Out - Damned Spot


“I guess wine stains are just about impossible to get out of stuff,” Justin was unhappily remarking to Brian as they walked up Forbes Avenue away from the main library.

“No they’re not either,” Brian laughed at him. “All you do is call Justin Taylor and he gets the stain out for you. He’ll fix it. No need to do any worrying yourself… Why should anybody worry about anything when good old Justin…?”

“Cut it out, Brian,” Justin told him. “Emmett is too worrying. He sees his big Christmas tradition coming to a sudden end and he’s like – sick about it. I’m just trying to help if I can – but I guess I can’t.”

“Well why in hell would he lend his silver Santa Claus suit to somebody for a Halloween costume anyhow?” Brian wondered. “And Donald yet – of all people. If it’s so valuable, why wouldn’t he take better care of it?”

“He actually lent it to Ted - because they needed it for some skit they were doing at the Center, Bri,” Justin told Brian what he already knew. “But Donald was wearing it and you know how Donald likes a drink every once in a while – and…”

“And so drunken Donald soiled somebody’s silver Santa suit, eh?” Brian chortled. “All down the front of it.”

“It’s not funny, Kinney,” Justin maintained. “Emmett has been wearing a silver Santa suit for a long time – and he just got this new one last year and...”

“So we don’t have a Christmas gift for Emmett yet, Baby,” Brian suggested. “You can call your nutty friend down at the costume shop and buy Emm another new silver suit this year. Price no object. Problem solved.”

“Easier said than done, Mr. Kinney,” Justin informed him. “Didn’t you know I’d think of that? Well Johann says there are no silver Santa suits to be had this year - anywhere. Like silver is the new red – and all the silver suits sold out real quick and it’s too late to get more in…”

“Well it serves Emmett right for tampering with established tradition to start his own,” Brian grouched. “Santa Claus suits are supposed to be red – not purple – not green - and especially not silver. If he had a red suit the stain might not even show – and if it did show, he could get a new one pretty easy – so maybe he should start over - with a red suit this time - and return to the traditional tradition.”

“He doesn’t want to look like just any Santa, Bri,” Justin informed him. “He wants to be distinctive…”

”So what else is new, Kiddo,” Brian saw some humor. “And by the way, Sweetheart – my Santa suit is red – so I guess I’m not distinctive.”

”Gee whiz, Brian,” Justin pointed out. “You are Brian Kinney and you’re distinctive in anything. You chose red because you don’t need anything special to single you out. You don’t need any sky-blue pink suit with green stripes to have people notice you.”

“Better not mention that option to Emm, Baby,” Brian laughed. “Or it might be out with the silver and in with the sky-blue pink …”

“Well maybe the sky-blue pink with green stripes wouldn’t show stains so much,” Justin laughed too. “But this was my last hope, Bri. I’ve tried all the good tailors and cleaners and they didn’t have any suggestions. Johann said it would take a miracle. Jenny from over at the Institute told me about this book on stain removers at the library – and it doesn’t circulate and I couldn’t find it on the internet either – so here we are - but since we didn’t find anything we could use in it, I might just have to admit defeat – and the great tradition of Justin Taylor solving all problems will be kaput too.”

“No other options, eh?” Brian summarized.

“None that I know of, Bri,” Justin concluded. “Emmett’s tradition is finished – unless he wants to use a stained suit - and I will have to settle for bitter defeat. But I guess I still have you so…”

“So you may not have to settle for bitter defeat, Baby,” Brian told him. “You still have me. And I think you met Kathryn Ward over at Ryan Chemicals too. Well – like – I mentioned Emm’s problem to her and it seems like they’re working on a new spot remover at Ryan. She’s sending me some. It’s still experimental – not on the market yet - but they’ve had a great deal of success with wine spots – not necessarily on silver Santa suits though. But she’s pretty sure her miracle stuff will work…”

“So why didn’t you tell me about this sooner, Brian?” Justin complained. “That was really mean not to.”

“I wanted you to be able to solve the problem yourself, Baby,” Brian grinned. “I know you like to solve stuff yourself. I didn’t want you to feel like you had to depend on me to solve your problems…”

“Brian Kinney,” Justin gave Brian a gentle shove. “You are crazy. Don’t you know I always depend on you - for like – just about everything I ever do...?”

“Well that’s a tradition I didn’t know about, Honey,” Brian was smiling as he returned the gentle shove. “But I’m glad to find out about it….”

“So Emmett’s tradition can continue,” Justin seemed pleased. “And it was Brian Kinney who saved the day this time…”

“Nope,” Brian told him, “It was Justin Taylor who saved the day – like he saves every day – for anybody who needs their day saved. And I do not want to be mentioned at all. I don’t want everybody in the world coming to me to solve their problems. That’s your job. All prevailing traditions are to be maintained.”

”I love you, Brian,” Justin said, delivering yet another slight shove.

“That tradition most of all,” Brian told him as he shoved him back.

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