I had gotten the phone call only fifteen minutes ago, but I was already out of bed, fixed up, putting my shoes on, and ready to dash out the front door. It had been an agonizing three and a half week wait. Just me pacing, and dreaming, and grinding my teeth in impatient frustration…but after all that misery…it was finally here!!!
When you’re a big comic book and movie fanboy like I am, little collectibles like this are a big deal. And they go fast. So it’s always a good idea to have a friend like Gary working behind the counter so he can tell me what’s coming in and can call me the second he gets the shipment boxes open. He has never had an issue with setting something aside for me and letting me get the first crack at whatever was coming into the store. I was thankful for that. Especially this time, Because he only got six of these things in with the order. And there was no telling when, or even if, he was going to be getting any more after this. So I grabbed my skateboard out of the closet, and I grinded my way over to the comic book store as quickly as humanly possible.
Gary opened the doors at 10 AM, and I was rolling up at 10:35, kicking my skateboard up into my hand and rushing in to the air conditioned area.
A big smile spread out on Gary’s face the moment he saw me. Gary was about 25, give or take a few years, with a constant shade of advanced stubble on his chin, and a knowledge of all things ‘Gone From Daylight’. He may be the ONE person on the whole planet who’s a bigger fan of the whole ‘GFD’ vampire series than I am. So he knew that I would practically be standing on pins and needles this morning for my newest collectible treasure.
“Why, what brings you by this morning, Kevin?” He grinned.
“Dude…PLEASE don’t play games with me right now! Gimmee! Gimmee gimmee gimmee!” I begged, feeling my heart already beating much faster than normal with anticipation.
“Hahaha! Don’t worry, twerp. I’ve got your big wet dream in a box in the back. Just give me a second to grab something for a customer on the phone and I’ll get it for ya.”
“Sweet!!! Please hurry!” I said, and tried to distract myself by looking around at the ‘GFD’ merchandise section of the store while he conducted his business. I loved looking at the many new shelves in the store. Gary put the coolest stuff on order, so there was always some new ‘Gone From Daylight’ memorabilia popping up somewhere every week or two. There were ‘GFD’ bobble heads, ‘GFD’ action figures, ‘GFD’ books, ‘GFD’ posters, ‘GFD’ screenplays, ‘GFD’ lunchboxes, ‘GFD’ comic books, ‘GFD’ dolls…I even bought the first two ‘GFD’ video games for my Xbox 360. The RPG and the fighting game. I could never get enough of it. I was soooo obsessed. No matter what it was, if it had Justin, Taryn, or anybody else from the novels’ face on it…I simply HAD to have it. I got every last issue of the ‘GFD’ graphic novels, all of the spin off stories, all the limited edition trading cards, and a few film cells from the first movie! I got everything that I could afford. And a few things that I couldn’t. Hehehe! What can I say? I dig the whole ‘GFD’ vampire mythology. It’s different. It let me know that it was ok for me to be different. I just hope that it has a booth of its own at the next Comicon or something! That would be so cool! I’ve got a ton of stuff for people to sign. I even got all of the giant, full size, movie posters from the first “Gone From Daylight” film! There were a lot of critics in the industry who, naturally, thought that it would totally tank at the box office. Mostly because the creator of the series refused to let them change Taryn into a girl and up the ages of the rest of the characters as a whole. A gay couple…a gay teen couple, specifically…wasn’t thought to be marketable at all at that time. Especially for a Summer movie. But after a year or two of bickering about the details, the studios decided to green light the project and follow the original story as it was, gay teens and all. And what do you know? It had a huge opening weekend! Not just for a gay teen movie, but for movies in general! “Gone From Daylight” came close to breaking a few major box office records, and the DVD sales have been just as impressive. I, personally, saw it in the theater SIX times that Summer, and loved it more and more each time I saw it. They really stuck to the novels. I appreciated that.
So, now that ‘GFD’ has been proven to be an undeniable blockbuster…the sequel is on its way. With an even bigger budget than before. Almost TRIPLE what they spent on the first movie! I just KNOW that “Gone From Daylight: Resurrection” is going to do even better at the box office than the first movie ever could! I just know it will!
I was looking at a ‘Beast’ plaster model for painting when I heard some other boys come into the store. They were a few years younger than me, I guessed. Maybe 12 or 13. They started looking around the store too. Except for them, the whole store was empty. It was pretty early in the morning for shopping, after all.
I kept looking through the stuff on the shelves, but I had most of these trinkets already, so I was mostly looking for something new that I hadn’t seen before. I had already bought the CD soundtrack and the score at this point. I had two or three T-shirts. There were more trading cards, but I had over 500 of them so far. A lot of doubles and triples. The HARDEST ones to find were ‘Pan’, ‘Maria’, ‘Char’, ‘Becca’, and ‘Chad’. Those were the rare ones. And no matter how many packs I got, I never got a lucky pack with one of them in it. I hear they go for nearly a hundred dollars on eBay…but I can’t afford to spend that on just one card. Not yet, anyway. But I’ll get them one day. I swear it.
Oh…there’s a yo-yo with Comicality’s shadowed face in the center. Hehehe, that’s weird. Nah, I can grab that some other time. I couldn’t work a yo-yo to save my life. If I had the cash to spare, maybe. But with this new movie coming out, I might find some new items popping up that are even better in the next few weeks to come.
The two young boys in the store were getting closer to where I was standing, and one of them said, “Hey, Johnny! Dude, they have a whole ‘Gone From Daylight’ section in here now. Jesus.”
His friend wrinkled his face up. “‘Gone From Daylight’? Aww, man…that some fag shit, isn’t it?” Ouch! Did they NOT see me standing right there?
The other boy said, “No, really…my cousin saw the movie a few months ago, and he said it was really friggin’ cool.”
His friend asked, “Is your cousin a homo?”
“Well, there you go, then. I don’t know…the movie trailers look decent, but I don’t wanna be seen standing in line for that gay ass movie.”
“Whatever. Big homophobe. You should give it a chance before you go making a judgement about it.”
“No, thank you.” He said. “Have YOU seen it yet?”
“Well…no. But I might. I just have to wait a few weeks until it comes out on Netflix…”
“SEE??? You don’t wanna be caught outside of a movie theater buying those tickets either, do ya? You weirdo!”
They shared a bit of a playful chuckle about it, and then went back to shopping for their safe hetero ‘X-Men’, ‘Spiderman’, ‘Superman’ stuff…without having to worry about the stigma attached to a story with gay teens as the main characters.
Yeah…I have to admit that it hurt a little. Ok…it hurt a lot. But only because I thought they were missing out on something really special. If they could only open their minds and hear the message that runs throughout the whole story, they might not be so ashamed of checking it out with a few of their friends. They might have looked at me like some kind of a freak or whatever, but I guess Star Wars fanatics, Trekkies, and Elvis impersonators, get their fair share of weird looks too. So I’m happy to be a part of the craziness. I’m proud to be a ‘GFD’ fan. I’m sure they’ll join me eventually. Once the series gets popular enough, all that stubbornness will magically melt away. Watch.
I’ve been out of the closet to my friends and family for over a year now. I didn’t have much of a struggle with it as some people do. But I am fully aware of the prejudice and hatred that exists out there in my small community. So I keep my sexual identity confined to the few people that I know will understand, and not to the world at large. But “Gone From Daylight” was the first book and movie that really touched me, and let me know that I was ok. That I was just as normal as everybody else, even if they didn’t understand. So…hearing those young boys talking in the store…I think the ‘GFD’ insult hurt me more than the homophobic slur did. How strange and out of whack is that?
At long last, Gary came out of the back room and told his customer on the phone that he had his stuff ready and that he could come in and pick it up at any time. Then he hung up and smiled at me again as I began to hurriedly approach the counter. He was like, “You really are hyped up for this, aren’t you? Hehehe!”
“You have NO idea, Gary! I actually rearranged my entire bedroom *JUST* to clear out a specific space for this. I am SO ready to see it with my own eyes!”
Gary said, “I actually got more stuff than I thought I would this morning. So you’re entitled to rummage through it, man. I guess they’re pushing this movie sequel pretty hard with the merchandising. But, I suppose…this is what you’re looking for most of all.”
Gary handed me the flat, cardboard, package.
I instantly gasped with joy and my eyes widened. Marked ‘Fragile: Do Not Bend’, I knew that it would be in awesome condition. A jolt of electricity ran through me, and I clapped my hands together a few times as I tried to dull down my geeky excitement to accept the gift I was being given at that moment. “Omigod! Omigod…dude, can I open this up in here? Like, right now????”
Gary said, “Please, feel free. I kinda want to see what it looks like in person, myself.”
He handed me a small razor from under his register and I recklessly cut the package open on the counter. There it was…folded in half and shoved into a plastic bag, with a single piece of paper giving instructions as to how to set it up.
It was a larger than life sized cardboard cutout…made to promote the ‘Gone From Daylight: Resurrection’ sequel for display in major movie theaters. The thing is…these original posters, even though they had already been made, were considered to be a bit too racy and sexually suggestive for public distribution. Weird, they wouldn’t have done that for a ‘hetero’ movie. Had it been Megan Fox bent over the hood of a Transformer car, nobody would have given it a second thought. But whatever. It’ll just make my collectible grab all the more precious!
The chances of getting one of these slightly erotic stand-ups after the first shipment was going to be a long shot. Meaning that I may be one of the only people around here, except for Gary of course, to actually possess one of my very own. To me…that makes it priceless. Simply priceless.
I gently took the fold-up out of the plastic bag, and I unfolded it with care…leaning it against the wall so I could step back and stare at it in all its glory from a distance. “Wow. I mean…heh…WOW!”
The stand-up display was the original marketing design, with the main character ‘Justin’ standing there with his shirt off, his jeans hanging low on his waist, his eyes glowing gold after his crossover into darkness…and standing behind him, was his boyfriend ‘Taryn’, who was hugging him lovingly around his slender hips, his teeth lodged in the side of Justin’s neck, and two small rivers of blood running down his smooth, flawless. chest and under the waistline of his jeans. Oh God…it was, like, the hottest thing I had ever SEEN as a gay teenager! I was short of breath just looking at it. I have a thing for the teen actors in the movie anyway. Julian Clarke, especially. The boy playing Taryn…mmmmm! If that boy is even remotely gay in real life…I’m going to stalk him for the rest of my days on this Earth. He is just TOO sexy!
“I take it you like this one?” Gary giggled as he watched me stare at the larger than life cut out with an infatuated silence. A feverish sweat breaking out on my forehead.
Gary’s not gay, he just happens to love the story. But he knows about me and my attractions. And he knows exactly what was going through my mind when I was looking at the two gorgeous boys snuggled up together on that flat of cardboard, being so intimate with one another. He never hesitates to poke fun. My mom knows too. She tries to understand, but I don’t think she really does. No worries though. With this movie, I FINALLY have something that I can really wrap myself up in, relate to, and feel like I belong. Finally…a movie for me, you know? I have an entire corner of my bedroom dedicated JUST to the stuff I’ve collected over the past 9 months. All pertaining to this ONE movie and what it stands for. This cardboard cutout is going to be the new centerpiece of my private ‘Gone From Daylight’ altar. And I’m going to cherish it forever!
Once I get home and set this up by my bed, I’m going to stroke myself soooooo hard!!!
Wow…I didn’t know that Adam Turner had such a sexy chest and stomach. Nice! I think he’s been training and stuff for the role. There’s a lot of martial arts stuff in the sequel, so I guess he had to get in shape. This display is absolutely perfect. I’m sure they’ll come up with a different marketing campaign that’s much more sterile to promote the following movies, but I’d much rather have the real thing. This one is AWESOME! Why don’t they just use this one??? People are so damn SQUEAMISH when it comes to gay teenagers sometimes! Jesus! They just fucking ruin EVERYTHING!
“Gary…dude, I think I just spermed in my pants a little. Hehehe!” I said.
“I don’t blame you. I felt the same way when I opened the boxes today. I’ve got my goodies put off to the side too. I bought it the second I opened the door for the delivery guy. The boss has this rule, where if an employee wants to buy something, but a customer wants to buy it too, we have to give it up. I’m thinking, ‘Fuck that! MINE!’ Hehehe!”
“I can’t thank you enough for this, Gary. This is even better than I ever could have dreamed!” I walked up to kiss the boys on the cut out and leaned forward to press my face against it and sigh. “NOW all I have to do is wait for the next movie to get released.”
“Yeah, well consider yourself lucky. Like I told you earlier, I only got six of these. I put one aside for you, one for me, and one for one other boy who said he had to have one. He sounded just as bad as you did when you found out about it. The other three? I guarantee you that they’ll be gone by the end of the day. So, take care of this, man. There aren’t going to be any more of these coming in. The studios are still unsure and uneasy about the gay content of the franchise as it is, so I seriously doubt that they’ll put controversial stuff like this on a poster or anything else for a while to come. They haven’t toned much down in the actual movies, but I don’t think they want to push the teen romance part of it too hard. Who knows?”
“I figured they’d do whatever the director says after the success of the last one.” I said.
“You’d THINK so, right? But, you know…some people still have issues. So they have to be careful. Fuck it, though. I wanna see more! The studio is SO happy with the first two flicks, that they’re already in pre-production for the third installment.”
“The ‘Rogue Angel’ chapter?” I asked.
“Yep! That’s the one. They want to keep all of the same actors on and keep pressing forward with the franchise before they grow up too much physically. They did it with ‘Harry Potter’, so why not? I think they can pull it off.” I saw Gary put two more big boxes on the countertop in front of me, and he opened them up. “Check this stuff out, man. I’ve been trying to get these into the store for ages now, but you can only order this stuff online, and not in bulk.”
“What’s in there?” I asked.
“Got a few ‘GFD’ coffee mugs in here, some new models to paint, some new artwork…” He kept pulling stuff out of the box, and I don’t think I blinked once the entire time. “Hehehe, look at these. ‘GFD’ postcards.” He handed me one, and it was a picture of Justin’s first kill, his mouth and T-shirt covered in blood and gore as he hovered over his victim. And right underneath him was a note, ‘Wish You Were Here!’ Gary and I shared a grin over it. “We’ve got some bookends with the wolves, Torsten and Grimm, in here. Ummm…another two boxes of trading cards, some temporary ‘eternity band’ tattoos…we’ve got a ton of new stuff.” He pulled out a few books. “Here’s something you might like. An actual verzpertillio vampire language translation guide. Diagrams, conjugation, origins…the whole nine yards. AND…this is brand new. A ‘Vampire Dawn’ meditation book. A literal study of the whole ‘GFD’ philosophy and how to adopt it into your daily life. I’ve only got two of these, but they’re expensive. I can put one to the side for you for a little bit, but not for more than a week or two. Snatch it up before we do inventory and my boss starts asking questions.”
“I’ll try. But I’ll have to sneak it past my parents. They already think that I spend too much money on this stuff. My mom’s been giving me crap about getting this stand-up display for my room, but I told her that I’d go NUTS if she didn’t let me have it. Hehehe!” Then, I got out my cell phone and went to my photos. I scrolled through some of them, and then gave Gary a sly grin. “Besides…look what I found on eBay. I copped this for only 75 bucks.”
Gary’s eyes widened. “Shit! Is that what I think it is?”
“Yep! An authentic, 21 inch, bladed, scribe. And it actually WRITES too! You can actually buy some faded parchment separately so you can write vampire scriptures of your own to go with it. This is, like, one of my prize possessions. The value on this thing is gonna shoot through the roof if they ever make a ‘GFD: Dead Language’ movie!”
“Very nice, young, halflife…” Gary nodded. “But I think I can do you one better.” He took out his own cell phone, and went through a few pictures until he found the one he was looking for. “Check this out…” He said, showing me the screen. “This is an actual fish tank that I’m going to have put into my house, down in the finished basement. I’m having it lodged into the wall, where you can see it from both sides. BUT…” He clicked over to the next picture, and said, “…No matter which side of the fish tank you’re looking through…there’s a hologram built into the aquarium glass. And it makes it look like the Vampire Zero is staring directly back at you from the other side of the glass. You see it?”
“Holy shit! Are you serious????”
“Damn straight! It set me back about 400 bucks, but you should see it in action, dude. It is SO wicked! And you see the little metal plaque that I made to go over the aquarium?”
I squinted my eyes and looked closer. “Hehehe! ‘The Circles. Oh, The Circles.’ Nice! It fits.” I said.
Gary went back to his box. “Anyway, we got some more new stuff in here if you’re interested. I’ve got a ‘Rain’ switchblade…but you’ve gotta be 18 for me to sell you that one. We have a Gyro hair dye kit, 5 different colors, with instructions on how to get the right look, of course. I’ve got a vampire feeding guide in here…and ummm…OH! They’re making a ‘GFD’ vampire LEGO series soon! I’m gonna be first in line for that one. Believe me. Hehehe!” Then he said, “I’ve got a lot more stuff in here. Stuff I’m sure you’d be interested in, fanboy.”
“Right.” I said. “My mom is seriously going to send me to a licensed therapist if I keep this up. I’m thinking about quitting cold turkey when the next movie comes out. I mean…enough is enough, right? I can’t go on like this forever.”
Gary grinned to himself. He’s like, “You might want to take a moment and think about this before you enter your ‘Gone From Daylight’ rehab, my friend.” It was then that he pulled out a small necklace, with a lovely charm at the end of it. He said, “Check it out. It’s a Justin/Taryn love locket. Something to give to your sweetheart and cherish forever. Just like the movie. Sweet, right?” He said.
I scoffed at him. “Who would I give it to? My mom? It’s gonna do me any good. If you happen to find a ‘hopeless virgin’ locket in that box somewhere…then I might have a bit more use for it. Seeing as it fits me and all.”
“And the award for the most depressing, pessimistic, goddamn comment ever spoken in a comic book store goes to…” He said, and I grinned from his teasing. Even if he was serious.
“I’m not trying to be, but you know how the people are in this town. Being gay around here is like being a unicorn or something. I just don’t see any fairy tale boy-meets-boy situations happening for me anytime soon. That’s all. That kind of stuff…it just wasn’t meant for people like me. You know?”
Gary rolled his eyes, and said, “I think your biggest issue comes from thinking that there are ‘people like you’ to begin with. And that they’re somehow drastically different from the rest of us. They aren’t. One day, you’re going to be big enough to realize that, and you’ll see how silly you’re being right now.” The store phone rang, and I didn’t get a chance to dispute his point. But, just as well. Because it was only a few short seconds after that I found a new reason for living. And a boy that would ultimately change my life forever…
The door to the store opened…
I heard the little bell ring at the top…
And I laid eyes on Parker Walton…for the very first time…