Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Just A Day At Work (Part 4)

(I seem to have gotten ahead of myself.  Bekka and I wouldn't spend the night together for a few more days.  Back to the ranch, where the tape drive is functioning and we're ready to shoot a two-on-one.)

The director glared at us as we entered.  Bekka had a grin on her face like a morally ambiguous superhero, I was getting my cameras arranged on their straps the way I liked them, and hoping no one looked down, as I still had a hard-on made of Kryptonite.  I kept willing it to drop, but its presence was making itself known rather persistently.  Calm Steve did notice, and said with a crooked grin, "So, you're clear about what side of the camera you're gonna be on, right?"

I looked down at my crotch and told him, "Oh, that.  Bekka promised me she'd let me drive her car later.  I'm very excited about the opportunity.  It hasn't gone down since."
"Is that what you're going to use to steer?"
"Absolutely.  I'll duct-tape it to the steering wheel --- it's fairly prehensile --- shift with my right hand, and be able to have my left arm hanging out the window so I can look cool.  Dude.  Totally."
Calm Steve laughed, Grumpy Steve gave me a glare, then rolled his eyes and stomped off to help Mickey check connections on the recording equipment.  I'd long written off Grumpy Steve.  He was fairly short with everybody, but I held a special place in his heart because he thought I was a scumbag.  Just some punk rock hoodlum who'd lucked into the job (which was true), who'd spend his life alternately dealing drugs or doing stints in prison.  But gosh, he never seemed to complain when the director and I put out the speed and MDMA.... That I'd supplied.
The crew was generally discouraged from using the MDMA: their work didn't call for its particular effect.  A good spin from the speed was fine, but cameramen high on Ecstasy had a bad habit of getting too artsy with their shots.  Just fine if we worked for Cinemax, but we didn't: we made fuck-flicks for men to jerk off to, period.  Absolutely no one had any illusions we were doing anything else.
Performers took places, cameras fired up, I popped my lens covers, and away we went.  The set-up was three people --- a couple and a single woman --- returning to the couple's home from a nightclub.  Not even three minutes would pass before the clothing went bye-bye.
This was one segment of what would be four loops, packaged as a single tape titled "Midnight Ecstasy" or something cheesy like that.  (My suggestion for doing a documentary about ourselves and titling it "10:30 a.m. Ecstasy, And Weed, And Amphetamine" was struck down.)  We were shooting two, the "people in L.A." were providing the other two.  So long as the set-up didn't suck, all we needed to do was get enough footage that, edited down, would be a solid half-hour of jerk material.  This meant a minimum of ninety minutes of raw footage.  Add in cuts, and you're looking at 2½ hours of work.  Some cuts were thirty seconds, some were long enough for a smoke and maybe a small bump.  Most everybody smoked.
Dale once realized he'd left his cigarettes in his car, so he wandered out front, down to the street where he parked, and retrieved them.  He started back towards the house, then froze.... And sprinted to the front door.  His freezing up came from his realization that he hadn't bothered to put on any clothing, not even a towel, before venturing outside.  (He was still mostly hard, too.)  I said before, both him and Chip were perfectly nice guys, a dream to work with so long as you used small words, but they had 14.4K modem brains in a world of broadband.
They weren't the only male performers whose erectile tissue had siphoned off the cells destined for their brains, but Chip and Dale always seemed to be the ones getting into odd situations --- one "losing" his car keys when they were in his hand, one getting confused between blocking and shooting, and trying to take the girl's positions ("Get off the floor, Chip, she ain't got nothin' to fuck you with"), one having the patio table collapse on him; Dale partially dismantled it because he "wanted to see how it works," and other great moments in physical comedy.  Those two were the reason for safety warnings placed on every solid object sold in America.

The shoot went swimmingly.  Bekka, Tawny, and even Dale were more than competent actors for the job, so the set-up was done in a single take, everyone held their blocking, the action was smooth and convincing (I had to force myself to not just get shots of Bekka, ignoring the other two), even the close-out (a few lines at the end, which amounted to, "Golly, that sure was fun!") went fine.  This was a good thing, as two seconds after the word "Cut!" was uttered, the other tape drive broke.
The drive made an unhappy grinding noise; both Steves pounced on it to kill the power and prevent all the the tape we'd shot with that camera from being mangled.  The minutes following that final "Cut!" are usually light, with people toweling off (before showering) and amiably chatting.  A general and genuine sense of accomplishment pervades.
Not today.  Everyone heard the grinding, saw the Steves' leaps from across the room.  Dead silence.  In the interest of my own health, I resisted the urge to say, "So, are we callin' that last one a dress rehearsal?"  The Steves popped the cassette, and.... No damage, the tape was fine.  The air pressure in the mansion changed as everyone exhaled held breath.
Okay, great, dandy, the first shoot of the day was saved.  There was still one more shoot to do, a four-way at (and in) the pool.

The drive was back in the kitchen, with the Steves and the director dismantling it.  I leaned against the wall outside the kitchen, where I was absolutely not eavesdropping, no sir, not at all, and eating a bag of Beer Nuts, to which I was addicted at the time. Always had at least two bags on my person, the larger bags too.
What I gathered from my non-eavesdropping was that whatever had broken on the first drive was different than this one.  Happy day.  The Steves did their systematic dismantling of the drive, looking for anything that could have caused the noise.  The director stood in the background, muttering about the bloody slaughter he would wreak on certain equipment salesmen, and warranties which ended six hours before the damn thing breaks.  I finally stuck my head in and asked if I could be of any use at all.
"Yeah, make sure he doesn't knock the fucking mounting screws on the floor again," said Calm Steve, gesturing at Grumpy Steve.  Grumpy Steve gave him a sour look, and me a look of utter contempt and repulsion.
Fuck you, Grumpy Steve, I thought.... And with a wolfish grin, said, "Not a problem, I can do that," and took several steps towards Grumpy Steve, stopping a few feet directly behind him.
"What the hell are you doing?" he asked, pivoting towards me.
"Exactly what I was asked to do.  Making sure you don't drop anything," I replied with the same wolf-face on.  Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Calm Steve desperately trying to suppress giggling.
"Fuck you, Lenny," he said, turning back to the counter.
This brought up a problem.  I had seven inches and seventy pounds on Grumpy Steve, so brawling with him would be terribly one-sided.  Instead, I stood there, muttering, "Fuck you.... Hmmm.... Fuck you....."
Then I spun him around by the shoulders, grabbed his waist, picked him up, and set him on the counter like a child.  I leaned one elbow in a casual-looking manner on his leg, just above his knee, applying plenty of downward force.  With a happy grin, I told him, "You know, Steve, we really should have a discussion about good manners in the workplace, what sort of language is appropriate to direct at a fellow worker, and your breath.  Why don't you start?"  I applied a bit more pressure with my elbow.
"Lenny!"  It was the director.  I turned towards him, switching elbows on Grumpy Steve's leg.
"Yes, sir?"
He looked back and forth between me, my elbow, and a now sweaty and panicked Grumpy Steve.  In a calm voice, he finally said, "Why don't you go outside and have a cigarette.  Bekka's out there, you two may be able to finish the talk you started earlier."  Thanks, Mickey.
"No problem."  I still had one last swing to get in, since I was assuming my job was shot.  I turned to Grumpy Steve and stared at him a couple seconds.  Then I used both hands to grab the back of his head, pulled him towards me, and kissed him full on the lips, Bugs Bunny-style.  Then I went outside, followed by Calm Steve's bellowing laughter.

I flopped in the chair next to Bekka.  "Well, I think I just blew this job."
She spun towards me.  "Whaaat?  How?"
"I gave one of the Steves a hard time."
"Which one?"
"The one that's always in a bitchy mood."
Bekka visibly relaxed.  "Oh!  Steve The Asshole.  Is he bleeding?"
"Did you set him on fire?"
"Don't worry about it then.  He's managed to make himself universally hated here.  What did you do?"
I explained, to Bekka's great mirth at first, then rolling laughter at the end.  She especially loved the Bugs Bunny kiss.  It may be twisted of me, but there is something unbelievably hot about a naked woman having a fit of hysterical laughter.  Or I was getting a tiny bit hung up on Bekka.
"So you don't think I'll get sacked?" I asked.
Bekka said, "Naw.  With Steve The Asshole, you have to draw blood.  And a lot, not just a little.  You just scared and humiliated him, you're gold."
I said, "Jesus!  Has everyone here had a run-in with him?"
"So why the hell do they keep him around?"
Bekka shrugged and said, "He's good at what he does and works dirt cheap.  He used to be on one of the TV news camera teams.... Actually, all three network stations in San Diego hired him at some point.  He's a former alky, so he got canned from each station for drinking.  But what's weird is when he was a drunk he was an okay guy, from what I hear.  He got sober and became Captain Shithead.  It's not like jobs in his line of work are on every block, so he ended up here."
"Huh," I said.
"What's up?"
"I don't know whether I should feel disappointed or relieved that I'm not the only one to call him on his shit."
"And that's a mystery you'll never solve, my friend.  Although it sounds like you did it in the most artful way of anyone.  You really kissed him on the mouth?"
"Well, it's not like I used tongue, but yeah.  Total  Bugs Bunny-style kiss: mmm-wah!"
"Everybody else either had a screaming match, or punched him."
"Nah, I couldn't do either.  I didn't wanna break his eardrums, I wanted to fuck with his head, and I'm pretty sure it worked.  And hitting him?  Please.  Think about his size, and think about mine.  Laying a hand on him would make everyone think I'm an asshole, and they'd be right.  I always hated when insecure big dudes pick fights with little dudes."
"Yeah, but what if he punched you first?"
I laughed.  "Yeah, like he'd do any damage.  I'd probably just pick him up under an arm and throw him outside, into the driveway.  He's little, I could get some distance."
We sat and smoked in silence for a while.

After a little while, I said, "Hey Bekka, let's make out."
With a small smile, she said, "In three days.  Maybe."
I made an exaggerated pouty face and, in the most irritating child's voice I could muster, I told her, "But I'm booorrred."
"So masturbate."
I thought she was joking, so I said, "Okay, that works," and began tugging at my belt, not really trying to get it open..
She stood up and dragged her chair in front of mine.  Put her feet on the edge of the chair, her legs and knees far apart.  She began gently stroking her vulva.  "We can do it together."
Strange.  I'd spend the morning watching Bekka getting herself off, and hadn't cared.  She may as well have been flossing her teeth.  Now my cock was trying to rip its way out of my pants, my breathing was elevated, my teeth were clenched, and I was going to probably come so hard my cum would break the sound barrier leaving my body.
I pulled my pants to my knees and began jacking, the two of us feeding on the view of the other engaged in self-pleasure, stimulated by the other's self-stimulation.
"That's it baby, jack that cock," Bekka said hoarsely.
"Rub that pussy, sexy girl.  Give yourself a couple fingers.... Yeah, like that...." I panted.
We both pleasured ourselves in silence for a couple minutes, then Bekka panted, "Lenny.... Let's time it, baby, let's..... Come together..."
"Oh yeah.... Will you do.... A ten count, we both come?"
"Yeah, like that.... God, getting kinda close...."
A third voice said, "Hey Lenny, I've got an errannndoh God."  The producer said, "You've got five minutes, okay?" and went back inside.  Me and Bekka giggled like schoolgirls.
"Hey Bekka," I murmured, "where should I come?  Just.... Aim for the concrete?"
She tilted her head for a moment, then looked me in the eye and growled, "Me.  Fucking stand up and shoot your fucking cum all over me."  (Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod....)
I stood up in front of her (not over her, off by a few feet), working myself alternately fast and slow, keeping myself in control (just barely), wanting to be ready for the ten-count.  When I stood up, she moaned and said, "Fuck yes, see you better now," her hand a blur.  Within thirty seconds she began moaning out, "Ten, nine,  eight, fffseven, sihhs, fi', fourrrr, thee, twoo.... ONE, Oh God, fuck yeah, Oh yeah like that baby, fucking COME!"
Her hand stopped at about the same time mine had.  We'd done the timing perfectly, and it was intense: just the psychic energy generated by her own orgasm added an unbelievable intensity to mine; meanwhile, being soaked down with my cum fed her intensity.
We both threw back our heads and said, "Wooow" in unison.  I knelt down next to her and kissed her.... Getting a large smear of cum on my face.  Fuck it, it was mine, no big deal.  Not like she tried to snowball me.
When my head was clear enough for speech, I stood up and said, "Let me go get a couple towels."
"No, I'll get 'em.  You can't."
"What?  Why not?"
"Are you gonna waddle in with your pants like that and cum dripping down your legs?"
I looked down and realized she had a point.  Pulling my pants up would leave some obvious wet spots and stains.... Not to mention both crew and performers wondering why the still photographer was ejaculating out by the pool.
"Okay, got your point."
"Wait a minute."  She'd sat up and was gently holding me in place.  She was staring at my still half-hard cock.  Then she looked up at me and said, "I'm getting reckless in my old age," and began licking and sucking the cum that was still streaming from me, making my whole body twitch from the over-stimulated sensation men get.  She stopped, smiled up at me, and said, "Three days.  I think I know what my decision is already."

She came back out being trailed by the director, who said to go ahead and wipe down, don't mind him.  Bekka was mopping herself down:  I really had "gone Peter North" on her: it was everywhere, and I'd covered some distance.
Once my pants were up, I said, "So, what did you need me to do?  Um, don't use that chair, boss."
He rolled his eyes and said, "Thank you for the warning.  Okay, here's the gig.  I'm tired of fucking around with those drives.  We have to get that two-on-two shot today.  I've been on the phone tracking down drives, and the closest place I can find is in Mira Mesa.  We're losing daylight every second.  The place I found has two drives, brand new, and I've got permission to spend the money.  I'm giving you a company check, it's already made out, all you have to do is give 'em the check, grab the drives, and boogie back here.  But you've gotta move fast, understand?  Can you handle it?"
I smiled and said, "I used to deliver pizza in Logan Heights and Encanto.  I know how to handle a vehicle at high speeds, believe me.  Although...."
I turned to Bekka.  "Bekka?  My dear friend?  Might I ask a small favor of you?"
"Can I borrow your car?"

I-5 to I-805 to Mira Mesa Boulevard.  Piece of cake, in theory.
It was still the middle of the day, so I had no worries about commuter traffic.  However, I-5 is unpredictable, as it's the main corridor for tourists coming into San Diego.  I've seen idiots from out of state stop in the middle of a lane, then start backing up on the shoulder because they missed their exit.  Add in the usual stupidity expected from Southern California drivers --- I will freely and routinely talk shit about my home town --- and confusion and chaos can reign at any hour, for no reason.
My strategy for this, given what I was driving, was simple: if it's in the way, go around, by any means necessary.
I had to hand it to Bekka's little brother: he'd built that car right.  Most street rods are set up to go very fast in a straight line for a short distance, and that was it.  Her brother actually made the thing roadworthy: tight, predictable steering, the clutch had a long smooth throw and wasn't like setting a bear trap, the suspension could handle quick turns without the opposite corner wanting to dive into the asphalt.... It was a driver's car.  And Christ almighty, did it have some fucking power.
I made it from the mansion to the Mira Mesa exit in about ten minutes; I used the inside shoulder once to get around some dog-fucker who wouldn't move over: dropped to third and laid into the throttle, got past him, back to fourth, and gave him the finger as he honked at me.  Another few minutes brought me to the correct address, throwing the Falcon into a space with a screech of brakes.
I walked in and told the guy at the counter I was there for a pickup for Inana Productions, here's the check, chuck 'em in a bag and let's go go go.
"Oh yes, we have the drives right here," he said, pointing to two boxes on the counter behind him, out of my reach.
"Great!  I got the check right here," I said, pulling it out of my pocket.
"So are there any other supplies you need?  This may be a good time to replace cables."
"No, just the drives.  That's all."
"Are you sure about that?  When a drive goes, that's a good time to replace cables...."
"No!  Just the fuckin' drives, now!"
"How about your cameras?  We've got a new line of shoulder paAAAKK!"
My patience had evaporated.  This miserable human fart had not only killed the sex high I'd got from Bekka, he was wasting my time, and the director had told them time was of the essence: have the drives ready and waiting for the guy coming to pick them up.
I'd come across the counter and grabbed the human fart by the front of his shirt with both hands, then pulled him across the counter towards me.
"You see that?" I yelled, gesturing with my head.  "That's a company check made out for the exact amount of those two drives.  I don't want any other shit, I can't buy any other shit, and I'm in a fucking hurry!  Now gimme the drives!"  I shoved him backwards onto his side of the counter again.
He finally had his brain roll back into place.  He picked up the check and began to bag the drives.  "Inana Productions?  I'm not familiar."
"Inana was a Sumerian goddess with an insatiable sex drive.  Go on, two guesses as to what kind of videos we make."
"I don't really, uh...."
"Porn!  We make fuck films, okay?  And we're doing an outdoor shoot, and we're gonna start losing light unless we get these drives hooked up and rolling."
In a cold voice, he said, "I see.  And where are you filming?"
I stared at him for a few seconds and said, "North of here.  Thanks, goodbye."
I knew exactly why he was curious about where we were.  San Diego, city and county, has rather antiquated Blue Laws.  There was a good chance that filming by the pool was illegal, because.... Well, they weren't sure why, but fucking outdoors in front of a camera was probably illegal in the county, if not La Costa itself.  The human fart thought he'd get revenge for my treatment of him by having John Law show up.
The drive back up was mega-smooth.  Very light traffic, so I was able to keep my foot to the floor and just go around anything in my way, thumbing the horn at anything that started to drift in my direction.  Going down, I'd averaged about 95 mph, and I'd held about 110 mph back up.  The whole trip took me about 23 minutes, including arguing with the human fart.
My, ah, efficient trip was a source of both joy and concern.  Everyone was happy the drives had arrived so fast.... But considering how much distance I'd covered, and how little time it took me, it was obvious I hadn't just exceeded the speed limit: I'd fucking shattered it, and pissed on the remains.

Surprisingly, Bekka was the least concerned.  "Quick beast, isn't it?"
"Oh yeah.  That thing's a blast!  Great road vehicle, 110 feels like 65."
Tawny, overhearing this, was horrified.  "You were driving that fast!?"
"Well... Yeah.  How else would I have made that trip so quickly?"
"You're insane!  You can't drive a car that fast!"
While I laughed, Bekka said, "You can drive mine that fast.  It's what it's built for.  It's not a dragster, it's a road racer, and it'll handle anything you throw at it."
Still full or terror, Tawny said, "And you let Lenny just.... Take off in it, and drive it like that?"
Bekka smiled at me.  "Of course.  First of all, he's a good driver.  And secondly, despite the overwhelming fucking consensus around here, Lenny is not a psycho, an idiot, a thug, or a reckless fool.  I know him well enough to know he wouldn't attempt anything outside his limits.  Personally--- Tawny, what would you think about Lenny being a performer?  He's got the cock and he's he's got the skills.  Would you work with him?"
Tawny started to speak, then her face locked in an expression of open-mouthed befuddlement.  It wasn't a matter of saying, "Sure, what the hell," or "God no, what a terrible idea," it was her unable to cope with the very concept.  Like if a reliable source told you all UFC fighters were cows in human costumes: the brain locks up, incapable of processing the situation.
I knew Tawny was another one who regarded me as a criminal, but I also suspected she didn't mind.  She was already fucking and sucking on camera to horrify her ex-husband, so hanging around drug-dealing scumbags would have appeal to her.  She'd probably love her husband to meet me:
"This is Lenny, he provides all the meth and MDMA at one of the production companies I work for.  Oh, and he has a pet boa constrictor and has killed five men so far this year and is a Satanist and has set fire to four churches in his life with the help of his mother.  I'm thinking about having him move in with me: he's only twenty, but rumor has it he fucks like a stallion and has a cock like a baseball bat."  And I'd play along for my own amusement (and the chance to get Tawny in the sack):  "Hi, I'm Lenny.  Tell me, have you ever felt the power of The Dark One?  Tawny's coming to the next Black Mass; you should come too: sharing the strength of The Unholy together may help you two get along better, not engage in so much post-marriage feuding.  We need another couple to fuck on the altar during the Mass, you two could clear the air by taking part.  I'd do it, but I'll be busy breaking in two twelve year olds as fresh slaves.  You sure you don't want to come?  There'll be pie and cookies afterwards."

But we weren't looking at methods to bug Tawny's ex.  We were working on Bekka's sudden interest in making me into a performer, a concept I found both flattering --- a female performer who'd been in the business about five years thinks I have what it takes to fuck for money! --- and embarrassing: If she was serious, she'd just talk to the director.... Who would remind her that they already have plenty of guys who can get a hard-on, and I better serve the company by keeping my talented eyes on the view-finder of a Nikon.  The director had repeatedly complimented me on my shoots and even The People In L.A. were very, very happy with my work.  He could have been blowing smoke up my ass, but to what purpose?  I was happy with my money: four day weeks, $125 per day with no taxes, was two grand a month.  Add in the drugs I sold them (and calculating for net versus gross), plus my regular dealing, and I was doing well.  MDMA was pricey even back then, at $20-$25 per tablet on the street.  The only way to make good money selling MDMA was to buy in high volume: my cost was $7 per tablet, and the company was ecstatic with the $15 I was charging them.  Apparently their last guy charged $20, no matter what volume they bought in; if they wanted less than twenty, the cost went up to $25.... And the asshole acted like he was doing them a favor.
One of the thickheaded male performers once asked me how much I paid for the Ecstasy.  Over the sound of everyone in the room sighing, groaning, and muttering, "Dude, shut up,"  I simply said, "A damn site less than than the company pays me."
"Man, that's totally uncool.  Why should we ---"  like he had a financial interest in what the company paid for drugs  "--- pay more than you?"
"You're not familiar with the concept of 'capitalism,' are you?"
"I'm just sayin' ----"
"You're just sayin' I should put out the money to buy in volume, take the risks of transporting and storing it, count out the order, again risk a bust by transporting it, not to mention using up gasoline, and not see a fucking penny.  I guess I'm supposed to live in my fuckin' car, too, with no profit from my efforts.  That's what you're sayin'.  Tell me, is stupidity a religious calling, or is it more of a very involving hobby?  Of course I'm charging more goddamn money, it's how I make my fucking living!"
He blathered, "I dunno, that just seems uncool somehow."
Somebody else said, "Vince, shut the fuck up, man, you're embarrassing yourself."  I looked around at those present and said, "I give up.  It's obvious the words are just bouncing off his skull.  Anyone else wanna take a try?"
A female performer, I forget who, said, "I'll give it a shot."  She walked over to Vince, bent down so her face was six inches away, and yelled, "Vince, shut up!  You're making yourself look even dumber than normal!  He sells drugs to make money, which means he charges more than he spends, just like any other business!  Fucking drop it!"
Everyone returned to their lunches, and blissful silence reigned.... For about ten seconds, before fucking Vince muttered, "Still don't see why..."
The room filled with groans; someone bounced an empty soda can off Vince's head.
I announced, "Hey all, Vince is working for free from now on!"
Amid the laughter, Vince said, "What?  Hey, I can't do that, I just bought an Acura!"
"C'mon, Vince.  You get paid to fuck.  Right now, all over the world, there are people fucking themselves silly, and they're not getting any recompense for it.  They're fucking for free."
"I think you lost him at the word 'recompense,'" somebody said.
I explained, for Vince's benefit, "'Recompense' means 'gettin' paid.'  Anyway, we just need to point cameras at them, instead of Vince.  Right Vince?  They're providing the same service as you, they're not banking any dough from it, so there's no reason to pay you.  We just film them instead.  Don't worry, you can stay here and do the same thing, but why should you get paid?"
"'Cos I'm good at what I do!"
A female voice said, "That's up for debate."  More laughter filled the room.
I said, "And I'm good at what I do.  That's why I should get paid."
Vince frowned and said, "But.... All you do is sell drugs."
"Yeah.  That's all I do, is locate the best product I can, manage my stock, work the math so that I'm making money but still selling product at a price people will buy at, not to mention the obvious legal risks, like the fact that I could get arrested just by leaving my apartment and driving somewhere with it; all it would take is me exceeding the speed limit and one nosy asshole cop.  You're right Vince, I'm just selling drugs.  Couldn't be simpler.... Oh, yes it could!  I could be fucking in front of a camera, engaging in the most basic human activity there is and having it documented on video tape.  I can think of no reason you should get paid for what you do.  In essence, anyone in the world could do your job.
"And I'm pretty slick with a Nikon, too."
All eyes swiveled toward Vince.  He was putting intense concentration into his container of pork chow mein, refusing to look up.  Eyes swiveled back towards me.  I shrugged, then said, "So how 'bout them Padres, huh?"

(Good god.  Someone get me some antibiotics, I'm suffering from Digression.)

Tawny came out of her fugue state and said, "Work with Lenny.... In front of the cameras.  I --- no.  I couldn't do it."
"Just don't let my raw sexuality overwhelm you," I told her.
"And why the hell not?" Bekka angrily protested.
Tawny looked back and forth between the two of us, and directed her answer at Bekka.  "Because he makes me nervous.  I'd be too tense to perform well with him."
Bekka started to speak --- and it was clear it'd be ugly --- so I held up my hand toward her.  Personally, I did feel like responding with a variant of "Well, fuck you too, then," but resisted.  Instead, I calmly asked, "What about me makes you nervous, Tawny?"
She said, "Well.... You're so violent."
Bekka and I looked at each other and started laughing.  When I'd slowed down a little, I said, "Oh yeah! I've been bashing skulls since the moment I got here!  It's a miracle there's a wall standing in this joint!"
Tawny yelled, "When you worked that shop on Balboa, you used to beat people up all the time!"
"Tawny, I was the bouncer.  It was my job to throw people out.  The only ones I got mean with were fucking child molesters, and that was by order of my higher-ups.  I wasn't randomly beating the shit out of customers!"
"But I heard ----"
"Oh, this should be good."
".... I heard you roughed up one of the Steves just today!"
"Well, if you consider kissing another man on the mouth to be rough, then guilty as charged.  It was Steve The Asshole. He was living up to his name, and I had two choices: punch him, or confuse and humiliate him.  Given our difference in sizes, I chose the latter."
"He says you threw him across the kitchen."
"Actually, he was being childish, so I picked him up and set him on the counter, like you would a child.  You don't have to believe me, though.  Both the director and the other Steve were in the kitchen at the time.  Ask them."  I mentally added "lying shitbag" to my list of reasons to not like Steve The Asshole.
Tawny continued, "And you're into that punk rock stuff!"
I gave her a genuine glare.  "And.... My choice in music has to do with me being a violent person how, again?"
"I've seen exposés on the news stations in L.A.  Live shows are just one big fight!  Everybody running around and hitting each other!"
I laughed at her again.  "Oh man, those things are too funny!  Me and my friends have actually had viewing parties for those local news shows; the running gag is, 'Gosh, all these years we've been doing it wrong.  We should quit!'  Yeah, I've seen those so-called exposés too, and they're bullshit.  It's amazing stench doesn't come out of the speakers."
"But everybody running around, bashing into everybody else...."
"Yeah, slam dancing.  It's actually a lot of fun, it's an incredible cathartic release.  And you might get a few bruises, but it's rare for anyone to get hurt.  If you fall, people pick you up and ask if you're okay.  When a real fight breaks out, the crowd patrols itself, gets the two guys separated and calmed down.  You can usually get the two guys who were fighting to shake hands.... And it's the crowd who accomplishes that, no security or cops.  Compare that to, say, an AC/DC concert, which will also have plenty of fights, only the fucking crowd will egg them on.  Fuck that.  You're safer at a punk rock gig than you are at your typical stadium rock 'n' roll concert."
Tawny said, "But everyone looks so scary, even the girls."
I shrugged.  "It's only fashion.  It's a different fashion, to be sure, but so was the Beatles mop-top, or Elvis' baggy suits and big hair.  It's only scary to you because the fucking news stations told you to be scared of it.  Personally, I wouldn't trust any of those shitbags to tell me the sky is blue.
"And as far as the girls go, um, having dated almost exclusively punk rock girls since I was seventeen, I think they look sexy.  And really, they're just.... Girls, you know?"
Tawny looked a bit awed.  "Woooww.  I didn't know you were into kinky stuff."
It was my turn to look confused.  "Umm..... What?"
She continued, "Dating punk girls.  They're all into, like, chains and whips and being tied up and shit like that."
I stared at her just long enough to make her uncomfortable, and asked, "Why and where did you get that idea from?  The most kink me and a girlfriend ever got into was playing around with some handcuffs, and that was pretty lighthearted, not a restraint or bondage kick.  So now I'm dying of curiosity as to why you think punk rock girls are heavy into kink."
Tawny looked a bit embarrassed.  "Umm.... 'Cos of the way they dress...."
I started laughing again.  "Oh, man!  That aspect of punk fashion goes back to, like, 1976!  Malcolm McClaren managed to sell bondage gear as a fashion statement, and got away with it.  It doesn't mean anything.  I saw those boots you wore today, shall I start calling you 'Cowgirl'?"
She got miffed.  "Hey!  That's a pair of $300 Tony Lama boots!"
"Okay, they're really expensive shit-kickers.  Don't change the fact that they're cowboy boots..... Cowgirl!"  Bekka started laughing.  (Bekka usually wore sandals or Van Doren slip-ons.)
Tawny began to get angry.  "That's another thing!  You're always talking shit, always cracking jokes!  I mean, what is your problem?"
Bekka threw in, "Shit, at least he has a sense of humor!  I've seen you laughing at shit he's said plenty of times!  You're just pissed because right now, you're the target!"
Not wanting things to escalate, I told Tawny, "Look, don't take anything that comes out of my mouth too seriously, unless I say to.  Yeah, I crack a lot of jokes.  The universe provides me with a lot of opportunities.  But while I may get sarcastic, I'm almost never mean with 'em.  When I am cracking mean jokes, that's a sign I'm fed up with you, and if you're a guy, I'm trying to goad you into taking a swipe at me.  But me razzing you, like calling you 'Cowgirl'?  Yeah, I'm sort of giving you a hard time, but it also means I like you.  If I didn't like you, I wouldn't put in the effort to say anything at all.  I'd just ignore you.  If I didn't like you, we wouldn't have sat here all this time talking, with me answering your questions.  Y'know?"  I gave her a serious expression to show I really meant no harm.
I scratched my neck.  "You know what we oughta do, is go to a hardcore show, so you can see what it's like for yourself."
Bekka perked right up.  "Hell yeah!  That'd be a blast!"
Tawny was back to looking horrified.  "Oh my God.  You're serious, aren't you?"
"Hell yeah.  You'd find out for yourself it really is just a bunch of kids who like loud music and have excess energy to burn off.  It's fun!"
She still had a wide-eyed look.  "What.... Would I wear?  I don't have any clothes like that."
"Just as well, since they'd have you pegged as a poser in a second, and you'd get shit all night.  Naw, wear jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers.  Chuck Taylors if you got 'em.  Or.... Oh!  Wear a really slinky evening dress, that'd blow people's minds.  Hell, you'd have the older dudes chatting you up all night.  Wear flats, though.  Hardcore shows are a lousy place to have poor balance."
"And how old is an 'older guy'?"
"Oh, you know, like twenty-five, twenty-seven."
"So, guys that are still six years younger than me."
"Wouldn't bother them."
Tawny rubbed her temples, then, for the first time in a long while, smiled.  "These days, I'm crazy enough to think this is a good idea.  I'm not saying yes or no, but this definitely has an insane sort of appeal to it.  Lemme think about it."
"I'll even give you a bag of dope.  That way, if you come across some punk studlikins who floats your boat, you can offer to get him high in your car, and see where things go from there."
Bekka chimed in, "And think how much It'd bug your ex when you tell him you're hanging around punk rock shows, scamming on young men in leather jackets!"
"Oh Christ."
Bekka started chanting, "One of us.... One of us.... One of us.... " And I joined in, so Tawny had a person in each ear chanting.

The director walked up and said, "Three of you, three of you.... And all in one place, perfect."
Tawny looked at the director and complained, "These.... children .... are trying to brainwash me into becoming a punk rocker, and convince me that Lenny would be a good performer."
The director said, "In order, the answers are: just as long as you don't cut your hair too short, and no.  Won't happen, Lenny isn't stupid enough to be a male performer.  I need him with a camera in his hand.
"It's perfect finding the three of you in one spot, since I need all three of you.  We're gonna be a while setting up for the outdoor shoot, about thirty-five minutes.  Tawny, Bekka, go out to the side of the pool, on the far end facing away from the house, and lez it up.  Lenny, burn through some film of them.  It's strictly stills, so getting good poses is fine.  I want you out there in four minutes, so you all have enough time to abuse drugs first.  Ready set go, sweeties."  And he walked off to help with the outdoor set-up.


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