September song, a seasonal dirge for a cruelly unyielding landscape, the brain a vicious jumble of frippery and unsavory associations, one vast over-the-top Hitchcock dream sequence. The internal nightmare curiously more tolerable than reality, lately a battleground straight out of cable television hell, uncannily like a Jane Whitney trash talk show come to life. Ugly people, ugly problems, everyone compelled to inflict the inner beasts of their psyche on the American populace. Everything is permitted, nothing really matters, and a nation of insatiable witnesses -- or so the delusion goes -- are hungering for the only extravaganza that counts for anything, your own personal movie, the high concept blockbuster that never ends.

Resolved to lead a good, sort-of-clean existence, clinging to the safe removal of television, the inevitable greased slide into the dream state of clubs gradually taking hold like a fever. The Capponi/James presentation of "Global Village" at Bang, an uncensored remake of a Sixties it's-all-happening movie, sex strut girls dancing on tables, "I Put a Spell on You" pounding over the sound system. Greg Brier of Velvet reminiscing about an old college roommate, a rabid Jim Morrison devotee given over to rock psychosis: three hits of acid directly on a sweating forehead, the naked carcass covered with Doors albums, jumping up on occasion and exposing his private parts to sorority girls. Our own appendage suspended in permanent deepfreeze, doing an ignore on all the rampant dog desire and railing about real estate, the other conversational mainstay of the Beach: more rewarding than sex, undoubtedly, but just as vexing.

Into the night, accompanied by fragments of background dialogue ("I don't care what they say about your lips -- they look great"..."You've been very nice, despite what you think of me") and trailing fliers. One club or another, Mother Kibble bouncing about, along with the good gay/bad gay force field of Julian Bain, Mr. Showman, hyping his "Love Always...Antonio" party at Stray Dog: "It's strippers from the Boardwalk, amenable and gorgeous, with ten-inch dicks and asses so smooth you could eat pancakes off them. Boys messing with each other, dancing in plastic stalls with glory holes, really delightfully retro. I don't know if you'll be offended, but I've always wanted to do one thing that was just fun, all about sleaze and sex." Too burnt out for offense or sleaze, winding up at The Spot with Michael Capponi, last call for the relentless. An industrial thug, a long-lost colleague from Capponi's early days as a bar back at Bayside's "Let's Make a Daiquiri" managing to horrify all of us, screaming epithets into the darkness: "That black bastard: I can't believe they kicked me out and let a fucking nigger stay inside. A white man can't get anywhere any more; this city sucks."

Out of the horror, a weekend field trip to Orlando, the world of light, kitsch, and eerie suburban pleasantness. The obligatory pilgrimage to the waters of Lourdes, the sustaining fantasy of Disney World. Adults falling apart on the field, one overheated mother collapsing during the Magic Kingdom parade, the children all oblivion and enchantment, buying into every calculated moment. Into the modern world as represented by Epcot, the unwholesomely controversial Michael Jackson dancing through the megamusic video "Captain EO," our thoughts drifting to sister/enemy mine LaToya Jackson, readying for the big break she so richly deserves.

Back to sweet home Miami, bad kitsch and karma galore. A stint as a radio talk show guest, the high-minded civic tone interrupted twice by a Broadway fan/pervert, erupting in transmogrified show tunes: "Oh, for the love of sodomy.... If I had a penis, I'd stick it right in...." Van Dome, publicist Seth Gordon relaying an old anecdote about a certain legendary Grove stick man filing suit against Linda Lovelace over the commercial exploitation of his good name, Deep Throat having the audacity to write about his sexual prowess in her autobiography. On a rare virtue-finally-being-rewarded note, fave rave attorney Henri Spiegal selling the rights to the life story of Dr. Betsy Smith -- a local researcher who works with the healing interaction between dolphins and special children -- to Warner Bros. films, Jodie Foster attached as star and director. Spiegal, unfortunately, not exactly going ballistic over the financial possibilities of our own somewhat more turgid career.

Another clash of the titans coming up at The Colony, a publicist springing for dinner with English journalist David Thomas, author of Not Guilty: The Case for the Defense of Man. The rather controversial treatise, apparently, advancing the argument that women are just as nasty and generally shitty as men. Between mouthfuls of steak, Thomas speculating on the district ("It's everything a resort should be: hot, corrupt, stylish") and lobbing cascade-of-filth celeb stories. Arnold Schwarzenegger, steriod abuser, closet queen Nazi sympathizer, beater of Brigitte Nielsen, and worst yet, car thief. Greedy little bugger Mick Jagger working on a deal to beam soap operas into Russia. Our own juicy unreported nugget about Madonna's early beginnings as prime livestock, owned by an investment syndicate that included Tampa zillionaire Hugh Culverhouse, inspiring a momentary ceasefire. Thomas reluctantly interrupting a lavish meal -- all so delicious, all so plentiful, all so free -- and actually taking notes, conceding defeat in the land of the free and fortunate.

Labor Day weekend, short, brutish, and nasty as America itself. Sunday, bloody Sunday, our low-rent neighborhood hot beyond human endurance, the mid-Beach boardwalk a sad expanse of oiled flesh. Stumbling out of the office and gaping aimlessly at the sea, and then miraculously, President Clinton jogging by, trailed by the Secret Service and the panting media, big Bill making a cheering keep-up-the-vital-work-of-the-nation wave in our direction. Winding down with "Tea on the Way," the new Spot/Stray Dog/Warsaw Sunday mixed tea dance on Espanola Way, topless girls and leather boys gyrating away on the ledge above Stray Dog, a clown on stilts tying dog-shaped balloons, debauchery undercut by the curse of longing. The eternal interpersonal dance, a previous conversation with Quentin Crisp -- the pioneer of modern self-actualization -- coming to mind in the human zoo:

"I've avoided getting involved with anyone; it's impossible to be witty, kind, and beautiful 24 hours a day. A long time ago, I spent four years worth of weekends with a neolithic beast, a creature of lust and nothing else. But his life turned out to be one of my great success stories; he's married now, with two children. Before her, you see, it had never occurred to him to take an interest in anybody else, and of course, he had always been terribly, terribly lonely.

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Tom Austin