Wednesday, January 19, 2005

9-1-1. What’s your problem?

Thank you for calling your local Emergency Response Center. For your convenience you may use our automated Emergency Reporting System. At any time, you may press zero to speak to a live operator.

Due to unusually heavy call volume, current wait times are …fifty six minutes.

To continue in English, press one. Para continuar en…

(beeep)

Thank you.
If you are currently being murdered, raped or brutally beaten, press one. For all other crises, press two.

(booop)

Thank you.
Please listen closely, as our menu has changed.

For medical emergencies, press one. To report a fire or fire related emergency, press two. To report a crime, press three. To confess to a crime, press four. For all other…

(baaap)

If your crime is happening right now…

(beeep)

If, by “right now” you mean the active commission of a crime, such as a burglary or kidnapping, press one. If however you mean in the more general sense of ongoing over this period of time, such as fraud or blackmail, press two.

(booop)

Thank you.
For property crimes, press one. For violent crimes or crimes against a person, press two. For drugs and drug related crimes, press three. To report an automobile accident or traffic violation, press four. For fraud, press five. For financial crimes, press six. For noise complaints, to report suspicious activity or a person who has been missing for at least forty-eight hours, press seven. For all other crimes, press eight. To hear this menu again…

(buuup)

Thank you. You have selected …other crimes. We need to get a little more information to process your complaint. Please select from the following options. For civil rights violations or political…

(beeeeeeeeep)

If you are being oppressed, press one. For violations of your constitutional rights….

(booooooop)

Are you a US citizen? If yes, press one or say “yes.”

(beeep)

For verification purposes, please enter your social security number, followed by the pound sign.

(baap beep biip—buuup booop—beep boip buup boop--boup)

One moment while we process your information.
Thank you.
Which of the following rights is being violated? For first amendment violations, press….

(beeeeep)

For freedom of religion violations, press one. For freedom from religion violations, press two. For freedom of association violations, press three. For freedom of speech…

(biiiiip)

We’re sorry. Due to the… USA Patriot Act, First Amendment violations are no longer prosecutable by law. Transferring.


(Tall and tan and short and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking, and when she’s walking, each time she’s walking…)

(bling bling…bling bling)

Thank you for calling the Total Information Awareness System. Please be advised that telling anyone about this call is a federal offense and carries maximum penalty of a fine up to… $20,000 and/or jail time of up to… seven years.

To report a terrorist or terrorism related activity, press one. If you are terrorist, press two. If you are soft on terrorism, anti-American or liberal, press three.

I’m sorry, we did not receive your response. Please make your selection. To hear these options again, press star.

I’m sorry, we did not receive your response. Our records show that you are... Eric Houston. You live at…

(click)


(bling bling…bling bling…bling bling…)

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Close but no Cigar

Last night I had the strangest dream
I sailed away to China, in a little rowboat to find ya
And you said you had to get your laundry cleaned…

If you’ve never been awoken to the sounds of 80s One Hit Wonder Matthew Wilder, count yourself lucky. But the irony is that I did just have the strangest dream.

I was in Vienna with Glenn Close discussing Sophocles when all of sudden she took out a huge cigar, lit it and started sucking on it, hard. While in real life I revile cigar smoke, I found myself oddly aroused.
Then a man dressed in a sailor suit, from the waist up, entered the room, wheeling in a room service cart. He pulled the food cover off to reveal large pile of sausages. I offered Ms Close a sausage but she said Oh no, they’re for you.

And then, in the way that can only happen in dreams, I was suddenly in a speeding train going through a long tunnel on my way to the airport where I would board a large plane. Once on the plane, I looked out the window and saw a rocket blasting off into space. The plane landed in Greece where I hopped into a Ferrari and drove to the Parthenon. Inside my father, who was eating a twinkie, was giving a lecture to a group of young master bakers on human evolution. I walked in just as he was talking about “man first walking erect.” And then the columns of the Parthenon just flopped over, as if they were made out of rubber or latex, but no one seemed to notice.

All the while a condor made lazy circles in the sky while mocking me – fraud fraud fraud.

What could this mean?

Fortunately I am quite skilled at dream analysis from my days with the British Foreign Service. (Okay, I wasn’t actually employed by the British Foreign Service, but I was with them, or several of them at any rate. And these people are a little uptight.)

Vienna clearly refers to those little sausages, such as one might find at a party, a party in Hollywood. I had recently been taken to such a party by my close friend, Glen, a sailor. The refusal of the sausage was clearly a reference to the fact that this party was hosted by a lesbian power broker, who naturally was a vegetarian.

To get to Los Angeles, I took a train since I have an irrational fear that if I flew the plane would be hit by a rocket. I remember that night distinctly because on my way up to the house I accidentally got grease all over a Ferrari owned by a renowned pastry chef. I had been startled by a priest who had slipped on a rubber (it is Los Angeles) and was having trouble standing up again. Never mind I happened to have a small tub of grease in my hands.

It all made sense except, why dream about this? And what of the condor at its accusatory call? I would have to use all my powers of analysis to figure this out. (Tee-hee, I said anal.)

Fraud fraud fraud. That sounds like freude the German word for “joy”, the first word in the chorale movement of Beethoven’s ninth symphony. Beethoven was the name of an unfortunate series of movies about a slobbering beast and a St Bernard, the former being played by Charles Grodin. Charles Grodin did a short stint as Andy Rooney’s doppelganger on 60 Minutes II.

Could that be it? Could this be a resurfacing of the anxiety caused by the time 60 Minutes exposed me on their show as a fraud posing as a lesbian Hollywood power broker? Damn you Ed Bradley! Will the nightmares never end?!?

No. I hadn’t taken the analysis (tee-hee) far enough. 60 minutes, as in lunch hour. I had just fallen asleep in the back room of the copy shop and almost missed lunch. They’re serving loukanika at a close by Greek restaurant with a nautical theme. Never take a nap on an empty stomach.

The only loose end is the cigar. I guess sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Agony and The Ecstasy – or – I Had Sex with Jesus

I had accepted the invite to a New Year’s Eve Party, the Friday before last, at Michael and Angela’s (oh, that’s her name). To go there, I had to pass on the party that Steve and Allen were throwing. Steve and Allen have been together forever. They have a marvelous old restored Victorian, not to mention a lovely home. And they always have the best parties with the cutest boys (or are we supposed to say bois now so people will know we’re not pedophiles) because they’re rich.

But I came to Michael and Angela’s to spend time with way more straight people in one place than can possibly be legal, because they needed me and, well, that’s just the kind of guy I am.

Shut up.

(Moment of truth: the third least attractive attribute a man can have is the audacity to not find me attractive. Never-the-less, I kinda have a little crush on Michael.)

Shut up.

In past, I have often wondered if, at a certain age in adulthood, the certifiably heterosexual are given some sort of handbook, with lists of allowable clothing, hairstyles, interests and opinions. Here I had my strongest evidence yet. The stultifying conformity in appearance, posture and gesture meant that the evening was a landmine of misidentification, trying to recall who was who. Plus someone had inadvertently left a copy of Standards and Practices for Heterosexuals – WASP Edition sitting out in the open, on a shelf, in a safe, behind a picture, in the “panic” room. (Is it just me, or do non-queers seem preternaturally predisposed to panic?) A quick perusal and it rapidly became apparent that if I confined myself to vague references to golf, soccer and children named Ashley and Justin, I’d be safe.

One man stood out in the crowd. Trim, muscular, devastatingly good looking and not wearing a golf shirt, he hovered over the cheese plate while a shaft of light illuminated him from above. It was time to make my move. So I shut off the flashlight and came down off the ladder.

His name is Jesus, a friend of Angela’s from college. He moved to the US from Argentina three years ago to pursue his career as a – dare I say it – part-time underwear model! I was in love, or something that would prove to be a reasonable facsimile for 72 hours. We exchanged small talk, but I scarcely remember what we said. I recall his charm, his smile, his penetrating eyes.

With the words ‘penetrating’ and ‘eye’ still echoing in my head, he whispered in my ear, ¿Joderemos como conejitos?

Speaking a little Spanish from my days in the CIA, I replied, Bien, tengo el equipo de un conejo. Oddly enough, he pulled away for a moment. So I pulled him close and whispered back, Y el águila nunca vuela a medianoche. I must have made quite an impression on him, for his simply smiled and we made our exit.

Back in my modest abode, we inexplicably began talking in clipped and unconvincing sentences.

Want a beer?
Sure, I’ll take one.
You seem tense. Want a back rub?
I don’t know…
Aw, c’mon, I’m really good at it.
Okay.

He took off his shirt revealing his hard muscles, albeit entirely covered by skin. I whipped out the back-rub massage oil I always kept handy and began working his stiff flesh. Suddenly the sound of bad music filled the air. Boom-chika-boom-boom. I remembered that I had set my alarm to go off at exactly midnight and I had it set to play Radio Porn (or was that Kenny G?). I turned off the alarm and whispered into his ear, feliz ano nuevo. With that he turned about and began tearing at my clothing. This was odd, since I already was completely naked.

So I grabbed him and pressed him tight. I felt his hot breath coursing down the nape of my neck, and worried for only just a moment when I realized we were kissing at the time.

I pulled him by el rabo into the bedroom and pushed him onto the bed, his arms spread out and Lo clavé de inmediato.

Sunday morning, three days later, we rose from the bed.

We dressed and then exchanged phone numbers and vague, insincere promises to call. But it was clear that this passion had played itself out. He said something about needing to return to his father’s house and made a hasty exit.

After he was gone, I looked outside and saw that the sun has risen. Ravenous, I went to the fridge and began to gorge myself on camembert.

¡Ah, lo que un amigo nosotros tenemos en quesos!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Putting the X in Xmas - A Christmas Peril

It was a dark and dismal midday in December. The clouds hung low and pendulous in the crowded sky, yet curiously this offered no comfort. All the morrow the sky threatened to storm, yet the storm never came. It kept trying and trying, until you just wanted to say, ‘Give it up already. It’s not going to happen.’

On this cold and disconsolate day, nearly one year ago to the date, I pierced the gloom with my rented Datsun on the way to my Uncle Ed and Aunt Flo’s, The Nases, to commemorate the protracted labor and pain of a putative virgin named Mary some two thousand or so years ago. And, believe me, today was to be no less bloody.

Along the way, I stopped at a 7-11 for some Funions.

As I pulled up to the brick ranch house on street of nearly identical houses, saving the year-round display of random gnomes in the lawn, my thoughts naturally turned to those more fortunate than I - to those without ‘families’ to suck them into their webs of insinuation and judgment once a year – to those whose families were chosen – to Marcel and Luis, who, at this very moment, were likely sipping mimosas while deconstructing the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol.

Inside were the usual cast of miscreants of my formative years. Ok no… these people weren’t that bad. I just really didn’t want to come here to today, okay. The weather outside is frightful. And my home is so delightful. And since I just dread it so, I don’t want go, want to go, want to go. Does that me some kind of monster? No, no matter what my third grade teacher may think, I will never believe that!

My mother with her ubiquitous cigarette and the gravity defying ashes came to over to give me a holiday hug, while my father, who in honor of the occasion was wearing pants, looked up from his plate of select baby cheeses to offer a holiday grunt. In addition to the aforementioned Ed and Flo, there were my sisters, Eustace and Edwina. My grandmother on my mother’s side was trying her very best to blend into the upholstery on the davenport. This year she even wore a very similar pattern and color. This proved to be a mistake, as my terribly near-sighted and morbidly obese cousin Willie “Tiny” Nase nearly sat on her. My cousin’s nickname used to lead me to think that my family was fond of irony, just not very good at it. This was until I realized that he acquired the sobriquet as an infant and that, in fact, my family was simply singularly lacking in imagination.

Ed was my mother’s brother (from another planet). My father’s sole living relative, who had long ago managed to worm his way into any gathering of people, related or not, my father was a part of, was my uncle Sam. (Think about it… okay my last name is… and we’re there. Yes, I know.) Unfortunately, Uncle Sam was enormously fond the joke his name lent it self to and fancied himself quite the comedian on account of it. Unfortunately, that was really the one and only joke at his disposal.

What in Sam Houston…? Heh heh heh. And, It’s Christmas.

He even explored ways to legally change his name to add the initials I and T to the end of his name. Oh, yes. Yes, he did.

Sam is the ‘confirmed’ bachelor of the family. (Don’t get your hopes up.) I say ‘the’ confirmed bachelor because there is still a residual of expectation floating in the familial ether that I might someday take a wife, which I always thought was an odd thing to do, if no other reason that the ‘taking’ part seems so rude. At any rate, I remained as yet ‘unconfirmed’ in their eyes. I once tried to engage my uncle in a conversation about exactly how one goes about this confirmation process. This led to a strained and gratuitously inappropriate joke involving his fictitious eponymous Institute of Technology. I never asked again.

Where’s your ‘friend’, Bob? Asked Eustace with her usual mixture of condescension and disinterest.

What’s that you ask? Who is Bob? Is it so hard to believe that I had a boyfriend? For I did at this time. We met the New Year’s Eve prior in a honky-tonk in Sheboygan. Lust turned to passion, passion turned to a deep affinity and spiritual bond, affinity led to a brief and regrettable episode involving matching jumpsuits. Yet for all that, he never could or would be my amorino. It was doomed from the start. For one thing, I was raised Catholic and he was an âne du cheval. How would we raise the cats? Okay, yes, I am a little bitter for how it ended. And it would be only one week after this day, one year to the date of our meeting, that it would all blow up in a very messy disagreement involving recriminations, accusations of infidelity and Liza Minelli. Plus, he refused to come out to his constituents, so was there really any future?

Today, in the cool light of memory, I don’t regret a thing, okay, almost not a thing, okay, you know where this going.

He couldn’t make it. I responded. But Eustace had already been distracted by the smell of pan drippings wafting from the kitchen.

Who couldn’t make it? Asked Edwina, joining the moment late.

Bob.

Oh…pause, pause, too bad… awkward silence. Edwina isn’t specifically homophobic. But she has an odd discomfort with any relationship she is not a part of. Naturally, she’s very religious. She’s also the only one of the three siblings who is ‘married’. Her husband, Roger, was lurking in a corner, as is his wont and habit. He chose this moment to slide out and move just the rear and the left of Edwina. He has this odd ability to walk without much moving his upper body, so if you saw him move from the waist up, you’d swear he was gliding. Also, I’ve also never actually seen him touch another human being, except by accident, yet he habitually invaded other people’s personal space, and, as often as not, to their rear and left.

Roger had managed to accomplish this move without speaking a word. We exchanged forced holiday grins and I was about to inquire about his new position as the senior assistant night manager at the local Stuckey’s when our collective hearing was pierced by the shriek of one the consequences of the union of Roger and Edwina. One of their three children, which the whole time had been running around the room for no apparent reason, chose this moment to stop and release a squeal that surely will be heard by some alien civilization on some distant galaxy millennia hence. Roger and Edwina remained undisturbed, that is until another shrill voice pierced the awkwardness of the moment.

Dinner! Announced my Aunt Flo. And the whole family began to converge upon the dining room, slowly and steadily, as if this where a scene from Night of the Living Dead and my aunt had just announced, Brains!

Dinner itself was uneventful, by which I mean, the entire meal proceeded without the shock of flavor or the distraction of moisture. Luckily I was prepared and had been saving up extra saliva for the event.

This was followed by the exchange of gifts. In past years I had spent time and effort to find or create thoughtful and tasteful gifts for each member of my family. This was invariably followed by confused and dazed looks of befuddlement. This all ended the year that Eustace began using my hand-knit vibrator cozy for vegetable storage. Since then I’ve recirculated back to them the same gifts I received from them the previous year. This has proven to be a much better strategy, not only for my family, but also for the local re-sale shop which most certainly did not want another World’s Greatest Golfer mug set.

With all of that excitement behind us, we retired to the living room to watch holiday re-runs on the holiday TV while enduring the holiday moratorium on holiday conversation. Luckily I had thought in advance to write myself a note as to which year this was, so that when I emerged into the world where time has not stood still, it would be easier to acclimate myself.

I cannot tell you precisely when I made my escape, or if anyone even noticed, given the mesmerizing effects of Burl Ives. I stepped out into a darkened world of damp and bitter coldness. As I drove home, the sky finally released its wet and white load. Satisfied at last, I found a radio station playing Wagner and raced home.

I won’t bother to report back on this year’s holiday festivities. If you’re interested, simply scroll to the top and repeat as necessary.


Souhaiter vous le fromage sur la Terre et les hommes bons et disposés.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

To Priscilla, Queen of the Birdcage, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar

I just returned from an extended road trip with two good friends of mine. What’s that? You want to hear all about it? Well…

Cue Music

Opening credits play over a helicopter shot of a road running through the desert. A high-energy dance tune plays. And we zoom into three figures in an open powder pink 67 Mustang Convertible. As we get closer, we see that they are women. A bit closer still, and, wait, those aren’t women at all. Those are men, in drag, one white, one black and one hispanic. The camera pulls in tight and the "woman" in the back seat stands up and lip syncs.

It’s raining men! Hallelujah! It’s raining men! Every spe-ci-men!


Turn off that damn radio!
Shooted Marcela. (Really my friend Marcel but in drag.)


I reached over and turned off the radio. Luisa (really my friend Luis but in drag) plopped down into the backseat and pouted. But I like that song.


Look, I said to Luisa for no apparent reason, we’ve decided to dress in women’s clothes and drive across country in a effort to make ourselves less threatening to a ‘general public’ still uncomfortable with gay male sexuality.

Mmm-hmm,
chimed in Marcela, because she’s a sassy black woman. (Really she’s a man.)


And you’re the young, impetuous,
spicy Latina that will ultimately cross the line of acceptable behavior for men in drag.


Mmm-hmm.


Who needs to learn the limits of your status.


Mmm-hmm.


Marcela is a
sassy black woman with plenty of attitude.


You got that right.


Who needs to learn how to connect with people instead of hiding behind her fierce attitude.


Say what?


And I’m the only who gets to experience any inner conflict because…


Yes?
Marcela looked up from her nail filing.


Because I’m the one whose… driving.

Hmmm!
And with that Marcela put away her manicuring supplies and started on her lips. (Because drag queens are really men, but they wear makeup, and that’s what makes them interesting.)


And that’s why the radio needs to be off! I exclaimed triumphantly.

But’s it not fair, Erica! (It’s really me, Eric, but in drag.) And then she prattled on in Spanish. Este arreglo entero es racista y sexista y homofóbico. ¡Cuándo la revolución viene, usted no será reservado!

That spicy Latina!

I know, I added. Why don’t we pull into this little town ahead. We’ll have a nice lunch at the local diner and maybe a little more plot exposition. Won’t that be nice?

Whatever.
Luisa was sulking.


We pulled in the center of a town so small that there was only one road. We pulled up to the local diner. How lucky to find a parking spot! Oh, wait, this isn’t the Big City. Silly me, you can park anywhere. We walked in and the locals all turned and stared at us, suspiciously, yet what they didn’t suspect is that secretly we’re all men. While Marcela and I knew enough to move straight ahead to a table, Luisa still thought she was entitled to wave and talk to people, normal people. What a hoot!


We found a table and sat down. The waitress (Stockard Channing) came over to us and suspiciously handed us menus and three glasses of water. I’ll give you a few minutes, she said, suspiciously.


Thank you, Marcela replied, with as much genuine politeness as anyone could muster. But Stockard Channing was already gone.

Oh miss, said Luisa, who was surely leading up to something inappropriate. Do you have any Evian? I’m sure that this, holding up her glass, comes from the finest well in these parts, but…

The water is fine,
I interrupted. And both Marcela and I shoot Luisa a look before turning and smiling to Stockard Channing. Stockard Channing just glared and turned back away. (You see, Evian is something they only have in cities.)


In a few moments Stockard Channing returned with a pad in her hands, but spoke not a word. I ordered The Special. Marcela went for "just coffee" and the Luisa was still looking over the menu like there was an abundance of choices, like in the city.


She’ll have The Special too. Marcela ordered for her. And Stockard Channing just walked away, suspiciously.

I still don’t understand why we had to make this trip, griped Luisa. Cheeses Luisa, take a pill, or something!

I told you, I said.

Well, I forgot.

We’re going,
Marcela chimed in, to a wedding in Miami Beach. Friends of Erica’s…


Armand and Albert,
I interjected. Albert is actually a drag performer named Starina.


They have a son who’s getting married…continued Marcela.

To a woman? Luisa gasped.

Yes, said I, but thing is that the son’s fiancee is the daughter of a very conservative senator that has no idea that their daughter’s fiancee has two gay dads.

What a hoot!
We all exclaimed in unison.


And we’ve been asked to be bridesmaids. I finished. And perform at the wedding. I finished again.

Wait a minute, Luisa interjected, why is everyone so concerned about what the straight conservative people think? Maybe the gay couple aren’t so keen on having a Republican in the family. Ever think of that!

Marcela and I just stared at Luisa, dumbfounded.


They’re your friends, but if ask me, this ain’t 1978 no more. Oh, Luisa!

Plot exposition over, we cut to the three of us leaving the diner and getting into the car, which we call Priscilla, for no apparent reason. We each take our positions in the car which are in no way related to our positions in society. I try to start it, and darn it! It won’t start. I try and try, but no luck. Some of the locals have gathered around us, suspiciously.


Excuse me, says Marcela, do any of you know where we can find a mechanic? Silence. A mechanic? Marcela repeats.

Stockard Channing steps forward. My Jeb can fix that. He can fix anything mechanical.

Great, I say, much obliged. Now if you’ll just point us in the right direction…

But probably won’t have the parts,
Stockard Channing adds, never has the parts, probably have to order them, take two, maybe three days.


What are we going to do in the meantime?
Asked Luisa.


Okay, let’s shortcut this a little. Marcela asked where there is a hotel. Stockard Channing said that there is one just down the street – (insert exited response) – but it closed two years ago – (insert disappointed response) – I suppose you could stay with Jeb and me, plenty of space in the spare room – (insert response of polite resignation.)


Contrary to expectation, Jeb turns out to be a controlling, soul deadening jerk who won’t even let Stockard Channing use any spices in her cooking – that because her life is so bland, that is without flavor. (Because the whole spice thing is a metaphor.) (Get it?)


Aaanywho. While Luisa is flirting with the local (male) youths, who don’t know she’s a man because they’re so credulous on account of how their from a small town, but she backs off in favor of a real woman because that’s better; Marcela draws an old woman out of her shell by finally putting all that useless knowledge about movie trivia to use, because knowing the complete filmography of every actress, ever, is just the sort of thing you’d expect from a drag queen.


Okay, wait, you know, I’m getting a little sick of me too. I mean, I put on a little make-up, and an ungodly amount of stuff, and all of sudden I’m so jaded. Seriously, how do any women do this? Why? These shoes are freakin’ killing me. I’d consider cutting off some toes just to stop this pinching, and… wait…ok… wait… and we’re back.


Aaanywho. I naturally turned my attention to helping Stockard Channing discover her self worth and stand up to her husband. And to do so, the three of us dress up all the women in town is the unbelievably large number of clothes, which we have in our too small amount of corresponding luggage, that isn’t at all too big even though all three of us stand a head taller than all the women in town – without heels – yet by helping the women in town connect with their inner drag queen we are also helping them tap into our remaining masculinity and thereby liberating them from the shackles of misogyny - sorta.

And breathe.

Also, I befriend a local man, who is trapped in a loveless marriage and


Now, wait just one minute!

Marcela, helloooo,
I’m narrating now, thank you..


Oh, no, you do not get to liberate Stockard Channing and start an affair with a lovelorn local. Plus he’s not bi and you’re not a transsexual.


Am too.


What?! You can’t just switch in the middle of the story!


Can too. Look, if we learned anything from Luisa’s story, it’s that
men who dress like women don’t get to hook up with men, unless it turns out that you’re really a woman.


But you can-not just switch!!


Lookit! Did
you write the rules for To Priscilla, Queen of the Birdcage, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar or did I write the rules for To Priscilla, Queen of the Birdcage, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar? Because if we’re gonna play To Priscilla, Queen of the Birdcage, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, we’re going to play by the rules.


Whatever. It’s a stupid game anyway…
and Marcela trailed off.


Aaanywho. So Richard and I, who I am only introducing now to the plot line for no apparent reason, had a brief little thing, this time no pun intended. He was all brave for being willing to (in this only temporary version of the ongoing narrative) have a fling with a woman who once had a ‘little thing’. (No pun intended – except that really – not so little – I mean really – once we’re out of this particular narrative – not so little at all!)

Having fixed the town, it’s high time we hit the road! So we got in the car, which was now repaired, and drove.

Not so far along, we had arrived upon a desert-like environment, not unlike the Australian outback. Being late, we decided to pull into the desert for a rest, and, perhaps a bit more plot exposition.


Sitting around an impromptu campfire, Luisa heard a noise.


What was that?

Oh, nothing,
I said reassuringly. And then, as if as from a scene from a movie people, aboriginal people from the area, started to emerge from the darkness to discover this strange new thing – drag queens by a fire. Before you knew it, we had entranced them into our world. Our dance music, which, of course, is the gateway to all things queer, had lured the local Natives into a desire to dress into unnecessarily frilly clothes and dance about. So, again, and this time for no apparent reason, we coaxed the locals to dress in the unlikely amount of flamboyant clothing that we happened to have with us.


Cue music.

Once I was afraid, I was petrified…


The music from our little radio filled the desert like it was theater quality surround sound. We all learned a lot that night, about life, about love and about how to dance in sand in clogs.

Finally, after our impromptu evening soirée, we settled in for a little more plot exposition.


Erica, said Marecela, you seem so pensive. Is there something on your mind?

Oh, no,
I said, nothing, nothing at all. (Barely contained sob.) Nothing!


Erica,
Luisa added, there is something, I just know it.


Well, if you must know, when we get to Miami, you will discover my deepest, darkest secret.


What? What can that be?


You see, in the past, before I was out as a gay person and then switched to being transsexual and then switched back, because that’s the way
To Priscilla, Queen of the Birdcage, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar works…


Yes?


I was married and had a… son!


So? What’s the big deal, join the crowd. Hello! It’s called a Gay-by boom,
Luisa stated.


But… he… doesn’t know! I barely could contain my roiling emotions. (It is a word. Look it up.)

Know what? Marcela asked, the capital of North Dakota?

No. That I’m… I’m… gay!


Umm…you do know that this is 2004. Umm.. no one cares anymore.
Luisa was always stealing everyone’s thunder. Thunder stealer!


Yeah, Marcela added, and why is it, exactly, that you get to be the one who liberates Stockard Channing from low self esteem, has an affair with a local man and has a son to come out to?

Remember?
I reminded everyone, I’m the only one who gets to experience inner conflict. I mean I haven’t even mentioned my stuffy upper-class family who…


Oh! No! That is not…

Marcela…

What-ev-er!!


But, Marcela, I am the one who’s…


What?!?!!


Who is… you know…doing all the driving?


¡Cuándo la revolución viene, usted no será reservado!


Marcela, I didn’t know you spoke Spanish.


Honey. The list of things you don’t know… Whatever!


And so it went. You know the ending, don’t you? I reconciled with my son. We performed at the wedding and were a smash! And we all had (well I had) a mega-happy ending.

Cue music.


We are family, I’ve got all my sisters with me…


Friday, December 10, 2004

Big in MO - or - The Whale

Other than a brief scuffle with the law, well, the police, and a tête-à-tête with a certain TV news personality, which turned me completely around, I mean full circle, by which I mean to every degree, there isn’t much to report today.

But I aim to please, so I will instead regale you with a tale from my misspent youth.

Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my man-purse, and nothing particular to interest me on TV, I thought I would try my luck in pursuit of the Great White Way. So I said my good-byes and set off to pursue fame and fortune on Broadway, okay, off-Broadway, okay, Branson, Missouri.

On account of the whole no money thing, I needed to hitchhike my way to destiny. Fortunately, I never had any trouble getting picked up in those days and soon found myself safely ensconced in the cab of a one-eyed trucker who called himself Captain Wigglesby and who offered to take me all the way. He was a kind man, an attentive man - very, very attentive. He kept offering me things to eat, some of which he picked from various places around the cab and some of which didn’t appear to exist anywhere but in his mind.

Pickle?
No thank you.
Banana?
Gave them up.
Sausage?
Very kind, but I’m not hungry right now.

We needed to stop at the Kansas side of Kansas City so the captain could drop his load. And as we crossed the border to the other side, I’ll confess that I gave out a little squeal, as this was my first time entering MO.

Once in Branson, I bid my adieu to Captain Wigglesby, who seemed genuinely sorry to let me go, and so I was forced to get him drunk and wait for him to pass out.

I knew exactly where I wanted to go, to the world famous Baldknobbers Theatre where since 1959, The Baldknobbers have been performing to audiences young and old that come from all over the United States to hear wonderful family entertainment. (Tickets available now!) The show’s director proved surprisingly receptive to my talents and he offered me a position on the spot! Unfortunately, I was not to actually be in the show but rather spent most of my time dusting the upper shelves and picking up objects from the floor in the director’s office. I was crushed, naturally. But I understood that everyone needs to start at the bottom.

Of course, unlike happiness, talent cannot be kept in a bottle. And so I resolved to demand my stage debut. I marched into the director’s office, prepared to give me the tongue lashing he deserved for holding me back so. But, as is want to happen, I wound up pleading my case, literally on my hands and knees. Still what matters is that I came out on top in the end and had my long sought after role.

I was to be Second Man From The Left in the Big Jamboree number. It wasn’t much, but it was a start. And I rehearsed and rehearsed as if I had the lead.

The rest of the story is rather anti-climatic, I’m afraid. The night of my first show came, yadayada, I was nervous, yadayada, it went fine, yadayada. And then it was just… work. So I took my meager earnings, sold the precious family heirlooms that the director had mysteriously given to me after he just as inexplicably left his wife, and came home.

Of course, I never did give up the acting bug entirely. Some time later, never mind how long precisely, I made a low budget version of Moby Dick.

At the risk of being immodest, I had the lead.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Shine on Harvest Moon

In an attempt to shake off my deep funk, I spent the afternoon yesterday copying my buttocks and waving at passersby. Unlikely as it may seem, not even the warm green glow and cool hard glass could remove the sting of life’s vagaries. Yet the repetitive hum of the copier and the alternatingly shocked and aroused looks of the people gathered at the window on the street, reminded me of a simpler time – when life was less complex and when a young boy could safely dream of one day becoming a part-time underwear model.

Damn our modern life!

And then it came to me in flash. And I knew what I must do. So I gathered my wits and my pants and marched erect to my boss’s office. I needed a clever ploy, but there would time enough for that later.

What!?!, I exclaimed, You’re still here?!?
She looked startled, a look I’m not used to seeing in women’s faces.
Yes, I continued, I would have thought, what with the emergency and all.
Emergency? She had taken the bait. Now to reel her in, the question was to where. Where?
Yes…the copy…emergency…at the main office…
Downtown?
Yes?… They… got all jammed…and…now they’re stuck…and…they... just called…for you…
Well, she unexpectedly exclaimed, I’ve been expecting this. I bet they ran low on toner supplies again. I’ve been warning them about this. You remember. Just last week I was saying that I thought …
Yes...last week…
Well, what exactly did they say? Exactly.
Exactly? That…that…that you were to go, now, right now, right there and fix it. That you were the only one who could. That they should have listened to you from the start. And that they were reeeally sorry that they didn’t.
Well, I have half a mind to just stay here. That’d show ‘em.
No! I mean, this is it, this is your chance, to shine.
To shine?
Yes, so go, go and be shiny!

And she went. Go figure.

No sooner had she left but I beat my own retreat, hastily. And then I made a bee-line to my friend Marcel’s place. Knowing that Marcel was always ready for anything involving food or sweating I made my proposal. Rejected once again, I presented my idea. We would join a farm co-op. I expected some resistance. Yet curiously Marcel had anticipated this move.
Remember when George Michael got that court order? He asked.
Yes…
Remember how you joined that Kibbutz? in Jersey?
Yes…I see your point.

So quickly Marcel and I started to throw some clothes together. And after we were done playing Toss The Sock, we started packing. And we were off! (But not in the good way.)

What an adventure. We drove all night, taking turns, driving, sleeping, making fun on Celine Dion. (What is up with her?) Luckily Marcel had the route all mapped out. And we arrived at the wee hours of the morning at the Happy Sunshine Joyous Harmony Farm Co-op and Used Organ Emporium. Naturally we were eager to see the farmers’ display of organs, even used.

Except for the man everyone called Father Farmer, everyone there was unexpectedly quite young. They seemed delighted, if a little surprised, at our request to join them. Being early to start the day, Father Farmer assigned us to bunk for the night with a strapping young man named Johann.

We tossed and turned all night. And the following morning Johann seemed changed. He announced to the group that he was leaving to join the military. I didn’t quite understand it all. But it was something about barracks and missed opportunities. I didn’t ask.

Apparently, a number of our new friends had been quite accustomed to benefiting from Johann’s able hands, and they were not happy, or joyous, or particularly sunny, or even harmonious. So we were put right to work. Ah! To get our hands dirty! To work the Terra Firma! But just not on an empty stomach. We were surprised to learn that what they called First Meal was in fact the Only Meal and was to come much, much later.

Luckily Marcel is always prepared and had a nice assortment of bratwursts and attractively displayed melons in a cooler in the trunk of the car. And I never go anywhere, as you well know, without my baby cheeses. So we went to our car, opened up the rear and let everyone dig in. And as the young women and men gorged themselves on our sausages and melon balls, we saw a change come over them, they way they looked at us and the way they looked at Father Farmer.

Their formerly glassy eyed gazes turned and focused on Father Farmer and his daughter Frances, who, without a word, hastily got their fannies out of there.

It is in the nature of broken hearts and broken spells that at first one is left at first adrift. And so with infinite patience and care, Marcel and I reached into our car and pulled out a roadmap. You see, all that talk of hoes and sowing seed had made us nostalgic for home. These kids would be fine. Yeah. They’re young. They’ll bounce back. And with that we were off, again. (Though still not in the good way.)

For you see, if I ever need to go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't go any further than copying my own backside, because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with.

Les pois sont avec vous.

Online translation service, for no apparent reason.

I blog you long time.

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