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bag of groceries. He puts them down and picks a note up off the bed. Lights fade while he reads it.) SCENE 24: HOMECOMING (PART TWO) (Tom enters the bar.) TOM: Dick. DICK: Tom. Haven't seen you 'round these parts much lately. What happened to, "Hey Dick, what's the count?" TOM: (pause) I didn't think I should ask you anymore. DICK: What, just because I have less than two hundred T-cells per cubic whatever, you stop caring? TOM: No. I guess... I just can't believe it's happening. I mean, I knew you were HIV positive, but I never pictured you... DICK: ... with AIDS. TOM: Yeah. DICK: Well, if you're taking it this bad already, you'd better brace yourself. 'Cause I got some more bad news today. TOM: From your doctor? DICK: From my mirror. (Lifts his shirt. There is a KS lesion.) TOM: Is that...? DICK: My first visible symptom. TOM: Oh, Dick... DICK: Kaposi's sarcoma, toxoplasmosis, pneumocystitis.. one thing you can say about this whole experience, it's increased my vocabulary. Enough about me, what about you? TOM: Dick, who cares about me? DICK: Who cares about you? TOM: I mean, my problems don't even begin to compare with... DICK: Tom. I really don't want to talk about me any more. Once again: how are you doing? TOM: (pause) Okay, I guess. DICK: Still hurts, huh? TOM: Of course. I haven't heard a thing from him. Christ, the last thing I heard him say was, "Taxi!" DICK: Have a few beers. Meet a few nice men. TOM: Beers, yes; men no. Not yet. DICK: Doth mine ears deceive me? What did I just hear from the mouth of the Queen of the Rebound? TOM: That was before. I finally met someone I could care about for more than two weeks, and... DICK: ... yeah. Life ain't fair, Tom. I figured that out a while ago.

TOM: I know you did. Well, there's someone coming to look at the apartment. I'd better go let them in. DICK: You're moving? TOM: Yeah. DICK: Listen, there'll be dancing later on. TOM: Maybe I'll stop by. (Exits) (after a few seconds, Harry enters.) HARRY: Hey Dick. DICK: Harry. HARRY: What's the count? DICK: Still three digits. HARRY: What does that mean? DICK: Skip it. Haven't seen you in a while. HARRY: Yeah. I went back home for a bit. DICK: How was it? HARRY: It was nice. Great. It was terrible. DICK: Tom was in here earlier. HARRY: Oh. DICK: He might be back tonight. HARRY: Oh. DICK: But you won't be. HARRY: No. DICK: Shame. HARRY: You remember something I said to you a long time ago? DICK: Maybe. Refresh my memory. HARRY: I said I wasn't gay. DICK: You said you were bisexual, you guessed. HARRY: And you said if you had a nickel for every time you heard that one... DICK: ... I'd be a rich man. HARRY: Well, I'm not. DICK: Gay? HARRY: Bisexual. DICK: You tried. HARRY: The spirit was willing, but the flesh... actually, come to think of it, I guess the spirit wasn't all that willing. DICK: So what'll you do now? HARRY: Move somewhere. Anywhere. Not home. Not here. Too many ghosts. I kept looking over my shoulder the whole way here. DICK: I understand. HARRY: I'd better get going. My bus only had an hour layover and it took me twenty minutes to walk here. DICK: Where you going? HARRY: West. I've always wanted to see the Pacific Ocean. DICK: Ah. HARRY: You know, Dick... DICK: Yeah? HARRY: When it was happening to me, when I had the knife in my face... you know what went through my mind? DICK: Yeah. I do. HARRY: You do.

(pause) DICK: You'd better go, you'll miss your bus. HARRY: Yeah. Thanks. (starts to leave) DICK: Make sure and send me a postcard. HARRY: Oh, sure, what's the address here... never mind, you can read Tom's. DICK: Sure. (Harry exits) SCENE 25: EPILOGUE DICK: It was good to see Harry. He's strong, resilient country stock, so I knew he'd be okay, but it's nice to see the evidence right before your eyes. Not that he's okay yet... but he will be. And what he's dealing with they don't teach you in grammar school. The last trick I ever had beat me to within an inch of my life. I guess he got his kicks that way. I healed on the outside, and eventually on the inside. It takes time. Anyways, I've been there. I've done that. I bought the Tshirt. I guess I just didn't feel like hustling anymore after that. You know, hustling isn't as easy as it looks. Hell, in this city, if any of my tricks had been remotely attractive, they wouldn't have had to pay for it. I just had to close my eyes, point my ass at the ceiling and think of England. Anyways, I got out of the business, met Andrew, buried Andrew, opened my bar... and here I am. HARRY'll be okay. He just needs time to heal, and that ain't easy to do in a world that doesn't want you to. Oh, yeah, you know what was going through his mind when he was stabbed? He was wishing he wasn't there. It's that simple. Of course the brain goes nuts with that idea, and you start wishing someone else was there in your place, like there was some sort of cosmic karma happening and somebody had to be on the receiving end of it. So he wished it were me getting stabbed, or Tom, or John Q. Public... Q for queer. That's the worst part, is the guilt. How do I know? What do you think went through my mind when I was diagnosed with HIV? I wished it were anyone else I knew, even Tom... even Andrew's son. You know what Andrew's favorite joke was? This was in the early days of AIDS, when everybody thought that only homosexuals, heroin addicts and Haitians were at risk. Let me see if I can remember how it went... oh, yeah, what's the toughest thing about having AIDS? Convincing your parents that you're Haitian. Will you look at that. Closing time already. David Gobeil Taylor, 1994

Mauvaise graine # 19  

February 1998 issue

Mauvaise graine # 19  

February 1998 issue

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