This is Part 2 of Chapter 111 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "The Junketeer -- Part 1", the previous section.
The narrator is Brian Kinney, and features Justin Taylor, Ron Rosenblum.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Brian has two important conversations. New York, November 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.
After Cynthia says goodnight late on Wednesday evening and goes into her own room, I sit for a while in the suite, drinking the crummy mineral water from the minibar and wishing it were something a lot stronger. I grab the phone and call the loft. Justin picks up on the first ring.
"Hey," I say, smiling to myself.
"Hey yourself," he says, sounding sleepy. "How was the dreaded birthday dinner?"
"Long, " I reply. "Very, very long. Me and Cynthia and Jimmy -- and the Birthday Boy, Ron. That didn't exactly make for the most enjoyable evening. You could cut the fucking tension at the table with a knife."
"I'm glad I wasn't there, then." I can hear Justin rustling around on the bed, which always gets me hard. "Nice place to eat?
"Oh, the restaurant was fine. The Shun Lee up by Lincoln Center. Good Chinese food. How could I resist ordering a dish called 'Chicken with Three Nuts'?"
"Only three, huh?" Justin giggles. My dick twitches when I hear him laugh.
"Brat!" I reply. "It was just... very uncomfortable. Not exactly a fabulous birthday vibe. Especially for someone celebrating his fortieth." I shudder.
"Wow, forty years old. Was Ron... weird?" Justin says, hesitantly.
"Yes, Ron was weird. Acting like everything was so normal, when NOTHING about the situation was right. He was drinking, for one thing, and Ron never used to drink at all. And he kept making these little side comments that I knew were directed at me -- and yet he never looked at me once."
"Not once, Brian?"
"No, Justin. Really. He wouldn't even meet my eyes. And Jimmy was trying too hard to seem like he was having a good time. Cracking jokes and shaking hands with anyone who came to the table and flattering Cynthia right and left. Jimmy had his 'charm' setting on over-drive and it was fucking intolerable! Then this gossip columnist came over to the table and started asking a bunch of questions and it was fucking torture. The woman assumed that Cynthia was my 'date' and she was attempting to get Cynth to reveal her name so the woman could get some kind of 'scoop' to print in her stupid column. Jimmy was guffawing and Ron looked like the top of his head was about to blow off -- he hates this woman because she's printed a couple of those 'blind items' about him... and me. I mean, she's printed that Ron and I were 'together' and she's STILL asking me about my fucking 'girlfriend'! The woman is clueless! But Cynthia was very diplomatic -- as usual."
"Jesus, Brian. That must have been some dinner! Happy Birthday, Ron!"
"That's for damn sure. All we needed to cap it off was a large, exploding birthday cake!" I close my eyes, trying to erase the picture of Ron, sitting in the booth, glaring at Jimmy's 'humorous' birthday card -- some tasteless thing Jimmy bought at some sex shop off Times Square with a picture of a hustler with a big dick on the front. I'm sure it was only a coincidence that guy in the photo looked a little too much like ME for comfort!
"Luckily," I continue. "The Charlie Rose interview we taped before dinner went okay. I didn't have to say much at all. Ron and Jimmy did most of the talking, which is as it should be. And Rose asked decent questions. He's a good interviewer, unlike some I could mention. No stupid stuff like 'what's it like to kiss a guy?' or that kind of boring shit. But real questions about how hard it was to get the film made and homophobia in Hollywood. Ron really took off on THAT topic, since it's something near and dear to his heart. So that made for at least one worthwhile thing we've done on this tour."
"I'm sure ALL the publicity you are doing is worthwhile," Justin says, reasonably. "If it gets people to go and see the picture, then it's good, even if some of those people ask dumb questions. Because people seeing the film is what matters in the end. People getting the message. And if you have to put up with a few ignorant people asking ignorant questions to make the public aware of 'The Olympian,' then that's what you should do, Brian. Because that's the way it is. You know that."
"I know, Justin," I sigh, thinking about how much fucking sense a nineteen-year-old kid makes compared to most so-called adults. Nineteen, but almost twenty. Thinking about Ron's birthday makes me remember that Justin's is coming up very soon. Very soon. "But it gets stale saying the same stuff over and over and smiling a fake smile at people. I mean, the way they stare at me sometimes, like I'm some kind of fucking freak -- it gives me the creeps."
"Brian, you LOVE it when people look at you, when they admire you. You are a true narcissist -- and don't pretend you aren't."
"Maybe," I admit. "But this is different."
"People like to stare at beautiful things, Brian," he purrs.
"Spare me! Please!" I have to roll my eyes. And I rub my dick a little more through my trousers just hearing Justin saying the word 'beautiful.' Thinking of something tight and beautiful that could be wrapped around my dick this minute -- if Justin were here. But he's not.
"Hey, that reminds me -- how's the Woody shoot going?"
"To tell you the truth," I admit. "I don't have to do much but stand there. But at least I get to keep my pants on in all my scenes. My character is listed as 'Handsome Man' in the little scrap of paper that's my section of the script -- so that gives you a clue to the depth of my part."
"There could be worse typecasting, Brian. 'Handsome Man,' huh? Actually, that sounds exactly right to me."
"Tell me more!" Now I have to laugh. I rub my dick a bit harder. And I wonder if he is doing the same thing in the bed in the loft. If he has the neons turned on. But it's getting late and I know that Justin has to get up early. And so do I.
"I can tell you everything, Brian. That you're handsome. That you're hot. That you're sexy. That YOU are the reason this film is as good as it is. I could tell you that I love you," he says. "Because I'm just telling you the truth, Brian. Which also reminds me -- how's my surrogate self doing?"
"If you mean the lovely and talented Cynthia -- she's just great," I reply. "She doesn't have your perfect ass -- but she's got your attitude down pat, Justin. And I don't think I could be doing this without her. She filters out all the bullshit and that's saving my life down here."
"I hope you let Cynthia know how much you are appreciating her, Brian. Because sometimes you take things for granted, you know."
"I let her know that I appreciate her!" I insist. "Christ! Do you want me to get on my knees and blow her on 'Good Morning, America' to show my appreciation?"
"Well, that would be one way of getting publicity for 'The Olympian'!" Justin laughs. "But I think a nice present like a designer scarf or a fancy leather bag or something would be better."
"Okay, you think of something really appropriate for Cynthia, Justin. Maybe we can shop around this weekend for a gift. Do you have your tickets and everything you need?"
"I've got everything right here, Brian," he says. "I'll be there Friday afternoon. I'm leaving at 1:00 and flying into JFK on Liberty Air."
"All right. Cynthia will meet you at the airport. Now, I'm counting on this weekend. I'm counting on YOU -- so don't forget!"
"Like I would forget to come to New York, Brian!" Justin scoffs. "How could I forget something like THAT? My ass is STILL burning from the last time we were in a New York hotel room together!"
"I remember," I say, rubbing myself harder. That October day was as hot as July -- and I don't mean just on the streets. I know I started out pissed off and ready to teach the brat a lesson -- but he ended up teaching ME a few! "You just BE here!" And I mean it. I need him right HERE! Now. Or as soon as possible. I'm starting to sweat as I stroke myself. "I'm beat, so I better let you go now." And then I can finish jacking off and not make it TOO obvious.
"Goodnight, Brian. And be good. Be very good."
"I will. You too." Then I think of something. I stop touching myself. "And keep that fucking Wade out of the loft!"
"Don't worry, Brian!" he sighs. "I'm NOT fucking Wade!"
"I know you're not. It's just my natural paranoia. So keep him out of the loft!"
"And YOU keep away from Jimmy, Brian. AND from Ron."
"Justin....." Now I've completely lost the urge. He would have to bring up both Jimmy AND Ron.
"I'm not kidding!" Justin lectures me. "I don't want you to be alone with Ron. Not even for a minute. I mean it! I don't trust Ron. And you shouldn't trust him either, Brian."
Now I'm rubbing my forehead instead of my dick because a big headache is starting up there. It's probably pent up frustration! And it's so ridiculous, too. Justin really has this idea that Ron is some kind of threat to me. It's something he 'saw' in my Fiona vision. But that was all some other life somewhere else. "Ron is not going to do anything to me, Justin. I told you, he pretty much acts like I don't even exist. He hardly even looked at me at the 'Charlie Rose' taping or at dinner. As far as Ron is concerned, I don't exist."
And Ron didn't look at me. Well, except to hand me his latest revision of the 'Red River' script. Which Ron still wants me to do. He really gave my agent Lew Blackmore hell for handing me a copy without a title page back in September. He threatened to call the Writers' Guild and complain. Of course, I had recognized the screenplay immediately as Ron's. I mean, let's face it, he wrote a lot of the thing when he was in bed with me, so it wasn't exactly unfamiliar.
But things are apparently all straightened out with the studio and Ron is solid again to direct. And, in fact, the contract for me to co-star in the picture is sitting on the desk in the suite this minute. Lew had it faxed over this morning. All I need to do is read it over and then I can sign, seal, and deliver it when I get back to Los Angeles. And, God help me, I want to do the picture.
"Ron doesn't have to look at you, Brian, to be watching you," says Justin with concern. "He already has you memorized. But remember that Ron is ALWAYS observing you even when he pretends not to be. And he's always thinking about you, too. I still remember ALL of those things we saw with Fiona, Brian, even if you discount them. And I know that Ron can STILL do things to you. He can hurt you! He can hurt US."
"Don't worry about it, Justin," I say, trying to put him at ease. "I won't let him do anything to me. Ron is simply a sad person. He's not dangerous. He works mind games, yes, but he would never actually injure anyone -- especially not me."
"Brian -- PLEASE be careful! Please." Justin still sounds so worried. It's cute.
"I will. Now go to sleep."
"Okay. And don't forget that I love you."
"Then you be here this weekend, you little Fiend -- on schedule! 'Night."
I hang up the phone and wander around the suite a little. And I see that copy of the 'Red River' screenplay that Ron handed me in the cab. I guess I could send it back to him in the morning, but he's leaving early tomorrow to go back to L.A. So I pick the thing up and go into the hall and down one floor to Ron's suite. It isn't until I'm in the elevator that I realize that I don't have my shoes on. Typical. Not that it matters. After all, I'm only going to knock on the door and hand him the fucking script.
Of course, the irony of walking straight down to Ron's room five minutes after Justin warned me not to be alone with him isn't lost on me. Justin is my partner and I should care what he thinks. And I do care. I care a lot. But it isn't as if I'm afraid. That's the real bullshit -- being afraid of Ron. I'm NOT -- and I can prove it. I may be fucking afraid of big crowds and strangers grabbing at me and even of the dark -- but I'm not afraid of Ron. Never. So I knock on his door.
Continue on to Page 2 of "The Junketeer -- Part 2".