Sunday, November 2, 2008

Manhatten Video Tape--the first few pages.

Here are the first few pages of the novel I have been working on for 14 plus years. It is finally being put together.


Chapter 1

January 1992. I am a student at the University of Connecticut. I came here during the fall of 1990 to play Division 1 field hockey but things did not go as planned. My grades sucked, I had no real friends, just a bunch of back stabbing jocks from the field hockey team that liked me about as far as they could throw me. I was different than the rest of team; to them I was just some weird punk rock chic. During the early 90’s, punk had not hit the mainstream yet and anyone that identified with that culture was very misunderstood. I was not welcomed in as a part of their inner field hockey circle, but when it came down to being hazed, I was the first on their list.
The University of CT at this time was known as one of the biggest party schools in the nation. Actually I think it was rated number 3 on the list. I had been a drinker in high school, but I had not done any drugs at all except for alcohol. Pot had not hit the small town I was from yet. The Field Hockey team was known for being a bunch of drunken jocks that threw some of the best parties on campus. The only reason I was invited to these parties was because the team wanted to haze me and boy did they ever.
I was forced to drink pitcher of beer after pitcher of beer during any one of the many drinking games the team partook in. When I was so drunk I could not walk, I was beaten up, thrown around, slapped, made fun of and made to walk home from the parties that were off campus. When I think about it now I am amazed that I made it back to my dorm room at all after these off campus parties, no one had any respect for me, least of all myself.
After a few years of this, my grades suffered and because I was put on academic probation I was kicked off of the team. If I had been a starter or someone important on the varsity team, they would have hired me some tutors but I was nothing but the 3rd string practice Goalie that did not even get to travel with the team half of the time. Nothing was working out as I planned.
After I was kicked off of the team, none of the friends that I had from the team wanted anything to do with me, not that it mattered anyway none of these people were real friends of mine anyway. At this time I was starting to question my sexuality. Most of the team was either gay or in the closet. During practice, people would ride by in their cars and yell “DYKES!” at us out of their windows. I was the first among my circle of friends on the team that came out. I admitted to them that I was probably bi-sexual and it was after I made this announcement that they really wanted nothing to do with me. If I had said I was gay, they would have accepted me, but because I said I was bi-sexual I got the cold shoulder. They thought it was gross that I could not make up my mind. The funniest thing about this whole situation was that all 3 of them years later came out as being gay and apologized to me.
During the winter break of 91/92 I had gone to my first gay bar. Even though I had a miserable time at every gay bar I had gone to, I was still satisfied that I was able to finally come out of the closet. But I knew right then that I did not really fit in the gay scene at all, mostly due to the fact that I was a punk rocker and most gay people in CT were not.
With my new found sexual freedom I became very rebellious. I shaved my head, moved out of the dorms and started smoking cigarettes. There was no more field hockey and no more fucked up friends. It was also at this time that my childhood and hometown rival died. Her name was Tara Wymes and she was a punk rock legend.
Tara was a film student at SUNY Purchase when she died during the shooting of a student film. No one really knows what happened. She and a buddy were in a rowboat off of the Hamptons in Long Island New York when somehow the boat capsized. Her body and that of her friend, washed up to shore 3 days later.
Tara and I never really got along. Even though we tried to be friends many times, we could not get over the rivalry that was between us. Both of us wanted to be actors and were always in competition for parts in school plays. She was smarter than me back then and the only class we shared was Drama. It was our passion.
In high school we got into our first fist fight in the bathroom during a school dance. It was a fight over a guy, her first fuck and my best friend that I was completely in love with. His name was Jeremy Lamb. He was a skater boy who turned me onto hardcore music at the age of 15. He was my passion. I never wanted to fight her but she started it. She blamed me for the reasons that Jeremy hated her, when actually he hated her way more after the fight then he ever did before. I was his best friend and even though I lost the physical part of the fight-I won his favor.
After the fight I barely saw her. We had gone to different high schools, she went to Taft private school and I was forced to go to the public school that my mom taught at. After high school, I saw her a handful of times. It was at these times when we started to become friends. I really wanted to be her friend but it felt like we were in a century long feud. We both wanted the same things out of life. It was during one of these times that she mentioned that I had no idea who I was yet and boy was she right. When she died, almost instantaneously I knew who I was, who I had wanted to be, who I could be and what I wanted out of life. I had to get out of UCONN, without field hockey there was nothing there for me.
So I decided to leave CT to follow my dreams of being a film maker and actor. This dream had been with me since I was 2 or 3 years old. It never left me, I had just forgotten about it through the lack of support my parents showed me. Tara had now become an angel guiding me. This meant more to me than anything in the world.
My last semester at UCONN glided by, I had made some new friends that were also gay. It was through them that I started to smoke pot and it was also through them that I met my first girlfriend. Her name was Jennifer Edwards but everyone called her J for short. I had met her through my friend Amy’s girlfriend Reebok. Reebok had come to CT from North Carolina to visit Amy and it was my bright idea to take a road trip with my car to get her back to NC. What a long and fun trip it was. 15 hours each way. There were three of us-Amy, Reebok and myself. They had sex in my backseat as we drove over the George Washington Bridge. I wished I knew then what a sign that was because a year later I would be living in New York City.
When we arrived in Wilmington the next morning it was a non stop party with alcohol and pot. J was Reebok’s best friend and a student at UNCW. She was also a writer, a pot head and a struggling codeine addict. Later that night we hooked up and I officially had my first girl friend.
Leaving Wilmington was hard, we exchanged numbers and I promised to call. I went back to CT with a renewed sense of purpose. J and I talked on the phone a lot. The next weekend we headed down to NC again to see our girlfriends. It was that weekend where I had my first girl on girl sex. It was a fantastic weekend and she taught me to smoke pot out of a water bong. I have to laugh now as I remember how long it took me to be able to get a hit off of that thing.
We drove down to NC a lot and sometimes those 15 hour trips were bad. One time one of my tires went bald and I had to get a new one although I had no money at all so I wrote a bad check. One time over the Delaware Bridge riding over the Potomac River there was such a bad ice storm that I could hardly see at all. I was scared shitless driving through that and the same thing happened on the way back through New Jersey. I believe it was our prayers to Our Lady of the Highways that got us through some of those trips.
The last weekend we went down there I caught J having sex with some fat chic and that was it. My first relationship with a girl lasted about 2 months. I cried when she dumped me. It was after this that my parents started to figure out what was going on. My sister had asked me if I was gay and I told her that I was bi-sexual. She instantly told my parents and was the golden girl from then on. I regretted ever telling her the truth. My sister had viciously stabbed me in the back to get in good with my parents. My parents were very homophobic and my life was hell from then on.
My pot smoking and partying got heavy from that moment on. I was never without a bag of pot. My friends and I got caught smoking weed in their dorm room and we all got in trouble even though they never found any pot. For some reason I had a sixth sense and put the bag away right before they knocked on my friends door. It was my bag anyway. We all got personal probation and because I was all ready on academic probation-I was kicked out of UCONN and not only was I kicked out of their main branch of campus; I was barred from ever going to any other branch of UCONN.
That summer at my parent’s house was hell because of my sexuality. I spent the entire summer smoking weed, drinking alcohol, riding around in my car listening to punk, hardcore and grunge. 1992 was a great year for music. Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Soundgarden were now main stream and I loved it.
There was some serious partying going on that summer and I was becoming known for a huge pot head. It was the summer of 92’that I met Dallas Campbell, Tara’s ex-boyfriend from London, England. We became great friends and eventually I went to London to hang out with him. It was there that I had gotten my first leather jacket and my nose pierced. I also became best friends with Chris Verdosci, another one of Tara’s closest friends. He had also come out of the closet so we had a lot in common being 2 of the only out gay people in the small town where we were from. He was my buddy and we complimented each other greatly. A pattern was emerging where I was becoming good friends with all of these people that were important to Tara. But it was one person in particular that had the most effect on me. Her name was Deidre and after I met her I would never be the same.
It happened on a Saturday night. Deidre was visiting with Tara’s parents and it was my task to show her a good time, so of course we got some booze and went to a party that some older kids were having. Deidre was a beautiful short punk rock, gothic type chic with black hair, brown eyes and cool clothes. She started kissing me, to my surprise, and instantly I fell in love with her. She captured my soul and dressed me up with poetry and punk. I learned a lot from her in a short period of time. I had become obsessed and when she blew me off for some guy a few months later I was crushed. Before this disappointment, she had given me this sweet bomber jacket that she had made from pieces of other bomber jackets. I wore this jacket every day for months. It became a symbol of freedom for me. I was unable to dress punk as a kid because of my mother, so I played the role of the jock for my mom until I left UCONN. Now my mom had no say in what I wore any more. My hair was now dyed green; I had a nose ring and was now officially the person I always wanted to be, on the outside at least.
I played on my mother’s fears for all they were worth. When I wanted to go to London to visit Dallas, they gave me money and bought my ticket-anything to get me out of the house. It was the fall of 1992. Dallas and I had a blast. We smoked hash and drank Guinness. I loved London, I felt at home there. On the streets, people actually asked me for directions! I ate fish and chips, bought my first motorcycle jacket and it was here that I wrote the first poem I had written in years. It was called-“Sitting in a London Pub”.

Sitting in a London Pub,
Reflecting upon my life
As my sorrows and dreams
Come rushing upon me.

You are not here with me,
I sit alone,
But thinking of you,
Makes the Guinness go down easier.

A scorned woman sings from the juke.
I am not a duke.
Pool table calls
And I shall beat them all.

It was in this same pub that Dallas and I sang Jane’s Addiction songs during an open mic. We met a few girls there also, it seemed like everyone in London was bi-sexual. But I was still hung up on Deidre and wanted nothing to do with these girls, much to the chagrin of Dallas. We got drunk and stoned almost every night I was there. We had talked about going to a rave and experimenting with other drugs but we never had a chance. Dallas was pretty broke and considering that the dollar lost to the pound- I didn’t have enough money to pay for both of us.
Dallas I had long talks about Tara and heroin. We both wanted to try it but did not have the nerve. He played the guitar and we sang sad songs all day. He gave me this now famous picture of him and Tara when she was at Taft. He also had a pair of army pants that Jeremy had given Tara. Boy did I want them but he would not part with them and I totally understood why. Tara was gone and he loved her very much.
When it was time for me to leave, he asked me to stay and find a job. Even though I really wanted to, my parents had paid for 2 classes at Northwestern Community College and I had to get back and finish them, although I only ended up finishing one of them. I wished I had stayed. On the way to America, I was able to smuggle some hash in my Drum tobacco, which I smoked with my friends in CT the day after I returned. My mother almost died when she picked me up at the airport and my nose was pierced. I was bombarded with insults from my mom during the trip from the airport to home. My friends were stoked about it. I felt very industrial with a piece of metal in my nose.
One day a few weeks after returning from London, my best friend Rena and I decided to take a ride into New York City. The first place she took me was to St. Marks Place where all the punks were at. I felt at home there. I had bought an earring of the Anarchy symbol because my life was all about anarchy. Little did I know at the time that everything was going to change. I knew that the East Village was where I belonged and where I needed to be. So I looked for a way out of CT.
About a week later I was reading the Village Voice when I saw an advertisement for the New York Film Academy. It was a two month intensive program in which you got to make four 16 mm films in two months instead of going through bullshit college classes. It cost around 3500 dollars, about the same amount as one semester at UCONN. When I pitched the idea to my parents, once again they were stoked, another thing that was going to get me out of the house. They asked me where I was going to live and I told them that I would find a place.
In order to get into the school you had to go through an interview. Chris Verdosci and I took a ride into NYC for my big interview. We got a little lost but I still made it in time for my interview. The building where the New York Film Academy was located was in Tribeca and was actually owned by Robert Deniro. This impressed the shit out of me.
The guy who interviewed me was named Steve. He was very nice and I was impressed with the school. This was a film school for spoiled kids that were rejects from other film schools. I had passed Steve’s part of the interview and had to meet with the director of the school who was this crazy, drunken, bearded, artsy looking guy. I think he was from Europe. He was really nice but I swear he was drunk. He liked me and I was approved to start on January 6th of 1993. They advised me to find student housing in the city. Rena actually helped me with that.
The place I found was located on 103rd ST. and Amsterdam Ave. The American Youth Hostel offered furnished rooms for students. A single cost $500 a month. The day I went to look at the place a few of my friends came with me. I really liked the place. There was always a lot of people, students from all sorts of different schools and backpackers from all over the world. I met with the manager and he showed me a certain room on the second floor. It was a single was the only single room with a balcony outside of the window. There was a desk with some drawers and a bed. I told him I would take it and filled out the appropriate forms. I was on my way. January 2nd 1993 was the day I was too be moving in. As soon as I got home to CT, I started packing my things. At this moment in time, life could not get any better than this.


bombshellart said...

Hey, I don't know if I know you, but was having a sentimental eve with wine and googling my favorite friends tara's name.. and your story came up. She was someone amazing!

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