Aphelion Issue 266, Volume 25
October 2021
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The Beast

by Michael Dority

Do you remember when you hit puberty? I was 11 or 12. Both of my BMFs and I were straight, and that hasn’t changed. But for a brief time, that didn’t matter.

We’d lie out on the two beds in my room and dare each other to pull our shorts off.

It didn’t happen, but we had fun trying. Not for long, though. I think one of the other two told his mother, and the horseplay was immediately curtailed. No more sleepovers.

It’s human nature, I guess. Boys and young men are homophobic. We lack the self-confidence to know and embrace who and what we are. Straight and gay alike. It’s a real mess.

Now, the social stigma has eased up. More accurately, it’s shifted focus from gays and lesbians to the smaller transgender community. Now they’re the primary targets of hate crimes. Suddenly, they’re in the crosshairs of violent attacks and homicides. Not to mention the extreme Right and other purveyors of, but not adherents to, moral rectitude. Yes, the tongue-waggers and bible-thumpers. The naysayers and judgers of what’s not their business in the first place. The gossip-mongers, thieves and liars.

Have you noticed the recent uptick in domestic terrorism? This isn’t about religion. Oh, no. It’s about rage. Black rage, white rage. Mindless hate. Gaping rends in the fabric of the social order.

Have you not recognized Yeats’ beast as it slouches towards Bethlehem ? Have you heard its guttural roar?

…Tell me true, have you?

2021 Michael Dority

Michael Dority has recently had the following stories accepted for publication:

  • “Heaven’s Black Top Hat,” Schlock, March 2021
  • "World of Sensations,” Black Petals, October 2021
  • "Peril of the Lamperosa, Parts 1 and 2,” Schlock October/November 2021

Find more by Michael Dority in the Author Index.

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