Although hesitant to do so, Jeff finally called the reporter for the Washington Post whose name he had been given in last week’s chapter. He quickly discovered the reporter in question was indeed the same Tommy Williams he and Jimmy had known growing up.
After catching up with each other over the phone, Jeff explained his reason for calling; that he understood Tommy was interested in writing a story about AIDS and that Jeff knew someone Tommy might be interested in writing about.
The two agreed to have lunch the next day at Bullfeathers, one of the many restaurants on Capitol Hill.
When he got home that evening Jeff found Jimmy depressed. He had done nothing except sit in a chair all day. Jeff did his best to cheer Jimmy up by behaving as silly as possible. That seemed to do the trick. Over a dinner of soup and crackers, he also filled Jimmy in on his conversation with Tommy.
The next day Tommy and Jeff had lunch as agreed. Pressed by Tommy to explain why the readers of the Post would be interested in a story about the person he knew, Jeff explained that there was nothing special about his friend; that what made him special was precisely how ordinary he was.
When Tommy asked Jeff how he knew the person in question, Jeff explained the two of them were boyfriends. He also went on to explain that his boyfriend was Jimmy Barnes. That shocked Tommy, who wondered whether he could write objectively about his boyhood best friend.
Jeff argued that someone writing for the Post’s Style section didn’t have to be objective, but Tommy responded he would need to think about writing such a story more and get his editor’s approval as well. When asked directly whether he wanted to see Jimmy, Tommy hesitated and asked for more time to decide.
That’s where tonight’s chapter, which I’ve now posted over at The Annex, picks up. This chapter is a bit longer than usual, but there’s a lot that needs to be covered as we move into the final stretch.