7 – Blog 05 – Queen for a Day

In bed at a reasonable hour, we cannot get to sleep. Pillow talk keeps us up. I ask MJ about life in LA. He is glad to skip memories of life on the streets of Gary, Indiana. Woodland Hills is its own ghetto as the Jacksons’ compound is gated to keep them inside.

“I even lost my natural tan.”

“Valley boy,” I mock him.

I refuse to hear about his relationship with Bubbles. Real human contact is missing. His brothers are too old for making carefree memories. Janet is an original JAP (Jackson American Princess). Animals are not an adequate substitute. I have no memories to share. Soon we were comparing notes about the current menagerie we live with, including David Bowie in his castle.

“He seems lonely. Angela stays in London. He finds life there filled with drug-induced nights and aimless days,” is Mike’s opinion.

“He seems fun, working with him on sound,” I contend.

“He has perked up a lot since you showed up.”

“Oh, no, another middle-aged sex pervert. I can’t stand how the Knobs want me to act out their gay fantasies.”

“What are they?” Mike is intrigued.

“All their comments that us swimming together was getting you hard.”

“Oh, why was that supposed to happen?”

“My undulating butterfly rhythm was meant to get your dick hard.”

“You need to tell me what’s expected. Were you disappointed?”

“No way. I’m glad you’re not interested.”

“I can be if you want me to.”

Oh gawd. At least talking about it is doing nothing to encourage it.

“So, we’re just boys who think it’s funny to do sexual things.”

“What about girls?”

“Freddie seems to exclude them in his household. Mary lives in London. He told me that Jim is not just a butler.”

“Adults are weird. I wanna be a kid forever.”

“Jeez Mike, you think Peter Pan is real?”

“I wish.”

“I lost the last year and a half of my youth. Let’s see how staying kids works when are 20.”

“Pinky swear?”

“I swear by the power…of this nuggy,” I jump him and rub his dreadlocks.

“No,” he gasps. “You’ll ruin my new ‘do.”

We roll around in the bed, wrestling and trying to tickle each other. At last, he gives in. It is no fun when he stops resisting.

“Let’s be best friends, at least until we get girlfriends,” I suggest.

“I have a problem with girls. I had to sleep with Janet when we lived in a three-bedroom house in Gary. We hated each other. We still do.”

“You don’t like girls. You like me but not in a gay way. You sing so high, maybe you still need to go through puberty?”

“We can beat off together.”

“That’s a waste of time and effort. You don’t have to prove anything to me. We’re best friends.”

“Just like girls?”

“We’re too adventurous to be girls.”

“Tom Boys?”

“We’re just kids together. No need to act like adults if we don’t want to be. No to becoming Uncle Toms.”

MJ stretches, “I wanna go to sleep.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t smoke the ganja weed so much?”

“One hit and we forget who we are.”

“You’re the King of Pop. Who am I?”

“A slave to the Queen. Come keep me warm, slave.” He reaches out. I slide over and we finally go the sleep.

My normally scattered dreams are quite lucid this night. All these people keep rushing up to me and hugging me. I have no idea who they are. They are so disappointed when I don’t recognize them that they get angry. A whole group of them starts chasing me. I don’t know where to run. Finally, I am cornered in a dead-end alley. “Stop. Stop,” I yell.

I wake up. Mike is holding me.

“You‘re yelling in your sleep,” he explains.

“You saved me from them.”

“Who’s them?”

“I don’t know who they were. Maybe people from when I was a punk rocker in Hollywood.”

“Everyone in Hollywood is chasing some dream or being chased.”

“Great. I don’t wanna ever remember this nightmare.”

“You’re safe now,” He hugs me.

I fall back to sleep in his arms.

I am not my exuberant self, coming into breakfast Thursday morning.

“What’s up, mate,” Billy notices my lack of enthusiasm. “No bird up yer arse this morning. Need a croissant to fuel teen energy.”

“Naw. Just a bad dream.”

“Come here, Laz,” Freddie joins the investigation of me, the Queen instigator. “I brought your bloody file. You can have it if ya want.”

I look at it in horror. Do I want to find out if all my dream pursuers are real? No way.

“Thanks, Freddie, But I think I’ll take Dr Jacques’s advice and leave the past behind for now.”

“Want me to destroy it?’

I hug him. “Naw. I dreamt about a bunch of people I don’t remember last night. They were mad at me for not recognizing them. Mike woke me out of that nightmare. No need to relive my nightmares.”

“Way to go, Pop Star,” Billy is quick to include Mike. “Guess yer part of the crew now.”

Mike squeezes my hand under the table. He is ecstatic to be just one of the guys. Bubbles may be jealous.

Soon we travel by cab to the Casino, ready to test our readiness to be Queen on a large stage. My spirits revive. I am over the nightmare. I order croissants for everyone.

David walks in and looks aghast at Mike’s new hairstyle.

“What happened? Did they torture you? You look 10 years older, like an angry Black man.”

“It’s just a haircut, David,” MJ contends. “I thought a more ethnic look might be the way to keep my name out of the press.”

Bowie looks a bit miffed at not being consulted.

“I attacked him with scissors after we went lake swimming; his Afro wouldn’t behave; Freddie found a Jamaican hairdresser to do the dreads. I think it’s stunning,” I defend new best friend.

“Of course you do,” Bowie is pissed.

“Well, when we performed at the restaurant last night, no one recognized him,” Freddie defends me.

“You performed without me? Well, it looks like I’m not needed to help you, Fred, now that you have Michael Jackson in tow.”

“We need you even more, David,” I plead. “Today we practice on the big stage and tomorrow is the pop-up debut of the Knobs.”

“Did someone call my name,” Casino manager Claude Nobs appears, apparently ready to be part of his eponymous band.

“Oh, hi David,” Mr. Nobs spots the second super star. “Are you involved now?”

He fails to notice MJ, so much the better.

“I thought so, but they went out and performed in the street last night without me.”

“All we did was a Capella, David. It was for fans outside a restaurant,” Freddie tries to mollify our super star and sound man.

I grab the bull by the horns and sing ‘Starman.’

‘There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
‘Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
He told me
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie’

Produced by David Bowie & Ken Scott

Bowie smiles at our efforts.

“Okay. You can kiss my bloody arse, I guess.”

Producing is constant distraction over details and personal miffs. We haven’t gotten on the stage yet. David, MJ & I go into the sound booth while Freddie and the Knobs, including Claude, gather on stage and go about setting up. The boys attempt to tune their own instruments, finally letting Billy do it by ear. No electronic tuners allowed. They listened during band camp.

“I thought we agreed I’d be onstage with the band,” David points out my first challenge.

“I’ll set up the mixer onstage. There won’t be a sound booth outside Taboo.”

“Taboo. We’re playing in a gay club?”

“Not inside. Out on the plaza in front. I thought you came ‘out’ as Ziggy Stardust?”

“Do I look like Ziggy anymore?”

“I thought sexuality wasn’t fluid?”

“How about you, the boy who can’t remember?”

“Mike and I both decided last night that we’d stay kids since we don’t get hard-ons when we swim or sleep together.”

“That boy has some growing up to do.”

“He really loves you for taking him in. His dad is an arse.”

“Picking up an accent, boy?”

“Just New English.”

“Hmmpf. You are fun to work with. I’m glad you and Mike hit it off. Let’s see what we can set up onstage to make it work.”

“The MOOG solves all problems.”

Luckily the stage is quite wide. It takes ages to get everyone hooked up, mic’d, monitored, and ready to practice. There is a standup piano, David’s electric piano and my MOOG. A 16-track mixer is next to me with separate leads from each player. The Moog has a basic 4 track mixer. I have two headsets plus one for David on his electric piano. Freddie wants his own headset as well, which has the cord from the 16 track.

“I give up,” I pull off my headset. “We’re playing in the street. Nothing will be recorded. It’s all live.”

Claude says, “I’ll get Henri to do the recording. We need something to send to London.”

It only reminds the Knobs, except Claude, that this whole exercise will have them kicked out of the band when the original members return.

“Okay. All this logistical nightmare is a waste of time. Let’s just play. David & I will run the sound. If you screw up, don’t stop. We’ll fill in from the MOOG.’

All praise the holy MOOG.

“Billy,” I order, “Kick it off with ‘Keep Yourself Alive.’ We did that last night. You know it.”

Tommy speaks up from the drums, “I thought the drummer counts it off.”

“How’s that work with 2 drummers. Both of you listen for the rhythm box as it tracks Billy to start. Now go.”

“1 2 3 4,’ Billy follows directions. I hit the opening chord on his count.

Freddie sings the long intro as the drummers come crashing in after Billy’s solo. Once Freddie reaches the chorus, everyone including Claude screams ‘Keep yourself alive’ over and over again. It loud and lousy. Someone is off-key.

“Stop,” I order into my mic.

We come to a screeching halt.

“Claude, you need to keep shaking your tambourine. No need to do back up vocals,” I order.

Oh,” he apologizes. “I forgot. I’m tone deaf.”

“This is your band, so keep shaking that tambourine.”

Freddie goes over and shows him to hit it on his legs.

“Okay. Take two. From the top.’”

Billy counts off “1 2 3 4,” and I join him playing rhythm on the MOOG. We play all the way through. We do two more takes. Each one is better.

After so many takes, everyone needs a cigarette break. The euphoria is building. Maybe the big stage brings out the best in everyone.

I get Freddie and David to agree on how to do the next song, ‘Killer Queen.”

“You need to really camp it up, Freddie. Let David play the keyboard parts so you can pace and ‘vogue’ the vocals.


“Yeah. Lots of hand motions and awkward body poses, like Vogue magazine.”

Freddie is ready to star on his own runway. David laughs at him.

“You know the song, right?” I ask David.

“I’ll just vogue it myself.”

Okay. I round up the Knobs. Claude looks a little out of place but is enjoying himself. It is his Casino. He is 42.

Everyone is in place and ready. I sit beside David and tap the mic ‘1 2 3 4.’ David plays the opening lines and Freddie is strutting across the stage, looking every which way, before doing the vocals with only David’s piano accompaniment. The drums and guitars come in slow and soft with a light beat. Everyone sings the chorus with Mike punctuating the ending ‘Anytime,’ that sails higher and higher.

‘She’s a Killer Queen
Gunpowder, gelatine
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind

Songwriters: Freddie Mercury

Killer Queen lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

We practice twice more, but it was perfect the first time.

Next, we do Somebody to Love.’ David joins Freddie at the chorus, Repeating over and over. ‘Somebody to Love.’

Mike is sitting at the MOOG and sings the final ‘Somebody to Love,’ as only he can do it. The final note bounces off the Casino’s ceiling, echoing throughout. Even Claude is impressed.

We run through all the songs we plan as our main set. Claude orders the restaurant to set up our luncheon with all ten of us at a long table. The beer is flowing. Mike and I get high on just two pints.

“Where’d ya find real English Bitter, mate,” Billy compliments out patron who looks proud to be an English mate and part of the band. The Swiss have no problem fitting in with all nationalities and cultures, the pride of neutrality. Just do not expect loyalty.

After lunch, we do the Queen standards that will end the pop-up concert. We will play them in chronological order, to show how the band musically progressed.

“I won’t do any song by the traitors that have abandoned me,” Freddie is playing the victim.

“I guess that eliminate Roger’s ‘I’m in Love with my Car?” I crack.

Everyone laughs.

But what about “Keep Yourself Alive?” I object. “We plan to open with it.” Billy rocks it hard.”

“We’ll play it last to warn them they can be replaced.”

“What about ‘We will Rock You?”

“We’ll go straight into ‘Champions.”

“We can end with ‘Don’t Stop me Now.”

“They’ll get the message,’ Freddie knows what the fans want. “For an encore, I’ll tell everyone I want the boys to come back, then play ‘Keep Yourself Alive.’

“The second encore should be the Mike’s song ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ to be recorded by Queen without the traitors,” I suggest.

“That should satisfy the fans,” Freddie decides, “and be a warning to the old guys.”

We continue to practice all the songs. The MOOG holds it all together as mistakes pile up. We will practice more in the morning. The progress we made today convinces me the pop-up will seem like true Queen. When Bowie goes out for a cigarette, I speak to him about the third encore, honoring Mike (and me, I guess), the ‘Young Americans.’ He loves the idea. He rushes back onstage to rehearse the boys on his song. I get Claude to drag Freddie away, so the finale will be a surprise. They go off to his office to sign further paperwork for the Montreux Festival gig. Henri keeps him there to speak with the local press. By the time the night’s performers arrive for their sound check, we have the Bowie hit down. Time to hit the Casino bar. English Bitter is the drink of the week. Mike and I get rip roaring drunk on two pints. We scream at the Knobs for talking about our ‘gay’ friendship.

“You’re the gay ones,” we yell, to the shock of all the other bar patrons. “We’re just kids.”

The bartender cuts us off. We don’t want anymore. I sing ‘Ben’ to Mike, changing it to ‘Mike.’

He calls me Willard. We finish the song as a duet. The bar patrons applaud.

Mike returns the favor by singing ‘I’ll be There.’

The Knobs sing backup.

Henri, Claude & Freddie arrive with a group of reporters. Mike hides behind the Knobs. I finish the song, singing to the crowd.

“They’ll be at Taboo tomorrow night,” Claude tells the bar patrons. “Rejoignez-nous.”

Jim has driven the Rolls to pick us up. Mike and I ride with Bowie in an Aston Martin.

It is more exciting. We are hot and sweaty, ready for a pool party at the Lake house. Once everyone has cooled off, I give MJ another swim lesson. Everyone demands we do our tandem butterfly, to much hooting and hollering that it is ‘so gay.’ Neither of us gets hard. They are disappointed. David has organized his Castle staff to put on a fancy dinner in Lausanne. It is 8 o’clock by the time we arrive. How Continental. We all drink too much wine and after-dinner brandy. Mike and I both fall asleep before the coke is brought out. Somehow, I wake up in his bed the next morning. The fact that both of us are stark naked is a shock but not surprising. We are victims of the idle perverts. I do feel refreshed with no bad dreams to drag me down. It is the day of the Queen pop-up. Mike lays there half-asleep. I wonder why he and Janet hate each other after growing up sleeping together. How perverted can I be? Maybe the Knobs are right with their persistent gay innuendo.

The Castle staff has a plentiful supply of croissants, and their coffee is perfection. Nothing can stop me now. Bowie comes into the dining room with the local newspapers. Henri has done his PR job. Our Queen pop-up is the ‘talk of the town.’ I worry there may be too many fans for the lakefront plaza. We are nothing but accommodating. I call Henri who assures me that the size of the crowd will not affect the performance. He has been putting on the music festival for years. If it gets out of control, we can switch the venue to the Casino. At least we know that stage and how to mix our sound.

Freddie and the Knobs are already home in Montreux. Mike wants another swim lesson, so David squeezes us into his Aston Martin. We arrive just as the boys are waking up.

“No rocker ever gets up before noon,” Freddie rationalizes.

“Not when they do coke all night long,” I counter.

He joins us in the pool, demanding he ride me like a dolphin. I undulate up and down the pool.

“It‘s much more fun in the Lake,” he decides.

We stroll down to the beach. Several pedestrians recognize him from the day’s newspaper. At least Mike remains incognito. I get winded from all the butterfly. They each roll under me, drap their arms behind my neck and lean back as I slowly breaststroke out and back from the shoreline. We watch the ferry on its way to Chillon pass closely by. Slaving is such fun.

By the time we return to the Lake house, the Knobs are assiduously practicing. They break into ‘The Young Americans’ as we walk into the studio.

“Did Bowie make you learn his song,” Freddie demands utmost loyalty.

“No,” Billy answers. “We just want to recognize our American minders.”

They break into ‘We’re an American Band.’

“That song is forbidden,” Freddie declares. “Although it may scare the boys enough to come running back from London.”

The realization that their Queen careers may be over before they hardly begin deflates the idiocy of that song. We are not a joke band, although I wonder.

Mike and I dive in the pool to clean off the beach sand. His dreads are looking dreadful, a perfect disguise. The Knobs keep practicing. I tell them to relax, promising to make them sound great, even if their playing is horrible.

“You think we’re horrid?’ Steve whines.

“If you don’t relax and fail to enjoy your first show. Recognize that you are still roadies because we’re all gonna havta set up the equipment.”

They all moan but realize this will be just like all the hundreds of Queen shows they worked on in the past. Just another day at the office.

I call M. Pelletier, the proprietor of le Museum, who is happy to host our pre-show dinner. I order plenty of wine and beer.

“There’s already a crowd waiting outside,” M. Pelletier informs me.

“Tell them the show is by the Lake in front of Taboo.”

“They hope to see you here.”

“Bien sur. We’ll walk to the show. They can accompany us.”

We arrive to much acclaim in Freddie’s Rolls. David and MJ take the Aston Martin. They park in the back and miss the hoopla out front. The meal is perfect – no Raclette and plenty of beer and wine.

By 9 o’clock it is time to walk to Taboo, several blocks away, by the lakefront. At least 50 fans walk with us. Freddie engages in chatter about how the other Queen members have abandoned him.

“This is the new Queen,” Freddie introduces us to his fans. We act casually nonchalant.

Henri and the Casino staff have everything set up. Freddie decides to invade the gay bar, announcing to everyone that drinks are on him, and everyone is invited to the show outside.

“Finish up your drinks because we are going on now.

He flounces out the door, getting a big roar from the crowd in the plaza. There are at least a thousand fans for our pop-up. We all take our places. Jock starts to tune himself. I cut his feed and yell, “No tuning up on stage.”

Freddie grabs his mic. I turn up his feed. “Hello. Hello. Welcome to our first show as the new Queen. In case you may be confused, We are ‘Killer …”

She’s a Killer Queen
Gunpowder, gelatine
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind

Michael hits the high notes. Freddie vogues his way across the distance between band and fans.Casino security has created the space and holds back the pressing crowd. At the end he has adoring girls swooning at his feet.

‘Maybe living here makes me forget my loyalty to the crown, So please sing along.”

The band plays the British national anthem.

‘God save our gracious queen!
Long live our noble queen!
God save the queen!

Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the queen!’

“That right. All stand for Queen,” as he motions to Bowie to play the piano intro to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’

Billy rocks the solo. Freddie sings

‘I see a little silhouette of a man,
Scaramouch, Scaramouch, will you do the Fandango!’

We all join in,

‘Thunderbolts and lightning, very, very frightening;’

I stick my mic in Mike’s face as he hits the high notes
‘Galileo, Galileo
Galileo, Galileo
Galileo, Figaro – magnificoo’

Freddie picks up the next verse until we get to the second chorus,

‘We will not let you go

We will not let you go…’

It all ends with Mike hitting the heights,

‘devil put aside for me, for me,
For meee’

Freddie does the coda, ending with the complaint

‘Nothing really matters, Anyone can see,
Nothing really matters,
Nothing really matters to me
Any way the wind blows…’

Songwriters: Freddie Mercury

Bohemian Rhapsody lyrics © Queen Music Limited

Freddie collapses against the back of a security guard as the front row fans reach out to him. He bounces away and bows to the fans.

“It matters that your friends never abandon you. This is the new Queen. These boys have stayed with me through the years and already knew how to play all the songs so Queen can continue. The ones who left better find their way here or Queen may be no more. Tonight we play as The Knobs, in honor of our Patron, Mr. Claude Nobs,” Freddie motions to Claude, standing by the drums. “He believes in us. We will return as Queen for his Montreux Music Festival. We will carry on. It does matter.”

I cannot help myself singing and playing the horrid Kansas anthem, ‘Carry on Wayward Son’

‘Carry on my wayward son
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more’

Writer: Livgren Kerry A

Claude looks embarrassed and not sure he wants to be the central figure in whether Queen breaks up. He bows, wondering how this turn of events involves him.

Freddie turns to me and David, “What do we play next?”

The answer is obvious. I yell, “Somebody to Love.”

Freddie has everyone singing back at him. He is loved.

I tell David to play the intro to ‘We are the Champions’

David sings the opening verse and everyone comes in at the end:

‘And we mean to go on and on and on and on’

Freddie speeds up and we become upbeat

‘We are the champions, my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions of the World’

Songwriters: Freddie Mercury

We Are the Champions lyrics © Queen Music Limited

The second time through the entire crowd is singing in unison.

“That’s it folks. We can’t break up. We go on and on and on. The losers are the ones who fled to London. They cannot exist outside their little world. I’ll end it with our newest hit. The one they hate because they won’t change, ‘Bicycles.’

Mike rushes out with a bike for Freddie. He holds the mic as Freddie balances on the bike. They both sing the intro

‘Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle, bicycle, bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike’

Freddie gets on with Mike holding the bike steady and sticking the mic in his face. Freddie sings the whole song through and pedals away past security into Taboo.

‘I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like’

Songwriters: Freddie Mercury

Bicycle Race lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

“It’s our turn,” David turns to me. “Can you make that MOOG sound like a saxophone?”

“Why not,” I laugh. I know it is time for the Young Americans. I play the sax intro.

Bowie drags Mike and me up to the mic and sings the song with an arm around each of us.

We sing along to slightly changed lyrics

‘Ain’t there one damn song that can make me
Break down and cry?

All night
You want the young Americans
Young Americans, young Americans, You want the young Americans
All right
We are the young Americans, young Americans
Young Americans, young Americans, You want the young American (I want what you want, I want what you want)
All night
You and I
I want you, I
Young Americans, young Americans, I want the young Americans
All right
And all I want is the young Americans
Young Americans, young Americans, I want the young Americans’

Songwriters: David Bowie

Young Americans lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Tintoretto Music

Freddie returns from Taboo to watch us finish. We return to our posts at the mix board and MOOG.

“That’s a treat,” Freddie tells everyone. “My friend David Bowie and two Young Americans came to help keep Queen alive. How about we finish with a new song you haven’t heard. The boys put it together to remind Brian, Deacy and Roger that they will miss the ride that is Queen if they don’t get back here. It’s called ‘Another One Bites the Dust.’”

And it is how Queen got their act together and went on to be rock n roll legend.

Songwriters: John Deacon

Another One Bites the Dust lyrics © Queen Music Limited

The crowd from Taboo knows that beat and are dancing around Freddie. All the girls in front start their own dancing. Even a few brave boys join them. It is disco night in front of Taboo. The magic waters of Lake Geneva lap the shoreline. As the crowd spreads out, a few brave souls take a dip. The song repeats itself several times through. No one notices or wants the band to stop.

Suddenly a phalanx of gendarmes appears and surround Henri. The permit is demanded and produced.

“Il dit trois cent personnes max,” the cop declares. “Ce spectacle est fermé.”

We are shut down. When the gendarme spots Claude, he explains that it is his band and the crowd size exceeded the estimate because foreign rock stars showed up. There was no intention of violating the regulation.

“Nous serons aller au Casino, s’il vous plais.

Off to the Casino. The crowd is kept at bay once we go inside. Freddie goes out to apologize to the police and crowd. We join him as he sings ‘Don’t Stop Me Know’ from the steps of the Casino.

We can play all night, but rules are rules. And we already broke them all. Time to congratulate ourselves at the bar. Another two pints and I become a blithering idiot. Mike keeps it together but finds my inebriation exceedingly funny. He starts calling me Bubbles, his ex-best friend. I accuse him of disloyalty. He attempts to swear total devotion to our friendship but cannot get the words out properly. He claims total ‘devulsion to our fiendship.’ Billy observes our inability to handle a few beers and drags us out the back to the loading dock and makes us smoke a joint. All we can do is laugh. Bowie offers to add cocaine to our inebriation. The laughter turns to hysteria. The rest of the Knobs gathers round and makes fun of us, poking us and throwing soggy beer napkins at us. We drape the napkins on our faces so we don’t have to look at them. They grab us, spin us around until we cannot stand up. They leave us falling all over each other. We are no longer funny. The Knobs go off in search of Bowie and his coke. The Casino is closed for the night. We wander down corridors, finding employees getting it on behind closed doors. The hospitality industry is so hospitable.

“Let’s go back to Taboo,” I suggest.

“I thought you forgot your sexual orientation.”

“It’s a test,” I claim. “If I find the gay men funny than I know I’m straight.”

“What if you find out you’re gay?’

“Then watch out.”

We find that more funny than being stoned.

Mike misses Bubbles and tries to call him.

“It’s early in Woodland Hills,” he claims.

The French overseas operator cannot understand him. He is transferred to a German operator, then an Italian one. We are completely incomprehensible. We find Henri who offers to help.

“What is Bubbles last name?” he asks.

That sets us off again. Henri leaves us to our American idiocy. Mike starts to cry, missing Bubbles.

“What does Bubbles do that makes you miss him?”

“He grooms my hair,” Too much information.

I attempt to groom his dreadlocks. One breaks off. Mike mourns the loss of his hair.

“You don’t know how hard it is to grow my hair out.”

I find an open office with glue in the desk. I cannot make the dread stay straight. It hangs at a 90-degree angle. Mike looks in the mirror.

“It looks like a dead rat in my hair,” he observes.

“It’s a new style for those living in the city,” I suggest.

We sit in the Casino lobby alternating between crying and laughing.

Bowie walks over, looking very twisted.

“You boys can’t help putting on a show, even when no one is watching.

That makes us sad, and we start crying again. Bowie drags us outside, shoving us into Freddie’s Rolls. He tells the driver to take us home.  Our night is over.