Flash Fiction Friday – Dilemma

June 13, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a danger zone. It can be an exciting plot-driven story (think “story spine”) or a situation a character must confront. Play with different genres, and use craft elements like tension, tone, and pacing. Go where the prompt leads! Click here for details.


Dilemma – by Hugh W. Roberts

Red lights flashed before his eyes, yet he felt the need to enter the building. He had an idea of what he would find once inside, but the danger would still be lurking. He had to be careful and ensure nothing or nobody threatened his life.

The fact that he was over 25 miles away from home helped release some of his anxiety. As he pushed open the door, adrenalin pumped through his body before danger stared back at him.

“Dad! What? I can explain. Did you follow me? Or did you know this place is a gay bar?”

***

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

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Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love ‘Glimpses.’

***

Glimpses

28 short stories and pieces of flash fiction take the reader on a rollercoaster of twists and turns.

Available on Amazon

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Kindle – £0.99

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True Stories: Gay Memories – Meeting Another Gay Person For The First Time #LGBTQI #LGBT

At 17-years-old, I had no idea if I’d ever encountered another gay person. I probably had, but I lived during times when being out and gay could put your life in danger.

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Gay Memories

I had my suspicions about who I thought was gay, such as the bus driver who lived on the next street. Even though his bus wasn’t going in the direction I wanted, I’d ride around on it so I could see him and hoped he’d notice me.

There was one way I thought would guarantee me meeting gay people, but it meant breaking the law – a law I thought was stupid. What was wrong with a 17-year-old lad answering an advert in Gay News?

South Wales area – a genuine, nice guy in his early 40s, looking to meet other guys who haven’t come out yet. Maybe we could help each other? Write to Richard at Box 223D, Gay News, London…

Richard remained on my mind for a few weeks after reading the advert. Like me, he hadn’t ‘come out’ as gay. But unlike me, he was over the age of consent, 21, when sleeping with someone of the same sex was not illegal.

The constant bragging about which girls he had slept with from Michael, my best friend, eventually persuaded me to put pen to paper and respond to Richard’s advert. While Michael could sleep with as many girls as he wanted, I thought it unfair that it was illegal for me to meet and sleep with other guys.

I can’t remember what I said in my letter to Richard, but I lied about my age. I had to; otherwise, he may not respond. Or he could have reported me to the police. Fortunately, his advert did not mention sending a photo, so I didn’t have to prove I was 21.

It took me a week to post my reply. Every time I approached the postbox at the bottom of the street, police sirens would sound in my head.

The thought of Richard having my home address and turning up unannounced also terrified me. But the more Michael bragged about who he had slept with and questioned why I was still a virgin, the more courage I got. Finally, I posted the letter after convincing myself that I’d run away to London if Richard turned up. I’d be safe with so many other gay people living there.

A month later, not only had I not had a reply from Richard, but I’d also placed an advert in the lonelyhearts column of Gay News.

21-year-old gay guy looking to make new friends and meet his first boyfriend. Currently living in South Wales, but looking to live and work in London. Age/looks unimportant, but please send a photo. Write to Rob at Box D867, Gay News, London…

Two weeks after my advert appeared, I came home from work to find my mother holding an envelope.

“It’s for you. Whose handwriting is this? I don’t recognise it,” she examined.

Terrified that she was about to tear the letter open, I snatched it off her and ran upstairs, shouting that I’d got a new pen-pal. Fortunately, my mother knew that I had pen-pals and liked to write letters, although she had failed to notice that the stamp on the envelope was British, not foreign.

I was trembling at the thought that my mother could have forced me to come out of the closet had she opened the letter. I’d convinced myself that if the family found out I was gay, I’d be homeless.

Studying the envelope closely, I was too scared to open it and placed it in the same place I’d hid my copies of Gay News – under the carpet under my bed.

Two weeks later, as I climbed into the passenger seat of a car, I was greeted with the words ‘Hi, I’m Richard. I’m a little nervous, but it’s finally good to meet you, Hugh.”

I was meeting who I thought was the first gay person in my life.

But the following day, I would be threatened again with coming out of the closet.

“Who’s car did I see you getting into yesterday?” asked Michael.

Did you enjoy reading this post? Then you may also enjoy…

Who was the first gay person you met?

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Throwback Thursday – True Stories: Gay Memories – Coming Out Of The Closet #LGBTQI #LGBT#PrideMonth

Is ‘coming out of the closet’ and telling people you are gay still as tricky as it was 40-years ago?

In 2017, I wrote and published a post that is my true story of how I came out of the closet and the reaction I got from my family.

Click the link below to read my story.

True Stories: Gay Memories – Coming Out Of The Closet #LGBTQI #LGBT

Throwback Thursday – The day to bring older blog posts back to life.

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Throwback Thursday

Not sure what Throwback Thursday is or how to participate in it? Click here for full details.

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Flash Fiction Friday – The Prison Cell

April 25, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase “up and away.” You can imagine a story from the photo of hot air balloons, a flying superhero, a natural wonder, or any other direction your inspiration goes. Go where the prompt leads! Click here for details.


The Prison Cell – by Hugh W. Roberts

Karl compared his life to a prison cell.

He’d done nothing wrong but fall in love, yet he couldn’t escape. Some people believed he belonged in hell. He was a threat to society and should never be allowed freedom.

“What’s the matter?” asked the uniformed prison guard.

“I need help escaping from this prison cell,” replied Karl.

“Come with me,” demanded the guard.

After a short walk to a large, stuffy sitting room, Karl got introduced.

“Mum, Dad. This is Karl, my boyfriend.”

Instantly, Karl’s life was up and away. He’d escaped the prison cell lodged in his head.

***

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

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Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love ‘More Glimpses.’

***

32 short stories and flash fiction pieces take the reader to the edge of their imagination.

More Glimpses

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Did You Miss Any Of These? Monthly Round-Up – February 2022

These 8 blog posts got people talking. Were you one of them? If not, join the conversations and share your thoughts.

  • Look up and reach for the stars. They’re waiting to make your dreams come true.

Reaching For The Stars #WordlessWednesday #photography

  • Who are the men in the old photo, and what happened to them?

Flash Fiction Friday – Bar 49

  • Although worlds-apart, hiders and seekers in the gay world of the late 1970s found themselves on the same journey.

True Stories: Gay Memories – Hiding And Seeking #LGBTQI #LGBT

  • As first night nerves turn to anxiety, Arnold has a lot more to be anxious about.

Flash Fiction Friday – First Night Nerves

  • Does an orange sky in the morning mean the same as a red sky in the morning?

Sunrise Over Swansea Bay #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • A free dress for the Christmas party was all she wanted and didn’t seem a bad idea.

Flash Fiction Friday – Don’t Do This With New Clothes

  • What comes round goes around, doesn’t it?

Flash Fiction Friday – Have We Been Here Before?

These 13 free blogging tips worked for me. Join me and add your blogging tips to the list.

13 Free Quick And Easy Blogging Tips For Every Blogger

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True Stories: Gay Memories – Hiding And Seeking #LGBTQI #LGBT

For many days, my heart had pounded, and I found myself in danger of being found out.

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True Stories: Gay Memories – Hiding And Seeking

My mother couldn’t understand why I’d been getting up so early every morning, especially on a Saturday.

I can’t sleep, I told her.

Whereas what I’d been waiting for so early every morning was the postman.

But that Saturday morning was a saviour for me because the postman sometimes arrived after I’d gone to work.

As the mail fell through the letterbox, it was only the large, brown envelope I snatched and took upstairs to my bedroom.

My hands shook as I quietly opened the envelope, thinking that any sound I made would wake up the entire household. As I took out the contents, the newspaper’s title, ‘Gay News’, in large bold letters, pierced my eyes.

Barely able to open the pages, because my hands were still shaking, my eyes darted all over the pages taking in a ‘life’ I knew I belonged to, but of which I’d had little experience. It was unlike any newspaper I’d ever read. It was like entering a new yet, familiar world.

Some 45-minutes later, I’d read just over three-quarters. While my fingers and hands showed evidence of newspaper print, I picked up the large brown envelope and gazed at the postmark – London.

Immediately thinking that London was the place where all gay people lived, I started making plans in my head of a trip. I’d never been, yet I somehow knew London would be the destination where I would work and live one day.

Turning my attention to the newspaper again, I scanned one of the back pages I’d not read. These were the kinds of adverts I remember reading.

For sale – Leather jacket and Muir cap, hardly worn, VG condition – £35 ONO (or nearest offer). Contact Jack at Box 625S, Gay News, London…

For rent – Lovely cosy room, in a large house with three other guys. NW10 area, only a few minutes to underground and good bus service. £15 a week, plus contributions towards bills. Contact Mike at Box 489A, Gay News, London…

Wanted – models for top-earning film studios. Must be good looking and over 21. Send full details of yourself and a photo to Box907W, Gay News, London…

Many adverts like those above covered the page, but others took my interest more.

Lonely, 33, good-looking, short hair, moustache, 5ft 9′, good sense of humour, looking for a younger boyfriend to go out with and have fun with. 21-30 only, no older guys, sorry. Will only reply to letters that include a photograph. Contact Clive at Box D212, Gay News, London…

28, just out of a relationship, short, blond hair, cleanshaven, fit, told good looking, non-smoker, Earl’s Court, London, area, looking for a new boyfriend. Age (21 – 80) and looks unimportant. Please include a photo with your reply. Contact Adam at Box D213, Gay News, London…

Bear, 55, looking for a younger (21+) cub to cuddle and have fun with. Must have facial hair and a hairy chest. Bristol area, but willing to travel for the right cub. Your photo gets mine. Contact Steve at Box D214, Gay News, London…

It wouldn’t be long before I discovered what a bear and cub were in the gay world. It also would not be long before I found that not everything in lonely hearts adverts was what I thought it was.

There were many adverts, and even though I was only 17, I started thinking seriously about placing one. It would be risky, but all I wanted to do was make some gay friends.

I noticed another advert before folding the paper and placing it back in the envelope.

South Wales area – genuine, nice guy in his early 40s, looking to meet other guys who haven’t come out yet. Maybe we could help each other? Write to Richard at Box 223D, Gay News, London…

Lifting a corner of carpet under my bed and placing the large, brown envelope and its contents under it, Richard remained on my mind for the rest of the weekend.


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Flash Fiction Friday – Bar 49

January 31, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about “the’ 49ers.” Who or what are they? What is the significance of the number? Do you follow the Gold Rush history or venture into new territory? Go where the prompt leads!


Bar 49 – by Hugh W. Roberts

“Who’re all these men in this old photo, Gran?”

“That’s my grandfather with a group of men known as the 49ers.”

“Forty-niners?”

“Yes. Unfortunately, they all died in Auschwitz.”

“The concentration camp?”

“Yes, and you’re old enough to know the truth. In Berlin, the men were all arrested in a bar known as ‘Bar 49.’ Homosexuals frequented it. They were rounded up, made to wear the symbol of a pink triangle and taken, some with their families, to Auschwitz.”

“Gran, I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry, Carl. Be happy that you are marrying the man of your dreams tomorrow.

***

Image of gold miners from the late 19th century
Image Credit: Charli Mills

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

***

Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love Glimpses

Glimpses

28 short stories and pieces of flash fiction take the reader on a rollercoaster of twists and turns.

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

***

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Did You Miss Any Of These? Monthly Round-Up – January 2022

These 10 blog posts got people talking. Were you one of them? If not, join the conversations and share your thoughts.

10 Blog Posts You May Have Missed In 2021 That Got People Talking

  • This technology trick using an Apple Watch is something you’ll be delighted to know.

How To Unlock Your Mac Using Auto-Unlock With Your Apple Watch

  • Are you making the most out of the most used block on the Gutenberg Block Editor? You may be surprised at what you’re not making the most of.

How To Get The Best Out Of The Block You’re Using The Most On The Gutenberg Editor

  • Can you predict the future? This is why predicting the future isn’t as hard as you think it is.

This Is How Easy It Is To Predict The Future #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • Have you ever been terrified to do something or go somewhere for the first time?

True Stories: Gay Memories – Going To A Gay Bar For The First Time #LGBTQI #LGBT

  • What are weathering whites?

Weathering Whites #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • Did you know that keeping old, out-of-date blog posts on your blog can damage the health of your blog? Here’s what to do to help stop the damage from happening.

Are Your Old Blog Posts Damaging Your Blog? How To Stop It Happening

  • If you don’t have an ‘About me’ page on your blog or are struggling with what to put on it, help is at hand. Blogger, James M. Lane has all the answers for creating an outstanding ‘About Me’ page for your blog. Click the link in this post for all the details.

Reblog Of The Month: How To Create An Outstanding ‘About Me’ Page For Your Blog

  • Miriam has other deadly plans for her 80th birthday to what her daughter has planned, but what are they?

Flash Fiction Friday – Make A Wish

  • Do you use the reblog feature on WordPress? Are you downloading images from the web and using them in your blog posts? Are you sure what you’ve downloaded or shared is actually free to use on your blog? Author, writer and blogger Deborah Jay shares her experience of facing a fine for reblogging a blog post that contained an image that was copyright protected.

Why I Was Threatened With Legal Action After Reblogging On WordPress – A True Story And Guest Post by Deborah Jay @DeborahJay2

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True Stories: Gay Memories – Going To A Gay Bar For The First Time #LGBTQI #LGBT

As a gay man, you may be surprised to hear that one of the biggest hurdles I faced was going into a gay bar for the first time.

Image showing rain on windscreen of a car on a Saturday night with blurry lights in the distance
True Stories – Going To A Gay Bar For The First Time

At 17-years-old, I was in awe of my straight mates. They’d been wandering into bars and nightclubs for the last year with the only threat of getting asked for age identification.

At 17-years-old, my straight mates were not only getting drunk most Friday and Saturday nights but were boasting about sleeping around with members of the opposite sex without any worry. Whether they’d slept with many of those they mentioned was open to debate.

At 17-years-old, it was against the law for me to sleep with a person of the same sex. If I boasted about it, I could get myself into trouble. The law stated that, for my safety, sex remained on hold until I reached 21.

Of course, I overlooked that particular part of the law. Like any red-blooded male at 17, my hormones made my brain think of little else but wanting to (putting it mildly) get laid.

By the time I reached my 19th birthday, I already had what I had considered a boyfriend. He was over the age of 21 and thought I was too.

On one particular, wet Saturday evening, I found myself sitting in my boyfriend’s car. Holding hands with him, we listened to the patter of the rain on the roof as we watched the raindrops splatter on the windscreen. For weeks, we’d both built up the courage to go to a gay bar for the first time.

The bar was out of town and miles from where we lived. However, neither of us wanted to get out of the car and walk up the steps to the bar. Instead, we both sat there trying our best to peer through the spattering of rain, trying to make out the figures going into the bar.

“It’s nice and warm in here,” I said.

“Yeah, too wet to go outside,” responded my boyfriend.

For the next half an hour, we made an excuse after an excuse as to why we should stay in the car. Even though curiosity ran through our minds of what was on the other side of the doors to the gay bar, our bodies remained fixed to seats while we continued peering at figures entering and exiting the bar.

“What if we bump into somebody in there who recognises us?” asked my boyfriend. “If there’s somebody in there from work, I could end up getting beaten up or sacked.”

Not only did those words cut me in half, but I began to worry that if the police raided the bar, my boyfriend and I would be in serious trouble because of my age.

Although at 19-years-old, it wasn’t against the law for me to go into a bar, I questioned if it was against the law for me to hold hands with another man in a public place.

Terrified of the consequences of entering a world where people would have welcomed and accepted us for who we were, we drove off and went home. Hiding who we were and how we lived our lives seemed a much safer option.

It would be months later when I talked about that night again.

“If somebody you worked with had been in that bar, wouldn’t they have been as terrified as we were at being spotted?” I asked.

“I never thought of that,” came the reply. “But it’s still a risk, isn’t it?”

Six years later, as I made my way on a coach to a new life, I left behind a boyfriend who had been secretly sleeping with another man he worked with.

Have you ever been terrified to do something or go somewhere for the first time? Please share the details in the comments section or, even better, contact me about submitting your story as a guest post.

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Did You Miss Any Of These? Monthly Round-Up – November 2021

  • Why has rage and anger engulfed Richard? Is he to blame for his actions?

Candy-Coloured Rage

  • This useful feature on WordPress will help you save time when drafting blog posts. Read on for more details.

Don’t Have Enough Time To Draft Blog Posts? This WordPress Feature Helps

  • Why does a visit to a film festival bring sad memories and tears to Richard?

Theatre Of Memories

  • After witnessing the summer solstice and coming out to each other, Richard and Adrian face an important decision.

Where To From Here?

  • Are you a new blogger or new to blogging? Are you making any of these mistakes when leaving comments?

New To Blogging? These Free Tips On Leaving Comments Will Help Bring New Visitors To Your Blog

  • Which of your blog posts have been the most successful this year? You may be surprised by the results after reading my post.

How Do You Measure The Success Of Your Blog Posts?

  • Sometimes, flights are cancelled for good reasons. But it does depend on who or what is taking-off.

Ready For Take-off?

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Where To From Here?

November 11, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase “carry on.” It can be an expression of perseverance or behaving in a particular way. It can even be luggage you take when travelling. Go where the prompt leads!


Where To From Here? – by Hugh W. Roberts

After witnessing the solstice, Richard asked, “What do we do now?”

“We carry on what we’re doing,” replied Adrian.

“But what if—“

“We’re young; we carry on who we are, not what others want us to be. Nothing and nobody can ever change us.”

“But my father, he’ll try. He’ll kill us. He’d never cope knowing I’m carrying on with another guy.”

“Carrying on? Another guy? Who do you love more, Richard?”

A long pause was interrupted when both young men turned and faced each other and spoke simultaneously.

“Let’s carry on being who we are. I love you.”

***

Richard and Adrian first appeared in Edge Of Summer – another piece of flash fiction written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge.

Image of an open road going towards the mountains
Image Credit: Charli Mills

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Click here to join in.

***

Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love Glimpses

Glimpses

28 short stories and pieces of flash fiction take the reader on a rollercoaster of twists and turns.

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

***

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Click the ‘Diversity with a Twist’ image to check out my latest post on my column at the Carrot Ranch.

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Theatre Of Memories

November 4, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a film festival. It can be a small-town indie fest or the Festival de Cannes or anything in between. Who is in the story? An audience-goer, filmmaker, actress, or something unexpected? Through in some popcorn for fun. Go where the prompt leads!


Theatre Of Memories – by Hugh W. Roberts

“What’s the matter? Why are you crying?” whispered Adrian to his husband.

“I can’t help it,” sobbed Richard. “This LGBT film festival brings us lots to smile about, and when you see what we’re viewing on the screen right now, I can’t help but think about the times when, as a young boy, I cried myself to sleep because I thought I was all alone in this world.”

Looking around the theatre, Adrian witnessed evidence of tears and popcorn. Looking up at the screen, he squeezed Richard’s hand tight and watched the story unfold in front of the world.

Radebe Paso Dobe

 Strictly Come Dancing is a primetime TV show shown on the BBC in the United Kingdom. This year, for the first time in its history, it paired two male dancers.

***

Richard and Adrian first appeared in Edge Of Summer – another piece of flash fiction written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge.

Image of a box of popcorn, film clipper-board and film wheel
Image Credit: Charli Mills

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Click here to join in.

***

Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love Glimpses

Glimpses

28 short stories and pieces of flash fiction take the reader on a rollercoaster of twists and turns.

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

***

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Click the ‘Diversity with a Twist’ image to check out my latest post on my column at the Carrot Ranch.

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