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Adrian to Brian, Brian to Adrian Chapter 5

Image by Heather

Two weeks later:

A,

Guess who just hired on as an intern in our art department?

B


**********************************

B,

Oh, Brian. No. Not good.

A



B,

Brian, I shouldn't have said that. I'm sorry. Your life. Your choices. Be careful.

A


**********************************

A,

Nothing to worry about. Learned my lesson. Not going there.

B


Two weeks later.

A,

Revision to last email. Went there. But listen to this, Adrian. I'm happy. I'm really happy. We understand each other, we've both grown up a lot. We're having fun. The sex is great. I haven't felt this good since he left me. It'll be okay this time. I really believe that. I know I've probably poisoned you against Justin with my crybaby soul searching but you need to know he really is a good guy. I haven't told you this, but when we were apart, he helped me out of a thorny family situation involving my psycho nephew. He has a good heart. He's just so... young.

B


**********************************

B,

Okay, Brian. Great.

A


**********************************

Three months later.

A,

Are you ignoring me? I've sent you emails and I get nothing back. Are you merging again? On the home front, I got fired. Worked against Stockwell. Justin was an urban guerilla, designing and pasting up these anti-Stockwell posters. I guess you could say he made me see the light. Or maybe it was the closing of the backroom at Babylon that did it. Either way, Stockwell and Vance came over to my loft unexpectedly and caught me boning "the intern". The posters were scattered all over the place. That's it for old Brian. And Justin got suspended from PIFA, so I guess we're both on the street. My one driving desire now is to work to defeat that Nazi. That, and finding out exactly who is behind the death and cover up of Dumpster Boy. Please respond, Adrian. I miss you. I know you think I was wrong to take Justin back (again) and you're probably right, but please respond and understand that I love him. That makes you do things you never thought yourself capable of doing.

B


**********************************

B,

Have you told him how you feel?

A


**********************************

A,

No, not yet.

B


**********************************

B,

So what happens now? With your job, I mean.

A


**********************************

A,

I'm not even sure. I'm scared. I haven't been unemployed since I graduated and so far my resumes aren't exactly lighting up the sky. I think word is out. Deb came over with one of her flatulence-in-a-pan casseroles and we smoked dope and talked about shit and then she told me I'm a good man. It was just what I needed to hear at this point in time. No matter what else happens, at least I have a family. Sort of. One I created, I guess. Not the one I was born into. This should be an interesting phase of my life. I consider you part of that family, Adrian. The rich, foreign part. And before you ask, as I know you will, the answer is no. I don't want your help getting a job, I don't want you to put a word in for me and I don't need to borrow any money. But thanks.

B


**********************************

B,

You'll find something. Are you limiting yourself to Pittsburgh? If so, why? You've always wanted to go to New York, you almost made it once before, you tell me. Why not use this as your chance to make a big move? You're really too good to be regional. And no, this isn't a ploy to come between Justin and you. After all, he can paint as well in New York as he can in Pittsburgh and he seems to have no qualms about living off of you. Okay, that was cheap. Sorry. But you know what I mean. He can work there, too. Sometimes you remind me of that pathetic guy in that Christmas movie, who never lives out his dream, who remains stuck in his home town, while helping others achieve their desires. Don't do that, Brian. Grab what you want. You're not getting any younger.

A


**********************************

A,

Thanks a lot for the reminder about my age. I don't get enough of those little jabs from Justin, so it's nice to hear them from you, too. Dark sarcasm. Well, curiouser and curiouser, says the White Rabbit, or whomever said that. I put up my own dwindling fortune for the television time to advertise against Stockwell. No job, no money, credit cards maxed out, feeling a little raw, but really good, too. Because we beat the son of a bitch! We got Liberty Avenue back for the queers! Justin and I worked together on this and it was great. We make quite a team. Looks like Stockwell is going down and not in a good way. He was involved in the cover up of the murder of Dumpster Boy in order to protect his former partner (not the romantic kind) who killed the poor kid and has now killed himself. As for Justin, we're getting along really well. He's standing by me. Even broke. This is the best we've ever gotten along. I loaned Mikey my Vette so he can run away with his putative adopted child, former hustler, and my biggest fan. I'll probably never see any of same again. How are you? Happy birthday, by the way. Are you forty yet? LOL!

B


**********************************

B,

No, I'm not forty yet, you wanker! Have you decided what you'll do? I have some ideas. And they don't involve any of your prohibitions. Nice try avoiding my questions about New York. What are you afraid of, Brian?

A


**********************************

A,

I'm not afraid. I did apply in New York, and other places but it's not that easy to get on, especially if you're over thirty. They want boy wonders and I'm past that stage now. But there is some news on the job front. Believe it or not, the faggots came through and repaid me a large portion of my out of pocket. So I've decided to open my own agency. There's this old bathhouse that's been closed for awhile, and I think it could be picked up cheap and converted into some very interesting offices. Justin came up with the name. Kinnetik. Vance tried to hire me back after Stockwell fell, but I'd have to sign a non-compete agreement that would prevent me from ever soliciting the same clients I brought in to the company, and that's bullshit. Besides which, I don't trust the guy. I think I'm going to go it alone. What do you think?

B


**********************************

B,

I like the name very much. You're brave, Brian. I have great faith in your ability to make this work for you. You were always the true talent in those firms where you laboured. May as well be your own boss. Let me know if you need venture capital. I'll throw some work your way, too.

A


**********************************

A,

Please don't. I don't want to deny work, but I don't want that generosity overhanging our friendship, do you? And I can get financing without tapping friends. Thanks, but no thanks. Let's not go there.

B


**********************************

Two months later:

B,

Happy birthday, beautiful Brian.

A


**********************************

A,

Thanks. You okay? Been busy here, building the business. Sad news, Vic died. He was Deb's younger brother, a nice old queen who's been battling AIDS for a long time. But it was his heart that got him. We're all pretty blue about it. Deb, however, slapped me in the face when I suggested Vic got many more years than he thought he'd have, since he's struggled so long with HIV disease. After living through an abusive father and thinking of Deb as my safe harbor, that hurt a lot more than just a slap. Maybe I was tactless, but I truly believe Vic would feel that way. I meant him no disrespect. Feel lost.

B


**********************************

B,

Sorry about your friend, Vic. You should cut Deb some slack, Brian. I'm sure she regrets it and that she was running on raw emotion. I know exactly what you meant when you said that. What's this I'm hearing about the making of a Rage movie? Is that Michael and Justin's Rage? It must be. How many gay superheroes named Rage can there be?

A


**********************************

A,

Yeah, that's their Rage. Amazing, isn't it? Justin is really hyped and so is Mikey. I'm happy for them, but suspicious. I don't trust those Hollywood types. But if it happens, great. Speaking of Hollywood types, I saw the gossip rags picturing you at some premiere of a movie with the "hot, young, out actor" starring in it. Is this serious?

B


**********************************

B,

I wouldn't say "serious". Premature. We've been having a few laughs together. He'd cringe at your "Hollywood" moniker since he's a Brit based in London with pretensions of going from romantic comedy, his current genre, to "serious theatre". I seriously will not be holding my breath awaiting that development. He is lovely, though. Seriously lovely.

A


Two months later:

B,

You're terribly quiet. What's happening on that side of the pond? How is your business going? How goes the romance? How's Gus? Bored. Talk to me.

A


**********************************

A,

I was tricking with a doctor. After the big moment, he informs me that I have a lump in my left testicle. As it happens, he was right. I did. Testicular cancer. I told everyone I was going to Ibiza on business and pleasure, but in fact I went into the hospital and had my ball removed. Not the best way to spend some time off. But it gets better! I get home from the hospital and lie to Justin about the trip, only to find out Mikey has told him the truth, even though I asked him not to tell him. Justin and I got into it and I kicked him out. I don't want him hanging around feeling sorry for me. I don't want him hanging around watching me die. I get these treatments for the cancer, but the good news is my hair hasn't fallen out. The bad news is, I'm puking my guts up and I'm so tired that I can hardly move. The scars aren't very visible, and they put a silicone ball in the empty sac. The doctors tell me I can still get hard and shoot like before. I wouldn't know. Frankly, not interested. Feeling nothing stirring down below. I'm sterile, now. Big deal. I already have one kid more than I thought I would have. I'm thin, too. Always wanted to be thinner. Now I am. They think they got it all. I have no clue. Right now, I don't care. I don't want to die, but I don't want to feel like this either. I feel so emasculated. The one thing I always had over other men was the package. Now I don't even have that.

B


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B,

I want to come see you.

A


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A,

Absofuckinglutely not. No. Not like this. I won't see you.

B


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Twenty-four hours later:

B,

Please let me come over, Brian. Let me help. Let me be there for you.

A


**********************************

A,

What about your movie star?

B


**********************************

B,

What about him? It's over. I can be there tomorrow.

A


**********************************

A,

Justin's back. He won't take 'go away' for an answer. He's feeding me chicken soup when he isn't pushing me down on the floor. That's a joke, the pushing part. But he is taking care of me. I'm determined to lick this thing, and I don't mean that the way it sounds. Before you say anything, I'm glad he's back. And thanks for offering to come over. I'll be okay, maybe. I'm trying.

B


**********************************

B,

Good, Brian. So long as you're being properly looked after. Please stay in touch. Sending good and healthy karma your way. Reconciled with movie star. Going to Barcelona for a few weeks. Will be wired. Stay in touch. I really need to know how you are. You're constantly on my mind.

A


Continue to Chapter 6

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Beginning
July 25, 2004