Friday, December 8, 2017

Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill: Chapter 14

In Chapter Thirteen, Wyatt and Mackenzie go to their high school's purple and gold pep rally... Where Mackenzie breaks up with Wyatt in the most public and humiliating way he can imagine. As he walks home alone, the Q Satellite Radio story featuring his outing Lincoln gets picked up by four more media outlets.

Want to start reading from the beginning? Click here for chapters One and Two.

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Okay community, here's Chapter Fourteen!

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Chapter 14
Sunday January 18

            The buzzing vibration of Wyatt’s cell woke him. He fumbled for it in the pocket of his pants on the floor and squinted at the time. 8:00 am. But it was Sunday! He’d wanted to sleep in. Forever.
            It vibrated again, and he peered closer at the screen in his hand. “Lgl Adv Or”
            He pressed talk, panicking. “Hello?”
            “Hey, Wyatt! It’s… Martin.”
            Wyatt sat up and his room was a freezer. He shivered. “Is everything okay? Am I in trouble?”
            “No, nothing’s happened about your case! I’m sorry to bother you. I just wanted to say I’m sorry for kind of making you think I was a lawyer – I didn’t mean to! I want to be one, a lawyer, I think, if the singing and songwriting don’t work out. Anyway, I’ve been up, all night actually, and I was thinking…”
            Martin kind of trailed off, and didn’t say anything more. Wyatt didn’t know what to say. They were both silent, for twenty seconds.
            “This was a bad idea. I’m sorry.” Martin said. “Go back to sleep. I mean, you weren’t asleep, but…”
            “Well, I was, but it’s okay. I’m not. I’m awake.” Wyatt let himself yawn. “What’s up?” He settled under the comforters where it was warm.
            Martin took a deep breath and let it out. “I just wanted to tell you I think you’re really brave. To buck the system and all. I mean, we help a lot of adults, but not guys our age. You’re standing and fighting… You’re… kind of a role model.”
            Grateful Martin couldn’t see him turn red, Wyatt said, “I liked your Von Steuben Yankee Doodle song.”
            “Thanks! I liked your new blog post about Lincoln and Joshua.”
            There was another pause, but this one was almost cozy. And Wyatt didn’t really want to go back to sleep. He wanted to keep talking. “What school do you go to?”
            “I don’t. Home-schooled. I’m just going to skip the whole high school thing and go to college early. I mean, high school’s just a factory. College is, too, but at least it’s a factory where you can be yourself. And music school, if my mom will let me, should be better than a regular college.”
            Wyatt wondered if ‘being yourself’ was code for being gay – Martin had seemed so out in the video. He wanted to ask, but had no idea how. Martin saved the moment with his own question, “So, what’s new?”
Wyatt wasn’t going to say anything about breaking up with his girlfriend, that was for sure. “Nothing much. You?”
 “I’ve actually been doing some stuff about your blog… You had some traffic, but you deserved more.”
            Wyatt could hear Martin click at a keyboard. “I’ve been linking and posting it in comments all over the web since yesterday. And the radio show, their archive’s linkable, so getting that out there, too. It’s just starting to get some traction in the queer blogosphere, and a few local outlets. There’s some traffic from the Civil War buff sites, too. And I cloned it, just in case. With luck we’ll get you picked up by an aggregator.”
            Wyatt stumbled downstairs to the reception computer to see for himself. He loaded the stat counter page.
            4,920. People!
“You did this?” He asked Martin.
“You’re the one who’s saying what they’re excited about. I’m just trying to help make sure people hear it.”
“It’s um… I… I gotta go.” Wyatt hung up, and for the rest of the day, he felt like he was sleep-walking. He tried to not think about Mackenzie, and how everyone at school would know she’d broken up with him at the Pep Rally, and why.
Mackenzie didn’t come over for their Sunday ‘homework club,’ not that Wyatt had thought she would. When his mom asked where Mackenzie was, he didn’t want to get into it, so he made up some extra-credit project Mackenzie was doing with Jenny.
Wyatt dodged his parents’ questions about the Pep Rally, and stayed busy catching up on algebra worksheets, doing a load of laundry, and taking a trip to the lumber yard with his dad to get the two-by-fours for a new display case. And the two times he allowed himself to check, his numbers grew.
It was like some magic beanstalk.

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After the James Bond movie that night – without Mackenzie – Wyatt checked his stats one more time.
It was exciting. And scary. That was a lot of people. He went to bed that night with the same nervous anticipation he used to have with a tooth under his pillow, wrapped in a tissue and zipped inside the little embroidered red-and-gold Chinese change purse. What was the Tooth Fairy going to bring him? Only this time, it was the Truth Fairy.
First thing Monday morning, Wyatt raced downstairs. And it felt like Christmas-and-Tooth-Fairy-and-New-Year’s-and-First-Day-of-School all rolled into one. He got to the stat page and hit ‘refresh’:
Oh. My. Gosh. Part of him wanted to tell Mackenzie, but he knew he couldn’t. She wouldn’t want to hear it. He didn’t even know if they’d ever talk again.
But he had to tell someone!
And then he thought of it – he could text Martin.

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7 More Outlets That Picked Up The Q Satellite Radio Story That Sunday
1.     New York Re-Enactment Society LGBT Forum
2.     Kansas City Queers newsletter
3.     Los Angeles Lesbian Times
4.     Vermont Teen Power
5.     Austin LGBT History Club
6.     Shout! National Newsmagazine
7.     Rocky Mountain Newswire

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Want to know why I'm serializing my entire YA novel for free right here on this blog? Click here. Ready for Chapter Fifteen? It will be posted on December 15, 2017. Thoughts? Reactions? #queerasafivedollarbill / #qaafdb fan art? Share them in comments here, or on facebook, twitter, or instagram. Don't miss a chapter - you can sign up to follow this blog and get emailed every post! Just enter your email at the top of the left column. Thanks for being part of my community, and for being one of my READERS!

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