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Short Stories 365/120 | N.S. Beranek

“Looking for Philip” from Saints and Sinners 2013: New Fiction from the Festival (Bold Strokes Books).

The new book releases tomorrow!

Full disclosure: I have a story in this anthology.

This must be part of a novel. We’re introduced to the main character, Steven, when he enters an exclusive gay bar looking for a young man named Philip. Right off he is befriended by an intriguing older gentleman seated at the bar, a man whose name we do not learn in the course of the story, though we learn a great many other, critical things about him.

It’s not immediately clear just why Steven is looking for Philip. Are they lovers? Or could he be his father? The latter seems plausible until we learn he’s not old enough for that. The picture grows less clear, not more, as we learn that Steven knows nothing—nothing—of the gay bar scene, or anything at all, really, about being gay. The older man acts as his guide, filling him in on everything he needs to know to conduct his search for Philip, who we learn is a high priced hustler. As they talk, the story becomes even more intriguing. Steven truly believes he isn’t gay, and yet he also knows he is in love with Philip, though he can only dimly recall the time they spent together, and oh yeah, pictures of them embracing are splashed all over the local free papers…

Put me down as wanting to know more about all three of these characters.

The author’s selection in this year’s Saints & Sinners anthology (out tomorrow!) is a fun, self-contained spec fiction piece. Look for the reviews of that collection beginning Monday.