Thursday, February 28, 2008

Deep Dish excerpt by Marc Harshbarger

The following excerpt is from "Deep Dish" by Marc Harshbarger. Remember when everyone was doing The Hustle, listening to the Captain & Tennille, watching Mary Richards make it after all, checking their emotions with mood rings, and collecting pet rocks? The swinging saga of "Deep Dish" turns back the clock to that groovy yesteryear of 1975 as it follows the misadventures of the Davenport and Haze families, who fall in and out of love and lust in one cliffhanging chapter after another.

Deep Dish
Marc Harshbarger Publishing (August 2007)
ISBN 978-0-6151-4933-2


After dessert . . .

. . . a tipsy Charlie Haze raises his half-empty glass of warm champagne to toast the happy couple.

"May Howard and Helen find as much happiness in their new life together as his dear mother and I have in ours.” He reaches down to kiss his wife’s hand, prompting everyone to utter an appropriate “Awww”.

“That’s sweet, dear, now sit down before you fall over,” says a smiling Charlotte, who is quite relieved that he didn’t belch.

Paying no attention to their cute display of old married affection is Cary Davenport, who is too preoccupied by the couple’s sexy son. While helping himself to a second piece of cake, he is disturbed to notice that he is not the only one in the room admiring Chandler (who keeps glancing at his watch for some mysterious reason). Both his twin brother Grant (who is quickly finishing the last bottle of champagne after probably realizing that he will never be as popular as his best friend Chandler) and his stepsister Delia (who is nervously chewing her fingernails while likely plotting her way into Chandler’s pants) are also watching the gorgeous young man.

“Charlotte, I think it’s time we be heading home,” Charlie then announces.

“Oh, so soon?” Abra Davenport’s obvious disappointment is silently echoed by Cary, who just wants to sit and stare at human perfection all night long.

Unfortunately, the object of his affection is already on his feet and saying his goodnights—“Thank you for a lovely evening, Mr. and Mrs. Davenport”—before dashing past the lovesick boy and out the front door.

Unable to verbally respond (Come back, Chandler! I’m not through lusting after you!) due to the last bite of cake in his mouth, Cary chokes and coughs and wishes he hadn’t had seconds as both Grant and Delia also bolt for the door. Since his brother has been drinking heavily all evening, their stepsister has a slight edge on reaching Chandler first until—


Abra’s voice draws her back like a magnet, allowing Grant to slip by her.

Delia turns around to face her stepmother and Mrs. Haze, who suddenly wants to see the maid of honor dress that she will be wearing the next day.

“Now, woman, now?” she wants to scream. “You had all evening to look at that ugly pink disaster! Why the hell now when I so desperately need to speak with your son!”

“Be a dear and go get it,” Abra orders the angry girl.

“No no, don’t bother. I’ll see it tomorrow when I’m sure it will look simply divine on you, Delia.”

The girl smiles and nods, knowing that it will look shitty on her as most maid of honor dresses do.

“And, Helen, you will be the most beautiful bride. I just wish your mother were here to see your happy day. She would’ve been so pleased at how well both her girls have turned out.”

Pushing back a blonde strand of hair from the girl’s face, Charlotte is suddenly so overwhelmed by how much Helen looks like her late mother that she almost bursts into tears, while an anxious Delia finally escapes, hoping her prayers that Chandler is still here have been answered.

They have.

Outside . . .

. . . the young Mr. Haze stands next to his Firebird with Grant, who is slightly swaying.

“Are you okay, buddy? You don’t look so well.”

“I’m fine.”

“Okay, then I will see you later—”

Grant suddenly grabs Chandler’s arm: “Wait, I need to talk to you.”

“What about?”

“Not here. We can’t talk here.”

“How about I call you in the morning? We’ll talk then—”

Chandler tries to open his car door, but when Grant grips his arm tighter, he can see that his friend is on the verge of tears.

“Grant, what is it? What’s wrong?”

“CHANDLER!” As Delia’s voice pierces the air and Chandler turns to face her, Grant watches his opportunity to play To Tell the Truth fade away:

“Will the real Grant Davenport please stand up?” commands Garry Moore (the charismatic host of the popular TV game show) as panelists Kitty Carlisle, Peggy Cass, Orson Bean and Bill Cullen anxiously await to see if they guessed correctly. But Grant is unable to stand up. He can’t move a muscle. And everyone is looking at him, including the two fake Grants on either side of him, who wish they could stand up and stretch their legs.

“Chandler, I need to talk to you.” Delia glares at her stepbrother. “Privately.”

“I’ll call you tomorrow, okay, buddy?”

Grant nods and staggers off to the veranda, where he finds Cary devouring yet another slice of cake. As he sits next to his identical twin (plus an extra hundred and fifty pounds), Grant realizes that, despite his displeasure with a fat version of himself walking around, at least God’s cruel joke (Cary) makes him think twice about having that second Twinkie.

Finishing his champagne, Grant wonders if another bottle would bring back Garry Moore and make Cary and the rest of his family disappear.

Finishing his third dessert, Cary wonders what Chandler and Delia are chatting about.

“You love me, baby, admit it.”

“I do love you, Delia—”

Oh sweet rapture! She feels their roller coaster ride of a relationship is finally reaching the top—

“But only as a friend.”

And then plunging down as that fucking word hits her smack in the face.
,br>“Where are you going?” she asks as he starts his car.

“I’ve got a date. See ya, De.”

And then the Firebird takes off into the night, leaving Delia to quickly brush away a single tear.
,br>“Now where is Chandler rushing off to in such a hurry?” inquires his father from the veranda.

“Leave him alone, Charlie, he’s got a date this evening—”

The three Davenport siblings all turn to look at Mrs. Haze, who continues:

“To study with that sweet little Sweeney girl.”

“Ginger?” says a surprised Delia.

“Yes, she and Chandler have been studying up a storm lately.”

Suddenly needing a drink real bad, Delia grabs Grant’s bottle only to discover it is empty.

“SHIT!” She throws the bottle on the front lawn and storms inside.

“Oh dear, I hope it wasn’t something I said,” says a concerned Charlotte.

“No no, Delia’s just not feeling herself today,” explains an embarrassed Abra.

“Looks to me like she is,” adds Bermuda, whose drunken honesty receives a nasty look from her daughter.

Later that night . . .

. . . at The Wild Iris (a popular bar on the corner of Halsted and Roscoe in Chicago), a contest is being held to pick this year’s Mr. Windy City, an important honor for some lucky young gay man (selected from twenty-one contestants), who is about to be crowned by the event’s fabulous co-hosts, Miss Sandy Beach and Miss Astoria Queens. The two gorgeous finalists now stand together on the small stage in their even smaller bathing suits (having been judged earlier this evening in suit and tie as well as casual attire) smiling out at the large enthusiastic crowd of mostly men.

“Now, Tori, before we announce our new Mr. Windy City, we should repeat what the lucky winner will receive.”

“Well, Sandy, he will win five hundred dollars cold hard cash!”

“And if that isn’t fabulous enough, he will also receive a weekend for two at Saugatuck Lodges in Michigan!”

“Maybe he’ll take me along. I’m free that weekend.”

“Honey, you’re free every weekend.”

“For a hot young hunk with a big wad of cash, you bet your sweet ass I am,” says Astoria with a wink to one of the many hot young hunks near the stage.”

“And now without further ado, our next Mr. Windy City is—” Miss Beach anxiously opens the envelope and shows it to Miss Queens, who squeals with delight, before revealing the winner.

“Charlie Haze!”

The crowd goes wild over the shocked winner—an obvious favorite of all in attendance—as the two drag queens quickly put the banner of honor across his smooth sculptured chest (Astoria cannot resist giving his hard right nipple a little pinch), the sparkling silver tiara on his golden head of hair, and the award of a bronzed nude man (like an Oscar with genitalia) in his hand. They also leave big red lipstick prints on the gorgeous face of the new Mr. Windy City, who is obviously not a fifty-year-old father of three from Winnetka—and as the many bodies before him begin to dance to “The Hustle”, Charlie’s youngest son, Chandler, smiles on what may be the happiest night of his life.

“Let’s trip the light fantastic, baby!”

Miss Astoria Queens grabs the hand of the unhappy runner-up, Mr. Maleroom (who was sponsored by a local gay bathhouse), and he now momentarily forgets about his disappointing loss while dancing with the large drag queen. The young man finds himself mesmerized by the enormous red sequined breasts shaking before him—they certainly look real (even though he knows better), and being a confirmed trisexual (one who enjoys sleeping with everybody), he can still appreciate a nice set of knockers.

As for the winner, Chandler Haze, his gorgeous blue eyes are searching for a friend among the crowd.


He smiles upon seeing that familiar shock of red hair and adorable freckles.

And then their eyes meet.

Their hearts skip a beat.

Their throats suddenly go dry.

Their knees a little weak and wobbly.

Every silly cliché their mothers told them would happen when falling in love is now coming true—and both young men are happily embracing each wonderful feeling with open arms.

“Excuse me,” says the new Mr. Windy City as he slowly makes his way through the sweaty, half-naked bodies of men all moving together to the intoxicating beat of “The Hustle”. Many offer congratulations with pats on the back and ass—and one daring soul even takes brief pleasure in fondling the front of his tight bathing suit. But he doesn’t mind. He doesn’t even seem to notice—as he only has eyes for one—a Mr. Matt Mahoney, whom he finally reaches.



They kiss before Matt congratulates his friend, Charlie (after being persuaded by Ginger to enter the contest, Chandler had panicked when they asked him his name—and out came ‘Charlie’. He immediately regretted this fib, but it was too late to tell the truth—everyone would think he was weird or ashamed. Only three people know his secret identity—Matt, Ginger and the person who now greets him).

“Hey, Mr. Haze—”

Matt is startled when an incredibly hunky guy in a tie-dyed tank top and cut-off denim shorts suddenly picks up Chandler in his arms.

“I’m so happy you won.”


Finishing his hug, the muscular Mary puts down the young man, who then introduces him:

“Tyler, this is Matt.”

“Hi, Matt.”


“Catch you later, man,” says Tyler before he returns to his bartending job.

“He’s friendly,” Mr. Mahoney remarks with a twinge of jealousy.

“He’s a friend.”

“Just a friend?”

“Strictly platonic, I swear.” Chandler lightly touches Matt’s lips with his finger, and they smile at each other until Ginger comes up and hugs Mr. Haze.

“Congratulations, Mr. Windy City!”


“This place is swarming with cute guys.”

“Yes—and they all want to sleep with Warren Beatty and then tell you about it.”

“That very well may be, but you never know,” Miss Sweeney says as she scans the crowd. “There might be one who could be converted over to the dark side.”

“How much have you had to drink?”

“Only one beer. Why?”

“You’re scaring me.”

“C’mon, there must be at least one bisexual in the bunch—besides my cousin.”

“Your cousin’s here?”

She points at the sexy young man in his skimpy swimsuit (now chatting with a cute guy at the bar).

“Mr. Maleroom is your cousin?”

“Yeah—I should go over and say hi, but he looks busy.”

“Well, we’re going to take off. Are you ready to go?”

“No—I think I’ll stick around here for awhile and see if there are any untapped opportunities worth exploring.”

“Will you be okay by yourself?”

“I certainly hope not, honey.”

“I’ll call you tomorrow.” Mr. Haze hugs the girl and whispers in her ear: “Thanks for everything.”

“You’re very welcome.”

“Happy hunting,” Chandler tells her before he takes Matt’s hand and leads him through the crowd.

“You boys behave yourselves, you hear,” Tyler tells them as they pass by the bar.

“We’ll try not to,” Chandler replies with a mischievous grin.

The beefy bartender then serves a drink to a curious Mr. Maleroom, who asks: “So, is the new reigning queen a friend of yours?”

“We’re friendly.”

“Strangers in the night?”

“Purely platonic. Why do you ask?”

“Just curious. Does he live here in the city?”

“I think he’s a suburban kid, but don’t ask me which one.”

“You won’t tell?”

“’Cause I don’t know. Any other questions, officer?”

The runner-up (and winner of a one-hundred dollar gift certificate from Marshall Field’s) smiles and shakes his head before looking back out at the crowd to decide which lucky guy will receive the pleasure of sucking his cock tonight.

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