The Informers


“I wonder what your parents would think if they knew a friend of theirs was sleeping with their son,” I murmur.

“You’re not friends with my parents,” Martin says, his grin faltering slightly.

“No, I only play tennis with your mother twice a week.”

“Boy, I wonder who wins those matches.” He rolls his eyes. “I don’t want to talk about my mother.” He tries to kiss me. I push him off and he lies there and touches himself and mumbles the lyrics to another Beach Boys song. I interrupt him.

“Do you know that I have a hairdresser named Lance and Lance is a homosexual? I believe you would use the term ‘a total homosexual.’ He wears makeup and jewelry and has a very bad, affected lisp and he is constantly telling me about his young boyfriends and he is just extremely effeminate. Anyway, I went to his salon today because I have to go to the Schrawtzes’ party tonight and so I walk into the salon and I tell Lillian, the woman who takes the appointments down, that I have an appointment with Lance and Lillian said that Lance had to take the week off and I was very upset and I said, ‘Well, no one told me about this,’ and then, ‘Where is he? On a cruise somewhere?’ and Lillian looked at me and said, ‘No, he’s not on a cruise somewhere. His son died in a car accident near Las Vegas last night,’ and I rescheduled my appointment and walked out of the salon.” I look over at Martin. “Don’t you find that remarkable?”

Martin is looking up at the ceiling and then he looks over at me and says, “Yeah, totally remarkable.” He gets up off the bed.

“Where are you going?” I ask.

He pulls on his underwear. “I have a class at four.”

“One you actually go to?”

Martin zips up faded jeans and throws on a Polo pullover and slips his Top-Siders on and as I sit on the edge of the bed, brushing my hair, he sits next to me and with a bovish smile spread wide across his face asks, “Baby, could I please borrow sixty bucks? I gotta pay this guy for these Billy Idol tickets and I forgot to go to the Instateller and it’s just really a hassle… .” His voice trails off.

“Yeah.” I reach into my purse and hand Martin four twenties and he kisses my neck and says perfunctorily, “Thanks, baby, I’ll pay you back.”

“Yes, you will. Don’t call me baby.”

“You can let yourself out,” he calls as he opens the door.

The Jaguar breaks down on Wilshire. I am driving and the sunroof is open and the radio is on and suddenly the car jerks and begins to pull to the right. I step on the gas pedal and press it to the floor and the car jerks again and pulls to the right. I park the car, crookedly, next to the curb, near the corner of Wilshire and La Cienega, and after a couple of minutes of trying to start it again I pull the keys out of the ignition and sit in the stalled Jaguar on Wilshire with the sunroof open and listen to traffic passing. I finally get out of the car and find a phone booth at the Mobil station on the corner of La Cienega and I call Martin, but another voice, this time a girl’s, answers and tells me that Martin is at the beach and I hang up and call the studio but I am told by an assistant that William is at the Polo Lounge with the director of his next film and even though I know the number of the Polo Lounge I don’t call. I try the house but Graham and Susan are not there either and the maid doesn’t even seem to recognize my voice when I ask her where they are and I hang the phone up before Rosa can say anything else. I stand in the phone booth for close to twenty minutes and think about Martin pushing me off the balcony of his apartment in Westwood. I finally leave the phone booth and I have someone at the gas station call the auto club and they arrive and tow the Jaguar to a Jaguar dealership on Santa Monica where I have a humbling conversation with a Persian named Normandie and they drive me back to my house where I lie on the bed and try to sleep but William comes home and wakes me up and I tell him what happened and he mutters “Typical” and says that we have a party to go to and that things will be bad if I don’t start getting ready.

I am brushing my hair. William is standing at the sink, shaving. He has only a pair of white slacks on, unzipped. I am wearing a skirt and a bra and I stop brushing my hair and put on a blouse and then resume brushing my hair. William washes his face, then towels it dry.

“I got a call at the studio yesterday,” he says. “A very interesting call.” Pause. “It was from your mother, which is a strange thing. First of all because your mother has never called the studio before and second of all because your mother doesn’t particularly like me.”