Monday, May 29, 2006

The Story Of Craig

So yes, the story of Craig. He and I met about 6 years ago now when I was in the box office at the Prince Edward Theatre and he was working as an usher. Now, at the Edward, the global megahit Mamma Mia! was playing and at this point was the only production of it worldwide. Consequently, if the performance was on, people would be coming in to buy tickets right up until the curtain came down at 10:15pm, but of course the box office closes at 8pm. So on a rota basis, two members of front of house staff were in the foyer to deal with over zealous ABBA fans at all times. I had seen Craig around but not spoken to him. Why, I hear you ask. Because he is drop dead beautiful. Like Colin Farrell only prettier, he makes my heart beat faster every time I look at him. We also have to sign in and out of the theatre in case of fire and there used to be a member of box office staff named Stephanie. She was, to say the very least, an odd girl and when she left there was a gap between the signing in sheets being updated so for weeks, her name remained there as a grim reminder of her. Trust me, it’s all connected. So one evening, I am signing out to go home and Craig is on foyer duty. Someone had written “dead” next to Stephanie’s name. I burst out laughing when I saw this and Craig asked me what was so funny. I pointed to it and he laughed too and then said “but I tell you who is dead though. Stephanie Lawrence”.

For those of you who aren’t aware of Ms Lawrence, she was a well known musical theatre star in the UK, with an equally well known alcohol problem. She had taken over as Eva in Evita/ and also taken over from Elaine Paige in Cats. Sidebar: the company manager of Mamma Mia! was also the company manager of Cats when Lawrence was in it, and he had the task of firing her when one night after performing Memory, Ms Lawrence begins climbing the stairway to heaven and, pissed as a fart, falls down said stairs. But I digress. At the time of her death, Ms Lawrence was not that old and was performing in Blood Brothers as Mrs Johnstone, just across the street from us. So I, of course clutched my pearls and exclaimed “no!” before proceeding to recount the sad end to her Grizabella to Craig. Half an hour later, we’re still chatting and we have just clicked. Instant rapport and friendship. Only of course, I want to wear his thighs as earmuffs too. Our friendship goes from strength to strength and we become very close, telling each other about fears and insecurities as well as bitchy gossip and drama. One night, rather drunkenly, I tell him I am in love with him. It is still to this date the most heartbreaking and yet the sweetest rebuff I have ever had. After a suitable interval, we discuss it all and clear the air and our friendship continues stronger than ever.

So far, so “every gay boy has been there”. But then one night Craig and his housemates (all of whom work front of house at the theatre and all of whom by this point also work for me in the phone room part time) throw a party after work on a Saturday. And I am invited. Also invited is Alex from the theatre, the cheeky but lovable, horsehung scamp who (possibly) unwittingly brought about that evening’s downfall. See, Alex baked some has brownies. He claims only hash was in them. Some other people, after they come to again, don’t quite believe them. I don’t partake of the hash cakes, preferring to drink instead. My buzz is rudely interrupted as a few people who HAVE eaten a hash cake start to feel a bit ill. And then they start hallucinating. And then they start throwing up. I’ll give you three guesses who the worst affected was. Yup, Craig. He is in his bedroom, I stick my head around the door to see how he is. He thinks he’s a German soldier marching off to war. Not good. Then he starts throwing up. I sit with him and hold the bin while he pukes. He asks me to rub his back. I do. Then his whole body starts to itch and he asks me to rub his chest. I do. I keep trying to leave. He won’t let me as he’s too freaked out. He’s not alone! Here I am, still ridiculously in love with him and he won’t let me leave his side AND he’s making me touch him. Alas, it’s not latent lust coming up but a drug related freak out, but what can you do? So I sit with him, I talk to him and all the time he won’t let me stop touching him. Then, it’s like 2am and he wants to sleep. You guessed it, I still can’t leave him. I manage to extricate myself from him after he is asleep and move to the couch in his room and keep a watchful eye over him all night. He has never forgotten that I did that for him, the circumstances I did it under nor my feelings for him at the time. He told me, quite rightly, that anyone else would have bolted. But I told him that whatever feelings I had for him, he was over and above everything a good friend to me and I would never leave a friend to suffer like he was. And thus, our friendship was sealed in stone.

8 comments:

robb said...

your last line of the story should have been "and then i shagged him."

i don't care if it is true, it makes for a better ending. nevertheless, i thank you for my second favorite quote this week. "Only of course, I want to wear his thighs as earmuffs too."

after my father describing a family member at a funeral by saying, "she looked like she was rode hard and put away wet," that is the greatest quote i heard all week. any other week, your quote would have won, but, alas, it must settle for second.

anyhoo, if someone you love is freaking out on pot brownies and asks you to touch and rub him all over while passing out in your lap, i give you permission to shag him. that's how all good porn movies start...

dirk.mancuso said...

This post was so sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. You are a good man, popcultureboy, and Craig is lucky to have a friend like you in his life. (And yes, mark it on your calendar, that was a sincere comment. I'm not a snarky bitch all the time. Sighhhhhh.)

"Only of course, I want to wear his thighs as earmuffs too." I soooo love that line. May I have permission to borrow it in a post at some point? I will of course ackowledge your brilliance...

Addy said...

Thighs as earmuffs. They're all the rage...

Great blog, Poppy. Priceless, in fact. You are a good friend and a beautiful man.

Eric said...

oh, lord. My favorite quote, possibly up there with your chocolate/sex statement, is "pissed as a fart."
But what a story. You are, to put it mildly, too nice.
Ok, you're heartless like me sometimes, too, but wow. A good, good man.

Cookie said...

"thighs as earmuffs."

I'll never look at earmuffs in the same way again...

He needed you. You took care of him. The friendship was paramount despite the feelings involved. That's care. That's trust. That's what you inspire. Bravo.

Popcultureboy said...

Ok, I stole (borrowed?) the "thighs as earmuffs" line you're all enjoying so much. Don't credit me with it if you steal it, credit the magnificently hilarious Joe Keenan. Then go read all his books.

dirk.mancuso said...

Never say "stole" or "borrowed", popcultureboy. Instead, go all Kaavya Viswanathan and say you loved his work so much that you internalized passages of it and recreated them in your post.

:)

dirk.mancuso said...
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