This is Part 3 of Chapter 104 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine -- Part 2", the previous section.
The narrator is Ron Rosenblum, and features Brian Kinney, Howard Sheldon, Daniel, Carmel, Maria, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Ron is despondent over the loss of Brian. Los Angeles, October 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.
Sometimes I feel so depressed that I truly wonder if it is really worth it anymore. I mean, what IS it all for? If you can't have a little happiness. If the one thing you want -- that you have ALWAYS wanted -- has walked out the door without even looking back, then what IS the fucking point?
But I have work to do. Things that I have to pretend are still important to me. Like the film I spent ten years of my life trying to make happen. 'The Olympian.' And now I have it. It's finished. It's great. And it feels completely meaningless. Because from now on every time I look at it, think about, hear about it, I have to think about how I fucked up with Brian. How it all ended with a lousy whimper. And that was the name of the tune -- 'Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine.' I always hated that song.
All of Tuesday I sit through meetings with the Promotions Team, discussing the 'Olympian' premiere, the magazine covers that are planning to feature the film, as well as a major piece in 'The Advocate' to coincide with the announcement of the Academy Award nominations. And the studio is doing everything they can to insure that 'The Olympian' will be getting a lot of nominations.
"'The Advocate' wants to interview YOU, Ron, about being out, about the problems of getting the film made -- and 'the ramifications of the film's success on the Hollywood establishment,' that kind of thing." The youngest publicity wonk is reading from his notes.
"Except that we don't KNOW that the film is going to be a success, Daniel," I say, bleakly. He's an idiot, like all these guys. He only knows what's written down for him.
"But of course the film is going to be a success, Ron," says Howie Sheldon. He's the semi-closeted studio executive who greenlighted this project. He's also the one who approved casting Brian after we booted Ross Preston -- or, rather, after Brian scared him off the picture. That was a great moment! I keep thinking of Jimmy, laughing his ass off while Ross Preston just stood there, screaming, "There's no WAY I'm doing THAT!" And then Brian throwing Jimmy down on the bed and showing Ross exactly what 'fags' do! Ross Preston ran out of that set like a petrified virgin at an orgy. When I think of what my film would have been with HIM in the lead, with HIM playing Bobby -- but I can't even imagine it. Because it wouldn't have happened. The picture would have been shelved after the first screening. And that's the truth.
"It isn't merely going to be a success, Ron," continues Howie. "It's going to be our best chance for a slew of major awards. We are giving this film our biggest push in years. We're going ALL out. Campaigns for the film, for Jimmy, for you as director AND writer. And for Brian. We're giving HIM maximum exposure. I've talked to Jimmy and he agrees. Jimmy is basically throwing all of the attention on Brian, which is incredibly generous of him."
"Yes, Howie," I say. "Very generous of Jimmy." He and Brian are going out on another press junket when Brian gets back from London and the 'Hammersmith' premiere, so Jimmy is smug. He imagines that he and Brian will be fucking from here all the way to New York! He thinks he has Brian in his back pocket! Jimmy has no clue! Brian is so 'in charge' of Jimmy that it isn't funny. Even Tess knows it.
Yes, Tess knows it all too well. She's already making plans for her post-Jimmy life. Now she's a producer. And she'll be a good producer, too. The same qualities that have made her 'The Perfect Hollywood Wife,' the perfect architect of Jimmy's career -- the perfectionism, the attention to detail, the eye on the Big Picture, the willingness to take the big risk -- are what will make Tess a success. Besides, I've read that Italian girl's script that Tess is producing. It's funny and over-the-top and heart-warming and completely manipulative. In other words, it's a sure winner.
On Friday Brian is leaving for London. I'm sure Dorian will meet him at the airport and give him the whole Star Treatment. The 'personal' treatment, too, probably. And Terra Nova Studio, rather than being pissed off about 'Hammersmith' stealing thunder from 'The Olympian,' is delighted about it! They think that means Brian's career has 'momentum' and that the people who go to see 'Hammersmith' will certainly want to see 'The Olympian,' too! Fucking shit. Momentum! As if 'The Olympian' would be perceived as some kind of fluke and Brian as some kind of fucking one trick pony! They have no clue. Wait until we make 'Red River.' He'll blow Eastwood off the screen, just like Montgomery Clift did to John Wayne!
If Brian even agrees to do 'Red River' it will be a miracle. If he even agrees ever to be in the same room with me again, since he could barely force himself to look me in the eye down at the boat. What a travesty that was! But Brian's an actor -- I guess he can 'pretend' to stomach me for the 'good' of his career -- since that is what he claims he's been doing up to now. Pretending to be able to tolerate me. Yes, if he can force himself to breathe the same fucking air as me for the premiere and for all the interviews and appearances connected with 'The Olympian,' then he REALLY deserves any kind of award they can hand him. That will prove he's truly a great actor!
I sit through an entire day of that kind of shit. And then Howie takes me out to dinner.
Usually, I love Morton's. Especially when everyone and his brother is stopping at the table like they are tonight. The word on 'The Olympian' must really be hot. I remember when I used to do the same thing -- bopping from table to table, schmoozing every asshole with a film coming out. Trying to get the ear of every producer with a hit. Getting the advice of the latest writer with a big script deal. Just trying to fucking get noticed. Sometimes I'd get a meeting. Occasionally I'd even get laid. But usually I got bupkis. Zip. Nada. I'd go home and sit in the office and dream about what I'd do when I hit it big. About how fucking fabulous it would feel to be on the receiving end of everyone's envy. To have the Big Wheels taking me to dinner, sending over bottles of wine. To have the hot young actors slipping their numbers into my pocket.
And now it's happening. Just like I dreamed it would. Except I'm not interested in any of it. I'm not interested in any of them. Not anymore. It's fucking meaningless.
Howie drives me home after dinner. I'm in no shape to go back to the studio and pick up the Jag.
"Ron, excuse me for saying it, but I don't think I ever remember you having this much to drink before," Howie says as he pulls into the driveway. He must have noticed that I can't get my fucking seatbelt undone. But that could happen to anyone.
"It's just that I could never afford the good stuff before, Howard," I say, pulling at the buckle of the seatbelt. I had plenty of the good stuff tonight. Plenty!
"Ron, what IS going on around here? And where's Brian?"
"How the fuck should I know, Howie?" I mumble. I just want to get inside the house and pass out. I don't need this Inquisition. "I'm not in charge of keeping track of Brian. And he doesn't leave me his goddamn schedule."
Howie sighs. "You want to tell me what is really happening, Ron?"
"Nothing." Literally. "There's nothing to tell, Howie."
"Tell me the truth, Ron," Howie keeps badgering. "Is this going to affect the premiere? Or the press tour? Is that why Brian bailed on that golf outing? Because you two are having trouble?"
"I don't think that's any of your fucking business, Howie!"
"It IS my business, Ron, if it impacts the promotion of this picture!" he responds, seriously. "Because the studio is putting a lot of time and effort -- not to mention a fortune! -- into pushing this film. If Brian is going to be a no-show -- or if you are going to be less than cooperative because the two of you are having another 'misunderstanding' -- then I have to know right now!"
"Leave it alone, Howard."
He glances at me and frowns. "Ron, I warned you when you cast Brian that there might be trouble because you were having a relationship with him. That's nothing new. Lots of directors are screwing their stars. But this was something else again. YOUR first major picture. His first ANYTHING. That was enough to deal with, not to mention the gay angle -- which just added a whole other layer of secrecy and melodrama to the whole affair."
"It's a little late to go back and erase everything, Howie," I sigh. "And I wouldn't want to. Because just look at the result. Look at the finished picture!"
"Now, don't get me wrong, Ron. I think Brian is fantastic in the picture. You know it, I know it, and pretty soon everybody is going to know it. I've been his biggest booster at the studio right from the start."
Yeah, Howie, I think. Because you wanted to get into Brian's pants, but like everybody else! Admit it!
"But," he continues. "If there's any kind of uproar during the press junket, or if one of you decides to take any public potshots at the other -- then I'm going to clamp down on BOTH of you! Do you hear me, Ron?"
"I hear you, Howard," I whisper.
"So -- what's the word? And tell me the truth for once."
"He's out of here," I gesture towards the house. "And that's all she wrote."
Howie shakes his head. "It's NEVER 'all she wrote' with you two! You and Brian are the biggest queer soap opera in Hollywood, in case you haven't been paying attention. The entire town has been following your little serial with avid interest for almost a year now! It's back and forth, up and down, around and around. You guys are like a fucking carnival ride! You two NEVER should have been working together in the first place! That's MY opinion! But it's too late for that. It's already done and the picture is ready to go. And that means I don't want any fucking monkey business from either of you! And you can tell Brian that -- from me!"
"Right, Howie. I'm supposed to tell him something!"
"Listen, Ron -- you're the director of this picture, he's the co-star. I want you guys to make nice with each other -- or I'll see that neither of you works for this studio again! And I don't care if you two win every award in the book! I'll cut the balls off BOTH of you! No one wants to work with a fucking troublemaker -- especially a fag troublemaker, Ron! You've been in this game long enough to know that. So clue your boyfriend in! And tell him to behave himself."
"How am I supposed to do that? When he won't even speak to me? When he's... moved out!"
"Your personal life means shit to me, or to the studio, or to anybody, Ron. It's this PICTURE that's important. So get over it! And tell Brian to get over himself, too. I expect you BOTH to do what you have to do. Once this picture is in release and once the awards season has passed, then the two of you can do whatever the hell you want to do. Get married or kill each other or take a trip to the Amazon -- I don't give a damn! Just wait until you are clear of this project!"
Howie reaches over and releases my seatbelt so I can get out of the car. Good thing, too, because I hear a bottle of ten year old scotch calling my name inside the house.
"Oh -- and Ron. If you are even thinking in your wildest fucking dreams that you are taking Brian on location to Arizona for a month to do that film with Eastwood -- think again!"
I blink. "But Howie -- Clint has already approved him! It's... a done deal! Practically."
Howie runs his hand over his brow. "Listen, you guys can't go two DAYS without some kind of domestic blow up. You think I'm going to send you off on location together -- with Eastwood? Are you insane, Ron?"
"But... Brian is perfect for that part!"
"You just said that he isn't even speaking to you! Are you even THINKING coherently, Ron?"
I nod. "But that shoot isn't even scheduled until the end of May. I'm sure Brian will be... over it all by then, Howie."
I get out of the car. I just want to get into the house. I don't want to think about this stuff anymore tonight.
Howie leans out of the car window. "Ron -- I'm serious. We need to talk. And I mean a long, long talk. Call my assistant and set up something. Because we need to get a few things straight. Oh, and I don't want you making any deals with Eastwood's company about this Brian thing. Not until we discuss it. Because I have very serious reservations about you two working together under ANY circumstances in the future. Understand me, Ron?"
"I understand you, Howard." You prick bastard.
"Go to sleep. Now. I expect you to be at the studio tomorrow. And NOT hung over."
Fuck you, Howie. "Okay, Howie. Goodnight."
And Howie tears his Lexus down the drive and out into the night.
And I go into the house to look for that bottle of scotch.
I plan to leave the studio a little early on Wednesday. Besides the fact that I can't concentrate on anything for more than five minutes without almost breaking down, Jimmy and Tess are picking me up and we're going to dinner before the Dylan concert. About five different times during the day I have my hand on the phone to call Jimmy and tell him to fuck it. The last thing I want to do is go to a concert.
Finally, I dial Jimmy's number for real. He's all peppy and perky on the phone. He's riding a fucking high these days that just won't quit. Why the hell should HE be so happy when I'm so miserable? So I tell him that I'm not going tonight.
"Come ON, Ron! Don't be a party pooper!"
"I just don't feel like going to a concert, Jimmy."
"You don't, huh? What do you feel like doing then?"
Drinking myself into a stupor, like I did last night. And the night before. "Sitting at home and being depressed, Jimmy. THAT'S what I feel like doing!"
Jimmy giggles. "You can do that at the Dylan concert, Ron. I'm sure he'll play enough depressing and angry songs to satisfy even your pissy mood!"
"Fuck you, Jimmy."
"You never asked, Ron!" Jimmy snarks.
"Just shut up!"
"We're picking you up at quarter to six -- so be ready! Okay, Ron?"
"Right. Whatever," I say, giving up.
I hang up with Jimmy and then pack it in for the day. Maybe if I do go to the concert I can shake off a little of this feeling. Because I can't continue this way much longer and get anything done. Not with the premiere coming up and all those interviews I supposed to be doing. Shit! I'm fucking blowing everything! This picture is everything I've worked for, everything I've dreamed about! And now obsessing over Brian is going to ruin it! I have to get a hold of myself -- fast.
I pull into the driveway and the first thing I see is... the Mustang. Parked next to the garage. I have to blink a few times to make myself believe that I'm not just imagining it.
Sure, Brian is probably just picking up some of his shit. He must have left some things in the poolhouse. And I know there are still a bunch of his clothes up in the bedroom. His shampoo and soaps. A few scripts that he left behind. Odds and ends. Yes, odds and ends. Like me. I'm just another one of his odds and ends, left behind.
So why did he have to pick today to do it? He probably thought I wouldn't be home this early. I consider turning the car around and driving around for another half hour and then coming back. Maybe he'll be gone by then. Screw that! It's my fucking house!
I walk into the kitchen and Carmel's face is like a thunderstorm. Maria, as usual, is standing at the stove, her expression impassive.
"Mister Ron, I didn't let him come in! He just walks right in like he owns the place! I swear it!"
"I know, Carmel," I say.
"What am I supposed to do?" Carmel whines. "It doesn't matter what I say -- he just does what HE wants to do! He marches in here and...." Carmel shrugs.
"If he's just getting his stuff, then what's the difference?" I say, suddenly exhausted. Right -- what's the difference?
"He's NOT getting nothing! He's been here an hour already! And he's not leaving!"
I stare at Carmel. "Then what the fuck is he doing?"
"Having a drink! Playing with the dog! How do I know?" Carmel spits. "You tell him to go!"
I peek out from the kitchen and there is Brian, big as life, sitting in one of the chairs by the pool, with Armani in his lap, reading 'The Hollywood Reporter' and drinking a large glass of what looks like Absolut. He's probably drunk, that's what. He probably doesn't even know where the fuck he is! He's wearing a pair of skintight black jeans, black boots propped up on another chair, and an emerald green silk shirt, with his leather jacket thrown over the back of the chair.
Jesus, I wish I had a drink! I don't want to have this conversation sober! But I push open the door and walk out towards the pool. Armani yips and jumps down. Brian looks up and sees me coming, but his face doesn't change at all.
"It's about time you got here. We don't want to be late," he says. "What time is Jimmy picking us up?"
I stop dead in my tracks. "5:45. He has reservations for 6:00 at Mr. Chow's," I hear myself saying.
"Pretentious and over-priced Chinese food. I can deal with that," Brian says. "Are you going to change? You don't want to wear some tight-assed suit to a rock concert, do you?" Brian stands up and stretches. The bottom of the green silk shirt pulls out of the front of his jeans and I catch a glimpse of his firm stomach, a thin line of hair trailing down and disappearing into those black jeans. He sticks his hand in there to shove the shirt back down.
"I guess not," I answer, watching his hand. And I turn and walk up the stairs and into the bedroom like a fucking robot. I throw off my suit and get into the shower. I'm trying to think, but I can't.
Brian is fucking around with my head again. Because he CAN -- that's the only reason he's doing it. And he'll probably fuck around with Jimmy's head, too, tonight. Again, because he can! He's a bastard, he really is! Brian knows how to play me like a piano and there's nothing I can do about it.
How can he be here and act like nothing is wrong? Like nothing has changed? When, in fact, everything has changed! Brian made it clear down at the boat. At least, I thought he did.
It's that goddamn 'Deal' -- he's making me pay for THAT now! He'll make me pay and pay and pay! For thinking that I could strong arm him into anything! For thinking that I ever had ANY kind of control over him. Or over myself. I really am fucking pathetic! Because I'm just going to let him do it. Even Carmel thinks I'm a complete goddamn wimp! And she's right!
I come out of the bathroom and he's lounging on the bed, skimming through one of the screenplays he left here. Some romantic comedy featuring, according to the script, a 'Sandra Bullock/Reese Witherspoon-type heroine' whatever THAT means. It's totally ridiculous -- and totally wrong for Brian, which is probably why he left it behind.
"I wonder who thought it would be a good idea for me to play this 'Hugh Grant' role?"
"I don't know, Brian, but it certainly isn't 'you' -- you're much too butch to play Hugh Grant parts."
"That's for sure!" he laughs, closing the script and tossing it on the floor.
I paw through the closet, looking for something to wear. I can't fucking think at all with him in the room! Suddenly, Brian comes up right behind me and reaches past me into the closet. I feel his breath on the back of my neck. "Just wear a pair of jeans and a tee shirt. Then at the concert you can buy an 'Official Bob Dylan Concert Shirt' and wear that! It'll be totally radical, dude!"
I find myself laughing. "I'm not going to wear a tee shirt to Mr. Chow's, Brian! They won't seat me!"
"Bullshit!" he says. "You'll be with Jimmy Hardy, the 'Most Powerful Actor in Hollywood.' They'll seat you even if you're wearing nothing but a jockstrap!"
"Want me to test that theory?" he says, slyly, unbuttoning the second button of his black jeans. The top button, as usual, is already open. "Oops -- I forgot. I'm not wearing a jockstrap!"
"You ARE a slut, Brian," I say.
"I know," he says, unapologetically. And he keeps unbuttoning his black jeans. All the way.
He takes his cock out and it looks like a fucking work of art. Pure and hard and dangerous. I stare at it, like you'd stare at a snake you know is going to bite you. Full of venom. But you can't stop yourself from looking at it. Touching it.
"Go ahead, Ron. Suck it. Do it now."
"What are you waiting for?" he purrs. "It's all yours. ALL yours."
And I don't hesitate anymore.
Continue on to "Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine -- Part 4", the next section.
©Gaedhal, January 2003.
Send Gaedhal any comments, critiques, suggestions. I welcome all of your feedback on this chapter.
Updated January 14, 2003.