6

7

     “I realized my way of life didn’t matter to most people. Most people didn’t care whom I slept with, nor which position I preferred.”
     “When did you find that out?”
     “About sixty seconds ago.”
     I laughed along with the audience and saw Darren indicating it was time for another commercial.
     During the break, Harold turned toward me and whispered, “I’m not going too far, am I?”
     He was a showman and knew his mike was on.
     The audience heard him and yelled, “More. More. More.”
     I smiled, knowing we were back On Air.
     “Welcome back as we hear best-selling author Harold Saponi tell us why it’s better to start your day with Bottoms Up.”
     “I’m feeling a bit embarrassed.”
     Since he still had his Southern accent, there was a strong emphasis on “assed.”
     “Was that meant to be a pun?” I asked.
     “Oh my,” he said.
     Harold acted as if he was divulging his most intimate secrets to the world. Maybe he was. Those tuning in must have wondered what they had missed.
     “This is all your fault, Nick.”

 

     “I’m a detective, not a shrink, but I bet you were just waiting for the right opportunity to tell us your secrets.”

     “You know me too well, dear.”

     “Or not enough.”

     I saw that Darren was running his big index finger across his throat, our sign that it was time to wrap up and end the interview pronto.

     “Do you have any wisdom to impart to our viewers, especially those having trouble with their sexuality?”

     “Don’t let that get in the way of what you want to do. Forget those who ridicule you. You’ll get the last laugh,” and with that he giggled loudly to big applause from the audience.

     After the show, I was flying high on adrenaline, but Darren had warned me that once it wore off, I’d be exhausted. We decided to go out to eat for breakfast before I had to get to work. When we entered Lincoln Station, one of our favorite restaurants, Mark, the owner, ran up and gave me a bear hug. James, the bartender, started a chant of “Nicky, Nicky, Nicky.” The customers and staff all joined in.

     Darren whispered, “The price of fame.”

     I smiled and waved. “Thank you, everyone. Thank you.” I felt like I was on Broadway and getting a standing ovation.