We're excited! Down at Laverne's Pizza, we getting a visitor. A man of the theatre as they spell it in British. He made a couple of movies, but his real work is in the theatuh, as those Brits say.
Sir Algernon Makepiece. We've never seen his roar in King Lear, never seen him sob in Hamlet, hiss while he strangles the piteous Desdemona; but most of us know him from the Pringles commercial.
We're doing 'Waiting for Godot', we were going to do 'Looking for Mr Goodbar', but no decent looking chicks bothered to audition.
Then the library said we can't loan the books that long, so we're doing "Searching for Simon", a play I have writ, and writ quickly.
Simon says do this, Simon says do that, Simon's my boyfriend's name, so let's put it down to self-indulgence. You'd boyfriend Simon too, but you'd better not let me see, or I'll write you out this story, doublequicktime.
Then out of nowhere's the Weekly Californian, the university newspaper calls up, and tell me if our little troupe, the Laverne's Pizza and Shirley's Paper Gifts Repertory Players will come to Worthington Hall, and greet, the Grand Old Man.
Simon says its a wonderful idea, and we all agree.
Simon's twenty-two and two twelfths, is seventy three inches tall, thirty-nine and a quarter round the chest, thirty two round the middle and the precious nine-incher is mine to brag about, and possession is nine tenths of the Law.
Me? Three centimeters from being five-foot nine, but I can ride on any of Disneyland's finest. Name? George, my mothers fault, there've been Georges in the family since 1799, and we are not about to change, meet the new George, isn't 'oo a sweetums, little George.
Don't worry, that's as close as you will get to meet my mother, the cause of all my ills. So George I am, but I have been known in the 'Cougar's Lair', the University bar, as Jordan, but I got involved in an altercation, twixt a catholic(IRA), a Palestinan(PLO), and an Israeli(probably Mossad), and since then, I go by George, and slump my head lowly with the abhorrent appellation.
We go first to the screening of the 'Pringles' Commercial, where Sir Algernon, comes in and there's this nine year old, who chucks Pringles in the Butler's face. What we are treated to is a twenty- maybe-thirty second close-up, considerably shortened for day-time viewing, of the slowest burn, you'll ever see. His ragged brows, eyebrows like witches' brooms, come together, the eyelids boil, the pupils stagger, the mouth is clenched, and the butler says 'Will that be all, mi'lord' to the brat guy, who wouldn't you know it, when the butler bends over, the guy's got a baloon, and we get this baloon-neck stretch fart, apparently from the Butler.
We are seeing the unedited version, the pre-edited version, before it gets to network, where the slow burn again, as Sir Algernon, turns red, then blue, and you know that Disney is mo-capping this for use in the next first computer animated movie.
Simon says, that Sir Algernon, is coming to Berkeley, and wants to see a performance by a local repertory theater company, and as we're gobspit away; he wants us to do play. Preferably a five minute excerpt.
I sort of go round in a circle like a flibbertigibbet, but stay calm on the outside, in character. Simon says to me, "George, why aren't you excited?"
"Well what are we supposed to do? None of us know a single play collectively. I mean I could be Cressid, but you don't know a single line of Troilus."
"To be or not to be..?"
"That's Hamlet, and I'm not putting a fucking beard on, and play all the other parts." I was empathic on that score. Never, never, never, never.........( a king Lear Joke, if you want footnotes in the prose)
In bed later, as Simon says, and I'm persuaded of anything. Simon's Shakespearean, in his cocksize, his testicles are two Othellos, and I'm Iago penetrating his defenses, or as they say, as you like it.
Simon says,"C'mon. I gotta meet the old man! He's TV Commercials Man. My chance in movies! Then it's blockbuster's, the world's the limit! no the sky's the limit, no the world's the limit, no the...." Don't you just love the pretty ones. He gets the best head he's gotten, and a large member is added to my repertory company. You'll think me evil, to corrupt the flesh of youth, carnal as I am with a lopsided spider bite in my left armpit. But fuck, Simon is so increduosly beautiful; that if like me, you need guile, to get in such situations, where Simon says, "Oh ma, feed it into me, oh, jeez ..." And I enter, pursued by a bear.
Sir Algernon Makepiece, probably the last of the great British actors, till Hugh Grant calls it a day, seventy five and four tweflths, a push and a shove away from the grave, and here he is in Berkeley. I have to do both, two things, prevent Simon from knowing that I am a Shakeofile, the last of a dying breed, the last that loves, acting, but times is, that when you shake the cheese all you get is Shakes cheeser, and so I go subterranean, into the Union Building University store. There's a bookstore. Two guys, eight thousand, give or take a thousand, books. A perfect time to figure out how to rip out the magnetic thingy, and win a free book.
Simon says, that after sex, all I want is a cigarette. My reply usually, "is the sex over?" He's studying bio-ergadynamics, or something; he's smarter than me.
He found out I'd founded the drama liturgy/quasi/cum/dramatistical society flyer, that most had had the good sense to ignore. He wanted to act. I could tell that he could, and if he couldn't; who'd care.
We did serious stuff for a while, good plays, never seen on TV stuff. We did Mamet, Ibsen and Checkov. Our sponsor was russian, he had a delicatessen, Rumanov's Best Stroganoff in town. And true. My first experience of Borscht. So Simon says that he'd be good as an actor and we believe him. He becomes one of us. He comes alive saying other people' words. We do Bernard Shaw's "Chocolate soldier". Unfortunately, we have a few irate african-americans, in the audience, that are annoyed to find a near naked white boy on the stage. The subtext was faecal farce, an Irishman's stance, of what he thought about war. But the whiteboy is gorgeous so all the americans come back to their seats. I enter. They start to leave. "Stop!" says Simon, and they all do much to everyone's surprise. It's his only line. "Oh Icarus, do not wander too far near the sun," I say, as Daedalus, with a baldwig, and a snfff...horse-hair beard. Icarus's dives off the cliff, and we learn that man was not meant to fly. Well not that way.
We do a curtain call, and I get all the claps, and Simon gets all the applause.
We end up in the Cougars lair, and he tells me, he tells me, I have to say, Simon says, he thinks he's gay. "Most actors are; most shoe salesman, dentists, most bicycle messengers are gay: it's a medical fact."
"But I have the desires, I want to be gripped, hugged, hurt, impaled, rubbed, fondled, rubbed, hurt, soothed sucked, nibbled, desired and taken; penetrated.Abused, whipped, scorned..." Simon says and over-acts. "OK." I say and walk him down to my one-up apartment. I have one bottle of Bombay Gin and a messy apartment, and potential gay man, in my hand. "Sorry about apartment." (It's not mine I loaned it from a friend. Well a friend of a friend actually.) "Wow," Simon says, I expected you to have a roomful of books...". Simon says it again, and this time it works and there is a roomful of books. "So you want to learn how to act?" I say, as we slump into a queensize bed, that still has springs. He takes my shirt off, totally improv, and kisses my nipple, and I feel the snake grow between my legs. My hand reaches for his pants, and that's not acting. The tongue runs down my stomach, with the briar patch of hair and his tongue runs like a razor in a TV commercial. While he's working I work off his pants, but we're trapped at the ankles, as we forgot to get our Nikes off. We discover, I am gay, and we never quite resolve if Simon is or not, but I get my dick wet, he let me come between his thighs, as he squeezed me tight. Didn't need a condom, as I trickle between his legs. I have a condom, and got to use it later, but Simon says he's not sure if he's gay but I should buy more condoms. I make him suck my cock, till he figures he is. But I gotta wait, because if he is gay, I gotta wait till Simon says.
So where did he get all this charm, to make people stop and start at his everymove. I figure I have to find out and I bought him dinner, Pizza, above the very basement where our theater lies. I ask him if he wants to act, and how much. Three diet pepsis later, and he agrees to come back. We've made a total wreck of the bed, and we struggle for our part of the blanket, as its cold. He keeps cheating. So I lock my legs around his, and we get fairsy-squairsy with the blanket.
Simon says, its morning, and the sun pours into the half-shuttered window. We get into the shower, and I get to soap his dick and balls, while he shampoos mine. Sure I let him act. But less fun in the shower and more pain learning lines. Simon says he'll try. And he does. "Are you sure the actors in TV commercial are gay?" He's learning to act, after all. And when Simon says put your dick in his ass; you do as Simon says. Simon says it's good, and indeed, it is good.
"Simon onstage. Harley, you over there, by the window, no don't knock it over!"
I direct. Like traffic.
Geraldine waltzes in. She has a sweet face. She has my script and has learned her lines.
"Son, I can forgive you, all else but this.." She pauses, as her hand brushes Sergey(Simon)'s hair as he kneels before her. Harley, a peasant, stands by the window. He represents Russia. And is silent.
Switching hats I go onstage and act.
I nudge Simon.
"Canst not forgive me.......mother....." It's his only line. I drag him off-stage to the audiences boos. Both boos bought and paid for.
Mr Tim O'Shanter runs down stairs, the only russian upstairs on duty.
"They're here, they're here!"
We all go into a cattersnip, get all confused look at each other, terrified. The Grand Old Man comes down the stairs creaking heavily downward as he descends to our basement.
He's red of face, in what in Checkov would be an astrakhan, but the chauffeur with him, he's too uptight looking, to be merely the driver, but takes the Old Man's coat, and he parks himself in the back, resting on his silver cane, so as to be inconspicuous.
"Geraldine what are we going to do?" She's my only friend in times of crisis. She has thirteen grease paint creases on her brow, and looks at me, with a troubled frown. She says "Be Ivanov! You are Ivanov! Be him, not for the Grand Old Man, but for the world...."
Simon says, I'll fuck it up.
The lack of curtain goes up, and I am on.
"Mishymia, sister! What wilt I do. I am beloved of your son, and though you pierce my with your bloody stare, I must be with your Sergey! Though Satan's path I tread..." I put my hand to my brow to show I'm troubled.
"Ivanov, thou cur! Thou takest my boy as if he were a convenient sheep in the field. I hate thee. Thou have denied me and my widowed husband of a dowry."
Sergey rushes on with the stolen gold.
"Take it woman, take the gold. 'Tis dowry for thy boy. Come hold me Sergey, in thine arms."
And I get a four and a half minute onstage kiss, with Sergey, that as director I've told us to hold.
Then we get into the fight with Ma, that we rehearsed, and I don't fuck it up.
There's polite applause, as the actors feel self conscious, clapping. We beam at the Grand old man.
He stands up, slowly, and claps. First slowly then quicker, the driver joins in, and the Actors and we all have a good clap.
"Distribute the Pringles, " he says, to his driver, and leaves, slowly up the stairs.
Simon says he's gonna chase after him, up the stairs.
Geraldine and me end up in the Cougar's lair. She strokes me on the thigh.
"Hey, no fair. Simon didn't say."
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