James Franco/Batman; Free Gay Xmas Excerpt; Marriage

James Franco/Batman

If you have a faint heart, you probably shouldn’t click the link to this piece about James Franco and his Batman and Robin photos. If you have a sense of humor, you’ll love it. And like with everything else Franco, I’m sure there’s an underlying message somewhere. He does nothing by accident. We might never know what exactly that message is. But it’s there.

James Franco’s version of 50 Shades might actually be more NSFW than the original.

The actor took to Instagram Wednesday, Dec. 4, and posted two photos of a little something he titled “50 Shades of Batman and Robin.” The first post was a shot of the torso of a man — probably Franco himself — dressed in BDSM Batman garb. The second was a shot of someone wearing a Batman mask with something that resembled semen on the top of the cowl.
 
My only comment is why do these journalist people continue to refer to 50 Shades in a way that suggests it represents BDSM? It doesn’t. It’s not even close to BDSM representation. I also learned another Internet-ism: NSFW. Until now, I didn’t know WTF that meant…Not Safe For Work.
 
You can read more here, and view James Franco’s amusing photos as well. I can’t post them; I don’t want Franco suing me for infringement. And here’ a link to my review about Franco’s book, Actors Anonymous. There’s an Amazon link there where you can purchase the book. I loved it.
 
Speaking of 50 Shades, hasn’t it been a long time since E.L. James wrote something? I’ve been curious to see what her next book after 50 Shades would be like. Most of the career writers I know have written at least three or four romance novels since the release of 50 Shades. Maybe she has something out and I missed it.
 
Marriage (Mine)
 
 
 
Tony and I usually keep these things private, and by private I mean from friends and family, too. We really don’t like to hawk people for gifts or attention with these things, and we’ve reached a point in our lives where some things are more significant when they are private. But since I’m always ranting about gay marriage here on the blog, I would be highly remiss if I didn’t post something about my own marriage at least once in a while.
 
Yesterday was our twenty-first anniversary. We went out to a local restaurant/gay resort, The Raven, like we usually do and I figured we would be celebrating in private…like we usually do. After dinner, as the waiter took the credit card, I noticed three good friends enter. I figured they’d stopped by for a quick drink on their way home from a company party. There was also a male revue/stripper show going on that night in the bar area. In any event, what happened after that stunned me, and it takes a lot to do that. I had no idea Tony had planned for them to be there, with a cake that said, “Marry Me,” and two gold wedding bands. I have no idea how he pulled that off without me finding out. I usually know everything.
 
So, following a twenty-one year long engagement, we’ll be getting married this January in Northern Vermont in a place Tony found where some of the first gay weddings were held. Of course our marriage still won’t be recognized in the Commonwealth of PA, only one mile from the New Jersey border where it will be recognized. But at least things are still moving forward and we’ll be legal in some states.  
 
And James Franco did a gay Batman and Robin photo shoot, which wouldn’t have happened ten or twenty years ago.  
 
Free Gay Xmas Excerpt
 
Here’s an excerpt from my Christmas novel, A Christmas Carl. It’s a gay parody on the old Dickens story and I had a lot of fun writing it. If you think what James Franco did to Batman is interesting, you’ll love what I did to Bob Cratchit. There are also a few tender moments, too…AND, Hillary Clinton eventually does become the first woman President of the United States in a scene from “Christmas future.” That’s me being self-indulgent, and wishful thinking on my part.
 
This book was released a few years ago, but it’s still on Amazon and other venues where digital books are sold. Stay tuned for more posts about my newest Christmas book coming out. It’s the second book in the indie Second Chance series I recently started, and this one will be very emotional and I’m not going for parody of any kind.
 
Keep in mind that like all excerpts I post here, this one is from the raw version:  
 
While Carl Smite was wrapping bundles of loose change on Christmas Eve, a cell phone in the back room of his antique store rang. His body jerked forward and he almost dropped ten dollars in quarters on the floor. He was sitting on a gilded Louis IV chair, behind a French Empire desk with detailed inlays and bronze ormolu trim. There were price tags with large numbers in bold red print on both pieces of furniture. Everything in Carl’s antique store was for sale, including the nineteenth century cup and saucer he used to drink his morning coffee.
            When Carl’s employee answered the phone and said, “I’ll be there after eight tonight,” his voice went up with a light, pleasant hum. And when he said, “I’ll see if I can get there sooner, but my boss is keeping the store open until eight tonight,” his easy, friendly voice didn’t drop or waver.
            Carl frowned and wondered why pitiful Able Anderson was always so damn cheerful. He folded the ends of the paper coin wrapper shut, then he lifted his head and shouted, “Able, hang up that damn phone and come in here, now.” He’d just wrapped twenty-three dollars worth of loose change and he didn’t want it lying around the store.
            There was a shuffling sound in the back room, and then a few whispers Carl couldn’t make out. Carl heard him click the phone shut and toss it on a counter. A minute later, Able loped into the showroom with a half smile on his face. “What can I do for you, Mr. Smite?” His soft blond hair fell to his forehead in thick, straight shocks. He was wearing loose, faded jeans that fell low on his slim waist, and a puffy down jacket made out of black shiny fabric. He smiled at Carl and rubbed his palms together to keep them warm.
            Carl placed the last roll of quarters into a bank deposit bag and said, “Why were you on the phone again, Able? I’ve told you time and again that I won’t tolerate an employee of mine making personal phone calls during business hours. I’m paying you good money to do an honest day’s work. And I expect you to do your job while you’re on my time.” Normally, Carl would have fired someone else on the spot for doing this. But Able was an excellent furniture restorer and upholsterer, he didn’t mind working for low wages, and he had a large, floppy penis that moved around in his jeans when he walked fast.
            Able took a deep breath and rubbed his palms together again. Carl hadn’t raised the thermostat that day and the store was freezing. He smiled and put his hands into his pants pockets. “I’m sorry, Mr. Smite. I was only on the phone for a minute. I was telling a friend of mine, the woman who owns the tea room across the street, I’d be down at the homeless shelter to help hand out Christmas Eve dinners tonight. And I’m helping out tomorrow on Christmas Day, too. My friend was wondering if I could get off early to get down there by six. They need all the help they can get, and I doubt anyone is going to come into the store at this hour on Christmas Eve.”
            Carl frowned and shook his head. Able Andersonwas so dirt poor he was almost homeless himself and here he was talking about handing out free food at a homeless shelter. “No,” Carl said, “you can’t get off early tonight. I might need you to move something heavy. You never know who will come into a retail shop for last minute gift. One year on Christmas Eve, I sold a crystal chandelier to a very famous actress.” This had never actually happened. But Carl liked to think there was a chance it could.
            “But it’s snowing outside this year,” Able said. “And all the other stores around us are already closed. And I’m sure you have plans tonight, Mr. Smite. If you don’t have plans, you could always come with me to the homeless shelter and help out. We’d be glad to have you, and afterwards maybe we can go out and have a Christmas drink somewhere.”
“And I’m sure you’d expect me to pay for these Christmas drinks,” Carl shouted. Then he rubbed his strong jaw and laughed. Carl suspected that Able was trying to flatter him and seduce him. Able flirted with him all the time. But Carl wasn’t about to let some young, penniless loafer take advantage of his wealth.
Carl had found success at an early age. And now he was only in his mid-thirties, about ten years older than Able. Carl had thick brown hair, a naturally muscular body, and a hard, round buttocks. But he didn’t care about his good looks. He wasn’t interested in finding a lover. The only time he used his looks to his advantage was to sell an expensive antique to a wealthy client. He knew how to make women swoon and older gay men giddy.  
            Able shrugged his shoulders. “Then I’ll buy you a drink, Mr. Smite. I’ve been working here for about a year now and we hardly even know each other.”
Carl lifted an eyebrow and stared at him. Then he shook his head and said, “I’m going home tonight, just like it’s any other night. And I’m not wasting my time handing out free food to a bunch of losers. No one ever gave me a free dinner. No one ever gave me anything for free. I’ve worked hard for everything I have. We would all be homeless, getting free dinners and handouts, if we didn’t work. And then what kind of a world would this be? I’m over it.”
            Able rocked on the balls of his feet and shrugged his shoulders. “You look good today, Mr. Smite. Is that a new pair of pants?” When he smiled, there were two perfect dimples on his rugged face.
            “Don’t change the subject on me, Able,” Carl said. “I’ve worn these slacks many times and you know it. You should know by now that just because you’re better looking than the average man, silly flirtatious remarks won’t work with me. I’ve used them all before myself, and you can’t con me.” Carl was wearing tan slacks, a white dress shirt, and a weather-beaten black wool sport jacket with threadbare elbows. There was a long beige scarf around his neck to keep him warm. He wore this outfit, and a few others like it, all the time. He preferred a classic look that lasted, and didn’t believe in wasting money on expensive, trendy clothes.
            Able laughed. “Did you get a haircut?” he asked. Then he spread his muscular legs wider; his right hand moved around in his pants pocket.
            Carl pressed his lips together and folded his arms across his chest. He knew that Able was groping his penis on purpose, hoping that Carl would become distracted and forget about why he’d called him into the showroom. Able was always doing annoying things like this; there was always a sex starved expression on his face. He’d touch Carl’s arm and breathe on his neck when Carl least expected it. He’d press his large, thick fingers into Carl’s shoulder and leave them there a moment too long. When the weather was warm, he’d wear skimpy shirts to show off his chest muscles, and worn jeans that fell so low on his young waist that Carl could see the waist band of his underwear. Sometimes he was even bold enough to place his palm on the small of Carl’s back and guide him through the store.
            But Carl always stepped away from him. He’d pull back fast and take control of the situation. He was much too sensible to be distracted by anyone’s good looks.
Carl owned one of the most successful, important antique stores in the city and his only concern was money. The fact that he hadn’t made any money that day infuriated him. People didn’t buy important, expensive antiques as Christmas gifts. They bought cheap junk in discount department stores. Holidays made Carl clench his fists; they always interfered with normal business. So Carl pointed to the deposit bag filled with change and said, “I didn’t call you in here to talk about the homeless or getting drinks. I need you to make a deposit this afternoon.” It made him feel calm and warm inside to know that at least something was going into the bank that day.
            Able’s eyes opened wide; he blinked a few times. “Seriously,” he said. “It’s four o’clock in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, Mr. Smite. The banks are all closed. And the snow is really starting to accumulate out there. We’re supposed to be getting at least nine inches.” When he said nine inches, he gave Carl a naughty look and smiled. Then he pushed his dick forward and tugged the shaft a few times on purpose.
            When Carl saw the outline of Able’s long penis protrude through the fabric of his worn jeans, he took a quick breath and said, “You can go across town, to the main branch of the bank, and put the money in the drop-off box.” Then he handed Able a long, thin key to the bank deposit box and said, “And don’t waste time either. When you come back, I want that chair you’ve been working on in the back room to be completely finished by the time we close tonight.”
 
Able pulled his hand out of his pocket and took the key from Carl. He put the key into his pants pocket and then pulled a pair of black gloves out of his coat pocket. Before he put on the gloves, he pulled a ten dollar bill out of his back pocket and placed it on Carl’s desk.

        Carl looked down at the money and said, “What is this for?”
        Able put on his gloves and reached for the deposit bag. “I ordered a sandwich from the deli down the street. I haven’t eaten anything all day and I’m not going to have time to eat anything before I get to the shelter, so I ordered something. Ten dollars will be enough.”
          Carl pointed to a rumpled brown bag on his desk and said, “I brought my own lunch today, a cheese sandwich on white bread and an apple. You’ll never have any money if you keep squandering it away on sandwiches from delis, Able. After all, you don’t find ten dollars in the street every day.”
         Able pressed his lips together and took a deep breath through his nose. He said, in a lower, controlled voice, “I usually skip lunch, Mr. Smite, to save money. I never order out. But I figured I’d splurge today because it’s Christmas Eve.” Then he turned away from Carl and crossed toward the front door. On he way out he asked, “Is there anything I can get for you while I’m out?”
          Carl shook his head and said, “Just get back here as quickly as you can so you can finish that chair before the day is over. I’ll be looking at the clock while you’re gone. If you don’t finish the chair by eight, I’m keeping the store open until you do. And I don’t care what time that is.”
        “Yes, Mr. Smite,” Able said. “I’ll be right back and I promise I’ll have the chair finished by eight.” Then he pushed the door open and a small bell on a Christmas wreath jingled. 
        A few minutes later, the front door opened and the bell jingled again. Carl looked up from his desk and forced a smile. He’d been reading the financial pages from yesterday’s newspaper. (Carl never bought a current paper. He just waited until the owner of the shop next door to him tossed his in the street trash cans every night.) His first thought was that a customer had entered the store. He wanted to sell at least one item that day. He was hoping that it was someone older who would be attracted to him.
            A thin young man wearing a flimsy denim jacket stepped into the shop. He walked with a limp. He wasn’t wearing gloves or a scarf. His brown hair had been shaved short and he wasn’t wearing a hat. There was snow on his shoulders, two small sliver hoops in each ear, and his angular face was red with wind burn. He crossed to the back of the store and placed a brown bag on Carl’s desk. Then he looked Carl directly in the eye and said, “That will be nine dollars, Sir.” His voice was deep and nasal. He turned his head and coughed into his elbow.
            Carl’s eyebrows went up and he stepped back. He didn’t want to catch a cold from some stupid, grungy delivery boy.
            The young guy cleared his throat and said, “I’m not contagious. This is just the end of a month long cold.”
            Carl pulled a taped receipt off the bag, and then removed the bag from the desk so it wouldn’t ruin the expensive burl veneer. He placed the bag on the floor and stared down at the receipt. When he confirmed that it was nine dollars, he handed the young man the ten dollar bill Able had left him.
            The young man stared at him for a moment without speaking. His face was smooth and handsome, his chin strong and square. He couldn’t have been more than fourteen or fifteen years old. He tilted his head and said, “Thanks,” and put the ten dollar bill into his back pocket.
            As the boy walked back toward the front door, rubbing his wet nose and limping, Carl stood up from his chair and shouted, “Hold on there. I didn’t get my change.”
            The young guy stopped short in front of a Bombay chest that had a ten thousand dollar price tag and turned back to face Carl. “You want change?”
            Carl furrowed his eyebrows and said, “If the bill was nine dollars, you owe me one dollar back. Don’t you know how to count change? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you didn’t, from what I’m seeing with people your age these days.” He walked to where the guy was standing and looked down at him and frowned.
            The young guy squared his shoulders and lifted his head. He looked into Carl’s dark brown eyes with his own dark brown eyes and pulled a one dollar bill out of his pocket. He handed it to Carl and said, “I know how to count, Mister. I just thought you were giving me a tip, is all.”
            Carl hesitated. There was something about the expression on the guy’s face that made his stomach jump. It wasn’t sexual and Carl would never have been interested in anyone so young. Carl was cheap, his heart was the size of an English pea, and he couldn’t care less about Christmas. But he wasn’t attracted to minors and he never would have harmed a child. This reaction was more like he’d seen this guy somewhere before. There was something familiar about him, a connection of some kind that Carl couldn’t pigeonhole.
But that didn’t stop Carl from taking the dollar bill. He ripped it out of the guy’s hand and said, “Why should you get a tip for doing your job? Don’t they pay you where you work? No one tips me for selling an antique. It’s my job.” The dollar bill felt soft and wet, as if it had been in his pocket for a very long time.
            The young guy took a deep breath and shook his head. “Don’t worry about it, man,” he said. “I guess you need that dollar a lot more than I do.” Then he turned his back on Carl, opened the front door, and shouted, “Merry Christmas, buddy.”
            “Keep your ‘Merry Christmas’ to yourself,” Carl shouted back. “I’m over it, you little smart ass.”
            When the door was shut and the boy was gone, Carl shoved the dollar bill into his back pocket and walked back to his desk. A half hour later, Able returned from the bank and asked if his order form the deli had arrived. His shoulders were coated with snow, his thick blond hair was soaked, and his face was red. Carl lifted the brown bag from the floor and handed it to him. “It was nine dollars even,” he said, shaking his head.
            Able took the bag and said, “Damn. If I’d known that it was nine I would have left a few extra bucks to tip the delivery guy.”
            Carl was about to reach for the dollar bill in his pocket. But he stopped when Able asked, “Did you give him a few extra bucks? I’ll pay you back.”
            Carl’s hand dropped to his lap and he frowned. “Of course I didn’t give him any of mymoney. I didn’t order the food.”
            “Well,” Able said. “At least he received a dollar tip. It’s better than nothing. I would have given him more because it’s Christmas Eve and all.”
            Carl reached for a polishing cloth on his desk and stood up. “I’m going to polish that eighteenth century game table. And you’d better get back to work on that chair so it’s finished before the day is over. And I don’t want to hear anything more about Christmas, or homeless people, or giving large tips to nasty, germ-carrying delivery boys. I’ve had enough. I’m over it.” Then he stormed past Able with the polishing cloth in his left hand. With his right hand, he patted the dollar bill in his back pocket three times. If anyone had walked into the shop and seen him smile, they would have thought he’d just sold a fifty thousand dollar bronze statue.

 
 

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