This is Chapter 75 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?", the previous chapter.
The narrator is Ron Rosenblum, featuring Marc Gerasi.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Ron gets a phone call from an old friend from New York. Los Angeles/London, July 2002.
Author's Note: I'll make a Dylan fan of Susan, yet!
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Watch Queer As Folk on Showtime, buy the DVDs, videos, and CDs. Read the stories and enjoy.
"You've got a lot of nerve You've got a lot of nerve
To say you are my friend.
When I was down
You just stood there grinning.
To say you've got a helping hand to lend,
You just want to be on the side
You've got a lot of nerve
The angry Dylan. Yes, that's the one. There isn't any other worth listening to.
I always put this song on when I'm pissed off at the world. At anyone in general. At someone in particular. At fucking Brian!
When I think about the way he's blowing me off! Not taking my calls or returning them! He wouldn't even BE in London if it wasn't for me! He'd still be sitting on his ass by my pool, making out his fucking shopping list! Or else he'd be in Pittsburgh, wasting his time in some local bar, picking up high school students! He's got a lot of fucking nerve not to take MY calls!
The phone rings for the fourteenth time this hour. At this rate I'll never fucking get anything done!
"WHAT?!" I yell.
"Ron?" says the tentative voice. "Ron Rosenblum?"
I stop. "Yes. Who is this?"
"It's Marc. Marc Gerasi."
"Oh my GOD! Marc! How did you get my home phone number?"
"I had your number in one of my notebooks, but it got lost somewhere. Who the fuck knows where, right? So I used my reporter connections at CNN. They are better than the CIA sometimes."
"What's it been -- three years?"
"At least! I've been to hell and back since I saw you last, that's for sure!"
"Afghanistan, I bet?"
"Bingo!" he says. "I just got back from there. I'm waiting here for my next assignment."
"How the hell ARE you?"
"Same as ever. I almost got my ass shot off near Kabul, but otherwise in good shape."
"Jesus, Marc. You are fucking amazing!"
"Hey, I don't have a big movie coming out! With Jimmy Hardy? That's unbelievable!
"I can't believe it myself, Marc."
"When we were standing, freezing our asses off on the Bowery -- I mean, whoever would have thought you'd be out in L.A., hitting the big time!"
"Yeah, who would have thought -- back on the Bowery."
"I should of stay hooked up with you, Ron. I'd be shooting flicks on a cushy soundstage instead of from a moving Jeep with guys chasing me!"
"Come on! You love that shit, Marc."
"I know. I loved it back in New York. Mixing it up on the streets. And I still love it."
"So, where are you right now, Marc? You're not in L.A.?"
"Nah. London, Ron."
"London," I say. London. Now I have this peculiar feeling. About why Marc would be calling me from London. About who else is in London right now.
"But I didn't really call for chitchat, Ron," says Marc. He always gets right to the goddamn point. "You see, I... I don't exactly know how to put this, but... I was in this bar. At the Dorchester. That's where I'm staying this time around. Your favorite hotel, right?"
"Yes, Marc. My old favorite." Maybe not, though. Brian refused to stay at the Dorchester. I finally tracked him down at the fucking Chatterton! Sure! That tacky place is just perfect for him to hide away with the boytoy -- no one who is anyone will see them in THAT place!
"And I see this guy there. He's real familiar. But not from any kind of place that I would hang around in, you know what I mean?"
"Yes, Marc, I know what you mean." Marc has never been very subtle about the gay thing. Not subtle at all. But now I'm also certain who it is that Marc has seen. Certain.
"I was having a drink," continues Marc. "And he was having a drink. And staring at me, you know? And I thought, Jesus, you can't even go into a regular bar and not get hit on anymore by fags, you know? No offense, Ron."
"No offense, Marc." And fuck you, buddy. You're still a homophobic prick. "And then you...?"
"Well, he says something to me and that's when it hits me. I DO know this guy! Well, I couldn't believe it, man! I mean, fuck! I just couldn't believe it! You see, Ron, I don't know how to tell you this, but...."
"You saw Jack," I say, flatly.
There's a long pause. "Yeah. I saw Jack." He stops and it sounds like he's taking a long pull on a drink. "You knew, Ron? You mean you already KNEW?" He's almost shouting. "That Jack was ALIVE? That he was in London? How the hell would you know that?"
"It's a long, long story, Marc."
"Well, I'm here for the long haul, Ron. What the fuck is going on?"
Now I need a drink, myself. I get up from the desk and root around on the table, looking for a clean glass. Then I look for the bottle that I've hidden on the shelf. I rarely drink alone, but this seems like the perfect occasion. "What can I say, Marc? Jack is in London. You saw him there. End of story."
"Hell! That ain't the end of the story, Ron, and you know it!"
"You say I let you down -- You say you've lost your faith
You know it's not like that.
If you're so hurt
Then why don't you show it?
But that's not where it's at.
You had no faith to lose
And you know it."
You say you've lost your faith
"When you said you were in London, Marc -- well, I knew immediately who you were calling about."
"How could you know? How could you POSSIBLY know?"
"Because he contacted me last year. Jack did. I mean, Brian. He heard about the film -- about 'Red Shirt' -- for the first time. And he got in touch with me." No sense in going into every detail with Marc. About the film festival. About... everything. It still kills.
"No shit? Did he want money? They always want money. Remember that guy in New York in, what '90 or '91?"...."
"Yeah, before I moved out to L.A. -- But that was a different story altogether, Marc!"
"I'm telling you something here, Marc. It was completely different...."
"Me and my cousin had to threaten to beat the crap out of THAT guy to get YOUR fucking computer back! He broke your arm, too, didn't he?"
"It wasn't broken! I sprained it myself. Besides, it was all a big misunderstanding!"
"Yeah, That creep misunderstood what belonged to YOU and what HE wanted to take! And you say it ain't always about money? Think again, my friend."
"That has nothing to do with Jack!"
"Yeah, but Jack was the start, Ron. And that's a fact. You may SAY it was different, but WAS it, really? He was just the first in a long line of fucking trouble!"
"If you don't want to hear any more, that's fine, Marc. If you just want to rehash the past, go ahead. I don't have to continue about Jack if you don't want me to."
"Jesus, Ron. I'm listening."
"The truth is, Marc, that Jack was out here in Los Angeles. He came out after he got in touch with me. And he was living out here. With me. For about six months. Then he took off. Then he went to London. That's how I knew what you were going to say."
I can almost hear Marc's head shaking. "Shit, Ron! What IS it with you? You bring a guy like THAT out to live in your fucking HOUSE? You wreck me, Ron! You really wreck me! Are you trying to get yourself killed?"
"You just don't understand, Marc."
"I don't understand? You got THAT right! What did THIS guy make off with? This 'Jack' or whatever you call him? Money? Your credit cards? More than just your fucking computer if he got all the way to London!"
"Marc, Brian didn't steal my computer. He didn't steal anything!" Or he stole everything -- depending on how you look at it, I guess. But I can't explain that to Marc Gerasi.
"Brian. Yeah. That was the name he was using here. That's what the other guy called him. Jesus, Ron! You don't even know these guys' right names! What is that shit about?"
"Brian IS his real name!"
"Yeah, THIS week. Like Jack was his real name, too? Come on, Ron, you can't bullshit a bullshitter!"
"Besides, you have it all wrong about Brian. He didn't steal anything form me. And he's working in London."
"Sure, I saw him at work. In the hotel bar. Meeting some limey guy. He was in a nicer suit, in a nicer place, but it looked all the same to me. Working the same line of business. I mean, how old is this guy? He's no kid anymore, that's for sure, to be up to that shit?"
"He's thirty-one. Marc. As of last April."
"Like I say, it looked like the same/old, same/old to me, Ron."
"I know the reason Do you take me for such a fool
That you talk behind my back.
I used to be among the crowd
You're in with.
To think I'd make contact
With the one who tries to hide
What he don't know to begin with?"
Do you take me for such a fool
"So -- how did he look?"
"Ron... I don't know that kind of stuff!" Marc sounds uncomfortable.
"I mean, in general."
"The same. Older. Good, I guess. I don't look at guys like that, you know."
Yeah, Brian was looking especially good when he left here. Especially good. The bastard.
"And expensive clothes. Taller. But it was definitely Jack. The eyes. That's how I knew for sure. Looking at his eyes. Like a fucking wildcat."
Yes, the eyes. That's how you would always know, for certain.
"This guy he was with. Who was he?"
"How the hell should I know, Ron? Some limey, like I said."
"Did you talk to either of them? You must have said something to Brian!"
"Sure -- I said, 'Aren't you supposed to be dead?'"
"And he said something cocky like he'd call his secretary or agency or something to let them know. Typical answer. He always was a smart-ass kid."
"And the guy? Young or old? Did Brian come in with him or pick him up in the bar?"
"Why do you want to know this, Ron? Why obsess over this guy? You said yourself that he took off on you. Forget about him!"
"Just tell me -- please," I'm wheedling, but I have to know!
"Let me think. He was sitting at the bar -- and this other guy came in. A little short, dark-haired, well-dressed. That English tailored look. You know, kind of fussy. They sat at a booth. And then I went over there to try and talk to Jack. I mean, I was in shock, for godsake! I didn't know what was going on. I just wanted to get a little fucking information!"
"What did Brian say?"
"He wouldn't tell me a damn thing! But he knew I was with CNN! He said so. That fucking floored me! I couldn't figure out how he knew that about me. And then the other guy introduced himself. Stood right up and introduced himself! I remember that now."
"And his name?" I'm certain it's Folco, that weasel of a director. Fucking limey weasel!
"What difference does that make to you, Ron? Just leave it alone."
"I might know him, Marc! Can you remember the name?"
"I don't know, Ron," says Marc. "Damian or something British like that."
"Dorian? Dorian Folco?"
"I think that was it. Dorian. Yeah, that was it, definitely."
"Tell me, Marc, truthfully. Do you think this guy was a fag?" From Marc, at least, I'll get an objective observation and not just a bunch of queeny gossip.
"Come on, Ron, what do you think? What was he doing there with Jack otherwise?"
"No, I mean -- your objective opinion. Because I've heard of this guy and he's supposed to be straight."
"You know this guy?"
"By reputation only. He's also a film director."
"And someone said he's straight?" Marc's voice sounds dubious.
"That's what I've been told."
Marc snorts into the phone. "Not in any universe I'm aware of, Ron. He's faggy even for an Englishman!"
"Shit! I fucking KNEW it!" I feel like throwing the phone across the room! No wonder Brian won't take my calls!
"You see me on the street When you know as well as me
You always act surprised.
You say, "How are you?" "Good luck"
But you don't mean it!
You'd rather see me paralyzed --
Why don't you just come out once
And scream it?"
When you know as well as me
"How long are you staying in London, Marc?"
"A couple weeks, probably -- unless something blows in Iraq or the West Bank! Then I'll be heading right for it with my camera."
"Listen, Marc -- I want you to do me a favor. I want you to try and get in touch with Brian again...."
"Ron, come ON!"
"No, it's important. He won't talk to me...."
"Right, and then he's not going to talk to ME, Ron, if he won't talk to YOU! In that bar he looked at me like I was the ghost and not HIM! He doesn't want to see me and, if you wanna know the truth, Ron, after this conversation with you, I don't want to see him again, either."
"Marc -- please do this for me!"
"What do you want me to do, Ron?" Marc says with resignation. "Hang around some fag bar and hope the guy shows up again?"
"No, I can give you a few contact numbers. Some places he might be. Like I say -- I know where he is, but he won't take my fucking calls!"
"Then it sounds to me like your old boyfriend wants to be left alone, Ron. Why don't you just take the hint?"
"Because that's NOT what Brian really wants! I KNOW!" And I DO know! I KNOW what he really wants better than he knows it himself!
"You're a delusional fucker, you know that don't you, Ron?"
"Don't analyze me, Marc. Just do me this favor. I think you owe me something, after all. For getting you started? Helping you get that first job at the cable station in New York? It was the 'Red Shirt' footage that did it, you realize that as well as I do." I don't mind putting the screws to Marc. Why the fuck not? He DOES owe me -- it's the truth.
"Yeah, I know, Ron. But this is one debt I wish I didn't have to repay. This is the kind of sucker's deal my old man warned me about."
"No, I do not feel that good And now I know you're dissatisfied
When I see the heartbreaks you embrace
If I was a master thief
Perhaps I'd rob them.
With your position and your place --
Don't you understand?
It's not my problem!"
And now I know you're dissatisfied
After I hang up with Marc, I try to go back to the work I'm doing, but I can't sit still.
"I know it's NOT my problem!"
When the song ends I hit the 'repeat' button on the CD player. The angry fucking Dylan is the only one. The only one that matters. Anger is what matters. It's what drives you on. Keeps you going. Feeds that need to get even. To show everyone.
I'm leaving for New York tomorrow to meet with some studio people. They are idiots in the way they are handling my film! They are going to ruin it before it even gets shown if I don't do something and do something quickly.
Brian's marketing plan is the ONLY one that will work. If they don't use it, we're screwed before we begin.
Because this film is going to be a hit, whether they like it or not! Bunch of homophobic ass-wipes!
And I'm NOT planning to go to London. No matter what. Forget it! I wouldn't give Brian the satisfaction of checking up on him. No fucking WAY!
But I call and make a reservation at the Dorchester. For a suite. Just in case.
"I wish that for just one time Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes,
And just for that one moment
I could be you.
You could stand inside my shoes.
You'd know what a drag it is
To see you!"
Yes, I wish that for just one time
Continue on to "Orphan of the Storm", the next chapter.
©Gaedhal, August 2002
Updated August 25, 2002