"I met him (MJ) at the On the Rox, the club Lou Adler & Jack Nicholson opened upstairs from the Roxy on the Sunset Strip. Michael was around 17 @ the time, about 5 years older than me, & he seemed very sheltered & fearful & lonely--not at all what you'd expect a world-renowned performer to be. As I recall, he didn't even know how to drive a car.
He gave me his number, & we started talking everyday--long drawn-out conversations that sometimes got so boring I would hand over the receiver to my friend Esme Gray. Michael would just keep on, thinking he was talking to me. His usual subject was sex. At 12 I didn't have much to say about sex--all I knew was that it went on, pretty steadily, in my father's room next to mine. But Michael was intensely curious about anything & everything sexual, though in an incredibly sweet & innocent way.
He was a huge star, but it seemed he barely even dated & knew little about life. He once came to my house & asked to come upstairs b/c he'd never been in a girl's bedroom before. He sat on the bed, & we kissed very briefly, but it was terribly awkward. For all my passionate crushes on people like Dustin Hoffman, I was just 12 & not at all ready for a real-life encounter. So I said, 'I can't.' Michael, who was sweating profusely, seemed as intimidated as I was. He jumped up nervously & said, 'Uh, gotta go.' That's the closest I ever got to Michael, which is why I'm amazed by his recent claim on national TV that I'd seduced him but he was too shy to carry it through. I absolutely adored Michael--as a friend--& I admire him to this day. I believe that he fell in love w/ me. I'm told that he wrote the song "She's Out of My Life" on his album Off the Wall for me.
What an honor.
At the time of the supposed seduction, I was barely pubescent, & what I'd seen of sex so far was unappealling & gross. It may have been Michael's fantasy that I'd seduce him--and it's a little sad that he cast himself as failing, even in his dream--but it just didn't happen.
What we did do together was go to concerts. I remember seeing Queen w/ Michael @ the Forum in L.A., which is interesting, considering his androgyny now. He came w/ me & my father to Hugh Hefner's mansion, where I think Hefner's menagerie--monkeys & peacocks & other exotic birds-gave him the idea for Neverland. Michael would hang out & jam sometimes w/ my brother Griffin...Griffin was like a musical savant; he played the piano, guitar, & drums beautifully. Michael would play drums, & outside on the deck, my father would be boxing to the rhythm.
Unfortunately, my friendship w/ Michael came to an abrupt ending. He'd played the Scarecrow in The Wiz, the urban remake of the Wizard of Oz, which starred Diana Ross as Dorothy. For the film's premiere, Michael invited me to be his date. I asked my dad, who didn't care one way or another if I went, but my talent agency was dead set against it. I was told, in exactly these words: 'You can't go to a premiere with a ni**er.'
That upset me tremendously. Had I been old enough--or had I the parental support--I could have stood my ground & insisted 'Oh yes, I can.' But my father was too disengaged to help me think it through. So, without telling Michael the reason, I turned him down.
He was devastated. After that Michael didn't speak to me for years, until I ran into him @ the Helmsley Palace in New York. For old times' sake, we caught a concert together, Kool and the Gang @ Madison Square Garden. Michael dressed in full costume for the event--coming in blackface, w/ a pasted-on beard--the whole nine yards. But things were never the same between us."
|A Paper Life|