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By Trebor Healey

Award-winning novelist Trebor Healey depicts San Francisco within the Eighties and '90s in poetic prose that's either ribald and poignant, and a crossing into the yankee West that's dreamy, mythic, and visionary.

When bothered twenty-one-year-old Seamus Blake meets the powerful and self-possessed Jimmy (just arrived in San Francisco by way of bicycle from his place of birth in Buffalo, New York), he feels his existence might ultimately be taking a flip for the higher. however the resulting romance proves short-lived as Jimmy dies of an AIDS-related disorder. The grieving Seamus is obliged to maintain a promise to Jimmy: "Take me again the best way I came."

And so Seamus units out via bicycle on a picaresque trip with the ashes, hoping to deliver them again to Buffalo. He meets truck drivers, waitresses, collage little ones, farmers, ranchers, Marines, and different travelers--each one giving him a brand new viewpoint on his personal lifestyles and on Jimmy's demise. whilst he meets and turns into concerned with a tender local American guy whose mom has lately died, Seamus's grief and his tale develop into common and redemptive.

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There have been drained, beat-up blonds, whose palms have been approach too great, making a song Abba songs—“Dancing Queen” and “The Winner Takes It All”—and obese brunettes with puffy hairdos trying to mimic Madonna or Kate Smith, or either. the liberty of not anything left to lose. one of many drag queens got here as much as us. She had a big hawk like nostril, and together with her affordable banged-up heels, stood good over six ft. “Ooooooh, baby, you were given your self a bit white boy again,” she chided. Eugene and that i either smiled embarrassed, after which the drag queen grew to become to me and acknowledged: “You understand Sioux capacity ‘little snake,’ and his a in’t, so i assume he's n’t. Ha, ha, ha, ha, …” Then she disappeared into her bitchy reverie of laughter, getting ready for her act, whereas i attempted to sq. the riddle of what she’d stated. Then skinny, gangly Eugene placed his arm round me, and that i felt that distinct highschool date feeling I’d by no means recognized yet constantly longed for as we watched Cherrie Kee lip-synch “I Will live to tell the tale” (with all its heartbreaking dramatic pauses)—adding, whilst the tune light out: “—in spite of the white guy! ” Eugene gave me a bit kiss because the crowd scattered towards the bar and tables. after which he positioned his finger as much as sign for me to attend as he went off to the lavatory. I headed over to the bar to get a lager and used to be tapped at the shoulder from at the back of through Cherrie Kee. “Hi,” she acknowledged with an important smile. “Where are you from? Don’t get me flawed with all that white-boy stuff—I’m a performer. ” She smiled coyly. i used to be continually cheered on the sight of a drag queen, and that i grinned like a chimp. I complimented her on her act after which instructed her i used to be up from San Francisco. She requested me if I’d met Eugene on the marketplace, and that i stated I had, after which she requested me if I knew he used to be in basic terms nineteen and shouldn’t also be during this bar. “People think sorry for him simply because he doesn’t speak, and never conversing he hasn’t angry anyone but. not like me,” she further sardonically. “We’re either from the reservation. I’ve been taking him up right here due to the fact that his father died while he was once fifteen. an average, motherfucking Klamath alcoholic who used to overcome the shit out of him. ” Ow. I felt a pang that made me wince. I lit Cherrie Kee’s cigarette, performing the homosexual Bogart, and he or she puffed fast, carrying on with: “Wasn’t truly his father even though, it grew to become out. lengthy tale. He was once a true prick. ” She laughed. “Me and Eugene used to fuck round again once we have been simply children, and his stepfather stuck us as soon as. i will chuckle now: 69ing at the back of his pickup truck. Ha, ha, ha. ” She glanced over her shoulder and observed Eugene coming. “Anyway,” she hurriedly persevered, “be cautious. He’s a heartbreaker, honey. He lives in his personal international, continually has, regularly will. there has been a time whilst he even talked. As a bit child. Don’t get stuck up in him. ” and he or she checked out me with a mournful sigh, like she knew it was once greater than i may deal with, yet that it used to be most likely going to ensue besides. She communicated all this in a microsecond, as Eugene used to be quickly upon us. “Hi, Eugenee,” she by surprise blurted, smiling widely now and hugging him and giving him a kiss at the cheek.

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