All the Way to Francine
I think about Francine a lot. Though I've never met her, I think about her a lot and what she promises.
"I bet she'll go all the way for you," Adam Klein says into the phone to me. "And I'll be there so you won't run away like everybody else always does."
"I think about going all the way myself. I think about it all the time," I say back into the phone to him. "I think if I can see Francine do it, then I'll know?"
"We'll go after Glasstown's show," Adam says and hangs up before I can protest.
Glasstown are onstage at Bottom of the Hill. I'm standing in the back. The only safe place to stand to not get pelted with girls' and boys' flying underwear. Every time a pair nails Adam's Elvis Costello-ish face he smooches the crotch up against his nose while still singing in his Neil Young-meets-David Byrne voice.
"Hi. I'm Branwell, can I fuck you?"
That's the fifth Branwell who's asked to fuck me. Glasstown always bring out the queer Bronte contingents. And everyone is Branwell, the fucked-up loser Bronte brother. And once they hear all Adam's erudite poetry, mysterious Bronte secret-society references and just like the music that happens from a seven-piece band that has a French horn, bowed bass and kind of symphonic pop power, they get all horny as fuck.
I'm in the bathroom letting one of the Branwell guys finger me for $25 while Adam is singing their tragic ballad, "Dithering Lows." I know Glasstown is probably going to do "All the Way to Francine" soon, so I tell Branwell to hurry up and spray coz I got other business to attend to. I make my way through the packed crowd, dodging the bodies that suddenly fall into a dead faint from the sheer sexiness of Jimmy the guitar boy who moves with an eerie grace considering it's emanating from a straight boy.
"How's the book?" some writer fag sneers at me. "It's done, you fuck," I mutter back. Adam wrote the collection of stories The Medicine Burns on High Risk/Serpents Tail Books as well as doing the artist monograph Jerome: After the Pageant (Bastard Books/D.A.P.). So all these SF literary queers who would rather be rock stars jealously attend all Glasstown shows and stand around in leather jackets trying to look like Pete Townshend while attempting impressively aloof arcane expressions to attract the young badass rocker boys.
Adam leans into the microphone and says, "This next one is for Terminator and his quest for the truth about Francine." Then he does a magnificent leap into the air and Glasstown launches into "All the Way to Francine" and the place goes wild. "The song recounts a visit with an ectoplasmic ghost during a late night walk in the park," is what Adam told Tiger Beat in their interview with him, but all the homo-boys at the show know what it really really is about.
Glasstown end their triumphant set and the place empties. I nervously wait for Adam to finish signing autographs. "I really should just go home?" I lean over his shoulder to tell him.
"We're doing this," he says, puts the finishing touches on his signature and grabs my wrist. He tugs me into the waiting limousine a fan has supplied. We climb into the limo's cavernous caramel leather travel compartment, stepping over the fan lying prone on the limo floor.
"He wants to suck our feet," Adam says, pulling off his boots and socks. I follow suit, apologizing for the socks that I haven't changed in over a week. "Oh I like that," the fan says and bites into my socks like a dog with a new chew-toy.
"He hates music," Adam says, holding his nose and pointing to the fan. "But he loves literary fags."
"Am I a literary fag?"
"With stinky feet." The fan mumbles with his mouth full. "He'll pay you $200."
"Have you read all my books?" I say, leaning down to the fan, who is asphyxiating himself on my socks. The fan only moans and collapses on my feet. "Cool," I tell Adam.
The driver parks by the ocean and Adam and I creep barefoot out of the limo while the fan is still unconscious. "That really is quite impressive," Adam says, pointing to my feet while gasping for clean air. I nod my thanks. "There?" He points to the windblown thicket of trees and overgrown shrubbery just inside the park. "Francine is in there."
"I don't think I can do this?"
Adam grabs my wrist again. "You'll thank me later, now let's get this over with!"
We walk into the wet sandy dark recesses of the park. Adam pulls back brambles and karate-chops away branches that suddenly fly in our faces. I hold on to the tails of his overcoat like a frightened monkey. The dick-slurping reverberations are drowning out the ocean.
Suddenly something is crashing toward us, through the bracken. We can only see a dark form making its way toward us with increasing urgency. "Cops!" Someone yells and the park suddenly comes alive with men running for their cars. It is only their pink, rapidly deflating penises hanging out that make them identifiable from the trees. Then men on their knees, disguised as hedges, run too, the come dribbling out of them a trail like Hansel and Gretel's breadcrumbs, to their cars. I start to run too, but Adam holds me still. "I can't afford to get busted again." I struggle against his grip. "Look," he points into the bushes, "Look!"
I turn my head and see it is a sea creature not a cop coming toward us. I push against Adam harder.
"Why'd you guys leave me!" the sea creature wails. I look again to see it is the fan with my socks wrapped around his face coming toward us.
"Oh," I say and relax in Adam's arms.
"You were overcome," Adam says to the fan.
"I will follow you to the ends of the Earth!" the fan says and falls at my feet.
"Where has everybody gone?" calls out a deep, sultry voice. "Am I all alone?"
"Oh my God?" I feel my knees go weak.
"Francine, is that you?" Adam calls out.
"Keep talking baby, Francine is coming to you?" she purrs back.
"Take your dick out," Adam orders the fan.
"My dick? Why mine?"
"If you don't, you'll never smell Terminator's luscious pungent feet again."
"Okay, okay, you don't have to get so drastic." The fan undoes his zipper and pulls out a wobbly glistening white penis. "Now what?" he says.
"Now we wait," Adam says. I'm aware I can hear the ocean for the first time in this part of the park. It's funny how I always thought the nighttime disquiet of an empty park was the loneliest sound in the world. But I suddenly realize there's nothing more desolate than the cacophony of anonymous dick-slurping.
"Oh God!" The fan suddenly screams! Adam and I both jump. "It's got me! It's got me!" The fan shrieks again.
"Look!" Adam points down at the fan's groin. And there, attached to the fan's penis, is Francine's cherry-red mouth. "Just relax into it," Adam counsels the fan.
"Ummmm?" moans Francine. I try to get a better look, but with all the leaves and bushes it's hard to make her out. All I see is a colossal mass of black hair bobbing rapidly up and down, up and down.
"Uh, uh, uh?" the fan says.
"Think of my feet," I say and Adam pats me on the shoulder for coming up with such an inspiring reflection for the fan.
"Oh baby!" Francine says in her legendary smoky voice.
"Your, your feet?" the fan groans.
Adam nudges me toward the fan. I lift my leg up and rest my still-bare foot onto the fan's shoulder, like a ballerina. "This little piggy went to market?" I whisper into the fan's ear while grabbing my big toe. "Ahhh!" the fan gasps.
"Gimme it to me baby. Give it all to Francine!"
"This little piggy stayed home."
"Oh, oh yes?"
"This little piggy had?"
"Please?" begs the fan.
"That's it baby! Feed it me! Feed it to Francine!"
"Don't stop!" bellows the fan. "The roast! Don't forget the roast!"
"Give him the roast." Adam holds my arm for balance.
"This little piggy had roast beef!" I yell.
"I'd like to go all the way for you."
"And this little piggy?"
"Wait?" Adam jerks my arm.
"Oh, more piggies! More piggies!" pleads the fan.
"What'd you say, Francine?" Adam whispers.
"I said I want to go all the way."
"What? What?" shouts the fan. "I just want more piggies."
"Tell Francine you want to go all the way!" I say to the fan, my heart throbbing. "Or no more piggies!"
The fan gasps. "No! Francine! Francine! I want you to go all the way!"
"I'm gonna go all the way to Francine for you!" Francine purrs.
"This little piggy?" I wiggle my toes in the fan's face, "had?"
"Yes, Francine! Please?" squeals the fan.
"None!" I shout.
"Uhh!" the fan cries.
"I'm gonna do it. You want me to do it?" Francine murmurs.
"Do what?" the fan bellows.
"This last little piggy?" I tease.
"Do it Francine!" the fan yells.
"I'm gonna do it! I'm really gonna do it!"
"Went wee wee?" I wiggle my pinky toe.
"I'm gonna go all the way to Francine for you!"
"Wee, wee, wee, wee?" I look down to see a shimmer of silver flashing off a distant lamplight.
"I'm gonna cut off my dick and put on my tits for you. Then you'll really know Francine."
I watch the blade rise in the air, above her head, as the final words come out of my mouth, "All the way home."
"Oh shit!" Adam shouts.
The blade descends and the fan screams.
I just remember running. I don't know how I got home. All I know is I did. I lay in bed and stare at the ceiling for days. One day I wake up to Adam's face over mine.
"Dude I've been trying to reach you for days." I blink up at him. "Here." Adam puts a wad of cash on my blanketed belly. "The fan said he's never had an orgasm quite like that." I blink again. "He's fine, you know." I nod. "He wants to see you again."
"What happened to Francine?" I whisper, feeling my stomach churn at the thought of that knife. A knife I'd held over my own self many times. Just a fast, thorough cut. And I wouldn't let them sew it back on either. It would be done with, over, gone. My mother always said I should've been a girl.
"I don't know. When you ran you kicked up so much sand, Francine just disappeared."
"Well," I pull myself up to my elbows, "was there blood?"
"No. None that I could see. C'mon." Adam reaches his hand out to me. "I'd tell you to take a shower, but I think the fan would prefer you didn't."
"Maybe she didn't really go all the way to Francine," I say, giving Adam my hand.
"Maybe she didn't."
"It's a hard thing to do?" I say.
"You could say that."
"I don't think I want to do that."
"Glad to hear it." Adam pulls me up.
"I don't have it in me to go all the way to Francine. Though I wish I did sometimes."
"We all do every now and then," says Adam. "We all do? Let's go get a burrito."
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A love-hate relationship with height
A love-hate relationship with height
Ground Zero then and now