This is a rare for me to do. But I received permission from the editor, Shane Allison, and decided to post a short excerpt from a book galley. It’s an excerpt from my story, “Off Campus, Man,” in a not yet released collection of short stories from Cleis Press, titled, COLLEGE BOYS.
off-campus, man 169
Harlan LaRochelle was an attractive young man with a plan
of his own. He didn’t want to go to Morehouse College in
Atlanta like his father and two older brothers. He’d applied to
Morehouse to appease them, but then he’d secretly applied to a
large university in Washington, DC.
A few months later, his father smiled and patted his back
when he’d been accepted to Morehouse; his mother hugged him
and cooked his favorite dinner. But when Harlan announced
during that same dinner that he was going to the large university
in Washington instead, his father dropped his fork so fast
he chipped a dinner plate. The mother clutched her napkin and
gave him a look.
Harlan looked his father in the eye without blinking. “I’m
going to college in Washington, DC,” he said. “I’ve been accepted
already. They have an excellent journalism program there.”
All this was true. They did have an excellent journalism
department at the Washington school. But the real reason he
didn’t want to go to Morehouse College was because the thought
of spending four more years without knowing what it was like
to kiss another man caused his stomach to turn and his knees to
twitch. He needed distance from his prominent Atlanta family.
And he needed to explore his sexuality as much as he needed
to study. He was a smart young man, with soft brown skin, a
nice firm, round ass, and square, firm chest muscles. He already
knew that women were attracted to him, but he wanted to find
out if men were interested in him, too.
A few months after that, at the end of August, when the
shouting and mean stares finally subsided, he kissed both
parents good-bye, started his black SUV, and drove north to
The first few weeks he concentrated on getting settled in the
dorms and focusing on his school work. His roommate was a
tall, thin techie type who spent most of his time with his face
glued to a computer screen. Harlan liked most of his classes and
he made a few casual friends. And everywhere he went he saw
good-looking young men. When he passed them by on his way
to class, his penis jumped and he had to stare down at his shoes
so he wouldn’t get a full erection. But he wasn’t sure what to do,
or how to approach any of them.
And then one Saturday afternoon in mid-September everything
changed. He was on his way back to his room when he
accidentally bumped into a guy wearing shiny red running
shorts and an oversized black sweat shirt in the dormitory
lobby. The guy had long, wavy, dark blond hair, was average
height, and hadn’t shaved in about two days. His pale blue eyes
were the color of Harlan’s birthstone, aquamarine. Harlan had
been looking for his keys in his backpack and hadn’t seen him
coming. He’d bumped his elbow and had knocked all his books
to the floor.