Inana Productions was shutting down for a month. There was no reasonable explanation why.
The rumors flew hard and fast: Inana was going belly up, permanently. There was legal problems revolving the age of performers (doubtful, as the company was careful about that sort of thing in the post-Traci Lords era). Inana was consolidating with its Los Angeles operations, and if we wanted to continue working with Inana, we'd better get used to a hell of a commute
Small Steve, the real director, had no information for us. "They aren't telling me anything.," he said. "They've promised that no one is losing their jobs, but that doesn't mean much: we could all have to commute or relocate to Culver or Century City and work from there. I'm sorry guys, but they're staying mum with me as they are with you you."
Small Steve, formerly known as Steve the Asshole, was trusted in his statement. This was a vast change from a few months ago, when he had the the deserved moniker of "Asshole." Then Bekka and I had convinced The Director that Steve was better utilized as a unit director and producer, which changed his attitude greatly: he had been employed as a location producer for local TV news stations, successively given the sack from each one due to his drinking. When he sobered up, he found himself as a camera operator for a rinky-dink porn studio and hated it. Putting him him in a position of power made a one-eighty in his attitude, and he went from being hated to being respected and trusted. People liked him now; he even embraced with good humor his nickname (he was five foot four).
The upshot was, everyone was out of work for four weeks. This affected some more than others. Those who had the sense to have some savings weren't bothered. Others would be commuting to Los Angeles to make their rent.
Bekka and I had savings. Plenty of it. Because of the nature of my, uh, second job, I was sitting (actually sleeping) on about $12,000 cash, which actually did me no good: no matter where you go, someone wants to know where all that dough came from. You can't just walk into a car dealership, drop ten grand in large bills on the desk, and point at the car you want.... And don't worry about the payments, they'll be made in full and on time, have no concern about where the money comes from, okay chief?
The job at Inana (the legitimate one, not supplying their drugs) was something of a blessing: I could finally have a checking account. No more money orders from the local liquor store. I was an independent contractor, receiving a 1099 form at the end of each year, with proof of income.
I found the the sleaziest, most venal tax service in San Diego to handle my taxes, saving me a good sum from the clutches of the IRS. They deducted everything, from mileage on my car to wear and tear on my retinas from operating the camera. I tipped off other Inana employees to these sharks, all of whom were happy with the results: I swear the performers, male and female, got deductions for mileage covered, if you get my drift. As performers, every article of clothing was deducted, regardless of the fact that the clothing would often only be on screen for three minutes. Haircuts, tanning salons, meals, it all got deducted.... And while adult performers are paid well, nobody was making so much as to rouse suspicions of Uncle Sam.
So some employees of Inana looked upon it as a slightly stress-filled vacation. Others looked upon it at misery, as they still had to work, and that meant commuting to Los Angeles (some simply got cheap motel rooms for the duration) and performing with total strangers, an uncomfortable position. You may think one of your fellow performers at Inana was a complete doorknob, but at least he's a doorknob you know. The Director arranged positions with production companies through The People In L.A. for those needing work; he was staying in La Costa and being mysterious as to why.
Bekka was in the position to take a vacation. She'd grown up fairly poor, in a household where eating at Denny's was considered a big deal. While hardly miserly, she was rather obsessive about saving money, hunting for clothes at Bargain Town rather than hitting the mall. I asked her about it once, and she told me, "Some people save for a rainy day. You can have storms that last for a month, you know?" I knew enough about her younger days to know she'd gone through some heavy storms, and left the subject alone.
She was not tight-fisted, though. If we went out to eat, by God, we'd go someplace damn nice. Walking down the main drag in Encinitas, if we passed a dude playing passable guitar with his case open, she'd throw in a twenty, not a single. Anyone with a "HUNGRY - PLEASE HELP" sign would be told, "Come on, we're going to Bob's, and you're ordering everything you want." We could have just left a restaurant ourselves, so we'd order shakes and pick at an order of fries while the homeless man or woman engaged in the luxury of being full for the first time in who knows how long. Sometimes they would tell how they came to be in their position; neither me or Bekka would ever ask. None of our business. We'd try to be cheerful around them, cracking jokes and being lighthearted, and most importantly we wouldn't condescend or talk down. This was merely someone who needed a little help, we were in a position to provide that help, so we did. They were fellow Californians, just like us.
(Occasionally some grub wouldn't want food, but money. She'd explain she'd give them a good meal, not cash, since their sign specifically said they were hungry. If they wanted money, their sign should say so. This would bring on a string of profanity, which was my cue to advise them to not use such language around a lady. One guy lashed out at me --- he had a pair of crutches as a prop --- and when I stepped up to him, he dropped his crutches and ran like hell down the street. "Check it out, Bekka, I'm Jesus!" I said.
"Well, he won't need these anymore," said Bekka, shoving the crutches in a trash can.
"You're forgetting something," I told her. I pulled the crutches back out of the trash and spun off the wingnuts on the handles, removing the handles completely. "He could have had a free meal. Now he lost his scam, and is probably hungry."
"That's why I like you, Lenny. You don't do things by halves.")
Anyway, that was Bekka's style: she'd blow $17 on feeding a total stranger (who was usually a bit whiffy) then go home to patch up a pair of jeans most anyone else would have tossed out and replaced. While her formal faith was casual to say the least, she was more of a christian than those who went around blaring their faith to the world. If it's any hint, she had to restrain herself from bashing her '64 Falcon hot rod into any vehicle that had a "Jesus Fish" sticker on it. She loathed the pious, and due to her job --- sucking and fucking in front of cameras --- they certainly loathed her.
In the story "Just A Day At Work," I tell of a confrontation between three Inana employees --- Rita the fluffer, Bekka, and another performer named Tawny --- and two middle-aged couples who objected to sucking cock: both the phrase and the activity. Among our arguments was that sexuality was one of God's greatest gifts to humankind, that it should be celebrated, certainly enjoyed, and not viewed as "disgusting" (as our combatants described it). Bekka surely held this view, but on a wider scale, felt that religion was a detriment to faith in general, Christianity in particular. Dogma destroyed the freedom to criticize and question what shows up in the Bible. Suggesting that Paul needed to get laid, maybe he wouldn't have been such a sourpuss, isn't the sort of thing you can get away with in many churches (well, maybe the Congregationalists and Glide Memorial). Bekka was a woman of great faith, but it was a faith borne of self-discovery and individual will. It sounds strange, but she was a christian who had given up on Christianity, seeing it as both self-limiting and repressive. She had no doubt that her career choice was irrelevant in the eyes of God. It was only offensive to Christians, those that needed big buildings and choirs and light shows and some prick with a $3000 suit and big hair to tell them what to think.... And what better way to manipulate people than to tell them that one of the most basic drives of our species is somehow wrong?
"We should travel. A road trip," said Bekka. For a change of pace, she was at my place out in El Cajon, a town where her car would certainly be appreciated. Her 1964 Falcon was made to cover open road at high speed, not go fast in a straight line for two blocks. Her coming to visit me was a relative rarity due to its inconvenience: she enjoyed the drive well enough, but since Inana wanted her at the mansion where all filming took place before me, her spending the night just didn't work out well. Well, now she had no place to be in the morning (and neither did I), so she could stay as late as she wanted, even overnight, with no worries about the work day following.
"I'm in. So, where to? How long? Whose car? When? Will there be ice cream?"
"North along the coast until we get bored, Two weeks total, mine because being stuffed in yours for that long would drive me batty, the end of the week so you can take care of business, and yes, but not inside my car. Sound good?"
"Sounds great. And yeah, I'd better try to keep the customers happy. Me disappearing for two weeks would cost me every contact I have, if I didn't let them know. They can stock up this way. And you promise there'll be ice cream?"
"Shut up about ice cream, or you won't have anything else to lick."
"Hup! Yes ma'am."
It should be noted that Bekka and I were Just Friends. Yeah, we were friends who had a lot of sex together, and held hands walking on the beach, and snuggled together watching TV, and knew each other's private lives better than anyone else on the planet. But just friends, that's all.
I never expressed it to her, but I knew she had had some rotten relationships in her past. In fact, the closer and more trusting she was with a boyfriend, the worse he would end up fucking her over, in ugly ways. I figured that by simply having us agree to be "just friends," she could never get hurt by me. Her and I could be standing at the altar (for tax reasons) and she would still confirm to everyone present that there was no romance involved here whatsoever, not a bit, her and me just thought this would be a great way of spending an afternoon. Please ignore the tuxedo and white dress.
I'd already hurt her, and her me, the first night we'd spent together. She asked if I had a crush on her and I'd answered yes, damn straight I did. Honesty got me an angry woman who dared me to hit her, I'd been getting fucked around by her and I should hate her, so come on you pussy, give the makeup lady a challenge on Monday by knocking her around some. She was angrier when I refused: I was sad, I was disappointed, I was hurt, but I wasn't angry with her. Why should I be? Because she didn't want the same things I did? She sat on the edge of the bed calling me a pussy for not hitting her until I picked her up, laid her down in the center of the bed, and lay down beside her, holding her while she squirmed. She asked what the fuck I was doing, and I told her I was trying to comfort a friend who was very unhappy, and probably wasn't even sure why.... But I wanted my friend to know she was loved, and I wouldn't hurt her even if she asked. She cried for a half an hour straight, holding me like a life raft.
The crush never went away, and we both knew it. We treated it like unidentifiable leftovers in the fridge: fully aware of its presence, but smart enough to not go digging through it. As long as it was left alone, it would hurt no one.
Our un-relationship was was, of course, the source of gossip at Inana Productions, among her friends, and especially among my friends: "Dude, yer datin' a porn star! Too awesome! Can you keep up with her? Is she wild? Is she into weird shit?" I'd have to explain that what Bekka --- and probably most women in porn --- wanted was patience, gentleness, and an easy pace. What they don't want is your cock up their ass, your cum on their face, or getting pounded like a machine. In other words, none of the bullshit you see in porn. This was greeted with a mixture of disappointment and suspicion: they couldn't grasp the idea of women in porn not being freaks. A couple accused me of only being friends with Bekka, which I agreed with, wholeheartedly, confusing them further. I suggested they ask her themselves about our sex life, and made braying jackasses of themselves by trying to find out what we really did (and didn't) do together. The answer of "We have terrific sex.... Nice and gentle" crossed the wires in their brains: no gymnastics? No facials? No hours-long fuck-a-thons? It's like the performers in porn enjoy the same thing normal women do! Their minds, they were blown.
Since I was the connection for Inana's community drug supply, the assumption was Bekka only wanted me for my dope. I did my best to squelch that rumor, but quick, making not-so-subtle suggestions that anyone saying that in my presence was, in essence, calling my friend a whore, selling her body in trade for MDMA and methamphetamine. Such insinuations were both inaccurate, and would anger me. I would protect my friend's honor in a very direct way, if I felt I needed to. My direct method of delivery would raise beads of sweat: I had the reputation of being some sort of violent punk rock hoodlum, which I had tried to erase.... Although it came in handy at times like these.
For her part, Bekka would tell the female performers she was after my body: I had an awesome cock and knew how to use it, hence her interest in me. To hell with the drugs, she wanted my dick. Any more dumb questions, dearie? Never occurred to anyone that we were simply close friends, with a lot of mutual trust and sexual attraction. There was no romantic connection because Bekka didn't want one. This was a vague disappointment to me, but I decided I preferred having Bekka as a friend and being slightly disappointed to forcing the issue, hurting Bekka, and being very disappointed.