Blondie was Cheryl. Dexter was Mike. Lupe was Roxanne. Biff was.... Biff. Too crazy.
Even on a Saturday night, a Denny's in El Centro is a pretty dead place. We sat in one of the big booths and ordered coffee, six milkshakes, and four orders of fries. Jane and I gave our basic bios, which fascinated the four others. They were familiar with Becky Page, and three had seen at least one of our movies. All four were seniors. Biff and Roxanne had been going steady since the beginning of eleventh grade, to Biff's father's annoyance. "He's kind of a racist. I mean, shit, this is El Centro. If you've got a problem with Mexicans, why the hell would you live here at all?"
All four had plans for college, going to a state university. A UC school was just not possible from an economic standpoint. They were fairly shocked to learn that Jane was an honor roll student with UC Berkeley her goal "You said Lenny and you are traveling for the next week and a half. What are you going to do about school?" asked Biff.
"I've got my textbooks with me, and I told my teachers I'd be gone, so they gave me their study plans. It's not like college, where missing lectures means missing huge amounts of information. All my teachers work from the textbooks. My literature and trigonometry classes are going to have quizzes between now and when I get back, but they said I'd be allowed to take make-up tests later.
"It's weird, I've always found school to be a breeze. I made the honor roll back in Gainesville, and I'm making it now. Trigonometry had me thrown a little at first, but I wrapped my brain around it, and the textbook lessons make sense. I've been thinking of becoming a computer club groupie, not actually joining the club, but just hanging out and seeing what I can learn.from the geeky boys. Lenny uses a Mac, but when I go to college I want the memory and power a PC can offer...."
"I run an entire damn business off my Macs," I said. "I went with Macintosh precisely because I didn't want to have to learn the ins and outs of a computer before I could put it to use. If someone builds an operating system for PCs which is actually user-friendly, fine. I'll probably use both."
Cheryl said, "You two seem to really have your shit together, I guess. To be honest, I'd never have guessed that when I first saw you. Okay, I was being judgmental, my bad, but still.... I've never seen one of your movies, but I've heard about them and read reviews in People and Us. Between you and your wife, I guess you two have sorta changed how people think about porno, huh?"
"We changed the way people think about certain porn. Like I was saying earlier, I didn't mean to revolutionize adult film, I just wanted to make porn features that weren't crap, and that I would be proud to have my name attached to. Now at this point, the rest of the adult film industry is trying to play catch-up. More power to them, personally. The 'smart porn' genre which I supposedly invented can't be carried by one studio, sooner or later I'm gonna run out of ideas. I want the other adult studios to start putting out quality entertainment, too."
Jane said, "What the industry is having to adjust to is manifold. First, they need actual writers to create interesting scripts...."
"And I didn't know I was a writer, I've been faking it all this time," I interjected.
".... which would work cohesively with hardcore sex scenes," Jane gave me a sharp elbow. "You are so a damn writer. Also, they'd need to develop the characters, and have location shots, and rehearse, and block.... All the shit that goes into making a normal movie. They actually had to start caring about what they did. Just spending the money is hard for the other studios. Okay, 'Succubus,' the one that was filmed out here in Imperial County, cost $4.5 million. 'Succubus' is, by far, the most expensive adult film ever made. Other studios saw what Inana spent and started laughing, they were sure Inana would go bankrupt. Wrong, 'Succubus' was another blockbuster, it's sold something like eleven million copies worldwide since release. The industry is finally realizing that to have sales like Inana Productions, they're going to have to change how they operate, loosen the purse strings, and retain performers who can actually act."
"But why not just make normal movies, with no sex at all?" asked Biff. "I've seen 'Succubus,' and also 'Dangerous Desires,' and they were great movies."
"A couple problems," I answered. "The big one is Inana works with video tape, not film. That cuts costs in a big way. Yeah, there's a direct-to-video market out there, but it's already clogged. By sticking in the triple-X market, we're noticed. Like I said, I want to entertain on more than one level at once, the cathartic enjoyment of sex and the intellectual satisfaction of an involving story. Dammit, there's no other way to put it: I make porn because I like making porn. And doing so has made me pretty damn wealthy."
Jane and I kicked around more information about Inana for a while: the studio's feud with Hollywood, the team mentality everyone had, our refusal to follow "the rules," and Bekka's obsessive fans. "Okay, Bekka --- Becky Page --- is a talented actress," said Jane. "But some of her fans think she's some font of wisdom and meaning, they see all sorts of messages in her roles. We've bashed around the how and why of this for a long time,and still have no answer."
Mike volunteered, "Well.... Okay, my dad has a lot of porno tapes, and uh, I've been watching them since I was thirteen.... You know, mom and dad are at work, so hey, why not? I think a lot of it is that Becky Page really stands out. All the other women in porn are kinda interchangeable, you know? Becky Page always plays, like.... Powerful women. You get the feeling that none of her characters, and I guess by extension Becky Page herself, won't put up with any crap from anyone. Maybe people latch onto her because she seems so strong, you know?"
"Point well taken," I said. "Another thing is that in interviews, Becky pulls no punches, she doesn't hedge. You ask her opinion about something, you'll be getting an honest response back. It's sort of like, since she does adult video, she has no image to protect. Ask Becky what she does for a living, she'll tell you, 'I'm a porn slut who doesn't blow my lines.' So since a lot of random fucks think she's kind of sleazy anyway, she can say whatever she wants. How many Hollywood types would admit to being bisexual? How many would champion polyamory? They've all got to remain appealing to middle America. Becky has no such hold-backs."
Changing the subject abruptly, Jane said to Cheryl, "Hey, you haven't answered my question yet." Seeing the confused look, Jane reminded her, "I asked you what your kink is. I'm not trying to put you on the spot, and I'm not looking for anything you don't want to share. And by 'kink,' I don't mean, like, heavy whips and chains or leather or whatever. It could just mean you think boys with long hair are hot, the stoners at your school get you going. It could be anything. And it could just be something you're curious about."
Cheryl stared at the table briefly, then got a defiant look. "Okay, fine. You know what I'd really like to do? I'd like to have sex in a public place. Or even just be naked in public, someplace where anybody around can see me." She paused. "I think that's what, uh, got me so excited earlier. You doing that with Lenny, while me and Roxanne and Biff and Mike watched. Um, I kind of envied you, that you had the courage to be naked in front of strangers, you know? That just sounds really exciting."
"Okay, you're an exhibitionist," said Jane. "Plenty of women are, myself included. You're lucky, you'll be able to indulge yourself much easier than guys can. Women can submit naked photos of themselves to Hustler, and take satisfaction thousands of men are looking at them naked. You can find a partner and go to sex clubs. You could try porn, but I don't recommend it. Or you could just put on a short skirt with no panties, sit on a park bench, and occasionally flash the world, pretending you didn't know you were doing it. Guys end up driving around with their dicks out, pulling up to women walking down the street and pretending they need directions somewhere."
"So what all are your kinks?" asked Roxanne.
"Let's see.... As I mentioned, I'm not a domme, exactly, but I'm very aggressive, to the point of intimidating boys my own age. I am a total submissive for Lenny, though, I'm his slave, his fuck toy, and he can do any nasty thing he wants with me. I like role play, acting out little improvisational scenes during sex. I'm an exhibitionist. I'm bisexual, and I love three-ways. Also, I want to try some rope bondage, but that's more curiosity than anything else."
"What's stopping you?" asked Biff.
"Sheer practicality," Jane laughed. "There's just no good furniture to tie me to in my room, no latticed headboard or four-poster bed. Oh well, we'll figure something out. That's something else I've only got eyes for Lenny to do with me. It's a trust issue, and I trust Lenny innately. That, and he's done it before."
Four sets of eyes swung on me. By way of explanation, I said, "A few years ago, I was seeing an older woman, she was twice my age. She was heavy into bondage and submissive roleplaying. Shit, the idea never would have crossed my mind, I just never thought it sounded like all that much fun. After we first got together she explained things to me in stages. She'd already told me her and her husband were separated due to 'sexual incompatibility.' Okay, fine. And over the course of about a week and a half, she explained what she wanted to do, she was obsessed with it, and had never had the chance to try. She told me later that if it weren't for me, she'd have moved to San Francisco just so she could go to the sex clubs.
"Anyway, if you'll pardon the pun, she taught me the ropes. Serious rope bondage is some complex shit. She also told me all the little scenes she wanted to act out. I said no to a few of them, and rather forcefully. We didn't talk for a week after she told me she wanted to have a little scene where I was her father and she was my six year old daughter. I told her that was just plain fucked up, and maybe a bit of professional counseling was in order, if she had a lot of thoughts like that. Some fantasies you really should keep the hell to yourself.
"So yeah, I was a domme for about nine months. It wasn't really my thing, she was having a hell of a lot better time than I was, but it was interesting, a good life experience or something."
After a moment's silence, Roxanne laughed and said, "You know, nobody is gonna believe us when we tell them how our night went after we left the dance. 'Yeah, we did drugs with two punk rock sex maniacs, who gave us demonstrations on how to perform oral sex. One of them is Becky Page's husband, the other is a seventeen year old nympho him and his wife both sleep with...."
"I'm a libertine, not a nymphomaniac," corrected Jane.
".... then we went to Denny's and talked about our private sex hang-ups."
"Actually, only Cheryl has so far, out of the four of you," I pointed out. "I think it's your turn."
There was a pause while Roxanne assembled her face into a challenging, brave expression. She finally said, "All right, fine. You were talking about tying women up? I want to try that, sort of. Not even tied up, just handcuffed or something, and uh, the guy can do whatever he wants with me. Okay? From the way you guys talk, I'm not some kind of weirdo after all."
"The only way you could bug us is if you were into children or farm animals," said Jane. "Your turn, Mike."
Mike turned several shades of red, and finally spoke. "Uh.... You said you weren't all that into it with that woman who wanted to do the heavy rope bondage thing. Um, I would have really been into it, if I had been you."
"All right, you're a domme, a master. Good. It's easy to find submissive men, harder to find male dommes. You'll find a playmate quicker than you think. Biff?"
The last one frowned at the table in silence. Then he said, "This won't make sense to you two, but.... Ms. Grandy."
He was right, it made no sense to me. However, it made plenty of sense to Mike and the two girls. Cheryl said, "Ms. Grandy, the girl's soccer coach? Her? What about her?"
"I'd like to get together with her, okay?"
Mike said, "Dude, she's, like, forty-five! She's older than your mom!"
With a stubborn look, Biff said, "Yeah, I know, but check her out sometime! Especially when she's wearing those Spandex shorts when they run laps! Dude, she's pretty damn hot." A pause. "Besides, think about it. Okay, she's older, right? Shit, that means she knows what she's doing, and knows what she wants, and probably won't play any bullshit games with a guy when it comes to fooling around. Maybe I like the idea of experience. And fuck you, check her out, she's got a really nice body, you know?"
"Is she single?" I asked.
"Is she straight?" asked Jane.
Biff said, "Her and her husband split a couple years ago, I guess. Rumor was he started messing with a nineteen year old girl from his job, and decided he'd rather be with her."
Jane said, "Okay. For Christ sake, don't let your interest be known anytime soon. Wait until after you've graduated. Then go back and lay your cards on the table, all or nothing. Tell her you've always found her intriguing, and now that you're both a graduate and an adult, you'd like to take her out to dinner, no strings attached. You'd just like to get to know her better. I won't lie, she's probably gonna shoot you down. But at least you'll know you tried, and who knows, she might see some very interesting possibilities in dating a young, buff guy. If nothing else, she will certainly be very, very flattered that she is attractive to a boy barely old enough to vote. Carpe diem, pally."
Pointing at me, Cheryl said, "Hey, you haven't really told us what your kink is. What's your hang-up?"
"Oh, that's easy," I replied. "Girls with mohawks. There is something about a girl with a mohawk that drives me nuts, it's the sexiest look a woman can possibly have. I think it goes back to when I was fourteen, and learned who Wendy O. Williams was."
"Who?" came a chorus of voices.
"Um, she was the singer for a band called the Plasmatics. She would show up on stage wearing strategically-placed electrical tape instead of a shirt or bra. She would chainsaw TVs in half during her shows. Yeah, I like tough-looking women, and mohawks are tough."
Jane stroked my arm and said, "Well master, we can take care of that in the morning! We'll find a Walgreen's and buy some clippers. Do you think I'd look good with a 'hawk?"
I looked at her wide-eyed and said, "I think you would look so incredibly hot, I'll probably die from priapism just being in the same room with you. You'll really get a 'hawk for me?"
"Sure. I've thought about it before, but just never bothered. Yeah, I'll be happy with a mohawk, and knowing it makes you that happy will make it very much worthwhile." Jane leaned over and kissed my cheek, then said, "Anything for my master.... Although I'm curious. Does Bekka know about this little fetish?"
"Of course. She offered to get one once, but her heart wasn't really into it, and it would have rendered her unemployable. People think her hair is pretty out there as it is, a mohawk would just scare the shit out of everyone not in either New York, San Francisco, or LA. The tabloids would be declaring that Becky Page's mind had finally snapped, and here's the photographic proof."
"Aw man, I would love to see you with a mohawk!" said Mike. "You guys are taking off in the morning, aren't you?"
I said, "Actually, no. I wanted to show a few of the locations from 'Succubus' to Jane, like Slab City and Gilmore Camp, on the Colorado. Tell you what, come by our motel room around seven tomorrow evening. You can see her new 'do and we'll get some dinner, on me. Sound all right?"
This sounded boffo to the kids. Mike checked his watch and said him and Cheryl had under ten minutes to be home, so they had to run. We all took off, headed back to the Villa.
Biff and Roxanne bid us goodnight upstairs. I told Biff to hold on a moment. Inside the room, I dug in my leather and located a pair of handcuffs, an item which seemed to come in handy at the least likely times. I took the key off my ring, then stepped back outside and handed them to Biff. He looked confused, then the light dawned on him, and he smiled. "You think she'll really want to, uh...."
"Now you can offer. One thing though: if she says yes, she is placing a lot of trust in you. Do not betray that trust, in any way. Set up a safe word beforehand, a word or phrase she can say that means, 'Get me the hell out of these things, now.' If she uses it, you stop everything and grab that key. Mutual trust is a very important thing when you're playing games like that. Never betray that trust."
Biff went to his room, and I went back in mine. Jane had seen me pull the cuffs, but still gave me a questioning look. I said, "Hey, I shouldn't be the only one whose fantasy is coming true in the near future."
The walls of the Villa Motel were a bit thin, and a couple moments later, I heard Roxanne's voice say, "Oh my God, really?" Then things were relatively quiet. Then we could hear a girl's voice softly cooing and moaning, and the phrases, "Oh God" and "Oh yes" being repeated. Jane and I had stripped and were lying on the bed, drinking Miller and smoking cigarettes. We looked over at each other, smiled, and high fived. Then we smoked a bowl and had a nice long tweak and freak session.
The next day, I took Jane on our tour. She was entertained by Slab City, especially with the residents. Slab City denizens are most charitably described as "eccentric." A more appropriate label would be "crazy as shithouse rats." Gilmore Camp astounded her, the juxtaposition of the desert, with all that fresh water running through the middle, seemed unreal on video tape. Witnessing it live blew her away. The proprietor of the camp, a Mr. Harvey Colson, was glad to see me, although rather disappointed Bekka wasn't with me (he was a fan). He asked if I wanted to use the camp again, and I told him that while I was starting to pour a little brain power into a sequel to "Succubus," I had no idea if I would need more river shots. And did he like the movie?
He and the two old guys at the counter affirmed it was a cinematic triumph.... Although it had caused some domestic disharmony in the camp. One of the residents (all of whom were well into retirement age) had borrowed the tape from Mr. Colson to watch in his own trailer. He believed his wife would be away for much longer that day than she was. She arrived home to find her seventy-one year old husband parked on the sofa, porn playing on the TV, and hubby engaged in an activity commonly associated with viewing porn. Apparently the wife had been led to believe hubby's wedding tackle was permanently out out of order, a hopeless cause. It seemed to be working just fine now, at least while hubby was watching Inana girl Feather, our eighteen year old anal queen, take it in the ass from a part-time stud named Andy. From reports, hubby was bodily thrown out of the trailer with his tackle still hanging out of his fly. The wife then took the tape back to Colson, advising him of the medical miracle which seemed to have happened, and to keep his goddamn dirty movies to himself. Hubby appeared several minutes later, asking Colson if he could finish watching the movie in Colson's trailer. "Only if you put a tarp on the floor and sofa first," was Colson's response. Hubby then hopped in his ten-foot skiff and motored down the river, with no fishing gear. He was back forty minutes later, looking more relaxed.
Colson and the two other geezers took in Jane with a mix of lasciviousness and worry. She was in a black sports bra, a red leather miniskirt, black fuck-me pumps, an array of spike bracelets on both arms, and a diving knife strapped to her right thigh. The makeup was missing the patterns of the day before but there was still plenty of it. And, of course, her fresh mohawk. Her hair was about three and a half inches long, and I'd carved the 'hawk fairly wide, about three inches. Still blue of course, it was arranged stiffly into vertical tendrils, held in place with styling gel and my ejaculate. (Don't ask.) Colson asked if she was one of the girls from the studio. "Nope. Well, not yet, anyway. I'm not old enough to work for Inana. I'm going to give it a shot when I am, though, and probably treat it like a part-time gig while I go to college, a bit of extra spending money."
"Are ya gonna look like that?" asked a geezer.
"Of course not. I won't have any clothes on at all when I perform."
Back at the motel, we arrived three minutes before the four high school kids. They were tired, big surprise, and a bit disappointed when I told them no to their request for a few more hits. I explained to them about sleep deprivation and amphetamine psychosis, to knock back a couple Mountain Dews, and let the drug run its course.
"Wow, you really did it," said Roxanne as she looked at Jane's new mohawk. Then she laughed. "If I ran across you on a dark street, I'd run like hell. You look really bad-ass like that."
"I'd only be a threat to your boyfriend's chastity," promised Jane. "So, did you enjoy the equipment Lenny loaned you?"
Latina girls don't blush easily, but Roxanne was getting there. She said, "Yes, I really did. Do you know where I could buy a pair for myself?"
"Keep 'em," I said. "They're serviceable, but they're not cop quality or anything, I think I pay seven bucks a pair at Smut 'N' Stuff in San Diego. They're designed for your purposes, not law enforcement."
"Why do you have them?" asked Biff.
"Restraining overzealous Becky Page fans," I lied. "If some bastard is being a big enough pain in the ass, I'll cuff him to something and ring Johnny Law. Really, what I'm trying to do in those situations is establish that a particular individual has gone from fandom to obsession to stalking. I want a paper trail on the prick, one that will show him having one stalking arrest under his belt. Anti-stalking laws are serious in California, there's so many damn celebrities here they have to be. Unfortunately, my wife is one of them. So, if I get some dude who keeps showing up places and making a pest of himself, I'm gonna bulldog him and cuff him to the nearest solid object. Let him bitch about false imprisonment. Fuck that, I'm performing a citizen's arrest and merely detaining him long enough for the boys in blue to arrive."
"Becky's fans can be really emotionally attached to her, and they've never met her," said Jane. "I mean, she'll hug people --- she likes hugging --- and they'll walk away crying, like they've been touched by Christ or something. Some folks get way too involved in their fandom."
"What about Reverend Fallwood?" asked Mike.
I gathered my best, most patient smile, and said, "I consider the man to be the spiritual equivalent to William Randolph Hearst. Both have carved out fortunes through falsehood, innuendo, and borderline libel. His request that the Moral Militia --- whoever the fuck they are --- mobilize against my wife and my studio is being treated with a lot of gravity. Arrangements to keep Becky very safe are in effect. You wouldn't believe the support we're getting, and who from. In a nutshell? Anyone tries to fuck with Becky Page, they'll be staring down that barrel of at least two guns when they do, and that's not a lie. Becky and her personal bodyguard both carry, as do I, as does the owner of Inana Productions, who's in San Diego in my absence."
"Uh, why did you decide to take off, if you're so worried about Becky Page's safety?"
After a moment to chew on my bottom lip, I replied, "Becky told me to take a little vacation. The stress of dealing with Fallwood, the media, and the expectation of some sort of action by Fallwood's zealots was making me.... a bit punchy. She told me I would be useless if I snapped at some random point and ended up in jail, or in the funny farm on a 5150. So, she instructed me and Jane to pack a couple bags and hit the road for a while, and not think about shit-stirring TV preachers or their minions. What do you know about Fallwood?"
Mike said, "Aw, my grandpa is one of those Moral Militia types. It's not like they're organized or registered or anything, just any dipshit, like my grandpa, can say he's Moral Militia, and buy bumper stickers and t-shirts and buttons from Crystal Chapel and Fallwood. Great, brag about how you think most of the country you live in sucks, because not everyone thinks like you do. Grandpa can't go more than two sentences without going on about the 'secular humanists.' He always is bugging me about what I'm learning in my science classes, 'cos he's one of those Young Earth Creationists, and wants to lecture me about all the lies I'm being taught at public school. Yeah, fuck you grandpa, whatever. He comes over every damn Sunday for dinner. I eat as fast as possible and head for my room just so I don't have to listen him. I mean, jeez, he thinks the Catholics are Satanists!"
I considered this. "Tell me, does he have any Moral Militia friends, people he hangs out with?"
"Um, a couple locally. I guess they're organized a little, he gets a bi-weekly newsletter called 'The Western Dispatch' or something. You can probably guess, you're not gonna find serious Moral Militia types real thick in California, or really anywhere on the west coast, so they communicate through this newsletter. Jesus, the people who edit it would flunk eighth grade English, it's kinda pathetic. Just a lot of hate-rants and.... um..... threats...." Mike trailed off.
All of us stared at Mike. Jane finally said, "You've got something on your mind. Please share."
Looking nervous, Mike said, "Look, it's just a bunch of right wing Evangelist cranks, it's nothing to worry about." He sighed. "Okay, grandpa just got a new one in the mail yesterday. Uh.... He was talking about Becky Page at dinner tonight, going on about how she was a bigger threat to the country than Red China and the former Soviet Union were combined, how she had to be stopped. I kept my mouth shut, I wasn't about to say, 'Fuck you, grandpa, I was partying with Becky Page's husband last night, and he's a good guy.' But I finally asked what he meant by 'stopped.' He's all, 'People will sacrifice themselves to rid the world of that whore. Her days are numbered.' I just nodded and shut up again."
I lit a Marlboro and calmly asked, "How hard would it be for you to steal that newsletter from your grandpa? I'd like to take a look at it."
"Um.... Pretty easily, actually. It's probably sitting on his coffee table right now.... In fact, damn, it's about 7:30 or so, right?"
"7:38," said Biff.
"He's at the bowling alley right now, league night. If you want, we could go and grab it right now. He lives in Heber, maybe ten minutes away. I got the key to his house. Um.... Do you wanna do this?"
"You have no idea how badly I want to do this," I answered.