Tony’s Datsun looks like a tin can on wheels. He drives like it is a North Carolina demolition derby, weaving through traffic and never braking. I whoop and holler like I’m with Wayne and Floyd. Tony blasts KROQ through his tinny radio, Bay City Rollers. I had never heard them before. We park off the boulevard, next to an adult porno shop. I drag Tony inside. I have seen them in Times Square but never indulged. We laugh at the magazine covers and get kicked out after both of us crowd into a video booth and mock the simulated sex show. The manager catches us with our pants down and drags us outside.
“Give us back our money,” Tony demands he refund the quarters we spent on the video machine.
“Get the fuck outta here. No minors allowed.”
“Yeah, we’ll tell the cops you let us watch porno. You owe us 50 cents,” I challenge him.
“I’ll kick yer asses,” he proclaims while giving us two quarters. We laugh and run through traffic to the Starwood parking lot across the street. The bouncer at the door smiles at Tony and gives us in-n-out stamps. We enter the stage area and go up the stairs to the VIP balcony seating. Right when we sit down, a cocktail waitress takes our order for a pitcher of beer. When I get my wallet out to pay, Tony tells me to put my money away. He is always compted. Cool.
“Yeah. Bein’ Doug’s boyfriend is like bein’ with the godfather of rock. All the bands want me to get them booked at the Troubadour. I always get them booked here. It’s much more lively.”
“You book bands?”
“Yeah, well through Doug. Now is when you try ta get your band booked.”
“Naw. We’s pretty broke up. I gots arrested at our last gig. We opened for Skynyrd in Miami.”
“Yeah. Max was my dog. The cops killed him and arrested me for an open container. I had to hide out in the Everglades for four months before going to Ames.”
“In Iowa? Your band was ‘False Gods?’”
“Was. Now we’s jist a country rock band, Hillbilly Brothers, makin’ babies with one another.”
“Thanks, but no thanks. Our drummers are fighting. Our bass player is married, havin’ a baby, and his wife hates us. The new singer cain’t hit high notes. And Max is dead.”
“Typical Hollywood drama.”
“It was time ta move on. That show got out of control. Now I’m jist a kid, on the bowlin’ team in high school.”
“Yer a nerd?”
“Yep. Goin’ to Harvard in the fall.”
“That fancy private school out in the Valley?”
“Naw. College in Boston. My rich boyfriend wants ta go there – nerdland.”
“I’m glad I quit high school. It was for jerks.”
“You scored the rich sugar daddy.”
“Naw. Doug loves me ‘cause I really love him. I ain’t a prostitute.”
“I didn’t say that. But I was definitely a prostitute when I came out here two years ago.”
A tall kid in platforms and glittered to death interrupts us, sitting down and giving Tony double air kisses. He looks over, recognizes me and lights up with a grin on his face and a joint from his pocket.
“Tim. You came back.” It’s meek and mild Jimmy.
“Jesus, Jimmy. You grew up.”
We pass the joint around. It lures several girls and guys to share the weed. Our table suddenly is over-crowded. Again, getting stoned makes me temporarily paralyzed. I watch everyone socializing, which is like an amusing sit-com. People come and go. I’m finally able to move, dragging Tony and Jimmy away from the stoners.
“Let’s check out the disco,” I shout over the club din. The band playing on stage is too slow and ponderous. We stumble down the stairs, due to Jimmy still not used to being stoned in the platform shoes. It’s all good. We run into the disco side, where the heavy beat of Donna Summer is blasting.
All three of us hit the dance floor together. Other boys and girls join us, accepting me as part of Tony’s crew. Thirty minutes later, I beg for a break to cool off with more beer. Our table in the VIP balcony is still over-crowded, so Jimmy takes us to the parking lot. At the back of the lot, we smoke out. I have to be dragged/carried back inside, where Tony gets us another pitcher backstage, where the lame band has just finished.
“We got kicked out of the porno across the street for jerking it together in a booth,” Tony brags.
“Let’s go up to Hollywood Boulevard. We can jerk it for the pervs in the Pussycat Theater. All those Selma whores will be there jerking their tricks. We’ll make their night by putting on a show,” Jimmy is full of perverted ideas.
Tony drives, with all three of us in the front of his Datsun. Jimmy rides pussy with an arm around each of us. I pay the three dollars for us to get into the X-rated movie on the corner of Cherokee and Hollywood. Mom’s money is spent on porno. I’m not concerned she’ll find out. It’s too late in Iowa for me to call for permission to go to the movies. It’s a slippery slope.
We all sit in the front row and go at each other, jerking and sucking in a mass of teenaged asses and heads bouncing up and down. Soon almost everyone in the theater moves down to watch our show while a lame straight porn film plays above our heads. Our three-way goes on for twenty minutes or so, until some guy tries to join in. We vigorously rebuff the perv and march up the aisle.
“The shows over, boys,” Jimmy announced.
Half the crowd follows us out of the theater. Tony leads everyone down the block to the Gold Cup, where the regular hustlers and johns move to the back, as our posse of twenty perverts invades the long counter up front. Tony and Jimmy begin negotiating sex trade, charging twenty dollars for their telephone numbers to arrange future dates. To prove they aren’t ripping the johns off, each has to go out back for quick blow jobs. Once attested as ‘for real,’ they sell their numbers quickly. As the ‘new kid in town,’ I’m even more popular. I don’t have a local phone number and won’t pass out my Hyland House home phone. The twins would really enjoy those calls. I get offered ‘hundreds’ to go off for anal fucking. I maintain I have a boyfriend and don’t cheat. Interest in me falls off quickly.
“Let’s go eat at Arthur J’s,” Tony suggests once they collect all their future date payments. Tony’s little car is easy to park. It’s perfect for the city. Hollywood is a mini-Times Square with parking.
Arthur J’s is another hustling trip. This time we act innocent and shoo away the johns. I’m famished and the greasy hamburgers and fries are just what I need. The real action is outside on the corner of Highland and Santa Monica. It’s after midnight, now Saturday morning. I feel like a kid again, just doing what everyone else does, not caring that it’s all perverted. After eating, we join the hustlers on the corner. Once the real hustlers realize we’re not serious about going off with their tricks, they use our unspoiled looks to lure cruisers. Every time one stops and we go over to negotiate, they push us out-of-the-way and take the trick for themselves. We are no pros.
At one o’clock we drive up the strip, past the Whiskey which looks dead. We hang outside the Roxy, where the show is just getting out. When I see Lou Reed on the marquee, I kick myself for missing the show. We covered his songs so many times, I feel like I know him. And, he’s from New York, my spiritual home. I chat with anyone who can tell me about the show, which songs he played, and what his solo stuff is like. The sidewalk is packed. Angelenos appreciate New York acts and turn out at their shows. I tell Tony and Jimmy that Joey is the real ‘Little Joe’ on ‘Walk on the Wild Side.’
“Yeah. He never once gives it away,” Tony confirms.
“Where’s he now? Is he in LA?” a fan asks.
“Yeah, but he OD’d and is in Hollywood-Presbyterian,” I admit.
“Can he have visitors?” everyone in LA is an obnoxious celebrity groupie or looky-loo.
“Naw, he gets out tomorrow. He’s a retired celebrity.”
LA closes down at 2 am. Tony says we could go to an after hours place in Silver Lake. All the gays who haven’t hooked up go around the parking lot groping each other until they find a dick they like. Jimmy’s eyes sparkles with excitement but I’m done in. To think that in the morning I was milking cows at ‘Gator’s family farm and at the end of the day I can be milked myself in East Hollywood – it’s enough. I need a bed.
Packed into the Datsun, Jimmy pulls out another joint. Instead of getting paralyzed, I perk up and we’re singing to the radio and generally goofing on each other. Jimmy kisses me on the cheek, saying he loves me, but I’d have to pay if I want him.
“That’s okay, Jimmy. Save yourself for phone sex. It’ll be non-stop later after all the johns you sold your number to.”
“I know you love me anyway,” he crows. And I do, sort of.
Tony drives us to Doug’s and leads me to his room. He has graduated from the tee pee to the house.
“I can sleep in Joey’s room, if you want,” I offer, knowing he has gotten off more than once already.
“No way. Doug’s gonna come in and molest me later. I want all three of us to do it.”
That’s pretty explicit. I remember how gentle Doug was during sex, so it’s no problem for me.
“Are you two less passionate than at first?”
“No way. It just keeps getting better. I know he crushes badly on you still. All three of us are so tight, it’ll be sweet. I do love him. I’ll bet you really don’t. Will it bother you if we share you?”
“Naw. I just know it’s gonna be sweet.”
I kiss him to seal the deal. We strip off and fall asleep cuddled up. I barely remember Doug coming in, although he is deep inside me and all three of us cum simultaneously. My post-coital sleep habit makes it hard to remember the whole performance. I know it’s not just a performance for the two of them. I look around for Jace, but he never shows up. I wonder if I should tell them about the Friendly Ghost.
I wake up early and bring coffee into Tony’s room. Doug has us move to the master bedroom. He loves acting out his master role. All three of us are comfortably drinking coffee in the king-size bed. Later, Jimmy comes in and joins us.
After we confess our sins from the previous night’s whoring, the talk turns to Joey. Lou Reed performing at the Roxie reminds me of Joey’s role in ‘Walk on the Wild Side.’
“What to do with that boy?” Doug actually is concerned.
“He’s hardly a boy at 22,” I contend.
“He’s never grown up,” Tony observes.
“I’m 17 and feel so much older than when Joey and I had our weekend of lust in Coconut Grove. I’ve grown up. He’s lost his glamour. It makes him old at 22. His mom, my aunt, asked me to bring him back home to Massachusetts.”
‘Road Runner, Road Runner,” Jimmy sings the Modern Lovers hit.
“Jesus, New England. He’ll die of boredom,” Tony worries.
“He’ll get back into the New York scene again,” I suspect.
“A sure ticket down the addiction highway,” Doug counters.
“Maybe if he just takes a break by being home,” I say hopefully.
“You’re crying,” Tony notices.
“Yeah, what a jerk. I only cry when I’m happy.”
“You are so weird.”
“Yeah, but we love ya,” Jimmy adds.
“My little family,” Doug hugs the three of us all at once and then gets out of bed. “I’ll go make a call. Then we can all visit the burnout together.”
The tears dry up when I realize how famished I am. I lead the other two into the kitchen and do my best Mom impression, making pancakes and bacon. No blueberries yet. It’s only April. It doesn’t slow any of us down. We all have large stacks of Aunt Jemima buttermilk cakes.
Doug comes in while we were scarfing the calories, taking a few bites from Tony’s plate. Tony grins at the favoritism and his primacy in the house.
“I called and spoke to the Rahar’s manager. They need a booking agent. The club, which has been there forever as a college bar, is hosting bands more and more. Their stage area is small but if Joey can pull in the fans, they’ll expand it. I said he has music connections in New York.”
“Do we want him getting back into that scene?” I ask.
“We can’t babysit him. If he can’t keep off the dope, he’ll soon be dead or in jail.”
“We’ll help him from here with bands. All he has to do is the bookings.”
“They can call it the Troubadour East,” Jimmy cracks.
“No way. It’s a backwater except for the kids from all the local colleges.”
“Yeah. I’m going to Harvard there this fall.”
“I thought you were putting me on,” Doug laughs.
“Well, it’s all I have going for now. My boyfriend’s already in there. I’ll probably get in due to his connections.”
“The rich kid from the Dakota, right?”
“Yeah. He’s like all rich people, possessive as hell.”
“Trouble in paradise.”
“He gets upset and becomes unable to speak when he doesn’t get his way.”
“Better than refusing to have sex,” Doug notes.
“I hope you boys are learning something here,” Doug tells his live-in boyfriends.
“Let’s go see Joey,” I change the direction of this conversation, to the relief of Tony and Jimmy. The thought and visual of Doug fucking like a teenager is unsettling.
Doug gets a taxi, refusing to ride in Tony’s ‘rust bucket,’ as he calls it. We walk into Joey’s room at Hollywood Presbyterian.
“Ya can’t lay about in the hospital forever,” Doug announces.
“The cops ain’t lettin’ me come home wid youse?”
“I ain’t killin’ maself. It’s the drugs.”
“Ya need to stop, Joey,” Tony speaks up.
“Yeah,” agrees Jimmy.
“Jesus, the kiddy patrol is on my butt.”
“Y’all knows the bar Rahar’s, in Northampton?”
“Yeah. I bin there – college kids mostly.”
“Doug knows the manager and called to see about you working there.”
“What, washing up?”
“No, dip shit. They want to use your contacts here and in NYC to book bands. It’s a real rock n roll job.”
He looks doubtful. “I ain’t never really worked, except some movie shoots which was just getting off for pay.”
We all laugh.
“Ya just wanna get rid of me, huh?”
“Oh, jeez. Youse always makin’ me feel sentimental. Fuck it.”
I hug him and won’t let go. A doctor walks into the room, seeing our little family scene.
“You said you had no family, Joseph. I’ve seen this scene enough to know this is yours.”
“This crybaby is my cousin, Dr. Engle. He wants me to go home to my folks in Massachusetts.”
“Now, you have parents, as well? You have to go to rehab, son. The court ordered it.”
“What if he does outpatient rehab where his parents live. Doug has found him a job back in Massachusetts,” I speak up, wiping away my tears.
“Just by moving, it won’t cure his addiction.”
“That’s why he should be at home and getting help there.”
“Well, let me speak with his parents. He refused to admit he even had anyone who cares.”
“They care, and we do too. I came from Iowa when I found out. These are my friends, as well as Joey’s. They care, too.”
“What’s the telephone number, Joseph? If I approve, I’m sure the court will be glad to send you to Massachusetts where the State there can pay for you.”
Joey writes Helen’s phone number and gives it to Dr. Engle. Joey shoots me a nasty look, but I know it’s for the best.
“If it seems above-board, I’ll recommend you be released to your family. You’ll know on Monday.”
“Thanks, Doc,” Joey looks somewhat appreciative. “And thanks, you dipshits,” he turns to us.
“It’s up to you to make it work,” Doug warns him.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I just love livin’ at home.”
I break into a Ramones song, ‘We’re a Happy Family’
Doug gives me a quizzical look. “When did you become a punk?”
“When wasn’t I? My band played CBGB’s last year.”
“You’re hardly a pinhead.”
“So what. We play hard and fast, unlike the geriatric rock that sells records.”
“Whoa. That’s my bread and butter.”
“Yeah, Doug. Let him play,” both Tony and Jimmy beg.
“We don’t do tryouts. I book professional bands.”
“Call Ry Cooder at Sounds of the South in Memphis. He booked us, until I got arrested after we opened for Skynyrd last year.”
“You’re False Gods?”
“Were. That show was our swan song. Our star, Max the pot dog, was shot and killed by the cops. I ended up hiding out in the Everglades for four months. I skipped Florida to my mom’s in Iowa. Everyone went their separate ways. We was only 16.”
“Why do you want a tryout then?”
“Just to play for you. You’re the legend. I’m the punk.”
“How’d that happen?”
“My boyfriend lives in his building. We started a fun cover band with his son Julian. We even did a Wings song, Paul McCartney was teaching him.”
“No, Julian. ‘Silly Love Songs.’”
“I don’t know that one.”
“It’s coming out on their next album.”
“Well, False Gods has a reputation from that last show. You think I’d like your music.”
“It’s meant for kids. Yer a big kid at heart.”
“Well, let’s go.”
“What about me?” Joey shouts.
“Yer no longer a kid when you become an addict.”
“I know Johnny Thunders,” he counters.
“That only proves you’re an addict.”
“Enough,” I yell. “No wonder he OD’d, living with all the negative criticism.”
“Let me come. I neva heard him play,” Joey begs.
“Yeah, right. You’ll sneak away to score the second we get to West Hollywood.”
“Y’all’s stayin’ right here ‘tils I takes ya home to mama,” I pronounce.
I see Jimmy and Tony giggling with Doug, probably about my fake country persona.
In minutes we’re all in the back of a huge Yellow Cab, cruising down Santa Monica Blvd. At Larrabee, I make the driver pull over when I see the same leather chick smoking on the corner. I jump out.
She drags me into Larrabee Studios, running up to the engineer inside a sound-proof recording booth. “Tell Jimmy what you just said,” Joan orders.
“I want Joan to listen to me play a tryout at the Troubadour.”
“Seriously? No one tries out there. Ya get booked when ya’s got a reputation.”
“Well, I does. Last year anyways. We rocked a show with Lynyrd Skynyrd and caused a riot.”
“Yeah, right. That band hasn’t been heard of since.”
“It’s just me now.”
“Yer tellin’ me, yer False Gods.”
“Singer/guitarist. Just come listen.”
They follow me out to the waiting cab and see Doug with the two rent boys.
“How’dcha find this one, Doug?”
“He’s Joey’s cousin. He spent a weekend here in ’74.”
“Naw, he was innocent then. Now he’s saying he’s in a ghost band.”
Jace appears, at least to me. I poke Tony and nod toward Jace. Tony squints but doesn’t see him. Jimmy does and whispers, “Who’s that?”
“Y’all can see ‘im? His name’s Jace. He’s a ghost.”
“No shit,” they both say.
“He’s my first real boyfriend. He started the band and taught us all to play.”
“Sure thing and he fucks me, too. We have the sex pact.”
“What’s that mean?”
“I can’t get it on unless he’s there.”
They both shiver. I’m surprised that Jimmy can see him if it bothers him to think about fucking his ghostly dick. Jimmy always had a big heart. Jace sits with him in the cab.
“Kim Fowley’s got his crew here to make sure Joan’s new album gets done. We’ll all walk to the club. Just don’t start ‘til we get there,” Larrabee Jimmy directs.
Once at the Troubadour, Doug finds a cool Fender Telecaster for me to play. It lacks a tremolo bar but I’m not going to play guitar hero, just crank out the leads to our songs. I warm up with some Ramones, while we wait for Joan and her entourage. I put out my best Johnny Ramone with the matching Telecaster.
“This song’s for Joey, ‘Beat on the Brat.”
“We told ya ta wait fer us.”
“Jist warmin’ up with a little New York junkie rock.”
“Hey, we’re just kids.”
“Yeah, Runaway kids.”
“Well, we wanna hear yer own songs.”
‘Go deep to the South
When you can go no more
Find our city to try to score
Come to our cool house
We bewilder with our drug
Whether it be love
Or just need of a hug
We’re free to meet the need
Miami’s here to serve
Keeps you safe and sound
Southern man beats you down
That’s what you deserve
Life too rough?
Take the time
Follow our sign
Girls are free
Jack your shit
Get into it.’
I finish with a long riff. The musicians look interested but are too cool to ‘get into it.’
“Here’s how we lived, ‘Sneakin’ Around,’
Never been caught
All over town
Better than not.
Thrill’s in the chase
No time to waste
Folks on my case
All is in haste.
Waiting’s the worst
You were my first
I need you to know
We’re on the prowl.
Back of an alley
Sprawled in the dirt
No time to dally
Who will cum first.
shaka shaka love?
‘shaka shaka love shaka shaka”
After I sing ‘cum,’ I jump off the stage, running up to Joan, singing:
Over and over again I sing the chorus, until Joan can’t help herself from shaking it to my guitar. I keep thrusting it suggestively at her. She puts her hands behind her head and responds to the beat with shakes and twists of her own. Her posse of mostly fat girls are all shaking it with her.
“Now, these are times we feel most alive, but we’re still teens,” and I break into
“This is our life,
our pride alive
Its our times
Lost our minds
Stupid rules rule
Demand we act
Just like fools
To be like you.
Look at me, you havta scream.
You think we be freakin’
You gotta be fast to not be seen.
No wonder we’re always sneakin’”
Then I go right into
“I say, …you…
You’re such a fool
You’re just a tool
But I love…you
I say…. you…
What can we do?
You said we’re through
What can I….. do
I say,…. you…
We break the rules
We act real cruel
I really need…. you…
I say, …you..’
The girls stop dancing and are looking at me dreamily, or were they looking at Joan? It doesn’t matter. I set the mood.
“Well, all’s not easy for a pot-headed teen. We do have our share o’ troubles, but we always find a way to stay free. This is for you Jimmy, Tony and Larrabee Jimmy,” as I run over to them, playing the intro to
‘Look before You Leap?’
Set you’re your buddy on fire,
Better buy a rug.
Send your friends to hell,
Better get a priest.
Beat up a bully,
Better get a gun.
Look before you leap
Better to say no
Then end up in a heap
No place to go.
Leap, leap, leap
You friggin’ freak
Leap, leap, leap
Strip and streak.”
Beat up your friend
Get new friends
Steal a new car
You won’t get far
Dis some sweet lass
A beating comes fast
Look before you leap
Better to say no
Then end up in a heap
No place to go.
Leap, leap, leap
You fuckin’ freak
Leap, leap, leap
Strip and streak.”
Makes a stand
To take his joy
Going hand to hand
Flying out free
Branch to branch
Through the trees
“Free to be
A monkey like me
Ha ha ha
He he he
Haw haw haw
Chee chee chee”
Of course, Joan can’t stand not being the center of attention. Once I start to do the monkeyshines dance, she jumps in with me to mimic my monkey act.
Ha ha ha
He he he
Haw haw haw
Chee chee chee”
We run around getting everyone below the age of 20 to join in. Larrabee Jimmy jumps in anyway, a total kid at 25. Joan tells me he’s gay. I see him in a new light, now that Jay is married and straight. I grab him from behind and jump on his back. Together we chase the kids around. I stop singing but no one notices, as everyone else is doing their own vocals, no need for guitar or rhythm.
Doug looks concerned that his club is about to be trashed. Jimmy and I run over and tell him to relax.
Doug just shakes his head.
Turning to me, “Are you done?”
“No. Let me do our band song, ‘False Gods?”
I grab the guitar and jump back on the stage. It’s only about a foot high. I plug back in and light into the opening chords of ‘False Gods.’
“Stop,” I yell into the mic. “Stop trashing Doug’s club. You’re ruining my tryout fer rock god.”
They slow down but don’t really stop. The chords I rip kept them moving.
“So, now y’all knows ever’thin’ ‘bouts our backyard band. We got kicked out of the garage when Jace’s brother shot and killed him. So, this song’s dedicated to Max, the pot-sniffing rock star dog, who I inherited after Jace died.
“Where others feared to tread,
they gave us up for dead,
memories linger eternally,
as Lucifer’s proud plea,
a world of our own,
on high a black throne,
sing to make them see,
happy for eternity
…we are False Gods, we are False Gods…
a world so meek and blind,
we laugh at all of mankind,
we’re Satan’s band,
a world of endless flaws,
facades and miracles applause,
eulogized but despised,
shed your false disguise,
fall to your knees,
utter useless pleas,
…we are False Gods, we are False Gods…
pray in foreign tongues,
shoot your useless guns,
sacrifice hallowed sheep,
shun cold, dark streets,
you’re just nasty fleas,
Set your minds at ease
…False Gods, False Gods…
we live eternally,
we hear your painful screams,
keep cold certainty,
know just what we mean
….We are False Gods, False Gods..
… False Gods”
For the last verse I channel my inner Robby and throw myself writhing on the floor, screaming out the lyrics. What the hell, I can tell Doug doesn’t like my music. I might as well go out on my own song. The kids lap it up. No more trashing, as they crowd in front of the stage, watching me writhe. A nail catches the back of my briefs, giving me a full wedgie. Naturally that gets me hard. At the end of the song, I jump up, grab my balls and tell everyone to leave. I herd them toward the front of the house, thumping Joan and Jimmy several times with my hard dick. Once outside, I slam the door and make sure it’s locked.
“Ya like them apples?” I crow at Doug. His expression is not one of appreciation. Raucous rock has yet to invade the storied environs of Santa Monica and Doheny. I need to play something more appropriate for the setting – Elton John’s ‘Crocodile Rock.’
I’ve been playing for Joan and her Runaways. I can now play just for Doug. I end with the Elvis version of ‘My Way.’
I put the guitar down and jump off stage, running to Doug to hug and kiss him. I did my best. Tony and Jimmy smile slightly ill at ease with me hitting on their sugar daddy.
“What is this Jekyll and Hyde act? Just when I’d written you off, a moronic Ramones clone, you remind me that you were once the sweet and innocent boy who visited two years ago. Has life been that tough on you?”
“Y’all don’ts approve that I’s growed up now?”
“Like I’m ‘sposed to believe you’re just a country boy now.”
“I lives in I-o-way now. Whatcha ‘spect?” I stand alone on stage in his club, pleading my case.
As he shakes his head, Tony and Jimmy grab him by each arm and swore their loyalty to me.
“Those originals are great, Doug. They’re just about life, as a teenager. They’re real. He plays like a maniac,” Tony argues.
Jimmy just hugs Doug, nodding in full agreement with Tony.
“I’m sorry, Tim. I’m thinking and acting like a Hollywood music asshole. I can’t help it. I’m hungry. Wanna get pizza?” Doug knows the way to a boy’s heart.
“Pizza,” the three of us shout.
It’s back to Dan Tana’s. Ensconced in a back booth, Doug puts an arm around me, pulling me close, attempting to soften the blow to my music career.
“It doesn’t surprise me that you know how to play to a crowd. They were eating out of your hand and you whipped them into a frenzy. The image of you chasing them with your big dick is etched forever in my mind.”
“Thanks, but what’s the ‘but…’”
“I can only be terrorized at the thought of you backed up by a full band. I know what happened at the Skynyrd show in Miami.”
“Yeah. We was used ta playin’ jist small clubs and frats. We used the same tactics to excite the crowd. It caused a riot. I’s arrested and has to hide out ‘til I’s 18.”
“You know I’d love to have you stay here.”
“Jeez, Doug. I jist wanna show y’all how much I’s growed up and improved,” as I lean over and hug him. Tony and Jimmy giggle at my obvious moves.
“Y’all ain’t ready ta be a rock star?” Doug mocks my country impersonation.
“I ain’t ready ta give up bein’ a kid jist yet.”
“Y’all com’n back now, when ya’s ready.” Doug kisses me on the head. I realize he’s happy with the two boys who are actually attracted to him.
We return to scarfing the pizza, while Doug works on his manicotti and pasta.