Most everyone was there, so I made an announcement. "I propose," I bellowed, "we all take Rita out to dinner tonight, for savin' our bacon this afternoon!" A cheer of approval went up.
"¿Para qué? ¿Qué he hecho?" she asked.
Calm Steve told her, "You were the one who came up with the idea of having the other Steve direct, which worked fantastically."
I added in, "And you did the one thing that would distract the director, make him feel better, y'know? You helped him through a crisis, big time, and kept him from going nuts."
Rita smirked and said, "I'm always telling you, you can solve a lot con una mamada."
Tawny, waiting for her turn at a shower, said, "Mamada? Is that Spanish for blowjob?"
"Hmm.... I've gotta remember that."
As people wandered through, finishing their showers, moving equipment, they were informed of the dinner plans. It hadn't been set in stone, but a chop house fairly close to the freeway seemed to be the natural choice. Good food, good service, room to sit ten. A bit pricey, but any place in La Costa would be. That was another advantage of the job: instead of splitting the check ten ways, one or two people would just volunteer to cover the bill, with everyone else chipping in for the tip. Everybody had bought dinner for a shoot at some point or another.
The director wouldn't be joining us. "I've gotta get the tapes and the film up to L.A.," he said. "I don't know why they've suddenly decided there's such a damn rush on things, but there is. Like the world will have nothing to masturbate to unless the masters and film aren't there tonight."
I said, "I'd love it if I got prints of what I shot with Bekka and Tawny. I was happy with what I shot, and I never actually, y'know, see prints of what I shoot, except for the cover art for the tapes."
The director smirked and said, "Then you're buying the wrong porno mags."
"Wait a minute. Pornography costs money?"
"Are you kidding? Do you know how much high-quality hardcore magazines cost?"
"You're slipping. Of course I was kidding, and you're forgetting where I used to work."
"Ah, that's right. I was under the impression you were paid to beat people up."
I buried my face in my hands. "Aaarrgh. Maybe once a week I'd have to rough somebody up, and they deserved it, they were looking for kiddie porn. The rest of the time it was just a boring ol' retail job. You could probably hand me one of those damn hardcore mags and I could tell you the price just by the weight."
The director said, "Well, that's what's happening to all that film you shoot. Nice, glossy, heavy stock magazines."
"Huh. I should go to Smut & Stuff and see if they have any of my shoots."
"You won't find it. It's all distributed in Europe."
The director explained, "Marketing, believe it or not. We're in California. All our performers, especially the girls, are thus logically Californians. Apparently the phrase "girls from California" gives European dudes an instant hard-on. But it works: here we are in a sunny town in Southern California, filming and shooting local girls while they suck and fuck, and that makes us gold for the European consumers. I don't get it either, it's not like women look drastically different between Western Europe and here."
I said, "Well.... They're not sellin' the steak, they're sellin' the sizzle. 'Hot California Babes'.... I guess it works.... Although it'd also work in Wisconsin or Minnesota or Iowa."
The director laughed. "Yeah, that'd sell: 'Steamy Sluts of South Dakota!' We'd rake it in.... Although the travel would be a drag." He scooped a large amount of speed from the pile and began chopping.
I said, "That, and Christ knows what the Blue Laws are like in places like that. I'd probably be immediately arrested in Iowa just for the way my mind works. And I'm not even talking about having dirty thoughts."
The director stifled laughter. "Yeah, you are capable of finding an unusual view of things, Lenny. Three minutes of you sitting in a coffee shop, talking, and the state troopers would show up."
"Oh, just great. 'Come with us, sir.' 'What for?' 'We've determined your brain has been operating in an illegal manner.' 'Hey, I'm not on drugs!' 'Yes, we know, that's what concerns us. Please come quietly, sir.'"
He cracked up. "See, shit like that! Lenny, you're in the wrong business, man. You should do stand-up comedy." The producer had finished chopping. By the amount he had pulled, I expected him to pull the speed into three rails, good-sized ones at that, but no: a single fat one, which he promptly snorted back quickly, wincing from the burn.
I stared at him, wide-eyed. "Damn, dude. Gonna be out vacuuming the lawn tonight?"
"You're forgetting --- Jesus! --- I've got some driving to do tonight, and I'm already tired. Better (*sniff*) to get a jump on it (*sniff*) and get it over with. 'S why I like your meth, Lenny. (*sniff*) It's good and clean, and it really does the job (*sniff*) without making me jittery or sweaty and shit (*sniff*)*. Yeah, I'll be up late: I'll make my run with the tapes and the film, hang around to be social for a while, maybe grab something to eat --- that's another thing I like, you can eat on your meth, keeps you healthy that way --- and head back home. I may not get much sleep, but I won't feel like shit either. A couple small lines during the day tomorrow, do the run, back home and have a couple drinks, I'll be back on track, no sweat." (*snooorrt*) "Damn! Well, the burn means it's workin', or something like that, hah!" He had a smile I'd seen ten thousand times before. Hopefully his wire would wind down between now and his destination, otherwise he'd annoy the shit out of them with his incessant babbling.
Everyone else had sort of congregated down at the bottom of the driveway, where they could smoke without being seen from the house. Dale came in and said, "Hello, sir. Lenny, I think we're almost ready to go to the restaurant."
I repeated my offer to the director to join us. "Naw, like I said, I've gotta rock and roll and boogie-woogie up to L.A., or I'll have people pissed off at me. You all have fun, though. And no fucking on the salad bar!" he yelled as I left.
"Lenny!" Rita came skipping up to me. I knew why she loved dance clubs so much: her simply walking had a rhythmic grace to it, a light jog gave her graceful movement that imitated dance. Her actually, y'know, dancing would be a beautiful sight to behold.
"Lenny, I need kind of a big favor," she said.
"I know you live way out in El Cajon, but you're más al sur than anyone else, so I was wondering if I could please get a ride home from you?"
"Umm.... Sure, no problem. Car problems?" Her beater was parked at the curb.
"No, it's not that. I just wanted toma unas copas at the restaurant, and I don't want to risk a DUI, usted sabe?"
I smiled. "Yeah, no problem. And I thank and congratulate you for thinking ahead. So where do you live?"
"¡Gracias! ¡Te quiero!" she exclaimed, throwing her arms around me and pressing her double-E, AAA-grade breasts into my chest. "I live in Logan Heights, so you can just get on the 94 to get home!"
A thought struck me. "Wait a minute. Aren't you only nineteen?"
"Siiii...." She said with a coy smile.
"And you plan on drinking.... How?"
She pulled out her wallet from her purse and extracted a California driver's license. It was her on the picture, but the first name was different and the age, after I did the math, showed her to be twenty-three.
"Mi hermana. She just told DMV she lost it and gave this one to me. I've never used it, though. I haven't been carded since I was fourteen. These --- " she smilingly lifted her boobs " --- have helped, I think."
"Ah. I could never pull that off. I don't look enough like either of my older sisters." This sent Rita into hoots of laughter.
The sound of Bekka's hot rod firing up was the signal to head to the restaurant.... Or at least to get going in that general direction. Some people wanted to stop and pick up cigarettes or gum or whatever, a couple needed gas, so we'd be straggling in. I'd filled up that morning and my car got about 347 mpg. Also, I carried a carton of smokes with me in the car, so I'd never find myself short. When I opened the next-to-last pack, I'd buy a new carton and make some wino's day by giving him the last pack from the old carton. Rita smoked Virginia Slims, but had an unopened pack in her purse, so she was set.
Chip and Dale had beat us there, but that still left five coming, so we hung around in the parking lot. In a surprising display of forethought, Dale had gone into the restaurant to let them know a party of nine would be arriving shortly.
Rita and I smoked and chatted, me dredging up my high school Spanish to keep up, while Chip and Dale chatted....
.... And held hands. Well. That answered that question.
It always bothered me they felt the need to be closeted, but I knew damn well why. Four letters: AIDS. Back then it wasn't understood very well by many people, and everyone would automatically assume they were a major risk.... Never mind that they were monogamous with each other, they truly were in love, while those of us who played around were exponentially higher health risks than they were. It didn't matter that we were straight, we were fucking relative strangers, and not always bothering with protection. Back then, you'd hear women say, "Why should I be using condoms? I'm on the pill." Yeah, well sweetie, AIDS doesn't just happen to gay men. It also doesn't just spontaneously generate, either.
And what really pisses me off are the big-haired "Christian" asshole dog-fucking shit-bag sons of bitches who blather about how "AIDS is God's punishment for homosexual promiscuity." Really, Festus? Well, if you look at the statistics, they prove that God loves lesbians. Yep, the Almighty sure likes him some dykes, as they were (and are) the least likely to contract HIV/AIDS. Real simple: nearly no exchange of bodily fluids. HIV loves protein-based bodily fluids: blood and semen. Without those moving from one person to another, the chances of contracting HIV/AIDS drops drastically. (I'm leaving out lesbians who are also intravenous drug users. Whole different kettle of piranha.) So the "Christians" --- I put them in quotes because they aren't christians at all, just assholes with a fetish for ancient Roman torture devices --- espousing the "God is punishing gays" horseshit are really just using a new tool in their arsenal of bigotry.
(I'll say one really mean thing: Chip and Dale were really sweet, nice guys. They also made me glad two men couldn't reproduce, because as I've alluded to before, they were dumber than dogshit. The world doesn't need more aesthetically-pleasing, well-mannered, rock-stupid children (with big cocks). )
And I'm digressing again, pardon me.
Everyone else seemed to show up within ninety seconds of each other. When everyone was out of their cars and milling around, I picked up Rita and set her on my shoulder (an easy task, as she was small. Like about forty-six pounds, twelve of which were boob).
"This meal," I loudly announced, "Is in celebration of this young lady here. We are saluting her for two things: her quick thinking under pressure, and her continued ability to prove that sucking cock is truly a path towards making the world a better place! One penis at a time, world peace can be achieved, and Rita will be our leader! Now let us eat, and drink, and raise our glasses to the girl who has shown us the way to a better world, through oral sex! Give it up for her!!"
There was much laughter through my little speech, and when I finished, everyone applauded, cheered, whistled, and generally made a lot of noise. Then we began slowly making our way towards the door.
None of us had noticed the two middle-aged couples who had arrived and exited their car in time for my speech and our hurrah for Rita (who was still on my shoulder). One of the men, in a mild fit of moral outrage, stopped me by putting his hand on my shoulder.
|"You dare to speak in such a manner in public!?"|
I told him, "First of all, sir, never --- ever --- touch me like that again. And I was talking about how peace, both on a scale small and worldwide, can be accomplished via oral sex. This young lady --- " I patted Rita's leg " --- is a visionary. She has proved that the recipients of highly-talented oral sex, commonly known as a 'blowjob' or 'sucking cock', are calmer, happier, more relaxed, and generally more cheerful."
"That's disgusting," said the man's wife. The other couple nodded in agreement.
I realized that Tawny, Bekka, and Calm Steve had held back, and judging by the smiles on their faces, were ready to join in the debate.
Tawny threw in first. "I don't understand, ma'am. What could possibly be disgusting about sucking cock." She drew out the last two words in a breathy, phone-sex sort of voice.
The second husband garbled, "It's an unhealthy and impure activity! It's disgusting, like Madge said!"
From my shoulder, Rita said, "At intervals, I spent much of today sucking cock, and I don't feel unhealthy, I feel wonderful! And I ended the day by making a man who was very depressed and unhappy and stressed out... Happy! When I was done, he felt the world to be a beautiful place, and that life was worth living again! How could such a simple act that accomplishes so much possibly be wrong or disgusting? How is it impure? He'd showered this morning."
Wife number two began to sputter, "That's... I can't believe.... What kind...."
Bekka cut her off (no big challenge) with, "I also spent much of my day sucking cock. While it was mostly for show, I've made men all over the world happy."
Tawny said, "So did I. Her and I made the men we were with happy, and also anyone who buys our videos happy."
I said, "I didn't suck any cock, but I did get my cock sucked briefly, and it gave me a fresh, clear-eyed view of life. It made me feel joy in my heart."
Calm Steve said, "All I did was videotape much of the cocksucking, so I can't speak of any personal experience today, but I can assure you, even the vicarious experience of watching cocksucking does, indeed, bring joy into the lives of many people."
Rita said to Calm Steve, "You no got your cock sucked today? Qué lástima.... I'll blow you after dinner, si te bien."
Steve slowly grew a smile like he'd just learned that Santa Claus was, in fact, real after all. "Umm.... Yeah! That'd be great, thank you Rita!" Rita reached down and smilingly ruffled his hair.
I stepped closer to husband and wife number one and said, "See? This young lady --- " I indicated the Mexican sex bomb balanced on my right shoulder " --- only needed to promise Steve here that she'd suck his cock --- and she will, she's no welsher --- and he's already in a better mood, he feels great. Imagine how happy and full of love for the world he'll be after she sucks his cock!"
Husband number two, who was now an interesting shade of purple, said, "You young ladies should be ashamed! You engage in such disgusting behavior, and you brag about it! Are you harlots!?"
I threw in, "Dude, I think they stopped building harlots a couple centuries ago. Then they got replaced by strumpets...."
Tawny said, "You all keep using the word 'disgusting,' but give no reasoning or rationale as to why sucking cock is disgusting. I can only assume it's a personal distaste of yours, and thus you have no position, much less right, to argue against it. You are in the presence of three cocksuckers. We suck cock for pleasure and also for money. Oh, and we're not prostitutes, we perform in pornographic movies, so get that idea out of your head. So. Can you explain your position, from a rational viewpoint, why sucking cock is 'disgusting,' without relying on rhetoric or invective?"
Husband number one asked, in quavery voice, "You all.... You make dirty movies?"
Bekka protested. "Nothing dirty about them at all. We, along with other people make videotapes of people fucking and sucking. The sucking is of both cocks and pussies. And hygiene is job one in the industry, so they aren't dirty."
"My God...." husband number one stated.
In a conclusive voice, wife number one said, "It's dirty. You swallow a man's... uh...."
|"Trollops! Strumpets! Whores!! Ladies|
of the evvening! Tramps!! Harlots!
I suggested, "She'd probably prefer 'seminal fluid.' Too many syllables, though."
"How about 'jizz'?" asked Rita.
"That doesn't count," said Tawny. "Nothing unhealthy about cum. Besides, most of the time it ends up all over our faces. Never understood it myself, but that's what the paying public wants. So besides that, what about sucking cock disgusts you?"
"Stop using that word!" wife number two screeched.
"Which word does she mean? asked Calm Steve.
"I think she means 'cocksucking'."
"Really? I though it was 'cocksucker' that bothered her."
"There's a lot of variants we're looking at...."
"Yeah. 'Suck cock', 'sucking cock', 'cocksucking'...."
"When we broke up, my last boyfriend called me a 'cum-sucking little bitch'. Does that count? asked Rita.
"And he complained? He was mad." I told her.
Husband number two stated loudly, "You're all going to hell, I hope you know that!"
Tawny said, "Again, you're making statements without any conclusive support. Are we going to hell for fucking and sucking in front of cameras? I tend to doubt that. Sexuality is probably the greatest gift God gave to man. And in case you're curious, I'm a Methodist, and active in my church."
I threw in, "I'm a Unitarian, so it's kind of up in the air. I don't believe there is a hell."
"I'm an Episcopal."
"I'm a Congregationalist."
"There you are, sir, five Christians, all church-goers. We all know the joy and grace of God's love. And I'll reiterate, sexuality is God's greatest gift. We simply make a living with it. Care to try a new tack, or shall we chase you around the parking lot chanting the word 'cocksucker' until it's permanently implanted in your brains?"
Husband number two said, "That's it, we're leaving."
Calm Steve said, "Already? But I was just getting interested."
I told him in a British accent, "I'm sorry, but your five minutes is up," and we both burst out laughing. (It's a Monty Python thing.)
The two couples had turned and were walking rapidly back to their car. I began chanting, "Cock-sucker, cock-sucker, cock-sucker, cock-sucker...."
.... And was joined in by the others: "Cock-sucker, cock-sucker, cock-sucker, cock-sucker...."
We continued this, louder and louder, until their car screeched into the street. I turned to Calm Steve and said, "You know, we're not helping put a positive face on the industry."
"Yes, and thank God for that. Keeps out the riff-raff."
"If porn production was suddenly considered respectable, can you imagine the kind of halfwits that would get involved in the business? Like those four.... They could pool their money and start a production company, even though it's apparent they have no concept of what would sell. Porn with no dick-suckin'? That would be like McDonald's selling hamburgers with no patties in 'em. And as the producers they'd have ultimate and final say about what goes into a video. It'd be a disaster. Let's be frank: the adult film industry needs scumbags at the controls, and piloting the ship."
"Fair enough. I, personally, will strive to be the biggest scumbag I can."
"And I have utmost faith that you will, Lenny. I believe you can do it!"
A voice from above my shoulder said, "Soy hambre, let's go in. Oh! Steve! You did want me to suck you after dinner, right?"
Calm Steve said, "Uh.... Yeah, sure! Why?"
Rita said, "We'll probably need to use your car. What do you drive?"
"It's an '87 Taurus."
"Yeah, we use su coche. Bigger than Lenny's, more room to work."
Calm Steve gave me a slightly worried look and mouthed, "More room to work?"
I shrugged with my available shoulder and muttered, "Don't worry about it."
We found our table easily --- it was the one with talking and laughter --- and pulled out seats. Rita was still on my shoulder. "Sweetie, you'll have to disembark now. I don't think you can eat from up there."
She pouted, "Aww, but I like it up here. Me siento altura."
"I'm sure you do, but I'm not letting you balance a plate on my head. Besides, uh, my shoulder is starting to get tired."
"Okay, okay." She braced her hands against my shoulders and swung off of me like I was gym equipment..
Dale said, "Where were you guys? I was starting to worry."
Bekka said, "It was okay Dale, we were just frightening old people in the parking lot."
Not Actually An Asshole Steve asked, "What did you do to them?"
"It seems that the repetition of the word 'cocksucker', and its variants, was greatly disturbing to them. So we tried to engage them in a reasoned debate over sucking cock, why our celebration girl's talents at sucking cock could possibly bring about world peace, that cocksucking is a natural, healthy, beautiful thing, and that God surely approves of cocksucking. Not just by us, but by anyone.... Although as professionals, so to speak, we have some authority in the matter. The very concept of sucking cock was upsetting to them --- I feel sorry for the two husbands --- as well as the word, or words. Personally, I refuse to use the word 'fellatio.' 'Fellatio' sounds like a character name from one of Shakespeare's light comedies."
"It quite possibly is," someone suggested.
"Anyway, then we were told we were going to hell, even though we're all Christians."
"Well, I'm only halfway there," I interjected. I'm a Unitarian, I believe in the holiness of Christ, but I don't believe in the Trinity."
From the end of the table, Mickey asked, "So, how did you explain all the cocksucking you do?"
Tawny said, "We explained that we sucked cock professionally ---- " she was interrupted by gales of laughter " --- in the porn industry, not as prostitutes. They didn't seem swayed by this information. Nor were they convinced by the 'world peace' hypothesis."
"I should have been out there," said Mickey. "It was an unbalanced representation: three female professional cocksuckers. Male hobbyist cocksuckers should have had a showing, too."
"Oh, Mickey," said Rita. "You'd have hiciera sus cabezas estallan --- sorry, you'd have made their heads explode. I nearly did just by being there and the explanation of my ideas. Chingasa gringos pendejos."
Realizing the full party was present, the waitress came to get drink orders. Most everyone got mixed drinks or Mexican beer; Rita ordered a Tequila Sunrise and placed "her" I.D. on the table. The waitress gave it the barest glance and continued on.
I asked for Mountain Dew and a full pitcher of ice water with a glass. The waitress told me, "Sorry, no Mountain Dew."
"And you said you wanted.... A full pitcher of water?"
"Yes ma'am. I'm very dehydrated, no joke." And it wasn't. I realized the only fluids I'd consumed that day was a can of Mountain Dew while driving to work and some of Bekka's saliva from when we kissed. I'd be in bad shape unless I got water, and plenty of it, in my system.
Speed also has a dehydrating effect, and while I would sometimes hit the pile on the coffee table, I'd usually partake from my own stash: it was just good manners. They'd paid me for what was on the coffee table, and doing up drugs you'd been paid for was considered a terrible faux pas in my circle. So I'd tap out a rail on the tank lid of the toilet and be done with it.
My dinner was an awesome plate of breaded pork chops, plus soup and the usual sides. The house specialty seemed to be pork ribs with garlic mash; easily half the table ordered that.
I decided I'd have to talk my parents into letting me buy them dinner here at some point. More difficult than it sounds. Obviously, they knew nothing about my primary source of income, and wavered between resigned acceptance of my job with Inana Productions and rather angry disgust with it. (I exaggerated how much I got paid to explain my large amounts of disposable income.) My parents were stereotypical Nader-voting, Greenpeace-donating Liberals, whose feminist views were locked in at about 1973: all male-focused sexuality was rape, period. I'd always wanted to introduce them to Rita, Tawny, and a couple other female performers: highly intelligent women who were mystified by the concept of using one's sexuality to make money as somehow being "wrong." (Rita, with her "World Peace Through Blowjobs" hypothesis, would be the most fun, as Rita would defend it, with intelligence and tenacity, for hours.) Tawny would simply say, "You're wrong," and itemize every flaw or disagreement to be had.
Eventually my mother would lose her temper and her patience (since she was losing her argument) and resort to personal attacks: Tawny was lacking in self-esteem, was easily manipulated, had no self-respect, was sexually compulsive.... Which would cause Tawny to burst into laughter. "Ma'am, please. You've given up on debating and are instead using ten dollar insults against me. If we're going to pursue that line, I will point out that your son is very intelligent.... Which must come from his father."
Things would go downhill rapidly from there. Tawny had a gift for lightning-quick, barb-like insults that made Dorothy Parker look like a Ritz Brother. It was a battle my mother would lose quicker than the locals in the Grenada Invasion. Later that night, I'd get a call from dear ol' Mum asking how I could be associated in any way with such sick people. I'd put the phone down until I heard silence, point out that you, Mom, had insulted a friend and co-worker of mine, and she had reacted with consummate vicious skill, and should I pass on an apology to Tawny? It seemed like the mannerly thing to do, Mother. Then I'd hang up, and we wouldn't speak for another month. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Dinner was followed by more drinks and dessert. The menu showed them as having creme bruleé, which I was suspicious of. I love creme bruleé, when it's made right.... But it's easy to fuck up, and I've gotten lousy creme bruleé in four-star restaurants. What the hell, roll the dice.
.... And get rewarded with one of the best creme bruleés I'd ever had. When the waitress came by, I slipped her a five and told her, "Whoever made the creme bruleé gets that. It fucking rocked." She smiled but looked confused: people who order that dessert rarely incorporate the word "fuck" into their conversations. It would be like hearing the President get up in front of the cameras to announce, "The shit's really hit the fan in Kabul, we've gotta get the fuckin' troops over there more organized. Got it, niggaz?" Oh well. Like Calm Steve pointed out, in our industry, we need to strive to be scumbags.
After a bit of arguing --- everybody wanted to be generous --- Tawny and I split the bill. I gave her cash, and she put the tab on her plastic. With nine full meals, plus desserts, plus several drinks for everyone (four Tequila Sunrises for Rita, I was very happy she wouldn't be driving), it was just over $200 total, not to mention the $60 tip the waitress received. Everyone just threw five or ten bucks onto the table in a pile. A good tip made sense: while we weren't messy or demanding, we did behave precisely how one might expect well-mannered but slightly buzzed members of the adult film industry to behave: our conversations were loud, profane and contained explicit sexual references. A "Who has the the best-looking vulva" contest was proposed, but it was decided to save that for the parking lot. Even serious conversations, total nuts-and-bolts discussions about work, would offend your normal La Costa honky, as we'd done to the two couples in the parking lot. I noticed we had that section of the restaurant to ourselves: it turned out we were known there, and while we spent too much money (and tipped too well) to ever be turned away, the restaurant staff would make damn sure there were no families with children anywhere near us. The staff earned their tips. No problem, we were in an industry that paid well.... And in my case, two industries.
Everyone in the parking lot were hugging and high-fiving and shaking hands. Of the performers, only Bekka would be around the next day, and that was just for the morning shoot, a two-on-two. Yawn. The blocking was more interesting than the fucking.
Her and I hugged, and I gave her a basic kiss on the lips. Still holding on to me, she smiled and said, "No tongue?"
I told her, "Three days, remember?"
She grumbled and said, "Just had to get the hots for a dude with fucking scruples and honor, didn't I?"
"Yeah, you did. And we both sleep alone tonight, too."
"Maybe I'll jack you off into the pool tomorrow at lunch break. Y'know, fuck up the filter."
"Ten bucks says they have some sort of super-filter in there, for exactly that reason. I doubt I'll be the first guy to get cum in that pool." I was scanning the parking lot, looking for the night's co-pilot. Bekka noticed.
"Looking for something?" she asked.
"Oh really," she replied, with a tone that just might possibly be mistaken for jealousy.
"Yes, really. I promised her a ride home. She wanted to have some drinks tonight, and I'm the only one who remotely lives in that direction. It's amazing, a nineteen year old with the sense to not drive after drinking."
"Um, you're twenty. You can't call the maturity card yet."
"Oh, I know. Half my friends are fuckin' idiots. One guy I know just went to jail. He had the brilliant idea of, instead of paying for his yearly tags on his car, he'd just steal license plates. Okay, there's a possibility of pulling that off, except he decided moving 70 mph down Clairemont Mesa Boulevard was a good idea. He was under the misapprehension that he'd just get a ticket for an offense that, technically, is stealing state property. He was very, very wrong, and now in deep shit, all because he didn't feel like spending $35 on tags. And judges hate the willfully stupid."
Bekka laughed. "Christ, Lenny, that's what your friends are like?"
"Yep. I made 'em myself and everything." I made another scan of the lot. "They're not all like that. I've got a pretty wide base of friends..... And I just thought of where she might be."
I looked around the parking lot until I spotted a late-model Taurus. Then I casually ambled past it, as if taking a short cut to the sidewalk. As I went past, I looked in and could see a tiny jeans-clad Mexican butt sticking up in the air, and the silhouette of Calm Steve's head against the far window.
I looped back to where my car and Bekka were. "As soon as she's finished making Steve come his brains out, I guess we'll be leaving."
Bekka's eyes grew huge. "Oh my God, which Steve?"
She breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank God. At first I thought.... Ugh!" she shuddered.
"Actually, he's been behaving for a while now. Shit, he was directing you, was he an asshole about it?"
Bekka froze up. "Holy shit, you're right. And he was civil at dinner. Hell, he was smiling! I don't think he talked much, but he actually was decent company. What the hell!?"
"My opinion? It was his shot at directing. From what I understand, he had a lot of responsibility, a lot of people under him when he was working news stations. Then he basically gets run outta town on a rail 'cos of his drinking, and when he sobers up he finds himself at a rinky-dink porn studio operating a camera. For him, the only positive thing about the job is a decent paycheck. But he finds himself in a job that, to him, a trained ferret could do, with no power, no action, no office of his own, just pointing a video camera at people fucking all day. And he doesn't even get to take part in the fucking.
"So today he was back to being top dog, if just for a little while. When Rita finished with the director, he came out, ready to take back over. I told him, 'No, Steve's doing great, he's totally got this nailed down, have him finish the job he started.' Steve was amazed I'd say that, but I wasn't kidding: he was doing a great job as director, total professional. And.... Well, shit, you were there, we ran on time, Steve wasn't a dick, and from my eye, all the video was shot just perfect. The editors will have a hard time figuring out what should be cut, 'cos there's nothing wrong with any of that footage, personally."
Bekka raised her eyebrows. "Are you saying Steve should be a director?"
"I was thinking like co-director, or sub-director. You know the director's always in his office on the phone and balancing cash logs and nine zillion other things. Shit, if he had someone to throw the nuts and bolts of filming at --- and that's Steve's fuckin' career, coordinating shoots --- he'd be less stressed and have more time for the business crap, and the rest of us would have a Steve we don't hate because he's not a bitter asshole, and Steve is happy because he is back to doing 'real' work again, not just being a camera monkey. Everybody wins."
Bekka stared at me. Damn Lenny, when did you think all this up?"
I told her, "I dunno, over the last ninety seconds or so."
"Jesus. You know, you're a little scary sometimes. You know that, right?"
"That you can figure people out better than they can figure themselves out. How do you do that?"
I shrugged. "I just.... Pay attention. Figuring out Steve was pretty easy. He's always pissed off, being a total dick-biter. Then he gets put at the controls, so to speak, and his whole attitude changes. I'd heard his history, and just added one and one. Not a big deal."
Bekka said, "Go for it. Talk to the director at lunch tomorrow, shit, I'll join you if you want."
"Either you or Rita. Of course, Rita wouldn't talk much...."
Bekka giggled and said, "No, you want him to pay attention to you, not be distracted."
"Except with Rita working on him, he'd agree to anything. 'So, I was thinking we should give Amish porn a try, boss.' 'Yes, that's brilliant, oh God, yes....'"
I said, "Speaking of tomorrow, it's a two-on-two, right?"
"Do you know where we're shooting? Is it that long room upstairs, or---"
We both began to hear a moan.... Starting low, then gaining volume:
"ooooOOOOOOOOOoooOOOHHHHHhhhhhhh...... Ooohhh God, oh my God, ooohhhh...."
Bekka had her hand over her face, stifling laughter. I said, "I'd say Rita just finished working her magic."
Twenty seconds later, Rita emerged from the back of the Taurus, topless. She had her bra, purse, and shirt in one hand. She casually began to put her bra and shirt back on, as if she was standing in her bedroom at home and not in a parking lot next to a busy boulevard.
"Hi, Rita!" we chorused at her.
"Hey," she calmly replied, an easy smile on her face. She dug through her purse and pulled out a cigarette and lighter.
"So, how did things go?" asked Bekka.
"Or come, as the case may be." I added.
Rita said, "He needed that. He needed the release, muchísimo. I think it had been too long for him. I took my time, made him build up to a strong one."
"Um, where is he?"
"He said he needed a few minutes to recover; he's still en el coche."
"Rita," I said in a fake scolding voice, "are you destroying the minds of mortal men again?"
She gave me a coy smile.... Then grinned widely and yelled, "¡Sí!" at me and Bekka.