"JUST ACTING"

A Queer As Folk USA "Folk Lore" FanFic

by Gaedhal

This is the First Story in the "Folk Lore" series.
It is rated "R," mainly for langauge.
Disclaimer: Not Real. Just for Fun. This is MY imagining of what MAY have happened.

Go to the"Folk Lore" main page.

Gale lowered his script and looked at the man he was reading the scene with. Or boy. No, man. Kid, really. He remembered that he'd been told that this kid was in his twenties, although he found it very hard to believe. He looked more like fourteen.

The slight, blond actor smiled at him and, although he was used to maintaining a serious, fuck-it-all demeanor, he smiled back. He couldn't help himself.

While they stood there waiting, the producers and the casting director were talking among themselves for an awfully long time. Gale glanced at his watch and wondered if they were going to have to do this yet again. The repertory company that he belonged to had a performance that night and he had to be there or he wouldn't get paid. And he needed to get paid. If he missed another payment on his truck the finance company was going to tow it away and then he'd REALLY be up Shit Crick without a paddle, as they said down in Georgia. And he owed over a thousand bucks in parking fines, too. Jesus, L.A. was a bitch!

Not that he was acting tonight. No, not in this play. But he had to be there to help backstage. Move scenery. This was the last weekend of the show and on Sunday night they had to strike the set.

He looked at his watch again. It had been after 5:00 when he came in to read -- after doing a whole day's pick up work on construction for a guy he knew -- and he was exhausted and starving.

"You were good."

"What?" The kid had said something to him, but he wasn't paying that much attention.

"I said you were good. And I've read with a bunch of different guys. But you were definitely the best," said the blond actor. He'd been very forthright in the scene, but now he suddenly seemed rather shy. Well, Gale was used to these split-personality shifts. He did it himself. It was an occupational hazard for actors playing roles that were so different from their actual selves.

"Well, thanks."

"I think they like you. I can tell by the way they were acting."

"Really?"

"I mean it. With the others guys they were kind of sighing and rolling their eyes. But with you...." The kid hesitated for a moment. "With YOU they got all excited. I could tell."

Gale snorted. "Excited excited -- or EXCITED excited?" He smirked at the kid. He knew that if he got this part he'd have to play gay. Very gay. Very very gay. And so would the kid. He knew the producers were queer -- that had been a given when he came in to read. And they'd asked him if it bothered him to play a gay character. To do explicit scenes. A LOT of explicit scenes. And he'd said no. And it didn't bother him, really. Of course that was all theoretical, since he'd never played such a character before or such a scene. A couple of stage plays and a couple of experimental (read: student) films and that was pretty much IT. Oh, and an embarrassing commercial for some butt-ugly SUV.

But he sensed that the two producers liked him. Were even interested in him 'that way' from the minute they walked into the reading. The casting director had called them down from their offices to hear him and that boded well for his chances. Jesus, he'd heard about the 'casting couch' for actresses -- he wondered if he was about to find out how it worked on the other side of the fence!

Not that he'd never been hit on by guys. In fact, it happened all the time and had been happening since high school. But he'd never been that curious. Or that stoned. Still, he had no prejudices about it. No, he'd left those behind in Atlanta, with his tight-assed fundamentalist mother and one-step-up-from-redneck family. Fuck THAT shit. Now THIS would really freak them all out! Some of the stuff in the script he'd been looking at. It was graphic. Yes, it sure was that!

He looked at the kid and wondered if he'd already got the part. If he'd be doing those scenes with him.

"What's your name again?"

"Randy. I'm going to be playing Justin."

"So, you're all signed, sealed, and delivered, huh?"

"I guess. I've signed my contract. I'm getting ready to move to Toronto and find a place to stay."

"Toronto. That's right. That's where this thing films. How
many of the other parts are cast?" Gale asked.

"All of them. Except Brian. And I can tell they are getting anxious that they can't find someone they like. Or someone who'll do the role. A couple of guys walked out right in the middle of reading with me! That was harsh -- WAY harsh!"

"No guts, huh?"

"I guess not. I think they were afraid someone would ask them to kiss me right there and then! Or here and now!" The kid laughed.

That sounded like a challenge. Without thinking, Gale leaned down and grabbed the kid and kissed him full on the mouth. To his surprise, the kid -- Randy -- kissed him back. Opened his mouth, as if waiting. He snaked his tongue inside. It felt warm and soft. It was just a mouth after all, no different from kissing a woman. No different at all. He felt his dick starting to get a little interested. See? No different.

Suddenly, the kid broke it off and stood back, a little embarrassed. They both looked over to where the producers and the casting director were sitting, watching them.

Gale stood up straight. "If you can't do it now -- then you won't be able to do it then," he said out loud. He glanced over at the kid. "I was just checking." The kid giggled and played with his script, covering his face.

"We think you can do it. Anytime," said one of the producers. "We'd like to call your agent."

Gale blinked. The kid standing next to him smiled and whispered, "Yes!"

"Meaning?"

The kid elbowed him. "You've got the part!" He hesitated. "If you want it."

"I've got the part?" Gale said to the producers.

"We'll give you some scripts to look at. Can you be at a meeting at 8:30 on Monday morning? We're introducing the full cast to the Showtime executives."

Shit. He really DID have the part! Now what? Nervously, he pulled out a pack of American Spirits and lit one, without thinking and without asking. He took a drag. Be cool. Be very cool

"I... I'm not sure I can make it. I have to strike the set for my repertory company on Sunday night and I'll probably be there most of the night."

The two producers exchanged looks, as if thinking, is this guy serious?

"Plus, I... I have to think about this. I'll have to leave L.A. and move and... everything." Now he was starting to get cold feet. But he couldn't let them see it. Or the blond kid see it. See that he was another chicken-shit actor afraid to play a fag part.

One of the producers stood up. "Please think about it," he said. "We really want you. We really do. We'll do anything we can to make this comfortable for you."

Gale shook his head. Jesus. That was different. Producers NEVER said that! They always acted like they couldn't give a shit whether you took a part. Whether you lived or died! They NEVER said 'we want you -- we'll do anything'!

They came over and handed him some other scripts and some papers. They gave him their home phone number. I guess these two guys live together. This IS some serious gay stuff, Gale thought. Can I handle it?

"Call us anytime over the weekend. Anytime." The one guy looked straight into his eyes. "We want YOU for this part. It's important. We think it's important. Read the scripts. If... if you can't do what's required, we'll understand. Because the actor who plays this part can't hesitate or it's ruined. Can't hesitate for a second. He has to play it full out. He has to be sexual and tough and out there. But he also has to be tender and vulnerable, too. And brave. Very brave. We think you can do it. If you can't...." The man shrugged. "We'll have to keep looking, I suppose."

The two men walked away, their heads together, talking. Shit. What was he getting into? Still, the money -- he needed that money. A whole season, guaranteed. Even if it was on cable. And it WAS acting. Just acting. And this was a different kind of gay character. Not like on 'Will and Grace' or some shit like that! He wouldn't be some stereotyped queen here.

He picked up his bag and all his shit and started to walk out. He wouldn't have much time to think about this. Monday morning meeting, huh? And then they started shooting, like, right away. There would be no time to think after that. He'd just have to do it.

The kid -- Randy -- was waiting for him near the door.

"Are you going to do it -- or are you going to wimp out?"

Jesus, the kid was direct. "I have to think about it. This will probably change my fucking life. I have to really think hard." He eyed the kid. "Don't you hesitate at all? I mean, at your age? All this stuff? That scene where... where the boy loses his virginity! I mean, that's some intense shit! And... if they film what's in the script... I mean, fuck!"

Randy smiled. "Fuck is right. It's no problem for me. I'm gay and I'm out and pretty much always have been. And I've been naked on stage. And... if I'm comfortable with the person I'm acting with, I don't see the difficulty. That's why I hope you'll do it. Because I feel comfortable with you. You won't let anything happen to me." He reached out and touched Gale's hand. "I know you won't. You'll protect me."

"You have a lot of faith, kid! And you don't even know me!"

"Maybe I DO. Better than you know yourself." Randy smiled. "Besides, how can you turn down a starring role?"

"Starring? This guy isn't the star. That other part -- the one the comedian is playing? That's the star part."

"Think again, Gale." It sounded funny when the kid said his name out loud. "YOUR part is the lead. Brian is the whole show. And ME. Brian and Justin. THEY are the whole thing. The rest is just comic relief and background. Believe me. I can tell by looking at the scripts. And by looking at YOU. It can't be any other way."

"Is that so?"

"That's so. We are going to be the stars of this show. YOU are the hero -- and I'M your leading lady! And if you can't handle that -- then fuck you!" Randy said it matter of factly, but there was a tinge of anger in his voice. And a challenge. A direct challenge.

The kid was standing in the doorframe. Gale leaned over against him and kissed him hard. Very hard. Then harder. He pressed his growing erection against Randy's groin. It was getting a bit uncomfortable here inside his worn and dirty jeans. Then his stomach growled, reminding him just how late it was.

"Is that so?" he said to his new co-star. "I have to go now." He picked up his bag and moved towards the door. "Later," he said.

"Right," the kid answered. "Later."

Gaedhal, November 2002.

Go on to "Moving Scenery", the second "Folk Lore" story.

Send Gaedhal any comments, critiques, suggestions. I welcome all of your feedback!

Posted January 2, 2003.