This is Chapter 49 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "Have Your Cake", the previous chapter.
The narrator is Brian Kinney, featuring Lindsay Peterson, Justin Taylor, Ron Rosenblum, Gus, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Brian goes out with Lindsay, Justin, and Gus for Father's Day. Los Angeles. June 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.
I wake up in the poolhouse. This isn't unusual, since I've been sleeping in there pretty regularly, if not exclusively, since I returned from the Pitts. But for once I don't feel hungover or miserable. It only takes me a few seconds to realize why.
I roll over -- almost on top of Justin. He grunts and flips, putting his arms around me and grinding himself into me -- all without waking up. In my wide experience I have rarely found other men as constantly horny as myself, but Justin is absolutely in the top five. Okay, the top three.
That's one of the reasons I find it so hard to believe that he had gone without doing anything but jacking off in all the months I was away from Pittsburgh. Not that I don't think he's telling the truth -- I know he is. Justin may pull a fast one now and then -- hence, his presence in the poolhouse -- but he doesn't lie. It isn't his nature. But going five months without fucking -- I don't understand how it was possible, the same way I don't understand Lithuanian or the appeal of Country Music. If I went that long I'm sure I'd forget what the fuck to do. The time after I got out of the hospital and couldn't raise so much as a matchstick convinced me that He would never work again. And that alone was enough for me to consider blowing my brains out.
But Justin fixed that, too. Maybe he should forgo art and go into faith-healing? He might have just the new twist on that scam to make a big success at it.
I'm sure he's going to wake up shortly, but he sleeps on -- that deep, heavy sleep you see only in babies and those whose consciences are completely clear. I probably haven't slept that way since I was nine months old!
I check the clock on the computer and see that it's just before 11:00 a.m. Damn, Mom! I missed Mass again! Sorry about that. Maybe next week....
I know that if I'm taking everyone out for a big brunch I better get moving. Justin wriggles up against me again. This time his eyes are open. And something is definitely moving.
You know, brunch lasts all day in L.A. on Sunday. There's no reason to hurry and try and beat the rush.
I have to think of something different for this first excursion in L.A. I could always take them out for Thai, but that is so predictable -- especially for Justin. I always take him out for Thai. Funny, but Ron always used to take ME out for Thai food, way back when. I never thought of that before. Like I say, funny.
There's always sushi, but I know that Lindz won't be thrilled. Or one of the trendy places in Beverly Hills, but they are liable to be jammed any Sunday, let alone Father's Day. There's the beach, but we'll end up driving and driving and fucking driving.
Then I start wondering when Ron will be back and what exactly I'm going to say to him. I know he'll return in a foul mood due to my defection from the trip. He'll see that as a personal rejection -- and, let's face it, it WAS a personal rejection. I might as well have said 'fuck you' in front of everyone he knows. But when he pulls shit like this it really puts me in an impossible situation. He means well, but it's the actual performance that he always fudges. So ironic for a director. A writer. Someone who can plot things out so carefully and believably on paper and on the screen. A fucking genius, in his way. And he has no clue when it comes to reality. When it comes to me.
But then again, maybe it's ME. Maybe I really AM wrong and Ron's been right all along. That I have no idea what's good for me or how I should live my fucking life. That if I stop fighting and just let him take over things will work out. Go with the flow, he says. His fucking flow. He was right about the film, wasn't he? He's right about everything -- he's always telling me so.
And I start thinking this way. Start thinking about how every fucking thing I do and every fucking choice I make is wrong. Always the wrong thing. Isn't that what EVERYONE is always telling me? It would be so easy to simply go with that flow. Ron's flow. Become the replicant, just like Mikey said. It might not be that bad....
Except -- this day reminds me that there's one thing I didn't fuck up on. And that's Gus. Father's Day. I used to think it was such a joke! If it wasn't so laughable I'd really have to cry until I fell over! Like the thought of my old man, getting him a card and a present. Fucking pretending that everything was fine. Everything was great! That he didn't regret the fact that I even existed every moment of his life -- until I was old enough to hand him money on the sly.
But it isn't that way with Gus. And never will be. And that's why I have to stand my fucking ground and do things the way I have to do them, right or wrong. No matter what Ron or Lindz or Deb or Mikey have to say about it.
No matter what Justin has to say... But that's something different altogether. Another mistake, I always thought. Another thing that I ruined at every point, right down the line. But he doesn't seem to agree. What did he say in the Pitts? Mistake-proof. The one thing that never can be wrong -- at least in HIS mind. But I'm in doubt all the time, even now, when he's half-asleep, my cock still in his mouth.
But I do have an idea. One I got from Ron.
I give the boy a nudge. Not too hard, of course -- I don't want to lose my fucking dick! -- but enough to make him open his eyes.
"Hey, sonny boy. Tell me -- have you ever wanted to go to Hawaii?"
The Hawaiian Eye is a Tiki Bar. It's named for an old TV show and is about the campiest, most ridiculous place you'll find this side of the Liberace Museum.
The walls are lined with hideously carved masks and heads. Schlocky Hawaiian decorations everywhere. Fake palm trees and coconuts. Hefty waitresses in grass skirts and waiters in loud Aloha shirts. Plastic hula dancers on each table. What's not to love about the place?
And Lindsay and Justin love it. This is a Father's Day brunch gone truly wacko. But I think the occasion warrants it, because I'm a pretty wacko father. Gus is grabbing at every piece of trash he can reach -- and there's nothing in this place that isn't pure plastic.
We start with the drinks. They are, for the most part, large and weird. Lindsay orders the Sweet Leilani -- a pineapple and rum monstrosity served in a small swimming pool, with a large red flower floating on top. Justin gets a coconut thing that really is a glorified milkshake served in a huge ceramic coconut. He gets the non-alcoholic version, of course. I wouldn't want to corrupt the lad. I stick with a plain Bloody Mary. Gus gets fruit juice.
"A toast," says Lindz, standing up -- and I can see she's already tipsy after only half the Leilani. "To Brian -- who has surprised everyone with what a great, great father he is -- but most of all surprised himself."
And now I feel all self-conscious. What the fuck.
"Hear, Hear!" adds Justin, squeezing my thigh under the table.
"Watch your hand," I whisper.
"You watch it yourself," he whispers back.
"Later." I think about the poolhouse and this evening.
Since it's brunch, we pile up on the appetizers. The Eye's version of the pu pu platter is called the Volcano -- a ludicrously large tray of food with a tube in the middle passing as Moana Loa. It's really just a glorified can of sterno, but we go with the suspension of disbelief. Our waitress lights the thing and it spews multi-colored fire. Then you are supposed to stick pieces of meat, shrimp, whatever into the flames. It's like air fondue. It's completely stupid and the food isn't that good, but it must be the booze or the goofy atmosphere working on everyone, because we are all having fun. Even me. What the fuck, again.
I look around and see that the place is packed with families, each with their little volcano, spewing fire. With dumb old dad as the center of attention. And I'm stunned to realize that at our table that's me! This caps off the surreal ambience of the day.
Lindsay is giggling and this sets off Justin, too. He doesn't need a drink to start giggling. To my amazement, they pull out cards. For me. And little gifts.
"We decided to stay strictly traditional and give only the socially accepted traditional Father's Day gifts," says Lindz, handing me a long package.
I tear off the wrapping and open the box. The world's most hideous tie is inside.
"And, as is traditional, you will WEAR this tie proudly," says Lindsay. So, I take off my Italian silk tie and put it on. "The woman in the store said that the picture of Elvis was HANDPAINTED on there by a real artist."
"A REAL artist," adds Justin.
I begin to get suspicious. "YOU didn't paint this thing -- did you?"
"Who me?" He shrugs. What the hell. I leave it on.
The Don Ho music piping through the room seems to be getting louder. How many times can a person hear "Tiny Bubbles" without going insane? It would make an interesting research project for a budding social scientist. And how long do you have to listen to Don Ho before a previously sane man is ready to kill?
I open up Gus' present. Cufflinks. With my initials on them. BAK.
"Very traditional," Justin says. "What does the 'A' stand for?"
"You'll never know!" I answer. Lindz snorts.
I put those on, too.
Justin hands over his package. "You have to put my gift on right here, too, or else I'll feel slighted."
I open the box. It's a package of condoms and a tube of lube with a ribbon around it.
"Functional AND decorative," I remark.
"Remember -- you promised to put my present on right here." Justin leans against me.
"Later," I say, and pinch him under the table.
A very large Polynesian woman in a muumuu comes by with plastic leis for everyone. Even Gus has a small-sized one put around his neck. Then a cameraman appears, going from table to table.
"Oh, please! Brian!" Lindsay wheedles. "I want photos."
"It's a fucking scam!"
"But everybody is getting them taken. Pleeeaaasssse, Bri?" And she bursts into another round of giggles.
"Please?" Justin adds his voice to the fucking chorus.
The cameraman stops by. He poses Lindsay and I in the center, behind the volcano. Then Gus and I. Then Lindsay and Gus and I all together.
I fill out the form with my address for them to mail the developed pictures and add the cost of the pictures to the tab. Then I look over at Justin's face.
"Wait a minute," I say to the guy. "How about one more?"
Justin fastens himself to my side. The cameraman is unsure. This is NOT the typical Father's Day photo. What the fuck. "Just take it."
And as he snaps it, I kiss Justin. Lindsay bursts out into laughter and can't stop, which starts Gus up, too. Justin is bright red, but bursting in another way. And I feel like I'm drunk -- and I only had one very small Bloody Mary. It's a very peculiar feeling. Like I'm happy or something.
"I can hardly wait to get into the pool!" Justin laughs, and bursts through the door --
And promptly collides with Ron, who is standing in the kitchen, his face stormy. Shit.
"Oh, excuse me," Justin stutters, backing away as if he's just bumped into the Devil himself. And Ron is doing a rather good impression of that very fellow.
"I was just telling Mr. Ron that you were out to brunch! Where is that baby?" Carmel pushes her way to Lindsay's side and snatches Gus from her arms. She turns and shakes her finger at Justin. "You watch where you are running, chico! You will knock Mr. Ron on the ground!"
"And who do we have here?" Ron is facing Lindsay and smiling tightly, but his eyes are riveted on Justin. That I cannot miss.
"This is Lindsay -- and you can guess that this is Gus."
Ron takes Lindz's hand and looks her up and down, appreciatively. He even nods blandly at Gus. Babies are an alien life-form to Ron. Strange to think that they used to be to me, too, not all that long a go. So odd how your life and attitude can change in so short a time.
"What IS that you are wearing?"
"My new tie." I flick a speck off Elvis. "It's the latest. Don't you like it?"
Ron looks at me like I've lost my mind. And maybe I have.
Justin is kind of shrinking back against the kitchen counter, thinking he can avoid the introduction. But there's no postponing this moment. But before I can continue, Carmel opens up her trap.
"This is Lindsay's little brother, Justin. Like I was telling you, Mr. Ron -- he THINKS he is a nanny and can take care of this baby better than me! We will see about that!"
To my surprise, Justin steps right up. "I've been taking care of Gus since the day he was born! I think I know SOMETHING about it!" He sticks that jaw out, challengingly.
Carmel sniffs. "You are a silly little boy and you go and play video games or watch TV and leave this baby to ME while he is in this house!"
Then Lindz comes forward. "I think there is enough of Gus to go around. And I believe that Ron...," she moves over and sort of scoops him up, "...doesn't want to stand here and listen to a lot of baby talk. I know that I would like to sit down by the pool and relax a bit. Perhaps you could give me the REAL tour of the house, Ron? Brian is a bit wanting for those kinds of pleasantries."
I can see Ron hesitating. But one thing he is a sucker for and that's a charming, attentive female. Maybe it comes from escorting all those over-the-hill starlets all over town for so many years -- and actually liking it! Or spending his first 25 or so years as a confirmed breeder. Whatever it is, he finally smiles and takes Lindsay's arm and off they go. Carmel sighs and carries Gus into her room, where Maria is probably waiting to carry out some weird ritual on him.
That leaves me standing with Justin in the middle of the kitchen.
"That was close," he says.
"Close, huh? You think THAT was close? Christ!" I open the fridge and look for some water. "I don't like this fantasy of you as Lindsay's brother. And I don't think Ron will buy into it at all. He's not that dumb. In fact, he's not the least bit dumb. Did you see his face?" I turn to Justin. "He's going to be like a fucking bloodhound now!"
"I didn't say it! SHE said it!" He gestures towards the women's closed door. "I didn't plan all this -- it just kind of happened."
"But you DID plan to come out here without telling me. You didn't happen to fall into Lindsay's handbag accidentally just before the fucking plane took off?" I say, too frustrated. "Jesus, Justin! After all the trouble I've gone to arranging for London -- and you couldn't wait until then? You had to come out here now?"
But he looks at me directly, unapologetically. "Yes," he says. "I had to see what was going on here. Especially after you came home to Pittsburgh such a fucking wreck! That scared the shit out of me! I had to see for myself what was really happening."
"I'm still checking things out."
"I should fucking strangle you, you know?"
"That's a possible start." He moves closer to me. But I hold out my hand and stop him cold.
"What do you think you are doing?"
"Nothing -- yet."
"Stop right there. I want you to cool your fucking jets and continue to cool them while you are in this fucking house with Ron!"
"Because I don't need this aggravation, that's why! What if Carmel walks out to get some milk for Gus and finds you groping me next to the walk-in freezer?"
"She'll think we're a close-knit family?"
"Like I said -- take a chill for the time being." I stand back and away from him -- I cannot let myself take the fucking chance here! "You were going to go swimming. I suggest you go to the poolhouse, get into your suit, and do it."
"But what about Ron?"
"Yes, what about him? Always assume he's around and watching you -- because this is HIS place, so watch yourself. And I mean that." But he just stands and waits. "Go and swim. Now."
He turns, sighing melodramatically, and heads out to the pool.
"Come back here."
He reverses direction and trudges back, his head down. I pick up his chin and make him look at me. "It isn't a big fucking deal, okay? There's nothing he can do to you. I'm the only one who has to worry about it or deal with the fall-out, right?"
He nods. I glance around to see if anyone is lurking nearby, but there's no one. Then I kiss him on the mouth. He opens up his lips and tries to suck me in. "I don't think so. Now, scram." And he does. For now. Shit!
Yes -- shit. I had thought Ron wouldn't come home for at least another day. But his curiosity about Lindsay definitely got the better of him. And now I have to spend the rest of the week keeping him and Justin apart. If that is even possible.
Lindz and Justin are both decent swimmers, having grown up at the country club and with pools in every backyard in their neighborhood. I can just barely keep my head above water, but I'm getting better. At least I'm not sinking like a stone anymore. I thought Ron would have a heart attack the first time I tried to make it across the deep end and he had to fish me out with the pool skimmer.
It's a hot afternoon and the water feels good. Lindsay even talks about bringing Gus into the water -- he's practically sewn onto Carmel's lap, as she and Maria sit with him in the shade, Armani at their feet. But it makes me nervous. Little babies and water.
"If he's afraid of the water from the start, he'll end up afraid of the water when he's bigger." Lindsay looks at me, pointedly. Jesus, I'm not afraid -- I'm just like a fucking human anchor, that's all!
Justin keeps coming up behind me in the water and grabbing me. This could be interesting -- in another situation. Has been interesting before, in this same pool... but....
And that's when I start to feel guilty. I look up -- and see Ron on the balcony. He's up there unpacking. Or supposed to be. But he's watching me.
I get out of the pool. Both Lindsay and Justin are splashing at me. Laughing. Telling me I'm no fun at all. I shake the water off like a dog.
"Nice suit, Bri," Lindsay leers. Right, I know. Nothing left to the imagination. I don't tell her that I bought it to go to Maui.
So, I proceed upstairs. I forgot to bring down my terrycloth robe, so I have a beach towel slung around me. I need another towel for my hair, too, or I'll look like fucking Alfalfa when it dries.
Ron has a major pout on, of course. I go into the bathroom to get the towel and rub my head. He's stopped all pretense of unpacking and is just standing there, glaring at me.
"Nothing." He turns away.
"Aren't you even going to tell me how it went?"
"How what went?"
"The fucking film festival, what else?" I should just give this up.
"Fine," he says.
Prissy, that's how he's being. Well, then, fine.
I pull off the wet trunks and wring them out in the sink. Lindsay is right -- I might wear them, but that doesn't make them any more suitable for public display. At least not any kind of hetero display. I start to think about when the next Circuit Party in Palm Springs is. I have to check my Filofax on that. There, they'd be just about right....
I feel Ron pressing up against my ass. Hard. He puts his hands on my hips and slides them up and down. Naturally, I'm already stiff before his hand even reaches my cock.
This is something I've avoided since I got back from Pittsburgh. It wasn't that difficult, actually, between Ron's preoccupation with the post-production shit and the trip to Hawaii and my general avoidance of the issue. I'm startled to realize that between fucking Justin in JFK and fucking him in the poolhouse last night, I haven't done anything but jack-off. That's right. There was a guy that cruised me at the studio that day, but I blew him off because I was due for retakes. And then the guy at the store when I took Carmel down to buy some new curtains for the her room. He came up behind me and put his number in my hand, but I tossed it. The rest of the time I've been here at the house. Hanging out. Lying low. Making phone calls. Sitting in the poolhouse, on the computer. Jesus -- I'm turning into TED!
I push Ron back into the room and down on the bed. This is absurd. Why wasn't I out fucking my brains out every night, especially when Ron was in Maui? Or is it -- when Justin was in Pittsburgh? Now I'm really confused. Just who the fuck was I being faithful to? If that's the word for it. I don't have the vocabulary for this kind of thing. Meanwhile, I'm on autopilot here -- I've got Ron's clothes off and I don't even remember doing it. Not that it matters. I'm on top of the situation, in more ways than one, and that's how I plan to continue. I'm fucking sick of Ron's authority ALL the time. His fucking control. No wonder I feel like I'm losing my confidence half the time. Well, I'm not going to lose it anymore, that's for fucking certain!
Ron is trying to toss me over. There's no way in hell! He's not strong enough or cagey enough, any more than he was strong enough or cagey enough to get me to Maui. I laugh out loud. I don't think he likes that laughter.
"What's this thing? I was going to ask you before -- but then I had to go." His eyes look icy blue.
"What the fuck are you talking about?" I wish he'd just shut up already. The more he talks, the more it fucks with my head!
"This!" He jerks on Justin's little heart. The chain digs into my neck.
"Quit that. It'll break."
He jerks the chain again, harder. He's trying to break it now.
"Will you stop that!" I grab his hand away and pin his arms up over his head. Now he's pissed. He's fighting. I hold him down more urgently, more purposefully. I've been working out every day since I got back from the Pitts and I can feel the difference in my arms especially. I thought I'd lost all my strength after all that happened to me. But it's coming back. I press him with my arms, just to show him that.
"Where did you get that cheap thing?" he snarks. "From your goddamn waiter? Did he buy it with his tips? Huh?"
"Yes, Ron -- he bought it with the quarters he saved up waiting on assholes like you!"
Ron looks at me like I'd just slapped him. But isn't THAT what he really wanted? I realize that he wants me to react. React badly. He wants to force this issue. Force everything.
I feel my cock recoil. What do you know? My dick is smarter than I am. And why should I be surprised? He has been running this show since I was 13 years old -- He must have learned something in all that time! And this is one of the new lessons. Well, I can learn something, too.
I roll off the bed and head for the shower. My usual refuge. I just want to clean the stink off of myself and out of my head.
"Where the fuck are you going? Brian! BRIAN!"
I lock the bathroom door and turn the water on as hard as possible so I don't have to listen to him. It's amazing how you can block things out when you really try. And I'm trying. I am. I lean back against the tiles and try to exhale very slowly. I'm trying! And I tell myself that over and over until I begin to think it is really true.
I wrap my fingers around the little charm and wonder if some things are still even possible.
Continue on to "Vanity Fair II", the next chapter.
©Gaedhal, July 2002
Send Gaedhal any comments, critiques, suggestions.
Updated July 14, 2002