Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bored (Part 1)

     "I am bored," Bekka declared.
     "I am bored, I am bored, I am bored!" she continued.  I was sensing a pattern.
     "So I take it you're bored, darling?" I asked.  "Chairman of the bored?"
     "That was terrible... But damn straight, cupcake.  Don't take this the wrong way, but even sex doesn't have any appeal right now.  I wanna go do something, some form of activity, possibly something interactive involving other people.  Hell, going up to the mansion and watching them finish the sound stages and fill the pools would be interesting compared to this."

     A bit of an update: the mysterious shut-down of Inana Productions had finally been explained....  They were redecorating.  Mansions being large objects, the center floor was being converted to sound stages of various sizes.  The top floor was transitioned to living quarters for The Director; if he was a big enough fan of delivery pizza, he could go for weeks without leaving the building.  The bottom floors were offices for Small Steve, The Director, a couple small sound stages for auditioning prospective performers, a good-sized meeting room complete with video projector and seating for at least twenty, and  (to her undying joy) a full size makeup studio for Jeanette, lit up like a surgical room.
     They had rebuilt the pool, with no expenses spared.  Double spas, two fountains, the pool had been expanded and made more curvy.... It was gorgeous.  Or it would be when they finally finished the damn thing.  We were looking at another five or six days, including the pool.
     So despite the delay Bekka and I had in returning, we were still well and ahead of time.  Fine with me, as the more time I had for my ribs to heal, the better.  I was still living with a lot of pain, and while I was allowed exposure to water ocean swimming was right out.

     The doctor in San Francisco wanted me out of pain and engaged in as little movement as possible.  The prescriptions he'd written --- 120 count of #10 Vicodin, one to be filled before leaving the City, the other to be filled in San Diego --- pretty much guaranteed both counts.  He wanted me gooned out on dope, so I wouldn't hurt and would be too stoned to wander around much.  After five days of this I was constipated and also bored as Bekka.  I'd rather live with the pain and go somewhere.  Anywhere.  Punctured lung be damned.
     Milk of magnesia had taken care of one problem, and my refusal to eat any Vicodin was the start of ending the other problem.  Even going to Rite-Aid  to refill my prescription would be a thrilling adventure.  I suggested we start with that, then back to my apartment and get a hold of my customers to let them know I was still alive, and had stories to tell.
     I had a lot of grateful people I spoke with on the phone, including my own connection.  I hadn't really realized just how much stuff I moved until making those calls.  I was steady enough and trustworthy enough that my connection would front for me for up to 48 hours; the way my customers were talking, I'd have it gone in six.  Two pounds is a lot of methamphetamine, and I was flattered they trusted me that much.  "Shit man, we're just glad to have you back.  Be nice to have somebody with a fuckin' brain to deal with; we thought you'd died."
     "I almost did."
     "What the fuck, Chuck?"
     I told him the story about Ivanka nearly being raped, me getting shot, hitting the would-be rapist with a baseball bat, having to go back to San Francisco for court  in a few weeks, generally hitting the high spots.
     "God damn, buddy, yer a fuckin' hero!  I'm greetin' you with a fuckin' beer when you get here!"
     "Ahh, there was plenty of luck involved, too...."
     "Bullshit!  It was you using them fuckin' brains of yours!  Yer a goddamn hero!"
     I knew better than to push an argument, over anything, with my connection, so I told him I'd be there in half an hour.  Then back to the apartment, weigh out, and start making deliveries.  Back in the saddle.
     By midnight I was empty.  Two pounds, just like that.  Bekka stayed by the phone, relaying messages from those feeling anxious via my pager, I ignored the pain and told the same story fifteen times, and then I was empty except for the half ounce I had put away a month earlier plus twenty or so hits of MDMA --- we'd given away a lot in S.F. --- and with the two pounds gone, I called Boss to see if it was too late to swing by and pay him.  Fine by him.
     I walked in and Gary said, "I just realized, ain't a damn person in this room now who hasn't taken a load."
     "Jesus, you're right!  Let's see yer holes!" said Chet.
     I pulled up my shirt and Chet said, "Nine millimeter?  Took out some chunks of rib?"
     I congratulated him on his good eye.  "Ah, it's that kinda hole.  Rib shot though, musta hurt like hell.  Drop ya?"
     "Not for a while.  I was so full of adrenaline, and I had to get the scumbag tied up with duct tape, I hadda keep moving for another ten minutes.  I mummified the bastard with tape so he wouldn't go anywhere, then got the people across the street to call the cops.  He helped me up the steps to my friend's apartment, and that was misery.... Then it hurt like hell."
     They laughed and clapped me on the back.  I was now member of an elite club, but "shit, you were stoppin' some chick from gettin' raped.  That is fuckin' righteous.  Too many pussies in this world would've run away when they saw the gun.  Lenny, man...."  He clapped me on the shoulder again  ".... You got some real guts, man.  My fuckin' hat is off to you."  We shook hands all around and I made my exit.  Got home, ate some well-deserved pills, and crawled into bed with Bekka on my left side, me on my back to keep pressure off the ribs.  I was out in moments.

     With all my drugs dispensed of, I could do what I wanted with the day.  I personally wanted to see the mansion, explore the refurbished grounds and building.  I wanted to learn the basics of operating the lights, for sheer practicality: I'd have to know how to light up the  stage for my own projects, and didn't need to be a burden  when I needed to light up, plus getting levels and colors balanced in a basic way: I wasn't planning on any artsy-fartsy colors, but they did need to be balanced in a practical manner.  I was't planning on lighting more complex than moving the furniture in  to create a stage.
     We'd called The Director and Small Steve, and they'd said it was okay for us to come down.... But only us.  Having performers  wandering around throwing their two cents in  during the work was the last thing they wanted (especially at the pool; we knew which performers would want to put in a slide).  Bekka was recognized for her intelligence.... Which translated that she wouldn't be throwing her opinions in on stuff she didn't get.  As crew, I had to learn at least the basics of the lights off the bat, so picking up the basics of the light board was a necessity.  I'd come back up in a couple days for a serious lesson.
     The Director showed off his flat, and it was gorgeous.  They''d put in one of those free-standing fireplaces, a four-head shower, a conversation pit, and a generally Playboy-type living space.... Classy, though, not cheesy at all.  He said one thing that worried me, which was, "Do you think Rita would like it?"   Hoo boy.  The Director had a major crush on our nineteen year old Latina homegirl fluffer, to the point of mentioning marriage.  Hmmm.... A late-forties man whose business connections were.... uhh.... rather organized and hierarchical, lots of guys with the middle name of "The" paired up with a small huge-titted ruca who liked spending all night on a dance floor.  The cultural differences  alone would draw a difference damn quick too: when I met her brother, he was holding a knife to my throat because he didn't know who I was.  But The Director had a serious, genuine crush on Rita, and it wasn't just sexual.  He thought she was a beautiful classy girl..  Hey, stranger things have happened..
     The pool and spa were being slowly filled.  The city wouldn't approve using a fire hydrant to fill the pool --- and there was lots of space to fill --- so the garden hose was simply running nonstop for days.

     "You guys have done a hell of a job," I said, " but I don't understand the secrecy.  Okay, you're doing major improvements.  Why the hush-hush?"
     "Partially so the work could get done without spectators, and partially so we wouldn't have everybody throwing in their damn two cents in on how things should be done.  Dispersing the performers all over Los Angeles meant we could work in peace, not trying to redesign the damn pool the first time they drop a shovel, you know what I mean?  Hell, the fact you're here right now is extending a lot of trust.  You two have seen nothing, heard nothing.  Get me?"
     We pledged our silence and promised to act duly surprised when the unveiling happened.  Then we went out to lunch at the Chilean restaurant Small Steve and I were such big fans of.  While hardly gourmands, Steve and I appreciated good food, and would try any type of restaurant at least once.  The Director, on the other hand, would be happy eating at Carl's Jr. three meals a day, so we had to coax him into ordering anything he didn't immediately recognize.  We convinced him to try the panqueques, which he enjoyed.  "Taco Bell could make a mint selling these," he said.  He was giving Taco Bell far too much credit: grilled vegetables, marinated steak strips, real guacamole.... Plus the crepes that are used instead of tortillas (the texture and flavor are completely different).  A nice thought, Director, but not about to happen.

     The Director commented on Bekka's haircut over lunch; specifically, how much shorter it had become.  A few days earlier Bekka had got a good solid trim.  Same haircut and style, just less of it.  "Oh god, you're not going punk rock on us now, are you?" he asked in a worried voice.
     "Same pageboy bob I've always had, boss," replied Bekka.
     "She's recognizable with that pageboy," I said.  "Three different times fans recognized her, and two asked for autographs!  I'd call that some gold right there."
     "Autographs?  Really?"
     "I kept 'em classy.... Well, a tiny bit naughty.  But yeah, dudes came up to me and were all, 'Are you Becky Page?'  Like Ayres' wavy chop, it seems to make me recognizable, and that can't be a bad thing."
     "Huh.  Maybe we should start doing release signings.  Next scripted video we release, we have you, Tawny, JoAnne, maybe Rio if she's in it...."
     I said, "I don't know about Rio.  To be blunt, she does a great fuck scene, but she can't act."
     "I guess it'll depend on how much screen time she has," said The Director.  "By the way, you haven't really told us how you came to get shot."
     I gave them the whole story, including the precognitive bits ("I just woke up and knew our friend was in trouble"), flushing out the rapist with a baseball, tripping him on the stairs but not getting to the gun in time and taking the bullet ("I'd have freaked out," said Small Steve), knocking him unconscious with the bat, hog-tying him with the duct tape, the pain getting worse and worse.... And finally waking up in the hospital, panicked because I didn't know where Ivanka was.
     Bekka had stepped out for a cigarette about halfway through, and not come back in.  I had a hunch why.  I excused myself for my own cigarette.  I found her on the sidewalk, crying and chain-smoking.
     "I abandoned you," she sobbed.  "You and Ivanka both needed me, and I let you down."
     "I asked you to believe the impossible, and you reacted in a natural manner.  Please, please don't continue to hurt yourself  over this.  If you told me what I told you, I'd have probably reacted the same way: I'd have said you were crazy and gone back to sleep."
     "Really?  Would you really?  I know you Lenny, and you'd have been dressed before I was."
     "Why don't we ask two reasonable people how they'd have reacted.  They're sitting inside finishing their lunch."
     "Fine!  You want people I respect to tell me what a bad person I am, and how I abandon my fucking friends, fine.  Whatever."
     We went inside and I asked Steve and The Director, "The whole precognitive thing, the attack coming to me in a dream.... If you were there, would you have said I was just nuts?"
     "Oh yeah."
     Small Steve said, "It's horrible in retrospect, but you just jumping out of bed and saying, 'I've gotta save my friend; it came to me in a dream' is funny farm material."
     I caressed Bekka's back and said, "See?  You were being the reasonable one.  You did absolutely nothing wrong."
     "I abandoned my friends when they needed me.  How could I be more horrible of a person?"
     "But you didn't abandon them," said The Director.  "You responded in a natural manner.  Lenny, you know how I mean this, but you're a bit off in the head, y'know?  If you talked about the monsters you saw in the parking lot of your complex last night, I'd write it off as you being you, ya know?  Bekka, you reacted in a normal manner."  He reached across the table and took her hand.  "Please don't beat yourself for having a natural reaction to a situation..  Lenny needs you right now, be the friend to him that you are, and have been.  I'm guessing he still cares about you as much as he did a month ago."
     "I do, girl.  You're my friend and and I love you."
     "Okay," she said.  "Just remind me I didn't fuck up every now and then."
     "If I think you need it, like you're having a crash, I'll do it..  But you didn't .  Okay?"
     "Bekka gave me a soft smile and said, "I'm glad I have a man in my life I can trust."


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