JaLL – The dual story of Bruce – act 1: The rich bastard in doubt

Read my introduction here

So without going on for over 20 pages (which I did in the process of just writing the whole damn thing down), I’ll try to quickly tell the stories, I experienced through my character Bruce at the Larp: “Just a Little Lovin.” (edit I failed this thoroughly so this will be divided into several posts, and it will still be very long sorry.) Remember: this is the retelling of my story, mostly done for my own sake. I hope to write more intellectual and design focused posts on this later on.

To avoid having to explain the structure of the game several time during this, I’ll just quickly do it here:

  • There were three acts, each one a fourth of july party for these many colorful people in the years: 82, 83 and 84. Each act had a theme: desire, fear of death, and friendship.
  • Game would start at 17.00 with the theme song “Just a Little Lovin” playing with us standing frozen at our chosen start point, at end end of the song, the game would start with a bit of mingling before Mr. T, the organizer of the party would give a speech, we would then sing the star spangled banner while the flag was raised.
  • The next point was dinner in Peppers Diner, later on there was a drag performance and other things that characters wanted to show, (from poem readings to strip tease.)
  • At midnight there was a grean tea ceremony around a bonfire held by the saratoga people, a group of spirituals and cancer survivors. This also had the meta rule, that when you drank the tea you should choose to either increase your game by 150 percent or make a 180 degree turn of direction of your game.
  • We were ingame during the night (even though we did sleep) and in the morning until 11.00 were we would gather in the diner and an eerie music would start. This was the lottery of death, were one or more people would die.
  • After that was gamestop, workshop and planning what happened in the year between the two parties until 17.00 where it would start all over again.
  • We were all part of a small core group (closest friends and partners) and social circle (more lose relations) and both could and did change between acts.
  • Available was also two black boxes to do scenes that took place outside of the party in the past or in a probable future or even in a dream.

As I mentioned in my last post I kinda had two stories. It’s important to note that I had many more great scenes that didn’t fit in this retelling, that I feel sad leaving out, as they were an integral part of the experience. This game was for me very much defined by short beautiful scenes linking together to form a surprising narrative. I might later do a post just with scenes that I liked.

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Bruce act 1. Foto: Petter Karlsson

But it all started in act one with me playing as I had planned: arrogant, brass, bold, taking up a lot of space. I wore a white smoking, a pink buttered down shirt, sunglasses at all times (the use of them is almost it’s own post) and a silver necklace, (It’s not only in fantasy we have magic items).

I spoke my mind whenever I felt like it, uttering every loud, self confident, bragging line I could think of, (just as I had planned). I was also intense, engaging in conversations with power and looking people straight in the eyes, never apologizing for being a rich bastard, aggressively flirting with all the young men.

Very shortly after game start Bruce had his first conquest, if you could call it that. The young man literally threw himself at Bruce and the encounter left Bruce feeling empty. He had seen the whole thing play out before it happened, it was all just too easy. This combined with people talking to him about relationship had him thinking that maybe it was time for something different, (even though he on the surface ridiculed those idiots in stable relationships “think of what you are missing!”)

So Bruce started considering trying out this relationship thing, you know just as an experiment. In act 1. there was two options. Daniel / the drag queen Lady Verona whom he’d had a flirt with before game start and Artie, a nice guy. One that believed in the good in every one, even Bruce. Disgusting, but you know kinda cute and clearly interested in Bruce.

Bruce and Artie had a great flirt scene in the drag queen’s dressing room. We were all just hanging out after the drag show and just being sassy to each other and everyone else. But while talking me and Artie ended up sitting on the floor holding hands never commenting on it, it was just there in the air unsaid.

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Daniel as Lady Verona doing his drag performance, during the song Bruce joins in and start acting along to the song. This is from that moment. Foto: Elina Andersson

In the end Bruce slept with Daniel, and actually ended up rejecting Artie after that. Both out of tiredness but also in a week moment thinking: I’m not good for Artie. But during all this one other important thing happened: just after the green tea ceremony a young man also literally threw himself at Bruce.

Bruce didn’t know this Mickey, and off game I also knew very little. Only that he lived with Gwen and Lester as their young BDSM master, and Bruce knew Lester from the stock market, but not that he was into BDSM.

All Bruce cared about was that this young man threw himself at Bruce offering himself to him with the words: “I asked around for the riches man and every one said you.” Just the right thing to say to a man like Bruce. Bruce had his way with him in a rough kind of ekko of the first young man he had at the party. But still there was something different about this Mickey. So when Mickey hinted that he might need a place to stay, Bruce casually handed him the spare keys for his penthouse.

Walking away from the bonfire one of the lesbians, Rosemary, came to Bruce for advice and Bruce feeling like a generous God sent Mickey running and listened to Rosemary, not something he would normally do, but the green the was still in his system.

So in essence Bruce had three persons to tryout this relationship experiment with. Mickey Artie and Daniel. He ended up choosing the latter, why I’m not sure, maybe because I as a player knew that it was doomed from the start because Daniel being a love’em and leave’em type (#nordicpain). But then came the death lottery.

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Sinclair giveing a speach. Foto: Petter Karlsson

Sinclair, Bruce’s close friend and lover of Nate, Bruce’s other good friend. (These three were my core group) was drawn in the death lottery. Bruce and Daniel was almost carrying a barefoot Nate in the rain under one umbrella as we made the long walk to find out whether or not we would lose our Sinclair.

After a painful wait we had our answer: Sinclair was dead. This was by far the most intense funeral. I still remember it vividly. How the rain gently patted our umbrellas until it stopped just as the eulogies were read out and then the sun came out.

Bruce held back tears for long, choosing anger instead. But then Bruce took a chance turned to Daniel and let the sorrow overwhelm him, and he wept on to the shoulder of Daniel. He let Bruce do that for about two minutes before he gently but firmly walked away from Bruce, leveing Bruce alone, standing with the back to the rest of the group. The sense of abandonment was intense, almost a good experience to let it just flow through me. (Little did I know what would come later). That was the end of act one.

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