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Everything posted by Merkin

  1. Gabriel's Island by Marin Giustinian ‘…We all should become who we want to be, deep down inside, without paying mind to what others say or think. We should do all we can so that the little boy we were, when we were ten years old, isn't sorry to have wanted to grow up.’ This lovely story is more than a beguiling tale. It may be a compelling handbook for living and loving, written just for you. Do not pass it by without giving it a chance to work its magic. http://awesomedude.com/marin-giustinian/gabriels-island/gabriels-island.htm
  2. Merkin

    Gabriel's Island, by Marin Giustinian

    Not much about the 21st century has much appeal for me but Colin and Doug's ability to have that sequence of experience makes it all worthwhile.
  3. Merkin

    In Year 69

    Warmth may result from either choice.
  4. Merkin


    Stick to writing stuff like this, Bruin, and you'll attract lots of readers.
  5. Merkin

    Camp Refuge

    Wayne's newest story "Ash and Ember" is up and running. He says this one won't be appearing on Nifty, but it can be found here: https://www.storylover.us/?t=CWYSqpOrsQlyY9vo
  6. Merkin

    Ashes and Embers by Wayne Grey

    I'll second that, Nigel. Wayne's last offering, "Camp Refuge" (Nifty, Camping category as well as on Story Lover) had a strong finish and is a great read. Now a new one looks to be even more polished. If you send Wayne a note he'll keep you notified of new chapters.
  7. Merkin

    Can't Help Falling in Love

    These are great finds, Dude! Please keep them coming...
  8. Cole is a master at setting up a story and even better at ending a chapter just when you don't want him to. I love summer camp stories and this promises to be a good one, with a feisty main character with depths yet to be discovered and needs not yet realized. Almost as good as going off to camp yourself.
  9. Merkin

    UK Government to Ban Gay-Straight Conversion Therapy

    Good one, Nigel
  10. Merkin

    I hear it's some day of note to you Yanks...

    No, Gee. Our fireworks are meant to thin the Canadian Geese.
  11. Merkin

    God the Problem

    'Strangling nature while collecting fares' is brilliant, bi. We're all being forced to pay a grotesque amount to ride the God machine.
  12. Merkin

    Why it's so difficult to get schools to deal with bullies

    Although I like Colin's suggestion of video camera evidence, I think that one of the primary locations for bullying is within the walls of the restrooms, both boys' and girls', and I am pretty sure that placing video cameras in those environments is a big no-no. Documenting who enters and exits the restrooms may be possible but I bet it would be a very touchy subject in most districts. I do think Cole's position is the only one possible. James
  13. Merkin

    Camp Refuge

    Very engaging. Full of twists and turns. Every character is a revelation.
  14. "Of course I won't laugh," said the nurse to the patient, "I'm a professional. In over twenty years I've never laughed at a patient." "Okay then," said Bob, and he proceeded to drop his trousers, revealing the smallest adult male organ the nurse had ever seen in her life.. In length and width it was almost identical to a AAA battery. Unable to control herself, the nurse tried to stop a giggle, but it just came out. And then she started laughing at the fact that she was laughing. Feeling very badly that she had laughed at the man's private part, she composed herself as well as she could. "I am so sorry," she said, "I don't know what came over me. On my honor as a nurse and a lady, I promise that it won't happen again. Now, tell me, what seems to be the problem?" "It's swollen," Bob replied. She ran out of the room. (Thanks to kiwi for this one. May he rest in peace.)
  15. Support System a Boys on Trains flash by James Merkin Sometimes, when I’m having a slow day and I don’t swing along fast enough, a trainman will shut the doors in my face just as I get there and leave me standing on the platform. I’ve looked up and caught his sneer but fuck it, it’s just one more thing to deal with. Sometimes someone will hold the train by standing against the edge of the sliding door until I can swing myself into the subway car. It’s usually an older guy, somebody’s dad, and I flash him a grateful smile. Of course he’ll look away quickly and avert his eyes. I’m used to that. If it’s a good day I can just make it to the train when schools have let out. I always try to find a seat in the middle of the car. Those seats face into the center and I can see best there. I can watch the schoolboys as they jostle and push and stand or sit in groups full of talk and camaraderie. Every once in a while a cute boy will catch my eye. I live for those moments. I’ll look him over and daydream about him and commit him to my memory. Sometimes he’ll notice and look back at me. Once or twice when that happened the boy even smiled at me. I dreamed about that boy for weeks. But usually if I look too long and he senses my glance he’ll turn away or make a face or say something rude or angry about me. I guess if I were in his shoes and an ugly dwarf with bent legs and crutches stared at me I’d get angry, too. They never bother me or try to retaliate. They can tell right away how strong I am. Nearly twenty years on crutches will do that for your upper body and arms. No, they just turn away, maybe whisper something to a friend, and make a point of not looking in my direction for the rest of the trip. I generally stop looking, too, once they turn away and lose their cuteness to some other emotion. Yesterday, though, I saw a really cute boy come onto the subway car. He was very young – maybe only fourteen or fifteen -- and he had that soft fresh complexion boys have before they have to start shaving. He had brown hair that touched his collar and his big brown eyes, pert nose, and soft lips made a portrait I won’t forget. He even noticed me looking at him and he gave me a brief grin, then blushed and looked away to find a seat across from me not too far away. He concentrated his attention on his cell phone. I guess he was playing a game or texting because from time to time he’d frown in concentration and his thumbs were flying. Every once in a while he’d laugh at something on his screen. He was so cute I memorized as much of him as I could. Luckily the train wasn’t crowded and I could watch him without interruption. I soon noticed that someone else was watching him, too. I don’t miss much, particularly the attentions of other boy watchers, and the other watcher was a guy I’d seen on the subway a couple of times already. I get a really bad vibe whenever I see him. He is always watching boys, especially very young boys, and he always looked as though he hated them. You could see the rage in his face, and his fists were clenched. His whole body looked like it was ready to spring. I’d seen him bump boys deliberately when the car was crowded and riders had to stand. It looked to me that he wanted to force them into a corner or something. A couple of times a smaller boy would seem terrified after encountering him. I kept an eye on the creepy guy, as I’d labeled him – quick glances to check on him, even though it was interfering with my own enjoyment of the boy we both had focused on. The boy finished with his phone and put it away as we pulled into an underground station. It appeared to be his stop, since he was standing up, unsteadily balancing himself as he hoisted his backpack and turned toward the doors in the center of the car. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the creepy guy stand, too. His eyes were boring into the boy’s back and his expression was truly frightening. As the car slowed to a stop the doors opened and the boy slipped out onto the platform. He was alone and he set off in the opposite direction from most of the departing crowd. He was heading into darkness and I knew I would soon lose sight of him. Then creepy guy made his move. He gathered up his scruffy gym bag and headed toward the doorway. I knew he was going to follow the boy. As he moved past me I stuck one of my crutches out slightly, as though it had slipped from my side. It was enough to catch his right foot. He went down immediately, full face onto the floor of the subway car. The gym bag fell from his grasp. As it fell it flipped over and a wicked long sharp knife fell onto the floor. Entering passengers who had just stepped onto the car gaped and drew back. The doors finally closed as he lunged for the knife. I brought my other crutch down hard on his hand. It made a satisfying crunch as I pinned his hand to the floor. He screamed. I told the guy sitting beside me to pull the Emergency Cord. I didn’t much mind spending the evening being interrogated by the transit police, after they’d cuffed the creep and taken him away. Turned out he was a known sex offender, and was already wanted for questioning. One cop even called me a hero. I just want to be able to see the boy again. _____
  16. Merkin

    JFK's Secret Meth Habit

    One can hope his coronary arteries vote to impeach him.
  17. I support your entire comment, ChrisR, but this appears to be a crucial point. Children from immigrant families have overwhelmed the "juvenile care system" as we know it, and it is unable to respond. In fact, it was never constituted to be able to respond to what is, indeed, a situation a whole order of magnitude more complicated and significant in its own right. I believe we should separate this element of the care puzzle from the purview of our presently in-place juvenile care apparatus and invent one that works for immigrant families. I don't have the answers but it is clear to me that undertaking necessary reforms to our present "system" has been overtaken and overwhelmed by the current situation with immigration in almost all of our states, yet it is, I think, a somewhat different set of problems. We actually have two crises on our hands. Both of them demand our attention.
  18. You may have thought that we have a generally practised foster care system in this country. Guess again. If you are a homeless teen be careful to choose the right state to be homeless in. http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2018/06/14/giving-group-homes-a-21st-century-makeover
  19. Merkin

    LGBTQ Pride Month

    The Academy of American Poets supports LGBTQ Pride Month with a great selection of gay poetry: http://academyofamericanpoets.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/y/80D70051C302ACA7/10FDA5FEE832BC64FCACEB58A033025D To get us started, here is the first stanza of Frank Bidart's very moving poem "Queer": Queer Frank Bidart Lie to yourself about this and you will forever lie about everything. Everybody already knows everything so you can lie to them. That’s what they want. But lie to yourself, what you will lose is yourself. Then you turn into them.
  20. Merkin

    Cats and Music

    Yet from time to time cats catch and bring us sacrifices. Weird.
  21. Merkin

    Site lag on forum.

    Dang! It used to be enough to swot up a bit of Shakespeare and learn the list of British monarchs... Now it seems we must sit through all those obscure jokes uttered too fast in impenetrable accents.
  22. Merkin

    Dominic 1 & 2

    I agree completely with Cole and William on this. You've clearly got the talent. Have you got the persistence? That's the part you have to acquire over and over, setback after setback.
  23. Merkin

    Boy - by Camy

    That's beautiful, but also so sad.
  24. Merkin

    God made you this way

    Pope Francis, bless his heart, has said words to this effect several times. What he leaves out is the subtext: 'it's OK as long as you don't practice homosexuality'.
  25. Merkin

    One space or two after a period?

    All those extra spaces must bulk up those notebooks, Cole. No harm in that—although you hardly need the assist, considering your output. 😉