Eighteen – Chapter 5

 

“Hi, Mom,” I announced, walking into our Coral Gables kitchen on Thanksgiving Eve.

 

“Tim,” she cried, almost dropping the pie she had just taken out of the oven. I rushed over and placed the pie on a counter. Then I picked her up and swung her around with a big hug.

Winston rushed in and joined our huddle by jumping up on me. I bent down as Dad walked in, observing an actual family homecoming scene. He’d grown up knowing Norman Rockwell in Stockbridge well enough to be pleased by normality.

“This is a surprise,” was his reaction.

“You haven’t rented out my room, have you?” I laughed.

“We’re still airing it out. Maybe in 1977.”

“Home for the Holiday,” I announced.

“Don’t be too disappointed. We’re just going out, as usual,” Mom stated.

Thinking about my holiday meals with Jace made me gulp.

“How about we crash the Stone’s? Isabelle’s sure to put on a spread.”

“Oh, Tim, they have done too much for us already,” Mom was subbing for Dad in the standoffish attitude.

“Com’n, Mom. You love going to their mansion. Dad hates taking what he thinks is charity. The Stones are just being hospitable. You should’ve seen how uncomfortable Jack was, getting a free hot dog with all the homeless kids in Hollywood on Tuesday night. He ended up buying everyone their meals. The rich have their own problems, too. They see things differently from how we see them.”

“Jack was in Hollywood? I thought Harvard separated you two,” Dad was up on our school problems.

“He thought we were breaking up and rushed out there. We made up and both came home for Thanksgiving. I’ll call the Stones and make sure we’re not imposing.”

“I’ll never get used to taking orders from you,” Dad grumped.

“Just payback for 15 years of being a good boy,” I crowed.

 

I called and spoke with Isabelle. She said Jack was on the way to my house. “Juanito tiene una sorpresa.”

What could be a better surprise than him wanting to be in my bed that night.

Soon I heard a beep-beep of a car horn outside. “I got my car,” he yelled. “Let’s go to Michael’s.”

It was a new pink VW Cabriolet convertible.  It could not be any gayer.

“You’re taking that to Harvard?” I mocked.

“No. It has to stay here in the Gables, Mummy’s rules.”
“Perfect for D&D outings,” I mocked him.

“You don’t like it?”

“Of course I like it. I’m still riding my bike around here.  How come you got a convertible?”

“I insisted, so Jace can wave to everyone sitting up in back.”

“Well, we’ll have to go up to Tommy’s to get him,” I kidded.

Jack’s face fell. “You ruin everything,” he complained.

“Jealousy rears its ugly head. Tommy’s in high school now. I bet he’s really matured.”

“You asshole. I’m not competing with a kid. I have my license and a car now.”

“He’s sixteen. Let’s give him driving lessons.”

“No way. We have to stay in the Gables.”

“Should I have him take the bus here?”

“No. I have better plans.”

“I’ll bet they exclude anything other than staying in bed all weekend.”

“That would be nice.”

“Minehan not meeting your every need?”

“Shut up. He never showers and our room’s a pig pen.”

“Ah, freshman year. I barely remember.”

“I want to speak with your parents.”

“Asking for permission to fuck me?”

“No, Mummy hopes you will all join us for Thanksgiving dinner.”

At least we agreed on something.

The parental unit was thrilled to be asked. Dad gave me the evil eye, thinking I had put Jack up to it. There was no way to refuse Mr. Perfect Manners.

“We’re off to see Michael,” I announced as we went out the door. “Look at Jack’s new car.”

“I suppose you think you’ll get one, too.”

“I have a car, in Hollywood. I call it the Wreck. It’s a rental, $50 a week.”

“How can we afford that?” Dad was quick on the negative draw.

“I have a good paying job. I have my own apartment, too.”

“Jesus,” Dad was stymied.

‘Beep beep,’ we were off to Michael’s.

 

There were many cars parked in front. It appeared there was a party going on, so we rang the doorbell. Michael’s younger sister, Annalise, answered the door. “Oh, I’ll get Michael,” she was disappointed it wasn’t anyone important. We were definitely underdressed.

Michael and Jenna came running out and took us around to the music room’s entrance. “Thank god. We need to be rescued from our families.” The entire two clans from New York had descended on Miami, as well as a few imported relatives from Sicily.

Jenna wanted to know all about Liza Minnelli,  having heard we performed with her that summer. Jack wanted to show off his car.

“Let’s go invade Robby’s ass,” he was being rowdy.

“No,” I insisted.  “We gotta get Hippie first. He needs a break from fatherhood.”

Michael wanted to race us with his Alpha Romero.

“No way will we ride in the back of the VW.”

“We’ll put the top down. Let’s do Le Tour de Gables.”

Jack was afraid his driving skill was not up to touring, so I drove. Soon we had Hippie, Dave and Jeff over-crowded in the back as we pulled up to Robby’s. Michael and Jenna took the Alfa. We all used the bedroom window entrance where he was lording it over his new posse of 14 and 15-year-old stoners. We attacked Robby, letting him emerge triumphant. He pulled out the weed and it was bong hits all around, for sure, for sure.  The fighting and subsequent pot high pushed Jack into sexual overdrive. I threw him out the window, telling everyone to be at Michael’s after their Thanksgiving dinners. I jumped out, throwing Jack over my shoulder and dragged him up to my bedroom. I missed Max, but Jace showed up in time to participate in bedroom antics. Jace claimed Tommy was so straight that he felt ignored. Tommy’s reputation as the eat-out champion of Lauderdale High assured he always had lovely bed partners. How sad. I wondered how Auntie Em was handling it.

Waking up with my living and dead boyfriends felt like I really was at home.  Mom cooked us a great breakfast, worried that it would spoil our appetites for Isabelle’s afternoon repast. She even put out a plate for Jace after I told her that was what we did in Iowa. He tried to eat but it went right through him.

We wanted to see Flo, Edi and Mary.  Since Jack was only allowed to drive in the Gables, I took the wheel. I had to admit the new VW was easier to drive than my Wreck. I was still proud to have gotten a car on my own, with a little help from Tony and Jimmy. The girls were ecstatic to see us, jumping up and down in their little go-go boots.  They insisted we take them to church. Their Santaria apostolic church worshiped on Thanksgiving, always thankful for being allowed to exist due to confused American religious tolerance. They also were tolerant of our ragged jeans and tees attire. The girls were resplendent in their Easter apparel, of course. We sat with their parents who were keeping a close eye on the threat to their daughter’s sanctity. We feigned innocence.

I returned with Jack to his house where we planned to dress from his overflowing closets. Unfortunately, we both apparently had grown and  looked silly in trousers that exposed ankles and jackets that stopped above our wrists. We drove to my house and found larger-sized attire appropriate for a Stone Family Thanksgiving. Jack was so pleased to have finally out-grown of his brothers’ hand-me-downs. My suggestion that we not wear shoes was met with disdain. I thought, ‘you really can’t go home again.’

“Are we going to perform for the guests?” Jack asked, anxious to please. It had been two days since our ‘Rocky’ ring appearance.

“How about ‘Eye of the Tiger,’ in honor of my All-Hollywood lightweight championship bout?” I suggested.  “Something more modern than pre-50’s musicals.”

“Too ponderous,” Jack decided. “How about acting and singing to spotlight your new life in Hollywood.”

“Cool. How about Cagney doing the song and dance of ‘Give my Regards to Broadway’ and finish with “Yankee Doddle Dandy?”

“When did you become so patriotic?”

“I want to do the ‘Top of the world’ speech.”
“You’re kidding, right?”

“Why not? I am the top.”

“It’s about being thankful, not boastful.”

“Spoilsport.”

“All right, but no Top speech. It’s tempting fate.”

“Oh, a fatalist. That why you believe in Burroughs’ magic typewriter?”

“Don’t bring him up.  I’m still jealous.”

“He’s an old man. You’re relentless.”

“Oh, no. We’re fighting again.”

“No, we’re not. I have you tightly in my heart.  I know you’re not jealous, just insecure.”

“I just want us to be happy.”

“Speak for yourself. Everything’s perfect. Now, you’re tempting fate. Let’s invite the D&D gang over. You can be Top of the Nerds.”

“You’re an asshole.”

“That’s better. Top of the Assholes.”

We went into his closet and found dandy outfits for our Cagney skit. There were several.

We bounced into the drawing-room, happy to see everyone, even Father Joseph, who was arguing with Father Frank. My folks were seated with the Stones, while the gay uncles were amused by the repartee between the two priests. Everyone paused as we jauntily walked in. No time like the present for show time.

Jack went into our Cabaret number, ‘Welkommen,’

Willkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome!
Fremder, étranger, stranger
Glücklich zu sehen,
Je suis enchanté,
Happy to see you,
Bleibe, reste, stay.
Willkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome!
I’m Cabaret, Au Cabaret, To Cabaret!’

“If only Liza were here today,” Jack bemoaned. “But let’s recognize how young Tim has promoted himself from the footlights of Broadway to grab the spotlights of Hollywood.”

First, Jack stepped up and did the Cagney ‘Top of the World.

 

I stepped in front of him, “Don’t worry, we’re just a couple of dandy’s,” as we started ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy,’ strutting in our fancy duds and showing off the dancing we’d learned up in Yankeeland

 

 

Jace was in the parlor, playing the cast LP to provide a score for our singing. Instead of doing tap between verses, we showed off our Irish Step dancing.  Finishing with ‘Give my Regards to Broadway.’

 

 

We took a bow and joined the guests.

“What were you and Father Joseph arguing about,” I asked, as we approached the two old adversaries.

Father Frank answered, “I told him about your latest miracle with the St Paul’s Choir School.”

“That was a Pink Floyd miracle, Rock as a spiritual. Shall we sing it for you?” I asked.

Mummy interjected, “Oh dear, no miracles before dinner. Mustn’t show up Isabelle’s heavenly meal.”

“Thanksgiving turkey, just another Protestant ritual from the 17th Century,” Father Joseph muttered.

“I go to Harvard, another 17th Century institution. Now they teach the Bible as literature,” Jack interjected. “We objected and almost got expelled.”

“Oh Johnny, you must try to make a good impression at Harvard.”

“Impossible when Tim’s around. We interrupted the prof’s lecture with a song asking for ‘a reason to believe.”

“That’s why I’m on work-study in Hollywood. The Lampoon separated us for our own good,” I stuck up for Jack.

“I paid your tuition so you could work in Hollywood?” Dad was beginning to understand.

“I’m still enrolled, Dad. Jack takes notes and I have to pass the finals next month. I also will get credit for writing a business school case study on my job. Mr. Stone arranged that.”
“I think I should get back the tuition I paid if you’re not even there.”

“I told that to Dean Epps. By Christmas I’ll officially be a sophomore with all the credits I’ve earned. At this rate I’ll graduate in two years instead of the normal four.”

“Are you learning anything?”

“Mr. Stone’s opinion is I need to find the best Harvard has to offer and take advantage of it.”

“He is a prodigy, Bert,” Daddy spoke up. “Professor Feldstein was quite impressed.”

Mummy announced, “I’m certainly glad that has been settled. Isabelle is ready to serve dinner.”

 

As we were seated, Father Joseph asked why there was an empty place setting.

“Teen Jesus, Father. He doesn’t eat but wants to sit with us.”

“Him again,” the good father believed in only one Jesus.

“Be careful, Father. He hasn’t matured at all since he died. He scattered our religion teacher’s notes into the air when the prof was saying there was no such thing as the holy ghost.”

“That’s what they teach at Harvard?”

“It’s au courant to deny religion. Luckily they’ve only been around for three hundred years. It’s much harder to change the Church after two thousand years of dogma,” Jack needled the good father.

“Enough of provoking arguments, Jack. Please say Grace,” Mummy interceded.

“Bless us, Oh Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty through Christ Our Lord. We ask this in the name of Jesus, father, son, and holy ghost, the rebel. Amen.”

Everyone but Father Joseph and Mummy laughed.

“Better than when Hippie asked us to us thank the cow for being our meal,” Daddy sided with us.  Mummy scowled.

“When was Hippie here?” Jack asked.

“We invited him so we could meet Anna and Little Greg,” Mummy was so proud to have Baptist friends.

“They didn’t name him ‘Gator?” I was disappointed.

“Something about that was going to be his middle name but their pastor objected; anthropomorphic animals was forbidden,” Mummy knew everything.

“Did the moms come, too?”

“Of course. Although I kept getting their names mixed up. Meg, Marge, it was confusing.

“We call Marge ‘Large’ but mostly we just say ‘ma’am.’” I gossiped.

Again everyone was laughing, even Father Joseph. Isabelle brought in a huge turkey, with golden crispy skin.  The dressing, with many herbs and spices, created a lip-smacking aroma. Daddy had it placed on the side-board where he began carving slices. He motioned to Jack to help him so as to learn the family secrets for perfect thin slices of white breast meat. Another Stone Family rite of passage.

“Where’s Winston?” I asked Dad.

“Oh, your father couldn’t leave him home alone. He’s out in the car,” Mom explained.

Mummy’s eyebrows went up.

“Can I let him into the yard, Mummy?” I asked.

“Of course, son. Isabelle will fix a bowl for him.”

I ran out to get him out of the car. He was sleeping peacefully. I made him do his duty before letting him into the pristine back yard. He sat by the kitchen door, confident he would get his own Thanksgiving meal. It was better than thanking the bird for letting us eat it.

I got back in time for the traditional toasts. We all had flutes of champagne. I thanked our hosts for providing me with the perfect boyfriend. Father Joseph scowled. Father Frank toasted Father Joseph for learning tolerance and not expelling a 13-year-old from CCD when the boy worried he felt gay for loving Jesus. I refrained from saying what taking the Eucharist really meant. We all quickly raised our flutes to Mummy for the wonderful celebration in honor of the Indians’ rescue of the religious Pilgrims, even though they were Protestants. Isabelle, having brought out all the side dishes, was standing in the doorway, beaming at her handiwork.

“And, to Isabelle, the lady of my dreams when I’m hungry,” I announced.

“Here, here,” everyone cheered the help that made everything possible.

Several different wines were poured. I got a sparkling rose from Portugal, much nicer (sweeter) than the dry french champagne.

There was an even dozen place settings, five to a side, with Daddy at the head of the table and Mummy nearest the kitchen. Father Joseph had brought a young girl our age from the youth group. He introduced her as Ann.  She sat opposite the empty place setting for Jace. Jack explained why there was an empty seat, for our dead band mate. She looked adoringly at Jack, never letting her eyes wander away from him. Jack loved it. I was slightly jealous, yet proud of his budding interest in girls. The meal took two hours, after which the adults retired to the drawing-room where Mummy held court among all the men. The three of us including Ann went into Isabelle’s kitchen to get Winston’s bowl for him. Ann knew not to pet Winston until after he had finished his dinner.

“Do you have a dog?” I asked her.

“It’s not allowed at the convent.”

“That’s sad.”

“I had one at home. Her name was Duchess, a King Charles Spaniel.”

“A lap dog,” Jack noted.

“More playful, like a pet,” she stated.

“They don’t live long?” I asked.

“Oh, Duchess was only five when she died in the fire.”

“Oh, sorry,” I instantly felt her tender heart. “Was that terrible?”

She looked down and didn’t say anything.

“Look, here comes Winston,” Jack changed the subject as the huskie bulldog lumbered over to where we sat on the patio.  Good manners, as always by Jack.

Ann got down and petted Winston, who refrained from slobbering all over her, basking in the attention.

“Let’s take a walk,” she suggested. “We always took walks after a big meal.”

I felt Jack was about to insist we drive in his new car. I knew that Ann wanted to walk for sentimental reasons. There was more to her story about ‘the fire’ than she wanted to say. Jace told him we needed to walk.

It was a good choice. The Gables was built in the 1920’s and marketed to New Yorkers as the Venice of the South. Miami was barely a city then. All the homes were Spanish Mission style, even the mansions. The Venice theme was based upon the canals that crisscrossed the development. Wide boulevards with overhanging trees were more Savannah than Venice. Many intersections had fountains,  although by the 1970’s they seldom had running water. Two golf courses ran through the center of town, anchored on the shuttered Biltmore Hotel. There were few sidewalks except on the Miracle Mile commercial retail district, but the sandy soil made for safe walking on the side of the streets. Ann’s buoyant mood inspired us to relate tales about growing up here and for me, the exploits from swim team and the band. Ann grabbed each of our hands as we skipped down the shaded lanes.

“Where did you grow up, Ann?” Jack asked.

“Palm Beach, on the ocean side,” she answered. The non-ocean side, West Palm Beach, was nowhere near as nice as the snobby exclusive ocean enclave.

I knew there was a back story to why she was locked away in a convent. I hoped it wasn’t some Dickens tale about evil guardians  and a lost fortune. I knew to let tell her story in her own time.

“Later our band is getting together at our friend Michael’s house to play music. Michael’s girlfriend Jenna is your age. You should come,” I suggested.

“I’m not sure Father Joseph will allow it.”

“Ask Father Frank to recommend it. He likes kids, unlike the good father.”

“They act like adversaries but seem to get along otherwise.”

“Father Frank’s a Franciscan. They’re much more liberal than parish priests. We always say confession with him.”

“You still go to confession?”

“We need to go often,” I laughed.

“But you’re boyfriends.”

“That’s why we need Father Frank. He even believes Jace is Teen Jesus, our band’s patron saint.”

“That was why there was an empty seat at the table?”

“That’s just Mummy being eccentric.”

“Your family is so cool,” Ann gave Jack that adoring look that bothered me.

“She convinced my whole D&D group to attend mass. Isaac is Jewish. He was so conflicted. It was like an orc attack to him.”

“What are you talking about? Orcs? ‘The Lord of the Rings?’”

“Not Middle Earth, just Dungeons and Dragons. It’s a game for nerds. Tim mocks me for playing it before I joined the band.”

We were sitting by the fountain on Ponce de Leon at the entrance to the Gables.

“Anyone still hungry? I bet the soft-serve ice-cream stand is open,” I tempted them. Teenagers never get enough to eat. Isabelle would be insulted.

 

Father Frank convinced Father Joseph to allow Ann to attend our band reunion. He proscribed a 10 o’clock curfew. Jack drove us carefully to Michael’s. The Italiano feste celebrazione was still going strong. a\All the band members were going to be there, except for Hippie. It took me all of one minute to convince him to sneak out. Anna and Little Greg were already asleep – too much holiday partying. Jenna took Ann in hand, introducing her around, with stories about all the miscreants. Ann continued to stare longingly at Jack with her King Charles Spaniel eyes.

The Out Crowd wanted to show off their new songs. They had slavishly believed that the Hillbilly Brothers’ country sound was to be their future. Hippie was pleased. At least I didn’t have to consider them for the movie. Thinking about it revived my wish that ‘False Gods’ would come to Hollywood and storm to fame as the movie’s cover band. The thought of all of them invading my SRO apartment burst that bubble. I felt the band was past doing covers. We would always have a party-band spirit. I knew not to bring up going to Hollywood.

Once the kid band finished, to much applause, including the younger house guests from New York, I plugged in my trusty Gibson SG, not sure what to play. Since everyone knew about our gig with Elton and Liza, I turned to the mic and announced, “This is the song that propelled us to play with Elton. It was inspired by Tommy, the boy in the Hillbilly Brothers. It’s called ‘Gatorsaurus Rock.”

Jack made an ugly face at Tommy’s name,  then laughed, as he joined me. I hit the opening riffs, giving Michael and Robby time to get on their drum kits. Hippie said, ‘That sounds familiar,” plugging in his bass. Michael jumped up and ran to the piano. We were ready to rip apart Elton’s greatest hit.

 

‘I remember when we was young
Huck and Tom had so much fun
Fishin’ in the ‘Glades and skipping stones
Livin’ large in a lean-to of our own
But the biggest kick we ever got
Was what we call the Gatorsaurus Rock
While the other kids were Rocking Round the Clock
We were hopping and bopping to the Gatorsaurus Rock

(Ann and Jenna jumped around)

Well Gatorsaurus Rocking is something shocking
When your feet just can’t keep still
I never knew me a better time and I guess I never will
Oh Lawdy mama those Friday nights
Tom and Huck just gettin’ tight
Gatorsaurus Rock was out of sight

(I motioned to Jenna and Ann to sing the backup with Elton)

La lalalala la lalalala la lalalala la

(I came back in)

But the days went by and the ‘Gator just cried
Tom got sick and almost died
Long nights on a breathing machine
Dreaming of the ‘Glades and stolen blue jeans
But they’ll never kill the thrills we’ve got
Burning up to the Gatorsaurus Rock
Learning fast as the weeks went past
We really thought Gatorsaurus Rock would last

Well Gatorsaurus Rocking is something shocking When your feet just can’t keep still
I never knew me a better time and I guess I never will
Oh Lawdy mama those Friday nights
Tom and Huck just getting’ tight
Gatorsaurus Rocking was out of sight

La lalalala la lalalala la lalalala la

I remember when rock was young
Huck and Tom had so much fun
Fishin’ in the ‘Glades and skipping stones
Livin’ large in a lean-to of our own
But the biggest kick we ever got
Was what we call the Gatorsaurus Rock
While the other kids were Rocking Round the Clock
We were hopping and bopping to the Gatorsaurus Rock

Well Gatorsaurus Rocking is something shocking
When your feet just can’t keep still
I never knew me a better time and I guess I never will
Tom and Huck just gettin’ tight
Gatorsaurus Rock was out of sight

(Everyone came in together for the closing chorus)

La lalalala la lalalala la lalalala la
La lalalala la lalalala la lalalala la
La lalalala la lalalala la lalalala la

 

Songwriters: BERNIE TAUPIN, ELTON JOHN

© Universal Music Publishing Group

 

After finishing, Jack took the opportunity to jump on Michael’s drum set and show us what Nicky Beat had taught him. His thrashing away seemed random and retarded. I jumped in on guitar, with the Weirdo’s ‘Helium Bar,’ singing the one line of lyrics over and over. Hippie tried to find a bass line but never quite got there. Dave who was sitting there bored jumped up and took over the one line lyrics.

 

 

Bop to Helium Bar tonight
Bop to Helium Bar tonight
Bop to Helium Bar tonight
Bop to Helium Bar tonight
Bop to Helium Bar tonight

Bop to Helium Bar tonight
Bop to Helium Bar tonight
Bop to Helium Bar tonight
Bop to Helium Bar tonight
Bop to Helium Bar tonight

Bop to Helium Bar tonight
Bop to Helium Bar tonight
Bop to Helium Bar tonight
Bop to Helium Bar tonight

Bop to Helium Bar tonight
Bop to Helium Bar tonight
Bop to Helium Bar tonight
Bop to Helium Bar tonight
Bop to Helium Bar tonight

Songwriters
JOHN DENNEY, CLIFF ROMAN, DIX DENNEY

Published by
Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC


All the younger boys joined in the thrashing around the music room. I motioned to Jack to stop, which he did with a loud cymbal crash. Everyone fell down.

“Jack got a lesson from my friend Nicky who lives down the hall from me. Since I left Harvard, Jack has to play drums in the Harvard Sitting Band.”

“Why is it sitting?” Dave asked.

“We got rejected by the Marching Band.”

The kids wanted more punk to thrash to. I played the Zeroes ‘Don’t Push Me Around.’

 

 

“Here’s a song Jack and I wrote in Iowa, after we beat up the entire high school football team at their New Year’s Eve party:

Ann and Jenna looked shocked.

Fuck Off;

 

‘Don’t fuck with me

Might 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.’

 

Then I ended with my new theme song, ‘I won’t Back Down.’

 

 

That was more familiar rock and everyone got back to their regular instruments. Hippie said he felt old, not able to keep up on ‘Helium Bar.’

“The baby has me up all night,” he explained. I felt so old.

Finally, we played ‘False Gods,’ our signature song. It seemed so slow. Maybe everyone was out of practice. I sat down and everyone wanted to know about Hollywood. Jack tried to talk about Harvard and the Rat, but nobody was interested.

Mike Sr. came in and said there were turkey sandwiches in the dining room. All the kids left.

“How’s my grandson’s future godparent doing?” he smiled at me. “Jay says you have him working against the Universal Studios legal department. He loves doing real entertainment law.”

“The suits try to keep us on their short leash. Having Jay on board set them back on their heels.”

“You already sound so Hollywood.”

“I love it.”

“Jack dealing with being separated?”

“He just needs to be on a short leash himself. He showed up at my work in LA on Tuesday, and here I am in Miami on Thursday. We’ll survive, just barely. My rival caught us in my boss’s office and broke down the door. We ended up duking it out in the ring from the ‘Rocky’ set. It was a second round TKO. I’m the All-Hollywood Ivy League Lightweight Champ.”

“Jay’s so happy, he may get divorced and turn gay.”

“I can only wish.”

“Michael’s in a bit of a funk, waiting for Jenna to graduate. He feels like he’s still in high school.”

“Love conquers all. He’s too smart to wait around. Have him do work-study like I am. I never went to class at Harvard. Jack takes notes and I send in my assignments.”

“Cardinal Cooke said you created another miracle in Cambridge.”

“It was Pink Floyd, not me. We were showing the Church that rock is spiritual music. It’s no miracle. They only say that because they have no clue about music. It was two twelve-year-olds who created the miracle. No diamonds this time, just golden snowflakes.”

“They think you’re a saint.”

“They haven’t found out about Jack yet.”

He laughed. “Don’t expect the Church to change.”

“We’re fighting two thousand years of tradition.”

“You have my full confidence.”

 

We went on and played some of the Harvard songs, including ‘Sunday Afternoon.’ The response was tepid. Jack explained he was learning to play the MOOG, making him an English depressive. We finished with Minehan’s Rat song, explaining it was the story of our other roommate coming to Harvard before finishing high school. It inspired John, who pestered me about him joining us at Mower. He was now a high school junior. He just needed to escape his past, even though he loved the Watts family. That reminded me that I had not seen my second Miami family. Jack stuffed John, Jeff and Dave into the back seat of the VW, while I drove because Kendell was outside his allowed driving zone.

The Watts house was lit up, so instead of sneaking into Stu’s window, we rang the bell. Mom Watt was so glad to see me,  pleased I remembered them.

“I’ll never forget,” I swore, “even after being told to never see y’all again for molesting Stu.”

She admitted that it was probably Stu who molested me. Scott nodded his agreement, even giving me a hug. Jack was immediately at my side. There was no talk of a sleepover. Even Stu agreed we were all too old for communal beds. Jace was the only one to disagree.

Everyone was delivered to their respective homes. Jack complained he was becoming a taxi service. After we had a vigorous sex session of fellatio and anal, I told him I was leaving at noon for Hollywood. His meltdown was minor. We went to sleep and woke up in each other’s arms. Jace was sitting at the end of the bed watching us,   bemused that we slept more that we sexed each other. Sitting on the floor was Max,  giving me his signature bark. That bark brought Winston to my bedroom door, barking excitedly to find out what dog was in my room.  He bounded into the room, quickly checking out Max’s butt for some sort of dog knowledge they all carry there. Max forgot he wanted to visit Robby for a shotgun hit, playfully chasing Winston around the room. Dad was disturbed by the noise and told Winston to ‘Come.’ Both dogs went bounding off to see him. I wondered if Dad would actually see Max. I knew better.

Jack drove me to the airport. He pouted that I was rushing back to my other life. I argued that we’d be together in two weeks for finals and Christmas with the St Paul’s Choir boys.  He was less than enthusiastic.

I told him, “You need to practice speaking to me through our conjoined hearts. Needing Jace to translate cannot go on forever.”

“I’m over my jealousy. I do have a secret, though. I swore I’d never play music again after the Stadium debacle. My resolve evaporated last night because we were together again.”

“Never doubt us, Jack,” I kissed him and left him standing at the jetway, with shocked bystanders staring. Hollywood-bound, what a jerk I was.

 

I got to LAX in the midafternoon. Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast. I couldn’t complain. The Wreck  stood forlornly in the airport parking lot. I reminded myself to clean up all the various burger wrappings in the back seat. No one had bothered to steal it. I put the top down and drove to the Canterbury. Knocking on Nicky and Alice’s door, there was no answer. They were probably home in San Pedro or East LA. Walking into my room, the Murphy bed was still out. I plopped onto it, to the satisfying squeak of tired springs. I was home. More squeaking and I was lonely. I ran to 7-11 and called Jake, realizing I needed to have a telephone installed. Jake was lonely, too. At least he said so. Hollywood emptied out for the holidays. I suggested we take a drive and discuss the score for the movie. He wasn’t sure he wanted to ride in my ‘Wreck,’ but when he saw that it was a convertible, he was more enthusiastic. He showed me how to get to Mulholland Drive. When I expressed interest about Deadman’s Curve, he insisted that he drive.

 

I sat snuggled up to him, as we slowed every time we approached an overview of the LA Basin, seeing all the way to Catalina to the south and the Channel Islands to the west.

“Can we take Mulholland to the Beach?” I asked.

“We can get to Zuma by going all the way to Kanen Dune Road. There’s a nude beach there.”

“Perfect.”

“You need to wear a suit. Otherwise your long schlong will be saying ‘I’m open for business.”

We laughed. “Don’t worry, my briefs look like Australian Speedos. You can do the displaying. I’m all yours for today.”

It was a glorious November afternoon, with the sun beginning to turn toward the west. It took an hour to get to Kanen Road. Once we had parked across PCH from Zuma Beach, I ran down to the shore where gentle two to three-foot waves were breaking about twenty yards off the beach.

“Screw the nudes,” I proclaimed. “I’m going bodysurfing.”

Swimming out to the breakers, I dove under a series of waves,  each holding me down longer than I expected. Finally getting past the surf zone, I bobbed in the chilly water, waving to Jake. He anxiously asked if I was okay.

“No problem.”

A perfectly formed swell approached and I swam with it, catching its momentum as it propelled me toward the beach.  Once it broke, I tumbled over and over. I ended up sitting in the water with my briefs full of sand. As I stood up, Jake broke into hysterics, as my saggy underwear looked like I had dumped a load into it. I waved and ran back out into the waves. I stayed closer to shore and was able to ride smaller waves as if I knew what I was doing. The speed of the waves exhilarated me. I had never swum so fast, even in my jock days. I rode wave after wave. Once Jake sat down on the shore, I figured he was bored, so I came in. Shivering from the cold water, he rubbed me dry.

“You’re glowing,” Jake exclaimed.

“First time in the Pacific,” was my excuse. “I love the water. My friends called me Fish Boy when I was younger.”

“That looked like so much fun,” Jake stated.

“Ready to dive in?” I grabbed him.

He hung onto me, sure I meant to dunk him. I gave him a quick kiss, between my shivers. The Pacific was cold, unlike Crandon State Park on Key Biscayne.

“You can parade me around the nude beach now. I’ve shrunk by four inches.” I started to strip off the purple day-glow briefs.

“Not here,” Jake ordered, keeping a watchful eye on the lifeguard stand. “In the car. You have to be at the nude portion to strip. Have you no shame?”

I started singing Abba’s Mama Mia, tim-861 recreating the times I stripped in North Miami and Savannah.

 

 

“I’m shameless,” I proclaimed.

We ran to the Wreck, where I could be blocked from a full frontal display. My briefs looked really sad, full of sand and stretched out.

“Next time we’ll bring suits and towels,” Jake suggested.

“Where’s the nude beach?”

“You have to come when the tide is out and climb around the rocks on the south end of Zuma.”

“Next time,” I claimed, still shivering.

Jake hugged me once I was dressed, giving me a passionate kiss. I warmed up instantly. We sat in the Wreck watching the sun go down over the sparkling water. I didn’t miss Jack one bit. Jace told me he was hanging out with Ann again. I was safe while the Church plotted the betrothal of their young prince. I loved the drama enough not to care.

I was famished. Jake knew just the place in Santa Monica. I was moaning from need of pizza or burgers during the long drive from Zuma. We pulled into a parking lot just off PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). The sign said Tex Mex restaurant.

“You sure?” I asked Jake. “My body is saying pizza or maybe burger. We could go to Tommy’s.”

“You need more than junk to fortify your exquisite body,”  he knew how to get to me.

 

The menu was Greek to me, so we started with guacamole dip and stuffed jalapenos. I needed the dip to quench the burning peppers. A beer pitcher appeared, no ID requested. While we waited for the next course, I looked around. It was a gay bar, as well.

“Now, I understand,” I kidded Jake.

“Let’s cruise the locals,” he suggested. He wanted to show me off.

“I’m a mess,” I complained, with sand in my mussed hair and only wearing a tee-shirt and jeans, with no shoes.

“They’ll love you,” he assured me.

In less time than it took for our meal to appear, we were surrounded by twenty- and thirty-something gay men in beachwear that was anything but casual. I saw our food being delivered and made a bee-line to the table. Several slips of paper with phone numbers were stuffed in my jeans’ back pockets.  That was electric. My shriveled dick revived. After we sat down, Jake asked what I planned to do with all the numbers.

“My friend Jimmy will add them to his collection. They won’t notice the difference.”

“Don’t count on it.”

The food was cheese enchiladas and a chili relleno in red sauce with rice and black beans on the side. I gobbled everything without stopping to chew. Immediately a steaming plate of steak fajitas was put on the table. Jake showed me how to wrap all the ingredients into a corn tortilla, adding salsa and sour cream plus the remainder of our guacamole. Jake had one fajita. I finished the rest. More beer appeared. Jake ordered flan for dessert. Between Isabelle’s turkey feast and the Tex Mex delights my belly exceeded the limits of my jeans. Jake smiled as I had to unbutton twice.

“There will be a digest-if for later,” I warned him.

He turned red. “You are the most unusual teenager I’ve ever met.”

“And bedded,” I burped.

We headed back to Hollywood, leaving the locals unfulfilled, but hoping for more.

“You want to come up,” Jake innocently asked.

“Only if want me to,” I winked at him.

“You are a total tease. It was fun at the restaurant. You know I’m head over heels for you. Do I have to beg?”

“Well, I’ll come up if we actually talk about the score for the movie for at least fifteen minutes.”

“Fine.”

The second we walked in, Jake attacked me, dragging me to his bedroom.  I loved it. There was no holding back. I showed him how to keep from climaxing by alternating who was on top, switching each time the top was about to cum. We traded places for thirty minutes, until moaning we both had to cum. I held him inside, rocking on his dick until it exploded with jerks and vibrating spasms. I laughed, expelling his dick, shoving his face to my groin and burying myself deep within his throat.  He bobbed until I came. We lay side-by-side on our backs in his large bed, panting and giggling.

“So much for working on the score,” I laughed.

“I couldn’t control myself,” Jake confessed.

“Let’s go up on the roof. I always get inspired under the stars.” I sang the title line to the Drifters song

 

 

I noticed a new chaise sitting there, ready for the two of us. I finished the song in his arms.  I felt so safe.

“When you came shivering out of the ocean, you looked like a Greek god,” Jake was being ridiculous.

‘Like Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus?’” I joked.  But it gave me an idea. “The movie’s about Greek frats. There must be an opera whose theme or overture we could use to balance the raucous rock of the party scenes.”

“There’s Strauss’s Ariadne at Naxos where Bacchus claims to be immune to Circe’s powers.”

“Strauss writes waltzes. It may work as a calming background.”

Jake sang the solo

 

“Perfect. Are 19th Century operas in the public domain?”

“If I compose the arrangement, you have to pay me.”

“We can steal all sorts of themes and wrap them into our Greek frat setting. Just don’t let any one theme go on forever, just an overture with liet motifs popping up at key scenes.”

“How about the overture to Le Circe? It’s an 18th century minuet.”

“No minuets.”

“But it has horns and is in triple time.”

“Sounds like Punk Rock.”

“Highly unlikely. It is strictly formalized.”

“Well, we plan to dress everyone in togas for a party. A minuet might work, if it isn’t a stupid dance.”

We went on like this until I was about to fall asleep. I wanted to tell Jack I was expanding my musical knowledge.

“What are you thinking about?” Jake was reading my thoughts. I couldn’t lie. Time to tell.

“About telling my boyfriend; how I’m learning about opera.”

“I figured you weren’t a free agent. When were you planning to tell me?”

“He’s my roommate at Harvard.”

“The one who took you home for the holiday.”

“You are the one who brought me back to Hollywood early.”

“You’re not exclusive?”

“We both date girls. They accept that we are together. I’ve always had more than one person I love at the same time. I left Harvard because we were drifting apart. He’s trying not to be jealous. I’m working on going back to Cambridge once the movie is shot.”

“So we’re just a fling. No strings attached?”

“Life never works that way. I don’t know what we have, but it’s becoming more than a fling.”

“I know you’re way younger than me. I’m not the one who will get hurt, but I don’t want to be the one who causes a breakup.”

“I’ve ruined our perfect day together,” I was remorseful.

“No. The truth is always double-edged. I’ve never felt you were holding back. Let’s not create drama if it’s not necessary.”

I hugged him and drove home. No sleeping over. I felt let down. I had let Jake down. He had let me off easy.

 

It was Saturday morning, but I went to work anyway. I really didn’t have paperwork to review or sign. I wanted to read the current draft of the screenplay. Just to be cautious, I called Landis, figuring I could leave a voice message on his home phone saying I was going into the office to review the script. It was early but he answered anyway.

“John, I’m back from Miami, so I came in. Is it okay to look at the current draft. I came up with some ideas for the score with my composer friend. I want to see if they fit in from the writer’s point of view.”

“Damn, Tim. It’s Saturday morning. Can’t you just go to the beach or something.”

“My friends won’t be up for hours. I’ll be here for two, three hours tops.”

“Have you had breakfast?”
“I’m fine, Dad.”

“No. Come out here. We’ll work on the score together. You got me interested. My wife will cook you a real meal. I insist. The script is in my top right-hand drawer.”

“I’ll ruin your day off.”

“I’ve been home since Wednesday. There’s only so many days you can spend lazing about in the Valley. I insist.”

I parked the Wreck down the block from his house in Woodland Hills. His wife, Debbie, had prepared a protein-rich meal of eggs and bacon with plenty of coffee. I finished it off quickly, to her delight. Teenage eaters clean their plates. I even put mine in the dishwasher.

“So what’s your idea?” John spread out the script on the coffee table inside his home office.

“Since the movie is about Greek fraternities, I thought we could use the leitmotifs from various Greek operas to be assigned to specific characters – Bacchus from Ariadne at Naxos by Strauss can be the waltz tempo at the toga party; Le Circe is a minuet for the College President’s wife. There are so many Greek figures in opera, we can draw on them. Operas are so old, they’re all in the public domain. My composer friend can wrap these light themes into a score. It’ll be real classy.”

“Our movie is a B comedy with gross-out jokes, car chases and a parade float gone wild.  How are we going to make any of it ‘classy’?”

“It’s just a score, except each character has their own theme music – nothing too loud or overbearing, just in the background.”

“So Belushi walks into the frat party to the music of Strauss’s Ariadne?” he laughed.

“Yeah, except he waltzes in because it’s Strauss.”

“And college kids will get this joke.”
“That’s not the point. The music will fit the mood without having to draw attention to it.”

“So we cut from Belushi waltzing in to the party, to him singing ‘Louie Louie.’ You’ve got to be kidding.”

“No way. It’s great.”

“You just thought this up?”

“My friend’s the composer. We went to the beach and when I came out of the water, he said I was like Venus on the half-shell.”

We laughed and laughed.

“And we won’t have to pay for these operas?”
“Just to the composer for arranging the score.”

“He’s some kid you go to the beach with?”

“No, he’s a real composer.”

“So this will be a rock opera like that mess The Who’s ‘Tommy,’ with your friend Elton John?”

“It’s just background music. The rock will sound even better in contrast.”

“So how much will this kid charge me for background music?”

“He’s not a kid. He’s 42, older than you. Jay will negotiate a fair fee.”
“Who’s Jay? And why are you hanging out with old people?”

“Jay’s our entertainment lawyer in Miami. Jake’s interesting and teaches me about classical music. I’m an ex-jock, not a band nerd.”

We were laughing again.

Debbie came in with more coffee, asking why we were so jolly. John explained about the opera score we were writing. Debbie was a costume designer and wanted to get involved with outfits to match the operatic actors.

“This is out of control,” Landis complained. “We plan on using bed sheets for the toga party.”

Debbie made a sour face.

“Okay. We are way ahead of ourselves here. At least, all these ideas are funny. The writers have been under Miller’s thumb for so long that they are creating a literal representation of his life at Dartmouth. It’s a boring documentary. Belushi   coming here made me realize this film can be really funny.”

“Tell him we’re making an allegory from Wagner’s Ring Trilogy. That’ll keep his literal ass busy.”

“You must really hate him,” Landis joked.

“We were best buddies when I took him around to meet bands. Maybe he feels guilty for getting stoned and blames me for leading him astray, some weird religious guilt trip.”

Again all three of us were in stitches. We spent the next couple of hours identifying roles that would get operatic themes. By lunch time I was hungry again. I told them about my feast at the Tex Mex restaurant the night before. The four of us drove down to Ventura Blvd. to Jack in the Box and ordered Taco Supremes. I had three. It was eleven dollars for all three of us. We rode in the Wreck with the top down. We were reliving the 50’s.

I’d accomplished my goals for the weekend. With finals and Christmas coming up, I knew I had to have all the music lined up before I could leave Hollywood for the remainder of December. The main project to complete was putting together Dewayne Jesse’s band. After leaving the Valley, I drove to Doug’s. I hoped he’d help me line up musicians to back up Dewayne.

“What’s wrong with the musicians he used at the audition?” Doug asked.

“Otis said they were just helping him out. They all have other projects.”

“Otis?”

“I meant Dewayne.”

“It does sound better. I’ll have him come over. Maybe he can convince the guys to put together a permanent band.”

“Have him meet us at Larrabee Studios with his buddies who want to be in.”

“Who’s paying the studio time?”

“Bill the movie studio.”

“You are quite the wheeler-dealer.”

“Yup. I’ll call my boss to make sure it’s okay.”

After calling Landis, I called Jake and asked him to attend the rehearsal.

“I’m too old for rock n roll,” he complained.

“Just bring earplugs.”

 

Dewayne was all hopped up when Doug and I arrived up at Larrabee. When Jake showed up, even Doug was impressed that I had brought in a classical composer.

“Very classy,” Doug joked.

“Wait until you hear what we’re planning for the soundtrack,” Jake bragged. “Each character will have their own theme from Greek operas.”
“Jesus,” Doug laughed. “Classical and opera in a rock n roll movie. It’ll be a mess. Where do you get these ideas?”

“When I was bodysurfing at Zuma Beach yesterday.”

Doug just shook his head. He and Jake went into the sound booth to work with Larrabee Jimmy. Jake was playing it cool, being professional and not acting like a spurned lover. I was relieved but sorry it had become complicated.

“Hey, Dewayne,” I called him over from working with his musicians. “What do you think the band’s name should be?”

“The Dewayne Jesse Band?”

“Since it’s a movie, how about creating a stage name?”

He thought a second. “What do you think I should use?”

“How about Otis Day?”

“Cool, but Otis Day and the Knights is cooler.”

“Like Gladys Knight and the Pips.”

“Yeah,” he went over to the other musicians and asked them. They all complained that he was on an ego trip.

“No way. I’m not Otis. It’s just a band name, like Pink Floyd.”

“I always thought you looked good in pink,” one of them kidded Dewayne.

“Then it’s cool?”

They agreed, sort of, like all musicians who insist on their own opinions.

“Let’s hear how you sound,” I took charge. I was an uppity white boy.

“What do you wanna hear?”

“How about Sam Cooke?”

“Okay. How about ‘Cupid?’

“Too slow. We want dance tunes.”

“Then, it’s the twist,” Dewayne decided, “’Twistin’ the Night Away.’”

 

 

The drummer jumped up. “I ain’t doin’ that song. ‘where all the people are so gay.’ I know that Sam Cooke guy was gay.”

“It’s a late 50’s movie. Gay meant happy then.”

“Gay means twisted,” the drummer had his mind-set.

“Hang on,” Dewayne was in charge. “You wanna quit over one word in a song. Suppose we do ‘Puff the Magic Dragon?’ Y’all gonna refuse to play what’s called a pot song?”

“I don’t cares ‘bout pot.”

“So ya gonna ruin it fer ever’one ‘cause y’all don’t likes one word in a song. Don’t even means what ya think.”

Everyone else just stared at the drummer.”

“Shit. Long as we’s getting’ paid, I’ll play. Just sayin’…”

“Ya gots another song, Tim?’

“How ‘bouts ‘Shout’ by the Easley Brothers?”

One of the guitarists looked confused. Jace took over and showed him the chord changes.

“You play it, Tim,” Dewayne suggested.

 

It was just what I needed, to get up and jam with the band.  I stepped back after we had run through ‘Shout.’ The other guitarist had picked up the melody and bounced along to the rhythm. Black brothers got soul.

We took a break. Doug had called a drummer he knew who did session work. Dewayne was reluctant to try him out with his friend the recalcitrant drummer still there.

“It’s an audition, Dewayne. All these guy know they can be replaced. Once the movie’s done, you can put together the band you want.”

“We gonna be stars, right?” Dewayne was a true optimist.

“It’s a B movie about white frat boys in the 50’s. Don’t be getting’ your hopes up too high.”

“How much we bein’ paid?”

“My friend Jay in Miami is negotiating the contracts. You have an agent?”

“Hell, no. And pay him 25% right off the top.”

“Well, Jay won’t screw you over. If you don’t like what he offers, I’ll pay everyone SAG minimum, but as a band, you should do better. I’ll call Jay.”

 

“Sorry to bother you at home on Saturday,” I apologized once I reached him by phone.

“You lost in the Everglades again?”

“No. I’m in a music studio in Hollywood putting together a band for the National Lampoon movie. They want to know what they’ll get paid.”

“Depends on what rights they want. Are they playing their own songs?”

“No. All covers from the late 50’s. It’s a frat movie. The budget’s pretty minimal.”

“The cheapest way is pay them SAG minimum.”

“That’s what I told them but I hoped we could pay them more as a band.”

“Will there be a soundtrack album?

“Doubtful, but maybe.”

“Well, let me talk with the leader. Maybe we can go with the minimum plus residuals if there is an album. That’s where it gets tricky, especially since it is all cover songs.”

I got Dewayne, who now was calling himself Otis. After they negotiated, Jay told me what each player would get as SAG minimum. I called Landis who was okay with the costs.

I went into the engineer’s booth and joined Doug and Jake.

“You’re pretty good on guitar,” Jake complimented me.

“It’s just rock n roll. I grew up with all these songs. They’re forever in my heart.”

“I wish kids felt that way about classical.”

“Classical was popular music in its day. Kids didn’t have recordings and radio. With so many choices, rock evolved quicker than classical.”

“You really believe rock is more evolved than classical?” Jake’s hackles went up.

“Classical stopped evolving when it no longer was the only genre of music. Now it’s really just classic classical music that’s popular,” I knew I was stepping in it with him, a modern composer. “Let me show you how to get your own sound out of my guitar.” Jace instantly appeared to lend support.

Jake looked dubious. “I didn’t grow up with rock n roll.”

“Don’t try to play what you don’t feel. Let your own music come through. The guitar sound will make it modern.”

I hooked him up to my Gibson SG.  I sensed his discomfort and told him to sit down. “No need to strut about, yet.”

I started singing the Harvard band’s ‘Sunday Afternoon/Tuesday’ rip-off.

 

Jace led Jake’s fingers to the correct chords. The tempo was slow enough to make him feel comfortable. No punk rock yet.

“Whoa. Why do I feel my fingers being moved without my telling them?”

“It’s the psychic connection we have. I thought you’d like this song. Let’s go through a couple of songs of mine. Then you can play your own music from your heart. Just don’t over-think it. Let it flow,” I sounded like such a hippie.

Playing my songs made him confident. Once he was playing his own heart-felt music, it was a fuller and richer sound. He really smiled.

The Otis Days were listening and slowly came in, with the horns first and finally the drums. Larrabee Jimmy turned on the recording machine. At the end, Jake had over an hour of spontaneous music on tape. It wasn’t jazz or rock. The drums and other rhythm instruments weren’t driving the tempo, just filling in.

Jake was brimming with musical ideas, but the experience was finally overwhelming and we stopped. When Jimmy presented him with the tape, he was stunned.

“I have to go home and listen to this,” he decided.

“How about Anna’s. You can have a drink and calm down,” I suggested.

“Okay. But let’s go to Musso & Frank’s. I want to celebrate. I feel like I created an entire symphony. It was incredible. I need to have some perspective.”

“Okay, Mozart. Calm down. It was a jam. We do this all the time. You play so well, Jimmy recorded it. Just don’t over-think it. The music came from your heart, not your brain.”

Jace was looking extremely smug. It was the first time he’d shared his music with a real musician. He needed to celebrate too. I told Jace he was welcome to share Jake’s bed with me. He suggested we get Jake stoned, as well. I felt we should go one step at a time. How do I find these wild lovers?

Musso & Frank’s was old Hollywood, with individual red banquettes for privacy during deal making.  The walls were covered with signed star photos. We parked in the back, walking into the restaurant through the kitchen. We had gone to the Canterbury so I could wear more appropriate clothes for our celebration. Jake smiled at my modest one room apartment. He said that the Murphy bed brought back old memories. He made no move to get me into old Murphy. C’est la vie.

Our meal was traditional steak and potatoes, Delmonico though.

“You really know your way around a music studio,” Jake complimented me. “You jumped in and showed the guitarist how he should play that song. There was no ego issue for him to learn from you.”

“Well, the drummer had his issues with the word gay.”

“The leader, Otis, handled it fine.”

“Doug had another drummer available, if needed.”

“It’s like you’re half a musician and half a manager. How many instruments do you play?”

“I’m just a guitarist, but sometimes I have to play bass or drums. As singer, I have to tell jokes and sometimes swing through the rafters of clubs when the crowd gets too rowdy.”

“What’s the secret? You’re just 18.”

“It wouldn’t be a secret if I told.”

“Okay. How’s your steak?”

“Perfect,” I looked at him. “I wish we could go back to dating.”

“What do you call this?”

“A business meal?”
“True. I can’t help being amazed by you. Just because you have a boyfriend doesn’t mean my feelings are any different. I just know I can’t have you all to myself. When did we think we were exclusive?”

“I feel complete with you. Jack treats me like a possession. His family is rich. He’s their Little Prince.”

“Sounds like he needs to grow up some more.”

“That’s why he’s in college. I felt stifled there. I’m ready for this life now. When I first came to Hollywood, Doug asked me to stay and be his boyfriend. I wasn’t ready to give up being a kid. I was 15. Now we’re friends. I had to get my own place; staying with him was like going back to being 15.”

“You’re so much more than an 18-year-old.”

“Thank you. And you’re still wide-eyed like a kid. You believed me when I said to let your heart show you how to play the guitar.”

“I do play the cello. I figured it was pretty much the same.”

“You did feel the spirit guiding your fingers?”

“I just let go and my hands did it for me. I wasn’t thinking, just letting the music come out.”

“We trust each other. It makes it so easy, whatever we do together. I thought you felt deceived when I told you I had a boyfriend. My thoughts became an obstacle between us.”

“I worry more that you’ll get tired of me, than whether you have other relationships.”

“I can get distracted but trust me, I find you completely interesting.”

“How about dessert? Sorry, they don’t serve tiramisu here.”

“I can think up something better. Let’s go to your place.”

Jake smiled and paid the bill. Musso and Frank’s was expensive. Jake got his money’s worth on the roof garden of his building. Then again in his bedroom. He was insatiable. As I was about to leave, he grabbed me from behind and pushed me against the sliding glass door to his balcony. He fucked me standing up  while I looked out at the vista of downtown LA.  We finished with my face squeezed against the glass and my legs buckling and shaking as he emptied what little cum he had left. I didn’t remember when I came, but the evidence was sprayed all over the glass patio door.  My body was vibrating to the words of Jerry Lee Lewis’ ‘Breathless.”

 

Now, if you love me,
let’s please don’t tease
If I can hold you then
let me squeeze
My heart goes ’round and ’round
My love comes tumblin’ down

You leave me Breathless


Oh, I shake all over and
you know why
I’m sure it’s love and
that’s no lie
’cause when you call my name
I burn like wood inflamed

You leave me Breathless


Oh, baby! Mm-mm. Crazy!
You’re much too much
I can’t love you enough
Now it’s all right to hold me tight,
but when you love me
love me right

Now, come on, baby
Don’t be shy
’cause love was meant for you and I
Wind, rain, sleet or snow
I will be wherever you go

You leave me Breathless’

 

Songwriters: OTIS BLACKWELL
© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.