Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hide, and Go Drink (Or, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way Up the Nile)

If the only things certain are death and taxes, it bears saying, a little death never hurt anyone. As I crawled into the Czarina's large and welcoming bed, we cued up "Death On the Nile" - an old and divine film peopled by such notables as Bette Davis, Maggie Smith (as her maid), David Niven, Peter Ustinov (as Hercule Poirot), and Mia Farrow (reprising the role of fragile waif - a la Daisy from "The Great Gatsby," or the easily undone Rosemary from "Rosemary's Baby"). "Death On the Nile" is a typical Agatha Christie work - a cozy of a sort - the whole of things taking place on a paddle boat cruising down a lazy river.

There's a shooting, or two, a piece of pyramid rains down very nearly on someone's head, and then there is - of course - the cobra.

I digress, the movie was a lovely part of happy, slow-moving, and festive Easter weekend. It was a welcome respite from the recent, sudden infusion (or is it invasion) of drama at the home of the Czarina and her Great Prince. Locking herself behind heavy doors, a rifle at the ready - warning shots only, of course - the Empress of the Russias, Queen of the Steppes, listened as a mad man yelled into the night. The offender was not one of the usual players - i.e. a mad man, not the Mad Man(ny).

Scott handles the Czarina's investments, but it seems her forte lies in stirring the proverbial pot. He holds an untellable but significant amount of the royal funds, has fired off a dozen or so biting emails, staged a one-man intervention over the Czarina's tendency to drink heavily and infrequently fall down. That Scott wants the Great Prince, called Warren's mother a whore and engaged in all manner of bad manners does not endear him to the household (and I am certain the fates are not so thrilled with him either.

Never one to be undone by idiocy of any pale, the Czarina dumped a few pounds of rock salt into the guest bed - to ensure Scott's rest and beauty, of course.

And on the subject of rest and of beauty, Warren and I luxuriated Saturday in some his finery - for him, a hand-crafted and immensely heavy red brocade kimono with silk dragonfly embroidery and several dozen tassels - each larger and more menacing than the last. I, being the more demure among us, opted for vintage - a 1934 papal robe (funny hot notwithstanding), beneath which I remained butt naked ... and drunk.

Drunk is the order of the household. I am fairly certain it is an unspoken edict, save that it is actually often spoken. Being a good Southerner, one never accepts a caller without the offer of food, a cocktail, and - in some cases - poppers, lube, and a sex toy of one's choosing.

Amusingly, the Great Prince and the Czarina engage in an odd but hilarious fickle folly. I think of it as hide, and go drink ... being lush, there is seldom - if ever - a shortage of spirits; however, Andrew tends to abscond with the vodka; ostensibly, it is to keep his lover from getting too lush ... but it's also just a handy way to save a few pennies. the Czarina, meanwhile, typically bypasses this problem by buying two bottles and hiding once before the Great Prince can get to it. Consequently, you may open a little used cabinet or reach into a closet ... or even, as was the most recent case, lift the cat and lo - there is just a little bit of Heaven (Hill - 80 proof and just $10 per bottle) to call your own.

Tom - of the lazy eye and auto-fellatio - whom we dearly adore, and our dear Ova the Top, went marauding the other day. As I may fail to mention, Ova, the Frenemy, and myself all bout our cars from the Czarina and the Great Prince, a fact that is only a note because it necessitates somewhat regular trips over to the palace, for repairs or to make payments. On a recent visit, Ova rode along with Her Highness to inspect a property. Though it seems unlikely, the regents want to down-size the palace - dumping the rather sprawling stone manse for something on one level - Russian royals in a ranch!?!?

The atomic ranch in question - although possibly the sit of a quadruple homicide - was ranch by way of 1970s bath-house, replete with wet bar, beer taps, a kidney shaped pool, and a gazebo-topped jacuzzi whom which Warren commented he could picture John Holmes emerging.

Alas, no 13" members appeared to tantalize or terrify, and Ova spent a good part of the galavant on the phone with Daddy - his lover, fiance, and soon-to-be husband (and homeowner). Together with Daddy, another Caddy, an Odie and a Yote ... an ersatz drag queen and a red-nosed pit bull, Ova the Top is movin' on up, possibly to the East side, and into what may well be a very large house.

The pit bull, by the way, followed him home - I think to make of him a light snack.

Of course, as best laid plans go, things so oft go wickedly awry. I report with only the slightest hint(s) of sadness and regret that I have abandoned my beloved hipster haven. Web House, as I noted the other day - with its smoke-filled jazz bar air - is in decline. The rumors of its death, however, are greatly exaggerated. Yes, last weekend, the TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission) canceled the Web House liquor license. Beers were served surreptitiously in coffee cups; wine and liquor merited Dixie cups, and shots were anybody's guess. The credit card machine was down and the Crazy Russian financed our mutual distraction with checks that could have melted Pyrex. When the (ahem ...) smoke cleared, we had been up and around, drunk and debauched for three days straight (or is it crooked), and after retrieving the car I chose wisely not to attempt to drive - on a warm, clear Monday morning, the land-lord changed the locks and padlocked the front gate.

Enter the Mad Man, who - with an exhausted and put-upon tone in his lightly lisping voice - called me at 6PM, with a sense of resignation. When he called at 10PM, Web House was once again open and at play - spiders, ghosts, dealers, hipsters, et al. The TV was missing, the DJ confused ... but the bar - shaky floor and life-sized Manet mural, the Crazy Russian, the Mad Man, my boyfriend and all.

Before that shit-storm resumes, I will note for the record that I no longer see the guy I'm seeing. His return to the bar, the Russian, and whatever else he enjoys posted a departure from me. To put it simply (and with great pretentiousness) toujours l'amour ... mais, c'est la vie ... The last time we spoke it was a drunken 3AM mis-dial. Forget Paris.

My great fondness for Chuck Palahniuk's Fugitives & Refugees, coupled with a mild affinity for rainy summer nights and boys who smell of patchouli has me packing to move to Portland; closer inspection of my Ph.D. prospects may well land me in Davis, CA. I shall have to sell my land yacht and invest in a bio-diesel Volkswagen bus.

I think I just got ahead of myself. Two weeks ago - having recently become reacquainted with the intellectuals chat room on gay.com - I remembered that outside of San Antonio, people do actually hit on me and are actually intrigued. I was initially lamenting the lack of challenge or rigor in my graduate studies to date, and that spun into reflecting on probation, drug addiction, unemployment, a non-existent romantic (or even sex) life, and suddenly I was up all night browsing English department websites. I know my personal demons will surely have my forwarding address, a change seems not only in order but very long overdue.

Hmm ... overdue ... as evidence that there are still some great gifts left to give in this world, a dear friend and flower child with the appropriate connections made my day. By "accidentally" deleting $250 of a 12 years old library fine, this not so mysterious benefactor, has given me back books ... to say nothing of CDs, LPs, DVDs, and several other abbreviations I'm certain to have forgotten in the course of my girlish glee. My desire to race home to search the catalog is unparalleled and exceptionally nerdy.

I feel like my old self.

According to Texas, I am 30. Well, I will be Friday. Due to an odd inversion of my actual birth date - July 14th - the state of Texas, including my probation officer, the legal system, and at least one drug dealer are under the mistaken impression I'm about to be another year older. 30 is a mile-stone, to be sure - made moreso by my post-jail, job hunt(ing), horny, drunk limbo.

So, hell ... a very merry (un)birthday to ME.


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