Except all of you...
Okay, so maybe by reading my story you'll learn a little more about my personal life than you might otherwise, but the resemblance isn't too deep. My story is called Casual Brilliance, is set right here in beautiful Boulder Colorado, and is full of things that you're going to think are gross generalizations and/or cliches: they aren't. The biking, the pot, the snow, the spectacle--this is Boulder, people! Come and visit it if you don't believe me, I just got back from the Pearl Street Mall and in the space of four blocks I saw five violinists, two magicians, a contortionist, an old couple playing bluegrass, a man who set his own pants on fire while solving a Rubic's cube (highly amusing), and a plethora of bohemian panhandlers. And that's nothing compared to the chaos of Memorial Day weekend, when 60,000 people are expected to run the 10k Bolder Boulder on Monday.
At any rate, if you're interested in Colorado, there are stories from a wide variety of authors in different locations, with different themes and different genres. Colorado is the only thing they all have in common. Below is an excerpt from mine: enjoy, darlins!
PS, if you're going to be in Denver for Pride, come find us! The 16th is my birthday and I want to celebrate with as many people as possible!
PPS, oh hey, wow, I just remembered that I named my main character after my sister's boyfriend. I had some issues while writing this story, clearly, folks. Still good, though:)
By Cari Z
Joey Graham was suspicious of the package even before he opened it. It was small, brightly wrapped and had a bow on one bulbous end, which for his family was a sure sign it was something he wasn’t going to like. Presents wrapped in last week’s Sunday comics were good; presents that sparkled were nothing but a lure. He split the wrapping paper along the seam, tipped the small glass pipe out into his hand and turned to glare at his sister. “Oh c’mon. Really?”
“What? What, it’s legal there now, right?” Carla looked way too pleased with herself. “You can totally get away with it!”
“Maybe if I was a ski bum,” Joey said, “but I’m going to be working in a federal research lab. I kind of doubt that they’d be so understanding of me getting high.”
“They don’t have to know,” Carla said coaxingly. “Just get baked on the weekends.”
“Or not at all.”
She frowned, looking like a toddler on the edge of a tantrum. “Well if you’re not going to use it, I’ll take it back—”
Their mother smacked Carla’s reaching hand. “There are no take-backs at Christmas. And it’s just a gag gift, of course,” she added, looking expectantly at her daughter. Carla shrugged and rubbed her hand, radiating righteous hurt. “Oh stop it, those eyes don’t work on me.” She turned back to her son. “I still don’t really understand why they hired you so late; you applied in May,” she fretted.
“I think they had a problem with their last postdoc,” Joey said, putting the little pipe on top of the rest of his Christmas gifts. He’d gotten a Denver guidebook from his mother, an REI gift certificate from his uncle, and a pair of plastic snowshoes from his grandmother. Hopefully those were something he would never have to use.
“So you’re better than nothing,” his sister said with a shrug. “I get it.”
“Carla!” His mother looked as angry as a small, round woman with frizzy blond hair and a perpetually sunny disposition could look, which wasn’t very angry at all. “Go and get a trash bag for all the paper, please.”
Carla rolled her eyes but got to her feet, and his mother turned back to Joey. “I just think it’s a bit inconvenient,” she sighed. “I mean, I can’t get time off work to go help you move in—”
“I’ve got it taken care of,” Joey assured his mother quickly; Jesus, the last thing he needed was his mom coming with him to his first real job. “The U-Haul is all packed up, I’ve got an apartment waiting for me, I’m good, Mom. You know I am.”
“I know, but January is a terrible time to be in Colorado, isn’t it? Won’t it be snowy?”
“This is Chicago, Mom,” Joey pointed out. “It’s not like I’m moving there from Florida. I can handle some snow.”
“He can ski from place to place once he gets there,” Carla called from the kitchen. “Or snowboard. Don’t they mostly snowboard there? You could hitch up to the back of someone’s ATV! Or...” She poked her head around the door. “You could get a snowmobile! I bet they’re street legal there during the winter.”
“Snowmobiles are death traps!” their mother scolded. “Remember what happened to Cousin Art!”
“Mom, Art was a dumbass who got drunk and drove his snowmobile into a lake. It was totally his own
fault. Besides, they found him.”
“Not before he lost toes to hypothermia,” their mother replied. “Which would never have happened if he hadn’t been on a snowmobile in the first place. Honey,” she said as she turned to look at Joey, “whatever you do, promise me you won’t drive a snowmobile drunk. Or an ATV. Or any sort of moving vehicle.”
Of all the things he had never expected to come out of his mother’s mouth… “I promise,” Joey said solemnly.
“And promise not to become a tree-hugging, granola-eating hippie either,” Carla said, coming back in with a trash bag and three cups of coffee. She handed them around and sat back down on the couch. “Isn’t Boulder, like, the most liberal town in the US?”
“I think that’s Berkeley, actually.”
“They do have a Catholic church there, don’t they?” his mother asked worriedly.
“They have plenty of churches,” Joey sighed. He’d checked when he went for his interview, because he’d known his mother would ask. “Mom, moving to Boulder isn’t suddenly going to turn me into a stoner, or an atheist, or a drunk-driving snowmobiler. It’s a nice town, and NIST is a great place to do my postdoc. I’m lucky to be going there.”
“I suppose,” his mother allowed. “I just wish you were a little closer to home, that’s all.”
“I know you do,” Joey said with a little smile. He wasn’t about to tell her that the distance was one of the major selling points for him, after living in Illinois his whole life.
“When do you leave again?” Carla asked.
“Tomorrow. I start there on the second.”
“Well,” his mother sighed. “At least you got to spend Christmas with family.”