Adam Gaffen has a new queer sci fi book out (bi, poly): “The Cassidy Chronicles Volume One.”
Welcome to the world of 2113. The country has shattered into ten squabbling nations and the solar system is on the edge of colonization. Technologic wonders abound. Yet, it’s not unlike our own. People meet, fall in love, face assassination at their wedding – well, perhaps not.
Meet Aiyana and Kendra, Cass and Ken to their friends, a genius physicist and a retired movie star with a mysterious past. They live quietly, get along with their neighbors, don’t have problems at work. So why did they have to run for their lives from their wedding?
Travel with them across the continent as they search for answers, make new friends, face daunting challenges, and discover unexpected enemies. It’s a ride you don’t want to miss!
Warning: Description of race-based attack
Chapter 5: You Call That A Shirt?
It was an Anachronist’s Café. This one, it seemed, was dedicated to reviving the surfer culture of the late twentieth century. The walls were painted in the pattern that was once called Hawaiian, in bright, contrasting, clashing colors. Antique and replica surfboards hung from the ceiling, while an ancient-looking jukebox played classics by groups like the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. Cass fit in fairly well if a bit fancier than the standard bikini. Derek, however, was seriously out of place.
‘You look ridiculous,’ she said.
‘Oh, thank you, like I didn’t already know that,’ snarked Derek. ‘Why’d we come in here, anyway?’
‘Because Ken said to,’ answered Cass. ‘Look, it’s just for a few minutes.’ A young woman in a tight red swimsuit, carrying a server’s tray, came over to them.
‘Like, dudette, you are so bitchin’ hot, you know?’ she said. ‘What a totally trippendicular look! Can I, like, get you anything to drink?’
‘Can you repeat that in English?’ muttered Derek.
‘Shush!’ remonstrated Cass. ‘What’s your favorite?’
‘That’s easy, like, oh my God, it’s got to be the Spicoli!’
‘Fine, two of them.’ The waitress went away.
‘We’ve got to do something about your appearance,’ said Cass, returning to the original subject. ‘At least while we’re in here.’
‘Fine.’ Scowling, he took off the coat and pulled the tie away from the collar, unbuttoning the shirt halfway and untucking it. ‘Better?’ he said as he hung the coat carefully on the back of his chair.
‘I suppose that’s all we can do for now,’ she admitted.
‘What’s going on?’ demanded Derek. ‘Here we are, in a bar I wouldn’t be caught dead in, though maybe it appeals to you, waiting for Kendra to return so we can run off and hide from some lunatics who want – what?’
‘I don’t know,’ moaned Cass. She rested her head in her hands for a moment and closed her eyes.
‘I don’t know,’ she repeated. ‘I wonder if -’ Whatever she was going to say was interrupted by the return of the waitress.
‘Two Spicolis.’ She set the glasses down, a pale smoke spilling over the top and tumbling down the sides, and again gave Cass a searching look. ‘You are a tre betty. If you get tired of this gnarly dude, just look me up. My connect’s on the check.’ She walked away with a wink.
‘I – what – did she just hit on you? It’s your wedding day!’ sputtered Derek.
‘Yours, maybe. I just look like a beach girl, I guess,’ answered Cass, picking up the drink and sipping. ‘Not bad.’
‘Dammit, Cass, this isn’t a time to joke!’
‘No, it’s the perfect time to joke,’ she retorted. ‘Once Kendra returns, we can try to figure this out. For now, I think we should just lay low. That means, drink your drink.’
Making a face, Derek did so. ‘Pthah!’ he spat. ‘How can you drink that?’
‘Blending in, dude. Blending in.’
‘I think you’ve blended enough already,’ he muttered sourly, taking another tiny sip.
Fortunately for Derek’s self-image, it was only a few minutes before Kendra returned.
‘Shoes, wrap, bag,’ she said, naming the items as she handed them to Cass. ‘Shorts, shirt, sandals,’ she said to Derek. ‘Go change.’ Without a word, he stood and stalked off.
‘What’s up his ass?’ asked Kendra, sliding into his seat and taking a pull at Derek’s drink.
Cass shrugged. ‘Waitress hit on me, he’s pissed.’
Ken laughed. ‘Is that all? Just shows she has good taste – some, at least,’ she admitted, looking around the décor. ‘Maybe not in her choice of employers, though.’
‘He’s confused and worried, too,’ continued Cass. ‘And so am I. He asked me why this is happening, and I don’t know!’ She felt Kendra’s arms encircle her and pull her close.
‘I’m not sure either,’ said Ken. ‘We just have to get somewhere safe, somewhere we can stop and figure this all out.’
‘And where is that?’
‘Well, I think -’
‘I refuse to go out in this!’
Both women’s heads turned to stare at Derek, returning from the restroom. Cass couldn’t help it; she giggled.
‘What did you do, raid a blind man’s closet?’ he demanded. He had a point.
The shirt was bright, fluorescent orange, streaked with purple jags. The shorts, though sturdy denim, were dyed green. Topping it off, the sandals were yellow. And not just yellow, or Yellow, but YELLOW!
‘It’s not easy, shopping for someone your size,’ defended Kendra, smothering laughter. ‘Especially this late in the summer! I picked the best quality I could find, but the choices were awfully limited!’ She couldn’t resist any longer, and began laughing aloud. ‘Oh, babe, I’m sorry, I didn’t think they’d look like that together!’
The women’s laughter broke through the foul temper, and a slow smile spread on his face. ‘At least nobody will be looking at you two. They’ll be blinded!’ This set off another paroxysm of laughs, which he joined.
Adam Gaffen hates writing about himself and does so as little as possible. He’s spent most of his life thinking about other times and places, but when he’s on this planet you can find him with his wife, playing with their dogs and cats. He’s been writing for years but this is his most ambitious work to date. The sequel is scheduled for release in September of 2020.