An April Fool’s Joke Story.
“C’mon, Brian! You know you want to,” Justin whispered seductively into his older lover’s ear, batting his crystal blue eyes at the seemingly indifferent brunet. “If you take me to Babylon tonight, I promise to make it worth your while . . . “
Brian ruthlessly shoved the boy away from him, more than a little annoyed that the kid was again angling for an invitation out to Brian’s favorite club. Okay, Brian had to admit, at least in his own mind, that he did find the little twink fascinating - he was so fucking ballsy and completely indefatigable - but he’d told the little fucker time and time again that he didn’t do dates or boyfriends or any of that pseudo-hetero shit and yet the kid just kept pushing. Brian thought it was past time to teach the boy a lesson.
“Listen to me, Justin. Are you listening?” Brian demanded, garnering the attention of almost the entire Diner as witnesses before grabbing at the boy’s pierced nipple through his shirt and pulling the boy around so he couldn’t help but pay attention.
“Yes, Brian. I’m listening,” the little twat said with a sarcastic flippance that merely egged Brian on.
“I’m not taking you to Babylon tonight. I’m not taking you anywhere. We’re NOT a couple, no matter what silly little fantasy you’ve cooked up in your little blond twink brain,” Brian insisted, although he was not satisfied by the way the twink seemed to be totally disregarding his standard ‘You’re only a Fuck’ lecture. “I’m not your boyfriend. I don’t OWE you a friday night out on the town. You’re not my partner, my mate or even my friend. You’re nothing to me. In fact, I wish you’d just disappear and leave me the fuck alone!”
“OOOOooooooohhhhhh!” Emmett interjected as all the guys at the booth and the nearby tables in the Diner cringed, hearing the vicious diatribe that had belted out of Brian’s mouth.
Brian knew right away he’d been too harsh, but he was just sick and tired of the little blond making all sorts of assumptions about him. Yes, he’d broken his one night only rule for the boy. Yes, that luscious pale porcelain skin and the over-the-top passion every time he fucked the boy had distracted him more than once from his determination NOT to get tied down, but Brian was not yet willing to concede total defeat. He wasn’t giving in to the little twat without kicking and screaming all the way. Brian never wanted the kid to get too complaisant and just assume that his place in the Realm of Kinney was assured.
Brian watched as Justin’s sweet too-innocent face started to immediately crumple at the harsh words. He had to restrain himself from jumping up and immediately retracting the angry words. Justin needed to learn about the real world. He needed to be taught that things were tough out there and, in order to be the best homosexual he could be, he needed to have a tough skin. Brian would never admit that he’d been too tough. He didn’t believe in regrets, excuses or apologies.
Then, from out of the blue, this tall dark-wigged, formally attired, red-sequined drag Queen appeared, standing ominously at the end of the table where the gang was sitting. Brian hadn’t noticed her anywhere near where they were sitting until she was just there. She had her over-made-up lips pursed in obvious disapproval and was pointing her long, bright red lacquered fake nail right at Brian’s face.
“Honey, you ever heard that old saying, ‘You better watch out what you wish for ‘cause it just might come true’?” the regal Queen inquired, her odd-looking purplish eyes piercing into Brian’s heart against his will. “I’d take that last wish back right away if I were you. You DON’T want that one to come true. Trust Mysterious Marilyn on this, Sugar.”
“Fuck off, you old Queen,” Brian spat out, not taking the old drag queen seriously for even one second. “This isn’t any of your business. Oh, and Justin, you should fuck off along with the amazing Zelda here. I’m heading to the Baths.”
Without further ado, Brian forced Mikey out of the booth so he could escape and then strode out the door of the diner, not looking back.
Brian was so hung over the next morning he almost didn’t make it out of bed in time to get to the Diner for Breakfast before heading off to work. His head ached and he had that body-wide greasy feeling you get the morning after you drink too much, when it seems like every one of your pores is busy excreting all the toxins you ingested the night before, so that no matter whether you took a shower or not, you still feel sticky and dirty. Brian didn’t remember much about the ‘Night Before’ other than that he’d taken at least two hits of what someone claimed was ‘E’ at the baths before he’d hit the orgy room. Everything after that was a blur. He had no idea how that muscle-bound troll had ended up in his bed this morning - the first thing he’d done, even before scrounging for aspirin, was to throw that loser out.
He managed to stumble into the Diner at 8:15, with just enough time to get a couple cups of coffee and nibble at some dry wheat toast before he had to rush off to work. The rest of the gang was already there when he arrived but nobody dared talk to Brian - he was putting out that ‘Approach at Your Own Risk’ vibe - so they all wisely gave him a wide berth. After the second cup of coffee, though, Brian had been sufficiently resuscitated to manage the formation of actual words.
“Where’s our annoying little Sunshine this morning,” Brian asked, belatedly noticing that the annoying twat wasn’t hovering around him the way he normally did during the breakfast shift.
“Who?” Ted asked, his face evidencing complete confusion.
“Sunshine . . . You know, my regular overly-enthusiastic teen stalker . . .” Brian clarified, only half focusing on the people sitting around him, but knowing in his soul somehow that the one person who always cheered up his mornings wasn’t around.
“Um . . . You okay, Brian?” Ted asked, his expression conveying sincere concern for the hungover man. “What do you mean, your ‘teen stalker’?’
“Are you saying you have a stalker or something, Brian? That’s not good. Has someone been following you?” Michael piped up, always concerned that his BEST friend might be in trouble. “Maybe you should go to the police or something,” he offered, giving the wisest advice he could. “It could be some sort of ‘Fatal Attraction’ thing. You don’t want some psycho coming after you and boiling up bunnies in the loft or something . . . “
“Shut the fuck up, Mikey, before you strain yourself. And, by the way, you’re NOT funny,” Brian bit out, not at all in the mood for humor this morning. “Why isn’t Justin working the breakfast shift before his classes?”
“Um, Brian, honey . . . did you hit your head at the Baths last night or something,” Emmett asked, acting genuinely concerned for his confused friend. “Who the fuck is ‘Justin’?”
Brian shook his head vigorously, trying to clear his still befuddled brain enough to get a grip on what his friends were saying. “Fuck you, Honeycutt. If you’re trying to be funny, you’re not. ‘Who the fuck is Justin’? You KNOW who I mean . . .” Brian was staring at Em as he spoke, looking for the least little tell that would give away the fact that this was some kind of annoying joke.
But the tell never came.
Emmett shrugged his shoulders and raised his hands in a ‘huh’ motion without any indication at all that he had the least idea what Brian was talking about.
Brian looked around him at the three other men sitting in the Diner’s booth with him and felt his anger level inch up a couple additional notches. He didn’t need this stupid shit this morning. He already felt lousy and he didn’t need the gang playing some stupid joke on him. If his head wasn’t pounding so relentlessly, he would have taken them all down a peg or two.
“Ha, fucking, ha. Now cut the shit out, you idiots. I asked you where Justin was. Stop goofing around and just fucking tell me,” Brian insisted, his black mood already becoming a deeper ebony.
“Um . . . Uh . . . uh . . . uh . . . uh,” the unhelpful louts were all stuttering and mumbling as if they didn’t understand the language Brian was speaking.
“Deb,” Brian decided to cut through all the fucking bullshit when he saw the red-wigged wonder waitress passing by their booth, both fists full of coffee carafes. “Where the fuck is Justin this morning? I was going to give him a ride to school before I head to work,” Brian asked, trying to rein in the annoyance engendered by his not-so-humorous booth-mates as he spoke to his surrogate mother.
“What the fuck are you talking about, Brian,” Deb hollered as she swept past the table, intent on refilling the hundred and twenty empty or partially empty coffee cups waiting for her attention.
Brian was more than just annoyed at this point. He stood up from the booth, ignoring the confused looks on his friends faces and stalked over to where Deb was refilling cups at the last booth in the back. From his expression, it was clear that Brian wasn’t at ALL amused by whatever joke the group thought they were playing on him this morning.
“Enough fucking around, Deb! Where the fuck is JUSTIN,” Brian demanded, grabbing the decaf carafe out of the waitress’ hand as he placed his other hand on her shoulder, turning Debbie around so she couldn’t help but look him in the face.
“Justin, who? What the hell are you babbling about this morning, Brian? Give me back that fucking decaf. I’ve got cups to refill. Don’t you have work or something you have to get to? Why the fuck are you standing around here asking me about some trick you lost track of? I don’t have time for your shit this morning, Brian. I’ve got customers waiting,” Deb insisted, wresting the coffee carafe out of Brian’s hand, completely ignoring his perplexed look as she returned her attention to her customers.
From a spot at the counter behind him, Brian heard the melodious tones of the area’s resident soothsayer, "the Powers That Be are offended by your arrogance, Brian Aidan Kinney. They are not amused. You need to rethink things. And do not decide hastily, my friend - even YOUR actions have consequences . . . " Mysterious Marilyn intoned, her voice now eerily gone two octaves higher than should be possible for a 'Lady' of her stature, seeing as she was at least 6'2", without her stiletto heels, and must weigh near to 175lbs - all muscle and no flab, by the way.
Brian turned around and stared at the drag queen, trying to make some sense out of the nonsense she’d spouted. He didn’t believe in any of that shit - never had. What the fuck was she babbling about anyway? ‘The Powers That Be’ - what crap! It sounded like some cheap CW supernatural drama show. He snickered at the idea that Buffy the Vampire Slayer would be popping up from behind the order counter or some coven of teenaged witches from Washington State would appear out of nowhere and cast a spell on him. Brian Kinney wouldn’t even lower himself to openly acknowledge such ridiculous drivel. With a dismissive wave of the hand the pragmatic adman walked away, ignoring the silly tripe the old Queen was trying to serve him.
Shaking his head to rid himself of whatever shenanigans the gang was trying to put over on him, Brian stomped off to his Jeep and drove to work.
“Brian, your ten o’clock appointment is here,” Cynthia announced over the intercom as Brian was taking his third dose of aspirin for the morning.
“What fucking ten o’clock appointment,” Brian spat back, trying desperately to remember what the fuck was on his calendar for the day. He’d thought he had a light day and could silently recover in his office this morning.
“You remember . . . The Pittsburgh Realty Association . . . You’ve been trying to get their account for the last six months and you finally got someone to come listen to your spiel . . . Are you feeling okay, Brian?” Cynthia sounded less than convinced her boss had it together enough to handle this presentation.
“What-the-fuck-ever, Cyn. Show them into the conference room, get them all coffees and shit and bring me the fucking file to review before I go in there,” Brian ordered, scrambling to remember what he’d had planned for this proposal, and wondering what exactly was happening to him that he’d forgotten such an important meeting.
Ten minutes later, after Brian had muddled through the information in the prospective client’s file, he stood outside the conference room and took a deep breath before putting on his charming Kinney game face and striding confidently into the room. Cynthia was already inside, preparing coffees for the three well-dressed people standing at the large conference room window admiring the panoramic view. Rubbing his hands together to help ignite the spark that he always got from the thrill of pitching a new idea and reeling in a new client with deep pockets, Brian boldly strode over to where his latest victims awaited him.
“Good Morning! I’m Brian Kinney. Let me tell you how I can help you sell LOTS more lots here in the Pittsburgh Metro area,” Brian boomed jovially as the three members of the Realty Association turned around and smiled their greetings at him.
Which was when the unshakable Kinney facade shook just enough that it was noticeable to Brian’s longtime assistant. Jumping in to try and save the day, Cynthia handed the mugs of coffee to each guest as she introduced everyone to her boss. Brian got himself together just enough to nod and shake hands with the first two - one an older, grey-haired gentleman and the other a petite Asian woman. However, he hesitated again when Cynthia presented the last member of the group.
“And this is Jennifer Taylor, from Gold Realty,” Cynthia said as she handed a cup of herbal tea to the smartly dressed fortyish blonde woman now smiling with a bit of confusion up at an even more confused Brian Kinney.
“It’s lovely to meet you, Mr. Kinney,” Ms. Taylor trilled in a melodious, well-schooled voice, taking over the conversation easily when Brian continued to flounder. “I hope you don’t mind my subbing in at the last moment for Matt Kincaid. He really wanted to be here for this meeting but had a family emergency. I’m afraid all of my colleagues here have a lot more experience in the real estate industry - I’m rather new at all this - but perhaps I can at least bring a fresh eye and some new ideas to the table.”
Brian held onto the offered hand and was staring hard at Jennifer Taylor all through her little spiel. At the end, she politely but firmly pulled her hand out of his and stood back, waiting for the AdMan to take over. She appeared to be looking at Brian as if he was a complete stranger to her. For the life of him, Brian couldn’t detect the slightest ounce of recognition in Jennifer’s grey-blue eyes.
‘What the fuck was going on here?’ Brian had absolutely no idea why Jennifer was acting like she didn’t know him at all. Granted, they’d only met in person two or three times, but he didn’t think the mother of his 17 yr old lover was ever likely to forget the man who had debauched her darling son. She’d confronted him right in this very office the day she brought him a check and a duffle bag full of Justin’s clothing and told him to make sure that Justin did his homework every night. So why the fuck was she standing there in all her WASPy elegance and looking at him like they’d never met.
Cynthia interrupted the silence and asked all the guests to come be seated at the conference table, elbowing her boss painfully in the side as she passed by. “Get it together, Brian,” she hissed with a meaningful glare.
Brian cleared his throat and moved to sit in the large chair at the head of the table. Jennifer sat in the farthest seat, wearing an intelligent but noncommittal little smile. The other two clients had similar expressions, all of them obviously wondering why Mr. Kinney was acting so tentative. Brian gave Jennifer one last, questioning look, but didn’t get any answers.
‘Fine,’ Brian thought, ‘she wants to pretend she doesn’t know me. Whatever. I have no idea what little game Jennifer Taylor is playing, but I guess I’ll play along for now’.
Switching back immediately to executive mode, Brian took the reins of the meeting and spent the rest of the hour talking with the clients, getting information on the type of campaign they were looking for, and generally cajoling them along. In the end, they reached a preliminary agreement and set up a follow up appointment to review whatever Brian and the Ryder Agency could pull together. Everyone seemed enthusiastic about the ideas that Brian Kinney had advanced and there were satisfied smiles all around.
Cynthia and the older gentleman were already heading out to her desk to finish up some minor details and check their respective calendars, the Asian woman following behind them, before Brian had an opportunity to approach Jennifer alone.
“Mother Taylor,” Brian interrupted her as she was gathering up her files. He was lounging against the edge of the table next to her with his shoulder rubbing up against her’s familiarly. “I hope that I played that the way you wanted, although I’m not sure why you thought it necessary to pretend like that. I thought Debbie had gotten you past your embarrassment at being linked to the gay community.”
“Excuse me, Mr. Kinney?” the dignified blond woman turned to look at the man sitting uncomfortably close to her. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Cut the crap, Jennifer. I don’t know what you’re so afraid of. It’s not like I’m going to start fucking your son across the conference room table in front of your real estate buddies out there,” Brian joked in his usual coarse, tongue-in-cheek manner, anticipating that he’d get a rise out of the woman.
That got a rise out of Ms. Taylor alright. However, the reaction he got was not at all what Brian Kinney had expected. Jennifer gasped, raising one hand to her chest in shock, and took several steps backwards, retreating from the man. She looked irate, clearly offended, and more than a little bit confused.
“I don’t know who you think you are, Mr. Kinney, but you have no right talking to me like that. I’d heard you were a bit of a wildcard, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll put up with you using language like that. And, if I did have a son, I wouldn’t let him near the likes of you for one minute. I’ll be discussing your behavior with Matt Kincaid. It’s his call, but I can’t see why our Association would use someone as uncouth as you for this campaign. Now, get the hell out of my way so I can get as far away from you as fast as I possibly can.”
Jennifer shoved her way past the tall auburn-haired man, and stomped away down the hall in all her incensed, Country-Club-Matron, fury.
“What the fuck?” Brian stood in the doorway in shock at what he perceived as a completely over-the-top reaction.
“What the hell did you do to Jennifer Taylor,” Cynthia came trotting up to Brian, looking almost as angry with him as Jennifer had been. “She came storming out of here, clearly pissed off about something. You didn’t just blow this account, did you?”
“Everyone is acting fucking crazy today,” Brian muttered under his breath, ignoring his fuming assistant as he shuffled back to his office, trying to piece together what exactly had just happened.
Brian slammed his office door behind him and stood beside the window, trying to figure out what was happening to him today as he gazed down at the pedestrians going about their business on the downtown sidewalks several floors below him. As he watched, he saw Jennifer Taylor and her two companions walk past, their heads together in conversation. Just as the trio went around the corner, Brian’s eye was caught by the sunlight flashing off the bright red of a full-length sequined gown. The woman sporting the dress had long dark brown hair, which she flipped away from her face right at that moment and, although the ridiculously overdressed person wearing the red evening gown was too far away to be sure, Brian thought that he saw her long fake eyelashes flutter as she winked up at him standing in the window.
Brian leaped up from where he’d been waiting, leaning against the side of the Jeep while he scanned all the faces of the students pouring out of the many exits of St. James‘ Academy as soon as the final bell of the day rang. He was starting to get impatient when the lovely, coffee-and-cream complexion and dark curly hair of Justin’s best friend finally appeared amidst a gaggle of other teen girls, all babbling as they skipped down the front steps together. The girl looked up when she heard her name called and twisted her head around, trying to locate whoever was seeking to get her attention. Brian finally caught her eye and waved her over.
“Were you calling me for some reason?” Daphne asked as she cautiously walked over to where the older man was standing.
“Of course I was calling you. Know someone else around here named Daphne?” Brian really wasn’t in the mood for any more of these hijinks. “Where the fuck is Justin already? I haven't seen him come out of school. I’ve been trying to call him all day but his phone just rings and never goes to voicemail for some reason. I’m tired of this shit all day - whatever silly little game you and your blond besty have cooked up for me, it ends immediately. Now, tell me where the little twat is hiding so I can give him his punishment already.”
“Uh . . . Sorry, Mister . . .” Daphne was apprehensively backing away from Brian, heading towards where the rest of her friends were already walking away down the sidewalk. “I can’t help you.”
“Cut the shit, Daphne,” Brian insisted, jogging after the retreating teen. “This isn’t funny anymore. Where the fuck is Justin?”
“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Leave me alone, you perv,” Daphne yelled over her shoulder as she turned and ran all-out to catch up to the group of girls, all of whom were now staring at Brian as if he was some dangerous criminal.
As soon as Daph reached the rest, they closed ranks around her, protecting her from the strange man still standing on the sidewalk in front of the school and watching the group as they hustled away around the corner at the far end of the block.
Brian pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to stem the incipient headache he could feel waiting for him. Whatever joke the little blond twat and his cohorts thought they were playing on him today was definitely NOT funny anymore. Well, Brian had had enough. Fuck Justin and Daphne and all the rest. Brian wasn’t going to play along any more.
Brian decided he needed a break and maybe a sympathetic ear. He got back into the Jeep and started driving towards Lindsey and Mel’s. Maybe some one-on-one time with his Sonny Boy would help calm him down, Brian thought. As he came to a stop at the corner, Brian looked to the left and then the right. But, just as he was preparing to pull out into traffic, Brian noticed the glaring sight of someone wearing a red-sequined gown sitting at a sidewalk table outside the coffee shop on the corner. Brian glowered at the ubiquitous drag queen who simply waved at him and then went back to shuffling the deck of cards in her large hands.
"Brian? Wow. To what do we owe the dubious pleasure of your company this afternoon?" Mel's sarcastic drawl wasn't really the greeting Brian had been hoping for when he rang the bell at the Muncher's house.
"Nice to see you too, Smelly Melly," Brian snarled right back. "Where's my kid? I came here to see Gus, not argue with you."
"My son is taking a nap, Kinney, so you can just take your shitty attitude and come back some other time to visit," Mel replied, not moving from her position blocking the entrance. "Oh, and please stop calling him 'Gus' - I told you already we're going with 'Abe', after my grandfather, you asshole."
"Yeah, right," Brian snarled back, not amused by the bitch's little joke, as he pushed past her into the house. "Maybe in some alternate universe where you want our kid to get beat up every day of his life." Brian peeked his head around the corner but didn't see Lindsey or his Sonny Boy in the living room. "Lindsey!" Brian bellowed at the top of his lungs. "Call off your attack dyke. I'm here to see my Sonny Boy!"
"Brian! This IS a surprise," Lindsey exclaimed as she came walking down the hall from the kitchen, wiping her hands on a dish cloth. "I'm really, really glad you decided to take some interest in your son. This is great. Come on in. I'll go see if he's up from his nap. Finally, you'll get some time to bond. I'm really happy . . ." Lindsey was still gushing over Brian's presence as she jogged up the stairs to see if the baby was awake.
"Jeeze, you can lay off the Jewish Mother guilt trip, Lindz. I get enough of it from your Yenta husband," Brian hollered after her. "And stop acting like I never fucking visit - I was just over here a couple of nights ago when I picked up Justin after he babysat for you guys. I do actually have a life outside of playing daddy. Besides, I'd come over more often if Mel wasn't always such a bitch," Brian added, smiling all the while at his son's other mother who was leaning in the doorway giving Brian a middle-finger salute while he spoke.
"I'll stop being a bitch if you do," Mel snarled just as Lindz started down the stairs with a blanket wrapped bundle in her arms.
"Stop fighting you two," Lindsey reprimanded them both. "You'd think you two were the kids, not the parents. Here you go, Brian - sit, do some bonding, go on," the tall blonde woman beamed at the picture of father and son as she carefully guided them towards the couch.
Brian unwrapped the little boy a bit more and then happily ran a fingertip down the soft downy cheek of the not-quite-awake baby. "Hey there, Sonny Boy," Brian cooed affectionately at the sweet tiny face, while Mel and Lindsey were looking at each other as if they were shocked by the man's behavior. "Will you guys stop already," Brian pleaded, rolling his eyes at the girls. "I'm having a for shit day and I don't need more crap from you two. Speaking of which, Lindz, do you know where I can find your favorite little blond babysitter this afternoon - he's way past due for a spanking."
"Brian? Are you feeling okay?" Lindsey asked, moving closer as if to grab the baby if the man were to suddenly faint or something.
When Brian just glared at her, Lindsey looked over at her wife for help. Mel shook her head, taking over for her confused spouse, "isn't it a bit early in the day to be stoned, Asshole? Our babysitter's name is Rose. I don't think you've met her yet, but she's got black hair and I don't think her husband would like it if you spanked her, so what the fuck are you talking about?"
"I meant, Justin," Brian huffed in exasperation. "You know, perky blond teen, about 5'10" with a hot ass, who usually follows me around like a lost puppy? That babysitter?"
When both women continued to stare at him blankly, Brian finally lost it. "What the FUCK! Don't tell me you two are in on this fucking charade too! I've had more than enough, okay? Just tell me where to find Justin already. It's NOT fucking funny!" Brian rose to his feet, his face turning crimson with anger and his yelling startling the baby, who immediately began crying.
"Give Abe to me, you god damned Neanderthal,” Mel insisted, snatching the baby out of Brian's hands and trying to calm the infant. "You can't just scream and holler and stomp all over our house scaring the baby, you jerk. If this is how he's going to act around our son, then I don't give a crap about your bonding theories, Lindz. I won't have him here acting like a fucking maniac."
"Brian . . ." Lindsey went up to the irate man and tried to calm him with a restraining hand to his arm. "I think you should go, Brian. You . . . you obviously aren't feeling well. Maybe you should go and try to find this . . . what was his name . . . Justin? Um . . . When you've cooled down a little, then maybe we'll see about you and Abe spending more time together, huh?"
Lindsey had been speaking in a quiet voice and leading Brian towards the door while she talked. Brian was looking around himself as if completely baffled while Mel rocked the baby, standing so her body shielded the little one from Brian's craziness. When the dark-haired woman whispered something to the bundled infant and repeated the name 'Abe', Brian moaned, almost as if he was in physical pain. The perplexed, angry and, yes, injured look on Brian's face caused Lindsey to worry, biting at her bottom lip as she stood there, clearly unsure what to do.
"I, I, I don't understand," Brian stuttered, looking back and forth between the two women. "It's not funny, you know . . . it's not . . . Gus? . . . Lindz? . . . you're all acting fucking crazy . . . I just, I don't understand . . ."
"Understand this, you asshole." Mel had had enough - she stalked over to her wife, handing the baby to Lindsey, and then bodily shoved Brian out the door. "Come back when you're sober or don't come back at all!" Mel added as she slammed the door in Brian's very bewildered face.
Brian staggered down the porch steps and then down the walkway towards the street. He didn't bother to get in the jeep, continuing on down the sidewalk as if in a daze. The people Brian passed by on the streets and the sidewalks gave the mumbling, disoriented looking man a wide berth. By the time he made it back to the familiar environs of Liberty Avenue, he had sweated through his designer suit, his hair was disheveled and his overall appearance bordered on unhinged. Even the generally tolerant folks on Liberty got well out of the man's way as he rambled on, unseeing, down the street.
Brian's wanderings were only halted when his pathway was suddenly blocked by two rather large feet adorned in gaudily decorated red stiletto heels waiting in his direct line of vision. Brian stopped and looked up. He wasn't in the least surprised that the pumps came as part of a lovely ensemble involving a long red sequined ball gown.
"Oh, Honeychild! You look like you could use a stiff one, and I'm not talking dick here, Sugar. You come with Mysterious Marilyn and we'll have a drink and a nice chat, okay," the falsetto tones seemed to soothe the frazzled man, who followed along behind the pumps without question.
About three minutes later, Brian found himself seated at the end of the bar in Woodies, a tumbler with two fingers of JB waiting in front of him. His not-so-favorite fortune teller was seated on the barstool next to him, busy laying out tarot cards in some arcane pattern. Brian took a small sip of the bracing liquor then scrubbed at his face with both hands as if to wipe away all memory of the disgruntling day.
"Now, Sugar, what did I tell you about making unwise wishes, hmmm?" Mysterious Marilyn asked sympathetically as she flipped over cards and then replaced them with others from her deck. "I take it from your appearance that wishing away that wonderfully wanton piece of blond boy ass didn't please you as much as you thought it would. Am I right?"
Brian nodded without comment, frowning into his glass of JB.
"I thought so," the wily drag queen replied, patting Brian's arm with empathy. "Now, what did we learn from this experience?" Marilyn asked condescendingly.
"That I don't like drag queens in red sequined dresses following me around all day?" Brian offered, trying to find some humor somewhere in the nightmare that had been this day.
After getting a displeased look from his companion, Brian sighed and screwed up his face as if trying to concentrate. "That . . . I wouldn't really like it if Justin disappeared?" Brian answered then looked up, relieved to see an approving look on Marilyn's countenance as she gestured that Brian should continue. "That, maybe, I actually like having the annoying little twat around some of the time . . ."
"And . . ." Brian's bewigged companion encouraged him to go on.
"And . . . That Justin's already become so much a part of my life that, if he disappeared - if Justin had never come into my life - I might not like the consequences. In fact, I'd fucking hate it if my kid was named 'Abe'," Brian insisted, noting that Marilyn was nodding in agreement with that particular comment. "Shit, for that alone I'm fucking indebted to the kid for eternity. . . So, um, how does one go about taking back a foolish wish? I don't have to tap my heels together and say something corny like 'There's No Place Like Home' or anything do I?"
"Heavens, no, Sweetie. That line is soooo last century," Marilyn exclaimed with even more camp than she usually exuded. "Besides, I was always more of a Vivien Leigh fan - I think Judy Garland was always just too cutesy, don't you? So now, Honey, how about you dust off your best Brando immitation and do me up a little 'Stanley Kowalski', huh?"
"What? I may be a fag, but I don't speak flaming film queen. What, exactly, are you suggesting I do?" If the damn fortune teller was suggesting what he thought she was, Brian was NOT going to do it no matter what the repercussions.
"Come on, Kinney. You can do it. You know you've got to suffer a little bit more before you're going to be completely let off the hook, don't you, Baby? A little groveling, perhaps show that you're not afraid to make a fool out of yourself for the sake of true love, you know the thing . . . This isn't the kind of wish you can just take back with a lukewarm 'Sorry', Child. You gotta really mean it,” Marilyn admonished with an amused tilt of her perfectly coiffed head.
Brian Kinney stared into his glass for about five minutes without saying anything further. Finally, he picked up his drink, tossed the rest of the JB back and slammed the empty tumbler on the bar. "Fine. Fuck it all. What have I got to do?" Brian sighed with resignation.
"Oh, good decision, Mr. Kinney! The Powers are Pleased," Marilyn clapped her hands with excitement and turned towards Brian.
Taking Brian by the hand the soothsayer led the man out to a clear space in the middle of the bar room's floor. Positioning him where she wanted him, she efficiently took off the sweat-dappled suit jacket and unbuttoned the dark blue dress shirt, leaving Brian standing in the middle of the room wearing only his sweat drenched undershirt, his suit pants rumpled and creased and his hair mussed up artistically. Then, tossing the unwanted garments across a chair back, Marilyn backed away, leaving Brian center stage.
"Now, Honey, in your best Brando, yell out your true love's name so that all can hear!" Marilyn enthused. "Oh, and you better not goof around and start yelling, 'Stella', Kinney. This is serious shit you're dealing with here. If you really want Justin back you've gotta do it like you mean it!"
"Oh, fuck me," Brian muttered, hiding his face in his hands, embarrassed by the entire debacle. "Fine. Whatever . . ."
"JUSTIN!" Brian roared at the top of his lungs, not yet daring to look out from behind his hands, but immediately sure that everyone in the entire bar was now staring at him. "JUSTIN!" Brian yelled with feeling a second time, figuring he already looked like a fool so what the hell.
The next thing he knew, a familiar pair of hands with long artistic fingers were pulling Brian's own hands away from his face. Standing there in front of him, with his beautiful Sunshine smile, was the missing twat. Justin. The boy was practically glowing at the older man with love and affection.
"April Fools!" Justin announced in a loud clear voice before he started to giggle, right as the whole crowd of bar patrons standing behind the young blond erupted into cheers and jeers, clapping and laughing at the abashed Stud.
"You should have seen your face!" "Gotcha, Brian!" "Oh my god, you looked so pathetic!" And about a hundred other derogatory yet amused comments were shouted out to Brian as all his friends and acquaintances swarmed him, convivially punching his shoulder, patting him on the back and otherwise giving him shit while Justin possessively wrapped his arms around Brian's waist and gave him a very mushy big kiss. Brian shook his head, annoyed at having been made the butt of the joke but relieved it was over and trying to appear a good sport. All his friends lined up around him - Michael, Deb, Ted, Emmett, Lindsey, Mel, even Daphne - as he was handed another glass of whiskey while they continued to rib their victim.
"So, we really got you, didn't we," Justin bragged, easing his boast with a little kiss he left on his lover's cheek, still very pleased with himself at how well his elaborate practical joke had worked.
"Yes, you fucking got me, you twat," Brian complained good naturedly, kissing his blond even as he growled at him. "You do know that you WILL be punished severely for being so naughty, don't you?"
"You promise," Justin wrinkled up his adorable little nose, intentionally egging Brian on.
"Careful what you wish for, Sunshine," Brian warned with a laugh, tossing back his drink and gathering his clothing together so he could lead his naughty little boy home and begin the punishment immediately. "Yeah, you guys fucking got me good," Brian added, still amazed by the extent of trouble they had all gone to for their little joke. "You're all very good actors, by the way, especially your mother. How'd you ever get her to play along with this farce?"
"My mother?" Justin looked up at Brian with evident confusion. "Mom wasn't in on it," Justin stated dismissively, tugging anxiously at Brian's arm, eager to get his lover alone so they could commence with his punishment.
"But . . . Today at my office . . . Your mother . . ." Brian began to protest even as his blond boy was dragging him away.
Just then, Brian saw Mysterious Marilyn sitting alone at a small table, still playing with her tarot deck, a wicked, knowing, smile gracing the well-painted lips. Brian noted that she looked up at him at that precise moment and winked playfully. Then the crowd closed back around her table and Brian lost sight of the enigmatic queen.
Brian simply let Justin drag his ass out of the bar, deciding that he really didn't want to know what that was all about. He'd learned his lesson for the day. Brian Kinney wouldn't be making any more foolish wishes.