If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Looping
by Jack Scribe
The cookout the week after we all met was a lot of fun. Tom and Mark were completely compatible with the entire group, and each couple respected the personal boundaries of the others. Dumb, sexual innuendos and joking were understood for what they were: young hormone-charged, male silliness. Tom Feldman nurtured our new friendship further by encouraging casual get-togethers several times during the remainder of summer, both in San Diego and L.A., with Mark and him.
Into the first week of shooting Friends, the creator and writers decided to build up my part. I was going crazy learning new lines and blocking while dealing with the six stars - they were not too excited about sharing the spotlight. However, after a meeting with the 'suits', it was explained that I was only there for network ratings 'sweeps' in November, and again in the May 'sweeps' period. Quite honestly, I could care less about their egos. This was a job...and a damn hard job with all the script changes.
Staying with the DiMarco family during the shoot at Warner Brothers was a pleasant experience. Doug's brothers were now living in Orange County. However, the sisters - now 18 and 16 - were still living at home and had become absolutely smitten by my presence as a young actor actually working on the hottest show NBC programmed. They were totally cool that Doug and I were partners and understood the need to keep our relationship quiet, and the senior DiMarcos' treated me as another son. Everyone ignored the sleeping arrangements and we didn't rub it in anyone's face by making telltale noises.
When I came up to L.A. for the Friends taping in September during my two-week leave, Tom suggested that I get together with his dad and him at Morton's on Monday night for dinner. I called Sam Barron Friday for advice.
"Brad, what can I tell you? Ya just won the lottery."
"Lottery? I don't understand," I replied.
"This town is all about who you know, and with whom you build relationships. It's great that Tom Feldman and you have become friends, and to be brought into TJ's circle is something even major stars have wet dreams about."
"I follow what you're saying...but I guess I'm being a little nave. Why?"
"Basically for the same reason we're together professionally. If I had to guess, I'd say that what I saw in you last year are the same qualities that TJ is observing. This is a business of always looking for the brass ring, and you're a brass ring that doesn't come along very often."
"So, you think that TJ is thinking about a project for me?"
"We haven't spoken this week. But my advice is to go, have a good time, and listen carefully. Monday night at Morton's is a big night for all the biggies to dine: kind of a chessboard for the players in town. With the exception of Murdock at Fox, Feldman always sits at table one. Everyone will wonder whom the drop-dead, gorgeous, blond young man is sitting with TJ. This will be major exposure for you."
"Sounds intriguing, Sam. Thanks for the advice. I'll report back on Tuesday morning."
"Do that, and remember two things. One, TJ Feldman is one sharp and honorable man, which is unusual in this town. Number two, when it comes to negotiating a deal, I'll always cut something that's good for everyone. Got it?"
"Don't commit. Got it, Sam. Bu-bye."
That Monday, I drove my well-worn Cougar to Morton's. Embarrassed by the condition of my car when I observed a long row of valet-staged Bentleys, Bimmers, and Benzes, I found street parking and walked to the entrance. The pink stucco building faade was softly lighted, as were the surrounding banana and palm trees.
Fortunately, my old wardrobe continued to come in handy. With an Armani gray suit, I wore a black open-neck shirt and slip-on loafers. As I entered the restaurant, the maitre d' picked up on my presence and gave me a quick visual scan. I sensed that he was trying to categorize me: either some new actor or a rent boy for the night with one of the guests. I knew the look.
"Good evening, may I help you?" he said, with slightly haughty tones and a condescending smile, looking at me over his gold-framed reading glasses.
"I'm looking for my dinner companions. My name's Williams." I looked at the maitre d' with an expression of confidence.
"With whom will you be dining, Mr. Williams?" I sensed that he was tiring of me as another party arrived.
"Tom Feldman and his dad," I answered with just a touch of arrogance.
"Mr. Feldman? Of course, Mr. Williams, follow me," he said with renewed interest and a solicitous smile. We moved only ten feet from the front desk to the first table inside the doorway and I sensed every head turn my way as I was seated. The murmurs of the room were slightly unsettling, knowing that they were commenting on my presence without a clue as to who was sitting at table one tonight.
The waiter arrived and asked if I wanted a drink. I played safe and asked for a chardonnay. Looking beyond the waiter, I saw the familiar face of Tom and an older version whom I assumed was his dad.
"Hey, Brent, sorry we're a little late," Tom volunteered.
Standing up with the father and son flanking me, I asked, "I just got here and ordered a glass of wine. You're Mr. Feldman?"
As I shook hands with him, we both gripped firmly while he placed his left hand on my shoulder. The man, evenly tanned with dark hair just graying at the temples, was flawlessly draped in a cashmere blue blazer, off-white shirt and light tan trousers. Tom dressed without a jacket. However, now knowing his shopping habits at Fred Segal, I was sure the well-tailored dark paisley shirt was as expensive as any tailored jacket.
"Ah, Brent...or, Brad...I'm Tom's dad. Most friends call me TJ."
"TJ, most friends call me Brent - I'm still not used to Brad." I winked at Tom and then noticed several restaurant guests looking and commenting on the latest arrivals at table one. Immediately, the waiter came forward, took the Feldmans' drink orders and left menus.
"Brent, I suggest that you get used to it. By the way, how's the Friends shoot going," TJ asked.
"Well, they're giving me more lines, and I'm missing a few cues, but aside from that everything's going fine." I knew that Friends was owned by Warner Brothers and was a major profit center for both the studio and NBC.
"From what I hear, you are really creating some positive buzz on the set," Tom added.
"There was some initial reluctance from the regulars to accept me. But, after the rushes, everyone seems to be cool," I replied with a smile.
"You're the first fresh face they've had on the show," TJ commented. "They haven't been in a starring role long enough to be comfortable. Basically, you threaten them...that's all."
"Shit...I'm sorry...that's the last thing I have in mind."
"That's the way it is, and unfortunately, after the TV show runs its course, some of them will not be around for long," TJ concluded with a matter-of-fact shrug. "Let's look at the menu. I usually just order the cold lobster medallions and steak."
"Sounds good to me. How about you, Tom?"
"Why don't you and I share the seafood combination appetizer?" Tom replied. "It's got everything and enough for two. I'm opting for the veal chops."
"Okay, I'll share the appetizer and have a medium rare steak," I said as the drinks arrived. Mr. Feldman ordered dinner for all and asked that a bottle of 1991 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon be brought over and opened to breathe.
"I understand that you'll be in the show for two sweep periods?" TJ asked.
"I've got a contract for a total of six episodes. After that, I'm history," I replied.
"Brent, hardly history," Tom added. "You've got lots of work ahead."
"Yeah, enough to keep me busy for a while." I had recently told Tom about my projects.
"Let's talk about that, son. Tom tells me that you have the play on Broadway and two movies scheduled next year?"
"Yes, Sir. I'm pretty well obligated for a while. Tom may have also told you that I'm going to take a full load of credit courses at UCLA until I graduate, and that kinda limits what I can do."
"Okay. Let's talk about 1998. I've just given the greenlight to a 'pitch' for a screenplay called Virtual Force. Some young guys who really have got the balls to do something original are creating it and I'm talking to Sam Barron about casting Keanu Reeves as the lead. There's one character in the script that, if developed properly, should send the film over the top. Critics will go bananas and say the casting was a daring approach...and all the rest that goes with a rave review. I want you for that role." TJ sat back in his chair and smiled.
"Will it be on location?" I asked apprehensively.
"Almost entirely at the studio and locations around L.A. Most of the shooting will be in the summer after the 'hiatus'."
"Your school schedule will be intact," Tom added. "Dad, you want to tell Brent about the director?"
"Oh, yes. Thanks for reminding me. He's a new guy that has done some interesting indie work and this will be his first major production. Tom mentioned that you have an old Navy friend that's about to be an AD on the film at New Line?"
"That'd be Doug DiMarco. He's just finishing up helping to edit your film, Confidential."
"And he's also represented by Sam Barron?" TJ asked, with a smile.
"Yes, Sir." 'This guy didn't miss a thing,' I decided, 'and I can guess what's coming.' It was hard to keep my composure.
"I'll send the pitch notes over to Sam tomorrow and ask him about Doug's availability to be AD on Virtual Force."
I was aware that the 'pitch notes' was the Hollywood term for a short synopsis of a writer's idea for a film - normally just a few pages of ideas to give the studio a general direction of the story. "TJ, Tom, thanks. I think that Doug will do a great job for you," I said, beaming broadly. 'Double fucking wow,' I thought.
"If you take the role...you won't have any problems taking direction from an old friend?" TJ questioned.
"He's very professional and I respect his judgment," I replied. 'No reason to suggest to Mr. Feldman just how well I do take directions from Doug,' I thought, as the waiter appeared with the seafood combination - a towering display of cold shellfish that was arranged on a three-tiered silver serving platter. Tom and I smiled as we speared a few shrimp. TJ snagged a shrimp and raised his glass to signal an informal toast.
"Brent - or Brad, as I think more about it - I'm glad Tom got us together. If we can work out the details with Sam...and, believe me, I know how tough he can be...I look forward to having you with us at Warner Brothers."
"I appreciate the break you're giving me, especially since you haven't seen my work," I replied.
"Well, that's not entirely true. I've seen your work from the scenes already shot for Friends. And, at Tom's recommendation, I got down to the playhouse last month incognito. I'm confident that you'll do well."
"Tom didn't mention that you were down to see the play," I said, looking at the son with a raised eyebrow.
"Don't blame Tom," TJ answered. "I asked him not to mention it until I had a chance to see you work before a camera."
"I guess I passed?"
"With flying colors, Brent. I'll be proud to have you as a co-star on this project."
We clinked our glasses and got to work on the food. 'Jesus,' I marveled. 'He said co-star.'
The rest of the dinner was quite enjoyable. Tom, his dad and I enjoyed getting to know each other better. We were upfront in our conversation, although I knew I was being 'schmoozed' by the best. The father was developing an honest, professional relationship on top of my friendship with Tom. We all understood that Sam Barron would cut the best deal for everyone.
Throughout the evening, other guests stopped by the table. It was a parade of agents, actors and senior level 'suits.' After the air-kiss and pat-on-the-back greetings, TJ would introduce me as an up and coming actor whom he was interested in signing. I was clearly the topic of the moment, and when dinner was over, Tom told me that my name would be the buzz of the day on Tuesday all around town.
I felt like a million dollars until I slid into the seat of my 1989 Cougar - it brought me back to reality.
I arrived at the DiMarco residence around 11:00 p.m. Since Doug's dad had to be at the produce market at 5:00 a.m. and this was a school night for the girls, I was pretty comfortable that Doug and I would be the only people up. Letting myself into the house, I found the interior darkened except for the hallway above.
Walking into the bedroom, I closed the door and visually drank in the form of my man in the bed. Lying on his back, Doug was completely stripped except for a pair of briefs molded to his crotch. His eyes were closed and he was breathing heavily. I neatly took off my ensemble and hung up each article of clothing. Removing my shorts, I felt relief from the confinement as I moved over to the bed and eased in under the sheets.
Doug's body stirred slightly as I shifted closer. Lifting my leg over his as we lay together, I started slowly moving my hard cock on his thigh. I noticed the bulge in his crotch start to grow.
"Hi, babe. How'd dinner go?" he said, in a semi-awake state. "I guess I fell asleep."
"Great. You wanna talk now? If not, let's hit the sack and get a good rest. I know you're tired and we both have to get up early," I said, looking at his face and the half-opened eyes.
"Not too tired to talk with you. I do want to know what happened tonight and then figure out how you can make me hard just by hearing your voice," he replied with a chuckle. Grabbing my cock was a signal that he was awake.
"Well, if you really want to know, Mr. Feldman suggested that you and I work together on a new film. It's not going to be for almost two years, but I think the job is ours if we want it." His body moved and he shifted slightly to look me in the face.
"You and me together making a picture? Jeez. I've been dreaming about this. What's the deal?" Doug was clearly wide-awake.
"No deal, yet. I'm getting the notes on the concept tomorrow and Sam will be contacted about your availability. Something that two young writers are scripting that TJ is really high on. Keanu Reeves may be the star and the director is some new guy with some great buzz. TJ and Tom think that it will be great for both of us."
"This sounds great, babe. Will it work with school?"
"Yep, they'll respect my schedule. Prolly hafta learn lines while I'm taking finals, though."
"We're talking early summer of '98? I should have editing on the New Line film wrapped up sometime in the spring. We can run lines wherever we're living," Doug added.
"I like the idea of wherever we're living, babe. I know it's only September, and I'll be in New York for the first half of next year, but we gotta figure out where we're going to set up shop," I replied.
"We definitely agree on the Westside. With UCLA located in Westwood, I think that it might be a great place for us to live. Besides the school and tons of movie theaters, the location is not too far from the Sports Club/L.A. It's a great gym that a lot of people in the industry use for workouts."
"You think a house, Doug?"
"Okay, here's what I've been thinking," he answered, as he sat up in bed. I moved around so I was facing him, sitting cross-legged. Both our cocks were back in 'energy-saver' mode. "You can't conceive of this yet, babe, but you're going to need security. This town is full of nut cases and whack-jobs who stalk actors. Remember what Sam mentioned in La Jolla."
"Oh, come on. You're serious?" I did recall what Sam had said but hadn't thought more about it.
"Completely. Here's my suggestion, based on some research. There are several high-rises on Wilshire Boulevard, and there's one called the Remington that's pre-selling condo spaces that'll be available next summer. We could buy a two-bedroom and a den. The smallest is around 2200 square feet. If we specify a lower floor, we could get it for a better deal than up higher."
"Wow, you've really thought this out. What kind of money are we talking about?" I'd heard that 1996 was boom year for real estate and everything had gotten very pricey.
"I figure if we both dig into our Memphis money, say 25K a piece, we can make a nice down payment. Sam can probably find us a good mortgage deal. Right now, a unit on a lower floor is running around $400,000. But I hear that the real estate market will continue to go up and the unit will increase in value. The salesman told me that the prices quoted are valid until the end of the year. He expects at least a 10% increase after the first."
"That's pretty heavy bread for two young guys. And that's just for four walls - we still gotta furnish and decorate it. Just to get a decent look, we probably need to spend another hundred grand...at least."
"First, think of it as an investment - the Westside is the hottest area in town. Second, we've both got good savings and we're making pretty good money for two guys just starting out. But third...and, this is a big third...the earning potential for us is pretty fantastic."
"Well, yeah, I guess you've got a good point."
"Brent, I'm not going to bullshit you. I'm going to do okay. The New Line film will pay $75,000 and, if the project with TJ comes about, I figure that I can get $150,000."
"That's excellent income," I replied in an upbeat manner.
"I'm not complaining, but what I make is going to be peanuts by comparison to your earning power. Everyone says you're going to be a big thing -think about the Friends gig, and that's just the beginning. I just hope that you don't leave me in the dust when you're a big star." Doug looked at me with a wistful expression.
I reached over and took his hand. "That's not going to happen. I won't bullshit you, either. I'm just starting to realize where my acting career might go and you're right: I will make a lot of dough. But let me make this definitely clear - no way am I ever going to trade you in for next year's model. You don't trade in love, whatever the temptations are; and I'm sure they'll be plenty."
"You're okay with me not being able to bring an equal paycheck to the table?" Doug asked.
"Let's not let money get in the way," I replied, with a big smile. "I think that we should buy the condo as equal partners and start from there. If we want to upgrade to a gated house later, that will be a point of discussion at that time. I suspect you'll be pulling down major bucks in a couple of years." Doug relaxed as I moved over and lay by his sitting body. He scooted down and joined me.
"I'm glad we talked. Whatever posturing we do in public, it doesn't apply when we're together alone," Doug said, proudly.
"In our new home. You wanna talk to the salesman at the Remington late tomorrow afternoon? I should finish on the set by three."
"Why don't we meet back here around 4:00 p.m. and go together? I'll set up an appointment for five, allowing for rush hour traffic. We can check out the models and write a deposit check, if you like it. I think you'll love the layout."
"My man is on top of things as usual," I rejoined with a laugh. "Speaking of 'top', you into a little lovemaking?"
"Now, that's an offer that I can't refuse. Come make me happy."
"I'm going to make us both happy," I answered as I moved up to position myself between his legs on my knees. Doug rocked back his legs to his chest and gave me easy access to his prize. As he spread his cheeks, my tongue played with the short dark hairs that surrounded his rosebud.
"I need it now," Doug commanded. "Please put your hard cock in me. I've thought about this all day."
"Your wish..." Using only my saliva and pre-cum as a lubricant, I positioned, with Doug's help, and slowly eased in.
"Love me, Babe," he said, as my pubes touched his buttocks. Doug lowered his legs to my shoulders and added, "Love me...full throttle."
"You got it," I replied, starting a long movement, bringing the tip of my glans just inside his ring. Slowly, I began long-dicking him, mixing short crescendos when I was deep inside to stimulate his love nut. "You like that, fucker? You like my cock up your ass? Tell me how much you like it..."
"Ahhh, shit...give it to me...kee-rist...yeah...uggh," was his reply when I would hit his prostate. His body would shutter with pleasure, while a contented smile spread across his face. Our eyes were locked onto each other. We were united, as two men in love should be.
Slamming away, I felt his sphincter start to tighten as his ball sac was contracting. "Hon," I yelled a little too loudly, "let's come home together." With that, I sped up the strokes. That caused a major release of my hot seed in his bowels as Doug's cock erupted. His chest and stomach were covered with his cum after the eighth volley. Leaving myself in his canal for natural deflation, I leaned down and lapped his chest before treating Doug with a jizz-laden kiss. I looked into his eyes and said, "I love you so much. Never worry that I'll stray."
"I know, Brent. Me too."