September 21st, 2002


Stripes are hard to strip

Didn't manage to get the finished Tangled Web art to Marvel in time on Friday, but Alonso let me slide and I'll bring 'em in Monday morning. Four more pages to go before hopping back on NIGHT FALLS ON YANCY STREET with Evan Dorkin.

Was marinating cubed chicken in teriyaki sauce (for the evening's "Table Christening" at SBX's) when I got a panicked call from SBX @5:35PM. Seems she was never going to make it in time to pick up her girls from school (in Park Slope) by 6PM and would I hop on my bike and ride over there - pronto! Two things scrambled my skull: 1) I've been waiting a very long time for a moment like this where SBX would trust me enough to reach out and help with her kids. THIS was a landmark phone call. 2) I wasn't finished prepping food for the grill.


This was a test. I went quicksilver on the grill prep and grabbed a bunch of comix (ELECTRIC GIRL, BONE) and a POWERPUFF GIRLS - DVD that I had planned to give the girls, whom I hadn't seen all summer (they spent half the summer at SBX's parents home in England, and the other half at their Fathers' parents summer house in Fire Island). Rushed over on my bike expecting havoc when the girls took one look at me, relaxed, turned to their teacher and said "Oh, that's Dean, my mother's friend. It's okay. We can go with him."


That felt kinda nice.

SBX met up with us, soon after, and she was still in "work mode" - on the cell phone with folks slaving away back at the company which keeps her head and hair frazzled but with food on the table and clothes on the back for three. Can't imagine what kind of hassle that truly entails. Honestly. It all makes sense in a 2-hour movie, but live & direct is a head-banger of gnarly wax. Still, I get frustrated with the dang thang 'cause it ain't easy, all around, 'specially when I'm Mr. Secret Boyfriend (until the divorce is signed, sealed, and delivered). SBX sent us on a mission and the girls and I rode bikes for Cal-Amata Olive bread. That scared the jezebels from my soul, what with big cars and random people scattered all over the streets and two little girls speeding on their pink bikes. Got me a taste of what it's like to be responsible for other people's lives.


I might be hard-wired to fight fires and save damsel's in distress (the fireman inside), but getting two young cherubs to buy a domestic item at a shoppe is daunting. That's some chilling reality - yo. Managed to guide them there and back safely and play trial-by-fire "step-parent" for 10-minutes. When we got back, SBX and I went Chop Sooey on more food prep (we were going for an Asian theme) as Ola (her youngest), set the table and The Haze (her oldest), went buck nutty with the neighbors outside. Guests began trickling into the fray and I sparked the grill in the garden.

The first half of the night was the usual host playing, drink pouring, cooking, cleaning, vibing, with the group. More folks showed up than the table would allow, so some of 'em sat outside at the table on the deck. This actualy polarized my friends from SBX's, which was curious. Anyway, SBX's best pal Meredith came with her handy hubby Jay, and co-worker's/couple Michele & Pat. My pals, Josh & Sari, Mike & Marie, Myla & Jason, and later on, Jessica & Matt, made it over. The house held a lot of interesting folks: three writers, five cartoonists, a lawyer, a carpenter, a psychologist, and three medical education editors/packagers.

Food was eaten and appreciated and convo filled the air. As the Merlot grabbed my brain, I got hyper-sensitive and felt ignored by SBX, who was just playing good host, running about and not stealing precious kisses from me, what with her kids about. A better thief would have figured out a keener course of action. So, we need to buy some ski masks and heavy rope so we can climb outside the second story window for some well earned snogging. Romantic anemia, coupled with a hard weeks workload, depressed me. Like a sad-flaccid putz, my eyes got heavy @10PM and I crashed on the couch for 20-mins., in the middle of it all. Snapped out of it when Ola shined a bright flashlight in my eye and I got that second wind.

As the night began to relax into itself, the volume on the music raised and we went from Marley to Madonna. "Like a Prayer" got us out of seats and onto the living room floor. Shirts came off of me and Mike and we stepped it up a notch. The Haze threw down the gauntlet and made us all look old. Her verve and energy made her legs and hips move in impossible ways. Damn, to be 8-years old again...

Kids eventually hit the sack and I grabbed SBX's hand for a midnight kiss on the back deck under the beams of a full moon. She wanted to know if I was "okay" due to the fact that I had basically ignored her most of the evening in retaliation to her supposed neglect (that is, her pitiful thieving skills) and we got into a beef. Beef turned sour and, sans parade, I split on my bike back home, leaving SBX with two couples drinking in the living room. I felt horrible after co-creating a successful party with my gal and heralding a new phase (albeit, unknown to them) in the relationship with her kids, to leave like that. Why the hell did this night end this way? Why did I let minute details get in the way of the bigger picture? I thought I was getting over petty shit like that. Guess again. SBX called me @2AM when the last couple left and we got to settle the night. We're both attention mongers, waiting for the other to come correct, hiding it under our sleeves and in our buckles. SBX is better at keeping her primal desires at bay while I cringe at such a thought. Ultimately, we're meeting in the middle and trying to do things right for the sake of the kids. I just hope it's not at the sake of us. Faith resonates inside my pumping heart.

One day at a time.