Thanks for having me, Kim, and Happy Holidays!
I’m visiting some of my wonderful friends to talk about my holiday story “Toy Run” and give away some goodies! The Rafflecopter will be open through December 19th, and it’s packed with prizes—a hand-knit wool hat, Dreamspinner store credit, and, of course, books!
“Toy Run” was my contribution to the 2013 Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar, Heartwarming. “Heartwarming” isn’t always easy for me—my stories usually veer off into darker, more angsty territory fairly quickly. That’s why I kept “Toy Run” short. The only problem with short stories is they don’t have a lot of room for backstory. But I need to know the backstory if I’m going to write about a character, so I do a lot of daydreaming about my guys and write some flash fiction just to see what’ll come out. Today I’m going to share a flash fic that takes place almost twenty years before “Toy Run” when Ian was in high school.
Wake up and smell the ninety-weight.
“Ian, get in here!”
I leaned my shoulder against the wall beside the kitchen door and peeked in. Wasn’t about to pull off my boots unless it was lunchtime.
“That boy down the street—what’s his name, Mike? He’s on the phone for you.”
My gut clenched and the rag that’d been spreading the grease over my hands dropped onto my boot.
Granddad squinted at me and I showed him the grease on my hands. He pointed a finger at me so I’d stay where I was, and told Mickey he should stop by later.
“What’s that about? You mix it up with him too?”
I rolled my eyes, because that’s what the guys at school did whenever someone asked if they’d been fighting.
“No. The carburetor’s in pieces. It’s not—”
“Wake up and smell the ninety-weight, son. That bike’s a basket case. Only thing worth saving is the frame, and I’m not a hundred percent on that.”
After a short stare-down he waved me back outside. I sat down hard on the driveway on the far side of the bike. Mickey’d better not be stupid enough to come by while Granddad was still awake.
“Toy Run,” by Charley Descoteaux
Former physical therapist and reluctant loner Ian Bowen has spent the three years since his grandfather’s death searching for a man to inspire him to park his Harley for a while—without much hope of finding him. On a whim, he shows up for a Toy Run and meets Ed Gonzalez, another loner with a pile of toys lashed to his bike. A few beers at the end-of-the-run party turn into an invite to Ed’s for homebrew. But instead of a night of fun, the unseasonable cold renders Ed immobile with pain. When he tells Ian he just needs meds, Ian does one of the things he does best—he massages Ed’s pain away, allowing him a rare restful night’s sleep and creating intimacy neither wants to lose. Ian thinks two men have to follow certain rules to be together, but Ed’s prepared to show him how wrong he is.
Where and When:
Nov. 29: Tempeste O’Riley
Dec. 1: Grace R. Duncan
Dec. 8: Jana Denardo
Dec. 10: Kim Fielding
Dec. 11: Amber Kell
Dec. 16: Anne Barwell
Dec. 18: Skylar Cates
Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived droughts, earthquakes, floods, and over a decade living in an area affectionately known (in her strange little world) as Portland’s middle finger, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.
Rattle Charley’s cages—she’d love to hear from you!