Flesh's X-rated debut novel, the Lambda Award-winning Massage
(1999), told of life at the bottom of Manhattan's gay subculture. This time, Flesh blends gay love with Christian Fundamentalism. Stephen lives alone on the Lower East Side, subsists on unemployment checks from his last proofreading job, still mourns for his lover Robert, dead of AIDS three years ago. Now the world is going to hell, with nuclear war building up between Russia and Chechnya. Who should visit Michael this Sunday but cult members of the Children of Michael who yearn for Judgment Day and tell him rapturously that "today would be a beautiful day to meet Jesus." Soon, the sky turns orange, planes explode above, the streets run with stoned druggies, and Stephen admits that the lesion recently found on his ankle could be the cause of this nightmare of the soul. Then the Archangel Michael appears to Stephen, in blue T-shirt, jeans, a body supple with adolescence, and soft eyes gay as the dead Robert's at his most amorous. The climax: what but a suck & ream in the Rapture?
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