In retrospect, the reasoning behind the year I spent in Dallas is a little fuzzy. But so is most everything else about Dallas, so that’s no news.
While I was there I was cast as Tomazo de Piracquo in a production of Thomas Middleton & William Rowley’s The Changeling at the Deep Ellum Theatre Garage, which is the kind of place a guy goes to pay his theatrical dues. Mostly, this is great fun.
Our Beatrice-Joanna was played by one Melissa S. as a bayou cocktail of lovestruck swooner, brazen hussy, and wanton Belle jar. On stage as in life, Melissa embodied both raging ends of the Madonna/whore spectrum, leaving the safe middle ground for lesser spirits. She was the kind of girl … let’s put it this way. When Melissa needed to move a sofa up the stairs to her apartment she asked around for a day or two, and could have put together a competitive football franchise from the guys who finally showed up. For all I know, maybe she did. Or maybe they already were a football franchise, out on a field trip.
Dress rehearsal night. We know our lines mostly, we have no idea about the blocking, and the set, insofar as there is one, is a crazed razor-edged work-in-progress junkyard. I’m in leather and there’s a Bowie knife strapped to my boot. My buddy Vince and I are hanging by the door backstage, which doubles as Carla and Matt’s apartment when we’re not in it. Melissa approaches, a raptor in crinoline and lace.
Melissa, eyes large and moist, lips pleading: What’s the best thing you ever said in bed?
Linus and Vince: What??
A flounce. You have to be from the South to do this correctly.
Melissa: Come on, boys. What’s the best thing you ever said in bed? You know, sexy. I’ll tell you mine.
Linus and Vince: What are you —
Melissa: Mine was “Fuck me like you own me.”
Linus and Vince: …
Melissa: Well HE seemed to like it.
Some weeks later, Vince and I are out getting tattoos. I want a circle on my shoulder blade, a quiet echo of the moon. Vince is getting an A&M longhorn on his butt. In brown. Whatever. The first tattoo place we find is ’round back of Maldonado’s Tire Repair. We pass on that one. The second choice is a biker joint. Guy who runs it is in jail, but his buddy across the way will do the tats for us, if that’s all right; we go for it.
At the end of this day, I have a curious circle on my shoulder blade and Vince has a longhorn on his butt. He already regrets it. We head out to celebrate and bemoan, and after a few rounds Vince waxes nostalgic.
Vince: You know the sexiest thing I ever heard?
Linus: Fuck me like you own me?
Vince: No, no. I was in school, and we had this party. I was talking to this girl, a real petite blonde girl, and she was just so pretty. I sort of knew her and we were talking. I thought I was doing all right, but at the end of the party she was leaving with this football player guy, a friend of my roommate. So she was getting her stuff out of the bedroom and I go up to talk to her before she leaves, you know, and the guy is getting his stuff too, and as I walk up she’s saying to him, “But there’s one thing you should know. I’m … abnormally small.”
Linus: … There is not enough liquor on this table to encompass that story.
Vince: Got that right.