“Shep: A Dog” by Alex Jeffers from Best Gay Romance 2014 (Cleis Press)
Full disclosure: I have a story in this anthology.
I had a hard time with this story on the first go round simply because it’s a genre I wasn’t expecting to encounter, and it caught me off guard. But I guess that’s the nature of non-themed anthologies; there can be a little bit of everything.
The story events did seem a little strange, but I was willing to roll with it and suspend my disbelief. Contemporary story, sympathetic main character, we’re all good. As it turns out, though, there’s a twist at the end that changes everything.
Here’s the thing: I don’t do well in that situation. I’ll give you a perfect example of what I mean. Yesterday WordPress decided to display one thing to me via my phone app (an addition I made to my original post) and another to everyone else (the original post I wrote using my laptop). David Puterbaugh tweeted “I think you’re missing the title for this one”. He meant literally. It wasn’t there. Now, to be fair, my reaction was bolstered by the fact that I could see the title, but you know what that reaction was? Panic and mortification. I replied privately, “Missing as in not getting the joke?”
That’s kind of how I felt at the end of this story, the first time through. Like I’d failed to spot the clues and solve the mystery. I don’t want to say anything more specific that might ruin it for anyone else, so let me just say that when I read it a second time I enjoyed it very much.