Back at work after a two-week holiday, it is going to be a busy day. The Cambodian donut shop owner is happy to see me back, his regular customer. I buy extra donuts for all the staffers, not just Landis. The message machine has over fifty messages. First I call Jay in Miami.
“Hey, boyfriend. How was your holiday?” I greet him. “Any news on the baby front?”
“I need you, Tim. My wife looks like the Goodyear blimp. No action there.”
“You missed your shot when I was in Miami for New Year’s.”
“I can’t keep up with your plans.”
“Maybe you can come out here. I’ve got two musicians that need representation to get out of their current contracts, so they can sign with Universal.”
“Universal? They need movie contracts?”
“No. I’m getting Bronfman Jr. to set up Universal Music.”
“He needs a corporate lawyer then.”
“You’ll just represent the artists. I want to hire them to work on my movie.” I sound like Chris Miller.
“How long have you been back?”
“Sixteen hours. Things move fast out here.”
“I’ll be sure to bring my track shoes.”
“The artists are Joan Jett and Tom Petty, your buddy from Gainesville. Joan’s band is breaking up, and she needs to get out of their contract. Tom’s band is called the Heartbreakers. They are signed with Shelter but get no support.”
“Sounds like enough to keep me busy. I’ll do some research. Have the artists call me, so I can officially represent them.”
I leave a message at Edgar Jr.’s office, in the main building to call me. I’m going through the telephone messages when Landis arrives.
“You bought donuts for everyone?”
“Just happy to be back. Only those who come to work on time get one.”
“I saved you your favorite.” I’m back in his good graces. “Can we talk?”
“Why so serious.”
“I have staffing recommendations.”
We gointo his office and shut the door. It was repaired over the holidays.
“I want to hire Tom Petty and Joan Jett as PAs.”
“Why not? Debbie will be pleased about Tom. But, isn’t Joan in a band on tour?”
“The Runaways are history. I told her my plan to have Tom on set to learn film production. She wants to do it, too. Music videos must evolve from the limits of taped performances. Songs tell stories best in video.”
“That’s interesting. Maybe I can direct music videos when our movie flops.”
He smiles. “Okay, but run it through Legal.”
“I already have our lawyer on it. It’ll be great to have more musicians on set.”
“By the way, are you ready to drive to Portland this week-end? We have to check on locations.”
“Oh, god. What will Debbie think if I end up in some gay parade?”
“Don’t worry. She’ll love upgrading your wardrobe.”
Bronfman calls me. Eleven is starting time for the bosses. I tell him to wait for me in his office.
“What’s up, Tim, my man,” he’s being cool when I arrive.
“I’ve been telling you to sign these two artists. Now’s the time to start Universal Music. We’ll put them on the movie as PAs so they can learn how to film their songs.”
“Music videos are boring. They’re just documentaries of performances. They don’t sell.”
“That’s why you have to sign these two. Their songs are stories. They’ll be like cartoons or short features. It’ll be a revolution.
“Maybe,” he considers it. “Who are you talking about?”
“I told you, Joan Jett and Tom Petty. You were so hot to sign Elton, but these guys are the future.”
“They’re already under contract. I checked. And Joan Jett’s in a band.”
“The Runaways are breaking up. And Tom’s band gets no support from Shelter. I have my lawyer working on renegotiating.”
“Yeah. My guy in Miami.”
“Legal’s not going to like it.”
“You deal with Legal on setting up your label. My guy will strictly represent the artists. In the meantime, we’ll hire them to work on the movie.”
“You seem to have it all thought out. If this is the takeover of MCA-Universal? That’s my plan, so butt out.”
“Don’t worry, Edgar. This is strictly about the music. I owe you from not really giving you a chance at signing Elton.”
“He was more interested in his fairy boyfriend than talking with me.”
“You came through for Marty, so I owe you.”
“I heard Marty says you’ll never work in movies again.”
“We’ve made up.”
“You made up with the Italian mafia? Did they make you an offer you can’t refuse?”
We laugh. No horse heads in my bed. All my ducks re in a row. Time to go tell Joan.
“Get dressed. Your fans await,” I order.
“I don’t have any fans, except in Japan, and they don’t count.”
“You have no idea. You can tell them I’m your new boyfriend. It will crush their hopes and dreams.”
“You are too into yourself.”
“Keeps me from becoming a junkie,” I meow.
As soon as we walk in, all the girls scream and come running over. I’m fulfilling their wildest dreams.
“How do you know Tim?” Joan asks the girls.
“We recognized him from the photo of you playing with Elton John.”
“He gets the DJ at the Starwood to play Runaways.”
“He comes here with his boyfriend.”
“Ah, that’s so sweet,” they all sigh.
They pester us so much, we hardly have a chance to eat. Joan isn’t hungry anyway.
“Job Interview. You need a career upgrade.”
“I should go home first.”
“No way. Give those junkies a day or so to clear out.”
She laughs. “So, what’s my new career?”
“Movie production trainee. You’ll be a PA.”
“Oh, the horror.”
“Tom’s gonna be one too. You can both learn how to make interesting music videos.”
“He’s a junkie, too.”
“Call it rehab, then.”
“Tom’s excited and full of ideas about making 3 minute films of his songs.”
She gives me the silent treatment.
“At least pretend you want to do it. My boss has to hire you, so don’t be a mope.”
“Will we be working together?”
“Oh, you really like me? I thought it was just the dildo that was happy to be inside me.”
She laughs. “You’re the only one who’s ever admitted he enjoys it.”
“You are so weird.”
“So, you’re up for this? Music videos can’t get any worse.”
“Sure, sure. But I ain’t getting up at 8 o’clock in the morning.
“Don’t worry. It’ll be awhile before we start to shoot the movie.”
When we get back to the studio, Tom is waiting for me. All three of us go into Landis’s office for their job interviews. John is more intimidated than the two musicians. He tries asking them normal interview questions. It’s hopeless. They’ve never really worked before. Finally, Tom sings him a song, ‘Learning to Fly,’ explaining why he wants to learn about film making.
Joan seconds the idea. Landis just looks at me. I gave him the thumbs up and a big smile.
“Okay. Okay. You’re hired. We’ll start shooting as soon as I’ve tied down the locations, probably next month. Now let me go back to reality. This is not a Disney movie.”
Tom is all excited, putting his arm around Joan and telling us to come with him to ‘score.’ I have them first call Jay and agree that he’ll represent them as an attorney, not an agent. They both are anxious to get high. I tell them I have to work. Joan takes off with Tom. I’m relieved she doesn’t know I have a dinner date with Jake that night. She gets her guitars and amp out of the Wreck and into Tom’s beat-up van.
“Come jam with us after your date,” she tells me as they’re leaving.
“How did you know?”
“He called this morning before you got back.”
The two of them take off in a cloud of burned engine oil.
Jake meets me at Anna’s in West LA.
“Who was the girl at your place this morning?” is Jake first question.
“That’s Joan. She’s my new girlfriend.”
“That why she laughed when I told her to remind you of our date tonight?”
“There are no secrets in LA.”
“Good. But she did sound a bit surly.”
“I call it gnarly.”
“What? Like knotty wood?
Anna’s is cool – low lighting and mellow painted walls. Perfect for an intimate date. We discuss my activities since he dropped me off at the Whiskey. What I assume is memorable, he assumes is normal. Nothing fazes him. It’s a turn-on. Soon we’re holding hands, staring into each other’s soul. I go back to his place. We make love under the stars up on the roof. I spend the night, after telling him I was off to Portland momentarily to check locations for work. He tells me it’s a turn-on that I work so hard.
“The hardest working musician in rock n roll,” I tell him. Sorry, James Brown.
Once in bed, he gives me a blow job. I think I fell asleep before cumming. He assures me we both got off. While I shower, he makes breakfast which we eat on his patio. It’s 7 am. Jake admits to liking my country hours – up at the crack of dawn for milking.
Work is hectic, drawing up plans for scouting locations in Oregon. Miller insists he come, in order to have an accurate visual reference for his script writing.
“You’d be better off working on getting the script finalized by the end of the month, rather than running off on this road trip,” Landis warns him.
“I got it under control,” Miller claims.
When he learns that John and I are driving, with a stop in San FranCrisco, as he calls it, Miller says he’ll fly and meet us in Portland. I’m relieved. The set designers will fly as well, rounding out the team. Jay sends me contracts to be signed by the location owners. It takes all day to work out these details. Debbie is hired as the costume designer. Her first design is a toga for Belushi, made from a bed sheet. It will satisfy his demand to perform ‘Louie Louie’ in his underwear. Nobody likes that visual.
John asks me to join Debbie and him for dinner after work. We go to the Formosa. I make the dragon lady manager show John the special fortune cookies we used to get the legal guy off our backs. We reads the whole catalog; there were sycophant fortunes (‘you are so beautiful’ and ‘everyone knows you are a genius), advice fortunes (‘now is the day to make a fortune’ and ‘take advantage of the opportunity seated across the table’), and miscellaneous fortunes for difficult occasions (‘don’t despair. Seize this as an opportunity’) We take turns reading the crazy fortunes, until the food comes. Debbie loves that I eat everything, including their portions.
“Busy day at work?” she asks as I’m finishing up the various dishes.
“Well, don’t let us keep you.”
“It doesn’t start ‘til ten,” I explain.
I ask them how they met and if John was a romantic. Debbie goes on and on about how great their marriage is. Little does she know that I’m dragging her hubby off to the gay house of S&M horrors that is San Francisco. John says nothing about our plans.
I go by the Canterbury to pick up Nicky and Alice. Nicky has to be convinced to come.
“I’m sick of watching you and those OC kids get high and run around causing trouble.”
“Don’t worry. I’m out of pot,” I convince him. I need to see Jimmy for a resupply.
Nicky’s grumpiness disappears when I let him drive the Wreck. The tires squeal when he takes the corner at Sunset and Highland on two wheels in front of Hollywood High. Sitting between us, Alice’s squeals match the tires. We pull into the Starwood parking lot. We are quickly surrounded by potheads, expecting free joints.
“Check me later,” I give them hope.
Tony runs up, all excited. “We’ve got an English band tonight – the Jam. Doug won’t let them play the Troubadour. It’s their first show outside England.”
“Are they punk?”
“They didn’t say Punk. They claim to be Mod.”
“They may disappoint the hardcore kids.”
“Yeah. None of the local bands wanted to open for them.”
This is my opening. “Hey, You shoulda asked me. I know the perfect band.”
“Way ahead of ya, Tim. I booked your friend Jim from OC.”
I run upstairs to the Green Room. Jim and his boys are looking very serious.
“You’re gonna get a great crowd.”
“Ya got that backwards. The Crowd’s gonna be great.”
We laugh. He asks if I have a joint to get the band toasted.
“I’ll go find weed. Did you bring the other OC kids?”
“Yeah. Those gangbangers from LaMirada.”
“I’m outta stash,” I confess. He takes me into the bathroom and loads me up. We share a joint.
“Where ya been?” I haven’t seen him since going back for finals. “You pass yer tests?”
It seems ages ago. “I don’t know. Probably. I went home fer Christmas, getting the old band to play a New Year’s party in Miami.”
I have our Miami Herald review in my back pocket but don’t need to impress Jimmy
I run back to the Green Room and get The Crowd wasted. Jim grabs me around the neck. I’m afraid he’s about to molest me. He is strictly business, thanking me for getting them the gig. I tell him to thank Tony.
“Hey, West Hollywood. Y’all here to cheer the English? Got your Mod gear on? All into the Mod Squad? Well, before The Jam plays, to quote Alice Bag, ‘We Don’t Need the English,’ we’ve got The Crowd, from Huntington Beach. So get outta the way of the beach kids, before your brothel creepers get stepped on.”
The trendies move back as all the OC kids rush the stage. Jim runs out and takes the mic from me. I jump into the crowd, pushing my way into the pit. Before any music is played, we’re thrashing around. The littlest kid goesdown, gets pulled up and carried around above our heads. The Crowd starts playing ‘Just Another Crowd’
Followed up by ‘Operation Ivy’
The ska beat gets everyone moving in one direction. I’m worried the kids will break out jitterbugging with each other. No problem – OC self-hate means OC kids don’t dancing together. Everyone is too sweaty, anyway.
I take a break and smoke out the LMPs in the bathroom. We all charge out into The Jam fans, waiting for their heroes to appear. Eddie leads the charge, knocking over anyone just standing there. Two skinheads are looking out-of-place until Steve, the Battered Housewife’ pushes them. They instantly spring into action, knocking him down and stomping him with their Doc Martens. The other LMPs let him take a beating before rushing in and dragging him away. I swear Steve looks happy that his friends had ‘saved’ him.
The Crowd played ‘Friends’
Steve jumps up onstage and sings with Jim, ‘when your friends are one.’ He still has the bathroom joint, which he lights up and passes to Jim. The power is cut instantly – no drug activity allowed onstage at the Starwood. The kids boo; the Crowd leaves the stage thinking the boos are directed at them. Fame can be fleeting.
I rush back to the Green Room and give them my critique that it’s the Starwood management that was booed for stopping their show. They seem relieved. The next time they open for an English band, it’s The Clash plus Bo Diddley at the Santa Monica Civic. The Jam guys came over. We all share another joint. They complimented Jim on his show.
“We’re bloody surprised to hear a Ska Band in LA. Makes me feel right at home,” Peter Weller, their singer, says.
Jim is frustrated that they hadn’t played their ‘hit’ song, “The Right Place.” He does it a Capella right there in the Green Room for The Jam
Weller plugs in to a practice amp and does ‘In the City’ solo.
Everyone is in a good mood. Time for another joint. I leave them to appreciate themselves. Musicians!
Tony is by the bar, enjoying his successful booking.
“The bands are singing to each other in the Green Room,” I inform him.
“Mods are so nice. Those OC kids thought it was Punk that The Crowd played.
“It is. He never knew it was ska until the Jam’s Weller just told him.”
“I suppose Jimmy’s to blame for all the joints going round.”
“We have a deal. He supplies. I distribute.”
“Well, don’t let Eddie Nash know you’re cutting into his territory. He’s a major West Hollywood drug dealer.”
“He’ll never compete with free weed.”
“I’ll tell him to concentrate on hard drugs.”
“How else can it survive. These kids sneak in, never buy drinks, and expect you to smoke them out.”
“Tell Eddie I’m open to any offer I can’t refuse. No horse heads in my bed please.”
While we’re laughing, Jimmy comes over and joins us.
“Glad yer back, Tim. Doug’s been complaining that we no longer meet his every need.”
“Typical bottom complaint.”
“So, when can you spend the night?” Jimmy is pimping me.
“I leave for Portland sometime this week.”
“Who’s idea was it to make him the bottom?” I ask.
They both yelled, “Your’s!”
“Oh, well. I’ll come over after Church Group tomorrow night. I may havta bring reinforcements, if all three of you are in need of servicing.”
We laugh hard, but they never agreed that I should add to our four-way.
The Jam has set up and are ready to start. The pit is claimed by the OC kids. The Mods leave a small DMZ between the pit and where they didn’t get pushed and shoved. A détente.
They open with ‘Down at the Tube Station’
It confuses the pit thrashers with varying tempos. A few kids start to pogo which spreads to all the others. Some of the mods, familiar with the radio song, join in, breaking down the barrier between Mod and surf punk. The next few songs are ballads, losing the kids who are replaced upfront by Mods who just wave at the band, their heroes. It turns into a concert, reminding me of their Mod roots, the Who – back to the sixties.
I leave Tony and Jimmy, promising to meet them the next night, after my Church group. Nicky and Alice are ready to go, finding the Jam less than exciting. I try to explain the connection with The Who, to deaf ears.
We collect the LMPs and invade Oki Dog. With the Starwood show still going, we are the only ones not selling ourselves, at least not that night. I pay for Oki Dogs. Yoki makes me promise to keep Alice at the side, so as not to ‘spook away the trade’.
Such antediluvian attitudes for the sexual revolution. Soon the troops from the Starwood fill up the parking lot, paying for their dogs with their allowances. The trade stay up front, now intimidated by teenagers. Joints are passed around and the night ends.
“You guys havta take the bus home.” I inform the LMPs, with Steve giving me a beseeching look. “Y’all can’t stay with me. I’ve got a girlfriend now.”
“Who’s yer girlfriend?” Eddie demands.
“Joan Jett,” I told them, even though I’m not sure she’ll still be there.
“How’s that work?” Steve wants details.
They look distressed and leave for the bus stop.
“Really?” Alice needs to know.
“No. She’s not really a lesbian. I just told them that.”
“Really?” Alice seems to have a different opinion.
“And when are you going to book The Bags?” she demands.
“It’s Tony who does the bookings,” I try to avoid responsibility.
‘Well, he’s your boy. Tell him we’re ready to make our Hollywood debut.”
“I did quote your English line on stage tonight,” I offer as a sop.
“Do we get paid for that?”
“How about a joint?” I offer.
She pocketed it. Nicky does not look pleased.
What is that line about trying to please everybody all the time?
“You should give me spare keys to your room and the Wreck. You never know when an emergency may come up and you’ll need me to get in or pick you up.”
“And, maybe you can use the phone when I’m not home.”
“Thank you,” he is unusually effusive. “That would be great. I promise not to call long distance.”
Alice and I both laugh.
“I’ll have keys made tomorrow. You’ll need to go to Rent-a-Wreck with me, to get you on the insurance. You do have a license?”
“Oh, yeah. I’m going to start driving for Yellow Cab soon.”
“You’re going to work?” none of our friends work, planning on soon becoming rich rock musicians.
Finally, I’m in bed, stretched out to the full extent of the Murphy. Joan has obviously stayed with Tom. She is a heartbreaker. It’s so unusual for me to sleep alone. I doubt I’ll get used to it. In the morning I go over and have breakfast with Jake. He’s learned that I like Eggs Benedict. He attempts to best Isabelle’s preparation. His presentation is better, with fine china and hollandaise sauce drizzled just right. It wasn’t better, but the eggs are still divine. I almost consider not going to work. In the back of my mind, Dad’s voice reminds me it was almost eight o’clock.
“I’ll be out-of-town this weekend. We’re scouting locations in Portland, and stopping in ‘Frisco on the way up. Any suggestions?”
He comes up with a list of ‘hot’ bars – leather, daddy, S&M, glitter/disco. He asks if John was gay.
“He’s terrified that his wife will find out we’re checking out San Fran.”
“Naw. I can tell. He’s just comfortable with it. The gay hater is flying to Portland. John’s my defender.”
“Nice to have the boss in your pocket.”
“And not in my pants.”
At work, we’re in a frenzy. John announces that we’re leaving the next day and will be gone for a week. All requests have to be submitted and approved before we can leave. Universal’s travel department has made flight reservations. Miller and the set crew will meet us in Portland on Monday, giving John and me the weekend in ‘Frisco. When Miller starts to mock me about ‘Crisco, a look from John shuts him down. He has mostly ignored me since our boxing match. ‘m to be at John’s Woodland Hills house early the next morning. He had nixes traveling in the Wreck, convinced it’s about to break down.
I call Father Luke at St Viktor and ask him to dinner. We agree to meet at the French Marketplace on Santa Monica. He’s totally tuned in to West Hollywood gay subculture. He is quickly becoming my favorite priest. It’s pleasant having normal conversation while all around us everyone else was cruising each other. Maybe wearing a collar disqualifies him. I get lots of looks, but mostly they seem sorry for me. Good preparation for the Dignity meeting.
The group is excited that I have returned, welcoming me like a long-lost friend. I promise not to preach this time.
“Will Teen Jesus appear?”
“He just arrived.”
The typical glow emanates from just about everyone, even Father Luke. Jace makes the rounds, tapping everyone on the head, except the youngest gets another kiss on the cheek. We could turn out the lights and not be in the dark.
“I’m going to San Francisco tomorrow,” I announce. “My boss wants to meet the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.”
They all knew all about that Order. I get addresses, even telephone numbers and directions to the Castro. John Waters’ ‘Pink Flamingoes’ is the midnight showing at the Castro movie theater. Someone gives me Divine’s address and phone number.
“Enough about me. How was everyone’s Christmas?”
“Didn’t the Church celebrate?”
“They asked us to stay away from ‘family’ masses, so the parents will bring their kids.”
“You were told not to attend certain masses?” I look directly at Father Luke.
“It’s not his fault. Last year we kinda got carried away, with the Tra la la la la’s.”
“Next year, we’ll have a Dignity celebration and invite the parents to show that we’re all Christians,” Father Luke promises.
Maybe Dignity’s not the right name for the group, I thought.
We gossip about Jake and Jack. They’re scandalized that I had a girlfriend now. I explained that Flo and Trudie are also my girlfriends. They assume that the girls are all fag hags. I tell them about Joan’s strap-on. They go further into shock.
“Are you bi-curious?” one asks.
“You mean a tourist to gay life?” I joke. “That’s a cop-out. All gay teens pray they are bi, until they finally wake up and smell where their dicks have been.”
Father Luke puts a stop to our sensationalizing ourselves.
“I’ve known since I was fourteen that I’m gay. I just don’t know how to stop liking girls. It’s just so much easier to have a boyfriend. Girls love gay guys. It solves the parent problem of insisting they stay virgins until marriage.”
Several note they stay in contact with their high school girlfriends. Others feel guilty that they deceived the girls by denying their true sexuality. Sexual confusion reigns. Father Luke allows our discussion to proceed without his/Church input, explaining, “the Church has little relevance to current sexual mores. We stay out of the debates for fear of seeming clueless.”
Everyone cheers. Jace hugs him, turning him bright red.
“Do you believe celibacy has relevance?” I ask him.
“Certainly it does for me. It makes it easier dealing with gay parishioners.”
“Quite possibly, but for the Church, the concept of priests becoming Christ’s bride answers the conflict about sexual feelings.”
“You have gay feelings for Jesus?”
“I have a spiritual connection instead of a sexual one.”
That shuts us up. Since Father Luke is not gay, it really is of little interest how he gets off. I want to defend my friend, the priest. Jace goesover and sits with him. Father Luke looks totally contented. I’m glad for him.
Before I leave, I give out my new phone number. Several guys write out places to visit in San Francisco.
I got to the Troubadour in time to catch the last show. I end up smoking out with Tony in Doug’s office. He walks in on us, happy that I was spending the night with them. He has the bartender close out the deposit as we wait for him at Dan Tana’s. We’re already eating pizza when he arrives. He orders another pizza, reveling in his faux-teen appetite. We make quick work of the slices and head to the house. It seems so big, now that I lived in a shoe box. Not that I’m complaining.
We all take showers, Tony with Doug, Jimmy and I together. After jumping into Doug’s king-size bed, we proceed to oil each other up. I’ve been absent long enough to notice how Doug’s libido has changed. He let us take charge and revels in being dominated. Tony and Jimmy tie Doug’s arms and legs up, as he lays on his back. We work his dick, butt and mouth, alternating until Doug is steaming. He was so hot and horny. He starts to beg us to invade him. Turning him on his side, Jimmy works his butt hole with one, then two, and finally three fingers. To stop him from writhing, Tony starts giving him head. Doug is thrusting upward into Tony’s mouth, while riding Jimmy’s fingers. I sit on his chest with my stiff dick slapping his face. He soon begins sucking me off while continuing to ride Jimmy’s fingers and being sucked off by Tony. We’re a clockwork sex machine, with all parts moving in synch. Finally it becomes too much for Doug. He saoesk Tony off his dick and I slide down far enough for his dick to tease my asshole. Tony grabs Doug’s dick and smears it across my anal lips, pre-cum lubricating the entrance. Tony sticks the dick into me so my ass is invaded by just the tip. I squeeze it as it starts to pulse. This goes on as Jimmy continues massaging Doug’s asshole. Doug is still on his side, to give Jimmy access to his ass. I wrap my legs around Doug’s waist, continuing to be teased by his dick, only an inch or two inside me. I’m milking it, waiting for deeper penetration. Jimmy doesn’t hesitate, removing his fingers and thrusting himself deep inside Doug. Doug’s dick swells until I can’t resist him any longer. My legs pull him into me, all the way.
“Stop. Stop,” he yells, about to cum.
Tony grabs my dick, giving me a reach-around. I reach back and have his dick in a vice-like grip of death, jerking it vigorously. I stop squeezing as Doug pants breathlessly inside me, close to orgasm. Jimmy continues to pump him from behind. We’re all waiting on Doug who is holding his breath in an attempt not to cum. His hips go into involuntary humping, sending him over the edge. I can feel the squirting deep inside me, getting me off as I cum all over Doug’s stomach and chest. Jimmy makes several jerks into Doug’s ass and cums. Tony waits until the three of us were done, pushing my hand away, he bringst himself to climax all over me. We all collapse into a spent pile of monkey bodies. I fall asleep, but Doug pulls out, shaking me,
“Untie me before you all go to sleep.”
We laugh and ran off to shower. Tony knows it’s his job to untie Doug. After showers we all climbed into his bed and are soon asleep.
I woke up about 5 am. Kissing all three of my lovers, I drIve home, waking up Nicky (or, at least Alice), telling him to drive me to the Valley, so he could use the Wreck while I’m gone. A cup of coffee and he’s ready to go. I worry how to protect my Gibson SG while I’m gone. He pretends he was Mr. Responsibility and will guard it. We’re at Landis’s house by six. Debbie has breakfast ready, but Nicky just wants to go home and go back to sleep. It’s the only time I’ve ever saw him refuse free food.
“You’re eighteen. Do you want to sit here and sight see the entire trip. Just be careful.”
I was extra careful, for about five miles. It’s rush hour as we head north. I attempt to be polite to the stream of lane-changing, middle finger-pointing, road rage idiots unhappy about going to work. Landis says nothing until I used the breakdown lane to pass on the right. I just grin when he yells at me.
“Enjoying your sightseeing?” I counter when he spewes a list of what I’m doing wrong. I slow down from 80 to 65.
As soon as we pass Oxnard, the traffic thins out. The sun comes out from behind the morning overcast. I pull over and put the top down on the Roadster convertible. The joy of the open road.
We stop for lunch in San Luis Obispo at the Madonna Inn. The coffee shop has the same pink glass tables and wire chairs that Bailey’s has in Cambridge. I revel in telling John about my Smith girlfriend, who accepts sharing me with Jack. He is shocked that we all had sex together. I claim it was liberating and we never pressured the girls.
After lunch we debate taking the more scenic Pacific Coast Highway versus the 101 Freeway. John says we can stop at Hearst Castle on PCH where ‘Citizen Kane’ was shot.
“Rosebud. Rosebud,” I keep nagging him and his inexhaustible knowledge of classic film history.
“Do you think ‘Animal House’ will someday be considered a classic?” I mock him. It’s so ridiculous an idea that we’re still laughing as we drive up the long driveway to the castle.
The tour is boring. John knows more than the guide. We split off to wander the grounds. I strip off and swim in the large pool, doing laps. John is impressed by my athletic prowess and worries we’ll get kicked out. He enjoys watching me swim but is embarrassed that I was in my briefs and not real Speedos. Finally the guards chase us, yelling that we are arrested. We hop into the Roadster and leave them in a cloud of historic dust.
He decides to drive the next leg. To our surprise, PCH is closed due to landslides just south of Big Sur. It’s the year before the first El Nino keeps PCH constantly blocked. We check the map and attempt to drive around the blockage on a road into the hills. After encountering more road closures, we finally break down and ask someone if there’s detour that isn’t blocked. The old man we ask, scratches his head, and finally says, “Ya can’t get there from here.”
I burst out laughing, remembering my good ol’ boy days in Norman NC. The old man gets angry and stomps off. We decide to go back to San Luis Obispo and take the inland 101 Freeway. By this time, the road crews are getting off work. They’re driving around the barriers on PCH to get out.
I have a brain fart. “Let’s go around the signs and see if we can get through.”
John isn’t sure he want to drive his classic roadster through a construction zone but I humiliate him into it.
He drives cautiously up PCH. All the workers are gone. The sun is going down, with twilight descending, especially on the bends around the cliffs and canyons as we drive further.
“Hurry up, John,” I warn him. “It’ll be dark soon. You won’t be able to see if the road is totally washed out.”
He just glares at me for getting his pet car into this situation.
“Well, you wanted to go to the Citizen Kane location, which got us into this mess in the first place.”
We slowly make our way up PCH without encountering any blockage or washout. Around a bend we find a large earth mover blocking the whole road.
“We have to turn back,” John insists.
I jumped out impetuously and ran around the earth mover. The road is no longer paved and is washed out on the ocean side, leaving a narrow strip against the cliffs.
“We can make, John,” I yell to him.
He shakes his head, refusing to risk it.
“Com’n,” I encourage him. “This is our adventure. I’ll walk ahead to make sure the road’s secure.”
“We made it,” I yell.
“Fuck, no. There’s not enough room to get around that Caterpillar,” John points out.
He’s right. We need an extra foot to get around. I jump into the Caterpillar’s seat. The keys are in the ignition. I look at John. He begins to realize what I’m about to do, shaking his head. Before he can say no, I turned the key. I forget you have to push in the clutch. The Caterpillar lurches forward, toward the ocean side cliff. John screams. I jumped off. The Caterpillar lurches to a stop. We have enough room to get by it. John yells at me all the way to Monterrey. We decide to stop for the night. John isn’t as adventurous as he thought. A fancy fish dinner helps calm him down. When Clint Eastwood walks in the restaurant, his movie fanboy gene kicks in. Clint walks by our table. I jump up and introduce myself and Landis, explaining we’re on a location scouting trip for our movie, “Animal House.’
“Is it about zoos?” Clint is an animal rights activist then.
“Sort of,” Landis waffles.
“Thanks, Clint,” we’re now on a first name basis.
“Sandra’s waiting for me,” he excuses himself to meet his current wife.
“More fun than going to Chassen’s,” John remarks.
“You are so Hollywood,” I know he is glad I stopped Clint to chat.
After eating, we drive to Santa Cruz and get a motel room. We walk through town and end up at the pier with its old fashion fun-zone. I discover I have a joint in my coat and convince John it will be okay to indulge since we aren’t driving. After getting stoned, we play all the games. There was a psychedelic art booth where you make your own mandala by spinning the paper which repeats the patterns into concentric circles. We congratulate ourselves on being so creative. They have a Ferris wheel at the end of the pier. We’re the only customers, so they stop it once we reached the top. Rocking back and forth, we cansee all the way to past Monterrey. I claim I can see the Caterpiller hanging over the cliff further down the coast by Big Sur.
“We should have stopped at Arthur Miller’s place,” he regrets.
“So you could chat up Marilyn Monroe?” I joke.
“I’m a big fan,” he admits.
“I love the scene in ‘The Misfits’ where she’s hitting the paddle ball and her ass is jiggling back and forth.”
“You are so perverted.”
“You probably like Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis cross-dressing in ‘Some Like It Hot.’”
“I guess we’re all perverts in some ways.”
“It’s totally normal.”
“Unless you’re Chris Miller.”
“What a jerk.”
Continuing our movie shop talk, “What did you think about Kuprick’s Lolita?” I ask him.
“James Mason was incredibly believable as a pervert.”
“What about Lolita herself?”
“The book goes into those details. The movie is toned down.”
“That makes Humbert Humbert even more of a pervert. The audience is forced to imagine what he does with her.”
“It’s not really a movie for teenagers. It was rated X. I’m surprised you like it.”
“It hits home. I’m falling in love with a 42-year-old.”
“You are so crazy. You almost drove yourself off a cliff this afternoon. And swimming in your underwear at the Hearst Castle. No wonder Debbie is so in love with you.”
“The truth is out. But I know it’s strictly maternal.”
“I’m not jealous. I am a bit worried about San Francisco. Your Hollywood sluttiness may get us into trouble.”
“You’re supposed to be showing me gay Frisco.”
“Some repressed need?”
“Yeah, I need to show gay life as comedic, not tragic.”
“You think I’m heading for tragedy.”
“Only when you do Shakespeare.”
“I already did Shakespeare. I was the mandolin player.”
“You should act.”
“My life is an act.”
“All the world’s a stage..”
“And all the men and women merely players upon it.”
The Ferris wheel jerks and we rotate back to earth.
John buys me cotton candy. I win a teddy bear in a bottle tossing game for him to bring to Debbie. We walk back to our motel and go to sleep.
We eat breakfast in a vegetarian restaurant in Santa Cruz. I have an omelet with way too many vegetables in it. The raw egg is clumped to the broccoli. John’s whole wheat pancakes are marginal. We both agree the Du-Par’s is far superior. Then we laugh at our superior attitudes. We only eat vegetarian in order to please Debbie, the food Nazi.
Driving into San Francisco from the coast means the first landmark we see is the Golden Gate Bridge, welcome to America for millions of Chinese railroad slaves. We drove past Golden Gate Park on Geary, stopping at Filmore/Pacific Heights to check into the Hotel Majestic. It’s shabby majestic, with marble floors and tacky red velour wallpaper. We walk down to Market Street in Union Square. I want to visit City Lights bookstore in North Beach. The owner is impressed that Bill Burroughs is my jerk-off buddy. We have a long discussion about the magic typewriter; I swear it is an accurate fortune-teller. I buy Landis a copy of Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road,’ in recognition of our road trip. He buys me ‘The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test’ by Tom Wolfe in recognition of my drug use.
We take the Church Street street car to the Castro, having lunch at a sidewalk café, observing the street scene. It seemed self-contained, constrained by the hills that surround it, just off Market Street. We confirm that the Castro movie theater was showing ‘Pink Flamingos’ at midnight. I hope that there will be more of a street scene by that time. Walking to Haight-Asbury, I notice that many of the three-story Victorian homes are in the process of gentrification. I finally run into a couple of Deadheads, panhandling on the street. We sing “Touch of Grey’ together: ‘I will get by.’
John amuses himself by taking photos of our exploits, becoming an observer. I ask directions to one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Sister Mary Boom Boom. She lives near our hotel on Geary. The intercom doesn’t list her drag name. I push all the buttons and finally am told to ring Jack Fertig. He answers in a booming male voice. I prepare to be disappointed. He buzzes us up. When he learns we’re from Hollywood, he excuses himself and changes into his nun’s habit, returning as Sister Boom Boom. She turns on the charm for John, referring to me as his little pet. He’s only a couple of years older than I am. John asks the Sisters to perform, explaining he was making a comedy with John Belushi. Sister Mary claims Belushi is not funny because he is so straight. I doubt John can get Belushi into a dress for Monty Python style comedy.
“We could make the togas more stylish,” I recommend.
“Tell Debbie,” John orders.
“Can we be in the movie,” Mary asks politely.
“Will you audition?” John answers.
“Just a stage performance while we’re here.”
“We don’t need a stage to perform. We’re our own scene wherever we go.”
“How about before tonight’s midnight show of Pink Flamingos?” I suggest.
John refuses to go drag but I got dragged into the bathroom and reappear as a nun in habit. They had to use mascara to pencil in a mustache over my hairless lips.
“I’ll call Glenn and get him to attend the movie. Those gay boys will go crazy.”
“You’re not gay?” I ask.
“Oh, honey. If I wanted to be gay, I’d dress up as a priest. I am definitely a heterosexual drag queen.”
No one believes her.
After dinner, we visit Glenn Milstead’s apartment in the same building. He’s an overweight thirty-year-old. He also takes a liking to John, dismissing me as John’s boy toy. When Glenn hears that the Sisters are attending the Pink Flamingo’s midnight showing and making a scene, he insists on coming. The girls joined him in the bathroom to put on his makeup and drag outfit. We settle back on the couch and wait for what seemed forever. The bigger the body the longer it takes to transform into a woman.
“They don’t seem to like you very much,” John has noticed that I’m getting no attention.
“They’re just into themselves. Hollywood is the place for boys. San Fran seems to accept women with mustaches better than teen neophytes.”
“Let go of your sugar daddy, boy. He’s mine tonight,” she latches onto Landis.
We walk out into the night, six nuns in drag followed by a Mae West drag queen hanging onto the embarassed, straight Landis. I stay with the Sisters. It’s too early for the movie, so we hit the bars along the way. Once the patrons learn Divine is attending her movie, we have a crowd joining us as audience. John plays the perfect straight guy, while Divine flirts with him. The nuns warn of the coming apocalypse if he strays. The crowd grows as we continue to troll the Castro bars. Finally, we descend into what I learn is a gay bath house. The men inside stop fucking each other and gather as Divine teases and flirts with them. She tells everyone that her ‘date, Landis,’ is visiting the baths for the first time. The nuns start praying for him on their knees. Several bold bath attendees grab their dicks and approach the kneeling nuns. I know what to tell Father Luke at my next confession. The bath’s manager spots me and rus us out of the place. The nuns scold me for ruining their opportunity to give blow jobs. I’m getting a complex for being blamed for everything and not appreciated for my youth. San Francisco is definitely an older scene.
It’s time for the midnight showing of ‘Pink Flamingos.’ We situate ourselves in front of the theater. The sisters are passing out flyers for places known for indulging, including the bathhouse where I was evicted. Divine is shilling herself and her movie. Our crowd has grown to several hundred. They start bantering with Divine, asking for details on her performance and her sexuality.
When asked if she was a true transexual, she replies, “Honey, my plumbing’s completely intact.”
The main obsession is the dog shit she eats at the conclusion of the film.
“Sugar, that dog had stage fright. We waited around all day for her to produce the goods. We kept feeding her laxatives to no avail. Finally, I stomped my foot and ordered her to shit. She whined a bit but came through in the end. Yes, that is real dog shit.”
The movie is great. Divine is the star of the show, mostly stereotypical trailer trash melodrama. My favorite is Edie the Egg Lady and her affair with the postman. The nuns carry on throughout the movie, leading cheers for specific scenes. I remember stopping for breakfast in Baltimore on the band’s roadhouse road trip. Little did I know how exciting rural Maryland is. Divine takes a bow at the end and is besieged by adoring fans. Everyone marches out of the theater together, heading for the bars. Landis needs to escape Divine’s possessive clutches. We took a cab back to the Majestic and sit in the bar recounting our day’s exploits. I’m feeling unappreciated in San Francisco. My boyish looks are not a selling point.
The next morning we have a decadent hotel breakfast to make up for the failings at the Santa Cruz vegetarian coffee shop. We plan to drive to Portland that day to check out Reed College, a hippie refuge for the rich that has some sort of festival going on, called Paideia. It’s the interregnum period between semesters when students teach each other weird subjects like underwater basket weaving.
“Sounds pretty hippie to me,” I remark.
“Let’s hope they’re celebrating more than studying this weekend.”
It reminds me that Jack is pursuing Harvard’s version, a single intensive subject, completing a full semester’s study in just four weeks.
“They don’t pay much attention to you.”
“It feels like junior high when all the older kids said we had missed it – the Beatles, the summer of love.”
“It appears that the gays are reliving that summer with their own winter of debauchery.”
“Gay life didn’t really start until Stonewall in 1969. These Frisco gays seem to be making up for lost time – middle-aged adolescence.”
“I felt like a prop in a play, the straight guy.”
“At least they liked you.”
“They’re so into their lifestyle, it’s like nothing else is important.”
“They act so entitled, like rich kids.”
“You would know.”
“Naw. I grew up in the military. Everyone was basically the same.”
“I don’t let that change me. Jack hates that I won’t take limos in the City.”
“Such a sacrifice.”
We drove north on I-5. The fields of farms slowly give way to forests and mountains. John wants to stop at a Napa winery. I convince him we needed to keep going. I pretty much hate wine. Just a beer guy. I suggest we stop on the way back.
Reed is on the southern edge of Portland. The buildings don’t have the 17th century look of my Ivy school. It looks more like a summer camp in the tall Sequoias. We sit in a quad and observe the students coming and going. Many seem as old as Landis. I ask several who say they are in their 9th and 10th year of undergraduate study. When asked, I tell them I’m a sophomore at Harvard, racing my way through in two years; my major is entertainment business and law. They feel sorry for me. Again I’m outside looking in. They assume Landis is a grad student. When asked, he says he’d never attended college.
I started saying I’m in a band, avoiding any mention of Harvard.
Back at the dorm, I decide to play the Sham ‘Kids United’ song. It isn’t too fast and has a hippie vibe.
The heavy chords get their attention. As always happens, everyone had their arms around each other, bouncing up and down. 30-year-old slackers and actual twenty-year-old kids. My popularity spikes. The other musicians join me. I ask if they knew the Kinks’ ‘Apeman.’ I hope to link it with my monkeyshines’ song
Makes a stand
To take his joy
Flying out free
Branch to branch
“Free to be
A monkey like me
Ha ha ha
He he he
Haw haw haw
Chee chee chee
The band has been playing the simple chords of the chorus.
“Com’n back up here,” their leader says. “Do you know the ‘Signs’ song?” – an anthem of ’60’s rebellion.
“Of course,” I nod.
I’m standing between long-haired hippies playing bass and guitar.
“Stuck in the Middle with You,” I select the next song.
“Yeah, I just got back from India.”
“Steve’s got something you’ve gotta see,” Landis is being hustled.
It’s a box with a button on the top. It makes a bell tone.
“You use it to pay for long distance calls from a pay phone,” Steve explains.
“Did you make this?” I ask.
“No. Woz did,” he points to a fat, curly-haired hippie, who is unsuccessfully trying to hit up young co-eds. Steve is just the salesman. I leave him to Landis and go to help Woz. The girls perk up when I appear – someone their age. We chat until Woz tries to make his move on one. They all leave, to go ‘study.’
“You made that box in India,” I pointed at Steve and John.
“Naw. We work at Atari. Steve went here before running off to India. He promised me co-eds.”
“You need to work on your sales technique.”
“You’re right. Do you go to school here?”
“Naw. I’m at Harvard.”
“Oh. I went to Berkeley.”
We have determined our academic pecking order.
“Cool.” I don’t know what else to say. “Wanna get a drink?” There was some punch on a table.
Soon after having imbibed what I later learned was a psilocybin-laced punch, we are talking gibberish and enjoying what we each thinks are deep thoughts, totally unrelated to each other. I feel I should meet actual Reed students, so we start to mingle. The ‘shroom punch makes us incomprehensible to non-imbibers. Luckily most of the students were like-wise incoherent. We converse easily. Woz wanders off with three co-eds, thanking me for making him socially acceptable. I keep spacing out on the craftsman style of architecture. I go and find Landis who is still engrossed in conversation with Woz’s partner, Steve. Apparently, Steve wants to make Landis a distributor of his phone toll-cheating boxes.
I pull John away from the snake-oil salesman, telling Steve where he can stick his boxes. He is unfazed by my lack of appreciation of his genius.
“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” he claims.
Yeah,” I answered, “to screw Ma Bell.”
Landis laughes and follows me as I try to describe the glories of American Craftsman architecture. He isn’t listening. He asks a couple of students where the frats are.”
“Fraternities are oppressors from the ruling class. They sell you on their entitlement by making you bend over for them with hazing rituals.”
I find that image impossibly funny and can’t stop laughing.
“What’s wrong with you,” Landis asks.
“Try some of the punch. It has an unusual after-effect.”
“No. This is hippie-land. Mushrooms. It’s okay. They’re all natural.” At which point I throw up the red punch and the remaining natural ingredients.
“Okay, sonny. Your evening is coming to a close,” as he lead me away from the party.
I don’t feel so hot in the morning. Coffee with breakfast helps.
“We can’t use Reed as a location,” Landis informs me.
“Don’t blame Reed for getting me so stoned.”
“No. That was on you. Beware of hippies and weird punch bowls. They don’t have fraternities at Reed.”
I’m only concerned that it’s my fault.
“What’s the plan, Stan,” I switch to flippancy.
We’ll go back to Eugene and check out the university there.”
“Can I drive?”
“Are you seeing double or anything else weird.”
“You’re the navigator, then.”
Somehow we make it to the University of Oregon. No hippies there. We ask about frats and get a tour of Fraternity Row. They’re all too fancy, Landis rejects them as inappropriate by Animal House standards. A student tells us we should check out Oregon College, on the other side of town. It’s more downtrodden. There are several frats that exuded shabbiness. We go to Phi Kappa Psi, a three-story rambling boarding house. The students are enthusiastic. The only problem is where to relocate the residents during the shoot. They suggest we rent the abandoned frat house next door. The Phi Psi’s will let us use their party room and the cellar ‘passion pit.’ They’re excited to be extras in our film. Next door is another shabby three-story. Looking in the windows, we note that the place is totally trashed.
“Perfect,” is John’s opinion. We’ll contact the school’s administration on Monday.
Next we ask the Phi Psi’s where there’s a nightclub for off-campus partying. One of the younger frat boys directs us to a bar on Dexter Lake, outside Eugene city limits. He rides with us, sitting on my lap in the two-seater Roadster. He assumes I’m Landis’s boyfriend, being from Hollywood. His butt cheeks can’t help themselves and start twitching as he sits on top on my dick. My dick is happy to respond. While Landis negotiate with the bar owner, we find a secluded spot near the lake. I take out my frustrations from being unpopular in San Francisco on his ass. He confides it was his first gay experience. I reassured him that being fucked means he was no longer a virgin. A little splendor in the grass turns into a major fest. He eagerly accepts full penetration as I slowly open him up. He soon has me riding him like buck bronco. His enthusiasm knows no bounds. His name is Trevor; he must be a rich kid. We leave him back at his frat. He waves goodbye. I’m relieved to be rid of him. Landis knows what was up but said nothing. We are sure to see him during the movie shoot.
Our tasks complete, it’s time for pizza. No problem finding a pizza joint in a college town.
“You want to invite Trevor?” John asks.
“I think it best to let that sleeping dog lie.”
“Well, at least, you’re in a better mood.”
“Sex does that. But sticking around to get to know your victim can be depressing.”
“Those old queens had no interest in me. You, on the other hand, were a big hit.”
“Every princess needs a prince.”
“Even those with mustaches?”
“They were probably jealous of your girly looks.”
“I’m eighteen. I’m not ‘sposed to look old.”
“You wear it well.”
I sing him the old Rod Stewart ballad.