Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dope (Part 1)

     Bekka got her first assignment as a made woman.  It was risk-free, so far as physical danger went, but was also a bit tricky.  Fluent in Italian, she was being called upon to act as an interpreter, translating Italian to English, and vice versa, for visiting mafioso, serious big wigs, coming over from Italy.  They would be meeting with Angel, Vinny, and....  Boss.  It seemed Smiley, the Ecstasy Boss created and now produced for the family, was a sought-after luxury item in Europe.  Single hits sold for anywhere from US $65 to $90, as compared to the $25 it went for in California.  The wealthy were clamoring for it, along with plenty of people who had the spare money to find out what a high that expensive was like.

Dope (Part 2)

     "You know, it still blows me away," said Crystal.  "I'm moving four pounds of shit a week at this point.  I see two hundred mile days sometimes, making deliveries.  Everybody wants the shit I got, from fucking Susanville to Placerville, I got the contacts, and I can fulfill them.  All the dealers want my shit.  It's weird, I know I'm making enemies, 'cos I know all the fuck-up crank makers hate me, they can't match what I got.  That garbage they got?  Fuck, they could be giving it away, and people would be telling them no. That punk rock bitch Crystal has the quality, and everyone wants it, and are willing to pay.

Dope (Part 3)

     Bekka pulled the Falcon in the driveway of the Beverley Hills Hilton and aimed for the valet lane.  The two valets, bored at this hour of the day, looked baffled at what had just arrived, a metal-blue 1963 Ford Falcon, ass end raised slightly, with a hood scoop.  It was a vehicle that would be right at home in Whittier or Pomona or Riverside, its presence in Beverley Hills seemed unusual.  One of them started filling out the parking slip while the other trotted to the driver's door and opened it....  And took in an extra breath when he saw who he was letting out.  Oh my God, Becky Page.  The young valet had opened the doors and parked the cars for plenty of celebrities, but this was the first one he had ever jerked off while thinking about.  He recovered and said, "Good morning, Ms. Page.  Here for breakfast?"

Dope (Part 4)

     Lucas Burton rolled by Crystal's house for the eighth time that day, his shabby Ford F-150 pickup moving at trolling speed.  Crystal's car was gone, it always was during the day, but the Subaru her space cadet sister drove stayed in the driveway.  Lucas wanted to case the house, try and find a weak spot for entry, then toss the place for anything of value, but particularly dope.  Crystal, that new wave bitch, was now not only dealing, but dealing in volume and providing product light years better than anything else out there.  The bitch had shit, she had money, she had a good car, and it all had seemed to just materialize out of nowhere.  Not even Lucas imagined just how much volume Crystal was moving weekly, but he knew that locating her stash would be worth it.  Then again, Lucas was the sort who would do a second story job on a house in order to steal a single twenty sack of shit and a clock radio.

Dope (Part 5)

     On the first night of meetings, everyone rode in a stretch limo to dinner, at Angel's trattoria in Century City.  Angel was a bit nervous about this, hoping his kitchen's flavors were not too Americanized.  However, the visiting Italians congratulated Angel and his staff not only for authentic cooking, but also having the different regions of Italy recognized in the menu, with their different styles and fillips.  Through Bekka, one of them explained, "Italy is a nation.  Showing regional bias in cooking is the sport of peasants."

Dope (Part 6)

     Okay, things are getting ridiculous.  While we were in production for "Succubus,' Inana's little ode to "Road Warrior," boredom was a common malady on location.  My performers would be sitting around in the desert of Imperial County, nothing to do, waiting for their scene.  The girls would laze around in the modified attack vehicles nude, getting tan, waiting for director Small Steve to call for their shot.  To kill the boredom, they would make out with each other (and much more).  I swear, if Inana girls didn't have a serious bisexual streak before working for me, they had one when they left.  Observing this, I shouldered a camera and told the girls that they would get a cash bounty, payable that day upon return to the motel, for whichever girls engaged in the hottest impromptu lesbian activity while in or on one of the vehicles.  By the second day of this offer, Small Steve demanded vehicles be parked further away, as the panting and moaning was being picked up by the boom mike.  I got a whole lot of damn footage, and paid out nearly ten grand of my own money to girls who had found surprisingly photogenic ways of making each other come.

Dope (Part 7)

We got off the Lear jet around 6:45, walking down the steps towards the charter terminal.  An attendant opened the cargo hold of the jet and grabbed our bags, scurrying to catch up to us.  Inside were desks and offices for the major local charter services, courtesy phones, pay phones, a concierge....  But no lines of people, no security screening, no tourists, no bawling kids, no gougers selling six dollar hot dogs.  Complimentary coffee and a couple vending machines were the only concessions that people might have to kill a few minutes in this place, not all damn day like at the commercial terminal.  If you were chartering an airplane, it would be ready when you were, no delays.

Dope (Part 8)

     Our arrival in the bar was greeted with all the warmth of a Tutsi dance band arriving to play at a Hutu wedding reception.  We sat at the bar, and those on either side of us all directed dull, hostile glares at us before pointedly returning to their drinks and conversation.  I'd heard that passive-aggressive behavior was like a collective form of street theater all Minnesotans engaged in, so I let it slide....  Although I was feeling a bit punchy, and would have welcomed a loud drunk trying to get in my face, just for the exercise of it.

Dope (Part 9)

     The next morning I retrieved the keys to my rental car from the concierge.  They'd scored me a Cadillac Brougham to tool around in, perfect.  We went and picked up Mallory, her occupying the shotgun seat, as she would be constantly giving me driving directions.  We got some brunch, then Mallory began pointing us at all the traditional places to visit in Minneapolis, standard chamber of commerce locales.   The passive-aggressive behavioral fillip installed in all Minnesotans at birth showed itself on the road.  Drivers stayed at EXACTLY the posted speed limit.  In Southern California, you get used to temporarily occupying fairly small amounts of space on the road, so you can set up for lane changes or hit an exit.  Me putting the Brougham between two cars on the freeway (who were spaced EXACTLY two seconds apart) would cause the car to the rear to lift off the gas until there was a huge cushion between us.  It was as if to say, "You, in the Cadillac, I know you're trying to get me to rear-end you.  You can't get one over on me, buddy boy, I'm staying way back here where I can keep an eye on you."

Dope (Part 10)

     The club was only about half full when we arrived, but this wasn't too surprising, since we were there relatively early: around 9:30.  Another hour before the place would start to get filled up, according to Mallory.  The bar was pretty damn empty, plenty of stools and tables available.  Most of the club's occupants were at the dance floor, but not dancing, just sitting around at tables ringing the dance floor.  Mallory explained the strategy: a couple people would show up early and stake out a table.  When the place was crowded, all the members of the social circle of the original settlers had a place to gather and stash their stuff while they danced.  I wondered aloud when the owner of a club would get smart and install rental lockers.

Dope (Part 11)

     The whole passel of us, about twelve or thirteen people, headed out to the dance floor after a while.  I'd handed out Ecstasy to all present, for which they were grateful.  We'd waited about thirty or forty minutes, so everyone could have a couple more drinks and let the drugs dissolve in their systems.  Since Mallory had taken hers earlier with us, it had kicked in, and she was very happy with its effects.  She was talkative, animated, and outgoing, flitting around and talking to everyone.  Perhaps Ecstasy is the cure for being Minnesotan.  When I was handing out hits to people, she was assuring everyone that it was fine.  In fact, it was incredible.

Dope (Part 12)

     Around two a group of us went out to the parking lot to smoke one of Bekka's joints.  She warned people to take a single hit and wait a couple minutes.  This was creeper weed, and high powered.  If the joint needed to be re-lit, so be it.  We all hung around the rented Cadillac, being randomly social.
     I found myself leaning on the trunk of the Brougham with Jill.  She thanked me again for the Ecstasy.  "I feel wonderful.  I guess the only downside is that I'm also feeling really horny.  And I want a cigarette, which is very rare for me."

Dope (Part 13)

     In the morning we called Mallory, telling her she and Jill were our guests for brunch at the hotel, and to hurry up, we were starving.  They rang our suite from a lobby courtesy phone twenty minutes later. We met and headed for the restaurant.  Mallory and Jill were still both full of energy, they said they'd slept for a couple hours and felt much better than they were expecting.  Bekka reminded them that Ecstasy is a methamphetamine product, but to not worry, the wire would wind down over the course of the day.

Dope (Part 14)

     We flew back into San Diego on Monday afternoon, and were at the mansion Tuesday morning.  I sorted through phone messages and checked the answering machine for the back line, then sat down and waded through returning calls.  One was from Crystal, wanting to know when she'd be making the next "Cum-Crazy Crystal" bukakke video.
     "Got time this Saturday?" I asked.  "Rounding up the mooks is the most difficult part of doing a video like that, and all the guys from the last one expressed an interest in doing it again.  I didn't know you were so eager to become a niche porno queen."

Dope (Part 15)

     Crystal's second bukakke loop went smoothly.  All the mooks we'd had before, including our own studs, were happy to help again.  When you're essentially being paid $75 and lunch to briefly be fellated, then knock one off while aiming at a stationary woman's face, that's not too bad of a way to kill three hours on a Saturday.  Crystal was attached to the fence with two pairs of handcuffs, so that her arms were spread wide.  I figured out a way to add some spice to the loop and also satisfy Crystal's urge to blow me.  Before she was cuffed, I shouldered a camera, then stood in front of Crystal, aiming the camera down.  She pulled my dick out, and away we went.  It was left unexplained why one of her "slaves" would be receiving oral sex, but none of the others were.  Screw it, we'd find some cockamamie excuse and work it into a future loop.  I was Crystal's first deposit of the day.

Dope (Part 16)

     We walked through the lobby of the hotel in a state of high alert.  I had my Beretta tucked up my right sleeve, so all I had to do was relax my hand and I'd be holding it.  Bekka's Colt was small enough that she could pretty much keep it palmed, anyone looking would see she was holding something, but not be able to tell what it was.  To the elevators, up to the ninth floor, down the hall, knock on the right door.

Dope (Part 17)

     We had fun at the ska show.  A band called Easy Big Fella headlined, with a band named the Orlon Sextet opening.  Bekka was recognized of course, but ska boys are too cool to ask for autographs, so we simply got a lot of stares all night.  The ska girls weren't so shy, approaching Becky Page in groups of two or three to tell her what an awesome person she was.  Several of them had the Becky Page eye makeup, which is a rather bold and unusual look for a ska girl.  Bekka signed autographs, including on the left breast of one rather well-developed young lady, who said she would be getting it photographed for posterity.  She was another one who confessed that Becky Page had helped her admit to herself she was attracted to girls as well as boys.  "Me and a friend have been getting together on the low-down," she said.  "We're not sure how our boyfriends would react if we told them."

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Terry (Part 2)

     It's a Wednesday, and Terry and I are aimed for Century City on our putts.  I'm on my black outlaw Sportster, while Terry has borrowed Bekka's purple beast for the day.  Terry's Dyna Glide is in the shop, having the frame cut and the front forks extended twenty inches, a pretty serious chop.  Next, the engine gets bored and new gearing is installed.  Then the chrome work.  Then fresh paint.  She wants to have "Eddie," the Iron Maiden mascot, airbrushed on each side of the tank.  This was her second choice of design.  Her first was to have a giant hard dick, lovingly detailed, on each side, cum dripping from the tip.  Bekka and I gently steered her away from this idea, pointing out that every little kid in the world is drawn to outlaw bikes, and there was no sense in offending so many parents every time she left home.

Terry (Part 3)

     Terry, Angel and I sat at a table in the back of the trattoria.  With us was Trish, who was making her way through her third cup of coffee and was becoming animate.  The China White was wearing off, aided by the float-a-mule-shoe coffee the trattoria served.  She took us in and said, "I can't believe he'd do that."
     I responded, "Oh, I can.  I just had lunch with the prick."
     "Ronnie kept going on about how I'd be breaking big, I'd be the next Becky Page.  He said he wanted me to meet the morons he was going to fleece, so I should come to lunch with him.  He wanted to get high, so we snorted up some junk, but he made my line too big, and I was a zombie."

Terry (Part 4)

     Goose was back.  He was one of our Hell's Angels security guards, and he'd been shot in the leg by a psychotic fan.  Healing and physical therapy had kept him out of action for a while, but now he was doing okay and ready to get back to work.  Goose's old lady was a bit worried about him returning to Inana, but everyone was assuring her shooting at a porn studio was a once in a lifetime event.  Unfortunately, they were wrong.  There had been three shooting incidents at the mansion so far, all of which involved me, and one of them planted me in the hospital with seven holes in me.  I avoided sharing this little statistic about Inana Productions.

Terry (Part 5)

     Terry backed the hot rod Nova into a space at the Gun Range on a Wednesday evening.  It was the night  of the weekly "shoot-out," an amateur target competition.  She got in the trunk of the Nova and grabbed two gun cases.  One held a Colt 1911, a .45 caliber semi-automatic.  The other contained a Beretta Target 87, a .22 target pistol.  Terry used the Colt for warm-up, and the Beretta for competition.  When she first started entering the contests, she was using a Beretta 92, a 9mm cannon most commonly known as standard issue to anyone in the US military who would carry a sidearm.  She had learned to shoot with a Beretta 92FS, and was comfortable with one.  The Gun Range rented guns, so she would rent a 92 to use in the competition.  Compared to what other contestants were using, she may as well have been using a bazooka.  A friendly gun geek got her straightened out so far as what was both more practical and appropriate for target competitions, so she had picked up the Target 87 out of brand loyalty.

Terry (Part 6)

     That night, Gerald had his first sexual experience since graduating college, eleven years earlier.  (Don't lie, you've been dying to know how things worked out.)
     He followed Terry's Nova home in his Dodge Omni, barely.  While Terry was quick to point out that her '72 Nova looked faster than it was --- it was a former movie stunt vehicle, so looks were everything --- it was certainly quick, and had a driver at the wheel who wasn't afraid to use the pedal on the right.  Terry would engage in her habitual bursts of speed, while Gerald desperately tried to get the Omni to actually accelerate, a futile hope for one of those cars.  She would check her rear-view, realize Gerald was rapidly getting smaller in the mirror, and back off until he caught up.  She finally figured out that his car had a zero-to-sixty time of about fourteen minutes, and forced herself to putt along with all the motoring panache of a nun on Quaaludes.

Terry (Part 7)

     Dear Lenny and Bekka,
     We're in Berlin.  Sorry I haven't written for a while.  I was kinda busy.
     Hamburg RULED.  We were there for five days, and I could stay for another ten.  Oh my god, everything I'd heard about what a rager of a town Hamburg is turned out to be true.  I'd told Vito that I wanted to do some serious partying in Hamburg, like out-all-night partying, and would probably be going to places with music he would hate.  He told me to stay safe, and turned me loose to do anything I wanted, all day and all night.  Oh shit, I did.

Terry (Part 8)

     Except for the airbrush art on the gas tank, Terry's Dyna-Glide was done.  The frame was a shiny black.  The engine glistened with chrome.  The front forks now extended well ahead, not quite a '70s style chopper, but definitely in that direction.  The engine and transmission had been modified, with Terry taking it for a test run and declaring it "one awesome fuckin' rocket."  In a bit of a contradiction of most show bikes, Terry had actually added a passenger seat, hand-hold, and a rack for strapping cargo onto.  (Most show bikes had the smallest pad of leather behind the gas tank as a seat.)  Terry wanted the rack so she'd have someplace to strap her gun cases when she went shooting.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Terry (Part 1)

     Bekka, Terry and I sat in a booth at the Hi-Lo, the bar of residence for the San Diego (Dago) chapter of the Hell's Angels.  Also in the booth was an Angel named Fatso, a rail-thin gent in his forties, generally considered to be the most cerebral of the Angels.  He was building a tall and ornate tower on the table using dominoes.   Bekka and I were sipping our Millers and watching his progress.  Terry was reading a letter, our teenage ward Jane's latest missive from Europe.  She was touring Western Europe, Great Britan, and Ireland that summer in the company of a seventy-eight year old man, Don Vito Ventimiglia of Bel Air.  The Don was the outgoing head of the Southern California mafia, richer than Croesus, and absolutely devoted to Jane, a blue-haired punk rock girl who would be starting her senior year of high school in the fall.  Don Vito's affection for Jane was two-fold: to him, he was a granddaughter he had never had, but also a true friend and confidante.  The Don appreciated Jane's intelligence, self-confidence, and energy, he said being around her had added ten years to his life.  In turn, Jane loved "Uncle Vito" for his dapper style, genteel manners, and overall gentlemanly behavior.  The two had more fun together than one would guess.  They both loved riding their Harley Sportsters, the Don was teaching Jane how to play tennis and cribbage, and she was teaching him how to play electric bass.  Quite a pair.

Devil (Part 1)

     Angel and Vinny both loved my plot outline for the newest feature.  Entitled "Good Girl/Bad Girl," it followed the life of one woman, "Ella Belle" (Elspeth).  The gist was that everyone is morally ambiguous, each of us having an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other.  In Elspeth's case, the angel and the devil are a little too real: they exist full-size and follow her around, putting in their own views during Elspeth's interactions with the rest of the world.  Elspeth can see them, and will talk to them in private.  The angel would be played by "Skye Tyler" (Ellen), the devil by "Becky Page" (Bekka).  Obviously, the two fight a lot, but are still lovers.  They throw conflicting advice at Elspeth.  In any situation, the angel will of course prod Elspeth into being a good girl, while the devil will encourage....  Not exactly evil, but lewd and crass behavior.  On occasion, the two actually agree.  The worst part was that the angel and devil could break out into reality, and interact.  I was going to have a lot of fun writing this one.

Devil (Part 2)

     If there was a modern labor-saving, life-enriching product for sale, it was being demonstrated in the exhibit hall.  We watched the demos of kitchenware and snacked on the results.  The exhibit hall was like Sears, if every department in Sears had been narrowed down to a thirty by thirty area and staffed by a more manic version of Ron Popiel.  Flooring, power mowers, clothing, jewelry, miracle goo for your car's engine, tanning pills, hot tubs, just about anything you could think of.  Bekka (who had kicked Becky out, and was now back in control) and I spent a bit of time at a booth for a company that did water filters.  The big difference with this system was that there was only one big filter, that was attached to the water main where it came into the house, not at each individual faucet.  Since San Diego water tastes like you're sucking on an iron bar, we liked the idea.  We were very impressed with the results, too.  We made an appointment for a rep to come out to the house.

Devil (Part 3)

     We picked up where we left off in the exhibit hall.  Once we'd seen all the gizmos, we stepped into a second hall.  The focus in this one was automotive.  All the major American and Japanese makers had booths, with a smattering of German and Italian.  Land Rover also made an appearance.  The other vendors were hawking miracle fuel additives, crankcase goo, paint sealants, wax, off-brand stereos ("Why Pay More?"), radar detectors, and defensive driving courses.  This last one intrigued me.  I considered myself to be a skilled defensive driver, but I wanted to develop better offensive driving talent.  Given our stable of vehicles, I felt it only right I should know how to hot dog it a little, competently.  I spoke with a rep and was told one of their Secret Service/cop/spook driving courses would just about be what I wanted.  The courses were held at Sears Point Raceway up in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco.  My class would last five days.  I was given the impression I could walk around with my shoulder holster and Beretta showing and no one would think it was a bit out of place: I would be in a small minority of civilians taking the course.  "Most cops think they have driving skills.  We disabuse them of that belief," I was told.  "Highway Patrol are somewhat more skilled than city cops, but they still just spent some time lead-footing it and weaving through some pylons.  Anyone taking this course will learn how to use a car aggressively, without endangering random citizens.  The Secret Service loves us.  The Navy SEALS love us.  High end private security love us.  This is not a course for pantywaists."

Devil (Part 4)

     The script for "Good Girl/Bad Girl" was coming together nicely.  This movie was primarily meant to be humorous, and I was happy with the punchlines I was coming up with.  I wouldn't need Eddie this time around.  I'd added some physical comedy, a la the Three Stooges (well, a bit more restrained).  The angel and the devil were forever harassing and tormenting each other: head slaps, pinches, pokes, and the like.  The devil liked to walk past the angel and smack her on the ass.  The angel would hang things from the devil's horns, like keys, air fresheners, panties, and Walkman headphones.  Elspeth's character, named Stella, would occasionally dish out Three Stooges style abuse on both the angel and the devil.

Devil (Part 5)

     "So I've got the perfect camouflage for carrying rigs now," said Crystal.  "Check it."
     She put her purse on her lap and dug into it.  She removed a plastic case, like a large glasses case, and opened it up.  It contained two syringes, a vial, what appeared to be a 35mm film canister, a stubby plastic pen, and a small electronic device, the purpose of which was indeterminate from looking at it.  I looked at her in confusion, so did Bekka.

Devil (Part 6)

Letters From Jane

      Dear Lenny and Bekka,
     We're in Rome!  This city is HUGE, ancient ruins next to apartment buildings from the 1700s next to modern glass office buildings.  Lenny, you would either love or hate driving here -- everyone seems to go as fast as possible, no matter the situation.  Our cab ride from the airport to the hotel was scary for me, I was sure the driver was going to kill someone on a Vespa at some point.  The hotel we're in dates back to the 1500s but has been totally modernized, really really nice.

Devil (Part 7)

Letters From Jane

     Dear Lenny and Bekka,
     Today after lunch we got in our bathing suits, took a taxi to a touristy beach, and rented Jet-Skis, so we could go exploring the coastline.  Neither of us had ever been on a Jet-Ski before, but figured the instincts we'd learned from riding motorcycles would abet us.  We both did fine.  We found a gorgeous sandy cove, where we stopped to relax.  I stripped out of my bathing suit and lay nude in the sand.  Vito considered me and said, "Jane, you are beautiful.  Were I a younger man, I would renounce La Cosa Nostra, assault my father, and shave my head to spend one night alone with you."

Devil (Part 8)

     With the script for "Good Girl/Bad Girl" complete, I dove into the chores of pre-production.  I would be using the city of Oceanside for my exterior shots again, as they were both cheap and willing, two things which could not be said of San Diego's film board.  I also got a hold of State Parks to see about getting permits for filming on a couple beaches.  One scene would take place at La Jolla Shores, which is always crowded, but that's what I wanted.  I would also be shooting a softcore scene at Black's Beach, San Diego's main "clothing optional" beach.  The guy from Parks warned me we might run into some hostility from others at Black's, as soon as they saw the cameras.  Apparently there's always creeps at the top of the cliff, trying to get photos of naked people, and the locals may assume we are also there to invade their privacy.

Devil (Part 9)

     Our first read-through went well.  While not prompting the outbursts the "Temporary Pleasures" script had, my script still got plenty of laughs.  Cool, I could be funny too, not just Eddie.  Maybe we could put our heads together and make another juicy satire.  Dale asked me, "Why are there big spaces between some of the lines?  The pages have all these blank spots."

Devil (Part 11)

     We decided to do our blocking for location shots at the actual locations.  Oceanside is right up the freeway, and everyone would get a better feel for their positioning, much better than our usual routine of using the driveway and sidewalk outside the mansion.  The city of Oceanside can't say anything to us, we don't have cameras set up, we're just a small group of people hanging out on a sidewalk.  Bekka, Elspeth, Ellen, Small Steve and I went to UTC mall and worked on the blocking for those scenes.  The shoot in the food court is pretty static, no real work there, just Steve deciding where cameras should go.  The shot on the plaza was mostly a matter of timing the dialogue with the amount of distance covered walking.  We ended up having the girls walking fairly damn slowly, so we wouldn't have to cover too much distance.  The shot in the parking lot didn't really need blocking, it's just Bekka running and throwing herself through the side window of a car.  She's practiced that little dive at home, so she's comfortable with it.

Devil (Part 10)

     Dear Lenny and Bekka,
     Sorry I haven't written for several days.  We're in Athens, Greece.  We spent two days each in Le Mans and Reims.  Le Mans was kind of dull, except for the racetrack.  No racing going on while we were there, but apparently France has plenty of mega-rich people who own their own race cars.  The track allows them to run solo laps, only one car on the track at the time.  These rich guys have their cars trailered out to the track, pay some massive fee, and work on their skills.  Ten laps, it's the next guy's turn.  The public is allowed to watch from the stands, for free.  I don't know how, but Vito somehow cajoled a track worker into letting us walk to the pit area, so we could get a closer look at the cars.  We talked with a couple of these amateur drivers (well, Vito did) and they admit, it is a very expensive hobby, but worth it to them.  They both said if they'd had their choice, they would have been professional racers and lived fairly poor, rather than going into business and being rich.

Devil (Part 12)

     Small Steve anchored the mobile production truck, a former UPS truck, in the yellow zone outside the multiplex of University Town Center, a stone's throw from the food court.  Everyone else pulled their cars into the closest spaces they could find, not a difficult task on a Wednesday morning.  I stopped behind the truck, briefly admiring it.  We'd had it painted black, with the Inana Productions logo put on both sides and the rear roll-up door.  The original interior racks had been scrapped, and Steve had supervised the installation of custom racks, shelves, and cabinets which would hold all the stuff needed for shooting professional video on location.  An electric inverter had been installed, powerful enough to run a a playback unit or charge a low camera battery pack.  Angel had even allowed a bit of bling, we now had shiny chrome rims at each corner.  The truck spent much time sitting to one side of the driveway at the mansion, ready to be called into service.  We'd take it for a spin once a week, so the battery wouldn't die.

Devil (Part 13)

     True to his word, the dead guy was nowhere to be found when we showed up at the club that Tuesday to shoot.  A weaselly looking guy in a tight blue shirt who introduced himself as Shadow let us in.  Shadow was the bartender.  He had already been there for a couple hours, trying to figure out why the ice machine kept pissing water.  We wrangled equipment and Small Steve began plotting with Sally for the best spots to set up cameras for footage of the dance floor, both establishing shots and shots of Bekka and Elspeth dancing.

Devil (Part 14)

     We got our shots downstairs fairly quickly.  One of Stella (Elspeth) and the devil (Bekka) standing at the bar briefly, then the two of them out on the dance floor, grooving.  Bekka may have been in costume, but she didn't look too out of place at this club.  While no other girl was showing nearly as much flesh, the devil's horns, fishnets, and domme boots just made her look like one of the more theatrical members of the crowd.  Stella had a more punk rock look, which set her apart.  Doc Martens and bondage collars weren't too common among club kids.

Devil (Part 15)

     We wrapped production, and the usual rigamarole kicked in.  Small Steve completed his rough cut of the movie.  Sound was edited in, copies of the rough cut went to the editors in LA and our music maven, a girl named Corolla who was a wizard with a Korg M1 keyboard, a Stratocaster, and a sixteen track mixing system.  The final edit of the movie, music now mixed in, would be sent down to me and Steve for final approval.  Angel would have his graphics guys create box art.  The run of promo copies would be made, and copies would be sent to all the adult magazines, as well as other media outlets.  Our release date would be set, in conjunction with the publication of the magazines which would contain reviews of the movie.  And I would chew my thumb bloody, hoping the critics and reviewers liked what we'd done.
     The reviews hit.  Score.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Angels (Part 1)

     Despite the fact that we're in San Diego, Roach is wearing two jackets.  He has on his leather, and on top of that a denim vest.  Roach is damn proud of that vest.  Over the left breast is a white patch with blue lettering that reads "Fucker."  On the back is a largish patch.  The image is a skull, or death's head, with long ornate wings coming off of it.  Curving above it are the words "Hells Angels," and below, "San Diego." 
Roach removes both jackets as one piece and puts them on a hanger in the sound stage.  The patches are new, and he does not want them to get creased or wrinkled.  That's how proud he is of that vest.  Stripping down, he leaves the rest of his clothes in a pile on the floor.

Angels (Part 2)

     I was cooling it in my office, waiting for Bekka to come down so we could go to lunch, when Roach drifted in.  He was wearing his leather and his colors, and pulling off a pair of riding gloves.  He still had a vague odor of engine grease, accumulated at his morning gig, stripping hot cars in National City.  He slid one the task chairs away from the wall and up next to my desk, kicking the door closed.  Throwing his leather and colors over the arm of the sofa, he asked, "Hey Lenny, wanna smoke a bowl?  I need a pipe.  I got shit that came out of the lab this morning, and it's rocket fuel.  Not quite as clean as yours, but it's got the same kick.  A good batch."

Angels (Part 3)

     Mutt called me the next afternoon.  He had two guys who could use the work, Peewee and Cisco.  Both were in good shape, would follow instructions well, were Becky Page fans, and were currently between jobs of any kind.  No legal grind, and no hustles going on.  They needed the money.  The Hell's Angels would not let a member go hungry or lose their apartment, but it was generally expected that members would be self-sufficient.  Both Peewee and Cisco had long-term girlfriends who worked, so they weren't at risk of becoming homeless, but the lack of income was definitely putting a cramp in their style.  Hell's Angels should not be recycling aluminum cans to get pocket money.

Angels (Part 4)

     That night we met Terry at the Gun Range on Balboa.  This would be her first introduction to the safe handling and operation of handguns.  While guns are hardly rare around outlaws, their use seemed to be reserved for the boys only, nobody had ever invited Terry out to the desert to go shooting.  I wasn't worried about her having a pistol, Terry was far more intelligent than she let on.  Like her kindness and feminine side, she kept her wits hidden from the outside world, only displaying them around those she trusted.

Angels (Part 5)

     Bekka and I stuck around for another forty-five minutes.  Our first signing was the next day, and we wanted our rest.  With our departure, the Angels decided to move up to the front of the stage, so they could shove dollar bills in garters.  I noticed that they drank steadily, but slowly.  They also stuck with watery, low-powered beer like Budweiser and Coors Light.  No spirits.  They would also occasionally get up and avail themselves of the bowls of chips and pretzels sitting on the bar.  Thinking about it, this made sense to me.  Not only were they drinking off their turf, when they left they would have to ride motorcycles on urban freeways at night.  Doing so with a good buzz was a bad idea.

Angels (Part 6)

Once again, on Sunday Bekka and I were early at the mansion.  We wanted to make sure Angel was moving around, and to check the BBS for any gossip about Friday's signing.  We walked in and went to the office, to find Angel already occupying my desk, staring at the screen of the Macintosh.  He was reading a post on the BBS with rapt fascination.  Looking up, Angel gave a crooked grin.  He looked tired.

Angels (Part 7)

     Several days later we're down at the Hi-Lo in National City again.  We have switched from our previous location at the bar to a booth near the pinball machine and a pool table.  Roach, Bekka and I are knocking back burritos along with our draft beer.  Roach is happy and proud tonight, he won a bet with Small Steve.  Roach claimed he could perform in two loops in a day, and still do well in both.... Including the money shot.   Steve said no way: while yeah, at nineteen Roach would recover to perform just fine during lunch hour, the human body did not produce semen fast enough to have a decent money shot four hours later.  Roach told Steve that it was worth $300 to settle, and Steve accepted.  That afternoon, what was going to be a three way turned into a two-on-two, Roach working with Pill.

Angels (Part 8)

     So that's how me and Bekka started hanging around the San Diego Hell's Angels.  We started going down about once or twice a week, whether or not Roach was going to be there or not.  He was getting pressure from Dawn to spend more time at home, and love won out, he did.  We never really agreed on who would be the "designated driver," just one of us agreeing to nurse Miller, stay away from the scotch or Jack Daniels.  We were relaxed around there.  The Angels were relaxed around us, to them, we were just Good People, friends who hung around.  Bekka would still pose with Angels and their bikes for photos, but once all the local members got their pictures taken, that only happened when members from visiting chapters stopped by.  "Man, you ain't gonna believe who we're friends with...."

Angels (Part 9)

     "Hey, look over there," said Bekka, pointing down the bowling alley.
     I looked.  There were four guys wearing H.A. colors at one of the lanes.  Closer inspection revealed them to be Cisco, Peewee, Fatso, and Hinge.  There were four girls at the lane next to them, all obvious biker babes, although I didn't recognize any of them.  No surprise there, Roach and I were considered anomalies because we brought our women with us to the bar.  I glanced at Terry.  She looked a bit disappointed, as basic math indicated there were no single Angels.  Jane looked happy.  She would be, Fatso was there.  She liked the rail-thin, slightly older Angel for his relaxed, friendly demeanor, his brains, and his lack of lechery.  We walked in that direction.

Angels (Part 10)

     Three weeks later, the reviews for "Succubus" came out.

Angels (Part 11)

     Being the energetic girl she was, Terry decided to leap right in to the amateur target competitions at the Gun Range.  She immediately began disturbing people: five foot six of foul-mouthed scooter tramp on a Harley, carrying a Colt under one arm, and went through her first two competitions firing with one of the Gun Range's rental pieces.  Not only a rental gun, but a Beretta 92.  Compared to what the other target shooters used, Terry may as well have been firing a bazooka.

Angels (Part 12)

     On the Monday of the fifth week after the release of "Succubus," Angel called me to let me know how well Small Steve and I had kept to budget.  Roughly, we had spent just under $4.5 million on production.  Our budget max was $6 million.  As per our agreement, Steve and I would be splitting the amount saved under that $6 million cap.  The end result was we were each getting $750,000 bonuses.

Angels (Part 13)

     The next morning Crystal and I collected Hank and drove down into the valley.  We stopped in a diner in Marysville for breakfast, then headed for the dealership.  Over breakfast, we discussed the decision by Hank and Crystal to hold onto their own cars, if that was all right.  It was pure hillbilly logic: both the Subaru and the Maverick ran, and you don't get rid of vehicles that run, even if they've been replaced with something better.  You hold onto them, just in case.  I told them that was fine, they owed me nothing for the "extra" cost (neither had considered tax or DMV fees when pricing cars), I was just happy to get them into something newer and reliable.

Angels (Part 14)

     I returned to a quiet studio.  Loops were being made, video was being edited, performers were happy, everyone was paid, there was nothing to worry about.  Spike and Goose were working out on their jobs.  I put my feet up and concentrated on my job.  No sweat.
     It was a Tuesday when the gunfire broke out.  Somebody knew our schedule.  Checks were made available at nine a.m. on Tuesdays, but most performers didn't pick them up until lunch, whether they were working or not.  There was a line stringing out of my office, everyone, cast and crew, wanting to get their money for the week.  I'd ordered pizza in, it was a tradition, get your check and a little bit of lunch while you're there.  Nothing big.  Just business.

Angels (Part 15)

     Bekka and I cut out to help improve Goose's reading situation.  Working on the premise that he would not be big into Danielle Steele or James Patterson (or People) we skipped the gift shop and headed to a liquor store we knew that had one hell of a news stand.  We picked up copies of Iron Horse, Outlaw Biker, Cycle World, Car & Driver, Road & Track, Esquire, and Penthouse.  Debate was had about whether to get him a copy of Hustler or Gallery, but we decided those would wreak havoc on his already low blood pressure.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Succubus (Part 1)

     "This is hell," said Small Steve, gazing out the passenger window of the '70 Plymouth.  "Lenny, of all people, I should have guessed you'd know where to find hell on earth."
     "And it's perfect for our needs," I said.  "We need wasteland.  Barren, uninhabited, little traveled.  How many cars have we seen in the past ten minutes?"
     "Three, I think.  I wonder what they're doing out here?"

Succubus (Part 2)

     "Good.  I'm glad you're doing what I suggested," said Bekka over dinner.
     "So where are you gonna go?" asked Jane.
     I said, "That's just it, I don't know.  The whole idea is that I just go until I get bored of driving, or see something that looks interesting, or whatever.  That's the whole idea, that I have no itinerary.  I could get as far as Merced and spend five days in a motel, watching TV and eating delivery pizza.  Whatever feels comfortable and relaxing is what I'm going to do."

Succubus (Part 3)

     For lack of a better option, I ate breakfast at Lyon's again, then headed out.  Through Grass Valley and Nevada City the 49 is four-lane freeway.  Then it drops to winding two-lane blacktop, just the sort of turf the Falcon was built for.  I pushed it through the gorge of the south fork of the Yuba River, leaning on it hard enough to get some tire noise but not actually break traction.  On the north side of the gorge I came around a curve and found myself charging up the ass of a Subaru moving twenty.  Holding second, I putted up behind this tick of a vehicle.  He refused to accelerate.  Finally, at the top, there was a passing lane.  I looked over as I went by and got the same look that all morally self-righteous people have when they're saving us from ourselves.

Succubus (Part 4)

     I spent that night, and the next two, under the roof of Crystal and Mojo.  They actually had a house a block away from the bar.  If I hadn't needed to get Hal and Jen home, we would have just gone straight there.  I had privately explained to Hank at the bar that I'd been around scammers before, and these two didn't worry me.  I'd keep my dope and my wallet on me, and the doors of the Falcon locked.  Barring them braining me with a pipe, they'd find it hard to rip me off.  They couldn't try to wheedle anything out of me, since I would be offering it up of my own volition before they could start.

Succubus (Part 5)

     After lunch we went back to the mansion.  It was lunch break, and I was able to make introductions.  I collared Roach before he and Dawn went out, telling him I'd need him on Monday morning, presuming Jolene's blood test was clear.  She was definitely in a low-risk category, so we weren't worried.  Jolene was intrigued by Roach: he had shaken her hand warmly, given her a tentative welcome aboard, and told her he looked forward to working with her.  He told her to be a few minutes early on Monday, so they could go over likes, dislikes, and if she needed to set limits.
     "Set limits?" asked Jolene.

Succubus (Part 6)

     Over the weekend we cruised around looking at apartments.  On Sunday Jolene found her dream: a one bedroom cottage behind another house in Solana Beach, two blocks from the beach.  The best part was the rent, which was only $400 a month.  The elderly couple who lived in the main house just liked the idea of having a neighbor that close, someone they could yell to if there was an emergency.  They didn't mind taking cash for the first month's rent and deposit, Jolene explaining that she was very recently separated from her husband and still needed to open a checking account of her own.  At Bekka's suggestion, she told the couple that she "worked in video production" and left it at that.

Succubus (Part 7)

     Friday was a day of telephonic exhaustion.  Gina and I fielded calls from plenty of yahoos wanting to be the sound man for a porn studio; I regretted putting the name of the studio in the ad.  Many were turned off when Gina and I explained that this was work, dull work, and their interaction with the female performers would be verbal only.  For performance, we rarely promoted from within.  Three of them seemed to get it, so I invited all three up on Tuesday to watch a shoot, talk with Small Steve and Mickey, and then be interviewed one at a time by me.  I would go with whoever seemed most dependable and would stick around for a while.

Succubus (Part 8)

     On Monday, Angel caught me on the phone just before I stepped out for lunch.  "Things moving along?" he asked.
     "Moving well," I replied.  "The government of Imperial County is being very obliging of some punk that wants to use them as a backdrop for a fuck flick."
     "Excellent, very good," he said.  There was a pause and a chuckle, then he said, "Lenny, I would like you and Bekka to come up to the trattoria for dinner tonight.  This will be a business dinner, so I would prefer if Jane does not join you."

Succubus (Part 9)

     Two weeks later and I'm tooling along through desert in my Fleetwood with Jeff Greenley of the Imperial County department of Film and Entertainment riding shotgun.  He is giving me a tour of county roads that have the wasteland vibe I want.  I am his only client, so I have his undivided attention.  He was initially surprised by me, but has adapted.  Greenley knew Inana Productions made adult video, and was familiar with (and a fan of) Becky Page's movies.  He was expecting a vaguely sleazy Hollywood type to meet him, not a twenty-three year old punk in a brand new Cadillac.  I immediately won him over by presenting him with a signed Becky Page poster to put up at home.  He assures me that everyone in county government will be cooperative with us while we are working, especially the sheriff's department.

Succubus (Part 10)

     Once the trunk was loaded, me, Bekka, and Roach got in the Fleetwood to pass around the glass pipe again.  Small Steve leaned against the front fender, smoking one of Bekka's Benson & Hedges.  While he was doing his edit of features, Steve would cadge a small line off me, like a paper match, every morning.  Otherwise he left the stuff alone.
     Crystal joined us in the car, smirking.  When the pipe came to her, she waved it off, saying.  "Doing shit like that just pisses me off.  I hit good earlier anyway, so I'm fine.  Haven't you ever banged dope?"
     I said, "No.  I'm phobic of needles to begin with.  That, and what I've noticed is that people who do bang end up having their lives revolve around it too much, you know?  I'm perfectly happy like this."
     In a belligerent tone, Crystal said, "Well, fuck me.  I started banging my shit when I was fourteen, it was the first way I'd ever gotten high.  When my sister asked if I wanted to do some dope when I was sixteen, she offered me a line, and I was all, 'What the fuck is this?'  You have to get it in your bloodstream, or you're just wasting your fuckin' time.  You're just pissing yourself off."

Succubus (Part 11)

     "What is this?" asked Jolene.
     "The band is The Jesus Lizard.  This is their album 'Head,'" I answered.
     "I've never heard anything like this in my life."
     Bekka laughed.  "We've got a shitload of music that will probably mystify you."
     We lucked out and found a space in Cyrano's small lot.  I backed the Falcon in and we got out, ignoring the stares of the two yuppies leaning against a Five-series BMW.  One of them called, "Hey man, is that your car?"
     I said, "No, it's hers," and pointed at Bekka.
     "How fast is it?"
     "I'm not sure.  I've had it up to 145, but I ran out of room to work and had to back off.  I'd want to take it to Riverside or Laguna Seca and open it up with no one else around me to find its max."

Succubus (Part 12)

     We left the RVs on the street outside the Villa Motel in El Centro.  Across the street at the Travelodge, I saw our production support vehicle, a former UPS truck, back into a space.  People piled out of all three RVs and milled around in the parking lot of the Villa.  A newish white Ford LTD parked in the lot, the woman at the wheel nearly identical to Becky Page.  This was Reina Crylos, our stunt coordinator and Bekka's double.for dangerous shots.  Bekka wasn't willing to hood-surf at eighty MPH, Reina was.  She got out and approached me, a cool smile on her lips.

Succubus (Part 13)

     Back in the RV, Terry said, "Holy fuckin' shit, I was gonna ask her about what we, y'know, talked about, but there's just no fuckin' way.  What the fuck is she so pissed about?"
     I got behind the wheel and fired up.  "No damn clue," I said.  "She acts like I'm finding excuses to be up and out.  Shit, if I was, I'd do it in a better damn town than this.  She knows I'm not one to just go tweaking around, I'm not about to hit a bar, and I'm plenty aware that I have shit to do tomorrow and need my rest.  I'd say it was jealousy, with you and me hanging out, but she's the one who proposed you as my assistant to begin with.  Hopefully, whatever it is, she has the sense to go visit with Donna or Pill or Roach instead of stewing by her lonesome."

Succubus (Part 14)

     The next morning we ate breakfast with Roach.  He seemed a bit keyed up.
     "I had an interesting phone conversation last night," Roach said.  "I was letting the club know of my payment arrangements, $200 every Sunday, and the guy I was talking to said, 'Hopefully we'll be seeing a whole lot of you.'  I was like, sure, no problem.  Then he says him and a couple other guys want to talk to me today.  I told him I'm out in Imperial County making a movie, and he just laughed and said for me to give him directions to where we'll be today, they'll ride out and we'll chat.  The long and short of it is that three Hell's Angels are going to be showing up at our location today, and they want words with me.  Honest, I have no clue as to what's going on."

Succubus (Part 15)

     I settled into a routine.  Up at six.  Shower, smoke a bowl, dress, and head for the diner for breakfast.  By 7:30 I would be piloting an RV full of porn stars out to that day's location in the desert.  While performers got their makeup, I would help Mitch and Dutch inspect the vehicles.  The stars were now driving them, all the major driving and stunt work was in the can.  We were doing our dialogue and "safe" driving scenes now.  I would be considering hitting my pipe in the biffy of one of the RVs when Terry would arrive, driving Bekka's Plymouth Sport Fury.  I'd jump in the passenger seat, we'd smoke a bowl, then make out like high school kids for a few minutes.  Performers would be running their lines.  We'd start shooting scenes, the girls of the pirate band playing their roles as intensely neurotic.  Except for the pirate queen (named Lily) not a single pirate was sane.

Succubus (Part 16)

     After lunch we got our girl/girl scenes in the can.  This time the whole (male) population of Gilmore Camp was right on the sidelines to watch the action.  Generally, they seemed more amazed than aroused.  Colson had locked up the store so he wouldn't miss a minute of fun, standing in awe as he watched Bekka and Feather (named Itsy, due to her diminutive size) make out and sixty-nine at the water's edge.  Feather was Bekka's shotgun rider in the Nova.  I had a latent guilty realization: Feather might be eighteen, but she was still in high school.  Or should be, anyway....

Succubus (Part 17)

     "I hope I'm not just being fuckin' stupid, but what the fuck is a succubus, anyway?" asked Terry.
     I answered, "A succubus is a female demon who seduces men.  Traditionally, those who have sex with succubi suffer from poor health or even death.  One thing attributed to the succubus is that since demons cannot reproduce, succubi take sperm from men and implant it in human women without their knowledge, meaning the women give birth to devil children.  Sounds like bullshit to me, since the sperm is coming from a normal human male and going into a normal human female.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mafioso (Part 1)

     Jane and I sat on a couple of high-backed chairs in the hall of Don Ventimiglia's Bel Air mansion, sharing an ashtray.  The hall was crowded with women, mafia wives, all gossiping with each other.  Jane and I mostly sat in silence, having run out of small talk to say to each other.  We didn't have much to say to the women present, either.  Introductions had been made, and that was it.  They already knew who I was anyway, I was the king of porn, the one with the drug habit.  Jane certainly intrigued them, but mutual attempts at conversation had gone nowhere.  There was no commonality: these women couldn't really relate to a blue-haired sixteen year old girl whose primary interests were (in no particular order) loud music, motorcycles, getting high on Ecstasy, and fucking.

Mafioso (Part 2)

     We entered the ballroom which was being used as a gathering space to a mood of consternation.  Don Ventimiglia, along with his chosen heir and the guest of honor of the night had all just....  Disappeared for a half hour.  No word to anybody.  When we returned, there was a lot of knowing nods and muttered gossip: of course the program is getting fucked up, Lenny The Punk is around.  I was considered a harbinger of chaos, someone who attracted trouble.  That goddamn Lenny, he's trouble looking for a place to happen.  Shot three times.  Goddamn dope fiend, too, him and his wife both.  They're hooked on crank, no wonder they're so damn crazy.  Why Angel Morelli recruited him is anybody's guess....  But he took a tiny porn studio down in San Diego and turned it into a powerhouse, so you can't say he's stupid.  Just crazy.

Mafioso (Part 3)

     I drove the Falcon back south solo, placing Jane rather unwillingly in the Fleetwood with Bekka.  The reason for this was simple: I was planning on breaking a shit-ton of traffic laws in an effort to test the limits of the new hot rod, and didn't want to set a bad example.  That, and if I got pulled over, I wanted it to be a short and simple exercise.  Jane was at the age where mouthing off to cops seems like a good idea.

Mafioso (Part 4)

     "So what are your plans for her?" Bekka asked me, as we got in the spa.
     I was dumbfounded.  "Wait, you're asking me?  You're the one who invited her up for a couple nights.  What are your plans?"
     Bekka pondered and said, "Well, it was definitely a Becky decision.  But shit, a tiny thing like her, living in her car in Ocean Beach?  Um....  Hey, I know.  We've talked about moving Rita up into being a performer.  That would leave us short one fluffer and script girl.  This chick claims to be a compulsive cocksucker, and so long as she's literate enough to read a script, she'd be fine.  She'd definitely be able to stop living in her car on $2000 a week, she could stay in the penthouse until she found a place, we could keep her high....  Yeah.  Call Rita tomorrow and tell her she's got the promotion."

Mafioso (Part 5)

     We took Dawn to Triplet's for brunch, where we insisted upon her making a pig of herself.  "I can see your damn ribs, girl," said Bekka.  "Fucking cigarettes and dope don't have any calories in them, they won't keep you alive.  Don't worry, with luck on Wednesday you'll be going to Safeway and buying some of your own groceries, and you'll have a kitchen to cook things in.
     Dawn started slow, but built momentum.  Over the course of brunch, she had waffles, eggs over easy, bacon, a ham steak, fresh melon, whole wheat toast with jam, two glasses of orange juice, three glasses of milk, and four vodka mimosas.  At first she was loath to order what she felt out of good manners, but we pressed her to have all of everything she wanted.  It was obvious even to the untrained eye she was malnourished, her using dope to kill her appetite and save on the expense of eating.

Mafioso (Part 6)

     ".... And so that's where we stand.  With Bekka as ful-fledged mafioso and me as an associate, we're the mafia's first 'power couple.'  Do you understand?"
     "So that's why you're rich," said Dawn.
     "No, that's why I have such great backing.  I got rich on my own.  I have made very canny business and creative decisions over the past year, which has led to my income leaping forward at an incredible pace.  Did you have any questions?"

Mafioso (Part 7)

     We gave Dawn an extra few minutes, and she showed up.  She looked slightly flushed, but none the worse for wear.  She was carrying her shoes, a pair of cloth "nip flips," and had her giant purse over one shoulder.  If she was satisfied from the little party she'd thrown, she didn't look it.  Dawn Nixon just plain looked wired up.

Mafioso (Part 8)

     Bekka and I made our intentions clear of heading to bed.  This distressed Dawn.  "No, come on, let's smoke some more and, y'know, hang out or whatever," she said.  "Or Jane, you wanna stay up.  You and me have never really talked."
     Jane said, "It's two right now, and I had a long and taxing day, which I had to handle totally straight.  I gotta crash out."

Mafioso (Part 9)

     They finished shooting around 12:15.  Not needing showers (merely mouthwash) Rita and Dawn came downstairs, giggling about something.  I was shocked: I'd never heard Dawn giggle about anything.  I asked what the comedy was, and Rita said, "I explain to Dawn that the men we work with are muy tonto.  And cattier than the women.  Stallion, he has this job, spends his time in the gym, yet is still jealous of Eddie, because Eddie is the one with nine inches.  And bench presses cannot change that!"

Mafioso (Part 10)

     The next morning I rode my Sportster to the mansion.  The Plymouth was sitting in front of one of the garage doors.  Going in, Gina was already in her office, who told me that the tiny girl had come from upstairs and scared the hell out of her.  "Is she living here now?" she asked.
     "Yeah, for a month or so," I said.  "Her name is Dawn, she's our new fluffer.  Rita is going to start performing.  She's had a rough patch, and needs to save up to get into an apartment.  Where is she?"
     Gina said, "I think I heard the sliding glass door, so she might be outside.  So how rough of a patch was she having?"

Mafioso (Part 11)

     The two apartment-hunters lucked out right away.  Olivehurst had several vacancies, including two two bedroom units.  My attempts to keep me and Bekka distanced from Dawn and Roach fell apart when the two began filling out their rental applications.  Bobby, the property manager, saw the words "Inana Productions" under Employer for the both of them, and knew immediately who their boss was.  Bobby let it slide, he must have figured that lightning couldn't strike twice: no way would this punk kid and the tiny woman he was with draw as much trouble as Bekka and I had.  Bobby called me the next morning to learn more about the two prospective tenants.  I attested to their quiet living, intelligence, and moral fiber.  Bobby asked me what they did for Inana.  I laughed.

Mafioso (Part 12)

     We did two read-throughs of 'Stroke of Luck' that afternoon, everyone warming to their parts.  Nearly everyone took off around four.  Bekka, Ellen and I were stuck there until Mr. Golan either showed up or called.  Willing to wait until his ETA, Dawn and Roach hung around, drinking sodas and watching the big TV in the media room.

Mafioso (Part 13)

     After a half hour the doorbell rang.  Boss leaped up and headed for the stairs.  He returned several moments later with Matthew Golan in tow.  Golan looked flustered.
     "Totally my fault," he said.  "I was messing around with the radio in that rental car and got distracted.  I started following a black Lincoln instead.  You were right, though, it was easy getting directions here."
     Bekka jumped off my lap and went to grab Golan a beer.  He'd never had Anchor Steam, and was duly impressed.  Then he fired up the tape recorder and we began talking.  Here's the article....

Mafioso (Part 14)

     Pre-production ran smoothly.  Everyone threw themselves into their parts.  Rita was practicing talking like a white girl in conversation, with decent success.  All three sound stages were dressed to our needs and according to the shoot schedule, all would be getting re-dressed as we went along.  The city of Oceanside came through with the permits for our location shots, we'd be taking over a full block of a residential street for our massive group sex scene.  I'd made it explicitly clear what we were doing, and the city didn't seem to mind: I think they were just overjoyed to get the fees.  They didn't seem to mind aiding a porn studio in production, including providing a few cops to keep people out, so long as we came up with the cash.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bodyguard (Part 1)

     "Oh my god, look," said Ellen.
     We all looked out the windows of the stretch limo, which was rolling slowly down Balboa Ave. towards Smut 'N' Stuff.  There was a single file line of (mostly) men stretching up the sidewalk from the front door of Smut 'N' Stuff all the way to Convoy.  My eyes zipped up to the advertising marquee on top of the building.  It read, "BECKY PAGE LIVE!  NEW VIDEO SIGNING"  Then we were in the parking lot of the store, Angel and an unknown man trotting towards the limo.

Bodyguard (Part 2)

     We piled out of the limo at the restaurant, lighting fresh cigarettes.  What was currently under consideration was the psychology of Bekka's obsessed male fans, like the ones we'd ditched back at the store.  More in-depth analysis was wanted than Boss' dismissive "buncha goddamn psychos," but we were damned if we knew where to start looking for answers.  I was happy with observation and deductive reasoning.  We were smart people, we would come up with something.

Bodyguard (Part 3)

     Angel called me from the mansion around 8:30 the next morning.  The cops had taken their sweet time getting things sorted out the night before, so he'd decided to just crash out up in the penthouse rather than slog back to LA.  San Diego PD had treated him with surprising respect: they seemed to figure anyone with the pull and connections to coax a concealed carry permit out of Los Angeles County was somebody who could throw their weight around, no matter where they were.  Angel's gun was inspected, had the registration checked, and returned in the space of twenty minutes.  All three of the miscreants were carted off, with charges against them.
     As I filled Angel in on the details of how our dinner had gone, he kept sighing in annoyance.  When I finished, he said, "Dammit Lenny, Bekka is too valuable to be put at risk like that.  She needs a full time bodyguard.  You can't do it, you can't stay attached to her all the time.  I can get a good soldier to go down there who can help watch over her and keep her safe.  I've got a couple in mind.  They'll be discreet, and they won't get in your way.  I could have a guy down here by this afternoon."
     I said, "So, what, we'd have some dude built like a thumb and the IQ of a pork rind with us all the time?  Scaring the crap out of her fans?  Ninety-nine percent of her fans are harmless, they just want to say hi and get an autograph.  We don't really mind them.  And we've been able to handle the one percent who are creeps.  Hold on...."  I held the phone away from my face and called to Bekka, "Hey hon, how do you feel about having a bodyguard?"
     "Not so hot, actually," Bekka replied.  "Tell Angel if he assigns one to me involuntarily, I'll just spend all my time figuring out ways to ditch him."
     "You catch that?" I said into the phone.
     "Yeah," Angel grumbled.  "Look, we'll discuss this more when you get here.  But after yesterday, the idea of Bekka walking around unescorted scares the shit out of me.  This is new territory for me, and I'd rather be safe than sorry.  When will you be here?"
     "Fifteen minutes.  Listen for the Harleys.  What are your plans for the day?"
     "Harassing you.  Vinny's gonna check in by phone before noon, let me know if there's anything going on that needs my attention.  And the Don and his people know where I am, so they may call if they have any news.  Godspeed, Lenny.  You need to see my side of things."
     "Okay, ciao," I sighed.
     "So Angel is back on the bodyguard kick, huh?" said Bekka, pulling on her engineers.  "Not enough that you and I live like Siamese twins."
     "You're worth a lot to him, in a lot of ways," I said, tying up my Doc Martens.  "Not only are you a friend to him and his wife, you've also made him millions of dollars.  Hell, you've made us a million or so, too.  You know 'Bewitched' has sold over thirteen million copies in the US and Western Europe?  'Dangerous Desires' is around nine million, and 'Rocker Girls' has moved seven million.  And 'Temporary Pleasures' is lined up to be another blockbuster.  When we do 'Bewitched II,' that's sure to shoot the moon.  The world wants Becky Page, and not everybody is willing to play nice.  I'm not happy with his solutions, but I understand his concerns.  Believe me, he'll be spending the day badgering us about it."
     Bekka pulled on her gloves with a pouty look.  "I miss being able to walk through a mall unrecognized, but at the same time I don't want some brick of meat knocking people out of my way, when all they want is an autograph.  Like, imagine what it would have been like if I'd had a bodyguard with me at the party in La Mesa.  Having Boss with us was just about right for that scene, he didn't see menace every time someone hugged me.  A real bodyguard would have been throwing fits."
     We went out and down to the bikes.  Before we fired up, Bekka asked, "Do you think we'll ever live like normal people again?"
     I replied, "Define normal.  We've become inured to wearing guns, they're just a part of life.  I'm sure our mafia associations will bring us more adventure, and we've adopted to that.  This is just a whole new flavor of weirdness.  Our lives have been weird ever since the first time we slept together.  We'll weather it, and then something else weird will happen in our lives."
     Bekka muttered, "I'd like to never wear a holster again for as long as I live," then hit the starter on her Sportster so it could warm up.  I did the same.  Thirty seconds later we blasted onto Neptune St. headed for the mansion.
    In under ten minutes we were pulling into the driveway at the Inana mansion.  We dropped our kickstands, shut down, swung off, and removed our helmets.  That's when we heard a voice calling, "Becky!  Becky!"
     And here comes a heavyset guy around twenty-five, with a beard and a camouflage jacket, chuffing up the driveway.  He had leaves in his hair.  I had my jacket unzipped and my hand resting on the butt of my Beretta already.  Bekka stared at this pudgy apparition and said, "Um, yes?"
     Pudgy made a stage bow and said, "I am Cecil Richards, the man with whom you'll be having lunch with today.  Don't worry, I will look better than this when that time arrives."
     Bekka said, "What....  Where did you come from?  Where did you park?  Aren't you just a little too sure of yourself?  What the fuck, Chuck?"
     I said, "Start talking, boy, she asked you some questions."
     Cecil confidently said, "I know it's been requested that you don't have visitors here at your studio, but Becky doesn't own property anywhere in San Diego county, so I haven't been able to find her home address.  Sorting through all the property-owning Schneiders would take too long, and I don't believe that bullshit about Becky being married anyway.  I figure that since I'm neither an autograph hound nor a creep, I won't be pissing people off by showing up here.
     "In answer to your question, I parked down on El Camino Real and walked up.  I waited in your bushes, hence the coat I'm wearing.  I'd have just waited here in your driveway, but others were arriving and I didn't want to give the wrong impression.  And Becky, I am sure I can show you how much I love you.  We'll eat at Evelyn's, your favorite restaurant, and you'll see it is fated that we should be together.  I'll wait in your boudoir while you take care of your, ah, business matters, then we shall have lunch.  No need for your guard here, I'll be with you."
     Bekka made a low hissing sound and said, "Well Cecil, you get a C for confidence.  You also get a C for creepy.  First off, this here is my husband Lenny.  Yes, he exists, and currently has his hand resting on his gun, in expectation of you doing something stupid.
     So you went through the property records to try and find my home address?  And you hid in the bushes here waiting for me?  You're a stalker. You---"
     "I am not a stalker!" Cecil protested.  "It's just, it is very important that we talk face to face.  I love you."
     "All stalkers want to talk to her face to face," I pointed out.  "With some of them, it's deadly important."
     Bekka continued, "You knew we have precautions against intruders, so you took measures to avoid them.  You knew we don't want visitors, but you came here anyway.  You're a stalker, and it's time for you to go."
     Cecil's entire face roiled.  He glowered, "I told you I'm not a stalker.  Do not insult me.  Anyone with two X chromosomes does not get to insult me.  I come here and tell you I love you and this is how I'm treated? I thought you were different, that you were better."  His face shifted again, to one of desperation.  "Becky, I'll be the man you need.  Just lunch is all, I can show you all the ways we were meant to be together.  You don't need....  This guy, you need me.  We need each other.  You'll always---"
     I cut him off, jerking my Beretta out of my jacket.  I stood there with it hanging at my side.  I said, "Listen, Galahad, it's time for you to go.  We've got work to do, and I don't want her working while she's upset.  Shut your fucking mouth, return to your car, and go home.  I'll interpret any move you make that doesn't take you in the direction of the street as a physical attack on Becky, and will respond.  You won't be the first man I've shot in this driveway."
     The confident Cecil appeared again.  "Okay, I'll play along with the whole 'husband' thing for a while.  Why don't you join us for lunch, muscle?  I'm sure Becky won't mind."
     "I'm going inside now," said Bekka.  "You're not invited.  You need to leave.  You can go three places from here: home, jail, or straight to hell, for all I care.  Lenny, try pistol-whipping him, see if he gets a clue then."
     I smiled, flipped the pistol in my hand, and raised it.  I took a step towards him.  He took a couple steps back, which I followed.  He turned and began trotting down the driveway.  I stomped after him.  Hearing my footsteps, he doubled his pace.  At the foot of the driveway, Cecil Richards paused long enough to scream "Assholes!" at us, then continued his flight down the hill.
     Rejoining Bekka, we looked at each other and shook our heads.  There was nothing to say.  I put my key in the lock and we entered the mansion.
     Angel was in my secretary Gina's office with her.  We were interrupting a humorous anecdote, catching Angel saying, "So the the guy from Milan says....  Ah, Lenny, Bekka, I was starting to wonder.  Everything okay?"
     "Ran off a stalker just now," Bekka said.  "Hey Angel, instead of getting me a bodyguard, how about hiring a rent-a-cop to hang around in the driveway during working hours?  That would run off a lot of trouble.  This idiot we just dealt with was hiding in the bushes.  A rent-a-cop would convince people that we're not kidding, we really do want to be left alone here."
     "Wait, you just ran off one of those assholes this morning?  Where is he?"
     I said, "Presumably back in his car and heading home, like he was instructed.  I'll check in a few minutes to make sure nobody's hovering around outside."
     Angel said,, "Dammit Lenny, these creeps need the law sicced on them.  It's the only way they'll learn."
     There was no way to hide my sneer.  "Shit.  I'm only happy with the police when they're not around.  And it's easy enough to use some menace and scare the creeps.  I threatened to pistol-whip this dummy, had my gun backwards in my hand, and away he scurried.  Bearded, chunky losers who have issues with women aren't much of a challenge."
     "Okay, yeah, you can beat somebody up.  They hurt for a couple days and then are back in the game.  But the cops can take away their freedom for extended periods of time.  Remember, there are anti-stalking laws on the California law books these days.  Even on a first arrest, a creep will have to post bail and make a couple court appearances, even if he's only in jail overnight.  But then the creep has a record, and if he wants to play the same games still, a second arrest will send him up the creek.  Away he goes."
     I considered this and said, "Yeah, but personally, a lot of these creeps would never see the inside of a jail or prison.  They're nuts, certifiable.  They'd do their time in a mental facility."
     Angel smiled.  "And if they thought they were getting off easy, they're idiots.  Say a creep is staring at, oh, eighteen months up in Soledad.  He plays the mental health card and is instead placed in the funny farm.  Well, his sentence just got destroyed.  The shrinks determine when to release patients, and in the case of our creep, it won't be early.  He could be stuck there for several years, far longer than his prison sentence.  Once you're in the puzzle factory, it's hard to get out.  You lose more of your freedoms than a prisoner would, and you are there by the whims of the shrinks.  If they say you're still unstable, you aren't going anywhere."
     "How do you know all this?" asked Bekka.
     "Lenny knows the situation, you don't.  This is a secret.  You know I've got anger management problems, right?  About seven years ago they were really bad.  At one point Angela and I got in an argument over something really trivial, it escalated, and, um, I hit her.  And then I'm looking down at her lying on the floor, her eye already swelling, and the enormity of it hit me.  I'd hurt the woman I loved, who means more to me than anything.  I hated myself for it.  I spent the next twenty minutes sitting in the garage with a gun in my mouth, williing myself to put just a little more pressure on the trigger.
     "Angela came out to the garage and talked me down.  I was a mess.  It was agreed that I would check into a mental hospital, a private one, both to deal with the suicidal urge and my anger problems.  It was a great facility I was in, certainly better than a public nut-hatch would have been.  And I was ready to go home after five or six days.  Only thing was, the shrinks felt I needed more time.  I stayed two weeks.  In retrospect, they were right, I wasn't stable yet.  All your behaviors are observed by the staff, and they keep notes, and the shrinks read those notes.  You don't have secrets in the puzzle factory.
     "Like for example, in the smoking area, you're not allowed to have matches or a lighter.  They've got these electric cigarette lighting doo-hickeys on the walls.  You poke your cigarette into a hole, press a button, and wait a few seconds.  Voila, your cigarette is lit.  Well, on my fourth or fifth day in, I went up to one of these machines and tried to light a smoke.  It wouldn't work.  I tried four or five times, and still no love.  So out of force of habit, I punched it.  Bloodied my knuckles some, did no damage to the machine.  I went to another machine and got my light, forgetting all about it.
     "There must have been a staffer around I didn't notice because my little tantrum was duly noted and reported to the shrinks.  At my seven day review, they used this as one of the reasons why I needed to be kept longer.  They also didn't like that I would refer to my fellow patients as 'fucking psychos,' or that I got fed up with the condescending tone of my assigned social worker and threatened to break all his fingers if he didn't start talking to me like an adult.  I really didn't help myself when, after it was clear I was staying longer, I called the shrinks 'money-grubbing pussies' who were just trying to juice me by keeping me there.
     I was already in on a 5250, and could have been staring at a 5270, a thirty day hold, if I didn't get stable.  I started taking part in the group therapy, I engaged people in normal conversation, and I told the nurses that I needed a higher dose of Klonipin, what I was getting was not softening my edges.  And I started paying attention to how I interacted with the world, really paying attention.  I started catching myself when I'd start to lose my patience and begin to lash out.  Like, if someone was talking bullshit in group, I'd force myself to tune them out.  If it seemed like the meal line was moving too slow, I'd take a couple deep breaths and remind myself that an extra thirty seconds wouldn't kill me.  It worked.  A week later they wrote me my prescriptions and cut me loose."
     "So were there people who should have been in jail residing in this place?" asked Bekka.
     Angel said, "No, but the way things are run show just how screwed you can be if you think your time in the puzzle factory is limited.  A 5150 is a seventy-two hour involuntary hold.  Even though I was there voluntarily, they still processed  me as a 5150 initially.  A 5250 is a fourteen day hold, which is how they kept me for as long as they did.  And a 5270 is a thirty day hold.  All of these can be put on someone who, say, the police picked up because they were acting funny.  Your rights evaporate as a mental patient, your freedom is at the whim of shrinks.  So they can hold someone involuntarily for up to forty-eight days.  Now just imagine how you're treated if you've actually committed a crime.  If you'd gone to Soledad, you'd be able to mark on your calendar when you leave.  In a mental hospital, you leave when they fucking let you leave."
     Bekka said, "My god, Angel, I never knew you went through this.  To be honest, you've never struck me as someone with anger management problems....  But then again, you almost never came down here to the studio back then.  We never spent any time around each other until you, Frankie, and Vinny came down to get Inana's finances straightened up, remember?"
     Laughing, Angel said, "Oh yes, when Rick went nuts and ran away from home.  No, by then counseling and medication had done their job.  I no longer have to process my reactions to outside stimuli."
     I excused myself and went outside to see if Cecil (or anyone else) was creeping around.  Things were quiet.  Then a Nissan 300ZX pulled up across the street.  Rio got out and lit a cigarette.  She was followed by a Plymouth Sundance, which was piloted by Gayla.  She hated that car.  She wanted to replace it with anything, but was warm to my offer of taking her car shopping up at Rico Carelli's Cadillac dealership, get something with style and comfort.  Hey, she was commuting from Allied Gardens to La Costa three days a week now, she needed something cushy, and could afford something sweeter than her husband's Ford Taurus.  As Gayla put it, "Given what I earn in a week compared to the hubby, I'm within my rights to determine what counts as a luxury vehicle.  I'm not about to pick up a Ferrari, but a blue, tastefully appointed Coupe de Ville is not unreasonable.  He can even drive it on my days off."
     The two joined me in the driveway.  I lit my own cigarette.  "So what's happening, boss?" asked Rio.  "What are we doing today?"
     I answered, "You two will be doing each other, at least part of the time.  This morning is a three way with you two and Tex.  Afternoon is a two-on-two with Gayla, Bekka, Chip, and Dale.  Oh, and Rita called, she won't be here today.  Her mom is sick, so she's taking care of her.  This means it'll be up to you two to prep Tex, and Gayla, you and Bekka will have to prep Chip and Dale.  Of course, Rio, I know how you can pick up some extra money this afternoon...."
      "Oh, you want me fluffing?" asked Rio in amazement.  "Just what kind of money are we talking?"
     "$400.  And that's higher than what I pay Rita."
     "Sure, I'm in," Rio shrugged.  "Chip and Dale are both pretty steady, I'll just need to prep them and keep them in service if there's any delays."
     We stepped inside, the ladies stowing their purses in their lockers.  I went back into my office, where Bekka was on the sofa and Angel had shifted to my chair.  He started to jump up when I came in, but I waved at him to remain seated, settling next to Bekka.  "So what's the word," I asked.  "You two still talking about loony bins?"
     "I was just about to make an offer," said Angel.  "You two try having a bodyguard for seventy-two hours.  You'd see if you're amenable to the idea.  I think you'll find it pleasant to have your path cleared for you."
     "But I don't want to alienate Becky's fans," said Bekka.  "This guy would have to adapt to the fact that when, say, I go to the mall, I sign a lot of autographs and give out a lot of hugs.  The underage sailors who like to hang out at the arcade love Becky Page.  They're shy but friendly, they're no threat.  This guard will have to learn the difference between my good fans --- which is most of them --- and my bad fans.  He'll also have to learn that unless I'm in the middle of a movie, a meal, or a pinball game, I don't mind interacting with my good fans a bit.  Like, here's a common scene.  Lenny and I are walking through the mall.  We hear a girl's voice say, 'Oh my god, are you really Becky Page?'  We turn and there are three teenage girls there, staring in awe, then they squeal and move towards me.  They all want autographs and hugs and to tell me how awesome I am.  I will happily give them what they want, share a few words, and be on my way.  They're not wasting my time: for god's sake, I'm at the mall, all I'm doing is wasting time.
     "Or a scene that would have freaked out a bodyguard, one night me and Lenny were in the arcade.  Came to realize there's a small group of sailors standing about forty feet away watching me.  One of them works up the courage to speak to me.  He haltingly says he wants my autograph, but has no paper.  So he opens his shirt and says, 'Sign my chest!'  So I did, and gave him a big lipstick print, too.  He goes back to show off to all his friends.  Several minutes later we look over and there's four more sailors standing there, and they all have their shirts off, and politely asked for my autograph.  I gave them all autographs and lipstick kisses.  Then they took off back to Miramar so they could get good pictures of each others chests.  That was fan service.  I don't mind fan service one bit.  A bodyguard would have to adjust to that.  We just want to keep the creeps away."
     "You can't have a knucklehead doing this job, if we decide to go for it," I said.  "He'll need to pick up on people's vibes real quick.  Bekka and I can do it, he'll need to also.  Where are you planning to find a guard, anyways/"
     "He'll be one of your fellow soldiers," answered Angel.  "I have a few people in mind, and they'd all be perfect for the job, they're used to watching for threats.  So can I go ahead with this?  Is it okay?"
     Bekka and I looked at each other and shrugged.  I said, "Seventy-two hours.  If it's livable we'll keep him around.  If not, it'll be like having an annoying houseguest for three days, then they're gone."
     Angel smiled and said, "You won't regret this.  I'm going to use the phone in the kitchen for privacy."  He hopped up and headed that direction.
     Bekka said with a smirk, "Well, at least Angel feels like he's doing something constructive."
     I said, "And I get my chair back.  I need to work on the 'Bewitched II' script.  By the way, Ursula is going to fall in love with Eddie's character, Chrysler.  The two of them will be consummating their love at the end of the movie.  You'll need to bring your A game to that fuck scene, as will Eddie.  It will be two people who, after much conflict, are admitting their love for each other.  It'll need passion, but also closeness and a feeling of true love."
     Bekka said, "Wait a minute, Eddie's character is named Chrysler?"
     "Yep.  Chrysler Goldberg.  Cruel parents, they named him after the location he was conceived in.  Ursula is the only one who isn't sardonically amused by his name, she thinks it's pretty.  But she is also insane."
     "So you're already at the end of the script?" asked Bekka.
     I laughed sharply.  "No, not at all.  What I'm doing right now is thinking of cool scenes that should happen, and putting them down.  Then I get them in the right order and connect them together, either through adding another scene or editing and patching the two scenes together.  I know as long as I have cool shit happening on a regular basis, I'm good.  Awesome shit starts and ends this movie so far, and I've got some really cool shit that happens in the middle.  Patching it all together is the only real challenge in writing a screenplay.  You'll see when it's finished, we'll have something solid to work with."
     Angel bopped into the office, saying, "Your back line should be ringing in a moment.  Please let me answer it, okay?"
     Sure as shit, the back line ringed.  He was lucky I hadn't been dialing into the BBS for the latest Becky Page gossip.  Angel snatched up the receiver and said, "Yes, Don....  That's fine, four is a good time....  I don't know what they are, let me ask...."
     Angel asked, "So what are your plans for tonight?"
     Bekka replied, "Mall food and pinball.  Pick up Jane from home, drive to UTC mall, engage in a fast food frenzy in the food court, then play pinball.  We wager five bucks a game with strangers."
     "And what time does all this start?"
     "We'll leave home around six."
     Angel relayed this information, then smiled.  "Of course, good morning sir!"  He hung up.
     I said, "So Angel, please tell us the whole story now.  I can tell you're just bursting with enthusiasm."
     Angel said, "Your bodyguard is going to be on his way in a few hours.  He will be here at the mansion at four o'clock, follow the two of you home, then accompany you two to the mall.  He will see to it you two have a relaxing evening."
     "So, um, who is this guy?" I asked.  "Do I know him from anywhere?"
     "You may," Angel answered.  "He's been looking after Don Ventimiglia for several years now, he's tough and he's pretty smart, too.  His name's Nicky, and he's been the guy to walk two steps behind the Don since 1987.  You ever met him?'
     I made a desperate, bitter chuckle.  "Yeah, I know Nicky.  He's offered to kill me once already.  He also called me a pimp, and you know how much I hate that.  Why the hell did you pick that guy?"
     "Because he's good at his job and he's becoming available.  Don V. is cutting down some of his staff, in anticipation of retirement.  The Don is holding onto his driver, Dino, but feels like he's no longer in the catbird seat.  Shit, now I am.  So why did you nearly die at Nicky's hands?  I'm curious."
     "When the Don was my guest, I drove him home on the last day.  I needed a ride back down here, and the Don instructed Nicky to do the job.  On the way back, I turned on some of my music, which didn't make Nicky happy.  Then he told me about how stressed everyone had been during the Don's absence, how frustrated everyone was, and how he'd make a lot of new friends if he just killed me.  He'd have gotten rid of a source of stress.  I don't know how much stress there was going around, but I do know he was serious at the time.  The only real thing that saved me was my insistence that the first two be head shots, otherwise I'd be pulling my own gun and letting loose at him.  And I'd already taken enough shots to be immune to lead poisoning.  What the Don would do, when he found out about this, was another matter.  Nicky didn't like hearing about how close me and the girls had gotten to ol' Vito.  He also didn't want to hear about how pissed off Don V. would be if I got shot up by one of his own lackeys.  We reached a stalemate around then."
     Angel waved it off.  "Nicky is a professional, I'm sure he's forgotten it by now."
     I asked, "What does he know about this little assignment?"
     "Only that he is coming to be the bodyguard for a celebrity named Becky Page.  He has the address for the mansion, not your home.  It is presumed he will stay in your house, even if that means crashing on a sofa.  I have no idea if he is familiar with Becky Page or not, he will assume that Becky is young, female, and friendly.  And prone to trouble, if she needs a bodyguard."
     "What I need is a license to kill creeps," complained Bekka.
     "Creep hunting," I considered.  "When is creep mating season?  That would determine when you could hunt for them."
     "Creeps don't mate, they're creeps.  They're a biological aberration born of normal parents."
     Angel said, "Creeps are always in season.  It's just what to do with them after they're dead."
     "They're pretty gamey, but they make good sausage," suggested Bekka.
     I said, "They're dead and they're creeps?  They're the perfect Pacific Bell employees."
     "Meter readers."
     "Mall security."
     "Live sound engineer for Spyro Gyra."
     "We have a winner."

Bodyguard (Part 4)

     At precisely four the doorbell rang.  I got up to get it.  Bekka was upstairs working, and Angel was flopped on the sofa reading an old issue of Maximum Rock 'N' Roll. He had a face that expressed total incredulousness.  As an expression of a culture, MRR was like hieroglyphs, enlightening but completely foreign.  Angel would later confess to a morbid curiosity with the magazine.  Seeing people expound so passionately on totally alien subjects fascinated him.
     I opened the door to Nicky's less than happy face.  "I knew it was you," he said. "I recognized the building.  The fuck is this, some kind of a joke?  You put the Don up to this?  You notice I am not laughing, I am not amused."
     I said, "You have been asked to bodyguard a woman named Becky Page for seventy-two hours, right?  You're in the right spot.  She's upstairs right now, but she should be back within half an hour."
      "I know who the fuck Becky Page is," said Nicky, stepping inside at my gesture.  "So you're saying saying this is where she makes her fuck movies?  And she works for you?"
     "You could put it that way.  Simpler to say she is my wife, I am her husband, and I write and produce movies for her to star in.  This is a family-owned studio, surely you  must have heard something about both me and Inana Productions."
     "I ignore all that crap.  Especially about what you do.  Porn is poison to the brain, it'll cut you down in your prime if you let it."
     I grinned at this. "I produce it, Bekka stars in it.  What problems and bad habits we have are unrelated to porn in any way.  Come into my office."
     We stepped into my office, where Angel barely looked up from his magazine.  Nicky looked at Angel, then startled and said, "M-Mr. Morelli!  What are you doing here, sir?"
     Angel sat up and put down the magazine.  He said, "Hello Nicky.  Thank you for coming down.  I'm here looking in on my investment, and to help out a couple friends.  With Bekka's popularity comes obsessed weirdos, people who harass and annoy.  I wished to alleviate this problem for her, and that is why you are here."
     "And who are your friends, sir?" Nicky asked nervously.
     "Well, Bekka of course, and Lenny.  Who else would I mean?"
     Nicky burst out, "This guy?  He's the one who hid Don Ventimiglia away for four days!  Are you aware of the hell he put people through?  This guy's a scumbag!"
     Angel regarded Nicky coldly.  "The Don came to Lenny and his family and asked for shelter.  Lenny provided it.  He acted in an honorable manner, obliging a powerful and venerated man, obliging the Don his wishes, which were to be left alone by the family and have fun.  I was angry too, when I found out, but if I'd been in his shoes, I would have done the same thing for Don V.  And do not call my friends scumbags.  Are you sure you're up for this task?  You aren't just clearing a path for two or three people, you must discern between Bekka's true fans and those who would stalk her, capture her.  You know, creeps.  You get rid of the creeps, you let the fans in.  Can you differentiate?"
     "I, uh, I guess so.  No problem.  Tell me, how do you two know each other?"
     Angel said, "I own this studio, Inana Productions.  Lenny here was an employee, our still photographer.  When our last head guy went crazy, I promoted Lenny into the head position.  I'd been observing him, and felt his intelligence, mixed with his initiative, were well suited to running the place for me.  I was also the one to draft him into cosa nostra.  I felt he may spark life into a rather staid organization.  I was right, he arranged  for the mafia to enter into the Ecstasy trade, where our product is the most sought after around.  Over drinks, over cocaine, and just through good companionship we have come to respect each other, and regard each other as true friends.  Through his genius, he has made me very rich, and I in turn have directed money back to him.  We have...."
     Nicky interrupted.  "I have to ask, in what way is he a genius?"
     "Lenny writes and produces the world's best pornography.  Between him, his pool of acting talent, and his director, they make porno films that are genuinely engaging as movies, real entertainment.  He arouses and entertains at the same time, something no other porn film has been able to do.  And he does this on budgets of under $400,000 and three weeks production time.  Surely you've seen 'Bewitched?'  That was the real break-through movie.
     "No sir, I haven't.  Porn clouds your thinking."
     I chuckled at this.  Angel looked surprised, then said, "I insist that you see 'Bewitched.'  It is a movie that will make you think, truly stimulate your mind.  And it's fun as hell.  The big difference with what Lenny does versus other porn studios is that in his movies the sex is part of the natural flow of the narrative, intrinsic to the plot.  In other people's stuff the sex feels tacked on, added for the sake of itself.  So you'll watch one of Lenny's movies and suddenly realize you're watching an incredible amount of really hot sex, but it never feels like a separate event from the rest of the movie.  Lenny, how many movies have you written and produced for me so far?"
     I said, "Umm....  Six or seven.  Let me go over them real quick.  Okay, 'Lust Instructor,' 'Wedding Party,' 'Bad Babysitter,' 'Bewitched,' 'Rocker Girls,' 'Dangerous Desires,' and 'Temporary Pleasures."  So seven so far....  Although on three I had co-writers.  The first two Vinny and I wrote together, and 'Temporary Pleasures' was mostly Eddie Steinberg, coming up with all the great laughs. I created the framework and structure, he filled in all the empty spots with really juicy satire.  Right now I'm working on the sequel to 'Bewitched,' it's gonna be a fun one, and that reminds me, Angel.  I'd like a budget cap of $500,000 for 'Bewitched II' so that we don't skimp on special effects.  It's gonna be more than just fireballs and zaps and lighting across the screen this time.  Is five hundred okay?"
     Angel said, "Hell, make it six, and that's as an advisory.  On this one, what you want, you get.  Once we get word out about our sequel, the excitement will only build.  People are gonna be thrilled, like 'Empire Strikes Back' thrilled.  I have no doubt you're gonna build another blockbuster."
     I unplugged the back line and put in the cord from the Macintosh.  Angel and Nicky stared at the computer as it made its modem noises.  The Becky Page Fans BBS came up.  I called Angel over so he could have a look.  The most recent was only three minutes old, the header reading, "I hate cynics."  The message was, "I got into a discussion with my Communications instructor over when a celebrity's popularity is justified or not.  I used Becky as an example of valid celebrity, and he laughed!  He said Becky will never be valid because all she does is porn.  Well DUH.  I pointed out that she does really brilliant porn, and had he ever seen any of it?  He says he's seen porn before, he doesn't need to see Becky's.  Damn that's like saying you've never heard Mozart, but you did once hear someone play a piano, so what's the difference?  I don't think I can respect this man any more -- I'll find out in a couple days, I'm loaning him a couple tapes, so he can see why one of his (gasp) female students is so hung up on a porn star.  We'll see."
     Another one simply stated, "party???" and read, "i want to organize a big party like the la mesa one but i dont know where to start.  it would be on my street in clairemont, id expect about the same no. of people, id have kegs and bbqs going and hopefully becky! would show up.  advice please."
     There were several replies to this, the advice saying things like "Contact your city PD and tell them you want to block off a street on such-and-such date," "Have keg-minders to keep the kids out of the beer," "Porta-potties are essential," and "Let the neighbors know."  One respondent said, "Something like the La Mesa party is once in a lifetime.  Becky has better shit to do than hang around with computer nerds in the suburbs.  As much as I'd love to see her again (and get another hug) I'm not holding my breath for her to show up at another block party full of geeky fans."
     I read quickly through the gossip, the usual claims that Becky was going to go mainstream with her acting.   In a twist on this theme, one claimed that Becky had a fantastic singing voice, but wasn't going to become a pop star: she was going to go into opera.  Start in the choir for the San Diego Opera, and work her way up.  I chuckled at this, then invited Angel to have a seat at my desk.  I showed him how to navigate around on the board and left him to it.  Sticking my hand in my pocket, I grabbed the meth pipe and stepped into the hallway to take a few hits.
     Nicky followed me.  He watched me heating the bowl, and said, "Okay, some kind of drugs.  What?"
     I moved the lighter away and replied, "It's speed.  Or crank, or meth, or crystal, or tweak, or dope, or shit.  Methamphetamine is the legal name."
     "And you can smoke it?"
     "Yeah.  Watch."  I got good smoke going and started taking a hit.  When I was maxed out, I blew a plume at the ceiling.  Nicky looked at the white cloud in amazement.
     "It doesn't have an odor," he pointed out.  "How is that possible?  I've heard about the garbage that goes into making that shit."
     "I don't do bathtub crank," I said.  "What I get is of pharmaceutical quality.  Keeps you going, too.  You wanna hit?"
     "Fuck no," Nicky said.  "I don't want to die, even if you do."
     Just then Bekka came down the stairs and turned into the hallway towards the office wearing her kimono robe.  She saw me standing there, saw what I had in my hand, and smiled.  "Just what I'm in the mood for, darling."  She briefly examined Nicky, six feet of muscle in an Italian suit, and said, "Hello, you must be Nicky.  I'm Bekka.  Apparently I'm the one who needs minding, even though Lenny has been doing a good job of it.  He can't always be with me, so I understand Angel's concern.  So I guess we'll see how this goes."
     Nicky  said, "Ma'am, is your name Becky or Bekka?  I'm confused."
     "Please call me Bekka, that's my real name.  The public knows me as Becky Page, a twenty-two year old porno queen who is the darling of the smut world, teenage girls, and horny post-feminists.  Becky Page is an icon, a symbol of powerful feminine sexuality, a woman strong enough to ask for what she wants from her lovers.  It goes without saying that Becky is bisexual."
     Bekka began taking a hit off the pipe.  Nicky said, "You do that stuff too?"
     She was busy, so I answered in her stead.  "Evidently so.  We just recently started smoking it.  We've been snorting our dope for years, but considering how much the stuff burns when you snort it, we figure we should give our sinuses a rest.  It's a better high when you smoke it, too."
     Bekka blew a plume gently towards the ceiling.  "And it makes such pretty white clouds, too," she declared to Nicky.  "Lenny babe, let me take a couple more hits, then I simply must go up and shower.  I smell of dick from head to foot."
     Nicky rolled his eyes at this announcement, watching Bekka suspiciously as she hit the pipe again.  I stepped in the office to see how Angel was doing.  He was engrossed in the computer, reading posts on the board.  He looked up at me and said, "My god, Lenny, these people are obsessed with Bekka.  They're all crazy."
     "It's not Bekka, it's Becky Page they're ga-ga over.  Good people though.  We went to a block party that was being thrown for members of this BBS, and Bekka did nothing but sign autographs, talk, and hug people for four hours straight.  To them, Becky Page is like a post-feminist Wonder Woman come to life.  A highly oversexed Wonder Woman.  Becky Page embodies strength and coolness."
     Bekka stepped into the office and handed me the pipe.  "Best to reload it," she said.  "Nicky is mystified why we're not coughing up blood right now.  I'm off to shower, back in just a few."  She trotted off.
     Nicky came in and said, "Mr. Morelli, I'm surprised you're not bothered by those two using drugs the way they do.  You're not bothered?"
     Angel said, "Yes, I am bothered.  Lenny and Bekka are both addicts, I worry about them.  But they have been using the same drug for as long as I have known them.  They have merely changed their means of ingestion.  And they have no faults which can be blamed on their use of crank.  Their lives are orderly, they are in good health, they do not live as if enslaved.  I can only criticize their addiction for being an addiction."
     "Hey Nicky, do you play pinball?  'Cos that's what's on the docket for tonight.  Mall food and pinball."
     "I can't remember the last time I played pinball," sneered Nicky.
     I said, "Well, it's a big arcade they got.  You'll find something to occupy your time."
     Ten minutes later Bekka was back down, fully clothed and ready to go.  I'd already melted a fresh bowl into the pipe, and I handed it off to her.  She took a hit and gave it back, saying, "Let's take a few more hits once we're home, then leave it alone.  We'll be high enough for the night."
     I rolled the pipe up in a bandana I'd folded for precisely that reason and shoved it in my pocket.  I said, "Okay Nicky, you'll be following us home.  We'll ride mellow so you don't lose us.  If we do get separated, the address is 816 Neptune St., just south of the beach parking lot.  When we get home you get to meet Jane, the girl who lives with us.  You'll be in a room next to hers for the next three nights.  Angel, what are your plans?"
     "I'm going to keep reading for a while," Angel said.  "This is too fascinating.  I'll go out for some dinner in a while, and sleep in the penthouse again.  I want to be there for the signing tomorrow, so I'll want to be rested.  Hint hint, Lenny and Bekka."
     Bekka, Nicky and I stepped outside and into the driveway.  The bikes sat waiting, helmets dangling from handlebars.  Nicky stared as we zipped up our leathers, pulled on gloves, and got helmets in place.  "Jesus, do you two do anything that isn't gonna kill you?" he asked.''
     Bekka chuckled.  "We've both had so many attempts made on our lives that we're inured to the idea of death.  We should be dead, but we're not.  Sometimes I wonder if we're immortals."
     I realized that both Gayla and Rio were still at the studio.  I needed to see Rio, I had her $400 in cash for her.  On the second floor I checked the main sound stage.  Both Steves and Mickey were wrapping up equipment.  The next sound stage down had a slightly open door.  I could hear panting.  Stepping in the door revealed the sight of Rio flat on her back, legs spread wide.  Gayla was between Rio's thighs, licking, sucking, fingering.  Both of them gazed up at me as I entered.
     "Hi, Lenny," said Gayla.  "I've decided I like women as well as men.  I think Rio is really hot, and she's allowing me to indulge myself."
     Rio said, "I'm in heaven right now.  She keeps making me come.  Oh god...."  She gasped as Gayla clamped her mouth back over Rio's pussy.
     I walked over and handed Rio her money.  She said to Gayla, "Bitch, I'm taking you out for dinner and drinks, okay?  I just got paid."
     Gayla lifted her head and replied, "Cool.  I just need to call my husband, tell him I've got plans.  We'll call it a business dinner."
     "That works.  Your turn."  Rio sat up and grabbed Gayla by the shoulders.  She pushed her backwards, then went face-first into Gayla's pussy.  Gayla moaned her appreciation.
     I smirked, wished the two of them a good evening, and went out.  Apparently Gayla was working through any shyness she may have had,  putting her wants and desires up front.  It was as if her inner libertine was coming  out to play.  Well, this was a good a place as any to sexually explore.  If nothing else, she would know that any partners she chose would be healthy.
     Nicky had brought his car, a new Lincoln Continental, to the foot of the driveway.  Bekka and I putted down and into the street.  Nicky fell in behind us.  We kept it mellow, making sure to not rocket away when leaving stoplights.  When we got home I waved Nicky up next to me.
     I said, "Wait until we get the bikes parked, then park so you're blocking the Lincoln and the Cutlass.  We'll take the Plymouth when we leave again."  I rolled the Sportster into its space, Bekka doing the same thing on the other side of the Cutlass.  Nicky cut the Lincoln in sharply, getting the car inside our driveway.  Better parallel parking than I expected from a Los Angeles driver.
     "Grab your stuff and come on up," I said, gesturing.  Nicky followed me and Bekka up into the house.  When we got to the living room, we found Jane sitting on the floor in front of the coffee table.  Her favorite porno movie, Rocker Girls, played on the TV.  She smiled and waved at us, and stared at Nicky.  There was undisguised lust in her eyes.
     "Hey," Jane said.  "Just knocking out my homework before we head to the mall, that way we're not staring at the clock.  Who's your friend?"
     "Jane, meet Nicky," said Bekka.  "Nicky, meet Jane.  he's going to be my bodyguard for the next few days, to see if I want to take one on permanently.  He'll be sleeping in one of the guest rooms on your floor, so make sure the spare bathroom is clean."
     "Right next door to me, huh?  Okay."  Jane's smile was far too wide.
     "Get that out of your head right now, Gator Bait," I said.  "There's a chance he may not want horny little girls crawling into his bed in the middle of the night."  Jane stuck her tongue out at me.
     Nicky had been staring at Jane like she was a space alien ever since coming up the stairs.  He now asked, "How old are you, girl?"
     "I'm sixteen," said Jane.  "But I've done a lot of growing up.  You'd be pleasantly surprised."
     "Jane...." Bekka said in a warning tone.
     Nicky glared at Jane and slowly shook his head.  He said, "I know what is on your mind, and you can forget about it.  You shouldn't be thinking like that at your age to begin with.  Assume I'm married, assume I'm queer, whatever.  But get me out of your mind.  I know exactly who you are, you're the mascot for our direct strike team.  Those are not people I would want pissed off at me."
     Jane made a huffing sound and said, "Okay, I'll leave you alone.  Still gonna stare at you, though.  You make good eye candy."
     "Come on, girl, let's go hit the mall.  Get your shoes on," I said.
     I piloted us in the Sport Fury towards the UTC mall.  I parked and we headed through.  When we reached the center plaza three of us landed on a bench and lit cigarettes.  Nicky remained standing, his head rotating around.  Presently three teenage girls walked past.  One glanced in Bekka's direction, gasped, and stopped.  Her two friends stopped to see what was the matter and also gasped.  The first one said, "Oh my god, are you really Becky Page?"
     And Nicky is inserting himself between the girls and Bekka, saying, "Yeah, it's her, move along."  Bekka gave Nicky a shove to one side.  She said, "Relax Nicky, they're just fans.  I'm happy to spend a minute with them.  You girls wish me no ill will, right?"
     A second girl said, "No way.  I think you're awesome.  Um, could I get your autograph?"  The other two girls made "me too" noises.  Book bags were dropped and paper was produced.  Bekka pulled out her Sharpie and began doing autographs, getting names from the girls as she went along.  As she finished each one, she would hug the girl, to their great joy.  They were being hugged by the Wonder Woman of porn!  A real embrace!
     When all three were done, Bekka gave them an appraising stare.  She said, "So how did you three come to be familiar with my media?  To be frank, you all look too young to be watching my videos."
     The third girl said, "My parents have all your movies.  They're cool with us watching them, so we'll, you know, um, understand how sex works.  My mom said she didn't want me watching any other porn besides the stuff you've done.  Your movies are so cool, they're so fun.  You are so awesome as Ursula the witch."
     "Or as the bartender in 'Rocker Girls,' " said the first one.
     "Do you like hanging out in the mall?" asked the second girl.
     Bekka replied, "I like to periodically get dinner from the gourmet burger place, then spend the evening playing pinball with my husband and my friend Jane, here."
     "Hi," said me and Jane simultaneously.  We stuck out our hands to shake.
     "Don't you hug?" asked the third girl.  "Hug me instead."
     I said, "Yeah, no problem.  Um, why?"
     "I learned from watching Becky just how important physical contact is between people.  Holding another person close is simultaneous control and submission.  When you hug someone, you are truly an equal with them.  And it feels good, rubbing against somebody."
     Bekka gaped at the girl.  "How did you get that out of my videos?" she asked.
     The girl said, "My big sister explained it to me.  She's in college.  She also said I'm at the right age to start my sexual exploration."  The girl got a bit pink.  "Um, the three of us fool around together.  At some point each of us has made the other two reach orgasm.  We all like guys, but um, we have fun together, as girls.  I mean, you fool with girls.  It's okay, right?"
     Bekka flapped her jaw, then calmly said, "That is just fine.  I think it's beautiful that the three of you have such trust and caring in your friendship.  Go for it, keep having fun together.  Tell me, do you all fool with boys?"
     The girls looked at each other.  The second one said, "Um, not really, no.  Should we?  It feels like a big deal to me."
     "If you're not comfortable with it, don't do it.  Wait until you are comfortable.  But you don't owe it to anyone, not a boy, and not yourself.  When it's time, it will feel right, and you will cherish the experience.  But don't try to rush it, your time will happen on its own."'
     "That's cool, thank you," said the first girl.  "Um, how old were you when you first, you know, did it with a guy?"
     "I was eighteen and out of high school," said Bekka. "I had played around with boys, and I knew how a dick worked, but my virginity lasted until after I graduated.  I waited until it felt right."
     "Wooow," said all three girls.
     "And with that, my lovelies, I'm going to bid you adieu," said Bekka.  "I'm hungry and am craving a fancy cheeseburger.  I'm here about once a week, and always around this time.  Check for me in the arcade, I love pinball.  I'll be playing either Xenon or High Speed.  Good afternoon, girls.  Go have some fun."
     "Bye, Becky!"  "Thanks for talking to us."  "Becky, you rule, you're so awesome."  The three girls continued on their way.  We stood and began sauntering towards the food court.'
     Nicky said, "Jesus Christ.  You really don't want me to do my job, do you?  You don't want a bodyguard at all."
     Bekka said, "I want someone who can help keep creeps and stalkers at bay.  I'm fine interacting with my fans.  Those aren't the only teenage girls who are hung up on Becky Page."
     "That's another thing.  Those girls are maybe sixteen.  And you're giving them sex advice?  Telling them to lez out together, but to wait on boys?   You got that backwards."
     Bekka glared at Nicky  and said, "No, I got that right.  When they explore with each other, they also explore themselves.  When they decide to try sex with boys, they'll be very much in tune with their own bodies, and can help the boys be better lovers.  It's a win/win situation.  Besides, those three already are 'lezzing out together.'  More power to them.  I wasn't aware that my girl/girl scenes carried so much resonance, that I was inspiring young women to try other young women.  Wild."
     "Wild?" exclaimed Nicky.  "You're encouraging teenage girls to turn into dykes.  Do you secretly hate straight dudes or something?"
     "Oh brother.  No, I don't secretly hate straight men.  I think my husband would have noticed that sort of twist in my psyche by now.  And they're not turning into dykes, they're experimenting.  Most girls try it in college.  These three just started earlier.  You heard them say they're attracted to boys, they just don't feel ready for fucking yet.  Don't worry, they will."
     "So are you always so friendly with your fans?  You wasted five minutes signing autographs and jawing with them.  All it got you was even  hungrier.  Do you gotta make everyone happy?"
     Shrugging, Bekka said, "My fans love me dearly.  It would be selfish of me if I didn't give some of that love back.  And those brave enough to walk up and speak to me deserve a reward.  They get autographs and hugs.  I'm sure I have plenty of fans who have let me go past because they didn't want to be a bother."
     "They are a bother," said Nicky.  "They're delaying you from doing what you want.  Do you think you owe them something?"
     "Like I said, my fans love me.  I should show them I love them back.  And so far as delaying me goes, we're at a shopping mall.  Wasting time is what malls are good for.  If I had an appointment or reservation, I would have told them so and kept moving.  But we were having a leisurely smoke, no place to be, so why not make some fans extremely happy and converse with them briefly?  I'll bet Madonna never shoots the shit with her fans.  They're probably lucky if she looks at them when she speaks."
     "Oh, so you're better than Madonna?" asked Nicky.
     "She's way better," said Jane.  "She's way sexier, she's smarter, and her art makes people think.  Madonna ain't got shit on Becky Page."
     Bekka and I got in line at the gourmet burger place.  Jane went off to the barbecue hut, and Nicky said he was going to wander a bit, see what struck him.  He pointed to some empty tables in a corner and said, "Go sit there.  Nobody can come up from behind you there."
     The kid who handed out the orders was positively vibrating with excitement as he passed us our burgers and fries.  He said, "Thank you, Ms. Page!  I hope you enjoy your meal!  Please come again soon!"
     Bekka grinned and said, "You know my name, but I don't know yours.  What's your name, sweetie?"
     The kid swallowed and said, "It's Justin."
     "Would you like an autograph, Justin?"
     "That would be so rad," Justin sweated.
     Bekka said, "Let me get some of my dinner in me and I'll get you an autograph.  Back in a few.."
     Bekka and I launched into our burgers.  Bekka took a place mat off a tray and wrote with her Sharpie, "Thanks for dinner, Justin!  XXX  Kisses, Becky Page."  She carried it back up to the Pick Up Orders window and slid it over to Justin, who picked it up with shaking hands and a manic grin.  Justin grasped his courage and said, "Ms. Page, you're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.  And you're even more beautiful in person.  Please come back anytime."
     Bekka said, "Aw, I'm flattered.  Thank you so much.  You have a nice night."
     We were mostly done when Nicky joined us.  He had corn dogs and a salad.  "Quiet with you guys?" he asked.
     "Very quiet," said Bekka.  "I signed an autograph for our server, and was told how beautiful I am.  That's always nice to hear."
     I said, "I tell her that all the time, that she's the most beautiful woman in the world.  In return she complains about the size of her ass.  I tell her that if we travel, and all Sicilian girls are as hot as her, I won't be held responsible for my actions."
     "Wait, you're Sicilian?" queried Nicky.
     "A hundred percent," answered Bekka.
     "Okay, that much is true," Nicky said, scratching his head.  "There's some dumb rumor going around that Don Ventimiglia is gonna have a woman become mafioso.  Induct her, do the whole ceremony, and make her a made man....  Or woman.  One version says it's supposed to be you.  Wild, huh?"
     Bekka had a wide grin on her face.  "Oh Nicky, my dear boy.  The rumors are true, and it is me the Don will be inducting.  You can check with the Don, or ask Angel Morelli.  You seem bothered by this news."
     "Women mafioso?" Nicky cried.  "It's never happened before.  What about tradition?  Next they'll be letting blue-eyed mutts like Lenny in as full members.  No, the mafia has always functioned just fine without any women.  I mean, what do you have to offer the family?  Business acumen?  Connections?  Street smarts?"
     "I've got twenty pound balls," said Bekka, sucking down the last of her Pepsi.  "Tempered steel, just like Lenny's.  I've killed for the family.  I think on my feet.  And I can stare down a gun and not panic."
     "You better have steel balls.  Cosa Nostra is no game, don't expect anyone to soft pedal for you."
     "Wouldn't expect them to.  It's time to go play some games.  Will you join us, or are you going to find your own amusement?"
     Nicky said, "I'll play a game near yours, so I can keep an eye on you.  I'll try to spot the stalkers you're so worried about."
     We went in the arcade to find that High Speed was not in use.  We dropped quarters on the glass and in the slot, firing up the machine.  A small band of sailors was whooping it up a few machines down.  They suddenly became quiet.  I looked over to them to see them all gawking at Bekka.  Of the six, one guy had the stones to come over and say, "Excuse me, ma'am, are you Becky Page?"
     "That I am," Bekka smiled.  What can I do for you, sailor?"
     He hadn't thought that far ahead.  "Oh, um....  I wanted to let you know we're all really big fans of yours, and uh, we're happy to see you here, um, could I get your autograph?"
     "Sure, sweetie.  What do you want me to sign?"
     "Oh!  Uhh...."
     "Why don't you go and get a place mat off a tray," said Bekka, "and I'll sign that.  You seem awful nervous.  Why don't you let me give you a hug, so you can relax.  Okay?"
     Bekka held her arms out.  Still nervous, the sailor stepped into her arms.  They embraced tightly for ten seconds, then released.  There had been a collective gasp from his friends when they first went into their clinch, all of them drop-jawed at the sight of their comrade hugging Becky Page.
     Stepping back with a huge grin, the lone sailor said, "Wow, I feel great now!  Thank you so much, ma'am!  I'll be back with something to write on."  He sprinted out of the arcade into the food court.
     The game forgotten, the sailors nervously edged towards us.  A tall black one said, "Excuse me, ma'am, but why did you hug our buddy?"
     Bekka gave a charming smile and said, "He was nervous and I wanted him to be relaxed.  A hug is a good way of helping someone relax."
     "Really?  I'm feeling kind of nervous too, ma'am."  His buddies cracked up.
     Bekka said, "Uh huh.  If you want to hug me because you want to hug me, tell me that.  There's all sorts of reasons to hug.  If you're feeling lonely and miss a woman's embrace, tell me that.  If you're just horny and want to feel Becky Page's tits against your chest, tell me that.  But don't bullshit me about why you want to hug me.  So, Stretch, why do you want a hug?"
     The tall black sailor said, "You nailed it.  You nailed it.  I miss my girl.  Feelin' a female in my arms will cheer me up."  Bekka held her arms wide, and then the two of them had a good long hug.  At the end, the sailor looked truly touched.
     Another sailor stepped up to Bekka.  She asked him why he wanted a hug.  He answered, "So I can say I've hugged one of the hottest women in the world!  Becky, you sizzle!"  Bekka laughed and gave him his hug.
     The last three sailors got their hugs, too.  Their reasons were lonely, homesick, and horny.  The first sailor waited patiently for the hugs to end, waiting for his autograph.  Bekka turned to him and said, "What's your name, sweetie?"
     "Yeoman Gerald Spinoza, ma'am," the sailor replied.
     "You go by Jerry?" asked Bekka.
     "Yes ma'am, my friends call me Jerry."
     Bekka wrote, "Dear Jerry: Thank you for the hug, stud!  XXX  Kisses, Becky Page."  She handed the place mat back to G. Spinoza and said, "There you go.  And here, this is for being first and bravest.."  She gave him a kiss, turning his mouth dark red and his face pink.
     The sailors began shuffling out of the arcade.  Movie times were mentioned.  I heard the tall black sailor say, "Damn, but Becky Page really is one hell of a woman."
     Nicky shuffled up and said, "I watched your love-in.  None of them got fresh, right?"
     Bekka said, "They were all gentlemen.  They were all nervous, I could feel their tension when I hugged them.  But they were nothing to worry about, just squids from Miramar.  They're all under twenty-one, otherwise they'd be hanging around a bar, and not an arcade.  They love me.  I provide diversion from the monotony of their daily grind.  Getting a hug from Becky Page made them happier than they'd probably even admit to, but they all have something to brag about for the next few weeks.  Nicky, I'm sorry you've been so bored.  If one of them had been a creep, I would have called for you....  Actually, I would have called for Lenny, out of force of habit, but I'm sure you would have jumped in too.  Don't worry, at the signing tomorrow I'm sure we'll have creeps and stalkers a-plenty."
     Jane walked up with another kid in tow.  He had a face pockmarked from acne and a mohawk.  He was practically drooling on his boots, his mouth was open so wide as he stared at Bekka.  Jane said, "Hey Bekka, Lenny.  This is Roach, he's from Linda Vista.   He didn't believe me when I told him I knew Becky Page.  Now he owes me a pack of Newports.  Hey Bekka, can I take Ecstasy tonight?  Please?  Roach has never had it before."
     Bekka considered Jane and Roach, before saying, "It's a school night, so no.  Tomorrow isn't a school night.  Why don't you invite him up tomorrow?  We'll get high and go bowling.  Roach, do you have a car?"
     Roach answered, "Yeah, a '78 Mustang.  It runs, that's what I can say about it."
     "How old are you, Roach?" I asked.
     "I'm nineteen."
     "Will your parents mind if you stay out all night?  Ecstasy gives you a lot of energy, and you can't sleep while you're high," said Bekka.
     Roach said, "They probably won't even notice.  Um, Ms..Page, I don't mean to spaz out on you, but I am such a huge fan you wouldn't even believe it.  'Rocker Girls' is the best movie ever made, it's so awesome, I really like your other ones too.  Meeting you in person is just blowing my mind...."
     "Well, tomorrow around eight we'll all take Ecstasy together and see where the evening takes us," said Bekka.  "Whatever we decide to do, we'll have fun.  And lucky you, you get to take drugs with Becky Page, right?"
     "Too cool," Roach grinned.
     Nicky stuck his nose in.  "Aren't you two on drugs all the time as it is?  What drugs are you taking tomorrow that will be so damn special?"
     "We'll be taking Ecstasy," I said.  "You will be joining us, right?"
     "No.  Somebody has to be capable of driving a car and hiding the kitchen knives, trying to talk people down from freakouts."
     I chuckled.  "Wow, far out man.  You really don't have a clue, do you?  Have you ever met somebody who's heard of someone who has taken Ecstasy?  MDMA, or Ecstasy, brings on euphoria, confidence, increased energy, and a feeling of being connected to the universe.  You fall in love very easily on Ecstasy, you want to be emotionally and physically involved with everyone you meet.  Ecstasy has brought about more bi-curious behavior than ten thousand glory holes could.  The high lasts eight to ten hours, at which point you eat some breakfast and nap for a few hours.  Then you're back on track.  Relax Nicky, we've eaten a ton of this stuff.  Roach is new to it, but he'll have Jane's guidance."
     Nicky sighed, "Oh, so you give hard drugs to a teenage girl."
     "It saves me the trouble of stealing them," snapped Jane.  "Really Nicklaus, you're too much.  When I was admiring your body earlier, I don't know how I missed the stick up your ass.  Don't concern yourself with how I relax on weekdays, or party on weekends.  You'd probably just be frightened.  Me, I'm a warrior.  I can handle anything the world throws at me."
     Jingling his quarters, Nicky said, "I've been given the assignment of keeping Becky Page safe.  Unfortunately, she seems to constantly be doing things that put her at risk.  The drugs, the fans, the motorcycle, the hugging of strangers.  In this situation, I don't know how I'm supposed to accomplish my task.  The person I'm supposed to protect is constantly trying to hurt herself."
     "You'll have action tomorrow," Bekka said.  "The creeps will come out of the woodwork for this event.  We'll have dangerous psycho fans hanging around.  Sorting them apart from dudes who are just socially maladjusted is a bit of a challenge, but you talk to them for a minute and you learn where they're coming from.  We're talking about dudes who would try to convince Becky Page of their love by tying her up in their attic and drugging her.  And every single one of them is convinced that they are the only person who truly loves Becky, and thus are the only one entitled to her love.  All they need to do is be alone with Becky, by any means."
     "So how have you dealt with them in the past?" asked Nicky.
     I said, "They're a new development, so far as I'm concerned.  I guess the good news is they aren't organized.  Every stalker hates every other stalker.  They're not about to cooperate to accomplish a goal.  The downside is that means you have thirty different individuals doing thirty different things to try and get to Becky.  Hard to keep track of.  In the past, me and my friend Boss did the security.  If a dude got creepy, the girl would raise her hand, and we'd chuck the creep out.  Now, anyone asking Becky --- or any of the other girls --- out to dinner is suspect.  I get a lot of hate.  Creep asks Becky out, Becky refuses.  She points out her husband, the punk thug, as the reason for the refusal.  Creep refuses to accept that Becky is married.  I have to escort the creep away to keep the line moving.  The creep vows that he will show his love for Becky, soon.  I fear how."
     Bekka said, "Yeah, dinner alone with me is the Rosetta Stone for my stalkers.  I'm not sure what they would say if left alone with Becky, but it is some earth-shattering information, presumably.  I could be wrong.  It could be that they all believe they can sob and whine their way into Becky's heart, nagging her into falling in love."
     I said, "Yeah Nicky, tomorrow will definitely be fun."