Fresh Men is a collection of 20 queer short stories by new, mostly American authors. The stories are about coming out, falling in love, family politics, heterosexual experimentation and everything in between. In Vestal McIntyre’s ONJ.com, Olive is a girl who decides she needs a gay best friend, so sets out to recruit one. There’s Taking Pictures by Robert Williams, about popular high school teacher Mr D who likes filming his male students lifting weights with no shirts on. William Sterling Walker’s Desire tells the tale of young men bar-hopping through New Orleans, and the secret feelings one of them has for his friend. The standout story is Ground Control by Patrick Ryan, a funny and touching tale about Joseph, a gay high school student struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. Guilt-ridden about his feelings for other boys, Joseph also has his pubescent body and dysfunctional family to contend with. Especially his gay younger brother Frankie, who is strangely wise beyond his years and madly in love with Luke Skywalker.
Review: Myles Wearring
I was morphing into something I didn’t want to be. My nose was growing bulbous, my neck was elongating, my hands were thickening into fleshy paddles that battered against door frames and knocked over drinking glasses. When I looked in the mirror, every part of me was out of proportion to whatever it was attached. I would wake up in the middle of the night freezing beneath the unremitting current of the central air unit, under a thin sheet, on my stomach, humping the mattress like the last animal of its species desperate for contact.
Frankie was two years younger than me and infinitely better looking. Because he slept with his door open, I could listen to his breathing -“ hear the back of his tongue clicking against the roof of his mouth each time he inhaled, a sound he’d been making in his sleep since he was a baby. My sister Karen kept her door shut. Clawing out of another warm, slick dream, I stepped into the refrigerated hall space between their two rooms and Matt’s old room -“ now mine -“ an erection lifting the front of my pyjamas and the blood pounding in my ears. I wanted something I believed was not of this world. Beyond that, I wanted to be someone else, getting it.