IN THE SUPPLY CLOSET
Denny leaned his head back to exhale a gigantic puff. “Did
you see Shirley’s face when I told her we won?”
“I did. It remains fortuitously located within the scope of
peripheral vision when admiring her cleavage. A fact which to my mind
has always been a strong argument in favor of the existence of a
beneficent supreme creator.”
“She was awed,” said Denny.
“We were awe inspiring.”
“If the Menendez brothers had had us, they’d be
Beverly Hills squandering their parent’s money on booze and
hookers and talking book deals with O.J.'s agent right now.”
“You say that like it’s a good thing.”
carefully neutral, Alan’s tone had that distant ring that it
on when wishing something far removed from him.
Denny sounded distinctly annoyed. “There you go changing the
subject again. Good thing, bad thing: It’s just a thing. A
we’re paid to do. A thing I’m damn good
“You are,” Alan agreed with full sincerity.
“We’re still Denny Crane.”
Denny’s face clouded over. Now it was his gaze that grew
“But for how much longer, I wonder.” He reached as
his scotch, but simply backhanded the glass so that it slid a few
inches away along the table top.
Alan leaned over and placed a palm high upon Denny’s thigh.
“For long enough.” He held the pose long enough to
point--plus a moment longer, then settled back in his chair. He tried
for the tone of their casual chatter.
“Denny, what would you do if you couldn’t practice
“I’d be a dick for hire.”
Alan’s stare inquired further.
“A dick. Private dick. Private eye.”
Alan chuckled. Three years and even he hadn’t the foggiest
how to tell where the deviously clever left off and the disease began
to creep in. Or when it was the other way around. Or if the two were so
hopelessly intermixed with what was now Denny Crane that trying to make
any distinction would be meaningless. In any event, Denny sounded happy
again, and at the most basic level of a life lived, wasn’t
what mattered most?
“A private eye?” Alan intentionally inserted
the words. “You need me to find your key ring most
Denny waved him off. “It’s not about that, man.
about image. Sam Spade, Phillip Marlowe, Sherlock Holmes: accountable
to no one, breaking all the rules, beating up bad guys, making grand
Annunciations about the crime—”
“—following women’s backsides around
town, hiding in their closets while they undress, taking
Alan contemplated over his cigar. “I wouldn’t mind
Watson: backing your plays; writing by the fire on cold, foggy nights;
working with words; crafting and defining our own history as we go. And
Watson got all the women.” Alan inserted the last with a jab.
Denny seemed not to react. “Mm. But he never got to
“Pardon?” The word masked a choking laugh.
“Sherlock was a swish,” said Denny.
“Think about it:
wouldn’t join the army, wouldn’t touch a
boyfriend do it, always running around in makeup playing
“Swish,” Denny declared. “Watson did all
the fucking. You’d hate it.”
Alan laughed. “I’d adjust.” He took a
Sherlock Holmes was a swish, and you want to be him.”
“Not Rathbone. The other one. The snazzy dresser.
I’d look good in a top hat and tails, swinging a
“You would.” Alan could see it, and it had a lot of
“Do you think ascots come in pink and white?” Denny
mused, one hand to his tie.
“If not, I’ll have one made for your
“Pink, gold, purple and green. Lime green.”
“Denny Crane: dick for hire.” Denny
“You know what I like about Victorian dress?" Alan mused.
corsets. The way they fit against the body, holding one
in—repressing and constraining all the vital organs: the
the heart, the soul--leaving only the penis to fly free.”
Denny glared at him. “You’re just saying that homo
stuff to piss me off.”
“I assure you, I am not. I’m saying it because it
tremendous pleasure to contemplate the exquisite paradox of delicate
lace and hard, unyielding stays biting in against my skin, molding my
flesh to its will, forcing my body up, up, up and over the
Alan drew his palms up the length of his torso, over his nipples, his
chest, and released them with the flourish of a swell.
Denny looked him over. “You’re aroused.”
“You want to go home.”
“I do. But I’m willing to wait. It’s
sweeter for the anticipation.”
Denny furrowed his brow and seemed to focus internally.
“It’s now or never. I won’t make it home.
I draw my
strength from this balcony.”
“I thought it was from Catharine Zeta-Jones.”
“Her too. Come on. Time, tide and Denny Crane wait for no
man. Supply closet. Let’s go.”
“You must be joking. With the doll?” Alan blinked
”She won’t tell. Never has.” Denny
stubbed out his cigar and stood.
Alan stood as well. “It will make an interesting story for
emergency room nurse as to how I came by thumbtacks in my knees. Not to
mention employee health.”
“Wait.” Denny stopped behind his desk and began
rummaging in a drawer. He tossed a pistol on top of the shelf.
Alan ducked out of long reflex. “So help me, Denny, if you
shoot me again, I am not having sex with you!”
“Oh, don’t be such a crybaby. It was just a BB. Ah!
it was here.” Denny closed the drawer and withdrew an
long-stemmed pipe of burnished wood. He popped it between his lips.
“Come here, Watson; I need you.”
“I think you have your Watsons a little confused,”
Denny shrugged. “As long as my Watson has the right Denny
“He does,” said Alan. He stepped over and with
pressure, carefully brushed some non-existent lint from
breast. “As if there could be any other.” He let
“Supply closet. Now,” Denny barked. He started
paused. He put his right hand to the front of his hip, a blank look on
“I’ve got your keys,” said Alan, jingling
a ring from
his hand. He held open the office door and ushered Denny out.
“Ah.” Denny brightened and hurried into the hall.
“What would you do as Sherlock Holmes?” Alan asked
as he strode alongside.
“I’d have sex with the queen.”
“No, the next one.” They rounded the corner.
“No, the pretty one: Lizzie. Before she got frumpy.”
“You realize you might be expected to handle a case
sometime.” They’d arrived in front of the closet
“Give me two seconds. I’ll show you my speckled
band and how I handle it.”
Alan pretended to consider. “Okay.” He passed the
key ring over, and Denny unlocked the door.