Jack Nicholson Was Here


Jack Nicholson Was Here

by Steven Gray


Him: Do I come here often? (to a woman sitting next to him in a bar)

Woman: (looks at him and leaves)

Him: Thanks for the memories. (gazing after her)

(to the bartender) I’d like a slow screw on the beach.

Bar: Coming right up.

Him: I mean for real, with screaming gulls and sand in her vagina.

Her: (walks up as he is saying this last line) Hi. Are you Jack Nicholson?

Him: The one and only. Are you Miss Virginal?

Her: Yes.

Him: (pause) Can I give you a slow screw on the beach?

Her: I had one last night. I think I’ll have a Shirley Temple Gets Molested on the rocks.

Him: You got it. (motions to bartender)

Her: Your ad on fuckme.com said you’re between movies right now.

Him: Some people think the present is a movie, but if it was I’d be wearing better make­up.

Her: You said no one would recognize you here.

Him: Exactly. No one recognized me.

Her: You don’t look like you do in the movies.

Him: People are distorted on the silver screen. They’re ten feet high. No one’s ten feet high in real life.

Her: That’s true.

Him: And the special effects. You wouldn’t believe the special effects. You think Arnold Schwarzenegger looks like the Terminator all the time?

Her: Yes.

Him: OK, but in most cases you would barely recognize a movie star if you saw them on the street.

Her: Or in a bar.

Him: When you’re in the movies you have special lighting and an orchestra follows you around. They could turn a monkey into Cary Grant if they wanted.

Her: Or Jack Nicholson.

Him: … and they have hired writers! No one is writing my lines right now! They are spontaneously generated in the heat of the moment. The friction of my brain rubbing up against other people produces language.

Her: Is your brain rubbing up against me?

Him: Yes, it is.

Her: It’s very subtle.

Him: Your estrogen is rubbing off on me. I’m inhaling estrogen like second­hand pot smoke. I get spaced out around women.

(starts to sing) Fly me to the moon, I want to play among the stars Let me see what life is like On Jupiter and Mars

Her: That was lovely.

Him: I feel like I’m going to float away when I’m around a woman. I have to drop my anchor in the warm shallows of her harbor, feel it sink into the earth which holds me in its slippery grip.

Her: And that keeps you from floating away?

Him: Yes.

Her: Are you sure you’re not an air­head?

Him: We’re all airheads! If you don’t have oxygen in the brain you’re in trouble. Your head is for breathing. Hence you’re an airhead. That’s why I have a buoyant personality.

Her: Can you walk on water?

Him: I’m working on it.

Her: I love your face.

Him: My face loves you.

Her: For real?

Him: “I’m a lie that tells the truth.”

Her: So what?

Him: So, so, suck Cocteau… all the way to Mexico.

Her: Did you make that up?

Him: What if I did?

Her: Just asking.

Him: Don’t ask, don’t tell.

Her: Tell who?

Him: (singing) Tell me you’re coming back to me, you gotta..

Her: (pause) What’s your real name?

Him: My real real name is … Raul.

Her: Really?

Him: Namely. Mainly. Manly.

Her: I never know what you’re going to say.

Him: Me neither. It keeps me in suspenders.

Her: You mean suspense.

Him: That too.

Her: It turns me ontological.

Him: It’s not a turn off?

Her: No.

Him: I like a woman who can say no.

Her: No shit.

Him: A woman in the no.

Her: But I don’t know you.

Him: I get pissed off with epistemology, don’t you?

Her: I guess so.

Him: If you knew me in the Biblical sense, it might be better.

Her: You mean spiritually?

Him: When it says in the Bible that a man knew a woman, it means he slept with her.

Her: Oh.

Him: On the other hand, I don’t read the Bible.

Her: Me neither.

Him: Nicholson grew up thinking his grandparents were his parents. He thought his mother was his sister. He never met his father.

Her: So what, he’s rich and famous.

Him: You don’t want to be with him, he’s in his 70‘s. Would you rather go to bed with a half­dead movie star or a young and virile nobody?

Her: Who says we’re going to bed?

Him: Well, in case we do, you won’t be disappointed.

Her: I don’t know you.

Him: You don’t know Jack Nicholson, either.

Her: I know what he looks like.

Him: You know what I look like, I’m sitting right in front of you.

Her: But he can act.

Him: How do you know I’m not acting?

Her: Maybe you are.

Him: This could be the greatest role of my career.

Her: Are you an actor?

Him: Not in the usual sense. Actors are cattle. That’s what Hitchcock said, and who I am to disagree with the man who made Psycho?

Her: He’s a little creepy.

Him: You don’t like watching a woman in a shower being stabbed to death by someone dressed up like his dead mother?

Her: No.

Him: Hitchcock was surround by young and beautiful actresses who wouldn’t sleep with him, so he got his revenge by torturing them in his movies.

Her: A woman getting her clothes torn off by angry birds is the director getting his psycho­sexual revenge?

Him: (arms wide, singing) That’s entertainment!

Her: That’s disturbing.

Him: If a famous movie director can’t get laid, it’s hopeless.

Her: I was at a party once and went home with a man who had a name tag. His name had M.D. after it.

Him: So you slept with a doctor?

Her: I thought it meant Movie Director.

Him: You see, you can’t trust anyone.

Her: I still don’t know you.

Him: Well, you know I’m not Jack Nicholson, that’s a start.

Her: OK.

Him: And you know you can’t trust human beings ­ they’re just monkeys pretending to be human.

Her: (taken aback) Excuse me, I went to college.

Him: Sorry.

Her: Even my ex ­husband doesn’t talk to me like that.

Him: Your ex ­husband? I thought you were a virgin.

Her: What gave you that idea?

Him: It says so in your profile on fuckme.com.

Her: I lied.

Him: This is really disappointing.

Her: Tell me about it.

Him: Have there been a lot of men?

Her: A lot of men where?

Him: In your life.

Her: Well of course. My father, my brother, teachers…. the President of the United States.

Him: I mean in your bed.

Her: Oh. A lot of men in my bed. No, just one at a time. Maybe two during Fleet Week.

Him: So you’ve been around the block.

Her: Isn’t that part of growing up?

Him: I suppose.

Her: Why do you want a virgin?

Him: Change of pace.

Her: Something different.

Him: Viva la difference!

Her: They’re over­rated.

Him: So is everything.

Her: Are you cynical?

Him: I’m so cynical it’s sinful, but it’s scintillating and I’ve got it under my skin.

Her: You don’t believe in heaven?

Him: No.

Her: You don’t believe that Ronald Reagan is in heaven with Bonzo?

Him: No.

Her: If we’re both pretending and we know it, can’t we just relax and be ourselves?

Him: (pause) How well do you know yourself?

Her: (the drink is starting to have an effect) You mean, am I in touch with my… animal instincts?

Him: OK.

Her: Sometimes I touch my instincts when I’m alone at night.

Him: Now we’re getting somewhere.

Her: It feels like I’m someone else. It’s not the girl my mother wanted me to be. It’s someone else.

Him: I feel you.

Her: Then I return to my senses…

Him: No! You were in your senses! That’s what’s so nice. The primal has no identity it has no credit card or driver’s license. That’s why some people can’t let go.

Her: It’s like jumping off a cliff.

Him: They call it “Lover’s Leap.”

Her: Would you catch me?

Him: With both hands. (He holds out his hands. They walk out of the bar holding hands.)

Her: I trust your instincts.

Him: Me too. (walking for a few seconds)

Her: Is this your car?

Him: I hope so.

Her: It’s kind of sexy.

Him: Just like on TV.

Her: (getting into the car) Should I take my clothes off?

Him: Let me think. Yes!

Her: They’re the social construct of my middle­class identity…

Him: You took the words right out of my mouth.

Her: I’m ready for your close­up.

Him: (dropping his pants) HERE’S JOHNNY! (spoken like Nicholson in The Shining)





Steven Gray has lived in San Francisco since the 1970s and reads his work all over town. Sometimes he accompanies other poets on guitar. He has two books of poetry: Shadow on the Rocks (2011), and Jet Shock and Culture Lag (2012). He also writes reviews for Litseen.com


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