Guy Montelli is a talk show host of the popular show Guy-Spell. He and his beloved film-editing boyfriend Landon have finally reached a point in their relationship where they want to get hitched. The couple volunteers for the community Love Yourself, Love Someone Else Day (LYLSED), an annual event in their neighborhood that celebrates same-sex marriage and the theme Love Wins!
As he’s in charge of the floats for the upcoming LYLSED parade, Guy surprises Landon with a live marriage proposal on his hit show. Of course Landon accepts. After the marriage proposal, festive parade becomes a smash hit in their small community.
But with all the fun and excitement, will their wedding ever take place? Can Love Wins become a reality in their lives?
I had the following day off, but Guy had to work, being the host of his entertainment show. Hal Collier filled in for me, knowing what he was doing regarding editing. I spent the springtime morning reading, checking my personal email, and chatting on the phone with a few friends. Then I had lunch at Benny’s Sub House with another friend, salads and iced teas, and enjoyed some guy-talk for an hour.
Following lunch, I had an hour meeting on Smay Street, which was a short cab ride from Benny’s. I told the cabbie to drop me off at 768 Smay, paid the woman, and studied a building called the J. P. Bovane Warehouse: a shabby yellow hue, all brick, four stories high and just as wide, gang-related graffiti painted on its exterior walls, massive garage doors, windows skirting its sides, some of which were broken.
I entered the place through a small man door and walked into a space that housed nine parade floats. Next, I walked around the premises from one float to the next, studying each. Most were red, white, and blue, or of rainbow hues. Two had giant banners reading Peace, Love, and Gay Marriage! One looked like a castle with two, three-dimensional cardboard princes kissing in its stone-like turret. Another one was shaped like the Titanic, breaking in half, sinking into cardboard water painted swirls of bright blues; I imagined two, beefy and tuxedo-clad men hanging onto its upright railing like Rose and Jack in James Cameron’s movie, both men kissing. I stared at a float shaped like a church’s interior decorated with a pulpit, steps, and pews, and imagined husband actors positioned on the float with a preacher and guests at their wedding. One float stood out and caught my eye compared to the others, although they were all quite good. I had guessed that the float was called Love Wins! because of its circling giant banner in bright, spectrum colors. An upright, wooden structure shaped like the United States revolved in the floats center. Equal Rights! was painted in sparkling pink on both sides of the structure.
Caster Ray, a voluntary, self-appointed float manager, and the owner of the warehouse, found me straying within the complex, hugged me, and asked, “How are you, Landon?”
“Well,” I told him, providing his bear-frame with a hug.
Caster had won the Best Pittsburgh Bear Pageant (BPBP) the last two years, loving the title. He stood at five-eleven, had enough bulk on him for two men, and showcased a nicely trimmed beard. Hulking, handsome, and hearty came to mine when describing him, and a great carrier of the BPBP crown and trident, proud of his community position.
After are hugging, he asked, “I heard about the ugly incident at Bobby’s last night. How’s Guy’s head?”
I rolled my eyes, realizing how quickly news floated around in our small, gay community. “He’s fine. Just a little bump. No concussion. He went to work this morning without any complaints. As they say in show business, the show must go on.”
“Good to know.” He lightly punched my right shoulder, proving his liking for me, and added, “That Freddy Frye can be such a demon. I loathe him. He comes around here and thinks he owns the place. The last time he was here, I told him to get hell out because he had nothing to do with the floats.”
I was pleased by his news and said, “Good for you. He should know better.”
Obviously pissed, Caster added, “Everyone who’s part of the Love Yourself, Love Someone Else Day knows that he’s in charge of the majority of vendor booths. Does he really think he can try to boss me around regarding these floats?”
“You did the right thing, Caster. Nicely executed. It’s why you’re a part of helping Guy and me with the parade’s floats.”
“Speaking of the floats,” he chanted, lowering his tone, which sounded concerned. “I think we might have a little problem, Landon.”
“What kind of problem?”
“Follow me and I’ll show you.”
I followed him around the two Peace, Love, and Gay Marriage! floats and made a right, heading toward a large area covered in float supplies: paint, cardboard boxes, paint thinner, commercial-size staplers, saws, a variety of lumber and paper, glue, and two containers of turpentine, and buckets for papier-mâché, faux flowers, and an assortment of white banners. Then Caster walked me to ...
“Holy shit,” I whispered, staring at a giant penis in a field of what looked like a grouping of naked, gay aliens.
Caster raised his right arm and pointed at the penis. “There’s the problem, Landon. It’s supposed to be a rocket.”
I pointed to the float and studied the five-foot, Styrofoam penis, a galaxy of rainbow-colored stars, various moons, and a distant sun. To the right of the humungous shaft was an American flag and a sign that read: Equal Rights! The New Frontier!
Flabbergasted, I admitted, “That’s not a rocket. It’s an erection.”