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The Assassin Chronicles: Chapter 4 – Dreams of Dublin

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CONTENT ADVISORY:  Contains Strong Violence and Sexuality, Grisly Images, and Some Language

 

Smith had tried to stay awake all night, but the events of the past week had slayed him.

Edward knew it.  When he sat up in bed and saw his son sleeping upright, he decided that having another human being to worry about was simply not in Smith’s nature.  So, he took out a pen and pad from an oak drawer and scrawled a lengthy note on it.  He placed the note on his pillow.  With one last look at his boy, he crept out of the room as rays of sun began to settle on the floor.

That same sun brightened the lavish stateroom about an hour later.  Smith found the note before his butt ever left his chair.  He picked it up, balled it up, uncurled it, balled it up again, then finally smoothed it out to silently read it.

“My darling David,” it began, “This is all on me.  Years ago, when I left your father for a tall, lanky American girl, he was heart-broken.  I had just found out I was pregnant, but Susan wanted to be with me even still.  Love is a wonderful thing.”

If you were to look Smith in the eyes, you might see a small puddle beginning to form in one of them.  The letter went on, “Somehow, you’re father found out about ya.  That’s why he’s after us.  He wants the family back I took away.  Jeremy Wolf, that cunt.  Yes, I suspect him of digging up old secrets.  If that’s true, it’s better to part ways love, at least for now.  I’m gonna collect Susan – sorry you won’t get to see us renew our vows.  Love always, Edward.”

The Assassin showed his first human weakness; he headed for the bar.  It’s funny how cruise ship bars look no different than high-class dive bars.  It amused him, at least.  He sat down on the cold, gold colored stool, anxious to taste something eighty proof.  His lips almost quivered.

A gorgeous brunette bartender with an overweight, yet desirably curvaceous figure sauntered over to him.  “Scotch man,” she asked in a sultry voice. She called herself Tracey to some men, Mandy to others.  Tonight she was Trixie.

Smith was born in Ireland.  He hated it.  That’s why he did, in fact, prefer scotch to standard whiskey and nodded at his new best friend.

“Neat.”  Trixie slid the glass over.  It didn’t contain an ounce of ice.

Smith tried to laugh.  Instead, a horrific cackle eked out of him.  It was like someone trying to talk while choking on their own esophagus and it disgusted Tracey, er… Trixie.

She tried not to give herself away, but in this case that’s like trying not to fall right to sleep after fucking your brains out.

Kowalczyk just smiled, then tapped the glass for a refill.

Langley, VA; unlike Palm Springs, was nothing to boast about. Tourists flocked here every year in a misguided attempt to catch clandestine agents running in and out, heading to secret dangers they hoped to one day experience themselves.  Langley was actually filled with CIA paper-pushers – at least to outside appearances.

In the basement of the CIA headquarters, however, Wolf was clinging to life on a medical gurney.  My God, he looked like hell.  A surgeon continued chipping away at his bottom jaw, ripping out teeth and broken bone fragments.  He was restrained, but he was awake.  The screams coming from his exposed throat weren’t human.

Graham came in, Frankenstein admiring his creature.  “Wolf, you’ve never looked better.”

Wolf gurgled.

“I’ll keep this short.  You and your friends cocked up a perfect operation and you’re gonna pay for it, boy.”

Wolf tried to push the doctor away.  He didn’t have the strength.

“The end of that operation, to capture Fred Phelps, meant the end of my promotion to DDO.”  Graham leant over the table.  He put a hand on Wolf’s shoulder.  “Unless you get me Hans.”

Graham’s helpless victim just stared up at him, wide-eyed.  He shook his head side-to-side with great effort.

“What makes you think you got a choice.  You’re my dog now, Wolf.  My bitch!”

Still on the ship, a very drunk, former pro-killer zig-zagged across a side deck.  Smith was plastered and zero shits were given.  He turned a corner and was horrified at what he saw:  Four young men were breaking bottles over the most beautiful nineteen year old boy ever seen.  He had caramel skin, deep brown eyes, an oddly attractive sinewy build, and nice natural waves in his hair.

Something triggered in Smith.  He was back in Dublin , a very built-up city in Ireland.  This was his hometown.  It was idyllic and sleepy.  Aside from a few domestic IRA scuffles, not a lot happened.  

Unfortunately for him, he surely didn’t have the luck of the Irish.  Growing up gay was not something the IRA tolerated.  A group of them turned down the same street Smith had one day, and found him giving a special birthday present to his boyfriend.  In fairness to Smith, his killer instincts had not kicked in yet, and this present required him to be on his knees.  He did not hear anyone approach due to the moaning.

The IRA snatched him up by the neck, smashed a piece of glass, and slit the other boy’s throat.  They made Smith watch his lover bleed out in that alley.  When he finally passed, the gang still needed more fun.  They dropped the bloody piece of glass, crushed it into slivers, and forced them all into Smith’s mouth.  After making him chew them a while, they held his nose and forced him to swallow.  The mystery of his speech problems had finally been solved.

Even drunk and swaying on the water, Smith managed to plug each of the four men with his handgun.  He tossed the men overboard and helped the boy up.  It seemed he was a stowaway – his clothes had not been changed and his feet were dirty.  To return the favor, the boy helped Smith sway back to his stateroom.

His name was Nick.  It took a while before he opened up to Smith, but when he did, he was frank.  Writing back and forth, the two exchanged a few words about who they were.  Nick was a professional thief and bankrobber.  Switzerland had proved too challenging for him.

Right now though, he was in the shower.  Smith watched from the doorway, astonished at Nick’s total lack of boundaries.  The curtain was clear and Smith watched Nick soap every area of his body.  First his lanky arms, then his muscular chest.  When Nick got to his bare buns (of steel), he watched Smith watch him wash them.  They were so tight and firm; Smith couldn’t resist.  He disrobed, stepped into the shower, and shoved Nick against the wall.  Necking, kissing, groping, and when the foreplay was over, Smith opened Nick’s back door.  Nick grabbed one of Smith’s free hands and placed it on his lucky charm.  They got off together.

Smith had forsaken his values a second time.  This time, he prayed, he wanted it to last.

Neither knew that the cruise was nearing an end.  It was going to make port in a few days… in Tokyo.

FADE OUT.

I really hope you enjoyed this chapter!  Feel free to leave comments on ways you might like the story to evolve, and please continue supporting us at TravelPride.  We really appreciate it.  Thank you.  – Ryan MariK

Originally posted 2017-10-21 18:25:31.

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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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