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.
Her work with a script the previous week had been stellar, her photo shoot had gone very well, and now it was time for the acid test, actual performance with Eddie the Big-Dicked Jew. She was nearly flawless, and demonstrated her throat control that she'd bragged about without a hitch, no coughing or gagging. She'd said she was willing to do anal, so we tried that too, and she took it just fine, even with Eddie back there. After she showered and I had a confab with Small Steve, I told her, "Welcome aboard," and she gave me a hug.
"I'm so sick of working retail," she said. "Will I make enough to live on working for for you?"
"You should," I told her. "Especially if you're an anal queen. You'll see $900 for loops where you're doing anal, not bad for a half day's work. We shoot four days a week when we're doing loops. Shooting features is much more involved, we may need you six days in a week if you're in a marquee position, but the pay is commensurate. You can count on working a couple days a week, at $900 a day, so you should get along okay. Remember though, it's up to you to pay taxes. You're an independent contractor with us. It's also up to you to keep us notified of your availability from week to week. If we don't hear from you, we don't put you on the board. Blood test days are Friday. You get your results Monday, and you bring them straight here. Clear enough?"
"That sort of money just to take it in the ass? I'll work all you want me to," Sue said.
I was just finishing my round of faxes to our lawyer that afternoon when Gina stuck her head in my office to let me know the big scary biker was at the door again, and he wished to see both me and Bekka. I told her to invite him in, as Bekka was still upstairs shooting a loop. Boss stepped in my office with a smile.
"I gotcha another present, this time fer Bekka," he said. "She gonna be down soon?"
"Should be. We can wait in the hall for the light to go off."
We didn't have to wait long. The red light over the stage door went out and the door opened, emitting a small stream of barely-clothed performers. They looked at Boss nervously, only partially comforted by my presence. We stepped inside, where Bekka was pulling on her kimono robe and talking to Small Steve.
"Hey lil' girl!" boomed Boss. Steve looked up in terror, feeling the difference between his own 5'4" and Boss's 6'7". Then he saw me and relaxed. The studio hadn't been invaded by giants.
Bekka cried, "Boss sweetie!" and gave him a hug. Boss shied away, turning a bit red. "Ya ain't got no britches on, girl," he exclaimed.
"Boss says he has a present for you downstairs," I said.
"Really?" she asked. "Do I finally get that pony I've wanted since the third grade?"
"It's kinda like that," said Boss. "Come on downstairs and you can see it."
We went downstairs and outside to the driveway, where another motorcycle sat. It was purple, and it was beautiful. It glinted from every surface except the tires. Bekka gasped and put her hands to her face.
Boss said, "I got tipped off to it out at the labs. This dude in Berdoo has some legal troubles, and has to raise cash as quick as possible. I made him an offer, which he took. Me and Gary spent yesterday tuning it up. Now it's yours. We got it so it goes like the blazes, too. Go git some duds on, girl, and give it a spin."
Bekka raced in to her locker and began pulling clothes on in the middle of the hallway. Fortunately she'd worn her engineers that day, still breaking them in. I met her in the hall holding my helmet for her to borrow. She rushed outside, hugged Boss again, and mounted up. The machine fired with a blatting roar. She sat there with her psychotic grin on. "Is it as quick as it looks?" she asked Boss.
"Oughta be. I spent a while throwing it around Santee and Lakeside yesterday after me and Gary finished with it, and I'm happy with how it handles."
With an even wider smile, Bekka clicked it into first and headed out. She did the same thing I had, which was to head up the hill toward the dead end, just to see how hard it pulled under heavy throttle in first and second. Then she turned around and roared down the hill to El Camino Real, where she joined the traffic flow. Ten minutes later she returned. She shut down, took off her helmet, and launched herself at Boss with tears in her eyes.
"It's so beautiful," she said. "Thank you."
"Weren't nothin', lil' girl," said Boss.
The other four performers had finished their showers and gotten dressed, and were now walking out to their cars. They stopped and gawked at the machine in the driveway. "I got a new toy, thanks to this wonderful man!" explained Bekka.
"Can I ride it?" asked Vince.
Bekka said, "Vince, you already have the pleasure of riding me. Like hell if you get a chance on my new motorcycle."
Boss looked at his watch and said, "Shit, I gotta roll. I meet Chet out in Santee in less than an hour." He hopped in his truck and rolled out.
"Let me lock up the office and we can head home," I said. "Jane is gonna freak out when she sees your new putt."
Bekka said, "This thing is gonna freak everyone out. I can't wait to show it to my dad."
"You don't think that he'll be just a tad upset with his darling daughter riding an outlaw chopper like that?"
"Well, it's not like I'm on his insurance anymore."
I went in, said goodbyes, and locked up. Bekka strapped my helmet back on at my insistence, we fired up, and made tracks for home. Bekka's face was one of pure joy as we rode. We pulled up to the house, leaving the motorcycles out front. I teased Bekka as we went in, telling her she didn't look that happy during sex.
"The high is really close. Maybe I like having all that power between my legs."
We went up to Jane's room, but her door was closed. Lance was over, no doubt. I knocked and said, "Come downstairs when you're finished, we've got something to show you." I received a muffled response.
About fifteen minutes later the lovebirds made their appearance, Lance looking embarrassed as always. "Come look what I got," was all Bekka said.
Jane squealed at the sight of it. "It's beautiful!" she said. "Is this from Boss?"
"Sure is. Him and Gary tuned it up for me, and it's just as quick as Lenny's. Now all three of us have something to ride. And yes, you can ride this one to school tomorrow, I'm on the board for a loop in the afternoon. Just get the parking permit for it. Better yet, leave it in the faculty lot, if you think you can get away with it."
"They'll know it's mine," said Jane. "No way could I leave it in the teacher's lot."
"Who is Boss?" asked Lance.
"He's this giant biker we're friends with. He's gotta be seven feet tall. You're sure to meet him at some point."
I said to Lance, "He's six foot seven, not including the boots. Some people find him a little intimidating, but he's really the nicest guy in the world. We have to have him over for dinner real soon, he hasn't seen our new place yet."
Bekka said, "Yeah, but he's so busy right now...."
Lance said, "And he bought you two motorcycles?"
"What does he do?"
I quickly said, "Construction. He runs a construction firm. Yeah, Boss is a generous guy with his friends."
"Say Jane," said Bekka, "why don't you go get your leather and helmet and take mine for a spin for a few minutes."
Jane eagerly complied, and took off with a thunder. The three of us watched her go. Bekka said, "If she lays it down I'll kill her."
"So, um, you want to start riding? Wanna get one of your own?" I asked Lance.
"Well, Jane is having so much fun, I want to try it too. And I think it would be good transportation for me. I don't think I could get anything like you guys have, but I'd just be happy with something that ran. I know my mom wouldn't be too big on the idea, though."
"You did okay in the parking lot on Saturday," I said.
"I told her that. She was pissed at Richard for letting me do it. She's sure I'm gonna get killed the moment I ride in traffic, never mind that I used to ride my bicycle to school. I don't know what to tell her."
Bekka said, "And we're the wrong people to talk to. We're all still novice riders. Heh, we don't even have our full licenses yet, just permits. We can't even have you as a passenger on one."
We went back upstairs and kicked back on the sofas, Bekka in my lap. Presently we heard Bekka's new Harley pull up and shut down. Jane came dashing up the stairs, pulling off her helmet and gloves. She was elated with the latest toy. "I can really ride it to school tomorrow?" she asked.
Bekka nodded slowly. "But carefully."
"Yayy! I'm gonna ride it past the auto shop, just to make all the wrench heads puke."
An idea struck me. "Jane, why don't you get Lance home. We have plans for this evening."
"We do?" Jane and Bekka said as one voice.
"We do," I assured them. Jane didn't question, her and Lance left. I heard the Cutlass fire up and pull out a moment later."
"So what big plans do you have for the evening?" asked Bekka. "And what drugs are involved?"
I said, "Believe it or not, no drugs at all. Not even a beer. I was thinking the three of us should go on our first group ride, a short one, down to Carlos Murphy's in La Jolla Village for dinner. I didn't want to say anything in front of Lance because it would have been like saying, 'we're gonna go have fun and you're not.' We'll be out after dark, but that's just impetus to ride in a legal manner. Does that sound okay?"
Jane was home fifteen minutes later looking peeved. "I went in with Lance, just to be social, right? Lance told his mom about Bekka's new putt, and now his mom thinks I'm trying to get Lance killed on a motorcycle. I pointed out the three of us all wear safety gear, and we'd expect the same of Lance if he started riding. She's convinced the three of us are going to die. Within the week, probably."
"Well, it is a dangerous hobby," I said. "Speaking of which, you want to ride down to La Jolla Village for dinner?"
"Sure, sounds great. Is that why you had me take Lance home?"
"Yeah. I feel like taking a ride, and there's no way to bring him along. Not until he has a putt of his own, which sounds like it'll be over his mom's dead body. Sorry if the new toys are causing friction between you and her."
"It's her trip," Jane said dismissively. "I'm gonna ride over there tomorrow after school and show off Bekka's new bike. She can take a look at one close up and see there's no big switch that says 'Kill Rider' on it anywhere. She can see me in my gear, and see we're safe. I'm hoping she relaxes."
"Well, let's saddle up and head out," said Bekka. "I didn't have lunch today, and I'm ready to eat my own arm."
We rode down in formation, in a sedate and legal manner. It still felt good to ride. Sitting at the top of the off-ramp off the 5 at La Jolla Village Drive, waiting for the light, a minivan pulled up alongside. The back was packed with little kids, all of whom were pressing their noses against the glass to stare at us. I twisted my throttle a couple times and waved. Bekka and Jane waved too. The woman at the wheel looked annoyed and inched forward. The light turned green and we made our left, heading to University Town Center.
Leaving our putts in the lot, we shed our helmets and gloves and stepped inside Carlos Murphy's. And who should be sitting there, waiting to be seated, but my parents. They looked thoroughly confused at our appearance. They stood to give me and Bekka a hug.
"Why are you carrying helmets? And who's this?" my mom asked.
"We have the helmets because we are riding motorcycles. And this is our friend Jane, who is living with us. It's kind of a long story," I said. "Jane, this is my mom and dad."
"Glad to meet you," Jane said, shaking hands.
"Pleased to meet you, too," said my father. "Did I hear that right, the three of you are living together? How did this come about?"
"My parents threw me out, so I came out here to California from Gainesville and looked up Lenny and Bekka. They took me in and helped me get in school."
My mother asked, "Where do you go to school? SDSU? Vista? Mesa?"
"Carlsbad High. I'm a junior."
This froze my parents. Dad asked, "How old are you?"
"I'm sixteen," said Jane. "I'm what is called an emancipated minor."
Now my parents were really frozen.
"Straight A student," said Bekka. "We're so proud of her."
"Let me get this straight," said my father. "Your parents threw you out, so you left Florida for Southern California, on your own? Are you sure that was the best of choices?"
Jane said, "Well, things were touch and go for a little while. On the bus ride out I'd pretty much resigned myself to strolling Hollywood Boulevard to get by. But Lenny and Bekka have been wonderful to me. I have a nice place to live, they give me an allowance, I'm going to school, and I have a car and a motorcycle to drive. I couldn't love these two more. Things are going great."
The hostess came over, did the math, and put us at a larger table. Bekka, Jane, and I shed our leathers and piled them on the extra chair. We placed our drink orders: double Johnnie Walkers for me and Bekka, wine for my parents. I nudged Jane with my boot and she ordered a Coke instead of Miller. We perused our menus in silence, for the moment.
My mother broke the silence by saying to Jane, "So basically you're a runaway. I don't understand why you haven't attempted a reconciliation with your parents. Don't you think you'd be better off with them?"
Jane replied, "I'm not a runaway, I'm a throwaway. I've written a couple letters to my parents, but they haven't responded. In the long run me being out here works better. I plan on going to UC Berkeley when I graduate high school, and I'll have a better time getting in as a California resident. So no, reconciling with my parents wouldn't work."
"How do you get to school?" asked my father.
"Lenny bought me a car to drive, a 1971 Cutlass. That, and I have use of one of the motorcycles we have now. It beats the bus."
"So when are you guys gonna come up and see the new place, now that it's all finished and we're living there?" I asked, trying to change the subject.
"Soon," said my father. "How many motorcycles do you have?"
Bekka said, "Three Harley Sportsters. One we bought, and we had two given to us as gifts."
"Gifts?" squawked my mother.
"Yeah. Our friend Boss picked them up for us when he found out we were going to start riding. You remember Boss, he was the tall bearded groomsman at our wedding, a really nice guy once you get past his size."
My father frowned, "And you bought a car for Jane here."
I responded, "Technically it's mine, but yeah, it's Jane's car. It's a rocket, too, one of the 442s with the hood scoops. We trade cars around, though. Sometimes I drive the Cutlass, and Jane will take my Fleetwood. Sometimes Bekka takes the Cutlass and I drive the Fury."
The waitress came by and we placed our orders. We shared an order of chips and dip, and everyone chose entrees they felt were appealing. I was hoping the food wouldn't take long, as it would be harder to play the game of Twenty Questions if everyone's mouths were full.
"So Jane, it sounds like you have plans," said Mom. "Are you getting the grades you need to get into Berkeley?"
Jane said, "School is easy. I'm getting As in all my classes. My teachers don't like me, but I can't do anything about that."
"Why don't your teachers like you?"
"They say I'm a distraction. They don't like my hair, and they don't like how I dress. They hate my leather pants."
"You could change both," said Dad.
"Yeah, but I don't want to. The teachers are the only ones who seem distracted by how I look. I'm not breaking any rules."
"Jane is also on the varsity volleyball team," said Bekka. "She plays hard."
"How else do you you occupy your time?" asked Mom.
Jane said, "Um, I spend a lot of time with my boyfriend, and I'm in drama club, and I swim. I use the pool at Lenny and Bekka's mansion."
My father turned to me and said, "I'll probably regret asking this, but how are things going at the mansion?"
"Great," I told him. "We've wrapped up production of our latest feature, and it's in the hands of the editors. I think we'll have another hit on our hands. Not every adult video has a car chase."
"Shooting went fantastic," said Bekka. "We've got a lot of good drama going on in this one, it's a detective mystery. You should watch it. Did you ever watch 'Bewitched'?"
"We did," said my father.
"And what did you think?"
"It was.... Interesting. I'll leave it at that."
"'Bewitched' was great," Jane threw in. "It's one of my favorite movies."
My mother looked disturbed. "And under what circumstances did you find yourself watching a video like that?" she asked.
"I watched it with Lenny and Bekka. They wanted to explain their jobs to me, and they won't let me watch them work. We sat down one day and watched 'Bewitched' twice, once all the way through, and another time with them pausing it so they could explain what was going on. I really liked it."
"You weren't bothered by many of the scenes?"
Jane scoffed. "You mean the sex? It was a porno movie, that's the point. I liked them."
Mom went from disturbed to shocked. "You're a sixteen year old girl, and you like watching, um, adult video."
"Sex makes the world go around," Jane smiled at my mother. "Why wouldn't I?"
Jane did something few are capable of: she flummoxed my mother into silence. I filled in the gap by saying to my father, "So anyway, this new one is called 'Dangerous Desires,' and we're gonna be promoting the hell out of it, doing video signings all around Southern California. Like I said, I think we'll have another hit on our hands. I'll let you know what the reviews are like as they come out."
"I can't believe you're letting a teenage girl watch pornography," scowled my mother.
"It was for educational purposes!" giggled Jane.
Bekka said, "We've been honest with Jane about how we earn a living. A lot of it needed explanation, so sitting down with a video and explaining what was happening all the way through was much better than having her sit in on a shoot. We have closed sets anyway, very few people get to watch us work."
"They can watch me work," I pointed out. "They can watch a guy sit in an office and go over legal paperwork and interview wannabe porn queens."
"Speaking of, how did that screen test go today?"
"Great, she's gonna be an asset. Her first loop is next Tuesday. I'll tell you more about it later."
"Is that the goth girl?" asked Jane.
"That's her, although she doesn't look goth on screen. With her hair done and different makeup, she looks like she's in high school. Hey, fine, perfect, like I told her, youth sells. She's a good performer, and she can act as well. I'm glad we found her."
Bekka smirked. "You should start getting all your girls from chance encounters. You found Donna at Dirty Dan's, now this one at a trendy shop. Why not ask our waitress if she'd like to change careers?"
"I'll trust my luck to the fates," I said. "And I don't want to bore my parents by talking shop. Besides, our meals are here."
Plates were set down and we all dug in. Except for the clink of forks, silence reigned. Midway through, my father said, "So, you have a motorcycle now...."
"We all have motorcycles now," I corrected. "All three are Harley Davidson Sportsters. You can see them after we finish eating."
"You bought a Harley Davidson for a sixteen year old girl," commented my mother.
Bekka said, "Well, that's how it worked out. We bought the first one from a dealership, something we'd share. Our friend Boss got so excited that we were starting to ride that he found two more and gave them to us. They're custom machines, real outlaw bikes. You'll see. Anyway, Jane has the brand new one, Lenny has the black one, and I have this beautiful purple thing."
"And this friend of yours is in a position to just buy motorcycles for his friends?" Mom asked.
"He is," I said. "He's been successful in construction."
"Do you plan on getting much use out of them?" asked my dad.
"As much as possible, so long as it's dry out. So how goes work with you two?"
"It goes. Five more years to retirement for the both of us. We've decided to buy a place out in or near Julian."
"That's great!" I said. "Let me give you the phone number of the broker we used, she's a shark. She can get you something you like at a good price."
Bekka threw in, "Hey, that'd be a good ride this Saturday. Out to Julian for lunch. That would be fun, all that two-lane blacktop."
We finished our meals, I grabbed the check away from my dad, and we went out to the parking lot. Bekka, Jane, and I pulled on our leathers and led our parents to where we'd parked. The Sportsters sat gleaming under the sodium lights. My parents were taken aback at the machines we were riding.
"Well.... They certainly are shiny," commented my mother.
"Quick, too," said Bekka as she belted up her leather.
"And your friend just gave them to you? My god."
My father just had to say, "These certainly look like efficient ways of killing yourself out on the freeway."
"We plan to avoid that," I said. "That's why we have correctly fitted helmets, leathers, and boots. And we ride defensively." (So I lied.)
I fired mine up. The still-warm engine caught immediately. I cranked on the throttle, filling the parking lot with noise. My parents ducked and backed away, as though the sound was a physical assault. I left the bike idling and went to give them both a hug. So did Bekka, and Jane did too. Mom and Dad shuffled off to find their Toyota in the lot. Bekka and Jane fired up their machines, and we rolled out of the parking lot onto Genessee Ave., heading towards the freeway.