Sunday, November 16, 2003

Let's Make Me Beautiful Day!

Let's have you throw your jacket on your body and run from a bar. We're gonna send you through a million red and yellow lit streets and we'll put some glycerine drops in your eyes to get some tears on your fat baby cheeks.

Now we've got my friend Steve throwing a small dinner for friends you don't know in his apartment. I'm not there, you called Steve ahead of time to find that out. You couldn't tell Steve why you're coming over because you needed Steve to excuse himself from his dinner table to sit down on the stairwell with some cigarettes and find out what put that moan into your phone voice.

The way we're gonna have Steve play this one is he's gonna be giddy. Steve'll have had a pretty boring week and his dinner guests and his girlfriend won't have livened it up by the time you call. But when he tells you it's cool to come over, he'll be excited to go back to the dinner table and announce that a friend is coming over and she sounds like she's in bad shape. He might need to step away for a moment, but it won't be long, he'll say. "I am important to someone," will be his point. The guests will ask some questions but will try not to be too probing, though they will all be glad that the conversation will have veered away from what one of them read in that morning's Times magazine. Steve's girlfriend will sit quietly in a homocidal rage. This will make Steve happy.

In the apartment, Steve will introduce you briefly to the table. "This is the breakdown I'm going to prevent," will be his point. You'll apologize for interrupting and then the two of you will go out to the stairs. You'll light a cigarette. Steve will light one of yours for himself because he doesn't smoke.

Before you say a word, we need you to smoke that cigarette to the butt then light a second.

"I just all of a sudden felt crippled. At this table, with all our friends at the bar, I thought he could show up at any second. And I couldn't have that." These are your lines. "I needed to be where he won't be. I feel like this whole city was built for just him and me to walk around in. He's out there not knowing where I am and I'm out there not knowing where he is. And I just needed to be someplace where I know he won't be."

Steve has always liked talking to you alone. Steve is very happy with the man he's become when he manages to hold a meaningful conversation with you. He doesn't have a crush on you or anything. We don't want that. We just want him to admire you.

"I want a list. A map color-coded according to the places he isn't. I don't want to know where he is. I want to know where he won't be."

Steve will ask, "Can't you go home. You can be sure he won't be there."

We need you to shake your head. "Home is worst of all. I once saw him there. He was just walking down the street past my building, but he never has any reason to be there. Since then, I've put off starting my work by just sitting in the window tracing the path I saw him walk that day. It's awful, my street."

We're gonna have Steve go into the apartment to make some calls and find out where you can sleep or drink. You'll wait the duration of two cigarettes.

"Janice says her shift ends at two. Janice was working there while they were going out and he used to be there every night drinking for free while he waited for her to get off. So he'll never set foot in that bar again for the rest of his life." We want you to understand this. We want it to be clear that you know about his breakup with Janice.

"Also," Steve's gonna say. "Kim said you can crash at her place."

"Kim?" you'll say. The way Steve feels about you, the admiration for you and the pride he derives from knowing you take him seriously, that's how we need you to feel about Kim. An invitation from her is one you would never pass up. You find her to be an amazing person, the kind of woman you want to be. In short, it's important that Kim takes you seriously.

"You're sure Kim's okay with this?" you'll ask.

Steve is gonna say, "Honestly, she sounded a little roughed up herself. I don't think she's going to sleep anytime soon. She could use the company."

Now you're gonna go to Kim's. But first, Steve is gonna ask, "Has it been this bad for a while, or did you just get hit especially hard tonight?" We know it's a stupid question, but that's what we want Steve to say. We need him to grasp at something that will keep you out there on his stairwell a little longer. We want to hammer home how much Steve wants to give of himself to you so that for years after tonight, you'll remember what a good friend he was to you when you needed a good friend, and you will speak well of him.

Happy Let's Make Me Beautiful Day!