By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
My idol of the rock-and-roll hipsters watches soaps, reads only gossip tabloids, and falls asleep smoking in bed. A mongrel Gidget. Her teddy bear was worn and chewed up. The first astonishing thing I noticed in her apartment was the absence of any music. No albums or stereo, not even her own records. Cassettes arrive from chick songwriters, pitching songs written just for her. Tapes from Deborah Harry or Patti Smith, who idolized her in junior high and still carry a torch.
"Leave it for the maid," Bonnie shrugs. Unplayed tapes end up in the trash, personal letters unanswered.
"Let's hear a few," I plead.
"What's da use? Nobody can write for me like William did. When he was your age, he was a millionaire, a hit-maker." Suddenly, she knocks cassettes, along with her take-out lo mein, off the counter and heaves her pink princess phone to the floor.
"Just leave it for the fuckin' maid."
Twice a week, an old black cleaning lady lets herself in, bringing fresh flowers then making her rounds until the whole place is orderly again. I never saw Bonnie pay her.
Then, during a drunken tantrum, she throws me and the maid out, and I'm shocked when the maid tearfully reveals that she is Bonnie's mother.
We hear Bonnie's old hits careening out of apartment windows, car radios, TV sets, in elevators. We never stop to acknowledge it. It's just part of the air, in perpetual frequency around the planet. But on some days, all of a sudden, it's an issue:
"I am not. I'm proud."
"You ain't proud, it's killing you. You can't stand it, hearing my records all the time. You never say anything, never tell me I'm great."
"Baby, it's time for a new album. Show 'em you're still great, get off the oldies bus."
"Ugh! You said it again, goddamn you -- you said I'm old! Well, I may be the oldest woman -- and the biggest -- you'll ever fuckin' meet in this life. You young and stupid. Tellin' you to your teeth."
Hark -- The Bonettes Boyfriends hear applause. Our womenfolk are returning. Both studs share a hairbrush, slap on cologne, ready their gold cigarette lighters. But for me, the moment of truth approaches. It's storming outside as I clutch my pathetic umbrella. I worry how the fuck I'm going to walk her those two blocks back to the hotel.
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