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The Gayman

A Floridian Urban Legend

By Marc PerainoPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 3 min read

It happened on a warm and breezy night in Pensacola. Jess, Carla, and Francesca were spending their evening as they often did, in Carla's room, on the bed or the floor, candles lit, talking and gossiping as Billie Eilish plays in the background.

"Oh my gosh, did you see Joshua on the field today, shirtless?" Carla fell back onto the bed, groaning. "He's so cute!" Jess and Francesca just laughed.

"I didn't see Josh," said Jess. "But I did see Matthew Rice shirtless about a week ago during P.E." The other girls' eyes went wide.

"He is so beautiful," said Francesca, shaking her head as if in disbelief. Carla nodded, but with a knowing little grin.

"What?" asked Jess, catching Carla's expression.

"Well," Carla began, rolling her eyes. "You know..."

Jess and Francesca looked at her with blank slates.

"He's..." Carla couldn't seem to get the words out. "You know... He's ga~." Her voice trailed off. Francesca gave her a look.

"You mean GAY?" asked Francesca. Carla shushed her. "Don’t say it!"

Francesca bit her upper lip and gave Jess a funny look. Jess looked confused.

"Are you kidding me, Carla? You’re not seriously that brainwashed by that Don’t Say Gay law, are you?" asked Francesca.

"Well, that was the environment we were educated in," said Jess. Francesca frowned at her.

"I get that, but we don’t have to absorb that bullshit, especially now that we’re in high school," Francesca replied.

"It’s not just that," said Carla. "I’ve heard some stories lately..." Another look of incredulity from Francesca. "What stories?" she asked Carla. Jess was eager to hear, too.

"Well, it may sound stupid, but the real reason I don’t think we should say it is because I heard about some high schoolers in Myrtle Grove who did this dare of sorts. The dare is to stand in front of a mirror and say the g-word three times, after which a gay man will appear behind you."

Francesca was already smiling before Carla had finished speaking, which visibly annoyed Carla. Francesca couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of the story, and after a good three or four minutes of laughter, she settled down enough to try to reason with her best friend.

"So, what will this gay guy do once he appears?" asked Francesca. Jess was just listening, totally enraptured.

"No one knows for sure. Some say he kills you with a stiletto, others say he turns you into a drag queen, and still others say he forces you to say the g-word over and over forever," said Carla.

"Okay, well, we’re gonna give it a try because I’m not going to let you go on believing such ridiculous crap. Let’s go into the bathroom," said Francesca.

"No!" shouted Carla. "It's dangerous!"

"It's just an urban legend, Carla," reasoned Jess, dragging Carla with her.

The three girls stood facing the mirror over the bathroom sink. Carla looked anxious. Francesca was smiling. Jess bit her lip.

"All right. I'll say it," offered Francesca. She cleared her throat and allowed for a moment of silence before starting.


Carla took in a deep breath.


Jess closed her eyes.


Everything was quiet. The girls looked around, but there was nothing of note.

"See?" said Francesca. She turned off the bathroom light and as the girls stepped out of the bathroom, a gust of wind rushed in through the bedroom window, extinguishing the candles, and an unfamiliar voice suddenly spoke in a low-rising tone:


The piercing screams of all three girls was the last thing heard from them. Not a trace was ever found of Jess, Carla, or Francesca. Many wondered what had happened, but none had any answers. Had they become fag hags? Had they been killed by a vengeful queen? It was impossible to say. But one thing Floridians do know: don't say gay.

Short Story

About the Creator

Marc Peraino

Short fiction and poetry author in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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