My short story collection All You Need Is Love: Short Story Collection is now available to buy on Amazon. There is six stories in it: a longer short story and five shorter ones. I enjoyed putting and hope that everyone will enjoy reading it too. 🙂
To purchase All You Need Is Love: Short Story Collection go to:
My short story entitled The Oldcastle Murder Club appeared in this week’s Woman’s Way. It is a murder mystery with the setting been where I grew up, Oldcastle. I never had written a story that I got published in Oldcastle so it was nice to get to. I loved writing it and I loved the characters especially Clara, Oisin and Cillian.
The story will be on sale until the next issue comes in on Tuesday. 🙂
Whenever I hang out with Andy I feel like my blood pressure is going to explode. Sometimes I wonder why I do it to myself but when you are friends with someone and they are the brother of someone it takes a lot to say no. You can’t always be washing your hair after all. But as an open-minded pansexual man it takes a lot of strength to go for the weekend to see my bestie Jim’s bigoted brother who has a bigotry against anyone who isn’t a white heterosexual cisgender man. The fact that I’m slightly in love with Jim is the reason I’m sitting in the passenger seat of Jim’s car on a lovely sunny Friday afternoon making the hellish journey to see the bigot who doesn’t like to be called or thought of as a bigot. What a surprise! Most bigots don’t like to after all. It’s apparently his religion or whatever the latest excuse he can dig up is. Jim has 98FM on as we continue along.
“Andy’s new wife Alma will be there. She’s nice.”, Jim informs me.
“Cool.”, I reply although I’m secretly wondering if Alma is as evil as her new husband.
Jim seems to sense this.
“They have their beliefs …”
“Did I say they didn’t?”
“No but when Andy says things you get into it with him. He’s entitled to think what he wants. It’s freedom of speech.”
“Those old chestnuts. I’m entitled to think what I want too and last time I looked I had freedom of speech too. So if Jim wants to say something and I say something back to him, what’s the problem exactly?”
“But you could let it go.”
“Jim, I’m pansexual and normal-thinking. I couldn’t let it go. Anyway why are you trying to shut me up? Isn’t your brother 36? Don’t let Andy face any consequences sounds like he’s 2 and in a playschool.”
“He doesn’t mean it. He doesn’t understand.”
“As I said, is he 2? Of course he understands. Look I adore you Jim but you haven’t got some sympathising eejit in this car with you. I have no problem with him been heterosexual …”
“But that’s different.”
“How is it different?”
“Because … because it just is.”
“What a great answer? It just is.”
“Heterosexuality was thought of as the one true norm …”
“Well it no longer is. The sacred cow has been dismantled. Look I’m not going to have a row out of nowhere with him but if he says something I’m not going to baby him. I’m not in the habit of doing that with men ten years older than me.”
“But it’s his religion.”
“And it’s my sexuality. At the very least mine exists.”
“Oh my god Ryan.”
“Oh my god what exactly Jim? Does he know you kissed me twice?”
“They were once-offs.”
“I’m aware. And I’m fine with that. But he’s not more important than me.”
“I didn’t say he was.”
“Yeah, you kind of did.”
“Well he can say what he wants but if I challenge him then I’m a troublemaker. I would have thought when he unleashes his poison first that would mean he was the troublemaker.”
“Can’t you two just get along?”
“Not while you and him and Alma now are treating me like a second-class citizen?”
“What are you all treating me as then?”
“Ryan, you are been too much about this.”
“My point proven.”
“What do you mean?”
“If I’m been too much standing up to someone having a problem with my sexuality who I have no problem with their sexuality then what exactly would you be saying? Jim, you want me to make compromises to him. What else would you be thinking?”
“Don’t be pulling the sexuality card. You know I love you man.”
“The sexuality card? There’s another old chestnut. Should be a fun weekend.”
When we arrive Alma has tea and buns on the table for us. Andy comes in and gives each of us a hug. I can see in his eyes that he doesn’t see me as Ryan. He sees as pansexual Ryan. So for the hell of it in my head I see him as heterosexual Andy. By 6pm when the tea is over, Andy is talking to me about the Bible. He’s quoting things about homosexuality been a sin, women should be submissive and protests are wrong. He asks me what I think? almost with eyes that say he wants to help. I don’t need your help thanks very much mate. But I think you need a lot of help.
“I think it’s all shit Andy.”
He looks hurt.
“But this is the Bible. Came from God …”
“But did it really? I mean I’m more thinking somebody who was rejected for sex or something by someone in a minority group went home and ranted and raved.”
“You need to bring God into your heart …”
“I used to be Catholic. I always believed God didn’t write it anyway because a good person wouldn’t. Now that I’ve looked into Science more I’m seriously worried what type of yolk wrote it.” Well he wanted to know what I thought.
“God can save you …”
“I don’t want to be saved.”
“This is what God taught …”
“I don’t want to be saved by a bigot … non-earthly or earthly.”
“That is blasphemy! God is your saviour!”
His veins are bulging out of his neck.
“He ain’t mine.” You want to save someone pal, go and save some endangered animals. Send petitions with me on the web or something. Stop trying to save people who don’t need to be saved.
He forces himself to relax. He goes back to the good Christian act.
“You might end up in hell.”, he says with a serious face.
Out of politeness I don’t laugh.
“I don’t believe in it. Or heaven or purgatory. I think they are just things to try and rule how people live.”
“So you have a problem with Catholics?”
“Dude I haven’t a problem with anyone of any religion or lack of religion. I have a problem with people who are prejudiced of any religion or lack of religion. My ex boyfriend Carl was a Catholic. Not him or his family who were also Catholic had any problem with anyone. It’s funny how some people who are Catholic do and some people don’t, ain’t it? Same with older people. Some do, some don’t. It’s sad really how everyone sometimes is tarnished with been prejudiced when they may not be because so many put up shields.”
“I’m not prejudiced. It’s the sin, not the sinner.”
“Do you want my opinion?”
“With prejudice the sin shows you who the sinner is. But do I think they go to hell? No, there’s no justice. We all end up the same. Bones and grains of dust. A group of insects nibbling at our clothes if we are buried. All there is is now.” And you won’t take my now away from me.
“Are you in love with my brother?” An unexpected question. He’s left God and rejoined the earthly world.
“He’s a good friend …”
“Have you been corrupting him?” Corrupting? Is he serious?
“I haven’t fucked him if that’s what your asking.” I’d remember that! By god I would!
“He’s a good young man …”
“And if he was with me he wouldn’t be?”
“He needs to be led to the right path.”
For five seconds I stare. The right path? For another five seconds I wonder if I’m in the presence of an evil man or a man who is very unwell. I decide he’s both.
“There’s no such thing. Everything’s the right path.”
“In these modern times things have gone all wrong …”
“You’ve lost your power to decide peoples’ lives, is it?”
“Since our parents died, little Jim is all I have.”
“Little Jim is a man of 25 well capable of making his own decisions. Is that what scares you?”
“He has confessed to having strong immoral feelings for you.” Halle-fucking-lujah! I’m so on a shocked high that the old bigot’s words are barely audible.
“Well they ain’t immoral but does he?”
“You have been changing my brother. He used to be a wholesome man …”
“Andy, people fall in love, people like sex. He didn’t stand in the way of you and Alma, why are you trying to stop his happiness? I will make him happy if he wants me.” And I fucking love him too. That’s why I’m sitting here with you you plonker!
“It wouldn’t be right. You both need to learn the right way …”
“No, you need to learn the right way. Educate yourself. Learn that there is people different than you and that’s ok. Stop hiding behind that goddamn book and destroying your brother’s life in addition. He loves you. He wants you to be a proper older brother, a proper fucking adult but you can’t bring yourself to be. Everytime you have a problem you blame God. Heck, I have more respect for God than you and I don’t even believe in him. I am going to ask Jim to marry me. Maybe he’ll refuse out of loyalty to you but I’ll ask him.”
A voice came from behind the wall.
“I wouldn’t refuse.”
I looked up to see Jim looking from behind the wall of the room. He looked terrified.
“That’s why you wanted us to get along?”, I found myself saying.
I turned to Andy.
“If you could find it in your heart to try and accept …”
“No, stop. Ryan you don’t need to do that for me. Andy, I’m bisexual and I am in love with Ryan. It would be nice if you were alright with it. But you don’t need to be. I have hiding who I am, denying it to myself because you told me it was wrong. But I can’t do it anymore.”
“He made you this way …”
“He didn’t make me anything. He just made me realise who I am. You and Alma aren’t more right than us. Or anyone of any sexuality. Just different sexualities. If you think yous’ are that’s problems yous’ need to deal with. In the meantime I’m marrying my boy if he’ll still have me after pulling him down here so often.” I’d have you no matter what.
“Ah I suppose I’ll still have you.”, I said casually and Jim laughed.
He pulled me into his arms and kissed me. While Andy was still trying to pull the tired old Christian act of keeping us up in the house despite what he called the “immorality” of it all, we left before the night was out to start our future together. Ah maybe it was a good weekend after all.
On Monday night my sister and I had a lovely night out at the Bray Arts night where the launch took place of the Bray Arts Journal. It is the second volume of the new journal. My story Wedding Bells was in it which was great. 🙂
On the night, there was also a very interesting talk about the Theatre Royal entitled Theatre Royal Remembered by Conor Doyle and Mairin O’Donovan, who sang at the Theatre Royal, was accompanied for a few performances by Retrofix. It was a very entertaining night.
Belated Happy Easter everyone! Hope it was a brilliant Easter for you and yours! 🙂 In a late homage to the occasion I have written a short story entitled Easter Egg Hunt which I hope you all enjoy! 🙂
Paul watched his husband Malcolm helping their four-year-old twins Katie and Mark to find the Easter eggs hidden in their garden. Or to be more precise pretending to be helping since he knew where they were. After all they had hid them together earlier that morning while the kids were still in bed. He smiled as Malcolm deliberately guided Katie over to the plant pot that a Buttons egg was behind.
“I can’t see any, can you K?”, he asked finally putting his acting degree to good use, thought Paul.
“Yeah, there’s one there! Daddy, you are silly!”, Katie exclaimed and Paul secretly agreed but in the best possible sense of course!
“I don’t like that one! Where’s the milky bar one?”, Katie said handing the Buttons egg to her brother and going in search of that elusive milky bar egg.
Paul got up and walked over to the shed and shoved the milky bar egg out slightly while the kids weren’t looking. Malcolm noticed out of the corner of his eye and Paul could see a smile curve the side of his mouth. And as Paul moved away from the shed right on cue Malcolm said,
“Let’s go check the shed again.”
As Katie noticed the egg she looked suspicious.
“But that wasn’t there.”
The pitfalls of having intelligent children!, thought Paul while beginning his made-up story and making it up bit by bit as he told it.
“Well you see when the Easter bunny … when he decides … when he wants to surprise children who have been good throughout the year he sends them through magic from his burrow.”
“But he didn’t send mine.”, Mark said sadly.
Paul looked guiltily to Malcolm for help. He hadn’t thought that one through and now their son looked on the verge of tears.
“He did. That’s why it appeared when it did. I looked over and I couldn’t see it before then.”, Malcolm said quickly getting down on his hunkers to hug the near sobbing child.
Paul rushed over and put his hand on Mark’s shoulder soothingly.
“The Easter bunny loves you and Katie. I’ve met him and he says this is the house that he loves visiting the most and bring the most eggs to.”
“Then why does Emma Perry get more eggs every year?”, Katie asked, gobbling down a lump of Easter egg. Because Emma Perry’s parents are richer!, thought Paul.
“Take it slowly there K.”, Paul said, concerned by her fast eating.
“Let’s go try and find another Easter egg.”, Malcolm said bringing the topic off Emma Perry’s annual Easter egg collection.
In brighter spirits now Mark went searching behind a tree.
“Thanks.”, Paul silently mouthed.
“No problem.”, Malcolm replies with a smile.
The rest of the family join Mark who is now digging at clay.
“Whoah Marky boy, the Easter bunny doesn’t bury them in the ground. It’s a rule of his.”, Malcolm says quickly as Paul holds back laughter knowing how proud Malcolm is of the garden.
“Are you sure?”, Paul laughs.
Malcolm throws him a look as if to say “shut-up”. Paul laughs.
“No, your dad’s right. He doesn’t like to dirty them.”
Behind the next tree Mark finds another Easter egg.
“Why is the Easter bunny male?”, Katie asks, munching down yet another piece of Easter egg far too quickly for Paul’s liking.
“K, eat a little slower … why? Because he just is I suppose … but there used to be a lady bunny in charge. She was his mother but he took over after that.”
“Did she die?”
“Yeah … but it was peaceful and she was a hundred and ten years old.”
Kate got up and waddled over to the heather bush.
“I just thought of something. The chocolate Easter bunny.”
She pulled the chocolate bunny out from behind the heather.
“How did you know it was there?”, Paul asked.
“Because it always is.”, Katie replied.
As the kids went into the house, Paul and Malcolm followed.
“We’ll have to be a bit more imaginative with the Easter bunny thingy next year!”, Malcolm whispered to Paul.
“In this tiny garden?!”
“I’ll put up a new tree.”
Paul gives Malcolm a gentle kiss on the lips.
“Always straight in with the ideas.”
“I want lemonade and I can’t reach it and daddy and daddy are taking too long chatting and kissing.”, they can hear Katie saying from the kitchen.
“But it’s sweet.”, Mark replies.
Paul and Malcolm giggle.
“We better …”, Paul begins.
“Yeah.”, Malcolm replies and they walk inside the house to begin lemonade duties.