We decided to watch the NBC broadcast, while Boss taped the CBS local news on the VCR in his bedroom. We showed up after the weather but before sports. The pile of clothing at the desk said, "Adult video star Becky Page made an unusual and rare public appearance in La Mesa today. Our own Colleen Gray was there."
In voice-over covering (heavily edited) clips from Rocker Girls and Bewitched, Ms. Gray said, "Becky Page is a porn star known for her hair style.... Her makeup.... And her fashion sense. She is also known for being the star of breakthrough adult films such as 'Bewitched' and 'Dangerous Desires,' two movies with record-breaking sales and wide audiences." (Cut to a clip of one of the gun battles from Dangerous Desires.) But what else she is known for is her varied fans. It's not just single men who adore Becky Page. Married couples and, surprisingly, single women are devoted fans. Some of her female fans are as young as fifteen, far too young to legally enjoy Page's videos.
"In a rare public appearance, Page showed up at a block party in La Mesa today, a party put on by members of the computer bulletin board group 'Becky Page Fans.' The board carries the latest gossip about Page, plus offers of Page videos and ephemera for sale. This party was an opportunity for group members to actually meet face to face, and not just through text on a computer screen."
Cut to a shot of Syko saying, "Our commonality as a group would be an interest in computers and a love of Becky Page. Her showing up here is wonderful, I couldn't be happier...."
"We spoke with some of Page's fans. Brittany is seventeen." Cut to a shot of a girl with a platinum blonde Becky Page haircut and a swap meet Bewitched t-shirt saying, "Becky is just, she's the strongest woman in the world, and the sexiest. She makes it clear that women are sexually powerful, not just men. And I love her style." The shot cuts to two girls, identified in text as Paige and Brenda. Ms. Gray's voice, off camera, is asking, "Why are you waiting in this line?"
"To meet Becky Page!" the two chorus.
Paige says, "Becky is awesome. She's giving away autographs and hugs to anyone who asks for them. It's so cool that she showed up today, and isn't cutting herself off from everybody. She even rode her motorcycle."
Brenda is asked, What does Becky Page mean to you? Brenda answers, "Becky is the ultimate in female sexual empowerment. She kicks butt and takes names, but never loses touch with her femininity. She drives a hot rod, she rides a Harley, she carries a gun, and she's the most gorgeous woman in the world. Becky is just plain rad."
How did you become familiar with Becky Page? "Through her videos," say the girls.
What are your ages? "I'm sixteen," says Brenda. "I'm fifteen," says Paige.
You are aware you're both too young to legally watch any of Becky Page's material? Paige cracks up upon hearing this, while Brenda giggles nervously and says, "Um, I'll take the Fifth."
Ms. Gray's voice says, "And we spoke with the woman herself, Becky Page." Cut to shots of Bekka alternately signing autographs and hugging people. The voiceover continues, "We asked how she felt about the youth who idolize her."
Cut to Bekka saying, "I'll admit, I'm surprised by the youth of some of my fans. How they become familiar with my material, I won't guess. But they do, and they see me as a positive feminine role model.... (Cut.) .... Getting girls to see there's nothing wrong with sexual desire, with being aggressive, would result in a lot more strong, confident women in the world."
Ms, Gray asks out of shot, "And that's a message you wanted to get through in your movies? That young women should be sexually confident?"
Bekka says, "All women, period, should be sexually confident.... (Cut.) .... I believe that's what fascinates my young fans...."
Ms. Gray says, "We also spoke with Leonard Schneider, who writes and produces the movies Ms. Page appears in."
And there I am, saying, "My only goal is to accomplish something that no one else has, which is to make porn that is intellectually satisfying to watch. I could never understand why porn always sucked as movies.... (Cut.) .... I don't claim to be George Lucas or Orson Welles, I'm just a guy who decided to make adult video that is genuinely fun to watch all the way through."
Cut to a shot of Ms. Gray standing with the line of fans behind her, waiting for their hugs and autographs. She says, "At the age of twenty-eight, Becky Page has done something no adult performer has ever done, which is leave a lasting mark on the world outside of pornography's parameters. If her fans are any indication, the world may never be the same by the time Ms. Page is through. She recently completed yet another full-length film, entitled 'Temporary Pleasures,' which should be released in about eight weeks. It will be Page's first comedy as a pornographic actress. Back to you."
In the studio, one pile of clothing turned to another and said, "Becky Page is a striking woman, in a lot of ways. How about you, Sydney? Will you imitate Page's makeup and hair style?"
Sydney shook her head at this and said, "Three colors of eye shadow at once? I think you need to be a porn star to successfully pull that off. When we come back, Ted Leitner joins us with sports."
Boss hit Mute and looked over at us. "You git the impression they were feeling a bit hostile?"
Bekka shook her head and said, "I liked how they chopped up my interview. They made it sound as if I was trying to raise an army of teenage libertines, girls who gleefully objectify all males within a hundred yard radius."
Jane said, "Most of the guys in high school wouldn't mind being objectified one bit, so long as they got to touch a boob. They'd be very willing victims."
Stretching, I said, "Aw, everybody freaks out over the youth and gender of Becky Page fans. I swear there are a ton of parents out there who 'accidentally' forget to put their porn away, knowing full well their kids are gonna watch it. This is what they've reaped, thousands of teenage girls who have learned to be demanding of their boyfriends. Denying orgasm to some of these girls would be suicidal."
"I wish I could claim this was all part of a diabolical plot of mine, you know?" said Bekka. "That it was my goal for women to take aggressive charge of their sex lives, starting in their teens. Lenny and I hatched a plan to turn the world into a post-feminist sexual utopia, organizing the youth as our army of intimidating sex kittens. Frat boys would all be put in re-education camps, where they'd learn to crochet and listen to Ani DiFranco. Polyamory would be a legal form of marriage. The top game show on the air would be one called 'Rate My Orgasm.' And flavored sex lube would finally have a pleasant taste."
"Now you're just making stuff up," I said. "Flavored lube will always taste like shit."
Boss got up and went in his room, returning a couple moments later. "The Channel 8 report is recordin' right now, we can watch it as soon as it's done," he said. He went back to his room, pulled the tape, and put it in the machine in the living room. He scanned backwards to the beginning and hit Play.
A jovial talking head said, "Fans of pornographic actress Becky Page had a treat today, as she made a public appearance. She showed up at a street party put on by members of the Becky Page Fans computer bulletin board group in La Mesa. Our own Joy Lennox was there."
Over shots of the party, Ms. Lennox's voice-over said, "To Becky Page fans, she is not a porn queen, she is the porn queen. Becky Page is number one. Her female fans copy her makeup, her hair, and her clothing. It was here on this street in La Mesa that fans gathered to eat, drink, share gossip, and trade video tapes of Becky's X-rated exploits. Then the word spread through the crowd: Becky Page herself was at the party. The queen had arrived, and everyone wished to pay their respects."
Cut to a shot of a college-age couple. The guy is saying, "We got autographs, and Becky hugged the both of us! We're so stoked!"
An out-of-shot voice asked, "What is Becky Page's appeal for the two of you?"
The girl answered, "Becky Page is a strong, independent, sexually dynamic person. She's always in control. Becky will take no crap."
The guy added, "And she's gorgeous. No denying that."
Cut to another college-age girl, this one with both the makeup and the haircut, only with the hair dyed blue. She says, "Becky gave me the courage to be honest with myself and with other people. Because of her I was able to admit I am bisexual, that I'm polyamorous, and that second best is fine in the Olympics, but not in bed. Now I give a thousand percent, and expect the same back."
The voice-over said, "There was a lot of love in the crowd...." (Shots of people hugging.) ".... And much of it came from this young woman." (Six second montage of Bekka hugging fans.) "Becky Page, the reason for the celebration, was signing autographs and giving out hugs to anyone who wanted them."
Ms. Lennox, out of shot, asks, "How do you feel about your fans?"
Bekka replies, "They're beautiful. They are the most devoted, loving people you could ever hope to come across. Every one is a blessing to me. They are my lovers."
Jane laughed and said, "Girl, you were high as hell, weren't you?"
Ms. Lennox asks, "Why did you have this event?"
Bekka answers, "This is not of my doing. I am a guest here. This party was organized and planned by people from the fan club computer BBS. It's a little overwhelming, having a party like this thrown in your honor, but I'm very flattered."
Over more random shots of the party and of the line waiting to see Becky, Ms. Lennox's voice says, "One thing that observers of Ms. Page's fans will notice is the youth and the gender of many of her fans. It strikes many as strange that a porn star would engender so many teenage girls as fans, fans too young to legally view any of Becky's movies. How does she explain this?"
Cut to Bekka saying, ".... I play strong, sex-positive characters who aren't sluts, and always come out ahead in a situation. I'm hard pressed to think of any feminine role models who are sex-positive and demonstrate inner strength.... (Cut.) .... Anyone saying that a seventeen year old girl is not a very sexual being is living in a dreamland."
Ms. Lennox says, "Becky also explained her rise to fame outside the porn world."
Bekka says, "I've been lucky enough to appear in features that were written well, directed well, and produced well. I have my husband to thank for the writing and production. If the movies themselves hadn't made waves, nobody outside the small world of porn fandom would know who Becky Page is. I'm not big on self-promotion, so I've relied on the strength of the features to get me where I am."
Lennox now appears on camera, with the party in the background. She says, "The popularity of Page's breakthrough movie, 'Bewitched,' cannot be understated. Released this last summer, it has sold more copies than any other single adult film, ever. Page's star rose along with the movie's, and neither shows a sign of coming to earth. Back to you in the studio."
The jovial talking head said to his co-anchor, "You know, I've seen young women walking around with that hair style, and now I know where it came from. Have you ever known a porn star to affect fashion in such a manner?"
"Can't say I have, Ron. Becky Page certainly has a unique look, certainly different from what one would expect from, uh, that industry. Page, you may remember, was involved in a shooting at her studio last spring, when a man with a rifle entered the building. Page's husband, Leonard Schneider, was shot five times but survived and recovered completely. Page and her husband managed to stop the man before he could kill anyone. In sports...."
Boss hit Stop on the VCR. "Well, at least they were friendlier," he said.
"There it was again, though," said Bekka. "Wondering about my teenage fans. Like I'm hanging around high schools giving away copies of my videos. I'm running out of ways to rationally explain why my fans are so young. I keep trying, and the same damn questions keep getting asked."
"Just start telling them it's your army of Lolitas you built using witchcraft," I suggested.
"I have to wonder about a lot of these girls, too. I mean, that one girl was fifteen. I can guarantee you she's familiar with my videos. Shit, if someone had shown me hardcore porn when I was fifteen, I would have been grossed out. Not her, she's convinced the chick starring in it is awesome, a real role model. Am I just feeling my age, or is porn a norm these days?"
Jane said, "At school, pretty much everybody has seen at least a little porn, somehow. Their parents have some, or their friend's parents do. These days, everybody has a copy of 'Bewitched.' Even if you were grossed out by the fucking, you'd still watch it more than once, because it's so intriguing as a movie to begin with. And you can't skip the sex in 'Bewitched,' not without missing parts of plot. I'm sure if people were watching shitty tapes from the Eighties there wouldn't be as much interest, if any. But all your movies are fun to watch as movies, not just for the fuckin'."
I said, "When I was in high school my friend Eric's parents had a tape of 'Candy Goes To Hollywood.' A bunch of us, boys and girls, would go to Eric's house after school and watch it, laughing our asses off the whole time. I never got turned on by it, not even a little. At the time I wondered, why did they even bother doing this? It's obvious they're terrible at it, why not just show people fucking --- you know, a loop --- and stop pretending to make a movie. I couldn't figure out why people would watch porn at all, unless they were really desperate.
"So when I started writing and producing, I knew the exact opposite direction to go in. My features are actual movies that also have lots of hardcore fucking in them. And you can't remove one from the other, the sex is intrinsic to the plot. Maybe these teenage girls are repelled by the sex, but are so entranced by the story they let it slide. They watch your movies several times each, noticing each time what a powerful force Becky Page is. That's how they get hooked."
Bekka looked at the clock and hopped off the sofa. "Hey, let's head back for La Mesa now. Boss, you coming with?"
"Sure, what the hell," Boss said. "The kegs may not be dry by now, an' if they are, I'm sure I kin find somebody wantin' to do a beer run."
We arrived back at the party around ten after six, nudging the putts onto the sidewalk and pulling back into formation in Syko's driveway. Syko had heard us coming and greeted us, all smiles. We shook hands again and headed for the keg. A self-appointed tap-minder handed us fresh cups and told us to get in line, which we did.
Bekka was up front, then Jane, then me, then Boss. The guy in front of Bekka turned to see who had joined him in line, and nearly sprained himself smiling when he saw who it was. "Becky!" he said. "How are you doing?"
"At the moment, thirsty," she said. "That, and the drugs are wearing off so I need more."
"What kind of drugs?"
"Ecstasy. You want a hit? It's really good."
The guy looked a bit astounded. "Wait, you're giving away free Ecstasy? How are you able to do that?"
"It's a long story," said Bekka. "Would you like to get high? Lenny, pass me that bag."
I handed over the bag of pills. Bekka cracked it open and gestured for the guy to take one. He reached in and grabbed one, staring at it. I reached forward and stuck my own hand in the bag. Jane did the same. The guy said, "This isn't going to do anything weird, is it?"
"Have you taken Ecstasy before? Define weird."
"I dunno, have me hallucinating or wanting to eat glass or something. I've never taken Ecstasy, but I've heard about it. It's what what the club kids take when they go out dancing, right?"
Bekka said, "Dancing is one use for it. Sex and music composition are a couple others. Don't worry, you'll still be able to drive. In fact, it may put you in the mood to drive to Puget Sound so you can watch the orcas. Ecstasy gives you feelings of well-being, euphoria, confidence, and a feeling of connectedness with the entire universe. This will last for about eight hours. Now fill your cup."
The guy got his beer and washed down his hit. While the four of us got filled up, he said to Bekka, "So do you feel like giving away more of those? I'm with a few people who may be interested."
Bekka shrugged. "Sure, lead on."
The guy led us to somebody's lawn, where one section was staked out with folding chairs. He said to the two men and a woman lounging about, "Hey, look who I brought here with me. Trent, Mike, Janet, meet Becky Page."
The three looked stunned at Bekka's presence. "We heard you were here but had taken off," said the one named Mike. "This is too cool, we love you. How did Kip convince you to follow him?"
"He said you might be interested in free drugs," said Bekka. "We've got plenty to share."
"What kind of drugs?"
"What the hell, I'm in," said Trent. "I haven't taken any 'E' since I was a sophomore. And you're really giving them away? Those things are twenty bucks each."
"We, uh, buy at wholesale," I said. "Much cheaper that way."
"So you're students?" asked Jane. "Where at?"
Janet responded, "UCSD. We're graduate students, marine biology majors. Do you go to school?"
"Yeah, Carlsbad High. I'm a junior. When I graduate I'm gonna go to UC Berkeley. I've got the grades, and it's already paid for."
"Jesus, another high school kid," snorted Kip. "I wasn't prepared for so many of Becky's fans to be so young. What, so have you been following her around all day?"
Jane sneered and said, "Sort of. Keeping an eye out for her, preventing her from being mobbed or assaulted. That's why Boss and Lenny are around, too. We wanted to make sure she had some security, in case anybody got out of line. Fortunately there have been no problems."
"Jane lives with me," Bekka elaborated. "Lenny is my husband, and Boss is a close and dear friend." She handed out the hits, which were washed down with Zima.
"How'd you end up with some kid living with you?" asked Kip. "Is she family? Doesn't she, y'know, kinda cramp your style?"
"Her parents threw her out," Bekka said patiently. "We convinced them to legally emancipate her so she could live with us without getting in trouble. And more often than not, she's a partner in crime. Jane has a filthy mind, which can be quite useful at times. As an example.... Jane, show him the back of your jacket."
Jane pivoted to show off her leather. Kip frowned and said, "'Machine Snatch'? What does that mean? Wait, are you saying.... Oh my god."
"My snatch is like a machine," said Jane. "It's full of complex parts, it's always running, and I try to keep it well-lubricated. And it's as smooth as a piston head."
"Jesus! How old are you again?" Kip cried.
"She's actually doing better living with us," I said. "No sport-fucking, no affairs, no switching boyfriends every week. She'll still try to molest me and Becky, though." Jane proved my point by rubbing her crotch against my leg and groping at my crotch. Bekka responded to this by grabbing Jane's pinky and bending it backwards in a 'come-along' maneuver. She drew Jane close and simply said, "Bad girl."
Jane made a pouty contrite face and said, "Yes, mistress," and kissed Bekka's cheek. Bekka smiled at the four disturbed-looking observers and said, "I tell you, raising teenagers can be a real handful."
"Okay then," said Trent. "And the big fellow in the back. Who are you, sir? Another friend of Becky's?"
Boss bent down and stuck out a shovel-like hand to shake. "I'm Boss from Santee," he said. "Bekka here is my lil' girl. I jist came along today to make sure she was okay. Anybody try to hurt her or otherwise take liberties, they gotta answer to me. That, and hey, free beer."
"And are you a fan?" Trent asked. "Which is your favorite movie?"
Boss glowered down at him. "I've never seen any of her movies. Don't much care fer how she makes a livin'. If yer little sister was in her position, would you watch her movies? Or yer daughter? Naw, you wouldn't. But she's happy, so I'll always support her. Know what I mean?"
"Were you really expecting trouble here today?" asked Janet. "Everyone here loves Becky."
I said, "We weren't sure what to expect today. And some of her fans have proven to be, well, over-enthusiastic. Besides, I knew Boss could stand a break in routine, and a block party would be a good way of making that break. No, no troubles at all. Just better safe than sorry."
"If you don't mind me asking, what do you do for a living?"
"Make dope," Boss replied. "Them pills you took? Those are mine."
This stunned the four students into silence. The one named Mike finally said, "So, uh, is there good money in that?"
"Oh hell yes," said Boss cheerfully. "I knock out 60,000 hits per week, at eight bucks per hit. That's $480,000 a week gross. Knock off $120,000 off that to pay fer my overhead and employees, I'm still sittin' pretty. My plan is to retire in five years, turn over the reins to someone else. Then I'm movin' to a tropical island named Palau, have my putt shipped over, and spend the rest of my days swimmin' in the ocean, grillin' fish, and screwin' whatever tropical beauty I manage to hook up with. Right now I work hard in a risky business, but it's payin' off. An' I got good people backin' me up, they're helping me launder my money."
"Wow. No wonder you guys just give the stuff away."
"What the hell, it's only dope. Why not give it away? Shit hell, that reminds me, here ya go, Lenny...." Boss reached into the inside of his denim vest and pulled out a Zip-loc baggie full of pills, which he tossed to me. I flattened out the bag and took a look, smirking at Boss.
"Damn dude, there's gotta be three hundred hits here," I said.
"320," Boss grinned. "I know how much you and Bekka like runnin' around gittin' people high. That should hold ya fer a week or so. Just tell me if yer runnin' short."
I turned to the students and said, "You want some Ecstasy to take home with you? Kip, hold out your hands."
Kip cupped his hands and I dumped about forty pills in. "There, divide them up evenly among the four of you," I said. "That should keep you entertained for a little while."
Janet snatched one out of Kip's hands and stared at it. "Oh my god, this is Smiley," she said. "I've heard about this stuff. The woman next to me in graduate housing was so stoked that she managed to get two hits, she was planning on spending the weekend high. Jesus, these things go for twenty-five bucks each. And you run around giving it away?"
"Like I said, it's only dope," said Boss. "Shit, it makes me happy that I bring a little bit a joy into people's lives, ya know?"
Bekka said, "Speaking of spreading joy, why don't we wander around and see if we can make other people happy? I'm sure these four aren't the only ones who want to party for a while."
"Ooh, start with me," said Jane.
"You just took one, girl," I said. "I'm not letting you double up and then ride a motorcycle."
Mike said, "I'm the one who drove today. I'll still be able to get everyone home, right?"
"You'll be fine," I said. "It doesn't affect your equilibrium, and your judgement for an activity like driving will be just fine. No worries."
"Before we take off, I want hugs from all of you," said Bekka. "I wanted to hug as many people as possible today, and I didn't see you in line earlier when I was doing autographs and hugs."
Trent said, "We wanted to be in the minority and not crowd you. We were just happy to come out for the party. And look, we got to meet you anyway."
The four of them got to their feet to hug Bekka. Janet reached in her backpack and pulled out a spiral notebook and an Instamatic. "Could I get an autograph and a picture with you?" she asked. "I'm a big fan, you really made me change how I handle my relationships with men."
"Ooh, you got film to spare, Jan?" asked Trent. "I'd really dig a picture too."
"Me too," said Mike.
"Definitely, me too," said Kip.
The camera was handed off to me. Janet got her autograph and hug, then posed next to Bekka while I took a photo. I did the same for the other three. They were all smiles as we said goodby and walked away. We went and refilled our beers, then began wandering around. There was a hacky sack game going on in the street, which we stood and observed. The game sort of dissolved when it was realized that Becky Page was a spectator. The players fanboy'ed out on Bekka briefly, then got their hugs and accepted our offer of free Ecstasy.
"We get enough people of both genders high, this block party could evolve into a love-in," observed Bekka.
"I wanna be there for that," said Jane.
We wandered off to see who else we could make happy.
We were successful.