QSFer Rob Rosen has a new MM paranormal romantic comedy out: “Sort of Dead.”
Nord wakes up to find himself sort of dead. Well, that is to say, he’s dead, alright—murdered, in fact—but not in heaven, at least not yet. In this limbo-like state, he meets Max and learns that everyone there is waiting for the final poof, hopefully to a better place. Only, with unfinished business back in the real world, like bringing his murderer to justice, Nord’s poof is nowhere in sight. And so, he and Max set out to find the killer and make things right again. Of course, that’s easier said than done when you’re nothing more than a couple of randy spirits.
With the help of Voltan, a diminutive mystic with a predilection for turbans, and Clark, a nerdy computer geek eager to shed his loner past, plus a ghost accountant, Bruce, Bruce’s drag queen brother, Eve O’Destruction, and Nord’s kick-ass mom, the newly enamored pair set out to hunt for the murderer, and are quick to discover how much they’d taken for granted when they were alive.
In this hysterically funny and often poignant mystery about fate and love and family, it ultimately takes dying for our heroes to have the times of their lives.
I woke with a start and stared up at the ceiling. “That’s weird,” I said.
“Where’s my ceiling fan?” I blinked. I blinked again. I thought to make it a trio, but then realized I hadn’t blinked the first two times—which is to say, I blinked but there wasn’t that whole ceiling, no ceiling, ceiling, no ceiling thing, which is what happens when I blink and I’m staring up at my ceiling. Not that what I was staring at was a ceiling to begin with, but still.
I continued staring up. I supposed what I was staring at was white, given that it looked white, and I supposed that what I was staring up at was a ceiling because, give or take, most ceilings are white, mine included, but the white I was staring at sort of shifted around a bit. FYI, my ceiling didn’t do that, except perhaps when I was drunk.
“Did I get drunk last night?” I asked myself. Only, I couldn’t remember last night. I couldn’t remember going to sleep, even. I remembered waking, but that was it. And I didn’t feel drunk. In fact, I felt great. Better than great, actually. Blissful would’ve been a good word for it. Light, too. As if I’d been weighed down and now I wasn’t. “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty—”
“You can try, but He doesn’t seem to listen,” I heard, then jumped in place.
My head whipped right. Nothing. My head whipped left. “Um, how did you get in my…” My what? This wasn’t my room. This wasn’t my ceiling. Was what was above me a ceiling anyway? “Wait, who doesn’t seem to listen?”
The man to my left grinned. He looked about my age, early thirties, give or take, nice looking guy, too. Very Bradley Cooper like, stunning blue eyes and all. He was prone. He was lying next to me. He was naked. I stared down at my body. I, too, was naked. I continued staring down. There was no bed. There was my body, there was his body, there was that shifting white. “Don’t freak out,” he said.
My heart wasn’t madly pumping in my chest and I wasn’t sweating, but I felt like I was freaking out, nonetheless. Especially because my heart should’ve been madly pumping and I generally start to sweat when I’m freaking the fuck out. All that is to say, I was FREAKING THE FUCK OUT!
“I’m freaking the fuck out!” I shouted his way. “Who are you? Where are we? Why is the wall and ceiling and floor shifting?” I blinked. It felt like I blinked, but I didn’t get the right effect again. “And where are my fucking eyelids?”
“You get used to that,” he replied.
I sat up. That is to say, I tried to sit up. Only, I didn’t think I was actually lying down, and you can’t sit up if you’re not lying down to begin with. “Stop the ride,” I squeaked out, “I want to get off.”
I was still staring at him. He was still grinning. “Give it a minute,” he said. “Takes about five minutes for all of it to right itself.”
“All? What all?” I continued staring. It seemed like a minute went by. I was no longer lying there. I was standing. He was standing next to me. The not-a-ceiling was now not-a-wall, and it was still shifting, and I was, duh, still freaking out, fuck and all.
“You were lying down before you got here, so it seemed like you were lying down when you arrived. Get it?” He said it very comfortingly. I felt less than comforted. Very.
“Max.” He held out his hand. I shook it. I felt his hand in mine. There was indeed comfort in that.
“Nordstrom,” I said.
He laughed. He had a nice laugh. He had a nice grin. Max seemed nice. “Did your mom have a penchant for upscale shopping?”
I shook my head. “I was born in one. And my mom had a penchant for making sure I was teased well into adulthood.” I let go of his hand. “Nord. My friends call me Nord. Otherwise, they don’t get a Christmas present.”
“Well, nice to meet you, Nord. And I’m Jewish, so no Christmas presents needed.” He turned my way. He was standing in front of me now, not by my side. “Are you doing better?”
I thought about it. I wasn’t doing worse, but better was another matter entirely. “Why are we naked, Max?”
“Everyone here is naked, Nord. The soul is stained. Or at least that’s what we suspect. So it appears as if we are all here, and thus naked.”
“We?” I pointed at the shifting wall. “We who?”
He nodded. “Yeah, that usually takes another ten minutes. All in all, it takes about twenty minutes until equilibrium is reached.”
He was still nodding. “Yeah, there’s no way around that.” He held my hand again. I held his. The freaking-out thing slid down the scale to a seven. I breathed in. I breathed out. But like the blinking before that, nothing really happened. In my head, I breathed in. In my head, I breathed out. My chest, however, had other ideas entirely.
I stared at his chest. His was defined, quite hairy—also very Bradley-Cooper-like. I liked Bradley Cooper’s chest, so, ergo, I liked Max’s. Max had a flat, etched belly, also hairy. Max had a hooded dick, the head two-thirds covered by crinkled flesh. My glance downward continued, going from his dick to mine. “Um, I’m circumcised, Max.” I stared back his way. “And you’re Jewish, so why are you not? And why am I not?” I grabbed my dick. I rolled back the skin. It was a disquieting feeling. Suffice it to say, I felt disquieted.
Rob Rosen is the author of the award-winning novels Sparkle: The Queerest Book You’ll Ever Love, Divas Las Vegas, Hot Lava, Southern Fried, Queerwolf, Vamp, Queens of the Apocalypse, Creature Comfort, Fate, Midlife Crisis, Fierce, And God Belched, Mary, Queen of Scotch, Ted of the d’Urbervilles, and Sort of Dead, and editor of the anthologies Lust in Time, Men of the Manor, Best Gay Erotica 2015, and Best Gay Erotica of the Year, Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4.