Saturday, August 28, 2004
But Fitz is Fitz and I am me and no matter how lame whatever it was that he had happened to do or say the night before, and no matter how he pussied out when the going got rough or acted like the spoiled rich brat that he was, seeing him always lifted something in my chest. It’s the same feeling I get when I hear the opening beats of a really deep jam coming across the speakers at a club. It’s a tipsy, homecoming kinda feeling. Fitz. Fitzcarraldo, the drunk fag snake. My field marshal, my fifty foot Queenie. My philosopher king—my right-hand man, in the Capital of it All. He was by my side before I’d taken my first step through the door. I smelled his cigars and cinnamon gum as he clasped my limp hand between his.
“Darling, now listen: Snake misunderstood and thought we were going into production to-night. So he like, brought a good deal of materials here…like, um, an entire wheel-fucking-barrel’s worth. When I told him this was just supposed to be a brainstorming session he got really pissed. The old dodger heard the world ‘loft’ and he thought “industrialized work space” as opposed to Spring street settlement award trophy apartment.”
David’s mom was on that plane that got bombed in Locker bee.. He’d bought the admittedly fabulous apartment with money he’d received from one of several multi-million dollar settlements.
“I guess he’s unaware of our policy against being in any real proximity to actual or imagined labour.”
“Mmmm,” I said.
“Are you high?”
“No,” I said
“OK, so that’s it,” he said, looking down at his nails dismissively.
“What’s different about you. I thought for a sec that you’d cut your hair. It just turns out that you aren’t stoned, for once.”
“F-U, maahhhn. Do you have any valium?”
He lit a Dunhill and exhaled through his nose.
“You’re going to have to deal with Snake, hon. He is on his PLATform, calling us all “pussyfoot”—his word, not mine!--if we don’t get anything DONE tonite. Lots of grandiose talk about “the cause”. He’s always willing to cover a mistake with a diatribe, that one. Stupid, crotchety old man. I was very clear on the phone when I told him what the plan was; so don’t blame me, k? Jesus, I’m peeved. I’ll tell you what I’m going to do—I’m going to yank off that tacky, stinks-like-the-anchovies-i-prolly-eat-with-my-finger-straight-out-of-the-tin-vest he’s constantly wearing and BURN that shit, sacrificial style, for the collective good of humanity.”
“Hey,” I said, in my best “Dude” impersonation. “Taker easy.”
We were standing just outside the door leading to the living room. I peeked in and saw the pearl white couch, where dirty old Snake sat beside a lanky dude in black designer jeans. I stopped and stared at the stranger. He sat with his legs crossed and his hands folded on his chest, giving an impression of perfect ease and relaxation. There was an ageless quality about him: his eyes were narrow but bright like a teenager’s. He had a receding hairline. His skin was shiny and looked well scrubbed.
I was immediately certain that I knew him from somewhere.
I grabbed Fitz’s arm:
“Who—him?” he said. I felt him study my face in that piercing, somewhat angry way of his.
“Let me get you a drink,” he said.
“Yo, I totally know that guy.”
“For real?” he narrowed his eyes. The white eyebrows made his green eyes greener. “He’s a nobody. A guitar player, I think. He bartends at The Park and Eric Conrad is like, in love with him.”
“But he isn’t gay,” I said, uncertain about how I knew this.
“Um, sure. Right—of course, darling! I could tell by the highlights.”
“What’s his name?”
“Ondine,” Fitz said, shifting from one foot to the other.
Ondine, I thought to myself, struggling to remember.
“It’s an extremely masculine name, don’t you think?”
“Whatever,” I said, waving him off. He shrugged his shoulders and headed for the booze. As though in a dream, I stepped into the room and crossed the short distance separating me from the couch.
Ondine immediately looked up and smiled warmly, which should have reassured me but had the opposite effect.
“Hello!” he called out. The cheery ring of his tenor voice made something twist in my gut, but I managed to persevere with what I wanted to say.
“Hey. Hi. Listen, I’ve gotta tell you. I know I know you from somewhere.”
His tight, shiny face fell a bit, yet his squinty cat eyes remained unchanged.
“You mean, you don’t remember?”
“Remember…? Remember what,” I said, already cringing.
Something flashed in front of his face.
“At the Stonewall last Friday…upstairs?”
“Ok, right,” I said, blushing up to my ears.
“You remember now?” he said. There was an annoyed edge to his voice.
I clenched and unclenched my fists. Standing before him and looking at him look at me like I was a huge mistake made me feel awful--more awful than I’ve felt in a long time. I took in details like the tan scalp in between his thinning hair and his euro trash silver retro reebox and his flashy platinum pinky ring, which in turn fired off memories of that elaborately decorated, mirrored and perfumed fairyland, with those two dyke bouncers who used to work at Kingsize guarding the top of the stairs and sending back the usual bar rabble, so that a select number of us could rub glitter on our naked backs and snort coke off each other’s fists. There were cottony webs above the fake trees and syrupy sweet drinks for free…for the waiters and after hour call boys and punk rockers and trust fund darlings…and me, the cute little girl out acting like a boy, but not because I was trying to hide being a girl. In my sleeveless hard rock t, my rack was out for the world to see.
I could remember exactly how it looked and felt but I couldn’t remember him, not at all—not one bit.
“Of course, of course—I remember. I was just…confused, for a sec. I mean, I was pretty drunk that night.”
“That’s for sure,” he said, looking me slowly up and down.
I looked down at my Shox. I have a boy’s haircut but I wear makeup and I like dick. I just happen to like getting shitfaced and getting it from fags.