Hi guys! We have Wayne Goodman popping in today with his new release All The Right Places, we have a brilliant guest post with exclusive excerpt and a fantastic $25 iTunes giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~
All The Right Places
“All the Right Places” is a collection of short stories, most written for submission to anthologies or collections. Starting in the near future and proceeding to the near past, men interact with other men in the pursuit of love and companionship.
I have travelled to London a few times and explored the area, including daytrips to Stonehenge and Windsor. British history has fascinated me most of my adult life, and several of my books take place in the U.K.
Two of the pieces in this collection (the title story and “Nice Day for a Picnic”) begin and end at the statue of Anteros (usually mislabeled Eros) in Piccadilly Circus. After a friend told me about its mystical power of bringing lovers together, the statue has haunted me.
Since October 2018, I have hosted Queer Words Podcast, conversations with queer-identified authors about their works and lives (www.queerwords.org). John R. Gordon appeared recently as a guest, and I’m trying to get Rikki Beadle-Blair to commit to a recording time. If you are a published, queer-identified author and would like to be featured in a future episode, you can write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
From time-to-time I submitted short stories to anthologies or collections. Some got accepted and printed, many received polite rejections. After a few years my compilation of shorter works grew to a point where I wanted to publish them together. “All the Right Places” contains eleven pieces that take place starting in the near future and chronologically progressing to the near past.
I wrote “Manscapes: Your Perfect Lover” in response to a call for queer speculative fiction. Here’s an excerpt:
Last month I saw the ad for “Manscapes,” a new, fully-functional, artificial lover. At first, I worried that it might be like that old movie with the automaton wives, but the technician assured me these guys could adapt and learn, becoming the perfect partner. Okay, nobody’s perfect, but at least he’d be better than the string of losers I’d endured over the last few years.
I paced back and forth by the bay window, looking down over Castro Street for the delivery van. People walked along the sidewalk, cars zoomed to and fro. A bus. A scooter.
At precisely nine o’clock, the buzzer sounded its annoying loud hum from below. I had left my home as original as possible, and I chose not to install a modern security system with a view screen. I pressed the century-old, wobbly talk button and asked who it was.
“Delivery,” came the curt, but masculine, reply.
I pressed the door release, and the sound of the remote hum and mechanical clack of the lock made my dick swell a little. From the top of the stairs I could see a dark shadow lifting a large, rectangular box, about the size of a refrigerator, up to me. At least if any of the nosy neighbors wondered what I had gotten, it looked something like a new appliance.
Once he reached the top, I got a look at the delivery guy’s face. He was kind of cute. About my age, with a headful of curly dark blond hair.
“Marks?” he asked.
“It’s Marques, pronounced like Marcus.” I had this trouble all the time.
“Oh, sorry. I have your delivery here.” He indicated the large cardboard container. “Where is your high voltage?”
I was kind of old-fashioned about certain things and did not like electric clothes dryers. The building had been piped for natural gas, and I used that instead. The high-voltage receptacle sat unused.
I started moving toward the utility area, but then a question popped into my head. “Why do you need a high-voltage plug?”
The delivery guy picked up the box and followed me. “It’s for the recharging unit.” He smiled, creating adorable little creases and dimples. He had model good looks. Perhaps this was his day job.
We went through the kitchen and I stood outside the alcove (next to the gas stove) and pointed at the empty plug. I didn’t know how much that box weighed, but he just hefted it around like a feather pillow.
“Where do you want it?” he inquired and my mind started running erotic scenarios. Why couldn’t he be the package instead of its deliverer?
“Um, what?” I had to pull myself back into reality. Placing one hand in front of my growing crotch probably did little to conceal my arousal.
“The recharging unit. You could either place it here,” he indicated a space right outside the pantry, but that would make getting out the back door rather difficult. “Or we could move your machines around a bit to make room for it in there.” He pointed into the alcove.
“Yeah, I like that better,” I managed to mumble.
“Great.” He smiled again, melting my resolve just a bit more. “Give me about five minutes and I’ll have it all ready to go.”
“Sure. I’ll be… over there.” I pointed to the breakfast nook overlooking the street. I could sit and finish my tea and try not to drool all over this guy.
I sat, sipping, gazing, cruising, listening to the noises coming from the kitchen. The scraping, bumping, rattling sounds stopped a few minutes later and the gorgeous guy walked up to me.
“All ready to go, Marques.” His voice radiated calm and sensuality. Almost perfect.
“Uh, yeah.” I stood, or, rather, attempted to stand, with a bit of a boner.
“Do you want to see it?” he asked with a smiling invitation.
The bit of a boner went to full staff. I tried to hide the bulge, but I could sense his eyes looking down at my crotch. He walked back to the kitchen and I followed with a bit of a limp.
In the crook of the utility area stood a clear, cylindrical thing that resembled a shower stall with a dome over it. “What’s that?” I asked.
He walked into it and turned around. “It’s my recharging unit. Does it fit okay?” He moved his hands around to indicate placement.
“Your recharging unit?” I nearly came in my pants. “You mean you’re the guy?”
“Yes. I’m the guy.” He pointed at himself then stuck out his hand to shake.
Gary had never seen the likes of the boy who just walked into Mixer, one of the more recent bars to open in Chelsea. He had a farm-hewn look, like he just stepped down from a tractor clenching a dried stalk of wheat grass between his teeth.
Something about this stranger seemed intriguing, inviting, alluring. So out-of-place in this ultra-modern wash of dark walls, neon strip lights and fake smoke. The designer had set up the entrance so that each person walking in would emerge into the main room from a cloud of fog, like walking out of a dream.
And this seemed much like a dream to Gary. A hayseed hick in a ﬂashy lower Manhattan gay bar. The kind of thing he used to watch at home on video late at night when he couldn’t make a good connection at the bar. Just like in the dream, or video, the bucolic lad walked up to him.
“Hello, I’m Elmo,” the farm boy thrust out his rough-looking right hand, presumably to shake with Gary. Unfortunately, the surprisingly-diﬀerent name sent him into a giggle ﬁt. “Did I say something wrong? I’m awfully sorry if I did. Perhaps I should just leave now.” Elmo turned to go.
“No, wait, Elmo,” Gary managed to blurt out before he started laughing again, almost spilling the pricey drink he had fought the jaded crowd to purchase. The liquid in the glass glowed blue in the light of the plexiglass bartop. “Can I buy you a drink? Are you even old enough to be in here?”
The farm boy had a very fresh and youthful appearance, except for the roughness of his palms. Elmo gazed down into those work-worn hands before responding, “I am not in the habit of accepting charity from strangers, but,” and he glanced up at Gary’s shirt and then his face, “I believe I am prepared to try something new tonight. Oh, and yes, I just turned 21 last week. What are you drinking, sir?”
“A Blue Moon,” Gary responded as he pointed his free hand at the glass. “Two things”–he held up two ﬁngers–“First oﬀ, this is not a drink for rank beginners, and two, if you call me ‘sir’ again, the deal’s oﬀ.” Elmo looked down. “Hey, up here, man. My name is Gary.”
Elmo looked up and smiled. “Thank you… Gary.”
And Gary returned the smile. Possible fantasy scenarios began to form in his overcharged imagination. “Do you like beer?”
“Of course!” Elmo’s smile widened. “We have all kinds of beer at home: Apple Beer, Ginger Beer, Root Beer –”
“Do any of them have alcohol?” Gary interrupted.
“Oh, no,” his moppy head shook side to side, “we’re not supposed to drink alcohol.”
“But you do, Elmo, don’t you?”
A wicked smile spread across his face, “Oh, yeah, sure, but please don’t tell my pa.”
Gary gently grasped Elmo’s arm. “Don’t you worry yourself none, Elmo, your secret is safe with me.” He then turned to the bartender and ordered a lite beer. Once he had ﬁnished settling, he took the bottle in his free hand and turned back to Elmo. “I wish we could ﬁnd a place to sit and chat, but this bar is so crowded.”
“What about there?” Elmo pointed to a café table where two nattily-dressed men had just stood up.
“Well, aren’t you my little lucky charm, Elmo.” He guided them to the recently-abandoned seats. “So… what brings a nice young boy like you into a ﬁlthy old place like this?” Once he had set the two drinks on the table, he waved his arms around to indicate the space.
“Oh, no. This is far from ﬁlthy. If you want ﬁlthy, I can show you the cow stalls.” Elmo’s head rotated around as he took in the new surroundings. “And why did you start laughing when I told you my name?” He confronted Gary directly.
“Oh”–he smiled–“it’s not a name you hear very often. The only Elmo I ever knew was the one on Sesame Street.”
“Is that far from here? Is it in Manhattan?”
Gary burst out laughing. “Are you for reals? Or are you just pranking me?”
“I’m not sure I understand what you are asking me, sir–Gary.” His wide eyes suggested his innocence to be sincere. “Where I live, there are quite a few of us–Elmos, that is. In fact, folks usually call me Elmo Number 2, or just Number 2 for short.”
“You are just full of surprises, Elmo Number 2.” Gary grinned. “At ﬁrst I had to suppress the urge to tickle you all over.” He wiggled his ﬁngers and moved his hands up and down.
“Why would you want to do that?” Elmo sipped at the beer.
“Well, a few years back there was this toy that… oh, never mind.” Elmo seemed focused on Gary’s shirt. “Is there something wrong with my shirt? You keep looking at it.”
“Oh, no.” He blushed. “It’s the color. It’s what drew me to you.”
“Blue. Blue is what made you bee line from the door up to me and tell me your name?” Elmo nodded his head. “Think you could you help me out with a bit of an explanation?”
“Oh, sure,” he took another sip of the beer, “And thank you for this. It’s not bad. You see, at home, that shade of blue has a special signiﬁcance for us.”
“Home?” Gary gave him the once over once again. “And where might that be, Elmo?”
“Lancaster, of course!”
“Of course. I should have known. And you pronounce it way diﬀerent from what I am used to. We say Lan-caster, but you call it ‘Lank-a-ster.’”
“Really? I’ve never heard it pronounced any other way.”
“Uhn huhn,” Gary started searching out other faces, just in case this cute little fantasy disappeared into a dust cloud. “So… what brings you to New York, Elmo Number 2?”
The farm boy giggled, “Number 2. It sounds so diﬀerent when you say it.” He giggled again. Perhaps it was the beer kicking in. “I’m on Rumspringa. Are you familiar with that?”
“Is it some new drug?” Gary stared down into his drink.
“Oh, no, silly. It’s my time to discover what the outside world has to oﬀer before I commit to my adult life.”
“I think I saw a movie about that. Are you Amish or something?”
“Sort of. We like to call ourselves Pennsylvania Dutch, but it’s very similar. My folks are more modern than some of the other groups.”
“Don’t you people ride around in horse buggies? No electricity, no cell phones.”
“Oh, that’s the older ones. We’re not so strict like that anymore.”
“I see,” Gary’s eyes wandered over Elmo’s body anew as fantasies began to redevelop. “So… you’re in New York to see the sights?”
Wayne Goodman has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area most of his life (with too many cats). He hosts Queer Words Podcast, conversations with queer-identified authors about their works and lives. When not writing, Goodman enjoys playing Gilded Age parlor music on the piano, with an emphasis on women, gay, and Black composers.