t h e   d o c u m e n t s

Brian gets his affairs in order. He makes notes before he sees his lawyer, neat columns of who should get what. He deletes the list three times and starts over. He plays with the formatting endlessly, putting names in bold and shifting the alignment of the text.

Mikey

Michael

Michael C. Novotny


He’s never written a will before.

Brian sits back in his chair and watches the lights of the city moving across his hardwood floors, his stark white walls. Justin’s hardwood floors, Justin’s stark white walls.

He makes a note. A note that says, ‘The loft’, beneath another that says ‘Naked Guy’. Brian thinks maybe he should scratch them both and write ‘Loft & Contents’, because last time that’s what the list amounted to anyway. Loft. Recliner. Mies Van Der Rohe coffee table, Phillipe Starck juicer. All these little pieces of his designer flesh he’ll leave for Justin when he’s gone.

He stares at the words burning black against the screen, and changes the font to blue.

--

Brian gets his affairs in order. He sits in the lawyer’s office Monday morning, watching the midday sun bouncing off his lawyer’s bald head. Brian thinks of Vance, and adjusts the sleeve of his Armani suit. He wants to be buried in Prada.

The lawyer says to put that in the will.

--

Justin is furious with him, and that itches at Brian’s skin beneath the buzz of radiation. Justin smiles and comforts and cleans up his puke, and someplace inside he’s silently seething, silently fuming, silently turning himself inside out.

Brian asks him about it, tired and weak from spewing. His ribs ache.

”You’re pissed off at me,” he says quietly, resting his head against the tile. He feels old and malnourished.

Justin kisses his temple, smoothes sweating hair behind Brian’s ear. “Nah.”

”Fuck off, you are too.”

”Of course I am, you piece of shit. When all this is over, you’re taking me to the Bahamas to grovel for my forgiveness. You asshole.”

When all this is over, Brian thinks, and wants desperately to fight with Justin now.

”No Ibiza?” Brian murmurs, drowsy and sinking. He shudders, and then Justin has plastered himself to Brian’s back, warm and small and pressing moist kisses to Brian’s neck.

”Nah,” Justin says. “It’s a long way to go for a bathhouse with sand.”

--

”I’m leaving you the loft,” Brian says one day without meaning to. Justin is slicing carrots to make vegetable soup, and the knife pauses in mid air and wobbles dangerously.

”I’m going to pretend I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Justin is calm, and goes back to slicing the carrots into tiny, neat cubes.

”I’m talking about my will.” Brian leans both elbows against the bench, watching as the set of Justin’s mouth quivered and quaked. The carrot begins to look mutilated.

”Shut up, Brian.”

“Justin -“ Brian is beginning to think maybe he should take the knife away, and then it clatters to the bench, spinning a wide arc that reflects the light and makes him dizzy. Carrots tumble to the floor like fucked up snow.

”I can’t hear this.”

Justin moves away, stepping over to the steel girder in the middle of the floor, pressing his forehead against it like the fucking drama queen he is. Brian watches the heavy rise and fall of his shoulders, and moves up close. His hands either side of Justin’s body, he presses in tight, trapping the kid between his body and the steel.

”Rock and a hard place,” Justin mutters, and Brian can hear the underlying panic in his voice. “You’re not going to die, Brian. Christ.”

”Okay,” Brian says.

“Not ‘Okay’. Say, ‘You are right, Justin. I am not going to die.’”

Brian is silent. Justin sighs heavily, crushing his face against the pole. Brian thinks he might be crying.

”Justin, I –“ Brian stops, because he’s never been able to say this. Never really wanted to say it, but something in him wants to say it now, wants to say it with the urgency and ferocity that can only be borne of being scared out of your fucking mind.

”Don’t,” Justin says finally, so quiet Brian can barely hear it. “Don’t do this.”

”I –“

”Brian.”

”I –“

”Brian.”

”Don’t you dare say it, asshole.”

”Don’t say I love you?” Brian says quietly, sliding his hand below the fabric of Justin’s t-shirt, softly rubbing his stomach. “Will the real Justin Taylor please stand up?”

Justin loses his shit. Doesn’t speak to Brian for three days, just quietly makes the soup and cleans the toilet and presses against Brian’s back at night. Justin doesn’t sleep; every morning Brian finds half-shreds of sketches fluttering beneath the sheets, in his hair, along a wide path to the kitchen.

Then Brian says it again, and this time Justin almost smiles.

Almost.

--

Michael is pissed off about the will too, and Brian is beginning to think that they’re all in denial. He tells Michael this, giggling and guffawing around a joint.

”Yeah, well, you’re in reverse denial!” Mikey squawked, tugging the joint out of Brian’s reach.

”I’m what?”

“You’re acting like it’s like, a dead certainty that you’re going to die!”

”It is.”

”It is not, you asshole. The doctors said –“

“What the fuck does this have to do with doctors?” Brian laughed. “I’m gonna die one day, Mikey, and if I want Justin to live in my house and you to drive my fucking car when I’m gone, then I need papers and that’s my business.”

”Brian –“

”Leave it the fuck alone.”

”Tell me you don’t think this cancer will kill you.”

”I don’t think this cancer will kill me,” Brian repeated. Michael gave a sigh of relief, which Brian ignored. “But there’s nothing like having your balls nuked to remind you that something else will.”

--

A few weeks pass, and Justin forgets, but Brian doesn’t. Brian makes copies of his will in triplicate, locks them up all over. Brian pays attention to his health. Doesn’t go to Babylon that much. Quits smoking, except for pot. Quits taking E, but drinks like a fucking fish. Starts eating a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, and starts drinking decaf. Justin tells him that without caffeine he’s like the living dead anyway, so Brian goes back to regular.

He starts saying things when they occur to him, and sends Michael a lot of stupid emails. Arranges to take Justin to Tokyo. Invests money for Gus’ college fund.

Every time he says the word ‘love’, Justin eyes him like he’s grown a pair of tits. Brian starts saying it more often just because the look on Justin’s face amuses him.

Brian deals with things, his own way.

Then one day he wakes up, and he’s Brian Fucking Kinney again, so he goes to Babylon and fucks six men in two hours, and fists a seventh before dawn. Justin is visibly relieved.

They go to the diner. Brian makes fun of Ted, sneers at Melanie, teases Hunter until Justin nearly explodes. Justin consumes three plates of bacon. Brian looks at him in disdain, pokes at his grapefruit, and then steals all Justin’s eggs.

Justin says the world ‘love’, and Brian scowls.

Justin calls it the resurrection of the great Brian Kinney. Justin says they should celebrate this day every year, like Easter.

The next year, they go to the Bahamas. Brian fucks the dive instructor and takes too much E, and they argue the whole time about Justin’s decision to turn down a job offer in New York Fucking City. The argument culminates in Justin screaming that he’s a maladjusted fuckwit, and Brian storming out and spending the night fucking a cabana boy on the beach.

Justin declares it the best holiday he’s ever taken. Brian considers crashing the car off the next fucking bridge.

--

Brian gets his affairs in order. Lines up three copies of that fucking will and burns them, one by one. He watches Lindsay’s name crackle and burn with the heat inside the chamber of the building’s incinerator, and smokes three cigarettes.

He watches the will burn away to nothing, and he almost feels free.

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