Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Legend in His Own Mind-17

June, 1982

Dear Lázaro,

If I hadn't had to play in a final game at the L.A. Coliseum, I would have driven to Palm Springs myself. They threw me a going away party. Told me that I was entering a far more competitive world than Roller Derby could ever be. I don't know about that. I mean, I've heard stories about over the hill choreographers and envious up and coming dancers, but once you've had ball bearings at your larynx, you seem to get a different perspective on things.

They bronzed my roller skates as a gift. It was very thoughtful but not very practical. Can you imagine how heavy those things were?

Eric and I had a special dinner together. But first he took me to see "Fame." He said it was a musical and that I would love it. He was right. I did love it. It made me more anxious than ever to start my new job. But I thought it was more of a science fiction story. Can you imagine that in the entire High School of Performing Arts there was only one gay student?

Afterwards we went to a lovely restaurant in Malibu. It was built on pylons right on the beach. The main dining room had a fireplace. We sat overlooking the ocean. The crackling of the flames mixing in with the roar of the waves created quite a beautiful symphony.

I have always found the ocean so romantic and mysterious. I think I was a pirate in another life. It is just so infinite that it makes all of my troubles go away with its sheer vastness. And this moment was very bittersweet. I had grown very fond of Eric. But it was a nowhere situation. I didn't expect him to leave his wife and kids for me and I'm not about to miss a career opportunity for a few stolen nights when our road schedules coincide.

Still he looked like Winnie the Pooh sitting across from me. I guess it was the light of the flames that gave that orange hue to his features.

He said to me, "You've shown me a lot this past year. I always thought that I could have a good time with a man but that lifelong security could only be found with a woman. I don't think that anymore. I know it would've been different with you, but I can't do anything about it now."

He held my hand across the table and started to cry. He wept like a little boy being sent off to school. I felt so bad for him. I realized at that moment that I was going to miss him; his tenderness, his attention towards me; those grizzly bear arms wrapped around me. But he was going to miss me even more, because I was a connection to a life that he'll never have. He'll meet other guys and have clandestine affairs with them; go back to Michigan and share an empty lifetime with a lovely woman; be a responsible, loving father, and always yearn for what he can't have. Thank God I don't have to live that way!

Dad and Lucy came to help me pack. Dad kept raving about the plane. If they had had those incredible engines back in the Bay of Pigs invasion, Castro would not be here today.

You know my sister, Lucy. She was appalled at the decadence of Hollywood. How could such vile people make such beautiful movies?

We were getting ready to leave for LAX, when my apartment shook like a tree house on a shaky branch. Father right away thought it was a Communist bomb attack. You know how close California is to the Soviet Union. They didn't do it in World War II because the Germans wouldn't let them. But now it was the perfect time.

With everybody out here so stoned all the time, they wouldn't even notice.

He felt a bit disappointed when I told him that it was just a minor earthquake.

Lucy immediately felt that California had so many earthquakes to shake the undesirables out. Sort of like Sodom and Gomorrah.

I told her that if I heard of anybody turning to salt, I'd let her know. She immediately dropped to her knees and prayed for the salvation of my soul. She feels that I have been corrupted by the lax morals of this liberal state.

I drove the four hours between L.A. and Las Vegas all by myself. Megan offered to accompany me but I told her I had a lot of errands to run. I would meet her up there.

Yes she's in the show too. I promise, Lázaro, when she gets there I will tell her that I'm gay. Please leave me alone.

The drive was incredible. Four hours of nothing but mountains, dirt and cacti, with an occasional tumbleweed rolling by to break up the pattern. I felt so small. I kept thinking, back home we live one on top of the other and there's so much space here. I didn't know there was this much space left in the world.

I saw the road sign leading to Death Valley and I swear to you, buddy, I could feel all the Indians and pioneers that went by. I could almost see them kicking up dust clouds over those mountain ranges. No I have not been out in avocado land too long. I'm not joining any cults or smoking any peyote.

I guess I had to occupy my mind with thoughts other than what happened to Gary. I never found out and it's still driving me crazy. I don't know who else to call. I know he came from Boston originally but I don't know who to call there. And who's to say that he actually called me from Palm Springs? Or that he actually even went there?

I stopped at this McDonald's that's actually a converted train car. It was so Hooterville. I kept looking for three naked girls in a water tower and a talking pig. Finally, like an oasis in the middle of the desert, you see this mass of lights and it's Las Vegas. I tell you man, who ever thought of building this place in the middle of nowhere?

You think New York never sleeps? This place doesn't even have nighttime! The neon signs are so bright that if you look out your window it looks like daylight...all night. The casinos have no doors. Everything's out in the open. And I do mean everything.

I went to the motel where the company was putting us up and when I went back there was this pamphlet stuck to my car. It looked like grocery store coupons. They were coupons, all right, but not for the produce section. They were for hookers. Girl and boy hookers, I might add. A list of what they did and what they charged for what they did and what credit cards they accepted. Can you picture your Amex statement at the end of the month? What's it gonna say?

They had an announcement for a company that would video tape you and your partners having sex. Maybe this place will keep Megan so busy she'll finally leave me alone.

Oh and excuse my ignorance. I didn't know that admirals were only in the navy. All I know about the navy is from the Village People song. And their uniforms are prettier anyway.

I know that it's hot in Beirut but it's the desert here too. It is unbearable. Everybody talks about the Vegas breeze. It's a breeze alright...from a heated oven. Wow! Thank God I work at night.

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