Chapter Twenty-One

As Day Turns to Night

Devin was upset.


Around this time, he would be joining his friends over at Club Metro for “Gaydar.” Maybe he would toss a few drinks down before chatting up with the nearest cutie. Such was the Queer As Folk lifestyle for Devin.


Instead, he was stuck at the Market Street offices of BoysTown Inc., late at night working on White Party.


With all of the little “additions,” there was much to do. And Devin was having a hard time convincing his “regulars” to incorporate the urban atmosphere. Some could barely dance to trance with the aid of crystal.


Whaddya mean you don’t play hip hop?!” Devin growled into the phone. “It’s too beneath you?! Listen, you pretentious Eurotrash cock, you’re my deejay and you are going to play whatever I fucking- Hello? Hello?


Across the room, Devin saw his original plans, crumpled in rage. A faint glimmer of the ice room peaked out of the garbage can. Devin fumed a little bit more. He’s just an intern, he seethed. How dare they choose his complex, complicated, convoluted idea over mine?! I have more experience in this business and I know what the people want!


Above all, Mr. In2ition was not online. He was probably busy out on the town doing everything that Devin wanted to do.


“I can suggest some good deejays if you want,” said Blair, as he cautiously slid the door open and peeped his head into the room. The southern drawl was starting to get on Devin’s nerves.


“No, it’s okay,” Devin said, holding his hands to his head. “It’s just a small hill to climb.” Much more like a steep mountain.


“I just wanted to let you know that it’s a pleasure to work with you,” Blair said, nervously. “I’ve always been a big fan of your work.”


This came completely out of left field. “Really?” Devin said dumbfounded.


“Yeah,” Blair said, a little bit flustered. “You helped create somethin’ really great with all these parties. You brought together men from all over the nation who never thought that there was no one else like them, and for three days, you give them paradise, a place where they can be themselves and have a great time.”


Devin never thought of his position like that before. “Where I come from, they still have that struggle,” Blair said. “There are men and women who dance with eah other in the shadows, on the downe low, because their love is still forbidden and morally wrong to a community that should know better by now.”


Blair looked directly at Devin, his dark brown eyes almost pleading. “All I want to do is create a paradise fo’ them so that they can feel like they belong, y’know?”


Devin heard could see the gleam in Blair’s eyes. It made him almost week in the knees and he had no idea what to say to all that.


“I’m glad you feel that way,” Devin finally mustered, still feeling like an idiot.


Blair nodded. “Well, I’ve got to get back to work,” he said. He flashed a pearly smile at Devin. “Heaven doesn’t plan itself, y’know?” He turned around, revealing how well he fit in his cotton purple dress shirt.


“So,” Devin asked, “which one of my parties was your favorite?”


“I really liked White Party 2001,” Blair said, “The one where you had Chi Chi La Rue decked out as an angelic diva, but it could’ve used a little flavor, if you know what I mean.” He smiled and closed the sliding door behind him.


Flavor. I’ll show you flavor, Devin growled. “Flavor” was costing him his clientele. But the familiar jingle of an IM box from Mr. In2ition calmed Devin’s nerves.



Across town, Shanghai 1930 was bustling. The pungent smells of sweet fusion stir fry intoxicated the air, accompanied by the overall neon blue lighting. Akane Tendo-Saotome was the third wheel on this carriage ride to disaster. But this time, she didn’t care.


Without Ranma around, Akane didn’t have to play dress-up. She didn’t put on make-up. She tied her sort dark black hair in the back, and threw on one of Ranma’s dark button-down shirts along with jeans. She also ordered a bottle of beer which she swallowed down easily to the shock of her hosts.


Akane, I didn’t know you drank beer!” said Ranko, who was as dolled up as the Chinese whores in the surrounding posters.


Akane put the bottle down and a cigarette. “There’s a lot that you don’t know about me.”


Ranko looked dumbfounded at Akane for a quick second. Then, she changed the subject. “So, isn’t the food good here, Aka-chan?”


Akane shrugged. “It’s okay,” Akane replied. “It’s not as good as the Nekohaten.” Bret quietly held back the rage as he forked $200 on his credit card for the meal.


“Ah yes,” Ranko replied. “Shampoo’s grandmother made the best ramen in the world, if only I didn’t get sick of ramen when I was in the college dorms.” Good, roll with it. “So, have you stayed in touch with Shampoo?”


Akane lit another cigarette and diverged her eyes from the cute girl with the fire tattoo at the nearby bar back to Ranko. “Nah. Shampoo doesn’t write,” Akane replied. “Just like Ryoga. I heard she was in America too somewhere, but I don’t remember where exactly.”


“She must have had a hard time with you marrying Ranma,” Ranko said. She picked up one of the $20 syrupy soy sauce noodles that could have been easily whipped up in a Chinatown hole-in-the-wall.


Sure, she did. Akane looked down quietly. Shampoo never really wanted Ranma. Her grandmother, fearing that her granddaughter could be a lesbian, wanted her to pursue Ranma as much as possible. Eventually, Shampoo grew bored with Ranma and the never-ending chase. Akane’s marriage to Ranma had set Shampoo free. Akane remembered Shampoo singing happily as she packed her bags for some university in America.


Poor delusional Ranko was blinded by her rose-colored glasses.


 “Is there a problem between you and Ranma?” Ranko asked. She squeezed Bret’s hand tighter.


“How many of those cosmopolitans have you had?” Akane exclaimed, finally noticing the two empty glasses next to Ranko’s half-filled pink girly drink.


“It’s just nerves,” Ranko replied. She tossed the drink down and promised herself that she would get back to Akane and Ranma’s issues after she got Akane a little bit more drunk. And after this banging headache left Ranko’s head. “Bret’s parents are flying in from Massachusetts tomorrow.”


Akane dropped her chopsticks. “Don’t tell me that you haven’t met his parents yet! And you’re planning the wedding!” As dysfunctional as her relationship was, Akane knew that Branko had a catch. Akane could not believe that she had almost forgotten this juicy detail. Ranko had mentioned that Bret’s parents were coming to help Ranko with the wedding plans…and to meet Ranko for the first time.


“Well, the wedding happened so fast,” Bret said. “When I know that I’ve met “the one,” I didn’t really care about what my parents thought.” He finished his beer.

Akane feared that Bret and Ranko would once again tell their epic love story. And then, she would actually have to drink. Fortunately, Bret didn’t.


“And It doesn’t matter,” Bret said. “I love her. And her parents will love her too.”  Akane could not believe the crap that was coming out of Bret’s mouth. Maybe he got to the tequila shot before she didi.


“So, you and Ranma are free to do as you please till the wedding,” Ranko said. “You guys can take up the sights and enjoy what San Francisco has to offer.” She thumbed through the drink menu looking for her next drink.


“As for me, I’m going to try to win your parents over,” .Ranko said. “Even if it means I have to pull the submissive daughter-in-law crap.”


“My mom will adore you,” Bret smiled. He placed his hand over Ranko’s. Ranko smiled back. Then, she pursed her lips as she eyed a coconut flavored martini. She had no idea what she was going to do.


Akane lit another cigarette, wondering how long she would have to put up with this crap.