“Dude, what are we watching?”
“It’s supposed to be an interpretation of the Book of Genesis.”
“Where in the bible does it say God was homosexual, though?”
I looked at him and then back at the stage.
Ralph, Wendy, and I had been watching it twenty minutes not saying much of anything. Wendy was trying to put on a brave face but twisted in disgust when Adam began blowing Satan after he transformed from the snake to human form.
Ralph went from making the Transformers noise to almost yelling in surprise in ten seconds time.
Wendy’s friend, Allison, was playing the Virgin Mary. From the dialogue it would seem Jesus had to be immaculately conceived not because God didn’t want to stain Mary with impurity but because he was homosexual and therefore didn’t enjoy penetrating women in the first place.
The theater wasn’t filled to capacity but a few handfuls of patrons got up to leave between the moment Adam performed fellatio on Satan to a ritual never mentioned in the bible called “brukaka.” In the porn industry it will later have an actual term: straight to the ass.
By the shows conclusion out of the 1,000 people who were there for the start only 325 were there for the final curtain. I didn’t know whether to clap for the performance or for the fact that it was over, so I just sat there.
Scattered claps rang in sections of the theater; none of it sounded enthusiastic for the performance. Wendy led us backstage where Ralph and I finally met Allison. “Did you guys enjoy the show?” Ralph had no answer. In fact he looked to me for any verbal correspondence out of fear he might blurt something he would later regret.
“It certainly was… shocking. And provocative.” She beamed with an actress’ glee I only just recently became aware existed. So many undiscovered hopefuls auditioned for a part with stars in their eyes. I felt sorry for them.
Now even though the play was horrendous Allison was quite good. You need a lot of backbone to pull off a part such as this. I think we’ve found our lead actress. Finally.
As Allison baited Wendy for approval I gave Ralph a look. He knew the queue, which meant the only thing left to do was pitch the part. So I offered to take her out to dinner in celebration of a job well done, restaurant of her choice.
“Oh I don’t want to impose-” “Nonsense,” I waved a hand. “You deserve a little R&R. It was quite a performance.”
She blushed and said, “well, there’s an Applebee’s not too far away.”
A humble girl with low maintenance needs- Ralph better not sleep with her until after the movie is done.
The four of us walked the couple of blocks from the theater down 42nd street amongst tourists and patrons enjoying the fruits of New York nightlife.
The restaurant wasn’t crowded at all; we were seated almost immediately. Wendy ordered a seafood platter with a fruity drink I can’t pronounce. Ralph ordered a steak and mashed potatoes with a beer. That sounded better than the chicken-angel hair pasta I was about to order so I got that, just with a different beer. Ralph enjoyed Corona, I enjoy Bud Light. Allison ordered what I initially wanted but couldn’t order liquor like the rest of us- she’s only nineteen. That surprised me. Ralph’s eyes lit up. I had to do something so sacred to “the guy code” that risking a minor spat was inevitable- the kids call it cock block.
It was time to begin business talk anyway.
“So, Allison, how did a role such as tonight’s present itself?”
Sipping on her complimentary water she said “Like all parts- out of the blue. The flyer said they needed a dark haired, fair skinned girl to play the lead in an epic biblical biopic.”
“That’s a pretty vague description. What did your agent have to say about it?”
“I- don’t have one. Is that bad?” She shyly said.
Waving a hand I said “no, not at all. This is New York, agents take thirty percent of your money anyway, and we all know how high rent is.” A collective laugh as the waiter placed our orders in front of us.
Halfway through the meal I jumped out of small talk pertaining to Allison’s quest to work with Glen Close to her first step in getting her foot in the door- my movie.
She listened intently with those stars in her eyes again. I didn’t blame her. Truthfully, when I go to bed every night I still can’t believe I’m making a movie. It doesn’t seem real. You dream and hope and pray about it day and night for it to happen until the day it does and, well, you’re never prepared for it. Nor is the experience how you thought it would be.
So that’s what I told Allison before finalizing the offer. I wanted her to know that, yes, this is a wonderful opportunity but to not rely on it solely. That continuing to work on this…play, was a smart move.
Allison shook her eager head whilst accepting the offer; a below wage lead role in an independent film written and directed by two newbies. I looked at it from her perspective and could see the appeal. I would jump at the opportunity myself. I technically am just in a different context, when you think about it.
Dinner was over, Ralph was borderline drunk. Allison offered to share a cab with him. I gave him another look but with the liquor in his system I sent a text for good measure: do not attempt to sleep with this girl. He responded with a slurred version of “yea yea don’t worry buddy.” Thing is, I had plenty to worry about. Not because I didn’t trust Ralph; I did. I didn’t like work-related shenanigans.
“So,” Wendy said, walking up close to my side. I completely forgot she was still around.
“You and I have a conversation that requires finishing.” She said, doe eyed.
How long has she been waiting for an opening? From the expression on her face, I’d say all night. We went back inside but this time took a seat at the bar. Three drinks apiece in our system, then, “I’m correct in thinking what we had, could have been something special. Yes?”
“You are correct.”
“Was it something I did?”
Tread carefully, no matter what you say she will most likely not believe you. That’s according to Melina. And personal experience.
“No. I enjoyed spending time with you, but, how can I put this…”
“Just say how you feel. Or how you felt. It’s in the past.”
“You say that now but what I say may bring light to old feelings and you might want to cause bodily harm to me.”
“Did you cheat on me?”
“Then why would I hurt you?”
“Because as much as I enjoyed your company I didn’t need or want a girlfriend.”
She stammered a moment.
“So, wait, you’re telling me…what are you telling me? That you’re emotionally incapable of being in a relationship?”
“No I can be in one, and I’d like to be in one someday.”
“So I was a matter of inconvenience?”
“At the time, yes and no.”
“‘Yes and no?'”
“‘No’ because I did like you. ‘Yes’ because I didn’t want a relationship. They’re too distracting.”
“What was I distracting you from?”
“Nothing, but had I gotten too close I might have slipped from my goals.”
“So you prevented yourself from not letting me ‘hold you back’ even though I would never do that since I admired your dedication.”
“In a matter of speaking, yes.”
“So it is my fault we broke up.”
“No I take full responsibility for that.” “Yes, but now you make it seem as though I had pressured you into being in a relationship with me.”
“Were we in an actual relationship, though?”
“Did I ever say to you ‘will you be my girlfriend?'”
“So we’re twelve now?”
“Women want assurances right? With a direct question leading to a yes or no answer such as that you can’t get any more direct. I don’t think we were ever boyfriend and girlfriend.”
“So what were we?”
“Dating, unofficially. So in reality you have no reason to be mad since what we had wasn’t technically finalized.”
“Fuck you, Johnny.”
Here we go.
“I really liked you. I slept with you. I shared secrets with you. A woman doesn’t do that unless she wants to emotionally invest in a man for the long run. You were a man I thought I could be long-term with. Now that I know you didn’t even want a girlfriend, that I completely wasted my time and energy, you can just go-!”
How my lips found their way to her mouth still baffles me.
After a minute she separated from my lips, slapped me, threw my drink in my face (Mental Note: always order drinks straight up when revealing emotions to a woman in case drink ends up on face), and got up to leave.
I sat there a moment with the impulse to chase after her. Why, I have no idea.
My feet carried me towards the door and outside just in time to stop her from entering a cab.
Tears were welling in her eyes. I took her by the shoulders. She tried to thrash free. I kissed her again.
I didn’t know what I was doing, or why, but with each kiss I knew I felt something for her. But what do I feel for her…
“What are we doing?” Wendy said, breathlessly.
“I have no idea.”
“I still hate you, yet somehow…”
“Hey, you still want this cab lady?” The driver shouted from the front passenger window.
“Well, do I?” She stared up at me.
There was a twinkle in her eyes. I didn’t know what it meant. Her quivering lip wanted me to leave. Her body language wanted me in the cab with her. I didn’t know what I wanted.
She took my hand and led me into the seat next to her. What am I doing? I thought as the cab peeled away from the curb.