OPEN LINES III

"A Queer As Folk USA FanFic"

by Gaedhal

This is Chapter 37 in the "Queer Theories" series.

Go back to "Justification", the previous section.

With Brian Kinney, Ron Rosenblum, Jimmy Hardy, Diane Rhys.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: The phone lines burn up between Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. May 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.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002. 10:46 a.m.:

"Yeah?"

"When the fuck were you planning to call me?"

"Jesus, Ron! Don't you ever say 'hello' before you jump on top of me? I guess some things never change."

"Don't you think I'm worrying about you out here? I have no idea if you're dead or alive."

"Do you have any idea how much like your mother you sound, Ron? It's positively comical."

"And you told me that if I let you go to Pittsburgh that you would keep in close contact with me. How am I supposed to know what's going on? You might be ill. You might be in trouble."

"I'm fine! Just fine! Jesus, I've only been here 24 fucking hours!"

"Well...."

"If you 'let' me go to Pittsburgh? I wasn't aware that I needed you to 'let' me go to my own place in my own hometown? Since when do I need your permission, Ron?"

"Sounds like you're in a bad mood. Aren't things working out as planned there?"

"Bad mood? I was in a fine fucking mood until you started giving me the third degree first thing in the fucking morning!"

"First thing in the morning? It must be almost 11:00 back there."

"I don't know."

"Are you still in bed? Did I wake you up?"

"Maybe. Listen, I'm supposed to be here to rest. So, maybe I'm resting."

"Are you depressed? I think you're sick and not telling me."

"I'm not sick. I'm not depressed. I'm just dandy."

"I can be there in less than 12 hours. Sooner if I can get a direct flight."

"Ron -- please don't come here! I'm NOT sick! I'm just sleeping in. Really!"

"Are you alone there?"

"Yes. I'm all by myself, like the song says. All the little elves have cleaned up the place and left for the day."

"Maybe it's not such a good idea for you to be alone there. What if something happens?"

"Christ. First you're getting all angsty thinking that there's someone here with me. Now you're getting weird thinking I'm by myself. Make up your fucking mind, Ron."

"Maybe you should have that friend of yours -- Michael -- stay there with you. He's always over there anyway, even when you're gone."

"Ron, how would you know that Michael is over here at the loft all the time?"

"Well...."

"Yes?"

"I may have called there. Looking for you. And he answered."

"Looking for me when? Not this week? I just got here yesterday!"

"When do you fucking think? During your disappearing act. This number was on your speed-dial in the poolhouse. Michael picked up."

"Did you really expect me to be in Pittsburgh then?"

"I don't know where the fuck I expected you to be. But I thought maybe you'd call your place and... talk to someone there...."

"Are you calling from the poolhouse now? Ron?"

"I might be."

"And you call ME a drama queen!"

"I don't think that's at all funny."

"Well, I think it's a scream. Why are you creating all this melodrama where none exists, Ron? Don't you get enough with the picture? NOTHING is happening here. I'm in my loft. I'm in bed. In a little while I'll have something to eat and probably go back to sleep. The whole two weeks will proceed pretty much like that and then I'll come back and do whatever you have for me to do there."

"And after that?"

"After what?"

"After everything is finished. Really finished. Then what, Brian?"

"How the fuck should I know, Ron?"

"Give me a hint? A fucking clue?"

"What do you want me to say?"

"What else? That you are staying out HERE. That you're staying at the house...."

"Ron...."

"Staying with me.... Brian?"

"I don't know what I'm going to do."

"Brian...."

"I'm just telling you the truth, Ron."

"So, you'd leave me and your career and go back to fucking Pittsburgh to be with some blond waiter?"

"Who told you he was a waiter?"

"I don't know. Maybe I guessed. You are about as predictable as the sun rising, you know."

"Well, he's not a waiter. He's an artist. An art student."

"And a waiter."

"An EX-waiter."

"I fucking KNEW it! Jimmy owes me a hundred bucks!"

"Ron...."

"A fucking non-entity! A fucking NOBODY! Shit! If you're going to fucking DUMP me, then dump me for a Jimmy, for godsake! He's an Oscar-winner AND your co-star! It's a given that the star always fucks the leading lady, let's face it! Or what about Sir Kenneth? He's got some class, at least. You think I didn't know about him, TOO? I know everything! Even lousy Peter. At least he has a sitcom that's in the Top Twenty in the ratings this year. But this fucking little nobody? I can't fucking STAND it!"

"Are you finished?"

"NO! I'm not finished! I'll never be finished!"

"What do you really want to do, Ron? Chain me up like a dog? Would that make you happy?"

"Why not? At least then I could keep you from making a fool of yourself!"

"I don't sound like the one making a fool of myself, Ron. I thought you weren't jealous? That you didn't believe in jealousy? That you were 'understanding,' right? Fucking was just fucking and had no real meaning? Isn't that what you said?"

"So, I lied! I thought that's what you wanted to hear!"

"I want you to tell me the truth. Not just parrot back all my stupid, immature 'beliefs'! It's all bullshit, anyway. Just bullshit. I don't know why I bother to talk to you anymore."

"Brian, you can't hide out in that loft forever. When the film comes out you're going to be a big star. You won't be able to hide, even there. You'll have to face facts."

"Don't start with that crap now."

"You wanted truth, Brian."

"That's just your fucking fantasy world, Ron."

"Yes, it is. That's what movies are. Someone's fucking fantasy world made real. Maybe mine. But it's going to be YOUR reality sooner than you think. November, to be exact, if all goes to schedule. That's when you cease to be anonymous. And you're going to need me to help you. To guide you. To shield you...."

"Oh, you've done a fabulous job of shielding me from my problems, Ron. You might as well have invited all of my demons to take up permanent residence inside my head. That's really helping me. That's really protecting me from the dark."

"You're not still afraid of the dark, Brian."

"How would you know what I'm afraid of, Ron? How would you know?"

***

Friday, May 24, 2002. 9:26 a.m.:

"Yeah?"

"Brian? Is this the right number?"

"Jimmy? What the fuck are you calling me here for?"

"What kind of greeting is that?"

"Did Ron give you this number?"

"No, he doesn't know I have it. I copied it from your phone when you were missing. Ron said this is your apartment in Pittsburgh. I just assumed this is where you would be."

"Yes, I'm here. Obviously."

"Brian -- we really need you back here...."

"If that's why you're calling, Jimmy, forget it. I'm not leaving a minute before I have to."

"No, no! I don't want you to cut your trip short. No way! Enjoy yourself. Rest up. Have a few beers. I just mean that when it's time to come back...."

"Then I'll be back, Jimmy. Like I said I would."

"That's my boy, Bri! A man of honor! Integrity!"

"Cut the b.s., Jimmy. You're giving me a massive headache."

"I also want to make sure you're coming to my AFI tribute. Did you get your ticket?"

"Ron's got it, Jimmy."

"I wanted to make sure. I want to be sure you're sitting at my table. So I have to know you are going to be there."

"You know -- maybe it isn't such a good idea, Jimmy."

"What?"

"Maybe if I go at all I should sit somewhere -- inconspicuous."

"Why?"

"Jimmy -- wake up. Talk to Tess if you won't listen to me. Don't you care about all the rumors and shit? I mean, it makes no difference to me -- but don't YOU care?"

"No. Not really. Should I?"

"Well...."

"I've never paid attention to that kind of thing before. Why should I start now?"

"Because, Jimmy, you have a sexually explicit flick coming out in which your virgin butt gets rimmed, skimmed, and fucked into next Tuesday. That's not your usual situation -- even for an A-List star."

"I know. That's why I wanted to do it. Because no one else would."

"Okay, Jimmy, but have you heard of a little thing called 'gossip'? Or 'the internet'? Or the 'tabloids'? Because they are all speculating about YOU. About US! And not based on the film itself, which no one has seen yet...."

"I've seen it. Some very, very rough cuts and outtakes. It's fucking fantastic, Bri!"

"Okay -- no one but you and Ron and the editors. But these rumors are based on YOU, Jimmy. Your behavior. On ME. And it isn't Diane or Freddy Weinstein or any of those people spreading them. They are everywhere. And now you want me to sit next to you at your tribute. Your coronation by the American Film Institute? Who are you, Jimmy? Sir Kenneth? You want to hold hands and make out on camera and freak Middle America out of their fucking minds?"

"Sounds fun. Might be good publicity for the picture."

"Jimmy, are you drunk? At, what? 7:30 in the morning your time? Where is Tess?"

"She's on a little trip herself, Bri. She's staying at her mother's."

"In Chicago?"

"No. She bought her mother a condo out in Palm Springs about five years ago. She's out there."

"Why Jimmy? Her mother isn't ill is she?"

"No, she's just fine. Right as rain."

"And Tess?"

"She's just... sort of... left me. But I'm sure it's only temporary."

"Fuck! Jimmy!"

"Like I said -- I'm sure she'll be back in a day or two."

"What about Annie?"

"She's here. Tess didn't want to take her out of school. Yet."

"This is so fucked up, Jimmy! Call her and tell her to come back. Now."

"I did. She told me to jump in the lake. Which lake she didn't specify. Maybe Lake Michigan."

"Does Ron know about this?"

"Shit, no! No one knows. Just me and Tess. And now you."

"Don't say anything to Ron, because he'll completely lose it, you realize that?"

"I know! But what am I going to say to people? It's gonna get out, even if just through the servant grapevine."

"Jimmy, she'll probably be back home tomorrow. She loves you and she won't stay away from Annie. She just won't. You guys are her whole life. You're a team."

"I know ! I know...."

"Don't you lose it, Jimmy."

"I'm trying."

"Just calm down."

"I'm calm. I'm calm. I'm fucking calm!"

"Keep saying it and you'll start to believe it."

"I'm calm. I'm calm! When are you coming back, Bri?"

"You have the date on your calendar. A week from Sunday."

"But not before that?"

"You said before that I shouldn't come back early. Jimmy, I really need this break!"

"But I thought when you heard about Tess, maybe... I'd feel better if you where here. You could stay here while Tess is gone. Annie would like that."

"Jimmy -- listen to me. The last fucking place I should be is THERE. With you. What would Tess think?"

"Nothing. Nothing at all. That fucking Diane told her it was Ron."

"And you think Tess is that unperceptive? Ron and you? Give me a fucking break!"

"Then why did she buy it?"

"She didn't, Jimmy. Tess has her own agenda going. This could be part of it. The part designed to knock some sense into you!"

"I don't need her manipulating me!"

"Jimmy -- get into your car, drive to fucking Palm Springs, and bring your wife back. Do it today."

"I don't know if I want her back."

"Jimmy, don't be a prick."

"I'm not sure I want her at my tribute. Sitting next to me. It would be hypocritical."

"But you DO want ME sitting there?"

"Why not?"

"Why NOT? Because that would be tantamount to outing yourself in front of the entire Hollywood establishment on the biggest night of your career! Are you ready for THAT, Jimmy?"

"How the fuck should I know?"

***

Wednesday, May 29. 2002. 11:03 a.m.:

"WHAT?!!"

"Well, 'Hello' to you, too, cranky. Jeez, what kind of morning have YOU had?"

"I'm sorry. Diane. Whenever the phone rings in the morning here it's usually bad news."

"What kind of bad news?"

"Ron. Jimmy. The usual."

"Ah, ha -- the Bad News Bears. They ought to remake that. I could play Tatum O'Neal."

"What's up, Diane? I'm trying to straighten this place up a little before I leave."

"Oh, I hate to interrupt you in the middle of your housework."

"Ha, ha."

"I'm keeping you posted, just like I promised. Nothing much is going on."

"Great."

"Your friend around?"

"Why? You want to warn him about me? He already knows everything."

"Bitch. I'm just curious how things are going there."

"Fine. Better than fine."

"Let ME talk to him."

"He's at class."

"Class. That sounds so freakin' funny."

"Why? He's a student."

"Just how old is this guy anyway? You're always so vague."

"Diane...."

"I'm curious."

"Nineteen."

"Shoot, Brian! He really IS a kid! What is he, in high school?"

"Don't start. He's in college. A freshman."

"That's so weird, Brian. Ron will freak when he finds THAT out!"

"So fucking what?"

"I'm starting to feel sorry for him."

"Don't. Ron makes his own melodramas. We all do."

"Hey, wait a minute. If this guy is a freshman in college... Brian, this isn't the same guy... at the prom?"

"Leave it alone, Diane."

"Jeez, Brian! The poor kid!"

"Don't go there. I mean it. If you want to talk about this, wait until I get back. I don't want to discuss this over the phone."

"Okay, okay. Hey -- I'm up for a pilot."

"Great. Good part?"

"The blonde bimbo."

"Oh, typecasting."

"Double bitch. It's a real good opportunity for me. I'm sick of being up for nothing but walk-ons on 'Son of the Beach.'"

"You deserve a good shot, Diane."

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed. When are you coming home?"

"Sunday."

"I'm glad. I need to hang out with someone other than Jerry."

"I know, but I'm not all that happy about going back."

"Brian! Come on!"

"It's true. I'm dragging my feet."

"If you don't want to deal with Ron, move out. Get your own place. I'll help you look around."

"I don't know...."

"Brian -- if push comes to shove, you have to shove back! I shouldn't say this, but...."

"But, what?"

"You going to the film festival with Ron?"

"Which one is that? There are a ton of them on his fucking schedule."

"In Maui. In June."

"Right. I think so. We're staying at the agency's house. But I can only stay for a few days because Lindsay is coming and bringing my kid to visit for a week."

"Does Ron know she's coming?"

"Sure. His travel agent got the tickets for me."

"I'm just asking because -- well, I think Ron is planning something for when you guys are in Maui."

"What kind of something?"

"Something he's probably going to have to drug you and tie you up to get you to go along with."

"Not THAT again! Fuck!"

"Yes. Jerry spilled it. He can't keep anything under his hat. He asked me if I was planning on being a bridesmaid."

"Shit. Fuck. Piss! I'm not going, then. Jesus! What is he thinking?"

"Brian, that's it -- he's NOT thinking!"

"Obviously."

"Listen, this is just going to keep happening, Brian, if YOU keep living there. Get your own freakin' place. You can afford it. As my old man used to say back in Buffalo -- shit or get off the pot."

"It isn't that easy, Diane. You try breaking it off with Jerry."

"I know. But I'm financially dependent on him. You aren't."

"That's not all it is, Diane."

"It isn't going to get better, Brian -- believe me."

"Diane -- you haven't talked to Tess Hardy recently, have you?"

"About a week ago or so. She's at some spa-retreat in Palm Springs. Probably recovering from all the hard work of tearing Jimmy five new assholes. Why do you ask?"

"Nothing. Just wondering, Diane. I was just wondering."

Continue on to "Antipasto -- Part 1".

©Gaedhal, June 2002

Picture of Gale Harold from Showtime.

Updated June 27, 2002