That afternoon, we meet with Kurt to review our progress on lampooning the Lampoon. David and I again present the caricatures we did. Kurt says they are wonderful but he decides they hit too close to home. He allows us to go ahead with the Lampoon’s 100th anniversary playing card pack, much to David’s relief. He has already banked the profit he plans to make on their sale. I find an old sepia tintype photo of the Lampoon founders. We say we’ll make our own sketches from it and use the founders as the original misogynists. We tell Kurt the nicknames we plan to use. He was a bit taken aback and suggests we work with him for comic, rather than shock affect, once we do the sketches.
Jill submits her parody of the office culture. She calls it Boston Barbarella, or Boston Bossy for short, how she takes over the Lampoon. Kurt is very pleased. We sit around laughing at her descriptions of reverse discrimination.
That night, Tim calls and we bemoan how much we miss each other. I enjoy his tales of the Chelsea, urging him to tell Bill Burroughs that we haven’t broken up yet. The decision on whether and when he is going to Hollywood will be decided soon. I make him promise he’ll return for The Game, regardless.
Trixie and Carol use their charm to talk all of us onto the Harvard Cheerleading Squad. For some odd reason the boys believe the 3D girls should be dressed in long pants and sweaters, like the boys. Trixie, Carol and Jill plan to sew skirts and school blouses. I fear they are for falling into a stereotype. Mummy promises that appropriate female cheer outfits will be delivered before the weekend. The cheer-leading boys are miffed. They know that their days as stars of the sidelines are over. Once we work on routines together, their reluctance evaporates. Building a pyramid with the girls at the top takes them to new heights. Ever bold Jill volunteers to be at the apex and to flip into the arms of two boys on the ground. I’m relegated to choreographer, which is fine. I tell them that I’ll be up in the press box, to play the National Anthem on my MOOG. The Marching Band is practicing at the same time. I’m emboldened to approach the Band Director, suggesting that the spirit section Tim & I had proposed now be allowed. He dismisses the idea, out of hand. He says we are better off with the cheerleaders.
As I’m leaving, the boys who want to join the Standing Band approach me.
“We have an idea, Jack. Since you’ll have the MOOG amped up in the press box, we can play fanfares as you come in on electric organ. Da da, da dut, ta dah,” They mouth.
“Let’s hope he has a heart attack and dies,” one of the trumpeters snarls. I worry it may be prophetic. Progress marches on.
I realize I can play my MOOG throughout the game, like an organist at old-time silent movie theaters.
“Yeah. Come to our rehearsal at Mower tonight at 9. We’ll work out cheers. We’ll really spark up the stands.” I feel just like Tim, without the country accent. I hug them. They look embarrassed.
The band rehearsal is missing Minehan that night. He claims The Neighborhoods can’t come into Cambridge. They’re rehearsing at Jim’s in Waltham. David is worked up about Jim being in on the Teen Jesus thing. He plans to interrogate the boy. Jace promises to be there to defend Jim. The band boys arrive with their brass instruments. They seem more normal out of their funky, heavy wool band uniforms, and no military style hatware.
‘I need a shower
How will I ever
In just a towel
Down these halls
Who knows his name
His ruthless game
Take me, take me
That’s what he wants
I’ll walk free
Run the gauntlet
Lock the door
Not to fret
Won’t get me yet
Go back to your floor’
That’s all she has, but it’s a great start. We can polish it before The Game in three weeks.
The band boys are going crazy with their fanfares. It adds up to a great rehearsal. I call Tim in New York, leaving a message at the Chelsea. Good luck on him getting it. I’m not surprised Tim isn’t in when I call at eleven pm. I’m not envious, yet.
David is back from Waltham in time to drag me to commons for breakfast. He is his cheery self and makes it easier to get up. The girls tell him all about the band rehearsal, making him jealous when they praise the Marching Band boys who joined our group. I watch him plotting his promotion from pet to boyfriend material. Good luck.
Returning to our room, I see Jace sitting on my bed. He looks concerned
“What’s up, butt boy?” I ask.
“Don’t call me that,” Minehan complains.
“Sorry. I’m talking to Jace. He’s sitting on my bed.”
“More of this ghost crap? I had to beat Jim down to get him to tell me about the whole Jace thing. Did he tell you to pretend to be talking to ghosts?”
Jace looks more unhappy. I need to work Tim’s magic on Minehan. I sit next to Jace, facing David who is sitting on my old bed.
“Do you trust me?” I grab the bull by the horns.
“I knew it. I ain’t gonna fool around with youse. You gays are all alike.”
“Stop it. No one can take advantage of you. I like that you stick up for all the girls, and even for me. You sure aren’t gonna let anyone push you around.”
‘Ya got that right.”
“I’m just asking you to trust me when I tell you about Jace. You already played the MOOG with him. Now you need to learn to trust him.”
“Right. Teen Jesus. Sock it to me. Jim’s a pushover. I ain’t that easy.”
“Jesus, David. That’s your problem. You won’t let anyone in. We live together. We really are friends. There’s no way I want to mess that up.”
“This is not about me. It’s not about the band and music. It’s about you learning to trust others by being open-hearted.”
“A whole lotta good that’ll do me.”
“You liked learning to play the MOOG?”
“Sure. I’m a natural.”
“You don’t remember letting Jace control your hands and the MOOG controls.”
“Why can’t you let Jace into your heart? He’ll tell you who you can trust.”
“Yeah. I’ll bet he’ll be sneakin’ you and your fuck buddy right in there as well.”
“You’re right. ‘Cause we want you to trust us, too.”
“You’ll be in there fucking so hard my heart’ll be rockin’ and sockin’. You want me ta think that’s natural.”
We both start laughing. His imagery is always so great.
“Calm down. You only let people in who you trust and who love you, like Jesus at first communion.”
“I’m beyond that stage.”
“Was it so bad? You were a little kid. We’ve known each other for two months, but right from the start I trusted you and held you in my heart.”
“Jesus. Here it comes.”
“I know you like Tim.”
“I just want you to be more trusting. Obviously no one’s going to take advantage of your hard-hearted ass.”
He laughs. “That’s for sure.”
Jace interrupts me. We have to talk.
“Let me talk with Jace. I’ll use sign language so you know I’m not speaking to you.”
“You use sign language? Can I learn?”
“Okay. Just watch. I’ll translate.”
Jace looks exasperated. He signs, “I have to tell something about Tim.”
I tell David and sign back to Jace that I’m listening.
“He’s going to Hollywood this weekend,” Jace spills the beans.
“What? We have all these things we’re doing for the Princeton game.”
“He knows and is upset. He has no choice.”
“Great. I knew it,” I start to tear up.
“What?” Minehan sees me start to cry.
“Tim’s not coming this weekend. He’s off to Hollywood.”
“Thanks a lot,” I sniff.
David comes over and puts his arm on my shoulder. He jerks suddenly, and then laughs.
“Is this what you mean by having Jace in my heart?” he smiles. I feel him in my heart for the first time.
“Tim’s there, too. That’s weird. He’s in New York.”
“Yeah. We’re always connected. Now you are too.”
“He says he didn’t want to tell you about not coming to Cambridge because he knows you’ll freak.”
“But, ‘cause we can always feel him, it’s like he’s here.”
“Well, there’s certain things that I need him here for, more than just in spirit.”
“I think you make it more complicated than it really is.”
I realize he’s right. He knows now what I’m thinking and gives my shoulder a squeeze.
“That’s as far as I’m going. Just don’t cry.”
My new ‘insight’ into David reveals what a softie he is for tears. He instantly knows I have found his weak spot. He glares at me and removes his arm.
We don’t tell the 3D girls about Tim’s defection from the cause until the evening rehearsal in the boiler room. They agree to be extra nice to Trudie when she comes with Joan for the weekend. Thinking about Joan, I know she’ll help me forget how much I miss Tim. Tim pops up and lets me know he approves of my hetero-normative tendencies. Mummy will be so pleased. I’m not so sure. What a normal teenager I’ve become. I call Isaac in Miami; we haven’t spoken in months; he is full of D&D lore to discuss; I’m glad to have matured some. He’s at the University of Miami and worked up about joining a fraternity or not.
“We all make mistakes in life,” I tell him. “Why not just start your own D&D group there.”
I promise to send him my tactical rules manual, suggesting he call it Advanced D&D. His enthusiasm jumps when I promise to attend over Christmas break.
Trixie is again worked up about the cheer-leading for the upcoming football games. The 3D girls are excited about debuting their new cheer-leading outfits that Mummy sent. We agree to make their debut at the stadium into a fashion runway show. They are practicing their tumbling and pyramid-building with the boy cheerleaders. I play several fanfares on the MOOG to get them into the spirit. Now all the third floor Mower girls are taking part in the show. We decide to change our name to The Not Just Standing Band.
“I’m sitting with Bill Burroughs at the Chelsea,” he signs. “He says hi. Actually he is high. The money Doug Weston got him for ‘Wild Boys’ is keeping him wasted, 24/7.”
“Is that a good thing?”
“Don’t be judgmental.”
“Don’t you start acting mental. I have enough of that dealing with Minehan.”
“Your new roommate,” he laughs.
I gulp and Tim instantly knows I still miss him.”
“I go to LA this weekend. I’ll take the shuttle up to Boston for the game, then fly out on Sunday. Happy?”
My heart s flipping up and down. He smiles. (how do I know that).
“I do, too,” he states, sensing how much I love him.
I instantly cum, just like in a wet dream.
“Wow. Psychic sex. That’s a new one,” Tim exclaims. “How’dcha do that?”
“Just by knowing you love me.”
“That will never change.”
I’m getting hard again.
“Ya gettin’ off agin?”
His reverting to country speech is a turn-off.
“Sorry. I need you to hit me when I use New English.”
I fall asleep quickly, holding him in my mind. Just before I go under, I glimpsed that Burroughs is in his heart. What an old perv.
David is peevish in the morning, no longer leading me to the bathroom. Anyway, I’m over feeling sorry for myself.
“What’s the matter?” I ask him.
“If ya gots to jerk-off in bed, don’t make so much noise. I need my sleep.”
“Sorry,” as I turn beet-red. I’m not about to tell him about psychic sex with Tim. I doubt he’s interested.
He has The Neighborhoods rehearsal in Waltham that afternoon. He gathers my sheets as well as his for his mom to wash, giving me the evil eye, too obviously enjoying my shame.
Trixie, Carol and I go to a costume house in Boston. It’s close to Halloween, so they can’t do a special order until after November first. We design bulldog heads which we’ll use for the cheer-leading skit against Yale. We rent five Tony the Tiger heads and tails for the Princeton game. It’s agreed that the props will be shared with the boys, so it’ll be equal groveling for both male and female cheerleaders on the stadium field. We’re so right on.
I don’t tell anyone that Tim is coming for the game. Everyone goes to the Smith bus to greet Trudie and Joan. Trudie definitely misses Tim. All the girls make an extra effort to include her in our preparations for the game. A dinner at the Ritz helps. The Smithies quickly learn the Irish Step-Dancing. The Ritz security arranged for a South Boston parish to send their whole youth group to participate. The twelve-year-olds are the stars. We all end up singing ‘Danny Boy’ and ‘Irish Eyes’ together. It’s better cross-border diplomacy than a visit to the Rat. We promise to come to their youth group in Southie. They say they love being at the Ritz. Jill and I sing ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz.’
Soon everyone is dancing like it’s 1976, more disco than swing.
Minehan announces he has a surprise for us on Saturday at the Rat. He is mum about it, but it’s an apt counterpoint to our Harvard weekend.
Since we are so well dressed, we decide to crash Fox. They welcome us as we waltz in, insisting David and Carol reprise their song and dance from the previous weekend’s cocktail party. We all reprise our ‘Ritz’ act as an encore to our evening. Joan and I make sure Trudie is totally involved in our antics, so she doesn’t miss Tim.
As we say goodnight to the girls on the stairs, Minehan announces he’s going home that night to get ready for his Saturday night surprise. He gives me a quick wink, to clue me in that I have our dorm room to myself. I quickly whisper to Joan that I’ll wait for her at the bottom of the stairs, so she can graciously excuse herself from the third floor. Joan turns red from blushing. Trudie gives her a wink as well.
We walk down my corridor, arms around each other’s waist. I’m not showing off, but there are several wolf whistles as we walk by open doors. Good manners restrict me from going into details of our first night of passion; she is still 17. Suffice to say, it’s much more satisfying now that she wants to ‘go all the way.’ As a gentleman, I can say she is totally pleased. As she lays sleeping in my arms, Tim comes into my heart, signing a big ‘Hah.’
In the morning, Jill, Trudie, and the 3D girls peek in on us. Piling in and sitting on Minehan’s bed, they’re pleased to see us wrapped up together. The two of us are embarrassed to be totally naked, pulling the covers up to keep us decent. At least the bed isn’t torn up. I laugh remembering the motel rooms Tim and I trashed on our Easter road trip to New York. Everyone is excited about the football game.
After breakfast, we all go to the boiler room to debut our new songs for the Smithies. It gets so crowded, we take the acoustic guitars, MOOG, and a pair of tom toms out into the Mower courtyard. Without beer or pot, we still draw a crowd. The songs go over well, especially the ‘Fight Fiercely, Fight’ ripoff of Tom Lehrer.
During a cheerleading practice, I scout out the sound system in the press box. There is no mixing board, just an amp with several open jacks. The stadium attendant who lets me in is into rock and promises to help me set up the MOOG on Saturday. He tells me that the game announcer is pretty old. I’ll need to convince him that I’m part of the Marching Band’s performance. The announcer is no fan of the Band Director, having played a recorded version of the National Anthem for years, only to be told a few years ago that the band was replacing him with a live performance. I trust my good manners to win the old guy over. He has been announcing since the Civil War.
“You boys want to go first as doppelgängers for the opponent. We’ll switch after the half, so both genders have to submit to the whip.”
Jace is hovering and snaps his whip. Several boys jump. They all look worried. The faculty adviser smiles. Unlike the band, there is no adult supervision, just an adviser.
“Com’n boys. It worked against BU. Let’s do it again.”
“I’ll be playing music to go along with the domination of these pussies,” I crow.
“Jack!” the girls scream, while the boys laugh at my misogyny. Compromise, compromise.
Next I explain how their entrance into the stadium will be like a runway show, premiering the new girly outfits. There are no complaints.
It’s all set. Before going up to the press box, I wander over to where the Marching Band is setting up. I wink at the boys we practiced fanfares with. They wink back. Another musician shouts, “Hey it’s the Standing Band.”
“We changed our name,” I reply.
“’Bout time,” little does he know.
The Band Director looks on smugly.
I introduce Joan, Trudie and myself to the announcer. He has his notes out and is preparing his play-by-play routine.
“We’re the amplified part of the band,” I explain, not specifying which band. “We realize you were right about an amplified National Anthem.”
“Finally, someone listens to me. What’s that keyboard?”
I explain how the MOOG works. He’s amazed but willing to listen and learn.
“Ready to sing the National Anthem?” I ask the girls. Their eyes get big. “I’ll sing along with you, if you forget the words or anything.”
“Jack, you need to ask us before springing surprises.” Trudie attempts to set boundaries.
“What? And ruin the excitement?”
Joan laughs, to Trudie’s dismay.
“It’ll be so much better if we three sing along to the band. I can do it by myself….” I leave it hanging.
It’s show time. The announcer reads his usual ‘Welcome to Harvard Stadium’ spiel. The male cheerleaders come running out, as I set the MOOG’s rhythm function to disco and start playing Cher’s ‘Believe.’
Trudie comes in, right on time, singing a breathy ‘After love, after love’, as the first female cheerleader comes strutting out of the tunnel, in high heels, and vogueing her new outfit. Trudie is a perfect Cher with her East Coast accent. Jill leads the girls onto the playing field, through a runway formed by the boys. The student section erupts in cheers and whistles. Disco invades college football. The alums sit silently in their sideline seats, stunned by the radical change. Jill struts to the middle of the field, nods to her left and right, and then turns around as Trixie takes center stage. Every girl has her 2 seconds in the spotlight. They turn around and march to the end of the line of male cheerleaders, kicking off their heels. Once all the girls finish their runway walks, they come back tumbling, twirling and waving to the crowd. The students are an unending cheer and shout. The younger alums pick up the cheer. The male cheerleaders grab the megaphones and urge on everyone to chant ‘Go Harvard, Go Harvard.’ The fanfare boys in the band, let loose with their trumpets. I add my MOOG’s bassoon punctuation to the fanfares. The girls tumble their way back to the tunnel entrance, out of which come the five boys in tiger heads and tails. Short bull whips have been placed by the tunnel. The girls get behind the faux tigers and whip them into the middle of the field. The end zone student section is in a frenzy. Even the old alums know what the skit means. After a big roar, the male cheerleaders have everyone chanting ‘Go Harvard’ again. The tigers are herded to the Princeton side, where the stands are as silent as whipping boys. All the cheerleaders line up and reform the gauntlet for the team players’ entrance. The team is pumped up by all the noise and cheering. This is not the Harvard they knew. Everyone, including cheerleaders, lines up on the sideline.
I turn to the announcer, who starts his script.
“Welcome Princeton and Harvard fans to the 79th annual football confrontation. Please stand for the singing of the national anthem.”
The Marching Band is assembled in the peristyle end zone. The Director raises his baton and the band commences the Star Spangled Banner.
I turn on our mic and the three of us sing out the National Anthem. The band director drops his baton. My MOOG never misses a beat and the band plays on. As we finish, there’s a huge, sustained cheer. Imagine that, patriotism after ten years of useless war in Southeast Asia. The older alums are so pleased. The band director recovers his poise. The Marching Band exits the field, the director casting an evil eye toward the press box. The announcer comes on with the starting lineups for both teams. The captains meet in the middle of the field for the coin toss. It’s time for football. I lock the press box door. All my worry and care to stay on the right side of the University Administration washes down the drain. All I can hope is for Harvard to prevail in football.
While continuing to do his play-by-play, the announcer writes me a note: ‘give it to that band director.’ He winks at me. I have my first ally. The Harvard team is shaken up by all the cheering. Princeton is incensed by the insult to their mascot; they take a 7-0 lead on their first drive. On their second drive, I start a ‘Hold that tiger, hold that tiger,’ cheer with Trudie and Joan shouting out the lyrics. My band friends end each cheer with a fanfare.
Now we have ragtime in the stadium. I continue to play organ ragtime, like in a silent movie theater.
Suddenly I feel all happy. Tim is at the stadium.
“Where are you?” he ask my heart.
“In your heart,” I laugh. “Actually I’m locked in the press box with Joan and Trudie.
“No sexy moves until I get there.”
“Too busy playing the MOOG.”
“Jesus. I can hear it all over the stadium.”
“Get down on the field with the 3D girls, before the cheer boys humiliate them.”
“I wanna see you.”
“Just wait until halftime.”
I go back to the MOOG. I tell the girls to go down to the field and check that the band director isn’t up to anything. They join the other girls, surrounding Tim. He grabs a megaphone and begins pacing up and down the Harvard sideline, exhorting the fans to cheer for their team. He reminds me of Felix the Cat, all dressed in black. He spent his per diem at Trash & Vaudeville.
The cheering stiffens the Harvard defense; we use the ‘Hold that Tiger’ song to get the fans cheering their efforts. I play ‘Crimson and Clover’ and the offense is able to mount a drive and tie the score by halftime at 7-7
The psychedelic riffs have the students shouting and waving. Unfortunately, it has the opposite effect on the older alums. I switch to King Crimson’s ballad ‘In the Court of the Crimson King.’
The Marching band’s flute section picks up the solo part, calming the older alums who feel like they’re at Symphony Hall. Next I play selections from the progressive rock on Jethro Tull’s ‘Thick as a Brick’ album.
I play a lead, with the flutes riffing on it. The older alums still think it is classical music.
The Marching Band takes the field, with the announcer reading his notes of their concept of halftime entertainment, something about the ‘Spirit of 1776.’ The stands are buzzing from the excitement of amplified music in the stadium. I run down to the field, jumping into Tim’s arms in the midst of the cheerleaders. The males have that ‘I knew it’ look on their faces. The girls turn it into a group hug. Tim is back!
“Your performance is incredible,” he proclaims. “It echoes throughout the old stadium,” he enthuses.
“How’s it compare to your performance at Iowa State?”
“It’s so much better. You’re riffing with the band. The cheerleaders are using your music for their skits. You came up with this in one week? I know Mummy has a hand in the girls’ outfits.”
The whole stadium goes ‘Ah.’ There are also more than a few ‘No’s.’ Coming out is always an event. Doing it for 30,000 fans is dramatic.