Monday, February 13, 2017

Preacher (Part 21)

     Up and about much earlier than normal for a Sunday.  We're taking an excursion to the utterly generic Southern California town of Gardena.  This burg has one outstanding feature: ad edifice known at the Crystal Chapel.  It is the heart of evangelical Christianity in California. It took a little while, and a eighteen million dollars worth of cup-rattling, but it got built.  To evangelicals, the Crystal Chapel is their White House, their Shangri La.  And Jesus dog-fucking Christ, is it hideous.

      I'm at the wheel of the 1970 Plymouth Sport Fury, zipping up Interstate 5.  With me are Bekka, Jane, Roach, and Dawn.  Terry is riding Eddie up solo, Drummer staying around home so  he can hit an AA meeting or two in the afternoon.  Other Inana folks have arranged their own car pools, mostly by geographic location and ease of parking.  We chose the Sport Fury because the Fleetwood was a little too recognizable, and both the Falcon and the Cutlass would be too small for five people.  Besides, the Sport Fury is probably the meanest looking car ever built.  Ours is black.  When the flip-up headlights are off, the grille is one growling swipe across the front.  This car has a Mopar 440 cubic inch motor, and three two-barrel carburetors.  Given its weight, the Sport Fury is pretty damn quick.... Although an obvious product of a pre-shortage world.
     It has been tuned recently, and now has quite a bit of pep, even more than it did.  Jane's newest high school beau is a dude named Smiley.  The kid looks like a standard-issue stoner, but he rarely indulges.  He's also much smarter than people think: between the long hair, the heavy metal t-shirts, and the fact that he acts like there's a tax on speaking, nobody would suspect the kid had more automotive knowledge crammed in his head than five hundred Chilton's manuals.
     The Sport Fury was originally Bekka's daily driver, a gift from our friend Boss.  Then Don Vito gave Bekka her 1964 Falcon hot rod, and the Sport Fury became sort of a spare car.  Smiley had expressed an interest in tinkering with it, claiming that nobody ever got the carb tuning right on them, and he could drop a full second off the quarter mile time without a change in fuel economy.  He held onto is for three days, then drove it to the studio, following Jane, to return it.  Bekka and I thanked him, then Jane took him into the back yard,where they stripped down, got in the spa, and began fooling around with the verve and energy only teenagers are capable of.
     "I've got former neighbors in Gainesville who would puke with jealousy if they knew I was here," Jane commented as we disembarked from the car.  We were parked on Greentrree Ave. in Gardena, in the shadow of the Chapel and a couple blocks from our initial destination, a parking lot across the street from the mega-church.  "Some of those people, especially the older ones, bought VCRs for no other reason than being able to tape Jerry Fallwood on Sundays, allowing them to go to their local church."
     "What denominations were they?" asked Bekka.
     "Um, almost all of them were Southern Baptist or American Baptist.  I've always wondered, what's the difference between the two?"
     "About fifty decibels of volume," I told her.  The American Baptists are pretty reserved, their nickname is 'The Frozen Chosen.'  The Southern Baptists are....  Okay, remember the scene from 'The Blues Brothers' where they go to a church, and James Brown is the pastor?  Yeah.  The white Southern Baptists aren't as funky, but they make up for it by having pastors who can out-bellow Sam Kinison.  Also, the Southern Baptists aren't shy about sharing their feelings with strangers...."
     "Oh, hell yeah," giggled Jane.  "I had one come up to me once --- it was a Sunday and I just happened to be walking past their church --- and ask me if I worshiped Satan.  I was all, 'Uh, no, why do you ask?'  The cracker figured that anyone who had blue hair must be one of those devil-worshiping heavy metal fans.  I laughed at him and told him the music I listened to made most metal sound like Lawrence Welk.  He asked me, 'And what sort of spiritual message does music like that carry?'  I told him, none whatsoever.  Agnostics have no message to get across, so they don't act like they do.
     "'The agnostics?  They're evil, they hate God!' he yelled at me.  I said, uh, no, the agnostics feel that the existence of God can't be proved one way or another, so they just don't try.  You can't hate something if you're not sure if it exists.  He started spazzing out on me, yelling that of course God exists, he had the proof in his hand right there.  He was holding a Bible. I asked him if I could have a look.  I turned to the Library of Congress page and told him that this Bible had no conclusive proof God exists, but he could rest assured that the Harper Collins Publishing Company definitely did.  Haw, he could tell I was sorta making fun of him, but he was a little too slow on the uptake, so I just kept walking."
     There were a hell of a lot of people standing around in the parking lot, many of whom I half-recognized, girls from Eroticon last year.  The Vivid Video people were easy to spot, they were all in yellow Vivid Video t-shirts.  I took a closer look and spotted Larry Bennett, one of their big-wigs.  He was in a Vivid t-shirt and jeans.  He was now clean-shaven, the dapper but full beard he used to have gone.  I walked over and said hello.
     "So is anything ever quiet in your life?" he asked.  "Does wild shit just constantly happen around you, so much you're totally blasé about it?  Jesus Christ, you got shot a week and a half ago.  If it had been me, I'd still be hiding in my closet with a bottle of tequila.  Yet here you are."
     I shrugged, a bit painfully.  "No way was I going to miss this gig," I told him.  "I mean, my own wife is sort of the impetus for it happening at all.  By the way, you look good without the beard."
     "Younger?" he asked hopefully.
     "Definitely, you took seven years off."
     "Thanks.  I just got to thinking, 'It's the Nineties, and I look like I'm a member of a fucking Fleetwood Mac cover band.'  And the beard had more grey than my hair, which didn't help things at all."  He scrutinized my nose.  "That thing wasn't there the last time I saw you, was it?"
     I realized he was talking about my septum ring.  "No, I got that done just after we wrapped 'Succubus.'  You want one?"
     "Oh God!  Didn't that hurt?" he queried.
     With a you-fucking-idiot look, I said, "Hell yes it hurt.  They've got to go through fairly dense tissue when installing a septum piercing, and I got a ten gauge installed right off the bat.  The tongue is easier.  Think about how soft and flexible your tongue is.  In fact, since you're sitting there with your mouth wide open and your tongue sticking way out for several minutes, you're more annoyed by the pain in your jaw than the actual piercing, just a poke and it's done."
     "So why do you have piercings like that anyway?" Bennett asked.  "What's the point?"
     "What the fuck is the point of any fashion?  Why do men wear ties?  Yeah, I wanna walk around with a goddamn noose around my neck.  Okay, I can think of one fairly practical purpose for the tongue piercing.  Women seem to absolutely love it."
     "Really?  Why?"
     I gave a leer and answered, "Let me clarify.  Women you're getting intimate with love it.  Think about it."
     Bennett frowned, then realization struck his eyes.  "Oh.... Oh yes!  I can see how it could add a bit of extra enjoyment in certain situations."
     More and more people were arriving.  The different studios all seemed to be staking out a small piece of asphalt, so new arrivals could wander around and locate their friends.  We'd arrived a few minutes early, but the place was already pretty crowded.  Probably the first time I'd ever seen people from LA (besides Vinny and Angel) actually arrive early for something.
     The Inana folks were standing around, smoking cigarettes and gabbing.  Ace was there, looking annoyed.  "Man, I was testing the portable sound system and I blew a tube!  Two weeks mail order to get a new one!"
     After a moment of staring in amazement, I asked, "Uh, you were going to bring sound equipment that uses vacuum tubes here?  As a 'portable' system?  How the hell much does it weigh?"
     "About 140 pounds.  Okay, sure, there's lighter stuff out there.  In 1954, when this system was built, it was portable.  And you get a much warmer sound with tube amps."
     "How would you power it?" I asked.
     Ace shrugged and said, "Car battery and an inverter.  Hey, I hooked up a cassette deck to the system, it's not like I was gonna try and play vinyl while we're walking around.  I'm not gonna have my vinyl sitting in the sun anyways."  He stroked his chin and said, "Hey!  I could just park the Newport on the street and blast that stereo!"
     Looking over towards the Chapel, I saw the curb along Chapman was one long streak of red.  I told him, "Look, don't worry about it.  If people want some music, we'll all sing."
    "What songs?"
     "The 'Flintstones' theme.  Everybody knows that."
     By ten to eleven the lot was jammed.  Plenty of people had drifted over to us so they could say hello to Bekka.  Those who engaged in brief conversation congratulated Bekka for her bravery: she had been in a gun battle with Christian terrorists a week and a half earlier, her husband had been shot and nearly bled to death.... "If it were me, I'd still be totally freaking out" was the opinion of  most.
    Lawrence Pelton found us and came to shake hands   He had a tall, lanky older woman with him, who had a short trendy haircut and a nose ring.  Pelton introduced her as Nora, the head director of photography for Hustler Video.  We shook hands and she joked, "I always refer to myself as the Director of Photography at work.  If I just call myself the DP, people think I'm on set for a very different reason."  (Porn humor.  "DP", on a porn set, stands for "double penetration.")
     Pelton had a bullhorn with him.  He stood to one side and called for attention.  When the talking had died down, he explained how we'd do things.  Everybody cross the street to the Chapel side, start walking more or less single file, and keep walking.  There was an estimated 520 people there, so this would be one hell of a long picket line.  Stay on the sidewalk.  One lieutenant would be keeping count of people as they crossed the street.  Far down the sidewalk was another lieutenant, both of them had walkie-talkies.  When about half the porn people were across, the second lieutenant would mark how far everyone had walked, then have them turn and go back up the sidewalk.  That way there would be two rows of marchers walking past each other, and covering the entire front of the Crystal Chapel.
     Other instructions were to avoid any physical confrontation with a Crystal Chapel attendee.  Ignore verbal abuse, don't cuss them back, we want to look like the better behaved of the two groups.  Follow any directions the Gardena police or Orange County sheriffs give you, don't decide to face off with a cop.  We're here to show we aren't afraid, we aren't monsters or perverts, we're performers.  Okay, let's go.  Ms. Page, Ms. Page, would you please come up?  If you don't mind, we'd like you to be the vanguard, you and your husband will lead the column.
     I looked across the street.  Four obvious security guards were standing on the opposite corner, watching us.  One would occasionally speak into a radio.  The four looked utterly mystified.  Whoever we were, we obviously had something in mind that involved the Crystal Chapel, but our appearance gave no hint as to who we were.  Plenty of people had signs, but they were being held down, and I knew I"d see them once we started marching.  Performers had respected Pelton's wishes: none of the girls were dressed in a manner that said, "I work in porn."  I suppose the only real tip-off may have been that porn stars tend to be generous with their makeup.
     Pelton greeted us again, this time giving Bekka a hug.  Then we started walking west on Chapman Ave. crossing the street and going past the Chapel property.  The Crystal Chapel looks like your standard glass-box office building, if the architect was a rather clever four year old.  Glass everywhere.  It struck me that odds were the congregation could watch us from their seats, looking through all that one-way glass.  About fifty yards down the sidewalk, I turned to look behind me.  Everyone was already getting into line, even as they crossed the street.  Most people were walking two abreast, talking with a friend.  That was okay,it was a wide sidewalk, the two columns would pass easily.
     I was ten feet from the driveway into the Chapel when a Gardena Police car turned into the driveway and came to a halt.  Two cops got out, and looked down the sidewalk at the procession coming towards them.  One began muttering into his lapel microphone.  The second came up to me and asked what was going on.
     "We're going to picket the Crystal Chapel," I explained.
     "Why?  Who are you?"
    "I'm Lenny, this is my wife Bekka.  We're picketing this place because a few weeks ago, some of the people from here picketed my place.  Fair's fair."
     "And why were the church members picketing your place?" asked the cop, walking alongside (I'd refused to break stride).
     "Two reasons.  First, they are morally offended by adult video.  Second, Jerry Fallwood told them my wife is an evil person who wants to destroy America,  Somehow, she'll turn the country into a morass of decadence and lascivious behavior.  Or something like that.  Have you met my wife?" I smiled.  ":Officer, this is my wife Becky."
     Still keeping stride, Bekka put a hand out and smiled warmly, saying, "Good morning, officer."  Looking directly at Bekka, the penny dropped for both cops.  "You're Becky Page!" they said in unison.
     "Live and in the flesh," Bekka told them.  "Yes, Jerry Fallwood has been rather disruptive in my life for about six weeks now.  He has used his television pulpit to say falsehoods, and some flagrant lies, about who I am and what sort of a person I am."
     Two more Gardena PD cars rolled down Chapman, slowing so they could observe the column walking past.  Then two Orange County sheriff's cars came along.  One of the cops asked, "Who are all these people?"
     I answered, "Porn stars, porn studs, camera operators, gaffers, sound engineers, makeup artists, front office staff, fluffers, directors....  The men and women responsible for producing adult video in Southern California.  Some of them brought friends, too."
      A young sport holding a walkie-talkie was trotting towards us, waving his arms.  He said, "Okay, perfect, do a u-turn here."
     We were past the Crystal Chapel property and standing in front of a run-down bungalow.  Bekka and I pivoted and started walking back up the street, on the curb side of the sidewalk. As we walked, people in the opposite column had been calling "Hey, Becky!" and putting their hands out.  Bekka was dispensing a steady stream of high fives.  I was recognizing the faces of many of the girls, either from Eroticon, Adult Video News, or the movie reviews in Hustler and Club.  Everyone seemed jovial.  I was also getting to see the signs many had brought.  A buxom girl with voluminous hair was holding up a sign with a picture of Fallwood on the left, Bekka on the right.  Below, it said, "The Evil One Is On The Left."  Another one: "God Loves Becky Page."  "My Body - My Job - My Right."  "Fallwood Has No Morals."  Several simply read, "I (heart) Becky Page."  Another: "I Love My Job."  "Jerry Is A Hate Monger."  "Fallwood Has No Soul."  "God Hates Jerry - God Loves Becky."  "I'm An Actress, Not A Whore."  A picture of Fallwood with the words, "Here's The Evil One."  "I Won't Be Bullied."  "Becky Is My Hero."  "Porn Star And Proud Of It."  And on and on.
     The TV news crews were all double-parked in the driveway of the Chapel, getting organized.  A guy with a tape recorder bounded up to Bekka and said, "Robert Welsh, LA Times.  Good morning, Ms. Page.  So, what's going on?"
     "Just taking my civil rights out for a walk," Bekka smiled.  "Jerry Fallwood's minions picketed my studio a few weeks back, now me and my fellow adult performers are picketing his place."
     "Are you worried about another attempt on your life?" Welsh asked.
     "At this exact moment?  No.  In general, I do keep my guard up.  But I"m not expecting another paramilitary assault, like the one Thursday last.  I would expect some Moral Militia zombie to possibly spot me in public and physically attack me, that is a real worry.  One of Reverend Fallwood's little elves spotting me at the mall and thinking he might be able to get past both my husband and my bodyguard....  And after that, getting past twenty-four rounds of hollow-point nine millimeter ammunition."
     Welsh gave a confused frown, so I elaborated, "Becky carries a Colt Defender, which has an eight round clip.  She carries two spare clips along with the one loaded.  Me, I have a Beretta 92 with a fifteen round clip, and also have extra clips.  I"ll assume you read the news, so you can understand why we carry these weapons.  They've come in useful."
     "You're Leonard Schneider, correct?  How are you doing?  Are you healing well?"
    "I'm doing all right.  Some pain, but nothing I haven't dealt with in the past."
     "What do you think of the motives of the men who attacked your studio?"
     I sighed, and gave it some thought.  Then I said, "They're idiots.  They've been deluded by loudmouth fire-and-brimstone rants from Jerry Fallwood into thinking the country is going to hell, and it's all because of one woman, a porn star named Becky Page.  Since Fallwood also espouses the idea that Jesus shall return --- possibly next week! --- these idiots decide they have the moral duty to get rid of some of the immorality and decadence which Jesus will get all butt-hurt over.  So, why not just kill Becky Page?  That'll help things!  Jerry Fallwood says Becky Page is Satanic, is evil, so knocking her off will be a good thing.  Jerry Fallwood, Jesus, God, Santa Claus.... Whoever, they'll all be happy with these idiots for committing murder.
     "They're all cowards.  They want to make the world a better place for when Jesus returns?  If they had any balls, they'd volunteer at a homeless shelter or help run a battered women's refuge, do something positive for the world.  No, screw that, they're gonna kill some woman they've never met, because Jerry Fallwood says she's evil.  What a bunch of scumbags."
     "How do you think Fallwood's parishioners will react to the presence of this picket?" Welsh asked.
     I chuckled and said, "Poorly.  Petulantly. They'll be calling us whores and sluts, they'll be verbally abusive in general.  I have a hunch they're more cowards, fifty bucks says not one of them can work up the guts to come out here and start a civil conversation with one of us."
     More police and sheriff's cars had arrived.  Some were parked along Chapman, partially blocking the right lane.  Others were sitting haphazardly in the parking lot, that special style of parking cops use to tell anyone around them that whatever your concerns are, they don't matter.  The law is here now, so fuck off.  Cops and deputies were standing in somewhat strategic positions.  Four were at the driveway.  Another six were standing in the gutter, spaced evenly along the span of the picket.  The news crews were getting their shots of the station talking heads, with the picket in the background.  And further up the driveway, three men in suits were standing and watching, occasionally commenting in each other's ears.
     The three men finally collected some stones and walked down to the start of the driveway.  I nudged Bekka and gestured with my head, and we got out of the line to stand at the edge of the driveway, leaning against a low gate.  I made a show of grunting and stretching, as though walking the picket was playing hob with my back.  The cops in the driveway observed me, but said nothing.  I casually gazed in the direction of the suit-wearing guys.  They were watching the picket, reading signs....  Then one of them saw Bekka.  He elbowed the guy next to him and pointed at us.  All three were now staring at Bekka and I with puzzled faces.  I could practically hear their thoughts: is it her?  No, it can't be her.  Would Becky Page have the unmitigated gall to show up here, of all places?
     The three conferred, and one guy drew the short straw.  He turned to us, drew himself up, and attempted to have a purposeful stride as he approached.  He ended up looking like he was using a suppository the size of a golf ball.  He stopped four feet away --- out of arm's reach, presumably --- and said, "Are you Rebecca Page?"
     Bekka and I briefly went slack-jawed, then started laughing.  He looked a bit affronted.  Bekka said, "Well, I"m commonly known as Becky Page.  As 'Becky Page' is a screen name, I've never heard anyone refer to me as Rebecca in my life.  Anyway, I am who you think I am."
     I'm guessing the little powwow the three suit guys had didn't cover any territory beyond, "Go find out if it's really her."  Our new friend stood and nodded, moving his lips without sound.  After a bit, he said, "What brings you here?"
     "I felt like exercising my civil rights, by taking part in this picket.  And to save you the question, no, I did not organize it.  I didn't know it was happening until this last Thursday.  However, the people who did organize it told me I am the impetus for it happening.  Rather flattering, really.  And you are...?"
     "My name is Gilbert Grace," was the reply.  As he said it, he tilted his head as though an orchestra sting had just played.
     "Hello, Gilbert," Bekka purred.  "To continue introductions, this is my husband, Leonard Schneider."
     "Whassup, chief?" I said, and stuck out a hand.  He stared at the hand, then shook it as though it was oozing pus.
     Gilbert cocked an eyebrow and said, "Did she say you are her husband?  Is this true?"
     "It'd be a weird thing to lie about," I replied.  "We just had our third anniversary at the beginning of October..  You seem surprised."
     "I never would have guessed Ms., uh, Page would be married at all."
     Bekka cocked an eyebrow of her own and replied, "My marriage to Lenny is hardly a secret.  We have been interviewed together on many occasions on TV, plus articles in Time, Newsweek, People, and Us have all discussed our marriage."  She thought a moment, then said, "You didn't know I was married.  You didn't know 'Becky Page' is a screen name.  What do you know about me?  And please, stick with legally verifiable facts."
     This flummoxed Gilbert.  He finally answered, "Um, the name of the company which produces your movies is Inana Films.  Your first movie is named 'Bewitched.'  And you live in San Diego."
    Bekka gave a patronizing smile.  "May I trouble you to call your friends over?  Perhaps they are more familiar with me.  Of the three things you listed, you were only half right on all three.  The correct answers are, Inana Productions, 'Bewitched' is my fourth feature, and Encinitas, not San Diego."
     With a calm smile and voice, I said, "Well, this isn't too surprising.  The things the Reverend Fallwood said about you were completely wrong.  I wonder if the most research they did on you was to stare at a video box for ten seconds, then just decide to wing it."
     Gilbert gestured his amigos over.  They looked a bit worried.  They stopped back from Gilbert and nodded silently.  Bekka cooed, "Good morning, gentlemen.  I was assuring Gilbert here that I am who he suspected....  Sort of.  Gilbert knows nothing about me, not even my correct name.  Are either of you familiar with me?"
     One of them said, "Of course,  You're Becky Page, the pornographic actress."
     "Hey, he got the name right," I chuckled.
     "Why are you here?" the other new arrival asked.
     "As I told Gerbil here, I'm exercising my civil rights and taking part in a picket.  Surely you can't be that surprised by my presence."
     "To be frank, I am," said one amigo, a chunky specimen with a combover that looked like seaweed.  "I am hoping you were not expecting a warm welcome. This is a place of God."
     Bekka turned her head to stare at the Chapel, then asked, "Are you referring to this.... structure, the one with all the glass?  That is a place of God?"
     "Yes, it is," came the pompous reply.
     Bekka considered the Chapel again, then smilingly said, "No.  No, it's not.  The Crystal Chapel is a monument to the fundraising skills, tenacity, and avarice of a single evangelical preacher.  Whoever built this place seems to have forgotten that humility is one of the qualities a good Christian has."
     All three men glanced at each other.  Gilbert said, "The Crystal Chapel seats over 2700 parishioners, and is the product of a nationwide capital drive.  All Christians are welcome.  We are proud of our sanctuary."
     "Hey, Donald Trump has a lot of pride in his casino," I noted.  "No accounting for good taste."
     Bekka got a look of counterfeit perkiness on her face and said,  "Well!  All Christians are welcome?  I know services have already started, but perhaps I can come in and look around afterwards."
     The other amigo put a baleful glare on Bekka and said, "You....  Are a Christian?"
    "Yes, I am.  Why do you look confused at this revelation?"
     The three amigos were again flummoxed, glancing back and forth.  This was not a statement they were expecting from Becky Page.  One of them said, "What denomination are you?  Where do you go to church?"
     "I was raised Roman Catholic," Bekka responded.  "I stopped attending when I was sixteen, going through the crisis of faith many teenagers do.  By the time I started college, I was studying the Bible independently.  I was baptized --- or re-baptized --- in the Episcopal Church when I was twenty.  I did this because I felt the Catholic tradition of infant baptism was an empty gesture.  Faith is a conscious decision.  An infant is not capable of consciously choosing to give his or her life to Christ, so I felt the gesture was necessary, to declare to the Lord that I accepted Him as my savior, and do so of my own free will.
     "I don't attend a church regularly.  In all honesty, my feeling is all denominations demand adherence to specific interpretations of Scripture.  I consider this to be obstructive to a person's spiritual growth, and faith.  Two people can read the same text in the Bible and find two different meanings.  The different denominations do the same thing.  I doubt a Southern Baptist would have a completely parallel interpretation of the Holy Bible as, say, a Methodist would.  So, I study the Bible on my own, and using multiple translations.  My personal preference is for the New International Version, but I also use Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible, New King James, and the New American Standard version.... Although I will admit, I don't reference the Apocrypha in Douay-Rheims.  The Apocrypha is not canon to me."
     Now all three amigos were wide-eyed.  Relative silence fell.  Finally Bekka said, "You three gentlemen don't know a thing about me, not ever information which is of public record.  This bothers me quite a bit, as Reverend Fallwood made some accusations and claims about me which, while not meeting the legal parameters for libel, were certainly inaccurate and abusive.  I have never met Reverend Fallwood.  How he reached his conclusions about me, I can't guess.  I'm not going to enumerate the falsehoods right now, but nearly everything he has said about me is a falsehood.  Perhaps one of you gentlemen are familiar enough with Fallwood that you could describe his thought processes, which led him to say the things he did."
     The balding amigo drew himself up and stated, "Ms. Page, your.... career.... would be how a person would come to those obvious conclusions.  You make pornographic movies, and pornography corrupts.  Your movies help destroy the fabric of American morality.  Given the near ubiquity of your movies at this point, you are helping to poison the collective soul of America with your filth."
     "You've got that wrong," I said.  "You could substitute the word 'pornography' with the word 'beer' or 'video games' or 'comic books' in your statement, and still have the statement be somewhat valid.  A person can obsess over any of those things, and destroy his or her life.  Pornography is a form of entertainment.  For a long time, is has been a very base form of entertainment, its appeal being purely visceral and cathartic.  It had almost no artistic or intellectual merit.  Becky Page films changed that.  Her features impacted the libido, but also engaged the mind.  No one had ever done that before.  That's why Becky Page movies are so popular, they provide entertainment on more than one level of consciousness, stimulating the intellect and the libido at the same time.
     "Jerry Fallwood speaks of Becky Page's influence, her movies, as though they have created a dystopia coast to coast, as if tens of thousands of people have thrown themselves into a permanent state of sexual frenzy.  I think such an event would be pretty damn easy to spot, you know?  There would be people copulating on the sidewalks wherever you went.  You wouldn't be able to go to Safeway without being propositioned for sex by a total stranger.  Please, if this is happening somewhere, I'd like to witness it for myself."
     Bekka said. "So.  At this point the problem is how Reverend Fallwood's followers take his statements, and what they do with them.  I hold a very low opinion of the man, as his invective and venom inspired a group of five men to attempt a military-style raid on my studio, their stated goal being to murder me.  Shall I assume you follow the news, and are aware of this event?"  The three men slowly nodded, tight-lipped.  "They nearly succeeded in murdering my husband, he almost bled to death.  When a person is making public statements which inspire violence and hatred against a stranger, that person is a proponent for evil.  You can guess how I feel about Reverend Fallwood."
     The three amigos gasped in unison.  Gilbert said, "Are you saying.... Do you mean to say you believe Reverend Fallwood is evil?"
     "Through and through?  No," Bekka smiled warmly.  "However, he has done evil acts.  Both on his TV show and in print, Fallwood painted a cruel and gruesome picture of me, and then encouraged his followers to try and make my life miserable.  I reiterate, I have never met ReverendFallwood before, so how he reached his conclusions is a mystery.  The upshot is he encouraged blind hate in his followers.  His viewers were more or less told, 'Here is a woman whose art and career is morally offensive to me.  It should be to you too, because I said so.  Hate this woman.  Don't learn about her, don't view her features, just hate her, and put a lot of energy into that hate.'  Tell me how fomenting such feeling isn't an evil thing to do."
     All three went back to glancing back and forth, as though each one was hoping for a response to magically be engraved on the face of another.  Suddenly one of them glanced at his watch and declared, "We have to get back inside, please excuse us."  The amigos began walking towards the building.  Then they began to trot.  Then they were at a full-bore run.  Reaching the building, the three disappeared into a side door with no marker.
     I looked at Bekka and said, "I would absolutely love to hear how they describe this little encounter to others."
     "Yes, their incident reports are going to be very awkward."

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