Marlie

We drove out to the Eastern Shore yesterday to say goodbye to Marlie, who died last week in a traffic accident induced by the heavy rains we’ve been experiencing.

“Boisterous” is perhaps the first word that comes to mind when I think of Marlie. She was always having a hell of a good time, and wanted to make sure everyone else was, too. Her idea of a backyard cookout was to arm all the guests with Super Soakers; we would then all take a turn racing around the lot with her Jack Russell Terrier, Indiana. It was her idea to heave a plucked chicken carcass onstage for our production of a prison drama-fantasy called Crocodile.

I can think of only one time that I got the better of her.

Some years back, Marlie and her husband John came to my house for a birthday party for me. She invited herself upstairs to the TV room/bedroom, and started rummaging around in the (closed but not locked) cabinet under the TV. “What’s this?” she said, as she pulled out a copy of Student Sorority Nurses Do Detroit, Part 2, or some such title. “Hunh” was my clever rejoinder. I bustled her downstairs, probably opened the CD changer and slapped on a copy of the classic “go home now” music Carmina Burana. Anyway.

Then some time after that, Leta and I met during a show that John was directing. Now, I can be a little fastidious and anal retentive at times, I own Dawn Upshaw recordings, my decorating senses are not completely stubbed out, and I hadn’t dated anyone for several years, so it was generally suspected among the theater community that I was gay. When Marlie learned that Leta was interested in me, she said, “It’s okay, I checked, all the porn in his house is straight.”

So Leta told me this, probably in a crowd at Barnaby’s. And losing only half a beat, I said, “All of it that she found.”

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