Rod gives me the shaft.

This is true. My friend Bill, Wild Bill, who used to ride a water-smooth silver soft-tail Harley called me up on May 29, 1989 at 188 Walker Street, Atlanta, Georgia and said let’s go out tonight. I said yes, lets. Because I knew his girlfriend Delissa from Chicago was in town and this comely kamikaze crazy was someone I was just dying to meet. So they picked me up in a long black limousine and we went to dinner at Petrus, Peter Gatien of New York Limelight fame’s new place and we, before, during and after did every drug known to weigh hey, blow the man down. We ended up at The Gold Club. Actually we ended ended up at The Claremont Lounge, but that’s another story.

I’ve already told you that I’ve seen a lot of naked women in my life, and that I’ve seen even more almost naked women in my life – this is one of those times that upped that tally large. Big Jimmy pulled the limo up to the front door, and Billy, who looks like a motorhead Beetlejuice, delightful Delissa, mini-skirted and pumped, and me doing a Keith Richards on a good day impersonation get out and the doorman says with a southern smile welcome, welcome.

We’re swished right in to my amazement and ushered right up to the Gold Room and served free champagne by our own go-go girls and I’m wondering what the poor people are doing tonight. When bam! the mushrooms I gobbled in the men’s room at Petrus like a booster rocket at t-minus 1 and counting, ignited, sending me and my dazzling inadequacy into overdry and I’m rat-a-tat synapsis firing reminded of the Radio City Music Hall marquee outside my office swindow in Rock’feller Shenter  Sixteen Baboons Fall in Love, or my getting that missed up with Molly Ringall’s Sixteen Candles movie? Um. Right, Fourteen Baboons Fall in Love – I wuzz off by too babooooooons!

HahahahaThe room swims fills with syphilitics, madmen, the morally suspecterates criminally insane. Is that guy a ventriloquist tap-dancing in the corner? Tommy Tongue Tune. Two Nubiles, underdressed are caressing my thighs, I think they’re mine and art said Buddha is the broadest path away from enlightenment hillbillies in polyester and rayon, ‘shrooms boom, boom, boom, let’s go up to my room music and smokers smoking. Preposterous, huge, easy, deadpan, thrusting pulses and wild. The Nazis look like they’re winning the Improbable, shimmering abandonment. Sigh. As hours its neutrino eternities flying by, swans


Suddenly boneheads with walkie-talkies as big as fists with boxing gloves on burst into the room from who knows where and hauled us three out, Billy the blue-eyed boy, delicious Delissa, and our hero unceremoniously it goes without saying, for no reason whatsoever except maybe we never should have been anywhere near there in the first place. As I’m being escorted down the hallway by the scruff of my neck I see someone maybe famous coming towards me with pure disdain radiating from every hair on his head. I sober up and focus in a zeptosecond and we pass this close, eye to eye, and he’s exactly my height, 5’10”. He stops and squares off with me, looking daggers. I face off too and stare deep and hard back.

It’s Rod Stewart, the Rod Stewart, and he’s not happy to say the least that we weasels ‘pretended’ to be with the band and got seated in his VIP lounge. I never pretended to be anything in my life, sir – almost all the times in my mostly lamentable past that I’ve been treated like royalty were usually huge misunderstandings, and not exactly my fault. One person’s unshaven scrimshanker is another person’s rock star flunkey I always say, and the doorman’s mistake, not mine.

I don’t blink – I’m guilty of many things, dude, but cowardice and mendacity are not two of them. Goodnight little school girl is all he needed and succeeded in saying. We continued to stare each other down, without a word, for what seemed like an eternity even though it was probably only another second or two, and then I went on my merry way to be chucked out onto the street, and he went on his to sell probably another hundred million or so records easy.

But Jesus he was a handsome man. And what was obviousest to me right then, as it was happening, and now as I recount it, even considering everything I was already experiencing at the time, i.e. my mind ricocheting off the heavens and mushrooming around the moon and back, was that this shaggy rasp thrust fantastic flames into the night everywhere.

Even though the circumstances in which I made this impromptu judgement were less than favorable, to me anyway, and the immediate meeting I had with the pavement afterward, which hurt like hell, certainly didn’t help, I knew it was true. I’ve met a lot of famous people in my life, sometimes even as a welcome and invited guest, but not many had that much luminosity – a cool, classy lad in a striking golden helmet – and I sure do want you to know he wears it well.
January 14, 2024 — Johnny Mustard