I am delighted to welcome Steve Berman to the blog with an extract of Red Caps! The book is an anthology of fairy tales and below is an extract of the short story Bittersweet.
Red Caps Summary:
Red Caps might be a rock band. Or they might be something more sinister, a fey source of sounds that are but the backdrop to thrills and misadventures. These thirteen stories provide readers jaded by the traditional, Old World fairy tales with tempting new stories that will entice bored readers from their suburban ennui. Closets are waiting to be explored. Escape from work camp leads to a dangerous encounter on a wet road. That high school year book is magical and might be mocking you…or helping you find love. And isn’t love one of the central premises of the fairy tale? These teenage boys and girls need not fear that their love has no worth, because Steve Berman has written for them princesses who love maidens and adorkable students who have wondrous and smart boyfriends. Readers can be assured that, if the tale does not end happily, it ends most memorably.
BittersweetThe boys ordered the greatest hot drink ever meant for a glass: Vietnamese coffee. The base of ivory condensed milk. The top of so-brown-it’s-black chicory coffee. The boys marvelled at the dichotomy. Only one coffee shop in Philly offered their favorite. Posters and flyers covered nearly every wall. The latest single from ‘Red Caps,’ a remix of ‘Hungry like the Wolf’ way overplayed, hung in the air.Dault watched Jerrod tip his glass, the lip pale from steam. Doughy and pale Jerrod didn’t like to break margins. He must have been the first kid to color within the lines. The sort that regretted spooning peanut butter first from the jar.“Would you date a gingerbread man?” Dault asked. The distraction afforded him the chance to plunge a spoon into his own glass and stir.“Being diabetic …” Jerrod’s forehead creased, making him doubly serious.“I have you anyways.” Dault drank for several seconds to earn a musky mustache. Anything to make his boyfriend grin. It worked. “Someone made a cartoon of the Fairy tale. Posted it on Youtube.” He wiped his lips clean on the back of his hand.“That one with the wolf?”“Was a fox, not a wolf. Drink your coffee. Would you rather date a wolf or a gingerbread man?” Dault had often wondered what kissing a wolf would be like. Wolves kiss first and ask permission later. Or maybe never even ask permission.“Are you dumping me so I can date make-believe people?”Dault didn’t hesitate to answer. Jerrod had a lot of worries, more than any other guy he’d ever dated. Foot falling off had to be at the top, but the way he would dare Dault to break up with him suggested getting dumped was high on the list. Jerrod’s hazel eyes flickering on the table top, as if he were suddenly consulting that list, made Dault regret the joke. “No,” he said carefully, “just curious.”
Steve Berman writes queer speculative fiction (fantasy, horror, surreal and quirky) for teens and adults.
Don’t forget to browse through the articles I’ll be posting this weekend (all links in my intro post here) for the hidden letters to solve the anagram and to be in with a chance of winning the Team Griffin box (click here!). Tune in this afternoon for my review of The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi!