"A good lunch, but I'm still bored," said Bekka. "I have an idea...."
"What's that?" asked The Director.
"Mini golf. Who's up for mini golf?"
"Love to, but I can't," said Small Steve. "I've got sound cables to run in ceilings. Like, a lot of them. We figured tracing the same lines as lights would work for microphones, and the boom mikes could run on casters, just scoot 'em around."
"Won't you end up with dead spots in the audio?"
"Remains to be seen. It's either gonna work really well, or it's gonna suck. No middle point. If it sucks, we just go back to regular boom mikes."
"I'll be on the phone all damn afternoon helping proof a script. I could do it myself in five minutes: dialogue, fuck, dialogue, fuck, dialogue, fuck, dialogue, fuck.... With the correct amounts of time inserted for each segment. And yes, you're in, Bekka."
"Yaay!" cheered Bekka. She liked working with scripts. Some girls hated it, preferring to do nothing but loops.
"I'm down for mini golf, for one main reason...."
"I've got 24,000 quarters for the pinball machines."
"Twenty-four tho---- you have six grand in quarters!?"
"Well, I need to take the cash to the bank and exchange the bills, but sure!"
"Lenny had a busy night last night," explained Bekka.
"None of my business, is it?" asked The Director.
"Not really, no."
"Jesus, no wonder you consider Inana part-time work."
"Yes, but safe part-time work. That's why I stick with it. Me getting shot admitted me into a fraternity among a group of people I see quite often. The whole house, and the people who spend time there, all have bullet wounds. Now I'm one of the brothers, as it were. One guy was able to tell the caliber and damage done just by looking at my wound."
"I don't think I ever want to meet your friends, Lenny. Nothing personal, but you know how it is. Would it be safe to assume they're the source of your product?"
"I refuse to answer that, and am surprised you'd ask that question. Sorta like me asking about the principals in Los Angeles: knowledge can be dangerous."
"You're right, Lenny, and I apologize. You two go enjoy mini golf."
"Hey Lenny, let's turn this into a party! We can get Tawny and Rio and Beth and Chip and Dale...."
"As long as they're still not up in L.A. Hey boss, are the people who were working in Los Angeles back yet?"
"Could be.... I was able to get them work for thirty days, but this has turned out to be a forty-two day break. Some will have tried to extend their time.... But they were on five days at a time."
"Ouch. Those poor girls."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Fuckin' for five days straight? They're just plain sore, no matter how much lube is used," she expanded.
"Damn, that would even be tough on the guys."
"Let's go to my place and get on the phone, see if anyone answers."
The consensus from those we spoke with was that the money was great in Van Nuys. The work, however, was grueling. Even Chip (Dale was in Riverside visiting his mother for a few days) said he ached and felt sore. He was pleased to be in two scripted videos, which was easier on his cock and expanded his resumé some. He made a good suggestion: the Family Fun Center in La Mesa had water slides. We said we'd call him back so we could organize car pooling, once we knew how many people we were dealing with.
Tawny thought it sounded like a boffo idea. She'd actually taken time off, just working a couple days a week instead of her usual three for Inana and two in Van Nuys. In fact, now she was taking a two week vacation, with no penis except her punk rock boy-toy Dutch's. She checked to see if Dutch was free, and called us back to let us know they both would be there, but she'd be riding with Dutch on his motorcycle, an older Ducati.
Ellen was back from Van Nuys and recovering from the experience. "I don't know where they dig up so many huge-cocked guys, but gosh, they grow 'em big! And the crumbs don't always listen when you tell them to ease off! Sheesh!" Ellen was like one of those cautionary tales about fresh-faced young girls from the Midwest coming to Los Angeles and getting sucked into a morass of deviant behavior.... Only she'd actively sought it out. In the small corn-fed town she was from in Nebraska, what would be considered a normal sex life in California was scandalous. She figured if she was going to be called a slut, she'd make money as one and jumped on a Greyhound. Due to a confusion of events, she ended up doing loops for Inana instead of working for The People In L.A. , sleeping in the mansion for her first week. Nobody minded: she made sweet rolls and coffee for everyone in the morning, and used the word "golly" with no trace of irony. She was Little Susie Farmgirl.... With her brains wedged firmly in her crotch
We set a 2:30 meet-up time in the parking lot. I was the reason for the late start: I wanted to check messages and I needed to grab my bathing suit, gathering dust in a drawer. Dutch and I were proof that punk rockers don't tan, we're either red or grey. Bekka had the sense to buy a tube of Bullfrog for me and Dutch before we left El Cajon. We'd glow pink otherwise.
Chip and Ellen were the first to arrive, beating us by several minutes. Ellen drove a two year old Grand Am which she was proud to have paid cash for. Coming ln last and in a highly rattled state was Dutch and Tawny....
"Dude! Some redneck was trying to kill us on the freeway! If it wasn't for my tire iron and Tawny, we'd be road pizza right now!"
How it worked out was this: They were minding their own business in the number two lane when some asshole decides he's going to play tag with his rear tire. He juiced it and changed lanes.... And the guy follows him.
"So it's him or me, right? I hand the tire iron I keep down by the frame to Tawny and yell to her, 'Take out his windshield!' I get alongside, duck, she swings, and fully shatters his glass.
"And the motherfucker won't give up! I hit El Cajon at a hundred, putting distance on him, but not enough for my comfort. I took the 67 cloverleaf with my knee on the ground --- I'm buying riding boots for both of us, babe --- and juiced it back this direction. I must've lost him in El Cajon. That dude was a psycho. And you were a champ, babe. You swung that bar like you were killin' Satan, you kept centered on the bike, you save our fuckin' lives out there, sweetie."
Tawny said, "I'm so high on adrenaline I'm not sure if I want the Ecstasy I'm sure Lenny has in his pocket.... Aw, who am I kidding, lemme go buy some sodas. We'll eat the drugs, then go in and change."
They had rental lockers, a vast relief, as I still had six grand in cash on me. You kept the key with you on a plastic coil spring, so you could get to your stuff when you wanted. I got in my trunks and waited for Dutch and the girls to emerge. Dutch was in trunks like me, and the girls.... They were dressed for work, let me put it that way. Ellen was marginally more modest, in a one-piece, but cut very high at the hips and deep at the chest. (Anything calling for highly impressive tits fell under Ellen's jurisdiction.) Bekka and Tawny were covered, barely, by bikinis I recognized from pool-shoot videos. I razzed them about it: "Expecting a video shoot to break out?" Tawny responded with, "No, but some horny criminal with a Nikon might show up to get his jollies." Dutch laughed at this, so I assumed she'd told him what she did for a living.
Later in the afternoon over cigarettes I asked him how he felt about dating a girl in the business.
"It's weird, at least with her. A lot of the time she wants to get helluv wild in bed, and other times she doesn't want to do anything except be held, y'know? She just wants to be cuddled, and that's all. Hey, I can dig that, everyone just wants to be close to somebody sometimes. Everybody feels that way off and on. It's a little hard on me just 'cos she's so hot, and I wanna grab her, but that would be majorly uncool: she said she just wants to be held, so I'm gonna hold her, period.
And what really messes up the mix is when she tells me about how I'm just her fuck toy.... And that kinda hurts, y'know? Like she wants me at a distance for some reason."
I explained to him that she'd been hurt, badly ("Yeah, her dick of an ex-husband") and she has to keep up her front of invulnerability, just to protect herself.
Dutch thought about it for a minute and said, "Okay, who knows how long we'll be together. But I'd never hurt her."
"Never make that statement. Everyone ends up hurting someone they care about. Bekka and I are incredibly close friends, and we've still ended up hurting each other in painful ways. Not meaning to, it's just what happens when you care about someone. A feather can drop with the weight of a brick, and you've got pain on both sides. It's all in how you deal with it when it happens. You can talk it through, or you can yell it to death, you know?" I sighed and told him, "Look, right now you've had a part-time relationship for what, ten weeks? Just enjoy the ride for now. Just let things progress at their own pace, and don't sweat it. Have fun. Go on motorcycle rices and have crazy sex. You're twenty-two, you got a lot of life in front of you."
Dutch snickered. "Dude, you're only twenty."
"Yeah, but sometimes I feel like I got too much damn mileage under my wheels, ya know?"
"Think it's the speed?"
"Yeah, but not using, it's from living around it. It's hard to turn down three grand a week in profit, being able to have the newest and best toys.... And that's all you can do with that cash. You can't buy a new car or put down money on property. Not that I know how, anyway. I don't know shit about cleaning money."
"You make that money from sellin' quarters?"
I laughed and said, "No. Those bags I had at the G.B.H. show was just me getting some spending money for the night, and making some friends happy. They can't buy the amounts I move."
"Oh indeed. One ounce minimum, plus twenty minimum of MDMA. Ecstasy is hot these days, so I always keep stocked up. I'd give up on speed and just move 'E' if the money from speed wasn't so easy. I could almost give the shit away and make good profit. And this talk didn't happen, do you understand me? Crystal clear?"
"Never heard a word," he said. "We're just talking about the hot ginch we're hanging around with this afternoon."
"Exactly. Let's go down the slides some more. And I promise to not tell Tawny you referred to her as 'hot ginch.' Now we're even on deadly talking points." We laughed and headed back up the stairs.
Even on MDMA, the same four water slides get monotonous after over an hour, so we decided to test our luck and skill at playing mini golf. Okay, we were testing our luck at playing mini golf. I pulled a wad of cash out of my locker (because mini golf always costs $700, right?) and paid up for the six of us. By the second hole, we decided there had to be a more interesting method of play. Trying to "bowl"the ball in didn't work; the ball would skid and bounce to the next hole. Chip proposed kicking the ball and sodding the par, and --- in standard Chip form --- promptly fell over, scuffing his ass and thigh on the astroturf. I swear, the boy could break his finger in a bowl of spinach dip.
No one was behind us, so we held on the second hole, four porn stars and two punks, high on MDMA, trying to work out this vexing problem. Suddenly Tawny said, "I've got this," and dropped to her hands and knees. She licked the web of her thumb and used the putter like a billiard cue to send the ball down the course. Perfect.
We worked our way slowly along, having added two to the par on every hole, receiving shaming looks from families we let past: anyone coming up on us when one of the girls was shooting learned just how little material is actually needed to make a bikini bottom. One group, a woman with seven kids was instructed to "look at the pretty pond!"
Hearing her voice, Ellen gasped and spun. Putting a finger out like the reaper, she said, "Chelsea!?"