatience until play night, and then drove to the theater an hour early. While we sat there waiting I read the program three times as Celine again told me everything she knew about the show, and when she'd done that she started to make things up, telling me stories about the actors that I knew were lies. I didn't mind, I've done the same thing when I've been bored, but I was grateful when people started pouring in the theater. I could tell right away it was a sell-out crowd, and the people buzzed madly around us.
     
One of the first to arrive was a couple named the Delaney's, who sat next to Celine. Mr. Delaney was a thick, red-faced all-American looking guy of about 50, and Mrs. Delaney was a much younger frumpy blond, who was also six or seven months pregnant. She and Celine immediately started talking about the play. Celine, I've found, can make friends anywhere. Mrs. Delaney hadn't seen the show before, but she'd read up and knew everything about the actors and director and writer – even the gossip, which is the part Celine and I loved best. Since the play opened late, they talked for a long time, and Celine loved listening because it reminded her of her own show business traumas. They went on this way until Mrs. Delaney gave a little jump. "Oh," she said, "I think he kicked."
     
 
Celine bent over as Mrs. Delaney rubbed her stomach, and Mr. Delaney and I leaned forward to watch. The kid kicked for a few minutes, then Mrs. Delaney sighed. "I think he's done," she said. "He's been busy all week, just kicking away."
     
"Is he your first?" Celine asked.
     
"Our second, actually. Our first is three. This young man comes in two months."
     
Then Mrs. Delaney looked at Celine – who was a big woman, six-foot and heavy set  – and pointed to her belly. "So, how far along are you?" Mrs. Delaney asked.
     
I cringed. Celine has a sharp tongue, which she often unleashes upon the foolish or insulting. I grabbed Celine's hand and gave her thick fingers a squeeze as she lay her other hand on her stomach. Then Celine gave Mrs. Delaney a cherub-like smile and said, "Six months."
    
 I bit my cheeks to keep from laughing, then I leaned over, rubbed Celine's belly and said, "I can't wait, this'll be our first."
    
 Celine slapped my hand so hard it stung – she's a strong woman. "Enough honey," she said in a loud whisper, "we're in public."
    
 I frowned as Mr. Delaney leaned forward with his eyes blank and jaw open. I turned and sat back in my seat. 
     
"My sweetie is a bit overeager," Celine said. "He gets excited and sometimes needs a reminder to behave." 
    
 "Oh, there's nothing wrong with that, ma'am," Mr. Delaney said, "I was a little giddy myself when Gail was pregnant the first time." 
     
"Oh, call me Celine." Mr. Delaney nodded and leaned back. 
    
 I sighed and re-read the program as Mrs. Delaney and Celine now talked kids. Since this was Mrs. Delaney's second, she explained all the wonderful things Celine still had ahead of her. I half-listened as Mrs. Delaney described the pains and joys of natural childbirth. Celine put on a good show, and talked about her morning sickness and other fun details. 
    
 "My feet hurt all the time now," Celine said. "Is that normal?"
    
 "I'm afraid it is," Mrs. Delaney said. "Have you gotten swollen ankles yet?"
    
 "Well, in the mornings," Celine said. "They seem to go away after I get up, though my feet still hurt for hours." And so Mrs. Delaney poured out sympathy and understanding. She laid her hand on Celine's arm, and looked startled for a moment, then looked at me. Then she smiled sweetly, but Celine didn't notice, I think, since she was rubbing her tummy. I smiled back at Mrs. Delaney, wondering.
     
And so they talked on and on and on. And on. Celine always wanted to be pregnant and has read a great deal about the process – it's really touching when you consider her situation – so she was able to make her way through the conversation and sound like a real first-time mother. When they got to the subject of names, I said I wanted to call our kid Jeffrey, after me, if it was a boy. Celine gave me frightening look and I shut up. 
    
Then the lights fell and the curtain rose. I admit I didn't like the show much, but it was funny and the lyrics catchy, and I heard Mrs. Delaney hum with a few of the songs. Homosexuality was a big theme in the play, and the jokes were about misconceptions and misunderstandings between straights and gays, with references to drag queens and how devastating it is when your lesbian lover goes off and sleeps with a man. Everyone had a good laugh, then the first act ended and the curtain dropped.
     
"Oh this is wonderful," Mrs. Delaney said to Celine. "I've wanted to see this show for years. I almost did when we were in New York, but Tom wanted to go to a Yankees game."
    
"Well, luckily it came here," Celine said.
     
"Oh, there ain't nothing wrong with a good ball game," Mr. Delaney said, leaning forward again.
 
"Besides, we don't have any pro teams 'round here."
     
"Yes, I know dear," Mrs. Delaney said. "Well, I have to go to the ladies room, would you excuse me?"
     
"Oh, I'll join you," Celine said. She put the program on her seat and turned to me. "We'll be back in few minutes," she said, and laid a heavy hand on my knee. "You be good."
     
"Sure," I said, "go have fun." Celine's eyes narrowed, and I tried not to smile. So Mrs. Delaney and Celine threaded their way up the aisle and out of sight. 
    
I looked at Mr. Delaney as he stared at the crowd around us. He had a puzzled look on his face, and I assumed the play confused him somehow. Then he saw me watch him. He stuck his thumb out toward the stage and said, "So what do you think about all this stuff?"
    
 "What stuff?"
    
 "Well, the queer stuff."
    
 "Oh, I don't know," I said. "Why?"
    
 "Well, I dunno," he said. "Just asking."
    
 I already knew what he was thinking about, and not wanting to get into it with him, I just shrugged and reached for the program. But as I did, a wicked thought came over me, as wicked thoughts often do, and I turned in my seat. "It actually seems a bit freakish," I said. "I wonder if they use real queers for the gay parts?"
     
Then Mr. Delaney smiled and straightened up. "I wondered that, too. They'd have to be, don't ya think, to get all that limp-wristed stuff down right?"
     
"Limp-wristed?"
     
"Yeah, you know, that whole walking-light-in-the-loafers thing."
     
"Yeah," I said, "the effeminate stuff. I guess so. Of course, they're supposed to be really good actors. Broadway and all that, you know."
     
Mr. Delaney nodded. "Yeah, that's true," he said. He rubbed the back of his neck, which was as red as his face. Then he got up and moved one chair closer. "One thing I always wondered," he said, as he leaned toward me, "why don't those guys just get a girl and live like normal folks?"
     
"The gay guys?"
     
"Yeah."
     
"Well, I don't know," I said. "To hear them say it, they were born that way, but I don't know if I buy that."
     
"Yeah, yeah," he said, "me, either."
     
"But they're here," I said, "and they're everywhere. You just can't get away from them. In TV, movies, sports, everywhere."
     
"Sports?" he said, and drew back. "Nah, I don't remember seeing any of them on TV."
    
"You can't always tell," I said. "Some act as normal as you and me."
    
"No, I don't believe that. I'm sure I could tell a homosexual if I seen one."
    
 I shook my head sadly. "I'm afraid not, Mr. Delaney."
    
 "Oh, call me Tom," he said, and stuck out his hand. It was thick and hard and calloused.
    
 
 "I'm  Jeffrey," I said, and felt my long, thin fingers crackle in his.
    
"Now, who exactly is there in the NFL that's gay?" he asked, "Or in baseball?"
     
Oh hell, I thought, what do I know about sports? Not a damn thing. So who, who, who? Then a name came to me, a professional baseball player, and I said it.
    
 Mr. Delaney's eyes narrowed as he thought this over. "You don't say? Well, you know, I've always thought he was a little graceful down there on the field, now that you mention it."
    
 Then I named an NFL player.
    
 "Well, goddamn," Mr. Delaney said. "He's one, too? Where'd you hear that?"
    
 "On the news," I said. "They didn't play it up too much."
     
"Huh, well how about that," Mr. Delaney said. "Goddamn, you think you know a feller, and he turns out to be a queer." 
     
"Oh, but it doesn't end there," I said. "Doctors, lawyers, politicians. There's that congressman in Massachusetts, he's openly gay."
     
"Well, those Massachusetts people are a little funny anyway," Mr. Delaney said. "You won't see any of those kind ‘round here. Not in Congress, anyway."
    
 "No," I said, "I guess you wouldn't." I leaned back as Mr. Delaney stuck a finger in his collar and pulled. 
    
 "I wonder what's taking Celine so long," I said, just to have something to say.
    
 He laughed. "Oh, them pregnant women take forever," he said. "Every five minutes they have to get up and go. Better get used to it. So how long you two been married?"
     
"About a year," I said, and shoved my left hand, with the non-existent wedding band, under my leg. "And you?"
     
"Fifteen years," he said. "Pretty good years, too. But, my wife is into all that culture and opera and stuff. Kinda annoying. Sounds like yours is, too."
     
I nodded, but didn't pay much attention. I yearned for something to say, something to shock Mr. Delaney, really rattle him. Not to be mean, but just to have a little fun. It took a minute, but the idea came, and it was good. 
    
 "You know," I said, lowering my voice, "they say John Wayne was gay." Mr. Delaney looked puzzled.
    
 "I don't believe that," Mr. Delaney said. "That's a lie."
     
"I know, I can't believe it either. But they say after he died they found a stack of letters from his lover, some 21-year-old  Hispanic guy, named Hernando."
 
Of course, this was all bull, but what the hell, I was on a roll.
 
"You know, one of his biographers said John Wayne acted macho just to hide his true feelings. That all he really wanted was a good man to come home to after a long day's work. A man to snuggle up with on those cold western nights. And occasionally to romp around with in women's underwear."
 
Mr. Delaney's mouth dropped and his face got redder, and he made strange noises in the back of the throat.
 
"I think it's all a lie," I said, "made up by those goddamn queers to bring down an American icon."
     
Mr. Delaney shut his mouth and turned away. I guess I overplayed it a little because he moved back to his seat and stared down at his lap. It was clear he wouldn't say much more, but after many minutes of silence I got worried and tried to soften him up before Celine got back. 
     
"I wonder what's taking the ladies so long," I said. No reply. "Maybe they forgot about us," I said, "women and bathrooms and all that." But I was talking to myself, so I gave up on Mr. Delaney, and began to read the program again. A few minutes later, Celine and Mrs. Delaney returned.
     
Celine saw something was wrong as soon as she sat down. "What are you two talking about?" she asked. 
    
 I took her hand and caressed it. "We were just discussing a thing or two about homosexuals," I said. "I was just here telling Mr. Delaney, I mean Tom, that John Wayne was a queer."
    
 "What?" She looked at Mr. Delaney, who now stared at the people around us. I imagine he was looking for suspiciously limp wrists. "Oh, Mr. Delaney, I'm so sorry," Celine said in a whisper, "he was just kidding. Of course, John Wayne's not gay."
    
 Mrs. Delaney stroked her husband's arm. "Honey, did you hear? It was just a joke. Calm down, honey."
    
 But Mr. Delaney only grunted as a vein pulsed in his temple, and his face remained red. Celine sat down and wrapped her thick fingers around my knee and squeezed. "Now, honey," she said, quiet and cold, "apologize to Mr. Delaney."
   
As she squeezed, I gritted my teeth and leaned forward. "Mr. Delaney," I said, "I'm sorry, I was just kidding." Mr. Delaney said nothing and didn't look in my direction. Mrs. Delaney and Celine looked at each other, then at me. I shrugged and threw up my hands. Celine let me go and sat back. The lights fell and the second half started.
    
The second half was better than the first, but Celine and I didn't laugh much, and neither did the Delaneys. It was a tense hour-and-a-half. After the show, we stood and made our  goodbyes to the Delaneys, but Mr. Delaney only grunted. 
    
 Celine and I turned and walked out of the theater. She never said a word to me, even after we were in the car and on the road home, and that wasn't normal. I expected her to yell or scream or start in with the bitchy sarcasm, but she said nothing, and that scared me a little. And so, after 20 minutes of silence, I had to say something. 
     
"Well, what'd you and Mrs. Delaney talk about?" I asked. "You were gone a long time." 
     
Celine stared out the window and sighed. "Pregnancy," she said. "Gail was wonderful, she gave me a lot of advice. She told me how a baby rips through your vagina, and how you scream for 16 hours while your husband sits there and tells you to breathe. She went into too much detail, but she meant well." She looked at me. "Maybe I'm not missing much after all." 
     
I didn't answer, and she turned back to the window. I could feel her sadness, she'd never have the one thing she wanted most out of life, the one thing she wanted even more than music, and music was something she'd die without.
     
"I think she knew," Celine said.
    
 "Really?"
    
 "Yes. Well, I didn't ask." Celine now looked back at me. "So what happened between you and Mr. Delaney?"
    
 "We just talked."
     
 "Just talked?"
    
 "Yes."
    
 "And what did you talk about?"
     
"Oh, you know, sports and movies mostly. A little bit about politics. And Mr. Delaney said he could tell a homosexual on sight. He all but swore by it."
    
 "And could he?"
 
I smiled and patted her knee. "Not quite," I said. Then I laughed. I shouldn't have, Celine wasn't feeling well at the moment, but I was proud of myself, and of the way I'd handled Mr. Delaney. And why shouldn't I be? After all, I'm gay, and Celine's really a man.
 
 
 
 
 



 

BIO: Milan Smith has published 25 short stories in various magazines, including Cynic Online Magazine (July 2007), Midnight Times (Nov. 2007), and Crimson Highway (Apr. 2008.) After he got his B.S. degree in business from the University of Florida, he worked in the business world for two years, and hated it. Then he got a job as a reporter  for a year, and hated that. Finally, he decided to try writing, and now works part-time at night and writes during the mornings, and he loves it.