Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mystery Man in Brangelina Split Named

What you’ve heard about Angelina and Brad is true. They’re breaking up. I know because I’m the guy she’s leaving him for.

I can guess what you’re thinking. “He was sort of cute in a saturnine semitic way decades ago, but time hasn’t been kind to him.” The fact is that after five years of You-Know-Who, though, Ange has had her fill of pretty. Now she wants mordant and depressive and much older. She wants what she used to have with Billy Bob Thornton, except without the weird stuff. I haven’t asked her to get my name tattooed on the most intimate part of herself. I haven’t given her a vial of my blood to wear around her neck. All I’ve given here are a corsage, and my heart. I have a rare blood type.

We met three months ago in the small produce section of the only supermarket on Beacon’s Main Street, Key Food. It’s really expensive. Most ghetto supermarkets are expensive. Beacon isn’t a ghetto. There are as many fine artists here as welfare queens or crack dealers, and as many drag queens as welfare queens. If you want ghetto, you have to cross the river to Newburgh. But nobody wants ghetto, not really. The slurring white punks in their baggy pants and backward baseball caps and necklaces may think they do, but they don’t. As I write this, the river is frozen.

She was looking at onions. There were red ones and the other, more typical kind. I can’t imagine that she does her own cooking, but it was none of my business. I figured she had it up to here with perfect strangers questioning her. She noticed me staring. She smiled. Her famous lips looked even more lubricious than in photographs. I wanted to kiss them, but I gave her space.

I pretended to need pasta. It was in a different part of the store. She followed me. Don’t think I wasn’t flattered. There were other men doing their grocery shopping, lonely, single men. A man with a woman wouldn’t have shopping for groceries. He’d have been at home fixing things. He'd have been hunting or fishing.

She asked if I had a favorite shape. I said I’d always liked Jayne Mansfield’s. She said, “No, smartass, for pasta, I mean.” There was a twinkle in her eye when she said it. I said but what about You-Know-Who? She said not to look a gift horse in the mouth. I filled her. Neither of us smoked afterward. We have too much self-respect.

She liked that I’d dated famous actresses in the past. Morgan Fairchild and I were an item at one point. There have been others. Famous actresses like a man who doesn’t ask for their autograph. They like men they can’t intimidate, and who are unintimidatd enough to tease them. Jen used to love my pronouncing her surname Anus-town. She'd pretend otherwise, but her laughter gave her away.

She introduced me to her six children. I had a child of my own once. I didn’t get along only with Maddox and Pax and Knox, but also with the ones lacking an x at the end, Zahara, Shiloh, and Vivienne. I asked if she and You-Know-Who had considered naming one of the twins Barbecue since they were so crazy about unusual names. She didn’t get it. “Barbecue Pitt,” I said.

The look she gave me made me feel chastened. There used to be a famous restaurant in Beverly Hills called Chasen’s. Ange’s estranged dad, Jon Voight, might have gone there with his agent. Ange was probably too young to have been there. They were famous for their chili, of all things. Elizabeth Taylor had a bathtubful of it flown to Rome when she was shooting Cleopatra. She thought immersing herself in it kept her skin soft. This was well before Michael Jackson. Some people think Ange would make a good Cleopatra. Some people used to think You-Know-Who would make a good Achilles. No one ever thought Michael Jackson would.

We’re taking it one day at a time, though neither of us is an alcoholic. I’m writing tersely today, with almost no adverbs. I haven’t even mentioned my huge backlog of unjustly unproduced screenplays. There will be time for that later, or there won’t. It isn’t mine to know.

[Hear my new album already. Facebookers: Read more zany essays most with too many adverbs, rather than too few, and subscribe here.]

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