Bedroom Theater (5)

By: Gabriel Chad Boyer
July 29, 2012

We first heard about Gabe Boyer in 2001, when the then-24-year-old gave a series of lectures — at Boston’s Berwick Research Institute performance lab — on romantic love, utopian thought, and causal reasoning, punctuated by his Wurlitzer noodling. In 2002, Boyer founded Bedroom Theater, a weekly happening in his apartment’s bedroom; in 2003, he took his show on a bedroom-to-bedroom tour across America. This series recounts what happened.

That Guy Was The Bomb

There was an elephant-headed statue on a pedestal in the center of the store. Sitar music swelled from the sound system in shuddering emotive waves, and the whole place stank of incense. I was getting nowhere quick this afternoon. I stopped in several other shops and got a few appreciative glances before giving up and purchasing a coffee at this cafe that Patrick had told me about: The Blue Sky Café. It was a quiet getaway from the troubles of tourism, complete with white rastafarian baristas.

The smoker’s corner was a french door bordered room I had all to myself. Paintings checkered three of its walls along with a single phone number. The number belonged to a local playwright it said who also happened to have fashioned these paintings here. A manic ecstacy.

I made an illegible sign using the cardboard from the box of lp’s I’d been trying to sell and then went up front and handed it over. The guys behind the counter looked at it and then up at me. It’s tonight, I said. At this guy’s house I’m not so sure how to get there but just tell your friends and put it up somewhere if you could. They held it out in front of them and made aztec faces. We were staying with an online-gaming enthusiast name of Patrick — a short round person with a white ponytail down his back who had agreed to let us camp out in his driveway earlier that day.

I phoned the playwright, and he said he’d definitely come out. It sounds totally cool, he said. I was drinking a glass of orange juice when Jill returned. (If it’s yellow let it mellow. If it’s brown flush it down, Pat had said as he handed me the cup, immediately returning to the computer scraps he was manhandling in the living room.)

I’m only stopping in for a moment, she said. I need a drink.

After she had left, Pat’s adobe hut neighbor Robert strolled over and sat himself down with Patrick on the living room couch while I made trips to and from the van at regular intervals. I set the video camera up on its tripod. I called the playwright, but he’d shut off his phone. Let’s sit outside. It’s wicked stuffy in here, Patrick said. Robert and I followed Pat out to the porch and sat down on the steps and threw stones. The sky had gone violet.

Then Patrick started talking about this fink who had been feeding the police department information for years. Every type of perp you can fathom was ratted out by this dude at one point or another, until it got so as he had assisted in the capture of such a wide variety of felons that he could have written his own dictionary of crime all full up with the dweebs he’d sent to the pen. But this guy did this attempted rape on the side of the road and then shot at a cop and killed some other fellow, was on the run for a while before being finally caught, but still got off all the same. It was dark days then, man. Truly dark, he said.

This suburban homedweller had called the cops when he heard the scream and then went down to see if she was alright himself. Would you have the guts to do that, Patrick said. That guy was the bomb. He found this other man sitting at his motorcycle by the side of the road. The motorcycle guy said he was having some trouble with his bike right, but it’s alright now he said. Then this innocent guy hears a girl over in the bushes. That’s all it took. Now this innocent bystander’s dead and the cops are after the snitch, who then goes on to shoot at a bunch of cops without actually hitting anyone before they nab him.

And the guy was let off, Pat said.

Mainly because he knew where the drugs were going. So the cops let him go. They botched the evidence. No one could remember just right who he was. Patrick understood the police in Santa Fe in a very deep and meaningful way.

The woman next door turned on her porch light just then and Patrick rang her doorbell to say that we were having a very nice time out here the way it was in the quiet stillness of the night and could you please? Then a pained smile and her conciliatory voice. The porch light goes dark, and Pat comes strolling back. He sat down and the wind picked up, bringing with it a smell of sweat and sediment.

But this guy got sent up a few years later cause he couldn’t stay away. They told him to stay away, but he was a family man. Had family all over town, because he was also a ladies’ man, and pretty soon he was showing his face and shooting off his mouth about all the crap he could do and how he was untouchable now, so the cops picked him up for assaulting one of his women and he went away for good. Something happened in transfer though. He got beat so hard by a bunch of guys he’d helped put away. Bloody snot smeared across his once-attractive face.

By this point it was late and the playwright had never showed up and neither had anyone else, and I was wondering what had happened to Jill. Robert rose from where he was sitting and said that he should be heading home. His tennies scritched on the gravel, his shadow drawn long by the light of the moon. Jill called several minutes later to say that she was lost, and I ran most of the way because I wanted to be near her so very much.