My football weekend at Harvard is a blast. Jack outs me in front of the packed football stadium during halftime. He is really putting on a show, with his MOOG blaring from the stadium speakers and the cheerleaders twirling and tumbling to his music. After a busy workweek, I just relax and laugh my ass off at all the skits, especially the tigers being chased around the cheerleaders’ pyramid. It reminds me of the Sambo’s restaurant jingle where I sat with Jimmy Olson for hours after escaping the Fort Lauderdale hospital. Trudie is right by my side, relieved that I finally showed up. The Smith girls don’t object when Jack and I spend Saturday after football fucking like rabbits. Girls can be jealous when their boyfriends are having sex without them. We make it up to them that night. Trudie and I get distracted by Jack’s aggressive love-making; we worry he is overwhelming the 17-year-old virgin. Once they finish and go instantly to sleep, we spend the rest of the night with more mutual loving-making. I am not as exhausted from my busy week as I thought. After seeing our ‘dates’ off to Smith, Jack has a minor meltdown taking me to the airport for my flight to LA. A flamboyant goodbye kiss in the departure lounge solves his broken heart. We both love putting on a show. LA is going to be Showtime for me. I’m primed and ready.
Tony and Jimmy meet me at LAX. We go directly to the Whiskey a Go-Go. Every Sunday afternoon they put on local bands. It’s a scene. The audience is more interesting than the bands, who need more stage presence. They’re just a backdrop to the action on the floor. The crowd looks like they had just came from the midnight showing of ‘Rocky Horror’ at the Rialto in South Pasadena. To the left of the stage is a corner where you can spark up a joint and not be seen by the bouncers. Jimmy introduces me to a tall girl called Suzie Chap Stick. Her father is Moroccan and has an import-export business. He smuggles hash inside wax candles. One hit and my head explodes. With the hash pipe still in my hand, I crash backwards through the crowd, creating an open space between me and the stoners who want their pipe back. They look aghast as I spotlight their illegal activity. It is all good as my head deflates enough to return the pipe. Tony laughs that I had to make a show of my entrance to the scene.
We hang out with a group of high school kids from the Westside, Westwood and Santa Monica. Their leader is a morose boy with spiked bleached hair, calling himself Bobby Pin. I start calling him Safety, upgrading his transgender persona.
“Just you can call me that,” Safety decides. “Wanna join our clique. I’ll mark you on the wrist.”
He grabs my arm and is about to burn me with his cigarette.
I pull away. “Not ready to be scarred for life,” I decline.
“You’re no fun,” as he walks away, followed by a coterie of five girls. He looks back and winks at me. I guess he is cool.
“Don’t fall in with those suburban punks,” Jimmy warns. “They party hardy on the weekend and go home to recover all week. Their parents pay their bills.”
“And Doug pays yours.”
“We earn our keep,” he responds, thinking a blow job is a household chore, like taking out the trash.
I laugh at him, thinking about the Dolls’ ‘Trash’ song. It’s where it all started for me when I was 14.
I follow him and Tony back to Suzie Chapstick and her suburban group for more hash. They refuse to give me the pipe. I am not cool enough. I am too high and happy not to indulge more.
Soon we are at Oki Dog, watching the street action. Sunday night is last call for the trolls picking up boys on Santa Monica Blvd. before going back to their straight lives. The tricks go crazy trying to get the attention of cruisers who drive fancy Mercedes or Jags. Ford drivers are tolerated but anyone in a Chevy is considered to be a Mexican lowlife, trying to get away without paying. Twenty bucks is the going rate; the actual sex act is negotiable. The nicer the car, the more the trick is willing to perform – a reversal of trickle-down economics. Jimmy is hot to go. He promises to bring back a joint after scoring a trick. I encourage him as my hash high has receded and a joint seems like a good way to chill out.
Tony asks me if I expect to see Joan Jett, saying that The Runaways are returning soon from their Japanese tour. I hope to see her, ‘to practice my Japanese.’ Tony laughs. Jimmy quickly returns and I get my fix. I feel 14 again. I tell them about my adventures with Joey and how getting high led me to be a degenerate. The three of us sit at a picnic table at Oki Dog on Santa Monica and sing the Dolls’ ‘Personality Crisis.’
It all comes back to me. Pot works like reverse time travel, taking you back and keeping you from going forward into adulthood. I realize that Robby’s maintain strategy is his way to stay a 14-year-old forever. I ask Tony if Doug will take us to Dan Tana’s for pizza. I needed my pizza fix.
“Dan Tana’s not the place for good pizza,” he demurs.
We jump into his Datsun and drive to Hollywood proper, Yucca and Las Palmas, Two Guys from Italy. It’s tucked into a strip mall, just a joint. With low expectations, I’m surprised it’s tasty and fits the bill. They call me a snob for ranking pizza joints. I tell them about the Pizza Pit in Ames.
“I thought Iowa was just one big pit,” Tony jokes.
“Now you’re the snob,” I accuse him.
Jimmy pulls a dead cockroach out of his pocket and sticks it on the last slice. When one of the Two Guys comes over with the bill, we all point to the roach.
“I’sa so sorry,” the Guido apologizes. “We justa fumigatud. It musta fallen from-a the ceiling.”
We leave without having to pay. I leave five bucks as a tip. Tony and Jimmy laugh at me. I have picked up Jack’s entitled habits. We walk around Hollywood Blvd, bumming quarters from the tourists. Looking into the Gold Cup, Jimmy pulls on our sleeves and we hustle away.
“Just someone I owe who I need to avoid.”
“Ya got a drug habit?”
“Naw. Just a bit short this week.”
I don’t believe him. They laugh at me when they find out that the five dollar tip leaves me with zero cash.
“Get yer ass out there on Selma,” Tony orders. “We ain’t carryin’ another homeless teenager.”
I need to get my Lampoon check cashed in the morning.
“You need to see Top Jimmy,” our Jimmy decides.
We walk over to La Brea and turn south toward Sunset, stopping at Top Taco, a sidewalk stand.
“Hey, Jimmy,” Tony speaks up for me. “Our friend just got to Hollywood and is dead broke. Kin ya whip up a few tacos fer us?”
The burly guy behind the counter turns away and in a couple of minutes presents me with a platter of rolled tacos.
“Thanks, man. Ya saved me.”
“Y’all don’t look so desperate, but I don’t want ya sellin’ yerserf jist to eat.”
“That’s exactly what Jimmy suggested,” I point at the miscreant.
“Don’t trust anyone ya jist met in Hollywood,” he advises.
I give my friends the evil eye.
“Good boy. Now yer learnin.’”
This street education seems much more practical than anything Harvard has taught me. But then, I am just a freshman.
“Wanna check this gay club? It’s called Paradise. It’s all ages and more’n a disco, with a coffee bar and even a library to jist hang out.”
“What’s all ages mean, kids under 18 can get in?”
“Jeez, Iowa. This ain’t the sticks. Ya gots ta be 21 to go to clubs where they sell alcohol.”
“Don’t mean shit to us. Tony here gets us in anyways. But at Paradise, there’s regular kids there. They jist can’t go into the bar area.”
“Check it out,” I agree.
Back in the Datsun, we tear down Highland, past Arthur J’s. We find street parking near the club. Sitting in the car, we hit another joint to ramp up our excitement about disco dancing. We waltz in to Paradise on an Acapulco Gold high. There’s no bouncer checking IDs. The disco floor is right inside the door. All three of us dance with each other. We’re fresh meat to the sparse Sunday night crowd, several of whom join us on the empty dance floor, circling us, looking for an invitation to join our three-way boogie jam. Jimmy is quickly picked off, and once someone choses Tony, I figure I’m not putting out an available vibe. I go and stand against the wall.
An older guy, at least 30, asks me if I want him to buy me a drink.
“Just a beer’s cool.”
“Meet me in the library,” he has it all plotted out to ply me with alcohol. He doesn’t seem to notice I’m high from smoking weed.
The library is in the back with several secluded nooks to make out. I’m amused by this seduction. He comes in with a single beer, going back to the bar for his own drink. He has the corruption of minors’ morals down to a routine.
“You by yourself?” he asks once he returns.
“My two friends got picked up quickly. They’re around somewhere.”
“You not interested in being picked up.”
“Just having a good time. We were at the Whiskey, Okie Dog and ate at Two Guys and Top Taco. Making the rounds.”
“Not your first time in Hollywood? How old are you?”
“You seem more mature than the usual teens in Paradise.”
“I’m not hustling. How old are you?”
He pauses, then tells me what has to be the truth, “42.”
“You’re not married or anything, are you?”
“This is not a job interview. But, no. I was married but not for several years now.”
We relax, and he smiles once he knows I am not rejecting him. I trust him enough to know he has no secret agenda. It’s Sunday night.
“Do you go out most nights and usually alone?”
“My friends are around, probably laughing at my lame pick-up technique.”
“We broke up. We were roommates at college but only got together after we both came out.”
“Guilty jack-off sessions in college while you tell each other you’re straight.”
“Yeah. I felt so guilty that I was perverting him. He now says he loved it but was afraid to tell me.”
“Life in the closet. It’s claustrophobic. My boyfriend and I are college roommates”
He laughs. “It’s so much easier now.”
“Except we have a third roommate who makes fun of us. He calls me Gaybo.”
“What’s he call your roommate?”
The guy breaks up. He’s cool for knowing about cartoon characters.
My name’s Jake, Gaybo.”
“My real name’s Tim, but you can call me Andy. Just don’t call me Timmy. There’s no Lassie in my life. There are a couple of Bossies, though.”
I tell him about my country life in Iowa, the twins and ‘Gator. He gets me several more beers and takes me home. I leave my bag in Tony’s trunk, without telling them I am leaving with Jake. I know they don’t care. Jake lives in the top floor apartment of an Art Deco 1930’s building on the corner of Western and Glendale Blvd, right where Western goes into Griffith Park. It has this great round window looking out at the whole city.
After we do the deed, he takes me onto a roof garden to look at the stars. I sing “Up on the Roof’ for him, getting choked up thinking about Tina watching the same stars on her Bronx tenement rooftop, probably with Pete.
“Why are you crying?” Jake asks, wiping away a single tear.
“I’m a sentimental fool.”
We go back inside. He has the NY Sunday Times spread out on the coffee table. I have to check out my article in the magazine section.
I laugh and point to my name on the byline. Jake doesn’t doubt me but finds it too incredible.
“You write for the Times?”
“I’m an intern at the Lampoon. I had to prove I have talent in order to get a job out here. I start in the morning on a movie.” I explain the whole Dakota band thing.
He pulls me into a hug and reads my article to me. I find it cute to be snuggled while he reads my words. I realize what genius Gorey is to make a fable of the whole article. Jake leads me into his bedroom. I let him fuck me for the longest time. He is a good fuck. All my ego and id are satisfied. Who needs a super ego?
He lets me spend the night and makes coffee in the morning, complaining I wake up too early.
“Jist used to havin’ ta milk the cows in Iowa.”
“I thought you went to college?”
“Hard to break old habits.”
“You sure don’t seem 18.”
I’m soon on my way to my first day at work. Jake gives me his number. I know I am a good fuck. I will call Tony later about my suitcase. I feel guilty about not really wanting to stay at Doug’s. Also, I have to borrow five dollars from Jake for bus fare to Universal Studies, up Cahuenga Blvd, halfway to the Valley. He laughs that I’m not getting rich writing for the Times. I show him my royalty check to prove I’m not a hustler. He suggests I get it into the bank, kissing me goodbye.
My new boss, John Landis, treats me decently, kidding that he received a letter from PJ recommending me for the job he had already given me. While we are chatting, that Chris Miller guy interrupts us to complain about some detail in the script.
“That won’t get any better once you start shooting,” I lament with Landis, after Miller runs off about something else bugging him.
“I’m 18 now. I have to behave myself.”
“That’s the first good news in my day.”
“Let me get you coffee,” I’m in intern mode. I still have $3 from my bus fare. I flirt with a secretary who tells me where to get decent coffee. I even buy a donut to go with it. She tells me that Landis takes cream and excessive sugar. When I get back, he’s pleased to have an intern slave. I make him promise to tell the staff I’m exclusively his slave. Jake gave me his copy of the Sunday Times magazine. I let Landis read it while I go to a bank he recommends to start an account. He gives me a note saying I’m employed by the Studio. They allow me to get a $100 advance while my check clears. I’m no longer broke, just homeless. Not bad for my first day in LA.
Once I return, I continue my intern chores. Since I’m now on payroll, I am promoted to assistant producer, which in Hollywood terms means intern slave to the director. I am an experienced slave. I call PJ and explain that I have been hired. I describe my impression of Chris Miller as a pain in the ass. PJ is so pleased. In my enthusiasm I tell how Andy negotiated my position by getting Landau to vouch to Landis. PJ’s advice is not to get into any arguments about music with Landis but to use our shared love of music to double-team Chris Miller. It is a plan. Miller is the interloper. I will ingratiate myself to my boss. We can assert his director’s authority over the writer’s sense of ownership of the script.
“I want to thank you for the fine fucking last night. Also, I cashed my check and have your five dollars.”
We both laugh.
“Don’t worry about it. You want to go out again?”
“Yeah, of course. But not tonight. I have to find my clothes and a place to stay.”
“You’re welcome to stay here,” he offers. It is too soon to move in together, if ever. He is 42. My same age rule may be tested in Hollywood.
He sounds relieved. I really like him. Oh, god.
After lunch (takeout for Landis and me), I call Tony, who is just getting up.
“I saw you leave with Jake Stern,” Tony smirks. “You sure know how to pick ‘em.”
“Why? Is he a notorious sex fiend?”
“Just the opposite. He seldom bites, just wanting to chat in the library.”
“He’s a regular?”
“No. Just an enigma. People don’t think he’s even gay, just a tourist to the scene.
My butt reminds me that he did more than look gay.
“They gonna make you a star?”
“I’m a lowly PA. Hopefully they’ll promote me to music coordinator, choosing the songs and band for the movie.”
“You’re not, Mr Club Manager?”
“Ain’t it great, teenage moguls in Hollywood.”
“Where all your dreams come true.”
“And then come crashing down.”
Back in Landis’s office, he puts me through my intern chops, running errands, filing and handling the phones. Miller seems to appear at regular intervals, just his rounds of annoying everyone. I overhear him arguing with Landis about the onscreen band performances. Miller thinks having a DJ play disco will save them the cost of hiring a full band for party scenes. Their exchange gets heated as Miller challenges Landis on his musical knowledge. Landis calls me into his office.
“Tim, how many times did your band play frats at the U of Miami?”
“About a dozen times,” I exaggerate since it is LA.
“Did those frat boys like disco?”
“Maybe a few. We’d play Jackson Five and old 50’s dance hits to get the girls dancing. Usually it was either Metal or English blues they wanted.”
“Who are you?” Miller looks at me.
“I’m Tim. I just started today. I’m Jon’s PA.”
“You have a band. How much to play in our movie?”
“We’re in Miami. Get some local band to play. Any band will die to be in a movie. Some bands will pay to play.”
That stops Miller and he walks out. He doesn’t look like a disco boy, but the flared jeans and bodyshirt seem weird on someone at least 30. Landis winks at me, glad to be rid of Miller until his next crazy idea.
“You should never have said he’d get a band for free. Now he’ll find some horrible cover band. I’ll have to fight him on it,” Landis complains.
“Ask your buddy Landau about Springsteen?” I wink at him. I got a sharp look from my boss.
“Best to avoid old wounds, son.”
“Get outta heah.”
“I’ll take Miller clubbing,” I suggest.
“Stay away from him. He’s just a writer.”
At five, Tony walks into the office, ready to pick me up.
“You need a car, dude,” he warns me that he isn’t about to be my regular taxi.
“No dinero, dude.”
“No money. No problem. You need Rent-a-Wreck.”
He drives me down Highland past Beverly. The whole place is a wreck. Their business model must be broken if they’re renting to homeless 18-year-olds. Apparently they are, as I drive out in a ten-year-old gas guzzler. I follow Tony to Doug’s, parking down the street to avoid Doug’s dismay at a wreck in his driveway.
“It’s Monday night,” Tony announces. “The club is closed and we cook dinner for Doug.”
“No pizza from Dan Tana’s?”
“No. Steak on the Bar-B.”
“Perfect after a hard day at work,” I declare.
“The 9 to 5 blues?” Doug asks.
“It’s okay. I’m a PA, slave to the boss. He’s not a music producer, so I havta convince him I have some musical talent. We’re hiring a party band to play in the movie.’
“Animal House? You’re working for John Landis?” Doug never stops being a music hustler.
“Yeah. You know a sixties band that can play party music and not sound like disco?”
“That sounds like every band that tries to get me to book them.”
“They havta be willing to play for peanuts. The budget is tight.”
“They know where to find me. I’ll put out the word.”
“Can I audition them at the Troubadour?”
“I’m not going to book them, but you can audition them in the afternoon, like you did this spring.”
I am becoming the hardest working music coordinator in show business.
I settle back into Doug’s arms, getting his two boys’ attention. We all jump into the hot tub au naturale. Tony and Jimmy are on either side of me, licking my ears while both jerk me off. I lay back into Doug’s arms, happy to feel his dick ready to invade my ass. The stimulation has me squirming, trapping Doug’s dick between my butt cheeks. I luxuriate in the memory of our first hot tub encounter, two years prior. Soon I feel his pole-like dick deep inside my ass. The boys’ attention to my dick has me throbbing as my climax approaches. As soon as I feel Doug tighten and his dick spurting inside me, I geyser like a fountain with Tony and Jimmy standing up and jacking to climaxes.
Suddenly Tony jumps out of the hot tub. He runs over to the barbecue which is smoking excessively, from overdone steaks. He turns the meat over and leaves the lid off the grill, smearing butter on the blackened sides of the steaks. The rest of our four-way laughs at his panic. Soon we were eating tender beef with a crispy skin, reminding me of the catfish Tommy and I had grilled over the open fire at our camp in the Everglades. As we sit eating our repast, I relate the story of Tommy and the Panther fucking, as we went at each other’s butts until Tommy came. His ass relaxed so much that I slid completely inside him and got off myself.
“He just watched, like a peeping tom. Musta bin a perv cat.”
“A perverted pussy,” Tony laughs.
“He was our protector, like a jungle godfather.”
“Naw, yer Fagin from Oliver Twist,” Tony laughs.
“Yeah, my fag godfather.”
We all toast Doug, our Hollywood fagfather.
Tony wants to go out after dinner. Jimmy decides to stay with Doug; he’s still avoiding his dealer and the debt he ran up. Tony says he knows about a gallery opening near the Design Center on Beverly.
“Yeah, go chase those arty farts,” Jimmy gives us his blessing.
Soon the beat-up Datsun deposits us next to the Blue Whale, a futuristic (in 1976) mall for designers across from the Beverly Center. It is in West Hollywood, but the owners want buyers to think it’s Beverly Hills. We go for the free wine and cheese. The opening is at Martin Lawrence Gallery, with a new series of lithographs by Salvador Dali. The show’s title is ‘Love’s Trilogy.” It’s surreal. Tony and I are laughing at the first painting, a naked girl with wings on fire in deep earth tones. She faces an ink drawing of a Picasso-like woman with distorted features.
“You can have her,” Tony jokes referring to the grotesque drawing. “I’ve got the babe.”
“Right,” I mock him, “until you havta figure out what to do with a vagina.”
“Yer a big pussy.”
“And yer not?”
A young sales associate comes over as we mock the painting.
“Please sign the guest book. You should add any thoughts you have about these Dalis.”
“Cary Canada,” he answers.
I go to the guest book and jot down a short lyric:
Young woman’s wings
Suspends youth’s hopes
Toward strife and falls
Time’s crutches brings
“That’s cool,” Cary enthuses. “Sign your name.”
I sign ‘ Andy Iowa.’
“Let me show you some untitled Dali’s in the back.”
I follow him, winking at Tony, who lets me go off with the innocent sales clerk.
“It’s a series on Time,” Cary explains as he brings out a portfolio of lithographs with warped watches and clocks. They are, for sure, surreal. As he turns to place the prints against the storeroom wall, I take his elbow and draw him close, kissing his luscious lips. His eyes pop open in surprise. With just a slight hesitation, he kisses me back passionately.
“Am I that obvious?” he jokes.
“No, just irresistible.”
“How old are you?”
“18. And, you?”
I’m 20. Are you really from Iowa?”
“I go to school in Boston now. They’re so up-tight there, I couldn’t resist hitting on you.”
“I go to UCLA, but I dropped out and now work.”
“I’m at Harvard but I came here for a job. I’m probably dropping out too.”
“Perfect,” as he leads me to a couch in the back. He sticks his hand down the front of my jeans, popping the buttons. I’ve been hard since we kissed. Surprised by my size, he kneels down and takes me down his throat, choking as the tip passes his gag reflex. I hold his head against my groin so he cannot retract. Slowly he’s able to breathe through his nose. Staying deep down his throat, I rock back and forth. He frantically tries to undo his jeans. I grab his hands and place them on my rocking butt cheeks. I undo his buttons, and take out his doubled over half-hard-on. It quickly springs to full alert. I double-hand his dick while rocking back and forth into his mouth. We both cum within ten minutes, Cary first. Leaning back on the couch, we catch our breaths. He smiles and comments on my four lines of verse.
“Harvard teach you to write poetry?”
“Naw. Their classes are mostly useless. I’m in a band. We always write what’s on the tip of our tongues.”
“Let’s go get some wine. I need to look like I’m working.”
“Don’t think I’ll buy one of these prints?”
“They’re $1800 to $2100 each.”
“It’s okay. They’re not even originals.”
“You sure you’re a salesman?”
He laughs. “I’m more the stock boy. I havta drive out to Vegas this weekend to deliver prints to our new showroom.”
“They sell art at the casinos?”
“It’s the new Vegas. No more free drinks and $5 dinners. Wanna come with. It’s a long lonely drive.”
I visualize giving him head as we tear across the desert. Maybe next time.
“I’ll check at work and see if I’m off this weekend. Give me your number.”
He hands me a card with his personal number scrawled on the back.
“That was fun,” I tell him as we join Tony, who has a real customer in thrall with his open availability. “How about we switch,” I whisper to Cary.
I pull Tony away and Cary takes the customer to show him more private stock.
Tony straightens my clothes for me and we leave the gallery.
“Oki Dog,” we both shout as we run to the car.
Sitting at a picnic table in the parking lot, we enjoy our dogs, which I actually pay for.
“So, disco on one side and loco on the other. No rock?”
“They try from Wednesday to Saturday but not much market for sixties retread clones.”
“That’s kinda like my band in Miami.”
“Disco and Salsa rules there. KC and the Shake Yer Booty Band.”
“I guess I’ve given up on going back. We felt we ruled our neighborhood but the only regular gigs are at frat houses.”
“Miss yer friends?”
“I never look back – always sumthin’ coming around the next corner.”
Just then, Jimmy comes up with two dogs and a big grin.
“You wore out Doug already?”
We attract a crowd once the aroma wafts across the parking lot. Monday night is locals only; all the tourists stay home in the Valley, safe and sound in their own beds. A tall kid named Dave is shy about approaching us. Once he hits the weed, he’s all talk and somewhat annoying. He’s a freshman at Hollywood High.
“How old are you?” I ask.
“Fifteen,” he seems proud of his youth.
Someone gives him a beer, as he makes the round of tables. Soon he’s gesturing and talking loudly.
When he returns to us, I ask, “How come yer folks let you out on a school night?”
“My mom’s cool. She thinks I’m studying at a friend’s.”
“You have friends?”
I have a flashback of my lost youth. Déjà vu all over again. Hollywood was quickly making me feel old. I have to work in the morning. Better than skipping class and working at the Lampoon. Maybe.
Soon Dave slows down and is sitting on the bus bench in front of Oki Dog. He is a light-weight. A few minutes later, I look over and he’s fallen into the gutter. What a cliché, except a bus is bearing down on him. I jump up and pull him to the curb. He barely wakes up. We throw into the back of Tony’s Datsun and drive him home. He lives in an apartment in East Hollywood. His mother yells at him in Spanish. I try to catch the colloquial expressions for future use, but they are Ecuadorian. I have no frame of reference for their swear words. We get thanked for our trouble. As we walk away, I hear her continue to yell at Dave, the degenerate 15-year-old.
We go back to Doug’s. I take Joey’s old room, despite the overdose memories. There are two twin beds. Tony says he’ll stay with me if I promise not to wake him when I go to work. Jimmy follows us, moving the twin beds together to make a double, capable of fitting three skinny-assed teens. No one professes horniness. It takes me awhile to adjust to being the meat in our cuddle sandwich. Every time I move, both of them have to readjust. I try to remember when was the last time I slept alone.