Rating: 4.75 stars
Length: Short Story
Buy link: Amazon

During one of his daily gym workouts, Kurt is approached by a young, energetic man Kurt immediately starts calling the “kid.”  Attacked may be a more appropriate term for Matt (the kid’s) pickup attempt, since he exhibits as much subtlety as an overexcited puppy. Matt’s obviously interested in Kurt and doesn’t want to take no for an answer. In this case, it’s several noes, but Matt still keeps at it. The hesitancy on Kurt’s part is revealed when he visits the grave of his deceased partner, Raoul, whose death he has not been able to move past. Kurt has to decide if he’s willing to take a chance with Matt by opening himself up to the potential pain that comes with loving someone.

This short story is only 18 pages long, so the plot is simple and sweet. While the author is dealing with some heavy themes, it has a very light tone. Matt is a doll, and his boundless amount of enthusiasm is exactly what Kurt needs to finally be able to move on from Raoul’s death. Matt is the yin to Kurt’s yang, and Kurt needs this rush of positivity to see that the world isn’t horrible and people aren’t innately cruel. It’s only the beginning for these two, but the outlook is hopeful.

J.L. Merrow has an easy, humorous writing style that is on full display in this story. And while it’s often difficult in a short story to write a satisfying ending after such a short amount of time with the characters, there was a very promising HFN. I adored the characters of Kurt and Matt and, as always is the case with a short story I enjoyed, I would love to see them developed into a full-length novel.

P.S. This book is currently available for purchase at JMS books.