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15th May 2010
Bristlecone Pine Press Call for Submissions: Vintage
Pictures and photographs capture our faces and preserve our memories. Generations later, they spark our imaginations, making us wonder: Who is in the picture? What are they doing? How are they feeling?Vintage
is a call for written works inspired by pictures or photographs. We are looking for authors who will tell us the story behind those two men on the beach…or standing next to bench…or staring out a window…or looking oddly shy in each other’s presence. We want high quality, original fiction that will draw the reader into world of the photo, to share and reminisce. GuidelinesLength
: Short novels, 10K to 50K wordsTheme
: Historical love stories that feature a relationship between male same-sex couples, inspired by a picture or photograph. While the actual taking of the photograph (or painting of the picture) does not need to be included in the narrative, the picture/photo does need to be included in the storyline. If you want examples of what we are thinking of, you might want to read Our One and Only
by E.N. Holland or Lover’s Knot
by Donald Hardy (see in particular, pp. 259-260 and p. 324).
For the purposes of this collection, “historical” is defined as any time in history in which a photograph or painted picture could be produced, with a cut-off date of 1985. Love stories, to us, are those stories that tell of a relationship in a realistic and meaningful way. We do not have a requirement for a “happy ever after” or a “happy for now” ending although that certainly would be acceptable. We recognize the challenges that same-sex couples have faced in the past (and continue to face, but that’s another story) and that can be portrayed, although we also would like these relationships shown in a loving and positive way, to the extent that is possible, given time and circumstance.
Characters can be any age from 15 on up. For stories that feature characters under the age of 18, the relationship must be consensual and presented in a positive light. Teenagers exploring a first, forbidden love would be fine; an older man raping a younger boy would not. It should go without saying but we’ll say it anyway: no incest or bestiality. No vampires or werewolves, no paranormals, although if a story featured a ghost in the old fashioned, classic definition of a ghost story, that would be considered. Again, Lover’s Knot
is a good example of the latter.
As these are love stories, scenes of characters making love can certainly be included but we do not have a requirement for a set number of sex scenes or level of explicitness. Let your own judgment be your guide: if it is important to the story, include it; if not, leave it out. In general, we are looking for books written for an adult audience that will appeal to a wide variety of readers.SubmissionsQuery
: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Include Query: Vintage and the proposed title of your book in the subject line. In the body of the email, include a one paragraph (150-200 word) synopsis of the story. Attach to the email: 1) the photo/picture that inspired you; and 2) the first 5000 words of your story, in a Word doc or PDF. Manuscripts do not need to be complete to be submitted. If an incomplete manuscript is accepted, the completed manuscript will be due two (2) months after the final contract is negotiated and signed. Publication will be two (2) months after a final, completed, edited manuscript is signed off by the author and accepted by the publisher.
Please include your contact information including name, address, email address, and phone number. Queries can be submitted under a pen name, if one is used, although a legal name will be required for a contract, if one is offered.
Queries will be acknowledged upon receipt. A final decision on acceptance/rejection will be made within two (2) weeks. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, please re-send, as messages do get lost in cyberspace.Photograph/Picture and Cover
: All books in the Vintage
series will use the template cover, as illustrated here, substituting the author’s name, book title, and photograph/picture. Photographs/pictures must be in the public domain or you must have documented permission for its use.Production, Sales, and PaymentProduction
: All books will be edited by BCPP staff. Books will be assigned an ISBN and listed in Books in Print. Covers, as noted above, will use the Vintage
: eBook only. BCPP produces books in a variety of formats that can be read on multiple devices, including laptops/PCs, smartphones/PDAs, iPhones/iPads, the Nook, the Sony e-reader, and the Amazon Kindle. Books are sold in several outlets including Amazon, All Romance ebooks, and OmniLit. We do not sell in the Sony store, although books are sold in a format that is readable on the Sony e-reader. Plans are in the works to sell in the AppleStore.Pricing
: Books will priced and sold according to length: up to 15K words, $2.99; 15K to 30K words, $3.99; 30K words and above, $5.99.Royalties and Advances
: BCPP is a traditional royalty paying publisher. At the time the book is deployed for sale at the outlets through which we sell, an advance (against royalties) will be paid, based on length: up to 15K words, $25; 15K to 30K words, $50; 30K words and above, $100. After that, royalties are paid quarterly at a rate of 40% of the net proceeds to the publisher. Marketing
: Marketing is a joint effort between the author and the publisher. All Vintage
books will be featured on the Bristlecone Pine Press website (www.bcpinepress.com) and included in our catalog. We will submit review copies to popular review sites, including Speak Its Name and Reviews by Jessewave. We hope that the Vintage
books become a recognizable and popular series that readers will look forward to and purchase impulsively.Deadline
This is an ongoing call for submissions. At present there is no deadline. Submissions are welcome at any time. Please feel free to direct questions about this call to the publisher, Leslie H. Nicoll, at email@example.com. You may also leave questions here, in the comments section, and they will be answered publicly. Keep that in mind--specific questions that pertain to your particular idea would probably be best addressed in an email.
The Bristlecone Pine Press editorial team looks forward to hearing from you!
7th August 2009
The Scandalous Smuggler or: Murder at Malharbour Manor
I have been having fun this week tag-teaming with my friends Alex Beecroft an Jordan Taylor, contributing to an online, ongoing story. It is called : The Scandalous Smuggler or: Murder at Malharbour Manor
and can be found at CoffeeTime Romance & More
Alex wrote this summary fo the action so far...
One week into our story, I thought I would summarize what had happened so far, and extend another invitation to come and join the fun. So... the story so far:
It was a dark and stormy night, and the mysterious Phillip Hunt was signalling from a bedroom window to a ship out in the harbour below, when a scream rang out. The master of the house, Septimus Hambley, was found lying in his bed, beheaded, the curtains behind him a waterfall of blood.
Meanwhile, down in the cellar, Septimus' son, William, choosing wine for his guests' dinner, came upon a strange bundle. He opened it and was confronted with his father's head. He swooned, bashing his own head on the wine-rack as he fell. Shock horror! Fortunately a famous (famous in the vicinity of the local pub, at least) French detective, Pepin Leveque is on hand, in the local pub, and is called for. He amazes the company with his forceful command of the situation and remarkable turns of phrase, deducing from the splatter patterns on the curtains that the murder was done by a left handed man.
William, revived from his swoon, is tended to by his best friend, Andrew, whom he loves with a passion that dare not speak its name. Andrew, who is in very much the same situation but vice versa, is moved by his friend's accident to dare a quick kiss to the back of the neck. But just as they pondering the meaning of this action, Philip bursts in and makes some very knowing remarks that discomfort them both.
Philip seems to be about some mysterious business out on the docks, so Andrew follows him to see what he's up to, while William steels himself to confront his father's dead body. Gasp! But what is this? This man has calloused hands and tattoos! This is not William's father at all. There must have been two beheadings!
But William is a smart cookie, and it occurs to him, as he's walking down the family portrait gallery how very waxy and strange the skin of the dead head had looked, how he hadn't looked close enough to see the severed neck. OMG! Could it be a waxwork head?
Rather than put his master through the potential anguish of handling his dead father's head the family retainer, Hastings, picks up the grisly object and reveals that it is indeed a wax head. Maybe Septimus is still alive after all?
William thanks Hastings, little realizing that the man harbours more than a professional affection for him.
Meanwhile, Andrew (who is a nice lad, but a little blond) having lost Philip in the rainy dark decides it is a good idea to walk up to a group of rough looking sailors and say 'excuse me, gentlemen?' Knocked out by a two by four to the head, he is hauled into the presence of the man in charge and wakes up for long enough to realize it is Septimus Hambley, William's supposedly dead father, before darkness takes him once more.
LOL! Allow me to say OH MY GOD! This is fantastic fun, and I have to thank in particular Jordan Taylor and MaineWriter for creating this powerhouse of twisty goth mystery. But please, if you think you could complicate this further, or make sudden blinding sense of everything, please do chip in. There are no limits - a single paragraph is as welcome as a whole scene - and the sense of mad inventiveness is delightful, and can only be improved by more people joining in.
So come and swap a salty smuggling scene today!
Let me echo Alex's invitation to come join the fun. You can just read, pen a few sentences, or write a whole scene. Whatever...I really think this is a "more the merrier" type party and I would love to have more folks come in and join the fun. I look forward to hearing from you!
19th June 2009
Announcing a fantastic book coming in January, 2010! Published by : Cheyenne Publishing
and Bristlecone Pine Press
. Hidden Conflict: Tales from Lost Voices in Battle, is an anthology of four novellas covering three centuries of love between men in the military.
Blessed Isle by Alex Beecroft
1790 British Age of Sail
While on shore leave in Rio de Janeiro, a captain has fallen in love with his lieutenant. En route to Australia, prisoners mutiny and the two men escape in one of the ship’s boats; only to encounter even greater perils. . . .
Not to Reason Why by Mark R. Probst
1876 US Cavalry
A corporal in the 7th Cavalry stationed at Fort Lincoln has, for years, been smitten with a sergeant who is also his best buddy. Their lives are changed when Custer leads them on an expedition to round up renegade Sioux tribes.
No Darkness by Jordan Taylor
1915 British WWI
Lieutenant Darnell and Private Fisher are trapped in a root cellar after an unexpected shelling behind the trenches in WWI. While the men struggle to survive and escape their dark tomb, they form a bond neither expected.
Our One and Only by E. N. Holland
1944 US WWII and aftermath
What happens when one must grieve in private? That is what Philip is forced to do when his closest friend—and lover—is killed in France during the second round of D-Day. The story covers a forty year arc as Philip works to understand and accept his grief.
(In case anyone is wondering, I am writing as E. N. Holland. So if you enjoyed A Love Born From Steel and Through the Veil of Time, you'll have an original novella to look forward to in a few months. I'll post updates here and on Facebook
as the project moves forward.)
11th May 2008
Mother 's Day, 2008
“The Brother” she called it. A typewriter-plus, bought to replace the computer which had too many “plus” features for my father to understand. Now the Brother has too many plus features and has been rendered unusable. :
“I need to type the agenda for the Garden Club!” my mother said, angry on the surface, underneath, sad at the losses.
“I’ll type it for you, Mom. Just write it by hand.”
“No, you do too much.”
“Don’t be silly, I type all the time.”
“I love typewriters!” my daughter crowed.
“Good, take it, it takes up space in the closet.”
My father found a spare ribbon, still in the box. My mother's eyes narrowed. “He can’t find the instruction book, but finds that,” she said, still angry.
At home, I treat myself to a lunch of bread, cheese, and olives, with a glass of wine and a nap for dessert. I stand in the doorway and hear sounds from my daughter’s room.
Clackity clack clack clack.
“Are you writing the Great American Novel?” I call up the stairs.
“Sure am, Mom!”
Happy Mother’s Day.
23rd October 2007
Drabble: prompt, police report, cops and robbers
Sage, Wyoming :
“Ed, I think you should contact the police—file a police report. Let them know what happened.”
“Eleanor, I’m telling you, keep out of it. It’s none of their goddamned business.”
“Of course it’s their business! A man has been murdered! This isn’t a game of cops and robbers, this is real!”
“Fucking pervert is what he was and the world is well rid of him.”
“Edward, how can you say such a thing? Earl was a neighbor and has lived in this town for years. He never did anything against you.”
“Eleanor, I’m telling you again, keep your fucking nose out of it. It’s none of your goddamned business!”
Ennis Del Mar watched as his father drew his arm back, a murderous rage in his eyes. He couldn’t bear to watch and ran to his room, burying his head in his pillow, hoping to stifle the sound of his crying. He knew that if his father heard him bawling, he’d get whupped too.
22nd October 2007
Drabble: prompt, scent, cents
Somewhere in Wyoming :
Ennis buried his head in Jack’s neck, drinking in the combined scents of his lover: whiskey, smoke from the campfire and cigarettes, an earthy smell of sweat and musk. “Jack, promise me something,” he mumbled, still inhaling deeply.
Jack started. Ennis wasn’t one to lightly ask for promises. “What’s that cowboy?” he replied.
“Don’t start wearing no fancy aftershave or cologne or anything. I can’t stand smelly stuff…I like the way you smell just natural. Like the outdoors. Like a…man.” He said the last words slowly, realizing he was admitting in a small way that he liked—maybe loved—a man, liked the way a man smelled.
“Alma don’t wear perfume?”
Ennis shook his head. “We ain’t got two cents to rub together, sure don’t have any spare money for that kind a foolishness. Fine with me, I just told ya, I don’t like smelly stuff.”
Jack rolled onto his back and looked up at the roof of the tent. “Lureen pours it on, you can smell her comin from a mile away.” He paused, then turned back to Ennis. “Even though I’ve been livin in Texas a few years now, I ain’t got used to Texas ways a livin. I’m like you, just a simple Wyoming boy who don’t like smelly stuff.”
“So yer gonna promise?”
Jack nodded yes. “It’s an easy promise. I’d promise something serious too, if ya asked.”
Ennis looked at him, his eyes sorrowful. “This’ll do for now,” he said softly.
13th October 2007
Drabble: prompt, crow, fairy dust
Brokeback Mountain :
July 23, 1963
Ennis leaned back against the rock, watching a lone black crow circling overhead, its caw echoing off the mountains. He’d been up on the mountain for a few weeks now, watching the sheep while Jack tended to the camp. The time alone gave him space to think, something he seemed incapable of when he was with Jack. Then it was all about grabbing him, pulling at his clothes, clawing each other with a ferocity he didn’t understand.
“I ain’t queer,” he thought to himself, but he was beginning to wonder if that was really true. He ached for him when they were apart, he ached for him when they were together. If that wasn’t queer, what was it? “Maybe I got sprinkled with some sort a fairy dust,” he thought, then shook the idea out of his head.
“I ain’t queer,” he said aloud. “I’m marryin Alma when I come off this mountain and that’s all there is to it. Fairy dust be damned.”
25th September 2007
Contribution to Peace
: I participated in a world peace meditation back in June and the words came back to me today. I wanted to share it with my friends who read my stories...Thanks.
Contribution to Peace
I contribute to Peace when I strive to express the best of myself in my contacts with others.
I contribute to Peace when I use my intelligence and my abilities to serve the Good.
I contribute to Peace when I feel compassion toward all those who suffer.
I contribute to Peace when I look upon all as my brothers and sisters regardless of race, culture, or religion.
I contribute to Peace when I rejoice over the happiness of others and pray for their well-being.
I contribute to Peace when I listen with tolerance to opinions that differ from mine or even oppose them.
I contribute to Peace when I resort to dialogue rather than force to settle any conflict.
I contribute to Peace when I respect Nature and preserve it for generations to come.
I contribute to Peace when I do not seek to impose my conception of God upon others.
I contribute to Peace when I make Peace the foundation of my ideals and philosophy.
6th September 2007
Drabble: prompt, marbelized composition book, #2 pencil
Ten year old Ennis Del Mar pulled the black and white composition book towards him and opened it to a clean page. He picked up his #2 pencil and held it in his hand. For homework, his teacher had asked them to find out the meaning of their first name. : My name is Ennis Del Mar
he wrote in large cursive letters, a flourish on the top of the “E.” My momma told me that Ennis means ‘island.’ Del Mar means ‘the sea.’ So my name means, ‘island in the sea.’
He looked out the window at the brown, dusty plains, thinking about his name. My brother and sister have family names, but my momma just picked Ennis for me. She said she didn’t know why.
Ennis Del Mar, he thought. Island in the sea.
24th August 2007
Prompt: "tears on my pillow" and "tossing and turning"
Ennis was drunk and Jack was not far behind. It was moments like this, when they had consumed too much Old Rose that they got silly and playful and Jack usually decided he could sing. “Water-walkin Jesus!” he'd shout at the top of his lungs, the words reverberating off the mountains.
“Shut the fuck up,” said Ennis, throwing some dirt at Jack’s head. “You’ll scare the sheep.”
“You pick the song then,” said Jack. “I can sing anythin. I know all the words.”
“I bet the fuck ya don’t,” said Ennis, hitching up his pants and leaning back. “Lemme think.” He paused for a minute, then, in a high falsetto:
You don’t remember me
But I remember you
It was not long ago
You broke my heart in two
Tears on my pillow
Stains on my sheets
Caused by you….yooooouuuuu…..
“What the fuck?” said Jack, falling off his log and rolling on the ground, doubling over in laughter.
“What?” said Ennis, proud of his accomplishment, remembering the words to the Little Anthony and the Imperials hit from 1958.
“It’s ‘pain in my heart’ you stupid fuck. Not ‘stains on my sheets.’”
“Really?” said Ennis, perplexed. “Stains on my sheets is more realistic, don’t ya think?”
Jack continued to howl with laughter. “Ya really think they’d play ‘stains on my sheets’ on the radio? Holy Christ, Ennis, use yer head.”
“Fuck that, then,” said Ennis, his head hanging down. “Yer the one who asked me ta sing. Yer gonna make fun a me, I ain’t singin no more.” He crossed his arms and looked resolute.
Jack crawled on his hands and knees to were Ennis was sitting on his log. He reached for his lover’s hips and then with a wink, began to sing:
The clock downstairs was striking four
Couldn't get you off my mind...
I heard the milkman at the door..
Cause I was tossin and turning
Turning and tossin
Tossin and turnin all the night..
22nd June 2007
Drabble: prompt, July 20, 1969
July 20, 1969 :
Somewhere in Wyoming
Ennis started transferring his gear—sleeping bag and knapsack—to the back of Jack’s truck. “Good ta see ya bud, good to see ya,” he said, leaning in and giving Jack a quick kiss.
“Good ta see ya too,” replied Jack. “A week campin in the summer, amazin! For once we won’t be out in the fuckin cold.”
Ennis reached into the cab of his truck and grabbed a transistor radio. “I hope we can get some reception up in the mountains,” he said, twisting the knob.
Jack looked at him, puzzled. “What, you suddenly become a music fan? You want ta go dancin with me or somethin?”
“No,” said Ennis. “Tonight’s the night. I want ta hear it on the radio since we won’t have a TV.”
“Night for what?”
“What the fuck, Jack, you live under a rock or somethin? That guy Armstrong is gonna step on the moon tonight, if all goes accordin’ ta plan.” He looked at the sky above his head. “I can’t hardly believe it…seems impossible ta believe a man is gonna be walkin on the moon.”
“You always did like the stars, Ennis, yer my star gazin friend,” Jack said, his voice wistful.
“Don’t you go getting all mushy on me now,” said Ennis. “Now git,” he added, smacking Jack smartly on the ass. “We gotta get up there and get some serious fuckin in before it gets ta be time ta listen to the radio.”
“Serious fuckin?” said Jack, looking over his shoulder and laughing. “Now I like the sound of that.”
10th March 2007
Drabble: prompt, black bag, protected/protective
Riverton, WY :
“This is a prescription for penicillin,” said the doctor, ripping the sheet off the small pad. “Ten days, like before, make sure she takes all of it.”
Alma nodded as she took the paper. The physician slipped the pad into his black bag and snapped it shut. “This is Jenny’s third bout of tonsillitis in a year,” he said. “You might want to think about getting her tonsils out.”
“Surgery, ya mean?” asked Alma. The doctor nodded yes. “We ain’t got insurance,” she said, her voice soft.
“I understand.” He paused. “It’s ten dollars, for the house call.”
Alma fished in her purse, pulling out a few worn bills. “I have nine here. Ennis,” she said, turning to her husband, “you got a dollar?”
He pulled a crumpled bill from his jeans pocket and handed it over, then took the prescription from Alma. “I’ll go down ta the Rexall for this.”
“Thank you,” said Alma. “Stop at the post office, too.”*****
Ennis looked at his truck, then decided to walk to the drug store. He felt cramped and confined, stuck in the small apartment, Jenny crying from her fever and sore throat. Damn, what kinda father am I?
he thought. I’m supposed ta be protectin’ my family, takin’ care of em, and I can barely put food on the table. And now the lil one needs an operation?
At the Rexall, he pushed open the door, the bell tinkling, and walked to the counter. Wordlessly, he handed slip of paper to the pharmacist, who read it, then looked up. “Jenny sick again?” he said.
Ennis nodded. “Her tonsils. Doc says she may need em out.”
“That’s a hard decision,” he said, his eyes reflecting genuine concern. “This’ll be ready in twenty minutes.”
“You can put it on account for us?”
“A course. Alma always settles up when she gets her paycheck.”
Ennis nodded. “I’m goin’ ta the post office. I’ll be back.”
“Mornin’ Ennis,” said the postmistress, handing him a sheaf of mail. “Nothin’ much for ya, but ya did get a postcard with a picture a that newfangled Astrodome down ta Houston.”
He looked at her sharply. Ennis had always had a feeling that she read their mail—probably everybody’s mail. He really should get a post office box, but that was just another expense that he couldn’t afford.
He stopped on the sidewalk and looked for a minute at the picture on card, then turned it over slowly. May 8 at the Wind Rivers
See ya then.
Ennis slipped the card into his pocket, his worries about money and illness momentarily forgotten. A week a Jack. A week a somebody else protectin’ me.
He smiled for the first time that day, then turned and walked back to the drug store.
7th March 2007
Drabble: prompt, North Star, inky darkness, legs
Brokeback Mountain :
At last, it was hot.
Summer had finally come to the mountain and the heat of the day lingered into the evening. Jack pulled the blankets out of the tent and spread them by the campfire. “C’mere, cowboy,” he said, pulling Ennis by the hand. “I want ta love ya under the stars,” turning to look at the inky darkness overhead.
“Wha….?” said Ennis, his voice slurred.
Jack bit his tongue. The love word had slipped out. He hadn’t meant to say it, but he knew now that he was desperately, hopelessly in love with this man. Tall, lean, with bony wrists and long legs, he realized he adored everything about him from the way he smiled at him over a can of beans to the way he said “Huh?” when he was confused.
“C’mon,” said Jack softly, pushing Ennis back to the blanket, unbuttoning his shirt and sliding it off his shoulders. He ran his tongue down Ennis’s chest, stopping at the twirl of hair around his navel, unbuckling his belt.
“I think I’m drunk…” said Ennis, his head lolling back on the blanket.How drunk, Ennis?
thought Jack. Drunk enough that if I say ‘I love you,’ you won’t remember it in the morning? Drunk enough that if I say I want to be with you forever, you’ll say yes?
“Shhh, Jack, stop talkin’,” said Ennis, turning onto his side and pulling Jack in for a rough kiss. “Let’s get ta the lovin’.”
Jack froze, the word hanging in the air between them.
“Under the stars…”
6th March 2007
Drabble: prompt, $1.63, determined
Signal, WY :
Tuesday, May 7, 1963If were gonna be workin’ together, we might as well start drinkin’ together.
Ennis sat at the bar, worrying the label off the bottle with his thumb. There were two empties in front of Jack; he’d been nursing his one beer for over an hour.
“Ya want another?”
Ennis looked down. He knew he had exactly $1.63 in his pocket. A beer cost a quarter and a pack of smokes was fifty cents. Damn, I’m hungry,
he thought. What would a sandwich or a burger cost? Fifty, seventy-five cents? I don’t think I can afford another beer.
He fished the half-smoked cigarette out of his shirt pocket and put it between his lips. He nodded to Jack who pushed the lighter towards him and Ennis nodded again, his thanks silent.
Jack slid his gaze over the man next to him, taking in the big hands, worn and calloused, fingernails broken and bitten. But the line of his jaw, the set of his chin were determined and proud. Jack had a sudden urge to run his fingers along the other man’s cheek. Fighting temptation, he slid off the stool and went over to the vending machine by the door. He pumped in four quarters and received two packs of Marlboros in return.
He put the pack on the bar, pushing it gently towards Ennis with his index finger. Ennis looked at Jack, his brown eyes molten. “Thanks,” he said softly.
“Lemme buy ya a beer. Ya hungry?”
Ennis nodded and this time, Jack saw a ghost of a smile at the edge of his mouth.
Jack nodded to the bartender. “We’ll take another round. Ya got anythin’ ta eat?” Jack’s smiled broadened as he nodded toward Ennis. “This is my buddy. We’re gonna be workin’ together.”
Ennis nodded. “All summer.”
“All summer,” breathed Jack.
3rd March 2007
Drabble: prompt, two bloody shirts
Lightning Flat, WY :
“You tellin’ me yer queer?”
“I’m tellin’ you that this is Ennis, he’s my partner and the man I plan ta spend the rest a my life with.”
“Then you ain’t my son and you can just get outta this house right now. I didn’t raise you ta grow up ta be a faggot.” John Twist’s lip curled as he spat out the words.
Jack looked at his father, then his mother. “Mama, can I get somethin’ from my room before I leave?”
“A course, Jack,” she answered.
“C’mon En,” said Jack, pulling him by the hand.
“What, you gonna go fuck him up there in yer childhood bed?” snarled Twist, Sr., as Jack left the room.
“Yeah, mebbe we are, and I’ll make a lot a noise while we’re at it,” Jack shouted back as he headed up the stairs.
“Jack, I don’t need ta come with ya, I can wait in the truck.”
“No, En, c’mon on, I have somethin’ I want ya to see.”
Ennis stood in the doorway of the little room, his eyes quickly taking in the crooked bed, the silent alarm clock, the cowboy figurine on his horse. Jack moved to a narrow space behind the closet and pulled out two shirts on a hanger. “You never left yer shirt up on Brokeback,” he said softly. “I took it.”
Ennis walked over to where Jack was standing, lifted up the sleeve and fingered the bloody cuff. He looked at Jack, puzzled. “Ya took my shirt?”
Jack nodded. “I needed it…it’s all I had a you. I could smell you on it. Sometimes I’d…I’d wear it ta sleep in.” He took the shirts off the hanger and rolled them into a ball. “There’s nothin’ in this house I care about, but I don’t want that bastard ta have yer shirt.” He started to move past Ennis, but Ennis reached out and stopped him, his hand on Jack’s arm.
“Ya got me now.”
Jack looked down at the ball of fabric in his hands, then up at Ennis. “Yeah, I do. C’mon, let’s get outta here.”
28th February 2007
Drabble: prompt, The Beatles
Sunday, February 9, 1964, 8 pm :
“Ennis, you want ta watch Ed Sullivan?”
“Sure, I don’t care.”
Alma tuned the small black and white TV and adjusted the rabbit ears, trying to make the grainy, snowy picture come in more clearly.Ladies and Gentlemen, the Beatles!
“What the fuck are the Beatles?”
“It’s a new band…from England I think.”
“Why are all those girls screamin’? Can’t hear em singin’.”
“Hush, Ennis…”All my loving, I will give to you….All my loving, darlin’, I’ll be true…
“What’re they wearin’? Lookit those skinny pants.”
“They’re just suits. Lookit the one on the right. He’s kinda cute.”
“Ain’t my type.”
Alma giggled. “You got a type Ennis?”
“Mebbe…and he ain’t it.”There were birds…on the hill…but I never heard them singing…
“That’s a pretty song,” said Alma, leaning into the circle of Ennis’s arm.
“They got long hair. What’re they, fags or somethin’?”
“Ennis! It’s just the fashion. Don’t go assumin’ that just ‘cause they got long hair, they’re queer.”
“I ain’t queer.”
Alma looked at her husband, her features puzzled. “A course you ain’t! What a strange thing ta say!”And when I touch you…I feel happy inside…It's such a feelin’ that my love…I can’t hide, I can’t hide, I can’t hide…
“Not sure I like these guys. Lil too weird for me.”
“I like em. I like their singin’.”
“I like the guy with the spinnin’ plates. Now there’s some high class entertainment.”
Alma gave him a little poke. “Oh, Ennis, yer so silly.” She turned her face and looked up into his eyes. “I love you.”
Ennis looked at her, then turned his attention back to the TV, words unspoken.She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah…She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah… And with a love like that…You know you should be glad.
27th February 2007
Drabble: prompt, snowflake, silver, shoulders
Riverton, WY :
“It’s snowin’ Daddy, ain’t good weather for fishin’!” said Junior, looking out the window of the apartment towards the street.
“I’m goin’ huntin’ this time, darlin’, mebbe bring back a deer for the freezer.”
“Awfully cold for campin’,” said Alma, her arms crossed across her chest.
“I been in worse,” replied Ennis, “but, I, uh…got a cabin for this trip.”
“A cabin?” said Alma, her eyebrows raised.
“Yeah, from Don Wroe. He’s caught his deer, done with huntin’ for the season.”
Alma looked at him, her eyes glittering silver. “Never take me to a cabin.”
“You don’t like ta hunt, can’t see the point.”
“The point is, I like ta be alone with my husband, mebbe have a vacation.”
“This ain’t a vacation, it’s a huntin’ trip, mebbe get some meat ta hold us through the winter.”
“With yer buddy.”
“Yeah, with my buddy. A man needs someone ta hunt with in the woods, dangerous ta do it alone.”
“What ‘bout one of yer other friends?”
“I like huntin’ with Jack.”
Alma’s breath caught as she heard the name. Ennis rarely said it and when he did, it hurt like a knife. “Well then, I s’pose you’ll be home Sunday?”
Ennis nodded as he shrugged his shoulders into his jacket. “Yeah, mebbe sooner if we catch us a deer.” He leaned over and gave her a soft kiss on her cheek.
She looked at him, her gaze hostile. “Quit yer lyin’, Ennis. I’ll see ya Sunday, not a minute before.” She turned and left the room, so she wouldn’t have to see him leave the apartment.
25th February 2007
Drabble: prompt, tangerine or orange
November 1975 :
Jack lifted the box of tangerines out of the back of his truck. “Got us a special treat, bud,” he said to Ennis. “Thanksgiving’s comin’ up in few weeks, they start havin’ these fancy clementines in the store. Come all the way from Spain.”
“I seen ‘em, but I never bought ‘em, too expensive,” said Ennis, his eyes widening at the fruit.
Jack shrugged. “Ya won’t let me buy ya a present ta keep, I figger a treat we can eat while we’re here is the next best thing.”
“Don’t bring that up, Jack, I know yer thinkin’ ‘bout that gun ya got me.”
Jack waved his hand. “Don’t worry, it’s over, I hocked it and got good money for it. Now these tangerines…lookit the name, ‘My darlin’ clementine.’ Makes me think a you ‘cause that’s how I think a you.”
Jack laughed, then his voice turned serious. “No. My darlin’.”
Ennis gave him a pained look. “What the fuck, Jack, you tryin’ ta get this trip off on the wrong foot? Remindin’ me a presents, names ya can’t call me…”
“Mebbe I can’t say it, but I can think it…that’s what I said.”
“Jack, please…” said Ennis, his voice plaintive.
Jack’s eyes dropped to the box in his hand. I thought I could do it, I thought I could press it, but I can’t…I love him too much….
He lifted one of bright orange fruits out of the crate and handed it to Ennis. “Here ya go, cowboy. They taste real good..a lil bit a summer sunshine on a cold winter day.”
Ennis took the offered fruit with a murmured thanks, then looked at Jack, and in his eyes, Jack saw all that he needed to know.
Drabble: prompt, blue sky
: April 1974
Ennis picked up the saddle and put it on Banshee’s back, tightening the rigging and adjusting the stirrups. “C’mon you lazy fuck,” he called to Jack, who stuck his head out of the tent.
“What?” said Jack, sleepily, rubbing his eyes.
“Get out here and get a saddle on Sioux. I ain’t gonna do all the work.”
Jack hauled himself up, fastening his pants as he walked towards the horses. “Why’d we need ta go ridin’ so early? We could stay in the tent and screw a bit more, go ridin’ later in the day.”
Ennis shook his head. “You always were the lazy one a the two a us, Jack,” he said with a smile. “I been awake for hours, watchin’ you sleep. It’s a beautiful spring mornin’, let’s get up in the mountains, get a nice ride…then,” he added, with a wink, “we can get back ta fuckin’.”
“I’m lazy and yer a workaholic.”
“Workaholic…like alcoholic, ‘cept ya want ta work all the time.”
“Huh.” Ennis snorted. “This is my vacation, I’m just enjoyin’ myself. Ain’t work, bein’ with you.”
“’Course it ain’t. It’s the thing…” he paused, his voice catching in his throat. He looked down at the saddle, hoping Jack wouldn’t see the tears that had gathered at the edge of his eyes. “It’s the thing that keeps me goin’ day ta day, that keeps me breathin’, that keeps me from losin’ my mind,” he said softly.
Jack moved closer to Ennis and ran the back of his fingers along his cheek. “Me too, cowboy,” he answered, his voice equally soft. Then, straightening up and stepping back, his voice now a normal volume. “Lemme get this saddle on Sioux. Time’s awastin’.”
Ennis smiled at Jack, wiping his eyes with his hand. “Got somethin’ in em,” he said, his voice sheepish.
“Sure thing,” said Jack. “Let’s go for a ride.”
Drabble: prompt, heavy wool sweater
Don Wroe’s Cabin :
Ennis stacked the luncheon plates in the sink, intending to wash them later, when they had heated some hot water on the stove.
“I think I’m gonna take a nap,” said Jack. “I’m still tired.”
“Sure,” said Ennis, nodding, watching as Jack walked over to the bed. He tried not to stare as Jack stripped off his pants and shirt and climbed in between the sheets, still wearing his tee shirt and boxers. I should be there with you, he thought, still puzzled by Jack’s mood and silence.
Within minutes he heard a soft snore and knew Jack was asleep. Ennis, who rarely slept during the day, realized he was restless and antsy…he needed something to do. He rummaged in a closet and found some fishing tackle, laughing softly at the irony. Nine years a fishin’ trips and the one time I don’t bring my own gear, I actually end up fishin’.
He stepped out on the porch and noticed that a stiff breeze had picked up. He went back into the house, intending to retrieve his jacket, but stopped. Jack’s duffle was open on the floor. Ennis quietly reached in and pushed the folded clothes around, finding what he was looking for at the bottom of the bag…a heavy wool sweater, navy blue. Jack had brought this on several recent trips and Ennis always admired it…the navy wool, reflecting in the blue of Jack’s eyes, and the brilliant blue of the sky. It was a combination Ennis couldn’t resist.
He pulled the sweater over his head, smelling the familiar odor of Jack, tobacco, and a tang of mothballs. “Hope ya don’t mind, bud,” he whispered softly, “I’m gonna borrow this for the afternoon.”
He picked up the fishing rod and headed out the door.
Drabble: prompt, shoelaces
Riverton, WY :
Ennis looked at his daughters, playing with their dolls, while the TV droned in the background. The kitchen phone rang and he hauled himself off the couch to answer it. “Hello?” he said, his voice more a question than a greeting.
“Ennis, it’s Jack.”
“Yeah, Jack. I’m at the Siesta. Can ya meet me?”
“What the fuck?”
“I’m on my way ta Lightning Flat. My momma’s sick, I got ta see her. But I thought I could stop off for a few hours…," he paused, then, his voice soft, "I need ya, bud.”
“Gimme twenty minutes.”
“I’m in room eleven, same as before.”
Ennis slammed the receiver onto the hook and hurried into the living room. “C’mon girls,” he said. “That was my boss. The heifers are calvin’, I got ta go ta work.”
He grabbed Jenny’s tiny sneaker and jammed it on her foot, quickly tying the laces. He couldn’t stop smiling, thinking of Jack, waiting for him at the motel on the outskirts of town. “Junior, where are yer shoes, c’mon, we gotta get goin’!”
“But daddy, mama’s workin’. Yer s’posed ta be watchin’ us.”
“I’m takin’ ya over ta the store. Yer mama will figger somethin’ out. I gotta go!” He grabbed his daughters, one under each arm, and rushed out the door, dolls and TV forgotten, the lie of work between them. Jack was all that mattered.
Drabble: prompt, exquisite
: October, 1963
Ennis and Alma sat in the front seat of his truck, Ennis’s arm loosely draped across Alma’s shoulder. She turned her head and smiled at her husband-to-be. “Y’know, Ennis, I was thinkin’, we’re gettin’ married in three weeks, mebbe we should go to the jewelry store, buy some rings.”
Ennis looked at her. “I ain’t got much money…Aguirre cheated me out of a month a pay. Can’t buy anythin’ fancy.”
“I don’t need a diamond, Ennis. Just a plain gold ring, ta show we’re married.”
Ennis turned his head and looked at Alma soberly. “Ya still want ta go through with this?”
“A course I do. I love you.”
Ennis nodded, but didn’t say anything in response.October, 1965
Lureen leaned over the glass case, pointing to a large emerald cut diamond. “Oh, Jack, look at that one!” she exclaimed. “It’s exquisite!”
“And it probably costs a fortune. I ain’t got that kind a money,” said Jack, frowning at the ring as the jeweler took it from the case.
“Oh don’t worry ‘bout that. Daddy said he’d make us a loan…hell, he’ll probably just buy the thing for us, if I ask.” She looked at the jeweler. “What do you have for men’s rings? Something with a diamond.”
“A diamond for me?” stammered Jack. “Ain’t right. I just want somethin’ plain and simple. Hell, I don’t know that I want a ring at all.”
“A course yer gonna have a ring, and it’s gonna have a diamond. We’re gettin’ married, after all.”
Jack nodded, but didn’t say anything in response.