The Mix of Us (MM)
Professional violinist Steve Quaver has a solid life. His world consists of a strong career in music, great health, and model looks. Plus, he has a faithful and sexy boyfriend of six years named Gio Tartini. But a problem looms above their relationship: Gio wants to get married, and Steve isn't ready to be a husband.
During a February snowstorm, Steve has an accident -- he takes a sudden fall and cracks his head on the coffee table. As he tumbles into unconsciousness, he floats from this world into a fairytale land he calls the Meadow.
As a visitor to the dreamy, sparkling, and surreal Meadow, Steve faces his heart and soul. But will he come to a conclusion regarding his love for Gio? Should he marry Prince Charming and man of his dreams or not?
"It's a wishing well." Gio leaned over the stone structure and staring down into its cavernous and rounded shape. "Can you see the gold doubloons at the bottom?"
Steve couldn't, returning to the meadow, and hearing the muses around him again, closer this time, as if they were standing directly behind him, "Douuuu ... bloooons at the bottttt ... ommm."
"There's a dozen or more down there."
The wishing well, as Gio called the decoration in the meadow, sat opposite the tallest tree; a massively round Redwood that was higher than two hundred and fifty feet, Steve guessed. Two stone beams opposite each other held up a fern-laden and sloped roof. As Steve leaned over the waist-high wall, he determined that the well looked thirty feed deep, or slightly deeper. Its sublevel surface sparkled with a rainbow of colorful water: swirling reds, illuminating greens, and light blues. Fishbowl-size sandstones constructed its walls, creating a perfect circumference. Its interior sounded as if it were purring, hollowly reverberating like a cat, which caused Steve to ask, "Is it alive?"
Gio chuckled. "Of course it is. Aren't all wishing wells alive? How do wishes come true if they're not?"
True, Steve thought. Very true.
"Feel on the inside of your loincloth. You should find doubloons in a small pocket."
To Steve's surprise, there was a tiny pocket near his left hip, and inside he found three smooth and warm doubloons.
"You only need one. Save the others for later wishes. It's time to make a wish."
Steve slid one doubloon out of its cozy nest and held it up, in front of his eyes: gold and shiny-bright; the same size a rare fifty-cent piece that he could run across in Low Hollow upon his travels; a Thor-looking bearded man on one side; an embossed picture of the meadow on the opposite side.
"Turn around," Gio requested.
"Now, close your eyes."
Steve listened again.
"Hold the doubloon over your right shoulder, think of a wish, and toss it into the well. I advise you to think hard, with all your heart, with passion, or the wish won't come true."
Steve almost hurt his eyes, holding their lids closed. He felt his temples and his nose wrinkle. His heart thumped within his chest and he held his breath. He thought ... thought ... thought ... and wished Gio would love him forever, long into eternity. And then he tossed the coin inside the wishing well with a quick wrist action, releasing its smooth surfaces.
Before turning around he heard the doubloon tink ... click ... tink ... click off the well's stone interior, falling and falling, until it reached the pool of water below where it made a plunk sound and zigzagged through the clear water, to the bottom of the well with its other wishes.
Finally, Steve turned around and looked into the well. Swirls of greens and bright yellows decorated the pool's surface.
"Your wish is the well's command. Good for you."
"I wished ..."
"Stop!" Gio barked, raising three fingers to Steve's mouth, stifling the man. "If you tell me, your wish won't come true."
A nod from Steve followed. "I understand."
"Good then. Let me show you the waterfall."
As Gio turned, heading west inside the meadow, Steve continued to glance down and in to the well. This time what he saw caused him shock and he couldn't pull his look away. He no longer were there green and bright yellow swirls. Rather, the pool's surface cleared and became a colorful set of three, short motion pictures, one after the next:
The picture showed Gio and Jeffrey Clef riding in Gio's Xterra. Heavy snow blew against the vehicle's windshield. A green-and-white sign read Buffalo -- 23 Miles, flashing on the pool's surface. Jeffrey sat in the passenger's seat, his window cracked just a sliver at the top. Jeffrey turned his head in Gio's direction, mouthed something that Steve couldn't make out, unable to decipher or hear. Steve watched Clef undo his seatbelt and slide to his left, meeting his shoulder with Gio's. Steve saw Clef's handsome grin grow from ear to ear. Then Clef placed his left hand on Gio's right, inner thigh and ...
The pool's surface flashed silver, light blue, and a second motion picture started. Steve watched the Buffalo River -- green-blue with a tint of brown -- rush southwestward bound -- and then vanish. The cameraman zoomed in on a cheap motel room with a king-size bed, small bathroom, desk and reading lamp, cracked glass in a triangular-shaped window. Two pair of men's white boxer-briefs lay on the hotel room's floor, side by side and crumpled in balls next to one of the desk's chipped legs. The camera panned to the bottom of the bed and performed a close-up of the balled sheet, and two pair of men's feet tangled together. The camera panned in one of the ankles, showing Steve a familiar lemon-shaped birthmark the size of a dime. Gio's ankle. Gio's birthmark. Gio's ...
A third motion picture was immediately viewed inside the wishing well. Clef's bare and sweaty chest was exposed: nipples hard, blonde and perspiration-covered hair between his firm pecs, sweaty and lined abs, semen (Gio's?) next his divot of belly button. Clef was smoking. Not a cigarette. Something stronger. Something illegal in New York and ...
"Jesus Christ," Steve whispered, shaking his head. His stomach pummeled to his feet and his left temple started to throb. Steve didn't realize that it was bleeding.
In the distance, heading west through the meadow, Gio called out, "Are you coming? The waterfall needs our attention!"
Steve was happy to turn away from the wishing well. Happy to rid his view of the horrible and short movies that he had seen on the pool's surface at the bottom of the well. Happy that stopped the madness and nonsense, filth, and disgust. Happy.