The Play's The Thing
by Jack Scribe
Lying in my lover's arms after we had consumed each other, with Doug in deep sleep, my thoughts reviewed the progress of our relationship. 'A long way from our lives on the wild side in Memphis,' I thought, 'and this next phase will really test us.' He would be pressured to excel in his first assistant director's job. My acting career with the TV series, and, later, the New York production of the play would keep me busy...and keep us apart. As Doug shifted his body to his side with his chest away from me, I moved in and spooned his backside. With my dick pushed into his crack and with our breathing matching in beat, sleep overtook my thoughts of satisfied love.
Saturday evening's performance with my best friends in the audience was a highly anticipated night at the La Jolla Playhouse. The first weekend after opening was important because the high roller supporters and well-connected season ticket holders always made this performance a very social event.
The moment I made my first appearance on the stage in act one, there was enthusiastic, encouraging applause. I was taken back a little because response like that was usually reserved for the stars of a show, so I quickly improvised a little extra 'business' with the props until the audience quieted down. Glancing briefly into the left wing, I noticed the director and the two leads smiling and nodding approval. Picking up my cue, I delivered the next line and the scene went on as rehearsed, as did the rest of the play.
After the final, robust curtain call, I quickly removed my makeup and changed into a black ribbed tee, black jeans and my gray, ostrich skin boots - part of me wanted to dress just a tad provocatively for our dinner downtown. Coming out to the now-quiet foyer, I found the guys talking to two other young men.
"Brent, loved the show," Dave said with a grin, as I walked up to the group.
"Roomie, that was some performance. Congratulations," added Mike, offering a hand.
"Hi, guys. Glad you enjoyed the play," I answered with a questioning smile.
"Let me introduce you to an old Navy buddy from Memphis and his friend. We just happened to see each other during intermission," Dave continued. "This is Mark Connelly and Tom Feldman. Mark's stationed on the Kennedy."
"Mark, Tom," I said, shaking hands with both. "Always great to meet friends of Dave."
"That was one awesome performance, Brent. I guess that Brent is your real name?" asked Mark. Tom was smiling, observing the scene.
"Yeah, it's Brent to friends. Please call me Brent. At Miramar, it's usually Williams. Dave must have told you that we all met in Memphis at the Naval Air Station?"
Mark nodded and replied, "Yes. And I assume that you're still all in the Navy?"
"I got out the first of the year," answered Doug. "I'm in L.A. now. Just down to see my old friend knock 'em dead on stage." Doug turned, and warmly smiled at me.
"You really knocked it out of the ballpark. Congratulations, man. That's some acting," said Tom. Turning to Doug, he continued, "What kind of work do you do in L.A.?"
"Slowly working my way up in the film business. I've been a director's assistant on two films so far and will start to work next month on my first AD gig on an indie film. How about you, Tom? Are you in the Navy too?"
"Naw. I'm just a student at UCSD and start the second year this fall. My home is L.A., but I wanted to get out of that town for a while. However, I'll probably end up back there for law school. If I could ask, what film will you be working on? I follow the trades, by habit."
"Something called American X...a working title, no doubt...Edward Norton is the star. You familiar with it?" Doug asked.
I was fascinated by this casual banter between Doug and Tom. This was certainly no ordinary college student. I noted this well-groomed young man was wearing a Dolce & Gabbana crepe sweater that I'd seen in a recent issue of GQ, twill cargo pants, and a brushed-stainless sport Rolex. He had the bearing of casual, California sophistication. While Mike, Dave and Mark talked, I moved into the conversation with Doug and Tom.
"I know the film is being supervised at New Line Pictures for an early 1998 release. At least that's what Variety says," Tom answered with a smile.
"You seem to know a lot for a sophomore in college down here with all the surfers and sailors. How are you tuned into the business?" I asked with honest curiosity.
"I'm working at Warner Brothers this summer and came down to see Mark and the show. I guess I should confess something: my dad gave me tickets to tonight's performance to check out the play. Seems he's heard buzz about this new actor...ah...Brad...what's his name?" Tom laughed and patted me lightly on the shoulder. "By the way, why Brad rather than Brent?"
"It's a SAG thing. Some guy in his 70's has the name registered."
"Got it," Tom breezily returned.
"Your dad's in the business?" Doug asked urgently.
"He's at Warner's. To answer your first question, Warner Brothers will distribute the new film you will be working on. Second, I'm to report back Monday with my impressions about Brad...Brent's acting ability. And while I have an urge to tell him you are 'fucking great,' in those words, I'll leave it at brilliant and dynamic. I'm sure that Dad will be calling Sam Barron next week," Tom said as he turned and looked at me with an intense, but friendly, glance.
"You know we're represented by Barron?" I said. 'Whoops,' I thought, 'probably shouldn't have said we.'
"Wow, you're both represented by Sam? To be represented by the man, himself... he must think very highly of both of you. Doug, it sounds like you're on a fast track, too?"
"I just put your name together with the studio,' Doug replied with a light bulb just came on expression. "Since T.J. Feldman runs the studio, I'm assuming you are his son?"
"Guilty as charged. I'm a 'junior.' This is why I came down here for undergraduate school. I can keep a lower profile. Low profile in a lot of ways," Tom concluded, looking at Mark with a smile.
"You mean..." I asked.
"Mark and I are a serious couple. If I'm not mistaken, you two are also?" Tom asked sincerely.
"For two guys who have been asked by Sam to be under the radar, I guess we've failed," I replied. "Is this something you're going to report back to your father?" Tom seemed to pickup on my concern.
"Listen, Brent, I'm cool with you two. There are several actors and actresses in L.A. that play double roles. Some are married for image. I'm friends with some hot actresses who are lesbian, but are willing to go out with actors for window dressing. I've got ways of helping you guys avoid the snooping of the press, cuz you're going to have to be cautious. Talent always gets the raw end of this deal."
"Tom, I think that we'd like to work on becoming friends," I said, as Doug nodded his head affirmatively, "and certainly with Mark, too."
"To answer your question; I'm not going to say squat to dad. I'll advise him that it would be wise to snap you up for a picture deal soon, while he can get you cheap. Good luck." Tom grinned, shook our hands and we all returned to the rest of the group.
"Brent, I've invited Mark and Tom to a cookout at our place next Sunday. Can you and Doug be there? I think we'd have a lot of fun," Dave asked. I noticed that Mike and Mark were comfortable with each other.
"Sounds good to me. Doug, what are our plans?" I asked my lover.
"We're still doing the final editing on Confidential at the studio. But I could break loose next Saturday noon and get down here for a late afternoon siesta," Doug said with a wink.
"You're working on Confidential?" Tom asked as he nodded with approval several times. "That's one of dad's big hopes for next year."
"It'll be a great film," Doug replied. "I'm learning so much. Right now we're finishing editing."
Dave looked mystified.
"Tom's dad works in Hollywood. His studio is producing the film Doug is working on," I said.
"Okay, it's just a little heady for me...you show biz guys work it out. Let's cut to the chase," Dave said with a sly grin. It was not lost on the crew that he knew exactly what was going on. "I'm inviting you all to the cookout next Sunday and good times with friends."
"Hear, hear. I concur," said Mike. "All those opposed say nay." Looking around to assure commanded attention, he continued, "I conclude that the vote is unanimous and the motion is carried."
"Okay, guys. Our place next Sunday at noon," Dave declared.
"Dave, it's been great to meet all of your friends. I know Tom and I look forward to next weekend," Mark stated.
"Absolutely, Dave. It'll be fun to get to know you guys better," added Tom.
"Looks like the Fab Four is expanding its boundaries," I said. "Maybe the Sexy Six?" Everyone joined in with a laugh.
"I don't share sex with anyone," Doug said, pulling me into him.
"I now declare the patio at our house a sex-free zone next weekend. Doug, you don't have to share your hot bod with anyone you don't want to," Dave said with exaggerated gestures.
"With that clarified, let's get to dinner before they close on us," I concluded. We all were polite as we departed and confirmed that we all looked forward to next Sunday as Mark and Tom walked out to the parking lot.
These new arrivals in our lives, however abrupt, was interesting timing. It was like comets that were meant to meet...not collide. I sensed a controlled, laid-back dynamic with Tom Feldman that caused me to take note. To casual observers he was a good-looking, wealthy, college undergraduate. To me he was a focused, young mogul-in-the-making who had been nurtured in the killer instincts inherent to Hollywood. Tom probably wouldn't admit it, though. He would just shrug off his intuitiveness to parental genes. I sensed that Tom, as well as Mark, would become good friends with all of us.
The downtown Gaslamp District was pumping with energy when we arrived on Fifth Avenue, and it was a godsend that they provided valet parking. Spilling out of Mike's car, we all felt the energy of the street activity - a swelling of the crowds on the street made this a captivating lively environment. We made our way through the throngs of young collegians, surfers and military men on the sidewalk, and entered Croce's. The front room was rocking with standing room only at the bar and we could hear contemporary jazz music coming from the showroom. Moving to the dining room, I noticed several of the patrons following Brent with their eyes as we threaded our way to the table. A few guys, with short, 'high and tight' haircuts, smiled and hoisted their glasses as we passed. Brent, aware of the attention, grinned and waved.
"I wouldn't get too serious about their kitchen," Mike said as we were handed menus. "Stick with pasta or steak, and you can't go wrong. Maybe we could graze on some appetizers first?"
"Good idea. I've been here before. They've got great calamari, and a spicy shrimp dish that we could share for a first course. The portions, here, seem to be pretty large," Brent suggested.
"Why don't we order some apps, a main course, and a few pitchers of Ballast Point wheat beer? It's a local brew and really super," Dave added.
The waiter came over and we ordered the appetizers and beer in addition to four medium-rare steaks. When the beer arrived and was poured, we casually shared what had been happening in our lives since we all last got together. Occasionally, a patron would come up and awkwardly ask for Brent's autograph on their Playbill. 'This must be a popular rendezvous for the central city crowd after theater?' I wondered.
"Brent, I'm amazed that you're recognized. I can't get over my roomie being such a big friggin' deal," Dave said with a smile.
"Well, the news of my play spread around the Navy and Marine Corps guys at Miramar like wildfire. They're rooting for one of their own, like family," Brent added, modestly, "and the press has featured the play really big. I call it the 'Hollywood' factor. Seems everyone from L.A. to the border really follows theater and movies...like who and what will be the next big thing."
Laughing, Dave replied, "I should have saved one of your old cum rags. It'll be valuable on eBay one of these days."
Hitting Dave's shoulder playfully, Mike said, "Gawd, talk about a gross-out. Mind your manners, young man."
"Brent, guys, I'm sorry. I just couldn't resist it," Dave offered.
"Yeah, it is kinda gross," I added. "But it might be a good revenue maker if we run low on cash. You should start stashing away a few, Brent." The appetizers arrived as we all laughed and continued to talk randomly. I was describing some of my directing discoveries when the emptied plates were cleared.
A short, young woman approached our table as we were talking and interrupted us, saying, "Brad, I really think you're the best. Could you sign something for me?" She was a little unsteady standing and her speech was slurred.
"What is your name?" Brent asked.
"Well, Janet, I don't have any paper or a pen. If you can bring back both I'll be happy to sign something."
"I don't know where I can find paper," she mumbled, leaving the table just as the waiter brought the steaks and oversized, wood-handled knives. Pouring the remainder of the beer, he left us to enjoy the food.
Halfway through the steaks, a heavy-set man around 35 approached us and said in a very loud voice, "Brad Williams, you shithead. My girl asked you for an autograph, and you refused. What's with you, buddy. Too stuck up to give her a crummy signature?" He moved closer and invaded our personal space.
In even tones, Brent stood and replied, "I'm sorry, she must have misunderstood. I don't have anything to write with, or paper, so I asked her to return when she had both." Without a cue, the rest of us stood also.
"Bullshit," he replied almost shouting. "Somebody should show you how to be polite to ladies."
"Back off and go back to your table. We don't want any trouble," I said, looking at him squarely in the eyes. I was aware that the dining room had grown quiet, and a few of the Navy and Marine guys in civvies were up and coming over to our table.
"Who are you? His fucking bodyguard?" the stranger said almost spitting out the words.
"No, just a friend. Like the others at this table, and the 10 dudes who are standing behind you." I motioned my head to for him to turn around. As he did, the intruding stranger was looking directly into the well-honed chest and pecs, covered by a polo shirt, of a 6'3" man in his mid-twenties. The USMC tattoo on his massive right bicep tipped his military affiliation.
"As the guy said, we're friends. I suggest you get your butt outta here pronto, 'cause I don't like anyone threatening my friends," the Marine said.
The stranger studied the situation briefly and left without saying anything else. We watched as he and his girlfriend departed, cutting a large swath from our table in their path to exit. With the exception of the Marine, the rest of the guys went back to their dates, and the guys sat back down at our table.
"Buddy, thanks. I appreciate what you did. My name's Williams," Brent said extending his hand.
"Hi, Williams. Brad, isn't it? I read about you in the newspaper. My name's Castro. Sergeant Lou Castro. You're in the Navy, aren't you?"
"Yep. Miramar. How about you?"
"Sergeant, thanks again. An incident like this is the last thing I need. It that your girlfriend over there?"
"Fiance. We're getting married in December."
"Let me buy a round of drinks for your lady and you, Lou."
"Brad, that's not necessary. But, thanks. You Navy guys need us Marines to keep you out of trouble," he replied with a laugh. We shook hands, and he went back to his table and I sat down.
"The 'grunts' came through again. I don't think I'd want to meet Sergeant Castro as an enemy," Brent said with a smile.
"Nice guy," I added. "Let's drink to the Marine Corps." We all raised our glasses. As we started cutting the now cold steak an older, attractive woman in a silk blouse and dark blue skirt approached us.
"Mr. Williams, gentlemen, I am really sorry about what happened. I'm Betty Croce. We rarely have any problems, and celebrities always feel comfortable here. The least I can do is pick up your tab and apologize for the interruption in your dinner. Can I send over more steaks?"
Standing, Brent said, "Mrs. Croce, that's not necessary. But I would like to buy Sergeant Castro and his fiance a round of drinks. He helped avoid a bigger problem."
"Brad, your tab, and his, will be on me. No argument," she said with a smile. "By the way, I'm seeing your play next Wednesday evening with some of my girl friends."
"I think you'll enjoy it. If you'd like, Mrs. Croce, bring your friends backstage after the performance. My Navy bosses and their wives will be stopping by also."
"Why, that's very kind of you. I'll do that. And, Brad, my name is Betty."
I stood up and said, "Thanks, Betty. I'm Doug DiMarco, down from L.A. to see the play." The other guys stood as I introduced Mike and Dave and explained that we had all been in the Navy together in Memphis.
"I'm in the restaurant business, sort of," Mike added. "I run the Officer's Club at North Island."
"That's a nice club, Mike," she replied. "I get over there frequently for Navy League receptions."
"Well, Betty, please say 'hi' the next time you're in the club. And thanks for your generosity."
"My pleasure. Brad's the biggest star in San Diego right now. The last thing either of us need is unflattering publicity." We sat down as she walked away. I noticed that Brent was a little embarrassed. 'This is just the start,' I thought while looking at my handsome hunk of a lover, 'but I think he can handle it.'
I marveled at the events of the evening as Dave and I drove north on the 163 Expressway, cutting through the ravine of Balboa Park, to return home. It was apparent that Brent was definitely on his way to something big. I hoped it wouldn't affect our friendship.
"I'm completely floored by Brent's acting ability," Dave said. "Did you have any idea?"
"None. I mean, I heard Doug and him rehearse his lines. But that's hardly acting."
"I have a feeling that our roommate is going to be a big hit. And he doesn't seem to be getting a big head about his popularity."
"Brent is one sharp dude. I think we're all going to be friends forever. The real question is how Doug's going to handle it."
"Whaduya mean, Mike?"
"Is he going to be able to stand on the sidelines while Brent is in the spotlight?"
"Let's hope that Doug's directing career takes off, too," Dave concluded as we turned into the driveway. "That's the root of the issue."
Entering our home, we left the alarm off and the entry lights on for Brent and Doug, and made a mad dash topside to our bedroom. It was a race to see who could undress faster. Clothes were flying everywhere. 'Hell,' I considered, 'they'll all have to be laundered anyway.' Standing butt naked, I pulled my partner into an embrace while our cocks paid attention, by greeting each other in their own manner.
"I love when we're together at the end of the day. You fucking turn me on," Dave said.
"I'm nowhere near ready to sleep. How about you," I asked.
"I can feel that you're definitely not ready to sleep. Why don't we brush and pee? I've got just the remedy for that dick of yours - in bed," Dave said before leaning in for a hard tongue-driven kiss.
Pulling apart, I replied with a smile, "Do your thing and I'll clean up our mess."
"Yes, Sir," Dave answered with a mock salute before yanking my now-hard cock.
Within minutes, I joined him as he was finishing his routine. Coming up from behind, I playfully licked his neck while my hands moved around for a nipple assault.
"Trying to get me fired up?" he asked, looking at me from the mirror.
"Oh, yeah. Get out there and warm up the bed. I'll join you in a sec," I answered as his hands moved down to grip my hard cock and ball sac. He stroked it for a few moments before slapping me playfully on the buttocks.
"Hurry, babe," he said, leaving the head.
I did just that. Entering the privacy of our bedroom, I zeroed in on Dave, lying spread eagle on the bed with an indirect plant light providing the only shadowy illumination. In the background, Harry Connick, Jr. was singing, If I Could Give You More, from his 'Blue Light, Red Light' CD.
If I could give you more I'd hand the world a phrase That could not be erased And tells of a love that's never been before Oh, I will give you more.
"Hi, lover," I said, while getting into bed and scooting next to him. I eased my nearest leg over his thigh and nudged his nuts with my knee as I moved in for an initial kiss.
"I wish I could take you back to the ship. I suppose they wouldn't like it, though," Dave said in a low voice.
"Let's pretend that we're at sea, and the ship is rocking," I said, moving my knee enough to engage and massage his nut sac and perineum.
"Rough seas ahead, Sir?" I reached down and slowly stroked his rock hard cock that was pooling pre-cum on his abdomen and innie.
"We'll ride it out, sailor." I moved down his body to lick his armpits and nibble on his nipples.
"I want you to ride me, Mike." His hands were on my shoulders as I moved down to 'Davey'. I twirled my tongue around his glans and piss slit before moving on down to his scrotum.
"This calls for general quarters, Airman Swenson," I playfully ordered in a gruff voice.
"All prepared, Sir," he answered, as he handed over the bottle of Wet.
We now had the drill down to a science. He loved me rimming and tongue-fucking his hole, while he held his legs wide and up to his chest. 'Hell,' I considered, 'so did I.' After lubing and working my fingers around his fuck chute, deliberately grazing his love nut, it was time for the main event.
"Battle stations, swabby." He moved his legs around my waist and grabbed my hard on to position it at his back door.
"Aye, aye, Sir." He let out a small grunt as I eased in past the sphincter. "Fuck me, Mr. Cole...let 'er rip..."
In the background was Connick's song, Just Kiss Me.
Kiss me And put all the stars back in the sky Kiss me And maybe then you'll know the reason why I want you And my love's gonna haunt you And I'm gonna flaunt you.