All right, so maybe not ~rock~ per se, but Michael Jackson certainly
Tell me if you're able to sleep at night.
...Another surprise. Michael was going to a slam-jam Queen concert at the I.A. Forum. He wouldn't mind the company. He felt he had to go. Freddie (the late Mr. Mercury, who died of AIDS in November 1991) had been calling him all week. He really should. . . .
Dusk was falling as we left for the show, Michael and his bodyguard Bill Bray walking point through the condo shrubbery toward a waiting limo. I thought they were being a bit silly - this was months before he hit monster status with Thriller. But they sensed the girls before I heard or saw them, made a dash to the car as a spiky red tangle of Lee press-on nails drummed against the windows.
``Lock it down!'' Michael yelled to me, pointing to a panel at my knees. Limo savvy as I am, I hit the skylight button. Before it was half-open, arms reached in, clawing blindly.
Eeeeeeeeeeeeee. The keening drew blue-haired condo dwellers peering from behind their Levelers. Bray was twisting back from the front seat, prying fingers with surprising gentleness. Michael was helpless with giggles. I was flat scared, looking for Billie Jean in those contorted faces stuck against the windows.
When at last we pulled away, I turned to look at Michael. He had ``dressed'' for this public evening in jeans and a turquoise terry blazer, black loafers and just a tinge of blusher. This precept Michael looked great - healthy, handsome and robustly African American.
We stopped to pick up Michael's one true friend - a blond teenage skier who was then his partner in Jehovah's Witness fieldwork - and just as much of a Lost Boy. When Bray piloted us into Mercury's dressing room, the boys shrank back until fib Freddie bounded over like a dizzy Rottweiler and damn near crushed tiny Mike in a hug. They fell against a big trunk that opened, releasing a terrifying avalanche of Freddie's industrial-strength jockstraps. Michael's jaw dropped.
``Ooooooooh, Freddie. What are those?''
A gold football helmet fell out and came to rest on the mountain of cups.
``Rock & roll's a man's job, little brother,'' Freddie thundered. Michael smiled and wanted to know if his host had really spent his last birthday hanging naked from a chandelier. The skier blushed. We all had a swell time until Freddie's trainer called him over for a little preperformance spine cracking.