Monday, November 28, 2016

Tuesday Tales - Island




It`s time for Tuesday Tales.





 Welcome back! This week we have another excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel, Breakout, which is book #2 in my upcoming Brighton Wood Blades M/M hockey series. This book introduces us to Todd Oleksuk, a defenseman on the Blades who is still deeply closeted, and Lee Odette, a drag queen who will capture and free the heart of Mr. Oleksuk. Our snippet today takes us back to Todd’s point of view. He and Lee have finally made it to their first romantic night at Todd’s mountain cabin and are sharing a meal and some conversation.

Since this is an M/M romance, there may be some same-sex frolicking taking place as well as mature language. If that offends, now is the time to skedaddle along to another Tuesday Tales offering.

Our word prompt for this week is “Island”.




“My turn. Is driving that big rig hard?” He waved his forked tot in the general direction of my Kenworth out in the driveway.
            “It’s not as easy as driving a car, but it’s not brain surgery. I’ve always liked driving truck.” I grabbed the ketchup, coated my tater tots, and then offered it to Lee. He declined with a shake of his head. “I got my CDL when I was eighteen and have been behind the wheel of a big truck ever since. I’ve seen every state in this country, some of the islands off Newfoundland, and a lot of Canada. Maybe sometime you could come along on a long haul.”
            His eyes widened. “Ride along in that truck? Where would we sleep? Motels?”
            “Nope.” I smeared a couple tots in my glob of ketchup. “There’s a sleeper that would hold two if we cuddled.”
            He grinned and bobbed his head with enthusiasm. “I would simply love to take a long haul with you! Cuddling in the sleeper sounds incredible. Oh! Do you have a CB? Can I talk on it? I could make up a handle. This is going to be just like Smokey and the Bandit! I’m Sally Fields because I’m adorable and spunky. And you, why you’re Burt the Bandit, driving around stealing all the young men’s hearts.”
            “Bandit drove the Trans-Am. Snowman drove the rig,” I pointed out. Lee frowned and lobbed a hot tot at me. It missed by a mile and landed on the floor by one of five mousetraps set around the floorboards.
            “Tough taters,” my guest huffed. “Bandit was sassy and sexy. That old Snowman probably smelled like a hound dog.”
            “Yeah, he probably did,” I chuckled and let him prattle on about Bandit and bootlegged beer. “Who’s turn is it?” I asked after a couple of minutes of eating and Lee chatter had passed.
            “You go on ahead,” he said. “I’ve fallen behind on eating because of all my chit-chat.”
            “I’ve been reading up, you know, on how to be gay.”
Lee’s eyes flared at the statement. “Good Lord honey, you can’t go by a book. Just be who and what you are,” he quickly replied. “And where is this ‘How to Be Gay’ book? Is it on Amazon? Are there illustrations? I do love dirty pictures.”
“What do you think I am?” I enquired, folding my arms in front of me after pushing my empty plate to the side. “Am I a bottom or top? How is that decided?”
He lowered his fork and knife, looked up from cutting his chili dog into bite-sized bits, and pondered a moment. “I would have thought you were a big old top but then we had the great mouse debacle.” I felt a blush creep up my neck. That was one of my biggest secrets and now he knew it, as well as a few others.


Copyright 2016 ©by V.L. Locey

*~*~*

Click on the link below to return to the Tuesday Tales main blog for more great reads from the Tuesday Tales authors.




Sunday, November 27, 2016

Silent Sunday





*November Along the Creek*





Thursday, November 24, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Tuesday Tales - Bread




It`s time for Tuesday Tales.



 Welcome back! This week we have another excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel, Breakout, which is book #2 in my upcoming Brighton Wood Blades M/M hockey series. This book introduces us to Todd Oleksuk, a defenseman on the Blades who is still deeply closeted, and Lee Odette, a drag queen who will capture and free the heart of Mr. Oleksuk. Our snippet today takes us back to Lee’s point of view as he sets out to prepare breakfast for him and the shy visitor in his guest room.

Since this is an M/M romance, there may be some same-sex frolicking taking place as well as mature language. If that offends, now is the time to skedaddle along to another Tuesday Tales offering.

Our word prompt for this week is “Bread”.



Call me a silly sap but I set my alarm for ten that morning. After I had blown the dust off the thing. Lee Maxwell Odette does not set an alarm. Ever. But for the man sleeping in my guest room, I would. I wanted to be up, showered, shaved, and with a proper Southern breakfast ready when Todd awoke. Feeling like I had only slept for four hours – which I had – I hit the shower first, running a razor over every part of my body that I dared to run a razor over. Delicate spots were attended to by Fiji, a professional honey wax applicator over at The Tender Rose Spa. Fiji was a linebacker of a man, black as night with pink dreads who loved Whitney Houston. I knew all of this because any man who is smearing warm honey on my taint must answer a few questions first. There are just some things that require a degree of intimacy. Also, I’m just nosy and love to talk.
            After the shower and shave, I spent fifteen minutes going through my wardrobe. I wanted something that was comfy and relaxed to keep Todd feeling at ease, yet I also wanted him to be able to appreciate my finer qualities. I opted to go with leggings again since my guest appeared to enjoy seeing me in them. I wiggled into simple black ones then tugged a burgundy scoop-necked sweatshirt over my damp head. The front of the sweatshirt had “Squad Girls” on it, so, knowing he was a hockey player, I hoped that would be sporty enough for him. I slipped my feet into some black flats, spritzed myself with Sexual Sugar, and then tiptoed past the door to the guest room. The sun shined brightly through my patio door. Snow was blown halfway up the glass doors. I peeked down on the city. Things were crawling along at a snail’s pace as the roads were just now being plowed.
            Yawning behind my hand I stepped into my kitchen and smiled.
            “You are in for a real treat,” I whispered to my slumbering guest and then set to work. First thing was coffee because my ass was dragging and not in my usual professional capacity. As my coffee arrived I toasted a single slice of bread. After my Keurig had made me cup number one, I sipped and watched the local news on my iPad while nibbling toast. The weatherman, a stud of a blond with a smile that seemed a bit too pleasant, assured us that the snow had moved on after dumping up to fourteen inches across the viewing area. Maybe, if I were extremely lucky, they’d not get Todd plowed out and he’d have to spend another night. We could talk more, maybe watch a movie and neck. Mm, necking had my full attention now.


Copyright 2016 ©by V.L. Locey

*~*~*

Click on the link below to return to the Tuesday Tales main blog for more great reads from the Tuesday Tales authors.





Big Gay Fiction Giveaway! Free LGBT Books, Short Stories, and Chapter Peeks!





Want to get the first chapter of my upcoming M/M holiday hockey novella, Holly & Hockey Boots, for free? It's up for grabs as part of the Big Gay Giveaway! There are over 80 authors taking part with free books, short stories, and chapter peeks! #BGFG

Full giveaway listing-

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Escapism, Time Agents, and Romantic Stories




Over the past few days I’ve found myself mysteriously drawn to writing fan fiction. Now that in and of itself is nothing new. I got my start writing Marvel Universe fan fiction. I’ve penned stories about Dragon Age and Assassin’s Creed, two game worlds that I adore. So, this plunge into the world of Torchwood, a fandom that I am relatively new to but love more than I can say, seems to have come out of nowhere. I’d stopped writing fan fiction many months ago due to time constraints. I needed to devote my time to my books and so, sadly, I left fan fiction behind.

But after the election results came in, I sat down after losing myself in reruns of the show on Netflix, and the words for a new fan fiction began flowing onto paper. I’ve spent the last couple mornings writing these little vignettes, laughing and sighing dreamily more than I thought possible given the upheaval that has taken over this country. I tried to figure out why, when I was right in the middle of NaNoWriMo my muse decided to lead us back to fan fiction. As I wrote and wrote and wrote about the gang from Cardiff, it finally came to me : I was writing this on the side as an escape from the rather dark future many of us are now facing.

Losing myself in aliens, time agents, and amazing characters is my way of coping. Yes, my hockey books are that too, but they deal with deeper issues usually, and I love that they do. But maybe right now I also need pure escapism. And what better way to do that then spend time in the same world that Dr. Who hangs out in? So, instead of trying to squash this desire to write about Captain Jack and Ianto, I’m going to embrace the living hell out of it! I've set up a private blog for my FF work. It's nothing fancy but it's a place to post my stories. I have never been ashamed to say that I write fan fiction and I'm not going to start now. If anyone is interested in reading along, contact me for a link. Right now I'm posting Torchwood but in the future I'll be revamping an old Wolverine story. 

I have no idea how long this need to write these little vignettes will last or where the story is going. And that’s okay. I’m finding some much-needed respite in the Torchwood Tower and for that, I am eternally grateful to the shows creator and the incredible actors who portrayed those unforgettable characters. I am also thankful for having my writing - both original and fan fiction - to help give me a place to go to get away, even for just a little while.





If you've been struggling with the world after the election, how have you been coping? Or are you still trying to discover a way to guide you through the sadness and madness? I would love to hear from you down in the comments section. Maybe we can help each other work through the fear that grips many a heart. 



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Roster Addition Release Day!




Today you can pick up your copy of Roster Addition, a new To Love a Wildcat novella! It's been some time since we touched base with the Wildcats and their lady loves. Veikko, Liz, Derrick, and Maggie all have key roles in the book, as does the newest member of the Wildcat family! If you're a fan of my M/F Wildcat series you'll love the unexpected twists and surprises that occur in this wonderful little read! Thank you for all your wonderful support. You'll never know how much it means to me. *hugs*




Buy Links:

Blurb: Veikko Aho, Wildcats star goalie, and his wife Liz are about to add a new player to their family roster. The open adoption of Maggie and Derrick’s granddaughter will help to heal the gaping hole infertility has left in the Aho’s life. Finally, that huge mansion on the Main Line will hear the sweet laughter of a child.

But the birth that the Aho’s are so looking forward too seems to be stirring up some anxiety and unspoken fears for the grandparents. As the seemingly endless night of labor drags on, power struggles that threaten to break up a long-standing friendship rise to the surface. Can both families put aside their petty differences or will this precious new Wildcat tear them apart?


Monday, November 14, 2016

Tuesday Tales - Town



It`s time for Tuesday Tales.



 Welcome back! This week we have another excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel, Breakout, which is book #2 in my upcoming Brighton Wood Blades M/M hockey series. This book introduces us to Todd Oleksuk, a defenseman on the Blades who is still deeply closeted, and Lee Odette, a drag queen who will capture and free the heart of Mr. Oleksuk. Our snippet today is Todd’s point-of-view and shows just how far he’s willing to go to get another chance to see Lee.

Since this is an M/M romance, there may be some same-sex frolicking taking place as well as mature language. If that offends, now is the time to skedaddle along to another Tuesday Tales offering. Our word prompt for this week is “Town”.




I rose and went in search of a couple things. My shoes, a coat, my car keys and the card that Cab had given me at the drag show. I found them all in my tiny bedroom. As I pulled on my coat, my heart hammered behind my ribs. I was terrified and exhilarated. The Barracuda took some time to warm up but once the windshield was clear I was as well. Excitement took a broom to the doubts and fears, at least for a little while. I drove like a man possessed up to Corning, thankful for my years of trucking for a small delivery company in Gang Mills before I went indie, where my ex and boys still live. I knew the Corning and Elmira area as well as I knew myself. Okay, maybe that wasn’t the best analogy since I had no clue who Todd Oleksuk really was.
Those forty minutes on a slushy road were taxing and not only because of the wet snow stuck to the highway.  As I neared Corning the snow started coming down harder. It probably would have been a good idea to check the Weather Channel before I had bulled off in search of my free gay self. The ‘Cuda wasn’t exactly the best winter car ever designed. She was a little light in the ass, and even though I had put some sandbags in the trunk for added weight, she liked to slew a bit on turns. But, there was no turning back. I’d just passed the Glass Museum. A couple more blocks would find me at The Scarlet Owl. I pulled up to a light, the snow falling at a heavier rate than just ten minutes ago.
 The wipers were clearing the wet and sticky snow nicely. Dan Fogelberg was singing “Longer” as I made the left and crept down the street, my eyes straining to see the club through the snowfall. Another block slowly went by and then I saw it. For some reason, I had expected something ostentatious or at least flamboyant. The Scarlet Owl as not at all flashy. It was sedate by today’s standards. And oddly familiar. I drove around the side of the club and pulled under a porte cochère. A young man hustled out to my car, his red vest and cap catching snow rapidly. The town seemed eerily quiet as traffic was almost nonexistent.
“Welcome to The Scarlet Owl,” he said with a smile as he opened my door. I left the car running and climbed out, giving the valet a serious look.
“She’s light in the rear,” I warned as wind whipped around us, blowing snow up into our faces. He tapped the brim of his cap and climbed into my car.
“If you’d like to get out of the weather, Sir?”
I glanced up to see an older man, perhaps in his late fifties, motioning me toward another set of doors, much the same as the one out front. The only difference was that this one didn’t have THE SCARLET OWL in glowing crimson script arched over the heavy wooden doors.
“Rick’s Café Américain,” I blurted when I remembered where I had seen doors similar to these before. The doorman smiled widely, snow battering us as I stood there like a dimwit admiring doors. “Oh, sorry. I bet you’d like to stand inside. Here.” I pulled out the heavy business card. The doorman took one look at it, removed his spiffy red hat, and pulled open the door. Smoke, heat, music, laughter, and a kind of excitement that I had never experienced before reached out and pulled me into the nightclub. I took four steps in and hit a sensory sort of brick wall. My brain was scrabbling to get all the information it wanted downloaded. “Holy shit,” I whispered.




Copyright 2016 ©by V.L. Locey

*~*~*

Click on the link below to return to the Tuesday Tales main blog for more great reads from the Tuesday Tales authors.



Thursday, November 10, 2016

Roster Addition - Sneak Peek #2!




Less than a week to go until a new member of the Wildcats family arrives on November 16th! It's been so much fun going back to visit with some of the 'Cats. They're like family to me, each and every one of them. Today we get a peek into Veikko Aho's head as he works through one of the most life-altering days of his life. What's running through the mind of the Wildcats elite goalie? You'll get a tiny look today in this blog exclusive snippet!




BUY LINKS-


BLURB-

 Veikko Aho, Wildcats star goalie, and his wife Liz are about to add a new player to their family roster. The open adoption of Maggie and Derrick’s granddaughter will help to heal the gaping hole infertility has left in the Aho’s life. Finally, that huge mansion on the Main Line will hear the sweet laughter of a child. 


But the birth that the Aho’s are so looking forward too seems to be stirring up some anxiety and unspoken fears for the grandparents. As the seemingly endless night of labor drags on, power struggles that threaten to break up a long-standing friendship rise to the surface. Can both families put aside their petty differences or will this precious new Wildcat tear them apart?




EXCERPT-

I ambled off to find a men's room. The halls were quiet. I found that comforting. After the past forty-some hours of upheaval, stress, drama, and much screaming, it was pleasant to have some quietude. My body was as depleted as my mind.

I stopped to look down on the parking lot when I came across a window. A fresh snow had fallen, not much, just a few inches. It gave the January day a new feel, the ground all fresh and white, covering the grit and blacktop under the fluff. I lingered there for some time, just viewing the world below, the people coming into and leaving the hospital, the cars pulling in and parking. I wondered about many things. Where my tie was, would Elizabeth need help with Marja when I was gone, should I worry over my mother-in-law with the baby? And what about that damned ferret? I personally wished we could find a new home for it now that Marja was here. I did not trust the sneaky little bastard. If he leaped into the crib and bit or scratched that child I — well, I did not think I would be too kind about it. But, Elizabeth loved the animal so.

I reached up to place my left arm on the window casing. My shirtsleeves rested right below my elbow. The edge of the sleeve was stained with something. I thought it might be birthing fluid from when I had held Marja after her birth. I studied my forearm, tipping my head left then right, as I imagined how my daughter's name would look tattooed on the inside of that left arm. I had never entertained getting ink work before, but I planned to do so now that we had our first child and her name was set. Her name was set, wasn't it? I blew out a long breath and pushed away from the window. I needed to freshen up, locate some coffee, and begin working mentally on the short press announcement that I would make in a few days. I padded along until I found a washroom. 

Once inside I used a urinal, flushed, and then washed my hands and face. As I dried my face with some coarse white paper towels, I began putting things together inside my mind. Words, what I wished to say to the media, that sort of thing. I was not a man who liked to be caught short or unprepared. Perhaps that was due to being a goalie since I was five. Such things - mental things like preparation and focus - had been drilled into me from a young age. Or, maybe it was just how Veikko Aho was wired. I always thought it was a combination of the two. I stood staring at myself in the mirror and worked on my speech. My eyes were dull. I yawned widely when I thought of my bed at home. I tried to help my hair with some warm water but it was a losing cause. Pity, because the way it was now laying did not help to cover my father's high forehead that now resided on my head. I silently cursed the Aho males and their need to lose hair before forty. Tired of seeing my flaws, and I did not need a mirror in a hospital bathroom for that, I exited the men's room and walked down to the end of the hall.

The walls were cheery in this wing. Lots of soft yellow and pale green greeted me as I walked up to stand beside Jane Bratkowski. We exchanged smiles then we both stared through the glass to look at the new little ones inside the nursery.

"Your daughter is beautiful," Jane said after several silent but pleasant moments passed.

 "Thank you," I replied as I stared at Marja sleeping in her warm, safe bassinet. There were ten other infants behind the glass. 


"I almost didn't come last night," Jane said. I threw her a fast sideways look. Her hair was vibrant red, curled tightly and trying to break free of the bonds that held it. I would not say that Jane was a beautiful woman, not in the classic sense. Her profile was a strong one, her chin always high, her eyes sharp as daggers, and her attitude one that I admired greatly. She would whip her team into shape or she would die trying. That was hockey love and dedication. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Tuesday Tales - Band



It`s time for Tuesday Tales.



 Welcome back! I missed everyone last week but since I had nothing written for the book (NaNo started on 11/1) I couldn’t take part but now I can!

This week we have an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel, Breakout, which is book #2 in my upcoming Brighton Wood Blades M/M hockey series. This book introduces us to Todd Oleksuk, a defenseman on the Blades who is still deeply closeted, and Lee Odette, a drag queen who can hopefully capture and free the heart of Mr. Oleksuk. Our snippet today shows us when our two leading men meet and is in Lee’s POV. We also get to meet Lee's best friend and personal assistant, Codack Pointmeré

Since this is an M/M romance, so there may be some same-sex frolicking taking place as well as mature language. If that offends, now is the time to skedaddle along to another Tuesday Tales offering.

Our word prompt for this week is “Band”.




 “I was chatting with Mah-Mac a few days ago and mentioned that I feared I’d be inundated with college males in stilettos.” A tall young man of African-American descent tripped over his feet and fell face first in front of me. Laughter rang out in the Donald B. Crampton Auditorium.

“So now we can add mystical reader of the future to your resume?” She handed me a bottle of cold water which I took then checked the label on the sly. “It’s the kind you like.”

I pursed my lips as I cracked the lid open. “Just checking pudding.” The clear, cold water slipping down my throat felt wonderful. We’d arrived in Brighton Wood a few hours earlier than anticipated, and good thing because this stage was in no way ready for LeeLa Blue, or the young man tottering around in heels with water balloons pinned to his shirt. “This backwater town many not have had my preferred brand.”

“You are one of the pickiest queens I have ever met,” Codack said.

“It’s an occupational hazard,” I parried as we lingered in the wings, enjoying the show. “Oh, look at this one. Now that’s good,” I said, pointing at the young woman striding onto stage in a dark suit and Fedora. “We don’t see enough of the classic crooners. Did I tell you Jules and Cab said they were going to try to sneak down and attend? Well, Jules is for sure coming to perform, but you know Cab. Always the secretive one.”

Whoever was working the sound system cued up Frank Sinatra’s “Luck be a Lady Tonight” and the girl on stage started lip-syncing to the classic. The big band sound instantly helped to soothe my prickled nerves.

“They’re predicting a sold-out show. Pity none of the other pros could make it,” Codack commented. I nodded and sipped, enjoying the way the young woman was working the stage. She had presence. And had practiced. Which was more than one could say for most of the entrants. But, who was I to pick nits? If people came out, coughed up cash to aid the Q Center here on campus, and learned a thing or perhaps two about the gay community my donated time had been well spent. “Do you want me to run to the commissary and buy some lunch?”

“That would be wonderful. Find me something with chicken, roasted and not deep-fried, if they serve that kind of food on campus. Oh, and a salad with— “

“Two cups of Russian dressing on the side. I am aware.”

“Kiss, kiss,” I purred. Codack shook her head, gave me a smile, and then disappeared into the curtains. Finding a seat in front sounded good. I took about ten steps onto the stage and froze when my eyes fell upon a stunning man walking down the middle aisle. Tall, dark, neatly trimmed beard, and wearing flannel and denim. Be still my heart!

He threw a perfunctory glance up and his blue eyes widened. I cursed myself for not dressing better. I had been in a snit about a new wig I had ordered that had ended up being shipped to Fuck-Me-Up-The-Ass, Korea, or some such place. After getting more than a little salty with the wig company on the phone, I had just thrown on a pair of leggings and an oversized sweater because I had felt fat, and little black flats for traveling comfort. My hair was a lifeless mess of straight yellow blech. 

My gods, he looks like a bearded Richard Armitage. 

I vowed never to leave my home without at least doing something with my hair and wearing anything other than leggings.

His sultry blue eyes roamed over me, stopping just a tad too long to enjoy the bulge in the front of my blue leggings. Okay, so maybe leggings weren’t a totally bad call. He and a blond twink fell into conversation.

I locked gazes with the man, sending every “I. Want. Your. Dick.” thought I possessed to the beautiful man with the alluring eyes. He appeared to receive the message. I mean, his nostrils flared and his mouth fell open just an inch. Then, he spun on his heel and nearly ran up the aisle. I gave the young blond man in the huge high heels a confused look.

“Oh, that’s just Todd. He’s cool, just a little shy. He plays on my hockey team,” the pretty lad explained. 




Copyright 2016 ©by V.L. Locey

*~*~*

Click on the link below to return to the Tuesday Tales main blog for more great reads from the Tuesday Tales authors.




Sunday, November 6, 2016

Silent Sunday




*Autumn Flower & Sky* 



Thursday, November 3, 2016

Roster Addition Sneak Peek!



The blessed event takes place in two weeks! Roster Addition, a To Love a Wildcat novella, arrives on November 16th but today you get a blog exclusive excerpt! If you enjoy this little snippet from the book make sure you preorder your copy so you won't miss any of the excitement.

Now it's time to hear from everyone's favorite teddy bear, Derrick Andersson. Next Thursday Veikko Aho, the 'Cats goalie and impending new father, will be featured in an excerpt. There's some mature language in the following excerpt. These are hockey players, after all. *wink*





Amazon

B&N

Smashwords


Goodreads



Blurb: Veikko Aho, Wildcats star goalie, and his wife Liz are about to add a new player to their family roster. The open adoption of Maggie and Derrick’s granddaughter will help to heal the gaping hole infertility has left in the Aho’s life. Finally, that huge mansion on the Main Line will hear the sweet laughter of a child. 

But the birth that the Aho’s are so looking forward too seems to be stirring up some anxiety and unspoken fears for the grandparents. As the seemingly endless night of labor drags on, power struggles that threaten to break up a long-standing friendship rise to the surface. Can both families put aside their petty differences or will this precious new Wildcat tear them apart?



Excerpt:

Inhaling the sour smell of train exhaust after breathing in all that frigid air was like a slap to the face with a goalie stick. My thoughts jumped to Veikko as I paid for a ticket to Wynnewood, where Veikko and Liz had insisted Elsa be born. Since Aho was paying for everything from the private birthing suite to the baby booties they'd slide onto Elsa's tiny toes, Maggie, the kids, and me went along with his wishes. 

Not that I couldn't cover the cost of this baby coming into the world. I'd have been happy to, and had offered, but the lawyers had squashed that idea, and a few others Maggie and me had put to them. I didn't have much time for lawyers either, especially the ones that Aho had who wore suits that cost more than my Silverado. 

My pay had dropped dramatically since I had retired, but I still made good money. Nothing like Veikko hauled in every year, but few of us in the league could touch the close to nine million dollars a year our goalie earned.

"Hope the 'Cats pull themselves out of this funk," the older black man behind the ticket window said to me. I slid my ticket under the pane of glass and nodded.
"Yah, me too, friend," I said, gave him a smile, and then turned to head to the trains. 

The lower you went, the more the stench of exhaust and people assaulted you. Being a big guy, I never really worried about crime or shit like that so I just moved with the crowds to find my train, my nerves getting tighter with each minute that passed. Thank God, the trip out to Wynnewood would only take maybe twenty minutes. The platform was packed. I glanced around, my eyes moving over the Philadelphia natives, kids, benches, trashcans, and finally, up to the walls. One corner had some sort of black mold growing on the concrete. "That there can't be good for human lungs." 
As much as I love the city, and I do because it had brung me some amazing years and incredible fans, there was times, like now, staring at that mold above our heads, that I wanted to run out of the city and not stop running until my big old feet were firmly planted in Minnesota. Next summer, I planned to take my gal and the kids, Elsa too if possible, and spend a couple months at my dad's old hunting cabin. 
I could almost see that crystal-clear lake and the loons that swim and fish on it. 

If I closed my ears, I could hear the splash of the yellow perch, bass, walleye, and Northern pike that live in the spring-fed waters. I could maybe teach Trevor, Maggie's boy, to fish. Hell, I'd be happy to teach the girls too if they had a mind. We could hike along the trails with Elsa in one of them little backpack things that you wear on your chest. Cookouts around the fire pit at night, making love to my woman under the stars. The rumble of my train shook me from the fantasy. People gathered on the edge of the platform. The doors of the train opened, and I was moved into the waiting train, no small trick that, since I ain't exactly no lightweight. 
People shoved and pushed, elbowed and mumbled curses, until everyone was on. I had my back against a silver pole. Some old Asian woman who smelled like dirty cat boxes was pressed into my chest. She reached up to grab hold of the same strap overhead that I was using. A guy behind me shouted something at someone. Kabekona Lake, take me away. The train lurched. The cat box lady rocked into me. I steadied her. She said something in reply that I didn't understand so I just nodded. The man behind us kept yelling. Guess that was just how he talked. A young white man in a Wildcat jacket wiggled under my raised arm as we rattled along to Wynnewood. 

"What the fuck is Derrick Andersson doing on the subway?" he asked and extended a hand.

The Asian woman spat something at the chubby man. I winced inside. My ma would have tanned me but good if I had ever used language like that in front of an elderly woman. Seemed like kids today just ain't got no respect for nothing.

"Heading to Penn Line Presbyterian to see my grandbaby be born." 

We shook hands and I bent down for the selfie he asked to take. All the while, the guy behind us yelled, and the Asian woman chattered at us in a language neither of us understood. 

"Oh wow, good for you, man. So hey, what you think about the 'Cats chances this year? And how about having chicks playing hockey? Man, that is some fucked up shit right there. Gashes playing a man's game. I bet they cry when they break a nail or something, right?" He nudged me in the ribs. 

"I ain't seen no tears yet," I told him matter-of-factly then gave him a long look. "Bet you wouldn't last five minutes on the ice with them gashes."

"Derrick, dude, why are you talking me down like that?" 

"I ain't talking you down; I'm just laying out the facts. You maybe shouldn't be running down the Venom players unless you can skate, check, and score better than they can. Judging by the way your gut hangs over your pants," I poked his flabby belly, "I figure you'd last about thirty seconds out there with the Venom before Helen Parat knocked you ass over tin cups."

"That was brutal, dude," the wanna-be punk replied then slid back under my arm and disappeared. 

"You tell that fuck wad," the tiny Asian woman said then cackled in glee. I had to smile.