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.
"The psycho fans create whole new Becky Pages for themselves in their heads," said Bekka. "They pick and choose personality traits from the characters Becky has played, or just plain invent them. They staple all these pieces onto a blank slate simply known as Becky Page, Porn Star, and they're off and running. My stalker from Seattle had built a whole new Becky in his head, started to believe it, and fell in love with her. After all, to him, she was the perfect female. That guy gave Becky all sorts of beliefs and quirks. I was a Wiccan in real life. I was a member of PETA. I could achieve orgasm from a foot massage. I was afraid to sleep in a completely dark room. I loved the band Styx. And on and on. He assigned these aspects to my life in his head, and came to believe they were the truth. You can imagine how disappointed he was when I pointed out that none of this was true, that he'd created it all in his mind. He was especially disappointed to learn that Lenny and I are not polyamorous. He figured if we had been, he'd have stood a chance."
"The psycho fans are all stalkers, to one degree or another," said Ellen. "Most of them would be highly insulted at that accusation, but it's true. These guys this afternoon had run Becky Page to ground, and now it was time to capture her. Each one thought they were the one who would somehow be with Becky, they all had their own ideas. It's a good thing they seem to all hate each other, because it would be scary if they started working in conjunction."
I said, "Oh, if things had gotten hairy, we would have seen some temporary alliances. If nothing else, they'd have egged each other on, like British football yobbos. Ultimately though, all those dudes want Becky to themselves, they don't want to share with anyone. Becky Page is the perfect vessel for them, and no one else. Of all those psychos, each one is convinced that they're the only one who truly loves Becky. Each one of them probably considers all the others posers, horny punks, lamos who don't really love Becky, they only think they do."
"I had an ugly thought," said Elspeth. "I think they're all potential rapists. Maybe they consider any act of intercourse an example of love. A guy like that would extrapolate that the best way to show Becky Page how much you love her would be intercourse. And so what if Becky is fighting and screaming no? She'll understand when it's over, and love him back.
"Or, they're pissed at the world, but especially at women. Lonely guys on steroids. One of these types would figure that he's been fucked around by the world --- and especially women --- and is owed some payoff. Ta da, here's Becky Page, the perfect vessel. She'll be the first woman to truly understand him, all he needs to do is meet her and become her confidant. Why would she deny him sex? She doesn't deny it to any of the men she works with. Her fighting and screaming no is just part of some submissive role playing kink she's into, pay it no mind.... Or play along, and dominate her."
"Becky would be hard to rape," said Ellen. "From what little I saw of them, those psycho stalkers looked pretty weedy, easy to take in a physical confrontation. And hell, she carries a gun. One of those losers physically attacking Becky --- Bekka --- would be paying a pretty heavy price."
"The more I think about it, the more I wish I'd interviewed some of those chumps tonight," I said. "Find out the base of their interest in Becky Page, why they're stalking her, what are their goals. Boss would help with the interviews, to guarantee honest answers. I think you'd find a lot of guys with very incomplete plans. Okay, say we're escorting Becky Page to the limo. One guy manages to elude me and Boss and Angel and Jeff, and gets right next to Becky. Then what? Ask her out? Tell her you love her? Can you think of anything that you, as a fan, could say to Becky Page that she hasn't heard before? Remember, she is propositioned for sex by mail pretty much constantly."
"That's something I'm going to be asking for in Mira Mesa," said Bekka, "that anyone loitering outside is run off. If they refuse to shift, have them arrested for trespassing. Hold 'em at gunpoint until the cops show up, if need be. Make examples out of a few of them. But not letting a collection of creeps build up. They represent a bunch of individual threats, which can't all be handled at once."
Just then a matronly Japanese woman stepped outside and called, "Mr. Schneider. Mr. Schneider. You have call, please come."
I stepped up to her and started to introduce myself, but she was distracted at that moment. She was staring fixedly at Boss, feeling the difference between his six foot seven and her five foot nothing. Boss caught her stare and smiled and nodded. She said, "You here for dinner?"
"Yes ma'am," said Boss. "Lookin' forward to it."
"Oh boy," she breathed, and turned towards the door. I tapped her and told her that I was Mr. Schneider. She gestured for me to follow her. I was led to a back office, where I was handed a handset and told thank you. I announced my presence into the phone.
"Lenny, it's Angel."
"What's up? Where are you?" I asked.
"I'm still at Smut 'N' Stuff with Jeff. Listen, go ahead and eat. We're gonna be a while, we got trouble here. One of those little assholes pulled a knife on a security worker, demanding to know where Becky Page was headed to when she left. Another one decided he was going to steal the signed poster of Becky that's in the store's front window, and do it by breaking the window out. And a third has parked his car in front of the entrance and refused to move it, throwing his keys down the sewer. He says he'll move the car if we tell him the name and room number of Becky Page's hotel tonight. Jesus Lenny, these guys are gravy brains. I've got them lined up here against the wall in Jeff's office and my Beretta in my hand, in case any one of them decides to prove they're even stupider than they've so far demonstrated." Angel's voice moved away from the phone. "You hear that, assholes? I'm missing my goddamned dinner because of you shitheads! Guess who I'd have been eating with. Yeah, your goddamn princess, Becky Page. I've known Becky for years and I'll tell you right now, she hates chumps. You tools would have made her puke if she'd met you."
Back into the phone, Angel said, "You can cover dinner, right? I'll get it back to you."
I replied, "I got it covered, no problem. You know, we were just discussing the psychology of these stalker-like fans. Do me a favor and interview them. Especially try to find out what it is about Becky Page that inspires such rabid behavior. What is it about this particular porn star that sets her apart? And what do they hope to gain by meeting Becky Page? I'm serious, ask them. If we can better understand these stalkers, we'll have an easier time of keeping our girl safe."
"Good point," said Angel. "Yeah, I'll grill them on those points. I don't--- What?" There was muffled speaking, then Angel's voice said, "Actually, it's her goddamned husband. Yeah, the producer.... Oh really? He'd blow you away while eating lunch and not even stop chewing.... Sure, I'll tell him." Back into the phone, Angel said, "We got some tough guy here says he's gonna kill you. He says you stole Becky away from him, you keep Becky addicted to drugs so she's dependent on you, otherwise she'd run away."
"Jesus. He say what drugs?"
There was a pause, then Angel said, "Heroin. What else?"
"Of course. Remind the little prick that I carry an identical cannon as you, I've been shot three times so far and am still kicking, and in just a minute's time I will have his full name and address, so I can file a restraining order. Angel, go through the bastard until you find his wallet, then give me his driver's license info."
"No problem." The phone was set down, and I faintly heard Angel's voice say, "Hey killer, gimme your driver's license.... Because I said to, why else?... I thought so." The phone was picked up again. Angel said, "Jesus Christ, this little chump is only seventeen. You got a pen? He's Thad Johnson, 12462 Villa Crest Way, Carlsbad, Cee-Ay, 92241. Got that?"
I went a little cold. "Carlsbad, huh? Ask him if he goes to school with a blue haired punk rock chick that rides a Harley."
Angel relayed this, then said, "He says yeah, and how'd you know?"
I chuckled. "Tell him I've got him under my thumb, no matter where he is. I could open up his life like a bag of chips. He wants to play stalker and follow my wife around? Two can play at that game. By next Tuesday I'll know his entire life, down to the size of his dick. I'll make his family's private life toast. Fuck the restraining order, I'll have too much fun ruining his life."
Angel said, "We've already started. This was the chump with the knife. He's headed for juvie, at least for the night. The security guy already said he'll be pressing charges. So will we."
I paused, then said, "Hey Angel, just real quick, ask him why he's so hung up on Becky Page. Her husband is curious."
Angel asked. He came back and said, "He says.... Becky Page is the most beautiful woman in the world, that she is pure love.... Also, nobody loves him for himself, but he knows Becky Page would if they met. Jesus, this kid is all fucked up.... Hey, the cops are finally here. Go eat dinner. I'll call you at Inana in the morning. Ciao."
I hung up the phone and went back outside. Everyone was standing around looking grumpy. Bekka said, "I'm guessing that was Angel."
I said, "Yeah. Him and Jeff won't be joining us for dinner. They detained three of those stalkers for various acts of mayhem, and are holding them for the police. One of them is a kid, he goes to school with Jane. He threatened one of the security guys with a knife, in the hopes the security guy knew Becky Page's plans for the evening and would share. Another one broke the store's display window, and the third disabled his car in front of the doors of Smut 'N' Stuff, hoping to somehow find out where Becky Page is spending the night. I think he's another one that assumes you're from LA, that you'd be in a hotel down here."
Bekka said, "No, Becky Page will be sleeping in her own bed tonight, cuddled up with her husband and her cat. So one of the stalkers goes to Carlsbad High, eh? Small world. I wonder what the kid sees in Becky."
I answered, "I asked. Apparently you're the most beautiful woman in the world, you are pure love, and you'd love this kid if you met him. He claims nobody else loves him. Ridiculous, I'm sure he loves himself. I was loving myself three times a day at his age."
"Dammit, can we eat yet, Lenny?" crabbed Elspeth.
"Absolutely, let's go in. I apologize for the delay, but Angel is having some trouble."
The restaurant proved to be only half-full on a Wednesday, so we were seated immediately. Boss perused the menu for a moment and said, "Japanese food, huh? Don't think I've ever had it before, I ain't familiar. I'll take advice from somebody."
I said, "I'm unclear too. I know the Japanese like to get more artistic with their food than, say, the Chinese. Hell, China is regularly hit by famine, so they're used to eating anything that doesn't either talk or salute."
Ellen said, "The Japanese love their seafood. They'll eat anything that comes out of the ocean, including the seaweed. We'll be okay if we stick with teriyaki and tempura."
We studied the menus and reached conclusions. After the waitress took our order, Elspeth asked Bekka, "So what's it like being pure love?"
"Sticky," Bekka replied. "Shit, where did that kid get that idea? Not from any movies I remember doing. In descending order, my last five roles have been a yuppie ice queen, a glorified gun moll, a slutty bartender, a mentally ill witch, and a bisexual housewife. Nowhere do I dispel any great wisdom or insight regarding nebulous concepts like love. You want to find evidence of love? Empty a condom."
Ellen said, "A hypothesis. Maybe you're thinking about the wrong parts of the movie when it comes to inspiring people. Bekka, one of the reasons you're so hot in this industry is that you do a fantastic fuck scene. You make wild sex look like second nature. You also give the impression that you are genuinely involved with the person, or people, you do a scene with. There is something in how you communicate, maybe something in your eyes, that says to viewers, 'this is not meaningless. We are sharing something, sharing ourselves, during this acrobatic rutting and double penetration scene.' I know it's only your acting skills or maybe a trick of the light, but you seem involved in whoever you were with. It's like, they don't see a porn star going through the mechanical actions of sex, but a woman making love to anyone she interacts with. You give of yourself freely, and truly share yourself --- physically and emotionally --- with everyone around you."
"Let these rabid stalker fans watch a fuck scene being made," said Bekka. "Their heads would explode. Shit, the idea that I've actually made love with Vince or Stallion makes me want to chew my own brains out."
"So what are we saying?" I asked. "That Becky Page is a living sex goddess to these idiots, a super-woman who can heal and alter destinies through her touch? Would they really extrapolate that much from watching her fuck scenes? I don't know."
Elspeth said, "They act as though they'll be healed of all their ills if they come in contact with Becky, so you may be onto something with the goddess thing. Let's add up what we know. The fans of Becky Page are devoted to her with an almost religious fervor. They have reached the point where they are willing to use violence to get close to her. They truly believe Becky would love them, if only they met. Great, they're zealots. Totally dedicated, beyond reason."
"Remember," Boss commented, "the word 'fan' comes out of the word 'fanatic.'"
I signaled the waitress and we got another round. We drained them in record time, so I got yet another. The waitress smiled nervously and carted off the empties. I sipped at my Johnnie Walker and said, "I think we're in uncharted territory. Big Hollywood celebrities pick up stalkers, but just a few at a time. Porn stars pick them up too, but not on this scale. No porn star has ever had such a massive fan base as Becky Page does, probably millions worldwide. And from my observations, a statistically significant percentage of them have moved from fandom to obsession. I think...."
I trailed off. I'd caught a glimpse of motion from outside the window of the restaurant. Staring hard through the glass, I could make out a man standing on the walkway, facing the window. He didn't move, seemingly staring directly at our table.
I smiled and said, "I think I'll be back in a few minutes. Boss, if you hear anyone knock on that window, come outside real quick, it means I need you. I'll be back."
Sliding back my chair, I got up and wandered farther into the restaurant, as if looking for the restroom. I walked into the kitchen as if I belonged there and found a rear door, which I used. I was on the restaurant's loading dock. I trotted around the outside and came up to the front of the building. The stalker was still standing there. Looping around the parked cars brought me up behind him. He stared through the glass in rapt fascination. We were just getting our appetizers, a tray of sushi. The stalker never noticed me, so intent was he in watching Bekka dip a salmon roll into wasabi. I said in his ear, "Becky's beautiful, isn't she?"
The stalker said, "She is, I--- Whaa!?" He spun to face me.
I gathered him up by his collars and bashed him into the car at his back. Almost of its own volition, the Beretta was in my hand. Shoving it into his neck, I said, "You're going to answer some questions, and you're going to do so quickly and clearly. You're interrupting my dinner, and that is really pissing me off. I can figure out a couple things on my own, like that you were at the signing on Balboa today, and that you followed the limo here. Okay, stalker, what's your goal? What do you hope to gain?"
The guy, a generic white dude about thirty, protested, "I ain't no stalker!"
I chuckled and said, "You're following my wife without her permission or knowledge. That's stalking. You gonna tell me this is some kind of romantic gesture on your part?"
The stalker said, "I just, I want to be friends with Becky, what's wrong with that? I wanted to tell her what an awesome person she is and get her phone number at the signing, but there was no time, you security goons were hustling everybody through so quick. Would it have killed you guys to just let everybody have one minute alone with Becky?"
"We'd still be there," I pointed out. "Besides, I'm not about to exhaust my wife like that, her having to hear the same pitches from overeager fans all damn day. Everybody wants to be friends with Becky. What makes you special is that you're a big enough of a creep that you followed her across half of San Diego so you could stare at her while she ate dinner. You got something to say to her, put it in a letter. But it's time for you to go home now and enjoy your new movie. Skye Tyler is hilarious in it, you'll love it."
The stalker got a crafty smile, like he was two moves away from solving a Rubik's Cube. He said, "You keep saying Becky is your wife, but I don't believe you. Prove to me you're married to Becky."
"And how should I do that?" I asked.
"I want Becky herself to tell me."
I chuckled again. "Oh! You want to interrupt everyone's appetizers so Becky can state the fucking obvious to you. Okay then. You saw the big biker sitting with us? If I take you in there, he's gonna be the one to escort you out. And you won't like it."
"I'm not afraid of him, or you," the stalker sneered. "You're only tough because you got that gun in your hand."
I sheathed the pistol and smiled. I smiled and grabbed him by the back of his collar. "There, it's put away. I'm still thirty pounds heavier and a hell of a lot meaner than you."
He tried to break away from me once we were inside, but I kept my grip on his collar. Everyone looked up from the table in surprise when I walked up with company. The stalker went a little slack-jawed at being in Becky's presence. His goddess, siting there sipping Sapporo from a glass. He probably didn't notice how steely her eyes got looking at him.
"Who the hell is this?" asked Elspeth.
I said, "I haven't bothered to learn his name, because it's not important. I know it's some stalker who followed us from the store on Balboa to here."
"I am not a stalker!" the stalker crowed.
"Yes you are. Anyway, he had a single question for Becky here, then I will impose upon Boss to escort him out. You're on, Chester."
The stalker started, "Becky, you're absolutely wonderful, and I'm so glad we get this chance to talk. My name's Duane, and.... Oww!"
I'd wrenched his left wrist up between his shoulder blades. "You're not here to chat," I said. "You had one question. Do you want to ask it, or shall I?"
Sweating, Duane the stalker blurted, "Is this punk rock asshole really married to you?"
Bekka said, "If you're referring to the man who will dislocate your shoulder at my say-so, yes. Lenny is my husband, and I am madly in love with him. In the time you two were outside, he didn't tell you this?"
"He didn't believe me," I said.
"Really Duane, you should be more trusting of people. Wait, now I remember you. You were pestering me for my phone number while I signed your box, you wouldn't let it drop. Now it turns out you've stalked me all the way from Smut 'N' Stuff to here. To what end? So you can do what a hundred other men did today, and confess your love for me? Get to be my friend? The other ones who said those things to me may not have gotten any closer to me, but at least they didn't stalk me. At this point I wouldn't trust you with a bucket of water if my hair were on fire. Boss, if you would be so kind."
Boss stood up and got behind the stalker. His hands replaced mine at collar and wrist. Then he marched Duane the stalker up to the front. There was a pause, then we faintly heard, "What are you...? Hey! What the--- Shit!" Boss returned moments later.
Sitting down, Boss said, "Now, I got good loft on that boy. Cleared somebody's Grand Am the long ways with him, without touchin' paint."
Ellen smiled over her sake and said, "Maybe it has something to do with how much they flail around." More quietly she stated, "And I can't wait to see how you toss me around." Oh boy.
When we arrived back at the mansion, Boss, Ellen, and Elspeth were eager to take off for their respective homes. Bekka and I were eager for ours, but first wanted to check the Becky Page Fans BBS to see if there were any reports on the day's events. There were a couple. The first read, "Disappointed" as the header, and the message said, "90+ minutes in line for 10 secs. w/Becky, enough time to say hi and get the new box signed. Scary people watching over things (inc. her hubby) w/GUNS. This sucked -- somebody needs to throw another street party for Becky to show up at like the La Mesa t hing, that ruled." This was from CambodiaClown.
A second, from somebody named PacketSmasher, simply said, "I was at La Mesa, and Becky looks, sounds, and acts happier when her corporate minders aren't around. Today's Smut 'n' Stuff event was proof, she barely smiled the whole time."
The few responses to both all basically said, "Yeah, well, those big signings are an assembly line, you're not gonna get a chance to hang out." MinistryFan pointed out to CambodiaClown, "Those of us who made the LM party were lucky. Yeah I waited 90 min. to see Becky there too, but I got a sig, got to TALK w/her, and got a HUG (throb throb). Events like signings are huge and populated w/jackoffs who don't love Becky, to them she's just wank material. Hopefully someone throws another party like the LM gig, maybe at Fiesta Island or ???"
And this showed up from SouthBayD, entitled "Becky's GOONS." It read, "Went to Balboa S'N'S to see Becky, it sucked -- 2 hr. line for 20 sec. with Becky. I wanted to talk w/MY GIRL. (Got sig. at least.) Hung around until the end and followed her limo to restaurant near Mission Bay. Waiting around for her to finish dinner, got ATTACKED by some punker asshole with a GUN outside who claimed to be her husband. Convinced him to let me inside so I could talk to my girl, only once in he wouldn't let me talk, then had some giant biker throw me out. And Becky didn't get a chance to talk to me -- she's surrounded by GOONS who want to keep her away from those who love her -- be careful -- at some point I'll be able to tell her how I feel though and we'll be friends."
Despite the relatively late hour, there were several replies. Scribbler wrote, "HAHAHAHA! You got to meet Boss (the biker) and her HUSBAND Lenny, 2 cool people so long as nobody is crowding Becky. You sir were crowding her. Dude you come off as a stalker."
PenManShip replied, "you followed her limo from balboa & convoy to mission bay??? yer a stalker."
GlassHeart wrote, "Yea, you gotta check yerself. Take it from a woman, we dont like being followed like that. I also peg you as a stalker."
And Syko, the board sysop, also checked in, saying, "SouthBayD, you seem to be confused. This is the Becky Page Fans BBS, not the Becky Page Creeps BBS. In agreement with Becky and her husband -- yeah, the punk rocker -- I will remove posts made here which will abet stalkers. Becky, her family, & her friends are entitled to their privacy. She's not your girl, she belongs to the world, and we all love her, not just you. PS. if you were only bruised after an encounter with Boss count yourself lucky. He's a nice guy but rather protective. Funny, he didn't knock anybody around at my La Mesa party."
With my assistance, Bekka also wrote a response. It read, "South Bay Duane, you lead an active fantasy life. This is Becky. You stalked me, period. You admitted to Lenny that you followed us, then stared in the window while me, Ella, Sky, Lenny, and Boss had our drinks. When Lenny brought you in, it was to confirm to you that he is, in fact, my husband, not so we could talk. I avoid conversations with creeps. And when Boss threw you out, it was at my request. So-called 'fans' like you are the reason I carry my Colt with me all the time. Enjoy the new video, and never cross my path again. -- Becky."
I said to Bekka, "Say what you want, this BBS is good for public communication. Makes me wish we had DARPAnet connections. Think about it, hearing from fans all over the country...."
"I can't even contemplate that right now," she said. "My local fans are keeping me occupied, thank you. Now let's head for the house. I want ten bongloads, and Jane is probably thinking we've run away from home."