Okay, first things first.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but a history-changing event occurred this past week. This is the kind of occurrence that will be felt for years to come. I think we all know what we’re talking about.
JT Riley has joined Twitter. That’s right, world! Look out, here I come! I’ve finally arrived … in, what, 2008?
Anyway, follow me. It’s JTRiley3. Now can someone explain to me those damn hash tags?
Okay, so, onto the story. You know how there are moments in life when you’re just … not at your best?
That’s sort of how I’ve been feeling lately. When Morris left, I thought I would be able to move on quickly seeing as how we were never actually together, but to be honest, I just can’t quit him. Like Jack couldn’t quit Ennis. Or like how that homeless guy in my subway stop can’t quit that sock he talks to and shoves in his pants. Everyone needs someone, you know?
I had heard from Morris a few times via email, and once on the phone, but most of the time they were either too far out at sea or too busy rehearsing their numbers for the cast to get much down time to keep in touch, especially with people that they were never dating to begin with.
And as much as I try not to think of it, I was an actor once. I know what it’s like to be in a new cast, to suddenly be around new, sexy (and usually slutty) guys. It’s a hard temptation to resist for anyone. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t periodically check out Morris’ Facebook page to see if there are any pictures of him with a guy he looks couply with. What I saw was a bunch of pictures of him in just a bathing suit, surrounded by a slew of other guys in just bathing suits, all looking like they’re starring in the next Eating Out sequel, entitled Everybody Loves Seamen.
(Aw, crap, I just gave them an idea, didn’t I?)
So I stopped checking out his page. I just couldn’t handle it.
And then, of course, the Australian drops the bomb on me that he’s leaving in a month and returning to that inhospitable pit of vipers and hyenas whence he came. I tried to talk him out of it. I even used science! Did you know there are more species of deadly snakes in Australia than anywhere else in the world? It’s true, it’s science!
Australians don’t listen to science. I think it gets in the way of them worshiping their crocodile gods.
So where does that put me? In the tub.
I did manage to extricate myself from my self-imposed prison after a few hours, and went to my room to fold my laundry so I could lie on my bed. Once I got there, though, there were so many clothes on my bed that I got overwhelmed and threw them in a bag. Let them be wrinkled! Let them be wrinkled like my tortured, withering soul!
I was in a major funk, to be sure. And just as I was about to dye my hair black, listen to The Cure and start smoking cloves, I got a call from, of all people, Rock Star.
Okay, now, I have to own this. It’s … uh … possible I may be directly responsible for a certain … injury … that Rock Star recently sustained. On his junk.
I wield this weapon with deadly junkular accuracy.
But hear me out! We were experimenting with a little S&M, and it was my first time, and you don’t send someone who’s never been on a trapeze before out without a net! Things happen. Legs get broken. Dongs get seared. You know how life goes.
I guess I should have called him or something after that. But every time I tried to, I couldn’t think of anything I might say. Seriously, what would you say? Try apologizing to someone for causing serious harm to their man-whip. It’s harder than you think.
When I saw his name appear on my phone, I panicked for a second, thinking he was calling to let me know he had gathered his boys together to come down and exact revenge. Horrid, brutal, genital-oriented revenge. But better find out sooner than later. Cupping my junk protectively, I hit “send” on my phone.
Okay, I’m going to pause for a second as ask your advice. I wanted to write “I picked up,” as a means of relating the fact I was answering his call. But this is an outdated expression, obviously, as it refers to the actual act of picking a phone up off a receiver in order to answer it, and as we all know, landlines were outlawed in the Modern Dude Act of 2002. So do we still say it, thus clinging to an archaic turn of phrase? But then, saying “I hit ‘send’” doesn’t quite have a flow to it.
“Where the hell is SEND on this damn thing?”
Anyway, discuss among yourselves and get back to me. The future of my writing style is in your hands.
Okay, so back to the story. Rock Star was calling, and I figured it was my fate to bite the bullet and finally talk to him.
“Hello?” I said.
(Oh, and P.S., speaking of phone issues, whenever someone has your number stored in their phone and they answer with “Hello?” you know something is off. They can see it’s you calling! And yeah, I did it to Rock Star, but you have to understand, it’s because I was being shady. See how that works?)
“Hey, it’s me,” Rock Star said.
“Oh, heeeeeyyyyy youuuuuu,” I said, grimacing. “Uh … how ya been?”
“They had to amputate,” he said gravely.
All the air flew out of my lungs. “What?” I croaked.
He laughed. “Nah, I’m f**kin’ with ya,” he said. “I’m fine. There’s not even a mark.”
“Oh, thank God,” I said. “I was really afraid I was responsible for damaging your equipment. And it’s such nice equipment. I would never forgive myself.”
“Well, thank you,” he said. “Hey, listen. Do you have plans for next weekend?”
I was surprised. I kind of thought that the whole dickferno accident had put the kibosh on any future dating we might be doing.
Pictured: Rock Star’s junk
“Well, I was planning on pouring boiling oil on various private parts, but that’s just penciled in. What’s up?”
“My friend Ricky is going to his parents’ lake house in Maine, and he invited me along. He told me I could invite you.”
“You told your friend about me?”
“Yeah, totally. I even told them about what happened with the candle.”
“You did?” I asked.
“Yeah. Come on, it’s funny!”
I couldn’t believe it. I would never tell people about that! Except, you know … all of you guys. And my best friend Jessie. And my buddy Charlie. Ah, screw it, I told people. I was glad Rock Star and I had a shared sense of discretion.
I can’t help it!
“Oh, this is going to be embarrassing when I meet him now.”
“So you’re coming?”
“Hmmm … stay in the ridonculous heat of Manhattan for a weekend, or escape to the cool breeze of a lakeside house in Maine. I don’t know, that’s a tough call.”
“Awesome. I’ll tell him. There’ll be a few people there. My friend Ricky, his girlfriend Val, and our friend Josh.”
“Sounds like a par-tay,” I said.
“Yep. I’m stoked. I’ll see ya soon!”
After – argh, see, I want to write “after hanging up,” but that is factually incorrect! – ending the call, I felt a little better, and even motivated enough to fold my laundry. Laundry for me is unbearable toil, and I’ll do almost anything to avoid having to fold clothes. I’m just going to wear them and get them all wrinkled again!
But for the special occasion of Rock Star forgiving me and introducing me to his friends, I made an exception.
God damn, I still hate you, though.
After a particularly long week, Rock Star picked me up, and …
Okay, pause. For those not in the know, most New Yorkers (I think) don’t own cars. Certainly very few people I know own one. The city’s parking situation is too damn ridiculous and expensive, and we happen to have an awesome public transit system. And by awesome, I mean smelly, but let’s put it this way: like a lethargic HJ, it may take a while, but eventually it gets you there.
So for him to have a car is pretty amazing, unless of course you consider that he probably had it handed to him by his grandmother. But whatever.
I hopped into his car, and found that his friend Josh was already in the backseat. And dudes, may the flying spaghetti monster strike me dead if I’m lying, but he looked so much like Cory Monteith from Glee, it was all I could do to jump on him and ask him to sing Jesse’s Girl.
I mean, I would have preferred Darren Criss, but you know. Beggars, choosers.
You’ll always be MY teenage dream, Darren.
It’s a loooooong drive up to Maine from New York, but it was a beautiful day, and we filled the time getting to know one another. I learned that Josh was a teacher of elementary school in Harlem.
When we finally arrived in Maine, we pulled up to this beautiful two-story cabin that to me just looked like the perfect setting for a teen slasher flick. It’s always been a secret hope of mine to one day face off against a masked killer, and even though I’m not a prime candidate for the “Final Girl” role – being neither female nor particularly virginal – never say I don’t dare to dream.
We went around to the back of the cabin, which sat about thirty feet from a long dock that runs out into the lake. Rock Star’s friends Ricky and Val were already hovering around the grill, preparing all sorts of deliciousness. They rowdily cheered when we popped up, and told us all to help ourselves to a beer from the cooler. I was delighted to find out “the cooler” actually meant four coolers, and there was a cornucopia of different types of beers to be had. I was in heaven, and that heaven was made of barley and hops.
We spent a good portion of the evening drinking and laughing, laughing and drinking. I felt miles away from the depression I had been drenched in since the Australian’s announcement. I forgot one of the things I liked so much about Rock Star that I reveled in before the whole S&M revelation – he’s fun! He’s silly, and has a wry sense of humor, and he has a way of talking to you that makes you feel like you’re the rock star instead of him.
Since they all knew each other, I was the special guest star, and they spent a lot of time asking me questions about myself. And as it happens, that is totally my favorite topic to talk about. Val and Ricky were a fun couple, about my age.
Ricky was Latino, and his skin had that beautiful bronze-y color just like Rock Star’s. Val was very tall for a person with lady-parts – almost as tall as I am – and she was very, very blond, the combo making her seem like a Viking. They were kind of an odd pair, but they definitely worked well together.
By the time midnight crept around, everyone, myself included, was pretty wasted. I mean, I wasn’t waking-up-next-to-a-dead-hooker-and-wondering-how-I-got-there-drunk, but let’s say I had soared past tipsy hours before.
Josh suddenly stood up and said, “Let’s go skinnydipping!”
As if they had been waiting on the edge of their seat for that imperative all night, Ricky and Val jumped up and began peeling off their clothes.
My beer froze in mid-journey to my mouth as I suddenly started seeing all sorts of thingies and bits. And now I know what Finn Hudson looks like naked.
Check out the distance from his thumb to his forefinger. That’s all I’m sayin’.
I looked over at Rock Star, who was laughing in a “Oh, these friends of mine!” way. He watched the three of them jump off the dock and into the lake, then caught my eye and grinned.
“You want to swim?” he asked me.
“Let’s do it!” I said.
We pulled off our clothes and followed the others in. You guys, it was so awesome. It was a warm night, and the water was so warm, it was like swimming in pee. But, you know, in a good way.
When you’re a city-slicker like me, these occasional reunions with nature are necessary to remind you that you’re alive, and as a living thing you’re part of a greater whole, not to go all Lion King-y on you. When I was swimming naked in that lake, with Rock Star next to me, all the crap that goes hand in hand with living in New York seemed like it was from another dimension.
At one point, as I was basking in the ethereal spell of nature, Rock Star swam up behind me and wrapped his arms around me, and moods started shifting fast.
“Let’s go inside,” he whispered in my ear. “They’re going to be out here for hours.”
“Shouldn’t we make sure they don’t drown?” I asked him.
“They’re fine. They drink and swim all the time.”
“Well, that sounds healthy and advisable.”
We made our way back to the dock and climbed up the ladder there, then waved goodnight to the others, who were still splashing happily and singing loudly. We grabbed some beach towels that were lying on the railing and wrapped them around ourselves, and headed inside.
Once we were in the guest room where we were staying, those towels hit the floor in no time, and he pushed me onto the bed.
After some rolling around, he said, “This time I want to tie you up.”
I froze. I didn’t know quite what to say. For one thing, it seemed like that may be a safer idea to let him take the wheel instead of me, considering he had a little experience in the area.
On the other hand … yeah, I wasn’t too sure how I felt about it. He’s willing to throw his trust around, that’s great. But for all I know, he might be the slasher I know I’m destined to one day fight to the death, and tying me up would be a great way to get rid of me easily.
You have to look at a problem from all logical sides, is what I’m saying.
I fidgeted. He sensed my hesitation.
“Look, if it makes you uncomfortable, we don’t have to. I just thought it might be fun, and we’ll just take it really slow and easy. I think you might like it.”
“Wellll …” I sighed, “Okay. Just promise you won’t kill me, okay? ‘Cause that would just totally bum me out.”
“Fair enough,” he laughed.
He took out the same ribbons I had used on him from his bag, and fastened each of my wrists to the bed post. Within seconds my nose started itching unbelievably. Why does that always happen?
I mean, not that exact situation, but you know what I mean.
So after I was good and tied up, he sat on my chest and looked down at me. Suddenly he didn’t seem so sexy. He just looked … mean.
“Well,” he said. “I think we can both agree it’s time for a little payback,” he said.
He looked to his left, and I followed his gaze to several candles on the dresser.
You guys, I am shocked that I didn’t urinate on the bed right there. There might have been a little pee that came out, I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. But my pulse started racing, and my mouth was suddenly really dry.
“Ha ha,” I said. “Ha ha. Ha. You’re … you’re kidding, right?”
I started to squirm. He kept sitting on top of me, not letting me move that much. He got really close to me. “What do you think?” he hissed in my face.
We stared at each other for a minute.
Then he cracked up. “Aw, I scared you. Of course I’m kidding!” Then he tickled me gleefully, as if he hadn’t just shown me the true face of his inner psychopath.
“Can you untie me now, please?” I asked meekly.
“Aw, you don’t want to play anymore?”
“Nope. You’ve successfully spooked me.”
“Aw, come on, I thought we could still have some fun …”
“No, I’d very much like you to untie me, please.”
He relented – turns out he’s not a slasher, after all – and once free, I furiously scratched my nose. I was weirded out, to be sure. I mean, I still tapped that later on, but, you know … weirdly.
The next day was pretty awesome. We went canoeing on the lake (fully clothed), and hiked in the woods nearby. It was beautiful and peaceful, and at one point I looked over at Rock Star while we were winding our way through some trees, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure this guy out. And I had yet to learn if I really wanted to or not.
I didn’t feel with him the way I felt with Morris, but then, I never felt that way about anyone but Morris. And that pretty much seemed a pipe dream, considering it would probably be another year and change before I saw him again, and for all I knew, he had already met the love of his life on the high seas.
I guess no one said dating was easy.
When we got back to New York, I kissed Rock Star good-bye and thanked him for a fun – if momentarily terrifying – weekend. When I got back to my apartment, I had just begun unpacking when I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket. I took it out and looked at the screen.
It was Morris.