1495 c/o Benjamin King

Orlando Innamorato (“Orlando in Love”)

“Italians do it better” proclaimed Orlando’s t-shirt. “It” being sex or fucking or whatever. But not hand jobs. Come on, hand jobs are something you’d give a guy not a girl and Orlando was not into guys. Even though he was Italian. Or he wasn’t actually Italian but his “thing” was being Italian. By that I mean all of Orlando’s friends would say things like “oh dude, you are so Italian” on account of he studied in Turin last summer and he could say lots of Italian things like “Sono affamato for spicy meatballs,” which means “I’m hungry for spicy meatballs.” Plus, he often wore t-shirts that emphasized how Italian he was.

Anyway, Orlando was popular with the girls on campus (girls like Italian guys, especially when they say Italian things about meatballs or other Italian food items). And one girl, who lived in the dorm next to Orlando’s, totally had the hots for him. Her name was Boof and she was super plain in the face. Not totally ugly but you know, the kind of girl who, oh wait a minute, her name wasn’t Boof. That was the girl in Teenwolf. I just watched that on TBS last weekend. It was something like Boof. Or maybe it wasn’t anything like Boof but she kind of reminds me of Boof. What was it? Fuck I hate it when that happens. I’m just going to call her Boof because her name isn’t important. Just remember that she is totally plain in the face but she’s pretty nice and I’d say she probably wouldn’t cheat on you even if she got a bit drunk and some guy tried to convince her that fingers don’t count. But even though Boof was really horny for him (as horny as a girl who is totally plain in the face can get) he was saving himself for another. In fact, he was innamorato with somebody completely different. That’s Italian for “in love” or actually I think it might mean “enchanted” but “enchanted” means “in love” as far as I can tell so whatever.

Unfortunately for Orlando, the girl who had captured his heart was unattainable. And as his friends would often remind him, “gross” and “old.” Her name was Carol Potter, the actress best known for her portrayal of Cindy Walsh on the hit television show Beverly Hills 90210. Not Carol Potter the poet, although he did accidentally send Carol Potter the poet a bawdy e-mail one time and she responded in the affirmative to a question I won’t repeat here. Orlando was not completely delusional, however. He understood that Carol Potter the woman (the actress, not the poet) was not the same as Cindy Walsh the character. In fact, Orlando first fell in love with Carol Potter while watching a featurette that was included on the 90210 second season DVD box set: “Meet the Walshes: Carol Potter (Cindy Walsh) and James Eckhouse (Jim Walsh) take a reflective look back at their days on the Beverly Hills 90210 set.”

In the aforementioned featurette, Carol Potter was confident and sexy and funny and she had a permed helmet haircut that Orlando was really into. He also got the impression somehow that she would probably be way into Italian guys. So from that moment on Orlando made it his mission in life to meet, have intercourse with, and marry Carol Potter the actress not the poet. She might be too old to have his kids so he figured he’d wait and see what that situation was all about before adding offspring to his fantasy.

On Orlando’s 20th birthday Boof dropped by to give him a present. “Is that true?” she asked pointing at Orlando’s t-shirt. “Do Italians really do it better?” Orlando blushed and said “sì la signora.” Boof cheesed up a little bit (remember Boof isn’t her real name so don’t focus on her name being Boof). “And ‘it’ means ‘doing it’ right?” she asked. Orlando thought about that for a minute then said something like “well that would make it ‘Italians do doing it better’.” And then he thought about it again and said “yes, that kind of makes sense, I suppose.”

So then Boof said “if you ever need a second opinion just let me know.” That was her way of telling Orlando that she would totally like to hook up with him. Orlando knew Boof was into him pretty deep but he also knew that she was super plain in the face and that he was still hoping to score with Carol Potter the actress not the poet.

“I got this for you” said Boof, handing him an envelope.

It was two bus tickets to Los Angeles. Orlando was all “why are you giving me two bus tickets to LA?” and Boof was all “it’s for your birthday” and Orlando was all “yeah, but why are you giving me two tickets to LA?” and Boof was all “because I’m going to help you track down Carol Potter the actress not the poet” and then Orlando was all “oh, hell yeah.”

You might think that’s a pretty extravagant gift for a college kid but actually they went to UC Irvine so a bus ticket to LA is pretty cheap. Not that Boof wouldn’t have spent a lot of money on Orlando, but I’m just saying. It’s more about how she was helping Orlando requite his love than about some big fancy gift. That’s kind of how girls who are super plain in the face usually are. Just pretty nice people.

So the very next day Boof and Orlando made the trip to LA. Orlando had stayed up all night making an iMix for Carol Potter the actress not the poet. He imagined them sharing a single set of headphones as they bopped their heads in unison to “Love is a Battlefield” and other hi-fi love songs. He liked those earphones that are kind of rubbery and they go in your ear because those other ones don’t ever fit his ears right. “Italians have little ears,” he would tell anybody who would listen. I don’t think Italians do have little ears because I looked it up one time after Orlando said it to me. I didn’t find anything that conclusively said Italians don’t have little ears but I figure if they did have little ears then somebody probably would have documented it somewhere.

Boof’s cousin used to be a writer on a TV show called “The New Adventures of Beans Baxter,” which was a pretty good show, you should check it out but it probably isn’t on DVD I guess so I wouldn’t bother going to any extraordinary lengths to watch it. I mean it was good but you know, not that good. I mention it because Boof’s cousin still has an agent even though he hasn’t really done anything since Beans Baxter and Boof asked her cousin to ask her agent to find out where Carol Potter lived. You should know by now that it is Carol Potter the actress not the poet that I’m talking about so I’m just going to call her Carol Potter from now on. So anyway, they got the address and showed up at Carol Potter’s house. She lives in Van Nuys in kind of a regular people house, you know not one of those giant mansions with the buzzer thing out the front, which was a bit disappointing to Orlando. Not because he wanted her to be really rich or anything. It’s just that he’d planned on saying something Italian into the buzzer thing and then playing his iMix into it until Carol Potter came out in her dressing gown to see the face of the man who spoke such fluent Italian and who played such awesome love songs.

So Boof and Orlando knocked on the front door and part of Orlando’s fantasy came true because Carol Potter answered the door in her robe. Orlando could see quite high up on Carol Potter’s leg because the dressing gown was tied pretty loosely and he couldn’t help but try and look at her boobs too but he couldn’t really see anything. He got a boner partially because he could see pretty high up on her leg and partially because he couldn’t see any boob but he wanted to and not seeing boob but wanting to was enough to give Orlando a boner.

After a brief introduction Carol Potter invited Boof and Orlando inside and offered to make them a sandwich. “Sono affamato for spicy meatballs,” said Orlando. “How about cheese and bean sprouts?” said Carol Potter. She was a vegetarian but not a vegan because she still ate cheese and other dairy foods. Sometimes she ate hamburgers too so she wasn’t a strict vegetarian. It would probably be fairer to say Carol Potter doesn’t eat much meat rather than Carol Potter is a vegetarian. Either way.

Orlando desperately wanted to woo Carol Potter and he knew this was his one and only opportunity so he pulled out all the stops. He leaned in so that his “chi ha tagliato il formaggio” t-shirt was on full display and he winked and said “l'amo Carol Potter.” I suspect she might have thought Orlando was calling her a lame-o or else she just thought he was a greasy type of Italian instead of a “do it better” type of Italian or whatever the reason she just patted Orlando on the head and then a voice came booming from another room and it was a man saying “have you seen my pants honey?” and not to start any rumors or anything but it sounded a bit like James Eckhouse but maybe Carol Potter is married to some dude who sounds a bit like James Eckhouse or maybe it was James Eckhouse’s twin brother because James Eckhouse has a twin brother or it could have been anybody really because it’s been a while since I’ve seen James Eckhouse in anything and I’m not really sure I’m remembering his voice right anyway.

Orlando was clearly dejected but Boof could tell that he still had a bit of a boner because he was wearing shorts and she could see that his penis was pressed up against the shorts in a way that it wouldn’t be if he did not have a boner at all. So even though Carol Potter looked like she kind of wanted to get back to James Eckhouse, Boof kept the conversation going to see if maybe there was some way to turn things around for her friend. Well he was more than a friend since Boof wanted to get with Orlando in a nude raunchy kind of way but somehow she figured if she did something nice for Orlando he would see how really caring she is even though she is super plain in the face and maybe he would want to stick his boner into her vagina instead of Carol Potter’s.

“Got any movie or TV work coming up?” asked Boof. “Oh, no” replied Carol Potter, “I’ve pretty much given up on that life. I’m into translating 15th century Italian literature now.”

Orlando pooped in his pants a little bit.

“Actually, I’m editing a book now. It’s a new translation of Orlando Innamorato, the epic poem written by the Italian Renaissance author Matteo Maria Boiardo. It was published in 1495 but has been largely ignored in the years since. Beautiful, beautiful piece. Witty and sweet and engaging and … oh, do you want a copy of the latest manuscript? I could sign it for you?”

“What’s it about?” asked Boof sensing there may yet be some kind of Italian connection to draw the two back together.

“It’s about this boy named Orlando…”

“Hey, mi chiamo l'orlando” said Orlando (in Italian).

“And he’s madly deeply in love with Angelica, a homely girl next door type.”

“Hey, my name is Angelica,” said Boof. Oh wait, that’s right, Boof’s name is really Angelica. Shit, I knew it would come to me eventually. Well, I’m not going back to change it now.

Carol Potter looked at her two young visitors incredulously. “You’re kidding? Right? Orlando and Angelica? That is too sweet. And look at you, Orlando, you are all handsome and Italian just like in the poem. And Angelica, you’re super plain in the face. You’re meant for each other.”

On the bus ride home Angelica gave Orlando a hand job and he was totally into it.