Subject: Bjo ... Ellison??
as related by Lee Gold

". . . all of which need to be taken with some salt because it's been years since I heard them -- and of course the original report may not have been wholly accurate either."


Once upon a time, it was a LASFS Second Saturday, on a rainy day. We were sitting about, making desultory conversation with people when Bjo dropped in. (This was at the LASFS Clubhouse on Ventura Blvd., back in the mid-70s.)
Bjo was bitching about how she'd been at a convention lately where she'd encountered Harlan surrounded by his usual group of admirers. She'd waved hello and he'd obviously ignored her rather than merely not noticing her. So she yelled at him, "OK, Harlan Ellison, go ahead and pretend you didn't see me. But I remember when you got powdered sugar all over a policeman's knee proposing to me." And turned to walk away. And found that *most* of Harlan's admirers were following her.
At about this point, all the idle conversation in the room hushed to an absolute silence. And Craig Miller asked, "Bjo, would you tell us the story." So she did.
She said that she'd first entered fandom at a convention in the Bay ARea back when she was stil int he WAVES [and married to her first husband, IIRC]. She was in uniform and no makeup and didn't consider herself at all attractive. But of course there weren't many women in fandom back then, way before Star Trek. And Harlan had noticed her at once. After he'd talked to her for a few minutes, he told her: "Change your clothes, cut your hair, put on some makeup -- and I'll marry you."
"Forget it," she told him.
One of his followers (yes, he already had them) took her aside and told her -- in awed tones: "He wasn't kidding."
"Neither was I," she said.
But that didn't prevent Harlan from taking her under his wing and trying to introduce her to all the dleights of fandom and the Bay Area. This included persuading her to come with him and followers to a couple of good restaurants.
The first was a very stylish place, whose very dignified waiters were far too polite to notice the fans weren't behaving like normal mundanes. At one point in the meal, Harlan found that his wristwatch had stopped running. He wound it but that didn't help. He shook it. He slammed it on the table. Then -- hamming it up for his audience -- he dipped it first in his ice water and then mushed it onto the butter in the butter dish -- and held it up to exclaim piteously: "It *still* doesn't work!"
"Oh dear," said the waiter who had silently appeared with their food -- "and it's the very best butter."
Another time, they went out to a Chinese restaurant recommended by some pros (the Silverbergs?). A very nicely decorated restaurant with curtains separating the tables so each group had its share of privacy. Harlan asked for a menu, saying he'd order for the group.
"No, don't order," said the waiter. "Too many people. I'll bring you what's good today."
"I want the menu," said Harlan.
"Okay," said the waiter. "I'll bring you the menu. And then I'll bring you what's good today."
So Harlan placed a long and detailed order. And the waiter (who turned out to be the restaurant owner) brought them what was good that day -- occasioning outbursts of indignation from Harlan every time he noticed it wasn't one of the things he'd ordered. And they kept hearing strange sounds from the table on the other side of the cloth curtains.
Finally Harlan pulled the curtains -- and there were the pros who'd told him about the restaurant, along with a group of their friends -- all giggling hysterically and trying to muffle it.
But anyway, said Bjo, a year or two later, after she'd left the WAVES, there was another convention at which she was so sleepy that she got an obscene phone call (NOT from Harlan) and fell asleep on the caller -- and the next morning, when she still hand't woken up fully but was wandering around the convention [note: this was before con suites served coffee and soft drinks in the morning, let alone breakfast], Harlan grabbed her and took her out of the hotel for breakfast -- talking a blue streak.
"I've figured you out," he said. "You're a romantic. An incurable romantic."
Bjo grunted something incoherent while wondering if coffee would materialize soon and whether it would help her wake up. What Harlan did instead was stop at a street stand buy a dozen powdered doughnuts. "You're a romantic," he told her again -- and stopped at another stand to buy her a dozen roses. Then he escorted her off to a local park and had sit her down on the bench. He gave her the bag of donuts -- after taking a doughnut for himself.
"You're a romantic" he told her again, as she sat there holding the bag of donuts in one hand and the roses in the other. Then he knelt down at her feet and continued jabbering.
A policeman strolled toward them from the other side of the park, to say: "Miss, is this man annoying you?" just as Harlan swept his arms out wide and cried, "Will you marry me?" -- hitting the policeman's knee with the powdered sugar donut. The policeman -- with great dignity -- brushed at his knee and repeated his question. Bjo reasured him that Harlan wasn't dangerous -- and then turned her -- still sleep-befuddled -- attention to convincing Harlan that she really, truly didn't want to marry him.