Free Gay Excerpt: “Uncertainty” by Ryan Field
Here’s a free excerpt from my upcoming release titled, “Uncertainty.” I actually do these things from time to time because it helps me with the very final editing. I have the book edited first, and then I do all the final revises alone. That’s the hardest part of indie publishing for me, and why I prefer working with publishers. I need to know that the final edits were done by me. And it never seems like enough. I don’t even have a cover yet for this one, but posting it here on the blog actually helps me see it differently.
This is a raw excerpt, so please keep that in mind.
Here’s the blurb.
When Gus Baldwin realizes that his gay dad is serious about marrying a much older man for safety and security instead of love, he concocts a plot that he hopes will change his dad’s mind. Even though his other dad has been dead for over a year, Gus wants his surviving dad to find love and happiness someday with a new husband.
However, their financial situation is about as bad as it gets and they’re on the brink of losing their grand old Victorian home, and everything about their perfect lives is threatened. So Gus winds up putting his own marriage on hold with the guy he’s been in love with since high school. It’s so bad he’s even thinking of quitting college to help support his dad and his younger brother just so his dad won’t have to marry the older man.
After Gus convinces his dad to take a road trip in their vintage 1950s station wagon to their getaway cabin in the mountains, along with his younger brother, his future husband, and their nineteen year old dog named Special, their lives change in ways none of them ever anticipated. And even though the future is still uncertain in some respects, they discover a few things about themselves on this trip they never could have predicted.
Here’s the Excerpt:
Every year in June, Palmer Hill High School had an awards ceremony that focused on the achievements of students, faculty, staff, and parents. It was an end of the school year tradition held on the last day of school that had been going on since 1958. Almost everyone in the little town of Palmer Hill, Pennsylvania attended.
Even though the awards were the main focus, the program included local talent performing amateur acts that could range from Miss Ina Jennings, the school librarian, singing opera, to Mrs. Betsy Dare, the school nurse, doing stand-up comedy. Once in a while Ms. Sister Herbert…her legal first name was actually Sister…the biology teacher, gave a poetry reading. Last year one of the history teachers, Ms. LaTonda Shaqueille, read an excerpt from her recently self-published novel about the Alamo, which put a few people to sleep and tempted others in the back row to Tweet and Instagram.
In between the awards and entertainment, light refreshments were served in the main hall. Big Martha Jasper brought her homemade lemon squares, Elise Freemont came with huge trays of brownies, and Miss Johnson, the transgender gym teacher, brought gluten-free kale cookies that most people avoided. There was so much food baked by the hands of good natured Christian women everyone wound up taking something home at the end of the night.
There were also certain parts of the evening that everyone anticipated with smiles and whispers. Who would win Parent of the Year was one of them. It used to be called the Mom of the Yearaward, however, the award committee had changed that a few years earlier due to the fact that so many stay-at-home dads were now so involved with school projects. Even though Palmer Hill was only a small town in Pennsylvania, they prided themselves on being progressive in all things social and political. In fact, the school board actually gave Principal Mary Lucille a raise in pay after she came out of the closet and announced she was marrying a former nun named Joan Berkley, the town’s librarian, in the Gazebo at the town square. For one solid month, almost everyone in town had a rainbow flag hanging on their front porch in a show of support.
Another popular feature of the evening that kept everyone on the edge was a former Palmer Hill High School student and star football player, Gus Baldwin. Although Gus now attended the local community college where he majored in music, he still sang his version of Hallelujah at the end of the evening, right after they announced the Parent of the Year award. If Gus had had any say in the matter, he would have stopped performing after he graduated. However, his gay dad, Henry Baldwin, was the music teacher at Palmer Hill High School, and head of the Palmer Hill Glee Club, and he begged Gus to continue doing it every year. And when Gus’s other dad died suddenly in an automobile accident a year earlier, Gus couldn’t refuse.
The fact that Gus looked like Nick Jonas and sounded like Harry Connick Jr. drove most of the women to pull tissues out of their purses while he sang. The men tapped their feet and gazed at him. Little children would stop fidgeting and stare at the stage the moment he hit the first note. Gus’s smooth even voice, combined with his thick brown hair and tight slim body, brought the proverbial curtain down every year. The award ceremony wouldn’t have been the same without Gus, and it compensated for having to sit through Chester Bork’s awful accordion rendition of Stars Fell on Alabama, and curvy Misty Robinson’s fire baton twirling act.
During intermission that year, while everyone raced toward the lemon square table, Gus heard a text alert and he glanced down at his phone. He smiled when he read it. “Meet me in the locker room right now.”
He read it again, shook his head, and replied, “I can’t meet you now. I’m going to perform soon. I’ll see you later tonight after the award ceremony.”
Gus waited a moment, and then read the reply to his reply. He knew it was coming. “Get back here now.”
He smiled, turned, and headed back to the locker rooms where the football players showered. He knew it would be empty. They used the girl’s locker room as a dressing room for the awards ceremony because everyone claimed the boy’s locker room smelled too damp and musty. Principal Mary Lucille, who had always preferred the girl’s locker room anyway, claimed the scent of swampy young men in the boy’s locker room was so strong it made her left eye twitch and she refused to step through the doorway.
The smell of young men didn’t bother Gus at all. It made him feel comfortable in a way that was hard to describe. When he entered the dark boy’s locker room that night he took a deep breath, inhaled, and smiled. As he crossed to the back where the showers were located, he heard a locker door slam. He figured it had to be his boyfriend, Craig Hasselthorn, because everyone else was out front eating lemon squares and drinking surgery orange punch out of little cardboard containers.
“Where are you?” Gus said, as he rounded a locker room bench. He spotted a discarded jock strap on the floor. He hadn’t been back there since he’d graduated from High School and so many memories came rushing back to him.
“I’m back here,” Craig said. “I’ve got something real special for you.”
Gus followed the sound of his voice to a locker room bench near the shower room entrance and laughed. “Oh, I’ll bet you do.”
He found Craig sitting in the middle of the bench, with his strong, fuzzy legs hanging over each side, resting back on his hands. Craig wasn’t wearing anything except a jock strap and a great big smile.