The Orgy

Written by Jonathan Ames on . Posted in Breaking News, Posts.



I don’t
think I have been this existentially morbid in some time, perhaps not since
my undergraduate days. I remember when I was a sophomore, under the influence
of reading a lot of Beckett, I wrote a story called "The Ticket" about
a man who gets hit by a train–a train that he had been waiting a very long
time for, a train that was going to take him where he needed to go–and
after he’s hit by the train (a gross betrayal, really), he lies on the
tracks, dying, and thinks, "Everything hurts, and yet I feel nothing."


I haven’t
thought of that line for some time–an early sign of my limited genius?–but
I think it’s wonderfully apt for my current state of being. In fact, I
don’t even have enough enthusiasm to concoct one of my suicide fantasies,
which really are Tom Sawyerish reveries, because I usually focus not so much
on the actual way of killing myself, but on the funeral service that follows
and the hoped-for sad headline in NYPress: "Ames Dead." And
all of this fantasizing–when I engage in it during normal periods of only
acute depression–is rather life affirming and healthy, I think, because
I must be imagining, when I daydream like this, that people love me, care about
me, which must be a way for my psyche to generate a sense that life is worth
living. And I’m not alone in thinking that suicidal ideation can be positive:
Nietzsche wrote something about how thoughts of suicide can help one fall asleep.
At least that’s my memory of my brief skimming of the work of good old
Friedrich.


Anyway,
I was sitting here, late yesterday afternoon, doing nothing, adrifting (a new
verb I’m taking credit for), and then the phone rang. When the phone stops
ringing then you’re really done for. But it was ringing. Somebody out there
was thinking of me. It was my friend Gene.


"Jonathan,
there’s an orgy tonight," he said. "I can’t go. I have to
entertain clients from LA"–Gene’s in the entertainment business–"but
the girl who’s running it said I could invite people. The only thing is
you have to come with a woman. No single men are allowed, and it’s $60
to get in for the two of you. She does let in single girls for $30."


"Men
are always discriminated against in this way…"


"Oh,
well, it’s understandable with the way men are prone to stand in corners
and masturbate, which is never very attractive…"


"But
I don’t know if I can come up with somebody," I said.


"You
must have some chippie who’ll go with you."


"Well,
I’ll try to think of someone."


Gene then
gave me the West Village address of the orgy, told me I had to arrive between
11 and midnight and that I was to bring my own towel, though condoms would be
provided. Then he said, "Tell Mangie about it. Invite him." He was
referring to our mutual friend, Patrick Bucklew, aka the Mangina.


"Okay,
I’ll call Mangie. And thanks for letting me know about this. I’ve
never been to an orgy."


"No
problem," he said. "I knew you’d be interested."


People are
very generous with me, always proposing odd adventures for me to go on–they
know I have to find things to write about.


So I called
Patrick.


"Mangie,
there’s an orgy tonight. Gene told me about it. But we need to bring women.
Otherwise we can’t get in. Do you want to go?"


"Sure.
I’ll bring my Mangina."


"More
importantly we need to bring women. Can you think of two who will go with us?"


I figured
there was a good chance that Patrick would know ladies who would be inclined
for such an escapade. He’s a painter and has hired numerous free-thinking
models who have posed naked for him or have allowed their genitals to be molded
for his Manginas, and also for several years he was the resident artist at the
Blue Angel strip club and so became the friend of many in the burlesque profession;
thus, between artist models and strippers there were bound to be two women to
accompany us to the orgy.


"I’ll
make a few calls," he said. "But you have to try too."


"I
know one woman who might go. I’ll give her a call. Let’s check back
with each other in a little while."


I called
my friend Eve, who is such a dear friend that I get away with grabbing her rear
and things like that, and so I invited her to come with me to the orgy.


"We
can just sit on a couch and watch," I said, and she would have done it,
she said, but she has a new boyfriend, whom I hadn’t heard about, and she
was having a dinner party at 8, which she invited me to. I said I’d be
there, and my evening seemed to be unfolding nicely: dinner party then orgy–if
Patrick got hold of two females. But I was feeling hopeful of this, and my overall
despair seemed to be lessening. A little while later, I called Patrick again.


"Any
luck?"


"I’ve
left several messages, but no one’s called me back."


"Well,
the one person who I thought might do it, can’t–she’s having
a dinner party, which I’m going to go to, in Brooklyn. I’ll call you
from there at 10 and see if you’ve come up with anything. We have to be
at the orgy between 11 and midnight, so I figure we should get there at 11:30.
Also, you need to bring a towel."


"I
don’t have a towel."


"What
do you mean you don’t have a towel?"


"I
varnished my floor and used all my towels."


"So
what do you dry off with when you take a shower?"


"T-shirts."


"Well,
do you have a sheet you could bring?"


"No."


"Why
don’t you have sheets?"


"I
do have one sheet, but it’s red. I don’t think it would be good to
walk around an orgy in a red sheet."


"You’re
right… I’ll bring the towels. I own two. A green one and a white one."


"Are
they clean?"


"No.
But don’t give me a hard time–at least I have towels! I’ll call
you from Brooklyn at 10."


At the dinner
party, which was a charming backyard buffet, my despair returned and so I lay
in a hammock, unable to make social chitchat, but the food was very good. At
10, I called Patrick.


"Nobody’s
called back," he said. "Nobody wants to go with us to the orgy."


"We
have to go to this thing. How many times in life is one invited to an orgy?
Listen, we’ll just show up. You’ll bring the Mangina. We’ll say
that you’re a woman, or a woman-substitute. Maybe the girl who is throwing
this thing will have heard of you and will want the Mangina at her orgy."


Patrick
agreed to this and we made plans to meet at his place after I picked up the
towels. I said goodbye to my friend Eve and the others gathered, and one of
them said, "Jonathan, don’t leave yet, it’s early."


"I’m
sorry," I said, "but I have to go to an orgy." Everyone thought
I was joking, and with that I made my exit. I cabbed back to Manhattan, put
two towels in my backpack and then went over to Patrick’s. He was busy
playing with his television, which he’s rigged up to give him access to
the Internet. He showed me that he is advertising on eBay. Many of his cutouts,
paintings, Manginas, Wenises and Semen-Hats (these fantastic odd plastic helmets
he’s made) are all catalogued, priced and photographed, and he’s only
been on eBay one week and has received hundreds of hits, though no sales. But
he told me that if the Internet doesn’t bring in money, he’s hoping
to make some cash by touring and marketing the Mangina at prisons.


"You’ll
get raped," I said. "Forget prisons, stick with this eBay. How does
one find you on it?"


"You
just have to type in Patrick slash Bucklew."


I looked
at the screen and saw that his name was spelled Patrick-Bucklew. "That’s
a dash, not a slash," I said. "A hyphen."


"Oh,
no, I’ve been telling everyone slash."


In addition
to his artwork, Patrick showed me a photo of himself he’s posted; it’s
sort of a calling card to his site, and above his quasi-naked image, I read
what he wrote: "Crazy New York Performance and Visual Artist… Lately
I’ve been performing, doing a kind of stand-up tragedy routine."


"Oh,
my God, Patrick. That’s the most brilliant thing of all time–stand-up
tragedy
! You may have created a whole new genre of performance."


"What
can I say? This whole Mangina thing is building, gaining momentum. And this
technology really helps. I can download images and send them anywhere. I downloaded
a picture of me fingering my Mangina and I e-mailed it to my father. But then
I thought, What am I doing? Why am I sending pictures of my scrotum to my father?
‘Look Dad, I’m a woman!’ I must really be losing it. He wrote
me back. Said I didn’t have to send him any more images like that."


"I
can understand," I said. "You really do want his approval… Well,
we better get going to the orgy."


So we put
his Mangina, and the Wenis–in case some girl wanted to wear a prosthetic
penis–in my backpack and headed to the West Village.


The building
was a small, three-story walkup. We both felt nervous, but I buzzed the appropriate
buzzer and we waited in the vestibule. A very beautiful girl with dark eyes
and wearing a black slip came down the stairs. She opened the vestibule door
and looked at us suspiciously.


"We’re
here for the party," I said. "Gene sent us."


"You
need girls. Didn’t he tell you? Where are your girls?"


I quickly
went into Fuller-Brush-salesman mode. "Have you heard of the Mangina?"


"No.
What are you talking about?"


"My
friend here, Patrick, has invented a prosthetic vagina that he wears. So he’ll
come in with me as a woman, my date. He’s quite famous. He was on the Howard
Stern show with his Mangina."


"Really?
That’s cool." She was obviously a Stern fan.


I pulled
the Mangina out of my backpack and showed it to her. She stepped back, a little
shocked, but not completely repulsed. "You were on Stern promoting that?"
she said, addressing Patrick.


"Yes,
and because I’m an amputee." Patrick pointed to his left leg. He was
wearing shorts and on his left knee was a big, black kneepad, and below the
pad you could just see his pink fiberglass shin. "When I take off my prosthesis,
my stump is very phallic."


"Yeah,
Howard Stern’s tv show often begins with a clip of Patrick stroking his
stump."


"Oh,
my God, that’s so cool," she said.


"So
can we come in? Patrick will be my girl."


"Are
you guys gay?"


We looked
at each other. "Not really," I said. "But we can pretend. I’ll
hold his hand."


"I
can’t let you guys in. You need girls. That’s the rules."


"Even
if I wear the Mangina?" Patrick asked.


"No,
you can’t wear that. People will be disturbed… Listen, get two girls
and come back."


"What
if we just get one girl? Can we both get in with one girl?" I asked.


She looked
us over. "All right, you guys are cute. So come back with a girl! And if
you don’t find one, I’m having another party on Sept. 18. You guys
should be able to get two girls by then."


"How
many people are up there now?" I asked.


"Five
hot couples."


We left
the vestibule, and Patrick checked his answering machine, but there were no
messages from the women he had called. We sat on a stoop across the street from
the orgy.


"Let’s
stake the place out," I said. "If any single girls show up, we’ll
run over to them and ask them to be our dates so we can get in."


"This
is a typical Mangina moment. Sitting outside an orgy, not allowed in,"
said Patrick, but he wasn’t genuinely depressed, he was using his fake-depressed
voice.


"It’s
like this Thomas Mann story," I said. "‘Tonio Kroger.’ It’s
about a boy who stares in the window at dances, but can’t go in because
he’s too afraid."


We sat on
the stoop and it was actually quite pleasant. We were on an active Village street
and it was fun to watch the stream of passersby–a parade of tourists and
pretty girls. Pretty girls whom we both thought of asking to come with us to
the orgy, but we knew the suggestion would be ludicrous. But I’ve always
just liked sitting and watching people. Especially girls. Wondering where they’re
going. Insanely hoping that one of them will look at me and like me and ask
me to kiss her. Something like that.


So we studied
the door to the orgy, but no one showed up.


"Know
what I’ve been thinking lately, Patrick?" I said. "I think human
beings don’t realize the full extent of the misery they’re in all
the time. Granted, I only have myself as an example, but I don’t have any
peace
. Always underneath everything there is anxiety. Maybe for a few moments
when I read the baseball box scores in the morning do I have peace. Or if I’m
in the ocean. Or a few times making love. But really I have no peace… Look
at this city. All the buildings, taxis, groceries…bars! It’s all a mad
distraction to the pain of being alive. Buddhism says, ‘Life is suffering.’
Christianity has Jesus on the cross… I do like sitting here, though. This
is peaceful. So I guess I should be grateful for this sliver."


"That’s
why I make art," said Patrick. "Human beings need art. And now my
life is art. I’ve combined the two by wearing the Mangina… Pseudo-dot-com,
this website, had a three-day party and they had me walk around wearing the
Mangina. They had performers on different floors, but they wanted me to just
cruise around, to be an ambient presence. And all these bridge-and-tunnel kids
would gather around me and look at the Mangina and finger it. This one girl,
a cheerleader type, said, ‘Is that your nut sac hanging out?’ I said,
‘I prefer to call it the Lotum.’ I don’t know. I felt peace just
walking around that party… Then I’d come home each night and take the
Mangina off and be alone. But I keep going. I’m sort of like a retired
person these days."


I had this
image of Patrick as a kind of St. Francis. Instead of birds gathering on his
shoulders, I saw young people clustered around him, unafraid, looking at and
fingering his Mangina.


We sat outside
the orgy for an hour. Then we gave up. When we shook hands goodbye, to walk
home our separate ways, I said, "Maybe we’ll get in on the 18th."


"We’ll
be organized this time," he said. "We’re bound to find two girls.
That’s something to look forward to. It’s always helpful to have something
to look forward to."


So I walked
to the East Village and along the way I came across an old bum sleeping on a
futon. The futon was on fire in the corner. I woke the man up and we put out
the fire by pulling out the burning cotton. I joked with him, "Didn’t
your mother tell you not to smoke in bed?"


"Yeah,
I was smoking in bed." He was laughing. "Almost burned myself up!
But thanks for helping me out."


When I got
home, I realized I had the Mangina and the Wenis in my bag–and I finally
broke down. For a whole year, I have resisted putting on the Mangina, but alone
with it in my apartment, seeking some kind of spiritual comfort, I put the thing
on. But it didn’t fit me right. I couldn’t pull out my scrotum through
the special hole to create the Lotum. It was kind of like King Arthur and the
sword–only one man can pull it out of the stone! Only one man can be King!
Only one man can correctly wear the Mangina! Nevertheless, I went to the mirror
and looked at myself in the Mangina and I laughed. It felt good to laugh. It
was another sliver of peace.


..