Destination Unknown Read Online Bill Konigsberg

Categories Genre: GLBT, Romance Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 81
Estimated words: 77612 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 388(@200wpm)___ 310(@250wpm)___ 259(@300wpm)

From Award winner Bill Konigsberg, a remarkable, funny, sexy, heartbreaking story of two teen boys finding each other in New York City at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

The first thing I noticed about C.J. Gorman was his plexiglass bra.
So begins Destination Unknown — it’s 1987 in New York City, and Micah is at a dance club, trying to pretend he’s more out and outgoing than he really is. C.J. isn’t just out — he’s completely out there, and Micah can’t help but be both attracted to and afraid of someone who travels so loudly and proudly through the night.
A connection occurs. Is it friendship? Romance? Is C.J. the one with all the answers… or does Micah bring more to the relationship than it first seems? As their lives become more and more entangled in the AIDS epidemic that’s laying waste to their community, and the AIDS activism that will ultimately bring a strong voice to their demands, whatever Micah and C.J. have between them will be tested, strained, pushed, and pulled — but it will also be a lifeline in a time of death, a bond that will determine the course of their futures.

In Destination Unknown, Bill Konigsberg returns to a time he knew well as a teenager to tell a story of identity, connection, community, and survival.


September 1987

The first thing I noticed about CJ Gorman was his plexiglass bra.

Alone he skulked in a dark corner of the Tunnel. I say skulked because his head bent down and his posture curled in, which I thought was interesting because he was dressed to be seen, obviously. His short hair was dyed platinum blond with shocking pink highlights in front. His tall, thinner-than-rail frame would have cut an imposing figure without the clincher: He was shirtless, with an open black sequined jacket over a plexiglass bra that was only half covered in tin foil, allowing his obvious lack of mammary glands to be seen.

“Brand New Lover” by Dead or Alive blared over the speakers and rumbled the floor. The air was hazy with cigarette and who-knows-what-else smoke. The haze smelled faintly of paint thinner. My friend Deena had dragged me out with a group of school friends on a Friday night when I could just as easily have been comfortable at home, watching the replay of the MTV Music Video Awards, hosted by Downtown Julie Brown. My friends were all out on the floor dancing, while I stood alone near the bar.

Story of my life.

I’d barely made it in. This guy with an eye patch stood out front, pointing at various groups and people from the mob wanting to get into this former-railroad-terminal-turned-chic-nightclub. I was praying I’d be disallowed so I could go back home, but Deena was hanging on my arm and Deena is hot. So yeah, I made it. Yay.

The lights and movement on the dance floor dizzied my already heavy brain. A girl with Goldilocks braids in a peppermint-striped skirt swirled, her dilated pupils at the tops of their sockets. A white guy with dreadlocks, wearing what appeared to be a plastic bag, ground against her.

I looked away, and found myself drawn again to CJ, his arms folded across his plexiglass bra, surveying the crowd. He looked to me like everything I never would be. He postured like he owned the place and was a little over the whole scene.

I was transfixed. I wasn’t sure if it was the height, the unapologetic attitude, the thinness, or all of the above.

Maybe I gawked. Maybe I stopped myself. I had to be careful who saw me taking this boy in.

Yes, we were at a club with plenty of gay people around.

But no, none of my friends besides Deena knew I was one of them.

CJ turned and caught me checking him out. He uncrossed his arms and put his hands through his wild platinum-and-pink hair, entirely unselfconsciously. I spun away and almost crashed into Deena, who appeared amused by my embarrassment.

“Take a picture, it’ll last longer!” she screamed over the thumping beat. Strobe lights illuminated the floors and walls. Next to us, a bald, brown-skinned woman in a neon-pink tank top was spinning for some reason, even though we weren’t close to the dance floor.

“I’m not—”

“So now you’re into drag queens?”

I crossed my arms over my chest. “Yeah, no. Not my scene.”

She laughed and ordered a vodka tonic from the (extremely cute) bartender. “Your scene is closet cases. How’s that working out for you?”

True, the only gay experiences I’d had were with two closeted jocks at Trinity, where we were juniors. I wondered what parallel universe I’d have to live in to have a friend like the boy in the corner. Or, better yet, a boyfriend. He was taking everything in; I was busy keeping it all out. He was so beautiful and thin. I was like a sixth grader who’d expanded sideways without growing up. He probably had plenty of other gay guys to talk to. I didn’t have a single one.