Posted on September 25th, 2001 by Tommy Spark
The night air was warm, with a cool breeze that left Will feeling invigorated. He was a free man, ready for a night on the town. The Castro Revival District — a veritable mecca of refurbished bars, discos and night clubs in San Francisco’s historically gay neighborhood — bustled with the energy of the unleashed libidinous longings of dozens of men and boys. From late 20th century style club kids to 1970’s style leather men, the pickings were ripe. Finally, Will could enjoy his own desires, free from the oppressive guilt of coming home to Tommy.
There had been a time when Will thought that Tommy was someone to whom he could commit the entirety of his life. However, the longer they were together, the more he’d begun to feel like something inside him was being stifled – like his life had been hijacked by someone else’s fantasy. Despite his affection for him, Will had been forced to realize that Tommy never really had shown any genuine interest in who Will was. Leaving Tommy had been one of the more freeing acts of his adult life. He was eating better, sleeping better – and he’d finally started writing again.
He turned a corner and approached the entrance to The Maltese Phallcon – his club of choice. Centered around a late 1940’s/ early 1950’s film noir theme, the Phallcon was an enjoyable amalgamation of class and kitsch. He strode past the club’s bouncers, two nicely toned men dressed in gangsterish trenchcoats, and through the double doors, reveling in the glances of the club’s patrons. The mellow sound of a jazz piano player wafted through the room, mingling w/ various conversations and the smoke emanating from synthetic cigarettes. A drag femme fatale eyed him as he checked his coat and removed his wide-brimmed hat.
“William, darling!” he heard an unmistakable voice call from behind him.
Alexandra Spark’s grandiose wave summoned him from a table across the room, her sequined gown sending patterns of light dancing across the floor. His acquaintance with Alexandra was one of the most beneficial outcomes of his relationship with Tommy. Though he could probably never tolerate being related to the woman, she was vastly entertaining. He also enjoyed the attention he gained by being a friend of the diva whose popularity had made her a virtual celebrity among San Francisco’s gay male population.
“Good evening, Alexandra” he said.
“Thank you, darling.” she said, placing a choreographed hand to her feathered hairpiece. “I do try. I wouldn’t want to disappoint my boys.”
He smiled. “And how could you?”
“You do know what to say to a woman, don’t you?” she said, beaming. “Have you spoken to Thomas?”
Will shook his head. “We haven’t really kept in touch.”
“What a shame. I always felt the two of you shared something so special — that sort of burning passion whose flames are never truly extinguished.”
Will bit his lip, trying to keep himself from laughing out loud.
“I worry about him endlessly – alone in space, without a soul to keep him company. Why – just think of all the horrendous dangers which might befall him.”
Will couldn’t help thinking that the only thing Tommy was in danger of experiencing was the disappointment of realizing that outer space wasn’t one big action/adventure movie.
“Are you performing tonight?” he asked, wanting to change the subject.
“Of course,” she said. “You have a magnificent act in store for you. It will be my last engagement for some time. My bags are packed. I’m departing Earth tomorrow.”
“Not for good, I hope?”
“And leave my boys behind? Heavens, no! I must attend a funeral, the funeral of an old–” she paused, quickly glancing around the room for classic dramatic effect. “An old friend.”
“I suppose you must have a lot of those.”
She smiled somewhat wickedly. “I have experienced a passionate affair or two in my day.”
An affair with Alexandra Spark must be quite the experience, Will thought to himself. It would almost be worth setting aside his lack of attraction for women, just to see what it was like–
“I’m being summoned,” she said after a moment. ” I must perform.”
Will settled into a chair, watching as Alexandra glided onstage amidst a shower of applause.
“Hello, dears,” she said, motioning to her audience as the applause died down. “Tonight, we’re going to begin with a new twist on an old favorite.”
Alexandra smiled provocatively as the piano player played the opening bars of the song — a slower, more languid, jazz rendition of a classic musical theater piece.
“I’m gonna wash that man right outa my hair. I’m gonna wash that man right outa my hair–”
Alexandra’s voice glided effortlessly over the lyrics, her tone full and her phrasing impeccable. She winked as a voice in the back of the bar hooted in appreciation.
“I’m gonna wash that man right outa my hair…And send him on his way…”
Out of the corner of his eye, Will noticed the man watching him. He was smoldering and darkly handsome in the classic sense, his broad shoulders and developed chest nicely filling out his pressed, buttoned shirt and navy suit. He placed a hand to the brim of his hat as he noticed Will noticing him, flashing Will a sexy half-smile. The night seemed to be looking up.
The man had risen from his chair and approached Will before he could even decide to do the same.
“Hey there,” he said. “I don’t suppose you’d like to dance?”
Will grinned suggestively. “Of course.”
He followed the man on to the dance floor, allowing himself to be drawn into his solid arms, the smell of his intoxicating cologne. He locked eyes with him, noticing a thin scar above his left brow. The slight imperfection only made his face all the more attractive.
He settled into their embrace, surrounded by Alexandra’s soaring vocals.
“Waste no time, weep no more. Show him what the door is for…”
“You have an awesome costume,” Will said. “How come I’ve never seen you here before?”
“I’m just passing through town,” the man replied. “I travel a lot. For my work.”
“What do you do?”
“You might say I — gather information. I noticed you talking to the singer earlier,” he said, motioning toward Alexandra. “You know her well?”
“Rub him out of the role call. And drum him out of your dreams…”
“We’re fairly well acquainted.” Will smiled. “I used to live with her son.”
“You know much about her past?”
“Why so many questions?” Will asked. “Oh, I get it — you’re playing detective.”
The man shrugged innocently. “I suppose you could say that.”
“Well you’re in luck, because it just so happens I find the whole hard boiled PI act completely irresistible.”
“Does that mean you’ll play along?”
Will grinned mischievously. “Sure. So Alexandra Spark. What do you wanna know about the dame…”