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.
Deli sandwiches and ice water for lunch. Terry would be dispatched to the nearest hamlet to buy more food. Shooting would start up again.... Or maybe not, if Small Steve had a sudden artistic inspiration. Then there would be a delay. Girls not in front of the cameras would laze about in their vehicles. Out of boredom, the girls would make out with each other in their cars. This gave me an idea: cash bonuses to the girls having the best (and most photogenic) impromptu lesbian sex in a car. This would be caught on tape and added into the movie. It seemed to be a given that the pirates would not go without sex just because there were no men available.
Four o'clock was the end of shooting for the day, the sunlight would be too angled and shadowy. All the equipment would be broken down and put in the van. Every few days everyone would get back in the vehicles and we'd caravan to the nearest gas station to fill tanks. Fourteen war wagons, looking like hell's own taxicabs, all lined up out onto the street to get gas. The girls would still be in their costumes and makeup, which rounded out the low-grade terror we instilled in pump jockeys, cashiers, and passers-by.
Back to the location, where everyone would pile into the RVs and head towards the motels. Everyone except me. I would hold onto the Sport Fury and Terry would take the wheel of one of the RVs. I would wait until our armed security guard arrived. We had two, one from six to twelve, and one from twelve to eight. I'd hunker down inside the Sport Fury and smoke a bowl, then wander around outside picking up any trash. There could be a fifteen minute gap between when a car would go past. I was very isolated. One afternoon out of boredom I moved Roach's post-apocalypse 1970 Mustang onto the road. Then I grabbed Bekka's prop Uzi, climbed up, sat on the roof, and waited. After ten minutes a car came. It slowed as it approached, the driver certainly wondering why someone had stopped in a traffic lane and climbed on the roof. The old guy at the wheel stared up at me, then hammered the gas and took off. A punk rocker, sitting on the roof of a dangerous-looking car, holding an automatic rifle, and blocking a lane. Best to go home and load the shotgun.
When he arrived, the rent-a-cop and I would briefly trade small talk. Since I was the last human being he would see until midnight, he needed it. I would take off, aiming for the Travelodge to attend the nightly powwow. We would make adjustments to the following day's shooting schedule and debate whether a fuck scene should be shot in line with a dialogue scene. After the meeting, I would go to Terry's room and knock. She would be waiting for me. She would give me absolutely exquisite head, then we'd go down to the RVs to inventory food, water, and sodas. A grocery list would be made, and Terry would take off to shop and reload the coolers. I would collect Bekka and we'd go get some dinner. After dinner we'd head to Roach's room to hang out for a while. Feather, Pill, Donna, and Tawny would also drop by. I'd run to the 7-11 and grab a couple twelve packs. Various drugs would be produced and shared. We would gab about the day, and what tomorrow would hold. Everyone would head back towards their own room around ten or so. Bekka and I would return to our room, where the phone would be ringing. Small Steve would want me to view some video and get my opinion.
Back across the street to the Travelodge and up to Small Steve's room. His door would be wide open, so I'd just walk in, handing him a beer from one of the twelve packs. He would wordlessly crack open the beer, pour down half of it, then say, "Thank you. I'm thinking we need to reshoot this bit of business. Here, watch."
We'd watch a scene, with scratch sound, shot entirely from a single camera. It would play all the way through. Steve would stop the tape and say, "Well?"
I'd say, "Seemed good and tight to me. No dropped lines, no slurring, everyone sticking to their blocking. What's the problem?"
"You didn't see her?"
"See who where?"
Steve would rewind the tape, saying, "Look at this, look at this." He hit play, then pointed at the screen yelling, "Look at Feather! Look at her!"
I said, "Dude, what?"
"Look at how she's standing! She looks like the has to go to the bathroom. We've gotta reshoot that scene, her posture is ridiculous."
Patiently, I would say, "Steve, the scene is fine. No one is going to notice a teenage girl standing in a silly position."
"She looks like she has a head injury, and has forgotten how her limbs work."
I sighed. "Actually, considering that every single pirate is a damn nut, having one of them standing around in silly positions makes a lot of sense. Standing goofy is about par for the course for these women. Her posture will be accepted as perfectly natural in context with the behavior of the other pirates."
"Steve, the scene is fine. Finish your beer and go to bed. Oh, have you watched the tape of today's freelance lesbians yet?"
"Yeah, both couples are hot. You wanna see it? It's the third tape down in that stack on the left of the unit. I was thinking if we have enough of these clips, we could make a really awesome montage."
I put the tape in and rewound it. The first shot was of Pill and Jackie deep kissing and playing with each others nipples while sitting on the trunk of a Toyota Corolla. I scanned forward rhythmically, catching various activities and positions. The finale was a 69 on the roof of the Toyota. Forward a bit more to find Gayla and Rio nuzzling and caressing on the hood of the Nova. This intrigued me. While no Inana girl would refuse a girl/girl scene, the honest enthusiasm for those scenes ranged from gung-ho to "Ehh, it's a paycheck." For Gayla, an awakening occurred while doing a scene with Rio.It wasn't so much waking her inner lesbian, it was more like Gayla had never known she was there at all. Twenty-four hours earlier, she never would have entertained the idea of being turned on by another woman. Now it was all she could think about. Rio --- who liked girls just fine in real life --- indulged Gayla, both while the cameras were running and afterwards on an empty sound stage. When I found them, Gayla had Rio's legs spread wide and was eagerly going down on her. Rio looked at me with her eyes half-closed and said, "I'm in heaven. She keeps making me come." For her part, Gayla stopped what she was doing and said, "Hey Lenny, I didn't know I liked women until today!" then went back to work. I wondered if Gayla and Rio were still getting together, and with what frequency.... And what Gayla's anal-retentive husband would think.
"Those are both keepers," I told Small Steve. "I'm heading for my room, see you in the morning."
Steve said, "Big one tomorrow. We're shooting Roach's escape. Our resident outlaw biker will be doing a lot of running under the desert sun."
"I'll make sure he's hydrated. Goodnight."
Our visit to Gilmore Camp was well-timed. Even with location changes, people were going batty from looking at the visual monotony of desert-scapes. The girls had bought loads of magazines from the Circle-K, and traded them around, regardless of the subject matter. Anything to dull the boredom of waiting around to shoot. Terry seemed to be alternating between reading the same two copies of Car & Driver and Iron Horse. There was a copy of Penthouse floating around, and the girls were having a hilarious competition to see who could do the most over-the-top dramatic reading of a Forum letter. Chip and Dale had brought a backgammon board and would spend their downtime locked in battle. We got used to hearing either of their voices shouting "You little bitch!" as one player would nail the other.
We left much of our rolling stock at our last location, trusting that all the vehicles would be considered much too ugly to steal. The camera truck, the flatbed, all six raiding vehicles, and the RVs came with us. When we arrived, everyone got out of their respective vehicles and went to stare at the Colorado River, a wide and deep ribbon of fresh water rolling through the desert. I took Bekka aside and had a brief chat.
I said, "Bekka, I need you to do something, and I think Becky will be more amenable to the task."
"What's up?" asked Bekka.
"The owner of this little slum is a Mr. H. Colson. Mr. Colson is a big Becky Page fan. He also didn't believe me when I said I'd be bringing Becky Page along with me today. He says we can use his place for free if he gets to meet Becky Page. I'd like to blow his mind by introducing him to Becky while she's wearing nothing but her boots. What do you think?"
"What's this Colson like?"
I rolled my eyes. "Fat, greasy, ugly, bitter, and middle aged. A real prize."
Bekka said, "Yeah, best if I let Becky handle this." Her eyes blinked, her face roiled, and Becky smiled at me. She said, "I like the idea of blowing minds this early in the day," and began to strip down. I grabbed her boots, white fourteen-hole Doc Martens, and brought them to her. Nude, she pulled the boots on and laced them up. Then we headed for the camp office/store.
I had Bekka/Becky wait outside. Colson was in his position at the counter, drinking coffee with a couple of old fishermen. The conversation I was interrupting had something to do with "those damn wetbacks." Hearing the bell on the door, Colson swiveled his head towards me, recognition glinting in his eyes.
"Hey there, Mister Hollywood," Colson greeted me. "Today's the day, right? You got my $500?"
I put on a dismayed expression. I said, "Gee, you said it would be free if you got to meet Becky Page. Don't you want to meet her?"
Colson looked disgusted and said, "I don't see her anywhere. Gimme my money."
I yelled at the door, "Hey Becky, come on in!"
Bekka/Becky strolled in like royalty, with a slow gliding movement. She had a small cunning smile on her lips. She had her eyes locked on Colson, walking straight towards him. The two fishermen were drop-jawed. I looked at Colson. His eyes were bugging out of his skull, and he appeared to have stopped bothering to breathe. Bekka/Becky walked up to Colson and said, "Mr. Colson? I'm Becky Page. I'd like to thank you so much for letting us shoot video at your place. May I have a cup of coffee?" Bekka/Becky sat down on one of the swiveling stools, I sat down next to her.
"Y-yes ma'am!" said Colson, and poured a mug, placing it in front of her. Bekka/Becky sipped appreciatively.
One of the old fishermen said, "How come you're nekkid?"
Bekka/Becky grinned and said, "Because I wanted to make sure Mr. Colson would recognize me. I'm sure he is familiar with how I look in the buff, and I wanted there to be no mistakes about who I am."
The fisherman looked at Colson and said, "Harvey?"
Colson said, "Bud, Elroy, this is Becky Page. She does, uh, erotic cinema. All her movies are great, I'm surprised you've never heard of her. Ms. Page is gonna be filming here today."
"Just softcore scenes here," said Bekka/Becky. "Me and the other girls naked and fooling around with each other. So long as you're quiet, you boys are welcome to stand on the sidelines and watch. You'll find it's not as interesting as you might think it is. Mr. Colson, you sell cold beer here? In a few hours, I'm sure the girls and I will be thirsty. And where would we find a restroom?"
Colson said, "P-please, call me Harvey. Yeah, plenty of cold beer, different brands, we just stocked up day before yesterday. The bathroom is in back, to the right. I'll make sure it's good and clean, okay? Anything else I can get you?"
"Harvey, you're a darling. I'm fine for now, thank you. We should go check with our director to see how setup is going. Feel free to come watch us work."
Bekka/Becky drained the last of her coffee and stepped outside, lighting the cigarette she'd had tucked behind her ear. I pulled out a money clip and counted off five hundreds, laying them on the counter.
"$500, as agreed, Mr. Colson," I said.
Colson stared at the cash and said, "Aw, don't worry about it. I'm sure y'all will be buying beer and stuff from me over the course of the day, and that's great. I can't wait to see you work. Bud, Elroy, lemme top off your coffees right now, I gotta go get that bathroom clean."
I stood to leave. Either Bud or Elroy grabbed my arm and said, "So you work around nekkid women all the time? You're used to it?"
I smiled and replied, "Yeah. That one in particular. She's my wife. See you outside, boys, we'll probably start shooting in about forty-five minutes."
Bekka/Becky and I began walking to where Small Steve was setting up. She commented, "A charming man, very obliging. I'll bet if I asked, he'd give me a horsey ride around the store."
"I'm sure he would. I'll have Terry get his mailing address so we can send him a promo copy of the video when we're done."
Small Steve had two tripods set up for the initial shot, that of the pirates arriving at the water. The raid vehicles would pull onto the sand bar, and the girls would jump out, stripping down, and heading into the water. All of them were currently nude, applying Bullfrog waterproof sunblock, Terry helping by doing backs. Their costumes would go back on, and we'd start shooting.
There was one solid dialogue scene with Bekka and her second-in-command, Tawny. They are slowly stripping down to join the other pirates in the water and talking:
TAWNY: Lila, we visit here regularly. Why don't we stay? There are fish in the river, all the water we could ever want....
BEKKA: Yes, and healthy land. We could grow our own food, perhaps even raise animals.
TAWNY: So why don't we?
BEKKA: Because we are poor. Planting roots is a dream, a goal. To homestead, we would need permanent structures. We need more to barter with to possess the materials needed. We would also need the tools to sow the land. While it is a nice thought, I will not trade my gun for a shovel. No, we build our wealth, then settle. Who knows, maybe we could have men join us.
TAWNY: We already have riches we could trade! We could go to the bazaar tomorrow and begin to barter for what we would need!
BEKKA: Wreck, do you know how to grow corn? Or beans? Or tomatoes?
TAWNY: Well.... No....
BEKKA: Neither do I. Neither do any of us. That is knowledge, and you cannot steal knowledge at the point of a gun. To homestead would mean to give up nearly everything we possess: all our riches, our rides, and possibly even our guns. To plant roots would mean to commit ourselves completely, no turning back. Right now we all know how to drive hard, how to repair a broken ride, how to fire a gun, how to steal and barter. We don't know how to grow food, or till land, or build a structure. We need more than riches to plant roots, we need knowledge, and lots of it.
TAWNY: But Lila, how hard can those things be?
BEKKA: I'm sure they're quite easy.... If you have the knowledge. We don't. Somehow we would have to gain that knowledge, and I don't think we can barter for it at the bazaar.
RITA: (Running up, soaking wet) Wreck! Lila! Únete a nosotros, el agua es maravilloso!
BEKKA: Yes Lujuria, in a moment.... Wreck, I do not wish to spend the rest of my life as a pirate, I want more. But it is all I know. Somehow we can gain knowledge, and we can all be more than thieves. But for now, we are who we are. Do you understand? (Kisses TAWNY deeply)
Superfluous as always on a live set, I bought a six pack of Budweiser and retired to one of the RVs with Terry. I marked time on my watch, and her and I played gin rummy, knocking back our beers. Jeanette busied herself organizing her makeup and cleaning brushes. Terry asked the time, I told her.
Terry smiled and said, "My life is a fuck of a lot different than it was six weeks ago. Right now, I'd just be getting out of bed, in response to the first motherfucker of the day looking to score a quarter."
"I know, when we're in production, we have long days," I said. "We all push ourselves hard. Don't worry, another week and a half, we'll be back home."
She looked surprised. "Oh, hey, I have no complaints. Yeah, my days are long, but this shit is less fuckin' stressful than dealing. Shit, I'd have people ringing my fuckin' bell at four in the morning, looking to score. Or asshole putt-monkeys wanting to hide out in my place because they got in a scrape and have people looking for them. Just stupid fuckin' shit like that."
"You any closer to having your own wheels?" I asked.
Terry rolled her eyes. "I got a couple grand in the bank now. The thing is, I want a fuckin' putt, and I ain't even gonna pretend to go shopping with less than four grand at the ready. Fuckin' Roach scored, that sweet red machine for three grand? That's crazy. What the fuck, I guess I could get something now, but I don't want no Jap crap. Besides, me and Boomer from the Mongols have it worked out so I'm where I need to be three days a week. He's a reliable dude."
A thought struck me. "Tell you what. When we're done shooting, Inana will sell you either the Nova or the Mustang for a grand. You'll have to have the windshield put back in the Nova, but personally it's the better of the two cars. You'd have wheels, it wouldn't be Jap crap, and you could keep saving up for a putt. Who knows, if this movie hits big, in six months you could turn around and sell either one to a fan at a nice profit."
Her jaw dropped. "Dude, are you serious?"
"Yeah. Mitch is taking most of the vehicles and gambling that he can sell them to collectors, presuming this movie hits big. I was just gonna have 'em junked, and part out the two hot rods."
Terry sprung out of her seat, came to my side of the table, and threw her arms around my neck. "Dude! That would be so fucking awesome! I want the Nova! Can I drive it?"
I said, "Sure. We're moving all the vehicles to Slab City this afternoon as soon as we're done shooting, you can drive it then, I'll drive an RV, and Bekka can drive the Plymouth. You can decide then if you want it or not. Keep your sunglasses on, you'd be amazed at how much crap gets blown into that car without a windshield."
"Oh, so fuckin' rad.... Does that blower really work?"
"Yes it does, and it helps. That's not an SS, it's only got the 350 in it, so it's not too bad on gas with the blower off. Handles okay, too."
Terry gave me a kiss and said, "Lenny, you are too fuckin' awesome. God dammit, why aren't you single?"
We finished our beers and went out to check on progress. Really, all that was happening was pure improvisation for ninety minutes, no cuts. The girls had been given the simple instructions to frolic in the water and, uh, be friendly with each other. To aid in this, I'd handed out Ecstasy to everyone. By all appearances, it was working.
Colson, Bud, Elroy, and a couple other old dudes were right on the sidelines watching, as close as Small Steve would let them get. There were seven or eight more people, men and women of retirement age, lined up under the overhang of the store, close enough to observe. I went to drop the empty bottles in the dumpster, then me and Terry joined the lineup, lighting cigarettes. One of the old guys turned to me and said, "That a Marlboro?"
"It is," I replied.
"I bum one from ya? I like Marlboros, but I smoke GPCs, Marlboros cost too goddamn much money."
I handed one over and lit it for him. The woman next to him asked, "You connected to this crowd?"
"I'm the producer," I answered.
She muttered, "Can't believe Harvey agreed to this. Naked girls everywhere, and gettin' filmed. Elroy said Harvey's all jazzed, he knows who one of 'em is, and is in hog heaven because she's here. And naked. Said she walked in the store like that, can you imagine?"
I laughed and said, "Well, she did have boots on. I was with her, she's my wife. Her name is Becky Page. She's' a porn star. She said she wanted to make sure Mr. Colson recognized her."
Terry added, "His wife Becky is one awesome chick."
Another guy further down said, "Of all the places to make a dirty movie, gotta wonder why they picked here."
In response, I said, "I remembered this place from when I was in Boy Scouts. It's good and scenic, and I knew the river wouldn't be crowded here, especially on a weekday."
A different voice asked, "So is this what your movie is gonna be? Naked girls playing in the river?"
"Hardly. Much more to it than that." I summarized the plot. "We're probably going to have about two and a half hours of video shot here, and it will be edited down to about six minutes of content. After lunch we film the sex."
This was greeted with concerned silence. Finally someone asked, "So where are the men?"
I responded, "No, they'll be with each other, just girl-on-girl shots. They pair off and fool around, and we get shots of them separately. No full scenes, just a montage of shots of the girls together. It helps to set the mood, showing how close these women are to each other."
I heard Small Steve call "Cut, and wrap! Ladies, you looked fantastic. Let's get some lunch."
I told Terry to get a pile of towels from one of the RVs, she ran off to do so. The girls began gathering around the raid vehicles, grabbing at the cigarettes they'd left inside and lighting up. I walked over to where Colson was standing and told him to just ring up everything the girls wanted from the store as a single bill, and I'd pay it off after lunch. That was fine with him, although he didn't move just yet. He was still transfixed on Bekka standing there, dripping wet, and smoking one of her Benson & Hedges. Terry arrived with the towels and the girls began drying off.
I called out, "Who wants beer?" I was greeted with a Greek chorus of approval. "Okay, gather at the store. Anything you want from inside, just let Mr. Colson at the register know what you're taking, I'll cover it. Remember, we have sandwiches and deli salads in an RV, I forget which one. Let's break and relax for an hour or so. We've gotta move vehicles to Slab City this afternoon, so we'll only be shooting the improv girl/girl bits for ninety minutes at the most. Lemme go get some beer, see you there."
Back at the store, Terry and I grabbed a twelve pack each of Budweiser and Miller, plus a six pack of Tecaté and one of Heineken. We brought them outside and set them on top of a couple empty five gallon buckets that were sitting there. The girls began drifting up and grabbing beers. A couple had tied their towels around their waists, but most just had them draped over their shoulders. Their nude arrival was greeted by expressions of dull shock by the residents. The women seemed particularly appalled. One finally snapped at Ellen, "Cover up, girl! Where's your shame?"
Ellen stopped quaffing her Miller and said, "Ma'am, judging by my fan mail, I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of." The other girls burst into laughter at this.
Heineken in hand, Rio (named Moxie in this movie) glided over to one of the old guys and asked, "So is there good fishing in this river?"
The old guy found his tongue and said, "Uh, yes ma'am."
"What is there to catch?"
"Uh.... Trout.... Bass.... Catfish...."
"You have a boat, ma'am?" queried another guy.
Rio said, "No. Mostly I surf cast. I would need freshwater gear to fish here, wouldn't I?"
"Yes ma'am. And it's best from a boat."
With her languid smile that had sprouted a million hard-ons, Rio said, "Perhaps I could persuade one of you gentlemen to take me out on the river sometime, eh?"
This prompted a choir of, Oh yes, absolutely ma'am, happy to do it. Mike, your boat ain't shit, you ain't taking her out on that leaky-ass thing. I know the good spots. I could catch trout in a bathtub.
One of the women loudly declared, "She ain't goin' out on our goddamn boat! C'mon, it's time for lunch." She grabbed one of the men by the arm and began pulling him in the direction of the mobile homes. This prompted a burst of laughter from the other men; the women remained stoic.
The girls all had a couple beers and another cigarette, then wandered into the store to browse for chips or snacks or candy to supplement their regular lunch. Colson's register rang merrily. Gayla burst out clutching a bottle, announcing to me, "They have real sarsaparilla here! Mind if I grab a few bottles?"
"Go for it, girl," I replied.
Bekka had two Tecatés, then went to the canteen RV and grabbed us each a sandwich and some potato salad. Knowing when to provide fan service (and still naked as a jaybird), she went inside the store and sat down at the counter. "Do you mind if I eat my lunch here?" she asked. "I wish to be out of the sun, but sitting in one of the RVs has no appeal, I spend too much time inside the damn things as it is."
Colson gave his smiling approval. I reminded him that I needed his mailing address so I could send him a couple promo copies of the movie, and how would he like to be credited in the film?
He rubbed his chin and said, "Uh.... How about 'Harvey Colson and the people of Gilmore Camp'? Would that be okay?"
"Fine by me," I said. "Got that, Terry?" Terry pulled out her notepad and jotted it down.
Colson broke his normal adoring gaze of Bekka to look at Terry -- five foot six of class A scooter tramp, chewing a ham sandwich --- and asked, "You, honey, are you ever, uh, in front of the cameras?"
Terry laughed and said, "Oh, fuck no. I can't act. No way could I do the shit this chick does," gesturing at Bekka.
"Well.... What do you do?"
"I'm Lenny's personal assistant right now. I, like, run errands, take care of all the fuckin' small shit that has to get handled. At home I'm a fluff girl."
Looking confused, Colson asked, "What is a fluff girl?"
Bekka stifled a laugh around a mouthful of potato salad. Terry answered, "I prep the male performers. Basically, I get their dicks hard before they start a scene."
"How do you do that?"
With a why-are-you-so-dumb look, Terry said, "I suck 'em. I give 'em head."
"She's an intrinsic part of a porn studio," said Bekka.
"Yeah, it's a weird fuckin' gig I got," continued Terry. "Most of the time I'm kinda bored, I'm just sitting around reading or watching the performers fuck. If there's a break in the action and the dude --- or dudes --- start to go soft, I keep 'em hard. Really, out of a nine to five day, I'm only actually working for maybe fifteen minutes or so. But hey, to Lenny it's worth five hundred bones a day for me to be there, so I won't complain too loud."
"My God," commented Colson. To me, he said, "These men, they're working with the women I've seen today? Those women are beautiful, how could the men not, y'know, get turned on by themselves? What's wrong with them?"
I said, "Just like me, they see beautiful naked women all the time. We're used to it, nude women hold no novelty for us. And it's only business. It's just a job. The men --- and women --- in porn save their passion for the people we're in love with. I'm sure you'd agree that my wife, this woman here, is one of the sexiest women on the planet. And right now she's naked. But that doesn't matter, because we're at work, and we have a job to do. Now, when we're alone together, that's a whole different story. She turns me on like you wouldn't believe. But that's in private. Like I said, right now we're at work, so all that falls by the wayside. Right now she's Becky Page. Tonight in our motel room, she'll be my wife."
Bekka said, "I've engaged in sex acts for a living for the last nine years of my life. This here is the man I make love with, the man who routinely brings me to ecstasy. There is a huge amount of separation between what I do in front of the cameras and what I do with him. As I explain to many people, if I did not have passion in my private life, I wouldn't be able to fake it at work. Do you understand, Harvey?"
"My God, " Colson said.