The new Mischief Corner Books Quarterly is out:
The Quarterly is an eMagazine of LGBTQ fiction—of all kinds. This volume features five short stories:
- The Benefits by Richard Natale
- Writing Group by Cathy Bryant
- Sentry 1071 by Albert Nothlit
- Reading Between the Lines by Jessica Meats
- Glow Bunny by Jess Faraday
It also includes an Interview with Christie Jennings-Wyckoff talking about “Making Conventions Happen”, and a Featured Artist section with Gus Li. And a lovely guest author offers a heartfelt Op-Ed on “Love Is All There Is.”
The Benefits by Richard Natale
Giovanni D’Angelis plopped down on the daybed beside Luke, who was deeply invested in a crossword puzzle. “And they call us queer,” he said, punctuating the remark with his trademark rumble, a cross between a raspberry and a growl.
Giovanni had just gotten off the phone with his parents. Their weekly chats invariably began with a complaint and devolved into a full-on quarrel. Today, his mother, Claudia, had greeted his friendly “Hi, Mom,” with a fretful “Your father thinks he has a pain in his chest.”
“You’ll notice that she said, ‘He thinks he has a pain in his chest.’ This way Pops can later deny any such thing,” Giovanni told Luke, as if he was parsing a murder suspect’s alibi on an episode of Law & Order.
“Care to guess what the pain was about?” he said.
Luke looked up from his crossword puzzle. “Uh, no thanks.” Then his eyes lit up, and he scribbled in the eight-letter solution to 41-Across: cucumber.
“I’ll give you a hint,” Giovanni said, undeterred, and he immediately launched into the opening four bars of the “Wedding March.” “C’mon, aren’t you in the least bit curious?”
“That would again be a no. But you’re probably going to tell me anyway and in more detail than necessary.” A second later, Luke emitted a silent “aha.” The answer to 38-Down was rococo.
“Continue,” he said, shaking his pen like a maestro’s baton.
“Well, first off, they’re furious because they found out we’re getting married; and that they’re not invited—which is hilarious.”
“And why is it hilarious?”
“Well, I mean, when I first came out to them, you’d think I’d just confessed to cannibalizing orphans. Now, they’re up in arms because I don’t want some big gay Italian wedding. Can you believe it?”
“Absolutely,” Luke said, putting down his pen. “What I can’t believe is that you were surprised by their reaction. I’ve only known them a few years, and nine times out of ten, I can predict their response to any given situation.”
“That’s because it’s generally shouting, weeping, or gnashing of teeth,” Giovanni said. “You’re so lucky that kind of high-maintenance behavior skips a generation.”
Luke peered over his horn-rimmed spectacles. “Uh huh,” he said skeptically as he earmarked the still-unsolved crossword clues.