11. The Viscount of Wales

When I was a sophmore at College, my play “Whatever Happened to Sigurd Hoyer?” won best play.  Peter, a short Filipino boy with a round face, volunteered to direct it.  He would take me to a dive bar and play “Smoke Blows in Your Eyes.”  While we were stapling posters on bulletin boards, I began to sing it.

“They asked me how I knew/My true love was true/I of course replied/something deep inside/cannot be denied.”

Why are you singing that song?”  He asked, excitedly.  I didn’t know, but it meant a lot to him, and soon it became clear that he was more interested in me than my play.  He thought I was singing that song about him, when in reality I was singing it because he constantly played it on the jukebox.  He professed his love to me, and broke up with his long-time girlfriend.  I didn’t want him screwing up my play, so I played along.  He was my first mercy fuck.

He was a generous lover, and he would have iced lemon water at the ready after lovemaking.  People were shocked that I was going out with him.

One of his roommate’s girlfriends walked around the apartment naked as if this was perfectly normal.  I made it clear that I would not be doing that.

“I don’t know if I should be telling you this, ” he said, “but you know how you’re the only girl in our playwriting class?  Do you know why all the guys sat across from you?  Because we were all looking at your crotch whenever you crossed your legs when you wore skirts.”  No wonder that when I approached these guys and tried to talk to them at parties, they couldn’t make eye contact and ran away.  I was horrified and flattered.  I was a feminist, and the best playwright and most articulate person in the class, but to the guys all that mattered was my crotch.  Still, there was something sexy about it.

I met Hayden, a tall handsome boy with curly black hair, deep set eyes, and a British accent at Risley Hall one night at dinner around the circular table.  We were rubbing spoons and putting them on our faces, and Hayden began flirting with me.  He later said he had been imagining spoons stuck to my nipples.

I cast him as the lead in my play.  He played Nicky, the dejected writer who papered his walls with New Yorker rejections and served twinkies for dinner  to his daughter, Marlene.

One night I had the flu very badly.  Hayden came into my room and said, “Get up!  Get out of bed!”  He tore off the covers, revealing my bare legs, which he stroked.  “The whole dorm is doing mushrooms!”  I pulled up the covers.

“I have the flu, ”  I said wearily, “and I don’t want to do mushrooms.”

“C’mon, it will be the most amazing night of your life!”  Finally, he convinced me. “They will make you feel sick to your stomach at first,” Hayden explained, “But then you will be flying high!”

I took the mushrooms with Hayden.  First we went to my neighbor’s room and tried to talk her down from a bad trip about her love for her sister.  She was a beautiful, stunning girl who played the violin.  Hayden and I were staring at the ceiling.  Soon we were cocooning in his sleeping bag together.  “You don’t really love Peter.  I want you to break up with him and go out with me.”

A drug trip is never a good start to a relationship.

Then I went to Carthage in my brain, an ancient city known for hedonism.  Next I became every work of art, twisting my body into cubism and surrealism.

When I awoke, my ass was exposed to Hayden’s roommate and his friend, and it was the topic of discussion.  I kept trying to hike up the sleeping bag but it was hopelessly twisted.  And, say what you will about hallucinegens, but my flu was completely gone.

I took Peter into the basement where the piano rooms were and we sat on the floor of one of the rooms.  I broke the news to him.  He started crying and then ran out of the room, with me yelling, “I’m sorry!”

Peter hardly ever showed up for rehearsals, and when he did he was shaking and wouldn’t look at anyone.  This was a disaster.  I began directing the play by myself.

My father called to say he was marrying his mistress, his secretary, but I told him I couldn’t go to the wedding because that was the weekend the play opened, which was true.  My sister showed up, wearing all black, including a top hat.  When my sister brought her flower bouquet home to my mother’s house, my mother began to cry and took to bed.

Meanwhile,  a four hundred pound lesbian and her two hundred pound girlfriend, who felt they ran Risley hall and monitored all gossip, took me aside to talk about Hayden.

“Have you ever looked in Hayden’s closet?”  The four hundred pound lesbian asked.

“No, ” I replied.

“Well have a look.  He looks disheveled and never has any money on him, but he has all designer suits and he’s filthy rich.  And, ” she said seriously, “He’s the Viscount of Wales.”

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