The arts and LGBTQ community salute the life and laughs of Peggy Platt

by MK Scott There wasn't a dry eye in the house at ACT's Falls Theatre on Monday, April 16 as the arts and LGBTQ community paid tribute to celebrated Seattle comic Peggy Platt, best known as half of the comedy duo Dos Fallopia along with Lisa Koch and their annual iteration of 'Ham for the Holidays,' who passed away on April 2. The memorial was filled with both sadness and so much music and laughter. So many spoke about their memories of Peggy, including Eric Des O'del, Andrew Tasakos, Grady West (Dina Martina), Michael Oaks, Lisa Koch and yes, the spirit of Peggy herself was everywhere. Also spotted were Sylvia O'Stayformore, Clinton Jessee, Michael Strangeways, Maggie Bloodstone and more!

The 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards: LIST OF AWARD WINNERS

<span style="color: #000000; font-family: Arial;">GLAAD Media Award recipients were announced in 12 of this year's 25 media categories at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards</span><span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"> presented by Delta Air Lines, Gilead, Ketel One Family-Made Vodka, and Wells Fargo at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Thursday night. </span> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><span class="x_MsoHyperlink"><span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"> </span></span><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';">At the event, celebrities sported blue “&” pins for GLAAD’s </span><span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Together movement</a> – representing GLAAD’s work on intersectional issues including immigration, racial justice, women’s rights, and LGBTQ acceptance. This subtle yet powerful symbol represents the power of solidarity and great accomplishments that occur when marginalized community groups – including women, Muslims, immigrants, and LGBTQ people – resist together.</span></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"> </span><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';">Following is a complete list of GLAAD Media Awards presented on stage, and the individuals that accepted the awards:</span><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"> </span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';">Vanguard Award: <b>Britney Spears </b>[presented by <b>Ricky Martin</b>]</span></li> <li><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"> <span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';">Stephen F. Kolzak Award: <b>Jim Parsons </b>[presented by <b>Ryan Murphy</b>]</span></span></li> <li><b><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"> Ou<span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">tstanding</span> <span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">Drama Series:</span> <b><i><span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">This Is Us</span></i></b><b> </b><span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">(NBC)<b> </b>[accepted by: Denis O’Hare]<b><i><u></u></i></b></span></span></b></li> <li class="x_MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><b><i><u><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;"> </span></u></i></b><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBTQ character): "Thanksgiving" <strong>Master of None </strong>(Netflix) [accepted by Lena Waithe]</span></span></li> <li class="x_MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><span style="background: white; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">Outstanding Kids & Family Programming winner: <b><i>Andi Mack</i> </b>(Disney Channel)<b><i><u><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;"> </span></u></i></b></span></li> <li class="x_MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">Outstanding Comedy Series: Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX) [accepted by: Chelsea Peretti, Stephanie Beatriz, and Melissa Fumero]</span></span></li> </ul> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><b><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"> </span></b></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';">The following is a list of other award recipients announced at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles:</span></p> <ul> <li class="x_MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"> <span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">Outstanding Film – Limited Release <b><i>A Fantastic Woman </i></b>(Sony Pictures Classics)</span></span></li> <li class="x_MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"> <span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">Outstanding TV Movie or Limited Series: <b><i>When We Rise </i></b>(ABC)</span></span></li> <li class="x_MsoNormal"><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"> O<span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">utstanding Comic Book: Black Panther: World of Wakanda (Marvel Comics)</span></span></li> <li class="x_MsoNormal"><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"> </span><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"><span style="color: windowtext; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">Outstanding Daily Drama: <i>The Bold and the Beautiful</i> (CBS) </span></span><b><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"> </span></b></li> <li class="x_MsoListParagraph"><span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">Outstanding Digital Journalism Article: <b>“Why Bisexual Men Are Still Fighting to Convince Us They Exist” by Samantha Allen </b>(Splinter)<i> </i><b></b></span></li> <li class="x_MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"> <span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">Outstanding Blog: TransGriot <i>(</i><i>) </i></span></span></li> </ul> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><b><u><span style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"> </span></u></b></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><b><u><span lang="ES-SV" style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';">SPANISH-LANGUAGE WINNERS</span></u></b></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><b><u><span lang="ES-SV" style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"> </span></u></b></p> <ul type="disc"> <li class="x_MsoListParagraph"><span lang="ES-SV" style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">Outstanding Scripted Television Series: </span><b><i><span lang="ES-MX" style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">Las Chicas Del Cable</span></i></b><span lang="ES-MX" style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;"> (Netflix)<span lang="ES-CO" style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';"> </span></span></li> <li class="x_MsoListParagraph"><span lang="ES-CO" style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">Outstanding Digital Journalism: <b>“</b></span><b><span lang="ES-MX" style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">Tres Hemanitos Para Dos Papás” por Jacqueline Garc</span></b><b><span lang="ES-CO" style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">í</span></b><b><span lang="ES-MX" style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">a </span></b><span lang="ES-MX" style="font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont'; font-size: 11pt;">(<b><i></i></b></span></li> </ul>   <p class="x_MsoNormal"><span style="background: white; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';">GLAAD announced a Special Recognition Award for <b>Jay-Z’s</b> song and music video <b>“Smile”</b> featuring his mother Gloria Carter who used the song to come out as a lesbian, and a Special Recognition Award to the animated short film <b><i>In A Heartbeat</i></b>. </span></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';">The Los Angeles GLAAD Media Awards were held on April 12<sup>th</sup> at the Beverly Hilton. </span></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><span style="color: black; font-family: 'Arial',sans-serif,serif,'EmojiFont';">The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect their lives.  They also fund GLAAD's work to amplify stories from the LGBTQ community that build support for equality. GLAAD Media Award nominees were published, released or broadcast between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017.</span></p>

Jake Biondi on BOYSTOWN Season 8

by MK Scott BOYSTOWN series author Jake Biondi recently released the highly-anticipated eighth book of his BOYSTOWN series. 'The eighth book is a very special one, so a Valentine's Day release date seemed appropriate,' Biondi told fans of his BOYSTOWN book series. 'Because of the success of the series, fans from all over the world have been asking me when book eight will be available. The ending to BOYSTOWN Season Seven foreshadowed the deaths of two main characters, including a member of the Mancini family, and readers tell me they are longing to know who died.' Biondi promised that readers won't be disappointed by his latest installment. 'Season Eight picks up right where book seven left off and slowly resolves the cliffhangers that ended the seventh installment, including the deaths of two major characters. But don't expect to find out those two identities right away. In true BOYSTOWN fashion, there are many twists and turns at the start of Season Eight before readers discover exactly who died.' I had a chance to chat with Biondi last month by email. Here is what he said: <b>MK Scott: </b>Boystown Season 8 is finally here! What are some key moments in this book? <b>Jake Biondi: </b>Season Eight picks up where Season Seven ends, resolving many but not all of the cliffhangers that ended that book. This time around, however, I delay the resolution of a few loose ends. In particularly, the ending of Season Seven hinted at the deaths of two main characters; however, readers will not find out the identities of those characters until several chapters into the new book. Also, I tried to 'spread out' some of the major 'shocks' in the story lines throughout the entire new book rather than waiting until the end. That way, readers really enjoy a roller coaster experience of twists and turns throughout all of Season Eight. <b>MK: </b>What will make this different from the other seven seasons? <b>Biondi: </b>I think BOYSTOWN Season Eight is the most emotional of the books. Several couples come to crossroads and must decide whether or not to move forward together. Other non-romantic relationships experience stress as well - and one relationship, in particular, resolves their issues in a tearful scene about three-quarters of the way through the book. In addition, the new book is jam-packed with more twists and turns that have become the hallmark of the BOYSTOWN series. Readers won't be disappointed. <b>MK: </b>Tell us about any new characters. <b>Biondi: </b>BOYSTOWN Season Eight introduces two exciting new characters: Victor DelVecchio and Brad Ward. Victor shares a romantic past with Gino Ciancio and a secret past with another main character. Brad is a college football player who knows Hugo Martinez, but his real identity isn't revealed until the final pages of the book. <b>MK: </b>After eight books who is your favorite character to write about? <b>Biondi: </b>I still love writing the core characters: Cole, Derek, Justin, Emmett, and Keith. However, I am really enjoying the new character Victor DelVecchio. He's exciting, sexy, bright, and mysterious. I'm hoping that readers will come to like him as much as I do. All the characters are a part of me, so I really like writing them all. <b>MK: </b>I know your dream is to get the series on TV. How is that going? <b>Biondi: </b>Actually, it's coming along great. In fact, there may be TWO versions of the series coming to TV. One pilot has already been shot and another version is in the planning stages. I can't say much more, but I'm confident that fans will be viewing BOYSTOWN before the end of 2018. <b>MK: </b>My Burning Question: Will there be a 9th season and when? <b>Biondi: </b>Of course. BOYSTOWN Season Nine is already in the works and should be released during the 2018 holiday season. BOYSTOWN Season Eight is currently available for pre-order on iTunes, Kindle, and Nook. The series is available in paperback, audio book, and all e-book formats. Readers may order autographed paperback copies of the books directly from

Randy Rainbow on fame, and joining the Seattle Men's and Women's Choruses for 'Not In Our Town' on April 7 and 8

by MK Scott I was first seduced by Randy Rainbow's humor about seven years ago when Rainbow was shooting and posting his short videos on YouTube. These videos featured outrageous edited phone conversations with such notables like Mel Gibson, Lindsey Lohan, Diane Sawyer and more. Lately, Rainbow has been making a splash with his political parodies of Trump and Kim Davis. His musical tribute to the first presidential debate of 2016 received 28 million views in its first two days. He was subsequently asked by the cast of TV's 'Will & Grace' to parody a song which they performed during a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. Now, Rainbow will be visiting Seattle for the first time to join the Seattle Men's Chorus (SMC) and the Seattle Women's Chorus (SWC) for 'Not In Our Town,' their joint concert in song, at McCaw Hall on April 7 and 8. In addition to live performances of his wildly popular parody videos, Rainbow will sing hit songs with the Choruses, including the Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning song 'This is Me' from The Greatest Showman. I had a chance to chat with Rainbow by email this past week. <b>MK Scott: </b> Welcome to Seattle! You are performing with the Seattle Men's Chorus and Seattle Women's Chorus. What can we expect? <b>Randy Rainbow: </b> I'm so excited about it, and it'll be my first time in Seattle! I'll be doing some of my original song parodies and then joining the chorus to solo on a couple of special numbers. Don't wanna give too much away. <b>MK: </b>Since the idiot has been in office, your videos have been even more popular. What have been the pros and cons of this instant fame? <b>Randy: </b>Not so instant. I'm one of those 8-year 'overnight sensations.' It's a fun ride. I'm on tour now so getting to meet fans all over the country has been a trip. <b>MK: </b>Some of the responses have been big celebrities. Who surprised you the most? <b>Randy: </b>The response from celebrities has been one of the most exciting parts for me. Some of them like Sondheim and Dick Van Dyke have been huge idols of mine since childhood so it's quite thrilling. I guess the most surprising have been the news anchors and reporters who've reached out. The CNN people love me, and it's mutual. <b>MK: </b>I saw you in the new gay Orbitz ad with Bianca Del Rio. What was it like on that set? <b>Randy: </b>So much fun. I've been a massive fan of Margaret Cho's for years, so to work with her on my very first commercial was really special. Bianca and I go back a long time to when we both had weekly shows at the same gay bar in NYC. It was a fun reunion and needless to say we had a blast. <b>MK: </b>How long does it take you from conception to posting a song or video? Do you shoot or edit your own videos or do you have some help? <b>Randy: </b>I'm still doing it all myself from my apartment. You have to work fast in the age of social media, and especially with the never-ending circus going on every day in the news. I usually turn my videos around in a day. <b>MK: </b>I read that your Grandmother was very talented and an inspiration. What was your favorite memory of her? <b>Randy: </b>I used to sleep over at her house on Friday nights when I was a kid and she'd help me run lines for whatever community theater or camp show I was in at the time. She was the funniest. Joan Rivers, Lucille Ball, Bea Arthur and Betty White rolled into one Jewish Grandmother. <b>MK: </b>What is next? <b>Randy: </b>Working on lots of projects so stay tuned. Would love to bring what I'm doing with the videos to the next level. Maybe even leave my apartment. <b>MK: </b>Burning Question: Have you, or would you ever join a Gay Chorus? <b>Randy: </b>How presumptuous of you. I haven't even officially come out yet. Tickets to the SMC and SWC 'Not In Our Town' concert at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall Seattle performances are $25-$78 and available at or over the phone at (206) 388-1400. The Seattle area box office is open Mon-Fri, 11am-6pm. The Annual FREE Family Concert is at McCaw Hall on Saturday April 7 at 2pm. Enjoy an afternoon for music-lovers, big and small with our region's largest singing ensembles and guest performers from the Washington Middle School choir. This one-hour concert features family-friendly songs from Katy Perry, Whitney Houston, The Wizard of Oz, and Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen. Sing along, move about, and dance in the aisles of Seattle's enormous McCaw Hall as you experience this fun, free, family celebration! Tickets are FREE, advance online reservations are recommended and can be made at This article was also printed in the<a href=""> Seattle Gay News</a>  

There's a new Sheriff in town: Mitzi Johanknecht on developing vibrant communities for the future

by Sarah Toce Newly-elected King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht self-professes she's never had a calendar as full as the one she's currently operating. 'My schedule is really interesting now,' she tells me as we sit in her office at the King County Courthouse building just north of Pioneer Square. 'I've never had a calendar look that red before.' Johanknecht, 58, is seated squarely in the center of the 1,000-person law enforcement agency previously spearheaded by former King County Sheriff John Urquhart, who held the office since 2012. The transition was not an easy one; he still refuses to speak to her and offered no assistance leading up to the change in post. As such, Johanknecht has had to steadily rely on her 33 years' experience working in the Sheriff's Office prior to the election in order to fill in the blanks. She most recently served as commander of Precinct 4 in Burien. 'Whether people know it or not, we do a lot of law enforcement in the City of Seattle because we have both Metro and Sound Transit,' she says. 'With that comes a lot of proactive work as it relates to taking care of people in case there's a domestic or international terrorist threat. It's actually a lot to think about with the tunnel and everything else we have going on in Seattle. We do a lot of civil process work - such as traditional sheriff's functions, like evictions.' The new position is 'exciting' for Johanknecht, who ran her campaign on the pillars of transparency and integrity. She says she's 'drinking from the fire hose' as she prepares to navigate the intricacies of the job. When asked what she hopes to accomplish right off the bat, she says there are so many things, but 'it's about pacing.' 'That's the first thing to think about,' she says. Her immediate priorities include community outreach in order to connect and work with all communities and cultures 'and making sure that they know their Sheriff's connected to them and that their Sheriff's office is working for them the best they can.' Another equally important priority for Johanknecht is developing a working strategic plan so that decision-making comes through filters involving the community as well as government officials. The intention is to help with healing and build a department ready for the future. Johanknecht says she has a clear goal to meet residents where they are and to incorporate them into the decision-making processes that go along with running their communities. Her expectation is to invite everyone to the table and ask them to participate as best they can, however they can. 'What we have done in the past is go and talk at communities instead of listening,' she says. 'I think there's so much I can learn from those communities that feel disenfranchised or not connected. It's our responsibility [in this office] to take the first step and to reach out and not ever give up. I just know from my own life that when there's fear about what law enforcement may do to a particular community that's based on actual fact and history, that it's our responsibility to overcome it.' She says her office will responsibly handle pressure regarding federal immigration reform. 'It's a timely question,' she says. 'Yesterday, myself and my undersheriff went and met with the ACLU. We've had two or three meetings to see where we can align and yesterday's topic was immigration. Bullet point by bullet point I was able to say we concur. We're fully in support of their work. Our hands are busy doing what we do as it relates to public safety and community protection. That community that we protect includes everyone. I have never had to worry about somebody's immigration status to do my work. It's really important to me that we're a place where people can come and feel safe reporting crime and in that way we can protect them from harm and do the right thing.' Johanknecht says law enforcement needs to be re-imagined. 'Instead of being reactive so much, we need to - with the community's help - re-imagine and try to get ahead and think beyond the moment we're in and be better forward-looking. Planning ahead and being fully agile and ready to adjust. The type of person we hire to be a cop will change over time - certainly since 33 years ago when I started this work.' On the subject of whether Johanknecht has faced any backlash from the rural areas of King County for being an open lesbian, she says no. 'I was totally embraced wherever I went throughout King County - and across the political spectrum.' When asked what Johanknecht might say if she could talk to her five-year-old self about what she's doing now, she answers: 'I never would have imagined that I'd be in this place, but I think I am right where I am supposed to be. I go back and think about the five-year-old kid who was, at the time, my folks lived in Arbor Heights in a little small house there with all five of their kids, and one year for Christmas I got a pedal tractor. So I think about the kid that was out there in the winter with a scarf on tied under my chin and a plastic Army helmet riding my pedal tractor around.' Johanknecht currently resides in West Seattle with her wife, Maureen Warren. The pair, set up by friends back in 2001, share a 34-year-old daughter named Sydney. <i>This article was also printed in the<a href=""> Seattle Gay News</a> </i>

Adam Rippon: A new star on the world stage

by MK Scott Regardless if you have been watching the Winter Olympics, currently in PyeongChang, South Korea, you have definitely been hearing the name Adam Rippon, who has been very Out and vocal in every interview and performance. Back in 2010, we had Johnny Weir, who wasn't officially Out yet. But with Rippon, he is just acting himself. From bonding with Out skier, Gus Kenworthy, or flirting with Out Canadian skater, Eric Radford on the podium after winning the Bronze, while Radford won gold, to being downright straightforward and refusing to meet or acknowledge Vice-President Mike Pence, we can't get enough of Rippon and he has already made history. Here are some of his and Kenworthy's best quotes: <b>February 9th</b> 'The #OpeningCeremony is a wrap and the 2018 Winter Olympic Gaymes are officially under way!' he wrote. 'I feel incredibly honored to be here in Korea competing for the US and I'm so proud to be representing the LGBTQ community alongside this amazing guy! Eat your heart out, Pence. #TeamUSA #TeamUSGay' - Kenworthy 'Tonight I walked in the #OpeningCeremony and got to watch my old friend @Yunaaaa light the Olympic flame. Representing the USA is one of the greatest honors of my life and being able to do it as my authentic self makes it all so much sweeter.' - Rippon <b>February 11th</b> <b>On condoms in the Olympic Village</b> 'Like, I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting. I thought maybe they'd have like Olympic rings on them or they'd be all different colors. But, no. It's all a myth,' - Rippon <b>February 12th </b> When VP Pence tweeted @Adaripp I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don't let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes and my only hope for you and all of #TeamUSA is to bring home the gold. Go get 'em!' Rippon responded that he has no interest in meeting after the Olympics with Pence, the former Indiana governor who has been perceived as showing a lack of support of LGBT rights and once supporting so-called gay conversion therapy. 'I'm going to go to Target and I'm going to get a bottle of Sauvignon blanc, Oyster Bay, with the twist top, immediately.' - Rippon <b>February 13th</b> Press Conference with Adam Rippon <b>On Valentine's Day </b> 'Nobody loves me as much as I love me; so I guess I'll just be my own Valentine tomorrow.' <b>On newfound superstardom </b> 'The other day I was joking to one of my friends. He was like, 'You're kind of everywhere right now.' I was like, 'I know; I'm America's sweetheart.' He laughed in my face.' <b>On confidence (and Oprah) </b> 'Sometimes when you're not confident in yourself, to see someone who doesn't care - and I don't care anymore; I really don't care - it gives you that confidence. I remember seeing people who I thought were so confident and exuberant. I remember being young and watching Oprah and being like, 'Damn. That lady is so confident. She can talk to anybody.' <b>On coping with depression </b> 'To watch Mirai Nagasu go out there and also skate a clean free skate... I mean, we've really been through a lot together. Four years ago, we were eating In-N-Out on the roof of her house in Arcadia, California, and we were crying that we weren't at the Olympics. And four years later, we're sharing an Olympic podium together. So, if you're ever depressed, go to In-N-Out, and four years later you'll be at the Olympics!' <b>On the age difference between his teammates </b> 'Vincent and I were born in different millennia. We were! I was born in the '80s, girl... No electronics. No phone. The Berlin Wall came down when I was, like, born. The internet was, like, invented when Vincent was born. So we're definitely different.' <b>On the haters and skeptics </b> 'People have told me, 'Oh, you're a lot different than what I thought.' I say, 'Oh, what did you think?' They're like, 'Oh, we just thought you were an ass.' I'm like, 'Oh& yikes.' I'm just trying to share who I am, my personality... Sometimes I might meet people and they might just not like me, not want to get to know me. And that's okay. They're boring as hell anyway.'   The Story was originally published in Seattle Gay News

The 206 Prologue

<strong><u>PROLOGUE</u></strong> <em>Three Months from Now</em> The vast foliage of Volunteer Park swallowed them in its darkness. The swaying branches of gargantuan trees invited them deeper into the night and eclipsed the dim lights of the conservatory in the distance. This area of the grounds was known for its sexual activity between gay men who frequented it in the wee hours, searching for a late-night blow-and-go or ass-pounding by a random stranger. This was a cruising ground for horny and drugged-up queers and, if one were lucky, he could cum and leave without getting an STD, arrested, or even gay-bashed.  This was no secret to many of the long-time residents of Seattle, let alone those who resided in the trendy Capitol Hill district along which the park resided. And this was certainly no secret to Jayden as he tripped over his feet and fell to his knees. “Christ, Jayden! Get up.” Connor scanned the area and barely made out two men fucking in the shadows. Jayden attempted to push himself from the ground but lazily collapsed to the grass. “What the fuck are we doing out here?” “I told you already. Roman wanted to meet us out here to talk.” “Fuuuuuuck. Talk about what? Is he still pissed because that twink from the other night went home with me instead of him.” “I doubt that’s an iss—” “He knows they all go for the big black cock. Everybody does.” Jayden’s throaty laughter infused the night. The couple Connor had just witnessed exhibiting their sexual needs jumped from their semi-cloaked area and darted without looking back. Connor stomped a foot and clenched his teeth as he aimed a squint at his friend. “Seriously, dude? Get up already!” Jayden rolled onto his back and managed to sit up. <em>Baby steps. </em>“Why didn’t we all just talk back at R Place? Fuck, why does everything have to be so secretive?” “Okay, I’m going to say this slowly because you apparently don’t remember shit from the club. Roman said he wanted to discuss some things in private. He had to go back to his place and said he’d meet us out here. Does that compute with your drunken ass?” Connor grinned, proud of the way he’d spoke to Jayden. In fact, he was shocked that Jayden didn’t jump to his feet and get in his face. That was the Jayden he’d met three months prior; the cocky, six-foot-two, one hundred-eighty-pound black Adonis that didn’t take shit from anybody. That was the man he envied and, yet, intimidated him. There was no way in hell he could get away with speaking that way to Roman or Asher. And while Connor never tested such waters with Diego or Zayne, he thought he might be able to pull his weight with the two. He was moving up the ranks with his newfound group of friends, friends he never dreamed of having prior to moving to Seattle. “Of course. What Roman wants, Roman gets,” Jayden sighed as he made another attempt to stand. “I’m just going to sit here for a minute. You know what? I’m not Roman’s bitch! I’m not anybody’s bitch.” Jayden’s eyelids shut as his head bobbed up and down. “Just <em>exactly</em> how much did you drink before getting to the club tonight?” Connor knew better than to ask such a question. After all, Jayden was known for his day-drinking binges. All the guys were privy to his schedule. Two extra-dirty gin martinis before the 10:00am Grindr hook-up, three more at lunch, and two more by 4:00pm (typically before another random fuck of the day or going out to the club). Jayden’s eyes grew wide, pinpointing Connor. “I had the drink you bought me at the club. That’s it!” “I didn’t buy you a drink. Roman did, remember?” “Nope. You did. Or maybe the other guys did,” Jayden slurred. “Wow, you’re really fucked up. Nobody else was there but you, me, and Roman.” “Nope. Nope. We were all there. All there. All us. Just us. Always…y’know…I don’t feel…good…wanna leave.” Jayden took in a breath to exhale more of his recollection, but he couldn’t do it. Instead, he gagged as he leaned over into the earth. His skin twitched. He winced as he struggled to control the convulsions in his muscles. His perfect teeth wildly chattered the ballad of a frigid winter evening. But it was far from winter and barely into autumn. <em>The leaves still need to change. They change every year</em>. And now, was he sweating? Connor raced to the ground and grabbed Jayden’s head. The perspiration instantly moistened his hands. “Jayden? What’s going on, man? Dude, are you all right?” His shoulders were desperately pulled and brought him to the space next to his friend. The rapid beating of his own heart deafened his surroundings. Adrenaline set his body on fire with tingling pinpricks. Jayden tried to mouth something. Connor’s mind ignited into a frenzy. What was he trying to say? He needed help, right? Was this just another act, another Jayden show? Or was this the real deal? He had to hear the words. <em>Please tell me that you truly need help</em>! Instead of hearing the pleas for which he’d hoped, Connor gasped as streams of spittle ejected from Jayden’s mouth and ran over the gorgeous, plump lips so many men had craved. Connor rocketed to his feet the moment Jayden violently clutched at his own chest. “Help!” Connor hollered as Jayden’s body went still. He rushed to his side and rose to an erratic pace. “No, no no! You’re going to be fine! Don’t do this! I’m calling 9-1-1 right now.” “I wouldn’t recommend that,” a comforting and familiar voice spoke. It was Roman. Connor sprinted to him. “Oh my God, Roman! There’s something wrong with Jayden! I’m calling for paramedics now!” “Drop the phone,” Roman instructed. “But—” “What did he say to you?” Connor’s eyes ricocheted back and forth, dancing with confusion. “I don’t…what are you talking about?” From out of the darkness, the rest of the group emerged and surrounded Roman like a pack of wolves, he their alpha. “What the fuck did he tell you?” Asher screamed. Tears streamed down Connor’s face as his attention fought between his friends and Jayden’s still body. “But…it’s Jayden. What’s going on? What did you guys do? “We did nothing.” Roman smirked “But what did <em>you</em> do, Connor?”   <strong>TO BE CONTINUED</strong>   Tristan Wilde is the pseudonym of horror author Andrew Wolter. Tristan’s works include the acclaimed gay-dating column <strong>Jet City Boy Culture</strong> and the forthcoming erotic thriller <strong>Q</strong>. He resides in Seattle, Washington.   <strong>Copyright © 2017 by Tristan Wilde. All rights reserved.</strong>

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