THE JUNKETEER

"A Queer As Folk USA FanFic"

by Gaedhal

This is Part 3 of Chapter 111 in the "Queer Theories" series.

Go back to "The Junketeer -- Part 2", the previous section.

The narrator is Brian Kinney, and features Cynthia Llewellyn, Ron Rosenblum, Jimmy Hardy, Leslie, Others.
Summary: Brian has a busy, busy day. New York, November 2002.

Before I even open my eyes I feel it. Something pressing up against me from behind. Ron's early morning hard-on. And my own cock begins to stir in anticipation. It's true what they say about a stiff cock having no conscience whatsoever.

Shit. This is NOT where I want to be.

I disentangle myself from Ron's long arms and roll off the sofa, careful not to wake him up. Then I slowly stand. My back aches and my fucking head is throbbing like a bitch. But Ron is still sound asleep, stretched out. He must have just laid down next to me after I fell asleep. That sofa is a lot wider than it looks, thank God. I slink to the door and get the hell out of there.

It's just now getting light, but it can't be later than 6:00 a.m. As usual I don't have on a watch, so I'm not certain, but the hotel is very, very quiet. If I can manage to sneak into the suite and back into my room without being seen, then I can just chalk this little incident up to a bit of a miscalculation combined with extreme exhaustion. I think.

But of course, when I walk into my suite Cynthia is already awake and dressed. I just can't catch a fucking break. Cynthia is sitting at the table, drinking coffee and eating room service toast. She levels a disgusted look right at me.

"It isn't what you think!" I say, stumbling over and pouring myself some coffee.

"I thought you were NOT going to be doing this, Brian," says Cynthia, frigidly. "Would you have rushed off and spent the night with Jimmy if Justin had been here? Would you have?"

"I didn't spend the night with Jimmy!" I say. "I haven't seen Jimmy since we came back from dinner." I slump down at the table and begin opening packets of sugar for the coffee.

She looks down at my feet and sees that I don't have any shoes on. "Well, you certainly didn't go out of the hotel. And I'm sure they didn't let you in the bar downstairs only half dressed."

"I'm not half dressed! I just went out without putting on my shoes. And I didn't pick up anyone in the bar. Jesus, Cynthia, what do you think I am?" I look at her face. "Don't answer that one."

"Then where were you, Brian?" she asks. "Because you haven't been here all night. I know because I've been checking. That's part of my job."

"You mean spying on me is part of your job?" I grab a piece of toast and shove it in my mouth. It's cold and dry.

"Watching out for you, Brian. Taking care of you. Like I promised Justin," she snaps.

"I know," I say, trying to smooth down my ridiculous hair with my fingers. It doesn't help. "I was in Ron's room."

The look on Cynthia's face is priceless. Shocked, horrified, angry, disappointed, and fascinated -- all at the same time. "Oh, Brian!"

"It wasn't like that! We were only talking. And Ron and I had a lot to talk about. I ended up falling asleep on the sofa. And that's the truth. Nothing happened." Even as I say it the whole thing sounds implausible. Ridiculous, even. But it's true.

"Brian," she sighs. "I don't believe you! How COULD you? With Ron!"

"I said I didn't do a fucking thing!" I insist, holding my hand to my head. "What do I have to do -- take a lie detector test?"

"But how could you even go down there?" says Cynthia, shaking her head. "You know that Justin thinks Ron is dangerous, Brian. You know Justin warned you to stay away from Ron. And yet you went down there and spent the night in his room? What were you thinking?"

"In his suite -- NOT in his bed!" I counter. "And Ron is NOT dangerous. I know Justin is worried, but to think that Ron would hurt me is laughable. I'm not afraid of him. And I can handle myself, Cynth. Believe me."

"I don't think so, Brian," Cynthia replies, an angry edge to her voice.

"I need to take a shower." I turn away from her and stalk into the bedroom, stripping off my clothes and tossing them on the bed. The hot water feels good. I always feel better when I'm clean. The shower washes away a lot of my anxiety. And I can both think AND jerk off there in peace because I know that even Cynthia won't follow me into the shower to bitch at me.

One thing is definitely certain -- there haven't been that many people in my life who I've trusted and even fewer people I've loved. I told Justin that last summer and I meant it. I can count them on one hand. Michael, Ron, Lindsay, Gus, Justin. But the problem is that once I DO admit that love it's impossible for me to take it back. I may distance myself from the person and from the feeling, but it's impossible for me to reverse myself completely. And that is at the bottom of my fucking dilemma with Ron!

Yes, Lindsay can make me crazy, like when she was so stupid about that Frenchman she was going to 'marry.' And Michael can be frustrating at times -- okay a lot of the time. But I still love them. Yes, I always have and I always will. But I also know that they need to live their own lives. I admit that I never liked that bitchy Melanie, but she is Lindz's partner and that's Lindz's choice. The only thing I could do was let her make that choice and then live with it -- as long as the two of them don't screw around with Gus' future. And I guess I learned my lesson with Michael and Dave Cameron. I know have the power to fuck up Michael's personal life and I know shouldn't do it. Which is why I've basically bowed out of Mikey's life recently. But it isn't because I don't care. I DO care -- I'll always care. It's so Michael can have a chance at a relationship with Ben. Yeah, I know -- I didn't raise Mikey for that kind of life, with couples and dinner parties and all that crap. But I'd be a fucking hypocrite to preach against it when I spent months out in L.A. doing that very thing with Ron. Yes, that whole 'Hollywood Wife' routine. And I'd be even more of a hypocrite to mock Michael for wanting a little 'domestic bliss' when I'm basically doing the couples thing with Justin -- and actually liking it. And I know that being part of a couple is what Michael needs. He needs a partner and he always has. It's just that in the past I didn't want to admit that Michael might need someone else more than he needed me.

And then there's me and Ron. The ultimate train wreck on both sides. I hate him and I love him at the same time. It's like I'm living in two different realities every time I'm around him -- the fucked up present and then this idealized past. And it's hard to separate them in my very confused little brain. Because the truth is that Ron DID take care of me when I couldn't take care of myself. He did take me in when I had no other place to go and no other options -- except maybe getting killed. I know that he loved me and -- although it's always been a hard thing for me to admit -- I loved him. Which was exactly why I had to leave him back in 1988.

But our relationship, when we reconnected last December, just wasn't the same. No matter how much I wanted it to be the same and how much Ron tried to make it same, I guess reality can never live up to what you've spent years idealizing in your mind. Those couple of weeks with Ron was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise pretty miserable young life. It was the first time that I really felt that someone loved me -- unconditionally. Besides Mikey, of course, but that's a completely different kind of love. So, isn't it natural that I would want to recapture that feeling? Of being loved. Being cared for. Of being... safe, somehow. I was just too unused to doing 'emotions' or a 'relationship' that I didn't understand that what I was trying to recreate -- what Ron was trying to recreate -- was doomed from the start.

And one reason that it was doomed is that I wasn't as 'free' as I thought I was. In fact, I was already IN a relationship. I just couldn't make myself admit it.

I pull at my dick under the spray of hot water, thinking about Justin and how I really fucked the two of us up when I left Pittsburgh. And now I've fucked myself up again -- or let myself be fucked up by those two limey bastards. Because I'm STILL a goddamn mess. I know I am and I can't pretend otherwise, especially not to Justin. And now I can't... I can't let Justin... Jesus! I wonder if I should have let Ron fuck me last night? I mean, just to make sure that I can do it after... after what happened in London. Because that's one thing I can't seem to get beyond -- at least not yet. Whenever Justin even seems like he's getting close back there I fucking freeze up and then I panic. I just can't stand it!

Now, Justin -- he's the final element in this whole thing equation. Our 'relationship.' What a word! What a fucking concept! But there it is. I actually HAVE a relationship! Justin understands a lot of things about me. Lucky for me. And one thing he understands is that I've always had issues about getting fucked. Obviously. And especially when it involves him. I know that it's a power thing and I'm trying to overcome it. I really am. He's helping me overcome it. But it's hard to let down a facade you've spent so many years building up. I want this partnership with Justin to be equal and I know it will never be as long as I feel that I HAVE to be in control all the time. As long as I have to be the Top in everything -- but especially in bed. That's my own screwed up head at work there. I'm terrified of losing that final area of control, even with Justin.

But with Ron that control isn't an issue and never has been. He's the only one who really knows how to fuck me the way I like it. The way I need it -- without any of my usual inhibitions and power games. That's the way it's always been between us, so I don't have to hide behind that stupid facade with him. In fact, I think that is a great part of my attraction to him and has been from the minute we got back together. With Ron I didn't have to play my usual 'role' and get stuck in that trap once again. I could just let myself go and not have to think about it. To give all that control, all that power, to someone else. To Ron. But that turned out all wrong in the end, too. All wrong.

I guess I could ask Ron to fuck me and see if I freak out. But... that's the quick fix, isn't it? Hey, that's me! I'm always looking for the easy way out. That's how I fucked myself over in the first place! My goddamn 'pain management'! Smothering those awful emotions and turning the responsibility for my own fear over to another person. The problem is that going back and doing anything with Ron is asking for the worst kind of trouble for me -- and for me and Justin. Cynthia is right about that. And Justin is right about the danger element. But the danger isn't from Ron -- it's from ME. From me and my fucking stupidity!

No, I need to work out these issues with JUSTIN. He's the one. It won't be quick and it won't be easy. In fact, it will be fucking painful! But it's the right thing to do. It's the ONLY thing to do. If he's going to be my partner, for real, then I HAVE to work all these things out with him and leave Ron and Jimmy and Dorian -- and everyone else out of it. Out of my life. OUR life. And out of our bed.

And I think that will be the hardest thing of all for me to do. But I have to. I just have to.

I guess the real answer is that I can't hang on to the concept of being the total Top in this relationship. It's not healthy for me, emotionally, or for Justin to always feel that I have to dominate him in some way to 'prove' my manhood or my power over him. That makes me no better than Keef and Mac, those two assholes who... who... why can't I say it, even to myself?

But the other thing is that I can't be a total Bottom, either. I'm not Mikey, after all. Always having to submit just fucks up my head as much as always having to be on top! I have to be in a relationship where I can share control with my partner. Where he trusts me completely, but where I also trust HIM, as well. So that it doesn't fucking matter who does what to who! Yeah, sure. How long is it going to take for me to get to THAT Fantasy Island? And yet -- I know that place exists, because I've been there a couple of times with Justin.

I come out of the bathroom in a towel and Cynthia is setting out the clothes I'm wearing today. It's my Day from Hell -- 'Regis and Kelly' in the morning, then a quick radio interview in the same building, then down Seventh Avenue for the Woody shoot at the art gallery, and then a dead run back up Broadway for the 'Letterman' taping. Cynthia and I have decided that my dark blue Armani would be the most suitable for a long, wearing day. It won't show the wrinkles and if -- God forbid -- I spill something on myself, then it's less likely to show. Cynthia also packs up an extra clean shirt and a different tie for 'Letterman.' Jimmy is due on 'The View' later this morning and then he has a slew of interviews with print media all afternoon, so we are supposed to hook up again tonight for dinner at some Italian place near the hotel. That is, if I haven't gone completely berserk or dropped from exhaustion before then.

"I don't know about all this, Cynthia," I tell her as I put on my shirt. "I don't know if I'm going to get through this fucking day!"

"Don't be silly, Brian. You've been doing just fine so far." She's holding my suitcoat. Yes, the dark blue Armani looks good.

"Thank God Jimmy is doing 'The View' today. By the time I get there tomorrow those women will be all talked out."

"Don't count on it, Brian!" says Cynthia in a very snarky tone of voice. "They are lying in wait just for YOU!"

Yes, she's still pissed at me. "I didn't fuck up, Cynth! Believe me! If you are going to be a pain in the ass for the rest of this trip and make my life a misery, then take off now and I'll try to do this all by myself."

"I don't think so, Brian. You need me. And I promised Justin that I would take care of you."

"Yeah, yeah. He better get here soon or I'm going to go nuts."

"Tomorrow afternoon, Brian. Can you hold out until then?"

"I'll have to try, won't I?"

Cynthia looks at her watch. "We have to head over to Jimmy's suite and wait for the limo. Five minutes, okay, Brian?"

I nod and try to get my fucking hair to sit down. But it's hopeless. Maybe they can do something with it at the studio.

Cynthia and I walk down the hall to Jimmy's suite. As usual, Jimmy and Peggy are running around like a pair of chickens with their heads cut off. I think of what a relief it is that I have my own room. Cynthia is very calm and purposeful in the morning and that makes ME feel calm and purposeful. None of this state of chaos that reigns wherever Jimmy is.

And sitting in the middle of it all, having breakfast from a large room service spread, is Ron.

"I thought you were leaving first thing this morning?" I say, coolly, while Cynthia rolls her eyes.

He regards me evenly, chewing on a bagel. "Change of plans, Brian. I have more business to take care of here first."

Jimmy is standing in a white dress shirt and his usual baggy underwear, listening to us and frowning. The guy never has any clothes that fit right! And Jimmy can't seem to decide who he's more annoyed at this morning -- me or Ron.

"Aren't we supposed to leave right now, Jim? Because you can't go on 'The View' like that," I say, impatiently, pointing to his sagging shorts.

"I'm still deciding what to wear!" Jimmy answers while Peggy rolls her eyes. It's always the same fucking thing -- Jimmy can't make up his mind and Peggy stands around watching him implode.

"Christ!" I grab Jimmy by the arm and drag him into the bedroom. He has about eight different outfits spread out on the bed. I pick out one of his Perry Ellis suits and shove the trousers at him. "Here. Put these on. And this is the jacket that goes with it. And this tie."

Jimmy puts the clothes on without protest. But he's watching me. He isn't smiling. "So, Ron is sticking around a while longer, huh, Bri? How come?"

"I wouldn't know anything about it, Jimmy." That's all need right now -- Jimmy giving me the third degree!

"Oh, you wouldn't? You mean you didn't talk about it last night? In his room?" Jimmy is struggling to get his tie on right.

"Just fucking drop it, Jimmy. It's none of your business." I have to tie the guy's tie for him. He's a grown man and completely helpless! Even Justin knows how to tie his own fucking tie correctly!

"No wonder you didn't want to stay with me, Brian," Jimmy pouts. "You probably had this all set up, you and Ronnie, didn't you? And I look like a real chump, don't I? You both had a good laugh at my expense, I bet."

"It's not what you think, Jimmy. We had stuff to discuss. And that was ALL." Maybe I should just strangle Jimmy with the tie and save us all a lot of grief.

"Oh, I know all about your 'discussions,'" Jimmy practically spits at me. I've never seen him quite this pissy before. "I'm an expert on those 'discussions' with you, Bri! Is Ron leaving before Justin gets here -- or are you going to tag team the two of them all weekend?"

"Fuck you, Jimmy!" I say, and I leave the room. I don't need this shit first thing in the morning.

"Hey!" Jimmy yells after me. "Finish doing this tie for me, Brian. It's not straight!"

"And neither are you, Jim. Deal with it." I'm sick of these stupid little games.

In the limo Jimmy works himself up into a frenzy of nervous energy and 'Jimmy-isms.' Peggy keeps trying to go over some of the questions he'll be asked on 'The View' based on the pre-interview she did with the staffers. Cynthia also has my information for the 'Regis' show, but I've already looked it over. Nothing new. The same fucking questions about kissing a fucking guy. I might as well phone these things in.

"Wait until we do 'The Larry King Show,' Bri," Jimmy gloats. "If you think what you've heard THIS week is bad, wait until you hear the moronic questions that guy will come up with!"

"Great, Jim," I say. "I'm SO looking forward to it!"

The other thing that throws me is the fact that Ron is also in the limo with us. I assume that we are dropping him off somewhere. I don't ask. But when we get to the ABC studio, Ron gets out, too.

"Where the fuck do you think you are going?" I say to him.

"Ron's observing us today, didn't you know?" Jimmy smirks, seeing the tension between me and Ron.

"I thought you had important business, Ron, and that's why you stayed!"

Ron just sneers. "This IS my important business, Brian. To make sure you two clowns don't fuck up the publicity for MY picture."

"Yes, I've made over thirty films -- but Ron is going to make sure that I don't fuck up!" Jimmy crows. He pauses at the studio door to sign a few autographs. Jimmy would sign an autograph standing at a urinal -- and he probably already has.

Leslie meets us when the limo arrives at the studio. My 'Live! With Regis and Kelly' gig is first, which means that Jimmy is going upstairs to do a radio interview before he has to face those women on 'The View.' But I have to proceed directly into make-up because my show starts at 9:00 a.m. And Ron trails right along after me and Cynthia. It's pointless to argue with him now and get him to leave, so I just try to ignore him. Which is like trying to ignore the elephant sitting in the middle of the room. Cynthia isn't certain at all how to deal with Ron, either, so she does what she does best -- she acts extremely businesslike and polite to him.

As usual in these situations there are a pair of campy queens doing make-up and hair. These two make Emmett Honeycutt look like Vin Diesel. They are all over me like flies on shit, fluffing and dabbing. Then the one decides that he's going to spray my fucking hair to get it to lie down. And that's the last straw.

"Okay. That's IT! Get away from me with that stuff!" And I run my hand through my hair, messing it up again. "This is the way it looks. If you don't like it, then fuck you!"

"But Mr. Kinney!" squeals the hair queen.

"It's fine," growls Ron. "Leave him alone." Ron gives the two guys a look that would freeze a lava flow. And the pair beat it.

"Jesus. I'm nervous enough as it is without all that shit," I mumble to Cynthia as she hands me the brush. "Spraying my fucking hair!"

And that's when Regis pops into the room to say hello. He doesn't look like a real person at all, but like 'Regis' -- like they take him out of a box specially for the show, perfectly dressed and perfectly coiffed, his perfect talk show host teeth blindingly white.

"First timer, I see," he says, shaking hands as I stand up. And he nods at Cynthia and Ron, my own little dysfunctional entourage.

"On this show," I say, glancing at Ron, who is scowling in that cheerful way he has.

"I haven't seen the film, but..." Regis clears his throat. "I hear it's... ah... ah...."

"It's quite sexually explicit," Ron butts in, showing his teeth.

"Yes. That's it. Ah... and it's about... sports? The Olympics?" says Regis, with a sickly smile.

"In a way," I start. Didn't they brief this guy? Or is he going to play this game of not knowing what the picture is about during the actual show? Jesus, I hope not.

Ron steps forward, glaring. "It's not about sports at all. It's a homosexual romance. It's about homophobia and intolerance. Not sports."

Regis turns, confused. "And you are?"

"Ron Rosenblum. I directed the film. And wrote it."

"Oh. I see," says Regis. "Congratulations, then. I hear it's a great movie. Very... controversial."

"Some people might see it that way," Ron snaps. "I think it's just truthful."

"And Jimmy Hardy is in it, too." Regis turns back to me. Ron is obviously making him uncomfortable. "Some graphic stuff, that's what I hear." He laughs nervously.

"Some scenes, yes," I explain, trying to salvage this fiasco. And the show hasn't even fucking started yet!

"You aren't going to ask the same tired questions about what it's like for Brian to kiss a man on screen?" Ron interrupts. "Because that's an insult. You realize that, don't you?"

"Ron. Don't," I say. But it's already too late.

Regis looks ready to bolt from the room. "Well, I did have one question like that... I mean, it's a natural question. Our viewers don't see something like that too often in a movie and they wonder how a guy can, you know, make himself do it."

"I don't think this is the place for this discussion." I say, moving between Ron and Regis. The damn show is about to begin and now I'm certain that Ron is going to scare Regis so badly that he'll just run out of the studio and never return.

But Ron won't be stopped. He's on a roll. "No, Brian? But live television IS the place for THIS guy to insult every gay man who might be tuning in?" He stares at Regis with his intense glare. "Do you ask the actors playing straight love scenes how THEY can stand to kiss their female co-stars?"

"No. I don't. I... I never thought about it that way." Regis backs away. "I see your point, though, Mr. Rosenblum."

"You do? Then what do you think about THIS?" says Ron. And before I know what he's doing, Ron grabs me and kisses me full out, shoving his tongue right down my throat! He practically bends me backwards over the make-up table!

"Ron! What the fuck!" I say, wiping my mouth after he lets me go. And I see Regis high-tailing it out of the room, practically knocking a gaping Cynthia over as he escapes. "I have to go on camera with that guy in FIVE minutes! What are you trying to do? Sabotage this appearance?"

"He's an idiot, Brian," Ron snorts. "Let him think about THAT while he's asking his homophobic, paranoid questions!"

"What are you doing here, Ron?" I say, giving him a push away from me. "Go upstairs and screw around with Jimmy's head and leave ME the fuck alone!"

"Brian, Please!" Cynthia pleads. "Don't start anything!"

"YOU were the one who gave me the idea, Brian," says Ron, smiling like a goddamn snake. "You told me last night -- in my room..." Ron glances over at Cynthia. "That you just wanted to go on the show and kiss Regis and see if he freaked out. I was only testing the waters for you. So to speak."

"Shit!" I say. "Why are you trying to throw me off my game, Ron? Do you want me to fuck this up? If so, you're doing a fine job!"

"Brian, calm down. You have to go on soon," says Cynthia, touching my arm.

"I'm not fucking you up, Brian," Ron says. He isn't smiling now. "I'm protecting you. Just like I always do. I'm looking out for your interests. And mine." He leans close to me again and I want to step away. But I'm listening. Just listening. "And I'm showing you that you CAN do this -- no matter what. There's no need to be afraid of Regis and his idiotic questions. YOU are the 'Star' here. YOU are the only one who matters. No one has taken anything away from you, Brian, even if you think they have," he whispers. "Not those guys in London who fucked you. Not Jimmy and his whining. Not the studio and their lies. So, go out and be a 'Star.' Like I intended for you to be. That's what I created you for. That's what you HAVE to be. And then WE can tell them all to fuck themselves, Brian. Just the two of us. Always."

And I just stare at him. I never have any idea where Ron is coming from or what he's actually thinking. Or what he's really after. Does he think that he's trying to help me? Or is this just another insane way of getting back at me? I take another step back away from him.

"I have to go on now," I tell Ron. "Don't be here when the show is over." I walk out and Cynthia follows me. "Make sure that you're GONE!"

"I'm never GONE, Brian! Never!" he calls after me. "Never! And you remember that!"

Getting on the air is a fucking anti-climax after the little scene in the make-up room. Regis forgets to ask his question about the kiss. In fact, he hardly asks me any questions at all and he lets Kelly take over. She's pregnant and has that Baby Fever women get, so she mainly asks me about Gus. Kelly even shows one of the 'Vanity Fair' photos of me and Gus -- slightly edited to cover up part of my dick! -- and that pretty much takes up the whole appearance. And I even get in a couple of mentions of 'The Olympian,' so I've done my job.

The second the show is over, Regis splits. Hell, I don't blame the guy. I often have that reaction after a confrontation with Ron, too. But Kelly follows me off the set to where Cynthia is standing with Leslie. They are both a bit tense -- Cynth obviously clued Leslie in to the make-up room debacle -- but Kelly greets them and she's so upbeat that they relax. So, another show down.

"Brian," says Kelly, stopping me as Cynthia and Leslie head upstairs to meet up with Jimmy before 'The View.' "I know you were nervous today."

"You don't know the half of it."

"Yes, I do," she says. "I heard a little of what happened before you went on. With Regis. My assistant told me during the first break."

"That was unfortunate." I look around, but I have no idea where Ron has gone. Back to Los Angeles, I hope. "The director of my film is a little... defensive about the subject matter. And we're both sick of answering the same questions about... well, you know what I mean."

"Considering the picture, the gay questions aren't too surprising," Kelly replies. "And poor Regis isn't exactly comfortable talking about such serious issues, especially sexual issues. He needs to make it into a joke to cover up his embarrassment. It's a straight guy thing." She tilts her head. "I'm sure you've had to deal with it before, Brian. And so has your boyfriend. He should learn not to take these television things so seriously. After all, he's made an important film and you're wonderful in it. I saw the preview video the other day in preparation for your appearance. You both should be very proud."

I look down at this woman. I should have known that she would know the score. She may giggle like a teenybopper, but she's no fool. "It's that obvious, huh?" I say.

"Not really, Brian. But, unlike Regis, I read the gossip columns faithfully! It's sort of my job, after all, when all the celebrities come on this show. And blind items aren't THAT hard to figure out." She smiles serenely.

"Great," I reply. "Ron might as well just buy a full page in 'Variety.'" But I realize that, regardless of all the studio's cover-ups and Ron and Jimmy's imaginary paranoia, a full page ad isn't really necessary. Not to anyone who is even semi-awake.

"Does it really matter? People knowing that you're gay?" she asks. "To you, I mean?"

"No," I say, truthfully. "Not at all. But it matters to other people, apparently." Like Terra Nova Studio. And like the entire Hollywood Establishment!

"Your son?"

"Well, since Gus is only two years old... but, no, it wouldn't matter. I would never hide the fact that I'm a queer from my kids. It's pointless, isn't it?"

Kelly shrugs. "And his mom?"

"She's my old college girlfriend -- and she's gay, too. The fact is that I've always been out -- except in the screwed up eyes of The Powers That Be. It would be such a relief if I didn't have to go on these shows and answer the same damn questions..." I pause. "I just want to get these appearances over with. And after the film comes out...." I sigh. "Anyway, thanks for basically saving my ass out there. I do appreciate it."

"No problem, Brian. Well, then...." Kelly pats my shoulder. "Good luck with the picture and the rest of this publicity swing. 'The Olympian' is going to be a huge hit. So tell your director boyfriend to take a pill and relax!"

"That will be the day," I say. "When Ron relaxes. And actually, Ron and I aren't...." But she is already moving off, towards her dressing room. The last thing she needs to hear is a detailed explication of my complicated personal life. "Thanks again," I say, after her. She gives me a little wave. "And good luck with the new baby."

And then I head upstairs to find Cynthia and face the next catastrophe on my busy, busy schedule.

Continue on to "My Favorite Mistake -- Part 1", the next chapter.

©Gaedhal, March 2003.

Updated March 23, 2003.