Backhand Stories: The Creative Writing Blog

Stephen (A Typical Night)
You can dance at the Stonewall. Not like at the Candlelight. Or Keller’s. Or Mona’s. There’s the Snakepit but the name says it all. I dance at the Stonewall. Liquor watered down. Boys dressed up. Tequilla Mockingbird, onstage looking regal. Sweet William at the door looking out. And me on the dance floor.

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Denim-clad, keys to the left. Dancing around like some jewelry box ballerina. Diamonds at her feet.

Tequilla Mockingbird (A Typical Raid)
The lights come on so they don’t catch you kissing. Sweet William gives the signal and everything stops. Too late to change so you go along. Heels clicking. I never cry. It messes up my mascara. I sing. It really pisses them off. Better than being pissed on, Lily Law. Betty Badge, pistol in hand. The lights come on and they take you. Singing, heels clicking. Fags don’t fight back.

Tommy (The Motivation…Maybe)
There’s no music tonight. Judy’s dead. There’s no cruising, there’s the void. There’s no laughter, there’s the empty chair. Judy’s dead. No one wants to dance anyway. Keys put in pockets, not out where you can see. And know. Judy’s dead. We went to see her laid to rest. And then we looked. And then we saw. And understood. So many of us. Judy’s dead but we are here.

Maxine (That Night: The Uprising)
The Stonewall boys were in their element. Wrists were limp, hair was primped. Have you seen Maxine? From the car to the door to the car again, anything could happen. Limp wrists forgotten, beer cans and bottles heaved; rain of coins on the cops. From nowhere came an uprooted parking meter. A blaze of flame in the window, a fire hose; cavort in the spray. Have you seen Maxine?

Allen (The Next Night)
Allen, who never missed a revolution, went with me. This downtown dive he’d never seen before. Allen, who was father of us all, stood in astonishment. A bold beginning. Allen, who held Whitman in his pocket, told the world to fuck off that night. He stood beside those men; their wounded looks lost now. He chanted, “OM.” Allen, who cried real tears, knew a moment when he saw one.

Jake (Assimilation Doesn’t Mean Acceptance: 2007)
Love is possibility and pain. Love is marriage and happy-ever-after. So they tell me. But it didn’t happen that way. Love was a black-haired boy. Two condoms, one mint we shared with a kiss. The dog barking downstairs. Love was a craving for ice cream I gratified at two in the morning. Love was before he left for Paris. And sent pictures of Paris Pride. The Stonewall ever present.

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  • Spare, lovely, powerful.

  • read this twice.
    love the way you assume the audience understands the nuances and challenges of the subculture. i felt like it was a poignant, touching, and entertaining peek into a reality that is not mine. thanks for writing.

  • It seems that we’re given a view of the same event from multiple points of view and those views and opinions are very distinct. I like the mystery and tragedy of it all.

  • Great short story Jake, really tells a story in so few words