nsync in black and white

Fiction by Pen . . . . . not real, made up, purely intended for entertainment

Phone Calls

Written for the 'All About the Wordplay' Challenge on LiveJournal, currently a friendslocked link

The prompt:
As long as you got me and I got you know we got a lot to go around
I’ll be your friend your other brother
Another love to calm and comfort you.
And I’ll keep reminding if it’s the only thing I ever do.
I will always love you.
- Song for a Friend

It was a half-sentence of gossip that first gave Lance the notion there might be a difficulty. Lance understood the utility of gossip, and he was very good at it, so within half a day he knew the full story. Or at any rate, had as much information as he needed.

* * *

Last time Joey called, he'd been hugely excited over the work he was doing. A fantastic part, he'd said, really exhilarating to play and gonna be great when the film was done. Kid directing it had talent, definitely. Lance had sat smiling to himself with the cell phone to his ear as Joey talked with vast enthusiasm for half an hour.

He must be sure this was a good business decision. Joey would be mortified if... well, Lance tried not to make completely mushy business decisions. But a few phone calls assured him that the director was indeed talented, and just not good—at all—at making nice with the money people. A faxed copy of the treatment made the hair prickle on the back of his neck. Definitely a money problem, then, which was good, because that was the kind he could fix.

So. A couple more hours on the phone, and problem sorted. He had a good feeling about this. Make sure Joe's film didn't get canned, and with luck, generate some good returns and a better profile.

A fine day's work.

* * *

Yeah, so anyway, Stefan asked me if I had any contacts who might, like, be able to take over the finance side if the suits pulled the plug, and I was going to call you, but, you know.

"Know what, Joe?"

There was a moment of embarrassed snuffling. Lance could picture the room-gazing and face-wiping that was taking place, and grinned silently to himself.

Hey, I couldn't ask you to bail us out if the investors thought the whole thing was crap. I mean. Not fair on you. You gotta make business decisions without, you know, complications.

"Like you being my best friend? You can ask, you know. You can always ask."

Yeah. I know that. Thanks, Lance, I—well, thanks. Anyway, turns out I didn't have to, because they found another backer like, right away. I dunno who, Stefan's not very up on the business side, he just focuses right in on what goes on film, I think he only noticed there was a money problem when they told him we might not get to finish. So, no need to use my connections.

"That's what connections are for, Joe, I keep telling you. You wouldn't mind pulling strings to get an audition, now, would you?"

No, but that's because—you know that's different! That's about getting a foot in the door. This woulda been about money.

"But the film's gonna be good, right?"

Oh, yeah! I mean, they'd have to seriously fuck up in editing, or something, because it's good.

"So when it makes a shed load of money I can blame you for not letting me in on the profits?" Lance smirked evilly as he waited out Joey's startled pause.

Uh... Well, um, I don't know if it, I mean, there's always distribution, I mean, you know how things can be real good but nobody sees 'em—you're laughing now, right?

"Uh huh."

A growl from Joey. I'm gonna set Briahna on you. Small but deadly, the Fatone in-house weapons system. But, Lance, really, you know? I just didn't wanna...

"It's okay, Joey. I won't kill you if you make a profit. Just make a great film, yeah?"

Yeah, we can do that. Lance?


Thanks, bro.

"Anytime, Joe."

Lance was still smiling when he hung up, even though wrestling with the distribution people was never fun. He knew—all too well—how necessary it was to take care of those details, though, and it was going to be done, and he was going to make damn sure it was done right.

After all, what's family for?



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