On Monday I knocked out my work, then logged onto the Becky Page BBS again to see what was new. My missive warning people away from the Inana studios was up to sixty responses, and none were very happy. The general tenor was, "How can you treat Becky's fans like this?" A few threats were made to closely examine the letter of the law when it came to trespassing. Some said Fine, fuck you, we'll just see Becky at her next public appearance. My identity was again called into question. One guy simply wrote, "No way is this Becky's husband. She'd never marry an asshole."
Someone responded to him, "I think it is. I've seen his interviews and pics in Adult Video News. He's a punk rock type, kinda crazy. And he does carry a gun. Check with SD Sheriff's Office for his registration. He carries a big Beretta. Don't forget the studio got shot up a while back, Schneider took five rounds and survived. Maybe he's just paranoid because of the shooting."
Maybe thirty people replied to my second post, the one announcing the sequel to Bewitched. Nearly all of them simply said this was wonderful news, and for me to post updates. My identity was again called into question. One said, "So you're L. Schneider, huh? Answer me this: what is Becky's legal name and where did she go to school? Tell me those and I'll believe it's you, I know the answers to both."
I replied, saying, "Greetings, Lenny here again. Becky's legal name is Bekka (with two Ks) Schneider. She went to Encinitas High and spent two years at UCSD before dropping out. She left college to help take care of her sick mother and also to start her career in porn. Oh, and her middle name is Vivian. Anything else you needed to know?"
Various highlights of the new posts included some guy selling three videos autographed by Becky (Bewitched, Rocker Girls and Dangerous Desires), a Women's Studies major who wished to interview Becky Page fans for her Master's thesis, more erotica, some young girl squealing that the Neiman-Marcus in Mission Valley had a makeup artist who would do Becky's makeup to a tee, and one titled "La Costa Travesty," which read "So Becky's husband wants no one to visit the studio. Okay, fine, it's a place of business and they want to get work done without interruption. But we want to meet our girl, and not just in the fifteen seconds you'd get at a video signing. Therefore, this is an open invitation to both all you Page-maniacs out there and Becky Page herself to attend the block party I'm throwing at the end of the month. Becky, if you're reading this, we would be honored if you came to the party. You can even bring your hostile husband. But a public appearance on your behalf would be wonderful. I'll post details (time and location) tomorrow."
There were about twenty responses, most of them saying, "Cool, I'll be there, maybe we can have a video swap." A few saying what a coup it would be for Becky to show up. And one guy saying, "NO WAY will Becky show up. It would be a situation her handlers can't control. I'm resigned to seeing her at video signings whenever she releases a new movie. Besides, her husband is a psycho who would freak out being around that many Becky fans at once. He's too protective from what I hear. It's a nice thought, but a spontaneous Becky Page appearance simply isn't going to happen."
I replied back, "I'm not hostile, I'm protective. And news of my mental instability is greatly exaggerated. Love, Lenny S. PS I will pass word along about the party. You all may get your wish."
A new message appeared on the board. It was simply entitled "I HATE HER." I opened it and read, "I am the 32 year old wife of a Becky Page fan. She has stolen my husband away from me. All his passion is directed at Becky, Becky, goddamned Becky. He watches videos he's seen fifty times and has hung up posters of the bitch in the garage. All you mega-fans out there should be ashamed of yourselves, for encouraging Ms. Page in such a manner, egging her on while she has sex in front of a camera. Becky, if you are reading this: go away. Die. Retire. But quit making your smut and let me have my husband back. Signed, Seething in Otay."
Well. I was worried about potential female stalkers, and here's one right now. I had to respond. I wrote, "Hello Seething. Yes, your husband is obsessed with Becky Page. I've seen it many, many times before. It's the same sort of frenzy that prompts men to propose marriage to Becky at video signings, asking her to run away with them. These men, your husband included, have fallen in love with a fantasy of their own creation, an ideal they built. Your husband needs to be reminded that he is obsessing over a two-dimensional image on a screen, not a real woman. He'll hate to learn this, but Becky farts and snores and menstruates and has days where everything goes wrong. She is not perfect, she is not a goddess, and being with her will not fulfill all your wishes. She is just a woman. Pay attention to the woman that is already in your life and disregard the fantasy woman you created. As great as Becky is, she is not your dream girl. How do I know all this? I'm married to her. Signed, Lenny Schneider, a.k.a. Becky's husband."
While I was writing my response, two others appeared. The first one read, "Seething: your hubby has given himself over to Becky's power. He has sacrificed himself on the altar of Becky! Distract him with oral sex and he'll get better."
The second one was more to the point: "There's more going on in your relationship than your husband's hang-up over a porn star. You both need to be in counseling. Becky is not the problem."
Another new message dropped in, with the heading of "Questions For Lenny." Hey, that's me. I opened it and read the following:
"Attention the person posting as Lenny Schneider. Okay, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you really are Becky Page's husband and producer. I still have a few questions now that you're here. First of all, how did you meet Becky, and why did she marry you? Second, what do you hope to gain by being on this BBS? And lastly, do you really dislike Becky's fans as much as it appears? Please respond."
I immediately replied. "In answer to your questions.... First of all, I met Becky at the Inana studios when she was just another performer and I was lucky enough to be the still photographer. Her and I hit it off, became friends, eventually falling in love. Marriage seemed like a natural progression for us.
"Second, I just learned of the existence of this BBS a little while ago. The Becky Page Fans BBS is the source of an information leak I was very unhappy about, namely, the street address of our studios. For security reasons that address has never been released publicly. I decided to post to warn people off the idea of coming to visit Becky at work, however innocent their intentions. We've dealt with stalkers, we've dealt with a man firing an AR-15 and blowing holes in me. After the shooting incident you can understand why we don't like visitors, right? Any strangers in the studios are processed as a potential threat, so we don't allow strangers in the studios.
"I don't really hope to 'gain' anything by being here. Reading the posts is a good way to find out what Becky's fans are thinking about. And as I have already promised, I will try to make my own positive contribution by keeping everyone abreast of what's going on in Becky's work life, especially information about features in production.
"Third: I take Becky's fans as individuals, not as a homogeneous group. Most are perfectly nice people, a few are wonderful, and a few others are creepy scumbags. This BBS holds a lot of heavily devoted fans. With the publication of the studio address on the board, I had a lot of fears about BBS-linked hardcore fans flocking to the studios and wreaking chaos, a security nightmare, and a distraction from work. It was more expedient to threaten the fans as a group about what would happen if they showed up at the studios. In fact I'll reiterate it here: if you show up unannounced at Inana, you're probably going to have a gun pointed at you. Depending on your zealousness, you may get arrested and thrown in jail for trespassing and stalking. Trying to wander around a video studio in hopes of coming across a performer you're crazy about isn't fandom, it's fanaticism, and we will not humor you.
"I have never seen Becky refuse an autograph, and we have both been patient with some damn strange behavior on the part of her fans. When we are out in public, we welcome them. In our private spaces, however, fans are at best a headache and at worst a dangerous threat. As both her producer and her husband, it is my duty to keep Becky safe. I take the job seriously, which may annoy some people. Tough. The happiness and comfort of the woman I love outweighs the wants of overaggressive fans."
I pushed myself away from the desk and headed for the front door, a taqueria burrito on my mind. Whatever cropped up on the BBS would wait. I drove into Carlsbad, got my food, and returned to the mansion. I checked the board and groaned. The "Questions For Lenny" post had collected seventy-seven replies in the forty minutes I'd been gone. It took only a quick look for me to see that those replies were aimed at me. The consensus seemed to be that I was (conditionally) accepted as who I claimed to be: Lenny Schneider, producer and husband to Becky Page. Many were glad I was active on the board, and not just lurking. Obviously I knew Becky well, so I could provide or correct information and dispel rumors. Several were nervous about my presence. After all, I was the punk rock lunatic Becky had married, so how stable of an influence would I be? I was curious about the reputation people held of me on the BBS, and wanted to know where the reputation had come from. And a couple were just frustrated with the mere presence of Becky's husband, no matter who he was. To them, Becky was a free spirit, free of shackles like marriage and commitment. I had a hunch these dudes steadfastly clung to the "22 and single" description of Becky, despite all evidence to the contrary. I was a reminder that Becky was unobtainable, in more than one way.
Gayla the barmaid came in on time for her first interview. I used the Rocker Girls scripts again, me reading Tawny's lines and Gayla reading Bekka's. She stumbled over her words once, but otherwise was pitch perfect: a clear and confident voice that carried inflection well. I told her she'd passed with flying colors, and we needed to schedule her next two interviews: nude photography and intercourse on video. I asked her again about her husband's feelings about this career change.
She sighed. "He's not being supportive for my camera and screen tests. He's sure I'm going to chicken out and not go through with them. I think deep down he's ambivalent about me actually passing my interviews and becoming a performer. I know him, part of him would think it's cool that his wife is a porn star. But I also think his insecurities will come to the surface. He'll feel like he's competing with, and being compared to, the porn studs I would work with. I think he's afraid he won't measure up, you know what I mean?"
I said, "You'll just have to give him a lot of reassurance. All our studs are hung, that's why they have the job. For god's sake, Eddie is packing nine inches. They're all nice guys and good performers, but kinda dumb with the exception of Eddie. He got both the dick and the brains. If your husband is insecure about the work in general, you'll just have to remind him that it's only a job, it doesn't mean anything.. Believe me, you're not making love on camera. You're barely having sex. No, you're straight up fucking in front of that video camera. It's performance, always keep that in mind. And remind your husband of that."
Gayla said, "Oh, I took your advice about not feeling shy. I'm not wearing panties right now. In a way, it's an incredibly liberating feeling. I tried trimming and shaving like Becky does, but I don't think it came out as good. See?" She stood and lifted her skirt, exposing herself to me with a smile.
She looked down at her pussy and said, "I don't know, I've been thinking of just going totally bald, no hair at all. Would that work?"
"Yeah, that's fine," I said. "If you're gonna go that route, I have some advice. Save yourself a lot of trouble and agony and razor rash by having it waxed professionally. Call around to salons and tell them you want a Brazilian wax. That's code for, 'I want a totally bald, smooth box.' Waxing lasts a lot longer than shaving, and you don't get razor nicks or missed spots. Bekka waxes where she's bare. In fact every woman here waxes. There isn't a single all-natural box in the entire studio."
Gayla considered me from across my desk. She said, "You know, I was expecting to be shown to a casting couch by this point."
I chuckled. "That's not how I do my hiring. Although from your tone, I can't tell if you're relieved or disappointed."
"Maybe I can't decide either."
She stood, walked around to my side, and sat down on the desk, her legs a bit apart. Labia winked at me. She said, "So the video interview is the acid test, right? That one is full intercourse. Suck and fuck."
"That's the one."
"I'm nervous about that one. It's not that I'm afraid of the sex, I'm just worried that my play won't measure up, that I won't look hot enough on camera. I was thinking, you see this stuff done all the time. You're married to the hottest porn star on the planet. You know what to do. Maybe we could go someplace and.... Rehearse? Just you and me?"
There was an unmistakable look in her eyes. I briefly rested my hand on her knee, then took it away. "No," I said. "Sorry, but I can't help you. Maybe you can come back tomorrow and pick Bekka's brains about how to handle it."
She dropped a shoe off a foot and began stroking my crotch with her toes. "Come on," she said. "I'll bet you know all sorts of trade secrets you could teach me."
I sighed and grabbed her ankle. I said, "Maybe I do know a lot. But teaching you would involve fucking a woman I'm not married to. I won't do that to Bekka, I love her too much. Dig it?"
It was Gayla's turn to sigh. "All right," she said. She hopped off the desk and put her shoe back on, then sat back down across from me. "I'm a little stunned and confused. Do all pornographers have your moral backbone?"
"Absolutely not," I smiled. "Plenty of them would have had your heels in the air three minutes after you walked through the door. Like I said, I don't hire like that. No, Inana is an unusual company in a lot of ways, but it seems to work. Our performers are treated with respect, paychecks are dispersed on the same day every week, our checks never bounce. Everyone is healthy --- no outbreaks of the clap around here --- and we do blood tests weekly, and there is a genuine camaraderie here. Everybody knows their fellow performers had to jump some high hurdles to work here. Three tough interviews to become a performer? Nobody in the industry does that. The result is that we have the hottest, most talented girls and guys you'll ever find in porn in front of our cameras. We're the best in the business, and it shows. Inana is a fairly small studio operating north of San Diego, total iconoclasts, yet we release features that constantly break sales records. We hold the high ground, both moral and practical, on a lot of fronts. To be accepted as a performer for Inana says that you've really got something. Being an Inana girl is a source of pride."
Gayla blinked at me. "Wow," she said. "So you're not like other porn outfits at all?"
"Hell no. Look, if you wanted to, you could drive up to LA tomorrow morning, make your availability known at a few studios, and be working by the afternoon. Of course, they motivate you by calling you a cunt and a dumb bitch. You're cattle, well-paid cattle. I hope you didn't like having self esteem, because yours will be going right in the toilet working in LA. Shit, Inana even has better drugs available than the other studios."
"And what drugs do you have around?" asked Gayla.
"Ecstasy, cocaine, and meth. We do not encourage their use, but they are available for when people feel like they could use some extra motivation. You just need to ask for something. In your case, right now the drugs are irrelevant. You have to do your next two interviews totally straight. We don't want people who have to be high to perform."
Gayla dug in her purse and extracted a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. Lighting up, she said, "You make it seem as though it's an honor to work here."
I said, "It is an honor. Being at Inana means you're better than any other performer at any other studio in the industry. We aren't sleazy, we're talented. I want Inana girls to be proud of where they work and what they do. The cream of the crop. You say you make porn for Inana, you hold your head high when you do."
"Wow," she said again. "A sense of belonging, of being part of an elite. I hope I'm good enough. It will blow my husband's mind if I get in, and I want to blow his mind. I think I'll be making better money than him, too, which will really frost him. Speaking of, how does pay work? What can I earn?"
"Do you do anal?" I asked.
"You'll be looking at $750 for a half day's work. Anal queens make a grand. We try to get people in front of the cameras a few times a week. That way everybody is making decent money, and we have plenty of variety in who appears in our loops. I've got one girl, Sue, who takes a double penetration like a champ. She gets $1300 when she does that. Of course we're not always shooting DP scenes, so it's not like she's getting that kind of money whenever she's in front of the cameras. But she's an anal queen, she has fantastic throat control, she does DP.... With her talents she's making good money. That reminds me, how's your gag reflex?"
"I can deep throat without coughing," Gayla said. "I'd offer to show you, but you'll say no."
I let that one slide by. "And you're not intimidated by big dicks. You don't need to be a size queen, but you'll need to take seven and a half inches like it ain't no thing. And I mentioned Eddie, who's got nine inches. New girls always practice a little with him before we start shooting, so he knows where their limits are. Eddie can hurt people with that thing."
"Nine inches?" she said. "Oh my god. Yeah, I'd definitely want to test him out a bit before getting in front of a camera with him. He doesn't fuck girls, he skewers them. My god."
"Don't worry, you won't be doing your video interview with him. I'll put you with either Stallion or Vince. Both are dumb as rocks, but they're mannerly. Don't take offense if the one you're with seems bored with you. For them it's just another day at work, and since their role in the interview really is just as a stunt cock, they're kind of just going through the motions. That's another thing about working for Inana. Our male performers have to be well-mannered and respectful. Having an ego is part of the territory for the guys, they have to be self-confident to perform. But I make it clear to all of them that they will treat the women around here well. They know the quickest way to piss off Lenny is to have the word 'bitch' come out of their mouth."
"I just noticed how quiet it is around here. Where is everybody?"
"Today is a Monday. We do production Tuesday through Friday. And that schedule is about to change, since we're in pre-production for our newest feature. When we're in production, it's about three weeks of frenzy, six and seven day work weeks. We move quickly. Between features we shoot loops, which are fast, simple, and make money for all concerned. Loops don't really have plots, they're just twenty or thirty minute fuck scenes. No-brainers. You'll be cutting your teeth doing loops."
I checked schedules and told her to be back at eleven on Friday for her camera interview. Jeanette, our hair and makeup genius, would work her magic on her, then we'd put her through her paces while snapping a camera at her. There would be three men in the room with her, all of whom were a little too used to seeing naked women. Forgive them if they sound bored and impatient.
Gayla stood up to go. "All right, eleven on Friday. I'll be here." She paused in the doorway. "Lenny? You're a gentleman. Thank you."
"No problem. Keep your eyes on the prize."