On Hollywood Way

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I can sit on a missile for a long time. And the latest Hellfire that had been shoved into my bomb bay was the knowledge that Sonny had been cheating on me again. I was waiting for just the right time to deploy the latest in my arsenal. I had the target in sight but I wasn’t going to press the red button until I was assured of a solid strike. It gives one an incredible sense of power to be armed with such explosive power. The only problem of course is that you’re holding inside you something that has that kind of destructive power. There’s the sickening realization that there is something inside you that has that incredible power to annihilate, give the “bombs away” when your too close to your target and there’s always the possibility that you’ll get obliterated in the back-blast. Try to load a second round in the chamber and the results are likely to be disastrous. I already had a missile at the ready when somebody shoved a second four-foot, hard-as-steel weapon full of white phosphorus in the same hole.

 

I was propped up, lying on the bed with Sonny in our small North Hollywood guesthouse. He was imitating tap dancing pigeons on the keys of his laptop while I talked with our long-time friend Andrea “The Fish” Prine on the landline. Remember landlines? It was the early days of call waiting and the beep sounded that let me know somebody else wanted to talk to one of the men in that bed.

“Hang on, somebody’s calling,” I told The Fish and clicked over to the other line.

“Hello?”

“Sonny?” I’d heard this voice before.

“Hang on let me hang up the other line.” I clicked over to Andrea. “I’ll call you back. Sonny’s boyfriend is calling. Sonny stopped breathing. I clicked back over and did my best to sound like the love of my life. “Hey man, it’s Sonny.”

I stood up from the bed and Sonny flew into a panic. He started yelling, “It’s not me! It’s not me!” hoping to warn the other guy.
“Who the fuck is that?” the guy asked with understandable concern.

“It’s my boyfriend, Jeff,” I yelled, “He’s going crazy!” (Only now do I realize how true that statement was.) “Meet me in the Gold’s Gym parking lot on Hollywood Way in ten minutes!” I yanked the phone, cord and all, out of the wall dusting the floor with sheetrock. I grabbed the keys from the nightstand and hurled them at Sonny’s chest. “You’re driving!”

Sonny was the color of fear. “No!” His voice was equal parts terror and pleading.
Through my evil smile, gritted teeth I hissed, “You’re driving or I’ll go there alone and I’ll kill him!”

 

Sonny’s shaking hands were at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel as he drove us toward what I’m sure he thought was about to become a crime scene.

 

Sonny’s eyes are sky-blue and the shape of saucers. To see them cry is the most heartbreaking thing you’ll ever see. He only made one feeble attempt on the drive to the gym. With a quivering voice that sounded like a three year-old boy he pleaded, “Jeff, I’m sorry. Please don’t do this.”

“Shut up and drive!” I growled as I stared at the road with bloodthirsty eyes. “Faster!”

 

As we drove the rest of the way, my rage melted into grief. I thought of the first moment I saw Sonny, dancing like a frat boy on a beat-up parquet dance floor at a bar near The University of Alabama. I thought of taking him home that night and how quickly my plans for a steamy night in the sack with this corn-fed Mississippi boy had shifted into something better when I discovered how sweet, funny, and smart he was. I thought about the intervening two and a half years we’d spent together, the camping trips, the football games, the hours together in the canoe, of making love among the scented pines.

 

I realized I was no longer looking at the road but down at my hands. They were holding each other like I wanted to be holding his. It is the gesture of loneliness. The sight of them blurred as the tears started to come. I blinked them away when I realized we’d arrived at the gym.

 

A good-looking young man was pacing outside a small blue sports car. Something inside me said this was the end.  


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