We are not in the mood to contemplate our navels, we offer in explanation (via the Royal "we") because intense-ness begets brain-dead-ness, and Ace has begun to sound like Elliot Ness so enough of this mess. So we present, instead, a gentle reworking of what has already been presented...the first (now 6) pages of "The Lyons' Den"...aimed at better preparing one and all for the chaos of the rest of the friggin' story.
So without further ado, we hereby present...
And these two are all that matter, right now.
Meaning it is time for the meat of this masterpiece to be met --
THE LYONS' DEN
To keep it simple, Daniel’s life began to unravel when he made that bet. Granted, he popped up with the wager out of desperation while trying to talk Tad -- excuse me, Theodore J. Bentley, the Third (one must have one’s moniker correct, you know) -- into giving their relationship a second chance. Of course, his timing was off, as usual. Tad’s focus was on how messed up his current project for a series was (thanks to an overpriced twenty-one-year-old-Cheeto-eater said to be the hottest screenwriter in Hollywood since Orson Welles) and he had to meet with the “yay or nay” guy at HBO on Monday, so he wasn’t listening to a single solitary thing that was being said until Daniel snapped, “Okay, fine, fine, fine, Tad, I’ll get them into shape in time for the damned meeting; now can you just -- ?”
“Are you outta your fuckin’ mind, Danny?” Tad shot back. “You don’t get it -- ALL the scripts are crap, all fuckin’ eight of them, including the Bible.” (“The Bible” not being that book of Christian conflict but one that outlined the direction the characters and story would take; helps to know the lingo of the natives, in this case.) “Besides, you write books, not screenplays.”
“A story’s a story.”
“Oh, please! A script isn’t a story; it’s a framework.”
“Which is probably why they aren’t working, not if you’ve got that kind of attitude about it.”
“It’s the attitude of the business, Danny. And I gotta work in it if I want to produce enough to pay my rent and car.”
“Well, it’s stupid. They’re solid characters, Tad; they’ll work things out, if you let them.”
“Shit, you got any idea how crazy that makes you sound? ‘My characters’ll work everything out.’ Jesus.”
“You know what I mean -- .”
“Do I? Does anybody? Really?”
Daniel got really quiet and calm and said, “You’ve seen it work.”
“I’ve seen you pull shit that would’ve put you in a padded room, fifty years ago.”
“I have six books to back it up.”
Tad sighed and nodded. “Okay, whatever, but they haven’t done crap for me. Besides, all we’re talking about is a movie adaptation; you still got those six books out there, all nice and neat and selling while I got my ass on the line, putting money into it I don’t have and -- and hiring that twerp -- .”
“Tad, listen to me -- I could fix it for you. I could fix ‘em all.”
“Jesus Christ, Danny, the meeting’s Monday. At noon. You can’t do this in a weekend; that’s not enough time.”
Daniel glared at Tad, irritated he was shrugging off such a fantastic offer. “What if I did do it?” he said. “Had ‘em ready in time? What if I did? Would you spend a week in -- in -- in Bermuda with me? Just a week? See if we can work things out?”
Tad just rolled his eyes in that way that always pissed Daniel off. Not because it was so condescending or dismissive, but because he looked so damned good when he did it, the little shit.
Now at this point, one might wonder why Daniel even wanted to get back together with someone as self-absorbed as Tad -- oops, Theodore J. Bentley, the Third (certain of us must use his addendum, as well; he’d snarl in disgust without the full and flowing exclamation of his name and -- and...oh, the hell with it -- let him snarl). It’d always been too much of a one-sided relationship, with Daniel bending over backwards to suit Tad’s every wish...and even those wishes Daniel stupidly THOUGHT Tad had.
Well, the reason is really simple -- the man was fuckin’ gorgeous. And knew it. Period. End of thought about the whole process. If you bring to mind the epitome of every gay man’s dream, no matter what his type -- that was Tad. Built like a Greek god, golden to the max, a face so classic in its line with eyes so blue and cool and elegant...sometimes it hurt to just look at him. To picture Tad walking along the beach in his signature red square-cut Speedo (never a thong, never a plain Speedo, and no way in hell would he be caught dead in board shorts; those were for fat Russians, Australians and boogie-boarder-boiz), well, to see him was to see a prowling panther proudly policing his lair with the casual assurance that he could handle anything -- be it male, female or Flipper. How he and Daniel ever wound up as a couple was the source of endless speculation by one and all who knew them, mainly because Daniel was SO his polar opposite.
Not ugly, no; he just had...well...nice, decent looks. Lean face. Crazy thick brown hair with eyebrows to match, hovering over dark sloe eyes. Smooth olive-toned skin (except for this sorta-kinda 5 o’clock shadow dancing about his jaw and a surprisingly sexy scar along his left cheekbone). Put it all together with his hawkish nose (obviously he took after the French-Portuguese side of the family) and the fact that he was trim (not skinny or even undeveloped; running, hiking and doing the bike trails of New Jersey back country managed to keep his lazy little self in muscled-enough shape), he was pleasantly attractive in your basic Joe Average kind of way.
So why the hell a I’m-all-that guy like Tad would let a sorta-kinda guy like Daniel play high priest to his shining light for nearly two years was beyond explanation for most people. Unless it was the sex. Which more than one wagging tongue insisted must be true because they’d heard from someone whose current lover had slept with another guy who’d heard from a friend of his that Tad was a lousy lay (once you got beyond the oral worship part of his not-all-that dick) while Daniel had tricks up his sleeve that would turn the straightest guy to the pink side (and had proven it with one recently outed actor who had to un-out himself by getting married and having twins that actually looked like him, to everyone’s surprise...including his), this according to a friend who heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend.
But now they’d been broken up for nearly a year and Daniel was willing to do anything to get back together. Why anyone would want to fuck around with anyone who doesn’t want to fuck around with them unless he can really and truly fuck around with them (in every meaning of the term) is one of life’s great mysteries. But that was Daniel’s mind-set, so when Tad dropped by that night to whine about how screwed he was thanks to these adaptations and his backers were pissed off at him and he was gonna go bankrupt and on and on and on, Daniel’d jumped in feet-first, as usual, with his proposal.
Now it should be noted that it most definitely did help that the series of scripts were based on Daniel’s third and fourth books -- oh, oh, right -- by the way, Daniel is also, most definitely, a published author under the name Daniel C. Bettancourt. Yes, his real name, which he saw no reason not to own since it had been his since he was born (except for the “C”; he’d added that in since his mother hadn’t seen fit to give him a middle name). All of which made him the proud penman of six mystery novels. All of which featured me, Ace Shostakovich, private eye extraordinaire.
Meaning, yes -- I’m not real. But if you think it’s weird a fictional character is telling this story, you ain’t seen what happened, yet.