“You didn’t tape the newscast tonight?”
“Yeah. I did.”
“But there’s nothing there.” I’m pointing at the Betamax.
“Really?” He sighs.
“There’s nothing there.”
Danny thinks about it a moment, then groans, “Oh man, I’m sorry. I had to tape the Beach Boys concert.”
Pause, then, “You had to tape a Beach Boys concert?”
“It was the last concert before Brian Williams died,” Danny says.
I sigh, drum my fingers on the Betamax. “It wasn’t Brian Williams, you moron. It was Dennis Wilson.”
“No, it wasn’t,” he says, sitting up a little. “It was Brian.”
“You’ve missed taping the show two nights in a row now.” I walk into the bathroom and turn on the faucets in the bathtub. “And it was Dennis,” I call out.
“I don’t know where the hell you heard that,” I hear him say. “It was Brian.”
“It was Dennis Wilson,” I say loudly, bending down, feeling the water.
“No way. You’re totally wrong. It was Brian,” he says. He gets up from the bed with the sheet wrapped around him, grabs the remote control and lies back down.
“It was Dennis.” I walk out of the bathroom.
“Brian,” he says, turning the channel to MTV. “You are wrong to the max.”
“It was Dennis, you little ass**le,” I scream at him as I leave the room and walk downstairs, flip on the air-conditioning and then, in the kitchen, open a bottle of white wine. I take a glass out of a cupboard and walk back upstairs.
“William called this afternoon,” Danny says.
“What did you tell him?” I pour myself a glass of wine and sip it, trying to calm down.
“That we were dry humping and you couldn’t make it to the phone,” Danny says, grinning.
“Dry humping? So you weren’t exactly lying.”
“Right.” He snorts.
“Why didn’t you just leave the goddamned phone unplugged?” I scream at him.
“You’re crazy.” He sits up suddenly. “What is this shit about the phone? You’re crazy, you’re … you’re …” He trails off, unable to find the right word.
“And what was that little surfer doing in my house?” I finish one glass of wine, a little nauseated, then pour another.
“That was Biff,” Danny says defensively. “He doesn’t surf.”
“Well, he looked real upset,” I say loudly, sarcastic, taking off my robe.
In the bathroom I ease myself into warm water, turn the faucets off, lie back, sipping the wine. Danny, with the sheet wrapped around him, walks in and throws Kleenex into the wastebasket and then wipes his hand on the sheet. He puts the toilet seat down and sits and lights a joint he’s holding. I close my eyes, take a large swallow of wine. The only sounds: music coming from MTV, one of the faucets dripping, Danny sucking on a thinly rolled joint. I’m just noticing that sometime today Danny bleached his hair white.
“Want some weed?” he asks, coughing.
“What?” I ask.
“Some weed?” He holds the joint out to me.
“No,” I’m saying. “No weed.”
Danny sits back and I’m feeling self-conscious, so I roll over onto my stomach, but it’s uncomfortable and I roll over onto my side and then onto my back but he’s not looking at me anyway. His eyes are closed. He speaks.
In monotone: “Biff was down on Sunset today and he came to a stoplight and he told me he saw this old deformed woman with a totally big head and long puffy fat hands and she was, like, screaming and drooling, holding up traffic.” He takes another hit off the joint, holds it in. “And she was naked.” He exhales, then says, benignly, “She was at a bus stop way down on the Strip, maybe near Hillhurst.” He takes another hit off the joint, holds it in.
I picture the image clearly and, after thinking about it, ask, “Why in the hell did you tell me that?”
He shrugs, doesn’t say anything. He just opens his eyes and stares at the red tip of the joint and blows on it. I reach over the side of the tub and pour another glass of wine.
“You tell me something,” he finally says.
“Like, trade information?”
“I … want a child?” I say, guessing.
After a long pause, Danny shrugs, says, “Bitchin’.”
“Bitchin’?” I close my eyes and very evenly ask, “Did you just say bitchin’?”