November 21, 2004

Fight Club, Part Two

And now, for a bit of self-examination with regard to ass-kicking. The previous post is a reference. Do not try this at home.

My dear friend Cecelia and I first met in a black dyke bar on Pool Cue Night. As the two token straight white women in our respective yet overlapping groups of African-American lesbian friends, we gravitated towards each other, chatting it up and having numerous cocktails, making all the usual jokes about being reverse fag-hags, etc. Our lesbians teased us, of course, about “going off to hole up and talk about stick-pussy, right here in a dyke bar, in front of God and ever’body!”, but we clicked in some way. We were years apart in age, but we became close friends over time. Cecelia was like a mother to me, during a rough patch – which I’ll tell you all about in due course, you know – she fed me, clothed me, and housed me when I was sick and not capable of doing it for myself, when there was no one else.

Back in the late seventies and early eighties, Cecelia cut quite the figure in the music scene. When I met her, I had no idea who the fuck she was, but she was in a band whose name you would recognize if I were fool enough to post it. As such, she met a great number of musicians and artists, with whom she remained close even after her fifteen minutes of fame were long past. When, at the age of thirty-five, the jet-setting Cecelia got pregnant by her football-player boyfriend – who then dumped her in a cold-water flat in London – she came on home to the southland, to the US of A, and settled back in the little town she’d come from to raise her daughter.

Cecelia, therefore, enjoyed that measure of local celebrity which only being a minor star who has chosen to live in a small town can provide. As such, she was a popular woman – lots of friends, and also quite a few straight-up hangers-on, mostly kids coming through the nearby college. The young ones would hear her stories, and suck up to her in the attempt to latch on and ride the hipster scene as far as they could. Cecelia was fine with that, up to a point. Her young sycophants were welcome to hang around only if they, like Greeks, came bearing gifts, presents of quarter-bags and half-grams and blue pills and bottles of wine. If there was to be an exchange, she’d say, then let there goddamned be one. “Gas, grass, or ass, baby,” she’d say. “You know the drill.”

For a few weeks, there was a young gay guy named James hanging around. Big, long, tall farmboy, brunette, with a cadaverous aspect to him, like Lurch. James would bring Thai Sticks – the real deal, how he got ‘em, I’ll never know – over to Cecelia’s in the afternoons, and then they would sit around getting stoned and watching Guiding Light together, James begging Cecelia to tell him again about when she played with The Police, or the time she fucked John Cale in the alley outside Studio 54. I couldn’t stand the smarmy kid. I can smell crazy one a mile off, so I gave Cecelia a wide berth when James was around, and let her know why.

A few weeks after James entered Cecelia’s orbit, a Big Name Band – I mean BIG, on a par with, say, U2, came through a major city about ninety miles from our little town, to play a two night gig. It just so happened that three of the band members were old cohorts of Cecelia’s, so they invited her and nine friends to come and see the show from backstage, for free, etc. Cecelia and her group went, they partied, they had a ball – until two days later, when Cecelia got a call from the drummer of that very very big band.

James, one of the nine friends Cecelia took along (he rented the limo they went in, which was the main reason that I didn’t go), helped himself to the drummer’s laminated all-access pass while they were partying with the band at the hotel after the show. The next night, when the musicians were getting ready to go play that evening’s show, the drummer noticed that the pass was missing and tore his hotel room apart looking for it. It was, according to him, “a big hassle” not having the pass. Well, imagine the drummer’s surprise when – you guessed it – James shows up for the concert that evening and is busted by Security for trying to get in on the drummer’s stolen pass. The drummer recognized James as one of Cecelia’s group right away, thus the phone call. Cecelia went ballistic afterwards, calling James immediately, telling him to fuck off and never return, no matter what kinds of gifts he bore. He’d embarrassed her in front of her oldest friends, and that was unforgivable.

I sucked it up and didn’t say, “I told you so, you greedy bitch,” but I think I did say something about laying down with dogs and getting up with fleas. Ahem.

James did not take his excommunication well. He took to calling Cecelia’s phone at all hours of the night, riding by the house over and over again, hanging around her job, and just generally following her around town trying to make scenes in public. The situation grew so hairy that Cecelia even spoke to a cop friend about it, just to make sure all the agita was noted by someone official.

Well, one night some three weeks after the concert, while Cecelia’s little girl was off visiting her Ma-Maw, she and I got together and partied down. Honey, we smoked most of a bag of weed. We snorked up piles of Peruvian marching powder. We drank Bombay Sapphire martinis at the local rock club, listening to the bands and having ourselves a time. Before long, though, James showed up. We thought we’d be safe from his stalking activities in there - he was too young to be in the club in the first place - but Rudy, the door-guy, had been off in the bathroom doing keybumps when James snuck in.

James strode over, eyes blazing, and insinuated himself between Cecelia and I at the bar. Without taking so much as a breath, he got right up in Cecelia’s face and started in on a laundry list of her various evils. She was old, she was ugly, she looked like a man, she lived like a ni**er, and he was going to do everything in his power to take her little girl away from her. He’d been riding by the girl’s school, by the way, watching her in the playground, and she sure was cute, it was a shame that her momma was a dried out old whore

Somewhere, around the time the word “playground” came out of his mouth, that neocortically pre-programmed Scots-Irish overdrive kicked in. I threw my martini in his eyes and just…jumped the bastard. All six-foot-four of him went down under all five-foot-four of me, and I sat astride him, pressing him into the concrete floor with my thigh muscles. I just started pounding him. And hollering like a pig-farmer.

“Don’t you EVER mention that little girl again, you assfelching cumsucker!” Smack! “Don’t you EVER come near her, you filth, you son of a whore-cow, you fucking LOSER!” Pow! “I’m gonna kill you here and now, put your mother out of her shame!” Blam! “You’re a big fucking disgrace, you know that? Why don’t you just go HOME, kiddo?” Bang!

Rudy, the bouncer-guy, just stood there, laughing – he knew me and he knew Cecelia and he knew about James. Later, after the cops had come and gone, Rudy said, in his musical South African accent, “It was a beautiful sight, man. Like a lioness taking down a giraffe, or something. I'd no idea our Queenie had it in her.” He was, incidentally, hot to sleep with me for months afterwards. Bizarre, I know.

The cops, too, had congratulated me upon my pugilistic victory. They were not amused when they heard the story of what had happened – not amused that this kid was in a club he was too young to be in, not amused that he was stalking the Town Celebrity, not amused that said Celebrity’s daughter had even been mentioned by this unbalanced character. They were, however, highly amused by the story that the witnesses told. After it was all over, they took James away in handcuffs – but they bought Queenie a drink. James veritably ran from Cecelia in the future, even going so far as to move across town to avoid her.

I've lived with this disgraceful memory for years, and I am still torn on how to regard it. This is the only physical fighting that I have ever done, yet - was I just another redneck girl, or was I a punk-rock superhero? I know I can never be a Lady with a track record like this, but do I even want to be one in the first place? I’m ashamed of my wild behavior…while at the same time, I'm ever so proud that I was scrappy enough to beat a guy’s ass when the rubber met the road, that I was crazier and meaner and tougher than he was. And I didn't break a nail this time. Hell, I didn't even muss my lipstick.

I am a mess, I know. I am going straight to Hell. Just wait until we start talking about sex. Shit!

Posted by Queenie at November 21, 2004 01:13 AM
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