Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mondo Illustrato

Mondo Illustrato
—for Tennessee Williams

“You can’t escape from
public attention any
more than you can
shake off the skin
of your body.”
—Tennessee Williams,
The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone

A few years later—even the Contessa would’ve been shocked. Simply shocked, my dear—devastated by the decadent way Mr. Stone had fallen.

Fallen like the Fall of Rome. Falling down on his hands and knees—for one of the local pretty boyz. Paolo the Pouty One—Paolo the Pretty Boy.

“Ah, Eternal Rome,” the Contessa Magda Terribili-Gonzales would drone on & on. Holding court with all her young dumb Italian male prostitutes—there in some secluded alcove like the Caligula Night Club…

“Ah, Mama Roma—Rome is an Eternal Idea in the mind of the Roman people. But of course, my dears—Rome wasn’t built in a day. Nor did she fall overnight either…”

And now, centuries later here they all were. The same old losers—and cheesy Roman riffraff hustling for money. The same skanky shadowy underworld—beneath the grand Coliseum. The temples, the tombs—the same old ruins.

“And despite everything”—the old witch croaked on. “The sluggish, polluted Tiber flowing through the old messy cesspool city—flushing the filth and shitty refuse down to the polluted sea…”

The handsome boyz yawned—they slowly sipped their Ouzo. Bored with the same old bullshit—they began falling asleep again. They’d heard the crazy Contessa’s spiel a million times before—it was the same old Marlene Dietrich cabaret swan song.

But the Contessa was right about one thing—Mr. Stone mused to himself, sitting at another table off in a dark corner of Caligula’s den.

Rome indeed hadn’t been “made” in a day—only at night could the Eternal City be “had,” her young Latin denizens “had.”

The coterie of kept boyz and aging male prostitutes again got bored as usual—after awhile losing hope and drifting back home to their hovels. Penniless, liraless, listless—disappointed and destitute.

Without any wealthy sugardaddy—or rich sugarmama to pay their expenses. The cloying American tourists—especially the lonely widows.

The fabulously generous blue-rinse tourist queens!!! Where was this fabulously rich cornucopia—that the Contessa had promised them all?

Paolo was late, as usual—probably tricking on the side. Mr. Stone shrugged it away at first—but then he became jealous and edgy about it.

Paolo was expensive—his barber, his tailor, his smarmy procuress the contessa. They all got a cut—of the action. And it all came out of Mr. Stone’s bank account—Rome was like a giant bloodsucking leech.

Stone’s best friend from the States—showed up one day. “Bad Boy” Bishop was an arms-dealer and contractor. He’d milked plenty of illegal contracts and kickbacks from all the usual hotspots—rubbing shoulders with brass hats and political bigwigs.

BB was retired now here in Rome—continuing her guerrilla warfare in drag. She had a bad rough-trade reputation—amongst the Italian boyz who didn’t like him/her. Too rough—too muy macho. And cheap, too.

You’d think all that butchy dirty business in her trashy illegal past—would’ve effaced any lingering traits of effeminacy in BB’s voice and manner.

But the queenly mink coat that she wore—and the pearls and taffeta dinner gown underneath. Instead of making BB more effeminate—it gave her a rather shockingly transvestite appearance. Like an ugly old mean bull dyke—disguised as a wealthy clubwoman.

BB had no softness to her demeanor—she had the probing vision and keen analysis of a weapons inspector or dealer in drone killer spy-technology. Just what Mr. Stone wished most—to avoid at this moment. Anything str8t—abhorred Mr. Stone now.

Then there was that slight, abortive episode—betraying the possibility of a less friendly element in Miss Bishop’s so-called “good buddy” nonchalance and “innocence” toward Mr. Stone’s privacy.

It was so tacky, so awkward—that’s why Mr. Stone avoided Miss Bishop from then on. Feeling obliged to treat BB with the usual warmth and cordiality—but nevertheless knowing the usual “oldest and dearest friend” routine just wouldn’t do the trick anymore.

Mr. Stone went cruising for Paolo that night—feeling a certain queasiness about him. Why reimburse Paolo as a paid companion—if Paolo was playing around with some other sugar daddy or lonesome widow in need of his exquisite services?

Mr. Stone found Paolo in one of the local popular dives—the Tiberius Toughie Club, infamous for its S/M queens and drag burlesque performances. There Paolo was—dancing with Miss Bishop!!!

Mr. Stone caught Paolo’s eye—motioned to him to stop dancing immediately. And come with him back to the apartment. The music was simply deafening hip hop—the air in the greasy crypt was simply stifling beyond belief. It was more like a smelly Tiberius tomb—than any nice nightclub hotspot.

But Paolo was in no hurry—pausing to light a dangling absinthe cigarette, stuck in Miss Bishop’s ugly drunken face. She/he was breathing heavy—Miss Bishop had the look of a slug sliming its way slowly down into Paolo’s tight pants…

Finally, Mr. Stone managed to get Miss Bishop’s suckered tentacles—off of Paolo for a brief tortured moment. Long enough to get them over to a table—where he could talk some sense into them.

But Miss Bishop was a mean drunk—she started immediately reading Mr. Stone’s beads. It wasn’t pretty either—but Mr. Stone was cold as marble and ice-cold blood coursed through his frigid veins.

“If you only could here the fantastic kind of sniggering gossip—all the trashy talk that people back in New York are whispering about you, my dear!!!”

“Let me tell you what I’ve heard! That you’re a crazy middle-aged old has-been—that you’re insanely infatuated with pretty young Italian boyz. Pushy pimps—and lower-class gigolo young sluts!”

“Charming, to the last,” Mr. Stone replied. He managed to pry Miss Bishop’s boa constrictor arms—away from Paolo’s thin muscular waist. Paolo just yawned—he’d seen worse displays of cheap drunken Americano licentiousness.

It was then a paparazzi snapped their photo—it was on the front pages of some local gossip rags the next morning. Paolo slept it off in bed—Mr. Stone had his coffee in the morning. Reading the papers…...

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