It is probably the longest, most intimate relationship I’ve ever had. It’s one with which I’ve made my living, its body changing from princess to precise, and while I freely abuse it, I never challenge its power.
We had a rocky start, which culminated in a physical fight with my mother when I was sixteen. Newly divorced, flexing parental muscles that’d never been exercised before, she tried hanging up my phone while I was talking to a friend. I “broke” her arm, or so she said when she rode into court in a wheelchair, her arm in a cloth sling. I didn’t break her arm anymore than she needed the chair, but still the judge ordered me out of the house.
The phone was more than a weapon warding off drug addled parents, though. It became a toy in college, one that allowed hours of drunken prank calls. It wasn’t until I reached Hollywood, a fresh face looking to get dirty, that the phone turned into a money machine. They’re a hustler’s best friend, and for about a year, my phone rang with hungry men, cash burning their pockets.
After I finished sucking cock for cash, I began a legitimate career as a talent agent, a job that forced me to become a telephone bottom, always there to service its insatiable needs. While in talent agency boot camp, otherwise known as working for a series of abusive bosses, I learned one very important lesson that sticks to this day—always return calls.
That was twenty years ago, and while I'm no longer an agent, I’ve yet to break the ties that tethers me to the phone. Now I’m one of those assholes you see walking along with a teardrop dangling from my ear, yapping in my own world, oblivious when people stop and ask me what I’m saying to them. I point to my ear, mouth “Phone,” and walk right on by.
I love the telephone, however, the sustenance that drives me forward, connecting me to anyone or anything I need. Just last night, I put my earpiece in and dialed a familiar number. It took four rings for it to pick up, and there he was:
“Hi, 391-3555. This is Bill. Thanks for calling. Leave a message and I’ll call you back. Thank you very much.”
I imagined that phone ringing all by itself in our guesthouse back in Venice. I left a message, as some of Billy’s friends often do, and I told him that I loved him and I would be home soon. I’ve kept that number alive because, well, sometimes I just need to hear his voice.
For that reason alone, I’ll always love the telephone.