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Coachella Day 3, Pt. 3: Saturday Night, When Dark Turns To Black

Saturday, April 13th, 2013 

Part 3

Coachella on Fire

As Trent and I made our way through the collapsed thousands on the grass of Coachella’s fairgrounds, we found ourselves stopping to stare at the kids eating food. We were so goddamn tired of peanuts and energy bars. The price of food and drink at Coachella was far outside our budget.

One of them looked up at us. “We were just admiring your fries,” Trent said.

“Oh good. I was about to dump them,” he said, handing them to us.

We gorged ourselves on cold, soggy French fries like Moses himself just handed us both milk and honey.

Then we took more shrooms.


There was something called a “Silent Dance Party”, where everyone gathered under a large dome of balloons, gently quivering to the desert breeze. Just before entry, we were handed headphones, each headphone was synched to music, and we were shuffled by a few security guards under the dome. It was strange.  I don’t understand the concept. We were all together, unable to speak to each other without peeling off these black headphones, standing around, rattling to music like a carton of eggs on top of a grocery pile in a car, each in our individual foam dimples. Side by side but huddled together.


Silent Rave

The music wasn’t that great either. We swayed a little bit. It was harder to establish a connection with the people around us. Some were facing other directions and most were restlessly marching in the dome and back out. If I caught a glance from a stranger, it was usually a drunk boy thirsty for casual sex.

The temptation to fornicate on a dirty camp ground with a group of rowdy man-children wasn’t appealing on any level. There was physical beauty, but if you go deep inside of me, you do require some depth in general. That is not to say there wasn’t a passing flirtation with one of the young men who bicycled people from one end of the campgrounds to the other in a seated cart attached to the back wheel. A great luxury indeed for the cost of $20. He was exceptionally handsome and sat on his bike, casually ignoring potential customers who slowed to stare at him before walking by. He wanted to chat with us as we decided what to do next.

I was sunburned, I hadn’t bathed in 48 hours, and I didn’t feel like there was anything I had to offer in the company of exotic, costumed barbies, as they swung their hips, head high, parading themselves with perfect pedicures and brand new flip flops. The young man seemed interested in me, though. He had sandy blond hair that captured the moonlight, he was tall and lazily slouched over in a generic, white polo shirt. Trent wanted to talk to him for obvious reasons, but I found his company a little nerve-wracking. I was self-conscious and sexually unavailable. In an effort to conceal my mood, I performed my porn-star orgasm impression which includes a duck face framing clenched large teeth, and an angry, forced moan that burns into a hiss. He laughed. I shrugged, hung my head and stepped back a little.

“So what are you guys doing later?” the boy asked.

“Going to some parties,” Trent asked.

“Yeah, can I give you my number? I am off in a couple hours and maybe we could hook up,” he said.

“Totally,” Trent answered. “My phone is dead though so you will have to get hers.”

He and I exchanged phone numbers. He leaned back and smiled that farm boy smile. The kind of boy who walks around topless on summer days, chews on straw and calls forth the sweat to tickle around your underwire bra.

After we exchanged numbers, he folded up his business and said, “Cool, ok. I gotta try to pick up some customers.” He gave me one last bad boy wink before a couple slid into his backseat. They had been waiting for the ride.

After he rode off, Trent said, “He liked you,” in that sweet, sing-song way. His voice sounded like it was bouncing happily on a hotel mattress. I shrugged. “Not that I can do anything about it.”


Michael, my boyfriend, knows me but doesn’t trust me. He got to know my writing before he really understood me. A few months later, he was folding my laundry (part of our domestic contract) and said, “Here I am folding up your onesie, thinking I should leave it out because I know you will wear it soon and everyone else is reading your sexy adventures. They have no idea.”

I have been reading Truman Capote lately, and came across a quote from Marilyn Monroe in his essay Elizabeth Taylor. I related to it, being a sexual woman who falls in love easily. Men make very easy connections between the two, but I find love and sexuality far more complicated.

“I don’t believe in casual sex. Right or wrong, if I go for a guy, I feel I ought to marry him. I don’t know why. Stupid, maybe. But that’s just the way I feel. Or if not that, then I should have meaning. Other than something physical. Funny, when you think of the reputation I have. And maybe deserve. Only I don’t think so. Deserve it, I mean. People just don’t understand what can happen to you. Without your real consent at all. Inside consent.” –Marilyn Monroe


Trent’s approach to sex I can also relate to. There was a time when if I was angry or disappointed, I would fuck. Not because it was a comfort. Not because it was a distraction. Just because I wanted to punish myself. I don’t know that Trent would agree with me, but when he texts me from a cheap motel on one of his drug/wine/casual sex binges, I remember what that felt like: wanting to be used.


We released ourselves into the general population of the campground. There were small parties everywhere. Trent had to piss every few minutes because his bladder is the size of a coin purse. We were in the company of Houston and Benny, the two young fellows who were separated from their group but searching for them in a dizzying maze of tents, parked cars and music blasting from cell phones. Houston carried around wine in a bag, some kind of current young people fad. “Smack the bag!” We each crouched below him so he could fill our necks and mouth full of cheap wine until we couldn’t breathe anymore and were then supposed to smack the bag. Not especially enjoyable but necessary to keep a walking buzz when far away from Black Betty and her trunk of warm beer.

Trent would approach strangers, he was friendly at first. Pointing to their shirt, he would ask, “What’s this?” Or “Merry Christmas!” “Happy New Year!” Just strange nonsense to start a conversation or exchange. We were in the company of young people who had trouble enough conducting a basic conversation, I don’t know what he expected. There were a few hostile boys who thought he was making fun of them, but most walked by us in a zombie daze, oblivious to any strange faces or inviting words.

One young woman with a hefty build and square face walked by: “Happy Halloween … “ he said just before she threw him a nasty glance. “Oh. Too close to home?” he said.  I laughed so hard I stopped walking and slowly collapsed on the ground.

Houston was trying to lead us to a party hosted by his people. He was on the cell phone, strutting proudly and announcing he had two cool people he wanted to bring to the alleged party. It was hard to find and Trent was turning.


Having been in love with an alcoholic for a number of years, I feel like I can speak with some authority on the subject. People, including my roommate, will try to label a person like me as an alcoholic because I need a few beers to wind down at the end of a busy day or I will drink flat champagne first thing in the morning. A real alcoholic is one whose personality will flip on you. Their face will change, their voice lower, and you will realize that they are on the attack. I don’t understand how the chemistry works from the inside out. I knew Trent had trouble with alcohol. I knew he could change and get nasty for no other reason than the alcohol engorging his stick thin frame. And having some experience managing an alcoholic of my own, I knew how to put up invisible hand rails in conversation, to keep them from spilling over into unsuspecting friends, acquaintances or strangers. Soften the insult with a compliment. Distract. Promise something great at the end of the line like a sandwich or another drink. Keep them from falling on to someone else.

Trent had already pissed himself, so I knew we were in the danger zone before he got short with the boys. They were nice boys and they didn’t know what kind of monster was waking beneath the coco skin of my unpredictable but charming friend.

Trent was frustrated people wouldn’t talk to him. Trent was frustrated we couldn’t find the party.

I would softly flag him with a “Trent …” or “No, no.”

“I know, I know,” he would say.

“Don’t worry, you are adorable,” I said.

“Shut up!” Trent barked. My back stiffened and my eyes rolled over to Houston and Benny.

“Trent …” I said pleadingly, gently flipping up my hand rails.

“Shut up! Just shut up!” he said, throwing his arm down and storming ahead of us.

“Don’t talk that way … to me,” I said.


“Because I love you and it hurts my feelings.”


We found the party. I cautiously followed Houston under a large car camping tent, like a collapsible carport. Actually it was a few strung together for one covered area. Instead of grass, there were rugs rolled out together, bean bags and chairs pinning them to the ground.

“I get it alright? I GET IT!” he said, walking into a rather dull assembly of young adults, each on their cell phone.

“That’s all I needed to hear,” I said.

We sat in the corner and observed the new group. Houston left to go gather more people, but I could tell already this was too uncomfortable for us. “You can move closer to us,” a girl suggested while staring at her cell phone.

“That’s ok” I said, keeping my ass and eyes tight to the corners of the tent for an exit.

We sat in silence for a few minutes, waited for the right moment then took off. I think we ran out of there to keep from feeling bad. Then we made our way back to Black Betty and the warm beer. The night was getting colder and we wrapped ourselves in blankets and sat outside with D and Benny, chatting. The conversation was pleasant enough, but Trent was complaining. Usually he tries to make his company feel ignorant, uneducated or dull when he is drunk and restless. There are times I don’t mind, but it just so happened, this particular time, we were with two men who were anything but. Above all, they were kind.


They ignored him, for the most part, or laughed off the insult. This bruised Trent a bit, but he turned on me. He accused me of losing some of the mushrooms, of not being very intelligent, for ruining the party. I stared at him in the night, and we locked eyes. The shrooms made his face ripple into a woman’s. This happens on psychedelics, I see Trent transform into an exotic woman, somewhere between a gypsy over a small circus campfire to an African woman off the pages of an old magazine. Eyes large like stones and a wide jaw wrapped around ivory teeth. I watch his face and wonder what it means.

Then his face broke into a large smile: the real Trent surfacing for a moment. It was like a cinder block was kicked off my shoulder. It was only a moment though. I was falling asleep on Benny’s delicious shoulder wondering if the boy on the bicycle texted me. My phone since died. When I revived it the next day I found several messages asking where we were with various misspellings that made him easy to dismiss.

Benny was a bit of a temptation, himself. I knew Trent was attracted to him. Of course. He was attractive, tall, young, white and straight. He fit the gay fantasy flip profile. The difference between Benny and all the other boys that easily fit Trent’s fantasy was that Benny was exceptional. He was intelligent and gracefully carried conversation, contributing just enough to make him a curiosity while asking just the right amount of questions to keep you engaged. His eyes shaped like almonds but with the color of wonder. I leaned against him underneath the sleeping bag we shared and felt his strength, my eyes lazily closed to the calm of his voice, the vibration from his neck and chest to his shoulders. I thought how sweet summer camp romances were when I was too young to let them go, even when autumn arrived and school started.

“Well, I am going to hit the sack,” D said.

“What?!” Trent squealed.

“Yeah, it’s getting pretty late,” Benny said, twisting the wilting petals of his mouth away from my hair.

“God! I am stuck with you people when there are parties out there. Unbelievable! Fine. Go! I don’t care. You don’t say anything interesting anyway.”

D kind of chuckled as he repositioned his feet in his sandals, ready to make the 10 foot climb to his tent.

I grabbed a beer. “Fuck it! I’ll stay up. I will fucking stay up all night. Let’s go fucking crazy!” I cheered, as I opened up a can of beer and downed a third of it in one sloppy swallow.

“That’s right! See, that’s why I love her! That’s why I love you,” Trent said, assuaged if just for another few minutes.

D got up with polite apologies and disappeared behind a car or two before he was safe in a sleeping bag. Benny excused himself as well, slipping into the back seat of his truck. It wasn’t long before I convinced Trent to fall asleep too. Knowing it would be a huge imposition on Benny, I escorted Trent into the back cab with him and tucked him in under a blanket. I sat up next to both their still bodies, wide awake with a fizzling beer, as they both slipped off into the first splash of morning light.  I wouldn’t sleep but at least there was peace.

Sunrise coachella




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The Difference Between a Cunt and a Vagina

There was another VIP party the students wanted to get in to: Kid Cudi. Never heard of him, but if it was anything like P. Diddy’s party I was totally on-board.Before heading home to change, I swung by the Hungarian Pavilion for a glass of wine and bummed a cigarette from some British producers- young men who had a deal with Working Title. I thought if I was a little more ambitious, had a project or two, I could really position myself as a producer in conversation.

My documentary was still a debt I could barely pay every month, and the thought of getting back in the game, with the unreturned phone calls, the promises to help over business drinks followed by the all too obvious proposition, the tireless work involved at my level . . . I am just not ready yet.

And I am not sure the climate of the film industry is ready yet. There is no money for independent film.

They kept giving me cigarette after cigarette, and the rain would plop heavily on the fine paper around my tobacco and break it in half. My cough was not getting better- the rain and small dresses were making it worse.


As I made my way out the door of the Pavilion, I was introduced to a young producer, an American that lived in Prague, 5’7 who was also a chemist. We got to talking about drugs, and he knew about the elements that made up my magic Alice pills. I mentioned that I was sad to have finished them, since I assume they are out of production. He tried explaining the twist of chemicals.

He said, “Its C10 H14 INO2.”

I nodded my head and blew out smoke.

He said, “I make it. It really is incredible. Its a great high. If you dose without the MSMD, you can spin out into a real negative trip. Once, my dosage was 10 times what the average dose was, and I was just in another universe for over a day.

You should come visit me in Prague. Are you a writer?”

I said, “Yes, how did you know that?”

He said, “It’s the way you use words. You are too articulate.”

I said, “I am impressed.”

I was. The pupils in his eyes had an odd shape. They were more oval than circular, like a cat.


It was the one thing that made me wonder if I found him attractive or not. His voice had a little gravel to it, enough to keep him from sounding like a boy, though on first glance, he appeared to be more a  boy than a man. He definitely looked to still be in his early to mid-twenties. His hair was shaggy and brown, grown out from a conservative cut. His chin and cheek bones were delicate. He was cute.

He continued, “Prague is a great place for writers and artists. They are really supportive of the arts over there.”Me, “I would love to, but I have dogs.”

Prague, “Bring them. I have a dog. They love dogs there.”

Me, “Even pit bulls?”

He took a big sip, “Yeah. Why not?”

The waiter came by and hand delivered one glass of scotch to the British producers. The rest of us had to go to the counter inside and wait in line for a free half glass of wine. One of the Brits delicately handed the glass over to me. I took a big swig.

Prague, “You are such a writer.”


This particular evening, I wore my glitter, short pink and black striped mini from New Year’s Eve. It was cold, so I wore some thigh high socks on the way to picking up my students, which also happened to be striped, but grey and black.


Walking down the Market, the girls complimented me on the socks dress combo. If it worked, in some odd, unexpected way as a complete wardrobe, I was going to leave the socks on.

The party wasn’t until 10pm, so we all grabbed a table at a nearby bar.

I slid into the booth seat and found myself surrounded by young beautiful girls who were looking at me like I was some kind of role model. I am many things, but not a role model . . .

Before I left Abe said, “I can’t imagine being a student and having YOU as a chaperone. That’s . . . HAHAHAHAHA . . .”

The girls were talking about trying to network the festival and said:

“They don’t even care about my resume. They just say ‘Tell me more about you.’ Like, dude, I am here to work not to tell you about me.”

Here was my moment of expertise.

I said, “Most of the time, when a man, professional or not, expresses interest in your career or project, know that he plans on trying to seduce you. That is a fact.”

There was a silence. They were trying to process this.

I don’t expect people, especially young people, to take my advice. When I was their age, I thought adults were too cynical, and if life was approached with a blind idealism, there would be an inevitably better result.

I was wrong.

One of the students, was a beautiful girl named Peyton with long chestnut hair, skinny, fresh faced but with hardening eyes; eyes you had to watch yourself with because they knew to pick up on things most people wouldn’t. She said, “Once, my professor took me into his office, closed the door and said, ‘Do you know the difference between a cunt and a vagina?”


The other girls gasped.

“He did?”


“Oh my God”

“What did you say?”

Peyton rubbed her hand over her bare arm, “I said . . . They are similes. Then he said, ‘A vagina is just a body part. A cunt reflects the lust of fucking the shit out of a girl.”

GASP from all of us.


Peyton nodded coolly. I could see from where I was sitting that Peyton was going to have to arm herself for combat. She was about to become gorgeous- at Cannes, she still had the skin of a child. There were no acne scars, no wrinkles, no sun damage, she was untouched. She could pass for 15 with that infantile glow.

Her eyes were her give away. They made her special. Men would mark her as a nymphette but I saw something else. She wouldn’t settle. A gorgeous girl that won’t settle is a warrior waiting for battle.

One student, “Did you say anything to him? I would have told him off.”

Peyton, “No, I just left.”

Me, “We all would like to think that we would take a stand in a moment like that, but you feel so blind-sided and uncomfortable, that you end up just freezing. At least I do.”

A student said, “Did you tell your parents?”

She said, “Eventually. And my dad contacted the school.”“What happened?”She said, “Eventually he was asked to leave.”Another, “Oh my God.”We talked about this, and the conversation at this table was the one moment at the festival where I really felt like I belonged there as a mentor.I said, “Men will count on you feeling uncomfortable. It’s your responsibility to call them on it. Tell them they are being inappropriate. Take that power away. If you don’t know how to react, it gives them leverage.”

One student had a similar experience and said, “But I can handle myself . . . I can just leave and not let it bother me.”

I said, “Its not for you, its for the girl after you. Trust me. Let them know you see what they have done and shame them. We don’t do things for ourselves, we do things for the next girl- so they don’t have to go through the same thing.”

Meanwhile, I was making eyes with a guy sitting at the bar. Eventually, he came over and tried to talk to me.

I said, “Parlez-vous Anglais?”

He shook his head and laughed. Then slowly walked away.

I said, “So that’s it? Its over?” I lifted my hands in the air for dramatic emphasis and turned back to the girls.

There was one girl, to my right, who was giving dirty looks to my roommate, the one who used up all my minutes to tell the entire west coast about singing with P. Diddy. That was especially frustrating since I lost my debit card and couldn’t call my bank the next day.

She is just a kid, though, and was used to people taking care of her.

Of course, in the mornings, she would stand outside my bedroom door wearing only a hand towel, and talk to me casually with the occasional slip of the hand, and the towel tumbling to reveal more perfect, female flesh.


I described this to one of my co-workers, an attractive and stoic New Yorker, just a little younger than me. He asked who my roommate was, and I described her.

He said, “THAT girl stands outside your bedroom and talks to you in a hand towel?”

I said, “Yeah. I kind of feel like I am in a bad Cinemax film called ‘Sorority Girls’.”

He said, “She’s hot.”

I said, “I know. Its very confusing for me.”

Here, at the bar, sitting next to her, was one beautiful but more uptight blond who kept giving my roommate, let’s call her ‘Hand Towel’, the evil eye.

I would try to catch the blond’s eyes and psychically tell her, “Don’t hate her. Pretty girls aren’t the enemy.”


A few days before, there was a woman who started coming to our office to hang out with our men. That’s fine, Ralph, Portland, Sandals and NY were all very attractive, and I mean . . . unusually attractive. However, she totally refused to acknowledge the presence of the women in the office.

She wouldn’t introduce herself or even look at us.

If I made a joke, she shot me a look of death and Karisma would break out laughing.


Then Karisma wrote in my notebook:

“Boys like girls that don’t like girls.
Girls who like boys more than girls make things an issue.
Normal girls feel it miles away.
Its called “dismissal.”
When a girl who likes boys more deals with regular girls there’s a quiet, silent slight of the eyes that happens between the two parties.
It’s quick and fast and dirty and it essentially generates the line of demarcation between what’s “her’s” (generally all the men she is currently attending to) and what’s left.
And then there’s silence.

A Chinese wall that separates the knowledge of avoidance and a simultaneous negotiation of intimacy.”

In the Palais, Portland thought we could cut in a line for a screening because an American girl there was sweet on him. Case in point a girl, that girl was giving me a poisonous look just for standing next to him and I said, “This is an example from our earlier conversation about girls who hate girls.”

He snapped, “Why is everything about conflict with you?”

Geez, sensitive much?

Karisma said, “Men don’t want to feel responsible for that kind of dynamic. And they don’t want to acknowledge that they like it.”

Especially a liberal, sensitive guy like Portland.


Back at the bar, a French woman called me over from my table to talk to her at the bar. She was friends with the French guy who liked me and wanted me to join them for a party at another club. She was gorgeous, skinny with meat around her breasts and hips, dark skin and hair with a little more make-up on than me. I would say she was far more elegant than I was.

She said in a thick accent, “My friend . . . uh . . . he says you are nice and beautiful.”

I told them about Kid Cudi and the VIP Room. We agreed that if I didn’t get in, I would meet them somewhere else.

We kissed cheeks and I warmly thought, “That’s the way women should be towards each other.”

Why was it so easy here? It was easy to be sexy and friendly and happy. In the States, you constantly had to be prepared for attack. You dread having a female boss because she will work harder to keep you lower.  Success means special, and more than one woman can’t be special.

It’s difficult to make friends with women in the States, as well. You have to watch them to see how crazy they are, as Karisma did with me the first few days.

Here, in France, I was free. It was relaxing.

We left for Kid Cudi and ran into one of my male students on the way. He was a cute kid, African-American and casually dressed. He looked distraught. I grabbed his arm, turned him around and escorted him in the heart of our cluster.


He said, “They wouldn’t let me in.”

I said, “They won’t turn you away if you have an entourage of beautiful women.”

We walked up, and the security guard, a thick African-French dude in black said, “Hey, what did I tell you? You can’t come in!”


My male student, flustered, threw his hands against his legs and turned around.

I said, “Please, Monsieur.”

He said, “No! And none of you can come in.”

Then he proceeded to let everyone else in. And I mean, anyone wearing anything was allowed in. They all passed us, one by one.

I said, “Why?”

He waved his hand away, “Bye.”

I said, “Please, why? Because we are American?”

He ignored me, and I begged.

He said, “It’s because you ask me if its because you are American. Goodbye.”

I walked to another entrance and spoke to the security guard there, who offered those inviting eyes but said that big, nasty man was the only way in.

So I returned, and tried speaking basic French.

Me, “S’il vous plaît. Pardon! Pardon!”

He waved his hand at us.

I looked back and noticed that all the students left but the blond girl who kept giving Hand Towel the eye.

I said, “Hang tight.”

She nodded, the wind blowing her shoulder length hair off her coat. She had hard features, but they made her quite beautiful. She had smart eyes.

I returned, “Monsieur! Monsieur! Obama? I love Obama.”

He ignored me for another few minutes, then said, “That jacket you are wearing looks like you are at a grocery store.”

My mouth dropped open.

I loved this jacket.

Blond, “No it doesn’t.”

I said, “I am about to tell this guy off. Are you ready for it?”

She said, “Yeah.”

So I waited for him to chat with the next cluster of underdressed people to pass us by on the red carpet, and then I said, “Monsieur? FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU!”

He stopped what he was doing and looked at us, dumbfounded.


I put my arm through the blond and strutted away shouting, “VIVA LA AMERICA!!!”

We walked further down the Croisette.

I said, “Are you up for trying to crash another party?”

She said, “Sure.”

So we crossed the street to where the music was playing. Pink and green disco lights were bursting from an otherwise anonymous white tent.


There was a cluster of people waiting to get in, and I walked up with my girl and asked.

The security guards kept repeating, “No more people! We are full!”

I raised my leg with the thigh high socks and said, “Monsieur? Please?”

They laughed.

My girl said, “Come on. Let’s go.”

I asked her to hold on.

I got a look from the guard. He put his hand out, low, telling me to wait.

A gentleman said, “I have an invitation, though. It’s right here.”

I said, “Need a date? Or two?”

He laughed and said, “Unfortunately, it’s just for one.”

The security guard nodded, lifted the rope and let him go. He walked by, then the security guard looked at me and fanned his hand low as if to say, “Come on, Come on” so I grabbed her arm and we raced inside.

I said, “SUCCESS!”

Somehow, I got a drink in my hand. I really don’t know how that happens. I buried my bag underneath a chair and we went out to the dance floor.

The music was an odd mix.

Andy Gibbs


“Hey Jude” from the Beatles . . .

“Faith” from George Michael . . .

It was liberating to dance and sing. The crowd opened to give me space to dance with my student, who somehow looked even more beautiful tossing her blond hair from side to side, singing her heart out.

I kept my phone in my bra and would occasionally respond to Frank’s texts. Supposedly, the was finishing up a dinner hosted by Terry Gilliam and was on his way to find me.


He had asked me to bring my toiletries and a change of clothes with me. After Karisma’s speech about how I should gravitate towards a “man like Frank”, I thought I should sleep with him.

A tall, attractive, blond man approached me.

He said, “Where are you from?”

I said, “Los Angeles. You?”

He said, “Berlin.”

I said, “Ich bin ein Berliner . . . get it?”

He said, “Yeah .  . . I get it.”


Later, I relayed the jokes to my cohorts, but no one really seemed to get its a quote from a 1963 Kennedy speech. Oh well. Some jokes fly, and some jokes fall.

Berlin tried dancing with me, but the music suddenly stopped and we were told the party was over.

I said, “What? What time is it?”

Blond, “It’s 1:30.”

I growled, “What the fuck?”

France had me spoiled.

Frank texted, “Meet me at the Grand Hotel.”

As we left, there were small souvenir bags left out for guests to take. I grabbed 4 or 5, since they were free. Later someone translated the bag for me, they were little breathalyzer tests. The bag turned color if you were over the limit.

We crossed the street to the Grand, the large, decedent hotel in front of the much smaller, “Le Petit Majestic.” It was the default place to go after parties closed since they served drinks til 3:30-4am.


The hotel was immense and I knew a beer there ran about 18Euroes ($25-30 American dollars). It also was crowded. Despite a very luxurious and narrow marble lobby, there was a small bar inside, crowded with people shoulder to shoulder, and a wide lawn out front littered with couches and inflatable furniture. There were people everywhere.

On most nights, it looked like all of Cannes was at the Grand Hotel.

I said, “Let me show you how to get a free drink.”

She said, “K.”

She was being a really good sport. I liked her because she was up for anything, didn’t complain or frighten, she just stood by my side the whole time.

We walked up to the bar and I leaned against the bar with my coat open, falling on either side of my dress. My legs extended. My shoulders bare. And I waited.

A short, bald, middle-aged American approached me.

Bald, “What are you ladies having?”

Me, “I will take a martini. My gorgeous companion . . .”

She asked for something, I don’t remember.

He ordered our drinks for us.

He said, “Are you French?”

I said, “God no, I wish.”

He said, “But your look and your accent when you speak French . . .”

Our drinks came from the beautiful bartender, and I relayed a heavy “Merci beaucoup.” The server and I exchanged our knowing glance, if it wasn’t for all these rich people around, we would kiss.

He said, “You are French.”

My accent improves with drinking.

I like men like the lawyer. I don’t like sleeping with them, but I cherish those first few minutes of conversation where we set the tone. We are blunt. We are smart. And we don’t bullshit.

The lawyer introduced me to two other attractive men, both American. One who worked in film financing for a bank and the other for a prestigious production company I knew.

I said to the producer, “I have worked with your company before” and told him about where I worked, and was later fired.

He said, “Oh yeah, you just missed [your ex-boss].”

Thank fucking God.

I gave a discrete snarl.

Then I said, “They taught me a lot. I just didn’t like being their assistant.”

He said, “Who does?”

We drank to that.

To the banker I said, “How is film financing these days?”

He said, “Honestly? Total shit. Its bad.”

I nodded solemnly, and said, “I figured it would be. That’s a shame.”

He continued, “Really bad. Like, devastatingly bad. I don’t know what’s going to happen to the industry if things don’t change soon.”

Somewhere in the conversation, the men decided to tell me that I needed to work on my posture. After flirting with several tall, European men, my head was hanging low to hear what these stubby American men were saying.

This was the first ping of insecurity I felt since arriving to Cannes, and what a surprise, it was born in conversation with other Americans.

The lawyer said, “We were about to leave. Where are you girls going?”

I said, “Anywhere there is dancing.”

The lawyer said, “Finish that and we will take you to another club.”

I said, “I am enjoying my drink.”

The banker said, “Chug. Chug. Chug.”

They all had wedding rings on.


The producer said, “This just got awkward I have to go. It was a pleasure meeting you.”

He left and I felt self-conscious in the moment, but now, writing this, feel great respect for him.

I turned to the banker, “Did I say something?”

He said, “Don’t worry about him. You’re fine.”

Lawyer, “You ladies wait here, we are going to the bathroom and will be right back.”

I said, “Ok” and sipped the rest of my drink, smiling with my eyes to my female companion, since my lips were occupied.

I got a text from Frank. He was here.

I led her outside and saw his towering, silver hair immediately. Frank.

He was familiar now, and I smiled when I saw him.

He casually met my glance, smiled and finished his conversation. He was smooth.


We took a walk the other day, through the film market. We flirted and hopped from tent to tent, booth to booth. Then, I walked into a glass wall.

Someone was walking into their booth, saw me collide with the glass wall and stepped back out to stare at me with his mouth open.

Frank said, “Oh my God, are you ok?”

I said, “Yes. Fine. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

The exhaustion from Cannes was clouding me and the glass wall was so damn clean, I thought I could walk out on the balcony and overlook the marina.

He escorted me to a screening and we parted ways. I was genuinely embarrassed, as I am most of the time, and thought he wouldn’t call me again.

But Frank was determined to sleep with me.


We greeted each other outside, near the entrance.

He introduced me to other Irish producers with the typical high compliment before each name was announced. I shook their hands. Frank was a producer working out of London, and worked with some big name talent, or so he said.

In the moment, I dreamed of us getting married and becoming a producing team.

Frank said, “Ok, lets say we get out of here.”

I said, “I can’t leave my student.”

He said, “She is an adult, she will be fine.”

I turned to her and weighed the decision back and forth.

Me, “What time is it?”

Frank, “3.”

I said, “Ugh, I don’t want to leave her.”

Frank said, “What does she want to do for a career?”

I turned to her and said, “What’s your interest, in the industry?”

She said something, again I can’t quite remember, was it producing? Something.

Frank took her arm and introduced her to a few Irish people, male and female.

He came back and said, “I just introduced her to a group of very successful, international producers. Let’s go.”

I turned to her and said, “Are you going to be ok if I leave?”

She casually said, “Yeah. Are you leaving with him?”

I smiled and nodded.

She said, “I will be fine.” And we gave a loose hug.

Then she said, solemnly, “I had a lot of fun with you tonight.”

I said, “That makes me happy.”


Then I turned as Frank escorted me to a cab.

I said, “I hope she gets home ok.”

Frank said, “She’s an adult. She’s not your responsibility.” He was carrying a white orchid of some kind.

Then he said, “Now, I don’t want you to get jealous. This flower isn’t for you. Its for my elderly landlady.”

Me, “That’s ok. So, you rent an apartment?”

Frank, “Yeah” in that thick, Irish accent.

Me, “How much does that run you?”

Frank, “It’s not bad, $700Euroes a month.”

Me, “That’s not bad at all.”


Then I continued an independent thought, “Some men back there said I had terrible posture. Is that true?”

Frank said, almost irritated, “That’s bullshit. No. Fuck them. They are just short.”

The cabby dropped us off in front of a building, and I tumbled out. I was drunk.

Frank took my arm and said, “Ok, once we go inside, we have to use our quiet voices.”

I whispered with a big grin, “OH KAY!”

He said, “I am not supposed to have overnight visitors. She was very clear on that.”

That seemed confusing. Frank was 35 and paying rent. Why couldn’t he have overnight visitors?


We took an elevator up one floor, or two. He asked me to take off my heels so we could tiptoe into his bedroom. He didn’t have a private entrance, so I had to enter the apartment and pass the kitchen.

We slipped into his rather large bedroom and I lay down on his bed. My dress has that hard material that catches the light but brushes hard on my skin.

Frank whispered, “Do you want a drink?”

I nodded and rolled around on the bed.

He brought me a glass of white wine and I sipped it.

Frank crawled on the bed and undressed me. I reluctantly put my glass of wine on a shelf built into the headboard of the bed.

It was dark in the room, the moonlight and a streetlight cast friendly a gleam over us.

He put on a condom and proceeded to enter me. In my wine and vodka fog, I remember him finding a steady rhythm and just lightly tapping the inside of my vagina with a fleshy tip.

There we stayed, in one position, with all the monotonous charm of elevator music.


So I moved, I tried to maneuver around and ended up playfully resisting a bit, in that way that I can when I have had too much to drink. The virginal peasant; a little role I play to spice things up

He held me down to keep the same steady rhythm then said, “This is getting a little weird.”

I said, “Can . . . you just let me . . .” and I rolled on top of him.

Then I continued, “You can enjoy it more, if you take your time.”

I tried mounting him and varying the rhythm. I didn’t have much to work with either, if you get my meaning.

Frank stopped me and said, “Can you give me . . . a blow job?”

I leaned down and kissed him, “I have a rule about blow jobs, so in short . . . no.”

We slipped inside the night, and I have no memory of much more. I woke up at 7:30am, with half a glass of wine still on the headboard and the smell of rubber on my fingers.

I knew I probably looked like all hell, and tried to keep my head turned away from Frank.

He stirred and I said, “Did you cum last night?”

His warm, soft arm casually threw itself over me, “No, but I had a lovely time anyway.”

My shift started at 8:30am, so I tried to fit in another love making session, you know, out of charity.

I wanted to see if we were better lovers sober, anyway.

Sadly, we weren’t.

He turned me over and we did it doggie style for a few minutes in which I barely felt a thing.

Then he said, in his sexy accent, “I am going to come.” Which is always my favorite part.

He came.

I got up and showered, still wearing my now foggy contacts.

Frank whispered, “It’s 8:30!”

I whispered, “SHIT!”

He said, “Just walk down this street, take a left and head towards the waterfront. You will find your way back.”

I approached the door to his bedroom, and he grabbed my arm and asked me to hang back, listening for any sign of his landlady.

He whispered, “She is up.”

I said, “This is ridiculous. Maybe I can climb down the terrace.” I walked outside to the balcony above the street. There was no way down.”

Frank grabbed the orchid and motioned for me to come back, and said, “Ok, ready?”

Me, “Yeah” and pressed my stomach.

Frank, “Are you alright?”

Me, “Yes, just hung over . . . or pregnant with your love child.”

I smiled wide waiting for the laugh.

He said, “Jesus Christ, don’t even joke about that.”

He took me to the bedroom door, then said, “When I walk out, you turn towards the front door and I will distract her in the kitchen.”

I saluted him with two fingers against my forehead.

He walked out slowly with the orchid and said, “Good Morning.”

I slipped passed him and headed 7 feet the other direction, then took the elevator down. I crossed the cobblestone street and hung a left. Then I just went downhill for 15 minutes.

That sucked.

My first sexual experience in Cannes and it really wasn’t up to the week of French foreplay leading up to it.

I was late.

I was hung over.

And worst of all, I still hadn’t had an orgasm.

Now Frank is someone who could have really benefited from a conversation about the difference between a vagina and a cunt.


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