But Sterling, you're already dead...
But I wanted to tell you about the one man band, the one woman band, I should say—actually, it’s a one girl band--that of Sterling Fassbinder’s slutty twelve year old sister. Not the real Sterling Fassbinder, but the girl who’s playing her part in the desert epic I’m filming out here. The actress was just your typical small town, chain-smoking waitress until I cut and bleached her hair and taught her how to walk. The real Sterling Fassbinder is stuck back in Brooklyn and is a former junkie and sometimes DJ and a writer on this blog with two missing fingers and a day job on Park Avenue. The real Sterling Fassbinder doesn’t have a sister—she had a twin brother once but he drowned in front of her when they were four. He rode his tricycle into an uncovered pool and disappeared beneath the surface without making hardly a ripple, either in the water or in Sterling’s panic stricken brain. She forgot all about him—a feat of repression matched only by that of her parents, who became born again Christians and brain washed themselves and their daughter into believing it had always only been the three of them, a charade that was successful until years later, when Sterling and I were sleeping on the beach in Jersey and shooting enough drugs to kill a horse and she had a vision and ran out into the sea.
At that point she wasn’t only a dyke but she was a serious boy dyke, meaning she went around dressing and talking and acting like a boy. She was the kind of hardcore chick who kept the piece strapped on under her jeans when she went out the door. She was even thinking of scamming her way to Italy to get a chunk of flesh cut off her ass and fixed with hydraulic tubes and then sewn between her legs. She was going to have to get off the dope to have even half a chance at qualifying for this Frankenstein dick—even in Europe—but getting clean wasn’t an option at that point, which was actually a good thing because eventually the drugs cracked open her head and shook everything out of it, and on that fateful summer evening she could finally see that what she wanted wasn’t to be a boy but to be her brother. Her long lost twin brother named Sterling.
I remember grabbing the blanket and running into the foamy surf where she was flailing about like she was drowning, even though the water was only up to her shins. Her multitude of purple and green bruises turned dark and shiny like oil paint. A sound was coming out of her—it was like nothing I’d ever heard before, a tremendous, guttural moan making me think of birth and zombies.
I wrapped the blanket around her and led her out of the water. She was shaking uncontrollably. Her eyes didn’t seem to be working. She stopped moaning and started whispering the same words, over and over:
“But Sterling, you’re already dead. Sterling, you’re already dead.”
I tilted her face up towards the sky. I remember really wishing we had a camera, because her thousand-yard stare would have made a great picture. Something I could have held on to. As it is the only picture I have of the real Sterling Fassbinder is over exposed. She’s in my bathroom with the yellow tiles and the yellow bathtub and her face looks like a ghost. I showed it to the girl who’s playing her part but I don’t think it provided any real insights or inspiration.