In the bathtub at 4AM. I hear a horrible groaning drawing near, as if from a wounded yeti. I grab the loofah on a stick to use as a weapon. It’s just Frank.
Me: What’s wrong, baby? You sound awful.
Frank: My back is acting up again. I’ve got to get some of this weight off.
Me: Me, too. My heel spurs have been killing me lately.
Frank: What are you doing up?
Me: Gallbladder attack. I had to drink some Apple Cider Vinegar. And, you?
Frank: Acid Reflex.
Frank: Whatever. I woke up on fire.
Me: From now on no pizza after 9pm.
Frank: I know. This shit is unbearable.
Me: You want some warm milk?
Frank: No, I better go back to bed. I’ve to get up early, and you know if I don’t get eight hours I’m not worth a crap.
Me: See you in a little while. Frank…
Frank: (turning back with a moan): Yeah.
Me: Can I ask you something?
Me: When did we get so fucking old?
I am the proud owner of the most expensive home movie ever made. It cost somewhere in the realm of $75,000 to create. It is an autobiographical account of my life living with five gay men in the early nineties in Lexington entitled Passion Fruits. And this is the abbreviated story of its making.
New York City, 1996. Hillary is testifying about The Whitewater Scandal Alanis Morrissette is going platinum misusing the word “ironic.” Dolly the Sheep is getting cloned. And, I am working as an elf at Macy’s, and pursuing a career in acting.
I fall in lust with a fellow elf named Roger. We spend a glorious night together. He informs me the next morning, before the indention is even out of the pillow, that he is moving that week to Florida to play Indiana Jones in the Temple of Doom ride at Disney. I am heartbroken. The next day, the city gets a giant snowstorm. I have a meeting with a high profile talent manager. It’s my big break. Superstardom, here I come. On the way to the appointment, I fall into a snowdrift, ripping the slit in my skirt up to my waist and clunking my head on a fire hydrant. I decide I am not going to leave the apartment again until spring. So, I spend the next three months writing. The result is a play called “Me and the Boys.” After a workshop reading, one of the actors says, “This just seems more like a film to me.” I mention this to a friend, who just happens to have made millions as a broker.
He asks, “How much do you need?”
I, in a state of complete naivety, blurt out, “$100,000.”
He says, “That’s doable.”
Flash forward to the next spring. I, somehow, without knowing anything about how to make a movie…seriously, the only knowledge I had came from two paperback books with titles like, “The Idiot’s Guide to Filmmaking” and “Any Dummy Can Make a Movie.”
I’ll never forget meeting with a potential director.
He asked, “8, 16, or Super 16?”
“Why super, of course.”
I had no idea he was talking about film types. I just picked “super” because Fabulous 16 wasn’t an option.
Despite my ignorance, I found myself with a cast, crew, locations, and half of the funding. We started filming in April of 1998. Much to the dismay of my disciplined, talented and movie-minded crew, I (and many of the cast) stayed drunk for the entire process. For the sake of authenticity and alcohol-adoration, the hooch was never some Kool-Aid prop, it was always 80 proof.
When Lee Cruise came to the set for his “Sunrise” show, one of the production assistants, in an attempt to make us seem legit offered to bring coffee.
She, in her most professional voice asked, “How would you like yours, Miss Ison?”
“Just make it like you always do.”
“So, with cream, one sugar, and two shots of bourbon?”
On AIR. True Story.
We miraculously finished the filming, and moved on to the editing stage. However, when we were about a week away from wrapping things up, I found that our primary investor had been busted for insider trading or some white collar crime equivalent. There would be no more money. I heard the rest of the cash traveled along with him to Mexico where he fled to escape charges. I drained my bank accounts to pay off the actors and others. And, exhausted, dehydrated, and broke, I gave up. Passion Fruits has remained in the vault for the last fifteen years. But, thanks to the Lexington Film League, on Sunday December 2 at 6PM at The Bar Complex, Passion Fruits will receive a long-overdue screening.
Salacious Side note: I had a torrid affair with a cast mate. I was newly married. It was a debaucherous debacle . To find out who the unlucky man…or woman…was come to the screening, and I’ll reveal all the gory details during the Q&A.
I feel God in pink faux fur,
I hear God in a black cat's purr,
And in the Ramone's played real loud,
But I don't see God in Turin's shroud.
I taste God in chocolate mousse,
I know God through Dr. Seuss,
I see God in the prostitutes painted by Toulouse,
And I hear God when my purple corduroys go "whoosh"...
between my inner thighs.
Note to self: Lay off of chocolate mousse.
I feel God between flannel sheets,
I hear God in the words of Keats,
And Truman Capote and even David Sedaris,
But not in Dorothy Parker.
I see God in Lois Armstrong's smile,
God is woven into woolen argyle,
And God appears in "The Green Mile,"
But, not on the pages of InStyle.
I taste God in top shelf bourbon,
Sometimes God wears a turban,
or a burkha...or a boa,
or a sarong from Samoa.
God wears leather chaps when in the right mood,
but mostly God goes completely nude
Except for a tattoo of Winnie the Pooh.
I see God clearest in a barren tree against a winter sky.
I hear God loudest in my lover's sigh.
I smell God sweetest in Doc Grizzly's hot, happy breath.
I feel God deepest when I dream of my own death.
I taste God mostess in snacks by Hostess.
And like God, the Twinkie is immortal.
Yellow sponge cake and cream filling never dies.
With all this God, my joy multiplies...
like Gremlins who've been watered after midnight.
Note to self: Ask Santa for one of those gremlin-looking Pygmy Tarsiers.
My God has kept me safe and warm,
Even when the eye of the storm spun so close that it blew my skirt up over my head.
Note to self: Don't wear lace thongs in a hurricane.
The name God is too generic,
For the noisy, smelly, tasty Technicolor deity that's had my back all these years.
The cosmic disco ball that tosses twinkling truth across the universe and fills each atom, With a Rock Lobster rhythm...
I want to know his...her...its real name.
The name embroidered on God's bath towels.
The name that the angel's make fun of behind God's back.
The name eternity cries out when it and God make love.
I prayed to God and asked for the answer, and God told me to Google it.
"You're funny," I said.
God said, "I know."
"So, what is your name?" I said.
God said, "My name's Donna."
"That's my name," I said.
And God said, "Exactly."
Rewind to 14 years ago. I am at a raging house party…well, of course I am. Where else would I be? I bend down to wipe up a drink that I’ve spilled and looking through the sliding glass door is the cutest face with the longest whiskers that I’ve ever seen. The face is attached to a fat little body wearing what looks to be a fur tuxedo.
Me: (to no one in particular) That is the most adorable frickin’ kitten in the whole world. I want him.
The Hostess’ Husband: (from somewhere in the crowd) You want him? He’s yours.
The next morning I awake near the same spot where I have first seen the kitten. I stumble bleary-eyed to my car, turn on the ignition, and start to drive away. A tapping on the window stops me. I roll it down. The hostess' husband thrusts a black and white yowling furball through, drops it in my lap, and says, “No take backs.”
And, so began my decade and a half relationship with the cat who came to be known as Master Boris Mulrooney Magooney Malooney...Boris, for short.
Today, after a long bout with diabetes, it was time to let Boris go. Of course, the whole ordeal involved tears and guilt and questions of, “Am I doing the right thing?” and “How can I be sure this was the right time?” But in the end, one moment stands out that will forever fill this day with more joy than regret.
We went to Dr. M, who was Frank’s regular veterinarian, not mine. The man had never before seen Boris. He was reassuring about the fact that Boris was indeed in a state of physical decline that was unstoppable. Throughout the process, Dr. M told us what to expect and explained every procedure. He also truly made us feel like he empathized with the loss we were experiencing. But it was not until after Dr. M finally searched for a heartbeat with no success that I understood just how blessed we were to have come to this man.
After he declared to us that Boris had passed, he became serenely silent. For a minute, Dr. M just gently stroked our cat's still chest, then he slowly knelt, kissed him on the head, and said, “I’m sorry, Boris. I'm so sorry, buddy. Go in peace.”
I knew this was not an act for us. This was a genuine response from a man who had chosen his vocation out of a deep-felt respect and love of animals. I recognized this as a ritual, probably performed on numerous pets throughout the years, to honor their life and his presence at their death. It was one of the most beautiful and authentic moments I have ever experienced, and I will be forever grateful.
As for Boris, I believe that now he stalks fat, slow mice in fields of gold and drinks cream from the bowls of angels.
Right now my life is a study in chaos. I am sitting here staring at a wine-stained, torn-in-two paper towel that contains my list of “Life Priorities.” Among them are: find health insurance, euthanize Boris, and blog. So, in order to fulfill at least one of them today I am writing this entry, though I have no fricking clue about what. So, here goes my stream of consciousness rant. I miss the days of Meatloaf Monday. I am referring to the ketchup-slathered protein, not the singer. Though I do love both. I recently did a kickass karaoke rendition of “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.” That song is hard to sing, especially that section in the middle with the baseball announcer. Now, it’s not as hard as “End of the World” by REM or “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies…those two are impossible, especially if you’ve had a drink or five…I need a drink.
I also need a pair of snow boots. I hope it doesn’t snow much this year. However, watching the snow fall on the water would be beautimoose. I wish I had a moose. Seriously, a moose I could ride. How badass would that be? Riding a moose. Whenever I rode my moose I’d wear one of those red fox hunting jackets and jodphurs or maybe a whole fringed cowgirl outfit, cause it would just be lame not have an apropos ensemble. If not a moose, I'd have a buffalo. I had buffalo jerkey once. It was tasty. When I go on my carb cycling diet, I’ll eat more jerky. I’m hungry. But, not for Tater Tots. Call me a fascist, but I have decided I hate Tater Tots. I also hate Shelly Long, that actress from Cheers, and the color purple (both the hue and the film with Whoopie Goldberg). I am not fond of cartoons either, especially claymation, which scares the shit of me. When I was a child, “The Little Drummer Boy” was nightmare fuel. That kid and his animal pals were creepy. Damn, Christmas is only a month and a half away. Christmas is my favorite. I love it all—the lights, the sprinkle-covered cookies, the music…I seriously could listen to “Last Christmas” by Wham on a continuous loop…I like the Cascada version too. And on that note, I need to watch that video. Be right back...or you could watch it with me...come on, Click HERE! Wonder if I could pull off a white off-the-shoulder sweater and pirate boots and nothing else? Probably, not. Where was I? Oh yeah, I love Christmas, the variety specials, trimming the tree, eggnog… but, not as much as Frank. No one loves eggnog as much as Frank. He drank a whole carton yesterday in the car between the lake and here…a WHOLE carton. It’s already his sixth of the year.
When I was an elf at Macy’s, my name was Eggnog. That was a cool job. Fuck, I have gone and quit my job. Come January, I have NO job. I need a drink. I need a drink and some semblance of security. I need Meatloaf Monday. You know, or Taco Tuesday. Just a life with some sense of schedule and normalcy and wholesome predictability. A life not packed into Rubbermaid bins. Do you know the third most popular use for Rubbermaid bins? Hiding human remains. The fourth is for burying pets. Note to self, before tomorrow’s super sad veterinary appointment, get a bin for Boris. I can’t stop listening to this song… “I’ll give it to someone special.” I need a drink.
Have you ever noticed how some of the best insults consist of just the word douche with another random word added on? And, the beauty is they don’t even have to make sense to be effective. Here are some examples that I came up with in the shower this morning.
douche berry, douche poodle, douche tureen, douche monkey, douche buggy, douche basket, douche blister, douchezilla, douche grenade, douche willow, douche bank, douche loaf, douche cloud, douche pocket, douche mouth, douche fruit, douche bowl, douche boot, douche master, douche coaster, douche monger, douchenstein, douche balloon, douche-a-rama, douche muffin, and douche quake.
So on this lovely Election Day, enjoy the douche parade.
So, last night I took the dogs on an impromptu play date. As usual, Doc Grizzly was charming, laid back, and polite, and Rufus was…well…Rufus. This is why I will take this time to apologize to Sophie, the adorable Schnauzer that was terrorized by my Tyranarufus Rex. He doesn’t mean to be bad. Rufus is loving and well-meaning, but loud, rowdy, and could break an anvil. Like Daddy, Like Doggy.
When we first arrived at their house, I had to warn poor Travis to grab all of the candles before Rufus took them out with his tail of fury and burned the place down. While we were removing all fire hazards, Rufus discovered Sophie’s toy box. He proceeded to remove all of her beloved stuffed squeakies while she stood by, horrified, with Doc trying to distract and comfort her. After slobbering on the whole lot, Rufus finally settled on a purple rabbit. He then proceeded to trot room to room, like one of Barker’s Beauties, to show his invisible audience what he had procured. When I told him it wasn’t his, he dropped to the ground and ripped its ear off, then looked at me like “It’s broken. She won’t want it now.” Last week, in a similar incident, I caught Frank absconding to the sun room with the bowl of Trick or Treat candy. Before I could scream, “That’s not for you,” he had ripped the wrappers on three bars. “But they’re opened. We can’t give away opened candy." Like Daddy, Like Doggy.
When we were leaving, Rufus decided he was just going to nonchalantly stroll out with his new bunny bestie still in his mouth.
“Rufus, look at me. Is that yours?”
Duck, sheepish expression, avoid eye contact, just keep moving toward the door.
“Rufus, look at me.”
Eyes dart all around the room, ceiling, floor, everywhere but toward me.
“Rufus, this doesn’t work for your father, and it won’t work for you. Now, look at me. Is that your bunny? No. Drop that rabbit!”
Pitiful, put-upon, poor poor puppy. Mean, mean Mommy. Big brown eyes. So…sigh…sad.
“Travis, can he keep the bunny? I’ll buy Sophie another one. Stop gloating, beast, let’s go to the car.”
Triumph. Bliss. She may act like a badass, but she can’t turn me down or tell me no. She loves me too much. I win. I win. Wag. Pant. I win.
Like Doggy, Like Daddy.
Sharing All I KNOW about the fine art of voluptuating. here's to living the lush life.