Monday, February 13, 2017

Preacher (Part 11)

     Bekka and I went inside.  I grabbed the Leucadia Deli menu off the phone and dialed.  I had a metric shitload of people to feed that day, I didn't want anyone to have to leave the property before the picket broke up, unless they were bleeding from every orifice.  I ordered seven pizzas, pounds of pasta salad, ravioli, sandwiches, and told them to have the delivery driver pick up four cases of Anchor Steam on the way over, I'd make the courtesy worth his while.  Given the amount of food I'd ordered, I was given an ETA of 1:15.

     Gina poked her head in my office and told me Angel still wasn't near a phone, and his pager wasn't taking numbers.  Okay, not too big a deal.  There was something happening, but there was not a crisis.  She asked, "Are these the people who read that damn newsletter?"\
     "No clue," I answered.  "If they are, I'm not too worried about any paramilitary action.  The cretins down on the sidewalk couldn't survive a grape embargo."
     I got up and roamed a bit.  Some of the performers were in the lounge, laughing, gossiping, sharing drugs.  More were out on the patio by the pool.  The girls were staying at the ready.  They'd set down their baseball bats, but if they walked somewhere, the bats came with them.  I went over to Donna and said, "Okay, just out of curiosity, do you all just happen to own baseball bats, or....?"
     She replied, "After you called Bekka, she called Ellen and Elspeth, and told them to spread the word about what was happening.  Ellen and Elspeth knew shit was going down, so they arranged a quick telephone tree, with everybody meeting at the Big Five in Carlsbad.  We all went in and bought new bats.  Oh my God, it was so hilarious.  Here's a mob of porn sluts, all buying baseball bats at once.  I'm glad Rita was there, she was the one who had the sense to buy a ball.  I guess it's an old gang-banger dodge.  Twenty homeboys walking down the street, all carrying bats, but one guy has a ball, so who are the cops to say it's not totally innocent?"
     Eslpeth sidled up and added, "All the girls who own a gun have it with them.  I'm glad the deputies didn't decide to get on our cases, because six or seven of us would be headed to the pokey for carrying concealed.  Hey Lenny, uh, you got your flask on you?"
     I pulled the flask out of my jacket and handed it over.  She took a couple swallows and handed it back, thanking me.  "Better than what I'm used to.  Hell, you know what my uncle back home put in his flask?  Goddamn Popov vodka."
     "Well, if he carried a Zippo lighter, he'd always have fuel with him."
     I had one of the Nikons around my neck, and three lenses.  I attached the telephoto lens, then walked down the wrought-iron fence to a certain spot.  Right there, you could look down and see most of the sidewalk all the way to the driveway.  Our picketers had located an arbitrary spot on the sidewalk to make their U-turn, the two columns constantly passing each other.  I realized there seemed to be much fewer of them, maybe half were gone, so they'd spaced themselves out more to cover the same distance.  My guess was they were annoyed at this point.  Yes, all three network affiliates had shown up to cover the picket, but this wouldn't please them much.  After all, this is The Liberal Media we're discussing.
     Using the camera as a monocular, I looked at the marchers.  They weren't chatting among themselves, just following the person in front of them in silence.  Their facial expressions had become even more dour, as if the the cat-fart flavored gum also had a liquid center that tasted of an incontinent wino's jockey shorts.  None of them even seemed to be making eye contact with the protesters in the oncoming column, they stared at the heels of the marchers in front of them.
     It struck me that while the number of picketers had gone down, the number of cars parked on the street hadn't.  Peering through the viewfinder, I could see people sitting inside some of the cars, and the wooden handles of protest signs just sticking up above the level of car hoods, on the curb side of the street.  It was break time for half the moral condemnation squad.  The hazy sunshine reflected off auto glass, so I couldn't tell how many people would be sitting in one car, but those visible to me were just....  Sitting.  I never saw their mouths move, as though speaking, or eat or drink or smoke.  Holy shit, these people were socially alienated even around each other.  I'll bet the car pools were such a joy.
    A grey Porsche came up the street and pointed at the driveway, coming to a stop right at the sidewalk.  The driver gave a long horn blast, which the marchers ignored.  A couple moments later, I heard Vinny's unmistakable Joe Pesci, New Yawk voice saying loudly, "Make a fuckin' hole, you mooks!"  They didn't, so Vinny revved the engine and jerked the car forward about six inches.  A deputy approached him and said something inaudible.  Vinny's loud response was, "I own thirty-five percent of this fuckin' place, so yer goddamn right I'm gonna park in the driveway!  Get these jackoffs to move!"
     At the top of the driveway near the outlaw choppers, Roach was standing and talking with Spike.  Roach walked down to the phalanx of deputies and said something to them, gesturing at the Porsche.  The deputies didn't care.  Roach said something else, and the deputies decided they did care.  Two of them walked to the sidewalk at the side of the driveway and halted the protesters.  Vinny pulled in and parked to one side of the driveway,.  He got out, and went over to shake hands with Roach, then Spike.  I figured I'd go and greet him too.
     I walked out the front door to find the three in chuckling conversation.  After giving Vinny the Italian man-hug, I asked Roach what he'd said to the deputies that made them actually do their job.  "First I told them, yeah, that's Vinny Morelli, he's part owner of Inana Productions, and to clear a path.  They said they'd told Vinny to park on the street.  So, I smiled and told them, 'Oh, okay, I'll just get a few of my fellow club members to briefly halt the march.'  I guess they weighed their options and got the clue about how much more interesting their lives would become, if we had to handle things, you know?"
     "So, what brings you by, Vinny?" I asked.
     "Gina called me and told me what was going on.  I figured that if these are the fuckin' mooks who've been threatening Bekka, I wanted to be here to help.  If shit got kinda ugly, well, I'd be able to post bail on anyone the cops dragged off."  In a softer voice he said, "And if shit got real ugly, I got a MAC-10 tucked inside the passenger seat cover."
     Raised voices came from the foot of the driveway, saying things like "You're all communists!" and "Fine, interview the whore!" and "I'll bet you give her more air time than us!"  The news crews were filtering their way through the picketers, who were purposely jostling them.  The deputies started to move forward again, but by then the news teams were through the line and in the driveway.  All three reporters saw me and headed my way.
     "I just had a complete stranger tell me I'm as big of a whore as Becky Page," said Pauline Fawcett.  "I'd love to hear the rationale behind that statement.  And if I was, I'd drive a nicer car than a four year old Mazda."
     Kathleen Pierson asked, "How do we get to where you want us?  Through the house?"
     I replied, "No, there's a gate on the other side of our camera truck.  Follow me."
     The three reporters gestured at their respective crews, and our small media mob headed towards the pool.  I asked, "What do you need to set up, five minutes?  Any of the crews need extension cords run?"  Yes, and no, we're set.  "Okay, let me go get Bekka."
     My lovely bride was on her knees in the performer's lounge, shooting craps with Gayla and Sue.  I told her she would be needed on the patio in just a few minutes.  Just then that day's crew wandered into the kitchen area, followed by Dawn, Rio, Tex, and Feather.  Rio and Feather were still stark naked, unlit cigarettes in their mouths, aiming for the glass slider and the patio.  I jumped in front of them and told them to pull some duds on first, we've got all three network affiliates setting up by the pool, no sense in scandalizing anyone.
     "What the hell are they doing here?" asked Feather.
     It struck me that no one working that morning would have a clue as to what all was going on, they'd been isolated from the outside world in West sound stage.  I quickly explained the situation.  "Thought it seemed really crowded down here," Feather noted.  The three performers made a u-turn and headed back towards the stairs, saying they'd just shower and dress right now, they'd live an extra fifteen minutes without smoking.  Before going up, Rio asked if there would be difficulty in leaving, then returning.  She wanted lunch, and hopefully have a bit of "together time" with Gayla in one of the third floor guest rooms.
     "You better believe there will be difficulty," I averred.  "These assholes are way pushier than the last batch of protesters we had.  Vinny's here, and they tried to block him.  You can guess how well Vinny reacted to that.  Don't worry, I've ordered a shitload of food from Leucadia Deli, they'll be delivering about a quarter past one.  How hungry are you right now?"
     "I forgot to set the alarm, so I didn't have time for any breakfast," Rio replied.
     I led her back to my office and gave her some jerky and a couple Snickers bars to tide her over. She kissed my cheek and told me I was getting cuter with each passing day.  I responded that it was the ugly slowly leaching out of me in the Southern California climate.  She punched me in the arm.
     Bekka had re-buttoned her blouse, and was quickly touching up her makeup before heading outside.  "Well, another round with the press," she said.
     "Mind your language," I warned.  "Channel 8 is broadcasting live.  This is going to be a very civil conference.  I talked the three reporters into pooling their brain power and coming up with a set of questions they all liked.  Every station will have the same video and audio, more or less.  It was either that, or you having to go through three separate interviews.  I'm not sure if they want to interview us together or separately, so we'd probably best be getting out there in a minute.  I've gotta grab Roach, I'll be right back."
     "What do you need Roach for?" asked Bekka.
     I started laughing again.  "The panties of all three female reporters are wringing wet right now.  They've all got the hots for him.  They don't even want to interview him,  they just want to talk with him.  Between his smile, his physique, and his dick, we've got a few female journalists outside who practically drooled like Rottweilers when I told them he was here today."
     Bekka chuckled at this.  "Yes, the boy is a human pantie-burner, isn't he?  It's actually cool to know it's more than just porn sluts, biker bitches, and strippers who get all hot and bothered by him.  Oh Jesus, usually women are only lusting for him when they meet in person!  How do these talking heads know who he is?"
      "I gather they've all seen 'Succubus,' and were very impressed with what they saw.  Yes, especially that.  Oh wow, Roach might get gang-raped by three female journalists."
     She laughed harder.  "Okay, we're making a loop with that plot.  'Some journalist will do anything for a story.  These girls will do everything for a story!'  Yeah, one guy getting tag-teamed by three girls.  A bit of gender reversal."
     I went out and got Roach, simply explaining that all three reporters were fans of 'Succubus' and, uh, they loved his performance.  Him, Bekka and I headed outside.
     Judging by the positioning of the cameras, those being interviewed would stand at the east end of the pool, with both the pool and the grassy area as the background.  Three sound guys were standing around, leaning on their boom mikes like shepherds with their crooks.  The three reporters were standing by their respective cameramen, holding marks.  Ms. Douglas waved us over and said, "See that line of tape?  That's your mark for the interviews."
     "How are we doing this?" asked Bekka.  "Together, separately...?"
     "We're going to interview you first, then your husband, then we'll want you both together for a few more questions.  We'll be getting.... more.... uh...."
     She was suddenly distracted.  Following her eyes, I saw she was looking over at Roach.  He was standing there wearing a tight wife-beater, his HA denim vest, and fairly snug jeans that advertised the equipment he earned a living with, and quite well.  He was standing to one side, staying well out of range for the cameras.  He puffed his cigarette and sipped at a bottle of Mountain Dew, totally oblivious.
     ("Bitch, I can hear you getting wet!")
     Bekka snapped Ms. Douglas back to reality by saying, "Well, I'll take my mark.  Let's get this show on the road."
    "Of course, yes.  Ronnie!  You and the other two get the mikes up!"
     Standing at the tape line, Bekka stood and waited.  One of the sound guys said, "Ms. Page, I'd like to get a level.  Just talk in a normal conversational voice."  Bekka did so, reciting a dirty limerick.
     "Shall we, ladies?" said Ms. Pierson.  The other two nodded.  And so it began.
     Question:  This is the second time a religious group has picketed your studio, why are they attracted to your films in particular?
     "Three reasons, in my mind.  First, Inana's videos smashed sales records, moving millions of copies each.  Second, the fame I've achieved is a very unique occurrence.  Has any other adult film actress had multiple articles about her in People magazine, or been interviewed by Time?  My popularity still baffles me, to be honest.  And third, San Diego is a somewhat socially conservative area.  Inana is really the only game in town, when it comes to production of adult video.  We're an easy target."
     Question:  Jerry Fallwood would seem to have made veiled threats against you, vague allusions to you possibly being stalked and harassed.  Are you concerned for your safety?
     "Concern?  Yes.  Worry?  No.  First of all, I carry this...."  Bekka lifted one side of her blouse and pulled her Colt, displaying it flat on her hand.  "I've already used it in the past, when a religious maniac attempted to attack the studio.  My husband took five rounds that day.  When things like that happen in your life, you develop a heightened sense of alertness, but you also develop more steel in your spine.  I don't frighten easily."  She re-holstered the pistol.
     Question:  Have you changed any patterns in your life since attracting the Reverend Fallwood's attention?
     "Yes.  I can't remember the last time I left my house alone.  Either my husband, Leonard Schneider, is with me, or my friend and bodyguard, Terry Patton, is. All three of us are armed.  In a crowded area like a mall, I scan constantly, watching for anyone who appears to be walking directly towards me....  Although this alertness started a while ago.  I lost my anonymity when I became famous.  Now there's a new facet to the alertness, it might not be an overzealous fan approaching me, it might be an Evangelical zealot who believes I somehow embody evil, and should be harmed."
    And so it went.  They went through Bekka's questions, then I was up, then Bekka joined me.  This method of interview seemed to take a bit longer, but was far, far shorter than dealing with all three channels separately.  There was finally a five second pause, then Ms. Fawcett called, "Wrap.  We're leaving the equipment where it is, so we can all get interviews with other performers."
     The crew started futzing around with equipment.  Roach stepped over to us, making a suggestion that our Hell's Angel security start their days by riding escort from our house to the studio, keeping their eyes peeled for anything that looked suspicious.  Bekka and I looked at each other, and agreed this would be a good short-term strategy.  We didn't expect the siege mentality we were in to last forever.  The creeps from the Moral Militia would find another target, and move on.
     Ms. Fawcett glided up to us.  I swear, she was putting a lot of action into her hips as she walked.  She said, "Hello!  I recognize you from the movie 'Succubus,' you were the Lone Scavenger.  Your performing skills are admirable, you put life and passion into a role that could have been very one-dimensional.  My name's Pauline, I work for Channel 10.  If you don't mind me asking, what is your real name?"
     Roach turned on his pantie-soaking smile and replied, "Good afternoon, Pauline.  My real name is Sonny.  If you're wondering why I'm called Roach, it's a long and fairly dull story, going back to my childhood.  I came to embrace the name, in fact, I prefer it over 'Sonny.'  People call me Sonny, and I have the urge to say, 'Yes, Cher?' back."
     Ms. Fawcett --- excuse me, Pauline --- tittered warmly at this bit of wit.  Then Ms. Pierson stepped up, brusquely elbowing Pauline to make more room.  "Whoop, excuse me, Paulie, what's going on over here?"  She looked at Roach and batted her lashes.  "Hello!  I know you, weren't in the movie 'Succubus?'  You definitely impressed me, you have some serious talent, Oh, I'm Katy Pierson, Channel 8 News.  Your name isn't really Roach, is it?"
     "No ma'am, it's Sonny, but I actually prefer Roach.  So did you ---"
     Ms. Douglas shoved her way in.  "Hello all!"  Taking in Roach, she said, "Hi, I'm Donna!   I recognize you, you were the male lead in 'Succubus.'  You're younger than I expected, how old are you?"
     "Nineteen," Roach replied.  "In 'Succubus,' the makeup artists gave me some age, so I'd at least look like I was in my twenties.  Wish they'd done something for my acne scarring."
    "It gives you a rugged look, don't be ashamed of it," said Katy.  "I like it, it's kinda macho, you know?"
     Bekka said, "And that's what you need, right Roach?" giggled Bekka.  "Another way to add to your machismo?"
     "Yeah, I'm Charles Bronson," chuckled Roach.  "I have a feeling me becoming a macho shithead would drive away Dawn."
     The three reporters were shooting confused looks at both Roach and Bekka.  Bekka caught the looks and said, "Roach has some contrasts.  He makes a living as a porn stud, he's a member of the Hell's Angels, and we've used him as security in the past.  A macho man, right?  Nope, he's probably the sweetest guy you'll ever meet.  He's certainly the sweetest man in the industry."
     Roach said, "Maybe it's because I grew up in outlaw culture, but I don't feel like I gotta keep up a front or an image, always act like a tough guy.  Plenty of other HA are like that, and I'll bet with at least some of them, they're the ones holding back during a brawl, or they'll pick a really easy target.  Naw, to hell with that.  This may sound egotistical, but I've got enough self-confidence I don't feel the urge to constantly prove myself, or put on a public tough guy act."
     "You're really in the Hell's Angels?" asked Pauline.
     Roach turned around, displaying the colors.  When he turned back, he said, "Nobody wears the colors if they aren't a member.  Anyone who does will eventually find themselves in very bad shape.  Like today?  Lenny has six or seven guys from the Dago chapter doing perimeter security.  If I wasn't HA, and they saw me wearing the colors, I'd probably be lucky if my hospital stay was only ten days.  You'd be safer imitating a cop, you only go to jail for doing that."
     I said, "That reminds me, I keep forgetting to ask someone: when we were in Pismo Beach, somebody put an HA sticker on the Falcon while we were in Baxter's on Saturday.  No idea who.  We were a bit surprised to see it there when we got back to the car...."
     "Oh, nobody told you about that?"  Roach seemed surprised.  "Okay, you guys aren't members, and you aren't hang-arounds, but you are friends with the club.  Those stickers go to people who the club feels are righteous, good people, and close to the club without being associated.  You can't buy those stickers anywhere, those are club property.  It means you're tight with us, and you should be respected, no matter where you are. Somebody recognized the Falcon and wanted to make sure you were recognized on the road.."
     "Wow," said Bekka.  "Sort of like having a police license plate on your personal car, or something?"
     "Exactly.  In both cases, the locals will see the sticker, or the plate, and know you're tight with the folks where you live."
     "You don't seem like the average Hell's Angel," commented Donna.
     "There is no such thing," I laughed.  "Bekka and I have been around the Dago chapter for a while, and other than the colors and a love of Harley Davidsons, it's not like they're all cut from the same cloth.  Bekka, Roach, back me up on this.  Try to think of any personal aspects that are identical in Fatso, Short Nick, Mutt, Doobie, Peewee, and Big Ugly. They're all very different people."
     Bekka responded, "A love of Harleys, nine ball, Jack Daniels, and profanity.  Beyond that, though, you're right.  Okay, and none of them will back down from a challenge."  Looking at the reporters, she continued, "We were on the Labor Day run this year.  We met Angels from all over the West.  Really, the contrast in personalities is amazing.  The Angels are just guys with a thing for powerful motorcycles, a rather rowdy concept of fun, and a fairly high level of disenfranchisement from 'normal' society.  They aren't monsters, they're motorcycle buffs."
     "And generally speaking, far more intelligent than they are given credit for," I added.  "That's why I decided to hire a couple of them as security.  Not only are they pretty tough bastards, they're also fairly quick-witted.  Roach is certainly an example of that.  He also disproves the idea that Angels treat women like crap."
     "Well, there is Short Nick," grinned Roach.  "But I get the feeling he'd be a misogynist no matter who his friends were, or what he did with his life.  Nick is the only Angel I can think of who's just a total dick in general.  Too much attitude."
     "So....  We shouldn't worry about the Hell's Angels here?" asked Katy.
     I gave her a glare.  "Every HA here is, at the moment anyway. an employee of mine.  They're also friends of me and Bekka.  To be honest?  If you detect any hostility from any Angel here, it's because you're a reporter, not because you're a woman.  HA aren't big fans of the press, they've had too many lies printed about them.  Sensationalist bullshit that sells papers, but doesn't tell the truth."
     Roach said, "It's total bullshit.  The papers --- or the TV news --- will tell about a 'major Hell's Angels drug bust,' and the reality is it was one guy in a bar with a joint in his pocket.  Or they'll say there was a gang rape in a bar, when what really happened was some chick with a heavy buzz decided she was gonna blow an Angel she'd met in one of the booths.  Our arrest records are really ugly things.  Our arraignment and conviction records are pretty damn dull, though.  Really?  You hear about Angels fucking shit up somewhere, and the reality is they weren't doing anything a lot of other assholes do when they're drunk and feeling rowdy.  But people make a big deal out of it because they're in the club."
     With a sharp, pointed smile, Bekka said, "I'm sure the media could find some incredibly sensational stories just by monitoring the antics at college fraternities.  Rowdy drunken parties, drug use, assaulted women, generally poor social behavior....  I consider frat boys to be far worse human beings than any Hell's Angel I've ever met, at at this point I've met a few hundred."  The mile got more pointed.  "I have an idea.  You three should crash a party or two on frat row at SDSU.  You can observe some fairly horrible behavior up close.  Just don't drink anything you didn't pour yourself, though."
     "What do you mean by that?" asked Katy with a frown.
     "Well....  There may be a chance you'll drink a cup of beer some friendly frat bro has handed you, and the next thing you know you're waking up in a backyard five hours later, with your underwear missing and a rather sore pussy.  Are you following me?"
     Donna said, "Yes.  I see what you mean."  She stared at the ground.  "You're correct."
     "Were you a sorority sister?" asked Roach.
     "I was," she muttered.  "I never had anything happen to me at a frat party, but there were a few.... incidents.... with girls I knew.  Some of them just had too much to drink."
     "Me too," said Katy.  "Kappa Delta Gamma, University of Arizona.  Yeah....  There's some problems with the culture in the Greek system."
     "Huh," frowned Pauline.  "I went to San Francisco State.  There is no frat row there.  There are a few Greek fraternal organizations, but....  the school didn't want that scene, I guess.  I know one of the quasi-frats was all Jewish, another was all Catholic, they were more like social clubs that would use a meeting room on campus a couple hours a week."
     Desperately wishing to change the subject, Donna said, "So Roach, have you always wanted to be an actor?  Have you studied acting?"
    This prompted a burst of laughter from me, Roach, and Bekka.  Roach said, "Um....  No, it had never crossed my mind.  I won't bore you with the details of how I came to work for Inana, but what talent I have for acting isn't something I've cultivated.  The only thing I had going for me was, like a lot of punk rockers, I have a theatrical flair, I can be a ham.  I'm flattered the three of you enjoyed my performance in 'Succubus,' but I also had a ton of coaching from Lenny and our director, Steve Stillman.  Bekka helped a lot, too.  We spent three weeks running lines, and blocking, and sharpening the dialogue.
     "Also, I'd been instructed to try to think like my character, and act how he would.  Like, the Lone Scavenger is tough and wily enough to have survived as long as he has, so he's no one to be trifled with.  At the same time, he's young, he's not with a group or clan like other scavengers, and his world is fairly sparsely populated.  He's not comfortable interacting with people, because he has no practice at it.  When he's captured, he's thrown into a situation where he's surrounded by this tight-knit group of women.  They're all friends, right?  The Lone Scavenger has never had a friend in his life.  His only real social interaction is probably from bartering at the bazaars, and that's it.  Also, the Lone Scavenger was a virgin until he and Lila got together. He is isolated and alienated, his chances of scoring are nil'   Also, it would explain why Lila doesn't break his mind when they have sex.  Every other man Lila has been with has has sexual experiences, but the one they have with Lila is overwhelming.  Well, shit, the Lone Scavenger is losing his virginity, so he's pretty overwhelmed anyway, so as intense of an experience as it may be, he has nothing to contrast it with.  He'd just think the intensity of the experience is normal."
     I stared at Roach with raised eyebrows.  After a pause, I said, "God damn.  That makes a lot of sense.  And the Lone Scavenger doesn't have any sexual interaction with the other pirate girls, either, so he has no litmus at all.  Wow, I never thought of that.  Haw, probably just as well Lila doesn't share him, he'd be disappointed with anyone else!"
     "And that would add more resonance to the final scene, by the waterfall," pondered Bekka.  "Figure he and Lila had been traveling together for a few weeks to reach the Summerlands, falling in love with each other, and certainly fucking like bunnies at every opportunity.  By the time they reach their destination, not only are they physically practiced with each other, they're very much in love.  I'd wanted to communicate love in that performance, and I was impressed with your acting in that scene, too."  With a shy smile, she said, "To be frank, Roach?  I figured you were just letting the crush you used to have on me show itself."
     Showing a boyish grin, Roach said, "Yeah....  Well, that was a factor that day.  But I did want to make it clear in our performance that the Lone Scavenger is in love with you.  He probably had no concept of 'love' until you and he left the pirate band."  Addressing the reporters, he said, "You're all familiar with the movie.  Uh, that final scene at the waterfall was fairly stressful.  Okay, like every other heterosexual male, I did have a crush on Becky Page.  Now all of a sudden, I'm being paid to have sex with her!  We'd only done a couple scenes together up until then --- because of the shoot schedule, it was actually the first fuck scene we shot for 'Succubus' --- so I was still both awed and intimidated by Bekka.  Um....  There was another problem, too."  He paused.
     "What?" asked Donna.
     Roach sighed and said, "Lenny.  He was on location with us."  Turning to me, he said, "Dude, I can't lie, I was a bit scared for my life while Bekka and I shot that scene.  Steve would call for a cut, I'd look over at you, and the way you were staring at me....  All I could think about was, 'That man has a gun on him, and right now I'm fucking his wife, while he watches.  And he doesn't look happy."
     I put a hand on Roach's shoulder.  "Aw man, I'm sorry.  You noticed me and Crystal took off down the path before Steve started setting up for the money shot?  That was on purpose....  And it was more Bekka than you.  I've seen Bekka do countless scenes since we got married, live and on video.  But that scene was, like....  Bekka, babe, you were just too good of an actress.  I've watched you fuck other men, and it meant nothing, I didn't care less, it was only performance.  But by the waterfall, I was seriously thinking, 'She's in love with Roach, it's obvious, she's gonna leave me for him, she's way into what she'd doing right now.'  Okay, we'd all agreed that there should be a genuine sense of love communicated in that scene.  Well....  It was, and quite well.  Hon, I'm so glad you did what you did right afterwards, which was immediately talk to me, and reassure me.  Did I really look all that worked up?  I knew I was, which was why I walked away."
     Bekka said, "Darling?  Sweetie?  I was seriously worried.  After Steve called cut and wrap, you and Crystal came back, and you were staring at Roach like, well....  Like you'd caught him fucking your wife.  That's why I pulled you aside and said what I did, I knew I had to assure you that what you were seeing didn't reflect reality.  It was just acting, for both him and me."
     Pauline said, "Can I tell you all something in confidence?"  We acquiesced.  "Uh.... That final scene was one of the most moving things I'd ever seen in a film.  It sounds strange to say I was emotionally worked up watching a sex scene in a porn film, but I was.  You and he really did a wonderful job.  Yes, you were dong all the things you expect to see in porn, but you conveyed such emotion while you were doing them.  You reminded me why it's called 'making love,'  Heh, it felt very odd, I simultaneously was very aroused and had a lump in my throat, holding back the tears."
     "Actually, I felt the same way," said Donna.
     "Me too," Katy added.  "I'd seen 'Dangerous Desires' and 'Temporary Pleasures' already, so I knew that your movies are all intelligent and well-done, and would have acting talent, but....  Who expects that level of emotion to be invoked watching porn?  It was pretty amazing."
     With a pink-cheeked smile, Pauline said, "It's extremely rare for me to be envious of a character in a movie, but I was certainly wishing I'd been born Becky Page while watching that scene."  She suddenly stood very straight and said, "Roach, if a twenty-nine year old woman asked you to have dinner with her on Saturday, what would you say?"
     Before he could reply, Katy stepped close to him and said, "How about if a thirty year old woman asked you to join her at the Hotel Del Coronado tomorrow night for dinner and drinks?  I know the staff there, I'll make sure they'll serve you."
     Donna positively shouldered her way next to Katy and said, "You should come with me to the La Valencia in La Jolla, it's a wonderful place.  I'll show you a great time."  She added an extra purr to her voice and said,  "It's marvelous, they serve you breakfast in bet there."
     Pauline shoved in closer.  "I'll give you the best Saturday night you'll ever have in your life....  So Katy, how's Richard doing these days?  Don't you have his ring on your finger right now?"
     "We haven't walked down any church aisles recently, and we may never will," said Katy with icy aloofness.  "I don't have a chain on him, and he certainly doesn't have one on me.  You, on the other hand, have been dating your producer for at least three years now.  Would he approve of your weekend plans?"
     "Matt and I have our own lives," Pauline said with icy, smiling calmness.  "He doesn't ride around on my back.  I'll do what I damn please."
     "You should both be a bit ashamed," inserted Donna with an airy tone.  "Long term relationships for the both of you.  I have no encumbrances, I'm as free as the wind."
     In a tone sweet as treacle, Katy commented, "Yes, I've often wondered why the men you date never stick around.  They seem to be there for a few weeks, then they run like hell."
     "You two," Pauline tinkled, "really.  The Hotel Del?  The Valencia?  Please.  A man --- a real man --- wants a bit of action.  And believe me, I can show a man plenty of action."
     Bekka and I looked over at Roach.  He gave us a slightly panicked, wide-eyed look and mouthed the words "help me."  His personal sense of gallantry and manners prevented him from just walking the hell away.  Bekka turned and sprinted for the house.
     "Are you still spending your weekends bar-hopping in Tijuana?" cooed Donna to Pauline.  "Yes, there is a level of adventure involved with being taken to their local police station, isn't there?"
     "Yes, well, not all of us can say we've been thrown out of our hotel while covering the Republican National Convention.  In New Orleans, too.  I've often puzzled about just what sort of amazing behavior it would take to be thrown out of a New Orleans hotel.  What felonies would be involved?"
     Bekka trotted back up.  She had Dawn with her.  The two joined our little group, Bekka saying, "Excuse me, I'd like to introduce another friend of ours.  This is Dawn."
     All three turned and scrutinized the tiny blonde in their midst.  Donna gave her a puzzled frown and said, "I've met you....  In fact, I've interviewed you."
     Also looking surprised, Katy said, "So have I....  Now I remember.  About eighteen months ago, you and an old wino sent three fraternity members from SDSU to prison.  Assault, mayhem, and attempted rape.  Yes, you're the homeless girl from Ocean Beach, you and the wino were attacked or something."
     Dawn said, "Yeah, we've met before, outside the courthouse downtown.  Me and Drummer had to be there to testify every day for two weeks.  Those frat boy motherfuckers tried to pull me out of my car so they could fucking gang rape me.  Drummer saved my ass, he went after all three at once, armed with nothing but two beer bottles.  He gave me an out, he told me to bail while he had them busy.  They beat the shit out of him, he was laid up in the hospital for two weeks.  I hope those frat boy motherfuckers are getting ass-fucked ten times a day while they're locked up, I hope they get traded around like the little bitches they are.  They beat the shit out of Drummer, who's one of the nicest people on the planet.  I hope all three leave prison with size fourteen assholes."
     The three women stared at Dawn, who sidled over to Roach and put an arm around his waist.  Katy finally said, "What are you doing here?  I was under the impression that you lived in your car in Ocean Beach, that you were homeless."
     "I was.  Now I'm not.  Lenny gave me a job here at the studio, making good money.  I'm, uh, I'm part of the production crew.  Now I live in Encinitas with Roach.  Lenny rescued me from the streets, and him, Bekka, and Roach made me stop hating myself.  I've got it pretty good now."
     Roach announced, "This is my girlfriend, Dawn, also known as Pint Size, or Little Bit.  We live together in Encinitas, she's the love of my life.  She's also a fantastic passenger on a Harley soft-tail."
     Dawn smiled up at Roach, then said, "You know how awesome of a person Roach is?  He cured me of my misandry.  I used to hate men.  Then I met him.  He's the first man I've ever met who has shown me unconditional love.  And I love him.  So what's going on around here?"
     "These ladies have posed hypothetical questions to Roach, regarding his feelings about going to dinner with them, individually, in the near future," smiled Bekka.  "What are your feelings on this?"
     Dawn gave an amused smirk.  "You're all news reporters, right?"  The three confirmed this.  Dawn burst out into laughter.  "Oh, shit!  Roach would never live it down with HA if he dated a reporter!  Some bastards would be calling for him to take off his colors!  Not to mention the ass-kicking he'd get for running around on me."  She scrutinized the three women.  "You know what?  You wanna ask Roach out, fine.  I trust him implicitly.  He's had plenty of offers and opportunities to fuck around behind my back, and he never has.  I'm really not worried about him deciding to hook up with any of you."  She smiled wider.  "Go ahead, take him out to dinner.  You'll have the company of one of the most awesome dudes in the world.  But uh, just don't be counting on getting any play.  For that to happen, you'd have to get him really hammered, enough to make him forget his own honor.  And if you did that, I wouldn't be pissed at him.  I'd be pissed at you.  And I'd come after you, big time."
     Donna looked down her nose at Dawn and said, "Big talk for a tiny girl."
     Dawn smiled at her silently for five seconds.  Then she reached in her back pocket and pulled out her Buck knife, holding it by the outside of the blade.  She snapped her wrist, swinging the handle open and locked.  Then she flipped it so she was holding the handle.  All three women's eyes went big.
    "Living on the streets for over a year, and being a woman, you develop kind of an attitude.  Everybody thinks you're trash.  You get treated like trash.  You even start to believe you're trash.  And the worst part is, you stop worrying about the consequences of your actions.  You're trash, who cares what happens to trash?  Just out of self-defense, you don't let people fuck around with you.  What little you have, in any way, you protect.  Drummer protected me.  He wouldn't let his friend get hurt.  I love Drummer, he's a better man than my father.  And I love Roach.  He protects me.  And I will protect him."
     She unlocked and folded the Buck knife, putting it back in her pocket.  "If you want to take Roach out to dinner, fine by me.  I trust Roach, I'm not gonna get jealous.  You can probably get him into places him and me could never go.  And you can spend time with one of the most debonair, gallant, and charming men in the world.  You'll see why I love him.  And why I protect him, too.  Sweetie, you got a smoke on you?"
     Roach handed Dawn a Camel and said, "Me and Pint Size barely knew each other when we moved in together.  We did so for the convenience, we both just needed a roommate.  Growing up how I did, I learned to not share myself.  Dawn crawled inside my head and got to know who I really am.  I did the same thing with her.  She'd been fucked around by a lot of guys in her life, and then she spent a year on the streets, so she didn't really trust anyone, especially men.  But both of us let our defenses down around each other, and we fell in love.  The world thought she was street trash.  The world thought --- thinks --- I'm outlaw trash.  Each of us know better about the other person."
     Donna and Katy looked somewhat cowed.  Being a reporter takes some moxie.  Being a good reporter takes serious balls.  Pauline had them, figuratively speaking.  She said, "Roach, I would like to take you out to dinner on Saturday night.  I'll warn you now, I'd like to take you someplace which will require you wear a tie....  If that's all right.  But I really do want to have dinner, and some conversation, with you.  I'll have you home by eleven, promise.  How does that sound?"
     "I'll loan you a tie," I chipped in."
     Roach snickered, "I'll need a shirt too, Lenny.  Babe, you won't mind?"
     Dawn smiled up at Roach and said, "I'm not worried, sweetie.  You think I don't know about all the phone numbers strippers at Dirty Dan's and Pacers have given you, that you've thrown away?  Honey, other Angels talk to their old ladies, and us Angel women talk to each other.  Anyone in the Dago chapter who thinks they can get something over on their old lady is a damn fool."
     "Aw, damn," snorted Roach.  Then he frowned and said, "But you're one of the few old ladies who comes to the Hi-Lo on a regular basis.  When do you ever see any of the other chicks?"
     "Hel-lo!  There are these devices called 'telephones,' and we all have them!  Sweetie, nobody in Dago is keeping secrets from us Angel women."
     "It's true, Roach," chuckled Bekka.  "Even I'm in on the grapevine.  Hell, even mama Marta calls me once a week to say hi, and bitch about the sexual proclivities of certain single Angels.  Oh, the things I could tell you...!"
     "Uh, mama Marta?" queried Donna.  "Is she somebody's mom?"
     Me, Roach, Dawn, and Bekka all cracked up.  When I caught my breath, I said, "Uh, no, I don't believe so...."
     "I sure as hell hope not," added Dawn.
     "Okay, in outlaw culture, the clubs will have women called 'mamas.'  They are essentially concubines, available to anyone flying the colors, no questions asked and no flowers beforehand.  The Dago chapter has three mamas right now.  To say their current chosen position in life is thankless is an understatement.  Essentially, they have attached their egos to the Hell's Angels, and want to be around them.  By providing, uh, physical comfort to any Angel in the mood is how they show their worth.  You can probably guess, these are not women with a lot of self-esteem."
     Bekka said, "The Dago mamas are all a bit flinty, but generally sweet....  Although none of them will be a guest on 'Jeopardy' any time soon.  I've met mamas from other chapters who....  Oh lord, remember mama Bridget from Oakland, Lenny?"
     "Oh God," I laughed.  "Yes, the rage-aholic.  The Viking queen."
     "What?" asked Donna.
     "Mama Bridget, from Oakland, wears a Viking helmet --- you know, with the horns --- much of the time.  She even wears her hair in two blonde braids.  The woman is a jabbering psychotic, it's my personal suspicion she truly suffers from severe Tourette's syndrome.  Nothing else can explain her ability to stand in one spot, in public, and holler a meaningless stream of obscenities at the sky for ninety seconds straight, interspersed with random screeches and howls.  On Saturday night of the Labor Day run, she got pissed at someone, over God knows what, and decided she was going to hit them over the head with a full keg of beer.  She's just a normal sized woman, so she couldn't lift it up.  So....  She began dragging it off, yelling at her target to stop and hold still until she got there with the keg.
     "A few Oakland guys saw what was going on and dragged the keg back, along with her.  Seriously, they had to drag her.  She had one of her Tourette's episodes, only this time she gestured and pointed, like she was explaining something.  Then she ran helmet-first into the side of one of the chuck wagons.  Apparently she was disappointed the chuck wagon didn't fall over, so she did it again.  Again, the Oakland boys drag her off, only this time they put her face-down on a bench, and two of them sit on her.  The third one began casually circulating through the crowd, asking if anyone had four or five Valium, or Norco, or Dilaudid, or anything like that they could spare.  He scored, then went over and force-fed them to mama Bridget with a cup of beer.  The three Angels sort of circulated turns sitting on Bridget until she ran out of steam, a half hour later.  When they let her up, she alternated between slamming cups of beer and informing strangers that she sucked dick so good, she could stop Truman Capote from being a faggot."
     "Did you hear what happened with her at the beach?" asked Roach.
    "I confess my ignorance," replied Bekka.  "Do I want to know?"
     "Aw man, she gets double-packed with one of the Oakland dudes down there, there's maybe ten Oakland HA together. They're just sorta standing around, talking and watching the waves, and mama Bridget spots a group of surfers about sixty feet away.  So she walks over to them, strips naked, and says, ;I want you motherfuckers to teach me how to surf!  I'm from fucking Oakland, there's no place to fucking surf in Oakland, teach me how to surf, you asshole bastard cocksucking shitbag puke-hole motherfuckers!' or something like that.  Oh, when she got naked, she put the helmet back on."
     "At least she's not too hard on the eyes," commented Dawn.  "Better her naked in public than mama Marta."
     Roach continued, "A couple of the Oakland HA go over and drag her back, and grab her clothes.  She starts pitching a fit, so the Oakland dudes started telling her stories about all the horrible shark attacks that happen at that beach.  Dozens of people dead every week.  I guess she believed them, because she got dressed again, went back to the bikes, and perched on the bitch seat of one smoking cigarettes until the Angels decided to leave again.
     "I had to ask the Oakland dudes if she'd ever been committed on a 5150.  They told me she gets picked up about every two months.  They dose her on Thorazine, she mellows right out and stays that way for several days, long enough for the public mental health people to write her a scrip for psych meds and kick her loose.  She fills the scrip, then takes them to People's Park in Berkeley and sells them.  She buys meth and wine with the money she makes, and the roller coaster starts running again."
     The three reporters listened to this in horror.  "Can't anybody take care of her?" Katy asked.
     "The Oakland chapter is," said Roach.  "If it wasn't for Oakland HA, she'd be just as nuts, but also homeless and starving....  And probably using more dope.  They try to at least keep her off the shit, and don't let her drink too much.  But she's a legal adult, and the local mental health people refuse to recognize the pattern, so....  Oakland HA keeps her housed, fed, and they try to corral her.  Better than a halfway house would do for her."
     "I think someone should send mama Bridget to a Bible college," said Bekka.
     "What the hell for?" I asked.
     "If she got Old Testament scripture burned into her brain, she'd become a millionaire as a tent revival preacher.  She's perfect for the gig."
     Laughter rang through the backyard.

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