Pablo Michael’s Picture Choice: Both
Title: Teddy, for the Summer
The dazzling display of the city lights sent waves of heat, tingling in Ted’s skin through his clothes, manifesting the familiar beads of sweat dripping from his forehead down his cheeks to his neck. He remembered those hot summer nights when steam radiated from the streets, the hookers fanning their breasts and the hustlers exposing their shirtless chests, all of them pawning their bodies, never to get ahead in life.
It had been ten years since Ted left to reside in a one bedroom cabin in the Trinity Alps of Northern California, far from the civilized city he had grown to hate. But his lifelong friend, Arnie, had shown his poetry and plays to a publisher friend. Arnie begged Ted to return to sign a pre-arranged contract. Ted was weary and cautious about Arnie’s maneuvers. He knew once he saw him again, his name Ted would become Teddy again, a name derived from the group of friends who were aspiring to succeed in the fast track of fame and wouldn’t accept failure. He associated with many of these people before that fatal night during the Renaissance Celebration. He had blocked those times from his memory while he lived in California but it was back to haunt him and raise the fears he was unable to conquer.
As the taxi drove closer to Arnie’s apartment, Teddy rolled down the window, inhaling the alluring hormonal scents of the women and men, attracting their customers at any price. He almost asked the cab driver to turn around and return to the airport. But no. He had to face his past. He had to rise above the temptations he fell to ten years before when Jessie couldn’t handle this crazy life anymore. He owed that much to him and Jessica, his twin sister. After all, everything he wrote elevated Jessie to a Saint, and not to be forgotten. Jessica had fled to Southern California, attempting to resurrect her former life before Jessie and she came to New York. Teddy hadn’t spoken to her since.
He wiped the perspiration from his brow, swallowing his pride and whispering above the sounds of the streets rushing in through the window, “I have to remember my name is Teddy again. And not Ted, the quiet recluse man, surviving from the proceeds of a marijuana tract in the dense forests of Northern California.” No one back in the Trinity Alps had knowledge he wrote poetry and plays to maintain his sanity. “Maybe this is all a mistake. I probably shouldn’t have sent those drafts to Arnie for his editorial remarks. But, what the hell! What is done is done. I’m Teddy for the duration of summer. I hope Jessie will forgive me. Did Arnie contact Jessica? Does she still blame me? I wouldn’t know what to say to her.”
The taxi pulled up in front of the familiar brownstone apartment building. Teddy paid the cabbie. Stepping onto the curb with his suitcase, a rush of chills rippled through his body. He wasn’t sure if it was from the joy of returning to familiar territory or the fear still churning inside of what he must confront.
The cab sped away as Teddy rang the buzzer, announcing his arrival to Arnie.
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Pablo Michaels writes LGBT fiction and has published with Naughty Nights Press, http://naughtynightspress.blogspot.com You can follow him at @bell2mike