Category: gay slurs

HIV Prevention Toolbox; Brady Bunch Star Douchebaggery; Zachary Quinto on Kissing James Franco

HIV Prevention Toolbox

This is an article from an HIV web site called HIVequal. This particular post focuses on 7 different strategies used to prevent someone from getting HIV. The first is fairly simple: condoms. The rest I’m not too sure about. They aren’t inaccurate. I’m just not sure how realistic they are. I’m not knocking them either because I think any kind of awareness is something worthwhile.

Strategic Positioning, a.k.a. Sero-Positioning 

When it comes to HIV, it is the receptive partner, or the bottom, who is most at-risk for contracting HIV. So strategic positioning, or sero-positioning, is when a person chooses a different sexual position or practice depending on the HIV status of their partner. For instance, an HIV-negative man would choose to be the top and an HIV-positive man would choose to be the bottom. Although strategic positioning is commonly practiced, few studies have assessed just how effective this prevention method is. It is important to note that while the chance of the insertive partner becoming infected with HIV is markedly lower, it is not zero. In other words, tops can still becoming infected with HIV from their receptive partner, but the likelihood is lower.

First, it’s very clunky writing and hard to parse if you don’t know much about this. However, if I’m reading this correctly they are stating that if you’re with an HIV top, instead of being the bottom try being the top. The word “choose” is used, as if this is something most gay men can actually “choose” to do. And we all know how realistic THAT theory is. If this were realistic you’d find nothing but tops instead of bottoms on Grindr.

You can read the rest here.

The comments are interesting. I wouldn’t trust them, but interesting.

My personal advice is don’t think your entitled, don’t take chances, and if you’re going to have sex with anyone and you aren’t 100% certain he’s HIV negative, either use a condom or don’t do it at all. That IS something we can CHOOSE on our own.

Brady Bunch Star Douchebaggery

As if we don’t already have enough horrible, hideous, asinine reality shows on TV already, there’s a new one starring that guy from The Brady Bunch coming out that’s titled, A Very Barry Branson. In a lame attempt at wit because he obviously hasn’t been paying attention to the reality show called the real world the rest of us are living in, the Brady dude made this ridiculous comment about Bruce Jenner. He not only insulted trans people, Bruce Jenner, and the LGBT community. He insulted those who support them.
Barry Williams, 60, told HuffPost Live that he would consider ‘going transgender’ like Bruce Jenner to get higher ratings. 
Said Williams: ‘That guy [Bruce Jenner] is committed. He is committed to promoting himself. And I’m thinking, maybe, I don’t know, I could say — I’m just saying, if this thing doesn’t work, and the series isn’t doing as well as I want, I’m going transgender.’ 
When host Ricky Camilleri reminded Williams that transitioning is a ‘difficult emotional process,’ he remained in a joking mood and said: ‘I’m an actor, I can handle it.’
Well, there you are. I guess we’ll never have to wonder why this brilliant Brady didn’t become a rocket scientist after The Brady Bunch ended.
Zachary Quinto on Kissing James Franco

I have no intention of seeing James Franco’s film, I Am Michael, for many reasons I’m not getting into now. But in keeping with my NYE resolution that I’m not going to slam gay people anymore unless they really, really did something terrible, I’m posting about this now as blogger practice for any upcoming idiocy that might arise.
The article begins with typical jargon in gay publications geared toward baiting gay male readers with the straight man sexual fantasy. In this case the gay bait is all about the kiss/sex scene between gay Quinto and straight James Franco…in an interview with Andy Cohen.

Cohen: ‘Was there a lot of tongue in the kissing scene with Franco?’ 
Quinto: ‘A moderate amount.’ 
Cohen: ‘Did it seem like something he had done before with a dude?’ 
Quinto: ‘Yyyyyeah.’ 
Cohen: Were there boners happening? 
Quinto: ‘Nnnno.
No comment.
The rest is here, where Quinto basically admits most of the sex scenes were hyped in order to promote this movie.

The Rainbow Detective Agency


 

Insulting a Gay Rapper; Gay Celebrity Couples; Too Hot For US: New Gay UK TV Show

Insulting a Gay Rapper

Although I’ve never been a fan of this kind of morning radio host show humor, I don’t think this was meant to be real. In any case, the questions asked seem to hit too close to home with regard to the kinds of questions gay people are asked all the time…even when something isn’t meant to be funny. They come in all forms of dumb. In this case there’s nothing passive aggressive about it.

But when gay rapper Cakes da Killa sat down for a radio interview with The Hot 97 Morning Show last week, things just went from weird to embarrassing and back to weird again.

First, the two straight interviewers seem to congratulate Cakes on the fact that they didn’t initially know he was gay when they listened to his music. As if that’s some sort of achievement.

Then the real stupid starts when they suggest in all apparent honesty that on some level they don’t understand why their female lesbian staffer and Cakes wouldn’t hit it off in the sack. I mean, they’re both gay right??

Cakes was a good sport…what else can you be in a situation like that? But I’m still waiting for the day this kind of joking around about gay people becomes politically incorrect like everything else in the free world…or at the very least people think before they speak. Because you get just the right gay guy in that situation at just the right time and some radio host…or someone similar…is going to be eaten alive (smile).

You can read more here. There’s one question you really don’t want to miss.

Gay Celebrity Couples

Here’s a piece where there are photos and comments about gay celebrity couples who seem to make it all look better for some reason. And I’m glad they do. I think it’s important to talk about the serious issues, but as important to show that things aren’t always that bad. The post, like most things on Queerty, is really an advertorial for a film, however, it’s a good advertorial as far as they go.

To celebrate the release of Love Is Strange this weekend, we’ve taken a look at six gay celebrity couples whose relationships mirror those of the film’s main characters, played by John Lithgow and Alfred Molina.

In the film, Lithgow and Molina play a gay couple learning to adapt to life’s uncertainty and accepting its hurdles as opportunities to grow. Forced to live apart due to circumstances beyond their control, their love grows despite the space between them.
 
You can view the photos here. I thought it was inspiring. And the film actually does look good.
 
Too Hot For US: New Gay UK TV Show
 
It’s doesn’t surprise me that something would be considered too hot for the US. That’s always been the case when you compare all forms of art in the US to anything abroad. It is what it is. Fortunately, there’s going to be a new TV show in the UK that’s too hot for the US, so they say, and at least we’ll be able to see it here thanks to technology, eventually.
 
Described by Channel 4 boss Jay Hunt as ‘channel-defining’, the show will be one of three programmes telling the story of life across the generations. Cucumber will be the main show, with Banana the spin-off featuring younger characters.
 
The other, Tofu, will tell the stories of ordinary people. The Thick Of It’s Vincent Franklin will play 40-something Henry Best who is currently splitting up with his boyfriend and finds himself attracted to a younger man.
 
It’s about time, and I’m looking forward to this. I hope we don’t have to wait too long to see it in the US.
 
I’ve heard other things about this UK show and all were good. You can read more here.
 
 

The Sheriff and the Outlaw
 
by Ryan Field 
 


Religion & Gay Hate; Daniel Radcliff on Michael Sam; AIDS Film & Gay Dancers

Religion & Gay Hate

A guy named Victor Sadet allegedly followed a group of gay men out of a restaurant and started shouting hateful slurs at them. But more than that, he quoted from the bible and then said that his deep religious beliefs led him to behave this way. He felt he was right doing what he did.

Calling Tweedie a “f*cking fa**ot”, the holy roller was certain to clarify that the book of Leviticus called for Tweedie’s death. The man was later interviewed by WILX 10 News and confirmed that it was indeed his religious principles that drove him to act like an utter lunatic.

There’s more here, with a video.

I don’t think I’ll ever live long enough to understand this kind of hate coming from so-called religious people who claim to be acting in the name of their respective religions. If you look at this all from a logical POV, one thing completely cancels out the other.

My only other comment is that it’s a good thing he didn’t pull this act on another type of gay man. I think if he’d pulled something like this on me, or even on Tony, he would have been left standing in that parking lot in tears. And, he never would have done something like that to a gay person again.

Daniel Radcliff on Michael Sam

I recently read something J.K. Rowling did that was very generous. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I always find that like Rowling, Daniel Radcliff from the Harry Potter films always does or says the right things. In this case, he’s commenting on how much he admires Michael Sam, the NFL player who recently came out in public and literally changed the landscape for all gay athletes.

Radcliffe is impressed with how Sam has handled the scrutiny and being one of the last picks.

‘I think he’s amazing, frankly. In interviews, at no point does he allow himself to be portrayed as a victim or someone who deserves extra sympathy. He’s brilliant at shutting that down. I think everybody else just hopes he does fucking brilliantly this year, and that there’s [going to be] a list of quarterbacks who got sacked by a gay defensive end.’

He makes more comments here. He’s evidently a fan of the sport, too. Take note, James Franco, this is how you act and react the right way. I never see anyone in the press going after Radcliff.

AIDS Film & Gay Dancers

This is an interesting link because it’s about a film that deals with AIDS, but it’s not a depressing film. The title of the film is Test and it’s about professional dancers dealing with AIDS. Director Chris Mason Johnson claims the film is uplifting and it’s not something we would normally expect from a film about AIDS. He talks about how difficult it’s been to market a film like this to the mainstream because they expect depressing when it’s related to AIDS. But I think I like this comment he makes the most…more than any other comment I’ve read in a long time because I’m always talking about this here on the blog, and it falls mostly on deaf ears.

 ‘I think one of the things we like about TEST is because the characters are gay but they’re not stereotypes.

 ‘I think we’ve made a huge amount of progress but I think there’s still one way the mainstream is comfortable with gay people being portrayed and that’s the clown and the court jester and I’m kind of tired of that.

 ‘I do think it’s easier to cast a straight actor in a gay role. It becomes a badge of honour, it gives them status. Ultimately, Johnson wants Test to speak for itself.

I’m tired of it, too. I think most of us are tired of it. Though I’ve never used the terms clown and court jester, I’m tired of the way they treat us like pet poodles. Either that, or as if we’re lab rats put on this earth to be picked and examined to see how we work.

There was a discussion about this last week on social media and one person made the comment that he/she thinks he/she doesn’t have to be gay to understand what it is to be gay. Interesting.

You can read the rest here.

Cage James
 
By Ryan Field
 
 
 


 
Until the Sun Rises
 
 
Short Story by Ryan Field
 
Sexual Transitioning
 
 
 
 
 
 


Call For Gay Stories; Rose McGowan Is An Idiot; Jonah Hill Apologizes

Call For Gay Stories

There was an e-mail in my inbox tonight that I think a lot of people will find interesting and I figured I would share it right now while it’s fresh. There’s a new web site called “Who’s the Guy?” that revolves around gay coming out stories and a few other things that has an open call for submissions. It’s a simple web site to navigate and all you have to do is submit a story. The long range goal is to put together a full published work/anthology to inform people. There is also a “Happy Endings” page I thought was interesting. This is from the web site:

But Who’s The Guy? is a question many of us have been asked within the LGBT community. This question, among many others have kept me extremely satisfied with stories of how others may imagine our lifestyles and the ways we stumble to assemble a response to absurd questions and situations.

But Who’s The Guy? is a submission site for the coming out stories and our responses to questions we all have to share when asked about LGBT relationships and the community. Coming out can often be a daunting experience but there are also some comical situations and conversations along the way. We aim to find the humor in the awkward moments before, during and after coming out.

Ultimately, these stories will be chosen to be part of a published piece devoted to those needing a good outlet, connection and laugh.  But Who’s The Guy? would also like to donate to a worthy LGBT cause. By working together we can create a better world for everyone. Please feel free to take a moment to laugh at yourself and others by sharing your story and promoting the cause for change!

There’s more here that I think readers will find worthy of checking out. For anyone seeking publication I think this is one of those opportunities you might want to take advantage of. Every publishing credit counts and don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Rose McGowan Is An Idiot

This is just odd.

I’ve posted about the corporation in the country of Brunei that owns The Beverly Hills Hotel several times. Brunei is a country that supports Sharia Law, which advocates stoning gays and treating them as criminals. They don’t treat women any better. Many celebrities, including Jay Leno and Richard Branson, have come out against them in support of global gay rights and they’ve organized a boycott on The Beverly Hills Hotel.

But not everyone is supporting the boycott. Russell Crowe doesn’t think it’s a good idea because it’s going to hurt the people who work at the hotel. And now actress Rose McGowan agrees with him and she’s allegedly organized a party to support NOT boycotting the hotel.

Her comments are rich. She doesn’t think boycotts work. I guess because she’s such an experienced activist? And she has so much knowledge on the topic of boycotts?

And you might want to hold onto your seat when you read this comment:

Her friend Amanda Goodwin, who helped plan the party, added: “A lot of people have asked me whether I’d go if it were Hitler. Probably. I think I would. I’d go, and I’d say, ‘I’m a Jew’.”

“I think it’s great that we’re here, being gay, sitting on his sofa. I really want to gay this place up.”

Gay the place up? Seriously?

They’re both idiots. Did they learn how to read? Did they go to school? If these two privileged idiots even knew a hint of history and what Hitler did to Jews and gays and a few others during WWII they would cringe at how stupid that comment actually sounds.

But more than that, I never thought I would live to see the day someone would be glib about Adolf Hitler.

I think it’s time to boycott Rose McGowan and anything associated with her.

There’s more here.

I hate to see anyone lose a job or suffer a loss of income. But I think that when it comes to things like this, and what happened with the Russian Olympics, a large statement needs to be made for the good of the majority. And the majority doesn’t work at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Jonah Hill Apologizes

Jonah Hill went on a vituperative rant recently and did an Alec Baldwin. Hill didn’t like it when he was being followed by press last weekend when one of the reporters commented about his short pants, probably goading him.

This is how Hill replied:

After a period of silence, where he was still being followed, the actor responded by saying: “Suck my dick, you faggot!”

That comment set off a firestorm and he’s now apologizing because he’s not really anti-gay and he didn’t mean a word of what he said.

“This is a heartbreaking situation for me,” an upset Hill said outright. “From the day I was born and publicly, I’ve been a gay rights activist.”

There’s more about his apology here.

Obviously, the word faggot is part of his vocabulary. And that makes me stop and wonder. But I think it’s part of the vocabulary of most straight men and that’s what needs to change. If I were Jonah Hill I would make that statement and focus on making that change…if I really were sorry.

Amazon Acquires WHITE; California Killer Commentator Fired: Dr. Robi Ludwig

Amazon Acquires WHITE

I know that sounds a little peculiar. But Amazon really did just acquire the color white…as a background for photos.

Taking a photo against a white background? You may owe Amazon money.
That’s right: the US Patent and Trademark Office just granted Amazon a patent for the totally unheard of process of photographing people against a white backdrop. And we thought copyright trolls couldn’t get more brazen.

You can read more here, where they are trying to petition the US Patent Office.

I think that ship sailed. Amazon owns white backdrops and that’s that.

There’s also more about it here. I actually checked to see if this was a hoax but couldn’t find anything at snopes stating it wasn’t true.

California Killer Commentator Fired at Fox

On Sunday I posted about a commentator, Dr. Robi Ludwig, on the Fox TV show, Justice with Judge Jeanine Pirro, speculating that the California killer, Elliot Rodger, who went on a violent rampage in Santa Barbara last week could have been “trying to fight against his homosexual impulses.”

I thought, WOW, after I read the whole piece and all of her unfounded comments, and then I wrote this:

 A Fox News “analyst,” Dr. Robi Ludwig, allegedly believes the young man who went on a horrific killing spree in California recently might have been struggling with “homosexual issues.” The good Dr. Ludwig is allegedly a psychologist.  I did find this web site where you can read more about her. It only takes a moment at her web site to understand what she’s all about.

Without thinking, I went on to state that I didn’t see anyone calling for her resignation over this ridiculous speculation.

I was wrong about that.

Evidently, according to this article, she was fired from one of her jobs.

She sparked outrage after saying on Fox News that Elliot Rodger, who also killed himself, may have been fighting ‘homosexual impulses.’

Ludwig has been fired as the lifestyle real estate correspondent for Coldwell Banker Real Estate, one of the top real estate firms in the US.

Coldwell Banker wrote in a statement on Facebook: ‘Dr. Robi’s comments on the tragedy in Santa Barbara do not represent the opinions of Coldwell Banker. Therefore at this time we feel it best to part ways with her as our lifestyle real estate correspondent.’

As far as I know, she’s still working at Fox.

There’s more here.

I know this will once again bring up the topic of free speech. The most important point to remember is that Ludwig did, in fact, exercise her right to free speech when she made that speculation. She makes a great deal of money to appear on Fox. And now she has to own her words no matter what the consequences are. Responsibility goes hand in hand with free speech.

She did apologize. She issued a statement on Facebook and spelled the killer’s name wrong twice…#ElliotRoger…with hashtags.

You can read more about that here.  


Matt Bomer Normal Heart; Something Nice; California Killer Gay?

Matt Bomer Normal Heart

Here’s a more detailed piece about how Matt Bomer worked so hard to portray the character he’ll be playing in tonight’s HBO film that was based on Larry Kramer’s play about AIDS and gay men in the early days, The Normal Heart.

‘I felt a tremendous responsibility in playing this role, and part of it was creating that physical reality for the second half of the film,’ he tells HIV-Plus Magazine in an interview posted Friday (23 May).

You can read all his comments here.

I’m interested in seeing how the film is done. The performances have all received excellent reviews from what I’ve read so far.

Something Nice

It’s hard to title this part of the post because it was the last thing I expected to hear yesterday. As many of my blog readers know, I edited and published an anthology titled, The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance, last year. I worked with some of the most talented writers I’ve met in a long time and I think the overall theme of the anthology shows how women can sometimes be worked into gay romantic storylines in the most creative ways. One of the authors who was part of that book, Oleander Plume, sent me a nice e-mail to let me know what’s been happening with her since we last touched base.

From my inbox:

It has officially been one year since I received my very first acceptance letter, from YOU! I’m still as happy about it today as I was then.

I wrote a blogpost about it: http://oleanderplume.blogspot.com/2014/05/anniversary-of-sorts.html and I hope you don’t mind that I posted a link to your blog.

The rest of the e-mail goes on to state how many other publications she’s been part of since The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance. And she thanked me for giving her the chance in that book. It’s nice to know I helped someone move forward that way, especially such a dedicated writer. I still think every writer that contributed to that book will continue to move forward in very positive ways.

You can check out the post at the link above.

And a huge thanks one year later to Oleander Plume all the authors who contributed to that book. When I first started the project I wasn’t sure what I would get…or if I would get anything from anyone. Getting the cover right even took weeks of going back and forth with the cover artist. I soon found out there are some very creative writers out there who know what they are doing.

California Killer Gay?

A Fox News “analyst,” Dr. Robi Ludwig, allegedly believes the young man who went on a horrific killing spree in California recently might have been struggling with “homosexual issues.” The good Dr. Ludwig is allegedly a psychologist.  I did find this web site where you can read more about her. It only takes a moment at her web site to understand what she’s all about.

Dr. Robi Ludwig was a guest on the Fox News’ show Justice with Judge Jeanine and the psychologist wondered if the dead suspect was gay.

 ‘When I was first listening to him, I was like, “Oh, he’s angry with women for rejecting him,”‘ Ludwig said, according to The New Civil Rights Movement.

‘And then I started to have a different idea: “Is this somebody who is trying to fight against his homosexual impulses?”‘

 The psychologist added ‘was he angry with women because they were taking away men from him?’

This happened on Fox News show, Justice with Judge Jeanine. She has one of the third rate shows on the network. She’s on Fox all weekend because no one’s home watching TV and no one else at Fox wanted to work on Memorial Day weekend.

In any event, what happened in California is probably one of the worst shootings we’ve seen in a while. I can’t even imagine how painful it was for the families and the victims. And what really bothers me is that both Judge Jeanine and the good Dr. Ludwig would take something this serious and heartbreaking and spin it around to hurt even more people. And you don’t hear anyone calling for their resignations.

You can read more here.


FREE Gay Excerpt; Anderson Cooper Snark; Duck Dynasty Again; RuPaul on Tranny Word

FREE Gay Excerpt Chase of a Holy Ghost

I’m posting another excerpt from my newest release, Chase of a Holy Ghost. It will be out this weekend…maybe today…and I’ll update with links as soon as I get them. It’s a 65,000 word full length novel and it’s part of the Chase series, with Jim and Len Mayfield. I’ve brought back some older minor characters, and I’ve given them more detailed descriptions than in previous books. I also introduced some new faces. It’s still a western romance set in Chatsworth, Ca. And the only small thing I did a little differently this time was I added a farcical suspense plot that is designed to be a little serious and a little ridiculous at the same time. The book is erotic romance and I wanted to keep things on the lighter side of escapism.

Excerpt Below.

Smashwords Link Chase of a Holy Ghost

Allromanceebooks.com Link

Amazon Link

Anderson Cooper Snark

This week I posted a few times about a local Texas TV personality, Amy Kushnir, and her rant about the Michael Sam kiss and how she stormed off the set during a panel discussion…while live on the air. She grabbed her purse, books, and pens and walked off. In Amy Kushnir’s quest to go down in history as the Anita Bryant of this century, she believes that kids shouldn’t be subjected to even the most innocent kiss of love and affection between two men.

Anderson Cooper made a few amusing comments:

“If you’re not in the Dallas area you are missing out on a spectacular morning show called The Broadcast,” Cooper said without a hint of sarcasm in his voice, “and an incredible moment last week when they veered away from springtime pizza recipes and how to slim down your fat pets, to weigh in on this: Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend while ESPN cameras were rolling after Sam became the first openly gay player drafted to the NFL.”

“Amy Kushnir has every right to express her opinion,” Cooper said. “She just wants us to think of the children. And she has a point, if we don’t take action, TV could become a Bacchanalian free-for-all complete with half-naked men and indiscriminate kissing.”

That last comment about half-naked men was in reference to a segment Amy Kushnir did with male strippers prior to the show where she walked off the set. I posted about that here.

Duck Dynasty Again

Phil Robertson recently went on another homophobic rant filled with hate…in church, during church services were people are supposed to be praying. (Am I the only one who sees irony in that?)

In it he compares gay people to thieves, drunkards and swindlers and complains about how he was treated over his former comments.

 ‘They were mad at me … because instead of acknowledging their sin, like you had better do, they rail against me for giving ’em their truth about their sin,’ Robertson says in the video

The man’s a wing nut.

More here.

RuPaul on Tranny Word

The word tranny continues to create controversy wherever it’s used. I’ve posted several times about it, here. RuPaul and TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race were recently criticized for use of the word tranny, and now RuPaul is speaking up about it in a very vocal way.

‘Does the word tranny bother me? No. I love the word tranny,’ Charles said.

 ‘It’s not the transsexual community who’s saying that. These are fringe people who are looking for storylines to strengthen their identity as victims. That is what we are dealing with. It’s not the trans community. ‘

’Cause most people who are trans have been through hell and high water. And they’ve looked behind the curtain at Oz and go, “Oh, this is all a fucking joke.”

‘But some people haven’t and they’ve used their victimhood to create a situation where, “No! You look at me! I want you to see me the way you’re supposed to see me!”

 Charles added: ‘If your idea of happiness has to do with someone else changing what they say, what they do, you are in for a fucking hard-ass road.’

I’m not transgender and not part of the transgender community. But I don’t use the word tranny, consciously. I find it interesting that RuPaul would mention those on the fringes, because I stated that once in a blog post on this topic thinking I was being objective and I received several comments from disgruntled readers that weren’t fit for publication. They were downright obscene, and I loved each one. But I couldn’t publish them without breaking my civil comment rule.

In any event, I actually don’t like the word tranny, I don’t use it, and I think all words are important and have meaning. And if just ten people are going to be offended by one word I’m not going to be associated with that kind of hurt. I’ve learned as a writer that one word can change the context of a sentence…just one simple word. Imagine what it can do to someone’s life and well-being.

It’s a lot easier to not use the word tranny than it is to use it.

RuPaul is a bit of a wing nut, too.

You can read more here.

Excerpt from Chase of a Holy Ghost

Before Jim woke Culum, he jumped into the shower.  He washed fast and didn’t bother to shave.  He put on his favorite pair of dark skinny jeans, a tight black T-shirt, and a pair of loafers without socks.  Although he often obsessed about his looks, getting dressed rarely took him longer than fifteen minutes.

After he woke Culum and helped him dress for school, they went downstairs and Jim tried to explain to Culum hot dogs weren’t good for breakfast.

“But daddy,” Culum said.  “I’m dying for a hot dog.”  He looked at Len and pouted.  “Please, grandpa.”  He called Len grandpa instead of dad because Len was his biological grandfather.  They’d never hidden anything from Culum about his adoption or his biological parents.  They’d already told him his biological father, Cain, was Len’s son, and that they’d adopted him because they’d loved him and wanted a child.  They didn’t tell him the part about how his mom had wanted to abort him.  But they didn’t speak meanly about her either.  They just said she was a busy lawyer in San Francisco and left it at that, hoping that one day she might want to be part of Culum’s life.

Len and Jim exchanged a look.  This was another one of those weird coincidences Jim often had a problem dealing with.  All through childhood, and through all the years Jim had known Cain, Cain’s favorite breakfast had been hot dogs.

Len shrugged.  “I don’t see anything wrong with it.  He wants a hot dog.” In this one instance the resemblance to Cain didn’t seem to bother Len at all. He seemed to find it amusing.

Jim frowned.  “I’m not sure that’s a balanced breakfast for a preschooler, Len. There’s an obesity problem in America.”

Len looked at Culum and laughed.  “The kid’s not obese.  He’s a toothpick.  If anything, he’s underweight.”

Jim rubbed his chin.  Culum, like his father, Cain, had been when he was a kid was stick thin.  “But the experts don’t think we should be giving kids unhealthy foods like hot dogs.” Jim felt awful saying this. He enjoyed a big juicy hot dog, too, every now and then, especially the extra-long ones.

Len made a face. “Well, I agree about eating right for the most part, but not all the time. So let the experts eat boiled cabbage, prunes, and organic bran toast for breakfast.  We’re giving Culum a great big old fashioned hot dog with mustard this morning.”

Culum clapped his hands and said, “Yes. With mustard.”

Jim turned to the refrigerator to get the hot dogs and smiled.  “I guess it can’t hurt once in a while.  But tomorrow morning he has cereal and organic fruit. No questions asked.”

When Jim’s back was turned, Culum must have made a face and said something to Len about the fruit and cereal.  Jim overheard Len whisper, “Don’t worry, buddy.  We’ll deal with tomorrow when it comes.”

While Culum was eating his hot dog…and dropping bits and pieces of it on the floor for Clinger…Len rustled the newspaper and said, “Wait until you see this.”

Jim was wiping the original wooden counter that had been there since the old house had been built.  “What?”  They had made minor renovations to the kitchen in the old mission style house, but Jim and Len had both insisted they keep as much of the original features as possible.  Instead of ripping out all the wood counters for granite, they left most in place and added two counters in white marble.  Instead of tearing up the old handmade tiles on the floor, they had them cleaned and polished by a professional.  And instead of putting in new cabinets, they still used the old fashioned free-standing cupboards and mission style kitchen furniture that had been there for over a hundred years.  They’d always considered themselves blessed that someone hadn’t bought the house in the 1970’s and ruined all the original features with vinyl and Formica.

Len stood up and brought the newspaper to Jim.  He obviously didn’t want to mention it in front of Culum.  “Read this.”

Jim stopped wiping and looked down at the paper.  His eyes bugged when he read the headline.  “Beverly Hills Realtor May Be Missing.”  As he read more, it mentioned that someone had been listening to one of Hal’s webisodes and had phoned 911 to report something unusual.  But when the police arrived they found nothing, not even Hal. It would be an ongoing investigation that could last a long time.

“At least it’s not on the front page,” Jim said. They’d buried the story about Hal in the back.

Len glanced over at Culum to make sure he wasn’t listening.  Culum was still feeding Clinger and neither of them made an attempt to stop him like they normally would have.  “I have to get moving,” Len said.  “Let me know if you get any calls today.”

Jim jerked sideways.  “Calls?  What kind of calls?”

“I have a feeling the police are going to want to talk to you about this,” Len said.

“Oh shit,” Jim said.  “Why me?  I know nothing about it.”

Len kissed him goodbye.  “I’m sure they know you’re the one who called 911 last night.  Trust me; you’re going to be questioned.  That’s why I didn’t want you to make that call last night and why I prefer not to get involved in things like this.”

After Len kissed Culum goodbye and left for work, Jim strapped Culum into the backseat of the Tahoe and drove him to school.  Len worked full time now from the downtown Los Angeles offices of Branson Communications.  Len’s mother, Doris, would have preferred if Len and Jim had moved to Connecticut and live in the family estate, and after what Jim had read in the newspaper that morning he was starting to think Connecticut looked good.  Even Harold and Mitshu who owned the Over the Rainbow Tots pre-school had read about Hal Robertson in the paper that morning and they’d asked Jim if he’d seen it.  Jim said he knew nothing about it and he brushed it all off.  Then he kissed Culum goodbye and got out of there as fast as he could. He knew how those two liked to gossip.

On the way home, the phone rang in the car and he answered thinking it was the police calling to question him.  It was Jim’s mom in Texas, Helen, calling to tell him that she and Jim’s dad, Radcliff, were coming to Los Angeles in a few days.

They saw each other often and Jim and Len had a wonderful relationship with Jim’s parents.  It hadn’t always been that way.  When Helen and Radcliff found out Jim was having an affair with their best friend, Len, they didn’t speak for over one full year.  It took time and a good deal of nurturing for them to reach the point where they could all even be in the same room and remain civil.

Jim hated talking on the phone in the car, even with Bluetooth.  “I’m driving, mom.  Can I call you back when I get home?”

“No need, honey,” Helen said.  “There’s nothing important to say.  We’ll be there in a few days.”

“Why are you coming?” Jim asked.  He knew his parents well enough to know they always planned trips like this well in advance.  The next scheduled visit was Fourth of July weekend.  This was only May.

“It’s kind of business,” Helen said.  “It’s nothing important.”

Jim knew her better than that.  He frowned and said, “Tell me the truth.”

“Okay,” she said.  “But I don’t want you getting all upset.  I know how you are. You’re dad has to see a specialist in LA.  We’re getting second opinion.  But I don’t want you worrying.  It’s nothing all that serious.”

This wasn’t adding up.  If it wasn’t all that serious why did they need a second opinion in Los Angeles?  But Jim knew how well his mom could avoid topics she didn’t want to discuss and he figured he would get more out of her later.  For him to push the issue at that point only would have frustrated him into a temple pounding headache.  “Just let me know when you’re arriving so I can come get you,” he said.

“I’ll call you later,” Helen said.  “How’s my grandson?”

“I just dropped him off at school,” Jim said.  “He’s great.  He’ll be thrilled when he hears you’re coming.”

“Love you, honey,” Helen said, and then she hung up before Jim could ask her any more questions.

By the time he reached the entrance to COAL Ranch, the phone rang again and this time he didn’t recognize the number.  He didn’t answer it.  He decided to let it go to voicemail.  But when he pulled up to the house and saw two men waiting for him in the driveway, he got a sick feeling deep in his gut because he knew deep down those men hadn’t come to pay him a social call.