n Bobadillo lived a starfucker named Magdalena.
She drove us wild with all the big names she screwed. We were
jealous, we were mad, we were horny We tried to lure her out
under the overpass of the interstate, or in the secret crawl space
above the cellar in my cousin Arno's house. Sometimes three or
four of us could get her into a dark place, but even the closeness
and our sweet breath would not make her assent. What do stars
smell like, feel like, fuck like? We wanted to ask her but we
were too polite. And before we could Magdalena would whirl her
long lustrous hair and say, "I don't talk about it. I don't
remember it. That's why I always get it." Once the son
of a dead President visited her on passing through town, and in
his wake, in a trash can at the Lazy El, he left a letter, written
to him by another starfucker. "I so enjoyed our ride up
the coast," she wrote. "You have a wonderful station
wagon." Our Magdalena never wrote anything like that. She
never wrote, period. You could get the stars' addresses in special
paperback directories they sold down at the greeting card store.
We kept one in Arno's room, and checked off all the stars Magdalena
had. There were dozens, but I am not allowed to name them.
None of our own little gang ever had her, so
I'm afraid I can't offer you any suspense. What I liked about
us is we had no leader, just our hormones and the moments of tortured
frogs and emptied beer cans. Or maybe Magdalena was our hero.
Early in her ascent, upon hearing of the imminent arrival of
a celebrity at our town, she climbed atop the bar at Max's, her
shirt tail out. She spat and drew crazy pictures in the air with
her lit cigarette waving wildly, as her drink spilled on her breasts,
and she announced, "He is mine!" "That starfucker,"
someone who was not of our gang said, with a hoarse disgust that
was oddly alluring to us. It was a beautiful vision--to fuck
the stars. At night, in dreams, I'd come to images of myself
penetrating bright white points of light. When a politician,
in a speech, pronounced for the first time his darling phrase,
"a thousand points of light," I was instantly hard.
But how difficult it was to be a starfucker when you were only
a boy, nearly a man but still only male. Almost any woman, it
appeared to us, could be one, but for men the aspiration seemed
impossible. Years later my wife would tell me that she admired
women who were starfuckers, for deciding what they wanted and
having the physical presence and power to pursue and obtain it.
My daughter has asked me on occasion how many
stars I personally have known. Only one, just the one. A grunge
hunk on his way through our town to shoot a film, who took a liking
to me because I was sitting in the Lazy El reading a book, smoking
too many cigarettes, and stealing sips off a soda can filled only
with rum. He sat at the table next to mine and said, "Hey,
what you reading?"
"Kerouac," I said, and it was as
if I lit the room, for his eyes became as bright as that instant
captured by a famous photographer for a recent cover of People.
He moved to my table.
"I love Kerouac," he said. ''I haven't
met him yet, but I love him."
"He's dead," I said.
"Yes, I know."
I sat, staring at my book, wondering whether
to pretend that I didn't recognize him.
"What do you think it means to be subterranean?"
I shook my head. It buzzed back at me, perplexed
to be in a literary discussion with a star.
"Here's what I think it means," he
said, plucking up one of my cigarettes with a startling and endearing
intimacy. "I think it means that the country is a pile of
crap and we're all a pile of crap and the only way to get through
it is to stay under it."
I smiled. I hadn't read the book.
"Is there a pool table in this town?"
Bobadillo isn't much of place. It's really
just a fantasy. We walked from the Lazy El, all their heads turning,
turning, almost frozen in a slow turn as they followed us to the
door, as if each person there wished to fix us in a precise connection
to them. The star smiled to himself, loving being recognized
without having to endure any contact. They all just want their
asses kissed, but they don't want to feel your lips.
At Max's I introduced my friend to a set of
empty pool tables. He took another one of my cigarettes and carefully
checked the felt of each wreck. The late afternoon sun funneling
through the narrow windows picked up the perfect line of his teeth.
He bought me a beer and we began to play. My legs were numb
with success. I was trying not to grin. We talked about foreign
films I hadn't seen. We each won several games. It grew late.
We split a plate of French fries and smoked all the cigarettes
we could find. Then he asked, "Does this town have any women?"
My heart gasped. So this was where it had
been leading, always leading. It was not about me and the fancy
movies I feigned wanting to see and the books I had read. It
was about Magdalena. Probably he had heard of our town and her
from any one of the dozens of names I am pledged not to mention.
"Sure, I know somebody," I said.
I slouched to the phone and dialed her number. She came to the
bar smelling sweetly of cigarettes and bubblegum and vodka, her
hair down and her shirt untucked. They walked around each other
once. He nodded briefly to me and shook my hand. "Thanks,
man," he said. "See you, sweetie," Magdalena said.
I stood in the street, in a darkness growing colder by the breath.
Perhaps this story is familiar to you people who live in Hollywood
and fuck each other all the time. How pathetic and lucky that
the prize for transcending flesh is only more flesh. I tried
not to peek at them through the window of Max's. But in Bobadillo
there aren't that many directions to choose. They stood by the
pool table, shoulder to shoulder, one beer, one cigarette between
them, and their hips began to undulate and collide, as if to music.
I could not hear its sound.
Copyright © 1997 Fred Leebron.