By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Photo by James BunoanWell, that'll teach me. The longtime reader, and nuttier fan, will remember the poaching perpetrated by Alison M. Rosen, writing as Fascist Pal, when I was lying in a hospital bed—near death!—some years ago. There I lay, hooked to a morphine drip, as "Pal" marched on my page, trying to lure away both our editor's love and my fat paycheck. Really, my paycheck is beautifully bourgeois.
This time around? You have one measly Monday morning nervous breakdown, and some hitherto unknown person—what was her name? Mary Reilly?—has her keyboard at the ready, fangs bared, to helpfully take over the deadline you just kamikazed and (while she's at it) remind your editor of those halcyon days when you were a tender, sotted early-twentysomething who actually left the house for her nightlife column.
You want to rumble, Mary Reilly? You think you can throw down with references to topless trannies to knock me off my mountain? Well, old ladies still got skills your 22-year-old self can't begin to fathom: last week I got an accidental—and believe me, unasked for—peek at my uncle's vagina, as she was, silk kimono so slightly ajar, fixing us tuna fish sandwiches.
Bring it, punk.
"You must be really beautiful if you're skinny and I still want to buy you a drink," the young man was saying in what was perhaps the most perfect sentence ever spoke. Surely, a gentleman such as this was due some of my time, no matter how snaggletoothed he might be, and, honestly, maybe a little bit "special."
"Oh, you like the big girls?" I asked with polite interest, sipping on the Budhe sweetly bought me in the ill-lighted Johnny's.
"If I didn't, would I have this?"
And there she was, drilled into his forearm in a blue tattoo of mountainous glory. Bent over, her face peeking out from between juicy hamhocks, the large-and-lovely on his arm was waving her third eye. Which was gaping. It was a big, gaping butthole on a 50-pound butt, right there on his arm.
"Oh, my!" was about all I got out, while "Big Mike" talked dreamily about the ladies he loves. "I think the Butterfly Lounge is still going on at the Lion's Den," I told him. "You could call up and find out!" His eyes grew to saucers; the Butterfly Lounge was his ne plus ultra, or, for him, his "total fucking dream!" And yet, he didn't call. While I was waiting for Dana—when she got there, he announced that he hoped I didn't mind, and I was totally beautiful, but Dana had hotter feet—we went out front to smoke (and to escape from Johnny's loud punk jukebox and the kinda scary almost-skins who were sitting dourly by it). There, he showed me his car, with the mini-spare on the rear wheel and the personalized plate, "LOVFEET." The back window had pink adhesive letters testifying again to his foot fetish. I tried to curl my painted toes so they weren't so obvious in my black Grease wedgies.
Dana and Loren arrived. It was time to move on, even if Johnny's did have The Supersuckers on the box.
"Can I go with you?" Big Mike asked. Oh, well we would be picking up my sister, and there wouldn't be room in the car. . . .
Well, what if he brought his own?
And what is the polite response to that? What on Earth would Miss Manners say?
Apparently something like, "Oh, uh, no."
He was a cute, tall guy in tight pants. Looked like a Marine. Looked like a cute, tall, tight-pants-wearing gay Marine, with the wedding band on his finger to signify a civil commitment ceremony, no doubt in Howard Dean's Vermont. He was talking about the four rules for safe shooting at the monthly Pink Pistols meeting in Laguna Niguel, but he could only remember two of them. Bad sign. Clearly, we would all end up shooting our faces off. That "after-market conversion" semi-automatic .22? Yes, it would explode, and I would no longer be so beautiful that Big Mike wanted to buy me a drink even though I'm not fat. Maybe as long as I had my feet, Big Mike wouldn't care about little things like "faces."
Then Mitch Barrie—the cute, tall gay Marine teaching the rest of us gay shooters how not to shoot our faces off—mentioned his small wife, who he said was a "woman," except he didn't say it with quotation marks. Not only was he an organizer for the gay-and-lesbian self-defense club, but his name was Mitch. I was gettin' plumb mixed up!
Mitch was a wonderful, big, gay host, talking us newbies through loading and unloading and safeties and not pointing our weapons at people, but my hands were sweaty from fear, which would probably lead to my dropping the loaded gun and shooting my face off. Actually, I thought I might faint or vomit. I don't like guns. I don't like shooting my face off. But I didn't faint, or vomit, and I shot the gun (not the semi-automatic, which kept jamming, probably about to explode into my face, but the .38 revolver). It was loud, and there was a scary, tense, longhaired albino dude in knock-off camouflage parachute pants shooting things very fast as I cowered against a wall. He looked like a downmarket Nuge—an even scarier, albino one. Cat Scratch Fever! Yeeeeeeeah! He was ready to rock! Or, you know, shoot people until they were dead.