He-he-hello, campers! I just updated this post because a) the complete chapter was too fucking long for even me to read, and b) there are several indicting things in it that could get me into some trouble with people who may actually read this thing. So now instead of all of Chapter 3, you get the first couple pages, which I think are funny, but probably suck.
Note: Tommy Donovan is a pseudonym. You don't know the real Tommy Donovan, I assure you. But they're out there. Trust me. There's a Tommy Donovan in every childhood story. Hell, there's a little Tommy Donovan in all of us...
(Beginning of Chapter 3, "Free Agents" from "Half-Assed"):
Tommy Donovan was my first step towards reclaiming coolness, a calculated but risky acquisition made in the summer of 1990, before my sophomore year of high school.
A wild-eyed, flame-haired imp who went to a nearby Catholic school, Tommy knew all of us Traut/Newton North kids through baseball and the neighborhood. Like me, he had two older sisters. Unlike me, he treated his sisters and mother as though they were Barbie dolls onto which he would strap cherry bombs. He’d yell “whore!” out the window when his sisters left on a date with a male suitor. He left his turds unflushed in the toilet when he knew they were waiting for the bathroom. For entertainment, he’d mimic the New Kids on the Block in front of them, kicking his legs out at the sides in that famous NKOTB dance, singing “Girl, you shoot the white stuff!” (instead of “you got the right stuff”). “Ew, Tommy, that’s gross!” they’d say. And he’d burst out in his high-pitched cackle and then abruptly stop and turn to me and say, “Go fuck yourself.” His mother was always yelling, and when she’d scold Jimmy for not doing a chore he would give it right back to her, calling her a “fucking cunt”. I’d just sit there on the couch, in the crossfire, horrified. Finally his mother would throw him out, and he and I would walk across the street and sit on a park bench until he cooled off. We were fifteen.
His father moved out when he was five but lived in the area and would come by often to visit. Tommy would boast about how his father brought him porn and once taught him how to jerk off. I never fully allowed myself to grasp that notion, so it never truly disturbed me, as I believe it should. Even as I write this I still can’t comprehend it, and secretly pray that it isn’t true.
The effects could not be denied, however. Tommy was a hot coil of unhealthy sexual aggression. He always wanted to rape things, not in the literal sense, though he would randomly blurt out “Let’s go fuck Conchetta!” (the bag lady who collected cans in Cabot Park) or “Let’s go fuck Stevie Kushner!” (the six-year old boy who lived next door) or “Pelly, I’m so hungry I could fuck a McRib sandwich!”. A few times during the summer he’d walk into Cabot Park late at night and take his clothes off and masturbate, sometimes defecate, and then come running back into his house, pounding his chest and growling, “Fuck it, Pellegrini! Fuck it!”
He knew a couple trashy girls from Watertown who would walk over to Cabot Park and hang out with us during those summer nights. Tommy always took the heavy one and would make out with her in plain view and coo at her with boy band lyrics:
“Baby, you know I love you. Me and you, togetha foreva.”
“What you and I have is true, baby. Special. Nuthin can come between us.”
“This is what it feels like to fall in love. Nuthin else matters but you and I.”
I half expected to hear an Al Green rhythm in the background whenever he would talk to these girls.
Tommy wasn’t necessarily a violent person; he was just violently discovering his sexuality. One summer night he called the “gay hotline”, a toll-free number for Boston-area homosexuals. He started talking to “Sean”, a gay paraplegic from Danvers. What began as a prank, with me on the kitchen phone stifling laughter, ended with Tommy upstairs in his bedroom, talking to Sean by himself for hours after I had gone home.
For the rest of the summer, whenever Tommy and I hung out, he’d ask if I wanted to call Sean.
“Why?” I’d say.
“Because he’s fucking hilarious, asshole! Last night he sang Bette Midler’s ‘From A Distance’ to me, every fucking word of it! Fuck you, Pelly. I hate you. Leave.”
Tommy wasn’t looking for gay sex; it was the faceless, non-judgmental voice on the other end of the phone, home to a vagrant mind, a place where Tommy felt safe to set aside his rage and confess his fears to a person in a wheelchair who was disowned by his family for being different. It was a place where Tommy could be vulnerable, as well as perversely human.
Daniel Pellegrini is a recovering drug addict with an aggressive form of chronic bowel disease. That means he can't take painkillers after undergoing rectal surgery. He's here to show you just how beautiful life is.
Best of the Fool: