“Beautiful” by Jeff Leavell from Best Gay Stories 2009 by Lethe Press
This story scared the crap out of me. It’s been quite awhile since I first read it, and quite honestly the title did nothing to jog my memory. The minute I began re-reading it, though, I was hit with this wave of negative emotion that had nothing at all to do with the quality of the writing. On the contrary, it was because the main character is so well drawn that I felt a cold chill the minute we were re-introduced, and the hair on the back of my neck stood on end. I did not want to continue reading because I couldn’t remember how it all turned out, and I was thinking it was worse than it is.
I do love that the author flips some stereotypes upside down. I’m less keen on the fact that it feels like a slice of a larger work, not a self-contained piece.