Walking Into Clouds

by Rick Beck


Editor: Jerry & Adviser

©OLYMPIA50 2018 all rights reserved

For David

Author's Note:

I've written extensively about the gay condition. When I went looking for gay love stories on the Internet over 20 years ago, I found none.

I decided I would write some. I hadn't done any writing since high school, and I didn't know how my attempts to write about LGBTQ people would be received.

As with every gay man over forty, we grew up not knowing if we were the only gay kid. Listening to insults and condemnation was what a gay kid did. We were unacceptable. We were faggots and queers.

Each generation has grown up with the knowledge that they had a secret to keep if they knew what was good for them. Each of us stayed hidden, until we were old enough to consider coming out.

Today we have limited acceptance but it's not safe for all of us to come out. As LGBTQ people, we are hated by the usual suspects. They often claim being Christian makes them do it. I don't recall Christ harassing or bullying anyone. He was a forgiving loving man.

I write gay stories so you know where gay people are found, everywhere. We are part of every culture, race, and religion.

I've done my best to present what I consider mainstream gay literature since finding Awesome Dude in 2007, but I began writing and posting gay stories in 1997. The world was very different then.

Now I'm hoping my novels can be read by anyone who wants to know more about what it's like being gay. I'm a simple writer writing about my time and my people. I write gay stories because I'm gay.

Like every gay man of a certain age, I have regrets. I did my best, but I also did the most harm to people who tried to love me. For that I'll be forever sorry. I wish I'd had the tools to become a better person, but like many gay men from my times, we struggled.

I lived in a world that despised queers and faggots. We became gay in the 60s. It was a nicer word. There were no LGBTQ folks for decades.

"When I knew better, I did better," Maya Angelou would say, and I was given a gift of words. Once I realized that, I gave them freely, trying to offer hope and encouragement to people like me. Don't regard me beyond the stories I tell. You'll only be disappointed. I've grown to believe that my years of storytelling is penance for my mistakes.

I often write about throwaway gay kids. Once a gay child finds himself on the street, he's at the mercy of the people he meets.

Let's be the best possible people a a homeless gay LGBTQ child can meet. Let's take responsibility for LGBTQ kids. They are the next generation of LGBTQ people. We know what a challenge that is.

Walking Into Clouds covers most of what I've just told you. It's about flawed people in a flawed world. While recovering from last summers heart attack, Walking Into Clouds was the story I wanted to write.

If I don't write another story, it is a fine ending to a library of novels I've written for people like me. Because I've written many sexually explicit novels, don't expect to hear anything nice about my writing.

I'll settle for a nice word from LGBTQ people now and then. Nothing puts a smile on my face faster than an email saying, 'I liked your story. Thanks for writing it.'

Take care of yourself and take care of each other.

Peace & Love,

Rick Beck

This is where I want to thank the people who helped me most. Thanks is hardly enough for people who encouraged me to keep writing.

Ernie – he helped me to become a better writer and develop my style.

Larry – a good friend who believed in me before anyone else did

Lew – a man who cares about my words and me

Tracy – A lovely lady who knows words. She loved mine for a time. She made sure I got published in a big way

Jerry – who knows how to make my words better

If you offered your help or were just there for me when I needed it, Thank you one and all. I have loved every minute of it.

I don't have a thing to show for my life, except maybe 30 novels.


I'm Cletus Thomas, Clete to my friends. Clete being a family name. I'm a Jr. My father was a Jr. I don't know what my grandfather was, except he was Clete too and they call him Big Clete when he comes up in conversation.

Big Clete died before I was old enough to call him anything. I'm telling you these things because my story needs to start somewhere.

Some of us come out easy. Some of us come out hard. One thing is for sure, if you're gay, your time will come. You either come out when it's time or you risk the prospect of never coming out.

I was nineteen when the time came for me.

I decided that I needed to be honest with myself and to my feelings. I am gay. I've been gay since forever. No one knows or suspects that I'm gay.

I had no difficulty hiding the fact I was gay. I'm an athlete. I played soccer and lacrosse in high school and after high school I joined a local rugby team. Rugby is a rough sport. No one looking at a rugby player thinks he's gay. That doesn't mean he can't be gay.

That is no one until I decided to come out and I made my first foray into the seedy side of Aurora. I'd lived in Aurora for my entire life and I didn't know there was a seedy side of town, until my best buds and I went searching for it.

The only places I'd been before were pristine and almost new. We lived in the newer part of Aurora. We'd grown up in the part of town that grew up with us. It's all we knew.

I heard about the seedy side of town once I got to high school, after I turned sixteen. There were strip clubs, rooms to rent by-the-hour, places young dudes went to take care of the problem that had become serious and I went to town with my buds to to locate where that problem could be solved. At first we always chickened out once we reached our destination.

It was dingy with flashing lights and a come-on to get you inside.

I listened to my friends talk about how badly they needed relief. There were stories they heard from boys who claimed to have made the journey to the seedy side of town. They bragged about how they'd gotten off twice and only left to give lesser boys a shot.

While even once was probably a reach, they did give us an idea of what we would find down there. My friend's bravado passed as we drew closer to our destination.

There would come a day when I would make my way back to the seedy side of town. It was only a matter of time. As a rugby player, I knew not to be tentative with my moves. That's how you got hurt. I applied this rule to coming out.

I wanted to find out what it meant to be gay and there would be risk, but I didn't intend to let someone think they could browbeat me into doing something I wasn't ready to do. Being big enough to discourage anyone from crowding me, I remained apprehensive.

I wanted to see what was there, being careful not to take up with anyone who looked like trouble. I'd find a nice clean cut boy my age and see where we went from there.

It wasn't far to the forbidden zone. The excitement, passion, and desire could lead me down the wrong street and into a situation I wasn't ready for. Once there, I'd be prepare to face the unknown. This meant being prepared to bail if I got in over my head.

Even if I missed some cues, I could bluff my way around obstacles, but once passion and desire intoxicated me more than any booze or any aphrodisiac, could I resist temptation?

I could be a step from a fall but, buoyed by the mystery of what was dead ahead, I would eagerly take the next step. When the time came, it was as if I walked into a cloud and became consumed by the night. I wasn't so much a part of the scene as I was an observer of it.

Once I stepped off the last curb on the nice side of town, I was aware of the glitz and glitter straight ahead. The air did seem thinner once I reached the other side of the street.

My heart beat faster. There were arcades, book stores, bars, and parlors advertising escorts and services. People walked fast with their hats pulled low. The excitement flowed through me.

I walked farther down the seedy streets and toward brighter and brighter lights. They came in a rainbow of colors. Everything seemed fresh and new as my heart beat ever faster.

This was where I'd find people like me. I had no doubt about it.

Reading invitations to come inside, I kept walking. Whatever the future held for me, these streets would lead me to where I needed to go. The answers to my questions were here.

I would walk until I saw the right invitation. It would give me a warm glow. I would walk for as long as it took to find that warm glow. There was no turning back now.

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead