Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Signings (Part 1)

     The stretch limo was hilarious.  As a vehicle, it was the most impractical thing going on the road.  As a method of transporting three porno queens, their producer, and their muscle around, it worked well, though.  We didn't lack in room, or comfort, or privacy.  We were headed to LA to hang around in a couple adult book stores and sign boxes for customers, and Angel wanted us to arrive relaxed, not stressed from the drive.

Signings (Part 2)

     Another day in a stretch limo headed north.  Everyone in this monstrosity except for the driver is cartooned on Ecstasy.  We felt it was in bad form to offer the driver drugs, at least in the middle of the afternoon.  The girls crawl around on the floor, smoking cigarettes, playing dice, giggling.  We're headed for an adult book store in Long Beach, one owned by the family.  Bud and Lou run it, two characters out of a dirty comic strip.  They called me up to let me know all creature comforts would be provided for at all three stores we're doing signings at, even food.  We will be kept happy.

Signings (Part 3)

     I stationed myself at the front door with my jacket off and Beretta exposed.  I wanted to serve as a warning to any other would-be assassins that they were covered.  This crowd was mostly civilians, with some sailors mixed in.  Boss was positioned behind the girls, a deterrent to ardent fans.  Alexi sat in the back office under the guard of Bud.  Things were running smoothly, the fans well-behaved.

Signings (Part 4)

     Alexi was nervous.  He couldn't get over the feeling that we were going to kill him at any minute.  After all, he had threatened and attempted to kill the girls.  Now he was seated in a limo with them, Bekka, Donna, and Elspeth sitting on the floor rolling dice.  This wasn't what he expected.  No doubt our casual attitude came from having killed so many others in the past, and we were now headed to a pre-selected location for his murder.

Signings (Part 5)

     The phone rang at 7:15 a.m., an obscene hour for Bekka and me.  I was going to let it ring through to the answering machine....  Only I'd forgotten that Jane was up at that hour, getting ready for school.  She'd picked up her extension, expecting it to be Lance or another classmate begging for a ride to school.  Instead, it was someone who was familiar with her, but she didn't know him.

Signings (Part 6)

     Jane showed up around 3:45.  "Nobody after me today," she said.  "I showered after volleyball and went out to the lot with another girl, a senior who drives to school.  I wanted the company.  I didn't see anyone hanging around, and no red Pontiacs.  Think they gave up?"

Signings (Part 7)

     I shot up the freeway, making sure to keep Angel's Maserati visible in my rear view.  Nina alternated between staring nervously at me and looking out the window as though she'd never seen Los Angeles before.  Nikita napped in her lap.  Traffic was clear, we made good time into Hollywood.

Monday, December 21, 2015

School (Part 1)

     This event wasn't PTA.  It was more an opportunity for the parents of high school kids to see where the kids spent their days and meet teachers.  Running from 6:30 to 9:00 on a Wednesday night in October, Carlsbad High School was awash with suburban parents, some with their kids.

School (Part 2)

     "My jacket's buttoned okay, right?"
     "Yeah, you're fine."
     "You can't see the bulge?"
     Bekka glared at me.  "I always see the bulge.  I always feel it when you hug me.  You know I hate it, I know there's nothing I can do about it.  Finish your cigarette and let's go."

School (Part 3)

     "So you've gotta pick which room you want," I told Jane as we stood on the second floor landing of the new house.
     "I can have any of them?  Seriously?" she asked.
     "Make your choice.  Do you want one that looks over the beach?  Or do you want more space?"

School (Part 4)

     On Thursday we met the furniture guys at the new house.  Neptune St. is not large, but they'd managed to get the moving van in front of our place and still left room for other cars to get around.  We were their afternoon assignment.  Much of the furniture still required some assembly, so we would direct them as to where stuff went and they would put it together on the spot.  They got beds in place and worked around them.

School (Part 5)

     I was the last customer out of Circuit City, them locking the doors behind me.  Whatever, they were happy with the money I'd spent.  The big new TV would be delivered tomorrow afternoon.  I had Jane's TV, VCR, stereo, and bolt-together entertainment center in the back of the Cadillac.  I wanted to surprise her, so I headed for the new house to put everything together.  The entertainment center went together first, using a provided Allen wrench.  Then I struggled her TV up and hooked it up with the VCR, checking to make sure the cable worked.  The stereo was put together last, me grabbing a cassette out of the car to check the sound.  Fungo Mungo sounded fine.

School (Part 6)

     So it's Monday and I'm in my office at the mansion.  No shoots today, I'm just taking care of business.  Gina, my secretary, isn't in either.  Small Steve is down the hall working on his rough edit of our latest feature.  It's a quiet place.  I'm just about to collar Steve and take us out to lunch when the phone rings.

School (Part 7)

     Wednesday afternoon around three I was at the mansion, getting ready to head back home, when I heard a Harley pull in the driveway.  It could only be Jane.  She came into my office with a stressed look on her face, dropping her helmet and gloves on the sofa opposite me.  She still had her sunglasses on.

School (Part 8)

On Tuesday the doorbell at the mansion rang.  I was just getting off the phone with Sue, our goth sales clerk.  She'd thought about it, discussed it with her boyfriend, and wanted to give porn a shot, if we'd have her.  I set up an appointment with her for Wednesday morning to try a script read-through, just go through a couple pages of Bewitched to see if she could emote and inflect.  I warned her to not quit her day job until after she'd gotten the go-ahead from me, cautioning her again that we were picky about who we brought on.  She seemed confident.  I decided to match her up with Eddie the Big-Dicked Jew for her screen test.  She claimed to be able to swallow a garden hose, and I wanted to put that to the test.

School (Part 9)

     The following Wednesday was a busy day.  In the morning we gave Sue, our prospective goth porn star, her screen test with Eddie.  She was amused at the results of our stylist Jeanette's makeover of her.  "I look like a high school girl," she said.
     "Youth sells," I pointed out.

School (Part 10)

     Bekka and I heard her Harley fire up at the unpleasant hour of 7:15 a.m., as Jane headed for school.  She was leaving a bit early to see about getting a parking permit, her sixth.  We heard her nudge it out of the garage, then accelerate up Neptune.  I pulled my pillow over my head and went back to sleep until 8:45, when me and Bekka both got up.  We snorted our morning speed, started coffee, and hit the shower.  Bekka and I always showered together in the mornings.  It helped us start our day with a smile.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Frantic (Part 1)

     Boss set his empty beer down and said, "I never expected an operation this big to go so smooth, but it is."
     It's Saturday afternoon, and we're all sitting around in the conversation pit.  We've been ingesting various drugs, and are getting ready to head up to LA for dinner at the trattoria.  It was a celebration dinner for Boss.  He was now cranking out 20,000 hits of Ecstasy a week from his labs outside Needles, plus plenty of extra to keep dope fiends like Bekka and myself in good supply.  He idly stroked Squeak, who was curled up in his lap, enjoying the mix of marijuana, cocaine, Ecstasy, methamphetamine, and Anchor Steam running through his system.  We were all good and high.

Frantic (Part 2)

     Jane and Lance came into the office.  I was sitting with Dale and Elspeth, reviewing our plans for our outdoor shots in downtown.  Bekka and I had already worked out our bit of stunt driving, plotting out our moves on the street in front of the mansion at a slow speed.  Jane said, "Hey Lenny, you guys aren't using the pool today, right?"

Frantic (Part 3)

     Jane slithered into my office the next afternoon, after school.  She asked, "That was okay with you, right?"
     I said, "If it wasn't, we'd have told you to fuck off.  We're honest with you.  Why do you ask?"
     She wrapped her arms around my neck and said, "I dunno.  I was afraid you'd go all adult on me."

Frantic (Part 4)

     I explained what was going on while I drove home.  I included Jane in the discussion because I figured she would be impacted too.  We had already discussed our mob ties and she had taken it with grace.  She asked if I knew when I'd be called up, if at all.  I told them both that me being called into service was slim, as not only was I too far south to be in action quickly, but I was considered the sole source of security for Inana.  They weren't about to let one of their valuable holdings take the risk of no muscle.

Frantic (Part 5)

     Brianna showed up at my door around noon the next day.  She seemed surprised I was there.  I let her in (to the annoyance of the Punjabi cannonball) and she landed in the same spot on the bed.  She asked, "You're really gonna pay me to hang around and eat pizza with you?  Don't you fool around?"
     "This may have escaped your notice," I said, holding up my left hand and displaying my wedding band.  "Yeah, I fool around, but always with the woman I'm married to."
     "That ring doesn't mean shit to most of the guys I meet," Brianna muttered.
     "Does to me," I replied.  "So what do you want on the pizza today?"

Frantic (Part 6)

     The city of San Diego came through for us, blocking off streets and detouring traffic around us.  We've got a forty-five minute window in which to work.  Then we have to clear out, except for the shooting on the sidewalk.
     Bekka is looking forward to this.  She gets to fling her Plymouth Fury hot rod around in a manner not normally allowed on public streets.  We need to get two shots of her, one of which is her simply speeding down a hill, then one of her speeding down a hill and doing a four-wheel drift into a right turn.  It's her car, she knows what she's doing, so she's the driver.  Dale, who is supposedly at the wheel, wasn't feeling confident enough to pull off this bit of driving.

Frantic (Part 7)

     I dialed Angel's number.  My stomach burned.  I felt frantic.  I wanted a damn drink with a line of good coke behind it.  The phone rang three times, then Angel's wife Angela picked it up.
     "Lenny?" she said.
     "Yeah, me.  I got more info for Angel."
     "He's on the phone in the office, let me get him." The receiver was put down.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cadillac (Part 1)

     It's a Saturday morning, and we're all in a merry mood.  The three of us --- Bekka, Jane, and myself --- are crammed in my Acura, heading north on I-5 towards Anaheim.  It's our last ride in the Acura.  It's being traded in for a Cadillac Fleetwood I special ordered through one of my mafia cronies, a hefty dude named Rico Carelli.  Rico owns Carelli Cadillac of Anaheim, and also turns a pretty penny shipping hot cars to foreign buyers.  He's a good guy, and still only mildly pissed that I got his wife tweaked out on meth at a party.

Cadillac (Part 2)

     As much fun as we were having at Knott's having g-forces applied to us, I was secretly looking forward to the drive home.  I wanted to spend some time behind the wheel of my new ride.  From what little time I'd driven it so far, I was guessing it would be our usual vehicle, replacing the Fury when it came to us all going somewhere together.

Cadillac (Part 3)

     I went back up to Carelli Cadillac on Wednesday, arriving just before noon.  The sales-drone I'd dealt with on Saturday recognized me and had apparently been told I was expected, as he already had the phone in his hand as I approached.
     "Mr. Carelli, sir?  Mr. Schneider has arrived, shall I send him up?  Yes sir."
     The drone told me, "Go ahead on up, Mr. Carelli is waiting."  I thanked him and headed for the stairs.

Cadillac (Part 4)

     We had settled into a routine.  Jane was out of the house by 7:20, before me and Bekka were up.  She made her own breakfast and packed her own lunch, consisting of Snickers bars and Slimfast.  Between drama club and volleyball practice, she didn't get home before 4:00.  Lance would be with her, and the two of them would ensconce themselves in the spa for an hour or so, then she'd drive him home.  Bekka and I would let them have their privacy.  Then we'd either go out for dinner or Jane would make something.  Eight to nine was homework hour.  Then the three of us would hit the bong and watch TV, Jane heading for bed around 10:30.

Cadillac (Part 5)

     We're bombing towards Evelyn's in the Fleetwood, Jane leaning over the front seat so she can talk.  Our dinner date is set for 5:30, and I don't want to be late.  Bekka is giving me a smirk, prompted by my appearance.  I'm wearing a tie.  Jane is also amused by this.  She is in the same clothes she went to school in, a Road Warriors t-shirt and her black leather pants that look like they were sprayed on.  She says, "I've never seen you in a shirt with buttons."

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pet (Part 1)

     I went down to my office around eleven in the morning and dialed Florida.  Jane's dad picked up on the third ring.
     "Yes, is this Mr. Osborne?"
     "It is...."
     "Yeah, hi, my name is Lenny Schneider.  You may remember me, we met a couple years ago on a dinner cruise in Fort Lauderdale.  My wife and I befriended your daughter Jane on the cruise."

Pet (Part 2)

     Monday morning found us at the offices of Carlsbad High School.  Sunday had been spent in a state of chemical frenzy.  We went out for a relatively early breakfast at IHOP, then returned to the penthouse to hit the bong and watch porn, Bekka and I explaining what was going on through every step.  Jane took all this in with fascination, asking for explanations at the turn of scenes.  She was particularly curious about the identity of some of the male performers.

Pet (Part 3)

     By sheer chance we arrived at the trattoria at the same time as Angel.  The four  of us went to a table on the patio and ordered wine to start off with.  Angel was curious about the spiky blue-haired teenage object we were with.

Pet (Part 4)

     I'd posted signs on the inside doors of the sound stages reading, "CLOTHING OF SOME FORM MUST BE WORN OUTSIDE.  THIS MEANS YOU!"  The performers took it to heart, and would at least pull on underwear before heading down for a smoke or a soda.

Pet (Part 5)

     Over the weekend we took Jane shopping for school supplies: pens, pencils, folders, a calculator, and spiral notebooks.  At Bekka's suggestion we forewent buying a regular book bag and instead went to a military surplus store in Oceanside, where we found a strapped canvas bag the right size and shape.  Jane began to personalize it by drawing the Crass logo on the upper flap.  I personalized the Cutlass by putting an Operation Ivy sticker in the rear window.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Fallen (Part 1)

     Bekka and I were up in Encino for another of Vinny and Chrissie's legendary parties.  The two of us were legendary on our own, being greeted like old friends by people we'd met once in our lives.  Besides our reputations as the reigning champions of smut, we were known as a couple that things happened to.  The last party was the one where Chrissie had been kidnapped the following day, sending Bekka and I on a search for her.  Things had gotten wild.  So there was that.

The Fallen (Part 2)

     On Monday I called down to Carelli Cadillac in Anaheim and asked to speak to Rico.  He and Rachel left the party around three in the morning.  I wanted to find out what sort of condition Rachel was in, and if I could help in any way.  And if Rico planned to kill me and Bekka.

The Fallen (Part 3)

     "A Cadillac Fleetwood?  Seriously?"
     Bekka was grimly amused by my potential choice in new vehicles.
     "Is it gonna have curb feelers, Lenny?  Will you drive around with the left blinker on all the time?  Will the climate control be forever wedged at eighty?"

The Fallen (Part 4)

     Our body went into the morgue as a Jane Doe, but didn't remain that way.  Her name was Meredith Jansen, and she lived in the townhouses at the end of the street.  She was reported missing by her family, who couldn't figure out where Mom could have gotten to.  She could have reached our property by walking along the edge of the bluff.

The Fallen (Part 5)

     The next day was our first full day of blocking and rehearsal, working through our interior scenes.  Me and Small Steve were moving furniture into place in Dale's "office" when Elspeth and Eddie came skipping in, hand in hand.  They both had anxious looks on their faces.

The Fallen (Part 6)

     We arrived back at the mansion around a quarter to two, sacks of Mexican food at the ready.  As the headlights panned over the front entryway, I thought I made out a shadow, but I wasn't sure.  Fuck it, I was feeling punchy.  I anchored the big Fury in the driveway and slouched out, grabbing the bags of food.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tape (Part 1)

     Rocker Girls released to mixed reviews.  The consensus seemed to be that the sex was hot, but the music was frightening: I had chosen to go with using live hardcore punk, and not everyone was comfortable with that.  Adult Video News gave it four of five stars, a good showing which helped our sales.  In their words, "Inana Productions steps out on the edge by combining their usual sultry sex with live music video in this slice-of-life movie about a punk rock nightclub.  Tawny Smith stars as the club manager, with Becky Page playing her perpetually-horny barkeeper.  Ella Belle actually got a mohawk for her role as one of the club's regulars....  You may grit your teeth through the music, but Rocker Girls is fun, definitely worth the price of admission."

Tape (Part 2)

     On Tuesday I gave Donna a (clothed) screen test, to see how well she read scripts and if she paced herself correctly.  She passed with flying colors, so we moved on to a nude photo shoot, to get a gauge of her inhibitions, if any.  She was confident in front of the camera, smiled well, and wasn't shy with her body.  I got on the phone with the lab and got her listed on our blood test roster, sending her down that afternoon.  If she could hack a full shoot, she would become very valuable to Inana.

Tape (Part 3)

     I missed the serving of the search warrant by about ten minutes, according to Bekka.  Donner had caught a judge as he got out of bed, processed the paperwork, and headed straight over.

Tape (Part 4)

     Another day, another read-through of a new script.  Cast and crew gathered in the living room, cigarettes and sodas ready at hand.  Eddie was telling Rio and Elspeth why Jews make the best male porn stars.

Tape (Part 5)

     We spent the night at the Best Western in Encinitas.  Breakfast was bagels, coffee, and speed.  We hurried back to the mansion around 8:30, fearing what might have gone wrong in the night.  Squeak had stayed inside our penthouse instead of having his usual run of the mansion.  Paranoia was the rule of the day....

Tape (Part 6)

     I got back to the mansion and brought the food into the kitchen.  "Hooray, Christmas dinner!" exclaimed Eddie.
     "Huh?" said Jackie.
     Eddie explained while balancing a pair of chopsticks on his nose, "Chinese food is the traditional Christmas meal for American Jews.  The Chinese places are the only ones open that day, so that's what we eat."  I officially liked Eddie.  He was a clown and a ham, two things that worked well on the set of a porno movie.  He would be serious when he needed to be, too.  He was a welcome addition to my stable of male performers.  Him having a huge dick didn't hurt things, either.

Tape (Part 7)

     The address was in La Mesa.  We did a post-meal line of speed in the parking lot of the Seafarer, popped the Hickoids in the tape deck, and headed that direction.  I was stressed about this confrontation, to the point of carrying a second gun: a .380 revolver tucked in my boot.  It was a gift from the guy who'd shot me with it.

Tape (Part 8)

     Angel was none too happy with my report about how things had gone.  Ultimately, though, he understood our actions were dictated by others, and it wasn't just me being a loose cannon.  He invited me and Bekka up for dinner at the trattoria.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Stardom (Part 1)

     We were getting rich.  Bewitched, the sex-and-sorcery opus I'd produced, was breaking sales records both in the US and in Europe.  My capo Angel had given me a $10,000 bonus and a raise; I'd split the ten grand with my director Small Steve.  I'd also petitioned for, and received, bonuses for all who had worked on the project, including the performers.  With the way the video was selling, we could afford it.  Retailers couldn't keep it in stock, and our mail order business had shot through the roof.

Stardom (Part 2)

     One thing we'd never considered was fan mail.  We'd received it in the past, but only a few pieces at a time.  Now we were getting thirty letters a day, from new fans who wanted our performers to know just how awesome they were.  The tenor of the mail ranged from the grateful ("Thank you so much for making this movie") to the lewd, stuff that would have been rejected by the Penthouse Forum for being too over the top.  Picking up mail from our P.O. box was now a process, as there was always a note from the postmaster letting us know our box was full and we needed to go to the counter and pick up what didn't fit.

Stardom (Part 3)

     There had been about twenty-five picketers on Tuesday.  Wednesday there were twenty, and Thursday only saw fifteen.  They took the weekend off.  On Monday there were six, what appeared to be three retiree-aged couples.  They didn't even bother marching, simply standing on the sidewalk to one side of the driveway, talking and leaning on their signs.  The protest movement was petering out quickly.

Stardom (Part 4)

     The next morning, bright and early, everyone gathered at the Diver's Club down off Morena.  The owner was there to meet us and give me a key.
     "I'm probably crazy for agreeing to this," he said, "but you're making it worth my while.  Where's your cameras?"
     "No cameras today," said Small Steve.  "Today and tomorrow are devoted to blocking and read-through.  We film next Monday through Wednesday.  The bands play Monday and Tuesday.  Those are our crucial film days."

Stardom (Part 5)

     The shooting in the club was as stressful as I imagined, and came out great.

Stardom (Part 6)

     We went national.  First with ABC, then CBS.  NBC (based in New York) wrote it off as a statewide story and left it up to the affiliates.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Visits (Part 1)

     This time the scream awoke me at 4:30.  Even if the sound hadn't rousted me, Bekka's thrashing around would have.  It was the fourth time in ten days she'd had the nightmare.
     I did what I learned to do after the first night, which was to wrap my arms around her and call her name until she woke up.  When she came to she had terror in her eyes, something you never like to see on the face of a loved one.  She threw her arms around me and squeezed.  I could feel the tears running down my chest, but she didn't make a sound.  She refused to.  It was a sign of weakness to her, even in front of her husband.

Visits (Part 2)

     "Guess who I talked to today," Bekka greeted me as I walked through the door.
     "No clue," I said.
     "Ivanka," she told me.  "Her and her girlfriend are coming to San Diego on a vacation in a couple weeks.  Ivanka owns a car now.  We were a bad influence on her: she bought a 1967 Mercury Cougar."
     "Sweet.  Stock, or is it rodded?"
     "She didn't say.  I told her they could stay with us."

Visits (Part 3)

     The girls pulled into Angel and Angela's driveway in Bekka's Sport Fury, right on time.  Angela was in the driveway smoking a cigarette.  She smiled and came around the side of the Plymouth to get her hug while Ivanka and Ginny climbed out.  Introductions were made.

     "Angela, these are our friends Ivanka and Ginny.  They're down here from San Francisco on vacation."
     Ivanka shook hands first.  "I am in-indebted to Lenny and Bekka.  They rescue me from Santa Barbara, and Lenny save my life twice."
     "Remember us telling you about when Lenny got shot stopping a rape?" said Bekka.  "This is the girl."
     "And he also save us from the robber in the diner," said Ivanka.
     "Yeah, that too.  And this is Ginny."
     Ginny stepped forward and shook hands.  "Lenny hasn't saved my life yet, but it seems to be a trend.  Hopefully nothing will happen on our vacation."
     Angela laughed and said, "You never know.  Lenny and Bekka are people who things seem to happen to.  Bekka, is it all right if we use your car today?  There's five of us, and yours will be roomier than taking one of the Volvos."
     "No problem," said Bekka.  "We still need to pick up Chrissy?"
     "Yes.  Vinny got a new shipment in, and it's absolute rocket fuel, wonderful stuff.  Shall we?"
     Everyone piled back in the Plymouth and drove the six blocks to Vinny and Chrissy's house.  On the way over, Ginny asked Angela, "Are you carrying a gun?"
     "Why yes I am.  Why do you ask?"
     Ginny said, "I was just wondering.  I know Bekka is, and so does Lenny, and they said it's common around the people they know."
     Angela smiled.  "Darling, I'm carrying three of them right now.  I have one in my purse, one on my calf, and one on my waist.  Does this bother you?"
     "I'm trying to adjust to the idea," Ginny shrugged.  "I'm only used to seeing cops have them."
     "The police cannot be counted upon," said Angela.  "The woman we are going to pick up right now started wearing one fairly recently, after she was the victim of a kidnapping.  Things may have turned out differently if she had been wearing a pistol when it happened."  She paused.  "I can demonstrate my Beretta to you  when we arrive at Chrissy's house, if you wish."
     "Did Vinny get his range put in the basement at last?" Bekka asked.
     "Yes, and it's marvelous.  Three lanes, and well soundproofed.  Because of the size of the house it's limited to fifteen yards, but that's good for standard practice.  If we want to go for a longer distance we just have to go to the range down in Van Nuys.  They put in a coffee bar at that one, you know."
     "Too sweet.  Make a day of it."
     They arrived at Chrissy's and were greeted at the door by Vinny.  "Come on in, ladies!  Chrissy is still getting ready.  Care for a toot?"
     Angela said, "In a little bit.  Actually, I was wondering if we could use your range briefly?  These two girls are unfamiliar with guns, and I thought I would give a small demonstration."
     "Sure, sure, come on down.  You want to use your own iron, or would  you like to borrow my 92?"
     "That would be most kind, Vinny.  Your Beretta doesn't have the same kick as mine, even if it is heavier, and will help them get used to the feel."
     Vinny led them out to the garage and down a stairwell.  Sure enough, there were three lanes set up, complete with spools for the targets, a padded table for loading, and a few cases of ammunition sitting in the corner.  Vinny clipped a target up and ran it out to the opposite wall.
     "I figured we'd give them a try with my Colt, too," said Bekka.
     "A good idea," said Angela.
     Vinny said, "I've got plenty of practice ammo, so you're not having to use up your hollow-point.  Bekka, is your Colt a 9mm or a .38?"
     "It's a nine."
     "Perfect.  Swap out ammo before using yours."
     Ivanka and Ginny watched with fascination as Bekka thumbed the bullets out of the spare clip in her purse and reloaded it with the practice ammo.  Angela loaded an empty clip and put it in Vinny's Beretta 92.  She gestured to the two novices.
     "Rule one: always treat any gun like it's loaded.  Rule two: always keep the gun pointed downrange or at the floor.  Rule three: keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you're ready to fire.  Rule four: put in your hearing protection before firing.  There's a jar of ear plugs over there."
     Everyone put in ear plugs and Angela stepped up to the firing line with Vinny's Beretta.  Ivanka and Ginny followed, stopping on each side of her.  Angela shooed Ginny over to her left side, explaining, "Unless you want to get hit by hot shell casings, that's  a bad place to be."
     Angela fired five times, then drew in the target.  "Not bad," she said, "considering this is not a gun I'm used to.  It's heavier than mine, but doesn't kick as much.  So who's next?"
     Ivanka and Ginny looked at each other.  "I guess I'll try," said Ginny.  She took the gun from Angela, stepped up to the line, aimed....  And squeezed her eyes shut and turned her head as she pulled the trigger.  The shot went into the wall.
     "You'll, uh, you'll do better if you look at what you're doing," said Angela.
     "Fire wild like that on a public range and they'll throw you out," added Bekka.
     "Try again, and keep your head up and your eyes open," suggested Angela.
     Ginny raised the gun and did as she was instructed.  She hit the target this time.  "Three more shots," Angela said.
     Ginny pulled the trigger three more times, keeping the shots on the paper if nothing else.  Then it was Ivanka's turn.
     Ivanka took the gun from Ginny and stepped up to the line.  She assumed the same stance that Angela had used, sighted, and fired.  She got an eight.
     "Four more shots, darling," said Angela.  Ivanka blazed away and kept them all in the target area.  The target was drawn in and Ivanka smiled.
     "This is fun!" she exclaimed.  "Now I am not afraid of the pistol.  Ginny, when we get home we must get one of our own.  There must be a place to shoot somewhere near us."
     "I dunno," said Ginny.  "I'm still nervous."
     Bekka offered, "Here, try my Colt.  It's smaller and lighter, although it jerks a bit more.  You have to bring the tip down between shots until you're used to it.  Still, it's a fun one to shoot."
     With her nervous face on, Ginny took the Colt Defender and walked into position.  She got in a stance and fired, forcing herself to keep her eyes open and head up.  Again, she stayed on the paper and that was about all.  She handed off to Ivanka, saying, "I'm still nervous."
     Ivanka tossed her pony tail, sighted, and blew holes in the center of the target, shooting slowly but steadily.  Angela brought the target forward and said, "Girl, you have a gift for this!  Are you going to continue to shoot back home?"
     She smiled and said, "I hope to, this is fun.  But I am not a citizen yet, so I may not be able to purchase a gun of my own."
     "You're not a citizen," said Bekka, "but Ginny is.  Ginny does the purchase, and the two of you go out and shoot together.  Real simple."
     "Wait, I have to go buy a gun?" asked Ginny.  "I'm not comfortable being around them, much less firing them."
     Angela said, "We're trying to get you used to them.  Simply think of them as tools that are rather noisy to use, and that you hope to not need.   Here, let me show you my favorite...."
     She reached to her waist and pulled out her tiny Beretta.  "I like this one because it's a nine, you can hide it anywhere, and it has great accuracy."  She popped out the clip.  "Here, swap out ammo and try it.  Keep in mind it kicks a bit."
     With guidance, Ginny thumbed the hollow-point bullets out of the clip and fed in practice ammo.  She inserted the clip into the tiny gun and walked up to the line.  "This is lighter," she said.  She pulled the trigger once, hitting in the target area.  A few more shots and she was comfortable.  She squeezed off the last two rounds and smiled at everyone.
     "The best part of that piece is it has nearly the stopping power of a 92," said Angela.  "Go ahead, try another clip."
     "What do you mean, stopping power?" asked Ginny.
     "I mean it will put a person down if you need it to.  Obviously having quality ammunition makes a difference, but the construct of the gun is also key.  Here, put in this clip."
     "You are getting the feel for using a gun?" asked Ivanka.  "I knew you would."  She stepped into the next lane with Bekka's Colt and opened fire, again staying in the target area.
     Angela ran out a fresh target for Ginny and Ginny let loose.  This time she was able to keep within the target area.  She smiled nervously and said, "That's enough for now."  She handed the gun back to Angela, who reinserted her "real" ammunition and put the gun back on her waist.
     Vinny came back down the stairs, announcing, "Hey girls, I've got refreshments lined up on the coffee table when you're ready.  New shipment."
     They followed Vinny back upstairs and into the living room, where large lines of cocaine were sitting on the glass of the coffee table.  Vinny pulled a metal straw out of his pocket, held it up, and said, "Who's first?"
     "Allow our guests to try it first," said Angela.  "Is this the same as you dropped off with Angel a couple days ago?"
     "Sure is.  Here you go, honey," Vinny said, handing the straw to Ginny.
     "Jeez, I'm gonna need to get a running start to do that," Ginny said, kneeling on the floor.  She switched nostrils halfway through the line, then sat back with a beaming smile growing on her face.  "Wow.  I don't think I've ever had coke like that before.  Here you go," she said, handing the straw to Ivanka.
     Ivanka knelt down next to Ginny and said, "I have never done cocaine before.  How much of a surprise is it?"
     Angela laughed and said, "You will find it a pleasant surprise, darling."
     Ivanka did up her own line.  Her face conveyed surprise and interest.  She said, "Excuse me," then leaned over and kissed Ginny on the mouth.  Ginny responded.  Within seconds there were two young women lying on the floor of the living room making out, with only a brief pause for Ivanka to put the straw back up on the table.  Bekka commented to Vinny and Angela, "If you haven't guessed, they're a couple.  With me doing a girl/girl scene next week, I feel like I should be taking notes."
     Bekka and Angela had finished snorting their lines when Chrissy came into the room.  "I see our guests are here!" she cried.
     "They like your coke," commented Bekka.  She coaxed the two of them off the floor.  "You can do that in the car on our way to the restaurant."
     "You promise?" smiled Ginny.
     Introductions were made, and the subject of which restaurant to go to came up.  Vinny's bistro was decided upon, and after Chrissy did up her line, the five of them went out and got in the Fury, Angela taking the shotgun seat.
     Ginny said, "I've gotta ask.  How do you get a hold of coke like that?"
     "You buy in bulk," Chrissy replied.  "We have a commercial interest in it, so we're getting it pretty much straight off the boat."
     "So you guys really are in the mafia?"
     Angela giggled from the front seat.  "Our husbands are.  We simply benefit from the association.  Me and Chrissy's husbands move cocaine, so that is what we have around.  Due to his connections, Bekka's husband has access to high quality Ecstasy, a new venture for the family.  With a bit of perseverance, we will control all Ecstasy distribution in California within a couple years, as we do coke.  It is strictly business, and we have access to the raw product."
     "So Lenny really is a member of the mafia," said Ginny.
     "He's an associate, a soldier," said Chrissy.  "He saved my life some months back."
     "Lenny and Bekka said something about rescuing a woman from kidnappers.  That was you?"
     "That was me.  The kidnappers forced me to pose for bondage pictures and held me for ransom.  Bekka and Lenny figured out where I was being held and got me out.  I was drugged at the time, but they managed to get me in their car and drive away.  The kidnappers chased them, and Bekka killed the driver.  The family is in Bekka's debt for that: she helped save me, and she protected the life of an associate."
     Bekka muttered from behind the wheel, "I consider that debt to be paid.  We got ten grand and a week off out of the deal."
     "Nonetheless, you went above and beyond.  I've always meant to ask....  Did you really go without sleep for five days?"
     "Yeah.  We just never had time to rest."
     "You  were using Lenny's crank."
     "Some coke, too, but yeah, mostly speed.  It came in handy.  Getting you back was our responsibility, and there was no time to lose.  Don Ventimiglia had given us seventy-two hours to get you back or we would have been in deep trouble.  We had to keep moving, with little rest.  Heh, I guess we freaked out the don when we saw him after we got you back.  We must have looked like hell."
     Chrissy laughed.  "Yes, he told people you both looked like vampires when you showed up at his house!  All gaunt-faced and hollow-eyed."
     "No big surprise."
     Bekka pulled into the valet lane in front of Vinny's bistro and they piled out.  Chrissy was recognized by the maitre'd and they received immediate seating, well ahead of those already waiting.  After placing their drink orders, Ginny said, "So what's it like?"
     "What's what like, darling?" asked Angela.
     "Being connected to the mob."
     "It is comfortable, with moments of severe stress.  We all worry about our husbands, much more so than most any other wife.  It has its risks, which is why we are all armed.  I carry three guns.  Chrissy, you have your Ruger with you?"
     "Yes I do."
     Bekka said, "I've got my Colt Defender on my waist, plus the small Beretta you gave me in my  purse."
     Angela continued, "There you have it.  Six guns between the three of us.  All of us have been in dangerous situations, and consider carrying guns to be a necessity, not a luxury.  I am sorry the guns upset you, but they are necessary to how we live our lives.  The family has enemies, so we are always cautious."
     "Damn," said Ginny.
     "The positive side is that we lead lives of luxury.  I know Bekka and Lenny are both still working their regular jobs, but Lenny is still a low-level soldier, and they're going to build a house on the beach, so income is important to them.  That's why Bekka still performs.  Chrissy and I are both ex-performers, we quit at the insistence of our new husbands.  I don't know....  Hey Bekka, do you want to leave the business?"
     Bekka sipped her beer and said, "Not yet.  We need the money, I'm getting too successful, and I'm still having fun.  I'm looking forward to this newest feature."
     "Oh yeah.  The witch thing."
     Chrissy said, "I read the script Lenny faxed up.  How's it going?"
     Bekka replied, "Real smooth so far.  We're done with rehearsal and blocking, and we start shooting my speaking scenes on Tuesday."
     "Think it'll be another winner?"
     "Oh yeah.  As long as the special effects work out, this could be our best yet."
     Ivanka asked, "You need special effects for a porn video?"
     "In this one we do.  There's supposed to be a lot of witchcraft going on, so we need stuff like lightning bolts and fireballs going across the screen.  Get this, in my final fuck scene, there'll be electric arcs shooting off of me and the two guys!"
     "I'm amazed," said Ginny.  "I never knew people rehearsed porn."
     Bekka said, "See, the thing is that we try to make good porn.  If you want you can watch a couple of our earlier features, and you can see what we've accomplished so far.  'Bad Babysitter' was good drama, it had some suspense thrown in too."
     "Loan us the tapes, we'll watch them at home.  Any good girl-on-girl stuff?"
     "Well, I think they came out good...."
     "Do you enjoy doing those scenes?"
     Bekka shrugged.  "As much as I enjoy doing scenes with boys."
     Ginny pouted and asked, "You don't prefer one over the other?"
     "Performance is performance.  Look, you'll have to watch it being done, and you'll see."
     Chrissy threw in, "Performance is more than getting your clothes off and screwing the other person, or people.  You don't get very involved with it.  It's fun, but it's not fun the way people think it is."
     The waitress came over and took their orders.  After she left, Bekka said to Ginny, "You and Ivanka are going to do something which very few people ever get to, which is watch porn actually being made.  I'm assuming you want to watch my scene with Rio --- we're shooting the whole thing at once, which is rare for us --- but you can watch a straight scene, and I'll explain what's going on as they work.  It really is work, too.  You'll see when we shoot it, I need to look at the shoot schedule to see when me and Rio are working together."
     Ginny asked, "Is that the girl who was throwing you on the floor yesterday?  I want to see her naked."  This earned her a punch in the arm from Ivanka.
     "Don't worry," said Bekka, "you'll get to see us both naked.  When we get back tonight I'll check the shoot schedule so you guys aren't at the zoo or whatever that day."
     "I'm going to make the dudes I work with sick with jealousy when I tell them how I spent my vacation.  Most of 'em are single, so they're probably already familiar with your movies."
     Ivanka said, "Since Bekka and Lenny are giving us tapes, we should throw a viewing party some night.  It would make things more interesting."
     "I'll give you 'Bad Babysitter' and 'Wedding Party.'  Those are a couple of our best ones right now.  And we'll mail you up a copy of 'Bewitched' when it's completed.  You'll have it before it's released.  Ha, that's the nice thing about being married to the producer: promo copies are free."
     "So what shall we do after lunch?" asked Angela.  "Besides more coke, that is."
     "Why don't we go shopping?" suggested Bekka.
     Ivanka said, "I wish to take Ginny shopping.  She only owns jeans, t-shirts, and bicycle shorts.  I cannot take her to the Top Of The Mark dressed like that."
     Ginny looked annoyed.  "You want me to dress up all girly-girl.  That's not me, and you know it."
     "You need a few nice clothes, for when we go someplace nice."
     Bekka said, "Why don't we go down Melrose Avenue instead of up on Rodeo?  I'm sure we can find you  a couple outfits that you'll like.  Later we can take you into Beverly Hills and get you a makeover.  How does that sound, Ginny?"
     "You're kidding me."
     "Only partially."


Visits (Part 4)

     "I still can't believe I own makeup now," said Ginny over breakfast on Thursday.  "Good stuff, too, judging by the price of the crap."
     "It is sports makeup," said Ivanka.  "You can wear it at work if you wish."
     I asked, "So, you two ready to see porn being made?  We're shooting Bekka and Rio's scene today."
     Ginny said, "So how come there's only one scene with two girls in it in this movie?  Why don't you make stuff us dykes can enjoy?"

Visits (Part 5)

     The following Wednesday found me in my office with Bekka.  We were trying to figure out a discrepancy of eight hundred tapes that one of our distributors hadn't paid for.  I'd already spent the morning yelling at our warehouse manager, and was gearing up to spend some time yelling at the distributor's warehouse.  Eight hundred tapes of hardcore porn seemed to have disappeared, and I wasn't happy with the answers I was getting from people.
     The doorbell rang.  This puzzled me, as damn few people bothered with it.  Anybody who knew the place would walk straight in and head for my office.  Ivanka and Ginny were up in Anaheim, visiting Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm for a couple days.  We didn't expect them back until the next day, and they knew they could just walk right in.  Curious, I went to the door.

Visits (Part 6)

     "So did you guys have fun?" I asked as Ivanka and Ginny came into the office.  I'd found my "missing" eight hundred tapes and was celebrating with a sandwich.
     Ivanka said, "Disneyland was nice, but they became angry at us for holding hands while waiting in line.  I do not wish to return, unless it is with my family."
     "Bunch of damn Nazis," swore Ginny.  "Knott's has better rides anyway."

Visits (Part 7)

     On a Wednesday three months later the phone rang.  It was Angel, and I couldn't tell by his voice whether he was excited or pissed off.
     "Lenny, have you picked up mail today?" he asked.
     "I was about to go do that, while I grabbed some lunch.  Why, what's up?"
     "The new Adult Video News is out.  I want to read something to you.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Boss (Part 1)

     We weren't inside the restaurant yet, and already we were causing chaos.

Boss (Part 2)

     I drew short straw and had Lieutenant Donner as my grill.  I'd have been surprised If I had anyone else, really

Boss (Part 3)

     In the morning I took a cab over to the restaurant to pick up the Acura.  My destination was an auto glass place in Oceanside, but first I wanted to stop by the police station and get my Beretta back.  I put the Acura in a visitor space and went in.

Boss (Part 4)

     "Yer tellin' me those damn brats from Hellbound are the ones who want me dead?" exclaimed Boss.
     "That's how we got it figured," said Chet.  "They knock you out of the picture, then bully their way into running the labs."
     Boss glared at the beer in his hand and muttered, "Damn little punks.  No offense meant, Lenny."
     "None taken," I replied.

Boss (Part 5)

     Bekka emptied another clip into the silhouette target fifteen yards away.  She was getting good scores, even with rapid fire shooting.  Angela had given her a spare clip, so I could load one clip while she fired out of the other.

Boss (Part 6)

     The townhouse remained unmolested overnight.  I returned in time to catch Boss' morning call, checking in.  He wasn't happy to hear how Bekka and I had spent our evening.

Boss (Part 7)

     The explosion blew out our living room window, and the glass in cars surrounding it.  Car alarms rang throughout the complex.
     We jolted out of bed, pausing long enough to pull on underwear (and in Bekka's case, a t-shirt) before going to investigate.  Bekka screamed when we stepped outside and saw what had happened.  I ran for the phone to call 911, just like all my neighbors were doing at the same time.  Then I went back outside to see how Bekka was doing.

Boss (Part 8)

     On Saturday two men whom I vaguely recognized but did not know showed up at my door at eight a.m.
     This was not a good hour for me on a Saturday, particularly this Saturday.  The day before Bekka and I had received a three month eviction notice from the property owners.  Between the stabbings and the police and the strange hours we kept and the car blowing up we were a detriment to the complex.  They were rather polite about it, but we seemed to draw chaos to ourselves, and that was a threat to both the solitude of our neighbors and the well being of their townhouse.  We had to go.  Three months should be plenty of time for us to locate and move into a new place.

Boss (Part 9)

     My instincts about Bud and Lou were well founded, but I wouldn't learn that until the following night.  In the meantime, they held true to  their word and called me around 10:30 Saturday night from their hotel at Vacation Village.

Boss (Part 10)

     Around 4:30 the phone rang.  Bud was calling to let us know they were headed back down south.
     "Hey, we're in Anaheim right now.  You guys have any plans for dinner?  We feel like steaks.  Steaks sound okay with you?  You know a good steak house down there?"
     "There's a chop house in La Costa called Evelyn's, and they do a good steak.  Also ribs, if you want to go that route."
     "Perfect!  Gimme directions and we'll meet there at 5:30."

Boss (Part 11)

     The next morning I called Boss to let him know what had transpired over the last couple of days.  Like me, he hoped the Hellbound would keep their (rather coerced) word and leave us all alone.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Powder (Part 1)

When Mikey rolled over, he didn't do things by halves.  He flipped on three separate addresses, two of which we already had plus a third, and names to go along with all three.  His only request of the mafia at this point was that he didn't have to go through detox uncushioned, being provided with at least negligible amounts of China White to help ease him off the drug.  The family kept him high, and he provided information.

Powder (Part 2)

     I stopped and picked up mail before heading to the mansion.  Happy news: two of our five distributors had sent checks.  Always a nice thing to find.  Plus three demo tapes from couples who hoped to be on video, and most certainly wouldn't.  I knew what I'd see when I watched the tapes, puffy couples in their forties having it off in front of a tripod camera and acting like they'd both just got off work.  Which they probably had.  No use to anyone but their friends.

Powder (Part 3)

     It was after seven when we reached Vinny's.  Angel and Vinny were loitering in the driveway, killing time before my arrival with cigarettes and a couple bottles of beer.  I had the feeling this was not how they wanted to spend Monday night.  I agreed.  I wanted to hand over Mikey and go eat dinner with Bekka.  At this point I didn't care what they did to Mikey, save killing him.

Powder (Part 4)

     Three weeks later is when I thought I would die, and welcomed it.  A Monday afternoon.  Bekka had no performance to do at all that day, so she'd stayed home.  I'd gone up to Inana and wrestled with paperwork.  We were between full releases and were just knocking out loops.  It was shaping up to be a dull week.

Powder (Part 5)

     Angela and I departed for our motel around midnight.  Bekka was happy for the company but finally had to plead exhaustion.  No surprise there, given what she'd been through that day.  I considered crashing out in one of the chairs, but Bekka called that silly: there was nothing I could accomplish by being there all night, I'd be back in the morning, and hopefully we'd all have had a good night's rest.

Powder (Part 6)

     The doctors decided to keep Bekka an extra day.  Apparently she wasn't absorbing oxygen at the rate they wanted, so they thought getting four days of oxygen panels would indicate if she was at least improving steadily, if not as fast as they hoped.  Her new release day was Friday.

Powder (Part 7)

     On my way back to the hospital, I stopped by the mansion and talked to Angel about what I'd learned: Mikey was holding information again, and I wanted it.  Given how it affected Bekka and I, it didn't matter what methods I used to extract the info from Mikey.  Just so long as it worked.

Powder (Part 8)

     I picked up Paul from his house at eleven on Monday.  I was driving the Falcon out of sheer superstition.  That car had got me out of more tight spaces than anything I'd ever driven, and I was not expecting a joyous time when we arrived at Mikey's place in Hollywood.  I'd kept an eye on the rear view, watching for any unmarked police cars or anything else following me, but it was a quiet ride up to Mission Viejo.

Powder (Part 9)

     Anticipating the need, Paul had extracted his private investigator's license from his wallet before pulling Grant out of the car.  When you're marching someone in handcuffs through the doors of a police station, it's best if you can explain yourself.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Chrissie (Part 1)

     The flies keep landing on my hand.  They're drawn there by the blood that drips off of it, refusing to congeal.  They itch.  I shake them off and resume my position, leaning against the garbage bags.
     "Bekka!" I whisper.  "How you doing?"  I receive a psychotic giggle as a response.  I glance over to her and she is in position, frozen in place like a Franklin Mint statue, her hands holding her .38 on the railing like it was the most important thing in the world....
     .... And in our world, it is.  We continue with our vigil, covering the door.

Chrissie (Part 2)

     I called Vinny back first.  "What do you mean, where's your wife?"
     He yelled into the phone, "You scumbags carted her off four hours ago and she's still not back!  I mean what the hell did you do with her?  Where is she!?"
     "Hey, we gave her a ride to the Safeway and let her out.  She said she was gonna take a cab back to your place.  What, she's not there?  You haven't heard from her?"
     "No, she's not here!  I don't know what to do.  You say you took her to Safeway?"

Chrissie (Part 3)

     We arrived at Angel's house around 8:30 at night.  Angela answered the door, Angel being asleep on the sofa.
     "Did you need me to wake him?" she asked.
     "No, let him sleep," I replied.  "Really, we need to use the phone.  Any more faxes come through?"
     "No.  That second one is disturbing.  I'm praying for you guys.  I know you didn't have anything to do with her getting kidnapped.  The family could come up with the 200K they're asking for, but it's a matter of principle.  They want money, but we don't know how to get it to them."

Chrissie (Part 4)

     "What time is it?" asked Bekka.
     "Just about midnight," I replied.
     "Seems later."
     "That's just your body rebelling.  We've gone over a day and a half with no sleep, and we've been moving around almost all that time.  At least we were able to lie down for a few hours at Vinny and Chrissie's place."

Chrissie (Part 5)

     The sky was just starting to lighten as we pulled in Angel's driveway.  False dawn, I think they call it.  As we got out of the car a thought struck me.
     "Hey, anyone know what day of the week this is?" I asked.
     Angel said, "Yeah, it's Monday.  Why do you ask?"
     "Aren't we supposed to have a big bag or suitcase loaded with currency ready by ten this morning?  That was our instruction from the kidnapper.  Should we start working in that direction?"

Chrissie (Part 6)

     The fax came through while we were still on the road.  It gave instructions to leave the money bag in the men's room at the Yucca Street park.  As long as everything works out and all the money was there, Chrissie would be returned within twelve hours.  Await further instructions.
     Mikey was somewhat freaked out over me taking a bandanna off my boot and refolding it, then tying it over his  eyes.  He was happier when I gave instructions to Grant that he could start his day by going up and getting Mikey's beloved 280ZX back for him

Chrissie (Part 7)

     We rolled down Santa Monica Boulevard to our fate, cutting up Wilcox Ave. and doubling back on Fountain.  We anchored around the corner from Seward, just in time to have some obnoxious junkie type with a broken bottle in his hand accost us as we got out of the car.

Chrissie (Part 8)

     Bekka and I made an attempt at sleep around 1:30.  It was futile, between the drugs and the adrenaline we were stuck to the wall.  We drifted off around 4:30....
     .... Only to be awakened by the alarm at 5:55.  I felt like throwing it through a window, but grudgingly got up and pulled on some pants, then waking Bekka so she could dress.  I stumbled out into the living room and considered things, then went back to the room and got the speed out of my jacket.  I chopped two lines while humming "Master of Puppets" by Metallica in the back of my throat.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Ferrari (Part 1)

     Nationally, torches --- professional arsonists --- cost the insurance companies untold millions of dollars each year, and not by stealing calendars.  I will heave no great sobs of pity for the insurance companies, as I consider them to be burdensome pests.  Nonetheless, my friend and coworker Frankie was having a fun time of trying to collect on his burned-out Ferrari Tesstarossa.  Someone set fire to it in his driveway.

Ferrari (Part 2)

I arrived back at Olivehurst to find I couldn't park in  my space.  It was already occupied by a Ford Taurus.  I pondered this, then recognized the Taurus as camera guy Calm Steve's car.  I  still had no idea why Steve would be over, except to talk business, which would be strange.  Bekka hated it when work followed her home.

Ferrari (Part 3)

     Angel called around 3:30, sounding peeved because I was delaying his lunch.  "So what do you know, Lenny?  Found Todd yet?"
     "I found him, and there won't be any more trouble from him.  He's dead."

Ferrari (Part 4)

     It's noon Sunday and Bekka and I are seated with Vinny in a restaurant not six blocks from Angel's trattoria.  This place has the same air of exclusivity, for the same reasons.  This is Vinny's prize: a place with good food where you can talk about anything without worrying about the other diners.  There's a two month wait for Sunday brunch.  We walked in and were seated at once.

Ferrari (Part 5)

     The phone rang three times and Angel answered.  "Hey Angel, it's Lenny.  How ya doing?"
     "I'm fine.  You have some news for me?"
     "Yes sir.  The people you're looking for are in Chatsworth, at 6857 ______ Drive.  It's definitely the same people.  Oh, and I have three ounces of cut coke that I don't know what to do with.  You want 'em?  I don't."

Ferrari (Part 6)

     On Monday I was back at the Starlight Motel.  They were getting used to me.  The clerk asked me if I was doing business in the area.  I told him, "You might say that.  I'm a low-level soldier for the mafia, and if I don't solve that murder in Chatsworth in the next eleven days I'll probably be killed."
     He smiled and handed me my key.

Ferrari (Part 7)

     Now I really was at loose ends.  Eight days before my deadline with Don Ventimiglia and I had nothing to show except a list of Mexican fast food places in Chatsworth.  Angel was too busy sweating over his own hide to worry about me, and a third reading of the police reports gave me no new information.  Wait, one small possibility....

Ferrari (Part 8)

     Frankie and I sat at the bar in the Pink Panther.  I was midway through my third Johnnie Walker, Frankie nursing a soda.
     Frankie asked, "So you're firing Calm Steve?"
     "I can't.  First of all, this all happened away from the mansion and on personal time.  Second, replacing him would take some work.  You can't just call up a temp agency and tell them you need a cameraman.  And third, he'd be hard to replace, he's good at what he does.  I'm over a barrel so far as replacing Steve goes."

Ferrari (Part 9)

     I stepped in the door and called to Bekka in a low voice.  She'd said she was going to bed early, and I didn't want to startle her.
     "Lenny?  Is that you?" she called.  I assured her it was me, and could I come in the bedroom?  I had news I wanted to share with her.  She invited me in.  I limped to the side of the bed and sat down.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Associate (Part 1)

     "So let me get this straight," I asked, "You're okay with me becoming a member of the family?"
     Bekka said, "You can't become one.  You're not Italian.  However, you can be an associate, and that's okay with me.  Not much would change for you, since you're already running Inana like a champ.  At most they'd have you run errands that you're used to, after all the time you spent dealing."

The Associate (Part 2)

     I got a hold of Angel a little past four.  Strange how methamphetamine can relax you.... or at least steel your nerves.  I came right to the point.
     "Angel, you've wanted me in the organization, so I'm in.  And no, I'm not getting divorced, it's okay with Bekka if I hook up with you gentlemen."
     "Lenny, this is wonderful news!  I'm delighted with your decision.  You're in."  All news with Angel was either "wonderful" or "not good."  Not good news meant serious trouble for all those involved with its delivery.

The Associate (Part 3)

     They were right about my jobs being boring, initially.  My first assignment was to drive out to Montrose, out past Burbank, and pick up a suitcase to be delivered to Frankie's house.  This was all conducted past ten p.m. for some reason, but that --- like the contents of the briefcase --- was none of my business.  I made the delivery, was thanked by Frankie, and went the hell home.
     The next one was along the same lines: pick up a duffel bag in Irvine and take it to Vinny's house, at night.  Hell, if this was all they wanted me to do, I could adjust very quickly.

     The one after that became complicated.

The Associate (Part 4)

    Saturday morning Bekka woke me up, announcing her plans to get an early start up to Encino for her usual lunch and gossip session with the guys' wives.  I rolled over and went back to sleep as the front door closed....
     .... Then snapped awake and dived for the phone when I realized where she was headed.  I hadn't told her what had happened to  me in Lawndale, with Angel and I sticking to our story about why I hadn't driven the Acura home the day before.  I quickly dialed Angel's number, hoping he wasn't sleeping in.  He wasn't.

The Associate (Part 5)

     We walked in the house still laughing at the efforts of the Mighty Mulvoney.  "And you wondered why I didn't want to own a BMW.  I'd be associated with the likes of that guy.  Shit, I'm embarrassed to share the same ethnic makeup as him."
     "So you blue-eyes don't all stick together?" asked Bekka.
     "Hell no.  Look how much  time England and France spent at war with each other.  The only way we appear to have any advantage is we're the ones who always get elected to office.  Other than that, being a white boy can be as much of a drag as it can for anyone else.  Except the blacks.  And  the Mexicans.  Oh, and the Southeast Asians.  Okay, I guess being a white boy ain't that bad a gig."

The Associate (Part 6)

     Dr. Liu beat us there, on purpose.  He wanted to be able to set up a temporary surgical theater, much to the distress and slight panic of Angela.  "Please Mrs. Morelli, do not pass out.  I can only handle one emergency per household per day, and your husband let me know about his first."
     I shoved us into the driveway and helped get Angel out of the car.  He was dizzy and light-headed, not in the condition to be walking on  his own.  His narrative had started out clear at least.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Rick, Revisited (part 1)

9:45 a.m. on a Saturday, and someone rings the bell at the mansion.  Anyone familiar with the place would simply walk in and announce their presence,loudly.  Strangers would ring multiple times, hoping to attract the attention of anyone in the further reaches of the place. No, this was a single ring, which meant whoever it was knew our  layout.  Curious.

Rick, Revisited (part 2)

     My hackles went up when we pulled up in front of the mansion.  It was after five and Rick's truck was still out front.  Something was wrong with this  picture, and I had no idea what.
     Bekka's antennae were up too.  "Rick shouldn't be here this late," she said.
     "I know.  Makes me wonder what he's  up to.  I've gotta find out."
     "I'm coming with you," Bekka said.
     "You know what?" I replied, "I'm not even going to argue about it with you.  Take off your shoes so you don't make any noise and stay behind me."

Rick, Revisited (part 3)

Two Months Later

     It was half past nine in the morning and Bekka and I were headed to Inana.  We were in my new car, an Acura.  I figured that if Honda built them, they've gotta be worth the money.
     I didn't think much of the old Skylark sitting at the curb as we went through the gate of our complex.  A second glance revealed there was a driver, and one I knew.

Rick, Revisited (part 4)

     The holding cells at the San Diego County jails are both nerve-racking and boring.  There is absolutely nothing to do except gab with your fellow prisoners, the primary topic of conversation being, "What are you here for?"  You're a minor celebrity when the answer is, "Shooting someone."

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Honeymoon (Part 1)

     At twenty-one years of age, I have a career-type job.  I'm as surprised as anyone.

     I run a porn studio.  There's a lot more to it than you'd think.... Or maybe not.  I have to manage the finances, handle hiring of performers, control purchasing of supplies, sit down with a lawyer and make sure new performers have valid identification, and keep track of shoots, plus a hundred other details that come up, like making sure the fridge is stocked with soda everyone wants.  It's all gotta get done, and it's up to me to make sure it gets done.

Honeymoon (Part 2)

     What lack of enthusiasm my own father displayed was more than made up for by Angel.  He promised us a wonderful honeymoon in Florida, where a member of his family owned a vacation property in Fort Lauderdale.  He also paid for a car rental and air fare.

Honeymoon (Part 3)

     ".... You take Leonard to be your lawfully wedded husband?"
     "I do."
     "And do you, Leonard, take Bekka to be your lawfully wedded wife?"
     "I do."
     "Then by the powers vested in me by the state of California, I pronounce you husband and wife.  You may now kiss the bride."

Honeymoon (Part 4)

     My first time to Florida, and my first time ever on an airplane.  Both events I greeted with excitement and trepidation.

Honeymoon (Part 5)

After a morning of cocaine and vigorous sex, we decided to come down to earth and take care of the mundane task of buying some groceries.  Our faceless benefactor had given us instructions to the nearest Kroger in his note; we assumed (correctly) that Kroger was a grocery store.  We made a list, did a "small" line, and rolled out.

Honeymoon (Part 6)

     Bekka got down to the business of putting out two more humongous lines of cocaine while I changed into a t-shirt that didn't have the word 'fuck' on it.  No sense in annoying our fellow tourists without just cause.... Or if it would be really entertaining.

Honeymoon (Part 7)

     "So lets's explore this island some," suggested Bekka.  "See what there is to see."
     Janellle said, "Not much.  Peacocks and caged animals.  Lots of monkey that like to jerk off at you."
     "Be like a day at work," muttered Bekka.
     You really do work in porn, don't you?  What's it like?"

Honeymoon (Part 8)

     At two the next afternoon we were awakened by an accented voice calling, "Housekeeping!"  Oh, the housekeeper.... Who's going to immediately see all the drugs on the coffee table.

     Oh. Shit.

Honeymoon (Part 9)

     We had fallen into a routine: up at eleven, eat breakfast (or lunch, depending on our mood), and go cruising around in the Crown Vic for a while.  A couple hours on the beach, then back to the house to shower and screw in the hot tub.  Then off to a local restaurant for dinner, and spend the night cruising the clubs.  All of this was done in a state of chemical frenzy.

Honeymoon (Part 10)

     There was one club we haven't visited yet, just out of chance.  Actually it was instinct, as it was an all-black club, both dancers and patrons.
     To say our arrival was greeted with hostility would be an understatement.  While nobody threw anything at us, we were the subject of plenty of dirty looks.  I finally had to go up to the bar to get our beers.  We finished them quickly and got the hell out.

Honeymoon (Part 11)

     "Mew.  Mew.  Mew.  Mew.  Mew.  Mew.  Mew.  Mew.  Mew.  Mew.  Mew."
     The sound of an unhappy cat being carried through an airport..  Too many sights, too much movement, too many smells.  Squeak was not a happy cat in his carrier.

Honeymoon (Postscript)

     I was welcomed back to Inana like the prodigal son.  Frankie didn't understand how I got everything done in one day, and the crew and performers were happy with an administrator who didn't insist on watching all the shoots.  For his part, Frankie had kept up on the bookkeeping so I didn't have to play catch-up.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Part One: Scramble and Hustle


So how did I end up living in a punk rock nightclub?  Lemme tell ya....
     First, I was laid off from the car wash in Oakland I worked at because it was winter.  My roommates, having been in the same boat, demonstrated their compassion by promptly giving me the boot.  (A couple years later, I was comforted to find a couple of them living in a tenement on Pill Hill, and others having moved back home.... In their mid-twenties.  Fill in Simpsons "Nelson" laugh here.)  A friend down in San Jose was able to help me out by letting me sleep in the garage of the house she was living in.  There was just one tiny problem: the guy who she was renting a room from couldn't know I was there, so I had to sneak in the house around six in the morning and hide under her bed until he left for work.  I'd built a small cave to live and sleep in in the rafters, and the guy never went in the garage past seven p.m.  I just had to sneak in the side door after seven and stay quiet.  I did plenty of laps around the block until the lights at the side of the house went off, the signal the coast was clear.

Part Two: My Life As A Non-Pimp

     At that point, circa 1990, there were quite a few hookers working San Pablo Ave. around Gilman St.; they've since moved south to Alcatraz and the Oakland city limits. They migrated.  All the working girls moved south to Oakland, and I'm not sure why.  I'd rather get arrested in Berkeley --- for anything --- than in Oakland.

Part Three: The Haunted Nightclub

     I am not a superstitious person.  I don't throw salt over my shoulder, I don't walk around poles (although there were a few Hungarians I avoided), tarot reading is nothing more than entertainment, psychics are lying swindlers, those that claim to be in contact with the dead are cruel shysters who deserve jail time, and Uri Geller is a fraud, and not a very good one.

     But I'll be damned if 924 wasn't haunted.  Anyone who has spent the night there alone will back me up on this.

The People From LA (Part 11)

     I would like to report that everything want smoothly in Chatsworth.  The equipment was retrieved, Todd was conciliatory, and Rick returned to the fold of Inana Productions, Inc.

     Yes, that's what I'd like to report.  Unfortunately, I can't.  Perhaps describing a crappy day should start at the beginning.

The People From LA (Part 12)

     I stopped Angel at the door.  "You know that in two days he's gonna be a complete basket case, right?"

The People From LA (Part 13)

Six months later....

     I proposed to Bekka yesterday.  She said she'd think about it.

     Three months ago I sold my last bag of speed.  There were a lot of people disappointed with my decision, because they greatly relied on me for their income.  I assured them they wouldn't be out of business for long: there was sure to be plenty of others who would take my place.  Besides, my day job at Inana Productions was taking up too much of my time, and you didn't want me to be even less reliable than I've been, right?
     Boss was certainly disappointed.  I had been worth ten to twenty thousand dollars a week to him.  "If ya wanna jump back in, say the word an' I'll set you up," he told me.  I explained to him, as I'd explained to my clients, that I was making decent money, legally, and my only interest in the chemical compounds I had been selling was as a consumer.  Boss wouldn't sell me less than an ounce at a time, and even that was a favor, so I kept Inana stocked up like usual.  Boss and I still hang out together over a few beers.  We're no longer in business together, but we remain friends.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The People From LA (Part 1)

     The phone rang at exactly 5:00 a.m.  The Director was on the other end, and damn if he didn't sound wound up.
     "I need you to haul ass up to Los Angeles and pick up the people up there and bring them back here.  It is crucial you're at their front door no later than eight.  Get them, make any stops they need to make, and bring them here to the mansion.  This is deadly important, Lenny.  Got all  that?  Okay."  (*click*)

The People From LA (Part 2)

     This was going to be entertaining.  The Cadillac Brougham was only four feet short of being a classy limousine.  Missing the wet bar too, what a shame.  I got used to the feel of it on the freeway and on surface streets, making mental notes of any handling quirks and peccadilloes (it wanted to launch from a standing stop, it had a vague drifting feeling on right turns).  I fueled with my own money, saving the receipt.  I went to AAA and picked up quadrant maps of San Diego, although I doubted I'd need more than two: I'm sure there was someone in Encanto trying to rent out their house short-term, but one of their requests of me was to only point them at decent neighborhoods.  I'd be able to do that without leaving the mansion, assuming they'd done  their homework.

The People From LA (Part 3)

     I rolled us down to the chop house, Angel telling me he was going to keep me on as their driver for a couple days: he just liked it.  I was flattered he was so relaxed with my driving, and with the vehicle I'd chosen.  I wasn't sure what I'd do with my spare time --- buy a chamois and polish the hell out of the Cadillac, I guess --- or maybe they'd get a camera back in my hands, and Rick and I would double-team the stills.  Be mighty crowded though.
     After we were seated and placed our drink orders, Bekka said, "So, you'll be down here for three months.  If you don't mind me asking, what will take that long to accomplish?"
     Vinny and Frankie glanced at each other.  Angel glared at her, then smiled.  "Sicilian girls love to gossip, but I also know they can keep secrets.  You're keeping a secret right now.
     "It's Rick.  It's like everything he touches turns to shit these days, he's a reverse Midas.  The whole routine with the car rental is just a minor symptom.  Another good example would be the housing: it's like he went through the paper and copied down addresses or whatever.  Heck, you explain that one, Lenny."

The People From LA (Part 4)

     "I'm glad to see you here, Lenny," said Small Steve.   "I was getting too much footage of the back of the boss's head.   You know this is not the sort of gig where doing re-takes works well, but we had to do three this morning.  Where have you been, anyway?"
     "You know the three well-dressed gentlemen who came in earlier?  I've been their chauffeur."
     "Rumor has it the boss started off doing stills, and given the amount of time me and Calm Steve spent shoving him out of the way, I wonder if they are just rumors.  Jesus!"

The People From LA (Part 5)

     I dropped off the the three gentlemen and went back out to buy Windex and paper towels and Armor all and cigarettes.  When I returned, Small Steve was standing at the gate looking peeved.  I got out and asked him what was up.
     "Well, if there was any question as to who you meant about having a short temper, the answer is being demonstrated inside.  Angel is rippin' the boss a new one over the whole thing with Bekka.  It's scary to hear, I'm waiting for the boss to go flying through a window, and I'm not kidding."  Steve was stressed: he bummed a cigarette off me.

The People From LA (Part 6)

     I arrived at the Marriott at 7:55, and was once again invited in for breakfast.  We made small talk about the vagaries of producing full features, specifically shooting on location, and the gentlemen let the coffee soak into their brains.  No mention was made of my own alertness at that hour: partially good manners, and partially because speed didn't turn me into a total spaz: no jabbering, no twitching, hyperactive tendencies.  I was simply a bit more awake than one would expect for the hour.

The People From LA (Part 7)

     ".... situations where novices are traumatized.  The humanitarian in me is glad I was able to help, but it's still not the circumstances under which I felt like leaving the house today, providing aid to a nineteen year old girl who had suffered an ersatz rape.  It comes down to a simple question, boss: what the fuck were you thinking?"
     "Candace should have spent an afternoon in front of my cameras before doing anything else, getting used to being nude in front of a camera, learning to relax, learning direction, getting comfortable.  These are your own instructions, boss.  Build people up into performance, that's what you told me.  In fact, that's supposed to be part of my job.... But I haven't met a single person who's on the board this week.  Those fuckin' rules are there for a reason, you said so yourself.  So why are they being ignored?"

The People From LA (Part 8)

     Another bright and early morning.  This was stuff-shuttling day, when a rental truck would get packed with clothes and various, well, stuff.  We would lose the Cadillac, the gentlemen would get their own vehicles, and I'd drive the truck down to their temporary digs in Encinitas.
     My preferred time of departure from the Marriott had been four a.m., so as to beat traffic.  This was vetoed aggressively, in favor of putting trust in the HOV lanes to make time.  (I suspected Frankie had the loudest veto, as he didn't want to miss his last breakfast at the Marriott.)

The People From LA (Part 9)

     I was nosy on the way back and asked how the day's shoots had gone.
     "If I haven't mentioned it before, Lenny, one of the things I like about you is your reliability.  Rick pulled a powder on us today, we have no stills.  We don't know if it was a tantrum on his part, an attack of idiocy, or a dead family member.  All we know is all day, no Rick.  I have a hard time believing he'd be so unprofessional as to simply refuse to work with Steve," said Angel.

The People From LA (Part10)

     Bekka agreed to the use of her car, with one stipulation:  she did the driving.