Friday, May 28, 2010

A Legend in His Own Mind-11

April, 1980

Dear Lázaro,

There's this beautiful blonde girl doing the show. She has her hair corn rowed just like Bo Derek. She says it took her eight hours to do. Can you imagine sitting still for that long a time?

She plays my sister in this other show about a hippie holdout. “LSD and Me.” I play this psychedelic guy with a tutti-frutti Afro and a dog leash. I’m starting to do character parts. That’s good! ‘Cause you know when the leading man looks start to go….

Anyway, she invited me to a party somewhere in the Valley (that's the San Fernando Valley for you East Coasters). When I got there I noticed this blue and white cylindrical thing in the middle of the coffee table. It was real pretty and it was smoking. And people were grabbing it and sucking from it.

I found out it is something called a bong. You put hashish in it. It's amazing all the intricate ways that these people have of getting stoned. They all looked like the Caterpillar in "Alice in Wonderland." Circling around this object that had a few straw looking things also made out of porcelain.

You should have heard the uproar when I said I didn't want to participate. It was like chanting "Hell no! We won't go!" at an army recruiting office.

I think I made it even worse when I said I'd never done it nor cared to. I had offended the mighty Lord Cannabis and his reefer wielding followers were not having it. Except for the girl that invited me, the rest just shunned me. I stayed for about a half-hour more. I didn't want to offend the host.

I'll never understand the desire that people have to make fools out of themselves. At least I know when I've been an ass. Maybe that's why they do it. So they can't remember.

Can you imagine if Mother had ever found a joint in my room? She would have strapped me to the front pew of Our Lady of Perpetual Pain and left me there for a month. The nuns and priests hovering over my body like vultures waiting for me to die.

I could hear the Dragon Lady screeching, "I left Cuba so jou would not end op a feelthy Communist and now dees contry has torned jou into a feelthy drog addict."

A seminary school in Spain would have been my future. What a horror! Locked up in some windowless building with a bunch of men dressed like executioners. No electricity. I wouldn't be able to play my disco records. Can you imagine? Living without Donna Summer!

As if this party hadn't been eye opening enough, the following night I went to see "Pink Flamingoes." Have you heard about it? My friend Don took me. I told you about Don. He's a commercial writer from Cleveland and he has this really warped sense of humor. I met him in the show. He's actually a close friend of Wendy's. I think he's writing comedy material for her stand up routine.

Anyway he just says the strangest, funniest things. So when I asked him what this movie was about and he said, "Oh it's about this three hundred pound drag queen that eats dog shit.” I didn't believe him.

I should have. He wasn't kidding. I had never seen anything like this in my life. Not even when we snuck into the Show Palace at Times Square and saw that lady pulling a pearl necklace out of her vagina. Remember?

Anyway this movie! My God! They had two people making love with a chicken in between them and these women with pubic hair dyed like tutti-frutti ice cream.

I told Don that I wouldn't leave until the last person left. I didn't want to be seen leaving this theatre. Now I know how Abuela felt when I took her to see "Lipstick." She put on her dark sunglasses the minute Chris Sarandon took Margaux Hemingway from behind and never took them off. She left with this kerchief wrapped around her head. She looked like a fortune teller incognito.

I knew Don was slightly strange but I didn't realize how much. He took me to this store called the Pleasure Chest. It's a sex toy store. Can you believe that they actually have that in West Hollywood? It's like FAO Schwartz. But instead of toy trains and marionettes it sells French ticklers and ben-wa balls. I didn't know things shaped like rubber oranges were inserted. Who would want to do that? You think I should have second thoughts about Don after that?

I managed to make some use out of this store. I bought two inflatable rubber dolls. A man and a woman. You see, people were always telling me to be careful driving all alone so late at night through some of the desolate areas that I had to go through. So I figured if I dress these two up and put them in my car, it will look like I'm driving with other people.

Don took me to my first gay bar. The Apache in Studio City. It looked like a barn. It had wooden planks for walls. I was bug-eyed staring at everything. This didn't look like the Studio 54 I had seen in pictures. No big strobe lights and no bare-chested boys in jeans. It was dark, dinky and full of old men.

Don went to the bathroom and didn't come back for hours. I think he got lost coming back. He couldn't be in the bathroom that long. That would be one hell of a line.

So I sat on a barstool waiting. A man with very wide sideburns asks me to dance to Donna Summer's "Love to Love You, Baby." This is the same song that got Megan so excited that night at Osko's.

I was kind of freaked. I had never been asked to dance before. Especially by a man. I didn't know what to do. I mean...who leads? But I didn't want to offend him so...

As the song begins its multiple orgasms, he attempts to pull me closer by my hand and ended up tangled in my extra long sweater sleeve. Am I ever glad that my observant uncle brought a sweater for me from Milan that was three sizes too big.

This guy looked very strange. He was a cross between John Lennon after Yoko and Mike Nesmith from the Monkees.

On the ride back, Don told me that he wanted to start his own commercial writing company and would like me as a writing partner. I had helped him with a Taco Bell ad already. I was flattered that someone as intelligent and witty as Don would even consider me helpful.

We sat in his apartment on Mulholland Drive overlooking the Hollywood Hills. Let me tell you, that is an incredible view. Once you get above the smog, L.A. can be quite striking.

He set fire to brandy inside these beautiful snifters. Told me that was the only way to drink it. I didn't want to offend him and tell him that I don't drink. The revenge of the pot worshippers from the Valley loomed over me. So I took little sips. It actually tasted like warm licorice.

We spent the night brainstorming while listening to the soundtrack to "Gigi." Every time Maurice Chevalier would sing "Thank Heaven for Little Girls," Don would substitute the word boys.

It had never occurred to me to do that to a song. I guess that's why I always preferred songs sung by women.

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