About a year after she bought the house, Andrea Farley threw a party at the Rose Tattoo, a bungalow on the corner next door to Tennessee Williams, who wrote the play, The Rose Tattoo. The film adaptation of the play, also written by Williams, was made in this house. Plexiglass screwed to a doorjamb protects the penciled autographs of Anna Magnani, Burt Lancaster, Daniel Mann and Jo Van Fleet. That door is on the street side gallery on Duncan Street while the true front door faces into the compound and across the yard where Andrea had extended the cistern to create a tile lap pool. At one end of the pool she built a gazebo, then moved the pebble driveway, knocked out some walls, scraped and burned through generations of paint to expose the teak and raked 100 years of apothecary glass and lizard skeletons from under the house. On party night, elements of a reggae band set up behind the guesthouse and there was dancing all the way out to Pearl Street. North of the new driveway a string band played to nautical wheelers, reeling. It was just a great party.
I was sitting on a lawn chair in the shadows on the corner of Duncan and Pearl there, alone with neighbor Williams. I say this with respect but if you knew him in those days, you will recall that it was often hard to know if he was alive or dead. Tottered into some chair, he would sit motionless and affectless, as though possessed by Ghede, the Haitian loa of suspended animation. The moon was new, the dark night full of jasmine, ganja, torchlight and stars. Presently, our Pulitzer Prize-winning friend, who will be called “Bob,” lurched around the corner of the house and took out his dick.
At that time, Bob had a very long and much admired essay in the current issue of Esquire magazine; there was talk about the unprecedented large sum he had just received as a book advance; there was the recent Pulitzer; there were courtesans; there were strangers with candy. At this moment, Bob was getting his dick caught in his zipper while peeing toward an hibiscus bush and rocking violently back and forth until he vomited down his shirt front, across his hands, his junk and his feet, finally doing a face plant in his own pee-pond. Beside me, one of Tennessee Williams’ frail hands fluttered upward as he observed, “Ahhhhh… …the young genius!”
published 10 November 2012