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Short Stories 365/56 | N.S. Beranek

“Hello Aloha” by Tony Calvert, Foolish Hearts: New Gay Fiction edited by Timothy J. Lambert and R. D. Cochrane (Cleis Press, 2014).

This sweet story is a great opener to this collection and one of several that, not too surprisingly, use a same-gender wedding as a setting.

The main character, Jory, is the best man at his friend Chad’s wedding, which is not simply Disney-themed but located inside a Disney theme park. Chad has invited no less than seven eligible bachelors to the event in the hopes that one of them will hit it off with Jordan. But, still reeling from a bad breakup a year ago, Jordan is having none of Martin’s matchmaking. He prefers to spend his time cracking sardonic jokes to a theme park employee dressed as Goofy, who’s stationed nearby. The performers are forbidden from speaking to the park guests or in any way breaking character while in costume, of course, which makes venting to one of them capitalism’s spin on the Catholic confessional. You talk, the character listens, and there’s no assigning of Hail Marys afterward.

The thing Jory doesn’t count on is that Goofy is only human.