Transcript of 18th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Alex Rozzi, Wednesday, October 1, 1997 at 5:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Alex. How was your week? Did you go away somewhere?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, no, we didn't. Actually, I had to go back to school last week. But on Wednesday, Ralph took me to San Jose to see the Cirque du Soleil. That's why I didn't schedule an appointment for last week.
Dr. Balis: How did you like the Cirque du Soleil? I hear it's very good.
Mr. Rozzi: It is...uh, I mean it's amazing what those people can do. It's so athletic, you know? All the costumes and colors and movements they make--it's like a big Broadway production with the dance and drama thing. It is so cool, and it reminded me of my silly little fantasy of running away and joining the circus.
Dr. Balis: Many people have this same fantasy.
Mr. Rozzi: Ah, yeah. But how realistic is it really? I mean I can't legally be recognized as a person until I'm eighteen. So even if I did do something so drastic, I wouldn't be able to make a living. At least not legally, you know?
Dr. Balis: Well Alex, I'm sure that whatever you put your mind to, you will succeed. And waiting until you're a legal adult isn't so bad, you'll be one before you know it. When do you turn eighteen anyway?
Mr. Rozzi: January, nineteen ninety-nine. And that's a long way off by my calendar. Shit! They won't even let me try for my GED until November of next year!
Dr. Balis: What do you mean? Who won't let you?
Mr. Rozzi: The damned State of California, that's who! Their rule is that I must be seventeen years and ten months before I can take the test. And even then, if I were to take it and pass it, I wouldn't be able to get the diploma until I was eighteen. So what difference does it make? I could take the pretest and the preparation classes earlier, but I can't take the real test until then. By then, I'd just have under a year left of high school! They got us all by the balls, that's for sure!
Dr. Balis: I understand your disappointment, Alex. Until then, there's plenty of time to get prepared for your life. A high school education--and I mean the one where you actually go to school, interact with others, and have a plotted out course of learning--is very important. And that kind of discipline can be very rewarding in it's own right.
Mr. Rozzi: Gee, Doctor, if I want discipline, I could always go over to Tony's house--he has a whole bunch of stuff that can be used for that!
Dr. Balis: Tell me what happened there, with Tony?
Mr. Rozzi: I guess you can say that things worked themselves out. We didn't have to go and rescue him after all. Well, we did go and everything, but he wasn't there--neither of them were there. See, as I suspected, Tony did get in trouble with Tim after Marney had her tirade on their front porch. That old dried-up asshole beat the shit out of Tony, and he needed medical care including a couple of nights in the hospital. But the best part is that the old fucker is dead!
Dr. Balis: When? How? I mean, really?
Mr. Rozzi: Apparently, after Tony went to the hospital--Tim took him to the emergency because Tony didn't stop bleeding for three days--Tim went on a crank binge, and according to what Tony told me, Tim was found dead in his doorway by a neighbor the very next day. His heart couldn't take it anymore. And you know what the funny thing is? For all the pain and suffering he caused, he ended up leaving everything to Tony: the house, and cars, and the business, too.
Dr. Balis: He had a business?
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah, I thought I told you that. He owns Paradise Leather on Polk. They make custom leather fashions--made to order stuff. It's the kind of place where you can go and design your own leather bustier or corset or anything else leather you can think of. Tony got it all--lock, stock, and barrel. He did pretty well for himself, don't you think?
Dr. Balis: It's a hell of a way to come across a fortune, Alex.
Mr. Rozzi: I know. But now, he can get the help he needs. He's up in St. Helena right now in a hospital for addiction, and I guess he'll be there for a while, you know? That crank is some pretty heavy shit! It takes a while to get it out of your system, and it's not going to be easy for him. It's the urge to do what's familiar that's going to be hard on him. And the HIV infection just adds to the pile of stuff to deal with, you know?
Dr. Balis: It does complicate matters. It's a good thing that he has checked into a treatment program. Perhaps Roly can learn from his example.
Mr. Rozzi: Roly has a lot to learn, period! Man, you should see what he has become. I went over there to see him the other night, and he and I went to get some Chinese food. He's such a slob. I mean even livestock have better table manners. He eats with his mouth open and makes slurping noises and stuff. It's so pig-like that I can't stand it. It's the crank that does it to him, you know. It makes him not care about things, and he's so hyper all the time--he speaks so rapidly and loudly, as if he can't even hear himself. He needs to be where Tony is.
Dr. Balis: That sounds very bad. But maybe seeing Tony get himself straightened out will give Roly some incentive to follow suit.
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah, I guess so. Just don't put any money on that idea. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I spoke to Sael the other day. Haven't seen him in a long time. He's been so busy with his premeds--that's what he calls them.
Dr. Balis: He's going to be a doctor?
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah, he says he wants to do sports medicine. So he's a paramedic by night, and by day he's in college getting himself ready for medical school. I think he wants to go back East somewhere to study. It was nice to hear from him. Oh yeah, and another weird thing happened this week. I told you that Benny's trial date was set, and they also set his bail--which he couldn't make...
Dr. Balis: I don't recall that. So there's a trial date set?
Mr. Rozzi: Not so fast, Doctor. I got a note in the mailbox the other day. It said: "I know what you did." I'm thinking, "What is that supposed to mean?" But I didn't get a chance to even think twice about it before a letter came in the mail, and this time, it said not to testify against Benny or else. It said to forget everything that happened. I'm so over this now, you know? What can he or anybody do to stop me? I'm going to do it--to testify against him. I have to. I don't even have a choice anymore. It's what I got to do.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. The letters...that's real strange. Doesn't it bother you, Alex, that you've been threatened like this? Do you think that Benny is behind it?
Mr. Rozzi: Who else? The thing I can't figure out is who put the first note in the mailbox? The first note was just slipped in the box, it wasn't mailed. And the second one was mailed from within the city. So he's got someone helping him. It reminds me of when my dad got all twisted up in some murder thing here. One day, he was in a restaurant, and these guys came in and shot the place all up, and he saw who it was. It was because of him that they were caught. But after that happened, we got threatening phone calls and dead animals in the mail and stuff. This marked the time when he went all weird on us and became the tyrant that I remember him to be. He was always paranoid that we were going to be killed or something, and he was always flying into a rage over something. He even carried a gun everywhere he went.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Was he that worried about the safety of his family?
Mr. Rozzi: I'm sure he was. But he surely didn't have to go and become a total asshole over it. He'd start in about the dumbest things--my modeling, for one thing. And then there was this tutor I had. Dad said that I was being coddled--whatever that meant--but it was his idea in the first place to take me out of school and have a tutor come over. But what seemed to bug him most was when I'd get upset about something. See? I used to get real wimpy about things. And if I even started to act like I was going to cry, he would yell at me--which made everything worse of course. One time, he was teaching me how to ride a bike without training wheels. When I'd just started to wobble, he would grab a hold of the back of the bike, and shake it, and scold me for wobbling! I learned that with him--you do it his way and don't falter, or you're going to get it. He hated failure in anything. So obviously, I learned real fast how to keep my balance. It's a wonder I even like to ride these days, you know? He also hated the idea that I was a sissy-boy model who hung out with the girls all the time. He would have been real happy if I were the son he always wanted--one who liked to go out and get all dirty and didn't mind a little dirt under his fingernails. A guy who loved all sports not just baseball like me, but football--which I think is a pretty stupid game. I mean, what kind of a job is that anyway? A bunch of oversized guys with pea-sized brains jumping all over each other and getting hurt--sounds like the way I want to make a living! Plus, it looks so homo-erotic to me the way they pat each other on the butt. And the totally skin-tight uniforms--totally homo-erotic, you know?
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Rozzi: What? What? I didn't like the man. He was a jerk! What's wrong with that?
Dr. Balis: There's nothing wrong with that, Alex. It's just the way you describe him--a tyrant. And you said that he was this way with your grandmother, too?
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah, I guess he was. But it was usually because of me--I was his biggest disappointment more than Larraine ever was. He didn't want a Nancy-boy for a son.
Dr. Balis: A Nancy-boy?
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah, a fag, get it? A Nancy-boy, a friend of Dorothy's, whatever. I once looked at a grocery receipt and saw "Homo milk" on it and told him: "See? That's why, you know? You've been feeding me Homo milk, is it any wonder?" What a rage he went into over that comment, you know? It was priceless, I'm telling you!
Dr. Balis: I'm sure. So, Alex, you've never quite come out and said it before, but are you...
Mr. Rozzi: Hello? I can see the lights are on, but no one's home! Where the hell have you been? You think that my sleeping with Benny would have tipped you off. Or the fact that most everyone I spend any time with were gays. So yes, I am gay. You have a problem with that?
Dr. Balis: I knew you were, Alex, but I haven't heard you identify yourself specifically that way before, that's all. And no, I don't have a problem with it. Do you?
Mr. Rozzi: Huh?
Dr. Balis: Well, when I asked you specifically about it, you seemed to be on the verge of a rage yourself. So again, are you comfortable with being gay?
Mr. Rozzi: Ah...well, I guess...I mean, I think I am. Why, uh...what do you mean am I comfortable? Of course I am. It's just that, well, it's just that I...I don't think the world is ready for a guy like me. I'm not a typical gay guy. I'm different. Most people don't assume that I'm gay, because I look so male, you know? I'm tall, and I have muscles, and I don't act all femme. It confuses people. Like it confused you, I guess. Most people seem to want an easy answer for everything. And if there is any ambiguity, then it's too much to handle.
Dr. Balis: Well, it's a question that has crossed my mind several times. Maybe we can discuss this more next time. And in the meantime, you could think about it, okay?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, I don't know what there is to think about or discuss. Gay is as gay does, right?
Dr. Balis: You know what I mean.
Mr. Rozzi: Okay, we discussed it. End of subject!
Dr. Balis: For now, because we are out of time. I'll see you next week?
Mr. Rozzi: Same time, same place, new shit! Okay, man, see you!
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Alex.
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