Aidan P.1

Aidan P.1
By Asa Montreaux 

I wish I wasn't so shy, I wish I didn't have a really damn inconvenient tendency to faint under the slightest amount of pressure. I don't know how it got this way, but I do know that I have panic disorder. I start to feel uncomfortable, my heart starts racing and thumping like it's going to burst out of my chest, and then my vision starts to get blurry, and then all of the sudden I wake up on the floor, or in a hospital bed.

My name is Aidan. I'm a twenty year old junior at UBC. I live in Vancouver with my Mom and Dad and I take the bus to school every day. On the weekends I take the bus into school too, and I go to Koerner's library, with it's big, book shaped arch, and I work on my writing. I wrote a novel. It's called “Life in Technicolor.”

I guess when you feel more comfortable on your own, it's easy to sit down and get totally lost in a story. It took me two months. I've written other stories, but this one is my best. It's about a college student that comes out as gay, and experiences a sexual awakening. I published it as an ebook.

Now, I know what you're thinking. If I'm so shy, why did I publish a book? Well, I changed my name. Sort of. I changed my last names from Cunningham to Soars. There is no picture of me. No one would ever know it was me. I suppose not unless I told them. 

Sometimes I get comments on what I wrote. At first the book wasn't very popular, had only one or two reviews, but now it's catching on, modestly successful. Did this story happen in real life? Is Neil a real person? Naturally I don't answer.

But I have received one query to which I'm thinking of replying. 

Dear Aiden,

My name is Janelle from Astelle and Goderich literary agency. I read your book and I just loved it. I think you might really have something. I'd like to represent your work. Please write me an email and let me know if you are interested.

Janelle Rudy

I felt so many things when I got the email. I was, obviously, so excited. I nearly jumped up from my seat in Koerners, nearly shouted, and I swear every person in library turned and looked at me. I almost fainted right then and there. And then I realized, with great fear, how could I possibly ever come out as the author? After all, it was true, Neil was a real boy, and it was only a thinly veiled account of my real life. What if my family saw it? If I were to publish it, I would really have to come out. My secret would be announced to the world. I'm gay, and it'd no longer be something I can hide.

Immediately I moved my cursor to the delete button. But I hesitated. Having my book published was my dream, it'd mean everything to me. Maybe there was a way to pull it off. I wasn't sure how yet, but maybe it could be done. I started typing:

Dear Janelle,

I'm delighted that you liked my story. I'd be honored to work with you. When can we get started?

Aidan Soars

Maybe I could stay hidden behind my name. It was a brilliant plan. I could be a successful novelist and no one would ever know it was me. I was so exulted I nearly hit my head bolting up and pumping my fist. 

It was getting late, so I packed up and got ready to go home. I walked to the bus loop, admiring the way the night hung from the sky, soft twilight illuminating the walkways. The bus took forever to get there, but it was a fairly quick ride. I wondered if people were looking at me, if somehow someone knew it was me that wrote the book, that I was about to have it published. It gave me shivers. 

Eventually I arrived home. I walked off the bus, and the few blocks to my home. Soon I could see it, a dark blue stucco with big windows. I went in the back door. I could hear my Dad and Mom up, watching TV. I was thankful he didn't know it was me that wrote the book. I guess he didn't know anything about it. 

It's not that my Dad would kill me if he knew, it's that he would totally kill me if he knew. My Dad is old school. I've heard him say he hates gays. It's makes it so difficult to be myself, and sometimes I wonder if that's why I have the panic attacks.

I went straight into my room, undressed, and pulled myself under the covers. When I lay there at first I could feel myself shaking with nervousness. It took a long time for me to fall asleep. But an hour later, the buzzing in my head subsiding, I finally fell asleep.


When I woke up the next morning I immediately went for my laptop. I opened my email and there was an unread message. I could feel my heart spike. It was from Janelle. I opened the message.

Dear Aidan,

I'm glad that you've agreed to my representation. We can get started right away. I will send your manuscript to a select list of publishers and will find a good deal for it. I'll send you updates along the way and let you know when I hear something. I look forward to working with you.
Best regards,

Janelle Rudy

So it was really happening. This Janelle was going to get my novel published. I couldn't believe it. Immediately I wanted to tell someone. I thought about running out of my room and telling my parents but that wouldn't end well. I controlled myself.


About three weeks later, I heard back from her. 
Dear Aiden,

I have found a publisher for your novel. Simon and Schuster has agreed to publish your novel. Congratulations. The deal is for international distribution, with a ten percent royalty, very good for your first novel. You'll have to come to New York to discuss the details. There will be a book tour that we'll talk about then. Once again congratulations. Get back to me about when you are available to come to New York.

Best regards,

Janelle Rudy

Wait. Oh oh. Did she say we have to meet? What happened to my plan to remain anonymous? Did she just completely blow it up? 

How on earth am I going to come out and say I wrote the novel when it is only a thinly veiled account of my own life? How am I going to face having to come out? How am I going to stop from fainting, maybe worse, when I have to go up against all that? 

It occurs to me I'm going to have to write her and say I un-accept the offer. Just like that it's over. I want to hang my head, and cry, sob, it's all over. 

Suddenly I think of something. I leap over to my desk and grab my iPhone from its charger.  I dial my best friend Jayden. 

He answers. 'Hey man. Whatsup. Everything okay?'

'Yea. Sort of. Look. Could I ask a favor? Could we meet in person?'

'Today? Yea, sure. What's on your mind.'

'I'll tell you when I see you.'

'Okay. Sounds good. Meet at the park?'

'Yea. See you in an hour?'

'Definitely. See you in an hour.'


I arrived to the park first, with nothing better to do but swaying gently on the swing set. The park was full of bright green color, the sky glittering above with the warm sun. Jayden arrived shortly, and when he approached me, we fist pumped and did our handshake. Then he sat down on the chair next to me.

'Whatsup?' he asked me.

'So listen. I wrote a book.'

'Oh. Really?'
'Yea. And now it's being published.'

'Okay well that's great news. Congratulations.'

'Not quite. They want me to fly to New York.'

'You don't want to fly to New York?'

'No. Remember those panic attacks I have?'

'You mean like all the time? How could I forget?'

'Yea. I don't think I can do it.' 

'You can't handle it. I mean, of course you can't. But I mean it's just a book.'

'That's the thing. It's not just a book.'

'What do you mean?'

'It's kind of about my life. Or what my life could be like.'

'So it's personal?'

'More than that. I come out.'

'Oh. Your Dad would kill you.'

'Yea. He would.'

'So what are you going to do?'

'Well, I was wondering if you could help me?'

'What do you need me to do?'

'I need you to go to New York for me.'
'And say I wrote the book? I don't know Aidan.'

'All you have to do is say your name is Aidan Soars. No one will know. I'll tell you everything you need to know about the book.'

'What if something goes wrong? What if they find out?'

'No one's going to find out. Nothing's going to go wrong. They have no idea what I look like.'

'But don't you want people to know you wrote it?'

'That's exactly what I don't want. It'd be a disaster.'

'Okay. Let me think about this.'

'Come on, Jayden. Help me out.'



'Okay. I'll go to New York. But after that, I'm done.'

'Fair enough. Thank you so much, I owe you big time.'

'Oh, you definitely do. Big time. 


I filled Jayden in on the plot of the novel. I included every nuisance about it he needed to know. He could have written an Oxford exam on Life in Technicolor. I wrote Janelle that I could be in New York this week to discuss the details of the book. I bought Jayden a ticket to New York with my credit card. A week after we met, he took off to say he was the writer of the book. I couldn't believe we were really doing this. I was feeling a little weak trying not to visualize him in the meeting rooms, trying to pull this off.

He'd been in New York for four or five hours when I got a call from him. 

'Hey, Jayden. How did it go?'

'Great, man. They didn't suspect a thing. Totally fooled them.'

'That's great.'

'They want to bring the book out right away, since it's already an ebook. It'll be in print in four months.'

'Wow, that's fast.'

'Yea, and what's more, they want to do a pre-book launch tour. They want me to go to book fairs and stuff and be announced as the author.'


'Yea. But that's nothing. The book tour is going to be epic. All across North America.'

'Wow. But I thought you weren't interested in that.'

'Yea man. Listen, we need to talk. I'm in. I'll do the pre tour, the book tour, everything. I'm so in.  Talking about the book, having them think I wrote it, it was awesome.'

'Wow. I don't know what to say. Thank you. So, you're going to come out?'

'I've been thinking about it man, and yea. What the hell, right?

'Even though you're not gay?'

'Hey man. What are friends for?'

'You're the best. I'm so excited for you.'

'Yea. Hey man, I gotta go. I'll talk to you soon.'

'Okay. See you, Jayden.

I was in disbelief. Not only did he go through with it, but it worked. And he wants more too! I couldn't believe it. I guess sometimes things work out.


When Jayden got home from New York, he came over and we talked about everything.

'I swear all they asked me about it is if it was my real life. I told them it was. And if I was ready to come out. I said I think the time is right. I told them I was ready. I was just thinking whatever.'

'You felt fine with that? Even though it's not really your life.'

'It's the life of my best friend. I felt like I practically did live it. You know what I mean?'

'Yea. I can see that.'

'And that's not the best part. Janelle, man. What a catch. And she's so into me. Chicks dig gay guys, or something.'

'Well if she thinks your gay, and you're not, isn't that kid of taking advantage of her?'

'Nah, man. I'm just waiting for the right time. I'm telling you, she wants me. And we're going to be together. Yo, I actually like really like this girl.'

'That's awesome. Who'd have thought.'

'Janelle, man. Fucking Janelle.'


In three weeks, Jayden went back to New York. They had several events set up for him at Manhattan book shops. He was getting ready to bring his game to the next level, telling the public he wrote it. 

That morning I woke up before my alarm, staring at the ceiling above me. I was starting to feel a little mixed up about it. I suddenly really wished I was there in New York. I cursed my panic attacks, I cursed groups of people, I cursed extroversion in general. 

I zombie walked from my room with my robe in to the kitchen, and I slowly made cereal, like, I don't know, a zombie. I sat down at the table where my Dad was reading the newspaper. 

'Where's Mom? I asked.'

'She's gone to Florida, with the girls. Wanted to get some sun, relax on the beach.'

'Wasn't warm enough here?'

'You know, son. It's just not the same.' 

'I guess.'

'So. Jayden's starting his book tour today.'

'Pre-book tour. The book hasn't come out yet.'

'What's it about?'

'Ah. Well. Ah. Normal teenage stuff. I don't really know?'

He had looked up from the paper and was staring at me.

'You don't know. I thought you were his best friend?'

'I haven't exactly read it yet. No one has. When it comes out I'll read it.'

'I see,' he said. He returned to reading his newspaper, a scowl on his face.

The New York tour went really well; no one suspected anything. They sent him off to Boston, Chicago, Denver, Austin, Las Vegas. The last stop was in Los Angeles.

I called him before the start time of his event.

'Jayden. How are you?'

'So good man. The tour has been a hit. Everyone loves it.'

'That's good. And everything's cool.'

'No one suspects anything. You should see the way they look at me. They want me to baptize their fucking kids.'

'Oh. Must be nice.'

'And Janelle. What a number. Things are starting to really heat up between us.'

'You told her?'

'What? I can't hear you. Listen, I gotta go. I'll call you later.'

He hung up.


Later on, he didn't call and I wondered why. I could only lay in my room so long, knowing he wasn't going to call, so I went out to the kitchen. But I stopped in the hallway because I heard my Dad, yelling on the phone.

'What do you mean, everyone loves it.'

I couldn't hear the voice on the other side, I could just hear his pause.

'I want him dead, you hear me. I want him Dead! No grey area!' 

I slinked back into my room, as I heard him slam down the phone on the receiver. I wondered what that was all about, and I wasn't really sure.


When I woke up the next morning I felt funny. I didn't know why. Like something had changed.  I pulled myself out of bed and sat down in front of the tv. I turned on the news and I was shocked at what I saw.

The TV headline read, 'Young writer shot dead outside motel room.'

That was odd. As I was listening I heard it was in Los Angeles. And then it hit me.

Before I heard his name I knew the truth already. Jayden was dead. Shot dead in Los Angeles.

I listened to the details though part of me drifted off into silence. They believed it was a targeted attack. It happened early in the morning just outside his room at the motel.

Why had he been shot dead? Did it have something to do with the book I wrote? Did it have to do with me?

I couldn't watch anymore so I got up and walked around the house. My head was spinning. I started thinking about what could have happened. And then I realized. It was my Dad.

I heard him barking on the phone. He must have ordered a hit, and Jayden was killed only hours later. He had figured out what the book was about it and he hated it that much. 

I reathed in agony. What if he had known it was me that wrote it? Would have killed me? Panic attacks seemed like the least of my worries now.

Was there a copy of the book in my room? How did he find out its contents? Did he read it? No. It wasn't anywhere in the house. He must have had an inside source. My Dad had lots of connection, sometimes shady ones I thought. He probably had connections in New York. What was I thinking that I could fool my own father? And now my best friend is dead for it? It just doesn't seem fair.

I walked back to my room and I looked at my computer. I thought about writing Janelle. Hey Janelle, it wasn't really Jayden that wrote the book. It was me. Do you have any idea what happened. Janelle, this is his best friend, what happened? Was it the book? Too many thoughts ran around in my head. I couldn't email her. Besides, maybe it wasn't a good idea.

I looked out my bedroom window. There was someone walking their dog. I felt something at my eyes. I was crying. I was crying.


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