- Author: Erastes
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JUNCTION X. Copyright © 2011 by Erastes
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, restored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
This work is also available in the print format
Print ISBN: 978-1-937692-06-3
Edited by Tracey Pennington
Cover art by Alex Beecroft
Published by Cheyenne Publishing
P. O. Box 872412 Vancouver, WA 98687-2412
Table of Contents
Praise for Junction X
Set in the very English suburbia of 1962 where everyone has tidy front gardens and lace curtains, Junction X is the story of Edward Johnson, who ostensibly has the perfect life: A beautiful house, a great job, an attractive wife and two well-mannered children. The trouble is he’s been lying to himself all of his life. And first love, when it does come, hits him and hits him hard. Who is the object of his passion? The teenaged son of the new neighbours.
Edward’s world is about to go to hell.
Praise for Junction X
“Both a haunting tale of sexual obsession and a stunning portrait of an ordinary man caught up in the throes of an illicit love and teetering on the brink of self-destruction, told with pinpoint psychological insight and mouth-watering prose, this is a splendid example of the storyteller's art, reminiscent of James Baldwin.”
— Victor J. Banis, author of The Man from C.A.M.P
“Erastes has taken an unmentionable subject and faced at it head on and seen beauty where blandness existed before. An amazing job, Erastes, you sure have a definite winner here!”
— Mykola Dementiuk, author of Holy Communion
“A man desperately trying to derail the train on which his life rides—an anguishing and gripping account of latent self-discovery and a consequential adolescent infatuation in an age of judging eyes. At times endearing and romantic, embarrassing and cruel, Erastes has masterfully written another true-to-life novel steeped with hope and despair.”
— Erik Orrantia, author of Normal Miguel
To my Mother who will always be my inspiration.
To the model train club on yahoo who were so helpful with gauges and duplos and I learned far more than I ever thought I would. Thanks to my wonderful editor Tracey, and to Mark R Probst and my agent, Prof James Schiavone for having such faith in the book. Many thanks to RW Day for being virtually there as I was putting myself through Edward's pain, and to Kerry for being there in person with tea and biscuits.
On the walk from the station, it’s impossible not to notice the correctness of the road. It is brushed regularly by a man whose face is so grimy that as he passes along by the houses, he doesn’t look up. The laurels edging the gardens gleam with a shining speckled splendour, and they sneer at the privet that hedges the station.
It’s nice here, in the correct sense of the word. Clean, ordered. The Avenue is wide and curves gently away from the station, as if to hide the track from the houses. As you walk towards the park at the end of The Avenue, you can’t help but be impressed by the houses, which stand close but not too close to each other, keeping their distance, being good neighbours with good fences, thick hedging. Each house is different, markedly so, and that is pleasant on the eyes in this psychedelic era of pre-fab and mass manufacturing. Someone cared about this road, wanted to put his stamp onto it, so in years to come someone would want to look at each house in turn.
But even so—such is the nature of human being—the residents have managed to homogenise even this vision of individuality. Each lawn is trimmed in neat stripes; the same flowers—ubiquitous begonias and salvia fill every bed. Identical net curtains hang behind the leadlight windows.
Men emerge from the houses, identically dressed in black. Bowler-hatted, carrying newspapers and umbrellas. They are swallowed by the station in the morning and regurgitated back onto The Avenue in the evening. They walk back to their houses with polite farewells to their fellow travellers and when the doors close again, there is a hush of dinners being eaten and children being put to bed. Adults sit, watch the news, sip sherry and the day ends as quietly as it began. It’s a very normal sort of street. Nothing much ever happens here.
I suppose the cliché beginning should be “It was on a day just like this,” but that’s just in books. The truth is that the day couldn’t have been more different.
Today the hail hits the window in a tattoo of cold. Up to now…it’s been summer, hasn’t it? I look back over what seem to be centuries that stretch between the first day I saw him and today. And Alex? Oh, Alex changed outwardly with the times and the fashions, donned the motley, but inside he was the same from the first moment to the very last. I certainly don’t recognise me. How could I? Blue serge, black serge, bowler hat. I was the product of my youth—the jelly-baby man he accused me of being. Pre-fab Ed. A million of us: getting up, getting fed, getting on trains, getting to work, doing the hours and coming home. I was just like all the others.
Or I thought I was. No. That’s not true, and if I’ve learned anything in the time we’ve had, it’s the value of truth. I knew I wasn’t like that. Oh, I went to work with the others; I had the nice house in the nice district. Valerie was the envy of my colleagues for her Nordic beauty, her fame, her talent and her ability to throw together