Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Wednesday Briefs: Super Trooper #22 (4.2)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

In last week's chapter, Evan is called to check out a car on the side of the road, but has he found more than just an abandoned vehicle? See what's going on in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!


Super Trooper #22 (4.2)


Evan took a few steps then stopped. Had he heard something? He slowly swiveled his head and carefully examined his surroundings.  A large copse of oak trees—both live oak and bur oak—lay close to the shoulder of the road. But nothing was stirring there, and the noise wasn’t coming from that direction. Rather it seemed to emanate from the trunk of the parked car.

There it was again. Like someone beating on the trunk from the inside. He could hear muffled cries now, as well. That couldn’t be good. People didn’t accidentally lock themselves in their trunks, at least not in his experience.

He banged on the trunk lid. The noise inside stilled then resumed again with greater energy. “Let me out!” The words were more distinct, the voice that of a woman.

As Evan reached for the latch, a shot rang out from the trees. Instantly, he dropped down and threw himself to the far side of the car, at the same time, hitting his radio. “Shots fired, officer requesting back-up.”

“Leave her right where she is!” came a voice from somewhere in the trees.

A second shot whined off the edge of the car, just missing the taillight. The woman inside the trunk screamed.

Evan peered cautiously around the end of the car, toward the trees where the shots had come from, but saw nothing.  “Whoever you are, come out with your hands up,” he warned the unseen shooter. “Back-up’s on its way.”

A third shot forced Evan to draw back again.

“I’ve got that bitch, I’ll get you too if you keep fucking with me. Think I’m afraid of you? Think again!” The next shot kicked up gravel near Evan’s foot. At the same time, the unseen woman screamed again.

“Ma’am, please calm down, the situation is under control,” he assured her, willing confidence into his voice as he assessed the situation. Taking all the shots into consideration, he had a good idea where the man was shooting from.  The trouble was he had no cover he could use to sneak up on the man and get the drop on him. He’d be a sitting duck if he just made a beeline for him, and then so would the helpless victim in the trunk.

He calculated the approximate distance between him and the man and popped up just long enough to take aim and fire, hitting a tree in the man’s proximity before quickly ducking down once more. That should send the message that he knew what he was doing.

“Was that your best shot? Missed me,” the shooter taunted. “What do they teach you assholes at the Academy? How to crochet pretty pink doilies?”

“Come out here and I’ll show you,” Evan returned.  Squatting, he duckwalked around his vehicle, trying to decide if he had any chance of skirting the perimeter in order to approach from the shooter’s blind side.

“You think I’m that stupid?” the other man snarled.

“Pretty much,” Evan said.

“I’ll show you who’s stupid.” Two shots rang out in rapid succession.

Now. While the man was angry and not taking careful aim. Evan sprinted to the edge of the copse away from where the man was holed up, taking refuge behind a large bur oak. Two more shots rang out. One broke off a small branch of the tree beside him.

Evan could hear the distant swell of a siren. Help was on the way. He just had to hold out long enough for it to reach him and the woman in the trunk.

“Think you’re so smart, don’t you? When I get to you, I’m going to stick you in the trunk next to that lying cheating bitch. Then you can watch what I do to her. Until it’s your turn.”

Man was obviously not in his right mind. No telling what he might do.

Another bullet pinged off the car. Evan found the sound alarming. What if he hit the poor woman lying helpless inside with his inept shooting? Accidentally dead was still dead. He needed to distract his attention, away from the car. Give back-up time to get there. He could hear the sirens, but he also knew sound could be deceptive, not necessarily a true indicator of how close assistance was.

“Hey big man,” he called out, at the same time moving to the cover of another tree, closer to where he knew the man had to be. “If you give up now, it’ll go easier on you. You don’t stand a chance, you know. You can hear them, right?  The cavalry’s on its way.”

He didn’t get a response. Evan listened carefully, but heard nothing.  Even the birds had stopped their song, having taken flight with the first hail of bullets.

“Tell me what she did,” Evan said. Maybe if he could get him to talk, that would distract him until back-up arrived. “Maybe there are mitigating circumstances. She cheated on you, right? I hate women who cheat, don’t you?”

Again, nothing.

No, not quite. A twig snapped, too close for comfort. Evan threw himself to the ground.

“You’re a big’un, aren’t you?”

Too late, Evan realized the man had tricked him and had come up on him from behind.  He rolled onto his back, gun aimed at the suspect. He was just a second too late, as a heavy boot stomped down heavily on his gun hand. Pain blossomed in his wrist, and he thought he felt a pop. His gun slipped from his grasp.

Evan put his weight on his other hand and lashed out at the man with his legs, knocking him off his feet. The man’s weapon dropped, just out of reach, as he hit the ground with a loud oomph. Ignoring the pain in his wrist, Evan grabbed for his gun.

to be continued

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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Wednesday Briefs: Super Trooper #21 (4.1)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Evan is thrilled with the way things are going with Chan. They see each other every day and never tire of one another's company. He's not ready to meet Chan's family yet, and isn't comfortable around children. See what's going on in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Super Trooper #21 (4.1)


Evan had never been this happy in his entire life, ever since he started going out with Chan. The two men had practically become inseparable, meeting every day or night, depending on Evan’s schedule. He hadn’t planned for that to happen, but now it felt completely natural for them to be together and he couldn’t imagine not being with him. He’d never experienced anything even remotely like this with anyone else, ever. And he was over the moon ecstatic about what was going on between them.

Evan knew his happy state was reflected in his expression. He smiled much more than he ever had before, and his newfound happiness was the subject of numerous comments from Nathan, who also peppered him with questions about the man who was responsible for Evan’s new mood. Even Christina wanted to know more, although she was far more subtle and not as forward as Nathan was. They were both clearly happy for him.

Evan showed them pictures of Chan he had on his phone, which he’d taken with Chan’s permission. Both of them said how good-looking Chan was, and what a cute couple they made. Evan basked in the sincerity of their compliments.

Chan and Evan liked to go out to eat, but they also liked to stay in just as much, dividing their time between the two apartments. Evan thought Chan was a good cook. He made dishes Evan had never heard of much less tried before, and he was enjoying the experience of sampling cuisines that were new to him.

Evan loved to listen to Chan talk about his family. It was obvious how close they all were, a closeness that Evan had never known. He dodged questions about his own childhood and his family, and Chan never pushed him. That had not been a pleasant time for him, and wasn’t something he liked to think about. He’d put that behind him at an early age, and they hadn’t been a part of his life for many years. Someday he would tell Chan everything, but for right now, he wanted to forget they even existed.

Chan had hinted more than once that he wanted to introduce Evan to his family. Well, more than hinted. But Evan had managed to put him off, at least for now. He wasn’t averse to meeting them, but family issues aside, his experience with children was very limited, even when he was a child. To be honest, the thought of meeting Chan’s siblings was frightening to him. Ironic that a Texas State Trooper who’d been through any number of difficult and dangerous situations without being fazed could be unnerved by the thought of being around children. He knew he would find it difficult to explain why he felt that way without confessing to things he wasn’t ready to reveal. He never objected to Chan spending time with them, encouraged it in fact, knowing that Chan would come back to him at the end of the day. He didn’t begrudge them their time together at all.

Tonight was their one month anniversary. When had he become so sentimental? Never before Chan. He’d already made reservations at an Italian restaurant they both liked and had picked up a small cake he’d ordered from a bakery for the occasion. They would enjoy that when they came back to his apartment after dinner. Luckily, he’d gone in early today, so he would have time after work to shower and change before picking up Chan at his apartment, which was closer to the restaurant. He would either drive him home in the morning or straight to work, depending on how early they got up… and what they did when they did get up.

Being a conscientious driver, Evan never texted while he was driving. He’d seen too many accidents caused by distracted driving, and that was something the state of Texas drilled into its troopers. But occasionally he would pull over to a safe place and fire off a text. Usually something along the lines of Hope you’re having a great day and Can’t wait to see you. He would get a reciprocal text from Chan, complete with a cute emoji, which would inevitably make him smile.

Today had been a quiet day. Except for the woman who’d tried to seduce her way out of a speeding ticket. That was never going to work with him, although he didn’t bother to tell her that. She’d grown highly indignant that he didn’t respond to her enticements, an indignation that only grew when he asked her to stop out of the vehicle in order to take a breath test. She cried and cajoled by turns before finally submitting, but not until after he informed her he would request a warrant to obtain one if she chose not to take it voluntarily. Turned out she was pretty well over the legal limit, so he had to take her in.

Evan hated dealing with drunks. You never knew what they might do. Luckily, this one only had sex on her mind, but that wasn’t always the case.

Early afternoon, Evan received a call about a possible roadside assistance on one of the state roads. Sometimes the state troopers were sent out on these calls to assess what type of assistance was needed. He acknowledged the call and headed toward the location.

At first glance, the orange El Camino appeared to be abandoned. But there was no sticker on it to indicate it had been there any length of time. Evan parked behind the hybrid. Out of habit, he entered the license plate number in the state database before exiting his vehicle, his hand cautiously close to his weapon. One could never be too careful.

Nobody was in the vehicle, although he did notice a woman’s handbag in the back seat, contents strewn over the floor. The back of his neck began to tingle as he slowly made his way back to his own car.

to be continued

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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Wednesday Briefs: Super Trooper #20 (3.6)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

The date continues! See what's going on with Chan and Evan in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Super Trooper #20 (3.6)


Chan set his beer on the coffee table, set his plate beside it, then moved closer to Evan and enveloped him in a hug. Maybe it was impulsive of him, but the embrace just felt right. He heard Evan release a sigh and relax into Chan’s arms.

“What did I do to deserve this from you?” Evan said softly.

“It’s just for being you,” Chan replied honestly. He turned his face up toward Evan’s, trying to gauge the other man’s emotions. Evan’s eyes seemed a little wet. Was he genuinely unused to receiving affection from others? Chan vowed to himself that would change, at least while he was around.

They clung together for a few more minutes before pulling apart to finish eating, then cleaning up. Once the kitchen was tidy to the satisfaction of both, they returned to the living room and cuddled as they talked. There was so much Chan wanted to know about his lover.

“How long have you been a trooper?” Chan asked. His head against Evan’s chest, he could feel it rise and fall with every breath Evan took.

“It’s been ten years now,” Evan said, his voice a gentle rumble. “Let me think. I graduated from the Academy when I was twenty-one, so yeah, ten years now.”

Chan was surprised. He hadn’t realized Evan was that much older than he was. He’d thought maybe there was a few years’ difference, but the ten year age gap was a surprise. Not that thirty-one was old. And age didn’t matter. Balji was actually a few years younger than Chan’s mother, but no one gave that a second thought or considered it to be odd.

“Did you grow up knowing that’s what you wanted to do?”

“Since maybe the age of ten.”

Chan thought he felt Evan stiffen beneath him, and he fretted that he was asking questions he should not ask. But then Evan shifted his position and Chan realized he worried too much.

“What about you?” Evan said. “I don’t think I even know what you do for a living.”

“Oh, I’m the assistant manager of the Tucker Falls Savings & Loan,” Chan replied, hoping Evan wouldn’t find his job boring. Especially compared to being a state trooper.

“That’s impressive. I’m sure you’re very good at what you do.” Evan kissed the top of Chan’s head. “Is finances something you’ve always been interested in?”

Chan considered the question for a moment. “I’ve always liked working with numbers. They seem to come naturally to me. That’s why I chose an accounting degree. But I don’t expect to stay there forever. That’s not exactly what I was hoping for, you know?”

“What were you hoping for?” Evan’s hand gently stroked Chan’s back, and Chan had to resist the urge to purr like a contented feline.

“That someday I might own my own accounting business, one that specializes in payroll and bookkeeping.” Chan had never spoken his dreams aloud to anyone except his mother and Balji. Compared to what Evan did, that wasn’t exactly a glorious ambition, but it was his. He prayed that didn’t lower him in Evan’s estimation.

Evan’s next comments dispelled his worries.

“I think you would be wonderful at whatever you did,” Evan said. “I admire you for wanting to be your own boss. I’m sure you’ll succeed.”

Chan warmed at Evan’s words.  “I’ve been studying taxes too,” he admitted. “That way, I can also prepare tax returns for my customers.”

“I would definitely come to you to get my taxes done,” Evan said. “Whenever you’re ready, let me know. I’ll be your first customer.”

“Really?” No one outside of Chan’s family had ever shown such confidence in him. He glanced up to meet Evan’s gaze, saw the sincerity in his eyes.

“Really,” Evan affirmed. He kissed Chan gently.  

The music was soothing, and Evan’s embrace was warm and comfortable. Chan felt his eyelids begin to droop. So not what he’d intended. He was afraid Evan would be disappointed in him if he fell asleep before anything happened between them. Not that he thought Evan expected that of him every time they got together, but surely he hoped… Chan’s thoughts were beginning to grow hazy. Maybe if he got up and walked around, went to the bathroom or something… but he couldn’t seem to move. 

Sooo comfortable.

“Do you go to church?” he heard Evan ask, his voice coming almost from a distance.

“No, don’t go to church,” Chan mumbled sleepily. “You?”

“No, I don’t. Maybe we should…”

But Chan never heard what Evan was about to suggest as sleep claimed him for its own.

to be continued

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Monday, June 8, 2020

Book Review: Lust in the Caribbean by Noah Harris


Lust in the Caribbean   

American release date: August 6, 2017
Format/Genre/Length: Kindle/LGBT Romance/332 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★

Being a young gay man in the year 1710 is not easy, as Thomas Treadwell can attest. He yearns to be free to be who he is. Shipping out on the Virtue, under Captain Temperance Stone, Thomas discovers that he is not alone in his desire for relations with the same sex. The ship’s head becomes the place for men to hook up anonymously in the night in order to save face during the light of day. But when Thomas is careless and gets caught with another man, there is hell to pay as Captain Stone orders the two men to be whipped to death!

Thomas watches helplessly as his previously unknown hook-up is beaten first and dies. But just as it’s Thomas’ turn to face death, a look-out fortuitously announces the arrival of another ship. Not just any ship, but a pirate ship called Manhunter, infamous for its figurehead which resembles a muscular naked man with a golden appendage, and because it is rumored to contain an all-gay crew!

The pirate ship, with its erotic take on the traditional Jolly Roger flag, hauls up beside the Virtue,  which it clearly outguns. Captain Stone has no choice but to surrender, after first ascertaining the safety of his crew’s “booty” among the gay pirates, who claim they don’t need to ravish anyone, they have plenty of “booty” on their own ship.  The pirates board the ship and their captain, Captain Seawolf, discovers Thomas lashed to the mast and discovers why he is being punished then offers him a chance to go with the pirates, which Thomas reluctantly accepts. He doesn’t really wish to do so, as he doesn’t agree with piracy as a way of life, but he also knows if he stays behind, he will die. Quite the quandary.

And so the adventure begins….

Lust in the Caribbean can be looked on as one man’s journey to be himself despite living in a time of great hypocrisy and prejudice. But primarily it is a sexual adventure, as Thomas revels in the freedom of living openly as a gay man among the pirates. There is a lot of sex in this book, believe it, as well as adventures, as the pirates go from situation to situation.  And what is a pirate story without treasure? Plus, once Thomas learns the secret of some of the crew, he is told he can never leave, but by then will he want to?

Great literature? No, it’s not. The writing is rough at times, and is filled with blatantly purple prose, and it would definitely benefit from better editing. Not to mention, I would say, if given the chance to speak with Mr. Harris, please don’t say sex juice ever again. Ever.  That. Is. Not. Hot. The author certainly knows how to tell a tale, though.  The story definitely held my attention. The characters are fairly well-written, and he does know how to write sex scenes. I suspect the major reason he hasn’t been dinged for bestiality, though, is that he manages to veil it in the guise of the main character keeping his eyes closed and not seeing what or who he is actually copulating with under the full moon. Oh, and did I mention there’s a merman or two? That being said, this is definitely only for mature audiences.

If you’re looking for a story with a lot of sex, this one won’t disappoint. I’ve seen smutty books that aren’t nearly as well written. If you’re looking for great fiction, go somewhere else. For what it is, I considered it to be satisfactory indeed. I might have to check out some of the author’s other writing.


Saturday, June 6, 2020

Book Review: Spy x Family, Vol 1 by Tatsuya Endo


Spy x Family, Vol 1      

Author: Tatsuya Endo
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: June 2, 2020
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Action & Adventure/220 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Twilight is the best spy in Westalis, a master of disguise. He lives and works undercover in the neighboring country of Ostania. As he reads the information on his next assignment, he’s shocked to learn that he is required to have a wife and child (neither of which he currently has). The target in question, a very dangerous man who is a threat to the peace between east and west, is very reclusive and the only way to reach him is through the elite private school his son attends. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the deadline for admissions is fast approaching. Twilight only has a week to find a wife and child and enroll that child at Eden Academy!

Twilight’s first stop is an orphanage to find a child—a rather shady orphanage at best. But perhaps that will suit his purposes better. He has no experience with children, but reasons that he must find the smartest one he can, so the child can pass the entrance exam to the academy. He finds a girl working a crossword, but she seems too young for the school. She is quick to assure him she is six years old. Little does he realize that Anya is a telepath! Twilight chooses her and is relieved to find no paperwork involved—he is told to take her and go.

Now… to find a wife.

At City Hall, in the capital city of Berlint, Yor is different from the other women she works with. Quiet, and somewhat na├»ve, she is the object of constant criticism in the guise of helpful hints, such as improving her appearance so she can find a man. Her brother Yuri worries about her, and calls her often. To relieve his mind, she tells him she has a boyfriend and is going to a party that weekend. What no one knows is that Yor is actually an assassin, and a darn good one! But how is she going to find a “boyfriend” to take to a party on such short notice?

Three people are on a collision course with destiny! Each one has needs—Twilight a wife, Yor a boyfriend, and Anya a family. When chance—or is that Fate?—brings them together, they decide to form a family. Will they be able to fulfill Twilight’s mission and gain Anya admission into Eden Academy? And if they do, how long can they maintain their cover… and how long will they want to?

This is the first volume of the series. I confess that it was love at first sight when I saw the cover! And reading the description only made me want it even more. I pre-ordered the first three volumes, the first of which just came out. I love the artwork, and I love the premise of the story, which did not fail to deliver when it arrived. It’s an action adventure story, but there is a lot of humor in these pages as well, and more. The characters are all well drawn, even if the plot is rather basic. It’s not a series about spies as much as it is about people. I see the two countries involved, Westalis and Ostania, as thinly veiled disguises for East and West Germany. (I mean, come on, Berlint?) But that doesn’t really matter. The spy action is secondary to the character development, watching these three interact, each using their unique talents for the benefit of the other two.

Of course, being the romantic that I am, I’m hoping that by the end of the series, Twilight (whose real name I hope to learn) and Yor will fall in love for real and they both embrace Anya as their daughter, so that they become a real family. Only time will tell!

Also take note of Twilight’s co-worker, Franky, who is a hoot and lots of fun.

Great start to the series, looking forward to volume 2!

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Chan and Evan are enjoying some quiet time together. Good food, good music, who knows where that will lead? See what's happening in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale!  Enjoy!

Super Trooper #19 (3.5)


Chan could have stayed where he was forever, safe within Evan’s warm embrace. But his stomach chose that unfortunate moment to signal its discontent with an embarrassing gurgle. He felt his cheeks go warm.

Evan smiled sweetly and kissed his cheek. “Another country heard from.” He laughed. “Guess we need to do something about that, don’t we?”

They disentangled from one another and headed back downstairs. Evan pulled out the various containers from the bags they’d carried them in and laid them out on the counter. Then he brought out two bottles of beer from the fridge. They each made up a plate and carried everything into the living room, next to one another on a mocha-colored sofa that faced a second television, a large flat screen in the middle of a dark wood entertainment center. Once they were settled, Evan picked up a remote control.

“Watch something or listen to music?”

“Music, please,” Chan replied without hesitation. He wondered what kind of music Evan preferred. Probably country western, since he went to Partners. Although Chan went there too and it wasn’t his first choice of music, so he shouldn’t make assumptions about Evan based on that. Chan was pleasantly surprised when Evan selected a quiet jazz station, turning the volume down so that it was audible but wouldn’t interfere with conversation.

“If you don’t like this, we can find something else,” Evan said.

“No, no, this is perfect,” Chan assured him. “Very nice.”

They ate in contented silence for a few minutes. Everything was delicious, especially the pot stickers and the duck noodles.

“I’m surprised I’ve never tried this kind of noodles before,” Chan said. “I will definitely order this again. Thank you for turning me on to this restaurant. It’s very good.”

“I hoped you’d like it,” Evan said.  “We’ll definitely go back there.”

Chan liked the sound of that, hinting again at a future between them.

Evan was very adept at using chopsticks, Chan noticed. He could feed himself with them but he wasn’t near as good as Evan was. Which he proved by dropping rice down the front of his shirt. Evan quickly leaned over with his chopsticks and picked up the offending rice, then fed it to Chan.

God, he could get used to this so easily.

“I’m a little clumsy,” he apologized, but Evan waved his words aside.

“You’re fine. Gives me an excuse to feed you.” He winked at Chan.

“You don’t need an excuse,” Chan blurted out without thinking. He was horrified with himself until he saw that Evan seemed to have no problem with what he’d said, judging by his pleased expression.

“How was your day?” Chan asked. “Well, day and evening.” He couldn’t imagine working a shift that straddled both day and night. Thank goodness the savings and loaned closed at five. Of course, he also didn’t have to deal with crazy drivers, either. No telling who was carrying a gun these days.

“Pretty quiet for a Saturday, actually. Here, try this beef broccoli.” He dipped his chopsticks into the dish, then offered it to Chan.

“That was delicious,” Chan said. He carefully picked up some of the duck noodles and conveyed them to Evan, who opened his mouth and accepted them.

“I see what you mean, those are very good,” Evan said, once he swallowed. “How was your day?”

“I had a very good day,” Chan said. “I took the children to the park and let them play.” Belatedly he realized Evan had no idea who these children were. No wonder his eyes just got huge.

“Not mine,” he hastened to assure Evan, waving his pair of chopsticks in the air. “My little brother and sisters.” That seemed to relax Evan again. Chan couldn’t even begin to imagine having children, as that would entail a relationship with a woman. And that was so not happening.

“I’d love to hear about them.” Evan picked up a pot sticker, attention focused on Chan.

“They are very good kids,” Chan said. “Laksha is the oldest, she is eleven. She is very smart and she loves to read. Kamal is seven and can be very mischievous. Madhu is only two and a half but she already has everyone wrapped around her little finger.”

“Quite an age difference there,” Evan observed. “Would you like another beer?” He picked up his empty bottle as he started to rise.

“I am good, thank you,” Chan said. “My mother has been married twice. First was to my father, but he died when I was just a baby. Later she found Balji and married him and they had my siblings. I try to spend time with them as often as possible.”

Evan waited until Chan was finished speaking before he went into the kitchen, disposed of his empty and got out a new one. He resumed his seat by Chan. “Your stepfather, do you get along with him?”

“Oh yes, he’s a very good man. Very good father. I could not ask for a better one,” Chan replied with enthusiasm. “He has made my mother very happy, and for that alone, I love him. But he also gave me my brother and sisters, and I love them very much.”

Chan reached for his own beer as he spoke, but his eyes were fixed on Evan. For just a moment, he thought he saw something in Evan’s eyes. A sadness maybe? Whatever it was quickly passed, and Chan tucked the thought away for another time.

“They’re lucky to have an older brother like you,” Evan said.

Chan half expected, or maybe half hoped, that Evan’s next words would be “I’d like to meet them sometime”. But that didn’t happen.

“What about you? Do you have brothers and sisters?” Chan asked.

Evan shook his head. “Only child.”

“Did you have any pets?”

Another shake of the head.

What a lonely way to grow up, Chan thought.

to be continued

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