[Tragedy in Burgundy]

[by James Hannaham]

 

Dear Darnell:

I am writing to you because my friend

LaKeisha's lying has to stop. It's been more than

a year since she started carousing around clubs

[Image] like some shameless jezebel, duping

straight mens into thinking she was a

woman. I can't handle the dishonesty. I mighta

left the Baptist church and never looked back the

day after some deacon who made a pass at me at a

barbecue on Saturday gave a sermon against

homosexuality on Sunday, but I can't help

thinking in the back of my mind that me an

LaKeisha is gonna be bunkmates in flames if we

continue to perpetrate this lie. God will punish

the wicked. I seen it too many times to doubt

that.

This is what's really working me. Last week

she went on a date with some brother -- tall,

fine brother. We're talking Nubian Prince of

Egypt fine, jaw drop to the knees fine, capital

F-Y-N-E fine, like "I never knew Adonis had a

cuter younger brother" fine. This man is so hot

that he could fry bacon in his hand. He could fry

my bacon in his hand, that's for sure. Brother

used to be a linebacker in school, now he a

lawyer. And she ain't told him the truth yet.

This is a man who could crush her behind with his

eyelid. What if some queen sees her in the street

with this brother and runs up going "Ronald!

Ronald!" 'cause not everyone be calling her by

her drag name all the time like I do. How dead

would her ass be then?

Darnell, I am so scared something is going

to happen to her. She is my best friend in the

world, like family, I've known her since

kindergarten. She's my twin sister, practically.

If something happen to her, I'd be all alone in

the world, 'cause I don't got no family around

here. And Sheba (that's LaKeisha's cat) just had

eight kittens three weeks ago. Who's gonna give a

home to these poor innocent creatures . . . if .

. . oh shit I'm starting to cry again.

It's one week later. I'm sorry it's taking

me so long to write this. But do you see what

it's come to, Darnell? I cannot live like this.

Every weekend it's another club with pastel neon

lining the outside edges of the building and fake

palm trees and women with big ol' [Image]

hairweaves, so much makeup they look like

Jason and nine layers of pantyhose on -- there's

so much fakeness on top of these 'ho's that if

you took it all off they'd look like a

upside-down mop. And LaKeisha's no different,

playing her little game of straight chicken. Have

you heard of gay chicken, Darnell? You should do

a show on it, it's a good topic. Straight men

will pick up a gay man and go through a whole

date with them until they "get sick." Aint that

some shit? Buncha closet cases if you axe me. I

heard about this study they done, where they

found out that if you attach a electrode to the

dick of a homophobe and make him watch gay porno,

that they dicks gets harder than straight men who

ain't homophobic watching the same pornos. It's

like, tell me some shit I didn't know. But what I

do wanna know is, how they get them homophobes to

tape a electrode to they dick? I was a homophobe,

I wouldn't let nobody with no gay porno and no

electrodes within a mile of my ass.

Unlike them closet cases, though, LaKeisha

don't wanna hurt nobody, she just having a good

time. My girl loves to kiki. She the kikingest

bitch around. And I don't wanna be no party

pooper or nothing, but I feel like she putting

her life in danger (and mines) the way she be

carrying on with every Tom, Denzel and Hakim that

come up to her with a pup tent in they pants.

Anyways, I still haven't gotten to the A1

tip top reason that Kiki Keisha's lying has got

to stop, that just happened a couple of days ago.

So this guy that LaKeisha went on that date with,

you know, Super Fly, he's really into her. I mean

really into her. But she don't know that, 'cause

he ain't called her or nothing. But here's how I

know. The other day, I'm at Fremont and Tamika's

House of Beauty getting my finger waves redone,

right. And I'm just chatting with Tamika, you

know, it ain't too many other people around,

talkin' 'bout this and that, whatever. Just

chillin' and whatnot. Tamika is very drag- queen

friendly, the only one in Boston like that. I

love her. And the front part of the House of

Beauty is where Tamika husband Fremont got his

li'l barbershop. So who walks in but Super Fly,

and Fremont starts giving the brother a fade. So

on my way out, I'm like, "Hi," and Super Fly look

at me like he seen a overseer's ghost. He get up

out the chair so fast that Fremont gives him a

bald spot. A ton of kinky hair go spilling all

over the floor. So I'm really charmed, I think

the brother maybe like me a little too. But then

he goes, "You LaKeisha's friend, right?" And I

go, "Yeah," even though my li'l ego's feeling

'bout as big as Emmanuel Lewis' ho-ho.

Then he like, "You gotta give me her phone

number 'cause I left it in my pants and took them

to the cleaners the next day and they washed it.

I been thinking about her constantly. I been back

to Ruby's every night looking for her." He start

talking about how she's the most beautiful woman,

pitcher of femininity, gorgeous, womanly, etc.

etc. I'm feeling a little cunty, plus he don't

know nearway how wrong he is, so I'm like, "I'd

give you her phone number but I ain't got it on

me, sorry." Like I ain't been had the shit

memorized for ninety million motherfucking years.

So he give me his business card. And at first I

[Image] was gonna give it to her. But then I was

like, I can't let this continue. I'm

gonna call the brother and tell him the real

deal. So the next day I try like all day to dial

Prince Charming's number. I'd been dialing six

numbers and then hanging back up so many times

that my index finger be getting a big blister in

the middle. So finally at nine last night I call

him, hoping I'm gonna get his answering machine,

'cause I have this li'l prepared speech about how

LaKeisha has put one over on him and he shouldn't

be mad because she was just having fun, whatever.

So the phone rings three times, and I'm like "I'm

in the clear." Then I hear Super Fly's voice come

on the line and the shit sound like a fucking

black velvet couch come to life. Good God

almighty, my knees starts shaking, my blood gets

hotter than the Happyland Social Club -- she's

about to have a conniption, honey. So I'm like,

"Hi, it's LaKeisha's friend," and he get all

excited again -- I can tell he's like, drooling

all over the phone -- and he start talking about

her. The phone keep slipping out my hand because

of all the sweat in my palms. I can't bring

myself to shatter his little world, you know. And

I don't wanna be the Grinch that stole LaKeisha's

Christmas. So finally I'm like, "There's

something I gotta esplain to you 'bout LaKeisha,

but I can't do it over the phone. Let's have

dinner, I'll tell you all about it." Part of me

is thinking he's clocked us as drag queens from

the git-go, an he doing some kinda serious denial

trip. But some of them straight guys -- you could

show them Yaphet Kotto in a dress with no makeup

and they'd think it was a real woman. Or attach a

electrode to they dick without them knowing.

He a little shy at first, so I go, "Okay,

you have dinner wit me, I'll tell you this thing,

then I'll give you her number so's you could make

your own decision, aight?" So he's like,

"Tomorrow night at Tiny's." That's a rib joint.

So the next day I'm hanging with LaKeisha

and we start talking about guys and whatnot, and

she gets to the subject of Super Fly. Like how he

ain't called her in a week, and how upset this

shit makes her and how much she liked him, and

she ain't never gonna find nobody to love [Image]

her and take care of her. She's a mess in

a dress, a tragedy in burgundy. So I do the tough

love routine, very calmly, like I was her mama. I

go, "LaKeisha, he thinks you a woman, like with a

pussy. Hello? He gonna be really disappointed to

find that shit out, honey. Imagine you went home

with a guy and found out he had equipment down

there you wasn't especting and had no interest

in, like, he had a catcher's mitt instead of a

dick." I was trying to make her laugh behind that

comment, but instead the bitch lost it. I mean,

really lost it. Got my new velour halter top all

soaking wet with tears, honey. Going on about how

she felt like he was definitely the one, love at

first sight and that he'd assept her as she was

even when he found out she had a ho-ho instead of

a ring ding. I really doubted that, but at the

same time, here's my best girlfriend in my arms,

bawling her eyes out over this man she had been

on one -- let's count that again, one -- date

with. She's not normally like that. Wait, yes she

is.

So that's the dilemma I got on my hands.

Right now I'm almost due to meet Super Fly for

dinner, but I can't go through with it. I picked

up this letter again as a excuse to

procrastinate. I'll admit it. It's like I want

the brother, but if I go and make a play for him

and she find out, she'd feel like stabbing me

enough times to make me into some paper dollies.

I'd be walking down the street and people be

pointing at me like, "There go Save the

Children." But maybe I should go and give him her

phone number. Maybe the bitch is right, that his

mind is open enough, or he already figured her

out or some shit. But maybe I should try to

protect her from getting hurt so bad. I don't

know what to do. That's where you come in,

Darnell. I thought if we appeared on your

upcoming show, "Your Lying Has Got to Stop!" we

could all work this thing out with your guidance

and the panel of experts. Maybe LaKeisha would

find her dream lover and we could all still be

friends and kiki together. But right now

everything's such a big mess and I'm concerned

that my best friend might do something stupid and

get hurt -- oh shit I'm starting to cry again.

Please help us, Darnell. We watch your show

every morning. We love you, love you, love you.

Seriously.

 

Sincerely,

 

Tony Adamson

(also known as Almonetta Rosé)

 

Dear Darnell:

Thank you so much for giving me and LaKeisha

the opportunity to appear on The Darnell Show.

You have to admit that there was not a dull

moment on the show. And please believe me,

Darnell, if it was within my budget or LaKeisha's

to pay for all the damage, I would be enclosing a

check with the $20,000 your lawyer asked for in

[Image] his very nice letter. Hell, I'd give you

a extra $20,000 'cause you so handsome.

But it really ain't our fault, you know?

First of all, we had to be up at six in order to

get to the studio. Our friend Mazda Miata was

doing a gig at this club the night before so we

was out until like 4. So naturally, when we got

to your studio, we was totally out of it, cause

two hours sleep is just not worth it, so we

didn't bother. You shouldn't be doing no show at

eight in the morning, 'cause that way your guests

gotta get up real early to get there by like,

seven, am I wrong? I'm surprised that any of them

guests could put a sentence together, now that I

know how early you be taping that shit.

Plus you know you shouldn'ta had LaKeisha in

the same room backstage with all them mens who's

just a buncha dogs. You know she was just her

usual self behind that. I was like, we came here

to stop this 'ho from doing this kinda thing and

it's exactly what she's doing. That's like

saying, "I'ma take you to France to make you stop

drinking wine," or "I'ma take you to Thailand so

you'll stop having all that sex." I'm not trying

to say it was a dumb idea or nothing, but

Darnell, what the hell were you thinking? She was

carrying on like never before, dancing around the

room even when it wasn't no music. And I know I

didn't see that tight plastic jumpsuit and say it

was okay to wear on the show. I just sat there

and read my book and I was like, "Never again."

But out the corner of my eye, I was looking

at Super Fly sittin' in back of this whole group

of brothers, just as nice as nice could be.

Mmm-mmm. And still as fine as fine could be, too.

I felt so sorry for this poor man, about to have

his whole world shattered in public, put [Image]

to shame on national TV by the fact that

he was dry humping a tranny in some club. He'd

just gotten himself a skin fade with a oil sheen

that looked tres fierce, even though he still had

that big bald spot. He had himself a beautiful

grey suit on, and these little gold-frame

glasses. You could tell he was brought up real

well, 'cause them others, with them big sneakers

and crinkly jogging pants and baggy shirts and

gold teeth and shit -- they was tackier than

clowns at a funeral. Super Fly had himself a

laptop computer, he was making up some laws or

whatever lawyers do, just clicking away. Then he

put it away and decided he wanted to talk to me.

He was like, "Hi," in that deep sexy voice. I got

a sweet rush like I'd just gulped a mug full of

Bailey's. I was like, "H...Hi!" So he sit down

next to me an go, "I like your dress."

But as soon as he said that, he turnt his

head and start looking at LaKeisha, trying to

tell me how pretty he think she is. He can't even

see her for all the dogs sniffing around her li'l

fire hydrant, and he trying to get me all worked

up about that girl.

Well, Almonetta wasn't having it. I got so

mad I almost told him everything right then and

there. It was all I could do when he axed me at

one point what was the topic we was gonna be

discussing. My skin felt all flushed when I lied

and told him, "It's a show about, um, girls who

party too much." After that I couldn't really say

much. I put my nose back in my book.

Darnell, I don't like your li'l policy of

not telling people who gonna be on the show what

they gonna be talking about on the show until

they get on stage, 'cause you never know how they

gon' react. You put them in a embarrassing

situation like that, who knows, one them

gun-toting thugs could be a stone psycho

motherfucker and take the whole audience out

while you taping. I'm sure it would improve your

ratings, honey, but please -- think of the grief.

 

And you shouldna axed me to esplain what was

going on. I thought you was gonna step to those

brothers like, "Yo, LaKeisha's a man, y'all." Why

couldn't you do that? Instead, I had to take me a

deep deep breath and break it to 'em gentle,

like, "LaKeisha has been keeping a secret from

y'all. It's inportant for y'all to know that the

person you just been doing all that nasty fly

girl dancing with is not no biological female." I

thought I's being all rational and whatnot, but I

think if theyda heard it from a guy like you,

Darnell, they wouldna taken it upon theyself to

start tearing shit up, ripping chairs out the

floor, knocking them potted plants over and

breaking them framed pitchers on the walls. And

no one was more shocked than me when them

[Image] bodyguards started joining in. Where'd

you find those brutal motherfuckers

anyway? Did you thaw them out a million-year-old

block of ice?

An I think we all know that the final straw

was brought on by Miss LaKeisha herself. All I

was trying to do was speak the truth. She had no

right to get all up in my face and start

pointing. She did it on purpose too. She knows I

hate it when people be sticking they fingers in

my face. And how many times did I warn her? Four

times, that's right, Darnell. Once when she

pulled my wig out of place. Another time when she

said I was doing this because I was jealous. The

third when she called me ugly. All that shit I

let roll off my back. But when she ripped the

spaghetti straps off my dress -- my eight-hundred

dollar dress -- and my falsies popped out in

front of the nation, it was like every

embarrassing thing I've ever suffered from that

bitch had all happened at once. I just lost

control, Darnell, I couldn't help it. Suddenly

her face was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen in

my life and I had to beat the crap outta her.

Anyways, Darnell, the reason I'm writing you

back at all is so's we could compare our losses.

You have lost $20,000 worth of camera equipment,

carpeting, Steuben vases, tacky paintings and the

services of a perky li'l assistant who out for a

few days 'cause of a broken arm and a concussion.

If you ain't been had all that insured, you a

fool.

Almonetta Rosé, on the other hand, has lost

her dignity, her pride, a pair of shoulderpads

that was essential to her persona, any potential

dates that mighta been watching, a dress worth

more than three times her life savings, and the

once-priceless friendship and love of her former

best girlfriend, LaKeisha Lorraine, also known as

Ronald Knight. My very handsome lawyer friend,

who just happened to be present during the event

that brought on your li'l lawsuit in the first

place, told me over dinner last night that should

you choose to prosecute, you should bear in mind

that the only assets of the defendant is a dirty

pile of women's panties. An you don't gotta sue

me for that, Darnell. All you gotta do is axe.

 

Sincerely,

 

Tony Adamson

(a.k.a. Almonetta Rosé)

 

[Image]

 

1998 James Hannaham and Nerve Publishing