Off to Sorrento’s, we pile into Hippie’s station wagon and Mr. Antonio’s Caddy. The Reader reporter comes with us. After getting stoned and watching our finale, he’s both spooked and intrigued.
“What’s your name, Jimmy Olsen?
“Jimmy will do.”
“If that’s what you want, but if you’re worried, we really don’t put curses on anyone. It’s just Robby who gets into his occult thing.”
“That’s not for all of you?”
“I’ve done some reading about astrology with my New York girlfriend which I enjoy, but not like Robby who tries to conjure up spirits and see things.”
“You have two girlfriends?”
“Okay, Cub Reporter Jimmy, here’s your scoop. I have a 14-year-old girlfriend Tina in the Bronx, Flo is my girlfriend in the Jacettes, and Jace is my boyfriend who lives with me.”
“So you are the love guru?”
”No. It’s just how it’s all worked out. Tina really can’t have a boyfriend, but we have a connection for the future. Flo puts up with me, and Jace is a big deal. I like girls and I know I’m attracted to boys. Jace is the first time I really found a guy who loves me as much as I love him.”
“Kinda like the Beatles’ ‘love, love, love.’”
“No. It’s not about soul and more about sex.”
“I need to talk about this with you more.”
“Well, I hope it’s not more interesting than the band when you write it up.”
“I won’t write about it unless you want me to.”
“That’s very cool. I just don’t hide it. Why don’t you talk to Jace. Until now, he’s lived thinking he’s unimportant. You have to dig to find out what he’s like.”
Jimmy Olsen moves over and starts interviewing Jace. I ignore them, figuring our cub reporter will let me know what he finds out.
I go to Mr. Antonio’s table and sit with him awhile. I take out the $1100 we earned and give it to him.
“You sure you need a manager? Or, did you tell them I was a mafia hit man.”
“The only hits you do are by Sinatra.”
“It scares me that you’re so sophisticated.”
“Motown School of Hard Rock.”
“You have a New York smell to your smarts.”
I tell him some of my Joey adventures at CBGB’s, with Andy Warhol.
“Like your song tonight, “a hustle here, a hustle there, New York City’s the place where…’”
I look him right in the eye. “I won’t hustle you, Mr. Antonio. At first I wished you were the dad I thought I need. Because you were so generous yet tough with me, I find my own dad isn’t as bad as I thought. I’ve got him coming around lately.”
“I understand he’s retired Air Force.”
“I should know by now that you don’t miss much. Yeah, he’s pretty strict. Made me quit swim team after I was City Champ last year. His new girlfriend seems to have mellowed him and made me like her as well.”
“I just want to know about you, Tim. I’m guessing you and Jace are more than just tight. Which I can approve of, sort of. Just don’t tell any priests.”
“Now everybody in the band knows.”
“I’m really in the band.”
“Hell, pardon me, you’re are second bass player, for Sinatra songs.”
“Now tell me how you came away with $1100 for tonight.”
“The guy ran a cash bar and took in over $4000. It’s our 25% cut.”
“You don’t miss anything.”
“Yeah, but I think that’s our last show there. He was really spooked by Robby’s song.”
“I hear that after Jenna’s party the band will be off, to work on songs.”
“Yeah. This holiday has been too intense. Did you know I had to beat up Jace’s older step-brother to stop him from bullying Jace.”
“More things I don’t want to know?”
“Well, we want to do our own songs next time we play. So far, except for Robby’s black magic ending, our one song has not been a hit.”
“I thought it was better. You can’t expect people to like a song the first time they hear it as much as their favorites.”
“Thanks. Also, there’s this reporter that’s hanging out with us at the other table. He calls himself Jimmy Olsen. He’s from the Reader, so it’s not major.”
“You ready to handle publicity?”
“Well, I already told him I’m gay and have two girlfriends. He called me the love guru.”
“Well, be careful. The press likes nothing better than to bite you on the butt.”
“You want to talk with him?”
“Not unless there’s a problem. I saw him smoking out with you all.”
“How do you want to handle the money for tonight,” I ask. “I’ve already said that everyone will get the same amount when we get paid.”
“That’s wise, but does that include the girls.”
“Yup, It;s not fair if we discriminate.”
He gives me $400 plus $25 for Iggy.
We laugh, and I go back to the other table.
“Well, me droogies don’t you all now look all smash mouth.” They all look at me, then I hand each of them $50. Their mouths drop.
“They paid us that much for playing so great tonight?”
“No, it’s our cut of the cash bar. We were so bad, everyone had to drown their sorrows in alcohol.”
Iggy is keeping quiet, looking pretty unhappy.
“Oh, I forgot. What about the Stooges song?”
Iggy looks up.
“Jace how much should we pay Max for singing his love song to you, ‘I Wanna be Your Dog?”
Iggy jumps up, “That’s not fair.”
“Oh, you’re right, here’s $25 for your two songs.” And everybody laughs. Time for another doobie. Jimmy Olsen is looking like a lite-weight, so we have him chug a glass of beer.
“Where’s Hippie? He has to chug a round for blowing spunk on the groupies.”
We find him at the other table, lying low. We make him chug one, then another because there was a little left in the first. Another lite-weight. We cheer him for his first sexual experience and for the first time getting shit-faced. And another chug for his first hangover in the morning. Then Mr. Antonio takes his car keys. We all pile into the Caddy to get home. Jimmy Olsen ends up at Michael’s after I tell him he is too young to observe antics in my room. He is too stoned to complain. I tell him Michael is the lovelorn one but not to get any ideas. Jace is a little leery about going in with me. I tell him Michael’s dad already figured it out. I guess Jimmy Olsen asked him about us because he says, “Everybody seems to know now.”
“Only those who care about us,” I say and tell him Scott’s mom figured it out too.
“Jeez,” he complains, “it’s my life.”
“Welcome to the limelight.”
The Caddy starts to leave but then stops. Max stumbles out. He appears to be drunk as well as stoned. All three of us stumble upstairs and fall asleep together. No extracurricular that night.
In the morning my voice is worse. When Susan asks how our show went while I’m fixing breakfast, all I can do is croak.
“I take it that it went too well,” she observes. “Let me look at that throat.”
It is her first official mothering. She gets me to croak “Ah” and says, “It’s red. But there are no ulcers or bleeding.”
”Ulcers?” I manage to say.
“Yes, Tim. Singers sometimes damage their voices so badly they need to be hospitalized. You’re fine, but you shouldn’t try to sing for a while.”
But I have a show that night. I run up and tell Jace.
“Good,” he says. “I’ll sing. Robby, Hippie and Iggy can do their parts. You can still play guitar.”
I feel a bit letdown but agree there’s no other choice. Jace says there was one song I can still do – ‘Jeremiah was a Bullfrog.’ We sing ‘Joy to the World’ to each other.
“Very funny,” I croak.
Hippie calls after we eat, in a big panic.
“Where’s my Mom’s car? I can’t find it.”
“Do you remember anything from last night?”
“Those girls pulled down my pants.”
“Anything after that?”
“We smoked a joint? But I really don’t remember much.”
“How about chugging three glasses of beer?”
“Jeez, I can’t tell Mom that? Her girlfriend will beat me.”
“You mom has a girlfriend?”
“Oh, yeah, I guess I never told anyone.”
“And her girlfriend’s a big bull dyke who beats the crap out of you?”
“No, but she could.”
I call Jace over to the phone. “Tell Hippie we’ll bring Max over to protect him from his mom’s bull dyke girlfriend.”
Jace sputters and cannot talk. I get back on the phone.
“Come over here. Michael’s dad took your keys. We’ll ride bikes to their house and get your car.
“Oh-kay.” He speaks at half speed which for anyone else is quarter speed.
Michael is up and having breakfast with Jimmy Olsen when we get there. He tells us to come back so we can figure out what to do about my voice. I half expect Mr. Antonio to lecture Hippie, but all he says is, “You understand why you couldn’t drive?”
“Yes, sir,” as meek as a mouse.
As we ride to Sorrento’s, I ask him, “You really had quite a day for yourself yesterday?”
“I’m sorry,” he apologizes.
“Sure, you’re sorry, that you got up and sang the Doors songs; Sure, you’re sorry, all the groupies grabbed you and raped you; Sure, you’re sorry all your friends got you drunk; Sure,,you’re sorry Michael’s dad wouldn’t let you drive drunk and kill everyone; and Sure, you’re sorry you’ve got fifty bucks in your pocket from the party.”
He looks in his jeans and finds the fifty bucks. It is the first real smile I have ever seen on his face. Naturally I start to tear up, until Jace punches me. We all laugh, ending up on the curb until we cannot laugh anymore.
“Do you think those girls like me?”
“They liked you when you were being Jim Morrison. I’m not so sure after you blew your spunk all over them. I think they had other plans for it. You do remember the Jim Morrison part?”
“Yeah, I won’t ever forget being a rock star.”
“How about the part where you have two mommies?” Jace asks.
“You told him?” he accuses me.
“It’s slightly important to us, being two gay guys.”
“Yeah, I see. Now you want to meet ‘em?”
“Why not? We’re gay parents, too, you know? To Wilkie’s girlfriend, Jill.”
“Hey, we forgot to tell her about our shows,” Jace remembers.
“Hippie, you take the car home by yourself. Wash it and tell your moms you wanted to make it look clean.”
“Will you come by and meet my moms?”
“Sure, but first we have parenting to do on our own.”
We ride with him to Sorrento’s to make sure the station wagon is okay, and then leave for the Grove. Jill answers the door and lets us in.
“I’m so sorry we didn’t come by for Christmas, Jill,” I apologize.
“It’s okay. I saw you a couple of times at Out & Proud, last week.
“Yeah, we get paid to play and bring in people. It’s a real scene.”
“You guys are scenesters.”
“What do you hear from David?”
“He calls every day. I think he worries I’ll start going out with someone else.”
“Not with your gay parents on patrol.”
“But we want you to come to our show tonight in the Gables.”
“Okay, that sounds fun.”
“But no hitting on single guys.”
“Hey,” Jace has an idea. “Remember when David and you sang at the frat house.”
“Well, we barely sang.”
“Well, numb nuts over here blew out his voice and can’t sing. You want to fill in, or at least do a song? We’re all having to pick up for him.”
“Thanks for making me feel worse,” I complain.
“Well, there is this one Rod Stewart song I always sing.”
“That’ll be great. Which one? I hope it’s Maggie May.”
“Not while I’m hanging out with you guys. People will get the wrong idea. It’s ‘you’re my lover and my best friend.’”
“I know that,” Jace smiles and breaks out singing,
“You’re in my heart, you’re in my soul
You’ll be my breath should I grow old.
You are my lover, you’re my best friend.
You’re in my story.”
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
That’s the one.”
“Perfect, just come up and sit with the Jacettes during the show. We’ll all sing it together. Tim can croak just like Rod Stewart.”
She cracks up.
“Thanks guys, for coming by. I’ll tell David you’re on patrol.”
“We love you guys. We’re your gay parents. Straight guys beware.”
We finally get back to Michael’s. Hippie is being interviewed, which is going to be interesting. Robby and Michael are arguing about how Michael is to play when Robby is singing his song. I tell Robby it is his song, but we wrote it. If he is not playing drums on it, then Michael is in charge of the drumming.
“You want to drum on it as well as sing.”
“Maybe in the future. How’d you like my performance.”
“You mean the part when everyone ran out of the room screaming ?”
“Wasn’t that great?”
“Well, no. You fucking scared off all our new fans.”
“Fuck them if they can’t take a little curse.”
“Metal-heads are a sensitive lot when it comes to the occult.” Jace notes.
“Your singing was really good, but we still need to work on the tempo.”
“I told Michael it didn’t work.”
“More work on your singing and Jace’s leads.”
“Well, let’s do it.”
“Okay, when you sing ‘we are False Gods,’ you have to hold it out longer, give Jace a chance to get in all the leads.”
“Well, he should hurry up.”
“No, the point is to make people hear the words, let it be imprinted on their brains.”
“That’s why they were yelling it at the end of the song.”
“No, they are yelling it because it’s the name of our band.”
“Okay, I’ll try.”
We play it several times through. His mood remains pissy. He slowly comes around, especially after Jace turns up his amp and drowns him out.
Finally he pulls out a joint.
“We need to chill out.” And he holds the word ‘out’ for as long as he has breath.
“There you go.”
“See, I can do it. Right, Hippie?”
Hippie looks up for the first time and gives us his new smile.
Robby is taken aback, “Not your usual scowl. Not a shit-eating grin. It must be a ‘spunk the groupies’ grin.”
Everyone laughs, including Hippie.
Robby looks at me. “You’ve been working on our Hippie, haven’t you?”
“Yeah. When Hippie finally smiled I had to punch Tim so he wouldn’t cry,” Jace exposes me.
“So what, you want the old sullen Hippie back?” I ask.
“No. No,” everyone cries.
“I’m sending all my groupies for smiley face Hippie spunk from now on,” Jace decides.
“You may not get them back,” Robby warns.
“Good,” I say.
“I’ll just steal away your gay posse, then.”
“Hey,” Michael pipes up, “Remember after next Tuesday night, there won’t be any parties to play and no groupies to abuse.”
“And Romeo and Juliette will sail off to the Bahamas with Jenna’s father swearing revenge.” Robby mocks.
“You guys better not mess it up,” Michael threatens.
“Worried about the best laid plans?” Robby taunts. “But I don’t think getting laid is part of the plan.”
“You’re right, pervert, and don’t you mess with it.”
“Okay, okay,” I croak. “We have some adjustments to make for tonight since I can’t sing.”
“We’ve got a female vocalist, who’s going to guest star,” Jace announces. “Remember Jill from the frat party?”
“She’s just going to do ‘You’re in My Heart’ by Rod Stewart.”
“If Jace is going to do most of the singing we better find out if he can sing,” Robby demands.
I know the answer to that one, and Jace proves it to everyone else. No one with his ear is going to sing off-key. We decide it will be another Motown show, so we can do some of the dance tunes we plan for Jenna’s party. Iggy is mad we are not going to do metal, but he does not complain. He knows he can always whip up metal head frenzy and charge the stage to take over the mic. Just a part of our traveling rock n roll show.
After practice is over, Hippie comes up to Jace and me to say his moms want to meet us. It is a busy day, with the show still coming up.
“Can we do it when we’re not so busy?” I ask.
“Well, she may take away the station wagon.”
“Oh, are they mad at us?”
“No. They just think gay guys are irresponsible.”
“I thought they’d like us.”
“They don’t like any guys.”
“They like you?”
“Maybe. They used to say I’m a lot like my dad.”
“My step-mother says that about me and my real mom,” Jace notes.
“Lately they’ve tried to encourage me, so that’s better isn’t it?”
“Yeah, Hippie,” I agree, “We’ll tell ‘em the band is good for you.”
“Can we go now?”
Off we go on our bikes to dyke heaven.
Hippie’s house is one of the small, older Mission-style stuccoes that border 8th Street, Calle Ocho, but is still in the Gables. Hippie introduces us to his moms, Marge his birth mom and Meg, her large and ferocious girlfriend, i.e. bull dyke.
Marge starts the interrogation. “Gregory says you are both gay and going together.”
No messing around with this mom.
“Yes, ma’am. Jace has been living with me since Halloween. He knew I was gay, but he hadn’t been with anyone before and wasn’t sure.”
“Tim rescued me from my step-brother who always bullied me. It didn’t take long to learn I could trust him. I fell in love with him before anything ever happened.”
“You ain’t trying anything on my Gregory, are ya?”
We almost laugh. “No. ma’am. He’s our friend, He came into our band when we needed a bass player. Jace and I really love each other. We’re not interested in other boys.”
“Is there any other reason you want him in the band?”
“Other than he’s our friend? Well, the fact he drives is important, too.”
“So. It’s my car you need?”
“Well, at first, but now Michael’s dad drives us, too. We really want Hippie, I mean Greg, in the band. Did he tell you he sang lead vocals on a song last night?”
“I can’t imagine that. As long as he’s not being abused, he can stay in the band and keep driving my car. It’s my father’s idea, typical man, that they have to be the driver.”
“I’m glad he can stay. We’re all friends in this band. It’s all for one, one for all.”
“More male chauvinism.”
I am killing our efforts by being flippant. This woman does not mince her words.
“We really wanted to meet you, once Greg told us you were together.”
“It doesn’t mean that we approve of your lifestyle, just because we’re gay.”
“It’s not approval but understanding we need. Not many 15/16 year olds being gay nowadays.”
“Oh, Marge. Stop being an old grump,” Meg interrupts. “These boys are the first friends Gregory’s ever brought home before. They’re going to think we don’t love Gregory.”
“Why would they ever think that?”
“By chasing away his friends. You practically accused them of molesting Gregory.”
“You know how men are. They’re probably being civil just to deceive us.”
“These boys are nothing like men. Can’t you see they’re not evil?”
“They got him liquored-up last night and who knows why.”
She had us there.
Hippie takes a breath and stands up for us. “They were celebrating for me because I did something really good, Ma. They wouldn’t let me drive because they’re responsible. I just never had beer before. And look, Ma, I got paid fifty bucks, just like everyone else for our performance.” He hands her the money.
“You get paid to go to a party?”
I jump in, “Yes, ma’am. We all got paid. There were several hundred people there and we really entertained them. It was older people, not kids. Our band is doing really well.”
“You can take my money, Ma. Just don’t make me quit.”
“See, Marge. He’s really growing up, making money and working with his friends.”
“Okay. Okay. You shouldn’t all gang up on me. But you boys are coming over here for dinner, once a week, from now on, so I can keep an eye on you.”
Hippie looks totally relieved. I cannot imagine living under such strict supervision. One mom – good. Two moms – too good.
He stays with us after the interrogation, apologizing without really knowing why he was apologizing.
“So much for having gay parents to talk with,” I complain.
“We’re talking with ‘em anyway, once a week for dinner.”
“Hippie, do you want us to start calling you Gregory?”
“No thanks. I kinda like just Hippie. Hippie Greg sounds too much like Billy Bob or some other weird country name.”
“We aren’t putting you down for being a hippie. It’s just natural for me now.”
“No sweat, Tim,” and he gives me his new smile. Luckily Jace is right on top of that with a solid punch to my arm before I tear up.
“Tough love,” he explains to Hippie.
When we get home, Hippie asks if he should leave for a while, if we need to have sex. After 24 hours, it is on my mind. “We’re not that sex crazed, Hippie,’ I tell him.
“Maybe we can help you with any sex questions that you have,” Jace suggests. I remember Scott’s and my sex ed. debacle with Stu.
He has a long list. Ma is not too up on male sexuality.
“How come I spunked like you call it when the girls pulled my pants down.”
“Well, it builds up if you don’t let it out,” Jace lectures. “Do you masturbate?”
“What’s that?” he asks. I guess most guys do not discuss these things with everyone.
“You use your hand to make the spunk come out.”
“You can do that?”
“Have you ever had a wet-dream?”
“I dream but I cannot remember if it was ever about swimming.”
“Not wet in your dream, but wet when you wake up.”
“Oh. I stopped that when I was a little kid.”
“Hang on, Jace,” I suggest. “Let’s forget about the mechanics and get to some basics.”
Turning to Hippie, “Do you know how babies are made?”
“Yeah, we all had sex ed. The male puts the sperm in the woman’s vagina, a baby grows for nine months and then comes out.”
“Good. Do you know that what we call spunk is actually sperm plus other liquid to make it flow.”
“Oh, so I was making a baby with the girls yesterday?”
“Well, that’s why they were upset. You have to get the sperm into the vagina to make a baby.”
“I don’t think I want to make a baby.”
“Don’t worry. Those groupies don’t want one either. We’ll explain that part later. Did it feel good when you spunked?”
“Yeah, it was feeling great but afterward I felt sad. Was that because I didn’t make a baby?”
“Sorta. But let me ask you the questions. How old are you?”
By your age, your dick and balls are developed enough for sex. Have you ever woken up with spunk in your pajamas?
“I only wear my briefs.”
“Okay. Have you ever messed your briefs?”
“Sometimes, but I thought it was just pus.”
“That’s a wet dream,” Jace jumps in, anxious to be Hippie’s teacher.
“So everything is normal and works fine. You just need to learn to control when it happens.”
“That’s masturbation,” Jace adds.
“You mean when I have that kinda dream, it’s masserbating?”
We cannot help but laugh. Hippie looked crestfallen.
“No, dummie,” Jace yells. “Masturbation is doing it with your hand.”
We hear giggles outside the window. We have an audience – Robby and Mary.
“Come inside, you guys,” I order.
Robby is grinning. Mary looks uneasy about a sex ed. lesson.
“I know everything. Here, I’ll show you how to masturbate,” Robby starts to undo his jeans.
“Stop it,” I swat Robby’s hand away. “We just got accused of molesting Hippie by his mom.”
“Oh, the truth comes out,” Robby gloats.
“He doesn’t have a dad to tell him these things. We don’t need for you to perv on him.”
“Be cool, Robby,” Mary says.
“I never get to have any fun.”
“Is sex fun?” Hippie asks.
“Yes,” we all answer. “That’s what you need to know. But don’t let anyone do it with you unless you want them to.”
“I wanted the girls to do it with me yesterday but I don’t really want to do it with Robby.”
“Good. He’s just kidding you, so you need to know that people do that too.”
“We’ll have these sex discussions when your ma’s there, so she can protect you and we don’t get accused of molesting you.”
“You’re going there for dinner?” Robby asks.
“Every week, so Hippie can use the car for the band.”
“And if there are things you don’t want to ask in front of your mom, you can still ask us or Mary, just not Robby.”
All of us answer, “He’s a perv.”