“Blood Sugar Sex Magic” by Georgina Li from Like They Always Been Free (Queer Young Cowboys, 2014).
Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the first two stories in this collection because I reviewed “Closer to the Sky” as part of Best Gay Romance 2013 (Short Stories 365/15), and “Spill Your Troubles On Me, Love” (Short Stories 365/50) from Best Gay Romance 2014, published by Cleis Press. I, too, have a story in BGR 2014, which makes us “anthology mates”. Full disclosure: I received a copy of this collection from the author.
This is a really interesting piece because it’s told in third person present tense. I’ve loved stories told this way ever since I read Alice Hoffman’s Blue Diary. There was more distance between the reader and the characters of that book than there is here, with James. The tight focus the author places on objects James encounters, mostly signs, coupled with the unique language of his thoughts, has the effect of drawing you in so deep that it feels, truly, like being inside the character’s head, rather than being told a story.
Be warned, this isn’t a story with a traditional plot. It takes the reader to a few choice locales frequented by James, introduces the two guys he interacts with the most, and explains, by showing, why it is that he ends up with one and not the other.