Friday, October 13, 2017

Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill: Chapter Six

In Chapter Five, Wyatt's first "date" with Mackenzie is cut short, and when he finally cracks open his book on Lincoln for his book report, he discovers the real-world historical letters that Abraham Lincoln wrote Joshua Fry Speed. Letters that, Wyatt suspects, reveal that Abraham was in love with Joshua!

Want to start at the beginning? Click here for Chapters One and Two.

To read about why I'm serializing my entire YA novel for free on this blog, click here.

Thoughts? Reactions? #queerasafivedollarbill fan art? Share them in comments here or on social media (facebook, twitter, instagram. We're also using the hashtage #qaafdb)

Okay community, here's Chapter Six!

Chapter Six

Wyatt Yarrow’s Book Report Blog for Mr. Guzman’s 9th Grade History Class.
Lincolnville High School.
Book: Joshua Fry Speed: Lincoln’s Most Intimate Friend by Robert Kincaid.


First Impression Blog Post: Monday, January 12, 3:56 a.m.
President Abraham Lincoln Was Gay!

Fact: When Abraham Lincoln was 28 years old, he was a brand-new lawyer and moved to Springfield, Illinois. He went into Joshua Fry Speed’s store to buy the stuff for a bed so he’d have somewhere to sleep.
Fact: Abe was so poor, he didn’t even have $17 to pay for the stuff he’d need for his own bed.
Fact: Joshua told Abe he could share his bed.
Fact: Abe was a success as a lawyer and had the money, but still shared the bed with Joshua for four years!
Fact: The bed was a double bed, 53 inches wide (less than 4 ½ feet) and not even six feet long.
Fact: Abe was six feet four inches tall. Lying down, even like a soldier at attention, from shoulder to shoulder he’d cover 29 inches across.
Fact: If Joshua was average height (and the internet says that in the mid-1800s, that was around five feet seven inches tall) lying down, his shoulders would have been at least 24 inches across.
Fact: 29 + 24 = 53. Not an inch to spare.
The facts add up: There’s no way they could have shared that bed and not been touching practically the whole time. Here, I’ll prove it.

Insert Internet Video: “Abraham Lincoln Was Gay: BEDMATES!”

A hand moves away and Wyatt backs up from the lens. He’s in the Lincoln Room, black-suited wax-Lincoln by his side. Wyatt looks right at the camera.

Okay… Hi. I’m Wyatt, and this is my video proof that President Abraham Lincoln was gay. Or, at least, had a thing with Joshua Fry Speed. Like, a love thing.

This… is a life-sized wax figure of our sixteenth President, six feet four inches tall. And that…

Wyatt points over his shoulder to the bed where the old military mannequin, changed into his mismatched Union dark-blue wool coat, light-blue pants, and brown boots, lies on his back.

…is a guy pretty much the size of Joshua Fry Speed.

Wyatt struggles to carry wax-Lincoln over to the bed. The sculpture tips backwards, and Wyatt catches the right-arm-that’s-out-to-shake just before it smacks into the sideboard and breaks. Cradling the arm and leveraging wax-Lincoln onto the bed, Wyatt talks to the camera.

Lincoln was tall. He would have had to scrunch up in any bed, even one today, and this wax-figure’s knees don’t bend.

The video jump-cuts, and Wyatt approaches to take the camera off its tripod.


The camera aims back at the bed. Wax-Lincoln is on his left side and at an angle, size 14 shoes sticking past the footboard. His right arm rests across the other mannequin’s chest. From the end of the bed, the camera pans left to right. The two figures are pressed against each other with no extra room.


The camera flips around to show Wyatt’s face, Lincoln and the soldier on the bed behind him.

They didn’t need to share it. They chose to. For four years! Do the math: Lincoln was gay.

* *

* *

Want to know why I'm serializing my entire YA novel for free right here on this blog? Click here.

Ready for Chapter Seven? Click here.

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 address at the top of the left column.

Thanks for being part of my community, and for being one of my READERS!

1 comment:

Ishta Mercurio said...

Wyatt is being really brave, and I love it. I'm anxious about what might happen to him as a result because the homophobia in his town is huge, but I love that he is making this choice. I really want things to work out for him, I LOVE that he is finding a new source of inspiration and hope in the letters written by President Lincoln, and I really hope he finds a way to be honest with Mackenzie about who he is. I can't wait for Friday!