Let me just explain. Could you just listenó
Okay, I'm listening . . . I'm listening. Explain.
I don't know where to start...
[A pause. ].
How about the truth? Or would that be entirely too
The truth is . . . I can't leave here, right now.
No, the truth ó is that you can . . . and you will.
Okay, okay. Iím in trouble. I fucked up ó again. Is that what you
wanted to hear?
I don't . . . have . . . anywhere else to go.
How odd. I don't seem to recall that ever being a problem
when you allegedly lived here.
I'm telling you, man. This is the end of the line for me. And
those things downstairs...? Every stitch and stick I own in the
world. All I have to show for thirty years on this earth. Everything
else ó the apartment, furniture, even my ride ó has been sold, or
stolen or. . . lost, somehow. It's all gone . . . along with
whatever it was I used to have that attracted the world ó men
and women. You think it was easy for me to come crawling back
here? Knowing the shit you would give me? Hell, this ó you ó
were my last resort. I'm only here now because I've already been
everywhere else . . . but all I found, was my own . . . burned
bridges. All of the phone numbers and all of the locks have been
changed, and nobody will even let me in the fucking door anymore. I
guess they all got what they wanted from me and now I'm . . . bad
news. Played out.
It's not very pleasant, is it? To feel taken advantage of . . .
Okay. What can I say? I'm guilty. I know. I brought a lot of it
on myself . . . with the drugs and drinking, the lies, and all the
little bullshit, petty scams. But, hell . . . payback is a bitch.
Payback is a motherfucker. To fall this far, this fast? When I've
been out there on top, calling the shots since . . . forever. D.C.,
Atlanta, New York, Philly, L.A. ó any bar, any club, any party ó I
was the shit! And now, overnight, I'm nothing? Nobody? It's
like crashing after some truly excellent coke. Or totaling a really
sharp sports car at eighty miles an hour. Except, this time,
I'm the wreck. Somebody put the word out on me. Gossiping
ó it's a fucking conspiracy.
Don't be grandiose. Time marches on. People are fickle. And no
one, not even the great Steven Oliver, stays on top forever. After
all, you've been "Flavor-of-the-Month" for over fifteen years. That
may even be some sort of "Guinness" record for avoiding the
consequences of one's behavior. But, the millennium approaches and
nowadays it's "Flavor-of-the-hour" ó if not the minute.
Tell me about it.
You needn't sound so desolate. Things aren't that bleak.
Obviously, your killer charm is still intact. That's "money in the
bank", as they say. You've got good bones, that annoying sort of
attractiveness that ages well, and you certainly havenít lost your
body. If anything youíre in better shape than you were seven years
ago. It hardly seems fair. I mean, we're all getting older ó if
we're lucky ó but you're still younger than a great many people who
would be very flattered to enjoy your...company. I'm sure some of
them would also be very grateful. And very . . . generous.
Donít even go there, man. I know that, back in the day, I did lot
of things to a lot of people . . . and with a lot of people,
but I was always careful not to cross that line.
I never sold it.
A "technicality" if ever there was one. I doubt thereís a
soul you've ever been involved with who hasn't paid dearly, one way
or another. You have never been an inexpensive mistake. All
I'm saying, is that you've still got a lot going for you.
Yeah, right. [A beat.] I've also got the virus. AIDS. Just how
many bedroom doors is that going to open?
. . . What?
You heard me . . . it was hard enough to say it once.
Oh, Steven. I am sorry . . . to hear that.
. . . but not surprised.
Well . . . to be perfectly honest ó no. Not under the
circumstances. After all, "You live by the sword... " or, in this
case , your ó
I get . . . the idea . . ..
Sorry. I suppose that was insensitive.
First time you ever apologized to me.
First time you ever deserved it. [A beat. ] How long have you
Awhile . . . five, six years. Maybe a little more. I mean, I had
my suspicions, you know? But it took a while to convince myself to
get tested. Deep down, I guess I already knew. When I started
getting sicker . . . I don't know, maybe I had a death wish or
something. Things had already been going downhill for me. I know I
should've started some kind of treatment ó Hell, I was even banging
a couple of doctors ó
With condoms, I hope . . .?
Most of the time . . .some of the time . . . once in a while . .
Steven, Steven, Steven . . .
Hey, it wasnít just on me. I told you, some of these guys were
even doctors. If they didnít say anything, I didnít say anything.
They should have known better, just like I should have known
better. Hell, itís all Russian Roulette, nowadays. [Sighs.] I know,
I know ó thatís no excuse. I guess I just didn't want to face it. By
the time I did, I was flat on my back in DeKalb Medical Center and
my HIV was full-blown AIDS.
A very compelling story. More than your usual percentage of it
may even be true. But ó
After I lost my place, I was hitting the clubs every night, going
home with whoever I could, just to have a place to crash. But that
got old real quick. I found myself doing some things . . . I
always swore I never would ó believe it or not, there were still
a few left. I was juggling people and places and possessions and it
wasn't long before everything just fell apart. I woke up one morning
in a homeless shelter, surrounded by a bunch of other rejects and
losers, and I thought, "What the hell am I doing here? I know
I've got someplace I can go." I need to get myself together,
man. Naturally, I don't have any insurance or anything, but I read
where there's some kind of domestic partners deal at that joint
where you work, and I thought . . . just Ďtil I get back on my feet
. . . you might . . . be willing to ó
Don't even think, about finishing that sentence. So thatís
it. Finally. You've got a lot nerve.
Iím desperate. It doesn't take much nerve.
Desperate? You must be deranged, if you expect that, after all ó
I know. I know. It's fucked up and unfair . . . but I don't have
nobody else to turn to. I'm counting on you, man. You know I
Dare I ask why on earth you would be counting on me? Of all
people? Completely aside from your behavior when we were
together, I haven't seen or heard from you in over seven years. Not
a card. Not a collect call ó certainly not an apology . . . not even
Maybe I never really said goodbye because I always hoped,
someday, we'd get back together again ó No, I mean it! Leaving here,
was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life.
Second biggest . . . if one counts your return tonight . . .
I'm just saying, you were always there for me. And I fucked up. I
admit it. But, in spite of everything, I know that you still love
me. Thatís why Iím here. I know that I can depend on you to do the
right thing. Even though you may not want to.
What's right for you, isn't necessarily what's right for me. See,
that's where I always used to make my mistake. But, those days are
You havenít changed that much. And you havenít . . . forgotten .
. . that much. Think I donít remember that I was your first ó hell,
probably your only real lover. Thatís a lot for anyone to kill. Even
me, with my bullshit.
For once, you underestimate yourself. "Rigor Mortis" set in
between us a long time ago.
Oh, you may talk cash shit . . . all cold and hard. But, I know
you. You could never abandon me.
The way you abandoned me? For the first trick who showed up with
a bigger bulge in his . . . billfold.
How many times are you gonna throw that up in my face? I was a
kid back then.
I know, I know. Young, dumb, and full of ó
Címon, gimmee a break. Everything is different now. I'm
different. And I'm willing to make it all up to you. What do you
say? I need you. You're my last chance. My only chance.
You know, this is so typical of you. You have a knack, a true
gift for foisting your responsibilities off on others ó
Look, if you don't want to help me Ė
Help you? Iím angry at myself for even listening to you. I should
never have let you in here in the first place. After all of the
determined, difficult . . . work I've done on this, you waltz
in here on New Year's Eve . . . put on some old music, flex your
pecs, flash that same old grin and expect me to still care. I
thought I was through with all of this. Through with you.
What are you so pissed about? I'm the one getting the bumís rush,
I'm furious that you would even attempt to draw me into this
situation! You are a grown man...and you are certainly not my
responsibility. Nor is your current predicament any accident. You
are precisely where you have placed yourself, by a willful series of
irresponsible, self-centered, reckless, immature, deliberate
choices. And now that you've scammed, screwed, and . . . squandered
your way back to my door, you expect me to resume where I left off ó
sacrificing my own life to stabilize yours. But it's not going to
So, what are you saying? You hate me now?
I don't have to hate you, to love myself.
Oh great . . . what is this, "Oprah"? You been reading Les Brown,
or Nirvana Van Sant? Letís bring out our next guest ó Montel, give
me the mike!
[After a moment . . .]
People like me should never get involved with people like you . .
. but, somehow, we always manage to find each other. For quite
awhile, when you didn't . . . want me, I actually believed that I
wasn't worth loving. Fortunately, now I know better. And I have no
interest whatsoever in being the same fool twice.
You must think I'm a fool. Some kind of sucker, who canít
see what the real deal is. You just don't want me messing shit up.
After all, you've got a sweet situation here. Everything all plush.
With your fancy apartment and your fancy clothes and your fancy
friends. Your life is tight. And you're just too selfish ó
I'd stay away from that word if I were you.
ó too selfish to care what happens to somebody else who's
down on their luck. I come to you because I need you. I need your
help. And you turn your back on me.
I am tired of hearing about your monumental needs. You've never
cared one iota about me or my needs, and you are not going to
make me feel guilty now! Yes, I have a nice home, and some nice
things. And yes ó thank God ó I have friends. But everything
Iíve got, I have worked for, saved for, or sacrificed for.
Most of us donít get to coast through life on nothing but a
big dick and a little charm.
Wasnít so long ago, you couldnít get enough of either.
That was before I realized how very expensive they were.
Oh, so what is this now? Payback? For disappointing you? For
hurting your little feelings? You want me to beg?
Begging wouldn't move me. I've done too much of it myself.
Remember? It doesn't work.