“Great show tonight,” Troy compliments us, as he hands me the car keys; free drinks disable him again.
I get us back to Cambridge, sometime after 2 am. Minehan begs me to let him drive. I know he does not have a license.
“Why do you pursue disaster if you know it is sure to befall you.”
“Maybe it’ll bespring me,” he is still drunk enough to think that remark is funny. Troy refuses to let him into the Dart’s back seat to sleep it off. He isn’t about to share. Jack sits in the middle of the front seat, soon sliding into my lap. David ends up in the wheel well, not ready to sleep next to Jack. I am glad he is totally straight. Too many of my friends test their sexuality on me.
Soon, it is Troy who is draped on both Jack and me as we lead him to his dorm room. We hold him up as he vomits up the Awful Awful Awful before going inside. We lead David into our room where he makes a beeline for Jack’s bed.
“We’re taking care of everyone tonight,” I complain.
“Right,” Jack mumbles as he rolls over to let me into bed. No one is listening to me.
I drag Jack and David to early mass at St Paul’s on Sunday morning. They sleep through most of it. They are not the only ones. The parish is in an upper class neighborhood of Cambridge. The priest compliments me on my good attendance as we chat by the front door. I ask him about the choir. Vatican II has been in place for ten years. Parishes are encouraged to include more music in their services.
“You’re a choir boy then?” he inquires.
“A musician,” I claim.
“Sure’n you’d like to help out with the choir?”
“Sure, if’n there is one,” I mimic his brogue.
He laughs. “St Paul’s has a choir school for boys ages 10-14. The boys will be excited by your interest.”
I agree, kicking myself for taking on another long-term project. Up on the third floor of Mower, Jill is up, slightly annoyed we failed to drag her to mass. We all go for breakfast at Grendel’s Den on Winthrop Street.
“Anyone want to help me with the choir at St Paul’s?”
“Are you planning another lampoon?” Jill smiles. “Teaching the boys to bend over to high notes?”
“Jill?” I am taken aback. “We’ll just add music to the singing. We need to give back. It’ll give Jack a chance to do Gregorian Chants on his MOOG.”
She shakes her head and grins.
“Tim’s a saint, ya know,” Jack staunchly defends me.
“Yeah. We noticed that he’s all goodie two shoes.”
“No, really. He got the New York Diocese to start homeless shelters for runaways. He performed a miracle at St Patrick’s. Diamonds burst forth from the crucifix.”
Minehan laughs. “That’s why yer so rich, eh?”
“We didn’t get to keep any. Cardinal Cooke has one he’ll present to the Pope when it comes time to canonize Tim.”
“Best to mend yer ways, Tim. It’s sixty years without sin to qualify for sainthood. Your treatment of the Smithies may have already disqualified ya.”
“What happened at Smith?” Jill is all ears.
“The parents dragged their daughters out of Rahar’s after Tim did the monkeyshines to get the girls dancing.” Minehan gets up and apes our monkey act.
“Did you break up with your girlfriends?” Jill needs to know.
“It wasn’t even a date. We met the parents and tried to get them to like us. They turned out to be anti-rock,” Jack explains.
“We may be banned at Smith,” I lament.
“Well, there’s only one way to deal with setbacks,” David proposes. “Let’s put on another show.”
We spend the morning setting up again on the Mower lawn. Jack nixes getting another keg. It would be cause for the Campus Police to shut us down. Trixie makes up flyers touting our new band, ‘The Moody Rudes’, with the title of our hit single ‘Sunday Afternoon’ as the only information states ‘Mower House, 1 pm.’ By 12;30 people begin milling about. Once they find out there is no keg, many leave. The folkies wisely sit far back from where we set up our gear.
“You should come closer,” I exhort them. “We sound best when you’re right in front.”
They remain seated.
The 3D girls get all the co-eds on the third floor to pass out black roses, we call moody blooms. The girls have wigs for us, which they style in 60’s fab four fashion. We wear black and paisley, with turtlenecks and ascots. When we walk out of the dorm, there are several hundred fans. Word of mouth brings them to Mower.
David and I go up to the single mic to greet everyone.
“Hello, Harvard,” is David’s thought.
“We had a show last night at Smith,” I bring everyone up-to-date. “It went great but our girlfriends were dragged away by their parents. We’re banned at Smith,” People boo and whistle.
“Well, we didn’t know what to do, so we thought you might like a show. And we can express our sadness about losing our girlfriends.”
Jack plays the intro on the MOOG, followed by David and me on vocals and guitars. Without a drummer David sets a beat more appropriate to the Rat than Harvard Sunday Afternoon, jumping and whirling about..
‘Nights in white satin
Never reaching the end
Letters I’ve written
Never meaning to send
Beauty I’ve always missed
With these eyes before
Just what the truth is
I can’t say any more
‘Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you’
(Girls rush forward, with tears in their eyes. It is all so romantic. We play up our angst.)
‘Gazing at people
some hand in hand
Just what I’m going through
they can’t understand
Some try to tell me
thoughts they cannot defend
Just what you want to be
you will be in the end.’
(We hold all the girls’ hearts in our hands).
‘And I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you
Oh how I love you.’
Songwriters: JUSTIN HAYWARD
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group
The guys in the back are glaring at our pull on their girlfriends’ heart strings. They recognize con-men when they see them.
I know how to win over the guys.
“In my last band, our mascot was a black lab named Max. He was a trained pot sniffer. Instead of busting anyone he found holding, we just made them share. I know some of you have weed,” looking at my pot-head friends, “how about bustin’ it out?”
The pot-heads look around at everyone staring at them, shrug and pull out their stash. The aroma of Woodstock is in the air.
We play the CSNY’s ‘Woodstock’ as the joints go around. No Campus Cops in sight yet.
The spirit of the 60’s gets the folkies ‘back to the garden, if only to catch a joint that’s going by – ‘turning into butterflies above our nation.’
We return to ‘progressive’ English romantic rock and do Procol Harem’s ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’
‘We skipped the light fandango
Turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor…
She said, ‘There is no reason
And the truth is plain to see…
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale
And so it was that later’
Songwriters: GARY BROOKER, KEITH REID, MATTHEW FISHER
© T.R.O. INC.
“She’s gone,” I cry. Jack and David pat me on the back as I faux cry crocodile tears. Somehow real tears were running down my face – too much time in Hollywood, I figure, teaching me how to turn on the faucets. I rip into the intro to Yes’s ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart.
I next decide to do our old ‘Lives’ song, slowing it down to wring every emotion from the fans.
“This song’s called ‘Life’s Lies.’”
“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 always be sneakin’
“Well, I guess the parents saw through our fake manners and faux charm. But I’m gonna miss that girl.”
Jack does the intro to the Beatles ‘You’re gonna lose that girl.’ David does the vocals, singing to me, like a big brother
‘You’re going to lose that girl,
You’re going to lose that girl.
If you don’t take her out tonight,
She’s going to change her mind,
You need to take her out tonight,
You need to treat her kind’
Songwriters: JOHN LENNON, JOHN WINSTON LENNON, PAUL MCCARTNEY, PAUL JAMES MCCARTNEY
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
“But we’ve already said good-bye,” I argue with David, going right into the Moody Blues’ ‘Go Now.’
‘We’ve already said “Goodbye”
Since you gotta go,
oh you’d better
Go now go now, go now (Go now)
Before you see me cry?
I don’t want you to tell me
just what you intend to do now
‘Cause how many times do I have to tell you
darlin’, darlin’ I’m still in love with you now
Whoa oh oh oh’
Songwriters: DAVID J WEISS, DON EDOUARD FAGENSON, RON BANKS
© BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC
Jack takes over the singing on Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying.’
‘I thought that I was over you
but it’s true, so true
I love you even more than I did before
but darling what can I do
For you don’t love me and I’ll always be
Crying over you, crying over you
Yes, now you’re gone and from this moment on
I’ll be crying, crying, crying, crying
Yeah crying, crying, over you’
Songwriters: CHURCHILL L. KOHLMAN
© Roy Orbison Music Company , Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
David and I join Jack repeating the chorus over and over. The tears are running down my cheeks. I think, ‘how cheeky can I get?’
“I’m not giving up,” I swear to David and the crowd. I sing the Moody Blues ‘The Story in Your Eyes.’
‘I’ve been thinking about our fortune
And I’ve decided that we’re really not to blame
For the love that’s deep inside us
now, is still the same
And the sound we make together
Is the music to the story in your eyes’
Songwriters: JUSTIN HAYWARD © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
I look past the crowd toward Widener Library and see the Campus Police, watching our performance. Half the crowd is stoned, with a dozen joints going around. It’s time to disperse quickly.
“Thank you, Harvard. I needed to get it all out. I’ll never give up.”
I run off stage with my guitar, telling David, Jill, and Jack to follow me. The crowd is confused. The 3D girls come running after us.
“Please take our equipment down to the boiler room. The cops are about to pounce on everyone. Can we hide out in your room on three?” I ask nicely.
Happy roadies, they run off to do our bidding. After changing into different clothes and losing the wigs, we gather in 3D and watch the Campus Police arrive in force. Panic among the stoners ensues.
The best strategy is to drop the joint and just walk away. Those who run are chased down and rounded up. I regret having told everyone to toke up. Our weekend concerts in the Yard are over. All I can hope for is something organized by a Harvard approved club. Jack is trembling with fear that his Harvard life is over.
The counter-intuitive move is to call Dad and get his take. He knows how to handle the police.
“Hi, Susan. It’s Tim, your favorite step-child. Is Dad there?”
“He’ll be so glad you called, Tim. We miss you. How’s Harvard?”
“Great. I even have a girlfriend.”
“Wow, how’s Jack taking that?”
“He has one, too. We’re trying to experience normal college life.”
“How’s that working?”
“That’s why I need to talk with Dad. We may be in trouble.”
“I’m glad you’re asking for his help. He’ll be pleased even if he complains.”
“You know him well. How’s Winston?”
“He’s nothing like Max was, but he knows how to get on your Dad’s good side.”
“I need to take lessons.”
“Oh, Tim. I’ll get your dad.”
Dad is actually nice on the phone until I explain about the riot we caused.
“Don’t you ever learn? Was anyone hurt?” he expects it to be another Skynyrd concert disaster.
“No, we got everyone to leave before the police arrived. A few kids got busted for pot.”
“So you got away with it?”
“Well, that’s why I’m calling. I need your perspective. We were already gone when the police came, but I’m sure they’ll find out we organized the concert. What do I tell them?”
“You mean how do you manipulate the situation so you don’t get punished?”
“I know better than that now, Dad. Sure, we don’t want to get into trouble, but I’m not going to cover up that we put on the concert.”
“All the police want to know is who’s responsible and how to stop it from happening again.”
“We’re just promoting our band by putting on a show.”
“They don’t like your band because they think you’re promoting illegal activity.
“Last week they stopped us because we gave away beer. We didn’t do that today.”
“You want my advice?” He proceeds to give it. “Go to the police and explain what happened. Don’t tell them your motives unless they ask why. Be respectful and remorseful that it turned out badly. Don’t lie and definitely don’t try to manipulate the facts.”
I think for a second. The worst that could happen is I can be expelled. I pretty much know that Harvard is not for me, anyway. What the hell. I tell Jack I will take the blame for the unauthorized concert. David is not really a student. Jack was just going along with me. All three of us are attention junkies.No need for all of us to be punished, although maybe therapy is necessary.
I walk into the Campus Police office alone.
“Hey, Mick,” I greet our favorite gate guard.
“We was just talkin’ about youse,” He smiles at me.
“Yeah, this time I’m in trouble during the day.”
“Why?” he asks.
“Cause I’m young? My girlfriend’s parents don’t like me? Students like our band?”
“Well, what is it. The girlfriend? That I can understand.”
“I know you need to talk with me.”
“Hey, kid. We’re not counselors. You screw up, we’re gonna know about it.”
“So how do we play our songs without gettin’ into trouble?”
“You might let us know what you’re planning. We’re not the enemy here.”
“Can we have regular Sunday concerts on the lawn at Mower?”
“Fill out this form. Turn it into the Dean’s office. Then wait for approval. Keep the band in the basement until they approve your request.”
“Whadya want us ta do. Arrest ya for incitin’ a riot?”
“Then beat it. And wear decent underwear if yer goin’ to be naked on the T.”
All the other cops laugh at me, making me laugh, too.
“Say hi to Minehan for me.”
When I get back to 3D, everyone is waiting with bated breath.
“Did we get written up again?” Jack is on pins and needles.
“Naw. He gave me this form to get permission to play in the Yard.”
There’s a collective sigh of relief.
“What did they say about me?” Minehan only thinks about himself, like all teenagers.
“Mick says hi.”
We are off the hook. I call Dad and thank him. I figure it makes up for his screw-up with Joey. I visualize his smug look. It reminds me of Winston.
We all go to Widener and prepare for our upcoming classes. I make sure Minehan doesn’t copy my calculus worksheets. He still has all the right answers without showing the work.
“Why don’t you show the steps you take to arrive at your answers.”
“What steps. It’s like music. I think about what the next notes will be way before it’s time to play them and get there without thinking about it.”
“Okay,” I do not dispute his ‘music as calculus’ thinking. “You are pretty calculating.”
“I know. I’m impetuous. I just visualize where I wanna end up when I jump into the great unknown.”
“Sounds like wishful thinking to me.”
“Works for me, the 17 year-old dropout Harvard Man,” he pauses to strike a pose.
It’s time for his next swim lesson. No droopy drawers this week as he brought his regular swim trunks from home. He allows me to hold him up by his stomach without belly aching that I want to molest him. He even learns to rollover, so he can rest, with my hand on the small of his back.
“No unnecessary exploring, Gaybo,” he warns me.
With occasional rests on his back, he is soon able to complete a full lap of the pool. He is distressed to learn that the Harvard swim requirement is to complete 4 laps within a time limit.
“More fagging off in the pool, I guess,” he complains.
We all go for pizza at ‘Noch’s.’ The girls insist they each pay their share, instead of Jack picking up the tab. Minehan glares at them for making him pay as well.
“How am I gonna pay my tuition if I gotta pay for pizza as well?”
“How can you possibly pay your own tuition?” Trixie asks.
“I already got $200 set aside from my earnings at the gig.”
“You got paid to play at Smith?”
“Sure. We ain’t slaves, like at the Lampoon.”
”You two get paid as well?” Jill has to know.
“We got $150 each. David also played with the opening act. It was a straight 25% of the bar tab.”
“That why you didn’t want me to come?”
“Jeez, Jill. We weren’t even booked. They put us on and the bar take went up. We got ‘em so riled up they’s throwin’ their beer at us. Sound like fun?”
“No way. Sounds like a freak show. That when yer girlfriends’ parents dragged them away?”
“Yup. Romance was not in the air.”
“Even after you wrote them that Moody Blues ripoff?”
“The parents weren’t impressed.”
That night we find Troy in his room. We ask him to check with Venus about Trudie and Joan.
“I already heard. If they weren’t in college, they’d be grounded. The parents declared you guys dangerous and off-limits.”
“Yeah, we knew that. But what do the girls want?”
“Trudie hates what you did but loves it as well. She’s conflicted. Joan misses Jack but is waiting for Trudie to tell her what to do.”
“That’s good. Can Venus give them a message from us?”
“She promised not to tell you anything. They forgot to tell her not to tell me.”
“Tell Venus that we’re dying not knowing what they think. Tell her about the concert we played yesterday. We even did Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying’, we was so upset.
“They’ll find that romantic. Maybe you’re a one trick pony. Your lives are all about the band.”
“Hell no. The band is all about our lives.”
“See what I mean?”
“Yup,” I agree.
“You missed the game yesterday. We lost to Cornell 9-3. Everybody wondered why there were no girl cheerleaders. The team lacked spark”
“Man, we got blamed for everything this weekend. The riot in the Yard and now the football loss.”
“Get Venus to sneak them out next Saturday and come here. We’ll act like it wasn’t our idea. They liked the party at Fox,” Jack plots.
“You guys are definitely foxy.”
“Tell Venus she’s a ‘Foxy Lady.’
Monday morning, Jill and I are called to Kurt’s office at the Lampoon. He read our notes and the photos we surreptitiously took of Jill’s harassment.
“Time to turn all this into an article,” Kurt announces. “Any ideas?”
“We can expose all these bullies as typical Harvard male chauvinists,” I suggest.
“That would be an exposé, not a lampoon,” Jill notes.
That opinion makes me pause. “I thought we wanted to expose the misogyny here.”
“We’re not reporting the truth; we point to the obvious by satirizing the truth,” Kurt is agreeing with Jill.
“Okay. We need to make these guys seem silly, not just blind idiots.”
“That’s a start,” Kurt agrees.
“Good. I’m not happy being seen as a victim,” Jill declares.
“You’ve given as good as you got,” I praise her.
“Don’t make everyone a hero or a villain. This is not an epic fable,” Kurt warns.
“You want silly? Let Jill be the misogynist and the boys on staff be the victims in her reign of sexual abuse.”
“Yeah, I’m Barbarella of Boston.” Jill adds.
Kurt laughs. “Okay. That’s good. Do a draft, no more than 1000 words on Jill’s reign of terror. And make it funny. Serious is not a word for the Lampoon.”
Kurt calls a staff meeting. He announces that Jill and I would no longer be doing intern duties as he has us on special assignment. Looks of concern greet the announcement, as the worst abusers know there may be a reckoning coming.
At lunch in commons, we advise Jack and David of our new role at the Lampoon. Jack insists he be included in the drafting of our first article. David realizes he would be the only intern and insists we include him. He has no idea what it is all about. I call Kurt and advise him that all four of us are brainstorming and will be out that afternoon.
“I’ll expect a draft by tomorrow morning,” he orders.
We sit in commons going over all the abuses that Jill suffered, reversing them for males. We come up with a list of changes they will want for girls at the Lampoon:
- We make the guys look sexier
- The bathroom is now unisex and female-oriented. No leaving the seat up.
- Female staff are treated like a dominatrix.
- Males will be addressed with terms of endearment.
- Casual Fridays require males to dress in revealing outfits.
- Males staffers need hygiene upgrades.
- Tea is to be served..
- Male staffers will be allowed sick days when it is that time of the month.
- The Lampoon staff will be more gender diverse.
- Male staff will be available to service for special favors whenever needed.
- The Ibis on the masthead will be replaced..
- Puck will will be replaced by Punch and Judy.
- No accusing a female of being a lesbian for refusing to date a male staffer.
After writing up all the new rules, a short description of the first week of their implementation chronicles the chaos when boys are told to ‘woman up’ if they resist the changes. Terry is described as terrified of the chubby chasers who stalk him at work. Long lines for the bathroom develop after coffee break and lunch; female staffers are allowed to cut the line in retribution for 100 years of discrimination. Talk about football is banned at the water cooler, replaced by Judy Collins and Carol King records. A comprehensive seminar on women in history is run every day between noon and 12:05 pm. Staffers are required to memorize the list of female U. S. Presidents, starting with Dolly Madison. Not knowing any is cause for suspension. Male staffers are given nicknames; the most popular are shorty, limpy, quick, minuteman, teary, and clueless. It is voted that on Fridays all male staffers are to attend sensitivity and self-esteem classes run at Radcliffe. The males ask for escorts to protect them, after reports of molesters and male haters at the nearby campus.
Kurt laughs at the draft, telling us to proceed with an actual article. The first Lampoon issue is scheduled for the weekend of The Game, November 13th. Kurt tells us we can use sketched caricatures of staffers matched to the derogatory nicknames. Jack volunteers to do the drawings. David insists he will too.
“Okay,” Kurt comes to a summing up. “Who’s going to be the fall guy with their name on the article?”
Jill is willing, but it seems unfair after all the harassment she suffered. David is all too willing, which causes Kurt to suspect he has an ulterior motive – attention addiction. Jack is the only one who doesn’t volunteer, fearful for his Harvard status. That leaves it to me. I face expulsion anyway by the time it is published and agree to be the fall guy. Kurt asks me to remain after we are dismissed.
“Tell me about your time in Hollywood. I may have a project for you.”
“You mean the music, the drugs, or the sex?” I laugh.
“Some other time, but now I mean the movies.”
“Oh, well, we were interns on Scorsese’s new movie ‘New York, New York’ and delivered dailies and edited film to several studios. We also set up a meeting for Universal’s Edgar Bronfman with Elton John. Bronfman wants to set up a record label at Universal.”
“Edgar or Edgar Jr,” he asks.
“Junior. He throws his dad’s money around. He is a perfect foil for Jack.”
“So Jack was the leader in this adventure?”
“As far as throwing his dad’s name around, yes. We got MGM to invest $6 million in Marty’s musical because his dad’s a partner with Kurt Kirkorian.”
“So Jack’s the money guy?”
“You already know that. I ain’t rich. My dad works for the defense industry.”
“Fine. But who did the selling at MGM?”
“Sounds like you already know.”
“I heard you were leading Bronfman around by his wallet. Someone must’ve had a sales pitch other than where the money came from.”
“Okay. We did an actual song and dance to get the money, as well as selling Leonard Bernstein’s daughter’s song with her dad’s name on it. It’s the title of the musical now.”
“The word is the movie’s a bomb but Liza comes out smelling sweet because of that one song.”
“Marty’s not happy with us. He thinks we jinx him. His movie on our band never made it past Cannes.”
“So you’re 18 years old and already helped produce two movies?”
“Why are you going to college?”
“I’m in love with Jack. You know that. It ain’t no big secret anymore.”
“Lust in the dust?”
“Yeah, and everywhere else. Ya hate me now?” I can feel he likes me which goes against his normally closed-up heart.
“Why? I’m glad you’ve got each other. Obviously it doesn’t bother the girls. They seem to like that you’re threatening to guys.”
“Yeah, it’s a gas. ‘Cept now we‘re threatening to parents.”
“Troy still likes you.”
“’Cause he gets free beer at Rahar’s.”
“We’re worried you don’t want to stick around. Is that why your name’s on the exposé ?”
“I told ‘em at the interview. I’m here because Jack’s my boyfriend. That hasn’t changed.”
“But it will if you get kicked out.”
“Now y’all sound like Jack.”
“Here’s the deal. I need to send someone to Hollywood on a movie project. Probably gone all semester. You’ll get credit for work-study and all you need to do is pass your finals to get credit for your freshman classes .”
“Ya wants ta split up me and Jack. Y’all’s ‘fraid of gay backlash?”
”Listen, Tim. You need to take a break.”
“Y’alls just old an’ fergets how important love is.”
“Don’t shoot the messenger, Tim. Here’s an opportunity. I need you to do this. I know you won’t drag Jack with you if he wants to be here. We’ll talk some more. Talk it over with Jack. Don’t tell anyone else.”
“Only you can pull this off. I don’t want others to know. They’ll be mad at me if I don’t offer it to them. They’ll feel inadequate for not being trusted to do it.”
“What the hell is so important?”
“It’s a script called ‘Animal House.’ It’s not a Harvard project, but being directed by the National Lampoon.”
“So it’s grown-up shit. They’s all from Harvard anyways.”
“That’s not true. The lead writer’s from Dartmouth. He claims it’s about his frat there. It’s a real soap opera. I read it.”
“So you want me to take it away from him? Can I be a writer?”
“There are several writers. I need you to spice up what the Dartmouth guy thinks is such a gem. He demands that everything be true to his memory. You can relate and get him into the spirit of making it Hollywood, bigger than life.”
“What does he want? I cain’t be tellin’ him to change what was his life.”
“Your role will be to play the band that parties at the frat. It’s the 60’s. Like your old band, playing frats at U of M.”
“So I get paid?”
“Maybe even bring your band to Hollywood, all expenses paid.”
As I walk back to Mower, I can’t get over the raw ambition of taking False Gods to Hollywood. I can see Kurt’s raw manipulation in holding out the carrot of band promotion to get me to do his bidding on the project. Does he think I can be easily controlled once I worm my way onto the project? Maybe he does not know how much chaos we caused Scorsese last summer. He seems to know a lot about my prior projects. This is my chance to prove I have really talent, not just a punk kid acting out pranks and antics. I need the voice of reason. I even think I should call Dad, for the second time that Sunday. I need someone with their own perspective. I call Michael in Miami.
“Hey, Romeo. Married yet?”
“Not yet. It’s worse than marriage. I’m in college and dating a high schooler.”
“Say hi to Jenna. How’s college?”
“Everyone seems clueless.”
“I know what you mean.”
“How’s rooming with Jack? You love birds finally settled into domestic bliss.”
“Hell no. We’ve got a straight roommate. Both Jack and I are dating girls.”
“Oh, the horror of it all.”
“Harvard wants me to work on a movie in Hollywood. It means leaving Jack here. I need your advice.”
“You’ll drop out?”
“Naw. My classes are dumb. I don’t even go. As long as I pass the finals, I’m good. I’ll get paid in Hollywood and get credit for work-study.”
“Sounds like someone wants you to leave Jack. What’s the boy say?”
“I haven’t even told him. I only came here to be with him. They want me to be the music coordinator on the set. My boss at the Lampoon worries I’m about to be kicked out. We’re in constant trouble here.”
“You’re on the Harvard Lampoon?”
“Yeah. We’re interns. It is a promotion.”
“Well, you’re nothing if not ambitious. Go for it. You and Jack have survived being apart before.”
“Yeah, but this was supposed to be our time to finally be together.”
“Love conquers all. What do you really want?”
Michael is, as always, the sensible one.
“I want it all. And Jack always gets what he wants.”
“Just make him want you to be happy.”
“Sounds like a grand manipulation.”
“Tell him you won’t go because you have to be with him. Then see if he tries to make it work so you get what you really want.”
“I guess. I ain’t a psychologist.”
“Thanks. My girlfriend is in Psych 101. I’ll ask her.”
“Now there’s role reversal.”
I hang up and call Trudie. It’s before curfew. She comes to the phone after someone yells for her.
“I’m not supposed to talk with you,” she establishes her boundaries.
“Can I just ask yer advice. I have a problem. You’ve always been able to see my faults.”
“Yeah. It was real obvious when you acted like a monkey for my folks.”
“Sorry. I was acting crazy. But this is not about us. I got offered a job working on a Hollywood movie. I don’t know how to tell Jack that I want to leave for several months.”
“Sounds more interesting than your freshman classes.”
“That’s why I got offered it. I never go to class. The editor of the Lampoon thinks I’ll get kicked out if I keep on doing as I’ve done.”
“Sounds like he has your best interests at heart.”
“It’s exactly what I want to do. I’m only at Harvard because Jack loves it here.”
“It seems stupid, having to parrot back what the profs lecture. That’s why I need to go crazy on the weekends. We’ve been pulled in by the Campus Police three times.”
“Yeah. Venus told us about your ‘love-sick’ concert today.”
“We have to sing about our lives.”
“Is it real or is it Memorex?”
I laugh. “Maybe a little bit of drama thrown in.”
“So? Will you miss me if you go all Hollywood?”
“That means you still wanna go out?”
“Is this some manipulation to find out if I’m still mad at you?”
“No. We can deal with us once I decide how to deal with Jack.”
“Well, the truth comes out. I’m so pleased to be second fiddle.”
“Please. This is not about us. I wanna go to Hollywood and I wanna be with Jack. I know he won’t wanna leave. Am I stuck in Cambridge?”
“Again, it’s all about communication. You believe he’ll throw a fit without first asking him. Always the cart before the horse.”
“It’s more like the horse’s ass,” I joke.
“Be serious, Tim. How can you make this decision before you’ve even discussed it with Jack?”
Trudie is my new Dr. Kam.
“I just know he’s going to throw a fit.”
“Afraid to stand up for what you want?”
“What if he insists on dropping out too? It’ll be all my fault for ruining his Harvard career.”
“It’s nice you care about consequences. Do you really want him with you in Hollywood? It seems your boss thinks you need to be separated.”
“Argh. I don’t know what to do.”
“When do you have to decide?”
“Soon but I don’t know exactly when.”
“My advice is that you both need to communicate better. Don’t make decisions assuming what each other is thinking or wants.”
“Thank you, Dr. Trudie, for taking my call.”
“Tell Jack that Joan is pining.”
“Don’t overestimate your charm, mister.”
We both laugh.
“Can we come see you next weekend?” I push my luck.
“We’ll see. Just don’t show up unannounced.”
I wonder if she really means it.