Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Harmony/Harry/Perry. R. ~2700 words. Written for Yuletide 2008.
You’re only missing a bunch of predictable misunderstandings and innuendo.
An Alan Smithee Sequel
It was tough, you know, trying to get over what happened with my sister. When I first got to the city hardly a day went by that I didn’t think of her.
Fuck, that was trite. Let me start over. God, I’m as bad as Harry, aren’t I. The sentiment though, I mean, it’s all true. When I first moved here, I thought about Jenna around the clock. From the moment I got on that bus in Embry, she was all I thought about, and at every stop along the way I kept telling myself this was the best thing for both of us; she had a safe place with a foster family, and in a year or two, I’d be famous, she’d move out to live with me, and boom, we’d have our happily ever after. Then each time I moved into a bigger apartment it was, well, she’d need space (her own room, even), and for every letter I didn’t sit down to write because I was too busy trying to make connections was, in the back of my head, all for her.
What a bunch of bullshit, right? Can you believe how easy it was to delude myself? I’m pathetic! But we all are, I mean, everyone plays those kinds of games. Like Harry, who tries to pretend he isn’t batting for both teams with the way he looks at me and the way he looks at Perry. Pa-the-tic!
Anyway, you know how it all went down or else you wouldn’t be here. You’re clued in on all the important parts anyway thanks to you-know-who, and no one wants to hear about a string of crappy apartments, skeevy producers, and equally skeevy ex-boyfriends before, as Harry calls it, the thing with the robot.
Okay, right, you do want to know, at least a little, because some of that sounds juicy, huh. Oh what a plucky girl I am to escape all the wrong casting couches, blahblah. I’m still not going to talk about it, because, you know what? It’s water under the bridge, baby. This story is about what happened after. If you care so much, you can make up your own story of some asshole asking me to show my tits to prove that they’re real.
So, once again, welcome to L.A. Welcome to the party.
I’ve been to nicer. This one’s in a live/work space that can’t seem to decide between looking pretentious and looking like a parking garage with a pool stuck in the middle. I hate this sort of crap, even if I’m addicted to it. I loathe the parts of the city that are plastic and fake, but buried under all the post-modern décor or botox is an undeniable desire to be liked, and God, do I understand that. I’m practically as sick as everyone else here, but at least I know it. People mingle, buzzing around in little clumps, and the drinks are coming faster than a comic book nerd on the set of Batman. With a little effort, it’s possible to pick out the important guests by how little they move around. Everyone comes to them. Me, I’ve got the charm dial cranked up to eleven as I click my way across the white-washed concrete floor towards where Mr. Fancy-pants director is sitting.
You are a terrible narrator, Harmony Lane. Hi, this is Harry, Harry Lockhart, you may remember me from such narration as That Movie That Nobody Saw. The muffling sound is my hand over Harmony’s mouth. It’s a little trick I learned from Perry. Surprisingly effective.
I thought I’d pipe in to mention how some modestly budgeted movies deserve their promised 800 screens and only get released on 226, which is roughly 28 percent of what your producer keeps assuring you is in the bag. Now, you might be asking, Harry, have you honed your mathematical skills to a dagger-sharp point, to which I will answer: Yes, I have, now quiet down so I can get back to the important part of the lesson…. (Take notes, there’ll be a quiz later.) While certain movies with wide (vast, even) critical acclaim may get the marketing equivalent of a pity fuck, there are other movies where you can’t take a shit for six months without the one-sheet staring at you.
This Christmas, the stupid, catchy viral ringtone that everyone and their mother is using and the billboards plastered everywhere with the nauseatingly cute couple? That’s Harmony’s movie. In fact, this is the after-party. She didn’t mention that, did she.
Fuck! Ow! Did you just bite me?
Ahem. So there I am slinking across the room. I wasn’t the star of the movie, but I was the best friend. The best friend with a fresh face that stood out just a teensy bit more than the tabloid sweetheart we’re all getting a little sick of. Or at least, that’s what I hope, and it’s a good sign that I’m trailing stragglers like comet dust.
Hold on. Stop frame. What do you mean, the way I look at Perry?
Jesus, Harry, would you just let me tell the stupid story?
Oh right, fuck, the story, this story! Uh, shit. Sorry, audience. It’s the internet’s fault. Harmony’s big break, I mean, not my fucking up the intro. You know how some towns just seem to breed talent? Little out of the way high schools pop out three or four A and B-list stars in the span of a generation and you wonder if it’s something in the water. That’s Embry for you. Okay, not quite the talent part. Perry says my only real talent is the way my mouth never stops working–
Do you… Do you think he’s been coming on to me? Nevermind, the point is, Harmony has a new movie but she didn’t become a big famous actress, and I only became a mediocre detective, but Chook Chutney, that pimple-nosed jerk who pretended to be my best friend throughout high school, turned out to be a fantastic director. Why haven’t you heard of him? Really. You have to ask that when the name on his birth certificate is Chook Chutney? It’s as bad as Walter Willison.
Harry, I am taking offense at more than half of what’s coming out of your talent hole.
Harry, shut it.
I don’t care if I sound like Perry, he’s right about a lot of things. Shut. It.
Harry’s bitter, but he’s a New Yorker, so that’s no surprise. And yes, grew up in Embry and only moved to New York. Whatever, most New Yorkers didn’t grow up in the boroughs, which between that, smog, and traffic, is about all NYC has in common with L.A.
Also, I may have exaggerated a little. When I said stragglers, I meant two people, and one of them was Harry. We were (and are) dating, but he’s now looking at the possibility of me getting tired of sticking around if he can’t get over the fact that I know he’s having an identity crisis because he’s hot for his boss and he can’t seem to realise that I don’t care if they end up screwing like bunnies so long as I can watch once in a while.
What, like you weren’t thinking the same thing. Please. Harry, close your mouth.
Crap, now my narration has bled into the story and the fourth wall might as well be jello for how well it’s going to hold up after this. One last try… So, that guy, the one who directed the movie, is actually Harry’s ex-best friend.
Who you slept with.
Who I felt sorry for once and slept with. It wasn’t very good. To be honest, it was kinda gross. He smelled like mustard.
“That’s Chook Chutney.” Harry is following me so close he kept almost stepping on my heels. It’s cute when he does that. Almost as cute as the ridiculous squealing sound he makes if you lick his armpit in the middle of sex.
“I know, only, don’t call him that. He hates it.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” If anyone has mastered the art of looking like a kicked puppy, it would be Harry.
“I thought maybe your detective skills had improved along with your math.” I stop and whirl, and Harry does a surprisingly good job of keeping both of us from falling into the pool. “Honestly, Harry, we broke up over him once already, I figured if you didn’t recognise him, then it was just better to let things go.”
You want me to sleep with Perry?
Jesus fucking Christ! Did you not just hear that line of dialogue?
What line? Oh, about letting things go.
Yes, letting things go. Like your stupid neanderthal macho bullshit that says good girls like me can’t fuck who they want and like it and that ‘straight’ guys like you can’t possibly want their boss to bend them over a table!
You don’t have to be mean about it.
I give up. That’s it. I’m out. Enjoy denial, Harry. You saw how well that turned out for me.
The recording studio is a lot more confusing on the inside. On the outside, it’s a cube with a door stuck on here and there. The hallways make up for the lack of doors on the exterior, and they all fucking look the same. I can’t believe I’m crying over my boyfriend refusing to sleep with another man. How fucked up is that!
But it’s like, when he can’t see what’s important to him, how do I know he’s even really seeing me? Maybe he’s just telling himself the same thing that I told myself when I left Jenna back in Indiana. That things would turn out better if I just ignored the little twinge I felt every time I skipped out on giving her ten minutes. I wasn’t too busy, I didn’t have too many prospects or anything, I just didn’t think it mattered.
That doesn’t even make sense. I’m having a hard time thinking, because I can’t see the stupid signs pointing the way to the exit, and Harry is somewhere behind me shouting out that he’s sorry.
I know he is, but it’s like, all I want is a little honesty.
Fuck, that makes me a hypocrite, doesn’t it.
I stop, not only because I’m lost, but because it’s silly to run from this. “Harry, I’m sorry, I’m a hypocrite. It’s just that I love you and I want you to be happy. I want us to be happy.” So maybe I’m a little in love with Perry too. Not quite in that doomed longing for your gay best friend sort of way, but in the way that makes me want the three of us to be able to cuddle down on cold nights and just bask in the way Harry makes Perry’s hard edges soften up a bit, and how Perry tries so hard to pretend like he doesn’t care about either of us, and above all I want to believe that I have a family again.
Harry stares at me like I’m crazy, or maybe like he feels a little guilty. I didn’t want to make him feel bad about anything, which only makes me feel worse, and here I go, bursting into tears again. God.
“I know, it’s stupid. I’m stupid.”
“No you’re not. It’s Jenna’s anniversary and I’m carrying around all this ridiculous baggage. I mean how long has it been and I still feel like I failed her somehow.”
For once, Harry doesn’t say something stupid. All he does is hug me and make me laugh when he asks if it’s okay if he promises to blow Perry first because he doesn’t want to commit to maybe liking guys too if he’s not a natural at cocksucking.
I sniffle and my makeup smears all over his favourite shirt. He hugs me tighter.
Gag! Barf! Mushier than a Meg Ryan romcom, right? And how about that thing we did where we fucked with the time line and your perception of stuff and for a minute it looked like it was going to get meta before it dissolved into crying and bad dialogue. You try and stay true to a moment like that. No one sounds at their best when they’re either trying to deal with owing up to their big gay crush or the fact that they still feel like they contributed to the death of their sister.
Okay, that’s no real excuse for complete crap. I’m sorry. We’re sorry. This is a terrible story so far. But what did you expect from a fucking sequel? Why don’t we just take a page from Spaced and skip to the end. You’d only be missing a bunch of predictable misunderstandings and innuendo and–
“I told you I knew him.” Perry wipes his gun on his sleeve, like Chook’s jaw might have scuffed it or something. “Eight inches and leaned to the left.”
I whistle under my breath and think about mustard. “He wasn’t that big in high school.”
“Thank God,” Harry groans. He’s got blood on his sleeve, but at least he still has all nine of his fingers.
I don’t know who edited this thing, but feel free to sit through the credits and find out who actually listened to Harry and skipped to the end. I mean, you’d think anyone attached to this project would know that never under any circumstances do you actually listen to what Harry tells you to do. Consider his advice, but don’t actually take it.
So, um, it looks like you’ve missed the thrilling parts where you get to see how I got to the party and how while Chook turned out not to be a bad guy, he still ended up being a huge jerk and Harry’s resulting Kung-Fu action.
Shit, they cut that out? I looked so cool!
Hush. It was your idea. And the parts leading up to that, where all the relationship building culminates towards my dream of a fantastic bi-sexual orgy, only to turn into awkwardness and sexual performance problems. Not, by the way, on either my part, nor Perry’s part (who, for the record, was doing a remarkable job pushing the boundaries of his own sexual orientation).
To be fair though, Harry was really drunk, and if you had any lingering doubts from the first movie, he proved rather conclusively that no matter how turned on he might be, with that much Jack and coke in him, his dick will remain as limp as a water balloon.
Perry’s driving and Harry is a mess in the front seat. Not literally, since none of the blood turned out to be his. He’s just a wreck in general, but I guess that’s why we love him. Tonight might not have had a car chase with people shooting (Perry smacked a few people around with his gun is all) or a dramatic climax on a freeway overpass, but it’s been one long rollercoaster ride.
I think Jenna would be proud of me. Would forgive me, you know. I poured my heart out to her as best I could and left the letter at her grave. Better late than never, I guess. I want to say I don’t deserve this, that going home with two men who love me is as much a fantasy as the lies that I had told her, but that would cheapen things. We’re not perfect. Harry is still a complete idiot half the time (even though he means well), I might be stuck in supporting roles for the rest of my career, and Perry, well…. Perry’s actually sort of the poster child for successful gay men. I guess the main flaw he brings is that he’s not going to suddenly crave pussy so much he wants to fuck me instead of Harry, but love isn’t sex and sex isn’t love.
And this isn’t so much an end as another beginning.