Playboy And The Crooked Man

In August 1955 Playboy published “The Crooked Man”,  a short story by Charles Beaumont.

“The Crooked Man” was written by Charles Beaumont (1929-1967) a horror and science fiction writer who wrote short stories and screenplays. His work includes The Intruder and 7 Faces of Dr. Lao. Many of his scripts were produced on The Twilight Zone. Beaumont died at 38 of what is now known as Alzheimer’s disease.

The story is about what’s it like to be a straight person in a society where being homosexual was the norm. It’s a really interesting read and surprisingly relevant even today.

Jesse sipped at the whiskey, remembering the Hunts. How the frenzied mobs had gone through the city at first, chanting, yelling, bearing placards with slogans: WIPE OUT THE HETEROS! KILL THE QUEERS! MAKE OUR CITY CLEAN AGAIN! And how they’d lost interest finally after the passion had worn down and the novelty had ended. But they had killed many and they had sent many more to the hospitals

He remembered the nights of running and hiding, choked dry breath glued to his throat, heart rattling loose. He had been lucky. He didn’t look like a hetero. They said you could tell one just by watching him walk–Jesse walked correctly. He fooled them. He was lucky.

And he was a criminal. He, Jess Four Martin, no different from the rest, tubeborn and machine-nursed, raised in the Character Schools like everyone else–was terribly different from the rest.

Read more here. It may not suitable for young readers.

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