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Jett Superior laid this on you on || May 15, 2003 || 12:20 am

“Do it.” he demands. I tell him no.

“Oh come on. Just do it. Once.” There is no again.

do-it-do-it-do-it-do. IT.” he chants in a monosyllabic childish litany, so I bump my tounge, meaty and full, against the bottom lip of my closed mouth, making it a perfect imitation of the famous Silverstone down-cornered pout.

“Therrrrre’s my Clueless baby!” he gurgles. He’s always ebullient. His mother says when he was a baby, he sang words before he actually spoke them, just like me. She says that his first song consisted of the word ‘happy’ (unlike me, whose first songs –according to my mother– were comprised of throaty wails and a smattering of doo-wop for good measure), him rocking in his crib, sing-songing the word over and over. This makes complete sense, knowing him as I do now.

I’ve missed Payphone Mike while he’s been away from me, but it is the kind of missing that goes remarkably unnoticed until I am once again in his presence, howling with laughter and with tears streaming down my face. Even as we cut up and play deftly off of one another, there is a sadness that washes over me, one that reminds me of how sweet the friendship we share is and how little I laugh from the tips of my toes when he is gone….even though I think I laugh in such a manner. It all pales in comparison. I’ve had good friends in my life –hell, I still have them– but none of those relationships even play in the same yard as the one I share with Mikey.

So tonight found Payphone Mike and I at the darkened ballfields, sitting on the tailgate of his daddy’s old built-sometime-in-the-seventies Ford (“Jesus, this thing still runs, maaaan?”) swatting the newly-developed and ravenously-hungry skeeters, passing a forty between us. Not because it is superior in taste, and not because we can’t afford better beer or even separate bottles, but because it is a nod to our humble beginnings and what we used to drink when we shared the little two-room house on Highway One-Sixty-Eight.

Because passing a forty is communal. Because we love one another with a fierceness and fondness that says we should have been born siblings. Because we are big dorks in the truest sense of the word when we’re blessed with one another’s company. Because our time together is sacred and worthy of being dressed with objets de symbolisme. Because, the two of us –while not being exclusionary– tend to have that ‘alone together in a crowd’ thing going on. I’ve seen the way other people look at us when we are out and about together. The natural assumption is that we’re a couple, when in fact all we are is a couple of ‘tards geeking off one another. Hell, even with Maxim, I get the sense of some quiet envy at work when Mikey and I are doing our George-and-Gracie thing, hooting like barn owls, laughing so hard that we can barely stutter at one another.

Chomp. Pa-chewy-chewy chomp.

Payphone Mike has always, with gleeful aplomb, told everyone that I’m his own personal Courtney Love Makeover Doll: “When she first wakes up, before the caffeine and nicotine are handed over, she’s Courtney pre-publicist. After she’s showered and dressed, she’s Courtney post-publicist.” You can see how I’d be thrilled beyond belief at that analogy. /sarcasm

Back when we were roommates, he’d take great delight in the days that we were both unencumbered by job or school responsibilities. I had the bigger room (him, lousy with sincerity: “You’re a girl and you have more furniture. You take the front bedroom.” me, not fooled for a fucking minute: “You sure it’s not because that room is twenty feet from the road and you’re afraid of a chicken truck plowing into it at ninety to nothin’ around two ay emmish?” him: “Honeeeey…”), but he had the bigger closet, so most of my clothing and shoes were stashed in his bedroom. On the days we were both free, he’d bounce on my bed before it was reasonably safe to do so and yell, “Dress-up day! Dressss uuuuup daaaaay!”

“GETTHEFUCKOUT!” I’d snarl, whereupon he would quietly and meekly go get me a Mountain Dew (proudly manufactured and distributed by PepsiCo) and a Marbro Laht, backing out of the room afterwards so as not to attract various hurlable objects. The perils of living with Not A Morning Persontm, what can I say?

After twenty or so minutes, half a Dewcan and a coupla Marbros (I’m sure the grumbly swearing dying down had something to do with it, as well…), Mikey would reappear, smiling widely, dragging me out of bed so that he could use me as Barbie.

I tried, against my own personal convictions with regard to the trollop, to buy him an actual Barbie and wardrobe one time. “Oh she’ll never do. You have better hair than she does, darlin’.”

The next couple-three hours would be spent digging through my clothes and jewelry and makeup box, this look and that emerging. “THIS” he would announce breathlessly at times, “THIS is the look for clubbing this weekend.” Polaroid snaps were taken so that said look could be replicated without error.

We would swap up, sometimes going to predominantly straight clubs, sometimes going to gay clubs. The straight clubs had platforms with dayglo chainlink fencing or shiny steel cages to dance in. The gay joints had the best DJs, hands-down. The straight clubs were for dancing with one another and/or the crowd we blew in with. The gay clubs were less meat-markety and encumbered; they were for dancing with everyone.

Sydd (resident best gal pal and possibly soulmate…what is that, sistah from anotha mistah?) and I used to laugh so hard at the straight joints, because Payphone Mike is a big, droolingly gorgeous hunk of man, thus causing all women in a one-mile radius to come around sniffing up on him. One time, this absolutely primo female was all over Mike, giving him the come-on in a bigass way. Shimmy-shimmying her shake. Putting out the ‘take me home and brutalize me’ vibe. She couldn’t understand, this girl who’d probably never been turned down for anything in her life, why this boy wouldn’t play. The steadier she rocked it, the more uncomfortable and repulsed he got.

“JUST TELL HER YOU’RE GAY, DUMBASS!” was what Sydd yelled at him over the pulse of the music when he gave us a pleading look. “TELL HER, AND SHE’LL BACK THE FUCK OFF!” But I knew what he was thinking. This girl, given the information that this stunning piece of d00d was homosexual, would pursue harder for the challenge (“I changed that tiger’s stripes, heh.”). Some folks is weird like that.

One night, Mike said, “We’re gonna do something different. A little social experiment, if you will.” He then proceeded to dress me for our night out: Gigunda olive drab cords, thick black belt, men’s ivory henley two-button undershirt, tight, unbuttoned so as to let the cleavage fall where it may. My best-loved and most worn Docs, shiny black. Three-inch black leather wristlets. Barely-there makeup, bobbed hair in loose curls. “There. You’re even more gorgeous as a boy. The bartenders at the Vieux [Carre] will love you.” And they did, as did an effete server with an amazing body and beautiful head of long, dark hair that everyone knew as ‘PeeWee’: “Oh honey, I’m SO bi, but I’d seriously consider the straight life for YOU.” I two-fisted it all night and didn’t pay for the first drink.

That was the night that I was told to leave home without the “HELLO, I’M” (’straight girl’ was sharpied into the large white rectangle of space) badge that I wore sometimes on these excursions. That was the night that I caught the goofy, lanky boy staring and drooling while Casey the Verycute Lesbian and I danced together through song after song (I felt bad about her…there was genuine, self-conscious interest on her part –”I go to the gym, can you tell?”– and I neglected to tell her I was straight because she was a mighty fine dancer). When she took a break, I danced for a while by myself, then beckoned him over. He gave the classic, “Who, ME?” gesture, I smiled and nodded, pointing to the floor in front of me. He joined me and tried to make small talk, whereupon I looked him full in the face and said, “Don’t talk, just move.” He was a fair partner, despite surrendering a basic lead to me, and finally worked up the nerve to ask me in stilted fashion.

“So are you…” Not wanting to hassle with all that, just wanting to dance, I smiled wistfully (maybe even kindly) and shook my head ‘no’, because the word ’straight’ was gonna cap his sentence had he the nerve to finish it. He greeted the movement of my head with such a look of disappointment that I just had to laugh out loud and call PeeWee over to get him a drink.

“He was a cute boy,” Mikey said tonight as we talked, watching the moths dance in streetlamp-glow, “You should have given him a shot.”

Please, honey,” I replied, “I’d've wiped the floor with that boy, and he was just too sweet to break.”

Payphone Mike grinned his prizewinning smile, “Yeah, that’s what I told him when he asked about you that night….”

7 worked it out »

  1. waistdog 5.15.2003

    Being from the west coast, and knowing many people in San Francisco. This story seems so nice, and yet somehow common.

    Until you place it in Alabama.

    Then it becomes…strangely, surreal.

    In a GOOD way, of course.

     
  2. Leslie 5.15.2003

    Wow! I haven’t heard that name in a long time. I thought Payphone Mike had dropped of the face of the earth. Good to hear he is still alive and kicking.

     
  3. cal 5.15.2003

    you’re a danger to society, babe ;-)

     
  4. Angel 5.15.2003

    That’s a pretty awesome story of friendship. I don’t know if I have anyone that close… but I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t known anyone long enough or if I haven’t let anyone close enough.

     
  5. my mum went to school with Courtney Love

     
  6. Jett 5.16.2003

    Yer poor muddah.

     
  7. CJ 5.19.2003

    Sweet jebus, naked on a cracker, Jett, ya make my little gayboy heart swell to know that the greatest of hags can find her conjugate fag in the most unlikely of places.

    w00t on you, Jett, w00t and nine tenths, babe.

     

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