The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

A gin and tonic under its tiny canopy of lime, I said, elevates character and makes for enlightened conversation

because it was a drunken perception, it was perfect, entire, and lasted about half a second. I

But the first lie in the series is the one you make with the greatest trepidation and the heaviest heart.

Drunk, Jane spoke as though she were Nancy Drew. I was a fool for a girl with a dainty lexicon.

I anticipate a coming season of dilated time and of women all in disarray.

I don't want to have 'carnal knowledge' with any old Zuni, asshole." From the way she seemed to relish the word asshole as it unwound from her lips, I guessed that she rarely used it. It sounded like a mark of esteem, and I was momentarily very jealous of Arthur. I wondered what it might take to get Jane to call me an asshole too.

In my innocent cynicism I didn't see that Cleveland was not trying to look tough; he just didn't care. Which is to say, he knew what he was, and was, if not content with, at least resigned to knowing that he was an alcoholic. And an alcoholic is nothing if not sensitive to the proper time and place for his next drink; his death is one of the most carefully planned and prepared for events in the world.

I smoked and looked down at the bottom of Pittsburgh for a little while, watching the kids playing tiny baseball, the distant figures of dogs snatching at a little passing car, a miniature housewife on her back porch shaking out a snippet of red rug, and I made a sudden, frightened vow never to become that small, and to devote myself to getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

I thought, I fanced, that in a moment, I would be standing on nothing at all, and for the first time in my life, I needed the wings none of us has.

I was conscious, then, of a different ache, deeper and more sharp than the feeling of bereavement that a hangover will sometimes uncover in the heart.

Jane

Love is like falconry," he said. "Don't you think that's true, Cleveland?"
"Never say love is like anything." said Cleveland. "It isn't.

Love is like falconry," he said. "Don't you think that's true, Cleveland?"
"Never say love is like anything." said Cleveland. "It isn't.

Meeting a namesake is one of the most delicate and most brief surprises.

Most science fiction seemed to be written for people who already liked science fiction; I wanted to write stories for anyone, anywhere, living at any time in the history of the world.

My heart was simultaneously broken and filled with lust, I was exhausted, and I loved every minute of it. It was strange and elating to find myself for once the weaker.

Never say love is "like" anything... It isn't.

That evening I rode downtown on an unaccountably empty bus, sitting in the last row. At the front I saw a thin cloud of smoke rising around the driver’s head. ‘Hey, bus driver,’ I said. ‘Can I smoke?’ ‘May I,’ said the bus driver. ‘I love you,’ I said.

The city was new again, and newly dangerous, and I would walk the streets quickly, eyes averted from those of passersby, like a spy in the employ of lust and happiness, carrying the secret deep within me but always on the tip of my tongue.

There had been a time in high school, see, when I wrestled with the possibility that I might be gay, a torturous six-month culmination of years of unpopularity and girllessness. At night I lay in bed and cooly informed myself that I was gay and that I had better get used to it. The locker room became a place of torment, full of exposed male genitalia that seemed to taunt me with my failure to avoid glancing at them, for a fraction of a second that might have seemed accidental but was, I recognized, a bitter symptom of my perversion. Bursting with typical fourteen-year-old desire, I attempted to focus it in succession on the thought of every boy I knew, hoping to find some outlet for my horniness, even if it had to be perverted, secret, and doomed to disappointment. Without exception these attempts failed to produce anything but bemusement, if not actual disgust.
This crisis of self-esteem had been abruptly dispelled by the advent of Julie Lefkowitz, followed swiftly by her sister Robin, and then Sharon Horne and little Rose Fagan and Jennifer Schaeffer; but I never forgot my period of profound sexual doubt. Once in a while I would meet an enthralling man who shook, dimly but perceptibley, the foundations laid by Julie Lefkowitz, and I would wonder, just for a moment, by what whim of fate I had decided that I was not a homosexual.

This song always kills me, I said. She sighed, and then gave up. Why? Oh, I don't know. It makes me feel nostalgia for a time I never even knew. I wasn't even alive. That's what I do to you too, she said, I'll just bet. I was what everything I loved did to me.

WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT WOMEN, ANYWAY? And, lower: HEY, EVERY WOMAN, PAL, IS A VOLUME OF STORIES A CATALOGUE OF MOVEMENTS A SPECTACULAR ARRAY OF IMAGES Then: PLUS THERE’S THE MYSTERY OF LEARNING ABOUT HER CHILDHOOD A fourth man had concluded: AND OF EVERYTHING

WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT WOMEN, ANYWAY? And, lower: HEY, EVERY WOMAN, PAL, IS A VOLUME OF STORIES A CATALOGUE OF MOVEMENTS A SPECTACULAR ARRAY OF IMAGES Then: PLUS THERE’S THE MYSTERY OF LEARNING ABOUT HER CHILDHOOD A fourth man had concluded: AND OF EVERYTHING THAT’S CONCEALED UNDER HER CLOTHES

When I remember that dizzy summer, that dull, stupid, lovely, dire summer, it seems that in those days I ate my lunches, smelled another's skin, noticed a shade of yellow, even simply sat, with greater lust and hopefulness - and that I lusted with greater faith, hoped with greater abandon. The people I loved were celebrities, surrounded by rumor and fanfare; the places I sat with them, movie lots and monuments. No doubt all of this is not true remembrance but the ruinous work of nostalgia, which obliterates the past, and no doubt, as usual, I have exaggerated everything.

When I remember that dizzy summer, that dull, stupid, lovely, dire summer, it seems that in those days I ate my lunches, smelled another's skin, noticed a shade of yellow, even simply sat, with greater lust and hopefulness--and that I lusted with greater faith, hoped with greater abandon. The people I loved were celebrities, surrounded by rumor and fanfare; the places I sat with them, movie lots and monuments. No doubt all of this is not true remembrance but the ruinous work of nostalgia, which obliterates the past, and no doubt, as usual, I have exaggerated everything.

You read my Cosmo?"
"I read all of your magazines. I took all the love quizzes and pretended I was you answering the questions."
"How did I do?"
"You cheated," I said.