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The Assassin Chronicles – Chapter 5: Tale of Two Wolves

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*Contains mature content.*

Smith’s cruise ship continued its course towards Tokyo, but someone else was about to get there first.

Wolf’s face felt like Hell had taken a massive crap on it.  He tossed himself off the gurney and walked over to a mirror in his padded cell.  Disgusting; most of his bottom jaw had been removed and replaced with a titanium shell.  Every tooth on his bottom gum – which simply didn’t exist anymore – was blade-like and made of solid diamond.  In fact, they did his top teeth, too.

“Jesus!” Wolf breathed, painfully releasing the word.  When he shut his mouth, he could see straight from one side out through the other.

The horror at his disfigurement didn’t last long.  After the grogginess of the painkillers wore off, Wolf started trying to figure out how to get out of his straight jacket.

Graham entered, pleased with Wolf’s pain.  “Wouldn’t do that if I was you, boy.”

“You turned me into a monster.”  Wolf actually showed a human emotion in that moment.  It was fear; fear of rejection.  “Look at me!”

“Ya should be thankin’ me.  Smith screwed up… this.”  He made a sweeping gesture over his own face.  “Brought ya a gift.”  Graham tossed Wolf his gun.

Wolf was in shock.  He stared at it, questioning whether he could use it on Graham before someone blew him away.

“Before I let ya have that, we gotta come to some kinda arrangement.  But remember, either way your ass is mine.”

Well, that didn’t sit right with Wolf, as it wouldn’t with any hired killer with the pent-up viciousness of a pitbull.  That’s it… Pitbull… Teeth!  Taking the straight jacket in teeth, Wolf started to chew.

Graham was already at the door entering the code to open it.  He wasn’t fast enough.  Just as the door creaked and swung outward, Wolf had chewed through the jacket and pounced on his prey.  In a matter of seconds, Wolf tore Graham’s neck down to the bone with his new dental appliances!

Satisfied and bloody, Wolf picked up his Beretta.  Somewhere, an alarm began screaming.  That was fine.  Let them come, Wolf thought.  An evil smile gripped his… lips?  Agent after agent went down as Wolf blasted his way through the CIA facility.  One concrete wall blended into another as he stained each with crimson goo.  Eventually, he found the elevator to the surface.

Up top, the sun was shining bright.  A fresh Spring morning had crept up over the horizon.  Wolf breathed in the fresh pine air.  Then, he shut his eyes and put his gun under his chin.

“You’re gonna go out a bigger cliche than me, you do that love.”

To say Wolf was shocked would be to say Jack Torrence merely tried to “correct” his family.  The gun left his chin and found it’s new target.  It was Edward’s face.  “How in the hell?”

“Maybe hear me out?”  Edward’s opponent scoffed, but nodded.  “Help me kill my husband, I’ll give you the one you really want.”

“You’d give me your son?  No, no I don’t think so.”  He cocked the handgun.

“Fine.  Try findin’em all by your wee self.”  Edward winked at Wolf.

“You’re just as crazy as he is, aren’t you?”  Wolf shook his head.  “Ok.  Where is he?”

“On a cruise ship.  Headed for Japan.  A few days out.  Probably less than that, now.

“Which one, or should I check the entire fuckin’ ocean?”

Edward pinched the bridge of his nose.  “That’s not how this is gonna work, love.  Kill Maligno first.  We do this right, he’ll come to us.”

“Only if I get to use you as a human shield, honey.  See, you put yourself in harm’s way –”

“You know I’m tellin’ the truth.”

“That’s a bit on the nose, but yeah, you got it.”

TWO DAYS LATER…

Tokyo is like a much bigger, brighter version of New York City.  It’s a mix of sexy Asian professionals and neon lights; low-lives and massage parlors.  To sum it up, Tokyo was a damn fine place to party.

Currently underway was a combined fashion show and live concert.  Halestorm was performing for a well-known designer, Mein.  (How fantastic it was that Wolf would get to kill an arch-enemy and see Halestorm in person, one of his favorite new bands.  He strongly recommends that everyone buy ALL of their albums here.)

Maligno was scheduled to attend.  Mr. Mein had some competition to do away with and he had reach out to Maligno for a favor.

The two were in a VIP lounge drinking the partying when Wolf snuck in.  It took several hours, but Wolf managed to be patient enough to wait for Maligno to enter the bathroom before making his move.  He stole Mein’s custom silk scarf and entered the restroom.  Only he and Maligno were there.  Lucy Hale had started singing “I Like It Heavy.”  Wolf wrapped the scarf around his former boss’ neck when she sang “Hallelujah, motherfucker, take me to church,” and Wolf did.  In this case, church was code for Heaven or Hell, depending on if Maligno had been naughty or nice.  Or does that only apply during one of Santa’s visits?

Being so out of shape, Maligno posed no challenge.  Wolf wedged his body in a stall and met Edward by the door.  They had one more hurdle.  The two of them had to convince Hans’ men that they now worked for Wolf.

Smith, meanwhile, had docked without his companion.  Why could he never keep a man?  What was wrong with him, other than the obvious?  It didn’t matter, once again he reminded himself he had work to do.  He rented a car and drove into the night.  The Assassin was determined to confront one of the biggest causes of his pain, his own father.  He had no idea what truly awaited him.

FADE OUT.

 

If the number six really is suspect, then keep watching TravelPride for the sixth (and final) chapter of The Assassin Chronicles.  Everything comes to a bloody head in the final chapter and the suspense will roar to a nail-biting conclusion.  Don’t miss it!  Also, please be sure to support the other writers on the site by reading and sharing their articles.

Thanks As Always,

Ryan MariK

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The Best LGBTQ+ Podcasts to Keep You Entertained While Travelling

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Unpopular Opinion: Travelling is hella boring.

Wait, don’t click away so fast. I don’t mean the actual being away- where you dip your feet in the Pacific Ocean or stroll across a piazza in Rome . I mean the physical act of travelling to a place, which can mean hours- and sometimes days- of waiting for your holiday to start.

Basically, the thrill of planes, trains, and automobiles was lost on me from a very early age making me a terrible choice for your Route 66 road trip (but thanks for asking).

Now, you’re probably wondering why I wouldn’t just enjoy the extra time with my travel companion. Well sometimes, especially if I’m travelling for work or to visit someone, I’m on my own. Occasionally, even if I have a kickass travel buddy, it’s hard to keep the enthusiasm up over a long period of time when you’re just waiting.

As a result, I turn to podcasts to keep me occupied; there are shorter pop culture ones to keep me alert while waiting for my flight in the early hours of the morning or longer fictional stories to keep me entertained on seven-hour coach rides.

Here are some of my personal recommendations for those of you who want some LGBTQ+ hosted podcasts to keep you busy during your next trip.

Looking for laughs: Nancy

Kathy Tu and Tobin Low; courtesy of New York Public Radio

With most podcasts coming in at around 30 minutes, this is the perfect peppy companion to keep you entertained (and most importantly, awake) while waiting at an airport gate before 6 am.

Best friends Kathy Tu and Tobin Low discuss issues affecting the LGBTQ community from sex-ed to politics to pop culture, while sharing their personal stories about being queer and Asian- and encouraging their guests and listeners to do the same.

Previous guests include “Master of None” star Lena Waithe, musician Rufus Wainright, and nonbinary actor Asia Kate Dillon.

Recommended Episode: There Are No Gay Wizards- It’s no secret that I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and this podcast explores the absolute queerness of the series…I mean Harry literally lived in a closet ya’ll.

Looking for debate: Umbrella

Hosts (clockwise from top left): Kate, Taylor, Dawson, Olivia, Glynn, Riley, Kayla, Layne.
Collage created by Emma Murphy; photos reproduced with permission from hosts.

If you’re looking for intelligent, informed debate to break up a train journey, then check out Umbrella. This monthly panel-style podcast brings together a diverse group of the LGBTQ+ community to discuss issues that impact upon our community.

Sometimes the subject matter is heavier, as in the case of their intersectionality show, but all of the podcasts are kept light by the interactions between the hosts.

Beware: You may find yourself interjecting your own opinion into the debate and the other people on the train may look at you strangely…

Recommended Episode: (106) LGBTQ+ Fandom – Canon, Non-Canon, Ships and All- For all fangirls and boys who want more representation in their fave media, this is the podcast for you. IMO Criminal Minds needs to feature some queer characters who are neither victims nor criminals.

Looking for a story: Alice Isn’t Dead

Actors Jasika Nicole and Joseph Fink. Credit: Nina Subin

Last month, I made a 14-hour return coach trip for my five-year uni reunion and I wanted something to keep me distracted enough that I wouldn’t have to use the bathroom (because ever since a horrible trip to Miami in 2011, I never use coach bathrooms).

That’s how I found the Alice Isn’t Dead Podcast, a serial fictional drama about a long-haul truck driver (played by Jasika Nicole) searching for her missing wife. Will she find her? What happened to her?

I am the worst person for accidentally blurting out spoilers- and I’ve listened to the entire podcast- so I won’t go into detail but oh my god, this is incredible. It kept me hooked from the beginning and when I met up with my friend at the end of my coach journey, I might have asked if I could just finish the episode before we started our catch up.

Recommended Episode: Part 1, Chapter 1- Omelet- As this is a fictional story, it’s best to begin at the beginning but don’t worry, the tension is high from the offset.

Looking for sassy politics: Throwing Shade

Via goo.gl/vFQZFp

 

If you’ve been sitting in the airport bar, staring at cable news on mute, and wishing it was socially acceptable to cuss out the Fox News hosts in public, then do me a favor; walk out of the bar, find somewhere to sit and play an episode of Throwing Shade.

Hosts Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi are not afraid to talk about the important issues facing the LGBTQ+ community and women in the 21st Century, with the exact right amount of sarcasm and skepticism. Honestly, it’s like listening to good friends calling out politicians, institutions, and the general public for failing to achieve justice for marginalized groups.

They may bill themselves as “a weekly podcast taking all the issues important to ladies and gays and treating them with much less respect than they deserve,” but they still do a much better job than certain politicians and journalists.

Recommended Episode: TS284: Dog Songs, FGM, Trump and LGBTQ issues- How does Donald Trump fair on a podcast called Throwing Shade? Not too well surprisingly, but it sure is fun to hear him being dragged through the mud.

Looking for music: Homoground

The Homoground Team. Photos taken by Moon Cloud.

Travelling is tiring and sometimes you just need to stick in your headphones and let the music take you away, but what if you could discover new music by LGBTQ+ artists at the same time?

That’s where Homoground comes in.

I listen to Homoground whenever I need a break from the outside world; whether that’s sitting on the floor of a bus station waiting to be picked up after a full day of travelling, leaning against the wall while waiting for my suitcase to appear on the luggage carousel, or when I just don’t want to hear the opinions of my fellow coach travelers.

Tune in, turn up, chill out.

Recommended Episode: #MIXTAPE126 – Gender is Over! If You Want It- If the gender police are getting you down, then play this punk-filled podcast loud and proud.

Originally posted 2017-08-23 11:24:30.

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Gay Relationship Timeline

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Friends, allies and other distinguished readers, there is an inherent truth to some particular types of relationships. Specifically, the idea that there will be confusion over the timeline in general and, in particular, the transitional period from being lovers to partners. Normally this would be the stuff of romcoms, but we all know how Hollywood can stuff it when it comes to understanding certain types of relationships.

And by “certain types”, it is “all of them.”

So as a public service, TravelPride will set out a timeline for how the transitional period ought to be mapped out. Keep in mind that every relationship is different, so these guidelines are meant to be taken with a grain of salt. Also, it should be understood that the marker for Day 1 is the day where there is the love confession and acceptance. With that in mind, here is the timeline:

  • Day 30: This the beginning stage of being a full-time lover, not a Stevie Wonder song. Do something nice on this day, like maybe go see a movie or take in a local baseball game/soccer match. During this time, look for some subtle hints from your boyfriend about the possibility of something that is more long-term. This sometimes comes in the form of the occasional staring off into the distance, as if he was doing method acting for an obscure indie film. Make note of it, in accordance with your own good judgment.
  • Day 60: At this point, the prospects of you two becoming partners should be considered as a possibility in the near future. If he wants to have a discussion about such a thing, do so in a way that ensures a more-or-less neutral disposition. This is not to say that you should be oblique; if there are issues, do not be afraid to speak your mind about them. Whatever conclusions are reached, keep them in mind as your relationship moves forward.
  • Day 90: If you believe it to be worthwhile, feel free to introduce your boyfriend to your family. Depending on the circumstances, this may require a certain kind of diplomatic language when it comes to your older relatives. Unless you have a drunk uncle (which all families have, to be honest), then all bets are off. And while TravelPride does not wish to support or even condone physical violence, sharp-witted insults are encouraged. Here are some links to a few collections in order to gel both of your imaginations.
  • Day 180: As you post the six months’ anniversary collage on Facebook, ask yourselves these questions: “Do I truly want a long-term commitment? Does he want to be seen as a partner instead of a boyfriend? And what coffee shop are we going to for breakfast on Saturday?” If your answers to the first two questions are Yes, then you should consider your boyfriend as a full-fledged partner and tell him as such. And while you’re at it, use Yelp to ask the third.
  • Day 365: At this point, he is a partner of yours. If you can, invite him to move into your place. If he accepts your proposition, it means that he has also acknowledged the maturation and progress of the relationship. Then again, the two of you will probably have to split the money spent on moving fees, because that ain’t cheap.
  • Day 730: For God’s sake, just go ahead and propose already! Unless you have serious reservations about the relationship, however. In that case, seek the advice of professional help as soon as reasonably possible. You can’t be too careful about this sort of thing.

Originally posted 2017-08-02 17:45:10.


Also published on Medium.

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For the Love of House Music

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House Music is uplifting, joyous, and free. Queer and like to dance? You will find a dance/music community in place no matter where you are in the world. Grooving to House Music is my thing. I enter the sanctuary of House to re-energize. It’s been that way since we were introduced in 1979. She’s carried me over some rough patches, times when I felt like I was losing the ground underneath my feet.  

House Has Carried Me Through

In 2005, while ‘‘Cool Cat’ my daddy was in the Burn Unit of Detroit Receiving hospital, I’d go to Agave on Sunday’s after visiting hours to build up my faith. Even though Cool Cat didn’t make it out of Receiving alive, I danced for him to be at peace and out of unimaginable pain experienced through a comatose state. He left the day after my 41st birthday.House music and vibing with community helped me to make it through.

My love affair with alcohol ended, I would carry two bottles of ice-water in my backpack to avoid losing my space by one of the speakers, wasting time to go to the bar. I didn’t want to miss a minute of dancing. Agave, never disappointed, I’d dance for Cool Cat while sending up prayers.   

Dance Away The Stress

House spells relief for many people after a hard week on the grind. People who love good music come out to dance their cares away. House is as freeing as it is healing. House is a connector of people. At any spot where House runs deep, you will find a mixed crowd. House Music pulls diverse crowds. You’ll find an eclectic mix of queer and str8, along with various races and ethnicities jamming together.  They will be vibing and getting high from the beats banging through the speakers and the poetry flowing from tracks.

House is for beating back the blues, through verse that grabs your spirit reminding you that you’re worthy. Finding self and self-love are frequent in the songs that dare you not to feel empowered and encouraged. House is also fluid.  When master mixologists house cuts use tribal beats and anything 1970s, I go on a spiritual journey.  

Sunday Tea Parties

One criticism I have of the Queer community is that we don’t hang out enough. Sunday Tea Parties were prevalent in the 1970s and in some places they’re making a comeback. Tea Parties worked because they were open and welcoming to the queer community and allies. In Detroit, Michigan from 2000-2006  as a member of Sistas Providing Intelligence and Creativity (S.P.I.C.E.), I helped throw some stellar afternoon events. Mimosas flowed and the food was good. In between eating, laughing, and catching up we gathered on the dance floor to throw down to House music.

Giving It All Up To The Feeling

An extensive list of Detroit deejays has held my heart since 9th grade.  Growing up with music pioneers. and being exposed to alternative music stores shaped my music tastes. It opened me up to the Worldwide House Movement. House music keeps this “Queer Diva”, moving to the beat. House is cool for a plethora of reasons. If you can keep the beat, you’re good. Go where the music takes you without fear of judgment. You don’t need a dance partner. I’m far from shy and when a good song comes up, I’m on the floor. House allows that. Dance by yourself, in the mirror or next to a speaker to take in more bass (if you’re like me), whatevs — do you. You can dance alone without worrying about someone inviting themselves into your personal space. You can feel the love of community when a dope song drops. If it’s a throwback song, House lovers make eye contact with knowing glances and head nods.  A complete blast.

House is happy it’s liberating and it’s needed in the world we live in. House Music makes things a little better.

 

Originally posted 2017-07-30 18:00:18.

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