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Short Stories 365/53 | N.S. Beranek

“Dandelions” by Tony Calvert from Best Gay Romance 2014 (Cleis Press)

Full disclosure: I have a story in this anthology.

Jimmy Hutton’s father died three months ago. All of his siblings are in committed relationships or employed in traditional jobs, but he is single and self-employed, the writer of historical romances. Because of it, he gets tapped to move back home to help their mother with the bed and breakfast she and their father started after he left for college.

It doesn’t sound like a great premise for a funny story, does it? But it is. This story fills the void created by the fact that Rob Byrnes contributed a serious piece to the collection. It’s rife with just-this-side-of-groan-worthy puns and lots of good-natured ribbing between Jimmy and his mother, Lilah. She’s no delicate flower, by the way. During the course of the story she’s described as “a pistol” and that couldn’t be more apt. She’s a woman on a mission, intent on seeing her youngest child find true love, and she’s willing to resort to game playing and blatant manipulation if that’s what it takes to get him paired up with the right man. In short, she’s a hoot and a delight.

Warning: by the end of this story your face will hurt from smiling.