The Major Players
From: Micah Malone
To: The Audience
Re: Our Major Players
Well, that's me. I'm twenty-two and not really so bad to look at. I'm tall, thin, wiry, with sandy-brown hair, and clear skin. No one on the beach has run screaming from me, I guess. (To remind myself of this, I safeguard a few decent photos rescued from scores that have been torn to shreds. Alas, the camera doesn't adore me.) I'm a Communications Major at the University of Washington. Filmmaking is my ultimate goal. (Please stop laughing.)
Picture Stan as the love child of Liberace and Danny DeVito, but he has this way of strutting around that reminds me of Bette Davis; clutching her martini in All About Eve. So make that Liberace DeVito-Davis. An English Major at the University of Washington, he plans a career in theater and/or television, which is how we became such good friends. Best friends, really.
The Adonis. Every group has one, I think, don't they? Anyway, he's the one with the perfect wavy-curly blond hair and the dimples, the hot body, and the white teeth and if it wasn't already cruel enough of Mother Nature, Danny is shy, smart, and sweet (the triple "s" threat!). All he has to do is pout with his purty lips and an entire room swoons.
Not cute, but thinks he's GQ; square head, squinty eyes, and a loud abrasive know-it-all. But we've known each other since the first grade, we're both gay, our parents are friends, so he's just...there.
The Pauls (Hovel & Lefevre)
Since Mr. Hovel has a full head of red hair, we call him Paul the Red ("Paul R." for short). He's got farm-boy freckles and a great sense of humor. The blond one, Mr. Lefevre, we call (you guessed it!) Paul the Blond. "Paul B.", of course, for short. (You guessed it again! Congrats!) He wears trendy glasses, which make him look all scholarly, which suits him perfectly: he's stern and serious (the double "s" threat, though really not so much threatening as, at times, intimidating). Oh, those Pauls. They complement each other. Like really adorable fraternal male Bobbsey twins; one silly, one steely.
Our fag hag. Some people hate the term, but she thinks it's funny and that it suits her. She's got a beautiful dark mane, this pert little nose, infectious laugh, and she'd lay down in front of a train for me. She hasn't ever, but she would. But I wouldn't let her. Anyway, I digress.
Back to business.
This list of players has been signed, sealed, and delivered.
Now, on with the show.
The Black Eye
I looked in the mirror. My right eye would be black and blue in probably two hours, tops. "When do you admit your life's a train wreck?"
I said this out loud. Cue cheesy soap opera violin music.
Any time now, Micah.
That answer-above-came from my Greek Chorus. I guess at this point I should introduce them. *Please note:* I don't know if only Greeks can have a Greek Chorus, so I had to improvise since my ancestry is German-Scottish and one-sixteenth Native American (yeah, yeah, I know, everyone claims Indian blood, but it's true-I've seen pictures of this mysterious great uncle in his Hunkpapa Lakota headdress.)
Anyhoo, back to the Chorus:
He owns the Greek restaurant near the University. Huge breakfasts for a dollar ninety-nine. He always calls me "professor" because I study when I eat there. It's more like I'd rather be doing anything than notice people staring at me. So the actual study part is a real stretch-nothing really imprints onto my brain. I just daydream over words.
"How's the professor?"
"Okay I guess."
"Etsi ketsi. It's always etsi ketsi."
Joe Originally From Chicago
Okay, he-like me-isn't Greek either. I met him last year when I was buying a scarf at Macy's. Maybe he was hitting on me, I don't know. He'd just got back from a six-month stint playing piano at a gay bar on Mykonos. He's fifty-something, almost bald, and suffered from sneezing fits, but he had this deep, melodious voice and was hilarious. I really liked him. Too bad I only saw him that one time.
"Here's my phone number, kiddo. If you ever wanna grab a drink-are ya legal? No worries; I'll arrange a fake ID for ya. I know a guy over on Western Ave.; hook us up for ten dollars. Or you can just come over and hear me do the standard oeuvres, 'Hello Dolly,' 'Mame,' 'Over the Rainbow,' the theme from 'Yank My Doodle, It's a Dandy,' give me a call. Don't doubt me. Those are the gay national anthems."
I lost his number. Like really lost, not the fake leave-me-the-hell-alone lost.
You know, of "and the Argonauts" fame. Why him? He's hot in my version; all hunky in his l'il battle outfit.
I don't know what an ancient Greek hero would say off the cuff, so Jason doesn't really say much in my chorus. I guess that defeats the purpose. Anyway, I just picture his come-hither stare. The eyes can speak volumes.
So that's my Chorus. They talk to me all the time. Mr. Panagos all loud and gregarious, Joe with his beautiful baritone, and Jason, who could stutter for all I care. (But he doesn't. Not in my version.)
Greek Chorus: Now, Micah, about this train wreck...
Oh yeah, that.
I guess I'll have to tell you all about the eye incident.
Okay, see, there's a club on Pine. Now Stan called me up and said, "A bunch of us are going out." A short, annoying pause followed, as in I could tell he was up to something. "Can you, sort of like, drive us?"
Being the putz that I am, I said; 'Yes, yes, okay; I'll drive you'. It just seemed easier than putting up a fuss and staying home alone on a Saturday night.
Our whole group ended up going: me, Stan, Danny (so cute), Jasper (so loud), the two Pauls, and Trish.
"Let's stop off and eat first," Paul B. said about two minutes before we got to the club.
"It's eleven o'clock," Jasper said with this extra loud voice that he gets when he's throwing attitude.
"So?" Paul B. said.
"Prime time, moron." Jasp was at about five hundred decibels now! "You want to waste an hour and a half in a restaurant?"
See, Paul B. won't eat fast food so it has to be a sit-down place.
Greek Chorus: Get to the eye...
Okay, okay! So everyone except Paul B. agreed that we wouldn't stop off to eat. That meant Paul B. and Jasp weren't speaking to each other. It was like we had to divide into camps. Paul B., Trish, Danny, and I were Group One, and Jasp, Stan, and Paul R. were Group Two. We staked out opposite ends of the dance floor once we got inside the club.
"He's such an ass," Paul B. said, glaring at Jasp, who was dancing with some hunky crew-cut guy within three minutes of our arrival.
"Don't stew over it," I said.
The crew-cut guy kissed Jasper.
"How does he get guys like that?" I said.
Trish nudged me. "Don't stew over it."
But I did.
Greek Chorus: The eye?
I'm getting to it!
So there were tons of cuties there that night. I have lots of types. Some days it's blondie boys, other days the sexy nerds (you know, throw a pair of glasses on Matt Damon). A lot of times I go for Latinos. But I especially like Asians.
There were easily a dozen Asians there that night. One that really caught my eye wore a pair of jeans so tight you'd need a pair of scissors or a knife to get them off. He was tall with this adorable spiky hair and his face was like the perfect blend of high school and corporate VP. He kept glancing and smiling...at this guy who looked like a fat sheriff from a horror movie!
The worst part is that when I turned to bear my broken soul to Danny, he was naturally making out with a guy who jumped right off the cover of I Look Flawless and Wear the Trendiest, Most Perfectly Fitting Clothes magazine.
Ugh. I swear there are days when I don't bother with my hair, throw on some mismatched bunch of grungy rags, and zip out to run errands. And every time-I kid you not-some guy always checks me out. But when I spend three hours primping and I'm craving to be checked out, it just doesn't happen. Ladies and gents, this was one of those nights times a thousand.
"What's up your butt?" Jasper said once he was done showing off on the dance floor. "You look miserable."
"Have another ten drinks, Jasp."
"You're ugly," he said in a bad English accent, "but I shall be sober in the morning."
Jackass. Maybe he had the Churchill quote fairly accurate, but his delivery stunk. Stupid accent, flat inflection, and all the words slurred together. He was insufferable, but...guys were going for him. Guys were going for everyone. Everyone except me.
The pain starts in the chest. It's like someone squeezing my heart and my lungs together and poking them with a knife. That's how it felt to stand there, watching everyone not watch me. Like I was a chair.
"You stand there," Trish said, "and expect everyone to fall at your feet, Micah. If you see someone you think is cute, go over and talk to him!"
"Okay, listen," I told her, and yes, I was fuming, because how many times have I explained this to her? "When we walked here from the car, I watched people. Jasper got cruised, both Pauls got cruised, Danny, and-not to sound cruel, but even Stan! By some big burly bear! I mean, Jesus, everyone got cruised except me. And if you tell me it's my imagination, I'm gonna scream so loud the roof is gonna fly off."
"The Flintstones!" Stan said, running up from behind.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Trish said, scowling at Stan.
"Sometimes when Fred yells, the roof jumps off the house," I explained. Say what you want about Stan, but nobody can hold a candle to us when it comes to film and TV trivia.
"You guys speak your own language sometimes," Trish said. "It's freaky."
"What are you screaming about then, Fred?" Stan asked in his best Barney Rubble voice.
"Micah thinks that-"
I held up my hand to silence Trish. She skulked away after one of her irritating eye rolls.
"Trish reminds me of Wilma," Stan said. "You know, Wilma always had this 'don't push me over the edge' tinge to her voice and-Hey! I think that guy is smiling at you."
Stop the presses!
"That blond guy, near the pool table."
Okay, so Stan was right about one thing. There was a cute blond guy standing near the billiard table. Wavy hair and dimples, tight jeans and a sexy button-down shirt, and everything that screamed hot boy next door. Maybe he was looking at me. I turned to make sure Danny or some other sculpture wasn't standing behind me. Nope. It was a lesbian who glared at me and mouthed, "What the fuck are you staring at?"
So Stan started to push me forward. I dug in my feet to stop him. The blond boy was at the edge of the dance floor. He was moving to the music, but not really dancing, as if by standing outside the dance floor proper he wasn't allowed to fully dance.
He pushed harder.
"Go, Micah, will you?"
I went. I guess this boy was kind of staring at me after all.
He said, "Hey."
I said, "Hi."
"Hi Kurt. I'm Micah."
"You too. I mean your name. Well, you too, but-"
Insert foot in mouth. Thank you.
Now, if you've ever seen one of those nature programs and they show the ridiculous mating habits of animals, to which my grandmother would always mumble "Nincompoops" over her steaming cup of tea, and my dad would look up because he thought she was talking about him but she wasn't. My point is, instead of just going for each other, animals do these strange mating calls and dances, beat up on a rival or eat the heads off their partner during sex, and what should be simple turns out to be this chaotic mess.
I didn't know what to do! What to say! How to act! And before I could even think of some witty turn of phrase, these three stooges came bounding over to us.
"Who's this?" one of them asked.
Before I knew it they were waltzing around me, examining me from head to toe.
"Okay, he's got the shirt tucked in just right and the belt buckle a little off-center, good, but the shoes- we'll need to shop for shoes."
I assumed these guys were friends of Kurt, but they were like three smarmy sidekicks in a Disney movie.
"Hair could be a little more bed-head, though," another of them said.
Okay, this I didn't need. I was perfectly able to trounce myself. Which I did on a daily basis in front of the mirror. I didn't need a committee of queens to help me out.
But I didn't even get a chance to protest, or just throw my nose in the air, turn on my heel, and strut away.
The Triplets of Hellville whisked Kurt away.
"Come on, Kurt, we're bored."
And as they yanked on him he looked at me all apologetic and confused as if I was supposed to do something.
"Well? Well?" Stan asked me when I returned to Wallflower Alley near the men's room.
"His name's Kurt and I hate his friends."
"That's progress, right?" Stan said, and took a sip of his weird purple cocktail.
I leaned against the wall. I thought of that word-nincompoop. Where the hell did that come from anyway? And was my grandmother actually giving my dad a sideways glance whenever she said it? Was this Kurt guy really staring at me? Why did he have nincompoops for friends? Would I even want to go on a date with someone who-
Greek Chorus: Pardon our intrusion, Dear Reader, but our friend Micah just can't seem to cut to the quick about how he ended up with a black eye. Let's move along a bit. As this particular evening wore on, a strikingly attractive Asian boy walked past Micah and Stan. He smiled, looking first to Stan, then to Micah. The lad's gaze did seem to linger on Micah. Stan urged Micah to ask him to dance. Micah demurred, but Stan was persistent. History does repeat itself. Finally.
Okay, yes, I asked him to dance. I was irked over the Kurt incident and figured I didn't have much more to lose in the dignity department. Wrong! And for as long as I live I won't forget the condescending laugh just before he turned and walked on. And I don't know what came over me, but...it was like when I was little and my cousin used to tease me to the point I just couldn't take it anymore.
Greek Chorus: It was quite a push. Sent the poor lad into a bar stool and onto the floor.
I couldn't believe it. I mean I've never done anything like that before. I guess I can't blame him for getting up and hitting me back. But did he really need to go for my eye?
After the white flashes faded, and the pain started to creep up, I ran. I didn't care about anything. Just ran toward the exit.
But before I got to the door, someone jerked me back. I figured I was about to get my teeth knocked out too.
"Hey, are you okay?"
Great. If I had zero chance with Kurt before, now I just sunk into negative numbers. Here we were, inches apart, and ordinarily, in my Cinderella fantasy-complete with pixie dust and choruses of angels-we would have been in the perfect position to lean in and kiss. Instead, I stood there shaking, my eye throbbing, and my bottom lip trembling.
I broke free. The pixies gasped and the angels fainted.
I ran out the door, across the street, and into the parking lot.
Someone had thrown a half-eaten burger-with mustard and ketchup-onto my windshield.
As I roared up Pine Street, all I could hear was Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura calling me a "la-hooza-her!"
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