Linda looks up from her dusting. "Sure, Bo." She moves to his chair and bends to take his glass. Her breasts strain against the top of her bikini. She walks off toward the bar in a languid shuffle. Belinsky follows her with his eyes, shakes his head and says, "So many broads, man, so many broads. It's a shame.... What are those lines, 'Give me 10 stouthearted men, and soon I'll have 10,000 more.' Well, make mine chickies." He laughs. He slides down into his chair, only the top of his head visible, and he laughs. When his laughter fades, he is still smiling to himself.
"My problem was simple, Babe," he says, staring straight ahead. "I heard music nobody else heard. I remember once in the Texas League when the team bus stopped in Veracruz so we could eat. All the players went into the restaurant except me. I thought I heard music down the street, so I went looking for it. I found a two-piece jazz band playing on the sidewalk in front of a bar. I listened for a while, and when they went inside, I followed them. I had a few drinks and then left. I had every intention of returning to that bus until I ran into another jazz band. I followed them into a bar, too. What I didn't know was that all these bars hired jazz bands to lure customers inside. Man, after that bar, it seemed like every step I took there were these buglers waiting for me. I woke up six days later in a hotel room in Acapulco. I had a sponsor. This blonde Mexican—she had to be blonde, right!—was sitting by the bed saying, 'Belinsky! Belinsky! I make you great yanqui bullfighter! But first we must change your name.' I said, 'Sure, Babe, we'll change it to Lance. Lance Belinsky, how's that?' My team? By that time it was in Mexico City. We had gone in different directions. It was always like that with me."
By now it is 10 o'clock. The sun has begun to move from behind the chimney. It floods through the glass doors. Belinsky raises a hand to shade his eyes. With the other he searches across the coffee table for his sunglasses. When he finds them, he puts them on. "That's better," he says.
"I don't feel sorry for myself. I knew sooner or later I'd have to pay the piper. You can't beat the piper, Babe; I never thought I could. But I'll tell you who I do feel sorry for—all those guys who never heard music." Again he falls back into his chair, laughing.
The doorbell rings. It is the telephone repairman. Linda leads him to the glass doors and points down at the swimming pool. The telephone repairman stares for a very long moment. "How did they get in the swimming Pool?" he says. Linda shrugs. "There was a call for Lloyd Bridges," she says, handing Belinsky his drink.
"A call for Lloyd Bridges?" Bo repeats. "That's trippy, Babe. That's real trippy." He takes his glass and raises it before his eyes. "To amnesia."
The telephone man has found the sockets from which the telephones were removed. He looks over his shoulder and declares, "The phones were ripped out of the wall."
Belinsky glances at him and says, "Is that a fact, Babe? Ripped out, huh?" He shakes his head in disbelief. It was Belinsky who had removed the telephones from the wall hours before. When he had come home from the all-night party, he had been met at the door by Phil, who told him he'd been kept awake answering calls from friends of Bo's. "A new arrangement must be worked out," said Phil. Belinsky replied, "Sure, Babe," and walked over to the telephones, ripped them from the sockets and threw them through the sliding glass doors (which, fortunately, had been opened) into the swimming pool. The phones are there still, perfectly upright, receivers on hooks, coils winding along the pool floor and terminating abruptly in a spray of exposed wires.
It was not, however, Belinsky's disagreement with Phil that precipitated the outburst. Its seeds had been sown earlier in the evening. Belinsky and four male friends had been making their usual rounds of Sunset Strip nightclubs. They had stopped at the Sports Page, a hangout for professional athletes, and then gone on to The Candy Store, a Beverly Hills discotheque frequented by Hollywood celebrities. At both places Belinsky's party was virtually ignored. It was seated at darkened tables far removed from the action. Belinsky went unrecognized except for two isolated incidents. At the Sports Page, he was approached by a potbellied man who wanted him to play on his Sunday-morning softball team. "A great way to stay in shape," said the man. "We have free beer after the game." At The Candy Store, Belinsky was approached by a gray-haired man dressed entirely in white, like Tom Mix, who said he was a movie producer and wanted to film Belinsky's life. "I have just the title," said Belinsky. "We'll call it A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to a Career." The man in white said, "That's good, Bo. That's very, very good. Maybe you can play yourself. Can you act?"
"Have I got an act!" said Belinsky.