This is Part 1 of Chapter 95 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "A Perfect Drift -- Part 2", the previous chapter.
POV: Ron Rosenblum, featuring Brian Kinney, Lew Blackmore, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Brian returns to L.A. August 2002.
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Watch Queer As Folk on Showtime, buy the DVDs, videos, and CDs. Read the stories and enjoy.
Lewis Blackmore, Brian's supposed agent, gives me a call in the middle of August. He's also Jimmy's agent, so I have to be civil to him. Anyway, Lew sounds pissed. "Listen, Ron, is that guy EVER going to call my office? Does he want me to represent him or not? Because I've got a pile of offers here for him to go over and it would be nice if he remembered I'm alive over here."
"Why, who are you talking about, Lew?" I ask, coolly, knowing full well. Lew is not my favorite person. I still think that Brian should use Freddy Weinstein, my own agent, but that's been a bone of contention since last spring. Jimmy thinks Brian and I having the same agent is a fucking conflict of interest, but I say, who has Brian's best interests at heart? Me, of course.
"Who the hell do you think, Ronnie? Your fucking boyfriend, that's WHO!"
"Brian, you mean?" I say, like I have a harem of guys over here and can't fucking keep track of them! "He's on vacation. That's probably why he hasn't called you." Or me, either, for that matter.
"Still? He's STILL on vacation? Well, you tell him to get his sweet ass back to this city! I have a couple of good, solid offers and one possible biggie on my desk and I NEED him here!"
"Why don't you just send the stuff on to me, Lew?" I say, evenly. That way I can sort out the offers. Bring the suitable projects to Brian's attention and not bother him with the rest. Since he's out of the country now anyway, I might have time to check out a few of these film possibilities. If I'd had a chance to look into that fucking Dorian Folco before I let Brian accept THAT limey film, I could saved Brian a lot of grief this past summer.
"No fucking WAY, Ronnie! You're Freddy Weinstein's client, not mine. I'm not dealing with Brian through YOU! And that's final!"
"At least run what you have by me, Lew. I can pass the word on to Brian. If he's interested, then he's sure to call you."
"Well..." Lew is wavering. Come one, Lew -- just send me the stuff, you asshole. "I've got a bunch of print ads. Mainly for men's cologne, fashion, you name it. You know those 'Vanity Fair' photos that are coming out in November? Apparently the photographer has been passing proofs of that shoot to all his fucking fag friends in New York and they are going nuts over them."
"Yeah, what, Ron?"
"I'm a fucking fag, so watch your fucking mouth. Okay?"
"Oh. Right. Anyway, I'm getting inquiries every day just on those pictures alone. When the actual issue comes out, it'll go through the roof!"
"I don't really care about a bunch of crummy perfume ads, Lew. What real offers do you have? What about films?"
"I hate to say anything until I talk to Brian directly, but I got a feeler from New York. Woody."
"Woody Allen? I don't believe you." But I do believe it. I fucking believe it for certain.
"Jimmy Hardy put that bee in Woody's bonnet when Jimmy was filming in New York this summer, I'm sure of it." Lew is also Jimmy's agent, so I know Lew has this one right. "Jimmy was talking to Woody about a month ago at that club where he plays with the jazz band. Jimmy was pushing Brian to Woody and apparently sent him some clips. Seems he's looking for a tall, good-looking guy for a small part in his next picture."
"What's the role?"
"Who knows? Who cares? Woody never lets anyone know what the project is. Half the fucking time the ACTORS don't know what they are playing! But it's prestige, no matter what!"
"Shit," I say, half to myself.
"What's wrong, Ron? I thought you'd be delirious about this! It could be a great showcase for your boy. Woody Allen's flicks may not make a lot of dough these days, but he's got a lot of big fans in the Industry. Even a small part could get a lot of attention. Or is that what you're afraid of?"
"I don't know what you mean, Lew."
"Maybe you don't want certain people to do TOO well, huh? Unless it's on YOUR project. Is that it, Ron?" Lew sounds so smug. He's an asshole.
But I don't want to admit that he's also right -- to a point. I want Brian to be a hit in MY film. In OUR movie. That's where he needs to make his mark first. "You are so full of shit, Lewis."
"Possibly. But MY job is to find Brian work -- not to stroke YOUR ego, Ron. Remember that." And he hangs up on ME! The prick!
Goddamn it! I want Brian to get a couple of decent parts. To be successful. But people don't realize how much he needs ME to help him do it! To stay on track! Look what happened to him over in London. In trouble the minute he was out of my sight. And that fucking little Dorian Folco can't keep someone like Brian in line.
No one can. Which is why Brian needs me so much. Even if he doesn't realize it.
LAX is a bitch -- as usual.
Having a studio driver makes it a bit more bearable -- but not much. It's hot as fuck and the traffic and the security and the people....
Let's face it -- I'm going nuts here waiting for Brian to arrive. It's all I've been able to think about for the last fucking month! How everything is going to be different. How I'M going to be different. I'm NOT going to fuck it up THIS time! Really!
I've warned the girls -- especially Carmel -- that I don't want to hear any smart remarks about Brian, in English OR Spanish. Brian understands enough to know when they are insulting him. So NONE of that shit. And they better have his favorite juices -- fresh and not canned! -- and coffee and all the other things that he likes stocked up. And they better not run out. Or be 'too busy' to make something that he wants. In other words, they better fucking shape up -- or they are BOTH out of here!
I also got some new equipment in the gym. And a new printer for Brian's computer. I even hired a kid from the neighborhood to come over and wash and polish up the Mustang. It looks great and I keep going out to the garage, picturing him sitting in it, driving it down Ventura or up the Pacific Coast Highway with the top down.
And I pulled all the little gadgets out of the poolhouse. I thought it was best to do that, especially after I told him that I'd already done it. Let's face it, it was a fucking stupid thing to do! It nearly ruined everything! And, like I say, I'm not making a mistake like that again. And it's not like Brian would really check up on them. I'm sure he was just kidding about bringing a security expert in to do a sweep. But the last thing I want is for him to feel paranoid around his own home.
In other words, everything is perfect. Or, rather, everything will BE perfect. Once Brian gets here.
I know he's going to be beat when he gets off the plane. Even traveling First Class -- yes, Trans-Con calls it 'Business Class' now like all the rest, but at THOSE prices it's still fucking First Class to me! -- is exhausting. I don't care if he WAS on vacation. Spending a week on some backwater island with a baby and a couple of dykes -- not to mention that fucking kid hanging on him all the time -- has got to be a strain on any man's nerves.
So, I'm not planning anything too much for when he gets back. I only have a couple of days before I have to go with Jimmy to Venice for the Film Festival. We have to promote 'The Olympian' as much as possible to get some foreign distributors. Jimmy and I have a short teaser reel that we're going to show -- it ought to get a LOT of attention! The scene with Brian and Jimmy in the alley outside the bar should knock a few socks off! It knocks MY fucking socks off every time I watch it -- and I shot it!
Then Brian has to go back to London for some post-production work. I'm not crazy about that. I think about how he got into trouble in London -- and the same fucking temptations are still there. But there's nothing I can do about it. When that damned Dorian called here I was sure it was a personal call. But he made it clear that it's business, just business. Not that I believe there was nothing going on there! I saw the look on Folco's face that night at the hotel. He's so hot to get at Brian he can't even SIT straight!
Well, maybe nothing actually happened there, but it might have. After all, Brian had that fucking little Justin with him and HE was supposed to keep Brian occupied so he wouldn't end up running all over town looking for tricks. So, what does he do? Runs all over town looking for drugs! But that arrest seems to have thrown a good scare into Brian. So maybe there was a decent outcome of a horrible situation. After all, the trip didn't turn out so badly. Brian sees now just where his real place is. And we can make a fresh start. Which is why I want everything to be perfect now!
But then, right after Venice, is the Toronto Film Festival. It's just one fucking thing after another! There won't be a lot of time for me to get Brian settled down here, get him used to being at home, and used to being back with me. I'm going to have to be firm with him, one way or another, before we start the press junkets. He's got to stop fucking around and focus on career stuff. That's the main priority. No tricking and no drugging. Because there's going to be a huge campaign for 'The Olympian' by the studio and Brian has to be clean, sober, and cooperating all the way. And doing what I tell him to do.
Then will be the big push all the way up to the Academy Award nominations in February. I KNOW we're going to get some! Jimmy for certain. Maybe even Brian! And Freddy thinks the screenplay has a shot at a Best Adaptation nomination for me. That would be a fucking kick! I think Brian and I should have a big party to celebrate. The nominations are announced near Valentine's Day -- that might make a good theme for a celebration bash... and maybe even more....
I can't help but feel on top of the world. Everything is panning out exactly the way I've planned it -- and that feels great!
Because of security concerns, they won't let you go down to the gates anymore. It's ridiculous, really, but I wait behind the stupid barrier, pacing back and forth. I know the fucking plane is on the ground -- the board says so! So where the hell is Brian? Then it occurs to me that he's blown me off. That he isn't coming. That's he's somewhere in Pittsburgh, still. Or even worse, heading straight back to London to meet that poisoned midget, Dorian Folco!
I've just about worked myself into a frenzy of doubt, when I see this apparition coming towards me. Coming right up to me. Stopping in front of me.
"Well?" says the apparition with what sounds like Brian's voice.
I can only stare at it. "What the FUCK have you done to yourself, Brian?" I'm fucking sputtering!
"Nothing. I've been on my vacation." And the apparition that claims it is Brian lumbers on towards the baggage claim area.
I'm almost too stunned to take in what I'm seeing. Brian is wearing a pair of jeans that look like someone took a razorblade to them, slashed out at the knees and in various other places -- some just missing getting him busted for indecent exposure. Now, this might be kind of hot -- in the right context. But these jeans are also filthy-looking and ill-fitting, like they really belong to someone much larger -- and with an ass about twice the size of Brian's. And holding them up is an old leather belt with a big bucking bronco buckle on it!
The top half is, if anything, even worse. He's got on a faded red tee-shirt with a logo for what I can only imagine is the world's worst rock band, some outfit called Ben Dover and the Screamers. And over THAT he has on a red and green and purple plaid flannel shirt -- Brian in a goddamn flannel shirt! -- that looks like he stole it off some fat guy at a fucking tractor pull!
But that isn't even the worst part. His beautiful hair, which is usually expensively cut and meticulously groomed -- Brian is so fucking fastidious about his hair that it verges on the obsessive! -- is long and straggly and looks like it hasn't been washed in days. And his face hasn't seen a razor in at least a week -- maybe longer. To top off this horrific sight, stuck on his head is a battered Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap.
"Brian," I say, following behind him. I feel like I'm chasing the garbageman through Los Angeles International Airport! "I can't believe you got on the plane looking like that!"
He shrugs. "I didn't change in the toilet, Ron."
"But Brian -- you were flying First Class!"
"So?" he says. "I had my ticket."
"But Brian -- you have a fucking closet full of designer clothes! I saw some of the new suits you got in London! Gucci, Armani! Why didn't you wear that new green Prada?"
He gazes at me evenly. "It's all just material possessions, isn't it, Ron? Meaningless in the larger scheme of things." He blinks -- and then takes out a stick of chewing gun, unwraps it, and pops it into his mouth. "They're all just clothes, after all," he explains, between chomps of gum. "What's the difference between this..." He fingers the hideous flannel shirt. "And that green suit? Nothing, really."
"Yes, there is, Brian! The difference IS that flannel thing is repulsive -- and the Prada suit was gorgeous! I mean, come on, Brian!" I just keep staring at him, like I'm looking at a bad car crash at the side of the road and can't tear my eyes away. Why would someone so beautiful want to cover themselves up in this hideous manner? It's inexplicable to me.
"Designer labels are meaningless bullshit, don't you agree, Ron? The only people who care about what a person is wearing are shallow souls who only see the surface value of things and not their intrinsic, moral worth."
Huh? What it THIS about? "What the fuck have you been reading, Brian? Did that Dorian Folco give you some weird religious tract or something? Because this isn't funny at all!"
"Dorian didn't give me anything," Brian sighs. "I'm afraid Dorian is another one of those who values people for their surface beauty, rather than for what they radiate from within." He snaps his gum. And then he snaps it again.
"It's those two dykes, isn't it? I bet that flannel shirt belongs to one of THEM!" I look at what he's wearing. Maybe the WHOLE outfit belongs to that other dyke -- Lindsay's girlfriend. What's her name? Mel! I've never seen a picture of her, but I imagine she's a hefty broad who could arm wrestle Schwarzenegger. Yes, I could see her wearing those awful jeans. Maybe the hat, too. "I KNEW you shouldn't fucking spend a lot of time with those women!"
"Why not, Ron? They have beautiful souls, man. And they ARE raising my son. I was thinking that the three of them could come out here and live. I really miss Gus. He's beautiful, too, you know?" We get to the baggage carousel and Brian begins pulling his suitcases off the contraption. There are FOUR of the things. And all filled with beautiful clothes. Which he isn't wearing!
"That would be nice. Maybe you could find them a little house out in the Valley or something," I say, absently.
Brian turns to look at me. "The Valley? Why would I bring them all the way out here only to dump them out in the Valley?" He pulls ANOTHER fucking suitcase off the belt. "I was thinking that they could live with us. There's plenty of room in the guest room for Lindsay and Mel. And the smaller room for Gus. And your mother's room would make a nice nursery for the new baby."
"The new baby?" Shit! I forgot all about THAT! Brian was doing that female while she was visiting here in June! Fuck! "My mother's room? But, Brian, then where will my mother stay when she's here in Los Angeles?"
"I'm sure she'll be happy in the poolhouse. As long as she doesn't mind the observation posts in there." A little edge creeps into his voice.
"Brian, I already told you -- I pulled that shit out of there! There's nothing in the whole house! You can check it out yourself -- if you don't TRUST me."
He smiles at me. "Okay. I'll get it checked out. I wouldn't want you accidentally catching Lindsay and Mel going at each other, Ron. It might end up turning you straight again."
I blanch at the thought of those women in my house. And the thought of Brian WITH those women. He couldn't have... couldn't possibly be fucking BOTH of them? No, impossible. But now I am certain that those dykes have planted some weird notions into Brian. And it looks like I'm going to have my work cut out for me getting him turned back around here.
A number of people are glancing at Brian as he piles the suitcases on a dolly. Now, I'm used to people looking at Brian. Men and women, both. Everywhere we go. But this is different. They are looking at him like someone should be calling Security -- or the Hazardous Waste Patrol! But Brian is oblivious. He plops his carry-on on top of the other cases. "Okay. Which way?"
"Brian, let's get a skycap to do that."
"Why? I'm capable of pushing the thing myself. Besides, I don't believe in the exploitation of other workers when I am full able to do things for myself. "
"But that's the skycap's JOB! We're not exploiting him!"
"Still - it doesn't seem right. That man should be out fulfilling his chosen destiny instead of toiling away at menial tasks in this non-environmentally friendly technocratic monolith."
"Huh? What the fuck did you say?"
"Never mind, Ron," says Brian. And he's smiling serenely as he pushes the luggage cart out the door.
Continue on to "The Difficult Kind -- Part 2", the next section.
©Gaedhal, October 2002
Updated October 16, 2002