The Farewell Tour
“If we want an expert on licking ourselves, we'll call you.”
Donkey (Shrek 2)
“Jesus, I can't say these lines of lousy amateur dialogue anymore!” shouted Angel, as he scrubbed off the glitter mascara while sitting in front of the Green Room mirror and listening to Rolling Stones on CD. Man, would they never fucking retire? He slapped Michael, who was trying to feel him up.
“Cut it out, asshole, I keep telling you, I'm not a fag, I only play one online.” Angel said coolly, without heat. This was getting tiresome. Don't people know acting when they see it? Christ, where were his cigarettes? He was pretty sure he'd left a joint in the pack and could use it right about now. It was bad enough to land this non-union part reading Angel, the Northside high school slut, but he also had to put up with the unprofessional attitudes of his co-players. Jesus, it was enough to make you vote Republican. But he needed the gig so what's a nice Mormon boy like him to do? He'd taken the job faster than George W. Bush saying no to drugs in the 80's. Faster, actually. A job was a job, even these days, but TR's stupid dialogue made his head hurt.
“What's wrong, honeypie?” asked Michael, batting his eyes.
Angel looked at him with evident distaste.
“Its okay for you, studly, your character comes off as manly and wonderful. My character is ridiculous. I mean, who believes that a teen boy could get laid that much? And what's up with the fucking makeup all the time? Taking this stuff off after each chapter is giving me zits. And a pain. Guess where?” he groused.
Michael perked up. “You have a pain, Angel? I give great, ah, backrubs.” He giggled.
Angel rolled his eyes.
“Jesus, Mike, that's the character, not you. You couldn't give a good backrub unless you wore a blindfold. You'd be too damn distracted. And take your hand off my crotch or I'll flatten you.”
Michael removed the offending hand with a sniffle.
“Can't blame a guy for trying.” He said.
“The hell I can't. I keep telling you, I got a girlfriend back home and I don't do dick. That's just the story, that's not me. Some people are straight, yanno. It's only in Nifty stories that absolutely everyone is gay. In what we like to call Real Life, only 10% of guys like to suck cock. And that's a pretty big difference. So keep your hand off my unit or I'll call my agent. Or get a restraining order.”
Michael looked sulky. He'd look a lot more effective sulking, thought Angel, if he didn't have a bulge in his jeans. Jesus, give it a rest already.
Bobby sat down beside Angel and leafed through the script for Part 12, `White Knight Takes a Hike'. God, those neverending stupid subtitles, TR must be the worst writer since Danielle Steele, thought Bobby and not for the first time. And that godawful internal dialogue… filled with endless fragments and ellipses. Real writers used serious dialogue and solid sentences. Bobby felt sorry for the readers online. Of course, it wasn't like they didn't complain. He got regular emails from huffy readers demanding to know why he tried to off himself. Bobby frowned at his reflection. Didn't those people know that he didn't write the damn stuff, he only acted it? Hell, it was all made up anyway, it said so right in the disclaimer at the top. But, no, some of those guys thought he was real. It was all the fucking TR's fault with his damn stupid melodramatic plot line and shit.
Bobby looked up at Angel. God, he looked almost human without that stupid glam makeup. Bobby was glad his role didn't call for looking stupid, just acting stupid. Some things just weren't worth the paycheck.
“So, what do you want to do about it?” he asked the skinny actor.
“Not sure. I did have one idea but…” he looked around nervously. Gene was watching them surreptitiously from the corner, while pretending to read The Da Vinci Code. He probably had a sticky copy of Harry Potter Does Draco hidden inside it, thought Angel. Gene never read anything that didn't have a high jack-off quotient. Now that Angel thought of it, just where was Gene's right hand? Gene was such a tattletale, too. That time they'd all wanted to visit TR and insist that he burn his poetry books, Gene had snuck off and phoned ahead to warn him. TR'd had time to hide not only the poetry books but also his Marlboro cigarettes. Angel had really wanted to flush them, that guy had a goddam oral fixation, writing all those endless scenes of smoking. Drama Club should come with a warning from the Surgeon General. And now TR had joined the Witness Protection Program and moved out of state. This could get tricky.
“Um…” began Angel. Michael pulled up closer. Camille leaned in, putting down her braille copy of the Kama Sutra. TR provided some really weird reading material in his Green Room. Angel looked over at Jaye and wiggled his eyebrows. Jaye sighed and got up from the floor where he was doing meditation. Actors, he thought to himself with a wince. Always plotting, always making scenes. He came over and sat down beside the others.
Angel looked around the huddled group. It was nearly everyone. Trey was in Vegas with a hooker, he'd gotten the pink slip that said his character would be AFK for awhile and taken the first flight out. He didn't have to worry about money, though, not like the rest of them. He could live without the paycheck for a few weeks. Angel pursed his lips. Some guys had all the luck.
“Okay, listen, guys, I've been thinking.” They all looked at him expectantly.
“Listen, I know we're all fed up with Drama Club and we're not alone. We have tons of reader support there, too. I mean, you should have read the emails from Marylynn and Andy, they couldn't stop laughing when they read that last sex scene, it was so lame. Angie offered to buy TR a spellchecker and a cluebasket. Rick is suing for defamation, he thinks Kuo's based on his life as a debater. Rad wrote to say that he'd read better prose on the men's room wall in Indonesia. I think he attached a virus to the last email, too, but AOL filtered it out. Lordmace filed a TOS for the last chapter and begged TR to please, please stop sending this shyte. The Dude has blocked TR from his emails, his IMs and his home phone; I think he even offered a bribe if TR would just please unplug his computer. I mean, we're not alone in this, kids.” They all nodded solemnly. Camille picked her nose, thinking no one was watching.
“Yeah, Angel, but what can we do about it? I mean, we're just actors, for Christ's sake. We aren't super heroes.” He giggled. “Not that you wouldn't look great in tights, hon!”
Angel groaned. He felt Michael's hand sliding up his thigh again and ignored it.
“Look, this is serious. Our reputations are on the line, this hack is making us look bad. We'll never work again if we don't do something drastic. Hell, TR's even writing new stories now, just think what kind of damage he could do if we don't stop him now. It's like those people who knew George W. Bush or Jeffrey Dahmer back when and didn't warn the world. We have a sacred duty, an obligation, to rid the Internet of this trash. And the fact that we need the work shouldn't enter into it. We have a higher duty. An obligation to our Art.” Angel intoned, striking a dramatic pose.
Jaye looked skeptical. Camille sniggered. Michael's hand made it to Angel's fly. Angel slapped him.
“Cut it out, Michael, or I'll tell your wife.” He said under his breath.
Michael pulled his hand back and sulked. Angel adjusted himself, Michael's attentions had managed to get him hard despite everything. Hell, thought Angel, maybe I should just let him…no, can't think that way. It's a slippery slope. Next thing you know, I'll be listening to Pet Shop Boys and drinking mocha lattes. Can't have that.
Angel noticed Gene had moved slowly closer while pretending not to listen. Angel frowned. He wondered if Gene had a tape recorder. Or a deathwish. He motioned the others closer.
Camille spoke up.
“So what the hell can we do about it, Angel? I mean, its not like we can stop TR. We don't even know where he lives.”
“That's where you're wrong. I've had agents tracking him, well, mainly just my kid brother on his public library card but you get the idea. Soon we'll know the truth about the so-called Tragedy Rabbit. He can't hide from us forever. It's only a matter of time.” The actors looked relieved. They couldn't take Drama Club and this cheap-ass Green Room much longer. The Hawaiian motif was starting to grate on the strongest of them, and smoke from the Tiki torches gave Camille headaches. And Happy Hour was only on weekends, for Christ's sake, and even then the buffet sucked majorly. How many mini weiners and cheese cubes could you eat before your whole life started to flash before your eyes?
Speaking of mini weiners, Gene had moved so close now that Angel could smell his cheap aftershave. That guy should try showers instead of just dousing himself in the stuff. He noticed some of the other actors gagging on the scent and motioned them all to move a little over. Maybe that moron Gene could take a hint. Fat chance.
The group scooted their chairs over to the corner, Jaye taking the longest and looking peeved. Angel coughed to get their attention. Anthony handed him a cough drop.
Angel felt Michael's hand on his ass. He ignored it and continued in a low voice, glancing over at Gene.
“Okay, here's the deal. Doug had this great idea and I've been thinking about it, it might just work.” Doug looked up from his Gameboy at the mention of his name and missed an opening. Damn. Oh well, the batteries were low anyway. He put it down and watched Angel intently.
“Doug's idea was simple. What's the one thing that Tragical Rabbit really fears?” he asked the group. Their faces were puzzled. Was this a trick question?
“Uh, Log Cabin Republicans? Het Girls on a Mission to Convert him? Hot Guys who say No? Dictionaries? The Adverb Police? His reflection?” offered Michael in a rush, his hand cupping Angel's goodies as he spoke. Angel shook his head, spreading his legs a little to give Mike more access. It couldn't hurt.
“No, Grasshopper, that's not it. What TR fears most is…”
They all leaned forward, listening intently.
“Being Ignored. He's worried that readers will just start deleting his trash and never look back. He's worried that no one will ever read Drama Club again.” The actors all eagerly nodded. “And you know what? We can make that fear work for us!”
They all cheered lustily, then looked guiltily over at Gene pretending to tie his shoe a scant two feet away. Angel quickly hushed them.
“Just how, oh Great One,” asked Camille, “are we supposed to do that? I mean, its not like the readers will listen to us, for Christ's sakes, we aren't even Real.”
Angel drew himself up haughtily in his chair. Jaye snickered. Michael's hand squeezed lightly, distracting Angel momentarily. He continued.
“Ah, well, you're wrong there. They may not believe in us but, and here's the kicker, what if we took away the source of the problem?”
Michael looked up, worried that Angel meant him when he said `problem'. Angel smiled and Michael relaxed, resuming his stroking of Angel's package. Everyone else ignored the by-play along with the attendant erections. Michael's other hand wandered to his own crotch while he listened and fondled Angel.
“Okay, so how do we do that exactly?” asked Jaye, ever the practical one. Angel sighed. It was so farking obvious. He'd already forgotten that it had been Doug's idea. Doug raised his hand. Angel graciously gestured for Doug to speak.
Angel was breathing a little faster; Michael knew what he was doing. Maybe he'd go to the dressing room with Mike later for a little R & R. Michael was nothing if not accommodating.
Doug leaned forward, trying to get the attention of the others. He was such a known geek, though that they ignored him, keeping their eyes on the now panting Angel. Doug coughed. Camille handed him the last cough drop. They went through a lot of those here at Drama Club, for some reason. Someone was always coughing. Or sighing. Or breathing hard and gasping for air. TR really should stock oxygen tanks in the Green Room, thought Doug, for all those breathless sexual encounters.
Angel pointed to Doug, who spoke.
“Well, we…need to…” his voice was hesitant. Camille rolled her eyes.
“Need to what, Doug?” she asked sharply.
He swallowed, looking nervous.
“Uh, well, we could…go on…strike.” He said, hesitating hesitantly. (Dontcha just love adverbs?)
All eyebrows went up and there was an excited murmur. Gene straightened up, forgetting his Spongebob shoelaces.
“Strike?” demanded Jaye, “What, are you fucking kidding? I don't know about you but I need this paycheck. Besides, do really think anybody'd care?”
Doug withered under the critique. He looked to Angel who looked to Michael who looked at the bulge in Angel's pants.
“Not now.” Angel said to Michael, pushing his hand away reluctantly. Later, maybe. Right now they had bigger problems. Not that Angel was small, he reminded himself, that girl had been high when she'd said that, he was sure of it.
“Guys, girls, seriously. We can do this. If we just refuse to cooperate, what can TR do? Without more chapters of Drama Club, readers will fall by the road like litter on the highway. TR'll cave like a Bible-thumper in a whorehouse. He'll…”
Camille held up her hand with a grimace.
“Enough similes, we get the fucking picture, Angel. So how do we do this?” she asked.
Angel and Doug looked at her in disbelief. How could anyone be so dense? Theater people were famously smart, what was her problem?
They spoke in unison until Angel stepped on Doug's toe, shutting him up.
“We stop. We go on strike, we refuse to say another cheesy line of dialogue, we refuse to have one more insipid internal monologue and, most importantly, we flat out refuse to participate in one single more overwrought, underdone, sentence-fragment-filled scene of lousy sex in the fucking moonlight.”
Michael nodded eagerly.
“Yeah, I hate that damn moonlight, always falling all over me when I have to get naked with Gene. Its fucking distracting, is what, that light in my eyes, and, what, is the moon out all night, every night? Or only when I get a hardon? Gimme a break!” he said vehemently. Gene narrowed his eyes at Michael as he spoke. What an arrogant asshole, thought Gene, it wasn't as if he enjoyed those scenes either. Well, maybe that one time…
Gene adjusted himself and pictured Bill Clinton naked. That usually did it. This time was no exception. The anti-Nifty effect. He was suddenly softer than a weightlifter on steroids.
“Okay, okay.” Angel said, breaking up the discussion. “So, we vote. Do we go on hiatus and strike a blow at the heart of TR's Evil Designs or do we continue on as we are, reading bad dialogue and feeling each other up every five seconds?” Michael's ears perked at that and he checked Angel's face to make sure he hadn't lost interest. Angel ignored him. Michael squeezed the other boy's hardening organ through the tight jeans while Angel continued.
“Let's vote.” Jaye said. “I've got a shiatsu appointment at three.”
Camille nodded. Everyone seemed agreeable so Angel called for a show of hands. Michael abstained; his hands were occupied.
“Raise your hand if you want to strike!” Angel called out, despite Gene's proximity. Gene scowled as all hands but Michael's went up hurriedly.
Angel beamed at the other actors, shedding a bright white light across the group. Jaye pulled out his aviator sunglasses and put them on. Camille shielded her eyes.
“It's settled! We strike! No more Drama Club, no more cheesy characterizations and lame plot points! Down with Tragedy Rabbit!” he cried out.
They all cheered except Gene who slunk towards the door. Angel narrowed his eyes at the retreating actor.
“Hold it right there, Gene.” Angel said loudly. Gene froze and then had to brush the frost and icicles from his sleeves. TR's stupid descriptive stuff had its drawbacks.
The actors all looked at Gene who looked at them who looked right back, angrily.
“Just where do you think you're going?” demanded Camille, eyes on Gene who's dark eyes were on her who's brown eyes were….okay, enough of that.
Gene studied his untied sneakers, admiring the Spongebob laces and little Barbie charms hanging from the eyelets. Kmart had had a sale in the children's shoe department last week.
“No where.” He said.
“Right, Gene, like we'll believe that after last time. Get over here and sit the fuck down.” Angel said firmly, Michael's hands finding his other firmness. He ignored that. Really, he did.
Gene scuffed at the floor with a sneaker toe.
“Guys,” he whined. “I'm just gonna…”
Camille stood up and pulled her pepper spray out of her backpack. Gene's eyes widened in alarm.
“Okay, okay, I was just kidding. I wasn't going anywhere.” He pleaded, crossing the room, then dotting it's `I's , to stand beside the other actors.
“Yeah, sure.” said Camille acidly. “Jaye, check him for wires.”
Jaye stood up and thoroughly frisked Gene, taking his time in the crotch area. Gene wiggled but didn't complain.
“He's clean.” announced Jaye. “Well, he could sure use a shower, maybe a cold one, but he's not wired and he's not bugged.” The actors all sighed with relief, creating a gust of wind so fierce it blew out the citronella candles by the door.
Gene looked resentful.
“I wasn't gonna…”he began but Anthony interrupted him.
“Yeah, yeah, Gene, we've heard it before. You're such a teacher's pet, always running to TR with everything. Well, not this time, cowboy. This time, you're with us.” He said firmly, adjusting his other firmness, the one he kept in his jeans.
Gene sighed. Foiled again. Saber-ed, too, was also a possibility judging by the predatory look in Anthony's eyes. Gene sighed again. He hated being such an obvious bottom.
Angel looked around the group at the faces of the other actors. What a bunch of losers, he thought and not for the first time. Oh, well, we all have our burdens, he reminded himself.
“Then it's settled. We're on strike as of this minute and TR can go find himself another troupe of talentless, out-of-work hacks. No more Drama Club!” he announced triumphantly, with triumph. The actors all cheered, pulling out noisemakers and blowing raspberries at the framed oil portrait of Tragical Rabbit on the wall. Anthony blew a spitwad at it, hitting TR directly between the eyes with a splat.
“But TR is kinda cute.” Gene interjected meekly.
Angel scowled at him.
“Says you, you suckup. You're outvoted so just zip it, Gene, we don't wanna hear it.” Angel told the dejected actor. Gene sighed. He'd clearly lost this round. Oh, well, getting roughly fucked afterwards would be some consolation. He looked over at Anthony who looked over at him who looked right back, of course. He was horny and Gene was easy, where else would he look?
Angel pulled out a whistle and blew it, startling the other actors.
“Okay, kids, its time to celebrate, its…Happy Hour!”
They all groaned. Angel was famous for watering down drinks and putting his hands on the finger food without washing first. Angel ignored them and turned to Michael.
“Hey, stud. Since we're done here and you don't have to be anywhere just yet…wanna go check out the dressing rooms with me?”
Michael perked up and grinned. He wiggled his eyebrows, licked his lips and rubbed his crotch. Michael was nothing if not subtle. Angel sighed. Michael began rummaging through his backpack for K-Y and condoms and poppers as the group dispersed.
Angel sighed again, watching Michael balance a box of Trojans and an extra large bottle of Astroglide on his knee. Michael was nothing if not optimistic, too.
Angel sighed yet again. Oh, well. Getting off was getting off, right? Its not like he was gay or liked Michael or anything. He just had an urgent problem in his shorts that Michael could help him with. Nothing romantic about it.
They hurried back to the boy's dressing room, ignoring the drink orders called out to Angel.
Michael shut the door and turned out the light. As he yanked Angel's pants down, forgetting to take his shoes off first and causing a delay, he hummed a tune from the latest Snoop Dog CD. He was off-key. Like it mattered. He finally got Angel's pants off and unzipped his own, freeing his straining, leaking dick. He slapped Angel on the ass.
“Bend over, love bunny, you'll like this.” Mike said romantically, his eyes aglow with passion, his dick aglow with lube. Angel sighed. Romance was dead, they said. Oh, well, good thing he wasn't gay or anything. He bent over the counter and braced himself.
The moonlight came through the airvents and fell right over them in white stripes of bright light. Yeah, right, pull the other one, thought Angel in annoyance. It was two thirty in the afternoon, for Christ's sake. That damn descriptive shit really gave him a pain in the ass. Speaking of pain in the ass, he wondered if Michael had worn a lubricated rubber. Oh, well, nothing ventured, nothing gained, he reminded himself as he began stroking his cock, his naked butt in the air.
As he felt Michael's cock against his tender love hole, he was reminded of his favorite romantic line from a Nifty story and laughed. He said the line aloud as Michael fumbled with his ass.
“Stick it in, I'm in love!” Angel quoted with a smirk and then gasped when Michael did just that.
Michael pumped him hard, his hands gripping Angel's skinny butt and his eyes closed. It felt pretty good, all things considered so Angel reminded himself he was straight. He only played a gay guy online. He had bills and stuff, he couldn't be picky.
Michael lasted longer this time, at least two whole minutes. He arched his back and cried out his release. Angel rolled his eyes, irritated. Not again, dammit. His own dick was still hard, he wasn't even close yet. Michael pulled out, chucked the gooey rubber on the floor and swatted Angel's rear end appreciatively.
“Thanks, honey, that was swell.” he said, zipping up his pants.
Angel sighed. Maybe TR had a point. Sometimes reality just couldn't come close to fiction. He paused, considering that idea.
`There was a young Lad of Nantucket
Whose prick was so long he could suck it.
He said with a grin,
As he wiped off his chin,
If my ear was a butt I could fuck it.'
The Limericks of Ben Dover (2004)
[End of `The Farewell Tour', concert 197. Will it never end? And Cher, will she fare us well forever? Will Gene ever take a shower? Will Angel ever get a clue? Will Michael ever buy Stay-Hard? Will TR stop overusing adverbs and find a proofreader? For the answers to these and other pressing questions, stay tuned for Drama Club2: The Wrath of the Debater.]