"Oh my God, this is gonna be so cool," announced Jane from the back seat of the Falcon. "They're gonna have run shirts there, right? Announcing '1991 Labor Day Run' in Pismo Beach? Oh shit, I'm gonna make every headbanger boy at school puke with jealousy showing up at school wearing one of those! I'm buying at least three."
We were headed into Kearney mesa. Lunch at Boll Weevil, then to the Gun Range to work out with the pistols some. Jane had been back in the country for two days, and obviously hadn't had a gun in her hand at any point while in Europe, so she needed to get back in practice with her tiny Beretta. She had elaborated on how the people she'd met were astounded she carried a gun. Of course, they were also astounded when she explained about her Cutlass 442, her Harley Sportster, her home on the beach, her surfboard, the availability of both Smiley Ecstasy and high-powered marijuana, and the fact that she routinely drove on freeways in Los Angeles and survived the experience.
After finishing at the range, we headed out to Lakeside, to visit our mechanic Mitch. He was in the middle of a very special project, but one he'd done before. Visiting members of the Italian Cosa Nostra had the experience of riding in Bekka's 1964 Ford Falcon hot rod, and were very enamored of her car. While a Falcon only had a 289 cubic inch motor, Bekka's rod had both a four-barrel Holley carb and a supercharger, along with other modifications.
Now, Europe has planty of fast cars. The Gerans have Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes, while the Italians have Ferrari. These are slick, high tech vehicles with ritzy prices. An American hot rod like the Falcon is definitely low tech, relying on aftermarket modifications to deliver brute horsepower. If the European cars are guided missiles, the Falcon is the sling David used to knock down Goliath. But European car nuts would take the Falcon over any Kraut or Wop iron in a heartbeat, because the Falcon has soul. It is just plain cool, and in Europe would be exceedingly rare, a show piece.
Bekka had relayed to Angel and Vinny how impressed the Italian reps of Cosa Nostra were with her car, so the decision was made to extend one hell of a gesture of goodwill: find another '64 Falcon and have Mitch, the wrench genius who'd built Bekka's rod, make another one just like it. This car would be shipped to Rome, a friendly gift Bekka was called into service to write a letter to the Italians elaborating on the Falcon hot rod being delivered, lots of tech specifications, and an admonition that this car was to be driven regularly, not put under glass and merely admired. Mitch would have the hot rod mechanically bulletproof, it would be more reliable and less finicky than a Testarossa. So paisanos, fuel up and go cruising, dammit.
Mitch had completed the engine, transmission, suspension, and brake work. The interior was being tackled, the racing buckets installed and a battery of gauges mounted. The original AM radio the Falcon had come with would be left in place, a nifty little retro effect. The paint would be midnight blue. Bekka hung a Saint Christopher medal from the rear view. Both Bekka and I took the new Falcon out for a test drive, and were very happy with its performance.... Although we realized just how important the racing bucket seats would be, trying to fling the car around while sitting on the original bench seat meant holding onto the steering wheel, so you wouldn't find yourself sitting on the passenger side after a quick left turn. Including the $1100 spent on the stock Falcon, this project was setting the Southern California mafia back about $24,000, much of which was paying for Mitch's labor. In Italy and anywhere else on the Continent, the damn car would be nearly priceless. Mitch smilingly offered to travel to Italy in case the hot rod Falcon needed repairs. (Mitch had never traveled further from San Diego County than Reno in his life.)
The next evening Bekka and Terry went to the Kensington neighborhood of San Diego. They were there for an ambush. A fellow target shooter of Terry's, a mother and housewife named Peggy, had told Terry of her husband's mania for Becky Page. From her description, her husband was precisely the type of fan which crushed Bekka's soul. His fandom had turned into obsession. He would wait until the kids were in bed, then turn on a Becky Page movie and have an orgy of one for the rest of the evening, neglecting both his wife and any responsibilities he had. He was not the only man with this mania, but would be the first one Bekka would be able to confront personally, and tell him to cut it the hell out. For all intents and purposes, it was an intervention..
Peggy was expecting their arrival, her husband, a tax lawyer named Aaron, was not. When Peggy had told Terry about her husband's idolization of Becky Page, Terry felt the best way to get through to the husband would be having Bekka arrive out of the blue. The shock of her presence would probably stun Aaron into silence, which would allow Bekka to immediately gain the upper hand, and state her case. She would introduce herself, explain that Peggy had told her (through Terry) of Aaron's behavior, and elaborate on who she, Becky Page, really was as a person. Whatever Aaron was so fascinated by in Becky's movies, he needed to identify it, get over it, and stop spending hours every evening in a mental bubble which was only occupied by Aaron and video images of a porn star. Bekka hated that she had fans who would destroy their relationships and mental health over her, or what they perceived her to be.
They knocked on the door at precisely eight. Peggy answered, saying Aaron was putting the kids to bed. "As always, my husband has his evening planned," she said. She led them into the living room and wordlessly held up a videotape of "Dangerous Desires." Then she stepped to a large recliner, reached into a crevice, and extracted a small bottle of Astroglide, displaying it with a hood-lidded look. Peggy stepped into the kitchen and returned with three cans of Coors.
They were halfway through their beers when Aaron entered the living room. Peggy said, "Dear, this is Terry Patton, a friend of mine from the Gun Range. This woman is her friend and employer, and I'm sure you don't need an introduction for her."
Aaron was initially distracted by Terry, the presence of an outlaw biker babe in his living room an anomaly. Then his eyes set on Bekka, who was in Mafioso Mode and was taking in Aaron with an expression as blank as unused copier paper. He started, then said, "You can't.... Are you really Becky Page?"
"Becky Page is my stage name, yes, but my real name is Bekka Schneider. Peggy says you are quite an ardent fan of mine."
"You'd better believe it!" Aaron bleated. "What are you doing here? Oh my God, Becky Page is in my house! I would love to---"
Bekka cut him off. "I am here because of the zealousness of your fandom, as described by your wife. Peggy says your evenings consist of watching my movies, over and over, while engaging in self-gratification. This should be an occasional indulgence, not a nightly ritual. To be frank, I wish to know the reasons for this behavior pattern. I can think of no rational reasons for a person to repeatedly see the same movies, as if they were a study of the Psalms. Surely they must be boring and rote by now.
"You are doing this at the neglect of your responsibilities, and also your wife. Peggy says you are thoroughly rapt in your attention to films you have seen fifty times, the rest of the world is tuned out. In a nutshell, sir, what the fuck is so fascinating about the movies I appear in?"
Terry added, "Dude, your wife misses you. You just sit there yankin' your meat, night after night."
Aaron gave a soppy amile and said, "Hey, I just really like your movies, you know?"
Bekka stepped towards Aaron, a cold look on her face. She shook her head and said, "Don't hedge. You're getting something out of this constant viewing, and I want to know what."
A full thirty seconds passed in silence, Aaron starting to flap his jaws twice. He finally uttered, "When I watch your movies, I feel loved."
"Dude, you're already loved," growled Terry. "What about your fuckin' wife? Don't tell me you're another fuckin' dingbat who is crushing on Becky, c'mon...."
"No, not like that. It's more like.. Okay, the sex scenes in the movies are way different than anything that has been done before. I watch the scenes and get a feeling of validity, of assurance. Like there's a subliminal message that sees to be aimed directly at me, and it's telling me that the universe is not the unfeeling random chaos it looks like, that there is an order, and I am part of that order. Existence is aware of my presence, and is glad I'm here. Somehow, in some small way, I do have a purpose for existing. And I am loved, just for being here."
Bekka was staring in shock, wide-eyed. She said, "Okay. Wow. So you got all this from watching a porn slut go through the motions of a rote porno suck and fuck scene. For God's sake, how?"
"But your scenes aren't rote!" Aaron exclaimed. "It's like, sure, on the surface your scenes are just, y'know, regular porno stuff. But they impart a feeling of emotion, of relevance. Humans attach a lot of psychological and emotional baggage to sex. When we have sex, we share ourselves, in a lot of ways. When we have sex with someone we love, we experience a palpable emotional feeling, like a high, I guess. Watching your scenes, Becky, the viewer experiences that same emotional high. And in my opinion...."
"Hold it. There are no messages hidden in my fuck scenes, and I am not trying to convey any feelings of love, or whatever. Yes, I do want my scenes to have some life, some verve, and I think I do a decent job of it. That's called acting. On a sound stage, there is zero passion or intimacy. The performers are faking it, they're using their thespian talents to make it look like we give a shit about being there. We don't, it's all an act. If we didn't use our acting skills when doing a fuck scene, those scenes would look terrible, our sex would be as exciting as a medical textbook. We would look like we had produced some sort of video instruction manual which trained people how to engage in various sex acts. We're only trying to inspire the libido, not the intellect or emotions.
"I've been told in the past my fuck scenes do convey genuine intimacy. Okay, dandy. But they're still just fuck scenes in a porno movie, and nothing more."
"You may not have been trying to do it, but you did anyway. My point is, viewers feel they are seeing a glimpse of just how powerful a thing like love is. It's as if the scenes are performance art pieces which aim to educate humanity on the complexity and grace and power of love. It's a bit unsettling, you suddenly realize the enormity and ubiquity of love, and trying to grasp its enormity is like trying to process the size of the universe.
"And the thing is, this.... message, I'd guess you'd call it.... would never have come through if anyone except Becky Page was the focus of attention in the scenes. No other actress except you could have pulled it off. You are not an actress, you are a herald."
Bekka literally stomped her foot in frustration and yelled, "But there is no fucking message! You, and a lot of other people, are reading far, far too much into porno movies. You can check our scripts and production notes, at no point or at any level was a decision made to have any sort of subtle hidden message appear, on any subject/ This is an example of low-level mass hysteria, or collective delusion. My own husband writes and produces all of the damn movies I appear in, and our director, Steve Stillman, would be openly hostile to trying to pull that sort of stunt.
"For better or worse, Aaron, there are plenty of other people out there who are obsessed with Becky Page, and their obsession resembles zealotry. You are the first person I've asked about their obsession, so I have no idea if others hold the same opinions as you. But with you and the rest, I get the feeling there is an emotional or psychological void in their lives, a big one. And for some reason, these people feel that a woman named Becky Page fill the void. Okay, fine, the characters I play are strong and tough, and people have expanded from there. Becky Page is viewed as a sexually hyperactive Wonder Woman. Details of my life, like my Harley and Falcon hot rod and concealed gun add to the image. It also doesn't help matters that I am candid and honest in interviews, not hiding my rather progressive views of sexuality and romance. The public image is that Becky Page is a strong, fearless libertine, gently crusading for current social attitudes about sex and romance to be relaxed drastically. Utter horseshit. If I had an ax to grind in public, I'd work at being a better public speaker."
Terry added, "You're reading way too much shit into her movies. Yeah, her fuck scenes are different. Becky is the first porn chick, ever, to have the fuckin' chops as an actress to make her scenes actually seem genuine. All the wild fuckin' sex seems totally organic. And her scenes have some soul to them, you know?
Becky makes it look like making love, not just the mechanical fucking you see in all the other porn. But naw dude, you're totally making a mountain out of a molehill. Ain't no fuckin' messages in her movies, especially not grandiose ones like you think you're seeing."
"Now I have a grasp of why you are obsessed with Becky Page. I still don't understand why you've been watching the movies over and over, constantly. Surely you're at least a little bored with the by now."
Aaron responded, "Two reasons. I feel that your scenes are sort of like puzzle pieces. What is communicated in each scene differs, to an extent. It struck me that if the different messages from all the movies were arranged correctly, a new, greater message would be found. So I watch them over and over, looking for clues, and to see if I notice anything new. It's sort of like a Rubik's Cube, all the pieces are there, and anyone who takes the time can solve the puzzle.
"Also.... Well, like I said, there's the subliminal message, the one which assures me that I am a part of the universe, my existence is not superlative or meaningless. Being able to hear that message, over and over, is almost like a high. It's like if you had God's voice on your answering machine. You'd save that tape, and probably listen to it with regularity, just to feel the grace and peace of hearing God speaking to you. It is both a comfort and a source of strength."
With a light smirk, Bekka said, "A couple problems with your puzzle idea. First, as I've already mentioned, there are no messages. You are trying to build a tangible object out of thin air and wishful thinking. And even if the messages were real, you wouldn't be able to solve the puzzle. You wouldn't possess all the pieces yet. Think about it, I have not retired and Inana is still making features, which I am sure I will appear in. Why would we stop inserting our hypothetical messages? If I stick with my current long-range plans, you would have another ten years of Inana features to analyze before I retired."
After a brief pause, Bekka continued, "And another thing.... Am I safe in assuming that you initially became a Becky Page fan after seeing 'Bewitched?'"
Aaron assured her this was true. Bekka went on, "Do you own my first three movies?"
Looking confused, Aaron said, "Uh, yes. 'Bewitched,' 'Rocker Girls'---"
Bekka cut him off. "Okay, you are still with the majority, you thought 'Bewitched' was my first feature. No, it was the fourth. I had already done three movies with Inana, 'Lust Instructor,' 'Wedding Party,' and 'Bad Babysitter.' All three were modest productions with small budgets, but they had good reviews and acceptable sales, proving Inana could invest the time and energy into producing full features and make money off the projects. Lenny, my husband, had never produced a movie or written a script before writing and producing 'Lust Instructor,' he views those first three features as learning experiences. Really, those first three films are to Inana what 'THX-1138' is to George Lucas: modest but respected features which were dwarfed by the massive success of our later projects. Lucas has 'Star Wars' and Lenny and Inana have 'Bewitched,' both films having breakout success their producers never even dreamed of.
"There, three more Becky Page movies you would need to analyze for your imaginary messages, and you never knew they existed. They are still in print, but you'd need to get them through Inana's mail order catalog, most adult book stores don't bother to keep them on the racks. They aren't bad movies, but there was nothing special about them, either. 'Lust Instructor had a whopping $180,000 budget. It was shot on a single sound stage, which was redressed over and over. Almost all the set furniture and dressing was acquired by hitting every Goodwill between Oceanside and Chula Vista. And Lenny had learned the art of script writing by checking out a couple books from the library. He had no clue what exactly a movie producer was expected to do, so he just took on responsibilities in a somewhat random manner, duties both big and small. I doubt George Lucas would have made himself responsible for making sure the studio fridge was stocked with sodas everyone wanted.
"Something else I' a bit curious about. Okay, you thought you'd found a source of emotional and spiritual comfort, like you'd found Jesus. But most new Christians don't jerk off while studying the Bible. Why were you jerking it to my movies, even after all this time?"
Aaron cocked an eyebrow and gave a crooked grin. "Well.... It is porn. And uh, I think you are just totally hot."
Bekka smiled back and said, "Okay, good. You were using the product I manufacture in its intended purpose.
"Okay Aaron, I'm going to lay it on the line. I am Becky Page, the woman you believed was the source of enlightenment and greater truth. Well, Becky Page is officially bursting your bubble. What you thought you saw in me and my movies does not exist. You concocted it in your own head. There are no messages or greater meanings in my movies, full stop. This obsession you have is unhealthy for both you and your family, and Becky Page is telling you it is now time to get the fuck over it, and start healing.
"There is no gentle way of saying this: you need help. You are going to start going to a psychiatrist, so you can identify and resolve what seems to be a very large void in yourself, you feel worthless, that your life has no purpose or meaning. Utter horseshit. There are three people just under this roof will tell you that you are a very important person to them. Somehow, you imagined you saw the meaning of life being communicated to you in a series of dirty movies, and you began obsessing over them, neglecting your wife and children while you did. Get the fuck into counseling, pally, and figure out why you felt you needed that kind of greater meaning in your life. And thank your lucky stars the fuckin' Scientologists never got their claws into you, their whole business model is set up to exploit people like you.
"Also, you and Peggy are going to see a marriage counselor. You have spent months neglecting your wife. And while it may not be a conscious thought of hers, I' sure Peggy's trust in you has diminished greatly. You can both work together and heal your relationship.
"After I leave, you are going to gather all my movies in a box, and give the box to Peggy, who will do anything she wants with them. Peggy, you can tuck the box away in the garage, or give the movies away, or trash them, or burn them in the backyard and scatter the ashes on unhallowed ground. It is your choice, and Aaron, her choice is not up for debate. Consider it a bit of penance for how you've been behaving. But Becky Page will no longer be a part of the media in this house. She is toxic for the health of everyone who lives here, like having booze in a house where an alcoholic lives.
"Aaron, I am Becky Page, and I am telling you that I am not a sage or a herald. I'm a dirty bitch from North County who is too lazy to have a real career. I exploited what talents I possess --- fucking in front of a camera and not blowing my lines --- and now have a totally unjustified level of fame and wealth. I'm just some broad with a strange career." Bekka smiled. "Although I have enough of an ego to say that yeah, I am pretty hot.
"This may be news to you, but that feeling you had of questioning your own value and self-worth? That's called being human, it's installed in everything on this planet that has two thumbs. In fact, look at it this way: your self-doubt proves you don't need to have self-doubt. Those feelings are proof that you are a fully formed human being, which means you do belong, and you do have value. You are part of the family known as mankind, and there is a place for you at the table.
"I am going to shake your hand, then Terry and I are leaving. I never want to see or hear from you again. Through Terry, Peggy can let me know how you are doing. I want you to be well again. I don't cope well with the idea that, however inadvertently, I destroyed someone else's life, the thought crushes my soul. So please, do what I have told you and be healthy again. I beg you."
Bekka shook hands with Aaron and said "goodbye" with a tone of finality. She gave Peggy a brief formal squeeze, then her and Terry left. Walking back to the car, Bekka said, "Terry, do you mind if I crash on your sofa tonight?"
Confused, Terry said, "Hey, no fuckin' problem. Uh.... Why?"
"Because your place is closer than home, which means I can start drinking that much sooner. We're going to a liquor store to buy a bottle of Johnnie Walker, and you and I are going to finish the fucking thing tonight. I just learned that I am directly responsible for someone's delusions and mental illness, and that is bothering me just a tiny bit, you know? I just plain need to get wrecked right now, and as soon as humanly possible."
Terry stepped in front of Bekka. Tears were pouring down Bekka's face. Terry gave a small smile, then wrapped her arms around Bekka and squeezed tightly. She said, "You're always doing this for other people, and it seems to help them. I'm fuckin' hoping mine helps you. And I'll give you as many as you want."
They got into Ocean Beach, hit the liquor store for booze and chips, and went to Terry's apartment, where Bekka called Lenny. Then the two of the got down to work. Along with the scotch, they also dived into the meth and cocaine, snorting up massive, binge-level sized lines of both. Around 1:30 the police knocked on Terry's door, in response to complaints from neighbors about the loud music and yelling and laughter and screaming and bellowed profanities.
Terry gave an addled smile to the cops and said, "Hey, no fuckin' problem, officers, we'll tone it the fuck down and close the fuckin' windows." Her addled smile spread wider. "Hey, I just noticed neither of you motherfuckers are wearing fuckin' wedding bands. Either of you ever get your dick sucked at work?"
The younger of the two patrolmen said, "Uh, no ma'am...."
"You wanna change that?"
Bekka leaned in and said, "And it wouldn't just be two dumb drunk cunts sucking your dicks, either. Both of us suck dick professionally. We could be the best goddamn head you'll ever have in your life."
The other patrolman frowned and said, "Are you Becky Page?"
"Yes! 'Tis me! Becky Page, career cum-sponge. Yes, I make a living by having men stick their wee-wees inside me. I've seen more cock than the clap doctor at a Navy base. Yeah, Terry has the right idea. Two cops show up at an apartment and get blown by the dizzy cunts inside, that is total fuckin' porn trope right there. Fuck it, life should imitate porn ore often."
Terry cracked up. "Hey, let's even have cheesy-ass music playing while we suck them off!"
Turning a studied eye at the cops, Bekka elbowed Terry and said, "Hey dick-sucker, I want the one on the left."
Terry shrugged and said, "Suits me, ya fuckin' choad huffer."
"Goddamn scrotum breath!"
Then Bekka and Terry stood in front of the cops yelling "Dick sucker!" in each other's faces until they both began cracking up. When they slowed down, the younger cop asked, "So, uh, Becky, what brings you to Ocean Beach?"
Bekka threw an arm around Terry's neck and said, "Terry Patton here is a very very very very very dear friend, and also my personal bodyguard. We felt like having a few drinks tonight. In my case, it was a medical necessity."
"Is that so," came the cool response.
"Oh yes. See, earlier tonight I learned that I am a truly evil person. You are looking at certifiable evil at this very moment. I destroy lives, and I don't even have to put thought or energy into it! I am, by my very nature, toxic to others. I'll bet if I actually tried, I could ruin anyone...."
Terry whacked Bekka on the arm and yelled, "Bitch, shut your fuckin' pie-hole! We been through that shit already tonight! Cut it the fuck out!"
"Where I blow out come spiders, where I step a weed dies...." Bekka rambled.
Terry grabbed Bekka around the neck with her arm, putting her in a headlock at her side, and held her. Bekka didn't struggle, Terry had told her how all she (Terry) needed to do was grab her own wrist and pry, and Bekka would be choked out in under thirty seconds. Holding Bekka's head under her arm like a soccer ball, Terry calmly and clearly said to the cops, "I must apologize for my employer, she has had a bit to drink. Like many creative people, she is a bit high-strung, and alcohol will exacerbate her moods. At the moment, she is upset over an encounter we had with a fan earlier in the evening. Don't worry, we will turn off the stereo, I will talk with Becky, then put her to sleep. Thank you for your time, officers, good night."
"I thought we were gonna Hoover them," came Bekka's voice.
Terry ignored her, smiled at the officers, and closed the door. She let go of Bekka and said in a stage whisper, "There is no fuckin' way we could have those fuckin' fuzz in here."
"What's up" asked Bekka.
"Look what's sitting on the fuckin' coffee table."
Bekka looked, and froze in shock. The black drug mirror was still sitting out, covered in powder residue, along with a razor blade. And next to it were two sandwich bags full of powder, about a half ounce each of meth and coke. "Fuck, we woulda been so fuckin' fucked if they'd come in here," commented Terry.
"We'd have been boned, and not in a good way," Bekka breathed. "Dammit, I wish we had some weed. I'm still pretty drunk, but I'm not used to half gram lines of dope, so I'm also spun as shit. Plus the coke. Girl, do you have any weed?"
"Fuck it, we can walk up to Dog Park and pick up a fuckin' dime bag. Their stuff won't be shit compared to what you and Lenny get, but it'll get the fuckin' job done. Let's dangle, I'm pretty fuckin' loopy myself right now, the walk will do us good."
"Is it safe to wander around the beach at this hour?" asked Bekka.
Terry smirked and said, "Shit, girl. We're loaded, we're obnoxious, and we're both carrying fuckin' guns. I ain't worried about no OB suck-asses starting shit with us."
"Sure we shouldn't just drive?"
"With our current BACs? Fuck that for a sad story. Fuckin' cops can sit at the other end of the strip and spot headlights pulling into the beach lot, then just shake people down as they leave. And we both are driving cars that are pretty fuckin' memorable. We'll be fine, we're pretty fuckin' loaded, but we ain't trashed, you know?"
Out the door they went.