Broken Bird, Part Three

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Him: It’s good to see you.

Me: You too. I haven’t seen much of you since Thin Skin Jonny went on hiatus.

Him: I’ve been around. I’m in school, too.

Me: How’s Bobby?

Him: Back with James Blackheart. He moved out.

Me: Again? That’s a shame. How was living with him?

Him: I loved living with Bobby Finn. I used to say we ran a bed and breakfast. Bobby provided the bed and I provided breakfast. I got to meet so many new people.

Me: I know the feeling. It was a circus here, for the two months he stayed…

Him: Yes, well… That’s Bobby for you.

(pause)

Me: Why did he turn his back on me, do you think?

Him: (sighs) I don’t know. I couldn’t or wouldn’t say, even if I did know.

Me: Well, I find it extremely unfair. He freeloaded off me for months and now won’t answer my txts, phone calls, or emails. He’s blocked me on Facebook.

Him: Did you say anything nasty to him?

Me: NO! He’s been out of town for about 4 months doing that theater gig in Kansas. I asked him to have lunch with me and go shopping. I wanted to say goodbye before I left for the West Coast.

Him: Maybe he doesn’t want to see you?

Me: That’s clear, but don’t you think it’s a little rude? I give the guy a place to stay, because he’s being “abused,” and then he gets to turn his back on me?

Him: Bobby just doesn’t understand your decisions lately.

Me: So what? Neither does my Mother, or most of my so-called friends, colleagues, acquaintances or whatnot. Doesn’t matter. When someone announces a wedding you pretend you’re excited, at least. You don’t head for the hills, because you are gay and reserve the right to hate all women, categorically, except your mother.

Him: Quite a few gay men operate like that.

Me: I know that, but don’t I get to expect more of Bobby? I took him in. I put him on the most well-respected comedy stage in NYC. I held him when he cried, and bought him lunch sometimes, if it was clear he was hungry. Why does he have any sort of moral high ground, here?

Him: You’d have to ask him.

Me: That’s the problem. Rather than take me for a walk in the park and ask how I’m doing, inquire about my assault and the PTSD that triggered – rather than congratulate me on my marriage, or say goodbye to an old friend who’s moving 3000 miles away – rather than any of that, he just ignores me. No explanation.

Him: Perhaps he feels that sort of goodbye is preferable to an argument?

Me: There’s nothing to argue about. I don’t have to ask his permission to get married, man or woman. I don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to have a nervous break-down. When women do it, it’s called a ‘rough’ period. When I do it, I need an analyst. I like my analyst, by the way.

Him: That’s good.

Me: Here’s what isn’t good.

(pause)

Me: I ran into Clive, a few months after Bobby left and moved in with you.

Him: I always thought he was cute.

Me: Me too. Not my usual type, but super cute. Anyway, Clive told me that Bobby wasn’t abused at all – at least not physically like he claimed. Clive told me Bobby smashed the wine glass on his own face. He knew the cops were coming and he wanted to look like a victim. He wanted to force James to let him stay in the fancy apartment.

Him: What’s the difference? Does that make him an awful person?

Me: Are you kidding me? He lied to me about being abused, paid nothing to live here, and started undermining me in the band as soon as he moved in with you. He took my kindness and showed me contempt.

Him: You’re just describing human nature.

Me: All of those things I could forgive. He’s younger than me (but getting older – red heads should stay out of the sun) and I could have forgiven those annoying things, but this… How dare he turn his back on me. How dare he join the ranks of former friends who won’t return my calls, simply because I married a woman.

Him: Quite a few people don’t understand that, Michael. You were so vocal about gay rights for so long…

Me: So what? One doesn’t have to be gay to believe in human rights. One also doesn’t have to be straight to marry a woman. It’s reason to ruin a friendship? He should have hung around and made up with me. Stupid, trusting Michael would have probably made him dinner and opened some wine.

Him: Maybe it’s just not the right timing for you two right now.

Me: Exactly. It’s not the right timing because I finally have nothing left to give that selfish little…

Him: Say it. You’ll feel better if you say it.

Me: Human being. Bobby Finn is a real prime example of a human being.

(Marco Bright laughs. I start crying. Marco puts on a pot of hot water.)

(pause)

(Soon enough we are laughing and writing songs again.)

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Broken Bird: Part Two

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Me: I made eggs, are you hungry?

Him: Okay, I guess. Wait, no. I’m fine. I’m getting fat.

Me: You’re never going to be fat.

Him: Where’s Karl?

Me: He left a few hours ago. He had to get to work.

Him: Work…  I know I’ve heard that word before. Work….

Me: I know, I’ve read about it, too. Who can say for sure, what this ‘work’ is? I understand everyone is always looking for it, and they dislike it when they have it?

Him: No, I think you’re thinking of ‘love.’

Me: I stand corrected.

(pause)

Me: So, I need to say this: My feelings were hurt last night.

Him: What? Why? Oh…

Me: Right. Karl and I were on our second date.

Him: I didn’t know that!

Me: I think I mentioned it, yesterday. I was excited about this one.

(pause)

Him: How did it go?

Me: Well, I dunno. It was going well. I guess I shouldn’t have…

Him: You know, I really like him!

Me: Yes. You two really seem to like one another.

(pause)

Him: Let’s just have this out. What are you upset about?

Me: Well, I kind of thought that Karl and I were on a date. I wanted you to meet us at Sugarland, because you’re living with me, and I consider you a good friend, by now.

Him: I am your friend.

Me: Right, and I feel like saying this, then – I don’t think it was very kind, or considerate of you to sleep with him in my bed, on our second date.

Him: I don’t think he thinks you two were on a date.

Me: At this point, no, neither do I. I don’t date people that fuck my friends during the first phase of the relationship. You have to wait a year or two, before you start fucking my roommate.

Him: It could have been the three of us…

Me: Yes. I know that. I felt that energy, but it’s hard for me to participate in that energy when I’m managing extreme hurt feelings.

Him: I’m sorry. I didn’t know.

Me: Right, well, I mentioned it was a date.

Him: I didn’t hear you.

(pause)

Him: You talk a lot.

(pause)

Me: I also cook and clean a lot.

(pause)

Him: I have to leave. I’ve got things to do today.

Me: I want you to know one more thing.

Him: Jesus, what now, grandpa?

Me: Just that I forgive you.

(pause)

Me: I forgive you both, and I am letting the anger for this go. My friendship with you is more important than a second date, and Karl is handsome, but not really my type.

Him: Seriously?

Me: I think so. I processed it, here, in the kitchen last night while you guys were soiling my sheets.

Him: I felt guilty when I saw you asleep on the couch.

Me: Well, you should check my blog. I blogged about it, last night, while you two were having sex.

Him: WHAT?

Me: Sorry. I had to get it out. I had to let it go. That’s part of what PIEFOLK is – it’s a place for me to put things I find awkward, sad, frustrating, or when people I care about do things I don’t quite understand.

Him: Michael, I’m sorry. Just tell me next time, or don’t invite me. You know what I’m like –

Me: When you’re drinking. Yes. And it’s hard to ask an actor, much less a drunk actor, to be anything less than the marvelous attention hound he was born to be. However, I’m a comic and a writer, and I want you to know – fair’s fair – this IS becoming material.

Him: Thanks for asking me. Looks like it already has become material.

Me: Uh, if you want to get on a high horse start paying rent.

(pause)

Him: I love you, big brother.

Me: Then give me a hug. I forgive you. I’m sorry.

Him: Me too.

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Tuesdate: Flashback to 2011 – Broken Bird, Part One

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Him: Thanks for answering the phone.

Me: My god, of course, Bobby. Of course. What the hell happened?  Do you want some tea, or… I have some braised pork in the fridge? I’m going to make some food.

Him: I know it’s way before five, but do you have anything stronger than tea?

(pause)

Me: Yes. Yes I do. I guess bourbon is okay?

Him: That’s fine. Have one with me?

Me: No. I have to teach later, but you can have my shot. I’ll pour a double.

(long pause, sets cutlery, boils water, makes food and drink)

Him: I guess you’re wondering what happened?

Me: James Blackheart happened?

Him: Yep.

Me: Who hit you? You look like you got into a fight with an elephant.

(pause)

Me: Do you need a hug?

(they embrace for a long tme, Bobby shakes, trembling)

Me: Okay, let’s sit back down. I don’t like this side of you. You’re too good looking to walk around with cuts and bruises on your face.

Him: He stopped taking his meds.

Me: And then what?

Him: He came home late at night and started throwing my things into the hallway. He was with another boy, and started screaming about how I didn’t live there anymore.

Me: Wait, what? He came home with another guy? Did you two break up?

Him: We were talking about it, but he’s constantly talking about that sort of thing. He’s not stable when he doesn’t take his meds.

Me: Or even when he does…

Him: He works very hard and makes a lot of money.

Me: So did Kim Jong Il.

Him: He’s a good provider, Michael. You don’t see that side of him, or when he’s sweet for days or weeks on end. He’s a good man.

Me: Good men don’t beat their boyfriends.

Him: It was complicated. We were shouting at each other, he was destroying things – throwing my things out of the apartment. He screamed about how he’d always paid the rent and he was evicting me. He asked the boy to stay and he did for a while, but then it got so ugly – the boy left. The neighbors came over, threatening to call the police. We argued with them. They called the cops.

Me: How did you get those cuts and bruises?

Him: James hit me. That had happened before.

Me: Wait, how often does he hit you?

(long pause)

Him: It had happened before. Not often, but often enough to make me afraid of setting him off. He’s got chemical imbalances.

Me: Bullshit. He’s a dick. He’s an evil man. That’s not a chemical imbalance – that’s a character flaw.

Him: People go through phases, Michael. People aren’t always kind.

Me: But kindness is always an option. There are folk who won’t treat you like that. There are nice, rich guys that would pamper you and spoil you, and not keep you on high terror lockdown.

(pause)

Him: But I love James.

Me: Did your father hit you?

(long pause)

Him: We were terrified of him, growing up. He wasn’t a nice man.

Me: Okay, so you’re now in a cycle of the same pattern with your boyfriend. Your ex-boyfriend.

Him: Can I stay here for a while?

Me: Obviously. You’re moving in today.

Him: Thank you. I knew you’d help me.

Me: We don’t know each other that well, but I can’t have you walking around like an abused housewife. You’re talented. Have you been singing?

Him: Not really.

Me: You’re joining the band, for a while. You need to get back to what brings you joy.

Him: I can sleep in your bed with you, and we can –

Me: I think that phase of our relationship is over. You can take the couch, or if you have  a date that goes particularly well, I’ll take the couch. We’ll split the chores, and for the first few weeks I’ll buy all the food. If you need to stay more than a month, we can talk about rent, etc. – is that okay?

Him: That’s more than…   Thank you!

Me: How did you get that gash?

Him: He smashed a wine glass on my head, right before the police showed up.

Me: This relationship is over.

Him: We both stayed the night in jail. Different holding cells.

Me: Good lord.

Him: He’d wanted me to get a job, and the funny thing is I’d gotten a retail job, but it wasn’t good enough, or the money wasn’t coming fast enough. I’d only been working there for 10 days. It’s not enough time to develop a clientele, or anything. Plus he was jealous I was ‘flirting with old men in Chelsea’ for a living.

Me: Flirting with old men is your favorite pass time!

Him: Preach. Anyway, I think it’s over. I hope he hasn’t destroyed my things.

Me: We’ll get you new things, or if need be, we can go over there with a bunch of people so he can’t hurt you. Here’s an extra set of keys.

Him: Thanks mister. Do you have an enema? I need to get ready to go out tonight.

Me: Oh Jesus, this is gonna be trouble.

Him: I can behave, too.

Me: No. Just no hard drugs in the apartment, please, and don’t bring over anyone who looks like a junkie or a thief? And no singing after 1am. I have a coke-head neighbor who’s pushy and demanding about his quiet time. Every time I go over there he’s watching porn on multiple screens and cracked out of his skull.

Him: Is he cute?

Me: He’s like… if you smashed Chris Farley together with Golem. Is that your thing?

Him: No, but I like porn.

Me: Look. Here’s the enema. Please don’t leave it out.

Him: Don’t worry, I will!

(pause)

Me: I know, baby.

(pause)

I know you will…

(pause)

You’re safe now.

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Passive Aggressive, Part 1

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Him: Don’t involve me in that ever again.

Me: Excuse me?

Him: You heard me. I don’t want to be part of your circus. I don’t care to sit there while you open a bank account, on a day when we’ve planned to meet for a picnic. You’ve been extremely passive agressive today and I don’t want to be part of whatever game it is you’re playing.

(long pause)

Me: Well… It’s a nice day, and we finally made it to the park. Eat your sandwich, maybe, and you won’t be hangry anymore?

(long pause. we eat. i start to play ukulele.)

Me: Hey, we wrote this song together. Do you remember writing this song?

Him: Yes.

(pause)

Me: Right. We wrote it. Where were we?

(pause)

Me: You don’t remember? We were at your apartment in Cobble Hill. I was complaining about your tendency to hoard things – it’s a real fire hazzard, and I’d twisted my ankle in the clothing/furniture/old paper maze to your bed. It was hot and you had rigged up a ‘fan contraption,’ remember?

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Him: It was two fans working in tandem to circulate the air.

Me: That’s right! I was asking about American Hwangap at the Magic Theater. You said you’d written a chord progression for the end of the show, remember?

(pause)

Me: I said we owed it to Thin Skin Jonny to turn it into a song. Surely you remember?

(pause. i start singing.)

If I said more often,

How good you look…

In the morning time, boy

Wouldn’t that have been fine?

If I told you,

How good you cook

You make your own beef jerky.

Who makes their own beef jerky?

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Would you let me stay?

Would you let me stay?

Hey hey hey.

Would you let me stay?

Ah haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…..

 

And if I said I’m sorry,

For all the fighting last December,

Would you say, It’s okay –

As far as you remember

If I said I was a lonely boy

Who really really misses you

Can I be the only boy who

Gets to hug and kiss you…

 

I wanna be the only boy-

Would you let me st-

Him: That’s enough.

(pause)

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Me: I’ll stop singing that song, but not because you told me to.

Him: Michael, I’ve moved beyond this. I have completed my grief cycle. I’ve come out the other side a better man.

Me: And I kept singing the songs that made us feel immortal. What’s your point?

Him: You can’t hold on to love for too long. It will burden you. It will anchor you down.

Me: Oh really? I was thinking the opposite. I was thinking that I’m a writer. I’m a songwriter. I’m a playwright. I write comedy for television and star in sketch shows. I was thinking I might keep singing my songs, because you know what? People are buying them now.

(pause)

Do you want writing credit for this, or no? Because I don’t want to deal with a lawsuit later on.

Him: You’re ridiculous and passive agressive to the nth degree and I’m not your boyfriend any longer. I don’t have to put up with it.

Me: Oh. No. You did not. Gurl, you better hold my gold.

Him: You have to let this go.

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Me: No, I don’t. You’re not my boyfriend anymore and I don’t have to put up with you telling me what to do. I can love whomever I want. I can keep loving you, Norman. I can love Carson, too. I can love Andrew forever too, if I want to. I don’t have to do what you tell me to do. How’s that for passive aggressive? Or was that just agressive?

(pause. i play more uke.)

So if I do all the laundry…

If I go and buy all the paper towels,

Will you rent a hall?

Will you write some wedding vows?

If I pick up all my dirty socks.

If I go and put back the toothpaste cap,

When our kid has chicken pox

Will you pick up a midnight snack?

 

And would you let me stay?

Would you let me stay?

Hey hey hey? Hey.

Would you let me stay?

Ah Haaaaaaaaaaaa ah.

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Maybe I’ll change?

Maybe I’ll change.

Maybe I’ll look at myself

I’ll re-arrange things when I change

Ah Haaaaaaaaaaaaa ah.

 

I just realized,

When I saw your eyes.

I don’t want to… Stay….  

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To Be Continued…

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My Korean Mother

photos by eryc perez de tagle

Hey Jerks.

Hope you’re having a good weekend.

Here’s some footage of Thin Skin Jonny performing at the Stripped Stories show in the New York Comedy Festival at UCB Theater.

Daniel sings a sweet funny song about how he loves his mother, even though she’s pretty intolerant of his sexuality.  I make wisecracks about AIDS.

Enjoy.

Would You Let Me Stay?

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Him:  Sorry, I’m going to have to leave a few of my things…

Me:  That’s okay.  After 8 years, you can think of me as a sort of storage unit.

Him:  Believe me, I do.

Me:  Wow.  Thanks.

(pause)

Me:  Hey.

Him:  What?

Me:  Are we doing the right thing here?  Should we be turning our backs on 8 years of a relationship?  Shouldn’t we be fighting harder to preserve this?

Him:  Michael.  We’ve been fighting.  We fought.  And then we stopped fighting.  And we were still together.  And we were unhappy for a long time.

 

Me:  But – what about all those hugs?  There were lots of hugs.  And, now there won’t be any.  And I’ll be all alone here.

Him:  You’ll be fine.

Me:  I wont!  I’ll just be here.  Alone.  With your lazy ghost rattling around the place.  It was hard enough to get you to clean up before you were just a memory.

Him:  Stop it.  You’re making it harder.  We decided-

Me:  GOOD.  It should be hard.  It should be hard to walk away from someone who you made a life with – a LIFE.  That’s what we have here.  We have a life together, and you want to walk away from it.

Him:  This isn’t fair.  You’re the one who broke up with me…  I’m just doing what you asked me to do. 

Me:  But is this the best idea?

Him:  It’s the best idea.  Yes.  We reached a point where we weren’t good for each other.

Me: But I lied.

Him:  What?

Me:  I lied.  You asked me to tell you point blank, that I didn’t love you anymore, and I lied and said ‘I don’t love you anymore.’  I lied.  I do.  I don’t know how to stop.

Him:  What?  Why would you…?

Me:  I felt like I was drowning and I felt like that for a long, long time.  And I felt like the only way to throw myself a life preserver was to do this.

Him:  This is unfair – and I’m getting impatient.  Why should…  We’re doing what’s best for both of us, and you’re not making it easy.

Me:  It. Shouldn’t. Be. Easy.

(pause)

Me:  Will you listen to a song I wrote for you?

(long pause)

Him: (exasperated) Fine…

Him:  That’s really beautiful, but I don’t think it changes anything.

Me:  It’s okay.  I’m probably going to add a bridge in the middle about felching.

Him:  Why?

Me:  Make it funny…

Him:  Is everything a joke?

Me:  It is now.

(long pause)

 Me:  Jerk.

What Gay People Talk About

photos by eryc perez de tagle

Happy Sunday, Jerks!

Thin Skin Jonny had a show on Friday night at UCBeast.  We were lucky enough to perform with Momma Holler, Kevin Michael Murphy and Lauren Adams, Danger Pin and the hilarious Ben Lerman.

We’re going to be hosting a monthly showcase of comedy music at UCBeast, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Here’s a clip of us doing Giulia Rozzi and Margot Leitman’s amazing storytelling show Stripped Stories.  We also did their Sirius Radio podcast!  You can download the episode for free here.  Warning – the song is slightly NSFW.

Thanks for watching, and Happy Sunday!

Jerks.