Lit eZine Vol 2 | p-16 | BOOK EXCERPT | Juni-Q and the Secrecy of Desire


Excerpt from Juni-Q and the Secrecy of Desire
by Julian Martin

Man and a woman on a beach at sunset
Image edited by Asad Photo Maldives

Beach therapy always worked.

In the dulcet sunset light, Juni-Q and Flenner stood on the beach and dug their toes deep. Waves alternately eroded and deposited sand, never providing the same results twice.

In time, every grain is new.

As the water covered their feet, a hundred micro-funnels of bubbles arose from sand dimples. The tide was ebbing. The sand crabs would be moving oceanward soon.

“Let me tell you something, Juni-Q.”

“I will allow you to tell me.”

Flenner and Juni-Q let the sea air wash over them as the soft roar of the waves soothed them. Their faces glowed in the sunset, eyes squinting as they watched for the flash of green light as the sun disappeared beneath the horizon. Their breath trembled as the temperature dropped. Seagull cries augmented the ambience.

Mission Beach tended to be sparsely populated this time of day, and people kept to themselves. Flenner and Juni-Q projected a convincing wall of isolation that deflected attention and gave them a vast stretch of empty sand and water.

The waves left their feet exposed. Sand crabs emerged and drifted with the receding tide. They burrowed again where they would catch more food.

“Look,” Juni-Q said. “They bury themselves to survive.”

“I know the feeling.”

Juni-Q looked at her friend for signs that she should be concerned. Flenner’s dark eyes were wistful, but he smiled.

“Crabs nesting deeply, indeed you do.” She felt keeping it jovial was best.

The green flash, an illusion, made Juni-Q clap and go, “Ooh!”  

A showy but tasteful awe rippled across Flenner’s bright face. Then:

“We are some fine bitches, Juni-Q.”

She laughed. “Maybe you!”

“Oh, no, Juni-Q. You a fine bitch, too. Trust me.”

“At least one man knows, albeit my gay best friend.”

“You only need one heterosexual, Juni-Q, as long as he’s the right one.”

“That’s good. I don’t need a bunch of heterosexuals crowding up in my shiz-ness.”

“Two might fit in the hole yet deprive the soul.”

“Look at Confucius over there. Are you hungry?”

“No, not yet, Juni-Q. I’m still enjoying my beach therapy.”

“We should come here every day.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that. Too much therapy is a crutch.”

“What if you’re not cured? I mean the general ‘you,’ you know.”

“I can only speak for myself, so the specific ‘you’ shall do. But seriously. There’s a point where you have to say, fuck it. Lessons learned. Life is good. Bad situations can be turned around. Somewhere along the line, you’re letting the past prescribe the future, and before you know it you’ve let a few years of your life dictate everything that ever happens to you.”

“A few years?”

“I could live to be ninety-five without stretching the imagination. What, should I waste eighty years of freedom over ten years of imprisonment? Telomere-replenishing gene therapy could give me another eighty, you know. I’ve read up on that.”

“Therapy, the kind where you talk to a human being, doesn’t mean you’re wasting that time. And the beach—please—requires no defense.”

“Of course, but I’m saying at some point the lesson is learned. Life must proceed because every day has a sacred potential to alter your path. Do you know how much experience and wisdom I can fit into a hundred and sixty years? How much life?”

“Except the thug life.”

“And except the slug life. We love the snails but cannot imitate their ways.”

“We love the snails; we go our own way.”

“I’ve gotta get out there and make a bunch of amazing shit happen, Juni-Q.”

“Preach it.”

“Live to teach it!”

“Okay, calm down there, Flenner.”

“Don’t fuck with my happy, Juni-Q!”

“Don’t make me.”

“Are you still not going to go to college?”

“I didn’t say I wasn’t going. I just haven’t started.”

“For shame.”

“I don’t have to go this year.”

“Gap year my ass. Doesn’t work, Juni-Q. Gap decade is what happens, you’ll see.”

“Don’t worry about me.”

“Fair enough, but don’t worry about me either. I’m going to be just fine, Juni-Q.”

“You already fine.”

“Ain’t I know it? Finer ‘n a muhfucker,” he said.

“Axiomatic though, that gay men are often finer than men who have sex with mothers.”

“I’m all the proof the world needs.”

“Then the world is finer for having you in it.”

“It surely feels that way to me, Juni-Q. I tell you. I’m meant for something greater, something well beyond these crowded horizons. I’m meant to go to school, meet great people, explore the world, and experience spiritual revolutions that I’m frankly not yet equipped to predict.”

“Yes, you are all of these things, dear Flenner LeCabre. This world was put here for you to live fabulously.”

“The Call of the Fabulous goes out to you too, dear Juni-Q. The sand crab only knows today but his kind endures the ages. So, regardless of whatever moment God strikes us down, we will be emblems of grace in our death.”

“And fabulousness.”

“Same thing, peasant child.”

She smiled. Flenner’s longevity was a touchy subject she kept in the back of her mind, but he had a way of reminding her that her angst was hers only. Flenner was fearless.



Juni-Q and the Secrecy of Desire (The Eyes of Juni-Q Book 1)
Book Description from Amazon

Juniper Quinten, a 19-year-old socially awkward but feisty overthinker, wastes her days in her bedroom smoking pot, obsessing over a past affair with a teacher, and wondering where her life is going. She is thrilled when her best friend invites her to his billionaire boyfriend’s yacht for a few days of shopping, hookups, and LSD. But when her friend disappears from the boat, her world turns upside down. Is he dead? Who can she trust among these rich strangers? Does a mysterious guest lurking below deck have the answers? Armed with nothing more than love for her dear friend, Juni-Q must confront the darkest depths of human nature, discover her toughness, and finally figure out where her life is going.

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Julian Martin discovered screenwriting while earning his English degree at the University of Northern Iowa. He has since written ten screenplays in various genres, including horror, science fiction, and comedy. Juni-Q and the Secrecy of Desire is his first novel. He consumes large amounts of seafood with his wife, son, and dogs in Iowa.

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