This is Chapter 21 of the "Queer Identities" series.
The narrator is Justin Taylor, and features Brian Kinney, Avi Massarsky.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Sunday papers. Tucson, Arizona, June 2003.
Disclaimer: You know the drill. This is for fun, not profit. Enjoy.
God! I love Brian so fucking much!
I was so afraid he'd freak out about that tabloid asshole that I didn't want to tell him what happened. How he was trying to blackmail me. How he had information -- or claimed he did -- about Brian's rehab. And about Ron. And about God only knows what else.
Because there was a time when Brian would have freaked out. When he'd have gone nuts over the thought of someone digging into his private life.
And when he would have gone off on me for being so stupid as to let a jerk like Rexford Walcott intimidate me.
I remember the first time I really saw Brian angry. And I mean white-heat, veins-throbbing, eyes-bugging-out, spit-flying-from-his-mouth, and steam-coming-out-of-his-ears furious.
You better believe that I never left the loft unlocked again. Ever!
I thought he'd never forgive me. Never forget.
Last night, when we were lying in that big hotel bed, I reminded him of it.
"Huh?" he said. We were both feeling pretty relaxed after a good, hard fuck. "Oh, yeah. I had to get all the door codes changed. Luckily, I'd backed up all the information on my iMac onto an extra hard drive. And I had most of it on my laptop at work, too."
"You were so mad at me, Brian," I said. But he was nuzzling me. Had his lips on my neck. Going down my chest. Licking my nipples. Moving lower.
"Yeah. Mad," he mumbled.
"But they stole your clothes!"
Brian looked up at me. "So? I bought new clothes. The insurance company gave me a big fucking check and I spent every penny of it. It gave me a good excuse to go shopping. Why are you bringing this shit up now? Don't you want me to blow you?"
"Yes!" I laughed. "I want you to blow me!"
"Then shut the fuck up and stop talking about stuff that doesn't matter!"
"I love you, Brian. Do you know that?"
"Yeah, yeah. Love, peace, understanding. All that slobbery shit. Can I continue?"
"Yes. Please, continue."
I think that's what Dr. Gorowitz would call perspective. That's what Brian has now that he didn't have before -- perspective. He's looking at the bigger picture and not going nuts over every meaningless detail.
And that's really something for an anal retentive control freak like Brian.
There's a discreet knock on the bedroom door.
Brian grunts and rolls over. "Tell my public I'm indisposed."
"Avi?" I call out. "Is that you?"
"Yeah," comes the muffled reply.
I get out of bed and go to the door. "What's up, Avi?"
Avi is standing with clipboard in hand. "I hate to disturb you, Justin, but Joe wants to know when you guys want to go back to the set -- tonight or tomorrow morning? And I'll need to settle the bill and that kind of thing."
Back to the set. Back to the real world. Or the unreal world. "I'm not sure. I'll have to ask Brian. What are you planning for today?"
Avi shrugs. "Hang out. Watch TV. Wait until you guys need something. Oh, and here's the Sunday paper." He hands over a plastic bag with a local drugstore's name on it. "I also got you more condoms and lube. And gum. You said Brian was out of gum."
"Thanks. I'll let you know about going back."
I shut the door and go back to bed.
That's where Brian and I been since we got to Tucson on Thursday -- in bed. I thought Brian would be bored after a few hours holed up in the hotel, but it hasn't worked out that way. He actually seems to be enjoying doing nothing but fucking, sleeping, and eating, with regular trips to the bathroom and a couple of periods of video-watching.
"Hey, lazy." I prod Brian with my finger.
"What?" That exhausted, pissed-off-but-not-really voice.
"When do you want to go back to the location? Avi needs to make arrangements."
One hazel eye opens. "What fucking day is it again?"
Brian sits up, running his long fingers through his messy hair. He hasn't shaved in days and, frankly, he doesn't smell all that great, but he's still beautiful. Fucking amazingly beautiful. Whenever I imagined my ideal man when I was daydreaming in my room as solitary, confused, and horny gay boy, it was always Brian. I didn't know his name then, but I knew him. That's why the moment I first saw Brian on Liberty Avenue, outside of Babylon, it was like I recognized him immediately. Fiona was right -- sometimes it's Fate.
"Sunday, huh? What about in the morning? Maybe I should call Dorian and ask him when he needs me tomorrow."
"Brian," I tell him seriously. "You can still barely walk across the room. I don't think you'll be ready to shoot any scenes yet!"
Brian gives me his patented death glare. "I don't have to walk to act, you know! Dorian can shoot close-ups or inserts. I'll call him later to find out." Brian rouses himself and carefully swings his legs around, touching the floor tentatively with his bad foot. "I've got to piss like a fucking racehorse." Then he hobbles to the bathroom.
It's funny but this is the longest time we've spent alone, just the two of us together, since we were snowed in at the cottage in February. Yes, we've been living together in a trailer for the past few weeks, but Brian is always either on the set, or getting ready to go on the set, or coming back to the trailer and falling into an exhausted sleep ater being on the set. We don't have a opportunity to talk a lot, or just hang out, doing nothing. This has been that chance to reconnect. And it's been great.
Brian sticks his head out the door of the bathroom. "I think I'll take a shower."
"Good idea," I comment. "Because it's getting to be like a queer toxic waste site in this room."
"Since when do you mind the smell of man-sweat and cum?" he snorts.
"And day-old pizza. And left-over Mexican food. And microwave popcorn..."
"All right! I get the picture. Have Avi clean up the room a little... and you get in here to help me wash my ass!"
I salute. "Yes, sir, Brian, sir!"
"Move it, Sunshine."
And I move it.
After a shower and an extremely wet blowjob, I'm back in bed, wrapped in a towel, reading the Sunday paper. Avi is just finishing gathering up the old pizza boxes and other trash we've collected over the past three days.
"Joe and I are going to eat at this diner around the corner. What about you and Brian? Do you want me to bring back some sandwiches?" he says, jamming old newspapers into a garbage bag.
"We'll probably just order room service. If Brian decides he wants something else, I'll call your cell."
"That reminds me," says Avi. "I have to arrange for your new cellphone."
"Thanks. I appreciate it."
"Too bad your old one got broken."
"It's just as well. This time I'm only giving out my number to a few friends. Otherwise I'll use the phone in the trailer."
"Good idea," Avi agrees. "By the way, I haven't seen that reporter around today. In fact, I haven't seen him since Friday."
"Good!" I reply adamantly. "Maybe the fucker gave up. Or maybe they deported his ass back to England!"
"Or maybe he got lost in the desert and was eaten by an iguana!" says Avi.
"I hope!" I say.
We both crack up at that.
"What are you two boys giggling about?" Brian comes out of the bathroom drying his shaggy hair.
"You shaved!" I exclaim. "Thank God! I was getting razor burn in places I can't talk about in front of Avi because he's a delicate straight boy."
Avi grins. "This straight boy just brought you a big bag of condoms and lube! You should have seen the look on the face of the guy at the drugstore. I bet he thought I was throwing a sex party!"
"Hey, that supply has to last us until we get to Texas next week," says Brian. "Or else you'll have to make another trip into town for refills."
I look inside the bag. "I think this will last us. Plus, there's still some back at the trailer."
Brian rubs the towel over his hair vigorously. "You can never have too many condoms or too much lube. Always remember that, Avi, in case you ever decide to switch teams. There's no such thing as too much lube."
"Amen to that!" I chime in. If my ass could talk, it would concur.
"I'll write that down on my clipboard so I don't forget," says Avi as he leaves the room. He closes the door behind him.
"How does your foot feel?" I ask Brian. I notice that he's still limping.
"Like shit, but I'll live." He drops onto the bed. "This week is going to be a bitch. They're either going to have to shoot around me or figure out a way to cheat the scenes. I think I can sit on a horse, but getting on and off gracefully is going to be a bitch."
"Dorian will think of something," I say.
"But this is our last week in Arizona with the whole herd," Brian stews. "Next week we'll be at the new location and it'll be a whole different ball game."
Next weekend the entire shoot is packing up and moving to Marfa, a town in West Texas where they'll film the wagon train and exterior town scenes. Brian was excited when he heard they were going to film there -- a lot of famous Westerns have been shot in Marfa, including 'Giant,' starring James Dean, who, of course, is Brian's favorite actor. Except on the days when Marlon Brando is his favorite actor.
"You think Burr Connor will really be in the picture?" The reclusive cowboy star is supposedly going to show up on location to play McLean, the leader of the wagon train.
Brian shrugs. "That's what everyone is saying. Connor is an old friend of Eastwood's, so I think he's mainly doing it as a favor to Clint. He hasn't made a film in years. They say that since Rod Sebring died, he's lost his desire to do much of anything except sit in his big house in Malibu and meditate."
"Meditate?" That seems weird. When I think of meditation I think of someone intellectual like Ben Bruckner, not a cowboy. "Burr Connor doesn't strike me as the meditation type."
"Who knows? People do a lot of strange things when they lose their lovers."
"Was Rod Sebring really Burr Connor's boyfriend?" Sebring was another action star way back when, but he was outed by a tabloid and his career never recovered. He started drinking and doing a lot of drugs and eventually died in the early 1990's. They never announced what he died of, but the rumor is that it was AIDS.
"Dorian says he was. But that was the 1980's and things were really on the downlow. Not that most gay actors are all open and flying rainbow flags these days!"
"Except you, Brian."
"Yeah," he huffs. "Brian Kinney -- Gay Role Model! GLAAD Poster Boy! Advocate Man of the Year! Yadda yadda yadda. It's all bullshit." He looks at me, his face serious. "The truth is that I need this film to go perfectly. It's a test of whether the critics -- and the public -- will buy me as a fucking leading man. I have to stand up next to Eastwood and Pat and Sam Elliott and not look like the queer in the group. I have to do those love scene with Lane Harris and I have to make them convincing. But even if I do, I'm still not home free. Because then I have to start all over again on 'The Eastern Front' -- and the stakes there are even bigger. It's a bigger production and I'm the main male star. If I can't pull it off, I doubt I'll get another chance. I'll be doing guest shots on 'Will & Grace' and playing the Trick of the Week on 'Gay as Blazes.'"
"They canceled 'Gay as Blazes,' Brian," I remind him.
"There you go," he says. "Or I'll have to go to England and work there. They don't give a shit if you're gay at the BBC -- or at least not as much."
"Whatever happens, I'll be right here," I say. "You know that, don't you?"
"You have your own fish to fry, twat," Brian says. "Never forget that. Once you finish at PIFA, you'll have to decide what's best for you. I don't want you dragging your ass around after me because you think you need to take care of me."
"I don't think like that," I reply. "I'm not your nursemaid. We need to take care of each other. And when I finish at the Institute... we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
"Yeah," says Brian. "When we come to it."
Brian calls Dorian on the hotel phone while I read the paper. I can only hear Brian's side of the conversation, but I can tell that Dorian is trying to reassure Brian that the rest of the week is not a problem. I don't know if that's true or not, but Brian seems to be believing it -- sort of.
"Fuck," he whispers. "There's a shitload of stuff we still have to film this week. Dorian tried to downplay it, but I know he's worried. And John Henry James is finally coming in to shoot his scenes."
"Who's that?" The name is familiar, but I'm not certain who he is.
"Remember? He's that actor who used to be a football player, a wide receiver for the Denver Broncos. He was making another movie in Canada. He's playing Bunk."
"Oh, a football player," I sniff. "No wonder I don't know him."
"Don't scoff, Sunshine. Wait until you see this guy. He's build like about five brick shithouses."
"Sounds interesting. So, what team does he play for -- besides the Denver Broncos?" I grin.
"Down, boy," says Brian. "Not ours, as far as I know. But the studio is touting him as a new action star, so Dorian promised to put him in 'Red River.' Which means we have some catch-up filming to do -- and I'm not at my best."
"You'll do fine," I tell him. And I know he will. Brian always rises to the occasion -- no matter what and where the occasion is!
I page through the Sunday paper while Brian clicks on the TV and looks for something to watch. Then I notice something.
He's stopped at a movie on HBO. Something with Jack Nicholson running through an old house. "What?"
"Look at this." I point to some ads in the newspaper. "It's Father's Day."
"Father's Day?" Brian blinks. "Damn it! I completely forgot!"
"So did I."
"I better call Lindsay." He picks up the phone and dials.
"I bet she sent you cards from Gus and the baby. They're probably waiting for us at the trailer."
"Come on," Brian says into the receiver. "Pick up the fucking phone! Melanie! Hi!" He makes a face at me. "I'd like to talk to my son... Yes, I remembered that it's Father's Day. Why do you think I'm calling? Can you put Lindz on the phone, please?"
"Mel would have to answer."
"And she's being a total bitch today," says Brian, covering the mouthpiece with his hand. "Lindz? Yes... Where do you think I am? In Arizona! Oh, you saw it on 'Access Hollywood'? Yeah, I'm okay... No, my foot's not broken... Of course Justin is here. Where else would he be? Listen, can I talk to Gus? Sure, I'll hang on."
For all Lindsay and Melanie are always complaining that Brian doesn't show enough interest in the kids, they don't make it easy for him. When he does call, it always seems like an imposition. Except when they need money, that is.
"Gus? Hey, Sonny Boy! It's Father's Day -- do you know what that is? It's a special day when dads let their sonny boys know how much they... they love them... Yes, and Charity, too. Are you taking good care of your sister? You are? That's great!" Brian nods at me. "Justin is here. Say hello, Justin."
I lean over to the phone. "Hi, Gus! Are you having a good Sunday?"
"Uh huh," he says, sounding very far away. "Burgers for dinner! On a grill!"
"That sounds tasty. Here's your dad. Bye, Gus!"
"So, you're having a cook-out? I wish I were there with you... Maybe this summer... Sure, we can go swimming. And maybe to Kennywood. Would you like that, Gus? Okay, go and eat dinner. And give your sister a kiss for me... I love you, son." Brian turns away, so I can't see his face. "Hey, Lindz. I didn't mean to interrupt your picnic... Yes, e-mail the pictures to Justin. Thanks. Goodbye."
He hangs up the phone and gets out of bed. He limps over to the window and pulls the curtain aside. Bright sunlight streams in, blindingly.
"Lindsay is going to send you some pictures of the Gus and Charity. They took them last week at some party for another kid on the street. Will you print them out for me when we get back to the trailer?"
"Of course," I say. "Brian? Is everything all right."
He tenses. "Sure. What could be wrong?" But he doesn't turn around. He just keeps looking out the window.
I get up, walk over, and stand beside him. The view is impressive -- the city of Tucson sprawled out with hazy mountains ringing the city. But I know that Brian isn't seeing the city, or the mountains. He's seeing a little boy who is growing up far away, without him. And a baby whose face he has barely seen.
"We'll be back to see them soon," I say. "Maybe Gus can come out to L.A. this summer?"
But Brian shakes his head. "You know better than that. And so do I. It's no use pretending that I'm any kind of father at all." He puts his hand against his forehead. "Shit! I never should have jerked off in that fucking cup!"
"If you'd never jerked off into that cup, then we never would have gone to the hospital that night together. Everything would have been different. And you would have been different, Brian."
"Yeah, I wouldn't be anyone's fucking father!"
"I'm glad you are. And I think Gus is glad you are -- and he'll be glad in the future, too. He'll be proud to tell everyone that his father is Brian Kinney, the award-winning actor!"
"As opposed to Brian Kinney, the deadbeat has-been?"
I put my arms around him. "Brian Kinney, the caring dad. The loving partner. And the loyal friend. That's even more important."
He pushes the curtains closed. "Let's order something from room service. Then after we eat we can concentrate on fucking all night. Because tomorrow it's back to work. Sprained ankle or no sprained ankle, I'm going to be back on that set. I'm going to finish this fucking picture and it's going to be a big hit. A gigantic hit! Right, Sunshine?"
"Right, Brian. You're always right."
"Of course I'm always right. Right as rain." He stares directly ahead. "One day maybe I'll believe it, too."
Continue on to "It's All Been Done".
©Gaedhal, June 2008.
Posted June 10, 2008.