Read Some Men Are Lookers: A Continuation of the "Buddies" Cycle Online

Authors: Ethan Mordden

Tags: #Arts & Photography, #Performing Arts, #Theater, #Gay & Lesbian, #Literature & Fiction, #Fiction, #Gay, #Romance, #Gay Romance, #History, #Social History, #Gay & Gender Studies, #Genre Fiction, #Lgbt, #Gay Fiction

Some Men Are Lookers: A Continuation of the "Buddies" Cycle

BOOK: Some Men Are Lookers: A Continuation of the "Buddies" Cycle
5.78Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

SOME MEN ARE LOOKERS

 

BY ETHAN MORDDEN

NONFICTION

Better Foot Forward: The Story of America’s Musical Theatre

Opera in the Twentieth Century

That Jazz!: An Idiosyncratic Social History of the American Twenties

A Guide to Orchestral Music

The Splendid Art of Opera: A Concise History

The American Theatre

The Hollywood Musical

Movie Star: A Look at the Women Who Made Hollywood

Broadway Babies: The People Who Made the American Musical

Demented: The World of the Opera Diva

Opera Anecdotes

A Guide to Opera Recordings

The Hollywood Studios

The Fireside Companion to the Theatre

Medium Cool: The Movies of the 1960s

Rodgers & Hammerstein

FICTION

I’ve a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

One Last Waltz

Buddies

Everybody Loves You

How Long Has This Been Going On?

Some Men Are Lookers

FACETIAE

Smarts: The Cultural I.Q. Test

Pooh’s Workout Book

SOME
MEN
ARE
LOOKERS
 

ETHAN MORDDEN

 

SOME MEN ARE LOOKERS.
Copyright © 1994, 1997 by Ethan Mordden. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

 

“The Hunt for Red October” originally appeared in slightly different form in
Waves: An Anthology of New Gay Fiction
.

Design by
Bryanna Millis

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Mordden, Ethan.

Some men are lookers / by Ethan Mordden.—1st ed.

     p.   cm.

ISBN 0-312-15660-X   ISBN: 978-0-312-15660-2

1. Gay men—New York (State)—Social life and customs—
Fiction.   2. Manhattan (New York, N.Y.)—Social life and customs
Fiction.   3. City and town life—New York (State)—New York—
Fiction.   I. Title.

PS3563.07717S65    1997

813'.54—dc21

96-53928

CIP   

First Edition: June 1997

10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2

To the memory of
ROBERT JAMES TRENT
April 27, 1945—February 25, 1995

 
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
 

To my always excellent copy editor, Benjamin Dreyer; to my diplomatic agent, Joe Spieler; to my editor, Keith Kahla, with whom I gladly reunite after a perilous intermission. It’s a jungle out there.

CONTENTS
 

Exorcis

The Music of the Night

The Hunt for Red October

What a Difference Miss Faye Made

Jeopardy!

Could You Pass in Love?

For the Love of Mike

Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

Che Sarà, Sarà

Everybody Leaves You

Look Who’s Talking

The action begins in 1988.

 

The setting is mainly New York City, in and around the
apartments of Dennis Savage and Bud, in a high-rise on East
Fifty-third Street.

 

The players include:

 

DENNIS SAVAGE,
a schoolteacher in his late thirties.

 

VIRGIL,
his live-in, in his late twenties. Creative, whimsical, increasingly restless. Formerly known as Little Kiwi.

 

BAUHAUS,
Virgil’s crafty, sinister, demented dog.

 

CARLO,
né Smith, given name Ripley, a constant visitor to East Fifty-third. Ageless and all-conquering, the hottest cowboy in town.

 

PETER KEENE,
an editor in book publishing, just coming out and a little cock-crazy. More than a little.

 

VIC ASTARCHOS
, a porn model and hustler, big-time.

 

CASH WESTMAN,
a vile seducer with S&M interests.

 

MISS FAYE,
a drag queen. Style: thuggish pixie. Life’s Hope: to win Oscar for her fabulous Teacup Scene, thereby ranking out that meddling Dominique Sanda, with her incessant Lesbian Dance Sequence. Age: advanced, though a tidy exercise program makes her feel like a twenty-year-old. Unfortunately, the twenty-year-old usually isn’t interested.

 

KONSTANTIN
, a Russian émigré construction worker, married and a father; also, to his bewilderment, Peter Keene’s lover.

 

TOM DRIGGERS,
a mostly offstage character. Once a champion party boy, now dying in the hospital.

 

ZULIAN,
nicknamed Zuleto, an episode in Bud’s past, today the operator of a motorboat fleet catering to tourists in Venice.

 

CANDIO,
Zuleto’s son. Devastating, with—as they put it in Venice—occhi assassini: killer eyes.

 

BILLY,
a street kid given a second chance. Wiry, trashy, appealing.

 

BERT HICKS,
a good guy gone lurid on Stonewall heat. But is he telling the fatal truth?

 

ROY AND NICKY,
a typical best-friend couple: One is content with the contract as it reads, while the other wants to amend it with an all-the-way love clause.

 

FATTY DE PINERO,
a shadowy character.

 

BABY FRUMKIN,
an imaginary character.

 

COSGROVE,
a changeling with dreams of revenge and an arsenal of whoopee cushions, Virgil’s inseparable buddy and the live-in of

 

BUD:
who narrates.

 
EXORCIS

 

V
irgil and Cosgrove have a new sport they call the Commercial Game. They cruise the television with the mute button on, seeking commercial breaks for which they provide their own extemporaneous soundovers. It’s hectic but simple. All car pitches are for Subaru. All horror movie trailers are for something Cosgrove has entitled
Exorcis
—“You can run, you can hide,” he gloats, “but it’s coming to get you”—and all cereal spots are for Sugar Boy Pops, a brand I am unfamiliar with.

They were playing the Commercial Game one evening when Lionel dropped by Dennis Savage’s to tell us that Tom Driggers was back in the hospital for what was almost certainly the last time, and had asked to see Dennis Savage. Tom and he had been very close once—very,
very
close was my impression. But they hadn’t spoken in quite some time now.

“Subaru!” Virgil cried. “The car in a million!”

“With hatchback and full accessories!” Cosgrove added. “Radio, tape deck, mascara tray.”

“He’s really bought the farm,” Lionel was telling us. “All that money and power, and down he goes to nothing.”

“You’ll ride like a king!” Virgil announced. “It’s Subaru!”

“See how it goes!” said Cosgrove, as a Pontiac sailed by.

“You should be there,” Lionel went on. “He’s got a roomful of . . . of toadies and pimps and comparable phantasmagoria of the bad old days. That’s what he’s dying to. There’s nobody
human
in that room.”

Virgil, Dennis Savage’s live-in, is, like Cosgrove, considerably younger than most of our circle. So he isn’t as well informed as we are and, again like Cosgrove, often keeps one ear on our conversations, sifting through the terms and concepts for material he can use in the act: his life. I saw him sifting now, losing touch with the television as he took in this new thing about toadies and death and power.

“Tom had everything and now he has nothing,” Lionel continued. “I’m afraid to have to admit that this is a very gay story.
What ups and what downs, I mean? He looks like a beanbag sculpture. So, if we could only not maximize his failure . . .”

Dennis Savage looked at him.

“Okay?” said Lionel.

Dennis Savage looked at me.

“As a kind of restabilizing act of mercy?” Lionel added. “For me? Okay?”

Dennis Savage said, “Not okay.”

“Ladies, aren’t you tired of your derodeant?” Cosgrove declaimed, smoothy-announcer-style. “Don’t you want Mamzelle Hint O’Spring instead?”

“That’s not deodorant, Cosgrove, that’s laundry de—”

“I think a man deserves something better than to die with all his would-be heirs drooling over him,” Lionel went on.

“What about that carpenter Tom was living with?” I asked. “With all the tattoos? I thought that was supposed to be love for life.”

Lionel sighed. He gestured then, resolute but resigned, one of those things hands do in the air when words can’t tell. “It sort of was, actually. Love. Which was very unusual for Tom. Tuffy, his name is. He isn’t around all that often. Tom won’t talk about it, but apparently Tuffy has developed a prodigious case of plague necrophobia. He’s a simple guy, you know, very basic, and he just doesn’t get it, or anything. He is very desperately threatened.”

Cosgrove heard that. I saw him whisper “He is very desperately threatened” to himself.

“What kind of man,” said Dennis Savage, “has a lover named Tuffy? What’s his
morality
, if you gay commissars will pardon me for asking?”

“Whose name is Tuffy?” asked Virgil, switching off the television. “Is he some rough boy of the streets?”

“Is he?” I asked Lionel. “He certainly puts on a hard act, as I recall. Ferocious triceps.”

“Tom always liked it down and dirty, you know.”

BOOK: Some Men Are Lookers: A Continuation of the "Buddies" Cycle
5.78Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Four-Night Run by William Lashner
Deadfall by Lyndon Stacey
CRUISE TO ROMANCE by Poznanski, Toby
La música del azar by Paul Auster
Sacrifice of Love by Quinn Loftis
Going Overboard by Sarah Smiley
Hush by Cherry Adair