Matt Dillon

‘Matt Dillon’ is an excerpt from Michelle Tea’s Black Wave, published by & Other Stories. That actor was on Moonlighting, too! Then Matt Dillon came in. She had seen them, in commercials, speaking a single line on a sitcom, the silent villain in every movie ever, but she could not place them. Kyle said that many non-narcissistic actors were completely talented, but it took a narcissist’s particular and terrible skill set to make it in the industry. Matt Dillon liked it. That was life in L.A. The bangs of course looked awful. Michelle was crazed with him in Drugstore Cowboy. He swallowed, staring at her, his Adam’s apple dancing in his throat. It filled Michelle with rage. He smiled. No. It looks good, no scratches, I just wanna make sure, he said in that lacksadasical voice, the voice of Dallas Winston in The Outsiders. It sounded good, it sounded very old and unknown. Matt Dillon was leaned into the counter listening to the scratchy record, an old man’s voice and a shaky guitar. She figured Matt Dillon would never return during one of her shifts. Michelle was powerfully hung-over, as she was every morning, and she had picked her outfit blindly. What was she thinking? Michelle had had her best celebrity sighting yet about one week ago, a life-changing experience. He played straight so convincingly. Let me see your tattoos, he commanded Michelle. But this was Matt Dillon. And he wanted to talk to her. Michelle had become obsessed with Matt Dillon at a young age, after watching him die in a hail of bullets in Over the Edge, a great 70s movie about disaffected youth shooting guns, having sex in unfinished suburban tract homes and lighting their school on fire. She turned back to the register. The only time Michelle felt deep regret at not having a lover with her in her studio apartment was when she gave herself this haircut. Or the grossest, Nice body art. She had gotten it at an anarchist book fair. She was wearing a pair of cut-off camouflaged pants for god’s sake, like a man, like a butch. The bounds of common courtesy and basic privacy were breached daily. Hinton books: The Outsiders, Tex, Rumble Fish. And now he was in her store. Nice tatt’. Michelle had learned a valuable lesson: Do not leave the house unless you look ready to meet Matt Dillon. Michelle nodded, mute. These sorts of things rarely happened twice. The most beautiful people in the entire world lived in Hollywood. Like all tattooed females, Michelle went through the world dodging the grabby fingers of men who did not know how to look with their eyes, not with their hands. That makes me think of that band, Gay Bikers On Acid, Matt Dillon smiled up at her. She was on the verge of   giving up when it came to her: Booger from Revenge of the Nerds! She had heard of them. She phoned Joey at home to tell him. You never knew with a guy. Michelle had the word ‘Lezzie’ tattooed on her shoulder, right above the devil child he’d been admiring. It was enormous on Michelle. People whose good looks commanded millions of dollars, people who then used those millions to become more beautiful still. Nice ink. He was the number one influence upon her sexuality, a bigger influence than queerness itself as everyone Michelle had ever been hot for resembled, in some vague way detectable only to her, Matt Dillon. There’s Lesbian Dopeheads on Mopeds, too, you heard of them? Lemme see your ink, Douchebags would mumble, their hands already wrapped around her forearm. She wore combat boots on her feet, boots she had idly scrawled stars over with a paint pen one night, bored and drunk in Stitch’s room. He collected old rockabilly records. Any movie where Matt Dillon got shot was an amazing movie. Here was Matt Dillon, fondling her tattoos, making small talk, and she could not respond. Michelle nodded. She lived in Hollywood. Michelle’s hands were trembling. People reached out and stroked Michelle’s arms in ways they would never touch another stranger. So far, the celebs at the bookstore had been impressive but minor. She had given herself bangs during a recent bout of PMS. She wore no make-up. He manhandled her limbs, twisting them to get better looks at each piece, flattering them with his attentions, studying even the crappiest among them – the faded word doubt scripted blurry on her wrist, the pokey tattoo a friend had given her with a needle and India ink. Oh, right! Michelle wanted to disclaim the Lezzie tattoo to Matt Dillon. Her personality, her thoughts and charisma had shrunk up inside her body like testicles dropped into cold water. He added. It was impressively punk, expressed an admirable impulse, but was it sexy? He particularly enjoyed the illustration of a young devil child peddling a Big Wheel up her shoulder. Gay Bikers on Acid, he repeated. The obsession was stoked when he fucked Kristy McNichol in Little Darlings, and went totally haywire when he embodied all Michelle’s favorite characters in all her favorite S.E. Her T-shirt — armless, thank God — had the Nike swoosh with the directive RIOT above it. All actors were narcissists, Kyle told her this. She stared, but they probably liked that. Beatrice kept a stack for him in the back room. She got the record on the turntable without smashing it, though the needle was dropped into the groove a bit sloppily. Michelle could look forward to the hair poking her in the eyeballs until she gave in and pinned them back like a small dog humiliated with hair accessories. A lover would have stopped her. Many shoppers had faces that nagged at Michelle. Michelle stared at a customer with unruly, black curly hair. Michelle extended her arms and the actor seized them. He had brought to the counter an ancient rockabilly record and asked her to play it on the turntable in the kiosk. From thereon, each morning she would look into the broken full-length mirror, found curbside in the Mission and lugged to Los Angeles. You know them? She would take the time to ring her eyes in kohl or stick a pair of earrings through the holes in her lobes, but it hardly mattered. Michelle couldn’t believe she hadn’t realized that, all those years watching General Hospital in the 80s! She had much more respect for the actor. Her hair was crunchy, and blue. Or, maybe she should flaunt it. It didn’t matter anyway, Michelle was so unable to converse with Matt Dillon that he eventually dropped her arms and returned to the record bins in search of more obscure rockabilly, leaving Michelle alone at the kiosk to sink into a shame spiral about her clothes. Apparently, Matt Dillon came in all the time. Matt Dillon’s hands were upon her. If she had looked cuter perhaps she would have had the confidence to speak to him. She would stare into its glass and asked herself: Am I ready to meet Matt Dillon? Alan Quartermaine from General Hospital came in with his boyfriend, oh yes, Michelle was sure, that was his boyfriend, Alan Quatermaine was gay!