Eighteen – Chapter 5

 

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

 

“Tim,” she cries, almost dropping the pie she was taking out of the oven.  I rush over and place the pie on a counter. Then I pick her up and swing her around with a big hug.

Winston rushes in and joined our huddle by jumping up on me. I bend down as Dad walks in, observing an actual family homecoming scene. He grew up knowing Norman Rockwell in Stockbridge well enough to be pleased by normality.

“This is a surprise,” is 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 announce.

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

Thinking about my holiday meals with Jace makes 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 is 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 me and you.”

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

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

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

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

 

I call and speak with Isabelle. She says Jack is 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 yells. “Let’s go to Michael’s.”

It’s a new pink VW Cabriolet convertible.  It couldn’t be any gayer.

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

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

Jack’s face falls. “You ruin everything,” he complains.

“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 now a car.”

“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. 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 gives me the evil eye, thinking I had put Jack up to it. There is no way to refuse Mr. Perfect Manners.

“We’re off to see Michael,” I announce as we go 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 is stymied.

‘Beep beep,’ we’re off to Michael’s.

 

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

Michael and Jenna come running out and take 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 descended on Miami, as well as a few imported relatives from Sicily.

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

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

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

Michael wants to race us with his Alpha Romero.

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

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

Jack is afraid his driving skill was not up to touring, so I drive. Soon we have Hippie, Dave and Jeff over-crowded in the backseat as we pull up to Robby’s. Michael and Jenna are in the Alfa. We all use the bedroom window entrance where he is lording it over his new posse of 14 and 15-year-old stoners. We attack Robby, letting him emerge triumphant. He pulls out the weed. It’s bong hits all around, for sure, for sure.  The fighting and subsequent pot high pushes Jack into sexual overdrive. I throw him out the window, telling everyone to be at Michael’s after their Thanksgiving dinners. I jump out, throw Jack over my shoulder and drag him up to my bedroom. I miss Max, but Jace shows up in time to participate in bedroom antics. Jace claimed Tommy is so straight that he feels ignored. Tommy’s reputation as the eat-out champion of Lauderdale High assures he always has lovely bed partners. How sad. I wonder how Auntie Em is handling it.

Waking up with my living and dead boyfriends feels like I’m really  at home.  Mom cooks us a great breakfast, worried that it will spoil our appetites for Isabelle’s afternoon repast. She even puts out a plate for Jace after I told her that was what we do in Iowa. He tries to eat but it goes right through him.

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

I return with Jack to his house where we plan to dress from his overflowing closets. Unfortunately, we both apparently have grown and  look silly in trousers that exposed ankles and jacket sleeves that stop above our wrists. We drive to my house and find larger-sized attire appropriate for a Stone Family Thanksgiving. Jack is so pleased to have finally out-grown of his brothers’ hand-me-downs. My suggestion that we not wear shoes is met with silent disdain. I think, ‘you really can’t go home again.’

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

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

“Too ponderous,” Jack decides. “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 go into his closet and found dandy outfits for our Cagney skit. There are several.

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

Jack goes 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 bemoans. “But let’s recognize how young Tim has promoted himself from the footlights of Broadway to grab the spotlights of Hollywood.”

First, Jack steps up and we do the Cagney ‘Top of the World.

 

I step in front of him, “Don’t worry, we’re just a couple of dandy’s,” as we start ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy,’ strutting in our fancy duds and showing off the dancing we 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. 

“As you can see, we rejected hose stodgy old Boston Yankees for some real Irish Stomping on the roof of the Ritz.,”Jack proclaims

We finish with ‘Give my Regards to Broadway.’

 

 

We took a bow and join the guests.

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

Father Frank answers, “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 ask.

Mummy interjects, “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 mutters.

“I go to Harvard, another 17th Century institution. Now they teach the Bible as literature,” Jack interjects. “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 stick up for Jack.

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

“I’m still enrolled, Dad. Jack takes notes. I have to pass 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 speaks 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 believes 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 needle the good father.

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

“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 laughs.

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

“When was Hippie here?” Jack asked.

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

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

“Something about that was going to be his middle name but their pastor objected; anthropomorphizing animals is forbidden,” Mummy knows 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 gossip.

Again everyone s laughing, even Father Joseph. Isabelle brings in a huge turkey, with golden crispy skin.  The dressing, with many herbs and spices, creates a lip-smacking aroma. Daddy places it on the side-board where he begins carving slices. He motions to Jack to help him to learn the family secrets for perfect thin slices of white breast meat. Another Stone Family rite of passage.

“Where’s Winston?” I ask Dad.

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

Mummy’s eyebrows go up.

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

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

I run out to get him out of the car. He is sleeping peacefully. I make him do his duty before letting him into the pristine back yard. He sits by the kitchen door, confident he’ll get his own Thanksgiving meal. It’s better than thanking the bird for letting us eat it.

I get back in time for the traditional toasts. We all had flutes of champagne. I thank our hosts for providing me with the perfect boyfriend. Father Joseph scowls. Father Frank toasts Father Joseph for learning tolerance and not expel a 13-year-old from CCD when the boy worries he feels gay for loving Jesus. I refrain from saying what taking the Eucharist really means. 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, is standing in the doorway, beaming at her handiwork.

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

“Here, here,” everyone cheers the help that make everything possible.

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

There are an even dozen place settings, five to a side, with Daddy at the head of the table and Mummy nearest the kitchen. Father Joseph has brought a young girl our age from the youth group. He introduces her as Ann.  She sits opposite the empty place setting for Jace. Jack explains why there was an empty seat, for our dead band mate. She looks adoringly at Jack, never letting her eyes wander away from him. Jack loves it. I’m slightly jealous, yet proud of his budding interest in girls. The meal takes two hours, after which the adults retire to the drawing-room where Mummy holds court among all the men. The three of us including Ann go into Isabelle’s kitchen to get Winston’s bowl for him. Ann knows not to pet Winston until after he finishes his dinner.

“Do you have a dog?” I ask 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 notes.

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

“They don’t live long?” I ask.

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

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

She looks down and doesn’t say anything.

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

Ann gets down and pets Winston, who refrains from slobbering all over her, basking in the attention.

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

I feel Jack is about to insist we drive in his new car. I know that Ann wants to walk for sentimental reasons. There is more to her story about ‘the fire’ than she wants to say. Jace tells him we need to walk.

It’s 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 re Spanish Mission style, even the mansions. The Venice theme is based upon the canals that crisscross the city. Wide boulevards with overhanging trees are more Savannah than Venice. Many intersections have fountains,  although by the 1970’s they seldom have running water. Two golf courses run through the center of town, anchored by the shuttered Biltmore Hotel. There are few sidewalks except on the Miracle Mile commercial retail district, but the sandy soil makes for safe walking on the side of streets. Ann’s buoyant mood inspires us to relate tales about growing up here and for me, the exploits from swim team and the band. Ann grabs each of our hands as we skip down the shaded lanes.

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

“Palm Beach, on the ocean side,” she answers. The non-ocean side, West Palm Beach, is nowhere near as posh as the snobby exclusive ocean enclave.

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

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

“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 laugh.

“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 gives Jack that adoring look that bothers 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 are sitting by the fountain on Ponce de Leon at the entrance to the Gables.

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

 

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

The Out Crowd wants to show off their new songs. They have slavishly believed that the Hillbilly Brothers’ country sound is to be their future. Hippie is pleased. At least I don’t have to consider them for the movie. Thinking about it revives my wish that ‘False Gods’ comes to Hollywood and storms to fame and fortune as the movie’s cover band. The thought of all of them invading my SRO apartment bursts that bubble. I feel the band is past doing covers. We will always have a party-band spirit. I know not to bring up going to Hollywood.

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

Jack makes an ugly face at Tommy’s name,  then laughs, as he joins me. I hit the opening riffs, giving Michael and Robby time to get on their drum kits. Hippie says, ‘That sounds familiar,” plugging in his bass. Michael jumps up and runs 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 a thing 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 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 come 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 takes the opportunity to jump on Michael’s drum set to show us what Nicky Beat had taught him. His thrashing away seems random and retarded. I jump in on guitar, with the Weirdo’s ‘Helium Bar,’ singing the one line of lyrics over and over. Hippie tries to find a bass line but never quite gets there. Dave who is sitting there bored jumps up and takes 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 join in thrashing around the music room. I motioned to Jack to stop, which he does with a loud cymbal crash. Everyone falls 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 asks.

“We got rejected by the Marching Band.”

The kids want more punk to thrash to. I play 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 look 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’s more familiar rock and everyone gets back to their regular instruments. Hippie said he feels old, not able to keep up on ‘Helium Bar.’

“The baby has me up all night,” he explains. I feel so old.

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

Mike Sr. comes in. He says there are turkey sandwiches in the dining room. All the kids leave.

“How’s my grandson’s future godparent doing?” he smiles 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 sets 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. 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. I send in my assignments.”

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

“It’s 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 laughs. “Don’t expect the Church to change.”

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

“You have my full confidence.”

 

We go on and play some of the Harvard songs, including ‘Sunday Afternoon.’ The response is tepid. Jack explains he’s learning to play the MOOG, making him an English depressive. We finish with Minehan’s Rat song, explaining its backstory of our other roommate coming to Harvard before finishing high school. It inspires John, who pesters me about him joining us at Mower. He is now a high school junior. He just needs to escape his past, even though he loves the Watts family. That reminds me to visit my second Miami family. Jack stuffs John, Jeff and Dave into the back seat of the VW, while I drive because Kendell is outside his allowed driving zone.

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

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

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

Everyone is delivered to their respective homes. Jack complains he’s becoming a taxi service. After  a vigorous session of fellatio and anal, I tell him I’m leaving at noon for Hollywood. His meltdown is minor. We go to sleep and wake up in each other’s arms. Jace is sitting at the end of the bed watching us,   bemused that we sleep more that we sex each other. Sitting on the floor is Max,  giving me his signature bark. That bark brings Winston to my bedroom door, barking excitedly to find out what dog is in my room.  He bounds into the room, quickly checking out Max’s butt for some sort of dog knowledge they all carry there. Max forgets he wants to visit Robby for a shotgun hit, playfully chasing Winston around the room. Dad is disturbed by the noise and tells Winston to ‘Come.’ Both dogs go bounding off to see him. I wonder if Dad would actually see Max. I know better.

Jack drives me to the airport. He pouts that I’m rushing back to my other life. I argue that we’ll be together in two weeks for finals and Christmas with the St Paul’s Choir boys.  He’s less than enthusiastic.

I tell 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. That resolve evaporated last night because we were together again.”

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

 

I got to LAX in the midafternoon. Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast. I can’t complain. The Wreck  stands forlornly alone in the airport parking lot. I remind myself to clean up all the various burger wrappings in the back seat. No one  bothered to steal it. I put the top down and drive to the Canterbury. Knocking on Nicky and Alice’s door, there’s no answer. They’re probably home in San Pedro or East LA. Walking into my room, the Murphy bed is still out. I plop onto it, to the satisfying squeak of tired springs. I’m home. More squeaking and I’m lonely. I ran to 7-11 to call Jake, realizing I need to have a telephone installed. Jake is lonely, too. At least he says so. Hollywood empties out for the holidays. I suggest we take a drive and discuss the score for the movie. He isn’t sure he wants to ride in my ‘Wreck,’ but when he sees it’s a convertible, he’s more enthusiastic. He shows me how to get to Mulholland Drive. When I expressed interest about Deadman’s Curve, he insists that he drive.

 

I sit snuggle up to him, as we slow every time we approach 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 ask.

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

It’s a glorious November afternoon, with the sun beginning to turn toward the west. It takes an hour to get to Kanen Road. Once we park across PCH from Zuma Beach, I run down to the shore where gentle two to three-foot waves are breaking about twenty yards off the beach.

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

Swimming out to the breakers, I dive under a series of waves,  each holding me down longer than I expected. Finally getting past the surf zone, I bob in the chilly water, waving to Jake. He anxiously asks if I’m okay.

“No problem.”

A perfectly formed swell approaches. I swam with it, catching its momentum as it propels me toward the beach.  Once it breaks, I tumbled over and over. I end up sitting in the water with my briefs full of sand. As I stand up, Jake breaks into hysterics, as my saggy underwear looks like I dumped a load into it. I wave and run back out into the waves. I stay closer to shore and ride smaller waves as if I know what I’m doing. The speed of the waves exhilarates me. I had never swum so fast, even in my jock days. I ride wave after wave. Once Jake sits down on the shore, I figure he’s bored, so I come in. Shivering from the cold water, he rubs me dry.

“You’re glowing,” Jake exclaim.

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

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

“Ready to dive in?” I grab him.

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

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

“Not here,” Jake orders, 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 start singing Abba’s Mama Mia, tim-861 recreating the times I stripped in North Miami and Savannah.

 

 

“I’m shameless,” I proclaim.

We run to the Wreck, where I’m blocked from a full frontal display. My briefs look really sad, full of sand and stretched out.

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

“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 claim, still shivering.

Jake hugs me once I’m dressed, giving me a passionate kiss. I warm up instantly. We sit in the Wreck watching the sun go down over the sparkling water. I don’t miss Jack one bit. Jace tells me he’s hanging out with Ann again. I’m safe while the Church plots the betrothal of their young prince. I love the drama enough not to care.

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

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

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

 

The menu is Greek to me, so we start with guacamole dip and stuffed jalapenos. I need the dip to quench the burning peppers. A beer pitcher appears, no ID requested. While we wait for the next course, I look around. It’s a gay bar, as well as a restaurant.

“Now, I understand,” I kid Jake.

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

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

“They’ll love you,” he assures me.

In less time than it takes for our meal to appear, we are surrounded by twenty- and thirty-something gay men in beachwear that is anything but casual. I see our food being delivered and make a bee-line to the table. Several slips of paper with phone numbers are stuffed in my jeans’ back pockets.  That’s electric. My shriveled dick revives. After we sat down, Jake asks what I plan 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 appears – cheese enchiladas and a chili relleno in red sauce with rice and black beans on the side. I gobble up everything without stopping to chew. Immediately a steaming plate of steak fajitas is put on the table. Jake shows me how to wrap all the ingredients into a corn tortilla, adding salsa and sour cream plus the remainder of our guacamole. Jake has one fajita. I finish the rest. More beer appears. Jake orders flan for dessert. Between Isabelle’s turkey feast and the Tex Mex delights my belly exceeds the limits of my jeans. Jake smiled as I have to unbutton twice.

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

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

“And bedded,” I burped.

We head back to Hollywood, leaving the locals unfulfilled, yet hopeful for next time.

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

“Only if want me to,” I wink 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 walk in, Jake attacks me, dragging me to his bedroom.  I love it. There’s no holding back. I show him how to keep from climaxing by alternating who’s on top, switching each time the top is about to cum. We trade places for thirty minutes, until we both had to cum. Moaning I hold him inside, rocking on his dick until it explodes with jerks and vibrating spasms. I laugh, expelling his dick, shoving his face to my groin and burying myself deep within his throat.  He bobs until I cum. We lay side-by-side on our backs in his large bed, panting and giggling.

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

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

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

 

 

I notice a new chaise sitting there, ready for the two of us. I finish the song in his arms.  I feel so safe.

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

‘Like Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus?’” I joke.  But it gives 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 sings 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 go on like this until I’m about to fall asleep. I want to tell Jack I’m expanding my musical knowledge.

“What are you thinking about?” Jake is 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 loved more than one person I love at a time. I left Harvard because we’re 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 more than a fling.”

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

“I’ve ruined our perfect day together,” I’m 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 hug him and drove home. No sleeping over. I feel let down. I had let Jake down. He let me off easy.

 

It’s Saturday morning. I go to work anyway. I really didn’t have paperwork to review or sign. I want to read the current draft of the screenplay. Just to be cautious, I call Landis, figuring I can leave a voice message that I’m going into the office to review the script. It’s early but he answers 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 writers’ points 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,  prepares a protein-rich meal of eggs and bacon with plenty of coffee. I finish it off quickly, to her delight. Teenage eaters clean their plates. I even put mine in the dishwasher.

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

“Since the movie is about Greek fraternities,  we can use the leitmotifs from various Greek operas, 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. When I came out of the water, he said I was like Venus on the half-shell.”

We laugh and laugh.

“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’re laughing again.

Debbie comes in with more coffee, asking why we’re so jolly. John explains about the opera score we were writing. Debbie is a costume designer. Soon she’s dying to get involved with outfits to match the operatic actors.

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

Debbie makes 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 makes me realize this film can be really funny.”

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

“You must really hate him,” Landis jokes.

“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 are in stitches. We spend the next couple of hours identifying roles that would get operatic themes. By lunch time I’m hungry again. I told them about my feast at the Tex Mex restaurant the night before. The four of us drive down  Ventura Blvd. to Jack in the Box and ordered Taco Supremes. I have three. It’s eleven dollars for all three of us. We ride in the Wreck with the top down. We’re reliving the 50’s.

I’ve accomplished my goals for the weekend. With finals and Christmas coming up, I know I have to get all the music lined up before I can leave Hollywood for the remainder of December. The main project to complete is putting together Dewayne Jesse’s band. After leaving the Valley, I drove to Doug’s. I hope he’ll help me line up musicians to back up Dewayne.

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

“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 call Jake and ask him to attend the rehearsal.

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

“Just bring earplugs.”

 

Dewayne is all hopped up when Doug and I arrive up at Larrabee. When Jake shows up, even Doug is impressed – a classical composer.

“Very classy,” Doug jokes.

“Wait until you hear what we’re planning for the soundtrack,” Jake brags. “Each character will have their own theme from Greek operas.”
“Jesus,” Doug laugh “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 shakes his head. He and Jake go into the sound booth to work with Larrabee Jimmy. Jake is playing it cool, being professional and not acting like a spurned lover. I’m relieved but sorry it’s become complicated.

“Hey, Dewayne,” I call 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 thinks 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 goes over to the other musicians and asks them. They all complain that he’s 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 kids Dewayne.

“Then it’s cool?”

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

“Let’s hear how you sound,” I tak charge. I’m 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 decides, “’Twistin’ the Night Away.’”

 

 

The drummer jumps 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 has his mind-set.

“Hang on,” Dewayne is 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 stares 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 looks confused. Jace takes over and shows him the chord changes.

“You play it, Tim,” Dewayne suggests.

 

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

We take a break. Doug calls a drummer he knows who does session work. Dewayne is 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 apologize once I reach 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 get Dewayne, who now is calling himself Otis. After they negotiate, Jay tells me what each player gets as SAG minimum. I call Landis who’s okay with the costs.

I go into the engineer’s booth and join Doug and Jake.

“You’re pretty good on guitar,” Jake compliments 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 go up.

“Yeah. 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 know 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 appears 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 hook him up to my Gibson SG.  I sense his discomfort and tell him to sit down. “No need to strut about, yet.”

I start singing my Harvard band’s ‘Sunday Afternoon/Tuesday’ rip-off.

 

Jace leads Jake’s fingers to the correct chords. The tempo is 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 sound like such a hippie.

Playing my songs makes him confident. Once he’s playing his own heart-felt music, it has a fuller and richer sound. He really smiles.

The Otis Days are listening and slowly come in, with the horns first and finally the drums. Larrabee Jimmy turns on the recording machine. At the end, Jake has over an hour of spontaneous music on tape. It isn’t jazz or rock. The drums and other rhythm instruments aren’t driving the tempo, just filling in.

Jake is brimming with musical ideas. The experience is finally overwhelming and we stop. When Jimmy presents him with the tape, he’s stunned.

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

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

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

“Okay, Mozart. Calm down. It’s 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 is looking extremely smug. It’s the first time he’s shared his music with a real musician. He needs to celebrate too. I tell Jace he’s welcome to share Jake’s bed with me. He suggests we get Jake stoned, as well. I felt we should go one step at a time. He’s been hanging around Tommy too much. How do I find these wild lovers?

We go to the Canterbury so I could change for our celebration. Jake smiles at my modest one room apartment. He says the Murphy bed brings back old memories. He makes no move to get me into old Murphy. C’est la vie.

Musso & Frank’s is old Hollywood, with individual red banquettes for privacy during deal making.  The walls are covered with signed star photos. We park in the back, walking into the restaurant through the kitchen. Our meal is traditional steak and potatoes, Delmonico though.

“You really know your way around a music studio,” Jake compliments 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. 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 look 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 trusted me when I said to let your heart show you how to play the guitar.”

“I do play the cello. I figure 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, not 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 smiles and pays the bill. Musso and Frank’s is expensive. Jake gets his money’s worth on the roof garden of his building. Then again in his bedroom. He is insatiable. As I’m about to leave, he grabs me from behind and pushes me against the sliding glass door to his balcony. He fucks me standing up  while I look out at the vista of downtown LA.  We finish with my face squeezed against the glass and my legs buckling and shaking as he emptied what little cum he has left. I didn’t remember when I came, but the evidence is sprayed all over the glass patio door.  My body is 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.