Out Now: Queer We Go Again!
Sale: May 26, 2020
ADULT FICTION/Diversity & Multicultural | YOUNG ADULT
to the critically acclaimed All
Out anthology, Out
Now features seventeen new
short stories from amazing queer YA authors. Vampires crash
prom…aliens run from the government…a president’s daughter
comes into her own…a true romantic tries to soften the heart of a
cynical social media influencer…a selkie and the sea call out to a
lost soul. Teapots and barbershops…skateboards and VW vans…Street
Fighter and Ares’s
sword: Out Now has
a story for every reader and surprises with each turn of the
This essential and beautifully written modern-day
collection features an intersectional and inclusive slate of authors
KICK. PUSH. COAST. By Candice
Excerpted from OUT NOW:
Queer We Go Again! Edited by Saundra Mitchell, used with permission
by Inkyard Press, © 2020 by Inkyard Press.
Every day, same time, same place, she
appears and doesn’t say a word.
doesn’t just appear. She takes a bus. You know she takes a bus
because you see her get off the bus right in front of 56th Street,
just in front of the park where you skate.
You know she takes a bus and gets off
right in front of the park at 56th Street because you are always at
the park, wait-ing to catch a glance of her.
She—her appearance—is a constant.
Unlike your sexuality, all bendy like the way your bones got after
yesterday’s failed backside carve.
all bleeding bleeding-bleeding…into one another.
That drum of an organ inside your chest
tells you to just be patient. But now, here you are and there she is
and you can’t help yourself.
And so far out of your league.
You’re not even sure what she does
here every day, but you probably shouldn’t continue to watch her
while trying to nail a Caballerial for the first time. Losing focus
there is the kind of thing that lends itself to unforgiving injuries,
like that time you broke your leg in six places on the half-pipe or
the time you bit clean through your bottom lip trying to take down a
360 Pop Shove It.
You’re still tasting blood to this
very day. So’s your skate-board. That one got split clean in half.
She looks up at you from underneath
light brown lashes that seem too long to be real. She reminds you of
a Heelflip. You don’t know her well but you imagine that, at first,
she’s a pretty complicated girl, before you get good enough to
really know her. You assume this just given the way her hair hangs
down her back in a thick, beachy plait, the way yours never could.
Not since you chopped it all off.
That’s not a look for a lady, your
mom says repeatedly. But you’ve never been very femme and a few
extra inches of hair plus that pink dress Mom bought you won’t
You hate that dress. That dress makes
you look like fondant. Someone nails a Laserflip right near where
you’re standing and almost wipes out.
Stop staring. You could just go
introduce yourself to her.
But what would you say?
Hi, I’m Dustyn and I really want to
kiss you but I’m so confused about who I am and how am I supposed
to introduce myself to you if I can’t even get my label right, oh,
and also, you make me forget my own name.
And in a perfect world, she would make
eyes at you. She’d make those eyes at you and melt your entire
fucking world in the way only girls ever can.
Hi, Dustyn, I’m in love with you.
Eyelashes. All batting eye-lashes.
No. No, the conversation probably
wouldn’t go that way. Be nice if it did though. Be nice if anything
at all could go your way when it comes to romance.
You push into a 360 ollie while riding
fakie and biff it so bad, you wish you possessed whatever brain cells
are the ones that tell you when to quit.
If that conversation did go your way,
on a realistic scale, she’d watch you right back. You would nail
Take a break. Breathe. Breathe breathe
breathe. Try some-thing else for a sec.
Varial Heelflip. Wipe out.
Inward Heelflip. Gnarly spill.
Backside 180 Heelflip. Game, set,
match—you’re finished. That third fail happens right in front of
her and you play it off cool. Get up. Don’t even give a second
thought to your battle wounds. You’re at the skate park on 56th
Street because there’s more to get into. Which means, you’re not
the only idiot limping with a little drug called determination giving
Falling is the point. Failing is the
point. Getting better and changing your game as a skater is the
But what if things were on your side?
What if you’d stuck with that first label? What if Bisexual felt
like a good fit and never changed?
Well, then you’d probably be landing
all these 180s.
If bisexual just fit, you’d probably
have been able to hold on to your spot in that Walk-In Closet. But it
doesn’t fit. It doesn’t fit which kind of sucks because at
Thanksgiving din-ner two years ago, your cousin Damita just had to
open her big mouth and tell the family you “mess with girls.”
Just had to tell the family, a forkful of homemade mac and cheese
headed into said mouth, that you are “half a gay.”
That went over well. Grams wouldn’t
let you sit on her plastic-lined couches for the rest of the night.
Your great-uncle Damian told her gay is contagious. She took it to
No offense, baby. Can’t have all that
on my good couches. You glance up and across the park, memories
things through your head like a good
stiff wind, and you find her taking a seat.
Oh, she never does this. She never gets
comfortable. She’s changing things up. You’re not the only one.
Maybe she plans to stay a while.
You love that she’s changing things
up. You think it feels like a sign. It’s like she’s riding
Goofy-Foot today. Riding with her right foot as dominant.
The first time you changed things up
that way, you ended up behind the bleachers, teeth checking with a
trans boy named Aaron. It felt so right that you needed to give it a
Google called it pansexual. That one
stuck. You didn’t bother to explain that one to the family, though.
They were just starting to learn bisexual didn’t mean you were gay
for only half the year.
You pop your board and give the
Caballerial another go.
It does not want you. You don’t stick
this one either.
If pansexual had stuck, you’d
introduce yourself to the beautiful girl with a smaller apology on
your tongue. Hi, I’m Dustyn, I’ve only changed my label the one
time, just slightly, but I’m still me and I’d really love to take
And the beautiful girl would glance at
your scraped elbows and the bruised-up skin showing through the knee
holes in your ripped black skinny jeans. She’d see you and say, Hi,
small, slight changes are my favorite. And then she’d lace her
bubble-gum-nail-polished hand with yours.
But you changed your label after that,
too. It was fine for a while. Your best friend, Hollis, talked you
through the symp-toms of demisexuality.
No wonder holding the beautiful girl’s
hand seems so much more heart-palpitating than anything else. A
handhold. So simple. Just like an ollie.
You take a fast running start, throwing
your board down, and end up on a vert skate, all empty bowl-shaped
pools that are so smooth, your wheels only make a small whisper
A whisper is what you got that first
time you realized sex was not for you. Not with just anyone. This
was…mmm, probably your biggest revelation.
It was like you’d been feeding your
body Big Macs three times a day and suddenly—a vegetable!
Tic-tacking is when you use your entire
body to turn the board from one side to the other. It’s a game of
lower body strength, but also a game of knowing your weight and
know-ing your board. You are not a tic-tac kind of girl.
You are not a girl at all. You are
That one’s sticking forever. You know
it all the way through to your gut.
You make one more attempt, which
probably isn’t super wise because you are so close to the spot
where she’s sitting that not only will she see you bite the dust,
but she’ll hear that nasty grunt you make when you meet the ground.
You coast by.
The friction vibrates up through your
bearings and you know you’re going too fast because you start to
feel a little bit of a speed-wobble, that lovely, untimely,
oscillatory behavior that means bro, you are about to lose control.
And you hate that word. Control. You
hate that word be-cause it is so very rare that you have any. Over
your life, your sexuality, your gender, your pronouns, your heartbeat
when you’re around your beautiful girl.
But then you do.
You gain control. And you nail that
And the three guys who’ve been
watching you make an ass of yourself all afternoon pop their boards
up, hold them over their heads and let out wolf shouts.
And you’re smiling so hard. You get
like that when you nail a particularly difficult one. You’re
smiling so hard you don’t notice the someone standing behind you.
Beautiful girl. You don’t even want
to control your smile here.
“You did it,” she says.
Mitchell has been a phone
psychic, a car salesperson, a denture deliverer and a layout waxer.
She's dodged trains, endured basic training and hitchhiked from
Montana to California. She teaches herself languages, raises children
and makes paper for fun. She is the author of Shadowed
Summer and The Vespertine
series, the upcoming novelization of The Prom musical, and the editor
of Defy the Dark.
She always picks truth; dare is too easy. Visit her online at