Friday, May 25, 2012

"An Unreliable Source"

We begin at my friend Janet’s wedding more than twenty years ago.  I am seated at a table with a man, renown as an excellent storyteller, who, at that very moment, is regaling us with an excellent story.

The story takes place in the late 1960’s.  The location – a massive show room in a Las Vegas casino.  A headliner holds center stage, belting out one of his trademark numbers. 

Suddenly, the doors at the back of the show room fly open, and in walks Randolph Scott, the square-jawed star of 40’s and 50’s westerns, who I saw as the quintessential cowboy. 

Scott, now in his late sixties, is decked out a full-length fur coat.  And walking in on his arm is a very attractive young man.

Randolph Scott and his companion proceed down to a reserved ringside table.  As they are being seated, the headliner breaks off in mid-warble, takes in this tableau, and says, 

“Not the marshal!”  

Not the most enlightened of anecdotes, but I have to admit I laughed.  The evolved part of me was uncomfortable with the prejudice.  But Earlo the comedy writer appreciated the incongruity.


I am having breakfast with Janet, who is still my friend.  The excellent storyteller’s name comes up, and Janet provides me with an update, which she warns me, before she continues, is going to be dark.

The man had begun to behave erratically.  As an example, Janet informs me that he once called her, and announced to her, that there was a man he hated whom she knew, and he was going to kill that man’s dogs.

Janet immediately called the dog owner.  Though she had had a less than easy relationship with him, she thought he should know about the phone call she had just received. 

She ended up talking to the dog owner’s wife, who told her she would pass along the message.  Minutes later, the dog owner himself called, alerting her that a security expert in his employ would be calling, and that she should tell him everything she knew.  The dog owner also suggested that Janet call the man’s children, to let them know the bizarre shenanigans their deranged father was up to.
Janet called the children, who told her that they knew their father was out of control, and that as long as they had known him, he had always been a congenital liar.

This generated a glimmer of a thought.

Going on record affirming that anyone can be whatever they are,

If the storyteller is a congenital liar,

Could it be possible he was lying about Randolph Scott?

(Yes, if we had only the congenital liar to go by.  But it turns out that Randolph Scott was gay.  Which means it’s time for me to let go of my illusions of the cowboy as “a man’s man”, and accept that a cowboy can be anything, including, it would appear, a man’s man.)

1 comment:

Gary said...

Good story. Any resolution yet? Read about a cougar being shot in/near Santa Monica earlier this week, but no dogs gunned down.

My dad was a Randolph Scott fan, too. As were lots of males, apparently some more fanatic than others. Tom Mix was also a fave.

Saw Scott in a movie recently on TV of course...maybe his last, but he still had screen presence.

A long weekend! enjoy...