Saturday, June 03, 2006

Small Town Boys - Chapter 33

The Doctor Is In – 1994

Valentine’s Day was on a Monday. Donny didn’t remember it until he turned on the lights in his office and saw the small gold box of Godiva dark chocolate sitting in the middle of his desk. There was a little card. Hugs and kisses – MG.

Marc was at his desk. Donny picked up the phone and buzzed the intercom.


“My pleasure.”

“I didn’t get you anything,” Donny said. “Let me buy you lunch.”


They went to the place with the green umbrellas. It was slightly crowded with couples, but they were able to get a table near the street.

“So,” Marc said, peering at the menu through his Ray-Bans, “how’s it going?”

“Like, ‘how’s it going’ at work or...?”

“Life in general.”

Donny thought this was an odd question since he saw Marc every day at work and they had spent Friday night and Saturday morning at Marc’s apartment and hadn’t gotten out of bed until noon; his roommate had landed a job in New York and had moved out on the weekend before the earthquake. The earthquake was a distant memory, business was good, Sky and the boys were working on making a Pelican version for Apple, Michelle had set an impossibly high sales goal of fifteen percent increase per quarter and they were already ahead of it, and Donny hadn’t had to fire anyone in the last three months. “Fine,” he replied, looking at the Valentine’s Day specials.

“How’s Mike?”

Donny shrugged. “Okay, I guess. I really haven’t paid much attention, what with his new show and everything.”

“Hmm,” nodded Marc. He closed the menu and pocketed his sunglasses, replacing them with his regular wire-rims. “Listen, I need to ask a favor.”


“I need to take some time off. About a week. I know I don’t have enough vacation time built up, but you can dock me if you need to.”

The way Marc said it made Donny think there was more to this than just time off. He looked at Marc carefully, but his expression didn’t change. Donny nodded. “Sure. Whatever you need. Is there anything I can do?”

“No, thanks. It just some, uh, family business in Colorado and I need to go there and, uh, take care of it.”

“When do you want to do this?”

“I need to be there by Wednesday. I’ll take off tomorrow after work and get back here as soon as I can.” He smiled apologetically. “I shoulda told you sooner, but I didn’t find out about it until yesterday.”

“Yeah, sure, not a problem. Just let Cathy know if there’s anything she needs to do while you’re gone.”

The waiter came and took their order and Marc’s mood seemed to lighten a little as they waited for their food. But Donny wondered what was going on in Colorado. He knew Marc had family there, but little else. In fact, Donny didn’t know anything about Marc’s family life other than that his parents were divorced. His mother lived in Ojai and had remarried. His father, also remarried, lived in Colorado on a ranch outside Aspen and raised horses. That information had been gleaned from the names, addresses, and phone numbers on the emergency contact forms in Marc’s personnel file. He knew that he had gone to boarding school in Colorado and that he had an older brother who lived in Minnesota and a younger sister in Albuquerque. This information had been divulged in passing conversations, but Marc had never said much beyond the mention of the fact that they existed.

When they got back to the office, Donny checked the records and Marc had earned just enough vacation time to cover five days, plus he had five personal days available as well. Donny told him, and Marc nodded. “Thanks. I’ll get with Cathy. Everything will be okay.”

“Sure. Like I said, if there’s anything I can do.”

Marc held up his hand. “I’m good. I’ll call you when I get back.”

That evening as he stood in the kitchen chopping spinach for a salad, he told Eric about Marc’s quick trip to Colorado.

“What’s going on?” Eric asked as he peeled an onion.

“Hell if I know,” replied Donny. “He’s never talked about his family.” He put down the knife and looked at Eric. “Wonder why that is. I mean, we’ve been friends for six months now and he knows just about everything about me. But....” He picked up the knife again and resumed chopping.

“Why don’t you ask?”


“Yeah. Ask him.”

“About why he’s going?”

“About anything. I mean, hell, Donny; you’ve been sleeping with the guy since last summer, and he works for you, and.... Just ask, ‘Hey, Marc, tell me about your family.’ How come you’ve never done that?”

Donny shrugged. “I dunno. Never really occurred to me, I guess.”

Eric chuckled and started to slice the onion. He wiped a tear away, grinned at Donny, and said, “You’d be surprised what people will tell you if you’d only ask.”

Donny was having an after-dinner cigarette on the patio when Mike came home. He dropped four thick binders on the table and groaned.

“What’re those?” Donny asked.

“Scripts. We’ve gotta shoot all the episodes we can upfront.” He picked up a script and thumbed through it. “And I’m in almost every scene.”

Donny picked one up. The series was called Return to Sender. Josh Sender, played by Mike, is a successful Hollywood actor with a great career going until his elderly parents are forced to move in with him. The problem is that Josh has a secret: he’s living with his girlfriend and no one can know about it because it would ruin his image as a bachelor stud, and his stuffy parents certainly wouldn’t approve. Josh also has his share of wacky friends and co-workers to fill out the ensemble.

“Maybe you can help me,” Mike said as he came back out to the patio with a beer.


“Run lines with me. I gotta have this script down cold by Thursday for the shooting.”

“Okay,” said Donny, trying to decipher the dialogue from the notations of camera angles and stage directions. “Just read the other characters lines?”

“Yeah, I should know most of mine; I’ve been doing them all day.” Mike lay on the chaise and closed his eyes. They went through the script, Mike reciting his lines flatly, Donny correcting him when he missed a line or stumbled, but it wasn’t very often and when they got to the end Donny closed the script and Mike sat up. He drained the rest of his beer. “One down, three to go.”

“Don’t they use cue cards or a teleprompter?” Donny asked.

“Yeah, but I like to learn my lines. Gives me a chance to get to know the character a little.” He smirked. “Not that he’s Hamlet or anything.”

Donny flipped through the script again. “Who writes this ... ?”

“’Crap’ is the word you’re looking for.”


“There’s a roomful of writers who crank it out. No one seems to know their names, but they turn it out.”

Donny read some of it again to himself, then looked at Mike. “Are you ever allowed to make changes in the lines?”

“What do you mean? Like, re-write it?”

“Well, yeah; y’know, make suggestions?”

Mike shrugged. “Yeah, I suppose. I mean, if something doesn’t work, the director can have me say something else. The writers put the changes in the script.”

“So, f’r instance,” Donny said, pointing to a line, “if you thought this was stupid, you could ask the director to change it, and he would.”

“Sure, I guess so. I mean, I saw Rory change a lot of his lines on Capitol Hill. But that was Rory Donovan. The guy basically owned the show.”

Donny said, “Well, this is your show, isn’t it?”

Mike nodded, took the script and thumbed through it. “What would you say?”

“I’m not a writer,” said Donny. “But a lot of this stuff sounds... I dunno... kinda old. Like I’ve heard it before. I mean, that scene where you’re hiding your girlfriend in the hall closet... that’s been done, I’m sure. Golden Girls...Three’s Company...”

“So, you have a better idea?”

Donny took the script back. “Well, think about it. All it is is a bunch of sight gags and one-liners. And it’s not really that funny. Your dad’s a grumpy old guy, your mom’s a ditz, your girlfriend is too dumb to figure out that she’s being used – I mean, does Josh really love her or is it because she’s sexy – and your pals are all cookie-cutter stereotypes. It’s old hat.” Donny put the script on the table and picked up a cigarette, all the while watching Mike’s reaction.

His face was expressionless for a moment, then he nodded and chuckled hollowly.

“What?” said Donny.

“Y’know, that’s the first time you’ve ever said anything about my work.”

“Sorry. It’s just....”

“No, you’re right. The show is crap. It’s filler. There’s nothing original about it at all. The only reason we got picked up is because the network is desperate for something they can shove on the air for ten weeks before summer and then forget about.” Mike stood up and started pacing. “But if we gave them something slightly original, something just a tad better than the crap that’s on now, it might get noticed.” He dug in his pocket and pulled out a pencil. He tossed it to Donny. “Here. Let’s start making some changes to this. Not a lot...just a couple of lines here and there – I already know where it would work – and then,” he pointed to the other scripts, “we’ll get them to change the rest.” Mike sat at the table across from Donny and lit a cigarette. “You know what? I heard that William Faulkner wrote Hollywood screenplays.”

They went through the script again, this time Donny making suggestions and Mike penciling them into the script. That was Donny’s idea; doing it in Mike’s handwriting would give the impression that it was his work alone. They read through the script again, made some more changes, and by ten Mike yawned and tossed the pencil on the table.

“All I have to do is show up tomorrow and just say really casually, ‘Hey, you know what? I think this would work a lot better if I said....’ Be really nice about it – but firm – and I’ll bet they’ll go for it.” He leaned back, put his hands behind his head, and flexed his biceps. “’Sides, I have script approval. So they basically have to go with it.”

“Just don’t tell them I had anything to do with it,” Donny said.

“Yeah, the Writers Guild might not like that. But hey, if it works... you might have another career here as a script doctor.”

Donny smirked. “No thanks.”

The next day Donny got so wrapped up in work and planning for the computer show in Las Vegas that he completely forgot about his ghost-writing. So when Mike came home that night and gave Donny a hug and a not-so-subtle nudge in his crotch, he was surprised.

“They loved the changes,” Mike said with a huge grin. “The director said it was fresh and funny, and everyone else did too. And they meant it. Henry Diers, the guy who plays my dad, said he’s glad to be finally working on a show where he doesn’t just walk through the lines asleep and wait for the laughtrack. Everybody started making suggestions, and the whole show is taking a new direction.” Mike hugged him again. “We really kicked ass.” He threw the other scripts on the couch and got a beer.

“Wow, that’s great,” Donny said. “So they’re gonna re-write the rest of them?”

Mike grimaced as he twisted off the bottle cap. “Well, that’s the thing. The writers are okay with it – I mean, they said they were okay with it, but they have to; they’re just the writers – but they’re really not sure how I want to change the show, so they told me to go through the rest of the scripts and make the changes I want. Kinda like 'put up or shut up.'” Mike indicated the rest of the scripts with his beer bottle. “So we have some homework to do.”

Donny gulped. “What do you mean, ‘we,’ Kemo Sabe? It’s your show. I’m not a writer. Besides, Eric and Greg and I are buried getting ready for the expo next week in Vegas, and we’re short-handed at the office as it is. I can’t....”

“All I’m asking is that we sit down for a little while and just go through them and do what we did last night. We can’t just punch up one script and leave the rest out there in sitcom dreardom.” Mike picked up the script. “C’mon. We can do this one in no time.” He pulled out the pencil and held it out to Donny with a pleading look.


“C’mon, it’ll be fun.”

Donny was having a flashback to Mike’s wheedling tone, although in the old days it had usually been used when they were in bed and Mike was feeling a tad horny. Donny grinned inwardly knowing that it had never failed and Mike knew it.

“Okay. Just let me get something to eat.”

It was chilly and starting to rain so they sat at the dining room table and started to read the script aloud. About halfway through Danny came home.

“What’s up?”

Donny filled him in.

“Thank God,” Danny said. “The shows on TV suck out loud. Anything you can do to clean up the crap they’re selling is fine with me.” He looked over his twin’s shoulder and read a few lines as he started to unbutton his uniform shirt to change into his running clothes. “Yep,” he added. “Anything at all.”

On his way out Danny passed Eric, who was coming back from the gym and the store. “So, the Algonquin round table is at it again,” he said as he went into his room to change.

“Yeah,” replied Donny, getting the reference. Eric had had a subscription to The New Yorker since he was in college and his theatre history professor had required it.

After an hour of reading aloud, Donny stretched stiffly, giving Mike the hint that he was tired. Most of Mike’s lines had been smoothed out and some of the more obvious gags had been sharpened. “What I hate,” Donny said at one point, “is knowing the punchline before the characters. You gotta come up with something that hasn’t been done to death.”

Mike nodded. “Yeah, I know.” He closed the script, got up from the table and went out to the patio, standing under the eaves watching the light rain falling. He lit a cigarette. “That’s the trouble with TV today. It’s all recycled. And even when you get something new, like Friends, next thing you know everybody wants to imitate it. Shit, I bet if they made a sitcom about a gay couple and it was a hit, the next year the whole schedule would be full of fags.”

Donny came outside and stood next to him. “Think they’d ever do that?”


“Write a sitcom about a gay couple?”

Mike snorted. “Are you kidding? Oh, sure, they’d write it, but put it on prime time on a network? No way. The Moral Majority would go up like a puff of smoke. Even John Ritter pretending to be gay on Three’s Company got them honked off, and that one with Tony Randall a few years ago where he played a single older man with a ‘mysterious past’ was too much for some people. It’d never work. Country’s not ready for it.”

“There are gay characters on shows all the time.”

“Yeah, characters. But never leads. Besides, who’d do it? No actor – straight or gay – would play a gay character as a lead on a sitcom unless he was so big he wouldn’t worry about ruining his reputation by doing it. For that you’d need someone like James McGruder, Rory Donovan, or Paul Newman.”

Donny lit a cigarette. “So the chances of turning Josh Sender into a gay guy who’s living with his ‘girlfriend’ to hide the truth from his parents and the public wouldn’t work.”

Mike blew out a stream of smoke and stared across the yard. Donny waited for him to shake his head and laugh off the idea, but instead he turned and looked at him. “Well,” Donny continued, “you said you wanted something that wasn’t recycled.”

Mike nodded slowly. “Yeah, but that’s a little out there, don’t you think?”

“He doesn’t have to have a boyfriend or anything. He can just say that he’s gay. It’s not like we’re gonna see him fucking or anything.” Donny grinned. “Not that it wouldn’t liven up the show a little.”

Mike bit his lip. “It’s a great idea, Donny.” He put out his cigarette and tossed the butt in the ashtray that was half-full of rainwater. “And that’s exactly why no one will go for it. At least not today. And if I pitched it... well, I think the cat would be out of the bag, so to speak. ‘Hey, d’ya hear that Lance Michaels pitched a sitcom with a gay character?’ ‘Hmm; always wondered about him....’” He shook his head. “I’m not ready for that shit just yet. Say, you and, uh, Marc want to come to the taping Thursday night?”

“Marc’s out of town. Family business.”

“So, you and Danny?”

“I’ll ask.”

“That’d be great; we do it in front of a studio audience and we’ll need all the help we can get.”

The studio looked like a large warehouse on a fenced-in lot near the CBS studios. Donny and Danny showed their VIP passes that Mike had given them to the security guard at the gate and parked in the visitor lot. There was a small line of people waiting to get in. Most of them looked like tourists, ranging in age from senior citizens to families with small kids and bored teenagers. Mike had told them to show their cards to the guard at the door and they were let in ahead of the line, which drew some curious glances. An usher – a young woman in jeans, a Jurassic Park t-shirt, and a headset – led them up a ramp.

Inside it looked like a warehouse, too, except there were large black curtains on the walls and rows of stage lights hanging from the high ceiling. When they got to the top of the ramp they were standing in the middle of a set of aluminum bleachers, much like at a ball park, but there were rows of theatre seats instead of benches. Down on the floor of was the set for the show – a modern-looking living room with contemporary furniture. It reminded Donny of a theatre set, except there was no attempt to mask off the sides or hide the support structures, and next to the living room was the set for an office; Donny remembered it from the script as the office for Josh’s agent. There was a space in front of the set about ten feet deep with TV cameras, mike booms, and cables snaking across the floor, which was marked in seemingly random patterns of white glow tape. People were walking around talking loudly and pointing up at the rafters, and two of the cameramen were carrying on an animated conversation with their headsets. Someone from the back of the studio shouted, “Where the fuck is Jessica? She’s got the shopping bags!”

The usher led them down to the first row and whispered, “We’ll be starting in about ten minutes. When we’re done, Mr. Michaels asked me to escort you back to his dressing room. Enjoy the show.” They settled in and watched as the crew tested voice levels on microphones – one middle-aged bald man with a clipboard stood at various places on the set and intoned, “Test, test, test” over and over – and a lighting technician ran through the light cues, bumping the levels up to broad daylight and down to almost dark – there was a scene where Josh tries to sneak his girlfriend out of the house while his father sleepwalked.

Donny looked around the studio. There were several large TV monitors hung from the grid, pointed at the bleachers, all displaying color bars. Two large black boxes hung in the middle, and Donny could make out the lettering on them. One said APPLAUSE; the other LAUGH.

After about fifteen minutes, the little usher came out onto the floor and announced, “Opening the house.” A crewman pulled large black curtains in front of the set, leaving only the forestage and TV cameras visible. The audience trooped in. It had grown to about fifty people, and they all were hushed and apparently impressed by their first visit to a real TV studio. Several kids ran down the aisle to the front row and hung over the railing, craning their necks to see what was below, but their mother came and hustled them back to their seats with a whispered, “You behave!”

After a few moments the lights over the bleachers dimmed and came up on the curtains. The audience became quiet, and a youngish-looking man came out from behind the curtain carrying a microphone.

“Good evening, everybody!” he boomed, and the audience all responded as one with an equally loud, “Good evening!” The TV monitors all changed to the title card for Return to Sender. “Great!” he continued. “I’m Clark Stone, and we’re really glad to have you with us for what I’m sure is going to be the next big TV hit, Return to Sender!” He led them in applause, and he nodded his approval. “We’ve got a great cast lined up for you, including one of your all-time favorites of stage and screen, the legendary Henry Diers, along with the lovely Rita Zachman, whom you’ll no doubt remember from the long-running series Angels in Brooklyn, and the incredible Tabitha Fitzgerald, who was such a big hit in the Universal action thriller of last summer, Close Cover Before Striking!” That drew spontaneous applause and whoops from the teenaged boys. “And of course we want a big round of applause for the star of the show. You saw him in Capitol Hill, the film Silver Star, and if you’re a fan of daytime drama you certainly remember him as Dusty, last summer’s bad boy on the number one soap – ladies, control yourselves – LANCE MICHAELS!” Everybody cheered loudly as Mike’s picture appeared on the TV screens. Danny nudged Donny with his elbow and smirked.

Clark then lowered his voice conspiratorially. “I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. You’re going to get to see two tapings of the show. We do that so we can put together the best of both. Now, have any of you ever been in a play?” Several people in the audience raised their hands. “Fantastic! Leave your name and number with the usher; we might call you! Just kidding. Well, what you’re going to be seeing is what you might remember from your theatre experience is the final dress rehearsal. We might stop and start, but that’s perfectly normal. Also, we’re glad to have a live audience because it really does help the actors feel like they’re doing it for you.” He grinned at the audience. “And to help you, we have these little helpers.” He pointed to the boxes in the rafters. “When those come on, we hope you’ll take the advice to heart. Let’s test them out.” The APPLAUSE sign flashed on and everybody clapped. “Great! Wonderful!” The LAUGH sign came on and everybody laughed. “Oh, come on,” said Clark, “you can do better than that!” The sign came on again, and this time the audience roared. “Much better! Okay, well, we’re about to begin, and I really hope you enjoy the show!” He started to go back stage, but then stopped and turned. “Oh, I almost forgot! Hold on to your ticket stub! At the intermission we’ll be holding a drawing for a brand new nineteen inch RCA color TV!” The audience murmured their approval. “So don’t go away!” Danny whispered, “We didn’t get tickets.” Donny whispered back, “We’re VIP’s. We don’t get things like that.”

The cameramen all took their places, and after a moment the lights dimmed and the curtain opened. Someone over a P.A. system called out, “Quiet, please. We’re rolling. Cue 1.” Music came up and the show started.

They made it through the first taping without incident. Donny noticed that Henry and Rita read all their lines off large cue cards held by technicians placed at strategic points out of camera range. Tabitha, a perky blonde that Donny recognized from the movies, worked well with Mike, and the laughter that they got from the audience wasn’t just prompted by the flashing sign. Donny remembered the lines he had helped write and it sounded strange to hear something he’d written being spoken by other people; it was as if he was hearing for the first time.

At the intermission Clark made a big deal about the drawing for the TV, which went to a large woman in a lime-green pantsuit from Waukegan, Illinois. Clark gave her a big hug and she practically burst into tears.

The second taping had to stop twice; once when Henry bumped a table and muttered, “Aw shit,” loud enough to draw a gasp from the audience and a “Cut!” from the P.A. Henry sheepishly nodded at the audience and said, “Sorry, folks.” The P.A. said “Let’s take it from your line, Rita,” and they went on. The second time was when Mike went to open the front door and the doorknob came off in his hand. He burst out laughing and said loudly, “Save that for Dick!” Danny whispered, “Huh?” and Donny shrugged. “Inside joke, I guess.”

It took a few minutes to fix the doorknob. Meanwhile the cast milled around, and Donny thought he saw Mike glance up in his direction. The technician tested the door, clicked his headset, the P.A. called out, “Okay, let’s take it from your cross, Lance,” and the show went on.

At the end everybody applauded, and Clark made a big deal out of introducing the cast who came out to take bows. “Thanks for coming, everybody! We hope you’ll tell all your friends! Return to Sender premiering Wednesday, March 30, eight-thirty eastern, seven-thirty central! Drive safely!”

The usher met them at the top of the ramp and guided them backstage, past the prop table, past the craft services with the food and sodas, and through a door into the dressing rooms. Several other people were standing around, including some that Donny recognized from the party that Mike had thrown at his house so long ago when he was working on Capitol Hill.

Mike’s dressing room door was open, and he was wiping his face with a towel to take off the make-up. He grinned. “So, whaddaya think?”

“It was good,” said Danny. “Not what I expected.”

“You’re not just saying that because Donny....”

“No,” said Danny. “It was pretty funny.”

“Great, great.” Mike peeled off his shirt and started changing clothes. He looked at Donny. “It made all the difference in the world, especially re-writing that bit between Henry and me where he explains how pissed off he was at losing his pension. Everyone said it made that scene really click.”

Danny said, “So what does ‘Save it for Dick’ mean?”

Mike chuckled. “That means save it for the blooper reel. Remember Dick Clark and Ed McMahon and the blooper show? Stupid doorknob.”

Someone knocked on the door. It was an older man with a white fringe of a beard, dressed in casual but tasteful clothes and carrying a script. “Oh, excuse me, I didn’t know you had company.” He had a cultured British accent.

“Oh, hey, Milo, come on in. These are friends of mine, Donny and Dan Hollenbeck. Guys, this is Milo Secor; he’s the director.”

They shook hands, and Donny remembered seeing a picture of him somewhere, perhaps in the entertainment section of the paper. Milo looked at them quickly and shook hands. “A pleasure.” He then did a double-take. “Are you twins?”

They nodded, and Milo smiled broadly. “My goodness. You’re both very handsome,” he said with such frank appraisal that Donny felt himself blush a little. “Ever do any modeling or anything of the sort?”

“No,” Donny said, and Danny added, “I’m an Air Force officer; they frown on that sort of thing.”

“Air Force? Stationed where, at Edwards?”

“No, sir, here at LAAFB.”

“The missile place.”

“Yes sir.”

Mike said, “Milo, Donny’s the one I told you about. The one who....” He gave Milo a nod, and Milo nodded back. He looked at Donny with a sly grin.

“So you’re the one who’s been doing a little...” he made a motion of scribbling on the script.

“Yeah,” Donny conceded, quickly looking at Mike, who smirked back.

“Well, thank you very much. It’s been a welcome addition, I must say. Just between us, of course, but it certainly has put legs on this show.”

Donny shrugged. “It was Mike, uh, Lance’s idea.”

Milo said, “Well, I just wanted to pop in and say good job, and we’ll see you first thing Tuesday, right?”

“That’s right.”

Milo turned to the twins. “It was a pleasure to meet you both, and if you ever decide to do some modeling, I would be more than happy to put you in touch with the right people.” He gave them one more longing look, waved, and left.

“Well, that was interesting,” said Danny flatly. “I’ve been cruised before but never like that.”

Mike pulled on his jeans and tucked in his shirt. “Yeah, Milo’s not shy about telling guys he thinks they’re hot.”

“I’d really get my ass in hack if I ever posed, especially for what I bet he has in mind.”

“Oh, no,” Mike said, “Milo’s not into porn or anything like that. But there’s a real market for good-looking twins for calendars and stuff, even posters like the ones you get at K-Mart for your dorm room. Teenage girls really dig do, I’m sure, certain other members of the population.”

“No shit,” said Donny.

“Oh, yeah. You guys could make a fortune, especially for catalogues like clothing and swimwear. So, Danny,” he added as he tied his shoes, “how could you get in trouble for doing something that’s off-duty and doesn’t show you in uniform? What does the Air Force care?”

“I’m not even gonna ask,” said Danny firmly.

“Too bad,” said Mike. “You and Donny posing in swimsuits at the beach? I’d buy it in a heartbeat.”

“Fine,” said Danny. “Hey, I gotta hit the bathroom.”

“It's right over there.”

When they were alone, Mike said to Donny, “I know I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone about you playing script doctor, but Milo suspected and I told him not to say anything.”

“It’s okay. No big deal.”

“Listen, I’m going out with some of the cast and crew tonight, but I was thinking; this weekend is President’s Weekend. You want to go up to Idyllwild with me and see the house? All the furniture’s there and I’d really like you to see it. We’d go up Saturday morning and come back Monday? How about it?”

Ever since Mike had moved into the house and was sharing Danny’s room, Donny knew that this moment was coming. Seeing Mike every day had gotten him used to being around him without thinking about him as a lover. The hours they had spent over the last few days going over his scripts had been free of any kind of subtle signals, and Donny had long ago stopped being wary of letting his thoughts stray back to the times when he could hardly get through a day without thinking of Mike and feeling a tingle of lust. Even seeing Mike change clothes now was devoid of any interest beyond the fact that he noticed Mike had switched from Jockey to Hanes. So in the moment that he thought about it and rationalized that Eric, Greg, Michelle, and Sky would all be out of town at the computer expo in Las Vegas, leaving Los Angeles at noon on Friday and driving up to stay at the Hilton next to the convention center; that Marc was in Colorado until next week at least and that Danny had drawn a weekend duty shift at the base; spending a long weekend alone at home sounded boring compared to a weekend in the San Jacinto Mountains and seeing the house that Mike had bought and confirming in his own mind that they were just good friends.

So it didn’t take Donny any time think about it, smile and say, “Sure, sounds like fun.”

Chapter Guide



Post a Comment

<< Home