At Quentin’s party, which we missed, he did a roller skating number to "Time After Time," a reprise to the act he did in High School that incredibly tipped no one -- not even himself -- off to his gayness. What a wonderful birthday gift to one’s self, to perform a number from your youth with full self awareness, to an adoring public who really gets it.
I wonder briefly if I should impose myself upon one of San Francisco’s many performance events with a redux of the lip synch to the Lords of the New Church’s cover of "Like a Virgin" that did NOT win the Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School Talent Show in 1987.
Dressed in my closeted faggot bestie’s divorced sister’s wedding dress, the blood capsules I had tucked into my fingerless lace gloves did NOT burst into liquid gore when I bit into them -- they were powder and they needed saliva to liquefy and I had NO saliva in my mouth because I was nervous and breathless from dancing around the stage
PLUS then, as now, I did not drink water and so was chronically dehydrated. So the capsules, which tasted like powdered anus, created a Satanic paste in my mouth that I could not swallow, and I spent the last notes of the song gagging and choking, not drooling viscous blood down my wedding dress as I’d hoped.
A bunch of cheerleaders who had dressed up as the California Raisins in trash bags and lip synched to "Heard It Through the Grapevine" won the big talent show prize, which was actually nothing at all. I’m not bitter. I didn’t expect to win. I was just trying to express my creativity.
But I bet if I did that number at some divey drag bar somewhere in San Francisco there’d be an aging punk rock queen who would love me for it!
ANYWAY -- this is about Quentin, who rang Dashiell’s doorbell sometime around midnight after skating and lip synching his spandex-clad ass off all night. His eyes were still rimmed with Miss Super Extra Deluxe Pandemonium’s cobalt blue eyeliner. Nagel-esque hot pink blush streaked his cheeks. There was glitter in his hair, and his eyes were glassy.
“Hi!!!!” He exclaimed, looking deeply at me and Dashiell so as not to look into the eyes of Rodney, who was barking a bit and jumping around but mostly seemed happy to make a new friend. “I just ate a burrito on the way over and it was the first thing I ate all day!” Quetin’s eyes looked swirly, and it wasn’t the makeup.
“You put your party together and set everything up and then performed and roller skated all day and drank cocktails and then broke it all down without eating ANYTHING?” I gasped. This was worse than even my terrible eating habits!
“Yeah, gurl,” Quentin nodded. “And I had to drive to Pacifica at eight o’clock this morning to pick up the Vodka!”
“Wow,” I nodded. “Want to sit down and catch your breath a second?” I patted Dashiell’s crazy couch-bed-futon-thing, inviting him to settle in front of the TV. “Jerseylicious is on.” We had been watching the movie "Beginners," but switched it off when the doorbell rang.
Dashiell’s crazy furniture is a couch by day, but by night it cranks down into a bed that you can then crank up the wide way for back support and sprawl out with pillows and watch movies. There is a sadistic pole that runs through the length of it so it’s hard to cuddle, but we do, which is why we are in pain every morning and have begun moaning about needing massages a bunch.
Quentin peers at the drama on the "Jerseylicious" screen, but is so bleary and really just wants to get it all over with so he can get home and sleep for a million years. We show him into the bathroom with the shuttered wooden doors. I hand him the Pee Cup I’d been dunking my ovulation sticks in. “Is the cup too small?” I ask, wrinkling my nose.
“ Yeah ... ,” Quentin wrinkles his back and I fetch a wide, shallow French-style coffee cup from Dashiell’s kitchen. We say goodbye to our friend and helper and settle back in front of "Jerseylicious," confident that the scream-fighting on the tube will create enough noise to make Quentin feel noise-proofed.
After a little while of watching Jersey girls shop and cry, Dashiell turns to me. “It’s never taken him this long,” She whispers.
“Shhhhhh,” I hush. I’d been thinking the same thing. It was a new place, and Quentin seemed to be a bit of a creature of habit. He probably needed to acclimate to Dashiell’s bathroom. And he was exhausted and overstimulated and had just bombed his starving body with a burrito. We wait a little longer, and Quentin pushed open the shuttered bathroom doors.
“You guys!” he says. “I can’t do it!”
We flutter around, cooing understanding words, getting Quentin a glass of water. We hang out and watch "Jerseylicious."
“I just need to rest a second and then I’ll try again. This never happens!”
“You don’t need to tell me,” I say, deeply convinced of Quentin’s virility. I wouldn’t be able to have an orgasm after a day like that, either! I tell him so, but he insists on giving it another try, shuttering himself back in the bathroom. We pull the little privacy curtain for extra privacy.
The people on "Jerseylicious" are truly grotesque, but it’s amazing how quickly you can become sucked into their meaningless world. Don’t any of them ever have existential crisis? The other day I transcribed a blog, wrote another one, had a phone meeting with the Managing Director of my non-profit, did laundry, communed with Dashiell, took care of the cats and met with an editor about my forthcoming young adult novel, and I still had to battle the creeping bedtime fear that I’m not doing anything meaningful with my life. How do they stand it?
In the grip of his own existential crisis of sorts, Quentin slinks out from the bathroom a second time, his coffee cup empty. “I can’t,” He said, shaking his head. “I just can’t.”
I feel terrible for dragging Quentin over here after all he has been through! “Of course you can’t!” I cry. “This is crazy, it’s too much. I’m so sorry.”
Quentin waves my apologies away like he always does. He’s so into inseminating me and the fun, magical drama of it all, it’s astounding. “The way I feel,” he says, “If I had brought someone home from my party tonight it would have been all, ‘Mama’s tired! Good night!’"
We talk about maybe trying again the next day, but the next day is awkward. Dashiell is at work, Rhonda is in Los Angeles -- where she has decided to move to, after too many years in an abusive relationship with San Francisco’s housing market, living underneath crackheads, then with an alcoholic, and presently with some sweet people in their as-yet unfinished home out in Bayview Hunter’s Point. Rhonda found a little turquoise bungalow she gets to live in all by herself.
She’s going to work on her screenplay and date a hot skateboarder with a crazy pompadour who seduced her by text message. I can’t think too much about Rhonda leaving. I guess I’m in denial. I know it’s best for her, but it’s going to be really weird. I’m hoping that, with how much I travel and how much she travels it won’t feel like she’s gone but like we’re just really, really busy and having a hard time meeting up.
So it would be just me and Quentin, and either he would have to come over to Bernadine’s, where I am spending the day prepping for a giant Spanish feast we’re serving at a fundraiser tomorrow, or I would run over to Quentin’s. It’s feeling complicated, and I know I already ovulated. “I’m still pretty tired,” Quentin admits. “And not very horny.”
“It’s fine,” I said. “That Friday insemination should be great. It lasts five days. I’m just being neurotic.” We say goodbye and I return to prepping pig belly and pistachio custard and squid ink and rice.
When I get home that night there is a package waiting for me, postmarked India. A custom stamp is purple on the front of it. It’s my Clomid! It has to be! I tear it open as I dash up the stairs and there is it, foil sheets with little pockets of pills nestled inside. Enough to have about 100 babies.
I can’t wait to get my period and start popping them! But then I remember that I might not have to. If sperm can live inside you for five days and I inseminated on Friday and ovulated on Saturday -- I’m set! I’m excited to increase the ferocity of my measures if my period comes again, but I hope hope hope hope I never even have to swallow one of these black market beauties.
NEXT WEEK: Immaculate infection?