Eighteen – Chapter 7 Part 1

Laying on my bed at the Canterbury, I can’t sleep.  I replay the complete sexcapade with Jake, over and over. Each time I shake and shudder, the sexual vibrations imprinted on my body.

“Fuck it,” I jump up. It’s Tuesday night, 10 pm – punk night at the Starwood is just getting started. I run to Nicky and Alice’s room, banging on the door.

Alice opens the door. Seeing me wild-eyed and disheveled from the shower, she steps back. “What’s wrong with you. Are you high on speed or something?”

“No. No. Let’s go to the Starwood.” I order. “It’s punk night.”

“Just art fags tonight,” Nicky is not interested. “The Berlin Brats.”

“Who cares. I can’t sleep. We’ll hang out at Oki Dog if it’s lame.”

“You buying?” Nicky, always the pragmatist.

“Why not. Oki Yoki owes me anyway.”

 

I had left the top down. Nicky warns me again that I’m daring someone to steal the Wreck. I start to cry.

“What is wrong with you?” Alice puts her arm around me. She calms me down. She’s my Angel of Mercy.

“I’m not on drugs, just tired from work and overwrought from everything else. I have to go back to college this weekend.”

“Why?” Nicky is incredulous. “You already paid for the whole month.”

“I havta pass my finals, and there’s a Christmas pageant at Church.”

“You still in high school?”

“No. I’m 18 and in college.”

We all sing Alice Cooper’s ’18’. I let Nicky drive the Wreck. Running down the road with the top down and shouting the lyrics. It calms me down some more.

 

 

Took eighteen years to get this far
Don’t always know what I’m talking about
Feels like I’m in the middle of doubt
‘Cause I’m
Eighteen, I get confused everyday
Eighteen, I just don’t know what to say
Eighteen, I gotta get way’

 

Songwriters: ALICE COOPER, DENNIS DUNAWAY, GLEN BUXTON, MICHAEL BRUCE, NEAL A SMITH

© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

 

We pull into the Starwood,  leaving the Wreck in the upper corner of the parking lot. Nicky knows how to take charge. We walk past the bouncer, getting in and out stamps from the door dude. As usual we split up; Nicky and Alice going upstairs to hobnob; I go into the disco to find Tony and Jimmy. I also need to see OC Jim for directions to the Crowd’s backyard party in Newport on Saturday. I know I have to search for him. He usually stays out-of-the-way, hating everything and everyone. I don’t see Tony or Jimmy in the disco room. Several of Joan Jett’s silent posse approach me.

“Can you get Rodney to play the Runaways?” they beg.

None of them is nubile enough to get Rodney’s attention. I spot Gerber dancing with some kid at least three years younger than me. She’s a hottie in Rodney’s eyes. I drag her away.

“You should avoid jail bait,” I tell her.

“I am jail bait,” she counters, edging up to me and purring.

I instantly started vibrating again. Oh, No!

Apparently my cat murmurs are a turn-on. She remembers how I left her wanting more after we humped in the corner of the Whiskey on Sunday.

I drag her up to Rodney’s booth, telling her to get him to play the Runaways. He makes her sit on his lap. He is about the same size as she is – sex dwarfs. I escape to join the Joan groupies. When ‘Cherry Bomb’ comes over the speakers, they all dance and  point at me whenever the firecracker reference comes up.

 

 

Still the Cracker from Alaska.  At least I wasn’t turned on by fat girls in leather. My shaking calms down.

Jimmy and Tony show up, dragging me upstairs for a joint. Maybe that’s what I need.

“You’re vibrating,” Jimmy notes, putting a hand on my shoulder.

“Yeah. I can’t stop. It’s the second time it’s happened.”

“Same guy?” Tony asks.

“Yeah,” I confess.

“I bet it’s that old guy from the Paradise,” Tony and Jimmy discuss my sex addiction.

“I’ve felt the same way, Tim. It’s because we have Dad issues. Fuck him over. You’ll feel better.”

I groan. I really like Jake. Maybe Dr. Kam will have a better solution.

 

We finish the joint. I don’t stop vibrating. My friends keep rubbing up against me and purring. I jump up and all three of us burst into the band room upstairs. Nicky is showing the Berlin Brats’ drummer some fancy drum rolls. Alice has the faggy members under her thumb. Rick says he’s the leader. I tell them I want to do their introduction.

“Can you play ‘Welkommen’ from Cabaret?” I ask.

“We play rock n roll,” Rick brags. I wonder.

“Well, just play random chords while I recite the lyrics. It’s in German, French and English.”

“Wow,” Rick is impressed I can speak three languages.

“It’s just a Broadway song.”

“Cool, dude,” Rick doesn’t have much to say.

“What’s the name of your first song?”

“’I’m Psychotic.’”

“The truth is out.”

“Okay.”

“Then let’s go,” I order them to descend to the stage below. They all have long hair. Nicky warned me they are arty farts.

We wait backstage. The stage manager comes up and asks who I am.

“I’m going to introduce the band.”

“Should I introduce you?” assuming I need my moment of punk fame.

“Naw, everybody knows me.”

“Oh,” realizing he wasn’t one of everyone.

 

I jump on stage, followed by the band ambling to their instruments. I don’t need accompaniment:

 

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!
Meine Damen und Herren
Mes dames et Messieurs
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Guten Abend! Bon Soir! Good Evening!
Wie geht’s? Comment sa va?
Do you feel good?
Ich bin eur confrencier!
Je suis votre compère,
I am your host!
Und sage.
Willkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome!
Leave your troubles outside.
So life is disappointing, forget it!
In here life is beautiful.
The girls are beautiful.
Even the orchestra is beautiful.

And now presenting the Berlin Brats…”

 

‘I’m Psychotic’”

 

 

 

We know,” some wise-ass yells. I throw down the mic and jump into the pit. My harasser tries to melt into the scattering crowd. I have him a headlock and whisper, “Thrash around as I pretend to punch you.”

He starts squirming as I pull several punches to his head, lifting his feet off the ground. He’s skinny and weak, but his friends jump in to save him, unaware it’s an act.  I beat a swift retreat out the door. They chase me all the way to the Wreck, where I stand my ground from the open back seat. The skinny guy tells his friends to cool it.

“It’s all an act.”

I pull out a joint and share. My vibrating stops. All I needed was to be on stage. My attention addiction has reared its ugly head. All four of us are in the back seat, passing around the joint.

“Where are you guys from?” I ask.

“The beach,” they all answer.

Do you know Jim from The Crowd? He told me they’re playing a party this Saturday. I wanna go.”

“Yeah. In Newport Beach. The owner’s a dick.”

“Everyone in Orange County’s a dick,” I repeat Jim’s assessment. “Can I get directions. I’ll bring my Hollywood friends. Everyone’s cool here.”

“You’re not. You tried to beat up our friend.”

“It was part of the show. See,” I put my arm around the skinny guy, “we’re friends.”

“Are you a fag or something.”

“I’m something alright, something else.”

“Well, your weeds cool. Ennis give ‘im a flyer. It has directions,” the leader orders the kid I attacked

“Thanks. We’re missing the band,” I observe, wanting to go back inside.

“We’ve seen them before. They suck.”

“What do you like?”

“English punk,” they all agree.

I started singing the Sham 69 song I’d learned from OC Mark

 

‘If the kids,,, are united,,, they can never,,, be divided.’

 

They all know that one. We keep repeating the chorus. Nobody knows the words to the verses.

“You sing good,” the leader admits. He’s bigger than the rest, an obvious leadership quality.

“I like that you all stick up for each other.”

“We have to. The surfers hate us and beat us up.”

“At least in Hollywood, everyone’s different.”

“The fags are always trying to pick us up.”

“You go to Oki Dog?”

“Where’s that?”

“On Santa Monica. We can go there after the show, if you want.”

“Santa Monica’s all fags. You are a fag, huh?”

“It’s a place to hang out and see what it’s like to survive on the streets. You can watch from Astro Burger across the street, if you’re afraid of fags.”

“They just bother me.”

“What’s your name. I’m Tim.”

“Cool. I’m Eddie. We’re all from LaMirada.”

“I heard they got gangs there.”

“Yeah. We call ourselves LMPs, LaMirada Punks.”

“You have a band?”

“Naw. Why bother? We just like to go to shows. When we cut our hair, the school freaked out. They called us gangsters. The real gangs started attacking us. I got expelled for fighting. Now all my friends ditch. We just deal weed. I guess we really are a gang. Your weed’s pretty good. Can we score some.”

“I’ll introduce you to Jimmy. He’s my source.”

“You rich? You’re pretty generous with the bud.”

“Naw. I work. That’s how I can afford this luxury car,” I point to the Wreck.”

“Right.”

“Wanna go look for Jimmy?”

“Got another joint?”

I pull one out and we get totally baked. They’re all high schoolers. I feel like Robby turning on the junior high crowd.

We find Jimmy. I leave them to discuss their mutual business interests. Alice is sitting upstairs by herself.

“Hola chica. Donde tu novio?”

“Nicky? No way.”

“Did you see me on stage?”

“Yeah. For ten seconds. Then you jumped into the crowd, beat up a kid younger than you and got chased out the door by his friends. Was this your Hollywood debut?”

“My punk debut. I wanted to make my entrance memorable.”

“The band wasn’t impressed.”
“How was the band?”

“They droned on and on.”

“I made friends with the kids who chased me. They’re from LaMirada.”

“Hey. Eastside. That’s my turf.”

“They said it was Orange County.”

“Yeah. But it’s Mexicano territory. I wanna meet ‘em.”

We wander back to the disco. The LMPs are standing by themselves, hating enemy disco  dancing.

“Not into disco?” I kid.

They scowl. I should know better.

“This is Alice. She’s in a band and is from East LA.”

“Montebello,” she corrects.

Eddie’s eyes light up. “You’re Alice Bag.”

“You’ve heard of our band?”
“When will they let you play here?” he asks.

“Probably never.”

“Can you come and play a party in LaMirada.”

“Sure. But the police will be there in 60 seconds flat.”

“Why don’t we all go to the party in Newport on Saturday,” I suggest.

The boys look doubtful, always hating anything OC.

Alice is in. “Yeah, the cops won’t be so quick to respond. There’s bigger backyards in Newport.”

I know she wants to play anywhere at anytime.

“I know the Crowd’s singer. I’ll get him to let you play.”

I thought how poor kids never have any place to play, to get started. No wonder they don’t wanna be in a band. Rich kids have garages and backyards for parties. I think how privileged my band was to have Michael’s music room. I remember Joe/Jose, the Cuban Peter Frampton-lookalike. He wanted to be in our band but his parents wouldn’t let him join.

 

Plans are made at the disco to invade the Beach. Nicky shows up, asking Alice why she’s at the disco. After he hears our plans, he promises to get the Weirdos to show up. He insists they have to get paid. I promise to pay them $100 if they finish their set. I doubt John Denney will lower himself to play a party at the beach. The LMPs are all excited to be included. They promise to start their own band. I suggest they contact OC Mark from Fullerton, the Sham 69 fan, who sung with us at Oki Dog. It got them even more excited to learn that you could play at Oki Dog.

“But we hate Fullerton,” is the typical response about OC Mark.

“Get over yourselves,” I tell them.

We miss the final live band and everyone piles into the Wreck or into Tony’s Datsun, heading to Santa Monica Blvd. The LMPs enjoy riding in the back of the Wreck. When we pull into Oki Dog, they are intimidated by the street cruising in front. We stay in the parking lot, with joints to dull their allergy to gay prostitution. Oki Yoki tells me not to perform that night. It’s business as usual. He doesn’t want the police returning. He agrees to provide free Oki Dogs to the crew, who are paranoid from everyone being so nice. Nicky uses the pay phone to call John Denney, convincing him to play at the Newport party. My hundred-dollar offer is impossible to refuse. I’m the godfather of punk. Nicky’s tight trousers makes him the object of several cruisers who stop and shout out how much they would pay for his dick. tim-874 He  flashes his middle finger and ignores their pleas. Alice is laughing at him. She calls her bassist, Patricia, who promises to line up the other Bags for Saturday. I love being a promoter. It’s 2 am when the action peaks as the bars close. By 3 am it’s dead. The LMPs say they have to wait for bus service to start-up in order to get home.

“You take the bus to Hollywood?” I’d forgotten my days of using Joey’s bus pass to get around.

“Better than walking.”

“You can crash at my place,” I offer. They look suspicious again, but my victim, Steve, says, “Why not.” We all pile into the Wreck and head for the Canterbury. Alice whispers to me that it isn’t a good idea to encourage suburbanites to stay over, as they might never leave. We laugh. She and Nicky quickly leave me alone with the OC haters.

“Not bad,” Eddie compliments my one room residence. I had put away the Murphy bed, creating a sense of unused space where it usually sits. I pull out a joint, while Steve investigates my fridge. He retrieves the six-pack of Budweiser that Jack bought when we furnished the place. Knowing that it’s too late to buy more beer, we all nurse our single cans. The pot provides a sufficient high. Everyone relaxes knowing there’s a plentiful supply. Soon the boys are practically comatose. Eddie relates how Steve’s nickname is ‘Battered Housewife.” Steve turns red. I guess that he’s their permanent whipping boy. At least, he has a mouth on him to fend off the insults. I notice he’s applied mascara, to l look like he has two black eyes. He’s a wise-ass playing the victim.

Finally, I turn the Murphy wall and lower the bed. They’re amazed at 1930’s technology. Jack purchased multiple blankets at Sears when he furnished the place. I toss them out so each one had something with which to create a nest. I strip down and jump into bed. Steve gives me a look which can mean anything. He’s an anything goes kind of guy. I’m not going to encourage him. I also am afraid I’ll start vibrating again. I go quickly to sleep. Waking up at dawn, I tiptoe to the bathroom and get ready for work. I leave them all asleep in separate little piles of blankets.

“You’re not your chipper self today,” Landis notes when he finally appears at eleven.

“Tuesday night is punk night at the Starwood.”

“How late did you get in?”

“4 am. Not in bed ‘til 5.”

 

After my morning chores are done, I drive back to my apartment, finding the LMPs awake, smoking my pot and drinking coffee.

“The bus service not working today?”

“We’re about to leave,” Eddie explains.

Steve runs around, in housewife mode, cleaning up and looking embarrassed. “We can stay, if you want.”

“I’m just on my lunch break. Wanna go to church group tonight?” I know how get rid of sloths.

“No thanks,” they all say. Steve folds all the blankets. We all exit the Canterbury. I give them a ride to Sunset and the 101 Freeway where they know the OC bus will take them home.

“Can you give us a ride to the party on Saturday?” Eddie asks.

“I promised Alice I’d pick up her band and bring their equipment.”

“That’s cool. Steve’s dad will give us a ride.”

 I leave them standing at the bus stop. The future of rock n roll. Once back at work, Landis laughs at my confused state. I don’t explain how I’d had the brains fucked out of me and let five gangsters spend the night. I need church group to get back on track. It’s like I’m writing my own screenplay. I needed a Belushi character to make it funny.

“You seem to have cheered up,” Landis observes as I whistle the Sham song while I work.

“Yeah. I kicked out my new friends over lunch hour.”

“Valley boys?”

“Worse. East LA gangsters.”

“Oh, my. You may need a cleaning service.”

“One of the gangster is an abused housewife. They left the place spotless.”

“Can you answer these calls for me. Someone forgot my lunch.”

I’m mortified.

“I’ll run and get something now.”

“No. I need to get out of here myself. Let’s go to Du-Par’s. Did you eat?”

“Not yet, I guess,” I laugh. Nice that my straight boss doesn’t make me vibrate. I realize I’ve been lusting after the abused housewife, Steve. I need to do confession before group tonight. As we wait for our pancakes, I’m thinking about what to say at the Dignity group.

“Are you still out of it,” Landis asks.

“Just thinking about what to say at Church tonight.”

“Seriously, you’re leading a Catholic service tonight?”

“It’s group of lost gay souls. I don’t know what to say.”

“Just sit there. Let them tell you why they want to be your boyfriend.”

“My reputation has proceeded me. They think I’m Teen Jesus.”

Landis laughs into his coffee cup which goes all over his shirt.

“Shit,” he exclaims. “Teen Jesus? That’s a perfect title for my next movie.”

“Seriously, we have the Franciscans setting up homeless shelters for teens in New York.”

“That’s a recipe for disaster.”

“Yeah. We’ve run into some conflicts of interest. The wrong kind of interest.”

“Sounds like every pedophile priest’s wet dream.”

“At least in West Hollywood, the kids fend for themselves. If you have no place to go, there’s always Santa Monica Boulevard. There’s safety in numbers.”

“Yeah. I heard about a club called Numbers. It’s private membership. All the waiters are underage.”

“Now I know where to go when you fire me.”

“Why would I fire you? You’re the perfect PA.”

“Martin Scorsese fired both Jack and me last summer when we hijacked Liza and De Niro to come out here and perform with Elton John in the middle of shooting ‘New York New York.’”

“That wasn’t in your resume.”

I don’t explain.

“What are you planning for the gay Catholics?”

“Something about getting over Catholic guilt complex?”

“Haven’t you heard of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence?”

“The what?”

“San Francisco is way ahead of West Hollywood in political satire. They’re queer nuns, drag queens in habits. You need to check out the Castro District. Teen Jesus may be shocked. There’s a guy there who calls himself ‘Jesus Christ Satan.’

“Let’s go after the holidays.”

“I doubt Debbie’s going to let me loose for a gay weekend.”

“She can come, too. It’ll broaden her costume design horizons.”

“I’m not going to try to convince her. We are going to Portland in early January to do a location check of a small college for the frat set.”

“I’ll be back in time,” I promise. “We’ll drive the Wreck and stop in San Francisco.”

Our pancakes come, ending our semi-serious discussion.

 

No one at Doug’s will accompany me to St Viktor’s Dignity meeting. I feel I’m back at CCD class in Alaska when I walk into the downstairs classroom. I know I’m not in Kansas anymore when I’m besieged by flirty twenty-somethings. I click my heels but nothing happens. Father Luke takes me under his wing. He is so pleased to rescue me.

“Let’s not overwhelm Tim tonight. He somehow found mass on Sunday and promised to join us. Let him speak before you boys chase him away. Remember we’re here to support each other, not find new boyfriends.”

There was an audible groan from the crowd of about twenty young gays.

“Y’all know what a gaggle is?” I revert to my country persona.
“A flock of geese,” someone answers.

“Well. I see you y’all stretching your necks in order to check me out. It gives me goose bumps.”

My lame country joke goes over their heads.

“Seriously, I need this group to screw my head back on after yesterday’s events. I know it will require deep penance when I say confession.”

“You still go to confession?” a voice in the back calls out.

“Yeah. I have Father Frank, a Franciscan who believes the love between my boyfriend and me is natural. It makes it pure and innocent even when we tell him how we go at each other.”

Several are shocked. Others start laughing. Father Luke looks perturbed. I realize he expects a lecture about Jace’s Place.

“Enough about me. You guys want to hear about Teen Jesus, right?”

Jace instantly appears at the mention of his nom de guerre.

I see the open-hearted glow appear above many of the attendees, as well as Father Luke. If this were a kids group, I’d invoke the ‘Jesus in your heart’ routine. With young adults I feel I should try to bamboozle them into implicitly trusting me right away. Jace looks disappointed. My heart tells him to be patient.

“How many of you feel Jesus was in your heart after your first communion?”

No one raises their hand, but many nod.

“Anyone not feel that way anymore?”

A lot of nods.

“My complaint with the Church is that the innocent love you knew when you were a child gets lost due the strict rules and dogma the Church insists we live by.”

Father Luke raises an eyebrow when I look over, but he isn’t scowling, yet.

“As adults we realize the Church is keeping kids safe and sound with all its rules. It only absolves children who sin and repent if they ‘go and sin no more.’ Then creed says they are cursed by original sin. Priests tell children that Jesus hates them when they sin. It destroys their love of Jesus, believing they’ve betrayed Him.”

I wonder what degree of heresy I’m espousing, but Father Luke looks more approving.

“Paul wasn’t even an original apostle. When he converted on the road to Damascus, he immediately started a long list of rules to keep everyone in line.”

Father Luke can’t believe I’m attacking a saint.

“Anyone here a convert?” No one raises a hand. “If you know one, you know how dogmatic and fanatical converts become, trying to ‘catch up’ for the years they weren’t Catholic.”

Even Father Luke laughs.

“Learn to trust your heart, the place that Jesus remains, no matter what anyone has told you. Your heart knows right from wrong. Even your conscience, which sits in your head, only knows what it has been told – ideas. Ideas are easily changed. Your heart feels what is right from wrong. Feelings take a long time to change. It is not always clear what your heart wants. That is when you trust Jesus to tell you. Also, those friends and family that you really trust are also in your heart and they can tell you what to do. Just ask them. If it is someone you’ve lost or has died, your heart will tell you what they would do. Even if your head rationalizes that it is okay to do something wrong, those in your heart will not lie.”

“What if someone you love is leading you astray?”

“Jesus and all the other people in your heart will tell you the truth. Your heart knows who the haters and deceivers are. If you are open and trusting, there will be a whole chorus in there to tell you who to trust.”

“Yeah, the Gay Men’s Chorus is so innocent.”

“Don’t be sex-negative,” I advise.

Jace is discouraged that I haven’t used his personal magic. It’s time to take a break.

“Let’s take a break. I trust that Father Luke has some refreshments.”

“Maybe you’re too trusting,” the good father responds.  No one laughs but there are coffee and donuts in the back.

I’m instantly besieged, trying to avoid answering personal question:

Yes, I have a boyfriend.

Yes, I do fool around, but not right now.

No, my boyfriend is not a sugar daddy; I explain the same age rule.

Yes, I sometimes break my own rules.

Yes, my dog was more famous than me.

No, I’m not going to be a saint. Too many years living a sin-free life is impossible for me.

Yes, I can see Jace. He’s right here.

 

That answer stops the questions. Everyone wants to see Teen Jesus.

“It’s just a parable. He suffered, died, and then was resurrected at St Patrick’s on Easter Sunday. I can see him because I never stopped believing that his spirit lives within me.”

It’s time to do the trust exercise.

“I can see a specific glow surrounding those who believe me and are trusting enough to accept Jace into their hearts. Those of you who are more skeptical can still learn to trust. All you need is to believe your friends who already accept him. Trust is what you share with each other.

I look around and realize there were a few who fear the closeness and trust needed to accept Jace into their hearts.

“Now comes what I call the Baptist Revival Meeting part of my talk, the part that the priests find most objectionable. All I can say is Baptists and Catholics are little different from each. We all love Jesus, just in different ways. It’s the same Jesus.’

I go around and chose the six guys who already glow to come up front.

“Jace is going to touch you. Let us know if you feel him.”

Jace hovers above the group, touching each one on the head. Each one acknowledges what they feel. One youngster gets kissed on the cheek.

“He kissed me,” the boy is shocked.

“Jace died at fifteen. He can be quite immature.”

“It’s okay,” the boy admits. “I liked it.”

I chose another group of six who seem less accepting or who’s glow is faint. I have them stand in front of the original six. There’s some jostling as some guys are more popular than the others.

“If you want to have Jace in your heart, be open-hearted to the person in front of you. Remember that we all have Jesus in our heart. Don’t keep him alone in there.”

I tell the original group to touch the ones opposite, just as Jace had touched them.  All of the new group smile as Jace’s spirit is passed between them. I forgot about the youngest boy who Jace kissed. Once he kisses an older guy opposite him, they both turn red. Then they hug each other. Catholic boys are more innocent than Catholic girls

I repeat the exercise with the next group of six, the least accepting. It all goes well, except several guys want to be kissed.

“It’s not a rule set in stone. Does anyone want to kiss these two who are hoping for a kiss?”

There are several volunteers to share kisses. Father Luke looks worried.

 

Finally, there are the last two. They admit they doubt Jesus was in their hearts still. One confesses he was raised Jewish.

“Well, Jesus is Jewish,” I argue.

The other says he didn’t mind being a sinner and doesn’t believe in Hell.

“Do you want to trust other people?”

He looked confused. “They have to earn my trust,” he contends.

“When Jace and I first became friends, it took a while before he would get undressed when he slept over. One night we fell asleep listening to Pink Floyd. In the morning he kissed me because we held hands all night. It got much better after that. It’s natural not to trust but you can’t go around not trusting anyone. Jesus is easy to trust because he’s been dead almost two thousand years.”

They all laugh. The last two are surrounded and admit they want to be trusted. That’s the end of the trust exercise. They all want to know details about why Jace was sleeping over and what else beside the first kiss happened.

“Come back after Christmas and we’ll talk. I have to go back east next week. Go out and find who you can trust. I want stories, too.”

 

I stay to be interrogated by Father Luke. Actually he’s disappointed not to have Jace in his trusting heart. It takes about five seconds and no kiss is necessary. Now he’s really smiling.

“I may get excommunicated for allowing your Baptist ways to be worked on me and my boys, but you definitely raised the bar here. I heard what you said about not wanting to be a saint. I know the Church wants to put you into seminary. Do you think I’m a fool for being jealous that you could be canonized?”

“Well, don’t give up on yourself. Jace is an ally that you can call on anytime you need spiritual help. In my freshman religion class, the old prof was spouting his contention that the Bible is merely literature. Jace tore up the professor notes in front of the whole class while we sung our version of the Cars’ ‘Just What I Needed.’ We were almost expelled. We claimed the prof was ‘Not What We Needed.’

“Doesn’t Harvard have a divinity school.”

“They’re confused. They separated Jack and me. That’s why I’m here but still getting credit for the whole freshman year.”

“You’re a trip, Tim. I’m so glad you chose our parish. Where are those other boys? And how did you get Doug Weston to come to mass?”

“I’d be lying if I said they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

“Let’s get something to eat,” he suggests. Going out to eat is a Hollywood religious ritual.

“We can go to Astro Burger and watch the boys turn tricks across the street at Oki Dog. I sense you’re not gay.”

“I really am a priest. I couldn’t minister to these boys’ spiritual needs if I wanted them sexually.”

“Good read, father. It just makes me like you more.”

“That’s all I need, a saint in love with me. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.”

 

We enjoy just watching the action from Astro Burger. Father Luke explains how difficult seminary was for him in San Antonio TX. He was besieged by gay priests in training. Finally, as a graduate, he was sent to St Viktor’s because he had so adamantly rejected so many advances. The Cardinal knew he’d be able to remain sin-free in West Hollywood. At first, Father Luke believed it was further punishment for being so straight. He grew to realize how impossible it would be if he had been attracted to his gay parishioners.

“You think the Church hierarchy is finally responding to gay Catholics?”

“Your friend Father Frank may not be the only understanding priest. It’s hard to minister to anyone gay or straight if you insist on celibacy. I’ve never wrestled with it, unlike many priests. I just figured I was asexual.”

“Damn,” I joke.

He totally gets me.

 

“How did Church go last night?” Landis asks as he walks in at eleven.

“Gay Catholics are an endangered species. At least the priest didn’t try to hit on me. I eventually had twenty converts to Teen Jesus. It explains everything to them.”

“My next movie?”

“Except Belushi can’t be the star. Maybe Scott Baio.”

“Chachi from Happy Days as Teen Jesus?” scott-baoi 

Belushi can be Arnold.

It all makes sense except I know that Hollywood is the dumping ground of all good ideas. We can always recycle it later.

 

 

Next: https://timatswim.com/eighteen-chapter-7-part-2/

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