Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Making Whoopi on the Cross.

Then there was that night, many years ago, when desperate for a job, I applied to Porky's Sex Shop to be a sales assistant. Mickey P, the manager at that time, said he'd give me a try-out and if I sold a lot of sex-junk in one night I'd be in like Flynn. He was a programming wiz and while he plugged away at his computer, creating gay chatrooms for Arabs and flogging advertising on a flood of porn sites he'd commandeered, I stumbled red-faced amidst the plastic vaginas and blow-up dolls trying to encourage the tight-arsed trickle of punters into buying the trashy porn and sex-toys.

I was so embarrassed approaching giggling midget Asian girls with giant rabbit-eared dildos and big-bellied, drooling Euro-gronks with flavoured condoms, I mumbled, perspired and tripped over myself and scared the would-be orgiasm-junkies off, not selling a thing, not even the rubber dildos on bargain-basement sale that were piled in a mountainous heap and threatened to overwhelm the shop. Micky P, busy capturing gronks from various sordid chat-rooms into his own cyberspace domain without them quite realizing they'd been shanghaied, them buying shit they didn't want, was furious I hadn't made a buck here in the real world and refused to pay me for my hours of tongue-tied toil. He placated my annoyance with the offer of one of the cheap dildos on sale which I grudging swept up as I stomped out of the dump, shoving the noxious rubber dick deep into my pocket in an attempt to hide it.

I wandered up to the big traffic intersection and noticed a crowd of rubber-neckers corralled behind a roped-off walkway that led to the foyer of the Kings Cross Hotel. They were making such a loud hubbub I couldn't resist pushing my way to the front of the mob and stretching my neck out with the best of them. "What's going on?" I asked a young gay guy clutching onto the velvet rope. He turned and frowned at the sight of my craggy face then snipped through his nostrils, "Oh, some movie star is coming. They want to turn this part of the strip into Sydney's own 'Walkway of Fame', it's so exciting!"

He then promptly turned his back on me. The crowd pushed and shoved, threshed about and hullaballooed, craning necks and popping eyeballs. Fucking hell, it would have to be a resurrected Marilyn Monroe to get this kind of attention! I got squeezed up against the young gay guy and he must've felt the dildo in my pocket poke into his butt for he suddenly straightened up as if he'd had a kundalini rush, then glancing down at the inordinately large bulge in my pants, while the crowd heaved and swayed, he surreptitiously reached behind him and groped the hardened phallus, in the crush of bodies unable to divine it's artificial nature. In the meantime Security Guards on the roadway beat back the marauding crowd while a black limousine pulled into the kerb.

As the collective hysteria raged to a furor, the limousine's doors silently , slowly opened and two body-guards the size of Summo wrestlers leaped forth, reached into the back and dragged forth a diminutive figure, a little black woman with a vast pile of dreadlocks swaying from her head like Medusa's snakes. Whoopi Goldberg in the flesh, delivered like a sacrificial victim beneath the redlight of Kings Cross. Grinning in bewilderment, she was manhandled up the pathway, burly arms gripping her fiercely, hurtled along so that her feet barely touched the ground, the mob howling for her attention, grubby hands reaching out to grab a piece of her, the security guards thumping anyone who got close. The charismatic comic was heaved down the walkway and then flung to the ground just inside the foyer of the hotel where a block of wet cement was waiting for her. As she pressed her hands into the gray sludge she smiled into my face and quipped, "This sure aint Grauman's Chinese Theatre but what the heck!" While she carried on writing her name under the hand-prints the gay boy in front of me kept feeling me up, gripping my false proboscis with such fervor, massaging and tugging at it that bit by bit it slid up my trousers to finally pop out of the pocket and flop upon the ground.

The silly poof had at first a look of profound shock upon his mug, as if he'd amputated my pride and joy in his enthusiasm, but then contempt quickly took over as he espied the rubber object getting trampled under foot and sneering at me as if I'd planned the whole subterfuge to
get his attention, put his nose in the air and grappled his way through the crowd, never to look back. I grabbed up the loathsome tool to fling it after him but then another creative idea hit me. Dear Whoopi carried on, doing what was required of her celebrity, wet cement dripping all over her, she was heaved back to her feet and once more manhandled through the screaming crowd, dodging the outstretched claws trying to tear her to pieces and finally thrown into the safety of the limmo to make her escape.

While the whole crowd concentrated on her departure, security guards and hotel staff all rushing towards the limmo to beat back the baying mob, I saw my chance at a bit of mischief, for I was feeling despondent, unloved and unremarkable. I was standing very near the hotel entrance, right over the wet cement pavement and I realised I could still leave my mark, like some crazed fag Zorro and swiftly, in the blink of an eye, I slapped down the rubber dildo, right between the hand-prints, and then snuck it back into my pocket as I rushed away, nobody seeing a thing, Whoopi's hands looking as if they were reaching for dick, an apt symbolic artwork for the entrance to the Cross, if ever there was one.

As I stumbled back up the Cross I pondered long upon the nature of fame and celebrity, I suppose the money and kudos was what made it all worthwhile, but all that grappling and wrestling, not being able to walk under one's own steam, to not be free to do ordinary things like go to the shops or have privacy with a lover, every move and fart watched and commented upon, hmmmmm. Maybe there's something to be said for anonymity. I sighed with longing for something I'll never know, to be adored by the multitudes, special, like the best meal on a restaurant's menu, to be eaten alive, 7 Academy Awards wouldn't be enough, forget it! And so I disappeared into the night, the huge neon Coke-sign illuminating me with a red glow as if I were a fallen angel on the lam from hell.

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Spagbog in Melbourne.

I've just been thru one of life's supposed great crisis, what to do with one's ageing parents when they're fit for the glue factory, and so I haven't written for months, too stressed to take flight in the written word. I'd found myself back in Auz after a dream sojourn in India and decided to go to Melbourne for Christmas with family and friends, the first time in 12 years plus. It was on New Year's Eve, just when I was ready to celebrate, that I got the phone call telling me my mother had been found wandering miles from home, not knowing who or where she was, and I was asked to find her a nursing home pronto.

This flabbergasted me as I didn't have a clue as to where to put her or what paperwork to fill out. My control freak brother had been organising to get power-of-attorney over her, without informing me, and was close to finalising the paperwork for her affairs and so I didn't have to worry about the bureaucratic side of things too much but I had four sets of people henpecking me over the affair, the social worker and nurses at the Rosebud Hospital where she had been delivered, the Community Care Workers who had been on her case for the last few years, my brother and his interfering wife who thought they knew best, and my oldtime friends from my teenage years who all had advice and theories about the psychological machinations behind my mother losing her wits. Thus I was distracted and could hardly squeeze out a "happy new year" as we watched the fireworks over the Yarra River, me thinking of Goa and India and the trance parties I was missing out on.

One of my mates happened to be passing thru Melbourne, he'd ridden his pushbike all the way from Sydney, complaining of the great expense of staying in Motels on many nights, the cheapness of riding bikes as compared to flying by aeroplane defeated. He was putting up with one of his women friends in a squatted church on the edges of the city, and now she was asking him to split quick from her squat after only 2 days residence as she couldn't stand him any longer. I suggested he'd given her sexual vibes, him not having got his wick wet for 4 years, but he swore it wasn't the case, she was simply a bitch pothead anarchist and as such was not to be trusted.

"Melbourne's been a failure for me, I've got no friends except you, it's all a sad disappointment. I'm leaving early, going to Tasmania."
I tried to entertain him with my observations upon humanity, "I like reading the T-shirt designs people wear, you can tell from what they put on their chest what their philosophy and interests are, it gives you an instant clue."
"I don't wear T-shirt designs, I like anonymity, keep them guessing. Except of course for that one word I went and got printed up myself on a T-shirt in red plastic letters, "Spagbog", I like it cause it's meaningless, not some trendy design for wankers."
"Spagbog, ha ha ha! Yeah, it certainly sums you up."

So I'll call my mate Spagbog to avoid criminal prosecution as I try to give a quick portrait of him, one of the kookiest dudes I've ever met in my long life of dealing with freaks of all shapes and contortions. He's very tall, rake thin and dresses in lycra bike-tights and flowing t-shirts and with his bike helmet looks like an alien nerd from Planet Geek, he goes on shoplifting sprees dressed like this, standing out like a freak from outer-space, and somehow squeezes into the front of his tight lycra shorts half a department store's worth of consumer goods, all as his revenge against corporate capitalism.

He's always got some wild story to tell me, so far-fetched I don't know whether to believe him, except he's so kooky they could very well be true. He's got this crazy antipathy against t-shirts with Japanese rising sun designs and every time he sees a fool wearing one he attempts to rip it off the guy's back with a lecture about Japanese Imperialism. He says he saw one fuckwit down in the hick south coast town where he lives wearing a Nazi swastika and was so furious he challenged the fascist to a fight. They agreed to meet after sunset at the local football field and, before showing up, Spagbog took off his top and smeared his upper body all over with his own faeces and when the Nazi showed up with his gang for a fight he freaked out and wouldn't touch him and they all ran off, terrified of the madman. I thought it was a good trick tho extremely icky.

Then there was the story of his next door neighbours' yapping dog, he is a "cat" person and hates dogs, the mutt never stopped barking day or night and it drove him crazy, frothing with angst he planned his revenge. Sneaking over in the dead of the night he captured the little beastie and tried wrapping it in Gladwrap, the poor thing put up a furious fight and bit his hands, scratched and writhed about in it's struggle for existence but the unwinding Gladwrap was inexorable, mummifying it in plastic till it stopped breathing. He then unwrapped it and left it's inert body for it's owner to find and be mystified as to the cause of it's demise. I was horrified by this tale as I love dogs and all animals, the dear creatures are badly put upon by humanity, tortured, enslaved, torn apart for consumer products, I was crook on Spagbog for weeks tho he's such a confabulater, it was probably all bullshit.

He'd been cracked on the head by a falling iron pipe some years ago and probably had frontal-lobe damage which would explain his outlandish behaviour and misanthropic attitude. I've always had a soft-spot for freaks, I attract them like a circus ring-master and try to encourage them to join the human race regardless. He'd given me some comfort in my ongoing trauma over my mother's emotionless dementia so I wished him bon voyage as he sailed the seven seas looking for his kismet.

Back to my mother's predicament, I went down to Rosebud past the Mornington Peninsula to see what succour I could give her. Many suburbanites flock to Rosebud for the Christmas holidays and park their butts in tatty canvas tents in tea-tree scrub beside Port Phillip Bay, elbow to elbow right up to the edge of the highway, sucking in car exhaust and beer, desperate to be in a south seas paradise no doubt but barely surviving the urban sprawl of a big city. I found my mother staring into space in her hospital bed, lost to the world, but she instantly recognised me, like a mother hen knowing her own chick in a busy barnyard tho she seemed to know nothing else. She'd forgiven or forgotten our fight of two years ago and, relieved to not have to go thru another shreiking temper storm, I was asked by the nursing staff to go to her house and fetch her personal things for she was delivered to the hospital in a night-dress and now wore only a paper surgery gown.

I trudged the backstreets of Rosebud only to find her house locked up like Fort Knox, no way in no matter how much my nephew and I scratched around the premises. Finally I simply broke a window and my nephew crawled in to allow me ingress. We ransacked her house looking for her private papers, War Veteran's Gold Card, Bank Book, toiletries, underwear, dressing gown, dresses, slippers, etc etc and carted it all back to her in the hospital. At last she was comfortable trudging to the toilet in fresh undies, slippers and voluminous bathrobe, and I was again pressured to find her a bed in a nursing home ASAP. Many homes I rang wanted $250,000 as deposit, impossible for this working class pensioner, I rang the Community Care Workers constantly to hassle them to assist in the search and in a few days they were able to find a place that required only $35000 deposit, a nice, friendly nursing home where she would be happy as she chilled out in Nogod's Waiting Room ready for the big flight to the Pearly Gates of Oblivion. Thus I left Rosebud, praying to that same phantom god that I never have to return to that seaside purgatory again.

My nephew admitted to my take-over-merchant brother, who was stewing in his backwoods bush-hut in Tasmania, that we'd broken into mum's house and he flew into a rage,
"How dare you no-hopers trespass in her sacrosanct domain! What precious goods did you steal from her? I've a good mind to call the cops on you!"
No explanations of helping make the demented old bitch comfortable would placate him, he was itching to have some ridicule to hold over his wayward, irresponsible elder brother and it shocked me to realise he'd held onto sibling resentments from early childhood, pissed off I might have achieved greater reknown than he and that his own kids enjoyed my company as if we're best mates whereas they dreaded getting another straight-laced lecture from him whenever they met.

I rang him to ask why we couldn't both have power-of-attorney, "what's the problem?" and he flipped, spitting chips about me being a vagabond before crashing the phone down on me. I had so many existential torments at this time and he was adding to them, no brotherly love there for all that I'd protected him throughout our childhood and, sadly, I'm determined to never speak to him again. Even at our mother's eventual funereal I will have to be restrained from rushing up to him and smacking him in the chops.

I was relieved to return to Sydney, forswearing my romance of moving back to Melbourne, I'm indeed done with that city forever, Sydney has long been my hometown and haunt, at least there's sunshine and cool rain here to lift one's spirits when zooming about on a pushbike, not the sleet or furnace of the south. Now I'm back to limbo and sour-pussed over certain denizens of the underworld who I run into at Kings Cross but I will save my vituperation for another story, possibly entitled, "A Posse of Poofs at the Peccadilo Cafe."

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.