Let's Get Political - Again
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Brian was in the loft, lights out, only the glow from the television illuminating the large space. He was waiting for Justin to get home. Bored, Brian had turned on the television and began flipping through the multitude of channels, stopping when he came upon one of the twenty-four hour news networks, showing highlights from the Democratic Convention from which he and Justin had just recently returned.
Brian listened as a political pundit began espousing the good and bad from the Democratic Convention - what helped Senator Kerry and what didn't. Brian continued to listen to the pundit's critique, agreeing with some of the woman's comments and rolling his eyes at others. Before long the topic switched from the Democratic Convention, which now was ancient history by presidential election standards and towards the
upcoming Republican Convention in New York.
The image of the show's hostess dissolved and was replaced by that of a grizzled man. The banner at the bottom of the screen gave his name and title; he was the head of the Republican National Committee. Brian increased the volume slightly, figuring it didn't hurt to hear what the enemy had to say.
Considering the amount of coverage - or lack thereof - that same-sex marriage had rated in Boston, Brian was a little surprised at how quickly the Republican's top official brought it up. Not to mention how many times the man invoked the need to save the 'sanctity of marriage' during the interview.
Unable to listen to anymore, Brian clicked the remote and the television blinked off. He stood and wandered over to his computer; before long he'd pulled up more information than he wanted to know about the honorable head of the RNC. To his surprise, and amusement, Brian saw that the man was on his third marriage and had six children, two from each wife.
Brian scoffed, and closed his web browser, if he wasn't disgusted before, he was now. Brian shut down his computer but remained at his desk; he leaned back in his chair and let the events of Jim Stockwell's failed campaign play through his mind. He'd told himself again and again that it was just business, and at the time he truly believed it. But now, now that he'd had a year to think about it, he couldn't believe that he'd tried to get the man elected.
Maybe it was his own maturation, maybe it was seeing Ben and Michael fight through hoops to remain Hunter's guardians, or maybe it was Justin's influence on him. Brian couldn't help the smile that escaped when his thoughts turned to his blond. He was sure that Justin's influence had a large part in his change of heart. Justin, for one so young, grasped the concept of right or wrong on a large scale so easily. Brian was proud of his partner.
The loft door slid back and Brian turned to see a shadowy figure enter the loft, and close the heavy door behind him. The room was dark, only a small amount of city light coming in the window. "Hey," he said quietly, as not to startle the intruder.
"Hey," Justin said.
Justin dropped his bag and kicked off his shoes before approaching Brian. "I was at Michael and Ben's."
Justin chuckled, "Well it certainly wasn't for the food." Justin was quiet for a moment; he could tell something was on Brian's mind. "What's up?"
"Just thinking," Brian confessed as he stood and reached out to pull Justin against him.
"Things. You, Stockwell, Boston."
"What else?" Justin all but purred as he nuzzled his nose against Brian's chest - Their time in Boston was still fresh in his mind.
"The Concerned Citizens for the Truth," Brian said.
Justin laughed lightly, "You're the Concerned Citizens for the Truth though, Brian."
"Yeah, well, maybe it's time I added to our membership."
"But you stopped Stockwell."
"Yeah, we did," Brian said, making sure that he shared the credit with Justin. "But maybe there is more for us to do."
"So, who were you thinking?"
Brian pushed Justin back slightly and gave him a pointed look. Justin's eyes had adjusted to the darkened loft and he could see the gleam and reflection of the outside lights in Brian's eyes. "Me?" Justin asked.
Brian nodded. "What do you say we double our membership?"
Brian smiled and leaned in for a kiss. "I knew I could count on you," he said softly.
"So what do the Concerned Citizens for the Truth need to do?"
"I was watching television before you got here. Do you know what fucking crap they are spewing now?" Brian demanded.
"I'm sure you're going to tell me," Justin said with a chuckle. "And just who might 'they' be?"
"The goddam Republicans! I was watching one of the news channels and they had this old geezer who is the head of the Republican National Convention. He went on and on, ad nauseum, about the sanctity of marriage and how it must be preserved."
"So?" Justin asked. "We've heard that a million times before."
"He pissed me off so I went and looked him up on the web."
"And just what did you find, Concerned Citizen?"
"He's been married three times and has six children, two by each wife."
Justin snorted. "And he's preaching the sanctity of marriage?"
"Preaching is the right word. I'm sure they're after the evangelical right wing. I read somewhere that the Republicans think that if they can draw four million votes from that group it will put Bush over the top."
"And it's up to the Concerned Citizens for the Truth to set people straight about these infidels preaching the sanctity of marriage and then divorcing left, right and center?" Justin said but more as a question than a statement.
"I can't stand hypocrites, and even worse are users. They're trying to play on people's emotions and basically they are lying through their teeth. They need to be stopped."
"Did you take your Rage pill today?" Justin asked with a chuckle. He couldn't believe that Brian had got himself so riled up about this political issue, and Justin hadn't even helped him.
"I don't need a pill to see the hypocrisy," Brian retorted. He was a little hurt that Justin didn't seem to be taking this with the same degree of indignation that he was feeling. He had thought Justin would be much more upset.
"I didn't mean that you did," Justin said contritely. He was beginning to realize just how seriously Brian was taking this.
"They need to be stopped. All they are doing is turning one group against another. They're going to irreparably divide this country if we let them continue."
"Jesus, Brian, you're not kidding, are you?"
"I'm fucking serious."
"So what do you think we can do?"
"I don't know yet, but we can work together to come up with something.
"You think so?"
"We need to do some more research and come up with some ideas. If we could bring down Stockwell, why can't we do the same for Bush?"
"Today Pittsburgh, tomorrow the world?" Justin asked staring at Brian with new eyes.
"Tomorrow Washington," Brian stated.
"I have to admit that this is a side of you I've never seen before."
"And what side might that be?"
"Your social conscience."
"What about what I did to Stockwell?" Brian asked slightly indignant that Justin didn't seem to think he had a social conscience.
"I kind of sucked you into that one, and then it became personal when he got you kicked out of your job, and he was a fucking bigot," Justin added.
Brian snorted. "But I did all those things of my own volition."
"I know you did, and I was so impressed with you. However, I don't want you paying for commercials on national TV. Even your new accounts won't pay for that."
"I'm not planning on doing it all by myself this time. That's why I'm recruiting new members," he said licking at Justin's ear.
"I'm not exactly flush enough to pay for commercials either."
"Hopefully we won't have to do it ourselves. But making a commercial showing the hypocrisy of these assholes might be a good place to start."
"Can we start later?" Justin asked. "There are some other things that need to be taken care of first." He pressed his cock against Brian's thigh and nipped at the man's neck.
"Is JT going to give Rage a blowjob?" Brian asked huskily.
"JT is going to do whatever Rage wants him to," Justin promised.
"And the ad?"
"Later," Justin whispered.
"Later," Brian agreed.
After several hours of sucking and fucking, an exhausted Justin rolled onto his side and drifted off into sleep. Brian, lying on his back and staring at the ceiling, turned his head to look at Justin, who was snoring soundly.
Gently climbing out of bed, Brian padded into the bathroom, relieved his bladder and headed towards his desk, stopping long enough in the bedroom to grab his robe.
He made himself comfortable in front of his computer before turning it on. Listening to the soft beeps and whirs of the machinery, Brian let his mind run free as he considered possible ways of impacting the upcoming election. His mind kept replaying the interview he'd seen earlier on the news, with the sanctimonious prick, preaching family values and hypocrisy. Brian knew that others would feel the same way if only they knew the truth about the man, and others like him.
The sounds of clicking mouse buttons and tapping keys began slowly, soon increasing in tempo and rhythm as ideas flowed from Brian's head, to his fingers and came to life on his screen. He became totally oblivious to the time, instead giving himself over to the creative process.
Justin stirred; he rolled closer to Brian but felt only cold from that side of the bed. Slowly, he sat up and looked around. He could see the bluish glow from Brian's computer, and could hear the man working. Justin crawled out from beneath the warmth that the covers were providing and slowly descended from the bedroom and towards Brian.
"Whatcha doing?" the sleepy blond asked.
Brian looked up, appreciating Justin's nakedness before answering. "I had some ideas; I just wanted to get them down."
Justin glanced towards the kitchen and noted the time. "It's late; you need to get some sleep.
Brian looked at the clock in the corner of his computer screen; it was almost 4AM. "Shit," he mumbled softly.
Justin took several steps nearer and asked, "You want to show me?"
Brian looked up at Justin but didn't speak. He looked back at his screen, saved and closed out of what he was doing, shut the computer down and stood up. "No. It isn't ready yet."
"Maybe I can help."
"You will; there'll be plenty of work to go around," Brian said, running his hand through his hair.
Justin nodded. He could tell that Brian was putting a lot of himself into whatever it was that he was working on and knew that the man would share the idea when he was ready.
"Come on," Justin said as he held out his hand. Brian accepted and the two went back to bed, quickly falling asleep.
"Okay, I'm heading out," Brian said as he collected several CDs and some papers off his desk and stuffed them into his briefcase.
"Have a good day," Justin said taking another sip of coffee.
Brian pulled the loft's door back and was about to pass through when he paused. He turned to Justin. "Are you busy this afternoon?"
Justin shook his head 'no'.
"Come by at about one? We'll go out for lunch." Brian waited for Justin's reaction, and the blond didn't disappoint. He gave Brian a bright smile and nod.
Justin had a hard time wiping the smile from his features. Though he and Brian had seldom discussed their date in Boston, Justin knew that Brian had taken it seriously and had put forth a real effort in making sure that they spent some quality time together, and not just in the bedroom.
Justin entered Brian's office just before one. The man was at his desk, fixated on several pieces of paper spread out in front of him.
"Hey," Justin said quietly.
Brian looked up and gave Justin a smile. "Hungry?"
"Famished. I had meetings all morning, didn't even get a fucking bagel," Brian snipped as he stacked the papers into a neat pile and slid them into a folder and the folder into his briefcase. "Ready?"
The two made their way to a small bistro a few blocks from the office. The interior was dark, but each table had its own lighting, creating an intimate setting. The men ordered drinks, looked over the menus and ordered their meals.
Brian stared intently at Justin for several minutes; almost as though he were searching for something, and wasn't sure if he'd found it yet, much to the blond's discomfort. Finally he spoke. "You want to see the idea I have so far?"
"Yes!" Justin said, realizing that Brian was hoping for his approval.
Brian pulled several sheets out of his briefcase and handed them to Justin. Each sheet contained six separate frames, with a person's picture on them. Justin looked at them, recognizing many of the faces but he wasn't sure from where. He finally put the pages down and looked at Brian, hoping for an explanation.
"Do you recognize anyone?"
Justin glanced at the pages again and nodded slowly, "Yeah, some of them look familiar, but I don't know why."
"They're all key figures in either the Republican Party or the religious-right."
Justin accepted these words and glanced at the photos again, it was making sense. He did recognize some of these people from the news. "Okay," Justin prompted.
"Well," Brian took a sip of wine before continuing, "each of these people have spoken out publicly against same-sex marriage. Most of them also fall into the category of homophobe."
Justin didn't hide his confusion, "So, Brian, a lot of people hate us, I don't get the point."
Brian smiled and leaned forward as if he were about to share a secret. "Each of these people," Brian said as he motioned towards the sheets of photos, "Have been married and divorced at least once."
Justin's face remained neutral for several seconds before a smile began to creep across his face. "So, they're all for preserving marriage from fags, but they've all failed at it themselves?"
"Bingo." Brian said.
"So, what's the plan?"
"I met with a video production company earlier today, to see about a commercial."
"Brian, you know how expensive that'll be," Justin said doubtfully.
"I know, but just listen. The company I met with is new. A guy left another place and started his own agency, much like I did. So, he's already agreed to give us a substantial discount, in return I've agreed to make use of him in the future."
"Is he any good?"
"Fantastic," Brian said, pausing and sitting back while their salads were placed before them. After the waiter left he continued. "He showed me some of his work, I like it. It's simple and straightforward. I like that, the last thing people need is to decipher some cryptic lame ass commercial because somebody decided to make it too artsy."
"I agree. So, what did you come up with?"
"A black and white spot, we show these people," Brian motioned towards the photos, "each person's face on the screen, then we superimpose text saying how many times they've been married and divorced."
"I like it," Justin confessed. "But, that seems kind of negative, like you're happy about it or something."
Brian considered the words for a moment. "You're right, but it's truthful, it may be harsh but we need to make our point."
"What if," Justin began, "you intersperse pictures of same-sex couples in between."
"Well, say this asshole," Justin said pointing to a random photo, "was married and divorced twice, you show that, but then, you show a gay couple that has been together for a long time. Maybe you could show the gay couples in color!"
"Bad guys in black and white and the good guys in color?" Brian asked with a chuckle.
"Exactly!" Justin said excitedly.
Brian took a bite from his salad, and contemplated Justin's suggestion. Truth be told, he liked it. It pointed out the hypocrisy and it put a face on same-sex couples. "I like it." Brian declared in a matter of fact tone.
Justin smiled and nodded, "Me too, but how much are we talking for the ad?"
"Well, Chuck, the ad guy I met with this morning, said that since my original idea was basically just slides, it wouldn't be too bad. He said that video, live action is a lot harder to edit. He said the commercial shouldn't cost any more than $10,000 to make, not including any discount which he'll give us."
"Any idea on the size of the discount?" Justin asked.
"No, he'll need to figure that up after."
"That's a lot of money."
"It is, and that's just the cost of producing and creating the commercial. We'd need to buy ad-time and slots on television still," Brian said.
"You know, this would also be an effective newspaper ad, a full page ad, using the same concept. Black and white pictures for the enemy, color pictures for us."
Brian jotted that down on a small tablet, "Good idea. We can lay that out ourselves, maybe you can work on that? I'll check into ad costs in the major markets here in Pennsylvania, and also in New York. I'd like to run this ad there while the Republican's are having their convention."
Justin nodded, "Yeah, I'll work on laying it out and I'd love to see those bastards when they see their pictures on television like this." Justin chuckled.
Brian laughed at the man's enthusiasm but quickly refocused on the task at hand. "Okay, so we have ideas for newspaper and television spots, now we need money."
"How do other groups like this raise money?" Justin asked.
"Fundraisers," Brian said.
Justin chuckled, "We've had some good luck with those in the past, but this time, you have to promise that you won't break anything."
Brian laughed too, "Deal."
"So, how do we raise money?"
"What do you say about bringing Debbie in? She's good at that sort of thing."
Justin was surprised that Brian asked about bringing Debbie into the Concerned Citizens for the Truth, but he had to admit, that the woman was a hard worker in these situations. Justin finally nodded, "Yeah, I think that's a good idea."
"Okay, let's ask her to come over to the loft tonight."
"Invite her over for dinner," Justin suggested.
"A dinner party, Sunshine?" Brian teased.
"Well, the only thing better than a twosome is a threesome." Justin smiled.
Brian rolled his eyes, "Don't go there, this is Debbie we're talking about. I don't even want to ponder what she and Carl do." Brian shuddered for emphasis.
Justin couldn't help but laugh.
A couple of days later there was a tap on the loft door. Justin went to answer it, finding a rather subdued Debbie standing there as he drew back the sliding door.
"Hey, Deb, come on in," he said.
She glanced inside and then tentatively took a few steps into the loft. She couldn't see Brian anywhere. "So where is he?" she demanded.
"Right here," Brian said with a smirk as he came out of the bathroom.
Debbie jumped and actually turned pale.
"What's wrong, Deb?" Justin asked noting that she seemed much less than her usual ebullient self.
Debbie took a deep breath. "In all the years that I have known him," she said tilting her head towards Brian, "I have never been invited to dinner all by myself."
"Well, Justin suggested a threesome and I said 'Why not!'," Brian replied his tongue in cheek.
Debbie blanched and spat out, "Asshole!"
"Deb, what's wrong?" Justin asked again. "You don't seem like yourself."
"Is he sick?" she whispered to Justin.
"No, no, nothing like that," Justin replied giving her a hug.
"Oh, thank God! That was all I could think of when you asked me for dinner. I thought Brian was going to get me to help settle his affairs before " she let her voice trail off as Justin felt her shudder slightly.
"Who was it that said 'Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated'?" Brian said with a grimace.
"I didn't know what to think when Justin called. He wouldn't tell me why he was asking me to dinner and well what the fuck was I supposed to think?" she demanded getting some of her bristliness back now that she knew Brian was all right. "So what in hell am I doing here?"
"You're going to eat dinner with us, just like a lady, and then we'll tell you all about it," Brian said in a surprisingly civil voice with only a touch of sarcasm.
"Then let's eat," Debbie said. "I want to know what this is all about."
And so they ate, enjoying each other's company and finding lots to talk about. When Justin brought out some sorbet for dessert Brian began to tell Debbie about what he had seen on television and what the Concerned Citizens for the Truth were working on. She listened intently wondering why they had brought her there to tell her this. When the explanation about the commercial and print ads was finished Debbie sat back in her chair and stared at them.
"Why are you telling me all this? Why not just go out and do it?" she asked.
"We want you to join us," Brian said softly.
Debbie's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "Me?" she shrieked. "Why would you want me? I don't have any money to buy ad space or expertise to help create propaganda."
"Hey, watch what you're calling propaganda," Brian said defensively.
"Well, it is. Good propaganda, but still propaganda."
"Stop with the propaganda, will ya'!" Brian demanded.
"So what do you want me for?"
"You have contacts," Justin said. "You know Senator Baxter and you belong to all kinds of fag groups, including PFLAG. You can help get the message out."
"Without bankrupting me this time," Brian added.
Debbie chuckled. "Well, at long last I'm good for something!"
"You always have been, Deb. But we seriously need you to help us get this commercial on the air. Could you contact Senator Baxter? Maybe we could show it to her and she could get it to the high muckety-mucks in the Democratic Party," Brian said seriously.
"Please, Deb, join us," Justin asked.
"How could I refuse after all the fun we had at the convention. I can hardly wait to get started."
Brian and Justin smiled at each other. They could always count on Debbie.
"Let's crack open that bottle of brandy," Brian said. "We need a toast."
"That shit gives me indigestion," Debbie said with a scowl.
"Beer?" Brian asked. Debbie nodded. Brian got them each a beer from the fridge and opened them. He handed them out and said, "Here's to the three new Musketeers, the small but elite fighting group called the Concerned Citizens for the Truth!"
They smiled at each other as they clinked bottles and took a drink. This was going to be a very interesting alliance.
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