This is Chapter 10 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "Looking for This My Whole LIfe" , the previous chapter.
The narrator is Brian Kinney, and features Diane, Carmel, Ron, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Cosmopolitans and vodka martinis in the afternoon. Takes place in Los Angeles, February 2002. Directly follows "Fuck Armani" and "Open Lines I."
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Watch Queer As Folk on Showtime, buy the DVDs, videos, and CDs. Read the stories and enjoy.
I look at the phone. "Who the hell is this?"
"Diane. From the Weinstein party. Remember?"
Shit. The blonde bimbo at dinner.
"Sure. I remember." What could she possibly want? Nothing like interrupting a perfectly good sulk in the middle of the day with some needless female chat.
"What are you doing?"
Is she kidding? "Not a whole hell of a lot. Not to be rude or anything, but how did you get my number?"
"Oh, Jerry got it for me from Freddy Weinstein." Jerry. The boyfriend. Bad toupee and a large belly. And one of the most powerful agents in the Business. Too bad little Diane's talents lie in areas that don't include acting, because, according to Ron, this guy has some big guns at his disposal.
"I was wondering if you might like to hang out? Meet for lunch or something?"
Now who is she kidding? Suddenly, I get this frightening scenario that little Diane is just a front for someone with a scarier agenda than lunch: Dolly Weinstein. Could our bimbo be a catspaw for the old lioness? Already I'm on guard.
"Why would you want to eat lunch with me?"
"I don't know. I thought we're kind of in the same boat, you know? Jerry's wife is back in town and... I guess I'm lonely. I thought you looked lonely, too. At the party. So, I thought we could pool our resources. If I'm gonna get smashed in the middle of the day, I figured at least I might try to find someone to join me."
Now this is a scenario that I can believe. This is a girl who I might be able to drink with. Come to think of it -- I don't think I've ever gotten drunk with a female before. It might be a new and different experience. Broaden my horizons, so to speak.
"Sure. Why not?"
"Great. It's a date, then."
"If it is, then that's a first for me."
We make plans to meet at a place that even I know how to get to. And I am getting better. I keep checking out maps online, figuring exactly where I'm going. As long as a fucking detour or White Bronco Chase doesn't get in the way, I should be able to get to and from this little bistro with a minimum of stress. I'm so certain of my prospects that I decide to take the Jag.
"Where do you think you are going, Mr. Brian?"
"I'm going out to rob a bank. I'm meeting Patty Hearst and we are going on a crime spree across five states."
"You shouldn't take Mr. Ron's car. You know what happened the last time." Yes, but it was the middle of the night and I was stoned. So fucking sue me!
"Fuck that. I'm sick of driving the Grandma-mobile."
As soon as I get a bit more confident with these roads I'm getting another Jeep. It's the only way to go out here. As long as I don't get fucking car-jacked, that is.
This joint is on the same block as Freddy Weinstein's agency, which is one reason I know how to find it fairly easily. Diane is waiting, a cosmopolitan already sitting in front of her, and it's obvious that she's a regular.
"Jerry takes a lot of his clients here because it's convenient to the office. He runs a tab -- and they let me run it up, too. Jerry doesn't mind -- he says it's a 'business expense.' "
"So, getting blown in the afternoon is a business expense? Nice business."
"For me -- and for most actresses -- it IS the price of doing business." She gulps down some of the drink. "And for a lot of actors, too, these days."
"That's nothing new, if you believe half the stories about James Dean you hear."
The waiter comes over. Now, I'm a connoisseur of waiters and this one isn't bad -- by Pittsburgh standards -- but by Hollywood standards he is strictly average. Now, I have to be careful about what I'm drinking. I don't want to get too drunk too fast, because I still have to be lucid enough to drive the Jag home. But I also don't want to get left in the dust by Little Miss Muffett here. She's already outpacing me and I have my reputation to think of. Shots will get me too far too fast. Beer seems a little mundane for the venue. But you can never go wrong with the classics, so I order a vodka martini, straight up. A couple of them, actually. Okay, four. Or five. Small ones.
"So, I'm blowing him in his office and he's on the phone with the big boss in New York -- and the secretary buzzes to say that his freakin' wife is on the other freakin' line!"
"What the hell did he do?"
"He took the call. Swear to God, he talked to the boss AND his wife and kept both conversations going at the same time! And when he came he didn't miss a single syllable of either conversation -- or drop the freakin' phone." Diane smiles at what is obviously a fond memory of her relationship with Jerry. "A guy who can do that -- you gotta want for your agent! Right?"
"Most impressive. I have to admit, I never thought I'd meet a woman who had more varied blowjob stories than my own, but I have to give credit where credit is due." I give her a little salute with the glass.
"Yeah, it helps having Jerry as my agent. He's really trying to get me some meaningful parts. I went to two auditions for a speaking part on 'Son of the Beach' -- but I didn't get it."
"Two auditions -- you must have been THIS close."
"Yeah, but I lost out to some Amazon with gigantic implants. I mean, I'm kind of short and if I got ones THAT big I'd freakin' fall over forward."
The image is too ridiculous and we both start laughing and can't stop. It might be time to put the breaks on the drinks and try a little food. Looking at the menu makes me long for one good pig-out at the Liberty Diner. There's only so much goat cheese ravioli and soy-sushi-assorted weed combos that you can eat before you just want a fucking jumbo burger and a greasy double plate of fries. We both get the salad.
"So, did you meet Ron out here or in New York?"
"In New York, of course. He's from Long Island."
"Had you been hustling long?"
I almost spit a large gulp of vodka across the table. "Jesus, is it THAT obvious? It couldn't be!"
Diane is nonplussed. "Oh, I just figured. Jerry told me that Ron had a... reputation for hiring the boys going way back. So, when you showed up out of the blue after he came back from the East Coast -- they all just assumed."
"Ron had a reputation for.... hustlers? Really?"
"That's what Jerry said. Ever since he's known him. And he's been with Freddy Weinstein for years and years."
"Yeah, about ten years. Christ." I'm trying to process this information about Ron -- information that just doesn't jive with the person I know. Or think I know. Or maybe it does in a way I don't like to think about....
"Hey, I don't see what the problem is -- maybe I just mentioned it because, well... it takes one to know one, right?"
"Jerry met me when I was working for -- well, I better not say because she's out of the business now. But he set me up at the agency and, cripes, I was lucky to get out when I did, because the shit hit the fan about six months later. Front page and everything."
"Is that why Dolly Weinstein and all the other bitches were giving you the fish-eye at that little soiree the other night? I mean, other than the fact that you're two decades younger than most of them?"
"Sure. Not that any of them have such virginal backgrounds. Yeah, sure! Most of them didn't meet their husbands selling Girl Scout cookies, I can tell you that!"
"Listen -- that thing with Ron. I met him when I was sixteen. It was a fairly short-term deal, you know? Now exactly what I've been doing exclusively since then."
"You've know Ron since you were sixteen? I thought this was something new?"
"Well, it is -- Like I said, I knew him from way back, but we reconnected in December. In Pittsburgh."
"Pittsburgh? What were you doing in Pittsburgh."
"Living there. Working there. For an advertising agency. It's my hometown, for better or for worse. It was a total coincidence that he was there and a... friend met him and let me know he was there -- and we hooked up."
"Hey, that's like karma or something."
"I think you mean 'kismet.' "
"One of those. Fate, kind of thing."
"Well, it was... a strange thing, that's for certain."
"What about your job there? At the ad place?"
"I took a 'leave of absence' -- which seems to be getting longer and longer. Pretty soon I'm going to either have to head back there and try to salvage my career, or else just look for something out here."
"Did you just kind of take off? Like out of the blue?"
"I guess I did."
"Wow. That's intense!" She gestures to the waiter to bring her another drink -- so I do the same. "Tell me, Ron doesn't exactly look like a guy with a smooth line. And, let's face it, like me, you must have heard them all...."
"I've heard my share."
"So what did he say to make you drop everything and come out here?"
"That's a good question. It wasn't so much what he said, it was more like... Shit. Have you ever felt that there was a specific moment in your life when everything started to go wrong?"
"Not really. Things have been going pretty good up to now."
"Well, you're young, just wait. You have plenty of time to fuck up your life as badly as I have."
"Gee, thanks." She holds up her glass.
"You, too." I tap it with mine and we down the drinks.
"Anyway, when we reconnected I saw this unique opportunity to go back and try to change what I was and what I had become. You know, to reinvent myself from the point where everything went to hell when I was sixteen."
"But why? If you had a life and you were successful? Then why do it?"
"Because I was a shit! I hated my life. I hated my job. I hated myself. I was good at advertising. Not, more than good -- I was great at it. But I was starting to despise it. And I was a bastard to everyone, but especially to people I should have been good to... to people who... loved me. And people I should have... loved. I began to think they'd be better off without me -- or without me the way I was."
"I'm sure your friends don't feel that way. They must miss you, don't they?"
"I doubt it. If they do, it's momentary. And then they go happily on with their lives. And probably go on much better without my presence to fuck things up."
"Now you are getting really drunk and mushy, 'cause that's b.s and I mean it!"
"You don't even know me or my friends and you say it's bullshit?"
"It is -- you think you're some kind of evil character, but you're just a big pussycat."
"Believe me, I'm not a big pussy-anything!"
"That's what you think!"
I try to judge just how drunk I am without having to stand up and prove it. I call the waiter over and order dessert -- something with a lot of ice cream in it to counteract the booze. Diane gets some fruit thing.
"Yup, Ron offered me something I'd been wanting to do -- trying to do in a lot of different ways -- for a long time."
"What was that?"
"To kill myself, of course."
"Don't give me that shit!"
"I don't mean literally. I mean figuratively."
"I could get rid of the Old Brian and create a new, improved version out here. A new situation, a new environment, a new persona. Except the New Brian has a lot of the same fucked up problems as the old model."
"You should of figured that would happen. I mean, you are still you."
"I know. Unfortunately. But at least I'm not dragging other people down with me."
"What about Ron?"
"Oh, nothing could drag him down. He's... I don't know, set in stone. He already knows who he is, what he is. Nothing I could do could ever fucking change that. That is why he so safe to be around. I can't damage him."
"I don't know. Anyone can get hurt. And what about you? Can't you get hurt?"
"Shit! You could burn me all over with the lit end of a fucking cigarette and I wouldn't feel a thing. I'm that numb -- especially after all these martinis!"
"I don't believe it for a freakin' minute, you big pussy!"
"I'm NOT!" Take it back! Bitch!"
We end up sort of arm-wrestling across the table and she is fucking strong -- a lot stronger than she looks. It must be the silicon in the upper body. And I'm a little over-lubricated, I admit. But that's not the reason I end up on the floor. It's that waiter. That fucking waiter. I'm making a grab -- only a slight grab -- and I overcorrect myself and end up on my ass. Diane comes around the table and tries to pull me up -- and she ends up on top of me.
Of course, that's when I look up and see Ron standing there with Freddy Weinstein, his agent, and Jimmy Hardy, the star of his picture, and his agent, Lew Something-or-other. It probably hasn't been the best idea to do this at the place where Freddy takes all his clients.
Jimmy Hardy is smiling that famous Oscar-winning smile at me. He winks. The two agents are shaking their heads. And Ron -- isn't looking too pleased. None too pleased. In fact, he looks like he'd like to liquidate me -- if I wasn't already completely liquified.
"Hey, Ron. Maybe YOU better drive the Jag home, hmm?"
Continue on to "Valentine's Day" , the next chapter.
©Gaedhal, May 2002
Picture of Gale Harold from HX.
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Updated May 12, 2002