StreetLegalPlay by Kyle Thomas Smith

A Sorcerer on Montmartre – Chapter Eleven

Posted in Uncategorized by streetlegalplay on June 30, 2014

Wburg apt

A Sorcerer on Montmartre

By Kyle Thomas Smith

© 2013

Eleventh chapter from the novel I’m writing

(Click the following for Chapters 1234, 5678910 (p. i)10 (p.2)10 (p.3)111213)


Scene Study

“So, whose slippers are these?” said Simon.

“Those are actually Peter’s,” said Jude Bucktrout as he poured Simon some Lipton tea.

“Then where are my shoes?”

“I think they’re in that pile of stuff that we scooped off that value-of-nothing guy’s bed.”

“You think my shoes are in the pile?”

“Well, we could only grab what we could. We’re busy hustling you out, all deadweight. Sorry I didn’t organize it for you. I’m no good at putting things in order. Just ask Peter.”

“And my shirt? And my jacket?”

“Maybe it’s in the pile. I didn’t look through. But, yeah, that’s Peter’s robe you got on too.”

“I still got pants on.”

“And underwear. They were both around your ankles.”

“Did they—?”

“I don’t know, Simon. I know you had, like, three guys on you. They were just getting started when we busted down the door. You should be alright.”

“But you don’t know for sure.”

“You were right side up. That’s a good sign.”

“But you don’t know for sure.”

“No, Simon. I don’t. But I think you’re safe. If I didn’t look up when I did, you might not be. They were just dragging you in. But enough of us were there to break it up. We all got fired for it, but we got you out.”

“You lost your job, Jude?”

“Oh, pfft. It’s just something on the side. Still got my regular job. And the show. Don’t worry about me. You’re the one I’m worried about.”

“Because? Why? You do! You do think they…”

“No. No. Not that.”

“I gotta get tested.”

“I think you’re alright, Simon.”


“Well, if it’ll give you some peace of mind. You got insurance?”

“Insurance? Paula don’t gimme none of that.”

“I know a free clinic.”

“Are you?”

“Am I, what?”


“Nope. Clean bill of health.”

“Sure? I mean, aren’t we all?”

“All what?”


“How d’you mean?”

“I mean, don’t we all got it and it’s just a matter of time before it comes out.”

“Got what?”

“You know.”


“Uh huh.”

“Wait. Simon, you think it’s something you just have if you’re gay.”

“Well, isn’t it?”

“Jesus, Simon, it’s something you contract. It’s something you acquire. It’s right there in the acronym: Acquired Immune—”

“So, you’re not born with it?”

“Well, some are. There are AIDS babies.”

“And they’re all queers?”


“I’m just sayin’, I don’t know. I’m new to all this.”

“Simon, AIDS babies have AIDS because one of their parents had AIDS.”

“Well, neither of mine did. My daddy hates people with AIDS. Doesn’t even call them people. Just diseased. Diseased reprobates.”

“Glad to see so much’s changed since I left Georgia,” said Bucktrout, returning the teapot to the sink.

Bucktrout had been able to slip away from home a lot more graciously than Simon. After graduating from Rome High School, he had gone on partial scholarship for theater to University of Evansville in Indiana and went for a junior year abroad to University of Harlaxton in Grantham, England. After college, he acted in Chicago’s fringe theater scene and got into Yale’s MFA program, where he studied both acting and directing. From there, Bucktrout hit Manhattan. He’d had some Off-Broadway luck, better Off-Off Broadway luck but, alas, a lot less luck on Broadway, where he’d only landed chorus roles. Yet all the Yale and Shakespeare under his belt couldn’t keep him from slipping back into a down-home drawl upon exposure to a back-home peach like Simon.

“Okay, Simon,” Bucktrout said, “Let’s take it from the top. What do you know about AIDS?”

“Not much.”

“But what do you know? Let’s talk it out.”

“My parents got a special dispensation from the state to drag me out of health class. And most science classes too.”

“Oh, sweet Georgia,” said Bucktrout, casting a look to the ceiling. “Okay, then, so what you learned, you learned at the kitchen table?”


“And what was it you learned?”

“Just, my dad would lift up a glass to God and AIDS.”

“God and AIDS?”

“Yeah, sometimes he’d have his friends over. And he’d have us thank God for AIDS.”

“Thank God for AIDS?”

“He said, ‘It’s killin’ off the niggers and the queers.’”

“Jesus. Was he Klan?”

“Not officially. Most of his friends were. But he made it plain he could only go so far with them. Some of the churches he’d go speak at sometimes thought less of the Klan, so he told his buddies he could only tip his hat.”

“Oh, Simon.—But didn’t you notice you weren’t sick all this time? I mean, you were who you were this whole time and you never had it, right?”

“Jude, I don’t know what I have or don’t have. I don’t know what I am or what I’m not. I don’t know what to believe or not to believe. I just know my head hurts.”

“I’ll get you another aspirin.” Bucktrout went to the medicine cabinet and, in fact, came back with Excedrin.

“Thank you, Jude,” Simon gulped down the Excedrin, “Let’s see, what else? Um, my daddy said you have it but you also get it.”


“It’s what he said.”

“From the pulpit?”

“And at home. He said queers have AIDS, right? But then one day there was this kid in the teen Bible study who asked about it. Y’know, this kid, he was this troublemaker-type. He liked to ask about sex in Bible class. Real rebel, you know. And the reverend who proctored the class, Reverend Jones, he hated this kid for it. But once my daddy sat in and the kid asked, ‘If two gays don’t have AIDS but they do it, do they get AIDS anyway?”

“Stupid little fuck,” said Bucktrout, “I mean, hello, zero plus zero equals zero.”

“That’s not what Dad said. He didn’t even give Reverend Jones a chance to answer. Just pointed at the kid, said, ‘Listen here. They both got it already. It’s their stigma, their shame, their curse, their Mark of Cain. Both of them. And if they don’t both got it before they do it, they’re gonna get it when they do do it.’”


“That’s what I said.”

“And then what he say after you said that?”

“Said what?”

“After you said ‘whaaaa?’”

“Oh, I mean, I didn’t ‘say-it’ say it. I just thought it. You don’t question with my daddy. You just nod and go along.”

“Well, you’re gonna have to break that habit here. There are people in this town who’ll play you till your doom if you let ’em.”

“Like those guys at the party.”

Exactly. Like them.”

“Are they all like that?”

“Who’s they?”


“Am I, Simon? Am I like that?”

“Not that I’m aware of.”

Bucktrout decided to spare Simon the lecture about how Simon himself was one of the they’s he’s so scared of. The kid could only take in so much and what’d happened the night before was too much for any living being to have to go through.

Simon said to Bucktrout, “You sure are cute.” He imagined it’s how a lot of the scenes in Euroboy got started.

Bucktrout said, “I sure am taken.”

“Then why’d you say that thing about me?”

“What thing?”

“That I was some kind of magic out of Wizard’s Stone?”

“I said that?”

“Something like it.”

“Well, I got eyes, Simon. Peter’s got eyes too. But we keep our hands only on each other.”

“So you don’t want it?”


“Something in return?”

“Simon, you got to learn to trust people.”

“What? You just said the opposite before.”

“Well, good for you, Simon. You’re learning to question what people say.—What I meant was, you gotta trust the right people. You haven’t met them yet. I mean, ’til now.”

“How can I know you’re one of them? The right people?”

Bucktrout said, “Good. Not taking anything at face value. Good for you.—Look, you look tired. If you want, you can go back and crash on the bed. I won’t bother you.”

“No thank you,” said Simon as he drank more tea.

A few minutes passed, though, and Simon’s Rufenal hangover grew worse. Simon decided to take Bucktrout up on his offer.

Bucktrout’s boyfriend Peter would be coming home from Pennsylvania and Bucktrout would have a lot of explaining to do. Bucktrout drummed his fingers and drank refill after refill of Lipton out of his Harlaxton mug. Then he saw he was acting too much like he was in scene study, so he bit the bullet and called Peter.

After he revealed to Peter that he’d lost his cater-waiter job and that now there’s a scallywag in trouble in their apartment, he said, “Bunch of us got in a brawl to get the guys off him. I took out my cell and called the police. Told ’em those sickos were all set to rape the poor kid. But when I told them we intervened, the police were all set to dust off their hands and hang up on me, like we just did their job for them. Well, no, they still came cuz then I let them know there was a drug-bust goldmine in there, y’know, case they were a little behind on their quotas.

“Must’ve done some good. When Strasberg called to fire me this morning, they said the host is probably going to jail because of me. Him and a lot of the guests…I don’t know, he had this fucked-name, Robert O. He’s famous for something, I don’t know what. I’m gonna try to get the kid to press charges, take his ass to court. But he’s in our bed now and, you got my balls-oath, nothing happened between me and him….Cute as a newt, but no, nothin’, I swear…I’m talkin’ this way cuz this is how I get when the old south comes up for a visit.”

But Bucktrout was wrong. Simon wasn’t in bed anymore. While Bucktrout was on the phone explaining things, Simon had found his genuine-leather Italian boots in the pile the cater-waiters had gathered up for him, along with his velvet jacket. (The shirt he picked out of the pile wasn’t one of his. It belonged to one of the guys who jumped him and it wafted a heavy eau de cologne. It was way too big for Simon too but he wore it anyway.) Bucktrout continued talking matters over with Peter as Simon tiptoed to the door in his stockinged feet. He’d had enough of other people’s hospitality for one weekend.

Kyle Thomas Smith is the author of the novel 85A (Bascom Hill, 2010). He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his husband and two cats.

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