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Thorn

Sits on a rustic bench at a simple wooden dinner table, in a rather dimly lit kitchen/dining area at night.Prosperoís Speech by Loreena McKennitt is playing in the background, seemingly from a large stereo down the hallway.The music is not loud enough for the audience to notice that the short song is on a loop.We see that the light is coming from a hurricane lamp on the table.The scene then switches to the bathroom.

 

Rosie

Is taking a steamy shower, and begins to sing along with the song.

 

Thorn

At first staring off into space, breathes a very quick, quiet sigh, then rises and wanders over to the counter.He looks at the objects, there, and carefully but playfully picks up a red polyethylene ketchup squeeze-bottle in his left hand and a white rubber-bladed cake spatula in the other.He then begins to crouch, moving toward the bathroom, stabbing at the air with the spatula and holding the bottle as if preparing to shoot a stream of ketchup.The scene shifts back to inside the bathroom.Hey, is it okay if I come in there just a sec and grab something?

 

Rosie

(Descending a bit from her shower reverie)Mm?I guess!

 

Thorn

Is seen fuzzily through the matte clear shower curtain, as the door slowly opens.He stalkingly approaches Rosie whose is facing 120 degrees away from the door.He is no longer holding the items from the kitchen, but reaches into the shower and, with a low chortle, tickles Rosieís back near the bottom rib, then gracefully makes a quick exit.As he goes back to the kitchen, he laughs a quiet, gnomish He-he-he...

 

Rosie

Seems mildly flabbergasted, mouth open with only an animal-like snort or two.Then smiles as if musing on some mischievous revenge.The scene then seems to close, temporarily, as if to suggest the passage of time.

 

Thorn

Comes out of the shower, dry body, wet hair, in briefs. Rosie sneaks up and gives him a wedgie and then a surprisingly mature, gentle pinch. He jumps a bit and says, What's your problem?

 

Rosie

Places her thumb under her chin and her forefinger against her nose, occasionally tapping it in a noticeably contemplative manner. Silence for a moment, then, A friend of mine told me that most boys as cute as you smell like night blooming jasmine, down there; at least; when theyíre clean.She then inhales briskly through the nose, flares her nostrils and bats her eyes in a deeply focused and placidly lustful manner, as if about to quietly chuckle in gentle torment.

 

Thorn

Well, thatís really deep!Who told you that, your old maid aunt?

 

Rosie

Smiling with tongue pointed out in a somewhat triumphantly taunting grimace:No, your old bachelor uncle:the one with the cabin in the woods!

 

Thorn

Looks downward at about a 45-degree angle.He slowly draws in a breath, then as slowly releases it, through the nose, as if to control a deep exasperation.He is motionless, for a little while, except for knitting movements of the eyebrows and pursing of the lips, as if searching his imagination for an appropriate retort.He then smiles very widely (almost fiendishly), as his eyes open with confidence of a clever idea.He then goes over to Rosieís chest of drawers and begins opening them and browsing through them in a rather staged-looking perusal.

 

Rosie

So, what are you doing?

 

Thorn

I wanted to be able to tell the guys that I got into your drawers!

 

Rosie

What are you looking for, my crystal ball?

 

Thorn

No, your Hogwartís diploma.I figure that itíll be rolled up inside your pointy black hat!He continues to browse through the clothes, though in an unfocused manner, as if to imply an apology for doing something impolite.His hands begin to slow down, as if he were trying to prevent them from trembling.He closes his eyes as if to conceal something sorrowful descending upon him.

 

Rosie

Okay; what are you really looking for?She walks out of the room, for a moment, and returns with a white bathrobe, embroidered with a fleur de lis hotel logo.

 

Thorn

I was just wondering if youíre nice to me because youíre considering me for a mate, or if youíve got some herbal gerbil that you want to sell door-to-door in Sausalito, and think Iíd come in handy.

 

Rosie

Places the robe around Thornís shoulders, and grasps them in a motion for him to rise.You mean youíve got a tender heart to go with those brass balls of yours?Your Dad wasnít around to teach you how to be an asshole, so you need a non-threatening female?After he gets up, she puts a hand on his shoulder, and guides him over to the bed.She glides her hand down his arm until she can grasp his, then sits beside him.He looks at her in a somewhat puppy-dog fashion, closes his eyes, and slowly rests his head on her shoulder.She looks back across the room at the chest of drawers.She then smiles as if sheís thought of something else to goad him with.With a hint of wickedness, she says, The Japanese comic books are in the bottom drawer!

 

Thorn

Opens eyes suddenly, then shifts them from side to side.Aha! Hard evidence!

 

Rosie

Tilts her head and gaze very slowly downward toward Thorn.Then she sneakily reaches down so that she can lift up part of the robe for an inspection.With a smile of confirmation, she says slowly and from the back of her throat, Aw huh...Then, with a sudden single motion, she sits up on one knee, puts the foot of her other leg on the floor, takes Thornís ankle in her hand, and hoists it up over his shoulder onto hers.Then, she lunges forward, throwing most of her weight onto him and says, Now, hand it over!

 

Thorn

The viewer cannot see who does it, but someone turns off the lamp on the nightstand.The light coming from other sources is dim, but general outlines are visible.After a long moment, we hear the whirring of a small electric motor.Aaahh!What the hell is that!

 

Rosie

(Laughing with hearty self-satisfaction):Calm down.Canít you take a joke?

 

Thorn

(Rattled but not angry):No, not one thatís bigger than I am!Besides, if you wanted me to be down with your sense of funny on this one, Iím about six shots of tequila shy.Then, more calmly:If you want to go all samurai romance on me, I get to be Riku, and you can be Sora.He touches his nose to hers.

 

Rosie

Chuckles until she has enjoyed the exchange, then:Thatís my ambiguously straight Thorn!

 

Thorn

Why do you call me that?

 

††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Rosie
Because I donít get the feeling that youíd do something cowardly just to impress me.

 

Thorn

Iím glad you donít think of me as some kind of messed up kid.

 

Rosie

Iím not too worried about messed up kids, except maybe the ones who think theyíre not because they took some short cuts.

 

Thorn

Have you been watching too much Oprah?

 

Rosie

Not really.I just think I notice some things about guys that most of them donít.

 

Thorn

You mean how most of us feel safer acting like a prick than trying to understand ourselves?I mean, it usually works better in an iffy situation, especially where females are involved.

 

Rosie

Yeah, I know.But in the end, those guys may get over, but they never become anyoneís hero, unless you live in Iraq or somewhere.O.J.ís girl friend might disagree, but I donít care.

 

Thorn

If Iíd decide I want to be your hero, I might ask you some things; well, a lot of things.But, you know Iím probably going to want to handle most of Ďem my way.Even if I started to feel like I couldnít live without you, Iíd need you respect me enough to understand... even if we turned out to be Father Earth and Mother Sky...

 

Rosie

You took Mythology, too?

 

Thorn

Well, if you call reading around in alternative religion websites that.

 

Rosie

Father Earth and Mother Sky are Egyptian gods, but Riku is Japanese for land and Sora means sky.Iím impressed.It reminds me of something an Egyptian friend once told me, that the men in her country were not too into talking about love, but pretty good at showing it.

 

Thorn

(Singing from the Peter Gabriel song):Sing through the land, land sings through me/ sky blue, sky blue...

 

Rosie

Looks down at Thornís face.The light has now adjusted to show her features more clearly.Her eyes are as full of tears as they can be without allowing a stream to fall.In India, the girls pray to Lord Shiva to send them the right man.Pause. What a responsibility that must be, to believe a prayer like that can really be answered, huh?

 

Thorn

Maybe not.Shiva is the destroyer.All a husband can honestly guarantee is that heíll make a complete shambles out of his life, and then die.He grins and opens his eyes widely, as if to suggest a bit of divine madness and ironic comedy, then begins to guffaw with quiet laughter.

 

Rosie

Closes her eyes.Smiling, slowly and rather dramatically slides downward and to the floor.She stands at the foot of the bed and holds her hands in a salute:Youíve got the stuff, Man!Then, she walks backwards, cheeks wet but still smiling, out of the room.

 

Thorn

Comes into the den where Rosie is lying on the couch.He lifts her feet, sits down, and puts them into his lap.You know, just because you get drunk enough one time to let some guy...(silent stammer)...go down on you doesnít make you aÖdedicated follower of fashion.

 

Rosie

I know.Did I ask you for the "low down" on your "down low"?

 

Thorn

Looks a bit wounded and misunderstood.Starts to get up.

 

Rosie

Iím sorry, Iím sorry!I didnít mean to be harsh.

 

Thorn

How come I get the feeling that Iím going to be painting your toenails in order to prove my masculinity?Isnít that an oxymoron?

 

Rosie

Mm...Because you think so highly of yourself?Pause.Thatís okay.I think highly of you, too.Pause.Then, in a more throaty tone, Is there some reason I shouldnít?

 

Thorn

Well, thereís the time I came home to find a couple of squad cars pulled up in front of my next-door neighborís house.My friendís mom had totally freaked over a threatening post card that came in the mail, that day.

 

Rosie

I donít mean to raise too many taxing questions.Giggles in a friendly fashion.

 

Thorn

It had a stick figure kind of reaching out like this (demonstrates by stretching arms upward and outward, cocking head to side, and making a goofy face), and it said in crayon, "IíM NOT DEAD".

 

Rosie

So, whereíd it come from?(Seems very amused.)

 

Thorn

Looks down, folds hands together in a manly way, smiles, then peeks from under his brows with a beaming blend of guilt and innocence, hair dangling in front of eyes.Thornís expression seems at once both self-validating and yet searching for support.After a long moment, the smile tightens into a frustrated frown.

 

Rosie

Well, at least, when youíre the instigator, we laugh with you, not at you, if we laugh at all.Whatís the matter?

Thorn

Thereís a pair of headlights coming up the driveway.

 

Rosie

Gets up with a start, but doesnít exit.She then pulls up her nightshirt and tugs it down over Thorn, forcing his face against her chest.She kisses the top of his head through the cloth and then raises the shirt again, releasing him.Iíll be thinking highly of you.Runs back to her room.

 

Thorn

Seems noticeably stressed.(In a low voice to himself):Did I just get fucked?Then, he unfolds a blanket that was lying on the couch, throws it over himself, and nestles into the pillow.Begins to play possum, as sound of approaching car grows louder.The listener can faintly detect that Thornís breathing is touched by a depressed labor.

 

Rosie

Itís good to be the smart ass, or in his case, the cute ass.Smiles.

 

Thorn

The music has stopped.The sources of light in the room have changed.Thornís sleepy face and posture on the couch have shifted to suggest that it is some time later.A cell phone begins a muffled ring to the tune of The Addams Family.He reaches into a backpack set close by and pulls out the phone.Hello?

 

Rosie

YĎ know, some folks think trying to butter your bread on both sides is a good way to let life slip through your fingers.

 

Thorn

Pause.Searches for a focus to his thought.Seems to fight an impulse to roll his eyes.Yeah, John Rechy called them ďfascistsď, even though he was totally gay.But, anyway, none of them better lay a finger on my Butterfinger.Pause.So, why the interest?You looking for a guy who talks fancy like Randy Harrison and has no pointy plan with the babes?

 

Rosie

OohÖa book-reading boy.That makes my nipples hard.Well, my right one, anyway.

 

Thorn

Would I be flattering myself if I got the impression you have an idea to put me one of those posters of the latest Corvette, lying down naked on the hood?

 

Rosie

Thatís a pretty hot idea; but I kind of prefer your poster-boy-for-Covenant House look.

 

Thorn

If anybody elseíd said that, Iíd have thought they were aiming to hurt me.

 

Rosie

I guess a lot of it has to do with aim.But, if youĎre playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey, itĎs best to keep your eyes open unless youĎre the one wandering around blindfolded with the pin.

 

Thorn

So, if youíre just shooting in the dark when it comes to sweet talk, youíd probably better be playing with a paper jackass instead of a real live one, so you donít get the sugar kicked out of you, right?But youíre the smart ass.I mean, you could probably even sit on a jellybean and tell me what flavor it was; and Iíd probably swallow it, but I wonít urge you to start passing them around.

 

Rosie

Thorn, I donít want to get you too upset.I suppose I sound like Iím trying to see how much of you is Harry Pothead and how much might be Harry Poofter, but I have to tell you that it doesnít matter, because I like them both.

 

Thorn

Well, if I were a billy goat you were going to bring me home from the SPCA, you wouldnít want to vivisect me, would you?Well, Iím not going to go get an axial scan of my preoptic hypothalamus, because my curiosity doesnít work that way.

 

Rosie

Wow.Iím unmasked as your future ex-court jester, huh?

 

Thorn

Iím sorry.Itís your castle, princess.Maybe I just want to be in the doghouse with you so that Iíll at least feel that Iím welcome on the grounds.If I can be this up front with myself and with you about it, I guess I can feel like Iíve achieved some pathetic level of security.But, I donít know if my answers are the right ones.I am starting to feel like, with the probing youíve been doing, Iíd rather take my chances with your oversized joy buzzer.Where did you get that thing, anyway?Donít you have to be grown up before theyíll sell you one of those?

 

Rosie

Well, I didnít actually steal it, but, there has to have been someone a few minutes later who said, "Help, Iíve fallen on Bourbon Street and I canít find the sex toys I just bought!"Thorn, are you homophobic?

 

Thorn

Why does everybody always want to bring fear into a question of taste?Some people donít like to get into airplanes, so their friends go, "Oh, you have a fear of flying!"The truth is, itís really about the crashing that makes you think twice.

 

Rosie

So, you wanna crash in here?

 

Thorn

Oh, are you ready for a shotgun wedding?

 

Rosie

Thorn, how come there are so few homosexuals in the Appalachians?

 

Thorn

Iím guessing because shotgun weddings work a bit differently if youíre gay, right?

 

Rosie

Yeah, but since Iím a girlÖoh, who am I kidding?Sometimes, safe sex is just a matter of who finds out.

 

Thorn

Gets up and goes into RosieĎs room.Rosie, I have a theory.

 

Rosie

Yes?

 

Thorn

On days when I feel that I havenít given you any reason to be unhappy with me, all kinds of people give me this look like Iím someone important and beautiful, especially if theyíre the kind with that clean, aware look in their eyes.

 

Rosie

I have a similar theory.I look at guys, and they always seem to fall into two categories:Thorn and not-Thorn.

 

Thorn

Youíre trying to get me killed, huh?Slides into the bed.Oh well, what a way to go!

 

Rosie

Are we in love?

 

Thorn

Takes her hand, closes his eyes.Mr. Pointy thinks so.

 

Rosie

Places her ear to his chest.What about Mr. Thumpy?

 

Thorn

Begins to look a bit glazed.What does he say?His eyes slowly close.

 

Rosie

He seems to be wondering how well the lock on my door works.

 

Thorn

Uh, he seems to be doing the thinking for both of us.

 

Rosie

Pulls back a bit, takes him by the shoulder, and rolls him onto his side, facing away from her, then snuggles closely and possessively.Camera view shifts to the door.The knob turns and the door swings slowly open, revealing nothing but a pitch-dark doorway.As light adjusts, we see the silhouette of an old woman holding a shotgun.(Whispering):Think of something, quick!

 

Thorn

(Whispering):I canít!You go first!

 

Rosie

Hey, Thorn, how come the mob canít use gays?

 

Thorn

How come?

 

Rosie

Too many loose ends!

 

Thorn

Whatever, Baby!Give it to me big time with that groove thing of yours!When we get to Heaven, youíre the only angel I want to wake up and find in my end zone!

 

Rosie

(Looking toward the door):Ah, the tragedy of being male!While girls just want to have fun, boys desperately need to!

 

Thorn

(Looking toward the door with a manic grimace):Like she said!Continues with his forced grin until the silhouette lowers the gun.A series of gusty, unvoiced chuckles is heard from the figure in the doorway, whose shoulders jitter with the quiet laughter.The door then slowly closes.Silence for a long moment.Youíve got a good head on your shoulders.

 

Rosie

Wouldnít you like to find out?

 

Thorn

Well, maybe if you learn to control your nag reflex.

 

Rosie

You bitch!

 

Thorn

Quiet for a few breaths.†† Rosie, please, watch the heart:broken in several placesÖBuries face in pillow.

 

Rosie

Oh.Is that why you want to play "Doctor"?

 

Thorn

What would you prescribe, Dr. Schittersplitter?

 

Rosie

Gets up, goes over to the door.Locks it.He-he-he!

 

Thorn

Is lying on his stomach, face partially buried in the fluffy pillow, as if drawn in by some unusually comforting quality.His eyes are closed, but he opens one and looks back at Rosie.His eye widens in slight amazement as his brow rises.(Slowly, with a hint of awe or innocence:)As seen on TV?

 

Rosie

Showtime!

 

Thorn

Face rises a bit from the pillow.He breathes in with a bit of feigned horror.Eyes roll upward as if entranced, he gasps a bit more loudly as if pleasantly but genuinely shocked.Camera remains on Thornís arms and head.

 

Rosie

Thorn, you tell anyone about this, and you will see that gun, again.

 

Thorn

Yes, Maíam.Pause.Gasps again with an almost silent shriek.Camera view moves out window toward a dark but clear horizon with very visible stars.Love To Be Loved by Peter Gabriel begins to play.Scene fades to a very dark shade of rose.

 

Rosie

Scene reopens.She walks over to the closet with a Crown Royal bag that seems to contain her toy.She opens the door, and on the inside we see a near-life-sized poster of Elizabeth II.You know, Thorn, if your girlfriend KNOWS, thatís bisexual.If she doesnít know...

 

Thorn

So, whatíd you know?If youíre like my mom, not much.Sheís the kind of person who, if she thinks her son has tendencies, is more likely to start keeping track of the cucumbers in the fridge than the tranquilizers in the medicine cabinet.

 

Rosie

Looks down with a frown, perhaps a bit ashamed of her lack of compassion.She reaches back into the closet and pulls out a couple of long pillows, throws one to Thorn.She grasps hers tightly, steps over, and whacks him lightly over the head with it.So, tell me about your mom.

 

Thorn

One day I had a friend over who I think was gay.He wasnít sissy or anything, but he kind of had that overly handsome and optimistic thing going on.She came in and started chastising at will, as she normally does, and he appeared really offended for me.He got this amazed look on his face while she was going on and on.When sheíd run out of breath, he told her, (gleefully) "Go BACK to Hell!" Rolls eyes from side to side.

 

Rosie

I donít guess his visit lasted long.

 

Thorn

No, but it felt good to have someone take up for me, for a change.So, later, she starts in with, "You hate women!"So, I say, "I only hate women who remind me of YOU!"

 

Rosie

I bet that made her happy!Pause.Rosie pushes out her cheek a bit with a wiggle of the tongue, inside her mouth. So then you went to stay with friends for a while, right?Pause.So, do I remind you of her?

 

Thorn

Lurches dexterously forward and reaches his hand lightly around Rosieís waist, draws her close and touches his forehead to hers, then pulls back.Looks off, quizzically.Remind me of whom?Thornís smile looks forced, as if he were in some kind of pain.

 

Rosie

Whatís the matter, honey pud?

 

Thorn

Did guys suddenly start telling people whatís the matter?

 

Rosie

Okay.Iíll try my Miss Cleo powers.Closes her eyes.

 

Thorn

Miss Cleo was discredited.

 

Rosie

Shut up.I like her.Since when did card readers start guaranteeing their work?Like Lorne said on Angel, magic is annoyingly unreliable; especially when you go public with it.(Seems to concentrate.)I see you, like some other boys, carrying a cross, waiting to find that plug-in patch thatíll let you run your favorite old Windows 98 game on the new XP system.

 

Thorn

Well, at least it distinguishes me bit in a world of Elbonians who expect to be humored for reasons unknown except the rest of us like to make it home without getting pissed on.

 

Rosie

I think I get it, now.If your friends or family or anyone is sympathetic enough to ask you where it hurts, you feel patronized.

 

Thorn

Every man has weaknesses.The more people know about them, the more they can drag you down.It would be nice if trust were a thing other humans could honorably win from you, but if they try that, it usually turns out to be some kind of scam, or they have good intentions but theyíre skimpy on skill.

 

Rosie

So, they just grab for the nearest fuck and take their chances that things will work out, one more time, like Russian Roulette.

 

Thorn

Thatís not how I want to be, though.I want there to be some honor in my life, something that will outlive me.

 

Rosie

But a boy still needs love, so a girl has to be a mind reader.

 

Thorn

Well, I think every sane boy hopes to find someone who knows all there is to know about him, but wonít let it out into the street.If there were a miracle mate, she would be patient enough to wait until thereís an obvious way to lift her guy up.I mean, we always have to work around girlsí mood swings during their periods; or at any other surprise moment.

 

Rosie

Thatís pretty sharp.Maybe a little too sharp.So, what can we do?Find some way to read each otherís thoughts?Wouldnít you have to smooth out some of those rough edges for hocus pocus like that to work?Takes her pillow and begins to buff him like a shoe.

 

Thorn

Um, I guess that means a good guy would give his lady his trust, but that brings us back to uncertainty all over, again.

 

Rosie

So the only thing I can do to try to keep you on the straight and narrow is to just be my irresistible self?

 

Thorn

Shrugs.It might be too late.My will is so free; I donít even seem to have control over it.

 

Rosie

Then, weíre actually getting nowhere?

 

Thorn

We just came from somewhere.(Begins to intone like Groucho Marx:)And I hope we can go there, again!

 

Rosie

Oh, true love has no agenda, as such.

 

Thorn

A spiral agenda, maybe, not a linear one.

 

Rosie

If youíre so smart, why arenít you rich?Smiles.

 

Thorn

(Playfully:)If you were as smart as I am, youíd know!

 

Rosie

Muses for a bit, then, Now whoís the smart ass?

 

Thorn

Iíve been trying to get that trophy away from you, I suppose.

 

Rosie

I guess I should be happy youíre such a jerk; otherwise Iíd have a lot of competition.(In stagy male voice:)No, no one else may have you!She takes her pillow and begins a pretended smothering.

Thorn

After a pretense of struggling, goes limp and feigns unconsciousness.

 

Rosie

Gets up and returns with a red stocking of the kind hung from the mantel at Christmas, and fits it onto Thornís foot.

 

Thorn

Removes pillow from face.Iím afraid to ask what this means...

 

Rosie

I had done some praying to Santa Claus, you know, the patron god of pagan holidays disguised as Christian ones.I said, ďYou live at the North Pole, why donít you bring me one of those bipolar teddy bears down along when you come!Ē

 

Thorn

And since heís a pagan you figured heíd bring you one with all working parts, not like those neutered ones in the stores.

 

Rosie

Well, the mouth seems to work fine.

 

Thorn

Hey, if you want to be an ass-wipe, Iíve got a special ass-wiping tool, right here!Bats eyebrows.And mineís standard.

 

Rosie

I love you.

 

Thorn

I love you, too.Pause.Thereíll probably never be a worse time to say this, but, you know I donít need one of those women who always tells you how much she loves you and then shows you how much she doesnít, because, you know...(Covers face with pillow.)

 

Rosie

I know.You have a mother.

 

Thorn

I guess Iím not exactly doing my part if I want to be rescued from a life of sinful hitchhiking, huh?

 

Rosie

Eyes are slightly downcast.A look of thoughtfulness, then protective sympathy comes to her face.It has come to my knowledge that; in America, when parents tell a boy, "Itís my way or the highway," all roads generally lead to Hershey.Looks up, with an upset expression.

 

Thorn

I was starting to think Iím the only one who noticed.How did you?

 

Rosie

Iím exceptionally bright.Whatís your excuse?Bares teeth in wide, satirical smile.

 

Thorn

Doctors and lawyers always want to buy me booze and get me high so that Iíll be agreeable when they tell me all about how important they are.It expands my horizons.

 

Rosie

Is that all that gets expanded?

 

Thorn

Aw, thatís cold, Baby.Donít worry; Iím not hooked up with any serious creeps.

 

Rosie

But a guyís got to spin the old wheel of fortune, eh?

 

Thorn

I canít say all of my experiments turn out the way I want them to.I guess this time I should have thought more about the outcome than the fun of watching the chemicals in the test tube fizzle.

 

Rosie

I hear that just a few years ago, there was a whole underground world where bad boys could hide, in the care of dirty old men who sometimes werenít that dirty or old, if their parents kicked them out.

 

Thorn

That enchanted forest is a paved-over parking lot, now.You could take up with a fairly mellow sex offender whoíd never been caught, instead of being thrown into booty camp with a hardened bunch who had.

 

Rosie

What happened?

 

Thorn

Well, for hundreds of years, it seems, a lot of guys around the country were pretty easy about giving drifters a new home for a while.I guess that most of them werenít so much perverts as just lonely for a little brother or something.If you got into trouble on some minor shit, hitting the road Ďtil you hooked up with one of them was often a cooler option than "the cooler".

 

Rosie

A couple of my friends commented about that, that those men seem to have disappeared, almost overnight.

 

Thorn

Itís a lot like how you can leave your doors unlocked in a sleepy town, one day, then some troublemakers find their way in, and everything changes.Those guys are usually like the drifters, they can take or leave the sex, but if it comes down to trouble, they start locking their doors.

 

Rosie

Whatís gone down, then?Whatís the trouble?Are they finally starting to worry about getting sick?Twenty years ago, they didnít really have to, that much.

 

Thorn

That might be part of it, but itís more of a social crapola thing.Boys have often become wanderers because they went off in search of something they werenít quite sure of.Now, youíve got abandoned buildings in Los Angeles full of homeless kids who ran away with big plans of making it as TV stars.Thereís a difference between running off alone in search of yourself and running off alone just to grab a bigger slice of the pie.At least a James Dean type kid is looking somehow to deepen himself as an individual, and I think thatís something that the gods never really minded helping us with, when they could.

 

Rosie

So, the glitter of it all has started getting to people.Grab a rifle and be part of the big adventure."I want it all, and I want it now."But, how did this new confusion between fantasy and reality affect the Hershey bar highway?

 

Thorn

Some people standing up too tall for rights that others donít feel that they deserve, I guess.President Clinton thought that the armed forces should be a "donít ask, donít tell" arrangement.Nobody should get kicked out for cock smoking unless they make a big fuss like Corporal Klinger.Sounds fair to me.The family can be like that, too, though.

 

Rosie

Speaking slowly, searching carefully for her words:Especially a rich family or one from the country.Members tend to keep quiet about things that might rock the stability of their unit.But, with a tightening economy, working mothers, and the raising of children turned over more and more to Barney and other incarnations of Big Brother, the average family is losing its private formulas for success.You know, in the old country, family had deep roots.People took tribe and religion seriously because it helped hold society together and give its people support.Now it looks like a lot of families just wonder if what theyíre doing is getting them anywhere.We see some of the leftover pieces, from time to time, making noise on Jerry Springer.But, thatís about as much as you can find out in Civics class about this problem.Whatís the rest of the story?

 

Thorn

Squints, rubs chin, and looks pleased.You can tell a woman is on your side when her agreeableness sounds like somebody in a Plato dialogue.But, anyway, maybe itís that religion isnít fun, anymore.Maybe the Information Age makes some people insecure about what they grow up with, never challenging.But itís that same numb attitude that makes it so easy to embrace something else just as worthless.Being Baptist didnít get me the attention I wanted, so Iíll join Gay Liberation!You donít even have to get dressed up to get onto the internet.What could be more convenient?

 

Rosie

You donít have a lot of pity for the simple-minded, do you?So now I think Iíve heard enough to make a guess: raging hormones plus a lot of pep talk from strangers equals the new "out and proud" gay teenager.

 

Thorn

Well, the new "out of my house" gay teenager, anyway.Of course, a lot of these guys donít have the inspiration of a rebel who becomes one for other reasons than fitting in.

 

Rosie

In other words, "donít try this at home."

 

Thorn

Unless you want to join a project of gene pool cleansing.My friends tell me thereís a whole new breed of street kids who are little more than post-modern prostitutes.The old soft-core, smooth trade johns donít want anything to do with them, and there isnít as big a market for what they have to offer, which is sex with a stranger, then ripping him off.

 

Rosie

So the men who used to take in the troubled boys have been scared off by a new breed, like people who enjoy feeding wild doves, but one day finds theyíve all been replaced by sickly-looking pigeons.And, if you are a wild dove, the sanctuaries are suddenly overrun by flying poop machines.††

 

Thorn

If a guy in search of himself made some screw-up in the past, he could maybe make a break for it and end up part of someoneís life.Now thereís no net between the tightrope and the ground.

 

Rosie

This deepens my concern for you, but you may understand how it doesnít exactly make me feel more special.

 

Thorn

You think Iíd rather have a sugar daddy than another dove?His eyes begin to become glassy and wet.

 

Rosie

Boys like you should never leave the gene pool.Smiles with deep affection.A knock is heard at the door.Go away, no cause for alarm.Necking and petting going on, nothing else!Bye, now!

 

Thorn

You think our kids could find a cure for cancer?

 

Rosie

If we can keep them under the radar of people who freak because you talk at on 12th grade level, and youíre only in 12th grade.

 

Thorn

(In a Hindi accent:)We shall teach them wisdom!

 

Rosie

Looks puzzled, as if inviting more explanation.

 

Thorn

You can always tell what a nerd is into.

 

Rosie

Raises brows, makes an O with her mouth.A clever girl has things going on that donít always come oozing out.She can keep people guessing.

 

Thorn

But a clueless one can have ďthat talk about our relationshipĒ every night, and things only get worse.So, live by principles, or live by wits, but if you live by expectations, you usually end up living by ones borrowed from folks who couldnít make theirs work.

 

Rosie

Youíve painted a pretty cold picture of the world.I hope youíre in the mood to make up for it by keeping me warm.She flips the wall switch, and light level goes down to that of bedside table lamp.She then lies down next to Thorn, pulls up the covers, and snuggles close.Sweetie, what do you think about these men who like boys?

 

Thorn

Well, I like puppies, but not for a midnight snack!

 

Rosie

So, men arenít all the same?

 

Thorn

God, I hope not.Iím supposed to be one, soon.(Gestures dramatically in the air with hands and expressive finger movements:)It would really suck if that initiation consisted of being ritualistically led by tribal elders into a torch lit room, only to come face to face with one of those pods from Invasion of the Booty Snatchers.

 

Rosie

Youíve given this matter a great deal of thought.

 

Thorn

With your help, thank you.But it doesnít stay on my mind the way getting a decent income does.I donít want your family calling you a "hobo sexual".

 

Rosie

Pause.Whatís that?

 

Thorn

A girl whoís only attracted to bums!

 

Rosie

Pause, with suggestion of quiet laughter.Aw, I only have eyes for your bum.††† Reaches around and takes his hand from below, places her chin over his shoulder.So, Thorn, do you like boys?

 

Thorn

Itís so great how you always look for the common ground between us. (Snorts.)One day when I about five years old, I was watching MTV.My grandfather walked into the room, looked at all the long, flowing hair, and said, "Bunch oí queers!"This was my new word for the day, so later; I asked my mom what it meant.

 

Rosie

What did she say?

 

Thorn

"Thatís a boy who likes boys!"

 

Rosie

So, what did you say?

 

Thorn

"I like boys!"I thought sheíd explain, but she just told me that, no, I didnít.So, I said, "Yes, I do!"Pause.We just went on like that back and forth for a while until she left the room.

 

Rosie

I gotcha; little souls wandering around who want to become sons are going to look for fathers who can cherish them as they are, rather than someone who constantly has to be imitated for them to get fed.

 

Thorn

St. Paul said that, when he became a man, he put away childish things.I donít think that he would have made a very good father.A boy is definitely a childish thing.But, he never had kids. He made it his business to teach religion to young adults.

 

Rosie

So, men should like boys?

 

Thorn

Good men have always liked boys, and vice versa.They donít get too carried away with it, though.In the old days, if a man called you a prince, it meant that he wanted to place his sword at your disposal.Now, it just seems to mean he wants to place his wand in your disposal.

 

Rosie

Well, our culture is pretty superficial.Maybe if you keep sharing your wisdom with the world, youíll eventually find the knights whoíll rally to your cause.

 

Thorn

A band of Mary men?I can see it now, a bunch of gay Wiccans with me as their high priest, and we can all greet each other with "Mary meat!"

 

Rosie

Well, if thatís the best you can do.Just keep your feet on the ground and inspire them to do great things.

 

Thorn

Or, my heels on the mattress, eh?You want exclusive rights, huh?

 

Rosie

Damn right.I saw you first, anyway.Pause.But, Thorn, brotherly love is important to you, isnít it?Havenít you ever daydreamed of being swept off your feet by Superboy?

 

Thorn

Havenít you?Hasnít everyone with a heart?That doesnít mean I want to be manhandled in the middle of the night by some fellow with his own methadrine lab and who makes puppy chow out of real puppies.

 

Rosie

I see.So, what do you want?

 

Thorn

Raises his hands in front of him, makes a frame with L-shapes of the fingers, squints one eye, cocks his head to the side, and looks at Rosie.

 

Rosie

The only thing I can add to appearances is that Iím not out to get you; I mean like being cruel on purpose just to feel powerful and all that.I am out to make you my love slave, of course.Her expression stretches into a delightfully demented smile.

 

Thorn

Iím not calling in sick on you.Expression becomes a bit stoically downcast, as if mood has changed, decisively.

 

Rosie

Youíre going to get all quiet and inward, like Heero from Gundam Wing, now, arenít you?

 

Thorn

He always seems fond of his friendís really long pigtail.Maybe itís really the intestine of some slain enemy.

 

Rosie

Maybe it says something about having guts, even if you wear someone elseís, hanging from a coonskin cap?

 

Thorn

Or the guts to take it up the zook from your best friend?

 

Rosie

Well, theyíre fighter pilots.They face death every day.I guess in a world where you get drafted at age fifteen, youíre more aware of your need for love, especially if that world is so advanced that spaceships are easier to come by than adults.

 

Thorn

I guess in their world, isolation means an even quicker death.But itís clearer who the enemy is.In ours, doubt is everywhere.Thereís no room for it in theirs.

 

Rosie

Thereís no doubt that sticking together is the way to go, for them.

 

Thorn

I donít doubt the way to go, I just donít have a master plan of how to go about it.The wars they fight are on a clear front.The enemies of love seem to be everywhere.

 

Rosie

As long as they arenít inside of us, I think we stand a chance.

 

Thorn

Smiles as if experiencing an epiphany of sorts.Oh, were you thinking about digging them out of me, somehow?

 

Rosie

Am I driving you nuts with all of this?

 

Thorn

Itís cool, Cara Mia; if you read that I tried to hold up The Comedy Store with a banana, I wonít try to blame it all on bad girlfriending.Makes a crazy face.

 

Rosie

Okay, okay; I donít want the cops to find you.I can hear them now on the evening news:"Yeah, all we and the dogs had to do was follow the smell of grilled chicken to the home of Rosieís aunt!"

 

Thorn

Well, Iím probably done to tender perfection, now.Why not have another taste?

 

Rosie

Thorn, are you like me?

 

Thorn

Howís that?

 

Rosie

Bisexual.

 

Thorn

Remember when Madonna said that she was a gay man trapped in the body of a woman?I thought, "Oh, well, thatís pretty darned convenient!"Anyway, I guess Iíd have to describe myself as a lesbian.Camera zooms in on his left ear as he pushes the lobe forward with his forefinger.Two small earrings are situated there:both are shaped in the symbol of the planet Venus.

 

Rosie

Why?

 

Thorn

For one thing, because Iíve never actually done things to shame my family (in that area); for another because I feel that there has to be a Fortress of Solitude in a manís own mind.And, also because, if you let people get their foot in the door calling you that, behind your back theyíre going to go, "Oh, yeah, right, bisexual:he likes men AND boys!"

 

Rosie

Remember in junior high, when we thought that we could tell the gay boys because they always seemed like they were looking for somewhere to put their hands?Makes insecure-looking, limp-wrested gestures in the air.

 

Thorn

Yeah, and when we got to high school, we found out who the gay boys were because they always seemed to be looking for somewhere to put their hands!Bats his eyebrows at Rosie and makes spider-like gestures with his hands as they crawl affectionately up her arms.He rapidly taps one arm as if it were a musical keyboard.

 

Rosie

You can play me like a piano, huh?

 

Thorn

No, Baby.Truth is stranger than fiction.Iím being honest.Trouble is, Iím even honest with people who hate me.I keep trying to give them a piece of my mind so they can see what I think is a better way; and thatís a great way to get into hot water, whether youíre humble like Abel or haughty like Joseph.

 

Rosie

So, none of this is bullshit?

 

Thorn

In The Buddha of Suburbia, Bowie says, "Canít tell the bullshit from the lies."It made me think about the difference.At least bullshit can be a little sincere:I could be saving someone elseís feelings, or my own ass.With lies, though, you know youíre dealing with someone who doesnít want to be connected in a fair way; they just want to take what they can.If you let me have my own sacred space of silence, from time to time, I think Iíll never have to hand you any bullshit.

 

Rosie

Thatís a lot to ask of an American girl, you know.Even one with the heart-beatle-mania I have for you.

 

Thorn

I know, but Iím a fairly tenderhearted guy.

 

Rosie

Iíll give you that.Something tells me Iíd cramp your style if I asked you to wear a T-shirt that says, "Huggery, Not Buggery", though.

 

Thorn

No, thatís far too lame and sappy.How about one that says, "Hag Fag"?

 

Rosie

Thatís antisocial enough, I guess.Youíd probably need a Mohawk and a couple of nose rings to get away with wearing it, though.

 

Thorn

Places thumb and forefinger to bottom lip, arches brow, and looks upward, as if contemplating some rude escapade.

 

Rosie

All right; the persecution rests.Winks at Thorn.Reaches out with both hands, grasps him behind the head, and smooches him on the mouth.Reaches over and turns out table lamp.Some moments of darkness, then, the projection of a red light is seen sweeping the wall opposite the windows.Oh, shit:gentlemen callers; and something tells me that theyíre not here to invite us to Baba Bobís Hum Drum Meditation.