by Fielding Goodfellow
Tate had no idea how he got there, waking up on Kew Beach, nestled against Jessica with a mouth full of sand. The last thing he remembered was leaving The Roxy Theater, totally messed up on peyote, after being immersed in the tragedy of Michael J. Pollard’s ‘Dirty Little Billy’. This was certainly not the first time he found himself face down on the ground with no idea of how the fuck he wound up that way.
So, here’s what happened. In the mid 1970s, Tate was living in a second floor walk up that overlooked the park in a trendy, artsy neighborhood filled with writers, painters, and musicians, where their very existence was celebrated our existence with one party after another, fueled by copious amounts of hallucinogenics and beer amid the constant challenge of keeping the flying lizards and leprechauns at bey. That summer, as Frampton came alive and The Eagles checked into the Hotel California, Jessica Emery settled into this little piece of psychedelic paradise and moved into the apartment directly across the hall from Tate.
The world was scared shitless of homosexuals back then, and the fear that their very presence would turn the universe gay and ultimately bring about the demise of the human race was widespread. It was pretty fucked up just how much time and effort went into stopping the gay scourge then, when there were men in overalls dining on squirrel stew and drinking a gallon or two of corn mash whiskey, and then going out to the barn to bang the shit out of their livestock without anyone raising an eyebrow, or a shotgun. Jennifer was gay, a lesbian from Beaumont, Texas and was often subjected to ridicule and taunting from some of the community assholes who felt the urge to state the obvious in an attempt to display some sense of superiority based entirely on their sexuality. “She’s a lesbian.”, was often whispered with scorn and disdain.
Sometime in August Tate and Jessica were sitting on her sofa listening to Spirit, and getting messed up on mushrooms. Jennifer, like everyone else Tate involved himself with, was a writer. She had a weakness for the absurd, and was quite fond of Ionesco, Kafka, and Beckett. There was a wall in her living room filled with caricatures of Kafka, Oscar Wilde, Salinger, and Vonnegut. She was wonderfully beautiful, and was several years older than Tate. He thought she was the one of the coolest people he knew, and watching her move around the flat that day, braless, in a skin tight t shirt and short shorts that left absolutely nothing to the imagination, he believed that she was one of the sexiest. All the while Tate had pornography playing in his head. It was in slow motion, always in slow motion. There was something insanely hot about girl on girl sex, well, not something, Tate felt that everything about it was insanely hot, and despite the fact that he was sure he would never be able to take that trip up her thighs to get to the magic kingdom. he was more than a little interested in at least getting a ticket to the show.
The inside of her apartment was as cool as she was, with a wall dedicated entirely to caricatures of writers including Kafka, Oscar Wilde, Salinger and Vonnegut. There were plants growing in every room, and a fish tank hummed loudly atop a large coffee table in the middle of the living room. They ate dinner together, and then headed down to The Roxy for the Friday night movie marathon to catch ‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’ , John Waters’ ‘Pink Flamingos’, ‘Dawn Of The Dead’, and ‘Dirty Little Billy’. All the way to the theater Tate wondered what the hell he should talk about. There was a series of random questions, covering topics that ranged from the fall of the Mayan empire to “So, how long have you been a lesbian?”
“Since I was a Freshman in college.” Jessica responded. “Up til then, I always had boyfriends. But in my freshman year”, she continued, “my boyfriend and I were watching porn and everything became clear. It was an Epiphany. A life altering moment.” Jessica stopped and sighed heavily. “The first time I saw that pussy up close, I knew I was really into girls. I never really thought much about dick, but I couldn’t stop thinking about pussy. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate dick or anything like that. I’ve got a bunch of fake ones stashed in a drawer. But just the idea of pussy gets me hot.”
“Me too.”, Tate told her.”
“I’m sure it does.”, Jessica laughed. ” More than anything, at that moment, Tate wanted her. The film in his head began playing again Tate knocks on Jessica’s door and she invites him in. She’s wearing a robe, and as she invites Tate to sit on the couch, she goes to get him a beer from the kitchen. The Beatles are playing in the background, Revolver, side 1, when a completely naked woman comes out of the bedroom. Jessica appears with the beer and without the towel. The two lesbians lead Tate into the bedroom. With each screening, the script became more and more detailed, but that didn’t really matter. What was important here is that there was always a happy ending.
Nothing unusual happened at The Roxy. They sat in the last row, as Tate always did, aisle seat, did some more peyote and watched the films. By the time Willy Wonka was over, they were totally messed up and Tate was lost in the world of Dirty Little Billy. He had once said “You can get lost in your own mind, but don’t worry about it. The journey back will surprise the fuck out of you.”, and for Tate, it always did. After the screenings Jessica wanted to watch the sun come up at the beach, so they headed off to Kew Beach with a little time to spare. They walked along the shore line, chasing the waves and finishing off the peyote. They took their clothes off, and went into the water, splashing around like a couple of seals in heat. When Jessica ran up the beach, Tate chased her, and tripping on a piece of driftwood knocked himself out cold. He didn’t see the sun come up. When he woke, he found himself and Jessica laying on the beach naked and apparently spooning. He tried to get up, but his arm was trapped under her head,. The movement stirred her awake. “Any idea what the hell went on here?”, he asked her.
“I suppose that you took advantage of me.”, she said.
“No.”, Tate said. “I’m sure I’d remember that.”
“Well, then”, Jessica answered, “Maybe I took advantage of you.”
Really?”, he asked. “I’m pretty sure I’d remember that too.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it.”, she told him. “Shit like that happens.” But Tate did worry about it. For days he tried desperately to locate that information locked somewhere in his mind, underneath all of the drugs and alcohol, but he couldn’t find a thing. Not even a trace. That movie kept playing in his head, over and over again, as Jessica ran naked along the beach with Tate in pursuit. But that’s where it stopped. There was nothing more. About a week or so later, Jessica arrived at his door, braless in a skin tight t shirt and short shorts that left nothing to the imagination. Tate stood at the door following the curves of her body with his eyes. He followed her legs up to her thighs, and lingered there for a moment, and then moved up to the outer gates of the secret garden she seemed to be taunting him with. “Nothing happened at the beach.”, she told him. “I wanted it to, but you got hurt, and so, nothing happened.” She took him by the hand and led him to her flat. “Have a seat.”, she said. “I’ll get you a beer.”
Tate watched her head into the kitchen, mesmerized by the movement of her hips as she walked. The Beatles were playing in the background, Revolver, side 1. A naked woman emerged from the bedroom, just as Jessica returned with a beer and nothing else. She was totally naked. The two women kissed, and Tate felt the massive hard on that has developed in his pants. It all seemed to be in slow motion. The two lesbians led him into the bedroom, and from what we gather, there was a happy ending for all. This arrangement lasted just over a year, about the time Ramona moved in with Tate, and Jessica found herself in love with Stacey Hollis. Sometime in the late winter, Jessica moved out of her flat, and Tate never heard from her again. But that didn’t really matter anyway. What was important here is that there is always a happy ending.