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Dusty Balls

A short story


David Goldon

Big Gay Santa

A short story


Michael Young


Copyright for David Goldon: Dusty Balls

DUSTY BALLS A Christmas Short Story by DAVID GOLDON

Copyright for Michael Young: Big Gay Santa

BIG GAY SANTA A Christmas Short Story by MICHAEL YOUNG


Two Can

Engle Byen: A Place To Call Home

The Road To Engle Byen

Author Bios: David Goldon

Michael Young

Smashwords Edition

Dusty Balls

A short story


David Goldon

Copyright © 2017 David Goldon

All characters and locales appearing in this work are fictitious or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author or publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. Cover image:


Dusty Balls

A barefooted, barely dressed Dean, stomped his way along the hallway on the cold, noisy wooden floorboards to answer a call at the front door. His hazel coloured eyes glistened as they focused on his partner, Roman, who was smiling at him.

"Well, at least you could have greeted me totally naked and not just in a jockstrap," Roman smiled as he kissed Dean on the lips. Reaching his arms behind Dean, he grabbed hold of the elastics on the jockstrap pulling them right back and letting go, snapping painfully against his butt.

Dean yelled, “Fuck yeah, do it harder baby!” In his best faux porn star voice.

The men laughed as Roman was escorted inside.

“Hey, so are you ever going to let me see what’s in that room?” Roman asked Dean as they walked past the permanently closed door. He didn’t answer.

“What’s in there anyway, a dead body or something?”

Dean laughed, “No, I keep them buried in the backyard.”

Making their way along the hallway Roman’s attention turned to the tattoo on Dean’s right shoulder blade. A pair of Toucan’s happily perched there. He smiled as he recalled the day Dean saved his life when he almost drowned in the bath. The toucans were present in his near-death experience and coincidently appeared on his savours back. He was lucky that day how Dean appeared to have come from nowhere. The blonde guy he saw during his life-changing experience told him it wasn't his turn to die yet; better things were coming, probably meaning Dean. The two have been together as a couple ever since. Roman couldn’t believe how lucky he was to have met Dean. Not only was he sweet and caring; he also had an amazing body from years of completive swimming at high school. Even though high school was now just a distant memory.

“Don’t you celebrate Christmas, there’s not one piece of tinsel or even a little Santa on display? I love Christmas and this being our first together I want to make it really special. So where are your decorations, I can put some up while you get dressed?”

"No, all good,” Dean responded abruptly, pulling on his shorts.

Roman stood in the kitchen which overlooked the backyard. He noticed a few mounds of dirt. Recoiling as he remembered what Dean had said as a joke, that the bodies were buried in the backyard. What if he wasn’t really joking, he thought. Dean was in the bedroom getting dressed before they headed out to do some Christmas shopping. This was a perfect opportunity for Roman to quietly make his way down the hallway and open that door.

Peering into Dean’s bedroom, he noticed his boyfriend was fussing about in the wardrobe trying to select a shirt to wear. Roman slowly crept along the hallway, past the bedroom and ever so quietly stopping when he reached the closed door. He turned the small old round door knob which rattled as he pushed the door, but it wouldn’t open. Dean’s house was typical of many in the Melbourne suburb of Prahran; it was an older style double fronted terrace. Beautifully renovated inside some of the charm and character of yesteryear kept, such as this old door and the fittings. There’s no keyhole, so it’s not locked maybe the door is jammed which happens in these older homes, he thought. Lining up the door he prepared to use his shoulder to force it open.

“Finally, I found a decent shirt to wear,” Dean called out as he entered the hallway and saw Roman standing near the closed door.

“Great, let’s go shopping then,” Roman said avoiding any mention of his presence near that door.

In the busy shopping district of South Yarra, a busker played an assortment of Christmas carols. Sitting at a table for two under the shade of an umbrella on this warm December afternoon, Roman stared lovingly at Dean. Seductively he licked the chocolate powder off the teaspoon he’d been dipping into his cappuccino. Roman’s large dark almond shaped eyes exuded love. Though he’d never said it aloud yet, he loved his boyfriend of just a few months. He was so happy, excited and full of renewed zest for living. The day Dean had entered his life via a series of bizarre twists and turns, he felt the universe was finally looking out for him. His near-death experience ended up serving a purpose. Full of positivity he said “Isn’t this just the most wonderful time of the year? Hear the carols, see the people passing by carrying Christmas presents for their family, friends and loved ones.” Under the table, he ran his foot along Dean’s leg.

“Guess so,” Dean responded nonchalantly.

“Oh, so not a Christmas type of person then?”

“Guess not.”

“So, do you want me to tone my excitement down a notch or two?”

“No, I love seeing the excitement in your beautiful eyes. It makes me happy.”

Sensing Dean was holding something back; Roman knew the festive season wasn’t a joyous time for everybody. It can bring up all kinds of pain and anxiety for some people.

“Marcus!” Roman shouted, waving his hand and beckoning his flatmate to come over to where they were seated.

Marcus swanned over to the table, his hands clutching shopping bags. Wearing oversized sunglasses and a large sunhat on his head like he was a celebrity.

A smile came over his face as he quickly glanced at Roman then over to Dean. He removed his sunglasses and held out the back of his hand for Dean to kiss. Dean smirked, taking Marcus’s hand and shaking it instead.

“What a delight you are, I gather you are Dean?” Marcus said, then gesturing to Roman, “This one must be keeping you behind locked doors. After all these months, all I do is hear him gloat about you. I was beginning to think he was dreaming you up.” Marcus rubbed Dean’s arm, “Yes definitely real, and super cute too,” he whispered to Roman.

Dean had a sudden flashback. "Hang on, I know you.”

"Of course you do darling, much like the rest of this town. Bitch, I'm Madonna! Well, only on select Saturday nights at the club. I’m also an international flight attendant, flittering from country to country. Anyways, I’m sure Roman has already told you all about moi!” Marcus said in his campest voice.

Dean gave Roman a blank look, raising his eyebrows.

"No, no, I remember now, I was the paramedic that brought you into the hospital after someone hit you on the forehead with a stiletto,” Dean said trying to suppress a laugh out loud moment.

“Well, you should have seen her!” Marcus laughed. “Anyways doll, nice to finally meet you, must rush.”

The men left the café strip exhausted from shopping and sweaty from the heat. Back at Dean’s house, as they walked down the hallway past that closed door, Roman wondered if Dean had seen him attempting to get into that room earlier.

Dean switched on the air-conditioning in the main living room and took off his sweat covered t-shirt. "I'm just going to have a shower, would you like to join me?" An offer that Roman usually wouldn't resist but today he was fixated on whatever was in that room. He had no reason to distrust his boyfriend but why was he so protective of a room in his own home? What lay behind that door? Curiosity got the better of him; he decided he would wait until Dean was in the shower and he would make his move.

“Nah, it’s alright, you go ahead. I’ll just make us up some cool drinks.”

Dean, dropped his shorts to the floor, then his underwear. Playfully shaking his dick in front of Roman, hoping he would join him in the shower, but the allure of that room was far too great.

“Well, you know where I’ll be if you change your mind,a disappointed Dean said.

Roman heard the sound of running water from the shower and decided this was his chance. Hurriedly he made his way along the hallway and stood in front of the closed door. Putting his ear up against it, he listened out for any muffled cries, if, in fact, his boyfriend had someone hidden in there. His imagination began to get the better of him, all kinds of scenarios ran through his mind from kinky to terrifying. With his heart pounding he thought to himself, well now or never.

Turning the small doorknob, the door didn’t open. Roman turned side on, with one hand on the doorknob then he pushed his shoulder hard against the door. A loud crack sound echoed along the hallway, the door opened. He could still hear the water from the shower, so figured it was safe to enter the room without alerting Dean.

His heart was racing as Roman nervously peered into the darkened room; it smelt a bit musty. Obviously, no one had been in there for a while.

Gingerly he took a few steps inside the darkened room. He pushed the door almost closed to allow just a crack of light to enter. As his eyes adjusted, he could make out a very large object in one corner of the room. There didn’t appear to be anything dangerous in there and no smells from piled up dead bodies of ex-boyfriends were apparent. Feeling around for a light switch on the wall, he found it and flicked it, but it didn’t work. Maybe this is just a junk room he thought, feeling rather disheartened. Hearing the running water stop he turned to leave the room but the door shut. Grabbing the doorknob, he frantically turned it back and forth, the door wouldn't open. "Fuck!" The door handle came off in his hand. He was trapped in this room in total darkness. Panic set in. He had to get out there; perhaps he could find a window. He heard Dean calling out for him.

Roman was trapped and at the mercy of Dean. Dean is a good, kind and decent person; he would never hurt me, would he? Roman thought as his heart raced. He placed his ear against the door to hear if Dean was near. Suddenly there was a loud banging sound on the other side of the door. A startled Roman fell backwards, landing on his back on the floor. Winded, he screamed out in pain as he felt an object pierce his skin. He felt warm liquid he knew it would be blood. It began to trickle down his side. The pounding on the door continued relentlessly. Dean was yelling out Roman's name over and over until eventually the pounding and Dean's voice subsided.

Roman woke to see Dean’s smiling face and gentle, kind eyes looking lovingly into his. “How are you feeling?” Dean whispered tenderly.

“Like I've been stabbed," a croaky-voiced Roman replied.

“You have.”

Roman’s dark eyes widened, looking at Dean like a wounded puppy. He had so many questions, ultimately thinking about who Dean was holding captive in that room and who had stabbed him. Luckily it appears that Dean had rescued him, again.

“You’re going to be alright. It’s just a minor flesh wound.”

Realising he was lying on the sofa in the sitting room, Roman felt at ease. From a window he could see the sun just beginning to set, he felt relieved that he hadn’t been unconscious for very long.

Sitting up on the sofa, Dean was applying a dressing to the wound.

“There you go, all patched up,” Dean smiled.

A sheepish Roman replied, “Sorry, I couldn’t stand it anymore, I just had to go into that room.”

“What did you see in there?”

“Umm… well, nothing actually. I mean not nothing, there was something in there, but it was so dark, the light didn’t work. I got a fright when you banged on the door and I fell over, then someone stabbed me.”

Dean laughed.

“Oh geez, I knew you were too good to be true! You’ve kidnapped someone and you’re keeping them captive in that room,” Roman blurted out. He was disappointed that the man of his dreams wasn’t all that he seemed. Now he knew Dean’s secret, he would become his next victim. “You aren’t going to do the same to me!” Roman stood up quickly from the sofa; his head began to spin. Dean reached out and took hold of Roman to prevent him from falling over. Roman attempted to push Dean away, but he was too strong. “You’re not going to kill me, you’re not!” Roman yelled out in defiance as he fell back down to his position on the sofa.

Dean began laughing uncontrollably, but not a villainous laugh, more of a ‘Roman stop embarrassing yourself' laugh. Taking the cue from the tone of Dean's laugh, a teary-eyed Roman looked up at Dean towering over him.

“You duffer!” Dean continued laughing. “I’m not a killer, kidnapper or any kind of heinous criminal. I’m Dean, I’m a paramedic, and I love you!” he beamed.

“You, you, love me?” Roman sobbed. “I don’t understand, what happened, who stabbed me? I was in that room trapped in the dark and now I’m here sitting on the sofa, with a stab wound.”

Dean put a finger to his lips gesturing Roman to be quiet. Taking a seat on the sofa alongside his boyfriend he took Roman’s trembling hand in his, entwining their fingers firmly. “Calm down and I’ll explain. So, you obviously ignored my pleas to stay out of that room. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so secretive about it, so it’s probably my fault that caused your curiosity.”

“Yeah, cause curiosity killed the cat, guess I got off lightly only being stabbed,” Roman said sarcastically. He wondered how Dean will ever be able to explain that away.

“Right. So, you were in that room, looks like you shut the door when you heard me coming and the doorknob came off and you couldn’t get out. I couldn’t get the door opened; it was stuck. I got some tools and forced the door open. You were there lying on the floor; you had fainted. I picked you up and carried you out here and then you came to. I noticed some blood on your t-shirt and began patching you up,” Dean smiled.

“Um, excuse me, you left the bit out about who stabbed me,” Roman replied.

A big toothy grin came over Dean’s face. “If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me. Wait here a minute, I’m going to put some lights on in that room and I will show you.”

Bewildered, Roman replied with a simple “Alright, this will be good.”

Roman had calmed down. Believing what his boyfriend had told him, only a nagging doubt remained that he may return with a knife and finish the job. Perhaps he will bring out an awfully disfigured person from that room and they’d both stab him to death. Anxiety and fear began to take over. Dean suddenly appeared in the doorway to the living room. He cheerfully called out, “You can come see for yourself now.”

An apprehensive Roman approached a smiling Dean. Taking his hand, Dean led him along the hallway and stopped outside that door. It was closed. Roman could see the marks on the outside of the door where Dean had prised it open. He could hear the faint sound of music playing from behind the door.

“You know, I really didn’t want you to see in this room. You’ve forced my hand. I don't want you forever thinking I'm a serial killer or something and I guess you need to know. This is going to be a bit painful for me." Taking a deep breath, Dean said, "Are you ready to meet the person that stabbed you?" Unsure of who lurks behind that door Roman reluctantly nodded.

Dean pushed the door open. “It was him,” he said pointing downwards.

Roman gasped. His eyes opened wide. Gobsmacked, and unable to speak, he stood perfectly still. Staring at the perpetrator lying on the floor, his eyes began to dart around the room in disbelief.

“It was Santa Claus, he stabbed you," Dean said calmly.

“This is insane!” A confused Roman said.

Dean took hold of Roman’s hand, stepping over a Santa doll lying on the floor. Santa held an object that had broken creating a sharp edge that was the cause of Roman’s wound. Leading him to the centre of the room, a dumbfounded Roman didn’t know where to look first. “Have I died and gone to Christmas heaven? I um, don’t know what to say.”

Christmas carols could be heard harmoniously playing along with the movement of model Santas', reindeer and all manner of other Christmas figures. A heavily decorated Christmas tree just touching the high ceiling glistened in the dimly lit room. "This is beautiful Dean, just beautiful. I don't understand why you kept this from me, you know I love Christmas." Roman said as he began to beat the dust off a hat Santa was wearing. Just then he noticed a large photo of Dean looking very cosy with some guy. Taking a few steps towards it, he picked it up and brushed the dust off with his hand. Puzzled he looked over at Dean. In the dim light, it looked as though Dean had tears slowly rolling down his cheek. Roman walked over to his boyfriend; he did have tears in his eyes. “Hey, what’s up?” Just as those words left his mouth, he suddenly put two and two together. Everything clicked.

The men stood facing each other in front of the brightly lit, flamboyantly decorated Christmas tree. Dean took Roman's hands in his. Taking a deep breath in, suppressing the river of tears that may uncontrollably burst at any moment. He looked into the eyes of his boyfriend; it was time, time for closure. "Well, I guess you are kind of wondering what's going on, hey?" Dean started.

“Well, this whole thing is just a tad weird,” Roman replied while his eyes darted around the room.

Dean took another deep breath out. “Alright. Where to begin, where to begin,” he muttered under his breath summoning up the courage and the words to explain. “That guy in the photo with me, he was my partner, we were together for a few years.” He paused, trying to maintain his composure. Taking another deep breath out he continued, “I decorated the house and this room a few years ago, hence all the dust in here.” Cracking a limp smile at Roman. Sensing how difficult explaining all this to him was for his boyfriend, he remained silent. “He was really busy with work and all; he was a doctor at one of the hospitals I would transport patients to, that’s how we met. Anyway, the condition of me putting up all the decorations was that he had to take them all down. They stayed up for a few months after Christmas until I got tired of seeing them everywhere. I decided I would take them down and put away everything throughout the house. I refused to do the same to this room and left it for him.” Swallowing hard Dean continued, “Thing is, he never came home. I never saw him again.” Roman furrowed his eyebrows, feeling sad about Dean and his partner breaking up. “He was murdered Roman; someone murdered him. Someone murdered my Zac.” Dean hugged Roman tightly resting his chin on his shoulder. Unable to suppress his tears any longer, he burst out sobbing, tears relentlessly flowing down his face onto Roman's shoulder. Roman also began to tear up, feeling the hurt his boyfriend was feeling. “You’re the first guy I’ve been with since. I never thought I’d meet anyone ever again. I was ready to live my life alone. It seems there was some divine intervention at play that led me to your door, literally.”

“Look at the pair of us, what a mess,” Roman said trying to inject some light into this sad, dark revelation. The men wiped the tears from their eyes and faces. “Look at my t-shirt it’s all wet now,” Roman smiled. A half smile came over Dean’s face. He began to feel a little better after sharing the pain he had been going through.

Fairy lights began to flicker. A slight unexplained breeze blew through the room. Dean felt a chill pass through his body, like a tender kiss being placed on the back of his neck. Tiny hairs covering his body stood to attention. He knew immediately who it came from and what it meant. It was a sign for Dean to close the chapter and begin closure on his former life with his deceased partner Zac.

“Obviously this is a deeply emotional time for you. I hope I don’t sound insensitive but, I’m your Christmas future, Zac is a ghost from Christmas past. Forget the mistletoe I’m going to kiss you right now. I love you.” Roman tasted the salt tears on his boyfriend’s lips. Holding each other tightly they exchanged the strong, energetic force they felt for each other.

The smile on Santa’s face appeared to become wider, the red tinge on the angel’s cheeks became brighter. Fairy lights flashed faster like they were sending out a message to the world. “How’s about we make this room really shine, for Zac and us?” Roman said. “There’s a lot of dust in here and two can clean it up faster than one, right?” Seeing some blue baubles on the floor that had fallen from the Christmas tree, Roman bent over and picked them up. Holding the large blue balls out in front of him he said smiling at Dean, “Look, big blue dusty balls!”

Smashwords Edition

Big Gay Santa

A short story


Michael Young

Copyright © 2017 Michael Young

All characters and locales appearing in this work are fictitious or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author or publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. Cover image:


Big Gay Santa

“Was the week before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse... FUCK! How pathetic am I, Fluffy, misquoting old rhymes to nobody?” said Tom, to his twelve year old Maltese Shitsu who snuggled quietly on the lounge beside him, “It’s been a long nine months for us, hasn’t it my girl.”

Fluffy had been beside her dad through many life changes. She knew that Daddy didn’t regard her as ‘nobody’, she was his special girl. She always had two fathers; one known to her as Daddy, and one Papa. She loved the ‘together times’ all three of them shared on long walks and trips to the sandy ground and salty waters. Also to the places with tall trees, long grass and fresh flowing waters. She would get to meet all the doggy cousins there she never realised she had.

She saw how deeply sad Daddy became the day that Papa didn’t come home. Day after day she waited and waited, her ears pricking up every time she heard a sound, expecting it to be Papa. She knew that Papa was unwell; she could sense his sadness and smell his fear. But she also knew that Papa loved her dearly and would never leave her. All three of them would be together forever. She continued to listen and wait for the sound of the garage door to open and Papa to come home. Any minute now, he would walk in. She would always be there at the door to greet him with shouts and kisses because she always missed him so much, but he never came. So many days had passed since then. Still no Papa. Fluffy became withdrawn, not eating for days, sulking away in her bed. A little piece of her had died, when Papa never came home.

Daddy said that Papa had gone to a better place, but Fluffy didn’t understand how anyplace could be better if she could not be there to greet him and show him how much she loved him. Why did it make Daddy so sad if Papa’s going away was a good thing? Why did she also feel so very, very sad every day when he didn’t come home, day after day after endless day?

Suddenly, Fluffy was stirred from her memories by something Daddy said. Did he say “that” word, she thought to herself?

“Baby girl, want to go for walks?” Tom repeated.

Yes, he did say her second favourite word... walks. Fluffy jumped up with great excitement, leapt out of her bed and looked at Daddy expectantly waiting for him fetch her walking lead. As he stood up and made his way to the room, she did her usual warm-up run from the lounge to the hall to the dining room to the kitchen and back to the lounge. It always made Daddy laugh. Daddy put on her lead, said, “Let’s go” and Fluffy bolted to the front door.

Today the sky was clear as far as the eye could see. The sun shone brightly. The hard footpath they walked on was not hot, so it didn’t burn her paws. There were no fluffy clouds to be seen, and the water was not falling from the sky so she wouldn’t get all “soggy doggy.” Daddy was letting her lead him in the direction of the tall trees and long grass which meant that it would be a long walk. They had not been there since Papa went away.

As they came close to the trees, she saw two doggy cousins in the distance. Wait, she thought, who is that with them? That looks like... Papa. Fluffy couldn’t control her instinct; she had to get to Papa, so she pulled so hard on her lead that it flew out of her dad’s hand as she bolted across the road. She heard Daddy shout her name and then there was a screech of tyres from the car that she had not seen coming down the road.

The driver of the Audi held his breath as the ABS did its job and brought the car to a halt. Then, to his great relief, he saw Fluffy continuing her mad dash into the park towards the man walking with his two small dogs. Tom, in shock, stepped out in front of the car, saying a confused ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ to the stunned driver as he ran after his little girl.

As she came closer to her target Fluffy was able to see him more clearly. She began to slow down, and her heart sank as she realised the man who was now coming over to her was not her Papa after all. Then she realised that Daddy was still shouting her name as he came running up behind her.

Fluffy stopped in her tracks as Daddy, the strange man and her two new cousins all converged on her. They were all shouting and the strange smell of panic was in the air. Then Daddy scooped her up into his arms and held her tight. She felt his heart pounding inside him.

“Oh my god. Is she OK?” asked the stranger, “I heard the car and then saw her running towards us.”

“I think she is fine, he just missed her,” replied Tom. Then to Fluffy, he said, “You silly girl, you know not to cross the road without ‘staying’ first.”

“You gave us all a scare I think, little one,” said the stranger as he gave her a comforting pat.

“Sorry, she gets very excited to meet other dogs,” Tom apologised to the stranger.

“Hey, no problem, my two seem very happy to see her too, which is unusual for them, they are normally a bit standoffish with other pups.”

“I’m Tom, by the way, and this escape artist is Fluffy.”

“Fluffy,” he giggled, then shook hands, “I’m Andrew, this is Snooky and Snuggles, nice to meet you.”

“You too. Haven’t seen you around here before,” Tom continued.

“My partner, Paul and I moved here three weeks ago from Newcastle. But are you sure you are OK?”

Actually, I think I need to sit down on that bench over there for a minute.”

“I might join you if you don’t mind and calm down a bit as well.”

“Yes, please do, the kids can socialise for a bit, too.”

As they sat on the nearby park bench, Tom put Fluffy down but kept her lead firmly in hand, then Andrew continued, “Paul has a great new job and I’m just being ‘house husband’ for the time being.”

“Well, you’ll like it here. This is a really nice area of town, very quiet.”

“Yes, it seems great. What about you?”

“11 years we’ve been here ... ah, I mean, I’ve been ...” he took a breath, “Sorry... Fluffy’s papa, my partner John, passed away nine months ago. It’s still a struggle to get used to him being gone, for both of us.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Thanks. It was tough. I’m really starting to feel it all again now that it’s almost Christmas. John loved Christmas, but I’ve never been a big fan of it. For me, after working in retail for over 20 years, I came to hate Christmas. It was the most stressful time of the year.”

“Hey, I can understand that. I was in retail for a few years too. What annoyed you the most?”

“A lot of things. The ridiculous long hours for a start.”

“Yes, I remember that,” agreed Andrew. “The crowds of people wandering aimlessly in front of me.”

“The grumpy customers who leave it all to the last minute.”

“I hate how it has become all about money and how ‘little Jonny’ has to have the latest version of everything to keep up with the other kids at school.”

“Then having to get in early on Boxing Day to make sure the sales are all set up, it’s no holiday at all for us.”

“Not to mention the music.”

“Yes, the endless Christmas carols on repeat from November.”


“I sound like a bloody Scrooge, don’t I?”

They both laughed.

“You should come over to my house sometime and we can be miserable together.” Andrew offered, “You know, our kids seem to be getting on great. How about we organise a play-date for them and we can chat more then, if you’re OK with that?”

“Would you like that, baby girl?” Tom asked fluffy, who looked at him and wagged her tail in excitement. The two men laughed.

“Well, that looks like a yes.”

“Sure, let’s do it. When are you and your partner free?”

“How about Saturday afternoon?”

“This Saturday? Sure, that works for me.”

“Great. We live in that street, number 46,” Andrew pointed, “Say 2pm, Saturday?”

“Yes, we look forward to it.”

Tom and Andrew exchanged mobile numbers; their fur kids said their goodbyes.

* * *

That Saturday afternoon, Fluffy and her dad went for a walk to visit her new cousins Snooky and Snuggles. Drinks, dips and nibbles on the table, Daddy chatted with Uncle Andrew and Uncle Paul on the back deck while she played and relaxed in the sunny backyard with the other kids. She could hear the story that Daddy shared about all the dramas he faced after Papa didn’t come home.

“Well, thank god I had Fluffy, or I don’t think I could’ve coped. I had to get through it for her at least. Also thanks to the few friends who supported me too,” Fluffy looked at Tom and wagged her tail at the mention of her name.

“But that’s all ‘Water Under The Bridge’ now, as Adele would say.”

“Love that song,” enthused Paul.

“Yes, you play it over and over and over,” commented Andrew with a roll of his eyes.

“I guess it’s time I start to move on with life,” continued Tom, “I know it’s what John would want me to do, but it is easier said than done. After so long I don’t even know where to start.”

“Yes, it would be a challenge. The dating world is very different to 15 years ago,” agreed Paul.

“What about we help him set up a profile on Bumpr or Woofa, maybe both?” suggested Andrew.

“Or maybe Daddysearch,” said Paul.

“What? Daddysearch? Are you serious? There’s such a thing?” Tom said in shock.

“Sure is,” assured Paul, “You will be amazed how many younger gay guys are looking for older men, they find us very attractive.”

“Sure do,” agreed Andrew, “There’s ten years between me and my ‘daddy’ here.” He laughed.

Stop with calling me ‘daddy’ you stirrer,” Paul scolded him; “You make it sound weird or something. Age is just a non-issue.”

“What do you think, Tom? Give it a go?” asked Andrew.

“Well... as long as you two tell me all the ‘ins and outs’, so to speak, of using these App things.” Agreed Tom, and they all laughed again.

Paul took a few face pics of Tom while Andrew asked him questions to create his profiles. “Right, age. Do you want to use your real age or make it less? What is your age, by the way?”

“Ah, 53,” Tom replied, sheepishly.

“What?” exclaimed the other two in unison.

“You definitely don’t look it!” gushed Andrew, “What’s your secret?”

“Good moisturiser and minimal time spent in the sun, I guess,” advised Tom, feeling rather flattered.

“You look fabulous for your age, bitch,” confirmed Paul, “You could say you were around 45 with no problem.”

“Is it normal for guys to lie on these Apps?” asked Tom.

“I see there are a few things I need to fill you in on before you start playing in App world, Mr.” Andrew smiled cheekily.

They chose the best pic to use for the profile. It caught Tom from his best angle and showed off his strong hairy chest in the singlet he was wearing. Then they answered all the questions and decided what basic profile statement to write. Tom was embarrassed by some of the options that Paul read out, but they eventually completed the profiles for the three App sites. Andrew then proceeded to offer his advice on the ‘lay of the land’ in Gay App Hook-Up World.

Then Paul chimed in, “Now, let’s see if Big Gay Santa can organise a really fabulous ‘Christmas Present’ for you. Let’s deal with those ‘dusty balls’ so to speak.”

Baah, Humbug,” said Tom.

They all laughed again.

“Hey, speaking of Christmas,” Paul asked, “What are you two doing for Christmas day?”

“Nothing,” Tom responded quietly.

“We were just going to have lunch here; the two of us and the two kids. Would you two like to join us?” Andrew offered.

“Oh, well... um, you know, that would be really nice. Thanks. Yes.”

“Good, so twelve noon for lunch here?”

“Yes, that’ll work. Then in return, you guys should come over to my place for a drink in the evening.”

“Great, sounds like a plan,” confirmed Paul. They watched Fluffy, Snooky and Snuggles playfully chasing each other around the backyard.

* * *

Christmas could have come and gone without Fluffy realising it. Papa wasn’t there to put the big plastic tree with all the flashing lights in the lounge room; he would do that every year as far back as she could remember. It wasn’t until she arrived at Snooky and Snuggles’ home for the big lunch that she realised. Uncle Andrew and Uncle Paul had put a big plastic tree covered in flashing lights in their house. How kind of them to do that for me, she thought.

There was one more human who arrived soon after them to share their big Christmas lunch. His name was Uncle Jason. Uncle Paul had met him through his work and asked him to join us because he also had no family around here. They all had a wonderful time. Fluffy was pleased when Daddy asked everyone to join them all back at her home after the lunch.

Fluffy had a great time showing them all around her home with Daddy. There were so many familiar smells in the spare room that she had not noticed for a long time. She was surprised to see Daddy forgot to close the door when they left the room.

Daddy and the Uncles settled in the cool lounge room to chat and drink some more. After Fluffy and her cousins had convinced them to share some of their treats with them, she waited for a moment when they all looked distracted. Seizing the opportunity, she signalled to Snooky and Snuggles to follow her.

Once all three were inside the spare room, Fluffy had a good sniff around until she located a box on the floor that was the source of the smell she was searching for. As she tried to open the box, the other two came to her assistance. It wasn’t long before they had chewed through the string that held it shut and they had the lid off. All three-started removing the contents of the box. Fluffy found what she was looking for and proudly trotted back to show her daddy the gift she had for him.

Tom, Andrew, Paul and Jason all stopped their conversation abruptly as they heard the sound of jingling bells approaching.

“Hey, you hear that? I think Big Gay Santa is coming,” joked Andrew.

“Where are the kids?” asked Paul, just as Fluffy came into the room with her red Jungle Bells collar in her mouth.

“Oh, it wasn’t Big Gay Santa, it was Little Fluffy Santa,” laughed Jason.

“What have you found, my girl?” asked Tom. Fluffy dropped her jingling collar at his feet, sat and looked up at him with a smile. “Your Christmas collar. That was in a box in the spare room. How did you get it?”

Snooky and Snuggles came into the room right on cue, dragging a string of tinsel attached to some Christmas balls.

“I think she had some help,” observed Jason, then he suggested, “Looks like she wants you to put it on her.”

As Tom put the collar on Fluffy, he remembered that first Christmas together when John had bought it as a gift for Fluffy. A tear welled in his eye. Then his memories were interrupted by a loud triple sneeze from Snuggles.

“Bless you, my boy,” proclaimed Andrew, “It must be those old dusty balls there making you sneeze.” They all found that highly amusing.

Fluffy thought to herself that it had been a very long time since she last saw Daddy so happy.

* * *

So now it’s time for another Christmas.

Since the last one, Fluffy has had many play dates with her cousins Snooky and Snuggles. There were a few new Uncles come over to visit after last Christmas. Lately, it has only been Uncle Jason visiting their home and he now stays overnight a lot. He even helped her daddy put up the plastic tree with flashing lights this year.

Fluffy really liked Uncle Jason, he is so kind to her but more importantly, so kind and supportive to Daddy. He clearly makes Daddy very happy and that makes her happy. She heard Daddy and Uncles A & P joking about how Jason is 12 years younger than Daddy; they seem to think that it’s a good thing and that he will ‘keep Daddy young’.

Daddy recently had a word to Fluffy about maybe calling Uncle Jason a different name; he asked if she would like to call him Step Dad. Fluffy couldn’t help but respond with a smile and a big wag of her tail.

Fluffy knew that she would never forget Papa and that she would see him again soon. She was growing tired and sensed that it would be time for her, one day soon, to not come home here anymore. But she was comforted that Daddy would have Step Dad to take care of him when she could no longer be here for him. It made her so happy to see Daddy smile and laugh and dance again... and that was all because of Step Dad and some other guy called Big Gay Santa.

Also available from David Goldon

Two Can

Read how Roman met Dean in Two Can a free short story.

The universe can deliver what you desire but not always in a way you would expect. It takes a near-death experience for the man of Roman's dreams to appear.

Also available from your favourite retailer

ENGLE BYEN: A Place to Call Home

After a traumatic event, Michael found himself in a coastal town, with the odd name of Engle Byen.

Engle Byen is a coastal town so perfect Michael could have dreamt it up, a place he could call home. Not long after his arrival, he was stunned to meet one of his neighbours, the devilishly handsome Jacob. Michael was instantly attracted to Jacob’s heart thumping good looks, but also sensed danger within this man who began to relentlessly pursue him romantically.

Michael formed close friendships with his other neighbours, who suggested he should steer clear of any romantic intentions with Jacob, as much as they wanted to, they wouldn’t, they couldn’t, say why.

What is behind Jacob’s obsession with Michael? Will the love-starved Michael submit to Jacob's unrelenting, lustful pursuit or act on his instinct to steer clear of the most handsome man he ever did meet?

The Road to Engle Byen

The prequel to Engle Byen – A Place to Call Home, finds Michael living in his penthouse apartment in a leafy inner-city suburb of Melbourne, Australia. After the unsolved murder of his identical twin brother Zac, he embarks on a quest to find the killer. Michael’s usual happy go lucky personality is put to the test in a series of incidents of mistaken identity.

A bright light amongst all the grief and confusion is Paul, his parent’s gardener. Michael felt an instant attraction to Paul and it didn’t take long for Paul to succumb to Michael’s goofy charm.

Paul harbours a past he isn’t proud of and doesn’t want to reveal. Having worked through his issues, his life is back on track.

Michael’s best friend Dylan, a doctor by profession and a snob by choice doesn’t hide his dislike of Paul. Paul meets up with some friends from his past tempting him back into his former life. Paul creates unwanted drama in every aspect of Michael’s life, but Michael has a kind and forgiving heart which will change him forever.

Available for pre-order. 16 Feb 2018

Author Bios

David attended a newly formed writing group to support his friends. He had no intention, patience or time to write any stories himself, or so he thought. Inadvertently he was drawn into participating in some writing exercises. His long-cobwebbed creativity began to emerge transitioning into a new-found passion for story writing. Residing in Melbourne, Australia David aims to infiltrate the LGBT literary world with stories of love, life and lessons learned with an Australian flavour.

Thank you for reading my book. If you enjoyed it, please take a moment to leave me a review.


David Goldon


Michael has been writing and creating since his teens but never took his gift seriously, always his own worst critic. Since meeting inspiring people like Vicki Williams and participating in her Wyndham Writing Group, he has learned so much and realised that he really can write well. He even loves proofreading and editing the work of other writers and has started his own business doing that.


Michael was part way through writing his memoir called “ABBA, DR WHO & MEN” when he was invited to contribute an edited version to a wonderful publishing company in Queensland, Australia; RAG & BONE MAN PRESS, who published it in their anthology BOLD in 2015. One of Michael’s most exciting days was when he held that book for the first time. Most importantly he is now working on his first novel, a very exciting journey for him.

He has now written a variety of fiction, poetry and reviews which are available to read at: He would love your feedback on his work.


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