This is Chapter 53 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "All the Good Ones Are -- Part 2", the previous section.
The narrator is Brian Kinney, featuring Justin Taylor, Ron Rosenblum, Jimmy Hardy, Tess Hardy, Lindsay Peterson, Diane Rhys, Freddy Weinstein, Jerry Baxter, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Ron and Jimmy decide to buy a racehorse together. Los Angeles, June 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.
Could anything be more uncomfortable than dinner at Jimmy and Tess's?
Well, I could get my dick caught in a revolving door. That would feel about the same way.
It is amazing, however, the lengths people will go to keep up a facade in a social situation. Even me, the world's biggest proponent of the fuck-you handshake. Maybe it's because Lindsay is here and I'm doing so many preposterous breeder-type things that my fucking head feels like it's about to explode. But I still keep doing them.
I guess I'll never outgrow doing stupid things to prove stupid points. I think about that every time I try to look Tess in the eye. Which I have to do quite a bit at this dinner party. I find that it is good practice if I'm ever captured by the Enemy and put under torture. I have a lot of experiences that suggest I could survive just about anything. And this is one of the most painful of those tests.
The irony is that when Tess came in that time she completely misunderstood what was happening. Well -- she didn't misunderstand, totally. It was just that it was right before I left for Pittsburgh and I wasn't what you would call 'up to snuff.' Not in the least. Jimmy was just seeing what he could do about it -- which wasn't much. I was looking for any quick fix back then, wherever I could find it. Of course, nothing worked until I got back to the Pitts, but that has nothing to do with either Jimmy or Tess.
But try telling Tess that. So, add her to the list of people who I've screwed over. With her, it was unintentional. Truly unintentional. Christ! I would never, ever in a million years fuck Jimmy in his own house with his wife around! Give me SOME credit. I mean -- that's what the studio trailer is for!
But I digress....
Luckily, Tess and Lindsay have a bonding experience over their shrimp mousse. Or maybe they decide to get together in order to dissect me. Either way, they make plans for a trip out to Palm Springs for the entire next day -- Wednesday -- and I'm kind of happy about that. Lindsay is pressing this whole baby business a little too hard. She needs to back off a bit and give me some space here. Maybe a long talk with Tess will cool her off on the whole idea for the time being. Until she can discuss it more with Mel. Really think about what she's doing. What I'm doing. But I'm not betting on it.
Of course, that would require some rational thought and Lindz is a bit thin on that lately -- hence the stowaway plot concocted by her and Justin. Luckily, things have worked out fine. There have been no freak outs on Ron's part. No residual backlash. And it's been just the boost I've been needing since I returned to L.A.
So, that leaves ME with a whole day to get away from the house and all ensuing the hassles. A whole day to try to clear my head and get some perspective on everything that's going on. To drive the Mustang up the Pacific Coast Highway without anyone bugging the shit out of me. A whole day to be alone with Justin.
Now, why I want to do this, I'm not certain. But I've been thinking about it for the past two days -- how I can manage it -- so it can't be a momentary delusion. I have everything all planned out, including the best places to stop along the way to eat, to look at scenery, to visit some historical sites. But mainly places to fuck. There are a lot of good ones between here and San Simeon.
But all of that is shot to hell by -- who else? -- Ron and Jimmy.
They have been talking about this racehorse business for a couple months now. Ever since some moron took Jimmy out to Santa Anita and sat him in a box with a bunch of owners and he won $5 on the Daily Double. To Jimmy, this is comparable to a revelation from on high that he should buy his own horse and go on to win the Kentucky Derby in the same year he wins his second Oscar. He and Ron have even discussed it! They are so into 'Fate' and such shit that it's a wonder they both haven't joined one these idiotic religious cults that proliferate out here in California. Fuck! Maybe that's next?
Of course, neither of them knows which end of a horse eats and which end shits, but they have the sage advice of Freddy Weinstein -- that well-known horseman! -- to guide them. Freddy's main qualification is that between the ponies, and Vegas, and football, he's lost a fortune gambling in the last two years, so who could be better to advise them? Right -- to advise them how to lose their fucking shirts. They are planning to meet him tomorrow at Hollywood Park and see the nag and discuss the details. The whole thing is ludicrous. Freddy must have some guy he owes a favor to and has decided that Ron and Jimmy are perfect marks to erase one of his gambling debts.
"You know, guys -- this doesn't strike me as the most stable venture you could make financially. You don't know anything about the business and you have no fucking idea of the expense involved."
"But Freddy knows ALL about it!" says Jimmy. He's got that smug look on his face. That's always a sign of trouble.
"Yeah, and I don't see HIM buying any racehorses. What HE knows is putting his ass in a chair in the Clubhouse and circling a number on a program. THAT isn't owning a fucking horse!"
"Always the killjoy, aren't you, Brian?" Ron is in a bad mood to begin with because Tess and Annie have taken a fancy to Justin and are plying him with attention, so he's taking it out on me.
"Killjoy? I'm trying to stop a runaway train with your name on it going over a cliff, that's all, for fucksake, Ron!"
Tess catches my eye. That's a first in a long time. "I have to agree with Brian. It doesn't seem that you've thought this thing through very well beforehand. I mean, where are you going to keep the horse? And who is going to train it?"
"Tess is right," I add. "Even people who know what they're doing -- which is NOT you two -- can make a mess of something like this. At least do a little research first before you hand some hillbilly a hundred grand for an animal that could break its leg the first time it hits the turf!"
"YOU know everything about EVERYTHING, Brian. Isn't that right? A fucking Know-It-All." Ron has had exactly one lousy screwdriver -- which is his drinking limit -- and he's already getting belligerent. Justin snickers and Ron picks a breadcrumb off the tablecloth and flicks it at him. Now Tess's elegant dinner party has degenerated into Fourth Grade Lunch Period.
Of course, this is where Lindsay pipes up to offer HER helpful advice. "Brian, why don't you go with them to see the horse tomorrow and assess the situation? Maybe it isn't as bad as you suspect?" She turns to Ron, who she's sitting next to. "You know, Brian's uncle owned some horses and Brian worked for him one summer during college, so he does know a little about it."
Right. My old man's brother, Uncle Mike, had the other Major Vice -- he was a gambler. He went through every way to lose your money from football pools to tiddly winks to lottery tickets, but the thing that really did him in was buying those fucking horses. Trotters that he ran at Sciota Downs and Northfield and every fairgrounds across Ohio and Indiana. That was one summer I'll never forget. I never got the smell of manure off me for three entire months.
Uncle Mike eventually went bankrupt trying to move into Thoroughbreds. Those nags were more expensive and the upkeep ball-breaking. Yeah, Pops was a fucking drunk and a violent bully, but at least they never came and carried the furniture away. I guess my Aunt Lorna tried to stop the guys and ended up sitting on the front lawn of their house, crying, while the fucking neighbors stood around, shaking their heads, and my Uncle Mike was hiding out from his creditors. What a fucking family!
"I think that would be a good idea," says Tess. I see her face and she's appealing to me. And since I owe her big time for so many things I can't even begin to detail them.... Well, there goes my fucking drive up the Pacific Coast Highway, shot to hell!
Why do I do these things to myself? Why?
I always used to joke that Mikey and I would end up as a couple of old queens living in Palm Springs. Well, spending a day with Ron and Jimmy convinces me that the two of them are already more than halfway there. They bicker and bitch about everything from whose car to take, to whether they want to sit out in the box or inside in the Clubhouse, to wondering if they should buy two 'Racing Forms' or share one! I feel like this is one of those circles of the fucking Inferno that Dante didn't mention.
Jimmy wins the driving derby and he and Ron sit up front so they can discuss their new 'investment.' This leaves me in the backseat with Justin. He keeps creeping his hand over towards my crotch, but every time he gets too close Ron turns around and looks, like he's got a mirror up there and is closely monitoring the situation. I know that he understands what is going on between me and Justin, but he has yet to mention it. It's possible that he's decided it isn't worth a big blow-up and is just going to let it all slide.
We get to the track just before the first race and Ron and Jimmy run to the windows to bet the Daily Double.
"You haven't even looked at the program yet! How do you know what to bet on?"
"Numbers, Brian. It's all in the numbers." Jimmy's eyes are riveted to the big TV screen while the actual race is happening right outside the huge Clubhouse windows.
"Let's get out of here."
Justin and I leave the two of them in the Clubhouse and I take him down to the paddock area where we can at least see the horses. And not on a television screen.
The smell of manure brings back a lot of memories. And not all of them bad. You meet a lot of interesting characters around the track. Damon Runyon made a whole career out of just hanging out there and listening to people. And, leaving aside the horse shit, the smell of leather and warm horseflesh and sweating grooms and jockeys isn't unpleasant. In fact, it's pretty butch.
Justin is hot to go right up to the horses and hug them. I grab him by the collar and hold him back.
"They're NOT big dogs. You've got to respect the animal. Always remember -- one end bites and the other end kicks, so never let him catch you unaware. Besides, that animal probably cost more than you'll ever be worth in your life. So don't go charging at him -- he might freak and take out this whole ring."
"The jockeys really are short. They make ME feel tall," says Justin, watching a short Hispanic guy go by in pink and white silks.
"You should try fucking one. They have especially strong arms."
He looks up at me. "There are gay jockeys?"
"Baby, there are gay EVERYTHING."
He smiles a big, fat smile. Sometimes Justin is too funny. He acts like queers are something that you order out of a catalog. Which might not be a bad idea -- but I digress....
"Let's get back up there before the second race goes off. It'll be funny to watch Ron and Jimmy lose the Daily Double."
We make our way back to the table and find that the boys have been joined by Freddy Weinstein, Jerry Baxter -- and Diane.
"Hiya, cutie!" She greets Justin before she even acknowledges me. The fucking writing on the wall. "Oh, you, too, Bridie."
Ron and Jerry are nose to nose like a pair of pitbulls. I'm not certain when their mutual dislike turned into outright hatred, but I'm in there somewhere and so is Diane. They are sniping at each other about some argument they had at the film festival in Hawaii. I can imagine what it was about, but there's nothing I can do to quash the dispute.
Diane pulls Justin into the seat next to her and they begin confabbing furiously. The only way I can think of to shut Jerry up is to make nice with Ron, so I go and sit down next to him. Jerry's giving me his 'fags-make-me-sick' look, but I don't have the opportunity to get up and pop him in the mouth right here in front of Justin and Diane. I'll get him next time I see him alone.
Now, suddenly, Ron is all appeased. Whatever. If that's all it takes.
Freddy is showing Ron and Jimmy all the information on the horse he wants them to buy. It is sounding more and more expensive as Freddy rambles on.
"If this horse is a three year old and supposedly so good, why didn't he race at two? And why has he had only two races this year? It's already June." That's just common sense, I think.
"Uh -- they're being selective with him."
"Sounds to me like the animal had an injury or some other physical problem." I lean over to Ron. "I'd get an independent vet to come down here and examine him before you do another thing."
"Listen, honey," says Freddy, who is now cruising very dangerous waters himself. "We're having a business discussion here."
"Right. A very misinformed and stupid business discussion, if you ask me -- honey." Don't condescend to me, you arrogant prick, I want to say. I'll be at your house first thing tomorrow morning at lay your shrivelled wife out in every room of that monstrosity of a house. She's only called, trying to get me over there, about thirty times since she met me back in February. Yeah, the thought turns my stomach, but if it would fuck Freddy over, I'll grit my teeth.
I can feel a big headache starting right in the center of my forehead.
"Why don't we go back and look at the horse now," says Freddy, glaring at me. "Once you see him, you'll really love him."
I put my hand on Ron's arm. "This isn't a pet you're buying, Ron. This is a racing animal. You aren't going to buy him for his personality -- unless you guys are planning to keep him in the backyard and ride him on Sundays. Then, it's a different story."
"Well, I wanna see him!" Jimmy stands up, in case anyone missed that he was here in the Clubhouse. As we head out, he signs a few autographs and kisses a number of blue-haired women.
Diane and Justin are still putting their heads together as we walk to the backside. What is it about that kid that makes every female want to conspire with him? And every conspiracy seems to have me at the center. I'll have to twist his balls tonight to find out what they were whispering about.
"How does Justin know Diane, Brian?"
"Huh?" I keep forgetting that Ron is tagging right next to me, looking to catch us out.
"I said -- how does the kid know Diane? He's only been in town a few days. How does he know her so well?"
"Oh, we ran into her when we were shopping the other day. You know what a gabber she is. Justin is the perfect listener."
Freddy leads the way to the barn and chases down the trainer. He seems pretty slick. Far from a clueless hillbilly, but I'm still not mollified. He's got the sales pitch down cold and I wonder how many times he's used it. The pitch isn't bad, but it lacks a certain conviction.
As for the product -- I'm not a horseman, so I can't say. Which is why they need advice from someone who knows his stuff. And that isn't any of us. But I'm afraid it's already a fait accompli.
Diane and Justin wander off to look at some of the other horses and I scout around, looking for a toilet. I end up picking between a portable john and a pile of discarded straw. I choose the straw.
I walk back over by the shedrow, looking for where Justin has gotten to, when I turn around suddenly and bump into a guy wearing blue jeans and standing with a trainer and a slim, blonde woman, looking at a horse being hosed down.
I look up.
Patrick. Fucking. Swayze.
He looks past me. "Hey! Jimmy!"
I turn around and Jimmy, Ron, and Freddy are walking towards us. "Goddamn it! Pat!"
"Jimmy -- we came down from the ranch to meet a few folks. What are you doing at the track?"
"Buying a fucking horse, that's what!"
They are all hand-shaking and back-slapping and I'm still standing with my fucking mouth hanging open. His hair is in a kind of shag and looks like it's frosted with blond highlights. And his jeans are all faded and frayed and tight in just the right places, his cowboy boots scuffed up, and his Western-style shirt worn and soft. I have the urge to put my hands on that shirt.
Justin comes up next to me and gives me a poke. "'Point Break'!" he mouths. "Where's Keanu?" Justin has a one-track mind.
"Shut the fuck up! He'll hear you!"
"So? He must be used to it by now. Jimmy is a movie star and he LOVES people to come up and mention his films."
"That's because he's a fucking egomaniac!"
"Besides," says Justin. "You're a movie star, too, now. And younger and better looking than he is."
"It's true. Just wait. Besides -- he looks old."
I turn to him. "Will you shut UP?"
"This is my director," says Jimmy. "Ron, have you met Patrick?"
"Long time ago."
"Sure. Hey, I'm hearing nothing but raves about the film. Damn, if you ever have a part I might be right for in a future project, give me a call anytime, day or night."
"Well, this is the guy you have to work with," I hear Jimmy say. And then he grabs my arm. "This is my co-star. Brian -- Patrick."
"Hey." He shakes my hand with that cowboy grip.
"Hello." All I can think of is that I'm shaking hands with him with the same hand I used to jerk off to his picture so many times. It's disconcerting. It also makes me so horny I can't deal with it.
"The new hot guy in town, huh?"
"Give me a call sometime and I'll give you some pointers on how to deal with it. Not let it get to your head. Because they'll ALL be coming after you once that flick comes out."
"You'll find out." He laughs and Jimmy laughs along with him.
Justin is at my elbow and I hear him whisper, "Ask him where you can get a new video tape copy of 'North and South' -- yours is in pretty bad shape."
"If you don't be quiet I'll toss you in the manure pile and you can ride home strapped to the trunk of Jimmy's BMW."
We head back up to the Clubhouse. Ron and Jimmy are all in love with the fucking horse and arguing about the name of their 'farm' and what colors they want for their silks. Justin and Diane are still taking Swayze potshots at me.
"Shit!" I cry, pulling out my cellphone. "I have to call Mikey!"
Justin takes the phone out of my hand and puts it back in my pocket. "You can call him tonight when we get back to the house. He can get his movie magazine out and you two can re-enact your big non-moment." He puts his mouth up to my ear. "I'll stand in for Michael -- maybe he'll finally get lucky this time."
"Fucking little brat."
"I'm counting on it."
We get back to our table -- where Jerry is glumly waiting for Diane's return -- just in time for the feature race.
"Are you going to bet this one, Brian? It's the big race." Justin and Diane are looking over the program and a pile of tout sheets that Jerry bought. If those picks were so good, the guys that write them could live on their winnings and not on selling tips to idiots.
"I told you -- I don't gamble. It's a sucker's game."
"But it's the feature. If I give you $2 will you bet it for me?" Justin takes out his wallet and offers me a pair of bills.
"Okay. Why not?" I pull out a fifty and add it to his two. "Now -- pick a horse."
He and Diane look the selections up and down. They shake their heads.
"Jerry is going for Astonished. He's the favorite," says Diane.
"The favorite, huh? Talk about putting yourself on the line, Jerry," I reply.
"You pick one, then, sweetheart." Jerry hasn't picked a winner all day.
"Give me that thing." I look down the line-up. I see an Irish-bred horse in the field. Blu Air Force. I look at Justin and he flashes his blue eyes at me. And I think about how we are flying out of here in the not too distant future. Blu Air Force. Definitely NOT the scientific way to choose a winner.
I put my fifty and Justin's two on his nose.
Blu Air Force passes Astonished -- who lives up to his name -- in the deep stretch to win by a length and a half. Justin and Diane jump up and down, screaming. He pays off at 5 to 2.
"You know, Jerry -- even a stopped clock is right at least twice a day. You might keep that in mind."
And Justin and I head to the window to collect our winnings.
Continue on to "Pillow Talk", the next chapter.
©Gaedhal, July 2002
Send Gaedhal any comments, critiques, suggestions.
Updated July 18, 2002