This is Chapter 14 of the "Queer Identities" series.
The narrator is Brian Kinney, and features Justin Taylor, Dorian Folco, Diane Rhys, Clint Eastwood, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: A surprise party. Arizona, May 2003.
Disclaimer: You know the drill. This is for fun, not profit. Enjoy.
I close my eyes and let the water flow over my body.
There's nothing better than a hot shower after you haven't bathed in three days.
Except maybe a pair of talented lips around my dick.
Or plowing into a prime piece of blond boy ass.
Or a Kobe steak grilled until it's just charred on the outside, but red as a heartbeat on the inside.
Or a shot of aged Bourbon with a hit of smack on the side.
Or the new Armani collection laid out in front of me.
"Brian? Are you almost finished in there? You're going to use up all the hot water in the tank before I get a chance to take a shower!"
"Wash yourself in the sink," I yell. "I'm busy!"
The door of the tiny bathroom opens and Justin squeezes in, naked. "Are you jerking off? Let me do it for you, then I can kill two birds with one stone."
"Jesus! There's not enough room in here!"
But Justin isn't taking no for an answer. "Move over a little. I think I can fit!"
"Only if you get a new ass!" But he ignores me and wedges into the shower stall anyway, elbowing me in the nuts. "Christ! Watch that!"
"Sorry," he mumbles. "Where's the soap?"
"In the niche behind you, but you'll never be able to turn around to get to it."
He grins up at me. "Will you wash my back? And I'll wash yours."
"I've already washed," I sniff. "I was just trying to enjoy the sensation of finally being clean before I was so rudely interrupted."
"So, you WERE jerking off in here!"
"No, but the second we get out of here you're going to blow me. Then I'm going to fuck you until your straight WASP blond hair begins to curl!"
His hand snakes around behind me to cup my left cheek. "We have to be at the catering tent in 20 minutes or we'll miss the big surprise," he reminds me.
That hand on my ass makes me shiver. He knows exactly what he's doing -- making me fucking nuts! "We won't miss anything, Sunshine. Eastwood will be late. Big stars are always late. It's their fucking prerogative."
"Is that why you're always late?" he asks. His wet, soapy body is rubbing up against mine. I can feel his cock hardening against my leg and my own dick responds accordingly.
"No, I'm always late because I can't resist a last minute fuck right before I go out the door!"
"There's no room to fuck in here, Brian," he points out. "You said so yourself."
"Want to make a bet?" I reply, managing to turn him around and pushing him against the wall. It's a tight fit -- almost as tight as his ass! Ha!
I love proving the little shit wrong! And so, it seems, does he.
I'm right -- as usual. We're about 20 minutes late and Eastwood hasn't shown yet.
The main catering tent is decorated for a birthday party, with balloons and streamers and all the shit you'd expect. But what catches my eye is the huge spread of food that is laid out at the far end of the tent. Justin sees it too, and grabs my arm.
"I'm starving!" he exclaims, dragging me over there.
One thing about being on the camp out is that there's nothing like eating beans and beef jerky in the middle of a fucking dust storm to make you appreciate the taste of well-prepared food.
"No offense to your cooking, but I'll be glad to get some real food into my stomach," I say as I reach for plate.
"No offense taken," Justin says. He's already piling on some shrimp. Then he catches sight of a chafing dish of meatballs and goes to town on those. "And there's nothing like a nice wet fuck in the shower to perk up your appetite!"
"A-fucking-men to that!" I affirm.
Dorian comes up behind us. "Brian, I heard the camp out was rather... er... interesting."
I give him my best WTF look. "Yeah, interesting is one way to put it. That is, if your idea of interesting is a mouthful of calf testicles!"
"Er... certainly," he says, looking uncomfortable. "Sorry about that, Brian. I had no idea that was going to happen or I would have put a stop to it."
I shake my head. "No, I'm glad you didn't. That would have been the worst thing you could have done. It was something I needed to do. A rite of passage, you know what I mean?"
Dorian's face shows his confusion. "Not really."
"To be one of the guys," I say, spelling it out. "And not just the faggot they have to put up with to keep their jobs. Now do you understand?"
He nods, but I can tell by the look on his face that he doesn't understand and never will. That he's thinking all Americans are fucking crazy. That we all think we're really cowboys. Really John fucking Wayne. Or Clint fucking Eastwood. And he's right.
"Well, as long as you didn't get ill, that's all that matters," he says. "Then I would have been in a devil of a bind to explain to the studio why their star had been forced to eat... er... something disgusting. It might have held up shooting."
"The calf fries weren't too bad," Justin chimes in. "Even I ate one and I didn't get sick." He grins at Dorian fiendishly. "A little chewy and slimy, but if you didn't think about it too much, it went down okay. Maybe you should try it?"
Dorian turns slightly green. "Quite," he says. Yeah, Dorian -- quite! He glances at his watch. "Clint should be here any time now and the party will begin in earnest."
"Do you really think he's going to be surprised?" I ask. "In my experience, surprise parties usually aren't all that surprising. And when they are, it's always a fucking disaster."
"That's for sure!" Justin adds. "You should have been there when Brian gave a surprise party for his friend Michael's 30th birthday..."
I grab Justin's ass and give it a squeeze. "Too much information, Sunshine. Why don't you go over and find us a good seat?"
Justin looks at me, then at Dorian. "Okay." He takes both of our plates, makes his way to a quiet corner, and sits down. Then he waves and gives me a shit-eating grin. Little twat!
"I wanted to talk to you about something," I say to Dorian. "I'm a little concerned about the shooting schedule. I know you said I'd be finished by the middle of July, but after spending a week at Cowboy Camp I'm thinking that this is going to be a lot more complicated than I thought. When you're working outdoors with animals and all the logistics of this shoot... well, it makes me a little nervous."
"Because of the start of 'The Eastern Front'?" Dorian says.
"Frankly, yes. Not that this film isn't important to me -- it is. But I feel like I'm cutting things awfully fucking close."
"We'll do it, Brian," says Dorian. "I guarantee that I'll have you done before you need to report to 'The Eastern Front' set. But if you want to know the truth, I doubt they will be ready to proceed as quickly as they think. I know the start date is the beginning of August, but the film has already been postponed at least twice already. If you begin shooting before September, I'll be very surprised."
"Shit," I say, suddenly remembering something very important. "I promised my former assistant that I'd be at her wedding in August! I can't back out of that without really disappointing her! But if they start on time and I have to start filming then, what else can I do? Fuck!" Sweat is trickling down my neck. Down my back. I just took a shower, but my shirt is soaking.
Dorian puts his hand on my arm and I jump slightly. I always feel that electric charge whenever Dorian touches me. Maybe because he's a former fuck. Or maybe because of the way he still feels about me. But whatever it is, it's there.
"Brian, don't have a panic attack. Everything will work out, believe me. If you have begun production on 'The Eastern Front,' then simply ask the producers for a few days off to go to this wedding. They are certain to arrange it for you. They want you for that role and they want to make you happy. You're a star, Brian. Believe me, it should not be a problem."
"I'm not a star." It's hot in this tent and getting hotter. Now I'm panting like a bitch in the heat. "I barely know what the fuck I'm doing! And on Monday I have to show up on the set and act with Clint fucking Eastwood without benefit of booze or drugs! You bet your ass that I'm having a panic attack!"
"Brian, look at me." Dorian leans in close. When Dorian gets close, he gets really close. Really intimate. That always makes me uncomfortable. I have no problem getting up close and personal with some anonymous trick, but when it comes to real intimacy with a person I like and respect, that's when it gets dicey. Especially when Dorian's supposed girlfriend, and also my good friend, Diane, is standing on the other side of the tent with a wine spritzer in her carefully manicured hand.
"I'm looking," I say, trying to make it a joke.
But Dorian is serious. "I'm afraid, too," he confides. "This is a huge project for me. I don't have the chutzpah that Ron had. He would have marched onto this set like a general and challenged anyone to doubt that he could do the job -- even Clint Eastwood! I don't have the balls to do that and I worry every day that I'm not up to the task. But I promise you that I won't let you fail, Brian. And I believe that Clint won't let you fail, either. We all want this picture to succeed -- and it will. Simply do your job and leave everyone else to do theirs."
That's what I needed to hear. I don't believe a fucking word of it, but it's nice to hear anyway. "Thanks."
"No need to thank me. Bolstering the confidence of recalcitrant actors is part of my job. Now go and eat something while we wait for the party to begin!" Dorian squeezes my hand and gives me a nudge.
Justin is waiting for me at the corner table. "Did Dorian finally declare his undying love?" he smirks.
"Yeah," I say, pulling up my plate of food and digging in. "I'm dumping your ass and moving into his trailer tonight."
"What about Diane?" Justin looks at me sideways. He's joking... but on another level he's not. There's always that doubt. Maybe there always will be that doubt. That fucking little doubt. Because I feel it, too. I could fuck up tomorrow and go off the rails. He could decide he's had enough and leave me. And then I'd have to deal with it.
"Oh, she's in the mix, too. It'll be a happy threesome -- me, Dorian, and Diane."
"I hope Dorian has a big bed in that trailer," Justin laughs. "What about a happy foursome? Can't you make room for me in there?"
"You'd have to fuck Diane," I remind him.
Justin shrugs. "You forget that I have some pussy experience. Not much, but it's more than Michael's ever had."
"Michael? Now you're dragging poor Michael into this?"
"Only as a for instance." He pops a raw carrot into his mouth. "Dorian is still in love with you, Brian."
"Tell me something I don't already know." I take a bite of salad. Then another. I'm fucking starving now. "But Dorian is a realist. He knows I'm not interested in him as anything more than a friend. He's known that since the beginning. But he's not obsessed with me. He's not psycho about it. He lives in the real world, unlike..." I let the name remain unsaid. Ron's presence is already heavy enough on this set without invoking him aloud.
"You're his muse." Justin grins mischievously. "That's your fate, Brian. To be the muse of great artists." He pauses and looks away. "Like me."
That makes me laugh. Really laugh loud and hard. It feels good. He's so fucking full of himself sometimes! It must come of growing up loved and pampered and constantly told that he's wonderful by a pair of doting parents. Because no matter what happened after he came out, no matter how Jennifer may have stumbled in dealing with it or Craig proved himself a homophobic jerk, Justin still has the confidence they gave him. It always makes me wonder how my own life might have been different if I'd had that knowledge when I was a kid. But it's a moot point now.
"I'm privileged to be living with a certified genius, Sunshine. It's amazing how someone as lowly as me is permitted to inspire you. How may I continue to motivate you? What if I blow you right here?" I start to slide under the table and reach for his zipper.
"Brian! Cut it out!" He pushes me away. "People are watching!"
I sit back up in my seat. "Don't scare the horses, right?"
"Shut up and eat your food!" he commands. Then he leans over and whispers. "Later."
"Count on it."
I see Avi, Justin's go-fer pal, come running into the tent. He nods to Dorian, who immediately calls everyone to attention. "Mr. Eastwood's car has arrived. Please take your places."
A bunch of people crowd around the front entrance of the tent, but Justin and I remain in place. Fucking surprise parties. There ought to be a law against them!
Poor old Clint walks in and everyone screams, "Surprise! Happy birthday!" and then they sing. You can tell that Clint isn't the least bit surprised, but he plays along. He's a good sport. Better than I'd be in the same situation, especially if they were making a fuss about me being 73 fucking years old! Jesus! I can't even think about that.
But Clint looks pretty damn good for 73, I have to admit that. He's a tough man. A real survivor. Of course, his hot days are long past, but he's still capable of attracting the females. I notice that Diane can't help flirting with him. He's also got a young wife and a new kid, so he certainly hasn't given up on the chase. Hey, if it's still shaking, then you might as well shake it. I guess I could learn a few things from him about growing old gracefully.
Growing old gracefully. I never thought that would apply to me. It wasn't all that long ago when I thought 30 was the limit of my shelf-life. And it almost was. But I lucked out. I'm here. Yeah, I'm still fucking here and all that Sondheim nonsense.
"Hey, promise me that when I'm 73 -- no fucking surprise parties!" I tell Justin.
He stares at me. His face is a mix of emotions. See? I'm still capable of surprising him. "I promise," he says finally. Then he quickly kisses my cheek. "We'll have some cake and then fuck until we both pass out."
"Sounds good to me." And it does, to my everlasting astonishment.
Dorian calls for champagne and the caterers start opening bottles and pouring glasses. And speaking of cake, Dorian leads Clint over to a side table where there's a huge sheet cake with his face on it. He cuts the first piece. Cake and champagne -- not the greatest taste combination, but what the hell?
"I heard Cowboy Camp was fun, Bridie!" Diane plops herself down next to me. I can see she's already more than a little tipsy. "Did you two really have to eat a raw bull's penis?"
Justin makes a face. "It was testicles. And they were from a calf, not a bull!"
Diane giggles. "Same difference! I can't believe you two did it!"
"It wasn't that bad," I insist. "One swallow and it was over. The one who really looked like a dick was the one guy who refused to eat it -- Rowan."
"Rowan?" Diane frowns. "Oh, Nick's boyfriend. Well, I think he was the smart one. I'd sure never do that!"
I narrow my eyes at her. "You've done plenty else, my dear. Why so prim now?"
Diane lifts up her head and bats her long, fake lashes at me. "Because I'm now the star of a freaking hit sitcom on a major television network, that's why! And I didn't get the part on my knees, either! Those days are over. And so are my days of having to swallow balls, raw or cooked!"
"Touché," I reply. I look over and see Dorian waving. "I think your gay boyfriend is calling you."
Diane turns and waves back, blowing Dorian a kiss in a disgustingly coy way. "Dori isn't my gay boyfriend, Bridie -- you are! Dori is my extremely-straight-at-least-until-I-go-back-to-L.A. boyfriend."
"And when are you going back?"
She sighs mournfully. That's when I know she's not kidding. Diane really believes she and Dorian are in a relationship. "Tomorrow. Dori thinks I'll be a distraction now that the main filming is beginning."
I give her a kiss on the forehead. "That you are, Diane. A lovely distraction."
"Oh, I do love you, Bridie!" she says, smiling sweetly.
Now no one is a bigger queer than I am. I think that's been well established. But there's something about a vulnerable female that brings out the He-Man in me. Lindsay, for certain. Cynthia, to some extent. Even Debbie, when she isn't rolling over me like a fucking Mack truck! And Diane. She's so tiny and strong and insecure and optimistic. An unapologetic romantic. For some reason I think of my mother. Think of her as she was when I was really small, before the crazy shit started. It gives me a horrible feeling in my gut. All that unfinished emotional business Gorowitz is always warning me about. But I quickly push it back down, deep inside, and hope it doesn't come back any time soon.
"Scram!" I tell Diane, nudging her to her feet. "Your whatever-he-is is looking for you."
"The word is boyfriend," she pronounces, glancing pointedly at Justin. "You ought to try saying it out loud once in a while. Especially if you don't want to lose him."
"Brian doesn't do boyfriends," deadpans Justin, right on cue. "That's one of the first things I ever learned about him."
"Nope," Diane says archly. "Brian Kinney doesn't do boyfriends. Not much!" And she laughs as she scampers across the tent to join Dorian by the bar.
"Do you think Diane and Dorian are really fucking?" Justin muses. "I mean -- seriously?"
I shrug. "Stranger things have happened."
"Yeah," he replies. "Stranger things... Boyfriend!"
"Shut the fuck up! Don't call me obscene names!" Maybe it's true, but that doesn't mean I like hearing it. Just because I'm in love with Justin -- and I'm just dumb enough to admit that I am -- doesn't mean I'm in love with the whole boyfriend concept. It's still too fucking breeder for my comfort.
Justin goes for another helping of food from the big birthday spread. I watch him move, with that little hitch in his gait. That twitch in his ass. An ass that was born to surround a big cock. My cock, specifically.
I look around the tent. It's fucking surreal. We're making a movie here. And I'm starring in it. With Clint fucking Eastwood! I keep thinking I'm going to wake up in the loft, under the blue neons. Or freezing my ass off in an abandoned building on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan. Or in my old bedroom at home, my model airplanes on the shelf, my posters of Bowie and The Cure and The Velvet Underground on the wall. I often get these weird flashbacks to moments in my life. I guess that's pretty common. But other times I get flashbacks of things I know never happened, yet they seem so real. And I can see myself and feel what that version of me is feeling. Justin would say it's all about the Alternate Streams. Fucking Fiona Time! Fucking Fantasy Time! But I don't care about that anymore. I have enough trouble dealing with the present.
"I'd like to thank everyone for this... um... very surprising surprise party," says Clint, waking me up from my dazed and confused state. He's standing in the middle of the tent, champagne glass in hand. He's Old School. Old Hollywood. He knows how to be the bad-ass, but also how to make a gracious speech and put everyone at ease. There's a lot I can learn from him.
"Here! Here!" says Dorian, raising his own glass. "To the guest of honor!" And everyone toasts. Even I lift up my bottle of Evian and take a slug of it. Justin slips into the seat next to me and grabs my bottle, taking a sip for himself.
Clint nods and then quiets them all. "I just want to add that I've been in the movie business for a lot of years and I hope to be in it for at least a few more. I think we have a great project here -- a first-rate script, a fine director, and a top-notch cast and crew. I'm looking forward to starting principal shooting on Monday. This may well be my last Western, so I want it to be a good one."
Then he does something I'm not expecting. Clint looks right at me. And motions for me to come over.
I stand up, suddenly aware that everyone is watching me. I should be used to this, but I'm not. I usually like people looking at me. I always have. It's the basic narcissist in me. But having to stand up there with Eastwood -- that's out of my control. And I'm never happy when I'm not in control.
"Brian," says Clint. "On Monday we film our first scenes together."
"No shit!" I gulp, and everyone laughs. "Thanks for reminding me!"
Clint gives me that quizzical smile. The Man With No Name. The iconic figure. The true father of all the bum actors in Hollywood. Up close I can see his age. 73 today. He's more than a decade older than my old man would have been if he'd lived. But I don't need a father. I don't need a fucking daddy.
"Before we begin filming together I want to give you something." Clint holds out his hand and his assistant gives him a cardboard box. He opens it and takes out a broad-brimmed black cowboy hat. It's a little stained and faded, like it's seen a lot of use. "When I starred in my first Western picture I wasn't exactly a real star. I'd done some small roles and co-starred on a TV series, but I had to go over to Europe to get any work in the movies. We were shooting in Spain and on the first day one of the American wranglers gave me a cowboy hat. Told me it had been given to him by Gary Cooper on the set of 'High Noon.' He said if I wore it I'd have good luck and the film would be a success. And he was right. My career took off after that. I later found out he'd been telling the truth. There's a tradition among cowboys of passing a hat to the new guy for good luck. I don't have that Gary Cooper hat anymore, but this is the closest I could find to it. I wore this one in a film I made called 'High Plains Drifter.' I directed it, too, which shows you how crazy I was even back in 1973." Clint puts the hat on my head and adjusts it, pushing it back on my head at a jaunty angle. "I think that'll do fine... just fine. It's exactly what Matt Garth would wear -- and what Tom Dunson would give his adopted son. Something to keep the sun out of your eyes. Wear it proudly, Brian, because now you're a real Western star."
I have no fucking idea what to say. So I just say, "Thanks, Clint. I'll do the best I can."
"You bet your ass you will!" he replies. "I'll make sure of it!"
And he will. He won't let me fail. And I won't let myself fail.
"So," I say. "When am I going to get a piece of that cake?"
"Soon," says Eastwood, looking me in the eye. "Very soon."
And I know he's not talking about the fucking cake. He's talking about everything in my whole fucking life. Which is all still ahead of me.
If I can only hold on.
Fucking hold on.
©Gaedhal, October 2007.
Continue on to "Who's Minding the Store?".
Posted October 25, 2007.