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The Pale Blue Sky

by Jack Lynch


His fingers hovered above the keyboard. In one swift movement, they came crashing down, the words pouring out. When he finally stopped to take a breath, he was astonished to see the word count was already nearing 1500. This couldn't be.

His first book, well, his only book really, had been excruciatingly laborious to write. He pondered every sentence, every paragraph. His most frequently used key? The delete key. Sometimes he wrestled with a sentence for more than an hour only to end up striking it entirely. After three and a half years his publisher ran out of patience. He threw the last chapters together and submitted it. Much to his shock, Revising Political Theory in the Twenty-First Century, became a runaway best seller. At least in academia. The break through came when Harvard University put it on their syllabus as required reading for "Intro to Political Science." From there, colleges and universities all over the country as well as around the World picked it up. The book also enjoyed respectable sales at bookstores and online. He was astonished when he looked at the numbers on the quarterly royalty checks he was getting from his publisher.

This was different. The words were pouring out like blood from an open vein. His memory had been ignited by a single picture. He found it while perusing one of his favorite porn sites. This particular site featured younger men who looked like they had just made it past the eighteen and over legal threshold. On occasion, he came across a photo of someone who was obviously underage. That kind of photo usually lasted only a few days. It was either deleted or blanked out, it's blurred out remnants accompanied by a warning about the illegal content.

This one particular picture: a boy in his early teens. Maybe 13. He was obviously naked but the photo had been judiciously cropped at his hips to get past the censors. He had messy long blonde hair to his shoulders, twinkling eyes, a pug nose, and a big smile. Tiny pink nipples on his narrow chest. Memories came flooding back. After staring at it for a long time, leaving it, and coming back to it day after day, he came to a decision. He was ready to tell his story.

He sensed someone standing behind him. His husband rested his hands on his shoulders. He could tell he was skimming what he saw on the screen. Bending down, he wrapped his arms around the writer's neck and kissed him high on the cheek near his ear.

"It's about time," he said as he walked away.

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