That night, Gerald had his first sexual experience since graduating college, eleven years earlier. (Don't lie, you've been dying to know how things worked out.)
He followed Terry's Nova home in his Dodge Omni, barely. While Terry was quick to point out that her '72 Nova looked faster than it was --- it was a former movie stunt vehicle, so looks were everything --- it was certainly quick, and had a driver at the wheel who wasn't afraid to use the pedal on the right. Terry would engage in her habitual bursts of speed, while Gerald desperately tried to get the Omni to actually accelerate, a futile hope for one of those cars. She would check her rear-view, realize Gerald was rapidly getting smaller in the mirror, and back off until he caught up. She finally figured out that his car had a zero-to-sixty time of about fourteen minutes, and forced herself to putt along with all the motoring panache of a nun on Quaaludes.
They found parking on her street and got out. Terry said, "Let's walk up to the liquor store and get some fuckin' beer and chips, it's just a couple blocks over."
"That's fine," said Gerald.
"You wanna get a pint? Lenny's got me hooked on Johnnie Walker, I love the shit."
"Uh, well, I'm not much of a drinker, and I'm going to have to drive later...."
"Okay, your point," said Terry. "You got a preference for beer?"
Gerald actually cracked a smile and said, "Anything but Guinness. Guys in the co-op I lived in at college were hung up on that stuff, I always thought it tasted like soy sauce that had gone rancid."
Terry grabbed two six-packs of Budweiser and a bag of Doritos. They headed towards the register. Suddenly a voice boomed, "Hey Terror!"
They both turned to look. Standing in an aisle were two outlaw bikers, who Terry recognized as Monkey and Boomer, members of the Mongols club who lived across the street from her. They trotted up to her and gave her a hug. The one called Monkey said, "So where you been, girl? You don't hang out no more."
Terry said, "Well, I got the gig at the studio, I got the bodyguard thing going on, I've got friends up in North County now, uh, I spend a lot of time at the range working on my target shooting.... I got shit going on, you know? I've been laying off the dope, too, so I ain't in the mood to run twenty-four seven. Especially for the bodyguard gig, I gotta be rested and sharp. I can't tweak and do that gig. So what's new?"
"Major bullshit," said Boomer. "The fuckin' cops got a warrant and raided the clubhouse. We were clean, overall. A couple guys had dope on them, but I guess the pigs were expecting to find major stash, serious commercial amounts. They were pissed. The fuckers totally tore up the garage, they somehow managed to bread the fuckin' compressor.... They had to settle for carting off the guys who were holding personal amounts, and still charged them with felonies. Shit, a felony charge for a fuckin' half gram of shit? Dickheads. How about you?"
"I came in first at the target competition tonight, won $250. Hey, this is my friend Gerald from the range, he's another target shooter. Gerald, this is Monkey and Boomer. They live across the street from me."
Gerald had his polite rictus grin on. Shit, more bikers. The woman who he felt was the most intriguing female he'd ever met, whose tongue had been in his mouth earlier, constantly associated with the most dangerous human beings he could conceive of, outside of a guard's union for a gulag. He shook hands with them both, trying not to wince as they bore down.
Boomer looked at Gerald and said, "So, you're one of Terror's fellow gun freaks? We were blown away when she started collecting iron. First a fuckin' .45, then that Colt nine, then she starts wearing the fuckin' thing.... Then she showed us her competition piece, and told us how much it set her back. Jesus! $800 for a gun that fires fuckin' .22 ammo? That's crazy! And all of her iron is clean, too, she ain't getting anything hot. If I'd known what she was looking for, I probably could have saved her a bundle."
Terry laughed and said, "You dumb motherfucker! I ain't carrying any hot iron into the range I use. Shit, the fuckin' place is crawling with off-duty cops. I carry my fuckin' Colt Defender when I'm working, so I gotta have the paperwork for it. And my target gun is a fuckin' Beretta Target 87, a pricey motherfucker, and not too common. I'd have had to wait a while for some fence to get one of those in stock."
To be friendly, Gerald said, "I use two primary guns, a Remington MKII and a Colt Woodsman. They're not as expensive as the Beretta, thankfully. However, I know Terry has a lot of brand loyalty for Beretta. She also felt what I used were too light. She'd learned using a Beretta 92 and a Colt 1911, fairly heavy pistols. She's more comfortable with the extra weight the Target 87 has. Do you gentlemen do any shooting?"
Monkey gave Gerald a querulous look, then smiled and said, "Uh, no. There's a few rods in the apartment, but those are just for, y'know, personal protection. Naw, you and Terror are on a whole fuckin' different wavelength from us. You ever drop anyone?"
Terry caught where Monkey was headed and said, "Dude, leave it the fuck out. He's a sport shooter, he ain't in situations where he'd have to do that. Drop it."
"So you wanna party tonight, Terror?" asked Boomer. "I got some good shit, there's beer in the fridge, and we're buying some Jack Daniels right now."
"Naw, him and me are gonna go to my place, have a few beers, and talk some. Just sorta hang out, you know? Besides, I'll be guarding Becky tomorrow afternoon, and I don't want to be hung over or tweaking. Uh, thanks though."
Monkey and Boomer gazed at Terry, with slightly suspicious grins. Boomer finally said, "Well, if you change your mind, we'll be up. I got a hold of some fuckin' rocket fuel, awesome shit. Don't be a stranger, stop by."
"Okay, talk to you later," said Terry, turning towards the register. Boomer and Monkey went further into the store.
Walking back to Terry's place, Gerald said, "Friends of yours?"
Terry sighed and said, "Yeah, I guess. They're in the Mongols. If they found out I've been hanging around with the Angels, they'd shit. The local chapters of the two clubs don't get along. They're okay guys, I guess. I'd party with them, we'd get fucked up, I'd suck some dick for anybody in the mood, they'd keep me spun, they'd give me rides. But.... I'm fuckin' twenty-six years old. I been riding with scooter trash outlaws since I was thirteen. It's weird, I got a part-time gig at a porn studio, and all of a sudden I started seeing shit differently. I guess because I was around different people, or something. But I realized I'm fuckin' twenty-six and I ain't done shit with my life. Any asshole who romanticizes outlaw biker culture can suck my dick, you know? Yeah, the bikes are pieces of art. Mine's gonna be when it's finished. But the day to day life of an outlaw is pretty fuckin' sad. Shitty job, shitty apartment, shitty bitch of an old lady, and hanging around the same dudes you saw last night, and the night before, and the night before that, and on and on. It's a grind."
Terry let them in to her apartment and continued. "What I think it was, was hanging around my boss Lenny. He is such a righteous motherfucker, he's awesome. He never looked down on me, or lectured me, or judged me, he'd just.... sorta drop hints over time. He treated me better than any man ever has. Lenny made me slowly realize that Terry Patton is actually worth something. Okay, I'm a biker bitch by tribe and culture. Whatever. That doesn't mean I can't actually look forward, or make plans, or have ambition. Just being around the studio in general helped too. People wcere a little freaked out by me at first, but everybody's always been really friendly. Shit, people think the chicks in porn are these really horrible bitches, but the chicks at Inana are some of the nicest people I've ever met. I think just being exposed to something besides the outlaw mindset is what made the difference.
"Yeah, being up in North County and at the studio, I've been around people who want something out of life. Outlaws have a hard time with goals more complex than getting a fresh six-pack and a bag of dope. Everybody wants to get ahead and live well, but the only ways outlaws can think of to do that involve a shitload of prison time if you're caught, you know? And even if you did strike it rich like that.... Okay, say you did score big, now you're rich, you wanna settle down. You buy a house, marry your old lady, and have a few kids. Sooner or later those fuckin' kids are gonna ask, 'How did you make your money, daddy?' What the fuck do you tell them? Yeah son, your dad made his money running a dope lab and stripping stolen cars. Great. Shit, porn may not be the most respectable career out there, but it's honest and it's legal, and everyone at Inana at least have their futures in mind. Fuckin' scooter trash can't conceive of planning for anything more than three months in advance."
Armed with beer and chips, they landed on the sofa. Terry asked, "So, did you figure out who Becky Page is? The first time we went to Dirty Dan's you seemed confused about who she was."
Gerald responded, "I asked a few people at work. They explained who she was, one of them brought me a couple magazine articles to read. People and Time. She seems like a fascinating woman. I guess her fame is very unique, her being, um, an adult film actress. I guess no other actress in her line of work has become as well-known to the general public as her."
"Naw, she's the first. She deserves it, though. She's talented as fuck, totally sexy, she's smart..... Yeah, Becky fuckin' rules. Have you seen any of her movies yet?"
Gerald started to get pink again. "Uh, no, I haven't."
"Well shit, let's watch one. I got all her features, Inana sells them to their workers for, like, five bucks each, cost of duplication and packaging. Which one do you want to see?"
"Uh.... I'm really not familiar with what she's done."
Terry got up and went over to the bookcase holding rows of videos. She said, "Okay, when something sounds interesting, say so. Let's see, we got 'Temporary Pleasures,' that's a satire, an office comedy. That actually stars Skye Tyler, not Becky, but Becky's in it. 'Rocker Girls'.... Uh, you like punk rock?"
Confused, Gerald said, "Uh, no...."
"We'll skip that one then. 'Bewitched,' Becky's breakout movie. Spooky drama. 'Succubus,' which is sorta like 'Road Warrior,' same motif. 'Dangerous Desires,' a murder mystery....."
"Wait, what's like 'Road Warrior?"
Terry held up the tape. "'Succubus.' It's fuckin' awesome, I was Lenny's personal assistant during production out in Imperial County. Everybody busted their asses making that one, but it came out great. Yeah, it's got a total post-apocalyptic theme, like Road Warrior. People drive these wild pieced-together cars, everybody has to scavenge to survive, it's fuckin' awesome. I can fill you in on some of the shit that happened during production."
"Is there a plot?" asked Gerald.
Terry turned and frowned at him. "Uh, yeah? Of course there's a fuckin' plot. Why wouldn't there be?"
"Well, it's just that what porn I've seen has never seemed to have any sort of plot to it, or it was portrayed very poorly. That's something that confuses me. From what I've read, these movies your studio releases are supposed to be groundbreaking in some way. But how? Isn't it still porn?"
"Oh, dude. Dude, dude, dude. Inana's features are totally unlike any other porn ever made. Yeah, they have fuckin' plots. They also got awesome acting and writing. Shit, even the music in their movies works. These are good movies, no matter how you slice 'em."
Gerald felt confused again. "But they're still porn?"
Terry smirked and said, "Well, duh, dude. There's a shitload of really fuckin' awesome sex in all their movies. It's definitely still triple-X, hardcore, no-holes-barred porn. You seem confused."
"I just.... What porn features I've seen tried to have plots and acting, but they failed. They were just there as an excuse for the sex."
This amused Terry. "Hah! Yeah, you and Lenny would get along. Naw, with Inana's movies, Lenny writes the scripts so the fucking and the story are intertwined, they flow together really well, totally natural. The thing is, Lenny hates almost all the porn out there. He thinks features suck shit. Then he became the fuckin' big boss of a damn porn studio, and said, 'Fuck it, if I'm running this place, I'm gonna make porn I'd actually enjoy watching for once.' And he did. Lenny busts his ass for all his movies, Becky told me when he's writing a script, she's gotten in the habit of going downstairs around two in the morning, so she can get Lenny to bed. He'll have literally fallen asleep on top of his fuckin' typewriter. Plus all the coaching and character refinement and rehearsal they do in pre-production, Small Steve's awesome direction.... Dude, let's just watch this one, you'll see what I mean, and why everybody makes such a fuckin' big deal out of Inana's movies. Lemme go grab fresh beer."
Gerald was unsure. He remembered the porn films he'd seen in college. As movies, they were terrible. He felt the crappiness of the movie even detracted from the thrill of the sex. He did not have high hopes for what he was about to watch. A "Road Warrior"-style pornographic adventure film? That would take money, and it was clear to him all porn was made as cheaply as possible. He nodded politely as Terry returned with more beer, then started the tape.
Twenty minutes later Gerald was in shock. His mind was blown. This movie was.... a movie, and a damn good one. Plenty of sex was involved, but it moved almost seamlessly through the rest of the movie. The performances were stellar, the writing crisp and well-paced, the locations well thought out. The vehicles even worked, they had a meanness to them that was believable. In his opinion, as a movie, this was actually better than "Road Warrior." And while he didn't bring the subject up, the women were talented, yes, but they were also gorgeous. What was strangest for Gerald was he expected to feel supremely uncomfortable watching porn with a woman, even if that woman was more macho than an LA cop. The sex scenes didn't have a raunchy feeling to them at all, they felt natural.
Terry paused the tape to point something out. "Okay, the two minivans the pirates have just captured? I was the driver of the one in front. The fuckin' doofuses from Vista College drama club we'd hired to play the victims had decided the minivan was unsafe, and they all refused to get behind the wheel. Our mechanics, who were also the dudes who did the customization, pointed out that duh, of course it looks like a piece of shit, it's supposed to, but all the vehicles are mechanically sound. They still refused. I told Small Steve, 'Fuck it, put me in a fuckin' head scarf like they're wearing and change the camera angle so there's never a clear shot of the left side of the van.' It worked out perfect, and nobody noticed that while the fuckin' van is moving, there are five people in it, but only four when it's stopped."
Gerald asked, "Out of curiosity, what is the age range of the women in this movie? I can't tell how old they are at all, they could be anywhere between fifteen and forty."
"Generally, all the chicks are in their mid-twenties. Two exceptions to that, though. Tawny Smith, who plays Wreck, is thirty-three, I think. She's Inana's grand dame. And the girl playing Itsy, Becky's shotgun rider and little pal, is a girl known as Feather, who was, like, three weeks out of her eighteenth birthday when we made this movie. Legally speaking, she was just barely under the fuckin' wire. Feather is a trip. She'd been agitating to take her interviews and start working for months before her birthday, and Lenny kept having to tell her to fuck off, he ain't going to prison so she can start her career early. Now she works five loops a damn week, and three of those are anal scenes. She's making bank, but she isn't living large or paryting with the money. Turns out she's pretty much supporting her fuckin' parents, on top of having her own place that she shares with her little sister. I dunno what happened, all I know is Feather moved out of her parent's house with her first check, and took her little sister with her, because she didn't want her living there anymore. Next time she's in shot, really take a look at how tiny she is. And she takes it in the ass with a smile! What the fuck, is she hollow like a fuckin' chocolate Easter bunny?"
They watched more movie. Roach's character, the Lone Scavenger, appeared. Terry paused the tape again and said, "They did a good job with his makeup. Fuckin' Roach was only nineteen when we made this, and he looked nineteen. They made him look a little more weather-beaten and aged during makeup. He looks about twenty-six here, right? Oh, and it was during production he found out the Hell's Angels were drafting him. Crazy H.A. motherfuckers rode all the way out to the far side of Imperial County, found our shoot location that day, and told Roach he was in. Everybody was blown away."
"Yes, I've met him, right?" asked Gerald. "He was at Dirty Dan's one evening. He's only nineteen? Why are they serving him at a strip club?"
"Aw, Roach was at the front door, got carded, and used the usual 'I lost my ID' line, which didn't work. Lenny just happened to be sitting at a table near the door, saw and heard what was going on, so he went over and told the doorman, 'Oh, it's cool, he works for me, he really is twenty-two, honest.' The fuckin' doorman considered what Lenny said, then also considered there were four fuckin' Hell's Angels in his doorway who all wanted in, and just let it slide. They ain't carded Roach since."
Again gathering his nerve, Gerald said, "Terry, I must ask you. Aren't you frightened by the people you're around? You're friends with the Hell's Angels, there were the guys in the liquor store tonight.... Don't they bother you at all?"
Terry raised her eyebrows briefly, then smiled and said, "No. They really don't. I don't give a fuck what fuckin' club name anyone has on their back, they're still just scooter trash, outlaws, bikers. They're all the same breed, whether they call themselves Hell's Angels or Nomads or Mongols or Coffin Cheaters or Heretics or fuckin' whatever. Like I told you, I been getting double-packed on the back of putts since I was thirteen. I been around some unstable motherfuckers, too. It's just.... Fuck, how do I explain it? I know how outlaws think. I know their rationale for any and every behavior they do. I understand their motives and ambitions, such as they are. Yeah, outlaws scare the fuck out of people a lot of the time, and that's exactly the reaction they want. It's actually a defense mechanism with them. It would be like if you just took a casual stroll through a mall while carrying a running chainsaw. Everybody's gonna stare, but no one's gonna fuck with you, either.
"I guess after all these years I'm so fuckin' used to outlaws they don't phase me. I know how they think, so it's easy to figure out any individual's behavior pretty quickly. Really? They're just dudes. They're more disaffected than your average white boy, and just due to circumstances they've probably had more violence in their lives, growing up or whatever. Roach used to get the shit kicked out of him when he was a kid by hid dad. When he was twelve, he started trying to fight back. And when he was fifteen, he finally won, dropped his fuckin' dad on the ground. His dad tried a few more times, but kept getting dropped, so he gave up trying to bully his son. I think a lot of outlaws went through the same sort of fuckin' shit. They learned that you only concern yourself with anyone or anything that can put you on the ground. There's not a lot of room for introspection when that's how you live your life.
"No, outlaws don't bother me at all. They're my tribe. Outlaws are just as afraid of the world as anyone else, but have some sort of instinct or maladjustment that makes them try to confront those fears by going out swinging. They purposely cultivate an image of violence, shit, it's almost like a fuckin' uniform now. Outlaws act tough, and hell, they usually do have some balls. But they also listen to reason, they won't ignore the signs saying, 'Thin Ice.' Honestly? In thirteen years, in all the runs and parties and barrooms and clubhouses I've been in, I've met maybe a half dozen outlaws I considered to be truly dangerous people. The rest just like to think they are."
They watched more of the movie, Gerald still very impressed with what he was seeing. But he still had questions in the back of his head. He asked Terry to pause the movie again and said, "Terry, I have to say this. You strike me as very intelligent and sharp. You recognize when things are, uh, bull crap, and have the sense to stay away from them. Why do you still associate with outlaw bikers? From what you said, you don't seem to like or respect them any more."
Terry chewed her lip and stared at the coffee table for a few moments. Then she answered, "Because they're still my tribe. You're right, I am pretty contemptuous of outlaw culture at this point. But it's what I know. I will always be a biker bitch. I'm always gonna wear boots and jeans and a bandana and ride a Harley. But like I've said, I have developed a stronger sense of self recently, and I don't need to be around outlaws to have a feeling of worth. Dude, why the fuck do you think I want to hang around with you? I don't know you all that well, but I think you're really cool, you're a fuckin' righteous dude. I think you've got more balls than you know, and you aren't afraid to talk to the biker bitch that hangs around a fuckin' target range. You've been the only person at the Gun Range to really talk to me. Everybody else writes me off because of how I look. I think you're one awesome dude for trying to communicate with me." Terry grinned shyly and looked at the floor. "And I think you're pretty fuckin' cute, too."
Gerald was not aware of any conscious decision to do what he did. He just did it, consequences be damned. He turned, slid over on the sofa, and kissed Terry on the mouth. She froze briefly, then threw her arms around him and kissed back.
Four hours later, Terry propped herself up on an elbow and pulled the covers over the two of them. She kissed Gerald on the cheek and said, "Wow. Four fuckin' times. And you were awesome for all of them. I hope I was okay, I'm a little out of practice."
"How long has it been for you?" asked Gerald.
"About nine months. You?"
"Uh.... Oh, about eleven years. Since I graduated college. The girl I was seeing went back home, I had job interviews, so we just parted ways."
Terry frowned. "Eleven years? Dude, have you actively been turning down pussy or something? Why so long?"
Gerald sighed in annoyance. "Come on, Terry. I'm a pretty geeky guy. I've never been good at talking to girls, I'm not exactly Mel Gibson, I work a dull job at a dull company. I don't hang around bars or clubs, I just feel uncomfortable in places like that. Yeah, I've had friends tell me, 'Just talk to women, it's easy.' But I don't know what to say to them. My job is so dull I could probably put a mannequin at my desk and take off for a week, and nobody would notice. What fascinates me, my hobby and sort of my passion, is the technical aspect of handguns. Women don't want to be around a dorky guy who drives a dorky car and wears a pocket protector, and whose only real conversational confidence would be talking about muzzle velocities and weight ratios. I still can't believe we, you know, just did what we did. Like I'm about to wake up and it was all a dream. Why did you do this with me?"
With a sarcastic sigh, Terry leaned over again and kissed Gerald deeply. She replied, "Because you, Gerald, are one awesome motherfucker. I think you're a good guy, and I think you're cool. You're probably the second really good guy I've ever been with, the other was Lenny, and he's married. Don't discount yourself, dude. You're a pretty killer guy, you're just a little shy, you know? There's plenty of outlaws that are shy, but they cover it up by being loud.
"Oh, and in case nobody's ever told you this, you are fuckin' hung. That thing is awesome."
Terry slid down underneath the covers. A moment later, Gerald felt her take him in his mouth, teasing and sucking. He was hard again in moments.
Sliding back up, Terry giggled and said, "Wanna go for five?"
Gerald smiled. He smiled like a winning Grand Prix racer. "I'd love it."