Blog 6 – 31 – Sad News

JAKE

I blame the damn Santa Ana winds. Tim and I wake to a hot and dry January morning.

“I declare a skip day,” he declares during another Eggs Benedict breakfast.

Tim is too bright eyed and bushy-tailed, so early in the morning. After the fancy breakfast, we head to the beach. Tim lets me drive the ‘Wreck’ (a ’58 Ford Galaxie 500XL convertible). He snuggles into me as we speed through the windy curves near the ‘Deadman’s Curve.’

 By the time we reach Zuma Beach, north of Malibu, the coastal temperature is over 80 degrees. We hot foot it across the blazing sand, cooling our feet in freezing water. Tim does a beach change and is soon swimming out to test the surf.

After diving under several waves of white water, he comes up yelling, “It’s really cold.”

He takes several waves about 200 feet offshore. I see gigantic swells breaking north of the point. A board surfer looks tiny in relation to the pounding surf. Tim shows no intention of going out that far. It is dangerous. After a decent ride, I wave at him. I see his confident smile.

I see Tim take a steep drop into the churning wave. 

I instantly feel something is wrong. I anxiously look for him to come back to the surface.

There is so much foaming white water I cannot pick his head out. I pace up and down the shoreline.

I start to panic and run to the lifeguard tower.

“My friend is bodysurfing. He hasn’t come up after taking a spill over a big wave,” I yell up at the stand.

The LA lifeguard gets out binoculars and scans the water where Tim went under. After long seconds, he gets on his telephone and calls for assistance.

What’s he look like?” the guard asks.

“Eighteen, tall, blonde, wearing an orange Speedo.”

“Yup. Sounds like a bodysurfer. Was he out there alone?”

“Yes. For about thirty minutes, taking waves. He’s a champion swimmer.”

“Probably he got caught in a rip and drifted away from where you last saw him. The patrol boat is on its way. Don’t worry. We’ll find him.”

My gut refuses to allow his reassurance to calm my fears. What if I lose him? I tell myself I am acting like a parent. It hits me hard. I really love Tim. I sit down hard below the lifeguard stand. I refuse to give up and fight back the urge to cry. I keep telling myself that Tim is too strong to die.

Hours go by. The lifeguard keeps me informed with up-dates. I barely acknowledge him. The guard’s phone rings. There is an excited conversation. I stand up.

“They found him,” the guard yells down at me. “They’re working on him now. It’s about a mile up the beach, around the point.”

I start running. The thought that they are working on him is foreboding. My sense of dread overwhelms my rational mind. I bought him those fins. I encouraged him to risk his life. If it is my fault, I do not care. I just want him back. Oh, Tim. I love you so much. Don’t die!

I run up the beach, staying along the waterline. As soon as I get to the north end of Zuma Beach, around a short point with a single house on the cliff,  I see the rescue workers clustered next to the water. My dread intensifies. I run up, telling the lifeguards I am with Tim. I gasp to see his lifeless body receiving CPR. I notice a bloody gash on his forehead.

“He apparently struck the bottom with so much force that it knocked unconscious. Unable to swim to the surface, he drowned. We’re hoping to revive him. An ambulance is on the way.”

I sit down hard, praying Tim will respond to the CPR. The ambulance sirens get closer and closer, shutting off as they park along the road above the beach. In short order, Tim is loaded on a stretcher and hauled away. I am told to follow them to St John’s Hospital in Santa Monica. It takes me an hour to travel along PCH during rush hour. The news when I arrive is grim. Tim never revived and has been pronounced dead. I explain that we work together. I have his father’s phone number in Miami which I give to the police. There is nothing left to do. I sit by his body for endless hours. I am in shock and paralyzed.

FATHER LUKE

The Wednesday night Dignity group is less than inspired. Having Tim work his Baptist magic and music on my gay charges the prior week means my mundane announcement of saint days and parish activities falls flat. The boys do not blame me for being less than inspired. I just know they tune me out from the shuffling of feet, coughing, and averted eye-contact. Tim is in Oregon after what I imagine is a decadent weekend in the gay life of San Francisco. He is so young, not innocent, but wide-eyed and bushy tailed. That image and my misconceptions about gay life make for vivid imagery. Half the world is squirrels and the other half nuts. His joke about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence makes me laugh again. I decide to walk to get coffee on Santa Monica Blvd. I make sure my clerical ‘dog’ collar is visible – my pass to the gay life. Usually, I run into one or two of my Dignity ‘boys.’

Sure enough, I am spotted. In fact, there are three members, passionately carrying on a conversation. Once they notice me, they run across the boulevard to my outdoor table.

“Father Luke, is it true about Tim?”

“He’s not Teen Jesus. He says it, just as a parable for our times.”

“Not that, Father. We heard he drowned in Malibu on Wednesday. Is he really dead?”

“Oh, son. I hope not. Don’t always believe rumors. I’ll call Parker Center and find out.”

They follow me back to the rectory and wait as I call the Police.

“This is Father Luke at St Viktor. Can you check on one of my parishioners? The boys say he was in a swimming accident. His name is Tim Castle. He’s eighteen.”

“Hang on. I’ll check, Father.”

After a short delay, the officer comes back on the line.

“Yes, Father. An 18-year-old Timothy Castle drowned at Zuma Beach on Wednesday. He was pronounced dead at St John’s. His body is still in the Emergency Department.”

I am speechless. After a brief delay, I gulp and murmur, “Thank you, officer.”

The boys look anxiously as I hang up. “You’re right. He drowned yesterday. He’s at St John’s Hospital.”

I cannot stop myself from crying. The boys hug me, crying themselves. The housekeeper comes out and gives us the evil eye. She is not a big Dignity supporter.

“Can we go see him, Father?” one asks me.

“Yes, but first I need to let Cardinal Cooke in New York know.”

“Is he a saint now?”

“He’s with God. Sainthood is a long procedure. But in my eyes, he’s always been a saint. Do you want to pray for him?”

The four of us, three gay hustlers and a novice priest, kneel there in the vestibule. I take out my rosary and pray, “Hail Mary, full of grace…” and end with “’grant Tim eternal rest, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine, rest in peace, Amen”

“Amen,” they all answer.

I call the archdiocese in New York, asking for the Cardinal’s office. His assistant asks what I need. I explain it’s about Tim Castle. They transfer me to Father Frank, the Franciscan Tim told me is his confessor.

“Father Luke, you know young Tim.”

“He has been attending our Dignity group in Beverly Hills.”

“Ah, yes. Always advocating for the gays with his Baptist ways.”

“I have sad news. Tim drowned in a surfing accident.”

“I already heard. That boy will be a saint, you know.”

“He always denied that.”

“That’s Tim. Did anyone administer last rites?”

“I just found out. I’m on my way to St John’s Hospital. I can do it. I know his heart was pure, regardless of how he treated his body. I have no problem forgiving him his sins.”

“Please document everything. Cardinal Cooke will start canonization procedures. We’ll contact Cardinal Manning and arrange a suitable service. I know his family, good Catholics. Hopefully, the internment can be out there.”

“I’m so stunned. I can’t believe this is happening, Father.”

“Call me Frank, Luke. I can tell you love the boy.”

“Spiritually, Frank.”

“I know that, too. Tim taught me how to recognize an open-heart. We have much to talk about. But first we have our duty to Tim to complete.”

The boys and I drive to St John’s. Tim’s body is still in the Emergency Department. There is an older man sitting with it. He seems oblivious of his surroundings.

“Hello. I am Father Luke. Tim was my parishioner.”

“Oh, the Dignity group. I’m Jake Stern. I was with Tim when he drowned.”

“I’m going to administer last rites and make arrangements for the funeral.”

“Do you want me to leave? I really should. I’ve sat here for hours.”

“There’s no need. Do you mind being a witness for the last rites.”

“No problem. I know Tim was deeply religious. Is it okay that I’m Jewish?”

“That’s fine.”

I get my last rites kit out, mumbling the words that forgive Tim for his sins and allow his ascension to God’s right hand – the bookend to his baptism.

Praying aloud, “Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.”

It always uplifts my spirits. Realistically, I know it does nothing for Tim, but I want everything to be perfect from the Church’s point of view. For God’s sake, he may be a saint.

I turn to Jake, “You may find these rituals quizzical. We believe they heal the holy spirit that is bereft by a believer’s death.”

“No more than the rituals of the Kabbalah in my faith. If it helps you and others deal with death, I have no reason to be skeptical.”

That is certainly equivocal. Tim sure has interesting friends. I sense Jake’s love for Tim, which flies in the face of my other acolytes’ quests for a sugar daddy. I have faith that Tim never prostituted himself. Maybe I am naïve.

Once I complete the ritual, including the anointing of unction, I lead everyone out of the room. The nurses come in after I complete the rites and prepare his body for transport to the funeral home. As they strip off his swim trunks, I turn away in embarrassment. His virility was enormous.

“Thank you for coming,” Jake says. “I didn’t know what to do, after calling his lawyer and boss.”

“Everything will be taken care of. Do you want to talk about what happened?”

“Tim wanted to go bodysurfing. The ocean thrashed him. I watched from the shore.  When he didn’t come up, I alerted the lifeguards.  They got him ashore, but he had already drowned. They tried resuscitation. It failed to revive him. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. I sat here in a blur until you arrived.”

“You want to get coffee?”

“I don’t know what I want. Coffee may help.”

Jake launches into a monologue on his experiences with Tim. He spares me the sexual details. Everything else speaks to how passionate they were about each other.

“We never said we were in love,” Jake admits. “The age difference was too great. He seemed to absorb my experience and point of view as a classical composer. He didn’t find it a contradiction to his life as a rocker. He wanted to synthesize these oppositions into performance. He was a genius who brought out the best in everyone, as if he could see possibilities that anyone else would ignore.”

“He was an incredible preacher with my Dignity charges, much better than I ever was.”

“I guess we just need to carry on. His inspiration remains.”

We leave it at that. Jake promises to perform at the funeral. I hope to see him again.

JACK

Father John from St Paul’s comes to tell me about Tim. He arrives at my dorm room with Kevin and Liam. I smile that the boys remembered to come visit with an adult. David snorts at the arrival of the boys but stands up when he sees the priest.

“Welcome,” I smile.

“I’m afraid I have bad news, Jack and David,” he looks so sad. “Tim was in a surfing accident yesterday. He drowned.”

“What?” Minehan yells.

“He died, boys.”

David grabs me, as I feel faint. He sits me on my bed. The boys start crying. Father John sits beside me. I search my heart for Tim, then Jace. I feel nothing.

“We can’t feel him either, Jack,” Kevin confirms.

I curse myself for not keeping my heart open to him. If I had, then maybe I could still reach him. I instantly realize how ridiculous that idea is. I burst into tears. The boys rush over and hug me as we cry our eyes out. David looks pained. I know how uncomfortable tears make him. I stand up and hug him. That makes him doubly uncomfortable.  My heart feels his confusion and tells him I need his understanding. He calms down. In that moment I know we will be lifelong friends, always open to each other no matter where we go. Kevin, Liam and Father John open up as well. The five of us look at each other and smile.

“Now don’t be saying he’s smiling down on us, Father,” David notes. “He may be in heaven, but he’ll always remain in my heart.”

My heart confirms what David is saying. I no longer feel him, but my heart just knows David is right. All of us nod. My next thought is ‘what about Jace?’ My heart responds with the knowledge that they are together now, passed beyond the veil of the spirit world. I yearn to be with them.

“Don’t be wimping out, Jack,” David speaks directly to me. “Your life’s not over yet. We all have to live up to what he has given us.”

“And Jace, too,” I say.

We instantly knew what to do.

“We have to play,” David and I simultaneously announce.

All five of us run down to the boiler room. Minehan insists that he play the MOOG. “You’ll just play those dreadful dirges. We need something glorious.”

He tunes the synthesizer to his own music. The boys pick up guitars  and naturally start the long intro to Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You were Here.’

Before David reaches the vocal part, I improvise by singing the words from “Shine On You Crazy Diamond’. ‘Remember when you were young, we reached for the sun. Shine on, you crazy diamond.’

It perfectly matches our shared image of Tim surfing into the setting California sun. With tears rolling down their dewy cheeks, the boys smile and laugh.

David hits percussive chords at a furious pace on the MOOG. He sounds like Tim when he plays his LA friends’ punk songs.

FOOLS WHO LAUGH

They hang around, abate and fade

They don’t realize their normal fate

Repel on another, complacent that way

Their vermin minds just waste away

We are the fools who laugh

We are the fools who laugh

Inclined to humor they spread their rumors

Mourn themselves they’re lacking in humor

Emaciated and meandering

Cherubs without wings

We are the fools who laugh

We are the fools who laugh

Setting on others for their fun

Til the night is finally done

When they’ll all realize

How precious time was to their lives

We are the fools who laugh

We are the fools who laugh

Now they’re gone and we remain

How vacuous to call us insane

Fools we are but we linger on

All of them have gone beyond

We are the fools who laugh

We are the fools who laugh

…Last

Copyright MIB by David Delgado

We all laugh as he finishes. I repeat the end of the song.

‘When they’ll all realize

How precious time was to their lives

We are the fools who laugh

We are the fools who laugh

Now they’re gone and we remain

How vacuous to call us insane

Fools we are but we linger on

All of them have gone beyond

We are the fools who laugh

We are the fools who laugh

…Last’

We stare wildly at each other.  The boys are jumping up and down, arm in arm. As we calm down, Father John plays Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water.’ It calms us.

“Can we have a mass for Tim, Father?” Kevin asks. “So we can play again.”

“I’ll ask Dr Marier to get permission. He’s suspicious of miracles.”

I speak up. Let me call Cardinal Cooke in New York. I’m sure he knows about it. Maybe we can play at the funeral mass.”

The boys’ eyes light up.  I will call Father Frank.

We look up and all the Mower girls and other Mower residents are standing by the boiler room door. It is late and we were playing loudly.’

“Why are you playing?” Jill asks.

I rush over, hug her, and tell everyone what happened. David hugs Carol. The boys start crying again, pressing themselves into Father John’s embarrassed arms. We all go to Grendels for coffee and cocoa. The Mower girls comfort the choir boys, some mothering instinct. The boys revel in the attention from the college girls. Who knew?

Father Frank is staying at the Dakota. My emotions are buoyed by the music and the coffee. I decide to tell Mummy first, before involving the Church.

“Mummy. Tim’s dead. He drowned while surfing in Malibu,” I simply tell her.

“Oh, Johnny. Are you all right.”
“I’m here in Cambridge. He was surfing by himself.”

“You don’t sound upset?”

“He was the love of my life. I loved that he was so reckless. It’s not a shock. I’ll never love anyone as much as Tim.”

“Do you want to come home?”

“I need to speak with Father Frank. The Church needs to be involved with the funeral.”

“Johnny, you’ve really grown up. I’ll get him.”

“I cannot believe he’s gone, Johnny. Are you okay?” Father Frank comes on the line.

“We wrote a song for him – ‘Fools Who Laugh’.”

“That’s ironic.”

“Tim changed me. I’m not going back to being a nerd.”

“I need to call the Cardinal.  I believe Tim should be beatified.”

“You have the two miracles. Tim was really worried that the Church wanted to keep him sin-free for sixty years.”

Father Frank laughs. “What kind of service do you think he’d want?”

“Nothing as grand as Cardinal Cooke will want.”

“He loves Tim.”

“I know. But Tim didn’t need the smothering attention of the Church. He never feared death. It promised him that he’d be united with Jace.”

“I hope he didn’t want to die.”

“He loved life so much he kept Jace from leaving him. He actually was afraid that he’d become too mature for Jace, who stayed a fifteen-year-old.”

“The logic of teenagers.”

“I loved Jace, too.”

“Don’t try to explain that to me.”

We both laugh.

“I think Tim would want his funeral to be at his local parish.”

“Now that’s an ironic twist. Father Joseph eulogizing Tim.”

“I believe Tim joined a parish in West Hollywood.”

“Oh god, the Dignity group.”

“Why does the Church refuse to minister to the needs of gays? Didn’t Jesus embrace ‘the least of these?’

“All institutions need scapegoats. How about the actual service in West Hollywood, with music and celebration? Then the Church and Cardinal Manning can beatify him at Saint Vibiana’s Cathedral .”

“I thought it took years.”

“There’s some movement within the Holy See to make the process quicker. We need to avoid making Tim’s canonization controversial because of his sexuality. We’ll get Pope Paul to order the beatification. You can celebrate his life in the small parish in West Hollywood where all the gay members are tolerated. The Cathedral ceremony can concentrate on Tim’s good works – Teen Jesus will appeal to all young Catholics.”

“You are so political.”

“You have no idea how political the Church is.”

“I love you, Father Frank.”

“Let me deal with the politics. You handle Tim’s funeral.”

“Just keep me informed.”

I hang up and cry for five minutes. That is enough. I have a funeral to arrange.

TREVOR

“Where ya been, Trev?” my roommate Bill asks as I return to our dorm room around noon. “Out catting around with the frat boys?”

What he means is why did I not sleep in my bed for two nights in a row.

“Something like that,” I answer and laugh.

“Right,” he knows better than that. We have been living together for four months. I have yet to shock anyone with that kind of behavior.

“Want to eat?” I ask.

“Sure,” he decides.

Bill generally regards me as the dull son of a preacher man. Not that he is prone to risk taking and adventure seeking himself. We attend freshman mixers together. His futile attempts to set me up with the girl friends of his own prospects prove I need to ‘up my game,’ as he says. At least he has not asked me to find other accommodations due to a need for overnight ‘privacy.’ His ‘game’ is a work in progress. I am still a non-starter. Otherwise, we are well matched and comfortable with each other. I invited him to Astoria for Thanksgiving. He proved a hit with my folks, happy that I have a friend. My joining the Phi Psi frat is a step in the right direction in Bill’s mind. I offer to sponsor him there. He is thinking it over. Hazing is ‘not his thing.’

“You going to tell me what you did this weekend?’ he probes after we set down our lunch trays in the cafeteria.

“I was out scouting locations with a Hollywood movie crew. They agreed to film at the defunct frat next to Phi Psi. We’re all going to be extras. You need to join. Maybe you’ll get discovered,” I laugh.

“You’re already working for them?”

“Just helping them out. I took them to Dexter Lake in Springfield. They plan to film at that old bar out there.”

“Don’t be goin’ all Hollywood on me now.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Being famous and all. Acting like yer somethin’ yer not.”

We laugh. I do feel special, though. And Tim is so sexy. I feel myself getting hard. It feels like junior high all over again.

“Why ya blushin’, Trevor? Yer not really planning on a movie career on me now.”

“You’ll havta share your makeup with me.”

“Now way, Jose.” Bill is from east of Spokane and grew up on a ranch. He never expresses opinionated feelings about anyone but is 100% straight prime western beef.

We have two classes together. He took class notes and has the assignments for me. I sigh and realize I am now back to earth. Just thinking about Tim perks me up.

“You must have had a good time,” Bill notices. “Yer all smiley-faced.”

“Yeah. I really like the Hollywood guys.”

“What’s the movie about?”

“I don’t know the plot, but it’s about a frat where all the guys are goofballs.”

“Just like Phi Psi.”

We laugh. He goes off while I try to catch up on my missed assignments. I finally realize I am not concentrating and close the books. Time to get hazed.

My fraternity brothers unmercifully raze me about my ‘friendship’ with Tim. They claim I have gone ‘movie star’ on them. Of course, they fall all over themselves to snag roles as extras when the movie crew returns. I promise to put in a good word for them if they stop teasing me about Tim. I am surprised that no one calls me out for my full-on crush. I maintain that I am as anxious as everyone to be hired on once the movie crew returns. I cannot help myself from smiling foolishly anytime we talk about the movie. I am unable to mask my glee every time Tim’s name comes up.

“Trevor’s got a crush,” becomes the standard jibe whenever I cannot help myself from grinning like an idiot. They all seem pleased that I am so happy. It flies in the face of my stereotyping frat boys as dedicated homophobes. I relax and no longer try to hide my feelings. I figure the truth is bound to come out. I am amazed that it does not bother me that they know I am gay. That is when realize I fully accept it myself. I know it will be another matter with my Baptist parents. My brother will be so pleased to be the good son for once. There is little doubt about his sexuality, given his choice of wanton girlfriends.

My ‘big brother’ Cameron takes me aside after the pledge chores are completed.

“You seem especially happy to be hazed today.”

“Just a happy pledge. Do I need to fake hating the crap you guys put us through?”
“Naw, but maybe I need to stop acting mean and get to know you better.”

I look him straight in the eye and feel an unexpected warmth.

“We saw a different you this weekend,” he goes on. “Now it’s hard to treat you like a kid. Those Hollywood people really liked you.”

“My roommate, Bill, says I’m goin’ all Hollywood on him.”

“I never knew you played harmonica and sang before. Did you take lessons?”

“Just church choir.”

“You did not seem like a choir boy with that one kid. Is he the director’s boyfriend?”

“No, Mr. Landis is straight and already married. Tim’s the music coordinator.”

“He is so young.”

“He’s my age, a freshman at Harvard.”

“Is that why you’re so tight.”

“We really hit it off. But he seems so much more worldly than me.”

“Too much time in the choir?”

“Tim was in church choir last year. His band also played Easter services in New York.”

“Now he’s in Hollywood. Did the serpent tempt him with the fruit of knowledge?”

“His boyfriend was killed by an abusive older brother. He’s so much more mature than me.”

“So, he is gay?”

“He’s super-gay, with boyfriends and girlfriends. He can’t stop loving just one person at a time.”

“That is so Hollywood. Are you being careful?”

I turn all red and shut up.  I already said too much.

“I don’t wanna pry,” Cameron admits, “but everyone noticed how taken you are with him.”

I blush, feeling Cameron is really being a good big brother.

“You think Tim will just forget about me?” I ask for his advice.

“I have no idea, but it doesn’t sound like he’s still a choir boy.”

“It was so exciting to be with him,” I am ready to confess all.

“Calm down and take a breath,” Cameron advises. “He’ll be back next month. I’m no expert on gay boys. Maybe you should try having a girlfriend or go to the Gay Student Group or just pray about it. God, I’m awful at this.”

“No, Cameron. This is great. My real brother is an asshole. I’m glad you care.”

Cameron turns all red. I hit him on the shoulder. We laugh and he hits me back. Bro’s.

Tim asked if I would tell my fraternity brothers. I guess I am taking the go-slow approach. I sit on the porch of the abandoned frat next door, reminiscing about being there with Tim. I take out my harmonica and blow the ‘Bobby McGee’ blues. Tim had sung his version of it, so I make up my own, rhapsodizing about being on the road with Tim. When I get to the line about needing just one more night with ‘Bobby’s body next to mine,’ the tears flow.

“He’s a goner,” my brothers have been listening to me. “Admit it.”

“Yeah. I really miss him.”

“Who’s Bobby?” someone asks.

“I don’t know. Janis Joplin?” Cameron suggests. “She died from an overdose.”

I realize he is covering up for me.

“Naw.  I ain’t gonna hide it. I really like Tim,” I out myself.

“Oh, Jesus,” one of the seniors moans. “First they made us take blacks, now it’s the gays.”

“I think it’s cool. They’re both choir boys,” Cameron exposes me.

“Oh, the shame.”

Everyone breaks out laughing. They grab me and drag me back inside the House and force me to get drunk for the first time ever. They are perfect gentlemen, carrying me back to my dorm room. Bill is stunned that I have become such a reprobate. In the morning, he announces that ‘we have to talk.’ It is too much for me, but luckily, there is a waste basket nearby to barf into. My reputation has taken a total turn for the worst. Bill shakes his head and tells me to go back to bed. Later he returns with crackers and ginger ale. I am already feeling better. At least getting drunk is nothing new for Cowboy Bill.

On Thursday, I am fine and attend my classes. Bill refrains from reminding me what a degenerate I now am. We sit silently together in class. I am given extra hazing chores at Phi Psi for having missed the previous day. My idiot/happy mood has returned. I am whistling while I work.

Cameron rushes into the kitchen, looking startled and gloomy.

“Trevor, come with me,” he takes me by the hand.  I feel ten years old, as he leads me into the frat president’s room. Three other seniors stare at me with startled looks.

“Sit down, Trevor,” Peter, the President, orders.

“What? I only missed one day and you guys got me drunk,” I become defensive, remaining on my feet.

Peter stands up and puts his hand on my shoulder. Cameron put a hand on the other side. The others just look away.

“Trevor,” Peter starts, “there’s been an accident. In LA. Tim drowned in the surf yesterday.”


I faint.

I wake up laying on a couch on the first floor, surrounded by everyone in the frat.

“Thank god. He’s awake,” Peter sounds distressed but relieved I am conscious.

“What happened?” I am groggy, unsure why everyone hovers over me.

“You fainted.”

Slowly I remember. The tears start. I can suppress the sobs. How could this happen? Tim is dead? It cannot be. He is so strong. He can do anything. He seemed accident-proof.

“That director, Landis, said to call him,” Peter relays the message. “He sounded pretty shook up himself. We’re all sorry, Trevor.”

It is so weird to me. All these straight guys treating me like I have lost my girlfriend. Then I throw up. They scatter.

Mr. Landis is so nice on the phone. He really loved Tim, just not the way I do. He even offers to pay my way to the funeral service which is in two days. I am too embarrassed to accept but promise to attend. He gives me the phone number to Tim’s roommates, Tony and Jimmy. I did not know he had roommates. I ask for Jake’s number as well. Mr. Landis has met Jake, who is composing the movie soundtrack, but does not have his phone number. I tell him we called him from the Rodeway Inn on Sunday night. He promises to check the bill. He is surprised I know about Jake. I really want to connect with Jake. We share the same love for Tim.

“Jake was with Tim when he died. They had gone to the beach together,” Mr. Landis says.

I feel so sad for him.

“The service will be at St. Viktor Catholic Church in Beverly Hills.”

“Wow,” I think it must be fancy. I have to get permission from Dad to attend a Catholic church. I wonder if I could get him to lend me the airfare. That brings up the issue of coming out to him. I laugh, then sniffle, thinking how much Tim has affected me. He wanted me to be open and proud. Without thinking it through, I dial home.

“Hi, Mom. I need to get Dad’s permission for something. Is he there?”

“You sound down. Is everything okay?”

“It’s been a tough day. I have to go to a funeral on Saturday.”

“Oh, honey. Is it one of your fraternity brothers? I’m so sorry.”

“He’s Catholic. I need Dad’s permission to attend their service.”

“I am sure he’ll agree. It’s not like it used to be when Baptists were not welcome.”

“Is he there?”
“I’ll put him on the line. Are you okay?”

“Not really, Mom.  I really cared about him.”

“You are so kind, son. But don’t let your feelings get in the way of your studies.”

Dad comes on the line.

“What’s wrong, Trev. Mom looks upset.”

“My very best friend drowned yesterday. I loved him. I need to go to the funeral.”

“Of course, you do. Is it in Eugene?”

“The service is in LA. It’s a Catholic service.”

“Don’t worry about that. Catholics are more understanding now. But it’s so far away. Do you really have to go?”

“I really loved him. I have never felt that way before.” I actually say it.

“Well, son, I’m sure you really cared, but to go to LA may be too much.”

“Please don’t say I can’t go,” I start to cry.

“Calm down. What about school?”

“It’s over the weekend. I’ll leave on Friday and be back for class on Monday. I’ll pay you back for the airfare.” The tears are flowing. I begin to gulp.

“Trevor. You know we cannot afford to send you flying around the country. You’ve never been impetuous. Is it really necessary?”

“I wouldn’t ask for anything if it wasn’t important. I really loved him, Dad. I can’t believe he’s dead.”

The folks are silent on their end of the line.

“Please,” I beg.

“I’ll speak with the Church deacons. You have been an important part of our youth ministry. I’ll ask them to contribute. But what about other expenses. LA is expensive. Hotels must be a fifty dollars.”

“His roommates are going to let me stay with them. It’s just the airfare I need.”

“I’ll let you know tomorrow. If they approve, I’ll book your flights. But I’m worried about you, son. Have you been attending church?”

“I’ll go to the campus ministry tonight. Thank you for supporting me, Dad. I’m doing well.”

“Of course. How’s Bill? Was he friends with this boy?”

“No. I knew him at the fraternity. Bill’s fine.”

“Give him our best. Call me tomorrow after class.”

“Yes, Dad. I love you both.”

“You’re a good boy, Trevor. It is not always good to have such strong emotions. We expect you to call us every day from LA.”

“Yes, Dad.”

Once I hang up, Cameron comes into the phone room. “Everything okay?” he is anxious.

“Yeah. Thanks. Dad’s getting the church to contribute my airfare. I’m still the good choirboy.’
We laugh. Cameron punches me on the arm again. I want to hug him but refrain.

‘GATOR

The twins collapse into my arms after tellin’ me the news.  Ol’ Tim died in a surfin’ accident. Their brother. My best friend. Never told me he surfed. That’s Tim, fer shure. Must’ve bin his California life. He shure lives up to our school’s mascot – the cyclone. He roars into our lives for six months, blows up all our ideas, and leaves us to clean up after. Even got me thinkin’ I’s gay. Least I said so as to keep the twins’ reputations pure, with me on the down-low about datin’ the two of ‘em. Shure shook up ol’ Noah that I’s gay. He tried to change his sexuality to no avail. Even Ol’ Tim rejected ‘im. Turns out ta be a decent lineman fer State, though. Maybe gay makes ya tough.

I guess I gots ta go to Hollywood fer the funeral. I ain’t that happy ‘bout it, all them degenerates.  I’ll jist keep my arms around each twin and enjoy the show. I hopes that Robby Boy don’t show up. He’s a real piss ant. Even tried to molest ol’ Tommy at Christmas. He’s jist a boy, that Tommy.  All piss and vinegar. He shut that Robby devil worshiper down. Hopes he’s there.  I guess I love that boy. Sure is confusin’ when y’all loves sum-one but yer dick don’t give a shit. Excuse my French. I wonder how John Boy’s doin’? He shure was possessive of Tim. Rich kid. Always havin’ to git his way. At that barn party, everyone seen him and Tim naked in the grass. Somehow ever’one thought they’d bin abducted by aliens. Now we got ol’ Seamus engaged ta Cindy and livin‘ at her family ranch, New York comes to Ames. Cain’t say the boy don’t shake things up. Seamus says he’ll help my dad whiles I’s off in Hollywood. I ain’t never sayin’ nothin’ bad about New York City people again.

JACK

The family Lear is reconfigured to accommodate all the passengers for the flight to LA. It leaves Teterboro at noon on Friday with Father Frank, Aaron and Paul from Temple El-Emanuel and their new friends Nina Bernstein and Julian Lennon, Edward Gory and PJ from the National Lampoon, Tina and Pete from the Bronx, and William Burroughs. They fly to Boston, where Jill and the 3D girls, Minehan and his Neighborhoods, plus Father John, Kevin and Liam from St Paul’s, all crowd in for the flight to LAX. I was spoiled by spacious flights in the Lear. Now I know what it is like to go coach in a cattle car. Minehan is in high spirits, egging on the choir boys to misbehave. Alcohol service is cutoff shortly after takeoff from Logan.

Daddy charters a Boeing 727 for all the people from Miami (and, of course, Tommy from Ft Lauderdale) and to pick up Tim’s family and friends in Ames. We all arrive about the same time on Friday night. Rooms at the Beverly Wilshire are assigned to the adults.  Cardinal Manning arranges for dormitory beds at Loyola College near LAX for the boys and at Marymount College in Brentwood for the girls. This arrangement pleases the adults but not the teens. I tell Father Frank that it is unfair for the older teens to have to ‘baby-sit’ the two choir boys from Boston and Julian and Nina plus Aaron and Paul from Temple El-Emanuel. He and Father John speak with Father Luke from St Viktor who lets the youngsters stay at his Parish House. I have my doubts about sending the innocents to West Hollywood, but all of the older teens just want to be free from watching young kids. I am tired of herding cats.

MOLLY

With the twins happily off with the nuns, Wendy and I check into the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.  John Boy’s parents made the arrangements and offered to pay the bill. They say they want everyone to stay at the same place to keep the logistics simple. It is pretty grand. I insist we pay for ourselves. Their togetherness idea is a problem: I have to meet Burt and his new wife, Susan. After working so hard to get Wendy to stand up for herself, I worry she may regress, encountering her domineering ex. We both are tense about the reunion. It is Susan who breaks the ice. She is devastated by Tim’s death, bursting into tears immediately.  Wendy is surprised at how solicitous Burt is, of her and the two of us standing there in tears. He is changed by his new wife, as much as Wendy is changed by living with me. We all hug and any tension is relieved. Edgar and Dorothy approach us and suggest we go to dinner together. We learn that they hosted Burt and Susan’s wedding and reception. The way Susan describes the Stone’s home, it must be a mansion. For the first time, I felt bitter that Wendy and I are denied our own wedding. No gay rights in Iowa. Maybe once the rest of the world wakes up.

We eat at Chassen’s, a famous restaurant nearby.  Dorothy recommends we have their chili, saying it is Elizabeth Taylor’s favorite. Everyone but Burt orders it. He has steak, claiming he needs leftovers for his dog, Winston, left alone at the hotel. The restaurant decor is extremely fancy. Eating chili makes it less formal.

“I want to make a toast to Tim,” Edgar announces, raising his wine glass. “To the boy who made us all his parents, though little did he listen to what we told him.”

We all raise our glasses. “To Tim.”

“He left us too soon,” Burt adds.

Wendy grabs my hand and squeezes, under the table.

TREVOR

Dad made my airline reservations for Friday. I call the number Tim gave me.

“What?” a gruff voice answers the phone.

“Are you Tony or Jimmy?” I tentatively ask.

“Who are they?”

“Tim’s roommates?” I nervously answer.

“Tim lives alone here, unless you count those gangbangers from LaMirada. And Tim’s dead, if you didn’t know.”

“I’m coming to the funeral. I live in Oregon.”

“Shit. I suppose you need to stay here.”

“Mr. Landis told me to call.”

“Who’s he?” This guy is all questions.

“Tim’s boss at the movie studio?”

“Oh, yeah. I suppose you need to be picked up at LAX.”

“Can you? I don’t have much money.”

“Join the crowd.” We both laugh. “My name’s Nicky. I live down the hall with my girlfriend.”

“Oh.” It seems important that I understand that he’s straight. Hollywood.

I give him my flight information. He agrees to pick me up outside Western Airlines baggage claim.

“Look for the Wreck. It’s a convertible.”

In a couple of hours, I am standing at the curb, trying to find the Wreck.  All the cars in LA are shiny and new. I have no trouble picking out the Wreck. I wave at the strange-looking couple driving it. They wear brightly colored clothes covered with buttons and other paraphernalia, including chains.

“You Trevor?” Nicky asks.

I nod.

“Hi. I’m Alice. Jump in,” a dark-haired Hispanic girl moves over so I can ride in the front with them. I am glad that I have little money to steal. They look like gang members.

“Don’t be shy, country boy. We don’t bite,” Nicky laughs at my hesitation.

Welcome to LA.

Nicky drives me to the apartment. He drives like a maniac.  His girlfriend squeals and holds onto him. I just shut my eyes and hold onto the door handle. The Wreck is a pre-1964 gas guzzler – no seat belts. Once I open my eyes, the two of them laugh at me.

“Country boy, huh?” Alice, Nicky’s girlfriend, observes. “First time in the city?”

“Nah. We drive up to Portland all the time.” Actually, I drove there once and swore never to do it again. Already I’m upping my game, just like Bill had said, “Goin’ all Hollywood.” I laugh.

“Good. You’ve relaxed. Only way to see LA,” Alice comments.

Once we get to the Canterbury, all sorts of drama unfolds. Tim’s single room apartment has been taken over by what Nicky calls gangsters.”

“They’re just kids from the ‘burbs,” Alice argues.

“Well, they’re going back to the ‘burbs so old Country here has a place to say. I just need an excuse to kick ‘em out.” Nicky turns to me. “You are Tim’s new boyfriend, right?”

I turned bright red and sputter, not sure I can claim anything after only two days of sex.

“No need to be ashamed. We knew Tim was a teenage faggot,” Alice comes to my rescue.

“Just look angry that they’re there. I’ll kick ‘em out. Least ya don’t look like a faggot, all girly and such.”

I shake my head. I had hoped to avoid Hollywood melodrama. What did I expect?

There are five of them sprawled on the floor and couch of a small apartment.  Nicky rousts them. They just stare at me. I try to look tough. They finally give up and leave. The place is a mess. One guy with heavy makeup around his eyes, rushes around trying to pick up their garbage.  Nicky pushes him out the door.

“Ready to eat?” he asks.

We drive to Top Taco. The counterman appraises me, and I do not have to pay.

“Now don’t be letting anyone take advantage of you, Country.” Top Jimmy advises.  I guess I have a new name.

Nicky decides to give me a tour of the Sunset Strip and Hollywood Boulevard.

“Stay away from Santa Monica, unless ya got backup,” he advises.

“More gangsters like those you rousted from Tim’s room?”

“Worse. Sexual predators and molesters,” Alice advises.

“Oh,” I murmur, unsure if that is worse than gang banging.

We pull into the Tower Records’ parking lot.  The windows are covered by wooden blow-ups of pop music album covers.

“You in a band, Nicky?” I ask.

They both laugh. “What about me?” Alice looks insulted. “No girls in bands up in Or-e-gone?”

“Heck. I love girl singers.” To prove my point, I pull out my harmonica and blow the blues to Bobby McGees

They laugh. “Just like Tim, ready to perform at the slightest encouragement,” Alice remarks.

It makes me tear up, being told I am like Tim.

“Don’t be getting’ all girly on us, faggot,” Nicky orders.

“Please stop callin’ me that. It ain’t a nice word,” I demand.

They look shocked.

“What do ya wanna be called?”

“Country’s okay.” At least it’s not a slur in my mind.

“Okay, Country. But you better learn some rock n roll blues, if ya want us to listen. Folk blues don’t cut it no more.”

I learned ‘Louie, Louie’ with Tim for the movie.  I blow the funky intro for them.

Nicky smiles and starts banging a beat on the Wreck’s dashboard. Alice wails the lyrics. A couple of kids come up and give us a hand. The store manager comes out and takes photos.  I figure we are in trouble.

“Just keepin’ it real?” Nicky asks. “The Real People at Tower?”

The manager gives us a thumbs up and snaps our picture playing for three fans. It feels good to play with Nicky and Alice, much like we felt at the end of choir practices.

“Ya got other songs you play on that harp?” Nicky asks.

“Just gospel. I figure ya don’t much cotton to that.”

They burst out laughing at my country speech. I figured I might as well live up to my new LA name.

We walk around the corner to the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, hanging out in front with an assorted bunch of rock misfits. I never heard of that night’s headlining band.

“My band used to play here but they pay so little, we boycott the Whiskey,” Nicky claims.

“What’s your band’s name?” I ask.

“The Weirdos.  I’m the drummer, Country.”

“Okay, Weirdo,” I figured that’s worse than being Country. Who knew anyone would call themselves weirdos.

“I’m in the Bags,” Alice crows.

“Okay, Baglady,” I josh.

She gives me a stern look and punches my arm. I guess that makes us bro’s. “I guess we’re the Weird Country Bagladies,” I josh.

“We’ll perform later at Oki Dog?” Nicky decides.

I realize that Tim’s need to perform wherever and whenever is typical of Hollywood people. I just go with the flow.

We walk past the Roxy, where Mott, the Hopple, is playing that night. I heard of them. There are more people hanging out front and beside the club in a small parking lot. They are dressed in tight flared jeans and bodyshirts, with six-inch heels and bouffant hairstyles. They all wear tons of makeup, guys as well as girls. Most have glitter in their hair.

I pull out my harmonica and start in on the Mott the Hopple hit, ‘All the Young Dudes.”

“Hey, that’s the song Tim always plays for all the tricks at Oki Dog,” Alice notes.

I gulp and a stream of tears runs down my cheeks. Nicky punches me, and then starts pounding the beat on the Roxy walls. Alice jumps in singing the chorus. I catch my breath and continue blowing the glitter anthem.

‘Billy rapped all night about his suicide
How he’d kick it in the head when he was twenty-five
Don’t wanna stay alive when you’re twenty-five

All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news

Now Jimmy looking sweet though he dresses like a queen
He can kick like a mule
It’s a real mean team
We can love
We can love’

Songwriters: DAVID BOWIE

© EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC, TINTORETTO MUSIC

Alice goes back to the beginning and we do the whole song again. The glitter kids surround us and cheer when we are done. Nicky looks happy at the adulation but embarrassed that his fans seem so gay.  An English guy with a bushy curly Afro and dark glasses comes up to us and compliments our harmonica arrangement.

“That’s ‘cause ol’ Country don’t play guitar,” Nicky explains.

“What’s your name?” Alice asks.

“Denny,” he says. We don’t believe him. He escorts us into the club, bypassing the front door. We go upstairs where the band is hanging out with business people. I steal matches that say ‘Rainbow Room, Top of the Rox.’ Nicky says we should sneak away, still nervous about being around so many glitter people.

“We’re younger than them,” I complain, not wanting to leave right away.

“That’s the point,” Alice says. She stands up and starts singing a crazy song that starts out, ‘We don’t need the English.’  Nicky and I back her up.

We’re met with booes and leave quickly. Nicky gives the room the middle finger. I get embarrassed but laugh that I already performed three times that night. My harmonica is not a decent substitute for electric guitar. My roommate Bill predicted it. I’m going ‘all Hollywood.’ I love it.

“What’s ya smilin’ about, Country,” Nicky demands, as we stand outside Gazzarri’s, the next club up the Sunset Strip. “Ya havin’ a good time?”

“Yeah. I almost forgot to miss Tim.”

“Well, this is what it was like with Tim. Always be ready to perform at the drop of a hat.”

“I barely knew him, but he was so much fun.”
“No need to go into details,” Alice covers her ears.

“Not just sex, but every moment was an adventure,” then I sniff back my tears.

“Ah, Country. Don’t be sad. We’re havin’ too much fun for tears.” She wipes my tears away.

“Where next?” I ask.

“Let’s get the Wreck and drive to the Troubadour. I heard they’re organizing Tim’s wake for tomorrow.” Nicky decides. “We can hit Oki Dog afterward, so ya can satisfy your performance addiction.”

The Troubadour doorman does not want to let us in, until a young guy comes over and asks how we know Tim.

“I met him in Oregon last weekend.” It seems so long ago.

“You Trevor? I thought you were going to call us when you got in. How’dcha end up with these punks?”

“I called Tim’s phone number, looking for his roommates, Tony and Jimmy. Nicky answered. They picked me up at the airport. We’ve been cruising nonstop. We performed outside Tower, the Whiskey-A-Go-Go and the Rainbow Room.”

Another teen is listening. “Oh, no. He’s a Tim clone, come to haunt us.”

That is pretty funny. It does not seem anyone is particularly sad that Tim died.

“We wanna go to the wake,” Nicky knows what he wants.

“The funeral’s at St Viktor tomorrow at one and we’re all coming back here afterward to celebrate. Tim’s body goes to the Saint Vibiana’s Cathedral downtown, where the Church has other plans for it.”

Everyone laughs. I start to cry. Nicky punches me.

“Enough with the tears. Tim was crazy and always pulling stunts. He was lucky to live as long as he did. Now he’ll be remembered as a rock star without ever having to go through all the bullshit.”

I guess it makes sense. We don’t go into the Troubadour. I promise Tony and Jimmy to be at the funeral.

“You better. The movie people made us promise to get you there.”

I perk up, knowing I will see Mr. Landis and everyone there. Since the wake is at a night club, I suspect I may get more opportunities to blow my harmonica. Maybe I can write me and Tim’s story into ‘Bobby McGee.’ I decide I like being called ‘Country.’

“Oh, by the way. Ever’one calls me ‘Country’ here,” I tell Jimmy and Tony. Everyone laughs. This sure does not feel like any funeral I have been to.

We race up Santa Monica Boulevard to Oki Dogs. I have never seen gay people before, holding hands and even making out on the street. Alice laughs at my wide-eyed wonder.

“It’s only like this in West Hollywood. We’re used to it. Wait ’til you see Oki Dog. It’s like a slave market. Old men buying fresh flesh to be exploited for twenty bucks.”

Single guys start waving at me.  I guess I am staring. I am too embarrassed to wave back. I remember I promised to call Dad when I got in. It’s past midnight, too late to wake-up early-to-bed Baptists. Somehow it feels liberating to be violating their rules. My anti-conscience is laughing at me.  Everything about Hollywood is a joke. I lay back and fall asleep against Alice’s shoulder.

When I wake up, we are parked at an outdoor hotdog stand. Boys about my age are standing at the curb, shirtless and wearing tight shorts, and waving as the cars slowly cruise by. My Baptist conscience tells me I am seeing an inner circle of Hell.

Nicky and Alice walk up, looking disappointed. Maybe normal straights are not welcome here. I laugh at the thought that these two punks are normal.

“Whatcha laughin’ about, Country? We just got told we can’t perform here tonight.”

“I was thinking that you two are too normal for here.”

They look at each other.

“He’s right,” Alice concludes. “Let’s go home.”

“Aw. We’re ‘sposed to climb the Hollywood sign next.”

“It’ll be there tomorrow. And look at Country. He’s done tuckered out.” She laughs.

Soon they leave me at Tim’s place. I guess it is mine now. Nicky shows me how to set up the Murphy Bed, just another Hollywood surprise. Once they leave, I strip off and jump into the ripe sheets. Tim’s smell envelopes me. I cry myself to sleep. I dream he is holding me. I am so happy. In the morning, my briefs are filthy. I should have brought a change of clothes. I find some of Tim’s sexy underwear. Slipping them on, I feel so fulfilled. I almost have another accident. Maybe I need to learn better control.

JACK

I call Tony and Jimmy who tell me to meet them at Doug’s house. It takes two cabs to get us all there: Hippie and Robby from Miami, Tommy who proclaims that 16 makes him an adult, Minehan (17) and his band, plus ‘Gator and me. Michael and Jenna are staying at the Beverly Wilshire. Tony tells me to get the Dakota kids to Doug’s, who hopes to promote his dream team of a second-generation Beatles. I call Mary at Marymount. None of the girls (Mowers, the Jacettes, and the twins) want to hang out. They are enjoying cloistered life with the nuns. No surprise there.

I am exhausted by the time we all get to Doug’s. Good manners insist I spend time with Doug in appreciation of his hospitality. The BBQ is set up on the patio. Tommy and ‘Gator celebrate their bromance reunion by stripping down, making it a pool party. The Neighborhoods feel right at home, with Minehan showing off his Harvard accomplishment of learning to swim. Doug is distracted by the unclad teenage boys jumping in and out of his pool.  I make the mistake of telling him I’m the only gay boy. He turns on the charm but his wandering eye keeps his attention locked on the wet boxer and brief contest going on ten feet away. I’m slightly jealous but relieved that I am not the object of his attention. We talk about Tim which is a dick-killer for me. Tony and Jimmy man the grill and a dozen hungry teens keep them busy flipping burgers.

The big excitement is William Burroughs’ appearance,  ostensibly to thank Doug for successfully shopping his novels to various studios. I know that the proceeds are keeping Burroughs in dope. The appearance of a 70-year-old junkie gets everyone’s attention. Doug points out the tee-pee in the back corner of the yard, where the ‘Wild Boys’ reenactments occurred.

Burroughs is thrilled to see his story come to life. Tony and Jimmy organize an impromptu re-creation, complete with the orange pot smoking and the warrior headdress, which Doug insists that Burroughs wear, taking the place of honor. ‘Gator and Hippie refuse to smoke pot. I tell Doug not to recreate the sex play with Minehan and his band. There are plenty of Indian war cries and dancing after the pipe makes its rounds. Doug makes me sit at Burroughs feet and be resurrected with second-hand hits of pot, which amuses Minehan no end. I get so horny that both Doug and Burroughs drag me off to the master bedroom.  Burroughs enjoys playing a part in his own writing, but his need for a heroin fix over-rides his pleasure at my performance in bed. He is replaced by Tony and Jimmy. They have to go to work soon. All three of us teens molest Doug in every way. He recently embraced being submissive. We make quick work of every orifice.

While I’m distracted, ‘Gator and Tommy find Minehan and the Neighborhoods more to their liking. David calls Tommy a fag and is roughly upbraided by ‘Gator. 

After ravishing Doug, I follow Tony and Jimmy to the club. I become extremely depressed, feeling like a slut. I never had sex unless Tim was there. Like when Tim and I got off with Robby, but that hardly counts. Pot makes me so horny that I cannot stop myself. I just really miss Tim. My heart knows he would not be upset. I barely know Doug. At least I somewhat like Burroughs, but he leaves quickly. I do not miss him once he is gone. Tony’s working, so Jimmy takes charge of me.

“Why the long face, Jack? Ya missin’ Tim?” he asks.

“That was the first time I’ve had sex without Tim at least being there.”

“Aw, that’s cute.” He gives me a hug.  “You never cheated on him unless he was there?”

We laugh but I am about to cry.

“No tears. Here,” Jimmy pulls out a joint. “I have the solution.”

He has a wicked grin on his face. We find an empty dressing room and get high. My libido kicks back in and we start making out.

“Feeling better?” Jimmy asks. I have my hand down his pants as I back him up to the vanity while we kiss.

“Mhm, uhm,” I groan, as he squeezes my butt cheeks through my jeans.

I take one of his hands and stick it down the back of my jeans. His fingers are soon stroking my butt hole. I push myself onto his fingers. He spins us around so I sit on the vanity. He undoes my jeans, pulling them down to my knees. He nuzzles my dick through my briefs; The tip pops out of the waist band. It wiggles back and forth. It is all the come-on Jimmy needs. He licks the tip and pulls down my briefs and jeans in one motion. I press his head down onto my straining dick. He lifts my legs over his shoulders and returns his fingers to my butt hole. He takes my dick all the way down to the pubes.  It is double the pleasure as he stimulates my dick and ass simultaneously. I do not take long to cum, spurting again and again down his gullet. Jimmy takes it as a sign that he should fuck me now, lifting my legs higher to gain access to my ass. Knowing I am about to be righteously fucked keeps me hard. Pretty soon Jimmy’s doing the old in-out. I grab him around the neck, and we resume kissing each other. My legs slip down to his elbows, so I can lock them behind his back. Unable to use his arms, he lifts me off the vanity and shoves me against a wall. His thrusts are quick and vigorous. I loosen my legs’ hold on his arms and place both his hands on my straining cock. He gets the hint and strokes my dick in rhythm with the stroke of his dick into my ass. I am delirious from the pot and the fucking. I cum again, all over our stomachs. He laughs, then strains and cums deep inside me. I go limp as his thrusts keep me pushed against the wall. With a final throb and squirt he collapses. We fall to the floor.

“Who’s in there,” someone shouts outside the door. We are both speechless as the intruder unlocks the dressing room door. One look at us laying on the floor, covered in cum and Jimmy’s dick up my ass gets his attention.

“Is that you Jimmy?” the guard asks.

“Yeah. Don’t tell Doug.”

“Give me a joint,” he demands a bribe.

Jimmy pulls out a blunt and the guard sits down beside us. Jimmy lights it up. I refrain, afraid my sluttiness will encourage a possible three-way.

“No way,” I exclaim.

“Don’t worry. He’s straight,” Jimmy reassures me. I still refuse to smoke more. They get high while I attempt to clean up once Jimmy’s dick slips out of my ass.

“Feeling happier?” Jimmy asks once the guard leaves.

TOMMY

‘Gator and me hang out from the moment he boards the plane in Iowa. We find Minehan and his crew more to our liking, even though David calls me a fag.  He is roughly upbraided by ‘Gator.

“I ain’t loved no other guy than ol’ Huck,” I stick up for myself. “He’s my hero. I’d do anything fer him and enjoyed it. Jist don’t git no ideas yerself,”

That settles any problems. We decide to hit the rock clubs. When David and Robby find out Tony is booking bands at the Starwood and Whiskey, as well as being the assistant manager at the Troubadour, they go into instant suck-up. Tony calls around and gets us on the guest list and arranges limo service for us seven straight boys.

“Put us on the list as The Neighborhoods plus 5,” David jokes.

“Meet me back at the Troubadour after midnight. I have to work tonight,” Tony tells them. “Tommy can show you around. He performed here last summer.”

Minehan is instantly jealous. “You play?” he demands. 

“I perform,” I nonchalantly reply. “I tell my ‘Gatorsaurus tale  while playin’ guitar to ‘Crocodile Rock.'”

I am worried that old Jace is not around to help me on guitar since Tim and him died. I make no claims to be all that on guitar.

With a limo arrival, we rush the door at the Starwood, ending up on the disco floor with no one dancing and everyone staring at us.

“Fuck this,” David yells. “Where Eddie Nash?” Tony told David that Nash is the one to get him on the bill that night.

Someone takes us upstairs, through the VIP lounge to an office looking down at the stage, Nash sits with a similarly physiqued Mediterranean man discussing business. When he sees us standing at his door, he quickly closes an open safe.

“What do you kids want?”

David is in his element.

“Mr. Nash, I’m David Minehan, the guitarist and singer in The Neighborhoods. We’re house band at the Rat in Boston.  We’re here for a funeral tomorrow. We’d like to play tonight, our only chance to perform in Hollywood during this visit.”

“Well, we’re already fully booked. What makes you think you can just walk in and get on the bill?”

“Tony, from the Troubadour, said you were pretty cool and might allow it.”

“Tony, Doug’s butt boy?”

“We’re all just kids and know how to get other kids excited. Your bar take will double while we play.”

“I suppose you wanna be paid too.”

“Just 25% of the bar take while we’re on.”

“Where are your instruments?”

“The other bands will share.”
“Really?”

“Yeah. It’ll make ’em look good.”

“Okay, Mr Hot-Shot. If they go along with it. I’m thinking they may regret being upstaged. You can go on at the end of the next band’s set. Boston, huh? Are you like the Modern Lovers?”

“Hell no. They’re just Velvet Underground clones. We play rock.”

“That I gotta see.”

We rush into the adjoining Green Room and bully the opening band into agreeing to lend their instruments. I kinda admire ol’ David for having big balls and gettin’ his way.  He promises them we will be up front and cheering them on.

We go down on the floor in front of the stage, ready to make a scene. There are few other fans. David takes matters in his own hands, rushing into the disco room and pushing all the girls over to the live stage room. Most of the boys follow. Even Rodney leaves the DJ booth to see what all the commotion is about.

The opening band is called Big Hair. They play ponderous rock from the late sixties, with long solos during which the guitarists whip their long hair around, living up to their name. David gets us prancing around in a circle, pulling in all the bemused disco dollies as we circle them into a tight herd.   The boys are too intimidated to reclaim their girlfriends. The band assumes it is the result of their unexciting music.

At the end of their set, the singer announces our surprise. “Well, we’ve got some Boston friends here who have whipped up tonight’s excitement. Get up here and keep it going.”

David bounces on stage, followed by Jim and Mike, picking up the borrowed instruments. He grabs a guitar and steps up to the mic.

“Good mornin’, Vietnam” he croaks. “We’re the Neighborhoods. So lock up yer daughters and prepare to rock.”

The disco crowd looks confused but having been herded into the stage area stick around to see and hear what their master has for them.

“We always start off with an homage to my high school girlfriend, who done me wrong. ‘Roxanne.’

“Gator is transfixed for a second before going off in the pit area. He grabs me and does his tossing up in the air stunt. Then he tosses me to Hippie who just stands there with his mouth open. I knock him down, landing on him. Bouncing up I grab him by the shoulders, and we spin through the disco crowd, knocking several of them down.  ‘Gator picks up girls and tosses them in the air. Their boyfriends are totally afraid of the All-Big Ten linebacker and start to back away.  Hippie, Robby and I get behind them, pushing them back into the scrum, herding them into a circling band of sheep. The mosh pit is born then and there at the Starwood, January 1977.  The band goes into a string of their ‘hits.’

Finally, the disco dollies break away from the pit and head for the door, totally terrorized.

“Stop,” Minehan screams. “Here’s a rocker for ya. We ain’t just maniacs.”

The girls respond to his orders and run back to the front of the stage. The slow rocker is more to their liking. We get them waving their hands as David bounces around the stage.  As he finishes, the amps go off and the club lights turn on. Nash cut the power. Minehan bows and jumps back into the crowd. Everyone heads back to the disco.

Rodney, the DJ, comes over to our group.

“Wow, you guys are amazing,” Rodney, never at a loss for words and never says much except his fan-boy enthusiasms.

Minehan looks down at the short Davy Jones clone, surrounded by his teen groupies. He puts his arms around two groupies.

“Well, the girls seem to like it,” he crows.

“Come to K-ROQ on Sunday night. I’ll put you on the air.”

“Cool. Can we play?”

Rodney’s eyes bug out. “I don’t know. Do you play acoustic.”

“Naw. We need the power to drive the girls crazy.” He squeezes both girls who squeal.

“Ten o’clock. Don’t be late.”

“Yes, sir, boss.”

Next, we go see Eddie Nash and collect the bar take.

“I wasn’t sure you’d show up after I cut you off.”

“Naw. It’s cool. We just needed to let off some steam.”

“You wanna come back. I like your style of rock.”

“We’re pretty stuck in Boston. We’re the house band at the Rat. Your club’s much nicer. You even have girls in the crowd.”

“Good to see a band not all gay or strung out on dope.”

“How much did we make?” Minehan has his eye on the prize.

Nash reaches in his pocket and takes out $5, handing it to Minehan. “Nobody was drinking while you played.”

David goes,ballistic, grabbing Nash and pulling him into the VIP area, then jumping up on the railing above the stage are. The next band is setting up.

“See how the house screws over the bands,” he yells to the crowd, holding up Nash’s hand with the five dollars still in his fist.  “He says no one drank while we played. Get yer asses over to the bar and make us some money. We ain’t playing fer five bucks.”

All the fans do as told and rush the bar. Minehan counts the drinkers. There were fifteen.

“That’s $45. You owe me $11 more.”

Nash laughs and pulls out a ten.

“Make that two fives,” David demands. Nash complies and David gives one each to Jim and Mike.

“Don’t try to screw over the bands,” he admonishes Nash.

“Welcome to Hollywood, kid.”

“Screw you.” We all walk out.

Half the crowd follows us. Minehan has a groupie under each arm.

I tell everyone to follow me to Oki Dog, a few blocks east on Santa Monica Blvd.  Several girls are my age. I soon mirror Minehan with a cutie under each arm. Robby tries to pick up but the girls tell him he is too scrawny.  David gets antsy about wanting to get it on with his groupies.

“I know a park up the street,” I learned the best make out spots from Joan’s groupies the previous summer.

“Let’s go,” he is on a mission. We walk two blocks to Plummer Park  and head for some bushes away from the boulevard. I am already an expert at three-ways with Jace’s guidance. I kinda miss old Jace but it does not dampen my enthusiasm. Minehan is less than smooth. As soon as my lovelies start squealing and moaning, his two take charge and have him grunting and groaning. He later admits it was his first time. Great to have a three-way to pop your cherry.  He regrets that it is not with his girlfriend.

“Roxanne?” I ask.

“Nope. She dumped me in high school. Carol’s my girlfriend at Harvard. She’s holding out for the right time.”

“You’re at Harvard with Tim? How old are you?

“Seventeen. I skipped high school. Tim and Jack are my roommates.”

“I know ya ain’t no fag, just a little retarded.”

We lay back in the dirt, with two girls each. He explains what being Irish means – falling in love before doing the dirty deed.

“Yup. Retarded,” I confirm.

REQUIEM

TREVOR

I call Dad in the morning. I tell him all about my adventures, except for all the prostitutes on Santa Monica Boulevard. He says it does not seem like a funeral with everyone having so much fun.

“The funeral’s today at 1 pm.”

I call Mr. Landis. He’s surprised I’m at Tim’s and have the keys to his car.

“I might need you to drive some of the out-of-towners. If you don’t mind.”

“If they don’t mind riding in the Wreck.”

“Yeah, that’s what Tim called it. I had some pretty crazy adventures driving around with him.”

“More fun than your BMW?”

“That, too. Tim was one adventure after another.”

“Until the last one,”  I gulp. I swear not to cry today, Tim’s funeral.

“It’s okay, Trevor.  I know you only knew him last weekend, but I know it was special.”

“Yeah. You saw the room they gave us at the Rodeway,” I laugh. “The honeymoon suite.”

“We need to talk.”

“Thanks, Mr. Landis. You’ve been wonderful.”

“You’ll meet Tim’s other friends, some have come a long way to be here.”

“I’m a little worried about meeting Jack, his boyfriend.”

“Well, you have him in common.”

“Tim said he’s pretty rich and possessive.”

“No need to be jealous now.”

I gulp. “You’re right.”

“The service is at one. You want to come to my house first?”

“I think I’ll hang out with Tim’s friends in Hollywood. They gave me a new name – ‘Country.’”

“I guess that’s a compliment.”

“Better than what they first called me – ‘Faggot’.”

“Okay, Trevor, you don’t have to put up with that.”

“I told ‘em. That’s why they now call me Country.”

“Good for you.” 

“I kinda like them. We played music on the Sunset Strip last night.”

“Welcome to Hollywood.”

“Thanks, Mr. Landis.”

“Call me John.”

“Yes. sir.”

“Have you eaten yet, Trevor?”
“It’s okay. I’m on a tight budget.”

Well, meet us at Du-Par’s in the Valley. It was Tim’s favorite place for pancakes.”

My stomach growls. The Oki Dog and Top Taco are just a memory. My breath is gross.

He gives me directions but it is Greek to me. I am not ready to drive on the LA freeways. I go to Nicky & Alice’s room and knock softly.

A sleepy voice yells, “Go away.” But soon Alice opens the door.

“What do you want?
“I have to meet Tim’s boss at Du-Par’s in the Valley but the directions are too complicated. Can Nicky drive?”

“If we get free pancakes,” she answers.

Kicking Nicky out of bed, we hit the road.

I introduce them to John, who introduces his wife, Debbie. They’re all the same age.

“Tim had this other life we didn’t know much about,” John states.

“You mean being a faggot?” Nicky has no subtlety.

I blush and everyone else laughs at me.

“No. We all knew that. It’s his music friends we didn’t understand. He hired a classical composer for the movie score, as well a crazy punk band to try out for the cast.”

“That was my band, the Weirdos.”

“Oh, yeah. I thought I recognized you.”

We all laugh at John for so transparently lying – more Hollywood education for me.

“We wanna go to the funeral,” Alice claims.

“Well, since Trevor doesn’t know his way around, maybe you can help us get everyone to the church. It’s in Beverly Hills.”

“Beverly Hills, Century City…We know it well. How about Tim’s girlfriend? She should come.”

“Tim has a girlfriend?”

At least I know that. John and Debbie stare at me.

“I knew. We weren’t exclusive.”

“It’s Joan Jett. The only real rocker to go punk,” Alice explains.

“Oh,” John remarks. “I wondered why we hired her to be on the set.”

The pancakes arrive. They are real good. Nicky finishes off what John and Debbie do not eat. Debbie is finding it all highly amusing.

“Is there going to be party after Church?”

“Yeah. The Troubadour is opening up in the afternoon. A band came from Boston, as well as Tim’s old band from Miami.”

“We wanna play,” Nicky demanded. “The Weirdos and the Bags, Alice’s band.”

“That’s a great name,” Debbie smiles at Alice. She is a costume designer.

Nicky jumps up. “We’ve gotta let everyone know. Joan, the bands. Com’n, Country. The Wreck has rounds to make.”

“Call me at noon. I may need extra transport for out-of-town guests,” John grabs the check. I’m relieved with all of ten bucks to my name.

Nicky drives Alice and me around to let people know about Tim’s celebration. First place we stop is just down the hill from the Whiskey-a-Go-Go. Joan Jett answers the door after we pound on it without stopping.

“Who are you? I don’t sell dope.”

“We met you the night Tim dragged you out of here. He died on Wednesday and there’s a concert at the Troubadour this afternoon. Be there.”

“Fuck. I just started to like that slut.”

“Well, maybe you’ll play, too.”

“The Runaways are toast.”

“Good. We’ll back you up as the Runaways 2.”

“Wait. I’ll get my guitar.”

It takes her all of five minutes to do her makeup,  dress and load her guitar in the Wreck’s trunk. I move into the back seat. She jumps in beside me.

“Who are you?” she asks.

“Trevor. I’m Tim’s boyfriend from Oregon. They call me Country.”

“That’s interesting, Country. I’m Tim’s girlfriend. His only girlfriend.”

I blink.

“You know he has many boyfriends.”

“I knew that. It didn’t matter.”

“You like girls, too?”

“I don’t know. Tim’s the only person I’ve had sex with.”

She smiles and puts her hand down my pants. I jump but she had a firm grip on my dick.

“You like taking it up the butt, Country?”

I get bright red but my dick starts getting hard.

“You’ll do. You can comfort me for the loss of our boyfriend.” She lets go and puts an arm around me. I know Tim would approve. I put my arm around her waist. She smiles for about a second.

We drive around and get the word out. It’s close to noon, so Nicky stops at a pay phone for me to call Mr. Landis. He suggests we go to the church in case the Wreck is needed to pick up anyone. When we arrive Tony and Jimmy are outside.

“Hi, Joan. I see you met Country.”

“Yeah. We’re commiserating the loss of our boyfriend together. I plan on finding out what Tim taught him about love-making.”

“Way to go Trevor.”

I am happy to have my name back. He drags me over to a bedraggled group of teens, hanging out on the church steps,  looking uncomfortable and unsure about going in. One boy is resplendent in a white suit.

Tony goes up to him. “You look great. You saying something about Tim at the service, Jack?”

He is Tim’s boyfriend and roommate at Harvard.

Joan runs over and gives him a big kiss. I guess she really was Tim’s girlfriend.

“Come meet Tim’s Oregon boyfriend,” Joan can’t help herself from starting drama.

I put my best foot forward. “Hi, Jack. I’m Trevor.  Tim told me all about you. He really loves you.” I forget that he is dead. I am such the idiot.

Jack seems distracted, maybe because of the eulogy.

“How do you know Tim?”

“I work on the movie up in Oregon. We really just met.” I turn red.

“Let’s find Tim’s Hollywood boyfriend. He’s real old.” Joan is on a roll.

She runs over to a nicely dressed middle-aged man standing by himself.

“Are you Tim’s boyfriend?” she asks.

“Are you the girlfriend I spoke with on the phone?”

“Here he is,” Joan waves us over.

“Hi,” I speak first. “We talked on the phone last weekend.”

“You’re Trevor?”

“Yup. This here’s Jack, Tim’s roommate and boyfriend at Harvard.”

“We’ve met,” Jake admits. Jack looks distressed.

Tony and Jimmy are joined by the Miami band laughing and pointing at us. It is awkward but all four of us smile at each other. No sense fighting over a dead body. Maybe my country ways are too simple, but I feel connected with the other three, all of whom I just met.

“This is perfect,” a tall scrawny long-haired blond guy states. “My name’s Rockets.  We need you to help with our own ceremony once the church service is over. Cause y’all fucked Tim I can use your psychic connection with him to bring him back.”

My first encounter with rock n roll devil worship. I just stare. A dark-haired friend of his pulls ‘Rockets’ away,

“Don’t be expecting everyone to follow your satanic practices. Remember where you are, on the steps of a church,” the dark-haired boy says.

He winks at me, perhaps noticing my wild-eyed staring at ‘Rockets.’  The two of them run off to discuss whatever devil worshipers discuss. I feel I should call Dad for spiritual guidance, but I already called earlier that morning. Jack leaves to go into the church, so I follow him. At least we have Tim in common. I sit with him while he goes over his notes for the eulogy. Finally, he turns to me.

“You just met Tim? Did he use his Teen Jesus trick on you?”

“We didn’t really talk about Jesus, just that we had both been choir boys in high school.”

“He wasn’t all that innocent.”

“I’m Baptist. He said his sister and second mom are also. He told me you lived with him in Iowa until some crazed Baptists tried to kill you with a snake ritual. Our church is not like that.”

“So you bonded over choir?”

I turn red. “I rode on his lap in Mr. Landis’s sports car. He got excited, you know in that way. I had never felt that way myself. It was a mutual attraction.”

Jack laughs. “I crushed on Tim all through junior year English. I was even his understudy for Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer’s Night Dream.’ He changed roles and paid attention to me for the first time. I couldn’t help myself.”

“That’s how I felt. I went crazy feeling his dick on my butt.”

“I ended up in his bed that night. I had a wet dream. In the morning I thought the dream was real. Tim had done nothing. When I said I loved him, he said he’d try to love me back. It was crazy. Everyone in school knew.”

“Yeah. All my frat brothers can tell. They ribbed me but said it was nice that I had someone. They were the ones who told me that Tim had died. They were really cool about it.”

“I can’t believe he’s dead. Part of me wants to breakdown and cry. I know Tim would punch and tell me to be a man. It’s like I can’t be gay about it.”

We both laugh at the two meanings of gay. I put my arm around him.  We both sob just once. Smiling we know we have each other’s back. We relax. The choir begins their pre-service performance. It is five boys and one girl, all young teens. They are playing electric guitar, Pink Floyd. The song is ‘Wish You Were Here.”

It hits me in the heart. The tears flow. Jack looks distressed.

“Last time they did that song in church, a miracle occurred, golden snowflakes fell on the parishioners,” Jack tells me.

We aren’t the only ones wishing for another miracle. As the kids play, a feeling of suspense grows. At the end, a collective sigh shows our disappointment. Used to Baptist claims that the slightest sign is a miracle from God, I’m not as disappointed as the mostly Catholic audience is praying for a major miracle.

The service proceeds. Soon it’s time for Jack to do his eulogy. I squeeze his hand as he stands. He prefaces it with a passage from the Gospel of St John the Evangelist. John is my favorite, always more poetic and mystical, although Mark gives him a run for his money. Jack relates the story of Jesus as a shepherd. It seems that he is saying Tim is the shepherd to outsiders like all the lost youth. I am impressed. He found a passage that rings so true about Tim. After the Bible passage, his eulogy makes the case for Tim being an innocent who sees the good in everyone. It is okay. After finishing, he comes and sits with me again, waving to his family, including two who are old enough to be his grandparents. I like that his family supports him, as if being gay is normal.

“Your whole family, even grandparents, support your love for Tim.”

“The old folks are actually my parents. I’m their youngest. The normal couple is Tim’s parents and the two women are Tim’s two mommies.”

My head is swimming.

At the end of the service a final viewing of the body is allowed. I’m one of the first to come up to the casket. When I see the tear on Tim’s cheek, I gasp. Other young people run up, causing a scene. The officiating priest attempts to calm everyone down. Jack whispers to him and he wipes the tear away.

“That was Jack’s tear. He placed it on Tim’s cheek,” Father Luke explains. The consternation remains as the viewing continues. I did not mean to cause concern.

With the viewing done, the coffin is shut and wheeled out to the waiting hearse. It pulls away, but I notice it only goes as far as the parish house driveway.

A crowd of mostly teenage boys is milling in front. Nicky and Alice come over.

Where’d you go, Country?” he asks.

“I sat with Jack, up front. He gave the eulogy.”

“Did you understand what he said?”

“Something about Tim seeing the best in everyone, sinner or saint.”

“Thanks, College boy. Now you need to help us kidnap Tim’s body. We have plans before they stick it in the ground.”

“I ain’t gonna take part in no devil worship.” I stand my ground.

He laughs. “Nobody believes that stuff. Just that crazy pothead who calls himself Rockets. It’s all part of the celebration that ends up at the Troubadour. I need you to drive after we grab the body out of the hearse. Tim ain’t missin’ his own celebration.”

“What have you been smoking?”

“I hate pot but zombies and dead bodies  are frequent images in my band, the Weirdos’, songs.”

I cannot argue with that logic. If we get caught, I can claim temporary insanity due to my grief over Tim’s untimely death. Nicky throws me the keys to the Wreck and tells me to drive it to the parish house. I say a short prayer, for my own sanity’s sake.

All the misfits are waiting beside the hearse.  The long-haired bass player from Miami comes over to speak with me.

“I hear yer a Baptist like me,” he smiles.

“You must be Hippie. My daddy’s a preacher.”

“What’s he think about you and Tim?”

“Well, he got the deacons to pay my airfare here. When I told him I love Tim, he warned me against feeling too strongly about anything.”

“Anything but Jesus.”

“That’s understood.”

“So I can count on you to stifle Robby’s need to invoke the devil?”

“You mean Rockets?”

“Yeah. His latest twist. We call it the Robby magic mean show.”

Finally, someone I can relate to. I smile.

“Oh,” he looks startled. “I’m married with a baby.”

“Congratulations.” I guess my reputation as gay means I need to edit my friendliness. Since I have had a boyfriend, maybe I can work on having friends now.

JACK

I am conflicted as I walk down the rows of church pews to the front where I am to give the eulogy. If I have regrets about losing Tim, it’s my loss of the trust Tim promised me by being able to see, feel, and hear his heart. I feared he would see my weakness and mistrust of myself when he looked into my heart. Now he is gone. That trust will never be open to me again. How much I miss him is immeasurable.

I pause at the open casket. I steel myself not to cry, but a single tear escapes my resolve.  I wipe it away on my forefinger and place the tear just below one of Tim’s eyes. I sigh and continue to the altar to read the New Testament passage and deliver the eulogy.

“A reading from John, Chapter 10, 1-11.

‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbeth up some other way, the same as a thief and a robber.

2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

4 When he hath put forth all his own, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.

7 Jesus therefore said unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

8 All that came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

9 I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and go out, and shall find pasture.

10 The thief cometh not, but that he may steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they may have life, and may have [it] abundantly.

11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep.’

“This is the word of the Lord. Praise be to God. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“Tim was a leader of youth among men. His example was not perfect but true to his nature and innocent of sin. His recklessness ended in death. He loved music, his friends, the freedom to experiment and take risks. No one gets out of this world alive. To be cut short at a young age is the stuff of tragedy because death ends one’s prospects in life. Tim always went for the gusto. We’ll never know what he would have accomplished had he had a full life. But every moment he was here, every accomplishment was so outstanding that we must glorify them and not rue that his future was cut so short.”

I pause and look out over the congregation.

“There are many young people here today and many adults who support these young people. The belief that the young represent the future is hope for the future. It is also a reaction against the intransigence of institutions, even the Church, that hold back that future. Old age and experience place people who are fearful of the future into institutional positions of authority. They see enemies where there is only hope for change. Tradition-bound rules hold the young back. Tim embraced rock and roll, an affront to even those who loved jazz in their youth. But he also saw music for its spiritual foundation and heartfelt emotions. Anything that comes from the heart is true and divinely inspired. He faced haters, not with hippie love and peace, but with an understanding that the hate comes from evil forces outside the hater. He looked into the hearts of his enemies and embraced those who opened up to him. He loved to fight, regardless of winning or losing. He believed he was right and that right triumphs. He loved anyone who loved him, returning the love exactly as it was given. He was blessed. I have lost my best friend. He gave his best to me. I am forever changed. I am blessed.

I look up and see my parents beaming at my eulogy. They made him part of our family. It was silliness that made me jealous that they loved him in ways they would never love me. I love them for that. Tim’s parents are sitting with them, both pairs on either side. What a strange family we have become.

“After the service is complete, please come to the Troubadour, the corner of Santa Monica and Doheny, for a celebration of Tim’s life. Many of the bands he inspired will play in his honor. It will be chaotic and crazy. It will be what Tim wanted.”

MOLLY

 Standing on the church steps, I enjoy the warm California sun, basking in the uplifting feelings from the funeral. Jack out-did himself. Suddenly the mood changes with the roar of squealing tires and a fishtailing convertible hurtling toward us.  I am too shocked to react as Tim drives by in the back seat of a late ’50’s Ford and waves to all the mourners on the church steps.  It takes me a moment to realize it is a Hollywood special effects trick.  Burt is incensed, seeing his son’s body treated with disrespect. I hold him back from chasing after the fleeing car.

“That’s not Tim,” I argue, “Just the shell of his body.”

“I don’t care. Those kids have no right to mock us.”

The dog, Winston, whines at Burt’s emotional outburst.  Maybe he recognized Tim as he drove past. Burt calms the dog, calming himself as well. He marches to the young priest who officiated the funeral.

“What are you going to do about all this. The police need to be notified.”

“It looks like they are headed to the club where the bands have planned a celebration. Let’s get over there and check before getting the police involved. I’m so sorry a few people have ruined our ceremony.”

“Humph,” Burt turns away. He does not like being mollified.

Wendy and Susan convince him to wait and see if Tim’s body returns.

At the Troubadour, we are informed that the body has been there but is now parading around Hollywood – not too reassuring. Burt is incensed again. There is nothing else to do but wait for its return. Jack assures him that everything will turn out well.  His assurances are not well received. I get the impression that Jack is not Burt’s favorite of Tim’s boyfriends.

JAKE

Standing in front of the Catholic Church I feel a bit out-of-place with so many teenagers

dominating the scene. An extremely forthright girl with jet black hair A sketch of a person

Description automatically generated with low confidence walks up to me and asks if I am Tim’s Hollywood boyfriend. I recognize her voice as the girl I spoke with on the phone. We laugh. She calls over two of Tim’s other boyfriends, Jack, his Harvard roommate, and the other, Trevor, whom I spoke with in Oregon. We all bond on our mutual love. There is none of the drama I instigated in Miami by kissing Tim in front of Jack. He is resplendent in an all-white suit.

“Are you giving the eulogy?” I ask.

He smiles and nods.

He and Trevor go into the church together.  I hesitate until the last moment, taking a seat in the back row of pews. Jack does a great job describing the spiritual side of Tim’s life.  He grins at his family, including grandparents. The rich seem more comfortable with changed cultural norms about sexuality.

TREVOR

Suddenly Nicky, Alice, Rockets and Michael appear, carrying Tim’s dead body. They stuff him into the back seat, sitting him up and buckling him into a seat belt.  Everyone jumps in. Nicky and Alice are in front with me. Rockets sits next to Tim’s body. Hippie and Michael next to Rockets.

“Where to?” I ask.

“Just drive,” Nicky orders.  I spin the wheels backing out of the parish driveway and we squeal away, laying rubber as I shift into drive. I’m slightly out of control as we fishtail down Holloway Drive. Everyone, but Tim, whoops and hollers. Rockets is waving Tim’s arm at everyone standing in front of the Church. Father Luke looks quite distressed. Jack yells and comes running after us. I slam on the brakes as he dives into the back seat, pushing Tim’s body into the middle. Convertibles rule.

“Do you really know how to drive?” Nicky admonishes me.

“I’m just learning how to drive the dead,” I respond.  Everyone laughs. This is by far my favorite funeral.

The first stop is the Troubadour. Jack tells me to park in the back where he bangs on the stage door and soon all the musicians come running out.

“Tim’s in the Wreck,” someone yells. Rockets keeps waving Tim’s right arm at everyone as they exit the Troubadour. Tommy must be smoking weed because he believes Tim has been brought back to life.

“That’s for later,” Rockets promises. Tommy gives him a mean look once he realizes he is being tricked. I don’t think he likes Rockets much. He comes over and introduces himself to me.

“Who are you?” he asks.

“Trevor, but everyone’s bin callin’ me Country. I’m from Oregon.”

“Howdcha git old Huck’s body away from the Church?”

“Ask Nicky. I’s jist the driver.”

“Jist like in the book – Huck and Tom at their own funeral.”

“Howdcha know Tim and whycha call ‘im Huck?

“We runs away from juvie tagether and spent four months livin’ large in the Everglades. Stick around tonight fer when I tells my ‘Gatorsaurus story.”

“Yer in the ‘Bobby McGee Song’.” I pull out my harmonica and blow some blues.

“How y’all know that one.”

“Tim and me made our own version,” as I sing along with the harmonica.

‘Busted flat in Oregon, waitin’ fer a ride

When I’s feelin’ nearly faded as my jeans

Tim he flagged a diesel down

Jist afore a rain

Rode us all the way to Los Angeles.”

“Hey, That there’s Huck’s and my song.”

“I guess we share ‘im now.”
“Didcha really love ‘im?”

“More than I ever knew.”
“Yeah, Guess we both lost ‘im.”

“Not yet,” as I grab Tim’s arms and wrap them around the two of us.”

Tommy has a big grin on as the tears roll down our cheeks. I promised not to cry but cannot help it. The two of us sit there hugging a dead body with one arm and each other with the other arm.

“Hey, Tommy. Give it up. He’s my boyfriend,” the dark-haired rocker chick pulls us off Tim.

She pulls out her makeup kit and promptly rubs away the rouge and foundation that the mortuary used to make Tim look normal. She applies heavy black mascara around his eyes. Then she writes ‘FUCK ME’ on his forehead.”

I am shocked when she proceeds to kiss him passionately. It makes me jealous. When she’s done, I kiss him myself. I feel the devil has possessed me. Tommy whoops and tries to push me aside. He is not to be denied until he looks at Tim’s face. His eyes are open and his smile, so artfully sculpted by the mortician, has reverted to a macabre teeth-clenching, lecherous grin. Tommy screams. One look and everyone thinks Tim has come back to life. It only takes another second to realize he has reverted to the expression he wore when he died in the surf.

Nicky gets the keys. He drives off with about ten riders, including Dead Tim, who continues to wave at passersby. Tony follows in his Datsun with about six punks jammed inside.  I need a break from this carnival of the macabre and go inside the Troubadour.

Joan has the other girls working on a song for their performance later. Tommy introduces me to a huge football jock  whom he calls ‘Gator and proceeds to relate the legend of ‘Gatorsaurus he plans to recite at the performance. ‘Gator is a cut-up, reenacting the exploits of the alligator on his hands and knees, biting Tommy on the leg and eventually throwing him up in the air. I take out my harmonica and provide music to back up Tommy’s tale spinning.

We all laugh, good ol’ country boys, one from Florida, one from Iowa, and me from Oregon. I am over my squeamishness from kissing Tim’s dead body. Tommy says he will play guitar while spinning out the ‘Gatorsaurus tale if I play harmonica alongside him. I am really pleased. ‘Gator says he can play drums, promising not to get too carried away. I can tell he has a big crush on Tommy. Tommy whispers to me that ‘Gator is totally straight but was confused by his feelings for Tim when they were best friends in high school. He decided he wanted to be gay, too.

“He just don’t understand why his dick don’t act that way.” Tommy giggles.

“So, you’re gay.”

“Jist fer Tim.”

“I ain’t bin with no one but Tim. It’s confusin’.”

“You’ve gotta git out more.” The wisdom of a sixteen-year-old. “When’s I first was with Tim, all he had to do was smile at me and I got off. It took me a year to learn how to control my dick.”

“How old was ya then.”

“Fourteen. Tim rescued me from juvie.”

“Tim was a molester?”

“No way. I chased him. He held me off, which was why my dick got so twitchy. We was alone in the Everglades for four months. After a few really exciting moments, we just settled into beating each other off. We was like brothers.”

“Exciting moments?”

“Yeah. We had the night of the Panther. He kept teasing me with the tip of his dick and switching whenever I got close while we rolled around in the dirt. When I finally came, his dick slipped all the way inside me and went off like a roman candle. There was a panther watching us.  It started coming at night while we sang together around the fire.”

I am rock hard just imagining it. Tommy notices and flicks it with a forefinger. It hurts like hell and goes down.

“Don’t be getting’ no ideas.” He laughs at my discomfort. “There’s plenty of gay boys around. I toldcha I only switch-hit fer Tim, and he’s dead.”

“Rockets said he’s gonna raise Tim from the dead.”

“Stay away from that boy. He’s real evil. He ain’t even gay but will pretend to be in order to humiliate you”

My head is spinning. Hollywood is too complicated for me. I ask Tony if I can use the phone to call long distance. I need Dad’s advice.

“How was the funeral, Trev. Did it seem strange, a Catholic service?”

“That went fine. Tim’s friend Jack did a reading from the Gospel according to St John. He compared Tim to a shepherd and us as his flock. The Catholics have been really nice.”

“You sound upset, son. Is everything okay?”

“It’s gotten out-of-control. The Catholics plan a beatification ceremony tomorrow, but some of Tim’s friends have stolen his body and are driving it around in the back of Tim’s convertible.”

“Are they devil-worshippers?”

“One boy is. My friends make fun of him and tell me to stay away from him.”

“Good boy, Trevor. I think you should come home as soon as possible.”

“I have to be back by tomorrow night. I’ve been asked to play harmonica to ‘Crocodile Rock,’ as part of tonight’s celebration. I’ve been playing a lot. It’s fun. Most everyone is real nice.”

“Is that a song by Pat Boone from the 50’s?”

“No, Dad. That was ‘See You Later Alligator. In a While Crocodile.”

“Oh, yeah. I always liked Pat Boone.”

“Well, I’m playing acoustically while my friend Tommy tells his story of fighting a big alligator with Tim in the Everglades.”

“Your friend seems to attract trouble.”

“Yeah. It’s why he’s dead. It’s so sad.”

“Why is the Catholic Church planning on making him a saint?”

“He got them to set up youth shelters in New York City after several miracles occurred when he played music.”

“You know that God creates miracles, not humans.”

“Yes, Dad.”

“You call us as soon as you get back.”

“I’ll call in the morning before I leave.”

“You’re good boy, son. Don’t disappoint us.”

“Have I ever?”

“Keep it that way.”

“Say hi to Mom for me.”

DOUG

After Tim’s funeral service at St Viktor and his kidnapping, we all head to the Troubadour for the planned performances by his friends’ bands. No one wants to start until we recover Tim’s body. I make it an open bar to quell the complaints. Free drinks mean it’s a party and everyone forgets why we are there in the first place.

Tony calls.

“What the fuck are you guys doing?  We need the body here to start the show,” I yell into the phone.

“I guess we got carried away.  Well, Tim was carried away. There was a whole crowd at Oki Dog, and now we’re at a rehearsal studio with more punks hanging out. They’re really messing up Tim’s body. They want to come to the show.”

“They’re holding the body for ransom?”

“More like they’re defiling it until you say that they can come to the show.”

“Okay. Okay. Just stop the defiling. We’ll start when you get here. You’re his friends. Protect his body.”

“He’s dead, Doug. What can be worse than that?”

“Just get it back here.”

I speak with the priests.  They are not amused and insist we get the body back for them asap. There is a formal mass at the Cathedral tomorrow.

“Maybe you better plan on a closed coffin.”

The priests look aghast.

“Should we have the coffin set up on stage?” I ask, “Or, can we just put him in a chair?”

They are confused. The celebration is not going as planned.
“The chair,” the old priest decides.

“I’ll set it up where the tables are. You can sit there and guard the body.”

“Good idea.”

I go backstage to set the order of performances. The old guy has his cello and announces he is going play a classical selection from ‘Fantasia.’ John Landis set up a projector to show the movie. The screen is behind the stage curtain. It is not rock n roll. What do I know? I have only been putting on shows for 40 years.

The Boston band and Tom Petty’s band are arguing about who goes on first. I toss a coin and Boston chooses to go on first. Their singer knows the ‘Fantasia’ piece and says he will play with the classical musicians first, before the rock show. Fine. The kid who did the Croc Rock story with Elton John is here. He says he will go on when the crowd needs calming down. The only responsible one is sixteen. Joan Jett recruits Tim’s high school and college girlfriends to play some of Joan’s new songs. The rumors about the Runaways breaking up are true. They go on after the Mark Twain act. Tim’s Miami band, False Gods, will follow Joan, and finally Tom Petty and the Hillbillies. I give everyone their marching orders. I am less than confidant they will be followed.

I have the stage mic turned on and announce that Tim’s body is on its way.  Everyone rushes the bar to get ready for the show. Free drinks calm the masses. I stay on stage long enough to see Tony appear at the back door. He sets up a chair onstage and reappears with Jimmy carrying Tim. They drag him to the front of the stage, to the cheers of the fans rushing back from the bar.Tim’s appearance is shocking. He is stripped of the white suit he wore at the funeral mass, wearing nothing but the colorful briefs I know so well. Almost all of his hair has been chopped, butchered off. Graffiti is written all over his white skin; his forehead reads ‘FUCK ME.’ The calm, beatific expression that the mortician had labored over is replaced  by a ghoulish, teeth-bared grin. His eyes are open, each one staring lifelessly in different directions.

I run up to Tony. “What the hell happened? Where did you take his body?”

“There’s a new place on Hollywood Blvd, the basement of the Pussycat Theater. It’s for punks only, called the Masque.”

“They did this to a dead body?”

“Yeah. Yeah. No one is allowed in with long hair. And they’re coming here now.”

“Christ. I’m locking the doors.”

“You’ll have a riot in the street. I can keep them under control.”

True to his word, a motley crew of fifty kids stream into the club.  I run over and shut off the bar. They spot Tim in the chair and rush down front, lifting him over their heads and carrying him around.  The other young people join them as they circle the open space in front of the stage. Tony’s efforts to retrieve Tim are rebuffed. I am speechless at the mic.

Landis rushes up. “I have a plan. Let me start the show.”

He motions to bring on stage the older man with a cello, the crazed Boston teenager with a MOOG, Jack with a guitar,  a jock at the drum kit, and a hippie-looking long-hair on a bass. Jimmy is helping them set up the mics and amps.

“We’re going to play Mussorgsky’s ‘Night on Bald Mountain,’ the excerpt from ‘Fantasia.” He draws back the stage curtain and reveals a 35 mm screen. The action on the floor continues unabated. Once the performers are set, Landis motions to the projectionist to start the film. There is no sound. Landis puts on headphones and raises his arms to conduct his quintet on stage.

As soon as the image of the Devil appears, a long-haired blond boy jumps on stage.  Raising his arms and mouthing a nonsensical oath at the swirling mass of bodies carrying Tim around, the crazed punks stop, see the Devil on-screen and a live devil directing oaths at them. They deposit Tim on the left front of the stage. The writhing mass of bodies  mimics the screen vision of hell and souls being tossed to and fro. They follow their puppet-master’s directions. Landis continues leading his quintet, the amplified orchestra music echoes throughout the club. The adult patrons find seats well back of the crazed punks, enjoying a live performance of the classic Mussorgsky, with punks acting as a dance company. The demon worshiper turns toward Tim and utters more oaths, exhorting him to wake from the dead. The dancers on the floor scatter to every corner of the club. The oaths draw them slowly back to the stage, collapsing as the efforts to raise the dead fail to work. Eventually 100 kids are at Tim’s feet, exhausted, while on-screen, the flames of hell burst upon the lost souls as demons and orcs torture them. The battle for the souls rages until a peaceful clarinet melody sneaks in on cat paws; the MOOG can reproduce any instrument. The image of the Devil on the screen returns to its original shape, the peak of Bald Mountain. The long-haired bass player steps forward,  playing and singing ‘Ave Maria.’ The live devil lays prone in front of Tim. The adult fans in the seats burst into applause. The rictus of a toothy grin on Tim’s face recomposes itself into a pleasing smile and his eyes close. There’s a collective sigh. The players and Landis stand up and bow. The curtain closes and the quintet disappears behind it.

Suddenly Bill Burroughs appears at my side.

“I want to read my poem that I performed with Tim at St Patrick’s.”

I merely nod. I am not in charge here. He pulls out a couple of sheets of paper and stands at the mic.

“I’m Bill Burroughs. Tim found me in my hovel  at the Chelsea Hotel in the Bowery two years ago. Since then, he got Doug to sponsor my writing in Hollywood and rescue me from obscurity. I read this poem at the show he organized for a Beatles reunion, that is, half of the Beatles.

‘Fear and the Monkey,’

‘Turgid itch and the perfume of death
On a whispering south wind
A smell of abyss and of nothingness
Dark Angel of the wanderers howls through the loft
With sick smelling sleep
Morning dream of a lost monkey
Born and muffled under old whimsies
With rose leaves in closed jars
Fear and the monkey
Sour taste of green fruit in the dawn
The air milky and spiced with the trade winds
White flesh was showing
His jeans were so old
Leg shadows by the sea
Morning light
On the sky light of a little shop
On the odor of cheap wine in the sailors’ quarter
On the fountain sobbing in the police courtyards
On the statue of moldy stone
On the little boy whistling to stray dogs.
Wanderers cling to their fading home
A lost train whistle wan and muffled
In the loft night taste of water
Morning light on milky flesh
Turgid itch ghost hand
Sad as the death of monkeys
Thy father a falling star
Crystal bone into thin air
Night sky
Dispersal and emptiness. ‘

Originally published as William S. Burroughs, “Fear and the Monkey,” Pearl 6 (Odense, Denmark: Fall/Winter 1978). Collected in The Burroughs File, City Lights, 1984. Republished by RealityStudio in August 2010.

He receives polite applause. So far nothing has gone as planned.

The demon worshiper recovers and brings Tim’s band on stage, ‘False Gods’ from Miami. Apparently, he’s the drummer. Jack is at the mic, only to be pushed away by the drummer.

“This is my song, Jack. We’re going to bring Tim back with it. His role in False Gods is the White One. I am the Drinker of the Blood. My role is to protect the White One. I need the Earth Mother to bring it happen.”

He motions to one of the back-up singers. She initially resolutely shakes her head at him but eventually comes forward reluctantly. He tells her to lay in front of Tim. She shakes her head more decisively.

“You are the Lover of the Mother, the only one with the power of the Earth Goddess. It won’t work without you.”

They argue back and forth. Finally, Jack steps up to the mic.

“This is our band song, ‘False Gods,” and he rips into a heavy metal lead.  It gets everyone’s attention. The kids are pressed against the stage and back several rows. The adults are standing up from their seats, trying to hear what was being said on stage. After the guitar leads, the bass player from the Fantasia act struts across the stage, ripping strong bass rhythm notes.  The drums finally come in, and Jack’s vocals blast clearly through the sound system.

‘Where others feared to tread,

they gave us up for dead,

memories linger eternally,

as Lucifer’s proud plea,

a world of our own,

on high a black throne,

sing to make them see,

happy for eternity

…we are False Gods, we are False Gods…

a world so meek and blind,

we laugh at all of  mankind,

fools misunderstand,

we’re Satan’s band,

a world of endless flaws,

facades and miracles applause,

eulogized but despised,

shed your false disguise,

fall to your knees,

utter useless pleas,

cause

…we are False Gods, we are False Gods…

pray in foreign tongues,

shoot your useless guns,

sacrifice hallowed sheep,

shun cold, dark streets,

you’re just nasty fleas,

Set your minds at ease

…False Gods, False Gods…

we live eternally,

we hear your painful screams,

keep cold certainty,

know just what we mean

…False Gods, False Gods…

We will live eternally

To hear your painful screams

Just wait 20 years or so

You will know just what we mean

….We are False Gods, False Gods..

… False Gods’

Again with the devil worship – ‘Lucifer,’ the demon worshiper starts chanting incomprehensible oaths, finally throwing Tim’s body on top of the prone back-up singer. Raising hands above his head, he invokes all the evil deities he knows, throwing himself on top of the two bodies.  Nothing happens.

Jack is incensed at the blasphemy. He screams, ‘Fuck Off’ and attacks the demon worshiper.

The band is prepared and the bass player steps up to the mic,  spitting out to the next song’s lyrics.

‘Don’t fuck with me

I’ll take ya down

Gots ta be free

Hate makes me drown

Anger sees me seethe

Can’t seem to breathe

Yer arms on me

I gots ta be free.

Get outta my face

This ain’t the place

To make a stand

To be a man

Your nose I’ll crunch

My knockout punch

Will put ya down

La La Land bound.

Fuck Off!’’

They repeat the song to make sure everyone understands. Jack pulls the demon worshiper off Tim, with the girl, kicking him away. ‘Lucifer’ sits down on another drum set beside the original set. The girl scurries out from under Tim, who lies there, face down on the stage, still lifeless.

“Robby has always been evil.  Here’s how Michael stopped his bullying in third grade – ‘’Look before You Leap’” Jack announces.

‘Wanna

Set you’re your buddy on fire,

Better buy a rug.

Wanna

Send your friends to hell,

Better get a priest.

Wanna

Beat up a bully,

Better get a gun.

Look before you leap

Better to say no

Then end up in a heap

No place to go.

Leap, leap, leap

You friggin’ freak

Leap, leap, leap

Strip and streak.”

Wanna

Beat up your friend

Get new friends

Wanna

Steal a new car

You won’t get far

Wanna

Dis some sweet lass

A beating comes fast

Look before you leap

Better to say no

Then end up in a heap

No place to go.

Leap, leap, leap

You friggin’ freak

Leap, leap, leap

Strip and streak.”

All the punk kids are whooping and hollering as they bounce around before the stage.  Joan Jett comes on stage with her all-girl pick-up band.  Her coterie of girl groupies cheer and run down in front, pushing the boys aside.

“Hey, LA. This is my new band. We all loved Tim in our own way. This is Angie and Amy, his twin sisters from Iowa, Jill and Carol his roomies from Hahvahd, Flo and Edi, backup singers in False Gods, and I’m his only Hollywood girlfriend, as far as anyone knows. He was quite active in the pleasuring department. He called himself the Cracker from Alaska. This song is how I knew him. He was a firecracker.” She lights into ‘Cherry Bomb.’

“Tim taught me exactly how to deal with a ‘Bad Reputation’ – I wrote this song for him.

Out walks Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers, kissing Joan and sneering at the crowd. He nods at the demon worshipper.”
“That piss ant cain’t bring back a fly, let alone a rocker. I remember the second Tim screamed at the death of his dog in the middle of opening for Skynyrd. Y’all got no special powers, Robby, so jist stick to drums. But now we all’s gonna sing our songs which Tim says were his anthems.”

They rip into ‘Won’t Back Down.’

The slow rocker gets all the adults on their feet and waving from the seats. The kids calm down until Tom sings Tim’s next favorite, “I’m so Bad.’

Hoards of the over twenty crowd descend from the seats, pushing aside the punks or grabbing their girlfriends to swing dance with them. Up from the dance floor and onto the stage, next bounces up Jim and the Crowd. Their Mod songs are perfect for both demographics.

‘Right Time, Right Place’

“Tim came to HB and terrorized the old surfers with his own style. He went to Zuma and the ocean took him from us. This is our song for him, Tim is a Surf Rocker.’

Well the kids are all hopped up and ready to go
They’re ready to go now
They got their surfboards
And they’re going to the Whiskey A Go Go
But he had to break away
Well Huntington really has it all
Oh yeah, oh yeah.

Tim is a Surf Rocker
Tim is a Surf Rocker
Tim is a Surf Rocker now.

Tim is a Surf Rocker
Tim is a Surf Rocker

Tim is a Surf Rocker now.


Tim is a punk rocker now.

He’s a punk punk, a punk rocker
Punk punk, a punk rocker
Punk punk, a punk rocker.

Well the kids are all hopped up and ready to go
They’re ready to go now
They got their surfboards
And they’re going to the Cuckoo’s Nest

But he just couldn’t stay
He had to break away
Well Huntington Beach really has it all
Oh yeah, oh yeah.

Tim is a Surf Rocker
Tim is a Surf Rocker
Tim is a Surf Rocker now.

Tim is a Surf Rocker
Tim is a Surf Rocker

Tim is a Surf Rocker now.

He’s a punk punk, a punk rocker
Punk punk, a punk rocker
Punk punk, a punk rocker.

Tim is a Surf Rocker
Tim is a Surf Rocker
Tim is a Surf Rocker now.

Tim is a Surf Rocker
Tim is a Surf Rocker

Tim is a Surf Rocker now.

Tim is a Surf Rocker
Tim is a Surf Rocker

Tim is a Surf Rocker now.

Source: Musixmatch

Sheena Is a Punk Rocker lyrics © Wb Music Corp., Taco Tunes

Next they played ‘Modern Machine.’

Once finished, OC Jim goes over to Tim’s body and sticks a joint in his mouth.  The fans cheer. As soon as the Crowd exits the stage, three teens jump up from the floor in front. The skinny one is the same kid who had played the MOOG in the opening ‘Fantasia’ sequence. He grabs the mic.

“I’m David. We’re the Neighborhoods. When ya come ta Boston, ya gotta go to the Rat. That’s where we always play. I wanted ta join Tim and Jack in their Harvard Standing Band, but old Tim made me get my high school friends together. That was good advice, I guess, since he’s dead now. Here’s the song we always open with, ‘Roxanne,’ she done me wrong and left me for some other high school jerk.”

He raised his middle finger to the heavens.

With punk energy and angry lyrics, the kids in front recognize their soul mates, thrashing and jumping around as David does the same on stage.

“Now settle down and chill,” he orders. Walking over to Tim’s body, he plucks the joint from Tim’s lips, lights it up and passes it to out-stretched hands from the floor. Back at the mic he plays the opening leads to a regular rocker.

“This is ‘Pure and Easy,’ for you Tim,” as he bows to the body on the side of the stage.

All the girls rush forward, swaying and waving their arms about. The punks make room for them, dancing to their wiggling butts.

“Thank you, ladies. Calm these boys down. This is a song for my one and only, Carol. ‘Prettiest Girl’,” he bows to a thrilled girl, watching from the edge of the stage, standing next to Joan Jett. He runs over, playing long leads. She is totally embarrassed. She modestly kisses him. He spins away, looking sad, and plays what may pass as a punk love song” ‘Prettiest Girl’

As he finishes, Carol runs over and wraps herself around David and his guitar, yielding to his lip lock and deep french kissing. He breaks away and goes crazy on stage: ‘Monday Morning’

Two boys jump on stage, picking up Tim’s body and thrashing along with David.  Like lemmings, a dozen or more kids are suddenly on stage. Maybe they think it is Arrowsmith or the Ramones. Tim’s body is lifted above their heads and passed to those bouncing in front. He is passed around over heads until someone drops him to the floor. Rising up like he is ascending to heaven, someone has him by the shoulders. A conga-line forms behind the shaking dead body as it snakes its way to the back. As it passes a table with older adults, I recognize Tim’s dad. He is beyond shocked as his dead son shakes and bounces past them. Once the body approaches the stage again, Joan jumps down and socks the guy holding Tim.  Her girl band mates catch the dead body and drag it back on stage, holding it up next to the singer.

David stares out at the crowd, “Yer all a bunch of fools. Tim’s dead. He changed my life from high school dropout to Harvard honors student. Yer just arrogant and selfish fools. This song’s fer youse. ‘Arrogance.’”

Everyone calms down. This is not acting normal. There is a sigh of relief as the energy drops.

“Come and see us at the Rat when you come to Boston.” The singer has everyone dancing. The temperature in the club is rising. The band strips off their shirts.

“This final song is about meeting Tim and Jack at the Rat. I mocked them, but then they got me in and bought me beers. I passed out and woke up in their dorm at Harvard. And I ain’t never left.”

‘Went to the Rat   

Stuck at the door

There I sat

Lonely and bored.

Out came two fags

Kissing and such

I just had to rag

They didn’t care much

They bought me a beer

Five beauties appeared

Made me their pet

I’ll get some yet.’

He plays it like a nursery rhyme. Everyone is laughing, so he plays it again. Carol, his girlfriend, runs over and gives him a big kiss. He’ll get him some.

Standing off-stage, Tony comes over.

“Well, you got your wish,” he laughs. “He’s all yours now.”

“This is not what I intended.”

“All he ever wanted was to be a kid. He’ll never grow up now.”

“Think he enjoys seeing himself carted around the club while the bands play.”

“Naw, he probably thinks he’s still surfing.”