Spotlight of ‘Blue’ by B.G. Thomas
Word Count: 68,289
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 15, 2017
Blue McCoy has lived on the streets for a long time, surviving by his wits and doing what he must, and he’s not above using his youthful appearance and air of innocence to his advantage. It’s not an easy life, but he’s happy. He has everything he really needs: the clothes on his back, a house to squat in, a sweet dog. Everything except that special someone to love him.
Six months ago, John Williams’s wife left him because she was bored. “Even your name is boring” were her last words to him before she walked out. Now he’s by himself in a big house, trying to figure out what direction his life should take. He’s never been so alone.
A chance encounter sets John on a new path, a path that becomes clearer when loneliness sends him to a local animal shelter to get a dog—and he finds an angel instead. An angel named Blue. A crisis brings them together, but it is something else that keeps them there. Could it be love? A love that can forever end two men’s deep loneliness and bring them the support and sense of belonging they’ve searched for all their lives?
IT WAS a chilly evening. Someone had stolen Blue McCoy’s electric blanket, but of course there was no power in the abandoned house on Wyandotte Street. Not lately anyway. So it wasn’t like it would have kept him warmer than any other blanket. Luckily he’d hidden an old quilt in the attic. The room he’d claimed had a little door in the ceiling of the closet. The blanket was full of cigarette burns and a couple of ugly stains, but it gave him something to fight the chill.
That and Chewie.
Chewie was a labradoodle, a big, happy brown furry ball of joy—maybe even purebred—that Blue had met the week before. The stray had been matted and dirty and obviously hungry—Blue could see that even with his thick fur—and he had lured the dog to him with half his McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.
Which cost nearly five dollars for only ten, and that wasn’t even the meal deal. He would have gone to Wendy’s, which was much better—four nuggets for ninety-nine cents—but now that he no longer had a skateboard, it was a hell of a walk, even though it was also a hell of a savings.
Blue went to bed that night still hungry. He supposed Chewie did too. The labradoodle was far skinnier than he was. But there were people way worse off than them. Hell yes!
Tonight, cuddling with the dog helped. They kept each other warm.
Blue had named the dog after the famous sidekick from the Star Wars movies, of course. Movies his family had never tired of watching.
Back when things were magic.
That was a long time ago.
Not that his life was bad. He knew he had it better than a lot of people.
He kept finding jobs. Crazy, silly ones that didn’t last long, but they paid for the necessities in life.
Selling Christmas trees. He’d been surprisingly good at that one. He’d found that out when he’d done it for charity one weekend. He’d even scored a date with a real cute guy, but it hadn’t panned out. He had a knack for selling those trees and found a place that very Monday that paid him.
Dog walker. He’d loved that. He could manage seven dogs at once, even as slim as he was. Dogs liked him. Maybe they sensed a kindred soul in him. He didn’t know. All he knew was that he loved dogs, loved other people’s cats, loved animals in general. Their love was unconditional. Marilyn Monroe had said it so well. “Dogs never bite me. Just humans.” That was sure the truth. She was also rumored to have said “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.” Wise woman. Just look at what Lady Gaga had done with hers! Especially those gold ones she wore with the short-sleeved red, black, and gold Alexander McQueen at the 2010 VMAs! So hawt. Or those green armadillo shoes from the “Bad Romance” video. God. How he’d wanted to see what they’d look like on his own feet. They might even make him as tall as a normal person. But Vans were probably the best he’d ever have. Of course, his were secondhand….
Another crazy job he did now and then was note taker for college students. There were actually kids who would hire him to go to class for them and take notes. Crazy, but oh so cool. He had neat handwriting, which they liked, and he learned shit besides. Lots of shit. Cool shit. Blue knew lots of shit.
Jelly doughnut filler—that had been fun.
Dressing up as the Statue of Liberty and standing out on Thirty-Ninth Street in front of a tax place. That one could be rough because some of the days were very cold, and standing so close to the street meant that the wind wasn’t broken by buildings and could cut through his thin jacket almost as if it weren’t there. But who else could say they’d gotten paid, cash under the table—and wasn’t that ironic, considering—for dressing up like Lady Liberty?
He’d picked apples. He’d hitchhiked for three days to do that, and it had been easy to get the job. Everyone cried and boo-hooed that Mexicans were “taking jobs from Americans,” but the truth was that most people didn’t want to do stuff like that. The hours were long, it was monotonous, and the average person would consider it very boring. But Blue liked it. Picking apples allowed him to turn his brain off. His brain could go so fast—so very fast. And if he started talking when his brain was going quintuple (or milluple?) speed, then sometimes he couldn’t stop. The words would start pouring out of him, and they just wouldn’t end. They’d go on and on and on and on and on and on. And then he would suddenly realize what he was doing and be so embarrassed.
But it filled the silence.
He picked up a lot of Spanish while picking apples. Even his coworkers were surprised how much he learned.
People thought he was stupid. But he wasn’t.
It bothered him that people thought he was some kind of moron, but what was he to do? And sometimes it helped. He learned to let people think he was an airhead. People—especially older men who thought he was pretty—liked airheaded boys. Not that he was a boy. He was twenty-three!
Blue didn’t look for handouts, though. He worked; that’s what he did. Unlike a lot of people he knew, he found some kind of job.
And he moved through the days, one by one.
He peeled potatoes and washed dishes by the billions.
Painted fire hydrants—recently in South Hyde Park—a hideous orange and black.
He’d been a call center rep—he’d liked that job, but they said he talked to the people too much. He wasn’t supposed to ask them about their kids or if they’d seen the new Star Wars movie, and if they liked it or thought it was just a retread of A New Hope. His boss didn’t even like it when he asked what kind of dogs they had. (And why wouldn’t he? The calls he took were for people ordering dog food!) And she certainly didn’t like it if he gave them advice on how to get their husbands to pay attention to them. They fired him, and it was just as well, because he didn’t have a car and getting there every day had been a bitch.
And of course, there were always the men who wanted… things. “Favors.”
Of the… intimate kind.
It had shocked him the first time. When he realized what was happening. “Spend the night with me and I’ll feed you and give you a place to spend the night that has air conditioning”—or heat, depending on the time of the year. That was nice!
The next morning Blue had felt a bit sick, though.
But then he thought, Why not? It wasn’t like he was a whore or anything. He wasn’t charging. And maybe, just maybe, one of them would want him for something besides his body or his… talent.
Part of the deal, after all, was that he got to spend the night. Sometimes it was even a classy hotel instead of some cheap no-tell motel, and that usually meant at least a continental breakfast of croissants and rolls and muffins and bagels and fruit. At the worst he could expect coffee and those blueberry muffins in the sealed plastic bags (and there usually wasn’t anyone watching, so he could pop quite a few of them in his backpack for later and to share with his housemates). If he was really lucky, he could order room service after the guy left to go home to his girlfriend or wife or—surprisingly—husband. Men who had lives where they couldn’t be gay (or at least thought they couldn’t). Or maybe spouses who wouldn’t understand them or, for whatever reason, were unable to give those men what they needed.
Mom said those men used him.
“Like Kleenex! They blow their loads and use you to wipe it up and throw you away!”
He and the men both got something out of it. He a nice place to stay and maybe a few bucks—not that he charged! He was right up-front about that. Always. “I’m not a hustler!” But if some guy wanted to slip him a little money, it meant he would eat. At least he had the looks that a lot of men seemed to want. He looked young. Much younger than he was. And oh, weren’t they relieved when they found out he was legal? So yes, he used it. Used his looks and acted young as well. Let them think he was an airhead. And he survived. Thanked God too that life on the streets hadn’t aged him.
The truth was that Blue felt sorry for them. Felt sorry for the men who needed him! Usually—although not always—they were men who couldn’t face who or what they were. Men who had chosen “safety” in a heterosexual lifestyle and then now and again couldn’t stand the loneliness of it one second longer and sought out people like him. Even if it was just for one night.
There was this one regular—afterward the guy would always go into the bathroom and get on his knees and beg his God for forgiveness—who Blue finally had to stop seeing because those prayers made him cry. He couldn’t convince the man that God loved everyone. God loved all his children. All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white….
That’s what they sang at Blue’s grandparents’ church. The songs were the only things he’d liked about their church. “This Little Light of Mine” (… I’m gonna let it shine…), “Jesus Loves Me” (… this I know, for the Bible tells me so…), “Zacchaeus” (… was a wee little man, a wee little man was he…), “Kumbaya” (… kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya…).
Songs he’d liked before everything went really bad.
There was another good thing about those hotels. Blue was able to snitch some towels, sheets, little bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. Stuff like that. He didn’t feel guilty about it—well, a little bit about the sheets—because most of those men could afford the extra charges on their credit cards.
What would it be like to have a credit card? Blue wondered. He figured a credit card was something the likes of him would never have.
Blue was not unhappy. He liked his life. It was usually pretty cool. Sure there was some bad stuff. The incident last summer at camp (that had been pretty damned bad). Or the time he’d almost gotten arrested and what he’d had to do for that cop (there had been handcuffs and a trunk involved) to keep himself out of jail. And of course there was what had happened what felt like a thousand years ago when he lost his other half. Nothing would ever be that bad.
But Blue knew how to look for blessings.
Like tonight. It wasn’t as cold as it was last night.
And if it was, he knew he could always go to one of the other rooms in the house. Ruby had made it clear that he wanted Blue.
Gavel and Sly said he was always welcome to sleep in between them. He had the night before. That had been a regular three dog night. After they had sex, Chewie had even been welcomed onto the mattress to help keep them warm. So a four dog night.
But tonight Blue didn’t want that. He wanted to be alone.
Well, alone except for Chewie.
Hey! He had a place to be alone. So many people slept on a park bench or in an alley or under a bridge. He was blessed to have a roof over his head. And he liked the room he had claimed.
He liked the Grateful Dead poster on the wall. He’d found it at a garage sale for a buck, and it was more than he could afford right then, but he remembered his dad had liked them and he wanted it.
He liked the poster for some group called Electric I that had been on the wall already. Blue hadn’t been sure who they were, but then Sly had played him some of their music on his iPod—
Hey girl, with your eyes so blue
With your hair let down, can I git wich-u
Can I hold your hand and be your man?
Can I be your boy
—and while they weren’t the Beatles (who could be?) or even the Backstreet Boys (very cute, especially the oldest one, Kevin Richardson), they weren’t bad, not bad at all.
Blue liked the big table he’d made out of an old door and cinder blocks. It held all his stuff: his books and QuikTrip mug and CDs and candles.
He liked his candles. He had a ton of them, and he especially liked the ones that he’d cast from real men’s penises. It didn’t take much to convince a guy to let him cast his cock to make a candle. Men liked it when a big deal was made over their dicks. And it gave him something to remember them by. It showed that it had really happened. Someone had wanted him for at least a night. Someone had been willing to take the time to let him take a mold of their hard-on. And he had the added fun of making sure they stayed hard while the plaster of paris set.
It was sexy. And fun. And silly.
Silly was good.
If only he could get some famous people to let him cast their cocks! Maybe he’d get famous someday because of them. Some lady named Cynthia Plaster Caster—although her real name was Cynthia Albritton—had gotten famous casting cocks way back in the sixties. Rock stars and their road managers. Even Jimi Hendrix. Today she had a museum in New York. And not just Hendrix, who was famous to Blue as the guy whose “’scuse me while I kiss the sky” lyrics sounded like “’scuse me while I kiss this guy.” Lots more. A list of names Blue recognized even though he didn’t know who most of them were. Zal Yanovsky from the Lovin’ Spoonful, Ricky Fataar of the Beach Boys (who hadn’t heard of them?), Jello Biafra from the Dead Kennedys. And Frank Cook, Richard Cole, Bob Pridden, Danay West, Eddie Brigati, Harvey Mandel, Lee Mallory….
That list went on and on (a list he couldn’t help but remember because that’s just the way his brain worked). And it was kinda cool to look at all those candles and even cooler to look at his own candles and marvel at how many men let him make molds of their dicks. The candles really were… well, gorgeous.
If he had the chance to cast famous cocks, it would be—and as he lay there on the piss-stained mattress it gave him a hard-on to think of them—Justin Timberlake and Adam Levine (oh fuck!) and Bruno Mars and Nick Jonas and Austin Mahone (ggiiiirl!) and Jared Leto (oh!!!) and Zac Efron (those eyes, those abs, and if there was a God, then those pics on the Internet of Zac jacking off were real) and Michael Bublé (whose voice made Blue’s skin tingle) and Justin Bieber (a bit of a douche, but he had a huge dick) and Adam Lambert and Connor Jacobus of the Districts and Tobias Jesso Jr. and Keith Urban and LennyKravitzandUsher-BillieJoeArmstrongZaynMalik—
Chewie began to lick Blue’s face in huge, desperate, sloppy doggy kisses, and—whoa!—it brought him back to the here and now.
Blue had done it again.
His brain had started going faster and faster, thoughts piling on thoughts, overlapping, going into overdrive so that he didn’t know what was coming next. Even without people around for him to try to impress….
Or maybe, as he’d begun to suspect (realize?), it happened so he could fill in the silences.
Maybe he didn’t want to be alone tonight after all.
He got up and slipped into his jeans, and Chewie looked at him with big puppy-dog-eyed concern, and Blue said, “Come on, little man, let’s go,” and the labradoodle was up and at the door, tail wagging in anticipation. Blue put on his purple Converse high-tops (just to be sure; he didn’t want anyone taking them) and went to Ruby’s room, but he wasn’t there. So he tried Gavel and Sly’s room, but shit, they already had someone—they were all arms and legs and thrusting butts. Sly grinningly told him to join the party, but Blue wasn’t looking for an orgy tonight, only bodies to help keep him warm and feeling less alone. They only had a full-sized mattress anyway, and there wouldn’t be room for him after everyone was done.
Blue shook his head, mouthed a “Thank you,” and flashed them the “hang loose” sign, and then he took Chewie for a walk. The labradoodle approved of this decision and happily peed on half of Kansas City. Blue bummed a cigarette off a guy walking his own dog—a big shaggy red something—and he and Chewie walked on for a half hour after that, and then it really was just too cold.
He took Chewie home. They climbed into bed, spooned very close, and Blue hoped the weather forecast was right and that warm weather would greet him when he got up. He fell asleep fast and dreamed of better times in much sweeter places.
B.G. Thomas lives in Kansas City with his husband of more than a decade and half, and that marriage has been legal since 2014! They share their home with their fabulous dogs, Sarah Jane and Oliver. He is lucky enough to have a lovely daughter as well as many extraordinary friends.
B.G. loves romance, comedies, fantasy, science fiction and even horror—as far as he is concerned, as long as the stories are character driven and entertaining, it doesn’t matter the genre. Since he’s gone conventions since he was fourteen years old, he’s been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers, many of whom inspired him to pursue his own writing dreams.
Excited about the growing male/male romance market, he decided to begin writing for the first time in years. Gay men are what he knows best, after all. He submitted his first story in years and was thrilled when it was accepted in only four days, and since then has had over thirty short stories, novellas and novels published.
“Leap, and the net will appear” is his personal philosophy and his message to all. “It is never too late,” he states. “Pursue your dreams. They will come true!”
Visit his website and blog at http://bthomaswriter.wordpress.com/. You can contact him there and he is always happy to hear from his readers.
- BG Thomas: http://bthomaswriter.wordpress.com/