Q: Mark Russell Bell
L: Ellen Russel

Q: So it’s Tuesday, May 20th (1997) and I got up and read my astrological forecast today — thank you, Sydney Omarr. And it says, “Do things differently. Attempting to be popular would be a grievous error. Attention at home involves Scorpio who makes outlandish statements. I wonder who that refers to. Anyway, I got some Email back from my friend?, Mike Dash at John Brown Publishing. He said, “I’m happy for you to republish FT material on your site on condition that you add a link to the FT web site at Sorry to hear about your difficulties selling the book. I think FT will be running a review at some point soon. Maybe that will help a little. Regards, Mike Dash.” So he obviously hasn’t read my book. I thought maybe he had.

( . . . )

Q: So, anyway, even though Mike Dash and myself might sometimes be confused about ethics and selling out, Mighael never is. So it’s nice to have Him there to help with the framework from time to time. So this is how I’m going to respond to Mr. Dash. I guess I don’t know him as well as I had thought because I really didn’t think he would make any such request. So this is my new Email message for Mike Dash. “Mike, thank you for your quick response to my letter. I must say I was disappointed to discover that you haven’t read my book yourself. If you haven’t seen my revised website, please understand that there will be no specific links section. Links are provided specifically when they are mentioned in an interview or journal entry on a tape side transcript. Fortunately, this is the case with the FT website, which is mentioned on Tape #200, Side #2. This will soon be added to my website under the heading New Testament (Special Internet Edition) featuring interviews that have been transcribed following the publication of the first edition of Testament. Let me know if this would be acceptable to you in meeting your condition of my adding a link to the FT website at By the way, I saw the selection of possible cover art for your anniversary issue. You might consider using for a future edition—hopefully the one with the review of my book!—the Hubble photograph I mentioned to you on my last Email. This could be done. Call Space Images to acquire prints, negatives and uses requirements.”

( . . . )

Q: So I’m trying to check the spelling of names for New Testament, getting it ready for my website and I just called Y100. And they’re very rushed there but they gave me some information so I’m doing pretty well. I left a message for Ben to call me back and help me with the Caulfields spelling which was one that I wasn’t able to ask for because they’re so rushed. I guess they only have one phone or whatever so maybe he could help me with those song titles. I’m still missing that song title. They’ve been playing it even on local stations (“BUT”) that channel at the gym doesn’t usually tell who the artists are. They just play the songs.

( . . . )

Q: I think I spelled Mayor Rendell right before she even confirmed it. It’s the same as Ruth Rendell. I think. By the way, sometimes you lie and you can’t even help it because when I left a message for Ben I had to (“YOU KNOW”) give a lot if information in just a few words so I said I finally got around to transcribing the tape just to communicate my need for spelling. What I really meant was that I finally got around to checking the spelling for transcribing my tape so it just shows you how hard it is to be entirely true which is what, of course, I always try to be.

( . . . )

L: Hello?

Q: Hi, I didn’t call on Sunday because I was so busy. We went to an early dinner at Steve’s house — Andy and me, (“AND”) one of his friends. So I met Steve’s roommate and Michael, of course, was there. Guess what? Michael was limping all around because his foot was hurting. Did he mention to you that sometimes his foot hurts?

L: No.

Q: Guess what he has. Gout. And, you know, when he was there, I said, “I bet you have gout.” (“AND HE” “YOU KNOW”) And he was drinking wine at the time and I said, “You know —” (“I”)

L: That doesn’t really have a lot to do with gout. (“WHY”)

Q: Well I never drink alcohol and I’ve never had any gout.

L: Well I suffer with gout but it wasn’t really alcohol. (“OVER”)

Q: Well then why don’t I have it?

L: Honey, I don’t know . . .

Q: Now I watch what I eat. I take care of myself. Every time I go over there, Michael drinks wine.

L: Look at Elmer Fredrickson never — a teetotaler all of his life and doesn’t even like — he suffers from gout terribly. (“WELL” “TI” “WELL”)

Q: Michael thinks he inherited it from you so thank you very much.

L: I’m sure he’s going to — well, he doesn’t even know it’s gout.

Q: Yes, he does.

L: Oh, he went to the doctor —

Q: Finally, he went.

L: It’s in his foot?

Q: Right. Just one of them.

L: Is it in his ankle or —

Q: Right under the ankle.

L: Under the ankle? There is nothing more painful than gout.

Q: Well, he’s got it.

L: Well, honey, yeah, but it goes away.

Q: He couldn’t go to a screening last night because of it.

L: It goes away, though. (“BUT”)

Q: Well, yeah, it comes and goes.

L: But it’s just a collection of (“A”) a very . . .

Q: Well (“SO”)

L: And I’m sure his doctor will put him on medication. But the only thing is —

Q: Well, no, you’ve got to watch your diet. (“WELL” “YEAH”)

L: Well, yeah, —

Q: There are certain things you’re not supposed to eat.

L: I’m sure his doctor —

Q: He should go see my nutritionist — is who he should go see.

L: That doesn’t help.

Q: But, anyway, (“NO”) I was going to tell — now I told you. You wanted me to read you Mary Edna’s little note.

L: Oh yeah.

Q: She sent two of them — anyway, I’ll read them real quick. They’re very short.

L: Honey, she has to be fifty years old by now.

Q: Really? Now is she the same one that we met when we were children and went over there?

L: Yeah. Mary Edna lived with Grammy.

Q: Okay. Well I’ll read you the first one. It’s very short. (I read it as follows.)

Hi, Uncle Paul,

I hope all is well with you. I hope you had a nice day on Christmas. Mom tells me the slippers I sent you didn’t quite fit. Since the store which I bought the slippers is out near Mom’s way she said she would exchange them. Sometimes the way shoes & slippers are made today the size can vary. Sorry about that. How is the hair brush? I found that one for Mom to give you. She recently has found another you might like better. I think she plans to send it later. By the way, thank you for the money order. Next week I will take my final test in English and then I will get my diploma. Yeh. (There are three smiling faces drawn on the letter here.) Just in time, after another birthday. Now what to do? I need a vacation. Oh, well I better find a job instead. I wish you would write and tell me what’s going on in your life. Please. If you can’t write yourself maybe you can dictate one. Please stay well & happy.

Love always


Mary Edna

P.S. Just talked to Mom. She said, “Paul, for you to give your slippers to one of your sons for the store won’t exchange them since they were on sale. Mom will”

L: Now wait a second. Is this a high school diploma?

Q: Yes.

L: Honey, that can’t be. Mary Edna — she’d be fifty by now or forty-eight.

Q: Mary Edna Payne is her name and she’s in Iowa.

L: Oh she lives — is that Mary?

Q: Mary Edna Payne.

L: Yeah, well Mary must be her mother then. (Commenting after “I better find a job instead”) Right!

Q: Does the niece mean anything?

L: Well, yeah, I’m sure that’s Mary Edna. (“GOT”) She’s got to be fifty — close to fifty.

Q: I thought it was the same one.

L: She’s fifty or older.

Q: This must be out of order. “Mom will” — (“IT DOESN’T HA”) that’s where it seems to end.

L: So they live in Iowa now. She lives with her mother now.

Q: And then there’s another letter —

L: Well her mother’s got to be seventy-something .

Q: But, wait, this is the main one. She sent another follow-up letter. (I read it.)

Dear Uncle Paul,

The long-awaited time has now come when I can actually let you folks know I have finally graduated from school with flying colors. I have enclosed a copy of my diploma because I want you all to know it is for real. Now, I can hang my diploma up on my wall. It is a great feeling to know I was able to accomplish such a test.

I just wanted to share with all of you my excitement.


Mary E.

Q: And here it is. It says “State of Iowa Department of Education” diploma number 107307 “High School Equivalency Diploma.”

L: My God, you mean that . . .

Q: Well, yeah, but we all have our own trials and tests and this is obviously one that she (“YOU KNOW” “FELT”) took a long time to accomplish.

L: She’s fifty years old. Fifty.

Q: But she has a lot of appreciation now for it.

L: But, honey, she was never — I remember Mary Edna and she was not that stupid or dumb.

Q: What do you mean?

L: I think — I mean —

Q: She’s had a lot of other things in life to deal with — other jobs —

L: She played the piano beautifully. I mean she was very good at — she was not a stupid person.

Q: Well who said that she was stupid? Just because it takes a long time for someone to get a diploma doesn’t mean they’re stupid.

L: Honey, it does when you have nothing else in your life to do and . . . she was catered to as a little girl. I mean she went to the toilet and her ass would be wiped so —

Q: I thought she’s been working all her life.

L: Well she probably has. I don’t know. (“DID HER”)

Q: Did she come from a money background?

L: Mary?

Q: Well that’s what I’m asking.

L: No, Mary was the one that ran away from home — was always running away from home and going out the window. She and Paul were the black sheep of the family. Mary got married so many times. She’s the one that came when you kids were born. The doctor had to open up his office (laughs) because Mary couldn’t put up with Paul anymore.

Q: I don’t (“WHAT”) remember. (“WE[LL] YOU”)

L: No, I just brought you home from the hospital and Mary said, “Oh I’m going to come and help. I want to come out and help.” And I didn’t really want any help. So she came to help for a few days. She had some time off. She came — she wanted to come and help Ellen and Paul and the twins.

Q: Oh how wonderful.

L: (sarcastic) Oh yes. It was so wonderful. It was on a Saturday. I came home and I mean —

Q: What a sweet woman.

L: — and on Saturday she came. Everything was fine but Paul was the kind — if he wanted — (laughs) Paul can drive everybody nuts. Except me — he didn’t drive me nuts. But every time you pooped he wanted it written down and how much.

Q: Why didn’t he drive you nuts?

L: I don’t know. Because I considered where it came from, I guess.

Q: Why would you — this is your husband, the man you married.

L: I know, Mark. I take people at face value. I tell them off but anyway —

Q: So why did you marry this guy if his mouth drove other people insane?

L: Well it didn’t bother me. I knew how to shut him up.

Q: I know but didn’t you love him? You have to love someone to make a commitment. You’re making a lifetime commitment.

L: I mean we had so much in common. I was not — I’m not the stupid type of person and never have been and never will (be) that will walk down the street and fall madly in love with someone because I have to get to know them. I have to know what they stand for — or think I do. I can’t just say — throw caution to the wind and say, “I’m madly in love.”

Q: How long did you date him?

L: I don’t know. A year.

Q: So you thought you knew him when you married.

L: Exactly.

Q: And you found out that you didn’t know him at all.

L: And I loved his family. He had a wonderful family.

Q: So that’s really what did it was that you loved the family.

L: And even today, Mark, look at the family. They’re very close, aren’t they?

Q: I wouldn’t call that close.

L: Well, considering that their ages go up to the seventies. I mean I think that they’re pretty —

Q: There was one thing Paul did though that really sort of daunted me when I was with him.

L: The sisters and brothers all seem to stick together there, don’t they?

Q: Well he’s not talking to Bob at the moment.

L: Oh well he and Bob —

Q: He did say he’d like to go see Allen when he was out here. (“BUT UM” “WELL YEAH”) But he doesn’t communicate with Grandpa even though he wants me to send a letter from both of us that he’s still working on. (“AND”)

L: Well yes but I mean —

Q: Once in a while he’ll tell me to call Thad or write to Thad.

L: He didn’t like his father because his father left the mother.

Q: Right. No, I know. (“I KNOW”)

L: Six kids.

Q: I know. Terrible. Terrible!

L: But he’d get — the daddy always paid his kids.

Q: But you know what Paul did? This is what surprised me. (“IS WHEN”) We were going — we ate at IHOP and he had a list of numbers to call which I was helping with because he can barely see. Apparently, he had an argument with one of his friends who used to work at the retirement home. And he was trying to trace her down and he kept calling (“LIKE”) seven numbers that he got out of the telephone book and he was trying to find her number. He’s sort of compulsive/obsessive, isn’t he?

L: Well, honey, you remember when he was compulsive — he just wants — yes, anything to make life miserable for the other people.

Q: But see — but then whenever I’m with him he’s always talking at me. He’s not sincerely interested in what’s happening and what’s going on in my life.

L: No, of course not.

Q: He doesn’t really listen to you.

L: Of course not.

Q: How long did it take you to realize that this is a man who doesn’t really listen to other people? God, I sound like Toni Grant.

L: I don’t know. I never really paid that much attention because, you know, I wasn’t one of those people who worried about other people either so — (laughs)

Q: Oh, you were — so this was a marriage made in heaven.

L: No, it wasn’t. It’s just that I didn’t care. I mean I used to tell Paul — I said, “Paul, please keep your mouth shut. Don’t — because he was very bossy. He would go into someone’s home and he would say—like they would have their dishes in the cupboard in a certain way—he would say, “Oh you shouldn’t put them there. You should put the dishes over here because it’s much easier to do this.” Blah blah blah. And I mean it used to —

Q: Would you call him controlling?

L: No, to be controlling you have to have —

Q: He isn’t controlling with me.

L: No —

Q: I wouldn’t call that controlling.

L: In order to control somebody —

Q: He’s just an egomaniac.

L: He may be able to control other people but he could never control me because I —

Q: He just has a really big ego.

L: Who?

Q: Paul.

L: Well he always did.

Q: That’s his — that was his main problem. He never really learned —

L: Too big — he always wanted to be his own boss. He always wanted to have his own business — doing what I don’t know.

Q: He didn’t want to start at the bottom and work his way up. He just thought everything should be given to him.

L: Yeah and I don’t know where he got that. He was — like when he was growing up, he was a smart little boy and he was the eldest and they all looked up to him.

Q: What happened?

L: He went to USC but he didn’t graduate.

Q: What happened? Mm mm mm.

L: And I can tell you, Mark, he was a wonderful tennis player. He could’ve —

Q: Yeah but they didn’t —

L: Given the time — in those days you didn’t make any money but given the time —

Q: But he needed (“YOU NEEDED”) backing. He needed someone to support him while he did all that.

L: Well he played tennis but he was really — he was so good. He was the type that could go in and if there were ten people there, getting interviewed for a job, he’d walk out with the job. But the problem was that three days later he’d be out of a job. He could sell himself wonderfully.

Q: Did he not know what he wanted to do in life?

L: I don’s know what his problem was. I mean I can truthfully say this, Mark, it has nothing —

Q: Well you would know. You were there.

L: If Paul and I had never had children we would probably be still together because we loved the same things. We loved to go out. We loved to travel. We loved to dance and loved to go to clubs. We loved to go to movies. We loved to go to plays. We liked to go out to restaurants. I mean it — we loved to go shopping.

Q: So why would just two children coming along destroy all that?

L: Because, Mark, you have to take care of them. You can’t go — I mean (“AND”) in those days when a woman became pregnant — see, you could only work up until your fifth month.

Q: That’s a good idea. Because everyone —

L: Well now you can work up to the day you deliver —

Q: Yeah but the babies are born three months early.

L: Well, anyway, so I mean here we are and Paul was — I told you about Paul. I used to work every third Saturday because we’d rotate. After we got married, well guess what? So every third Saturday I would work so I would have, like, a Wednesday off of that week. So guess who wouldn’t go to work on the day that Ellen had off? Paul.

Q: But did he have a job?

L: Sometimes.

Q: You mean he worked temp?

L: See, that’s one thing I was stupid about because all my life everybody I’d ever been around — like in Millie’s family and all my friends. I mean they worked. I mean it was just a matter of you go to work. You worked. You paid your way. So when I met Paul he was working selling cars and he drive this really nice brand new Ford. I mean it never dawned on me it wasn’t his. (small laugh) It never dawned on me.

Q: When did you find out? Before you got married.

L: I really honestly don’t remember. No, I can tell you how I found out — because after we got married — apparently he didn’t tell the people he worked for at the Ford dealership and he hadn’t gone in for a while — see, I made arrangements. We were on our honeymoon. . . . anyway, they were out looking for him and the car because it was a rental.

Q: Oh my God.

L: And so guess what he — we went over there. They didn’t know where he was but they did know where his mother lived — a block from where we lived. So, anyway, somehow he got . . . that they were looking for him and the car. (“CALL BACK”) And guess what he came home with? He had this old clunker that I’d seen parked across the street. (laughs)

Q: Was that your first premonition that something was terribly wrong?

L: Well I was stupid. I mean I didn’t like it but I mean I was the type that said, “Well, okay, you know, we can work and we can go out and buy our own car.” And sure enough we did.

Q: But he stopped working. He wouldn’t work. How old were you when you went to work? Or how old were we, I should say.

L: When I worked full time?

Q: Because that’s unusual.

L: I don’t know. Two years old.

Q: Can you believe it? You had to work because Paul wouldn’t work.

L: I had to because, you know, he wasn’t paying — there was no rent money.

Q: Of all that time, you know what is the one memory that stands out the most is when I witnessed that terrible car accident and saw that little boy get run over by the car.

L: See, I wasn’t there.

Q: But I remember going to visit him afterwards when he was all bandaged up and he was all in a cast.

L: Where was that? I never heard that.

Q: Yes, you did. (“WAS WE”) He lived right across from us when we were on Slauson. I think that was where we were at the time — you know, very little kids. You have to remember that.

L: I don’t.

Q: Because I watched — I saw that happen. That was so shocking to me.

L: I don’t — see, I don’t remember.

Q: And we went to visit him afterwards. And I just remember. He was our little friend that we would — I remember, like, playing Monopoly with him before his accident.

L: You didn’t play monopoly until you moved to Pasadena.

Q: No, that’s not — (“WELL”) next door. We played next door, I’m saying. Or I think that’s what we were playing.

L: Well there were a lot of kids.

Q: There were. (“ID”) Anyway, that was — but I remember witnessing that.

L: That’s not the little boy that had the big dog?

Q: I think so.

L: Is that the one that had that big dog, Chang?

Q: It might have been.

L: A Boxer.

Q: But, anyway, he got run over by the car.

L: Brett.

Q: But — what was I going to ask you? (“OH AND ALSO”) I also remember — and I have another strange memory. Once when I was at a park — seeing two women fighting over a little child — saying, “No, she’s mine.” (“HH”) ‘He or she’s mine.’ “He’s mine.” Two women fighting belligerently over a child. I never have forgotten that.

L: Well —

Q: It was at a park because I know there was a skinny dip pool. Oh that was just —

L: There are lots of things that happened in our lives. (“I WAS”)

Q: Sometimes I wonder if that might have been you because I don’t really remember who that was.

L: Honey, I don’t think I’d fight over — (“NO”) nobody would approach you and say you were theirs.

Q: But what a shocking thing to see as a child. Two women fighting over a child. I mean you wouldn’t forget that ever. Ever.

L: I don’t know — an individual. (“WELL THIS”)

Q: This individual — (“NUMBER NINE”)

L: So Mary Edna finally graduated from high school. I just can’t believe that.

Q: Yes. (“UM-HUH”)

L: And Mary lived with Grammy.

Q: Was she a soul of kindness?

L: Who?

Q: Mary Edna?

L: Mary Edna was a brat.

Q: But now she’s older. (“WELL SHE’S OLD”)

L: Well when you kids were born —

Q: Well I’m a brat.

L: — she had to be about ten or eleven when you kids were born. (“UM-HUH”) I remember Clyde. We used to go up to Clyde and Dorothy for the holidays. Like for Thanksgiving.

Q: Who — what did you say?

L: Clyde and Dorothy. (“NO”) Remember going up —

Q: Dorothy? You mean Aunt Dorothy?

L: Yeah. You know Aunt Dorothy, the twin?

Q: Right. Of course.

L: Okay. (“WELL”) What do you mean of course? . . .

Q: Well, no, I just wanted to make sure it was the right one (“CLYDE”) because I don’t remember Clyde.

L: Clyde was her husband. You don’t remember Clyde?

Q: No.

L: Well Clyde was a — funny guy.

Q: And, by the way, Paul did say that he thinks it is ‘Bud’ and not ‘Red.’ The boyfriend he accused about (being) Red, he thinks really was Bud now.

L: Oh well —

Q: So he did come — he did — (“JUST YOU KNOW” “BUD” “RED” “UH WELL” “KNOW MARK”)

L: You know that Bud wasn’t around very much. Around for a month or so, right? Right?

Q: I don’t really remember.

L: Well I do.

Q: I remember you went to Mexico with him once.

L: I never went to Mexico.

Q: Or a Mexican restaurant because you brought back —

L: Oh yeah I remember that maraca. I brought — (“BOUGHT”) bought —

Q: Right.

L: Yeah. (“NO” “WE WENT DD”) We went down to — what was that street?

Q: Alvarado?

L: No, you know that popular street?

Q: Olvera?

L: Yeah. It was Olvera Street.

Q: Oh. (“THAT WAS FUN” “YEAH”) Did you ever have sex with him?

L: That’s my business. I told you he wanted to get married.

Q: I know.

L: And it was either get married — but I didn’t like well, you know, the way he was — I probably — I was wrong on this. I mean I should have — I just could not stand anybody bossing my kids around other than —

Q: I heard Dr. Laura on the radio program said that if your kids don’t like a man, you shouldn’t marry him. You should just go on dating because they’ve — (“IT”) because the statistics show that children aren’t happy having to get used to a new male. Especially —

L: Yeah but you just can’t keep going on dates all the time unless —

Q: It depends how old the kids are. If they like him, there’s no problem, is there? (“SO IF THEY”) If he can’t even figure out a way to make the kids like him, he isn’t much of a catch. Right?

L: Yeah but usually if you’re going someplace — I mean I was never the type of woman who was casual about affairs and sex. I mean I’m sorry I’ve been — I just never was. I thought too much of myself and my kids. I mean why I don’t know. I mean it’s not as if we were top of the gold pile but I mean I just — you either get married —

Q: Did you pride yourself on honesty?

L: I never thought — I mean I was just — I was dishonest and I never prided myself on anything. That’s just the way it was . . .

Q: Is there anything that you never told Michael or I that you would — now if you could do it over again, you would maybe have told us?

L: No, I can’t think of a thing, honey. (“YOU”) My life is an open book.

Q: Something that if you could do it over again you would do it over (differently).

L: What would I do — if I could do it over again?

Q: Yeah.

L: I would’ve raised you differently.

Q: How so?

L: I don’t know. I would’ve said, “Paul — you know, Ellen’s not going to stay here and scrimp and save and — ”

Q: Oh, I don’t think you would do that over.

L: Especially the treatment I get from Michael. I mean I’d separate. I’d say, “Here, you take Michael and I’ll take Mark.” And I mean it.

Q: He’s just — but he’s very aloof and numb to even his close friends.

L: I don’t care.

Q: He’s not very talkative.

L: He’s not talkative? He didn’t have to open his mouth except once — I mean, you know, to treat me the way he treats me — I mean it’s terrible.

Q: Do you think he takes after Paul in some ways in terms of not really —

L: No, Paul —

Q: — going out of his way to —

L: — Paul was always good. Look, Paul was always wonderful to his mother. Wonderful. I mean she always obviously —

Q: Michael did — we did pay half on the Mother’s Day —

L: Well, I know. And I tried to call him over the weekend to thank him but, naturally, there was no answer.

Q: He was with Steve and Chanie.

L: And I did . . . do you understand what that poor cat that’s there all alone —

Q: You got it.

L: Why doesn’t he take the cat down to Steve’s?

Q: Because they leave the doors open because it’s right by the beach.

L: Well so what? The cat’ll learn to come home. It’s not going to be any worse off than it is now. I mean I just can’t stand anybody that —

Q: Well, James was off at Cannes for a few weeks.

L: Well, I know. He’s back now. It’s (film festival) over, right?

Q: Well he might go somewhere else. I mean who knows? Nobody —

L: Well I mean I don’t care. The cat isn’t James’s responsibility. The cat is Michael’s responsibility. Take that cat down and give it to Chandler. (“I”)

Q: I know it’s sad. I don’t know why — why do people want things when they don’t take care of them?

L: I don’t know.

Q: Why did he want a cat?

L: There isn’t anything sweeter than a little cat. I mean I don’t know why —

Q: Well, you know what? He didn’t get a sweet little cat.

L: Well you make them. I mean I didn’t get a sweet little — I mean my little — well I love my cat. It doesn’t make any difference.

Q: That’s what I’m saying — but I’m just saying maybe that’s why.

L: Well, of course, it’s why. I mean he never — (groans)

Q: Cats can have attitudes too. Remember “Hell House”? What happened to Michael? He came back and he was attacked.

L: Well, I don’t know.

Q: Maybe there’ll be a sequel. (“SO HE”)

L: So he and Stephen are still —

Q: Yes.

L: — madly —

Q: Well, I asked — he says that he went into the relationship knowing that there was a child. (“SO”) He seems to think they have a committed relationship but I don’t know because Ed told me — we went walking around and his roommate showed me a coffeehouse and said, “This is Steve’s favorite place.” And it was a very cruisy place.

L: Now wait a second. Steve has a roommate?

Q: Yes. His name’s Ed. But no it’s — they’re not lovers.

L: Well, I know — like James and Michael.

Q: Right. Well no — they never were lovers, apparently. That’s what they say.

L: But the girl lives there too?

Q: The child. Well, on her time (father’s turn).

L: Yeah, but she lives there.

Q: I know. Well he’s away a lot because he’s a rocket scientist so —

L: Oh really? (laughs) Is that so? Sounds like it. Oh he’s gainfully employed, huh?

Q: Yeah.

L: Who — you’re talking about Ed?

Q: Right.

L: Oh well I thought you were talking about —

Q: So no but apparently — Michael says that he is Steve’s third relationship in his life.

L: Michael is? (“UM-HUH”)

Q: That’s what Steve says. As according to Michael. But I don’t know why Ed said, “This is Steve’s favorite place.” And it looked like — everyone was, like, cruising me when I went there with him.

L: Oh Mark . . .

Q: No, it’s a coffeehouse. That’s all. It just seemed like sort of a cruisy place.

L: Oh, I though it was gay —

Q: Huntington Beach is beautiful, by the way. They keep it very clean. It’s very nice.

L: Been going down to — oh yeah.

Q: That’s where he lives. It’s very nice. So, anyway, —

L: That’s where Becky lived.

Q: Well I guess I better go.

L: That’s where Becky lived.

Q: Becky? Oh right. Well let’s not go into that. I want any other family secrets. I still want family secrets.

L: I don’t have any family secrets.

Q: I feel like there are cover-ups in our family.

L: There are no covers-up — well maybe in Paul’s family. I don’t know. You’ll have to ask him.

Q: Well you know. You know. I know you know.

L: I don’t know. I was only married to him for, like, seven or eight years.

Q: You know something because you’re holding back.

L: No — I don’t know anything, Mark. And if I did I’d tell you.

Q: Okay.

L: Good God. Believe me, it’s the most boring family in the world. Good grief.

Q: Did you hear that Uncle Bob had triple bypass surgery or something?

L: Well it was a long time ago.

Q: Right when he was getting ready —

L: He’s an old guy.

Q: I know but he was getting ready to — that’s what happens when you push retirement off. You keep pushing it back and pushing it back and pushing it back. This is what happens. Before you can enjoy yourself whammo.

L: He had to be seventy when he had it.

Q: It just shows you can’t put off —

L: He had it a couple years ago. (“SO HE”) He’s, like, seventy, seventy-two, seventy-three or something.

Q: Did you like Bob?

L: Bob was alright.

Q: But his personality — how would you describe his personality?

L: Well I never — I mean I liked — I mean they were all fine.

Q: But there’s something wrong with them. I mean they’re all sort of — (“CRA[ZY]”) I don’t know what the word is. But Bob is another one of those very egocentric individuals.

L: Well he comes from the same — well Bob accomplished quite a bit in his life. He did pretty good.

Q: What’s this about his wife? Apparently she has a muddy past as well.

L: Jeanne? Oh no, she does not. Not that I know of. They were always — they lived in Whittier when I knew them. They had a nice little house — (“A LITTLE”) cracker box.

Q: Do you think they were made for one another?

L: I don’t know. You know, he’s the one that Jeanne stuck by when there was another woman so —

Q: What?

L: I told you Bob said that —

Q: Oh when he had another woman.

L: Yeah.

Q: Okay. So now was anyone gay in any of these families?

L: Not that I know of.

Q: How sad.

L: Well what do you mean?

Q: Well they’re just so boring. I have the most boring family.

L: Well, honey, believe me, being gay is not unboring.