Stone Fruit

by Chris Okum

Steve McQueen is sitting next to Tuesday Weld. They're at Sue Mengers' house to celebrate Jason Miller's birthday (Miller has chosen not to attend). A joint is being passed around. McQueen takes a hit and hands it to Weld, who immediately hands it to the person on her left (she does not know the person's name, and so she doesn't look the person in the eye when she passes off the joint). Weld looks at McQueen and says, Does it look like I need drugs? McQueen looks at Weld, smiles, then looks away. He says, What does need have to do with anything? Weld laughs. She says, You think you're so cool, McQueen? Don't you? McQueen says, I don't think anything. Weld looks away and scans the room. She spots Vince Ferragamo, the Los Angeles Rams' starting QB. Weld stands up. McQueen smacks Weld lightly on the back of her leg. He says, I'm dying baby. He says, Cancer. He says, They say it's terminal. Weld catches Ferragamo's eye from across the room. She smiles. Ferragamo smiles, lowers his head in what looks to Weld like a deferential gesture. Weld says, Good, I hope you suffer. Weld walks away. McQueen watches as Weld walks up to Ferragamo, stands on her tippy-toes, whispers something in his ear, then runs her hand up and down the inseam of the gunslinger's gabardine slacks. McQueen leans back. He rubs the side of his achy neck. He says, Come back, Tuesday Weld. He says, Come back.