Is It a Wonderful Life?




"Fuck," Brian griped as he snapped his cell phone shut and dropped down onto the sofa in the loft.

"What's wrong?" Justin asked as he finished cleaning up the dinner dishes.  They had just had dinner and Brian had told him that he was going out for the evening.  And that was all he would say about what he was doing.  Justin thought he might call Daphne and go to a movie or something with his best friend.  Now he wondered if Brian's plans had fallen through.  Maybe there was no trick for the evening or no orgy to go to.  That didn't upset Justin at all.  "I asked you what's wrong?" Justin repeated, having received no answer to his first query.

"Humph," was the not very helpful reply.

"Plans fall through?" Justin guessed.


"Well, that's too bad.  I thought Daph and I might go to a movie, but I could stay home if you'd like," Justin offered.

"That's very big of you," Brian scowled.  But that was actually better than spending the night alone or going to Babylon to find some less than desirable trick.

"If you don't want me to stay, I'll just finish up and call Daph."

"Um, what movie were you going to see?" Brian asked out of the blue.

"I ... I don't know.  I haven't looked at what's on.  Why?"

"Because I was going to go to a movie ... with Michael."

"And he bailed," Justin concluded.


"What movie were you going to see?"

"Doesn't matter now."

"It must matter because you're pretty bummed."

Brian shook his head.  He decided he might as well explain it to Justin and see what the lad thought.  "Since it's almost Christmas the old Palladium theatre downtown runs 'It's a Wonderful Life' every year around this time.  Michael and I usually go to see it."

"But not this year."

"No, Ben has some faculty thing that he's taking Michael to."

"I could go with you," Justin volunteered.

"Do you even know what 'It's a Wonderful Life' is?" Brian asked.

"Well ... no," Justin admitted.  "Is it a good film?"

"One of the best."

"Who's in it?"

"Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reid."

"Never heard of either of them."

"And here I thought you were smart," Brian said sticking his tongue in his cheek.

"You have been known to educate me...when necessary," Justin said with a grin.  He closed the dishwasher door and pushed the start button.  He walked over to the sofa and sat down next to Brian.  "Want to educate me?" he asked.

"I think the film should do that," Brian replied.  "And if we don't leave in a couple of minutes, we'll miss the beginning of the movie."

"Is the beginning that important?" 

"It's crucial."

"Then let's go," Justin said taking Brian's hand and pulling him up off the sofa.  This would be something they had never done before.  Brian had always shared movies with Michael, never with him.




Brian and Justin settled into their seats in the balcony of the old movie theater.  It was scheduled to be torn down in the not too distant future, but for now the tradition could continue.

"Why are we sitting up here?" Justin asked.

"I like it here."

Justin raised his eyebrows but didn't say anything.  The lights lowered and the movie began.

"It's black and white!" Justin exclaimed as the first frames of the film appeared on the screen.



"Just sit back and enjoy," Brian counseled.

Justin decided he better shut up and watch the stupid old movie.  He wondered how he had ever thought this could be a good idea.  He let out a long breath and forced himself to stare at the screen.

Brian let the movie take him away, just like he always did.  But he couldn't help glancing at Justin every now and then.  He knew the young man had been disappointed when he found out that it was a black and white film, but he hoped Justin would see the merits of the story being told in the movie.  A couple of times Brian heard Justin chuckle.  Justin even wiped at his eyes once or twice.  Maybe black and white was hard on his eyes unused to such simple technology.

Finally the lights came up and the movie was over.  The audience applauded and the theater began to empty.  Brian just sat there looking at Justin who was wiping his eyes again.

"Allergies?" Brian asked.

Justin nodded.  "I guess Clarence got his wings, right?"

"I would say so."

"That was a ... nice ending."

"Nice?" Brian asked.

"It was really good.  I'm surprised," Justin admitted.

"Even in black and white."

"Yeah, even in black and white," Justin said.

"Did you like the film?" Brian asked a little hesitantly.

"I did.  I didn't think I would, but it was a great concept with finding out what the world would be like if you'd never been born.  What do you think our world would be like if we'd never been born?"

"My parents would have been a lot happier," Brian said with a smirk.

"Mine would have doted on Molly and not been disappointed by their other child."

"Mikey would have gotten beat up every day in school."

Justin chuckled.  "You know, I think I have heard of Jimmy Stewart.  He was really good in this movie."

"He was good in almost all his movies," Brian declared.

"How did you get interested in old movies?"

"They were cheaper to get into than the current ones."


"Are you ready to go?" Brian asked standing up.  The theater had pretty well cleared out.

"Are there other old films like this?" Justin asked.


"Of Christmas ones?"

"Probably 'Miracle on 34th Street' comes the closest to this one."

"It's a good one?"

"Yes, Justin, there is a Kris Kringle."

"Um, what does that mean?"

"We'll rent the movie and you'll find out," Brian said.

"I'd like that."

"Ready to go home?"

"We could go to Babylon if you want," Justin said hoping to get turned down.

"I'm ready to go home if you are."

"Very ready," Justin declared with a big grin.  "Um, maybe we could make some hot chocolate."

"That would be ... okay," Brian said slinging his arm over Justin's shoulder as they climbed the stairs to get out of the balcony.  He was thinking that he didn't want to find out what the world would be like if there was no Justin in it.

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