"So guys, you wanna do this live, or posed? It doesn't matter to me, so long as neither one of you fall in the pool."
"You wanna come?" Bekka asked of Tawny.
"Uh, sure. Thanks. You too?"
"Well, duh!" replied Bekka.
Tawny rolled her eyes and smiled. "I swear girl, it's like you live the public stereotype of all female performers. 'Make me come, make me come, make me come!'"
Bekka grinned and said, "What can I say? I like to come. This is is the only job I can think of where there's a marginally good chance of that happening during the workday. Unless you go to the bathrooms at your office and rub one out yourself.
"Besides, to the public, we're not 'performers,' we're 'porn stars.' No matter that I've yet to have anyone see me on the street and say, 'Hey, you're on that video tape I bought at the liquor store six months ago! Any great new projects in the works?' We're porn stars in title only.... Which both sucks and is a relief."
"What do you mean?"
"Think about it. Christy Canyon, Ginger Lynn, Lois Ayres, Seka, all of them are known quantities. Admit it: it'd be pretty fun having dudes stopping you on the street and going, 'Wow, you're so-and-so! Can I have your autograph? Buy you dinner? Have your children?' That'd be pretty cool.
"The shitty side? Actually, two. First would be the creepy stalker types. They'd act like the dudes above, but then you drive off and realize five miles later the same guy is behind you. Second is the number of Bible-thumpers who view us and the industry as tools of Satan.... And they're not being facetious. All three of us here? We may as well just set a goat on fire while we do the shoot. To those people, we truly embody evil."
I said, "I was raised Unitarian, so I have a head start. You know, those hell-bound secular humanists and agnostics."
Tawny said, "I was raised Methodist --- a pretty mellow faith --- and I still attend. There's people at my church who know why I can afford to drop a fifty in the collection plate every week, and it doesn't bug them. Their only concern for me isn't my eternal soul, but HIV and AIDS. My soul isn't at risk: God doesn't care about His gift of sexuality being used to make a living. But the church people are sure I'm gonna contract HIV. I try to assure them, we have the blood tests, but their response is, 'But then it'd be too late.' C'mon, the blood tests are to protect everyone else. They talk that shit, they do make me nervous."
I was listening, halfway. I was pacing around, looking for both a good shooting location and spots for the girls to work. I had an ideal location for shooting from, but unfortunately I'd have had to have been Jesus, because it was in the middle of the pool. I finally settled on three spots: on the lawn, at the edge of the pool, and the diving board, which I was determined to work in somehow. All three locations would look good, and be misery to shoot, as I'd be spending quite a bit of time either kneeling or lying belly-down on the hot concrete. (As the ostensible set-up was two hot babes getting nasty at the pool, they'd brought towels. Why they were bone-dry is just one of life's little mysteries.)
While methamphetamine is a much simpler drug than MDMA, the latter (taken orally) takes longer to kick in. Meth doesn't have the "I love the world" quality that makes for good porn, it's straightforward: snort the line and wait about five or ten seconds. And meth does put you in a cheerful, gung-ho mood.
This may explain why Bekka and Tawny were standing on the grass giggling and making out while I was still loading cameras and arranging film. Dress rehearsal, I guess.... But a bit odd for two women who refused to self-identify as even remotely bisexual; by gum, they were straight as arrows, just ask 'em. So what if they're making out with each other (aaand there goes a mouth onto a nipple) for fun?
Didn't bug me. Personally, I'd already figured out first-hand that I wasn't into guys. Tried it, had fun, and.... It just wasn't me. There was no repulsion or embarrassment, and like I said, I enjoyed it on a physical level, but I could never imagine having a romantic interest in another man.... And that was the cruncher. Sure, I could have hit the gay bars and got my dick sucked (and sucked dick) every night of the week, but sooner or later, I'd be in a situation where a guy was hung up on me, and it seemed horribly dishonest and cruel to lead on anyone, male or female, like that. (And the gay scene in San Diego was, at the time, not all that big. Huge number of closet-cases cruising parks and porn shops, but a moderate amount of out gays. Given that a twenty year old with a hard-on is the most dangerous object on the planet, I'd pick up the moniker "That fucking bisexual slut" real quick.)
My point is, Bekka and Tawny's behavior was a bit confusing.... But ultimately, they weren't hurting anyone. Their make-out session was just sexual arousal and release, scratching an itch, and holding no meaning or even friendship for either one. (They got along, but didn't really hang out.) Maybe, by pre-arranged agreement, they did this bit before every shoot in order to get hot: found an empty room in the mansion --- there were plenty --- and made out like high school kids, just getting physically aroused, like Bekka's one-hand Watusi earlier in the day.
I called out to them, "Hey, rehearsal time's over! We using action or poses, or both?"
They looked at each other and Tawny said, "Probably both. We'll see how things go during action."
"Fine. You two just follow the muse, and I'll shoot and maybe throw in some ideas. Make sure to get on the diving board at some point, I just think it'll look good. And if you hit something that looks awesome, I may ask you to stop and repeat whatever it was you just did."
And the shoot went great. They'd changed into their bathing suits (each one not containing enough cloth to clean a pair of glasses) and began seducing the reading public, 90% of the men and 10% of the women. I made several requests for them to stop and re-do something: one nearly right off the top, as they were pulling the strings to untie each other's bathing suits. I had them both with one breast exposed, and the two of them smiling and looking into each other's eyes while simultaneously tugging at the bikini ties of the other girl. I got an awesome shot of the two kneeling on the diving board: both nude, each with one hand on the other's hip, the other hand on the other's pussy.... This reflected in the water of the pool, and the angle I shot it from would make it look as though they were hovering above the water.... I hoped. Development would tell; I just knew it looked great through the view-finder. Okay, so this stuff was all a bit artsy, but fuck it, it was a make-work project.
The one I loved was a film-eater, but who cared. (We had cases and cases of ASA 100 film in the garage: 36 frames per roll, and a crapdillion rolls per case, and at least thirty cases stacked up. I'd grab a couple boxes from a case at the start of each day; any unused rolls would go in my "locker," a cabinet in the kitchen where I kept the cameras, lenses, cleaning supplies, film, extra straps, and all the other random shit used by professional photographers. I wasn't a pro, but was becoming one: the director, producer (who I never met), and "the people in L.A." were very happy with my work. The kicker was I genuinely enjoyed it, using what artistic and hormonal instincts I had to get good shots, and plenty of them.)
I had the both of them lying on the edge of the pool, as close as they could get without falling in. Bekka was lying flat on her back and further away from the pool, Tawny was up on one elbow. I had Tawny scoop up some water with her free hand and dribble it on Bekka's stomach and cleavage while I got about eighteen frames, at three frames per second, so the the splashing water droplets would be clear. I grabbed a towel and had Bekka dry off, and we did it again, and again. It was an effect that was both sexy and sensual, the sort of shot that would cause men to get hard and still had an element of classy eroticism to it, Bekka's nipples hardening to bullets added to the effect. When I turned in my film at the end of the day, I requested prints of that shoot: It was my first solo shoot, with no video involved, and the first one I'd had "artistic control" over. I won't lie, I was damn proud over what I hoped I'd accomplished: a good mix of the erotic and also straight-up hardcore smut, beautiful pictures men would happily beat off to.
We finished just in time. They had just had their (real) orgasms, and I got a few good snaps of post-coital cuddling on the towels, when the director called us over. "Ten minutes. Rest up, do drugs, be smart and get some water in you, have a smoke or two. I've told everyone else: We cannot fuck this up, we don't have time. We're racing daylight here, and I don't want everything to look orange and shadowy. If you feel any urges to be a goddamn moron, please, get them out of your system now: go slip on a banana peel or dump a can of paint on your head. Just so long as bein' a dummy is out of your system in ten minutes. Lenny, got a smoke?"
"I didn't know you smoked."
"I haven't had one in four years. The way this day's gone, though, I've earned one."
I frowned at my boots for a couple seconds, then looked him in the eye and said, "Yeah, no. If you kicked, I ain't getting you back on the merry-go-round. It may be hypocritical of me, but I ain't giving you a cigarette.."
In a voice that vibrated with taxed patience, the director said, "Lenny, I understand what you're trying to do, and--- "
"Good, then I don't need to explain it. Dude, I'll go buy you gum, I'll make you a sandwich, I will personally suck your dick, whatever it takes to distract you from having a smoke."
His face was doing jumping jacks as it spun through a range of feelings: anger, shame, desire, and impatience appeared most often.
"Fine. Whatever," he said. "You know, you've got a fat fucking moral streak for a speed dealer."
"Yes, I know," I replied. "I've also got an oversized chunk of morality for a criminal, a violent thug, a reckless driver, a sexual deviant, and a white suburban punk with a large yet unmarketable penis. I'm an asshole in general. And I'm still not giving you a fucking cigarette."
The director stomped away.
Steve The Asshole sidled up next to me and said, in a I-told-you-so voice, "He'll just get one from someone else."
"Oh, I know. And let it be on their head. Can't be helped, but I'll sleep better than someone else here tonight."
I turned to S.T. Asshole and said, "So my little darling, I hear I threw you through the kitchen earlier. What sort of distance did I get? I keep a chart of such things."
He started to say something unhealthy. "Fu--- "
"Don't say it, little man. Please, prove you're capable of learning."
"Oh yeah? What are you gonna do?" he sneered.
"My previous parting shot, only with tongue.... Sweetie. Or throw you on the roof."
Still sneering, S.T. Asshole said, "No way could you get me up there."
Smiling, I looked up at the eaves, then at him, back at the eaves, then back to him. "Hard to say. It's possible.... But I'd have to make a lot of attempts. You can land on your feet like a cat, right?"
He started to open his mouth to speak, but was interrupted by a voice calling my name from the far end of the pool. I looked over; it was Bekka yelling, "Lenny! C'mere!"
I told S.T. Asshole, "You'll have to pardon me. A beautiful naked woman who was fellating me earlier in the day wishes to speak with me."
"Pffft. No way. You're lying."
I took a second gander. "You're right, I am lying. She was naked earlier, but is now wearing a bikini, barely. I apologize for my error."
I got seven or eight steps away, then stopped and turned back. "Steve!" I called.
He glared and said, "What."
I walked back a bit closer. "What I'm about to say is not me yanking your chain, or giving you a hard time. I am dead serious about this. I mean it.
"Steve, has anyone ever suggested that you relax? That you seem to carry around a lot of anger, and that can't be healthy? You are always angry. You can't enjoy it. Again, remember, I'm not joking here, I'm dead serious. Please, please consider seeing a therapist. It could turn out you're not an asshole that people want to hurt, but people want to hang out with and are happy to see every morning. I think you could be a really cool guy, and just not know it."
He continued glaring with his arms crossed.
"Just an idea," I said, and walked to the other end of the pool.
Everyone --- all the performers and all the crew, including Rita but excluding Steve The Asshole --- were down by the deep end of the pool. Dale said as I walked up, "Lenny! Don't smoke!"
I frowned and said, "Well, I'm always meaning to quit, and I appreciate your concern...."
Bekkka said, "No, just not for the rest of the day. The director has it in his head that he needs a cigarette, so we're trying to not have any temptation. Nobody smokes until they're in their cars and going home. I'm probably gonna get fired."
"Whaaat!? What did you do?"
She turned a bit pink, but also had one of her crafty smiles on. "I used my car to block in the director's car.
|Faster than blazes, flimsy as a beer can.|
A solid strategy. The director drove a Mazda RX-7, a car that was fun, sporty, and capable of being kicked to death by anyone wearing boots. RX-7s saved on vehicle weight by making them flimsy as hell; they dented if you breathed hard on 'em. If the director lost his temper and decided he would use his Mazda to push Bekka's Falcon out of the way, he'd crush his own car like a beer can. Bekka's Ford wouldn't even get the paint scratched.
"You know.... He might refuse to work. Tell us all to fuck off and go home," said Tawny.
"No way, he can't. The people in L.A. are expecting two sets of raw tapes, plus Lenny's stills, tomorrow. It'd be suicide for him to blow them off," said Calm Steve.
Rita said, "Shoot it ourselves? Have the other Steve act as director and run his camera. As big of a pendejo as he is, he still could pull it off. El director puede sentarse en el interior y pout."
Chip said, "What?"
Bekka said to Chip, "He can pout inside." To everyone else she said, "Okay, even if it means taking direction from Steve The Asshole, it could work. But what about the director? He oughta at least be out here. He can be Asshole's back-up eyes."
Tawny said, "I don't know about handling the director, but I can take care of the jerky Steve." Her smile was one usually associated with James Bond villains. "I'm sure I can convince him, and even have him on good behavior."
I piped up. "Umm.... I think I know how to get the director's mind off cigarettes, and put him in a good mood. I'm not trying to be crass.... Uh, Rita...."
"I know the rules say non-performers and you aren't supposed to have any contact. Would you mind bending that rule, just this once?"
Twenty minutes later, cameras were rolling, two pairs of performers were fucking and sucking, Steve The Asshole was not living up to his name during cuts, the set blocking was going flawlessly, and we were looking at having the raw tape out of the drive with a good cushion of light left. At that cut, the director emerged from the house with a relaxed smile on his face.
Behind him, Rita appeared with a big smile, topless and toweling herself off. She gave us a thumbs-up and disappeared back into the house briefly, before returning to the umbrella table. I could just hear the director say to Rita, "Thank you again. Thank you so much."
Rita smiled at him and said, "It's my pleasure. It makes me happy that I made you happy," and squeezed his hand.
The director walked up and said, "Thank you for starting without me. I apologize; after all this time, I got it into my head I couldn't work without smoking. Sorry I was inside for so long, I just needed to clear my head." By some miracle, everyone kept a straight face when he said that; I resisted my own urge to say, "A clear head and an empty prostate, those are the secrets to filming porn." It was scary: Rita's holistic view of blowjobs kept on getting proven right by her.
"So," he said, "how's it going? Steve, do you want me to take over?"
I interjected. I had no reason to.... Except maybe as a bit of a test. I said, "Actually, Steve's doing just fine. They've got the [camera] moves down well, he's got a good eye, I'm trailing the video cameras and he's using light well.... If you wanna relax, and if Steve doesn't mind, I think we've got it."
For a second, the director gave me a look like he expected me to say, "Gotcha! G'wan, get rid of this dickhead." Then he looked at Steve and asked, "Do you want to carry on?"
In a voice that carried genuine humility, he said, "Yes, I would. I'm having a blast." And he did something I had never, ever seen him do in five months of camera work (and five more months of delivering drugs before that): he smiled. A real smile. It was a good thing we had no apocalyptic Christians around, as this would have been seen as a sign of the end times.
The rest of the shoot went like clockwork.... A clock running fast, so we wouldn't have any issues with light. The money shot was a double-facial: Chip and Dale respectively straddling Bekka and Tawny, the two girls using their mouths on the guys, and the guys finishing themselves off as a facial on each girl.... And the timing was millisecond perfect, each male ejaculating at the exact same moment onto the female's faces who reacted with the usual faked appreciation. Chip and Dale had both shot large, there was a very brief cut so they could get out of the way, and me and Calm Steve got some good shots of the girls kissing and licking each other's faces. Then Not So Much An Asshole Steve said, "Cut.... And wrap. Beautiful, people. Dale, Chip, that was fantastic timing. Tawny, Bekka, that looked gorgeous, you'll be spreading hard-ons like hay fever with that bit. Okay, let's fold."
Both Steves, Mickey, and the director began coiling cables and breaking down tripods and covering lenses and packing equipment. I was down on one knee, marking rolls of film with a Sharpie and stowing them in a Zip-Loc. As I was doing this, Not So Much An Asshole Steve walked past carrying a case. He stopped, looked at me, and said, "Thanks, Lenny," while trying to get his face to form a smile: it was out of practice. But he was trying. "No problem, man," I replied. "You did good."