Solomon Tate’s Lesbian

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.

 

 

 

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The Lost Commandments

Every year, without fail, in an attempt to share our upbringing with our children, my family would spend the evening sitting in front of the television watching the annual airing of ‘The Ten Commandments’. Somewhere between Easter and Passover, this annual event had become a tradition in our house, carried over from my childhood in my parents’ home.

“Oh, look.”, my wife said. “The Ten Commandments is on tonight.”

“How many times have we seen it?”, I asked. “20 or 30 times?”

“I guess.”, she said.

“You know, they are the same commandments as the first time we watched it.”, I added. “Nothing’s changed.”

“I know.”, she said. “But its such a good movie.”

“I don’t know about that.”, I stated. “It would have been better if they had talked about the 1st set of commandments.”

“What are you talking about?”, she asked.

“Remember when Moses returned from Mt. Sinai with the tablets that he smashed upon seeing the people praying to the golden calf?”, I continued. “Well, apparently, there were a completely different set of commandments on those first tablets. When Moses returned to retrieve the commandments again, the contents of those second tablets were very different.”

“Really?”, she asked.

“That’s what biblical scholars are saying.”, I told her. “But that singular fact could have changed the direction of the film.”

“How do they know what was on the first tablets?”, she asked. “The ones that were destroyed.”

“They weren’t destroyed.”, I reminded her. “They were smashed. During an archaeological expedition, pieces of the tablets were excavated and placed together. Translated by experts in biblical writing, it revealed a very different set of ideals.”

“A long time ago.”, I said, “Maybe in the 1920s or so. It had been kept secret, hidden from the people by a council of leaders of all of the monotheistic religions, so as not to create upheaval in their respective faiths. About 30 years ago, someone going through documents in The Vatican Library uncovered documents that referenced this discovery, and the conspiracy to cover it up.”

“Wow.”, she said. “Did they reveal what was on the first tablets?”

“Not at first”. , I explained. “It wasn’t until about 2007, that the tablets were presented to the public, and their contents revealed.”

“Well?”, my wife asked, encouraging me to go on.

“Well, what?”, I answered.

“What was on the first tablets?”, she asked.

“Well”, I said. “While the current commandments are filled with what we should not do, so eloquently prefaced with ‘Thou Shalt Not’ , interestingly enough, the first set of tablets were more positive, giving man a list of things that he should do.”

“So,”, she asked, “what are they?”

“Give me a minute to try and remember.”, I said. After a short pause I continued. “Okay, now I don’t think these are in any particular order, and I am paraphrasing, but one was be kind to yourself and to each other. There was pay attention to those that seem dim, for their lights shine the brightest. There’s go west and see the Pacific Ocean at least once. Oh, and…

“Oh, crap!”, she shouted. “You just made all of that up, didn’t you? I don’t know why I even bother to listen to any of your stories.”

“Wait.”, I told her. “There’s more.”

“I don’t want to hear anymore.”, she said. “I’m turning on The Ten Commandments.”

“Oh, come on.”, I pleaded. “Not again.” And then she gave me those Spanish-Moroccan eyes, the look that needed no words to explain its meaning. “Alright.”, I said as I left the room.

“Wait.”, she called out to me. “Aren’t you going to watch it with me?”

“No.”, I answered. “It never goes well. You talk the whole way through the movie, and I simply groan with boredom.”

“Oh, come on.”, she requested. “This time it will be fun. You can do your running commentary, and you can even do your own version of the narration.”

“Are you sure?”, I asked.

“Yes.”, she said, beckoning me over to the seat beside her.

“How did I get so lucky to wind up with you?”, I asked as I sat down in my assigned seat.

“I have no idea.”, she said. “But you did, so don’t mess it up.”

“I do my best.”, I told her.

“I know.”, she answered. “And I love you. Now let’s watch the movie. Who is that guy?”

“Which guy?”, I asked.

“The old one.”, she said.

“He’s The King”, I replied. “The Pharaoh.”

“I thought the bald guy was the King.”, she advised.

“Well, he is.”, I told her, but not of Egypt. He is the king of Siam.”

“Are you sure?”, she inquired.”

“Pretty sure.”, I told her. “You’ll just have to watch and see.”

 

 

 

 

Monsters, & Other Scary Things

 

My family is weirdly phobic. I myself suffer from a fear of flying,  the kind that occurs in airplanes, and death. Seems pretty reasonable to me. My family, on the other hand, suffers from such intense fears, that they often huddle together, like penguins trying to stay warm, protecting themselves from the impending doom that is certain to consume their very souls.

One of my daughters is frightened to death of costumes, you know, people dressed up as team mascots, and cartoon characters. It matters not that she is looking at Batman, or Spiderman, heroes that will keep her from harm’s way, it is still a costume. She has never been able to sit through a professional sporting event. She has never attended the Ice Capades, and our family trip to Disneyland was, to say the least, a significantly traumatic experience for her.

Along with this masklophobia, she, one of her sisters, and my wife also suffer from the dreaded fear of clowns. Not just the evil, scary clowns that have been portrayed in ‘It’ as Pennywise, but the happy, funny clowns that fall out of small cars, and squirt water out of a flower on their lapel. It seems that all clowns all scary, including Bozo, Krusty, and Clarabell. It is not surprising that none of them have ever been to the circus. Our one trip to a rodeo proved disastrous once the rodeo clowns came out. Their coulrophobia induced screams, and shrieks, tears, and gasping for air. And then their was a hasty retreat, which included jogging through the aisles, to the car

There is a widespread fear of monsters, which I have tried to point out on numerous occasions, are not real. My wife cannot watch a sci-fi film, such as Alien, or The Thing, or even Frankenstein. She is however fine with Frank ‘n’ Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which as a film, has an inordinate number of people in costume. She says that she likes Tim Curry. I remind her that Tim Curry was also Pennywise the clown. She refuses to discuss it, stating only that she doesn’t like clowns. As a general rule, if she is home, I cannot watch horror or Science Fiction films unless I am in a room she is not. I don’t mind really, I mean, she generally talks through every film or television show we watch, repeatedly asking, ‘Who is that?”, or “Where did he come from?” I regularly point out that it would be easy for her to follow, if she would just stop talking.

Musophobia, the fear of mice is another exasperating phobia shared by my wife and a daughter. The would sit paralyzed, watching a mouse dance across the living room, with walking stick and top hat, and scream that “There’s a mouse!” And when help arrives, they insist that the rodent is not harmed in any way. I consistently offer to merely capture and rehabilitate these disease ridden varmints, but the mice refuse to comply. I am forced therefore to exact more permanent consequences for invading my home, which creates even more screaming from the troubled duo.

My family also suffers from germophobia, and hydrophobia. In order to keep themselves germ free, there is a chronic, if not compulsive hand washing routine, which surprises me. How can people who are afraid of water, immerse their hands in water so often. My wife says that I am being ridiculous. She is only afraid of putting her face in water, not her hands. Now, it makes me wonder if, during the lifetime we have been married, she has ever washed her face? I have kissed that face! Hell, I hope she has.

My eldest daughter suffers from spectrophobia, the fear of ghosts, while my wife encourages these same spirits to come for a visit, and stay for some coffee and dessert. I myself am afraid of my wife seeing ghosts. After her father passed away, she asked him for a sign that he was watching over her. The next day I had a heart attack. I asked her not to participate in these spirit shenanigans any more. She replied that the sign was that I survived the heart attack. I am not particularly fond of the presence of those who have departed, but I am terrified of my wife’s ability to conjour up near fatal maladies.

Two of my daughters, one of my sons, and my wife are all terrified of being sick, or becoming ill. Nosemaphobics, all of them. They are petrified of vomiting, not being able to breathe when their noses are stuffed up, and even being in hospitals, lest they catch some viral concoction from patient zero.

It is a tough road to travel, one which I am forced to mostly travel on my own, due to the array of complex fears living deep within the psyches of my family members. I often wonder if the old adage ‘There is nothing to fear, but fear itself’ was ever raised at a general meeting of Phobics Anonymous. Not that it would have made any difference. My family embraces their fear, holds on to it, and runs away screaming and shrieking whenever possible, while I fend off the mice, and ghosts, and monsters, and clowns, and a myriad of viral entities.