Monday, October 19, 2015

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.
     While there was no death involved, a gunman attacking a porn studio was considered valid enough to make it to national news.  Angel arranged for a press briefing in front of the hospital on Wednesday, featuring me and Bekka.  He would stay in the background and answer questions separately.  I was scheduled for a Thursday release.
     Tuesday the mansion was opened up again.  Bekka got my Walkman and a couple books for me, plus some clothes, as what I'd been wearing had been ruined.  Tuesday was also a big visiting day for me, as everyone connected to Inana seemed to come through at one point or another.  I asked the performers if they were still willing to work in light of what had happened.  I got a firm yes from everyone I spoke to.  "I won't be scared out of my job" seemed to be the running theme.  I was proud of their bravery.
     My parents' visit was what I expected it to be.  They showed up while both Bekka and Tawny were there --- a great combination --- and immediately began to lay into me.
     "So after all this, are you finally going to quit your job?" my mom asked.
     "What for?" I queried back.
     "Well for God's sake, working for that company has put you in the hospital!  You honestly don't see a reason to leave?"
     Tawny interjected, "Your son is a hero.  He prevented a lot of deaths from happening yesterday, he and Bekka here.  You should be proud of him."
     Bekka said, "You asked Lenny before about why he carries that Beretta of his.  Now his reasons have been justified.  He took five bullets and kept fighting.  I couldn't be more proud of my husband."
     "It's too frightening to think about," said Dad.  "The police aren't as prone to being shot at as my son."
     "And when your son has been shot, it's been in the defense of other people.  At least this time he was able to defend himself."
     "You were a trouper yourself," I told Bekka.  "Fighting naked?  That takes some serious stones."
     In her lazy tone, Tawny said to my parents, "What if Lenny had worked at a women's health clinic and the same thing had happened?  Would you be proud of him then?"
     "At least then he'd be fighting for a cause," my mother grumbled.  Tawny cackled at her.
     "Oh, but I was," I said.  "Freedom of speech, freedom of expression.  That asshole was nothing more than a violent censor.  He felt no one should be able to see our form of entertainment, so he was gonna end it."
     "So this was a battle over civil rights," said my father.
     "It was a battle to protect the lives of a dozen people on a sound stage, none of whom had ever hurt anybody in their lives."
     "And you'll continue on there."
     I shrugged, painfully.  "It's what I know."
     "Well....  We hope you heal quickly, and you'll consider your position.  It would seem you're in a dangerous business."
     "This was a once in a lifetime occurrence.  Nobody's shot at Larry Flynt again, and he's an easy target these days.  I'll heal."
     "So you're Larry Flynt now?" asked Mom.
     "I could only dream about seeing that level of success," I told her.  "But we're both in the same business, and we've both been shot because of what we do for a living.  I'll just say I can sympathize with Larry Flynt."
     "You're not as crass as Larry," said Bekka.
     "Better looking, too," said Tawny.
     Dad said, "So not even being shot will convince you to leave the business you're in."
     "I refuse to run just because things got scary for a moment," I told him.
     Mom and Dad let out a joint sigh.  "We're going to get going," said my dad.  "Call us when you're out of the hospital."
     "We will," said Bekka.  My parents went out.
     "That was interesting," said Tawny.  "You'd said in the past that your parents hate you making porn, and it's true.  They didn't even ask about your injuries.  What's their story?"
     "Long and short of it?  They think it's a scummy business, never mind that I don't run Inana in a scummy fashion.  They still think things are run like they were in the early Seventies.  Bekka and me have tried to convince them otherwise, but it's pissing in the wind.  And even after this, they probably still hate the fact that I wear a gun."
     Tawny said, "Your wife is something else.  We heard the shots, she grabbed the gun out of her holster and went charging out the door naked."
     I laughed.  "Yeah, she probably fulfilled someone's fantasy: having a naked woman pistol-whip you.  We should work that into a video."
     "That's easy.  Just have the next feature be a detective mystery.  That could be a lot of fun."
     I stared up at her.  "Tawny, you're a genius.  And you just earned $500 for the plot idea."
     She smiled down at me.  "Glad to help."

     The media circus was interesting.  It was certainly a new experience for Bekka and I.  All three network affiliates were there, plus the Union-Tribune, the LA Times, and stringers from AP and UPI.  It took place outside the hospital, to one side of the main doors.  Bekka coasted me out in a wheelchair, positioning me next to a bench, her sitting at my side.  I was in street clothes for the first time in two days, and grateful for it.  Due to our position, her and I kept our sunglasses on through the interviewing.  As soon as Bekka sat down, there was a rush of cameras clicking.
     Bekka and I walked them through the shooting, starting with the doorbell and ending with the arrival of the sheriff's department.  I was asked how I was feeling.  Hurting but okay, I replied.
     Were you expecting trouble?  "Nothing like this.  Obsessed fans have always been my main concern.  This was unexpected."
     Do you always carry a gun?  "Yes I do, and I'm glad I was."  Bekka: "I carry one too as a matter of course.  If we weren't you all would have been reporting on a mass murder."
     What do you think of the shooter's motivation?  "I think he would be happier living someplace like Iran, where morality is enforced by the government.  He's not happy here, where we're free to express ourselves how we feel."
     Do you feel pornography is a valid expression?  (Bekka giggled at this.)  "Look, we make movies for adults.  I like to think we know what adults want to see.  Our last video broke sales records, so it's obvious to me we're making people happy.  So yeah, what we do is valid --- and protected --- expression."
     You, miss, what is your connection to Inana Productions?  Bekka: "I am a performer, and also Lenny's wife."  What do you think of what happened?  "It was the act of a single nut case.  I think he was already unbalanced and read too much into Leviticus and Revelations, and decided he was following God's word.  Killing for God.  I also think this was an isolated incident.  I refuse to live in fear."
     Will things change at your studio?  "If you mean us putting bars on the window, no.  We can protect ourselves, as we've already proved.  Like Bekka said, we refuse to live in fear."
     Do you have plans for the future?  "Yes, keep having fun making adult movies.  Eating pizza with my cast and crew.  Being with my wife."
     They went on to briefly interview Angel, who expressed his relief that tragedy had been avoided thanks to his favorite husband and wife team.  Inana wasn't going anywhere, he assured them, although security cameras may be considered.  And a new film was due out in seven weeks, and promised to be as good as our last film, Bewitched.  Watch for it.  In the meantime he wanted to make sure his favorite producer was comfortable and healing.
     Bekka and Angel wheeled me back inside, heading for the elevators.  I asked Angel, "Well, you wanted press, and we got it.  Do you think it will help?"
     "That doesn't matter right now," he told me.  "Right now we've got to get you healed up enough to work.  Don't worry about it.  Still, going national is more than I could have ever hoped for."
     "I think we're gonna stay busy," said Bekka.

     And she was right.


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