This is a few days late, sorry! But it came to my mind on National Coming Out Day.
Nathen (and his headmates) are the protagonists of Afterward(s), the… ahem… novels?… I’m working on. He’s also visible in “Dictator, Dic-TAH-tor…” and “Lightning in Autumn” (which started the whole thing), as well as “Bi Kisses” and possibly my favorite little microfic here.
This is set in approximately the 2060’s, in Cloverleaf.
The calendar was a surprise. Nathen just wasn’t all that used to them anymore; a lot of places had lost touch with the exact days and weeks for a while, and those that hadn’t had definitely lost touch with things like printed calendars.
But this one, hung behind the bar and claiming to be the most gorgeous people in all of Cloverleaf, was there (Mr. October was indeed gorgeous, but he couldn’t hold a candle to Leo), and the days were neatly X’d off.
It was a Friday – he’d already known that; they were working, after all. And it was apparently October 11th.
How did I never notice that before?
Because it’s usually behind the rum and the vodka. Means we need to restock.
They did that, pulling the big glass bottles out – rum, proper rum. Or possibly improper rum, probably improper rum, all things considered. But still rum. Vodka, which of course could be distilled in formerly-Montana if it could be distilled in probably-still-Russia.
It was only when they were making sure that the glasses were stocked that the date hit Nathen.
“Oh.” He blinked. “It’s Coming Out Day.” How long since he’d thought of that? How long since Pride Parades? How long since that one sweet co-worker who had shyly suggested to him that, since it was National Coming Out Day, maybe he had something to say?
“It’s what?” Xia, who owned the bar was not young, per se, but she definitely was younger than Nathen. Younger than the end of the world.
“Old holiday. Ancient holiday,” he corrected. “Back when being gay was, uh. When it wasn’t quite so accepted. Well.” He cleared his throat. “Back in America, when it wasn’t still as accepted.” There were still places here and there on the continent when just about anything wasn’t accepted. He wasn’t sure that would ever change. But here, here in Cloverleaf, things were a lot… well, easier.
“Oh.” Xia smirked at him. “So you’re saying ‘back in the bad old days.'”
Nathen chuckled. “Yeah. Yeah, I suppose I am.”
The world was doing fine, he supposed, if less than a century later, they could call the days before the apocalypse the bad old days..
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