TylerKnight.com

Tyler Knight
December 1st, 2013 by Tyler Knight

COLLAPSAR

*col·lap·sar  \kəˈlapˌsär\ noun [ASTRONOMY late 20th century: from collapse, on the pattern of words such as pulsar]

1. An elder star that has collapsed under its own gravity.

2. A black hole from which there is no escape.

 

 

The waves of heat rising from the asphalt make the building on the other side of the boulevard flicker like a mirage. I toss glances left and right to time the traffic then walk through exhaust fumes to the other side and through the building’s front doors. Bass drones from a chic-this-week hip-hop anthem. A line of people snakes across the lobby and up some stairs. Without slowing down I jog along side of the line where it leads to double doors. The bass is now a full-on assault.  I cut to the front and flash my neon-colored wristband to the guard who then lifts a velvet rope and I push my way through and onto the convention center floor.

Bodies and booths everywhere.

The booths are decorated with porn company logos and pictures of starlets. Most booths are staffed by bikini-clad girls perching on stools and signing autographs for lines of men. Nurses and schoolgirls and women in hot shorts weave through the crowd selling panties and pictures and DVDs. Hoards of men wander adrift in circles like reanimated corpses with their mouths agape at the circus of flesh gyrating on stripper poles or patrolling the floor.

I turn my shoulders sideways and back the other way as I squeeze through the crowd. A group of elderly men stand around an inflatable Sponge Bob kiddie pool. The pool is filled with oil and girls. The girls wrestle and slither and undulate in the pool like a snake mating ball for their spectators, whose cheers and shouts are drowned out by the thwump-thwump-THWUMP of the music.

On the other side of the melee I see the director who shot the scene in the hospital basement.  The same director who kept me waiting from pre-dawn to sunset before he was ready to roll camera on my scene. The director whose set was a ratshit-and-asbestos-encrusted HVAC unit two stories up where, in my pneumonia-induced delirium, I almost rolled off the edge of and the scaffolding and into a half-gainer so he could get his shot. I gave him what he wanted without complaint. And in turn, he sliced my rate one-hundred dollars because I took longer than he wanted to deliver the pop shot. That c-note bought me a priceless lesson. In life, you either work for your own dreams or you’re a pawn in someone else’s. His eyes meet mine and dart away. I keep walking.

I’m confronted by a towering poster of myself with airbrushed cartoon abs vamping with an airbrushed girl with cartoon parts who is pulling me into bed that wasn’t really there when the picture was snapped. A pack of business-casual cubicle serfs encircles me. Their alpha thrusts a Sharpie and some cocktail napkins into my face. The pack leans in close so their questions can be heard over the music. Their breaths smell like happy hour at Friday’s. They shout questions like, What’s it like banging so-and-so? and, How do I get into the business? and, I got this problem getting hard/staying hard/coming too fast–what should I do?  Alpha Serf shouts, My dick is bigger than yours. If I did porn I’d totally crush it. How much money do you make?

I could tell these guys truths, but I don’t. Nobody who asks about their fantasy ever wants to see the man behind the curtain. So I smile and sign and tell them what they want to hear then push on. Light flashes strobe like lightning above the crowd towards the far end of the floor. That’s where I head.

     #

The red carpet runs between a wall plastered with event sponsor logos and a bank of photographers, journalists, and videographers. The girls stop to pose as they strut along the shooting gallery. Reporters shout. Flashbulbs pop. Sequins sparkle. Dan, the director for the [name redacted] movie, claps my shoulder. With Dan is a couple of contract starlets. One from VELVET and the other from Poison Apple. As we step onto the red carpet, Dan yells how amazed he is that I agreed to present for tonight’s award show. I follow Dan and the girls onto the red carpet. We advance and pose and walk some more. Journalists throw one question on top of the next at us. It’s difficult to tell where the questions are coming from because it’s like staring past the glare of oncoming headlights to see the people inside the car. A female voice cuts through the noise and a French-tipped finger stabs through my night blindness. The voice screams, Hit the “T”, Tyler! I follow her finger to where it’s pointing. A cross marked off in black tape on the carpet. It’s a mark for the photographers. There are nearly as many cameras and lights leveled on me all at once right now as there have been throughout my entire career all together. Flashes burst and pop. I want to squint. With no character or fourth wall to hide behind, I force myself to smile. A sweat drop tickles my forehead but I resist the urge to use the hem of my t-shirt to wipe it. Dan and the girls are way ahead of me. They glide from “T” to “T” and are now at the far end of carpet.

I move to the next “T” mark and smile and answer the same exact questions here as I did on the mark before it. Some of the voices at each tape-marked cross have foreign accents.  A voice asks me, What’s it like living every man’s fantasy life? I smile and tell him to visit my blog.

Fantasy life…An hour ago I ate my dinner out of a laundromat vending machine.  Later, I’ll feed some coins into another slot to pay for my bus ride home with swing-shift workers, the housekeepers, and the vomit-soaked transients. Right now, a Spanish-accented woman who wouldn’t give me change for either if she saw me on the street asks me if I have any message for my female fans in Latin America. I smile some more. When I emerge at the end of the perp walk, my cheek muscles burn from smiling and my lips quiver and there are white spots seared into my retinas.

     #

The awards show is under way and I’m backstage talking with the president of Poison Apple pictures. He’s holding the trophy that I’m about to present for the Studio of the Year award. He thanks me for all the work I’ve done over the years for the studio, including the “Tyler’s Wood” movie, and the post-apocalyptic epic I had the male lead in that won Best Picture at another awards show. I thank him for taking an active interest in my career development.  He tells me I’m to present this trophy with two girls. Arm candy. Heels click on the floor behind me and his eyes look past my shoulder, and he tells me my girls are here. I turn. One girl looks like a teenage Rose McGowan. The other woman is a MILF whom I wrote about in a story I published in a literary journal and on my blog.

Mother fuck!

I don’t set out to write unflattering portraits about anyone. I record human behavior as it happens so that the reader may unpack the details as-is and form their own judgement of character.  Nobody is immune. Especially not me.

Before any of us can speak, the announcer on the other side of the curtain announces our names and the category we’re presenting for, and the girls each take me by an arm and we walk onto the stage and to the podium. People in the audience applaud and cheer. My hands shake as I read a scripted joke. It falls flat because of my delivery, but people laugh anyway. As the girls read their parts, I scan the MILF’s body language for clues or tells. Nothing.

I announce the winner for Studio of the Year, VELVET, and there’s more applause. Some VELVET studio execs lumber down the aisle and onto the stage. Someone snatches the trophy from my hand and the girls take my arms and guide me off of the stage. Backstage again, handlers shove the three of us into a side corridor and into the blinding lights and noise of yet another red carpet. This one for the post-show interviews. Someone yells for us to get closer to each other. Both girls, on either side of me, snuggle up. The MILF’s hand slides from my waist and onto my ass. Teen McGowan coos and pouts for the cameras and grinds her tits into my chest. Fuck it. I cup both their asses as we walk from “T” to “T” and pose for yet more pictures.

When we make it to the end of this red carpet the hugging and posing has devolved into three-way fondling and the pheromone-saturated air I’m breathing has already begun to redirect my blood flow to my crotch but common sense is telling me step away from the teenage-and-MILF pussy combo, and disappear. So, I pry myself away from the women to fade into the crowd, but before I get far, the MILF pulls me by the arm and tells me to program her phone number into my cell. I pretend to do so and I think I’m safe until she tells me to call her from my cell so she’ll have my number also. Maybe it’s my emotions swinging back and forth from fight-or-flight-or-fuck sensory overload–who the fuck knows why–but I do.

     #

Night. My sweat-soaked t-shirt clings to my skin like a greasy film, and the cars slog along the boulevard at a lethargic pace. I wick sweat from my face with the back of my hand, and when I lick my lips a taste of salt dissolves on my tongue. I’m walking to the bus stop when my cell vibrates in my pocket. I pray it’s not the MILF. It’s not. It’s Dan, the director. He wants to know if I want to head to the after party with a bunch of people for drinks. Fuck it. I could use a drink.

     #

When Dan and I make it to the restaurant where the after party is, the red carpet is over. A pair of post-fab blondes whom I could have fucked last week and wouldn’t remember says hello to me and grabs Dan and pulls him inside. They melt into the crowd. I jostle my way into the restaurant, but I’ve lost Dan. A Latina who dyes her hair blonde saunters by. I actually do remember fucking her so I say hello. She sneers. I need some Dutch courage so I head for the bar and order a Stoli, kill it, and chase it down with another. Some crew members come up to me and talk. Someone says he forwarded my BUKKAKE story to his civilian friends. More guys join the group and soon I’m surrounded by pornographers trying to guess who is whom in some of the stories I wrote. Many of them can identify other pornographers by the behavior and character traits, but not one of these guys can recognize himself. Someone puts another Stoli in my hand. The conversation runs its length so I excuse myself and walk the restaurant.

Another male talent walks up to me. We’ve seen each other maybe three times in a decade. Many of the studios that shoot him never shoot me because they never film black talent.  He whips out his iPhone and shows me a picture of my vinyl blow up doll. It’s in bed and looking satisfied while a non plussed and naked girl counts a stack of money. The doll was also on a national TV comedy shows and has been photographed at parties where I’d never get past the velvet rope. My effigy has a half life of 30 millennium. I’ll be dead in 30 years. I ask him to forward the picture to my email. As he wanders off, a Euro-model/actress/whatever in a thin white Lycra dress back lit by disco lights rendering the effect of a human XXX-ray struts up to me, pulls herself in close and drapes her arms over my shoulder. She smells like soap. She straddles my leg with hers and pressing her crotch against my thigh.  The heat from her pussy seeps through my pants leg. Her breath blows hot into my ear as she speaks to me and her accent is crisp and neat like my vodka. Most of her words are swept away into the background noise but the sentiment is clear. My eyes trace a line along the angles of her face…the planes of her cheek bones…the aquiline slope of her nose…those frosted glossy lips and her teeth as white as her dress. She grinds her pelvis into mine as I put my hands on her and I’m running a mental catalogue of every private nook in this place I can take this girl when someone yells, Fight!  The restaurant empties into the parking lot. I take my time finishing the last of my drink. By the time I make it outside the fight is over and I’m left to sift through second-hand accounts. I ask a guy with a Justin Bieber haircut what happened. He says something about a fight between (probably the) only Asian male pornstar and another male talent. Then he grumbles about that bottle-blonde Latina girl who is “…walking around sneering at everyone and acting like a cunt!” I’m trying to discern if these two events are related when I spot Dan waving at me from across the parking lot. There are some contract girls in his SUV. I hop in and we speed off. One of the girls blasts Heart’s “Crazy On You” and the girls all sing along as we enter the 101 freeway on ramp.

     #

‘80s rock blares and the minimalist, post-postmodern bathroom floor is overflowing with water. Some giggling porn starlets pour bottles of Mr. Bubble onto the floor and splash around, trying to make bubbles. Spilled vodka and champagne bottles and room service trays with untouched food litter every surface so I have to stand. Pornstars on the bed. Pornstars on the floor. “Flesh For Fantasy” begins to play and the irony is lost on everyone. A group of civilians whom somebody let in the suite huddles by the hotel room door whispering amongst themselves and pointing. A couple of girls, faction unknown, leads a male talent who keeps drifting in and out of consciousness to a chaise and dumps him on it. One of them mentions some pills he took earlier. People gossip about other people who aren’t in the room, and when a participant of the conversation leaves they gossip about the person who just left. In another conversation a man whom I don’t recognize says the words, My Lamborghini…, louder than the rest of his sentence for the benefit of everyone else to hear. The civilians, having seen enough of their favorite contract starlets and male talent in situ, walk out as Billy Idol claims to sing for culture. I step over people and bottles until I find Dan sitting by the window with a VELVET girl, smoking cigarettes and looking out at the city lights. I tell him I’m going home. He gives me a somber nod, bumps elbows with me and says, Thanks for hanging out. Then he looks out the window again. As I’m turning to leave, VELVET girl says, You better not write about tonight!

I push my way through the crowd and out of the door and it clicks shut behind me. Quiet. I walk along the stark white hallway trying to chew off my Borealis-colored wristband but I give up. At the elevator a couple my parent’s age glares at me with contempt.

Outside the hotel the streets are silent and the air is thick and wet.  A bus approaches. I board it and feed some coins into the slot. Brown faces stare up at me. There’s a sheen of perspiration on everybody’s skin. No empty seats, so I stand and hold onto a pole. The bus is full but nobody talks to anyone else. I shut my eyes and feel the bus sway.

     #

I tap the ID badge tethered to the lanyard around my neck on the panel next to the double doors. There’s a beep and a click and when the doors open a whoosh of cold air hits my face. I go through the doors and enter the trading floor: an open space filled with cubicles sprawling the length of a football field. Flatscreen TV monitors tuned to CNBC Business hang from the ceiling every few paces. I pass row after row of workstations. It’s still early, but many workstations are manned by people dressed in business casual tethered to their computers by headset cords and talking to clients. One woman paces back and forth up to the extent her leash allows her to, waving her arms as she makes a point. At another row, a man crouches under his desk so he may be heard over the din. A pair of men in oversized bowling shirts  passes me without making eye contact. Internal corporate security. Their shirts hide gun and handcuff rigs attached to their belts. They talk to nobody, and in turn, we pretend they aren’t there.

People in a rush to log in to their workstations ignore me as I walk along the aisles. Every morning I show up to work at my day job selling commodities, there’s a risk that somebody at in the firm will recognize me. There was already a close call with the Fed-Ex guy in the courtyard last month. Thank God he caught himself. There are hundreds of traders on this floor. Someone will recognize and out me. Matter of time.

In this job market I can imagine the legions of hopefuls who’ve applied for my position. Most of the brokers on the trading floor earn enough to be among the privileged 1% each year. Many earn that sum in any given month.

They gave me a battery of personality, aptitude, empathy, logic, and ethics of tests, as well as pass comprehensive background and criminal checks to get hired on. During the interview I caught an upside down glimpse of the aptitude test scores. Probably intentional by the interviewer. Apparently I’m a psychopath. They hired me anyway.

As a trainee I have performance quotas to meet, and graded on metrics which become more difficult. Half way through the training program a fellow trainee was rolled out on a gurney with an oxygen mask strapped to his face.

I sit in my pod and log on to the intranet trading system. Intranet, because we’re disconnected from the Internet on the trading floor. Aside from the suit on your back, nothing you weren’t born with enters or leaves the trading floor. Not a pen nor a scrap of paper. Cell phones are locked away. Violation of this rule means instant termination. After I log on I pull up my client list. There’s a few hours until the 9:00 meeting, so I make some calls.

     #

8:59 AM. The flatscreen TV monitors switch from CNBC to an internal feed. It’s time for the daily corporate propaganda meeting.

One of our corporate officers holds a microphone and paces back and forth and shrieks, “Good morning and happy Monday, everybody! Hope you had a good weekend! Time to get back to work! Let’s read the top ten producers for Friday. You had to earn at least $3,800 to make it to the top ten for the day…Coming in at number ten, from the new class, Erik Robinson earned $3,847 on Friday! Way to go, Erik!”

I get a round of Monday morning golf claps from my co-workers.

The trader next to me says, “You don’t seem very pleased.”

“It’s a corporation. They’ll put me on a throne today, and tomorrow I’m justifying my seat in front of a committee.”

The executive on the flat screens continues. “Coming in at number nine on Friday, earning $8,095…

     #

I’m eating lunch in the outdoor courtyard with some other trainees, listening to them brag about their weekends.

McNally is saying, “…Tompkins and I took those two skanks–remember the girls that–”

“Yeah, we remember. They were in the parking lot,” Cortez says, “Go on!”

The other trainees stop eating and wait for McNally to continue. He takes his time, enjoying the attention.

Tompkins jumps in. “You shoulda seen Mac! He talked those girls into a–”

McNally holds up his hand, cutting Tompkins off. After a sip of his Perrier he continues. “So, sixty seconds after we get those whores back to our room, I’m in the quasi-hot one’s asshole–no kissing, no pussy fucking. Straight to the A–while Tompkins is trying to convince the horseface bitch that the piss spot on the front of his pants is just spilled beer–”

Laughter erupts around the table.

McNally continues, “So, I’m pulling an ATM when–”

Cortez says, “What’s an ‘ATM’?”

“Ass-to-mouth. Jesus, you gotta get out more, dude–”

One of the senior account executives, A Megan Fox look-a-like, walks by our table. All the men stare at her ass.

Levinson says, “Oh my God, did you see her ass?”

“That’s the greatest ass I’ve ever seen in my life!” Tompkins says.

The Fox look-a-like turns around and catches the table staring. She scoffs and continues on.

“Eh, that’s nothing,” McNally says. “I’m getting a girlfriend experience from this porn chick whose ass is–”

“Wait, what?”

“What? What ‘what’?” McNally says.

“A ‘girlfriend experience’.”

“Are you fucking kidding me, Cortez?” McNally says. “How can you not know these things? These porn chicks…they hook on the side, but they make you wear a condom. But most of them, if you toss a couple bills their way, they’ll fuck you bareback. That’s the girlfriend experience. Business is slow so they’ll do whatever they can to make ends meet–”

Levinson asks,“Why would you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Fuck a porn chick bareback?” Levinson says. “Those girls have diseases.”

McNally sighs. He says, “Nah, dude, they test for everything like once a month. Besides, condoms fucking suck. It’s cool.”

Levinson says, “Erik, you’re always so quiet? What did you do this weekend?”

“Went out for a few drinks. Nothing special.”

“You get laid?”

“Nah.”

McNally says, “Hang out with us next weekend. We’ll get you laid, dude.”

          #

The contract starlet sits in a chair playing with her pussy. She says, “You wanna put that big black cock inside this tight white pussy, dontcha?”

I’m sitting in another chair and stroking my dick. “Sure.”

“I wanna feel your mahogany in-sida-me sooo baaad!”

This contract girl has requested me for the scene. But we’re on opposite sides of the room masturbating. This is the only way she will do an interracial scene. Under no circumstances will there be any physical contact between us. I sit two paces away from a flesh-and-blood porn star, but I’m rubbing it out to the memory of a civilian, the Megan Fox girl at my day job.

The director gives the signal for dual climax, so the contract starlet intensifies her masturbation and fakes her orgasm. My  turn. The camera aims at me, so she gets on her hands and knees to show me her ass for visual stimulation. Her ass looks a bit…off. Then I see them under her cheeks. The scars from ass implants. I close my eyes and focus an image of the day job girl’s real ass.

I pop.

     #

Ken, the photographer for the scene, and I sit at the kitchen table. The contract girl is at the table, too.

Ken says, “I heard you’re off of the Viagra. That couldn’t have been an easy scene. Good job, Tyler.”

“Thanks, man. These past few scenes without drugs…it’s like learning how to perform all over again.”

He nods. I stab my fork into my salad and put it in my mouth.

Ken smooths his hair back and slides a baseball cap on backwards, “I’ve never seen this business so segregated. It’s ridiculous.”

“You think it’s getting worse?”

“Yeah. I mean, who’s left from your generation of black male talent? You, Pawn…Darkus…Rex?”

“I had my day in the sun.” I say.

“Yeah, but then there are scenes like this one. Across the room with no touching? Seriously?”

The contract starlet’s fingernails click across her iPhone, texting. If she’s listening, she doesn’t seem to care.

“The business is the the business.” I say. “Knowing that, you can either chose to accept it for what it is or you can do something else with your time, because it will never change.”

The girl gets up from the table and leaves the kitchen.

Ken says, “The people in porn sure do change. I shot Vagina Jones the other day…What a fucking nightmare.”

“I’ve heard the stories…”

“She was such a sweet girl before…”

“Before she won all those awards?”

“No,” Ken says, “No, she was still cool after the awards. It was when Lucius screwed her over. You hear about that?”

“Uh huh. It was on that mainstream film he directed, right? I know them both…It’s hard to know what to believe, really.”

“Well, yeah. It was a slasher film…but yeah. Lucius is actually going to film school. He has these ideas on how he can change the business.” Ken laughs. “Want to know what Lucius  is doing now?”

“What?”
“I heard he’s filming girls getting pies thrown in their faces, then fucked.”

I laugh. “Well, there you have it.”

We sit in silence.

I say, “Have I changed? I mean, for the worse? You’ve known me for years.”

He takes a bite of his salad and pushes it aside. He says, “I wouldn’t say I know you, Tyler. You never open up to anyone. But yeah, I’m sure you have. Hell, I know I’ve changed too. Man, Vagina was such a nice girl…”

“Yeah.”

Ken says, “I always tell my friends back East…you know the ring, Precious, from LORD of the RINGS?”

I nod.

“I tell my civilian friends that this business is like Precious…It slowly corrupts everyone.”

     #

There are three giant birthday cakes in the break room. Once a month the firm buys cakes to celebrate everyone who has a birthday during that month. I’m pouring hot water for tea. Megan Fox, next to me at the counter, is surrounded by men. She’s eating what looks like raw meat.

A man attempting to open up conversation with her says, “Ha ha, is that horse meat? What are you, French?”

She ignores him .

She says to me, “Hi.”

“Hi.”

Smiles.

“No cake?”

“Nope. None for me.”

“Are you on a low-carb diet?”

“No. I’m not hung up on my weight.”

“That’s refreshing.”

Another man interjects himself into the conversation and says, “You look awesome, Jill.” He shoves an offering of cake at her. “Here, have some cake, ha ha ha.”

She ignores him. He gives up and takes his slice of cake and leaves. It’s just Jill and me in the break room. I need a spoon for my tea, but I have to reach over Jill to search the utensil bin for one. I say, “Please excuse me.” and reach for the spoon.

She laughs.

“What?”

“You’re so polite.”

“I didn’t want to be rude and reach over you and your food.”

She squares her hips off to mine and tilts her head back and gives me that look that women sometimes give me. You don’t have to be a master poker player to figure it out. Fuck. With my double identity, this situation has HR trap written all over it.

She says, “You can handle my things anytime.”

…as my hands rip her blouse open and buttons fly every-which-way and her breasts tumble out. I suckle one, then the other, then I hike up her skirt while I fumble in the utensil drawer. I cut her panties off with a spork and lift her up onto the counter and taker her on top of the cake. This ruins everyone’s birthday…

She laughs and says, “…I meant my food. You can move it as you see fit.”

I smile and look away.  Not going to take the bait.

She uses her eyes to devour me the same way I’m used to doing to women. It evokes a  sense of vulnerable exhilaration, like skydiving and stepping out of an airplane at 12,000 feet and knitting your parachute on the way down.

She says, “What’s the matter. Are you married?”

“No. Respectful.”

What the fuck? What’s going on?

“So, Erik.” Her eyes narrow to slits. “What did you do before this? Where do you come from?”

I have an answer prepared for this question but I’m drawing a blank. “Uh…nowhere.”

“You had to come from somewhere. Come on.” She grins and whispers, “You can tell me. It will be our secret.”

“I was a stockbroker.”

“What firm.”

“It was a boutique you probably never heard of.”

“ ‘Was’? What happened to it?”

“Uh…”

She extends her hand. “I’m Jill. Nice to meet you, Erik.”

Jill leaves me standing there, holding my tea cup.

     #

I say my lines, “It’s time to go,” and I walk down a hallway and out the door.

The director says, “Cut! That’s a picture wrap for Tyler Knight and Lance Sachs.”

This was a non-sex role, playing the president in an end-of-the-world disaster movie. In this movie, an asteroid is on course to collide with the earth causing an extinction level event. The script says this apocalyptic day  of reckoning is November 11, 2011. My real life 40th birthday. In this movie, Lance Sachs had a non-sex role also as the Joint Chief of Staff.

As Lance and I are heading to wardrobe to change, a blond, Calvin Klein model-looking kid orbits us. The kid, porn’s next generation of male talent, asks us questions about performing and asks for any advice we may have. Lance is patient and answers every question.

I say my goodbyes to Franco; jennifer and her partner, and others on the crew. Part of me is glad these people are here because I’ve already decided to take an indefinite leave after a decade of doing nothing but working in the business–which is why I snagged a day gig–and you never know what may happen in life so that you may never see people again. I’ve kept this decision to take a break to myself until today.

The director, says, “If going straight doesn’t work out, you always have porn to fall back on.”

The cameraman, adds, “You spend eighteen-hour days on set with the same cast and crew years on end, you become a dysfunctional family.”

The way this business corrupts people, the Decadent crew is one of the few cliques that has managed to not fuck each other over.

Lance asks me if I’m ready.  We leave the studio and drive off into the night.

     #

“But you’re a legend.” I say. “You’ve got to be a hero for every man that would interview you.”

Lance takes a deep drag and blows smoke out the car window. “There in lies the problem.” he says. “Those kids who saw my work, they’re sitting across the desk from me and they’re thinking, ‘There’s no fucking way I can hire this guy. If something happens, like an HR problem, it’s my ass.’”

The Mercedes glides onto the freeway on-ramp. This time of night, the nearest car going our direction is a red dot of light ahead of us.

I say, “So, you’re out? For good?”

“That divorce fucking crushed me. When my directing and performing contract with Decadent expired there was nothing keeping me here. Getting as far away from the Valley is the best thing for me. Away from all kinds of bad shit…I’m happy…I’m healthy, now. Besides, I’ve got business interests going. I’ll be just fine.”

“That’s fucking great.”

The lane lines glow white under our approaching headlights and disappear one after the other as we pass them.

“You got a woman?”

“Amanda…been together ten years.”

“That’s a long time. She in the business?

“No. Civilian.”

“Uh oh! Possesive?”

“Not in the least.”

“And you’ve made it work for the entire time you’ve been in the business?”

“Yeah…she took me in on the wrong side of a nervous breakdown and despite everything…AIDS scares…remember the HIV outbreak of ‘04?”

“Uh huh.”

“I was first-generation exposed and she…I put her life at risk so many times and I fucked up so many different ways and she never gave up on me. She…”

My eyes sting and I tilt my head back. Then I look out the window and watch exit-ramp signs lit up in a void of black nothingness pass by my window.

Lance whispers, “We’re damaged goods, bro.”

We exit the freeway and merge onto traffic on Ventura Boulevard, the main artery of PornValley. We pull up to the hotel and park and a valet gets behind the wheel and drives off. Lance and I stand a car’s width apart regarding each other.

I say, “What are you gonna do?”

He’s silent for a while. Then, he says, “I’m staying in Utah. Maybe start some kind of business. Then after that…shit, man, I don’t know. You?”

“I’m going for it. I’m taking a break and I’m going to I finish my book.”

He smiles. “Good for you, bro. Good for you! Listen to me, Tyler. A break is a good start, but, whatever happens…whatever happens, you get out of this business while you’ve still got something left and don’t look back. Don’t come back. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for Amanda. She’s waited long enough.”

I shrug and nod.

“By the way,  my real name is Erik.”

He laughs.  “I know. I’m Elliot.”

He crosses the distance between us and offers me his hand. In all these years of bumping elbows, I can’t remember anyone who has ever offered me his hand to shake. I take it.

I say, “Nice to meet you, Elliot.”

“What the hell, I’ve known you a decade, right? Good luck with the second half of your life.”

While still holding my hand he  pulls me into a hug. He lets go and lights another cigarette. “We were the best in the world at what we did, Erik. The experiences we’ve had…nobody can ever take them away from us.”

I watch him walk through the hotel’s double doors.

The bus is coming and I have to run across the street, dodging traffic to catch it. I feed some coins into the slot and find a seat. Then I text Amanda.

Me: I’m taking a break.

Amanda: Really? You promise?

Me: Yeah.

Amanda: I’m so proud of you! Te’ amo!

Me: Te’ amo, mujercita.

     #

It’s Friday. This week saw America’s credit rating downgraded for the first time in history. The equity markets are in turmoil and the precious metals markets broke new record highs.  When I exit the building I check my cell phone for any missed calls that came in during the day. Two texts. One text is from Frank, the director of the scenes when I strangled a girl with an iPod cord then titty fucked her corpse, and also the scene when I got blown by my baby sister.

Frank: How’s my favorite psychopath? Are you avail–”

Delete.

The next text I missed is from a director who wants me to reprise my role as Tyler Wood and bang some mistresses for some French porn magazine.  I text him back.

Me: No.

Delete.

If you want to take the shortcut out of the office building complex you have to walk by a restaurant’s outdoor patio. It’s happy hour and a group of senior traders sit at a table with some expensive-looking women. Dane, one of the senior traders, waves me over. He introduces me to everyone, and everybody says hello except one man who leans back in his chair with his arms crossed. He’s got an expression that says, “What’s that smell?” on his hang-dog features and his clothes appear three sizes too big. He reminds me of a pissed-off Humphrey Bogart.

I say, “Hello.”

When Pissed Bogart speaks, his voice surprises me so much I think it has to be a joke. It’s the voice of a whining six-year-old. “What exactly do you do here?”

“What do you mean?”

Dane says, “Erik’s a new account executive. He’s got skills. He made the daily top ten a couple times.”

People at the table congratulate me. Pissed Bogart stares.

Dane says, “I see you met Jill. Stay away from her, Erik. She gets one new guy from each training class fired.”

“I figured as much.”

Pissed Bogart says, “What’s with the twelve-hour work days and the suits? You trying to impress somebody.”

“I’m compensating for my small penis.”

Laughter around the table.

Dane says, “You come up with that just now?”

“It’s old material. This is just the first time you’re hearing it.”

Pissed Bogart says, “I used to wear suits every day and come in early. But now that I’m a senior trader I don’t have to. I come and go as I please and I still made over a quarter-million dollars last year. What did you do last year?”

“Porn.”

More laughter.

Pissed Bogart says, “You think you’re clever?”

“No. Excuse me, gentlemen.”

I leave.

I’m waiting at the bus stop when a van drives by. On the side it says, “Better to be a somebody for a day than a nobody for a lifetime.”

The bus arrives. I board it, feed some coins in the slot and take a seat.

END.

 

November 25th, 2012 by Tyler Knight

Dissolved Man

 

I’m sitting at a kitchen table listening to a pimp explain to me the Interracial Rate practice in porn, how he can charge more money on behalf of his client to work with a black man (and get it), is not racist. Because it’s just porn. I nod and smile.

I could say, I won’t do the scene with your client because she’s a Jew. And as of now, I don’t work with Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, or Xenu-worshiping Scientologists. But if I did, I’d charge extra money. Let’s call it my Inter-Faith Rate. And this won’t be discrimination because after all, it’s just porn. But I don’t say this. I don’t say anything.

Porn pimps charge a service fee from the studio. Then they charge a service fee from their client. Sometimes, they charge the client other fees: a housing fee if the girl stays at a “model house” with other porn starlets in his stable, and a driver’s fee to shuttle the girls back and forth to set. As the economy shrinks, government agencies ratchet down, and piracy runs amok, studios and directors go bust all the time in Porn Valley. Even the talent pool struggles to earn a living. But the one segment of the porn industry that continues to thrive among the carnage is the porn pimp. The pimp never has to shoot a single frame of film, and he makes money whether the video sells one unit or thousands. It’s the same strategy Levi Strauss used during the gold rush of 1849: mine the miners. By selling supplies to the miners, Strauss made money whether they stuck gold or not.

There’s one particular agent in the Valley who spiked his flag at the top of the flesh pile. The Vulture-pimp. Like the vulture, Nature has evolved him to be bald so that the tainted meat he feeds upon doesn’t stick to his head. Vulture-pimp has cornered the market for most of the top-level girls, and he does not hesitate to pull girls from shoots or slap lifetime bans on talent, directors, or even entire studios from access to his stable.

Vulture-pimp seldom visits sets. Instead, he sends his two envoys, Emissary Fear and Emissary Greed, all over the Valley, even to sets where he has no direct interests. Regardless of how people feel about Vulture-pimp, he is efficient and keeps his relationship with everyone he deals with as all business. He is the most powerful man in Porn Valley, and because of fear, he stays that way without breaking a sweat on his bald head.

The species of porn pimp perched across the table from me, however, is not so evolved. He’s reputed for sampling the meat he purveys, often getting disease stuck to his plumage, tainting his stock and himself.

The stills photographer and the director enter the kitchen. The director says the pretty-girl stills are done. He tells me I should get ready because she’s now doing her “girlie things” (douche, enemas, birth control). I drop a Viagra and chase it with a Red Bull right there in front of everyone, making no pretenses of hiding it. Then I walk to the set.

#

Kino-Flo diva lights focus on a sofa. This is the set for my scene, the scene that took place before mine, and the scene before that. There’s a musk of sex in the air. It has the woolen sweetness of a fresh-turned field of topsoil and manure. I give the sofa a few passes of Lysol until the surface is nice and wet. You learn to carry Lysol with you when you’re sick of mystery lesions appearing on your skin the next day, or antibiotic-resistant staph chewing holes in your flesh. I wait for it to dry. I wait for the Viagra to make my dick feel heavy.

The director and my scene partner, a Milf, enter. The director says, Action, then aims the camera at her. She closes her eyes and does a dance, but it’s not a dance for anyone present in the room.

I squint my eyes, softening her wrinkles for a glimpse of what she was like at her apex: She was new to the business, signing autographs for fans at her booth in Vegas during her first porn convention, giving fans who’ve lusted after her all year their first glimpse of her. That night, a team of hair and makeup artists fussed over her. She stepped out of the elevator and crossed the casino floor. Hips swung, men stared. Her body, a weapon, severed thoughts and sentences before their first full stop. Out of the casino and into the waiting limousine that zipped her down the strip to the red carpet of the award show. Fans and photographers fought for attention. Flash bulbs popped. Later, awards in hand, she bounced from limo to club to limo, never once having to bother with money.

As the night continued, the number of people in her orbit increased. With each appearance, she generated angular momentum the way a figure skater draws her arms in close to increase her spin velocity. Or like a collapsing star.

The director, holding the camera with one hand, tosses a dildo at her with the other. It lands on the pleather cushion with a slap, snapping both her and me from our conjured-up private fantasies. What’s before me now is the tragedy of an Ingres left to crack and fade in the sun.

She flops onto the sofa, smears lube on the dildo, and plunges the phallus in and out of the rent between her legs with the enthusiasm of unclogging a toilet. I let a few moments pass before I step into frame. The scene begins. No clever dialogue filled with double entendre or sexual innuendo. I open my fly and let the cock loose. Nobody tells her to sink to her knees and put it in her mouth. Nobody has too. Both of us have played these roles many times before.

After she does me, I go down on her. She tries to kiss me. I stop her. I turn my head and her lips slide across my jaw. Some girls I kiss, others, no. Kissing is personal. Never mind the fact that I just rimmed her asshole. Whore logic.

We both press “play” on our pre-recorded outbound messages: I pant, she moans. I sit on the sofa and she mounts me cowgirl. Our bodies meet but neither of us are in them. I go to my fantasy land. God knows where she goes. Every three-point-five minutes we switch into a new sex position without being told. Our whore clocks are well-tuned. My fantasy plays out: Today, it’s Libyan thugs gang raping a journalist who resembles my mom. What the fuck is that about? The rest of the scene plays out in silence.

#

The scene is over and she’s talking to me…something about the end of the world prophesied to come in a few weeks, but I’m not really listening…Instead, I’m staring at what looks like a cigarette hole burnt into her hoodie…What must it be like for a woman to live with power over men rivaled only by God for the first third of her life, build her identity over her looks, only to feel it slip away as time tumbles by…feel the shift in how people treat her, as though getting old is a contagious affliction? Maybe it is. Shit, at mid-life, what do some of these girls–girls that weren’t even born when I was their age–see when they look at me? Do they squint their eyes to imagine me at my prime? Less fat? A bit more hair? Doubt they even see me…Fuck, the scene ended ten minutes ago, and I’m still winded. I know why.

The woman says something about how nice I am, and how nice I treated her, and how very nice it was working with me. She mumbles something about picking up her kid. She hugs me and leaves with the pimp. I wait for a few minutes. Then I step out the door and disappear under a sky the color of wet flannel.

#

When I wake up the next morning, I go to the bathroom. It feels like I’m pissing shards of broken pottery. Chlamydia. Again. Which means Amanda has it. I can’t count how many times I’ve got the clap over the past decade. That, and Strep, Staph, warts (those have to be frozen off), ringworm, pink eye.

She tells me, This is getting old, and, How my work choice is endangering her health and even her life, and, from now on, I either wear a condom on set or I can forget about sex with her.

I tell her that wearing a condom on set, with the exception of maybe two studios, is not an option. It would be career death. She reminds me of the time I had unprotected sex with an HIV positive girl, then came home to have sex with her. How we both took batteries of HIV tests for months on end. How I risked her life and she stood by me anyway. There’s nothing I can say. She’s right. Always is.

I got a supply of Zithromax on hand from a stocking-up trip to Mexico–you learn to do that, too–and I self medicate. Amanda tells me she’ll see her doctor for an exam tomorrow. Can’t say I blame her. About anything. Every time we make love there’s the chance of a second-hand disease invading her body. Anything I say about continuing to risk her health—-her life–is nothing but a rationalization.

She’s not speaking to me, so I grab a book and head to the Starbucks on Vermont and Prospect. It’s the only place where I can read or write without interruption since Amanda moved her mother and her mother’s boyfriend into our one bedroom home.

So, Tim, the coffee shop’s Cliff Clavin who loves everybody and everybody loves, is there having a discussion with the other regulars. When Tim sees me enter, he walks up to my seat.

He says, “We got him.”

Who?”

Osama Bin Laden is dead.”

No shit?”

Tim sits in the chair next to me. “Yeah, our special forces team raided his compound and took him out. Looks like all is right with the world again.”

I say, “Too bad some Internet prophet is predicting the world is going to end soon.”

Tim laughs. “You believe that nonsense?”

I shake my head. “Of course not…tell me about Osama.”

#

I’m on my back, lying in a pool of sweat that oozed from the pores of three different people and some girl is riding me cowgirl, fucking me while some dude rims her asshole at the same time. On each up stroke his tongue caresses her taint, micrometers from the back of my shaft. I can feel his breath on my balls when he exhales. The girl bucks and brays. Every time the man’s tongue misses the girl’s asshole the wind from his tongue as it fans the air close to my dick. I grit my teeth and fuck.

“LICK MY ASSHOLE!” the girls says to the man.

And to me, she says, “Pound-me-with-that-black-cock! Don’t stop! Don’t stop! Don’t stop! Don’t–”

Before every scene I drop a Viagra. Every scene. It didn’t always used to be this way. Before, it was only brought to set with me as insurance but the pill seldom left my pocket.

“–stop! Don’t stop!”

But this was before 2008. Since 2008, if you’re male talent, you’re only as good as your last scene. Profit margins are thin, and studios don’t have the chips to re shoot a failed scene if the male talent can’t get it up.

Don’t stop! Don’t stop!”

All the awards you’ve won in the past, and all the relationships you’ve fostered throughout your career mean fuck-all, because chances are, the people you’ve won the awards with and bonded on set with are gone. So for the last couple of hundred scenes, I dropped a V.

“I-love-black-black-cock-I-love-black-cock!”

There are no real directors entering porn anymore. No skilled lensmen to replace the ones who get sifted out through attrition. What you’ve got now is a kid who was flipping a skateboard just last week when some studio gets him on the cheap and puts a video camera in his hand.

The ass licker says something. The fuck if I know what he just said. Have you ever felt the baritone vibrations of a man’s voice resonating near your crotch?

Porn is a video game. You are not a human. You’re a character. But once you clear the level by getting the scene in the can, you never progress to a new level. It’s the same Goddamn level, the same Goddamn scene. Over and over and over again. And with new male talent who shoot their cocks up with Caverject in lieu of a learning curve, you cannot fail. Ever. So you gobble that magic pill, power up, and keep the ghosts away.

“Don’t-you-mo-ther-fu-cking-stop!”

Today, if you haven’t already guessed, is a cuckold scene. Husband and wife have marital issues. The usual: he’s white and only Negro cock can satisfy her. But when I read today’s script, I dropped a second V.

The script originally called for the hubby and the wife to “make out on the black man’s cock” and “reconcile their marital woes by feeding each other dark meat.” I don’t play that shit. The script was changed. Now, the scene calls for hubby to get as close as he can without actual contact with me. If I had a third V, I’d have dropped that one too.

The director makes a looping motion in the air with his pointer finger. Time to switch positions. Hubby lies on his back, then the wife lies on top of him, also on her back. His head pops out over her shoulder. This new thing…this two-headed, four-armed beast with tits parts its legs and watches me with anticipation. I squirt lube in my hand and give the cock a few back-hand strokes to keep it up then I position myself between two pairs of legs. Hubby gives the wife a reach around and rubs her clit. Then, he pries open her vagina for me to penetrate. Her innards are pink. His knuckles are hairy. Four eyes gaze into my face. I fight instinct and fuck it. In my mind, I’m plunging a stake into the heart of a monstrosity that shouldn’t be alive, yet is. As I thrust hubby grinds upward, in effect fucking me vicariously through the wife. His lips part as he stares into my face. I’ve had this look directed at me many times before…overt and unbridled animal lust…but almost always from women. He rubs the clit as I fuck.

Sweat from my forehead trickles into my eyes and burns, and drops of sweat fall, splattering onto the wife’s chest. She’s oblivious. She shudders as wave after wave of orgasms surge through her. Her foundation melts and her mascara runs in rivers down her cheek. She’s melting under the set lights, and I’m cooking away in a reduction of my own perspiration.

I’ve had about enough of this. Time to go to usual mental triggers to block out this eight-limbed Hindu demon and get myself to the where I need to. After a thousand scenes, ejaculating, for me, is mechanical. It’s as erotic and as personal as a sneeze.

I pull out and the wife drops to her knees and hubby drops to his knees next to her. Both of them, side by side with their faces angled up, mouths agape like ravenous baby birds. He’s in the line of fire, but there’s no stopping the tide. I soak them both.

I flick my cock, flinging a drop of come in wifey’s face. Once. Twice. On the third fling, hubby nudges her aside and catches it in his open mouth. His eyes roll back to slits of white and a torrent of ecstasy washes over his face. My stomach flips and folds inside my chest. The camera is pointed at them, so I jog the bathroom and hover over the toilet. I dry heave into the basin. The sweat from the sofa soaks me to the bone.

When I return to set, the girl is clean and dressed. Hubby has my dried come on his chin.

The director and the stills guy tells me how great a performer I am, and someone congratulates me for my nominations for Performer of the Year for both the TLA Awards and the Urban X Awards. I’m tying my shoes and pulling on my t-shirt as someone comments how they wish I was the male talent for the earlier scene, because the guy for that scene was high and couldn’t fuck, wasting half of the day. I’m not up for conversation, but when John, the lighting guy, wants to chat about a mutual friend, David Aaron Clark, who died of a heart attack last year, I snap out of my funk and sit. And we talk. Turns out, neither of us have resolved losing him.

#

I’m in Starbucks, having a conversation with Tim when a girl stops in front of our chairs.

Tim says, “Maria, this is Erik. Erik, this is Maria.”

“Hello.”

“Hi.”

Tim says, “Maria is great at reading people’s body language. Erik is a writer and he’s really smart.”

She smiles. I smile.

I open my book and read. But as they talk, I re-read the same sentence over and over again.

Maria says, “…and it’s really annoying that every guy I meet tries to get into my pants.”

Tim says, “Well, if it was the right guy and you like the way he looks, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind helping him with the zipper.”

She giggles and hides her face in her hands. Jesus, a woman’s giggle…cool water bubbling from a spring.

“Maybe not,” she says.

It’s no use pretending to read the book, but as soon as I set it aside I regret it.

“Well, what about my friend, Erik, here?” Tim asks. “You like how he looks?”

She says, “Yes!”

“You see that, Erik?” Tim says. “You see how fast she answered?”

“I…I…uh…ha ha…”

Tim says, “Well, that was easy. What are you two waiting for?”

Maria and I both let out a nervous laughs. The girl is blushing and turns away, and my blushing would be obvious, too if my skin wasn’t dark. Tim smiles wide. He’s really enjoying this.

Having enough of Tim’s good-natured torture, Maria says goodbye and skips away.

#

Everyone in the house sleeps. Nobody is snoring. This is a rare moment of quiet, so I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to read without ear plugs. Then it happens. A hot and dull stabbing sensation pierces my chest. This is followed by a great squeezing, like a white-hot vice grip. The book slips from my fingers. My pulse thrums through me as though my entire body is a sub woofer.

Bang ba-BANG bang BANG BANG bang bang bang!

I tell myself to relax and that this will pass.

BANG!!! ba-BANG BANG!

It’s not passing. Two people in my livingroom…Amanda’s sleeping right next to me. I may as well be on Pluto.

BANG!! BANG!! ba-BANG!!

My heartbeat pound in my toes…my finger tips…my eyes…my teeth…my ears.

How do you bargain with a God with whom you’ve got no rapport…A God that you’re certain you’ve got nothing he wants? Instead of pleading, my thoughts go to the absurdity of the moment: One instant, I’m a rational thinking man, a member of the human race reading the thoughts of another thinking being. The next, all thought fades…I just am. A panicked insect, alone and stripped of humanity, an animal that cannot run. The veneer of humanity painted over our instinct is thinner than you’d think.

ba-BANG!! ba-BANG!! ba-BANG!!

Salt drops well up in my eyes and pile onto each other until my vision is blurred, like looking through a frosted window at dawn.

Just as soon as it all started, it stops. The rumbling in my chest fades like a train that has just passed and is now a mile away. My mouth is dry, and my entire body is numb and tingles like a hand that’s been slept on.

It came and went. The entire thing was so…sudden. Human thought returns. Amanda still sleeps. I just lie there and contemplate it all. You’re a gazelle in a herd drinking from a still pool when jaws spring from the water and grip your chest. There were other animals bathing right next to you, but you’re the one plucked from the herd and dragged into the water. It takes you deep and twists you so that up is down is up. Then, the crocodile lets go.

I brought this upon myself. When you abuse any prescription drug you take your health in your hands. The prescribed dosage of Viagra for me was 50 milligrams a day. At the peak of my career when I worked three scenes a day, I took 300.

The first time this happened to me, I lived in denial. Who the hell thinks they can have heart problems in their thirties? Since then, I live with doom. When you look at it from the perspective of my state of mind as of late, maybe it’s the Universe giving me what I asked for so many times over the past few years…A way out…Until now, I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to survive this…I mean, really, what’s the fucking point? The only joy I get from life is during those rare bursts of energy when I write and paint for days on end, sequestering myself from society while I create, often forgetting to eat. These burst are always followed by much longer stretches when I can’t get out of bed, let alone sit up to reach the keyboard or a paintbrush…My mind is my enemy hell bent on my annihilation. I’d give all of the highs back for a taste of normalcy.

And no, I never sought medical attention–for either affliction. Before you judge me, I’m one of millions–millions–of the working-poor class of Americans with no health insurance. As such, we tend to avoid seeking medical care until it’s too late.

It was well after the first time my heartbeat was on the verge of critical mass when I told some friends: Justin, a physician; Jeff, whose father was a cardiologist; another friend named Derek who escaped from porn purgatory; and my brother. It’s not easy being my friend. Just ask any of the above people. I avoid social situations, often lying my way out of birthdays, drinks, bowling, or hanging out with the guys to watch pay-per-view fights. It’s not unusual to go months, even up to a year without as much as a text message from me, and when you do see me I’m not really there. Who knows why I even bothered to tell the people I told, but I did. Maybe I really don’t want to die and T.S. Elliot is calling my bluff by showing me a handful of dust.

I told all those people, but I never told Amanda. You think it’s tough being my friend, try loving me. How would she feel that I told others before I told her? How would she feel if she learned of my affliction by reading this sentence. I wake her and tell her.

140,000 people that are here today won’t be tomorrow. Who is next in line? Maybe it’s the dad you shook hands with at PTA last night, or the person who held the elevator for you this morning. James Franco? Fidel Castro? I was a Boy Scout camping in the Shenandoah Mountains when one frozen and snowed-in night in the woods Mr. Capazolli, one of the scout masters, was cooking sweet-smelling sausages for the kids. Then he dropped dead in front of us. Just like that. It was as though someone flicked a switch. At an early age I realized I’m in the same line. So are you. They say the average man thinks about sex every seven seconds. Death perverts my thoughts.

#

The next day I write out my will. Then I print a copy of important contacts and put it in my wallet, and take a walk. I don’t have a destination planned, I just need to get out of the house and think. Decisions are made. Have to lose weight. I can never take Viagra again. Ever. No matter fucking what.

My first stop is Skylight Books. Then I walk down the street to Starbucks and look to my usual chair. It’s empty. I sit.

Soon I notice how quiet it is in the store. Bud, one of the regulars, walks up to me and stops in front of my chair.

Bud says, “Tim died yesterday.”

I say, “Are you sure? I mean…I mean…how? I just spoke to Tim two days ago.”

“He was in his office last night. He had a massive heart attack.”

#

The camera man films Jasmine Embers masturbating on a sofa. It’s a live feed, as opposed to DVD, meaning, you log onto the web cam site, pay the fee, and you get to see everything in real time right there on your computer. You can even type in comments to the performers, which they can answer back. You can help the girl pick out her outfit, tell her how to masturbate, and if there is male talent present, you can direct the scene, telling them how to screw.

Jasmine goes through the commands of the viewing audience, as barked out to her by an off-camera woman who reads them from a laptop. I wait off camera, next to the barker, stroking myself to keep the motor running while I wait my turn to step in. Jasmine is one of perhaps four black girls I’ve even seen on a set, let alone worked with, in the past few years. Jasmine would be my female counterpart in porndom. I first met Jasmine way back when I was a contract star. We were both on set paired up to work with other people, but when I saw her, time ceased to exist. Never has a woman triggered such a primal and visceral response from me. Never. She was the Golden Ratio expressed in flesh and breath. I had to have her. Whenever a major studio has a need for an acceptable black couple, we are always paired together. Black talent are by no means a plurality in the adult industry, but there are certainly more than just a handful of us. (Plenty of other talent should get a chance to work for the upper echelon studios, not just the same six of us.)

Over the past decade, whenever Jasmine and I see each other, we fall right into step. Like we’ve got our secret club: her and me against the porn world. She was the girl who played my little sister in the MOST UNCLEAN story. No matter what happens, we’ve got each other’s back. She requested me to work with her in today’s scene.

The girl’s pre-game warm-up is over and the barker taps me on the shoulder and I step in front of the camera and go to the girl. Today is to be the first scene attempted without Viagra in…God, I couldn’t tell you how long. This is a failed scene before I walked in the door…even before I woke up this morning. Not because of the girl. We’ve worked together dozens of times before and Jasmine is one of my favorites. Not because of the lack of drugs–well, not entirely. I am on set physically, but I’m just not there. I’m not really anywhere lately. I’m a Polaroid developing in reverse.

The blow job goes well. I manage to keep focus on the girl and the sensations from what she is doing to me. My dick stays up. The barker conveys a command from a viewer for us to switch to doggy style. The girl gets on her hands and knees–my God, what an ass this girl has–and I position myself behind her and insert. It doesn’t take long for my erection to wilt. After fumbling around in her vagina, I roll off her and walk off the camera. Jasmine picks up the slack by resuming her masturbation, and the camera stays on her.

Franco, the camera man, whom I’ve known a very long time, looks at me and frowns. He taps his finger to his temple, meaning, It’s in your head, dude.

I nod to the affirmative. I take a Tyler moment, then step back into frame. Jasmine takes me into her mouth but it’s no use. There will be no more sex from me today. I can only imagine that the fans viewing my live and real-time implosion are saying. The barker spares me the reading of their heckling.

The barker goes up to Franco and whispers in his ear. She then holds up a dry erase board with the message:

 

FAKE A POP SHOT IN HER MOUTH, AND STEP OUT OF THE FRAME!

 

Jasmine, still thinking of saving the scene (and me) says, “You can do it. If it helps, just pretend that I’m a white girl or a Latina girl or something.”

It breaks my heart that right now she believes my problem of not being able to perform is because of her. That she believes I don’t find her, the ne plus ultra of my feminine ideal, attractive enough because of the color of her skin. Our skin. That my struggling through this scene is my passive aggressive way of stating a preference of lighter skin and my boycott of black women. I want to tell Jasmine if we met under different circumstances, and if I wasn’t with Amanda, I’d move heaven and earth to make her mine. But we didn’t meet under different circumstances. And I cannot say any of this. The things left unsaid to people we care about, and the void those unspoken words leave, often have more impact that what is said. I take what the Universe has dealt. A true professional, Jasmine looks chipper for the always watching camera, but I know better. The weight of her sadness grows in the space between us. I wish I was dead.

She drops to her knees and I howl as I deliver a fake pop shot into her mouth. She then lets saliva dribble down her chin. Isn’t ejaculate of course, but the camera doesn’t linger on it long enough to tell the difference.

When the camera cuts, it severs the connection between Jasmine and me. Franco packs up his camera equipment. Jasmine gathers her clothes and dresses in silence. I watch her slide on her underwear. Then her jeans and her boots. I stop watching her so I can dress myself and then I go into the director’s office.

The director, now sitting behind his desk, asks if I can finish out one position and pop for the DVD version of this scene. I tell him there is no way. He lets out a sigh, then slides my check across the desk toward me and says that he will keep me in the rotation and give me another chance later, if only by my reputation alone, but the next time I have to deliver a pop shot.

This is not true. I will never see this man again. That’s the way it is. My success ratio for scenes has to be 200:1. This is my first failed scene since the summer of ‘09 after I crawled blinking like an evicted shrew from LA County jail and a month-long Stoli binge.

He’s asking me what the problem was. This is the part where many other male talent, caring only for self preservation, place the blame on the girl, the heat under the lights, choice of lube, the sofa, Fibonacci numbers, anything rather than to take responsibility. They beg and plead to the director to keep them in the talent rotation–and to keep their failure silent from the industry lest they be banished to mope purgatory. But when you no longer give a fuck, you have freedom.

I say, “Jasmine is awesome, and this scene, in terms of difficulty, was a lay-up. I had an off day.” I slide the check back to him and say, “I didn’t earn this.” I don’t offer an apology, either. I just leave the house.

The sky is black. The air is warm. I’m walking down the driveway, thinking I should go back inside and find Jasmine and hug her and tell her how sorry I am, and that my failure had absolutely nothing to do with her. But I fear it may come off as a “Hey baby, it’s not you, it’s me.” cliché, so I keep going. I’m walking when something pushes against my thigh and a thousand sharp pains spear my crotch. This time it’s not Chlamydia. I walked into a cactus. I laugh and laugh and pluck the quills from my groin and thigh. A car passes, and the woman inside glares at the cackling black man in her neighborhood who is laughing and fussing with his crotch.

#

I get a text for a booking. It’s a re-shoot of a scene for jennifer dragon (spelled with lower-case letters), the contract star and director for Decadent Pictures. She directed me in something last month and wants more footage. Decadent is the only condom-mandatory studio in the porn industry. Its stance on condoms, proving porn’s long-standing “nobody buys porn with condoms” paradigm wrong, is commendable. They put talent’s safety first, and it takes balls to make a stand.

Not every male talent can work with condoms, however. Under the stress of a porn scene, when time and money are on the line, condoms make the job infinitely more challenging because at minimum, it reduces the sensation that may keep you aroused and in the moment. This, and the couples and female friendly, woman-empowered content they shoot demands male talent who are fit and attractive, and believable as choices for the females in their films. As a result, the list of Decadent’s approved male talent is shallow. These things present two problems for me. One: I just failed a scene since swearing off Viagra, and with a condom-only scene, what are my chances of success? Two: I put on a few pounds over the past few months.

I read the details: call time, location, wardrobe, then text back, confirming my availability. When I re-read the date is the 21st, Armageddon Day, I laugh aloud.

#

Today is Doomsday and I’m sitting on jennifer dragon’s sofa. My girl for the day is off doing her girlie stuff and the other cast and crew are sitting around me talking. It’s an equal mix of men and women, and most of us have been friends for years. It’s relaxing–even comforting to see some familiar faces–Mindi Hunt and Erin Masters. While the conversation goes on, I’m actually adding to it now and then. Sure, I’m aware that I don’t have a Viagra on me, how can I forget, but it’s not a great concern at the moment.

The conversation drifts from gossip to the prevalence of performance enhancing drugs in the business. How many of the top level guys won’t/can’t perform without them and the new generation with their Caverject injections. I’m silent while this conversation is going on, but after while I speak up.

I say, “I’ll share something with you guys. Back when I was working at a clip of twenty or thirty scenes a month, I’d take a Viagra every once in a while…Mostly days when I’d do two or three scenes scheduled for the day so I wouldn’t fail any of them. Aside from last week, I can’t remember when I didn’t pop a V before a scene…That’s a lot of fucking pills. Anyway, I’m fairly certain I’ve had at least two heart attacks over the last year. At minimum, there’s significant damage done. If I take a Viagra today, you’ll have a snuff film on your hands.”

Someone laughs and makes an innocuous joke to break the tension, and the subject changes. I like these people.

When the girl returns, she goes through pretty girls on a white sofa next to a crackling fireplace. She’s all legs and smiles, and while she poses, the men on set are transfixed.

Someone asks me, “What are you gonna do with all that?”

“Braid her hair and ask her about her day.”

Laughter.

When the stills are done I take my place next to her on the sofa. My mind starts fucking with me. It screams, WAIT! You can’t perform without Viagra! Remember last week? You’re gonna FAIL!

The crew takes their place and someone yells, Quiet on set. The cameras are pointed at the girl and me. The boom mike hovers above our heads.

I point to the fireplace and say, “You guys ever hear of Richard Pryor and Michael Jackson? Never put a black man’s hair next to open flames!”

Laughter.

Jennifer calls, Action! The girl leans over and kisses me and the inner voice shuts up and the scene begins. We complete the scene, with condoms and no Viagra. The scene goes without incident.

#

I’m at a burrito stand with Ken, a screen writer who was a philosophy professor in a past life. Some girls take too long gathering napkins at a dispenser near our table. They try to be subtle as they stare at Ken. The way women react to Ken has to be seen to be believed. It’s as though he’s a Disney character and girls are woodland birds that eat out of his hand. He acts oblivious, but I’m sure he misses nothing.

Today, we meet to trade books. I give him a copy of JOURNEY to the End of the Night, a rare book for me in that I’ve read it more than once.

Ken takes a few bites of an enormous burrito. I don’t eat. My diet as of late consists of fresh fruit and grains. We catch up to what we’ve been up to. He tells me about a philosophy book he’s working on. Then I listen to another idea he has for a children’s book.

I say, “Shit man, that’s a great fucking idea. This would go right over kids–and for that matter, most adults heads, but you could go Nabokov on the colors thing–”

“Nabokov was a synesthete–”

“Yeah!” I say. “Your idea is fucking brilliant.”

“Thanks, man.”

Ken, in between chewing, says, “Every story you’ve given me to read for my opinion, I notice the same Nihilistic theme.”

It’s not so much an intent…I’m just trying to figure shit out.”

Ken says, “There are modern-day Buddhist monks that spend a lifetime discovering newness of the bell.”

“What’s that?”

“They empty their minds…When you hear a stimulus…like a ringing bell, it’s great, but each successive time you hear it, the effect of the bell’s beauty is less. These monks, they meditate so that each time they hear the bell, even after a thousand times, the bell has the same newness of the first time they heard it. The effect is bliss. Bliss every time.”

I consider this for a few moments. I say, “So, it’s a discipline…”

“Yeah.”

“A lifetime discipline.

“Pretty much.”

A woman, walking a Pomeranian, slows down as she passes our table. This is her second lap around the burrito stand. Ken winks at her.

I say, “Fuck that. You’re trading one sacrifice for another. And the stimuli are still the same. It’s still the same bell.”

“But it’s not the same. By definition, everything in life, no matter how mundane or meaningless, is a new experience, Erik. Each moment that passes has never been and never will be again.”

Tell that to Prometheus…or Sisyphus.”

Ken says, “The rock Sisyphus pushes up the hill is a bit different each time. His thoughts while toiling with the rock are different. He is not the same man pushing the rock.”

“You’re right. Each day, there’s a bit less of him doing the pushing!”

Ken doesn’t say anything to this. He smiles at me, then gets up from the table to talk to the lady with the dog. When I figure it out, I smile too.

 

 

October 28th, 2012 by Tyler Knight

ATTRITION

 

*attrition \ə-ˈtri-shən\ [Middle English attricioun, from Medieval Latin attrition-, attritio, from Latin]

1: a gradual reduction in numbers as a result of resignation, retirement, or death.

2: the act of weakening or exhausting by constant harassment, abuse, or attack.

3: repentance for sin motivated by fear of punishment rather than by love of God.

 

 

 

 

ATTRITION

 

 

Julio and I are putting two MILFs through the paces on a pet-stained sofa when an effeminate pimp and an androgynous pixie enter the set. They stand off camera in silence, watching Julio and me work. Pixie girl hikes up her skirt, pulls her panties to the side and fingers herself.

Flea, the director, acknowledges the pimp and his girl’s entrance with a silent nod and continues filming. He pushes the camera in for a close-up with one hand, and mimes a motion that resembles shaking dice with the other: pop at will. Julio looks at me and we exchange nods. We’re ready. We dismount from our women and stand shoulder to shoulder, stroking our dicks. The MILFs sink to their knees in front of us and angle their faces upward. Julio and I pop together.

Flea says, “Cut. Hold for stills.”

Flea has swapped his video camera for a digital stills camera. The camera flashes as he snaps pics. When he’s done with the stills, I pick some dog hairs, glued in place by lubricant, off my dick. The MILFs leave and the girl that came with the pimp replaces them, kneeling before us. She wraps her lips around my penis and works on me until I’m erect again.

Flash!

Flea checks the shot he just took on his camera’s screen. “Who’s the girl?”

Femme Pimp says, “Eris. She’s street legal: her test is good through the end of the month.”

Eris switches to Julio. She sucks him to get him going while she strokes me.

Flash!

Flea says, “Who’s she shot for?”

“Alpha Man, Red Assholes Films…just a handful of scenes. It’s slow for her, so I’m taking her around on sets for some go-sees to help her out.”

I sit on the sofa and pull Eris on top of me, cowgirl. She’s not the best piece of ass I’ve had but whatever, she’s there. If you see a five-dollar bill on the sidewalk you’ll pick it up.  Julio sits next to me and pushes her head into his lap. Flea orbits us, pointing his camera.

Flash! Flash!

“I’m finishing up this MILF CHOCOLATE movie,” Flea says, “and then I’ve got BROTHAS LOVE PHAT WHITE ASS. She doesn’t fit into the lines I’m shooting right now. What about Gideon Roads? Maybe he’ll throw her into a bukkake.”

Femme Pimp says, “Already tried. He’s not interested. Don’t you have a blow bang coming up?”

Flea sighs. “I guess. What’s her rate per scene?”

The pimp quotes a sum that a would be insulting for a mope.

“Cut that in half, and maybe…”

The pimp points to Eris, bounding on my dick. “Come on, look at her fuck!…Hey, you wanna try her out yourself?”
 Flash!

“I’ll pass.”

Julio gets up from the sofa and leads the Eris by the hand down a hall. I follow them to a bedroom, and when Julio opens the door a team of dogs and cats run past our feet. When the last beast has exited I pull the door by the handle and it creaks shut behind me. Eris climbs onto the bed and gets on her hands and knees. Julio mounts her. After a while we switch off and I mount her.

The door creaks.

Flash.

  #

As I’m parking my car, I notice the brakes feel soft and I make a mental note to get them checked. The driver’s side door doesn’t lock, but nobody’s going to steal a rusted-through car with a carburetor. It’s the end of a workday, consisting of two Viagras and, including Eris, five girls on three different sets. The reek of pussy, ass and sweat clings to me the way cigarette stench lingers on a chain smoker’s clothes and fingertips. I’d have preferred to shower after last scene with Julio and the MILFs, but my clothes are infested with dog hairs and set grime (When was the last time you saw porn stars stop to fold their clothes? Never, we rip them off and toss them on the floor.) so it made no sense to clean up only to put them back on again for the drive home. I feel greasy. My pores feel clogged, like I’m suffocating through my skin.

Home for Amanda and me is a duplex on a hillside cul-de-sac of Melrose Hill. Named one of L.A.’s ten best neighborhoods, you could live your entire life in the city and never know this tree-lined oasis exists. No traffic. Neighborhood children’s laughter sparkles in the air as they chase after the ice cream truck. The fact that Amanda and I don’t live in the Valley was a conscious decision to compartmentalize my work, and keep it away from our home life.

When I enter our home, I leave the front door open behind me and take a moment to open some windows.  A breeze sways the curtains, and light from the setting sun fills the space. Our sofa, dining room table and bookcase all bask in the golden light.

My mail is laid out for me in a neat stack on the table. Bills. Checks from different studios. An envelope from my bank. Inside it is a check from a studio and letter stating the check has been returned for insufficient funds. I scroll through contacts in my cell phone.

“Good afternoon, Sexual Deviants Studios, Kiran speaking. How may I direct your call?”

“This is Tyler Knight. Let me speak with Alex Kidd, please.”

“Regarding?”

“A bounced check.”

“Please hold.”

While on hold, I read more of the letter. The bank will charge a returned check fee to my account.

“Alex isn’t available, but he said to just go ahead and redeposit the check.”

“My my bank charged me a fee, and I want to be reimbursed.”

“Go ahead and redeposit it, and we’ll mail you another check to cover the charge.”

“Fine.”

Amanda calls to me from the bedroom, and I go to her. A parti-colored bowling shirt, wrapped in dry-cleaning plastic, hangs from the bedroom doorknob. Date night. Amanda is buttoning up a matching bowling shirt in front of a mirror. She catches me in its reflection.

“Te amo.”

“Te amo.”

I walk past her and into the master bathroom without stopping to hug or kiss her, and she makes no attempt to embrace me. Shower first; a protocol we never break.

Amanda enters the bathroom, but keeps her distance. “You smell like cat piss.”

“Yeah.”

“How was work?”

“Not going to talk about it.”

“You never want to talk about it.”

I kick off my shoes. “Correct.”

“Why?”

“‘Why?’ You know why.”

“How are we supposed to have a normal relationship if you never want to talk about anything?”

My clothes weigh me down like spilt crude on a baby seal’s white fur. I peel off my shirt, pants, socks and underwear, and stuff them into the hamper. “We talk about everything, just not my work. You know that, so stop asking me.”

Amanda glowers at me as I pour a cup of blue mouthwash and gargle. I swish the minty alcohol over my tongue and teeth. It has a pleasant burn inside my cheeks.

She says, “This is not healthy, Erik.”

I spit out the mouthwash and foam fizzles in the sink.

I say, “I don’t want to bring that shit home with me. What we have together is the only normal thing in my life, and I’m not going to poison it.”

She scoffs and points to my clothes rotting away in the hamper.

I say, “Can we talk about this after I take a shower, please?”

“Whatever.”

 

I pin the shower knob to “H” and steam thickens the air. I lather up, rinse, and lather up some more. With some pumice scrub, I excavate the muck that has seeped into my pores. Next, I soap up the fingernail brush and scrub the left hand, then the right. Then I work some dandruff shampoo into a lather, scratching it into my scalp with my fingernails. It has a cooling menthol tingle and scent, so I let the foam sit in my hair for a while. I place my hands on the wall, lower my head, take deep breaths as the hot water massages my neck and back.

Looking down, I see Amanda’s scrunchie on the tub sill…I don’t want to fight with Amanda, and she doesn’t want to fight with me…She wants just wants to feel involved. Loved.

 

Clean clothes, including the bowling shirt, are laid out for me on the bed.

I say, “I’m sorry.”

“I know.”

“You hungry? Let’s go eat first.”

She smiles. “Okay, but it’s got to be drive through. I can’t be seen with you in that shirt, ha ha.”

We hug, then kiss. Her lip gloss tastes like green apples.

As we separate, something about my ear catches her attention. She picks something out of it. A dog hair.

#

I’m walking towards the Bon Voyage motel in the Valley. The motel has a reputation as a house of ill repute. Entire apartment buildings along this stretch of the street serve as drug dens. I used to live on this block, and because of an incident years back, I could have died here, too.

 

An LAPD cruiser on the other side of the street flashes its lights, cut across four lanes of traffic, and drives up the sidewalk in front of me. The doors fling open and two screaming police officers rush out, aiming their guns at my chest.

It only takes about four pounds of pressure to pull a trigger, firing a gun and sending a bullet into its target. Anyone with firearms training knows that you never place your finger inside the trigger guard unless you intend to shoot. Both cops approach me with their fingers inside the guards, wrapped around their triggers.

One cop screams, “Get on the ground! Now!”

The other cop contradicts his partner’s command, “Don’t move!”

The normal range of my voice is bass. In an attempt to sound less threatening, I raise its octave and make it resonate from my nasal cavity rather than my chest. “Could you make up your minds, please?”

“Put your hands on your head, turn around, and get down on your knees!”

I do.

People walking on the other side of the street look at me and point. Cars slow down to get a better look at me.

A cuff bites into my wrist, my arms are twisted behind my back, another cuff snicks into place around my other wrist. Hands push me forward and I fall onto my face. A knee digs into my back, pinning me in place.

The cop that cuffed me asks, “You have ID on you?”

I measure each word. “In my wallet, sir.”

“Any needles or sharp objects in your pocket?”

“No.”

Hands dig into my pocket and free my wallet. The information on my ID are read off into a walkie talkie.

The cement has scrapped my cheek and it stings. I’m probably bleeding but I don’t dare move. I keep my cheek flush with the sidewalk. At the end of my nose, a colony of ants rips apart a caterpillar that’s too slow to get away. Farther down, a cigarette butt burns down to ash.

After a moment, there’s chatter on the walkie talkie.

A cop says, “This ain’t him.”

The other cop says, “You sure?”

“Yeah, wrong guy. Cut him loose.”

The knee in my back lets up, cuff are removed, and I stand.

Red and the blue alternating lights from the police cruiser strobe across their faces. Their name tags say: Borjas and Madero.

Borjas reads my More Than Waffles t-shirt and says, “I’ve been meaning to try that place out. Is the food any good?”

I don’t respond. My hands are at my side, my is posture is slumped. I control my breathing, and remain still.

Borjas shrugs.

Madero says, “Let’s go.”

They walk back to their squad car with its still flung-open doors.

The first time the cops drew their guns on me I was fresh off the plane, standing at a bus stop in front of the college I was attending.

To the LAPD, if you look like me, you’re a criminal, ipso facto. Whenever you’re stopped by the LAPD while walking, it’s:

1) “Yes, sir, no sir.”

2) no direct eye contact.

3) hands out of pockets and no sudden movements.

If you’re stopped while driving, include:

4) hands at ten-and-two on the steering wheel.

5) look straight ahead.

6) do not move.

You must be accommodating to the police while they reach inside your chest, rip out your humanity and dignity–sometimes at gun point–and discard them on the sidewalk, and at the slightest perceived provocation, close the book on your life.

It’s the 21st century, but I don’t feel free…Certainly not free to enjoy many mundane things others take for granted, like an evening stroll without concern of the predators in navy blue enforcing a de facto curfew…Always wondering, Is today the day I don’t make it back home to Amanda? It wears on me day after day, week after week, year after year. Trapped in–and by–my own skin. I want to scream.

“Hey!” I say, “Are you two going to tell me what that was all about?”

The words have left my mouth before I realized I’ve shouted them. I don’t care.

Madero pauses behind the driver’s side door. There’s the LAPD decal with “to protect and serve” printed in cheerful font on the door.

Madero says, “Yeah. My man, you almost got shot.”

He shuts the door. The flashing lights cut off and they speed away.

 

Eris answers the door after the first knock. Rashes cover her skin and her clavicles jut through the fabric of her dress. She smiles, revealing yellowed, film-covered teeth of a medieval Englishwoman. How the fuck could I have missed these details last week. I didn’t miss them. She’s changed.

She steps aside, allowing me to enter her motel room. Mismatched furniture. Thrift store paintings hang askew on the walls. Threadbare blanket on a mattress. Nicotine-stained curtains, drawn shut. You could cross the room in two paces.

I say, “Are you okay?”

She scratches the back of her hand, then picks at a scab. “Not really. I finally got a scene last week, but Reginald–remember the guy who was taking me around to sets? He has my money and his cell phone is disconnected.

I’m so sorry for having to call you, but I’m all by myself here and I can’t pay rent and I don’t know what else to do.” Her eyes lower to the floor.

Earlier today I did a scene and they paid me in cash. I give the money to her. “This should help for a while.”

Eris looks up at me, smiles and hugs me. “Thank you.”

She falls back onto the mattress, peels her panties off and opens her legs. There are sores around her vagina. “I have an itchy pussy but you can still fuck me. Oh! Don’t worry about the cream, it’s just Vagisil…Do you have a condom?”

I say, “No, I don’t, I just came here to help you. Besides, I know what it’s like.”

She picks at a scab on her inner thigh. “Ha ha, how could you know what an itchy pussy is like?”

I force myself to look at her eyes, not her crotch. “No, I uh…I’ve been in your situation before.”

“I was kidding, Tyler.”

“Oh. Sorry.”

Eris says, “I can suck your dick if you want.”

“No, I’m cool.”

She pulls her panties up and folds her hands in her lap. “Can you just…sit with me for a while?”

I’m a fish caught on dry land thirsting for the sea, but there’s a sadness desperation in her eyes. I capitulate and sit on the bed next to her.

“Okay,” I say. “For a little while.”

She stares at her hands. I fixate on a stain on the curtain that resembles a two-headed donkey. Neither of us speaks. Eris places her hand in the space between us, palm up. A clear gesture for me to take her hand in mine. I don’t. She retracts it.

I look to the door.  Amanda and I agreed that I do what I must to keep the bills paid, as long as it’s confined to set.  Amanda’s trust in me is absolute. God knows, I haven’t been perfect–just being here is a violation of her trust. It feels as though something heavy is hanging from my brow…pressing down upon my shoulders…pushing my face down deep into this sagging, piss-soaked mattress, and each breath is harder to draw than the one before it. A police car passes by the window. Its lights paint the ceiling red and blue as it speeds by. I walk to the door and open it.

Eris calls after me, “You’re the only person in the Valley who doesn’t try to take advantage of me. You’ve got a kind heart, Tyler. You’re a beautiful snowflake.”

The door clicks shut behind me, and it’s all I can do to keep from breaking into an all-out run. In the lobby I pause at a trash can, take a condom out of my pocket and toss it in. At the heart of every snowflake is a grain of dust.

#

Amanda wakes me with kisses, and we make love. I wait for her to climax, then I roll off of her without climaxing myself. I’ve got a full day and it’s important to save it for the camera.

We got time before either of us has to be anywhere, so dress and take a walk together through Griffith park. Our favorite place is Ferndell trail, a lush nook with a bridges that cross a rolling stream. Sunlight cascades through a canopy of giant sequoias. Dragonflies with stained-glass wings flitter in light. We sit on a bench, and listen to water falling over rocks.

#

Usually my call time is set up so that by time I walk on set we’re ready to roll camera, and I jump right into the scene. I dropped my first Viagra of the day on the drive over.

When I enter the house I notice the lights aren’t set up, the video equipment is still in their boxes, and plastic bins are scattered across the floor.

Flea and Trisha Marie, my scene partner, are sitting on some bins. Flea stares at his cell phone. Trisha, still dressed in her street clothes, is smoking a bowl of kush.

I say, “We running late?”

Neither of them responds.

“Hello?”

Flea looks at me and says, “Daniel’s test came back positive. He has HIV.”

“What do you mean, positive? I thought he was still shooting Brazil with Alpha Man the Elusive Scoundrels crew…”

“They came back, and he took his HIV test a few weeks early.”

“Shit…did he get infected over there?”

“Nobody’s sure yet, but probably.”

Trisha pulls out a prescription bottle filled with kush from her jeans pocket, and starts re-packing her bowl.

I say, “How’s he taking it?”

Trisha says, “How the fuck do you think he’s taking it, Tyler?”

Trisha makes room for me on her bin and I sit next to her.

I say, “Alpha asked me if I wanted to go on that trip, but Amanda said no way…That could have been me. Anyone else from the Elusive Scoundrels crew infected? Alpha? Mitch Adams or Malik?”

Flea says, “No, they’re clean.” He shakes his head. “I feel terrible, man. Daniel is a such good guy.”

“Yeah.”

Trish passes the bowl to me. I take a hit and hold the smoke in my lungs. I offer it to Flea, but he waves it off. I take another hit and pass it back to Trisha. Flea goes back to staring at his phone, and Trish and I pass the bowl back and forth. A wave of euphoria washes over me and there’s a tingling sensation in my teeth.

Trisha empties her bowl and scrapes the resin with a car key. She says, “I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but…”

“Right,” Flea says, “What do you guys want to do?”

Trish says, “I’m already here. Let’s fuck.”

I shrug. Flea stands, opens the plastic he was sitting on, and pulls out the rape kit.

#

The scene is over and I’m driving on the freeway, talking to Amanda on the cell phone.

She says, “Is anyone else infected besides Daniel?”

“Nobody knows yet.”

She says, “And people still shooting?”

“I guess. My scenes for tomorrow are still on, and I’m still booked solid next week. Nobody canceled.”

“You’re going to cancel your scenes.”

I say, “That’s a lot of money, babe.”

“Are you fucking kidding me? Don’t be an idiot. You’re not working until everything is figured out. Not until it’s known whom he worked with since he came back from Brazil…this is exactly why I didn’t want you to go on that trip. Those putas over there are nasty, and you can’t tell me they test the same as you do here in the States.”

“Yeah…I’ll be home soon.”

“Te amo.”

“Te amo.”

#

A few phone calls placed to others in the industry reveal a few details: Magnanimous Adult Industry Medical, the adult industry’s HIV/STD testing center, has released Daniel’s real name to the general public; M.A.I.M. also set up a quarantine list for the people who have worked with Daniel since his return from Brazil. This list is posted on the Internet for all to see; Porn industry message boards are filled with rumors, half truths, fear mongering, and blame. Everyone from industry members to fans has their opinion, but nobody knows what’s going on.

I’ve been spending the past few days hanging out at home with Amanda. Right now, she out grocery shopping and I’m playing an online game of Counter-Strike.

My phone rings. It’s Dana Divine. I log off and answer.

“What’s up, Dana?”

She says, “Remember Eris, that girl you and Julio had fun with on Flea’s set?”

“Yes.”

“Daniel worked with her before you fucked her. She’s HIV positive–”

I feel like I plunged through thin ice and into a freezing lake.

“–you need to retest right away, and–Tyler?”

I say, “Yeah…yeah, I’m here. Are you’re sure?”

She says, “Alpha Man shot her with Daniel and Mitch Adams right when they returned from Brazil–I think it was a double anal cream pie scene. The quarantine list just got updated. It says she’s positive.

Anyway, Flea took some pictures of you and Julio having your way with her. Flea shared the pictures with Alfred and I saw them, so that’s how I know you’ve been exposed.”

Flash!

“Thank you for telling me, Dana.”

“Just so you know, Alfred posted pictures on the Internet of you fucking her. I told him not to, but he never listens to me…”

I say, “I gotta go, Dana.”

This has to be a mistake…confusion about what’s going on…

I Alt/Tab away from Counter-Strike and log onto the quarantine website. The list is a chart of sorts. Daniel’s name is at the very top as “Patient Zero.” Below his name are the names titled “First Generation”, people who have had direct sexual contact with Daniel. Now, there’s a “Second Generation” list of people, those who have worked with the first generation, adding scores of people to the list. Eris’s name, like Daniel’s, has its own branch.

This can’t be happening to me. This isn’t real. Okay, relax, calm the fuck down and think…Wait, she did seem different when I saw her last…thinner…those sores! But, that can’t be from HIV…could it? There’s no way she’d be symptomatic that fast…right? What the fuck do I know? Nothing. Fucking HIV…Why me?

The girl who answers the phone at M.A.I.M asks for the names of everybody I’ve had sex with since my HIV exposure. It’s impossible to remember everyone because of the sheer volume of work I’ve been getting lately, and even if I could, I don’t know all of their names. Often times I don’t bother to ask the names of everyone on the scene because I don’t care. I can’t think straight, and after I give her a few names I draw a blank. We schedule an appointment for me come into M.A.I.M. tomorrow morning to retest tomorrow.

Amanda…We had unprotected sex many times since my exposure. Goddamn it! What do I know about female-to-male transmission? What are the odds of me getting HIV from Eris, then me giving it to Amanda? What’s the incubation period? From what I understand, it’s extremely difficult for a man to get infected through vaginal sex with an AIDS infected woman. A lot of good those odds did for Daniel…assuming he got it from a woman…I don’t know a damn thing about how he may have been infected. If it turns out that I’m HIV positive, I’ve put Amanda’s life at risk the same as if I took a loaded gun, spun the barrel and put it to her head. Christ, the only thing she’s guilty of is loving me. I’m probably fine, so she’s fine, too. No need to panic, I’ll just wait until more information comes out.

I call Amanda’s cell, but I hang up before it rings. I need to tell her in person.

#

M.A.I.M’s office is on Ventura Boulevard near a coffee shop and a pet store. There’s a series of concentric circles, the M.A.I.M. logo, painted on the office’s blacked-out windows. Inside, you could easily mistake the reception area for that of a dentist office.  The waiting room is full. People talk, but it’s mostly gossip about who’s dating whom, and which upcoming parties are worth attending.

I stand in line and wait. When it’s my turn, I tell the girl at the front desk who I am, and that I’ve been exposed to HIV. None of the other people in the reception area reacts to what I’ve just said. Conversations continue. I’m invisible. The receptionist gives me a clipboard with some forms, and I hand her my driver’s license. The forms include spaces for personal information, the types of tests I am taking today (HIV, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia), and a waiver of privacy so that my test results may be disclosed. My hands shake as I write, so much so that I have to ask for a second set of forms. When I’m done I hand the clipboard back and she gives me a plastic cup, which I take into the bathroom.

I fumble with my zipper, and it takes concentration to steady my aim so that my stream makes it into the cup. I screw the lid back on the cup, wash my hands, and splash some water on my face. After drying my face with some paper towels, I look in the mirror above the sink for a glimpse of my reflection. It’s not there. Panic crashes into me like an Arctic wave and I take a half-step back before I remember it’s not a mirror I’m peering into. It’s a sliding-glass window to pass urine samples through, and on the other side is laboratory space. I compose myself and leave the bathroom and head for the blood-drawing stations.

The blood-drawing stations are located in private rooms. I sit in the chair and roll up my sleeves for the nurse. She gasps when she sees the scarred-over craters in the crooks of my elbows. The holes are right at the spot where a junkie would shoot heroin, and they are large enough to push a pencil through. She doesn’t ask. She composes herself and ties a rubber tourniquet around my arm. The nurse swabs the area with alcohol and stabs at the scar tissue with a needle, but it does not penetrate the scar tissue.  I make a fist and a vein bulges on my forearm. She stabs the vein and the needle glides in easy. Blood spurts into the collection tube, and it starts to fill.

 

The scars inside the crooks of my elbows are souvenirs from my homeless days when I needed money for food. I sold just enough life blood to stave off death. Whole blood is made up of red blood cells, white cells, and plasma.  They only let you sell whole blood once every few weeks because your body needs time to regenerate its lost red blood cells. When you donate, your identification is shared in a database so you can’t game the system by going from center to center before enough time has passed. It takes weeks for the human body to regenerate lost red blood cells, but plasma, however, is replenished quickly and may be sold twice a week, so I switched.

The reason the scars are so large is because the gauge of the needles they stick in your veins for plasma collection are wide enough to drink a milk shake through. They have to be to prevent clogging. When you donate plasma, you’re hooked up to a machine that sucks your whole blood out of your vein, spins your blood inside a centrifuge machine to separate your red blood cells from your plasma. The machine keeps your plasma and returns your red blood cells back to you through the needle. This process repeats itself for several cycles until your plasma donating quota, based on your weight, is fulfilled. If you’re a larger man, you must give a more plasma per visit than a smaller man, but your pay doesn’t scale accordingly. You get paid exactly the same. For a man my size, it takes many repeat cycles of sucking, separating, and returning, and I could be hooked up to the machine long enough for me to watch a movie. You learn not to eat fatty foods before you donate, because excess fat in your blood may clog the needle, slowing the process even further. Now you understand why I hate needles?

 

When I’ve filled the collection tube with blood, the M.A.I.M. nurse removes the needle, swabs the area and puts a band aid on. This is to be the first of many HIV tests I have scheduled over the coming weeks. I’ll have the results for this one in a few days.

#

I’ve sequestered myself to my bedroom while waiting for my test results to come in. As morbid as it may seem, waiting in a room to find out if I have a disease that may kill me in a slow and painful fashion, I can’t handle the idea of going out in public and interacting with other people as though everything is okay.

Amanda checks in on me, asks if I’m hungry, and opens the drapes and windows. She gives me some space, but not much. She knows me better than anyone else does–that I tend to brood, and in a moment I may and be a danger to myself. She’s seen it happen before, and for far less. She leaves, but keeps the bedroom door open.

She returns with a game of Monopoly. She picks the thimble, I choose the shoe. While counting out the money, a lock of hair falls in front of her eyes and she smoothes it back behind her ear. She looks up at me, hands me my starting money, and smiles. Just looking at her smiling at me shatters my negative mood, and leaves me with no choice but to smile, too.  She picks up the dice and rolls.

#

     Few people return my phone calls these days, so I log onto an online porn forum and sift through the gossip for any information. I read that: some industry people say they can’t understand why this is being blown out of proportion; apparently, I have full-blown AIDS; some male talent not on the list price gouge, charging two and three times their usual rate; Daniel has gone missing; a second girl is infected with HIV. I log off and switch to the site for the HIV quarantine chart.

The online quarantine chart has grown. It confirms a second girl has tested HIV positive under Daniel. This brings the total of HIV infected, including Eris, to three people. On the chart, my name is listed under Eris as “first generation” exposed. A “second generation” list with other people’s names grows under mine.

There’s a girl I worked with whose name is not on the list. Trisha Marie. I should to call her before I call M.A.I.M.–better she hears it from the source than from a porn gossip board or from some M.A.I.M. employee. But I don’t have her number.

I make some calls, but nobody who has answerers the phone and will actually talk to me has it. After leaving a few more voice mails I give up.

There’s a news special on TV about HIV in porn. I watch it while I wait for people to call me back. The anchor, while getting some things right and raising important questions, digresses into ad hominem attacks on Daniel and Eris, because it’s easy. I turn the TV off.

#

I’m on the phone with Jack Hammer. He’s telling me about the porn industry “town hall” meeting that just took place, and how there was an agreement on an industry-wide moratorium on all shooting until the quarantine list has cleared.

He says, “Some other ideas were brought up, too…No more anal cream pies, oh, and no double anal scenes, because of the risk of the anal lining tearing. That, and prolapse.”

“Yeah, we’ll see how long that lasts. What else?”

“Some studios, VELVET and Decadent, are going condom-only, and they’re insisting that other studios do the same, but…”

“Yeah.”

He says, “There was a lot of push-back from some of the gonzo studios on the condom thing.” Their argument was, Yeah, condoms might be a bit safer for the talent pool, but it would hurt business because nobody want’s to buy porn with condoms. And since we all need strong product sell-through to earn a living–”

“Jesus, Hume’s Guillotine, anyone? Let me guess: M.A.I.M.’s testing and protocols are working anyway, so why make things difficult for everybody. There are some smart folks in our business, people went along with this?”

He laughs. “Yeah, pretty much. Check out the emperor’s new condom…”

#

It’s date night and Amanda and I just finished watching a movie. She insists that it’s important to keep our routine and hold on to normalcy in spite of and–especially because of–the events unfolding around us.

While she’s in the lady’s room I wander around the gift shop. I pick up an art book with works by Francis Bacon, a painter I’ve never heard of. I turn to the page of the painting, Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifiction. The first impulse upon beholding it is to slam the book shut. Three contorted figures, more beast than man, shriek in a claustrophobic room painted a hue between orange and blood red. The painting is a triptych, so even though they appear to be in the same room, each figure is confined to agonize in the isolation of its own panel.  The description says that Bacon got his inspiration from Aeschylus’ Oresteia and the three Furies that hunt down Orestes for his sins. From the effect this reproduction in an art book has on me, I can only imagine the impact standing before the lush paint of the original would have.

 

It’s dusk, when we’re driving home. Amanda is talking on her cell. The imagery of that painting is still with me. How Bacon captured raw human emotion and foisted it upon the viewer…I’ve got to learn how to paint.

I glance in my rear view mirror, and what I see triggers an adrenaline dump. My mouth dries and my pulse speeds, but I will myself to remain calm. I check my speedometer, and when I reach an intersection I step on the brake and come to a complete stop. Then I signal and turn. When we get to the next intersection, I signal, stop, and turn again. My brakes are still soft because I’ve been putting off getting them fixed, so I apply them early enough to compensate for the increased stopping distance.

Amanda ends her call and puts her phone in her purse. She says, “Why are we driving in circles.”

I point to the rear view mirror. “Those cops are following us.”

Another intersection. I turn. The cops turn.

She says, “No they’re not. Why would they be following you?”

I come up on another intersection, and this time I apply my brakes a touch late and the nose of the car edges past the white line. There’s a clarion scream of a siren and a spotlight blasts through our rear window. The light is intensified by the rear view mirror, filling the cabin with the brightness of the sun. I pull over, turn the engine off, then return my hands to ten-and-two on the steering wheel. The cops cut the siren off but they leave the spotlight focused on us.

I say, “Don’t say anything, Amanda.”

“Okay.”

A cop stands at my window, slightly behind my left shoulder. He says, “How are you doing tonight?”

I know he doesn’t give a damn, this is a feel out question designed for the police to gauge the attitude of whomever they pull over.

I say, “I’m doing well, sir.”

“What are you up to?”

I stare straight ahead. Through my windscreen. Focusing on a billboard a block away. Hands at ten-and-two. Digging my fingernails into the steering wheel.

He says, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”

“No sir, I do not.”

“You were driving too slowly.”

“Okay.”

It’s a vacation billboard. People frolicking on a white sand beach…

“License, registration, and proof of insurance, please.”

I say, “My registration and insurance are in the glove box. My girlfriend is going to reach into the glove box and get them, sir.”

Amanda scrambles the contents of the glove compartment, including traffic tickets from the previous times I’ve been pulled over this month, in her search.  Finally, she finds the papers and hands then to me. I take my right hand off of the steering wheel to accept them. Then I reach across my body with my right hand, left hand still gripping the steering wheel, and pass the documents across my body to the cop. With slow and deliberate movement, I use my right hand to pull my wallet out of my pocket, extract my license and hand that to him with my right hand, also. I return my right hand to its place on the steering wheel. He goes to his cruiser. In the passenger-side mirror I see another cop from the neck down, posted sentry at the back of the passenger side door. His thumbs are looped in his belt.

Amanda’s phone rings. She fumbles in her purse to answer it.

I say, “Get your hands out of your purse.”

“But, I’m just getting my–”

“Look in your side mirror. See that cop there? You want to get shot?”

The headless cop in the mirror no longer has his thumbs hooked into his belt loops. They are now at his side, elbows bent slightly as if he’s dying to say ‘Draw pardner!’

She says, “No, I’m sorry.”

She turns to toss her purse onto the back seat. The headless mirror cop flinches.

I say, “Stop moving!”

In my driver’s side mirror, I see the first cop, back lit by the spotlight, walking toward us. His hand goes to the butt of his gun as he gets closer. The steering wheel is a circle of butter dissolving in my hands.

Here we go…Okay, without looking, what clothes am I wearing? Baseball cap, t-shirt, shorts with a draw-string…They’ll take the drawstring out…My shoes have laces…no, they’ll probably take my clothes and shoes and put in county blues and slippers…

I say, “Amanda, if they take me into custody–”

“But you didn’t do anything!”

“If they arrest me, call my mother so she can contact her attorney.”

Her voice quivers. She tries to hold back tears, but fails. “Don’t worry, Papito. I love you, we have each other.”

The cop is at my window again, “Okay, you have no warrants, but–”

His hand still rests on the butt of the gun.

“–you still never told me what you’re doing in this neighborhood.”

I say, “If you read the address on my license, you’ll see that I live nearby, officer.”

“You did a rolling stop at the last intersection. Here’s a ticket for that. I’m also giving you a ‘fix it’ ticket for the crucifix dangling from your rear view mirror. It’s a hazard.”

He hands me the ticket and returns my documents. I reach across my body with my right hand, take them, then return my hands to the steering wheel. The cops return to their car. They keep the spotlight on us and wait for me to drive away first. I stuff the insurance, registration, and new ticket into the glove box with the other tickets. Then I rip Jesus off of my rear view mirror, turn the key in the ignition, and drive the last few blocks home with great care.

#

When I return home from my final HIV re-test, I close the door, shut the blinds, and head for the bedroom for a nap. My mind won’t shut off, and after staring at the ceiling I get up and log onto Counter-Strike. The server list of available games populates. The server I want is full, so I watch a game in spectator mode while waiting in queue to join in.

And wait…

I Alt/Tab to the Internet. The quarantine list shows a third girl has tested HIV positive. She has her own section with names of those whom she has worked with listed under hers. It seems as though the list of names grows by the hour. The message boards have posts by talent who check the list several times a day to see if their name has been added. I Alt/Tab back to Counter-Strike and join in a game, but I’m not able to focus and I my character keeps dying in situations that are otherwise routine and avoidable.

Normally this time of day I’d be sparing with my friends at the boxing gym, but of course that is now out of the question…So is Jiujitsu, and a long list of other things I may never be able to do again if I’m HIV positive. Like making love to Amanda ever again…Assuming I have not infected her already.

I check my phone for returned texts or voice mails. None. I head for the kitchen, turn on the water and occupy my mind with scrubbing dishes. The water isn’t draining after I finish, so I get a bottle of clog remover from under the sink and read the instructions. Then I read the warning label:

“Keep out of reach of children. Poison: May be fatal if swallowed or cause permanent damage. Avoid contact with skin and eyes. May cause severe burns or blindness…”

I take the bottle with me into the living room and sit on the sofa.

 

Poison: May be fatal if swallowed…

fatal if swallowed…

 

There’s the sound of the front door opening, then closing. Keys landing on the table. Footsteps. Amanda takes the bottle from my hands and sets it on the floor.

She hugs me.

Then she leads me by the hand to the table, where she picks up her keys, and out the front door.

Amanda and I walk together along streets of our neighborhood in silence.

The sun is setting when we end up at our favorite bench in Ferndell. We sit. The stream flows. Squirrels go about their business. Amanda and I are alone. She takes my hand in hers and squeezes.

#

It’s night. My feet splash in ankle-deep water as I run in a swale behind an industrial complex.  My socks and shoes are sodden, and the air is thick with the stench of burning flesh. Officer Madero gains ground on me. In his outstretched hand, a torch that glows bluish white that is so bright it hurts my eyes to behold. My lungs ache. Lactic acid building inside my quadriceps screams a chorus of pain, its volume rising with each step. I’m just outside of Madero’s grasp and I feel the heat of his torch as its light falls upon my back and shoulders, casting my shadow before me. The light sears my flesh and singes my hair away, and my shadow on the ground in front of me is on fire. Its ashes flake away, rising on convection currents and into the starless sky.

A phone rings.

I sit up in bed, reach over to my nightstand for my cell phone. The caller ID says, “Unavailable.”

I say, “Hello?”

“This is Trisha Marie.”

“Oh, uh…hi.”

She says, “I hear you have something to tell me.”

I say, “Yes. Thanks for calling me back. This isn’t easy to say…not that it will be easy for you to hear, but–”

“Get to the point. What do you want?”

I say, “You…you may have been exposed to HIV. By me.” 

“You gave me AIDS! How could you do that to me? My life has just started and now I’m going to die!”

“Trisha–”

“And you’re the one that killed me!”

“Trish, I–”

“MURDERER!” 

She doesn’t say anything else, and neither do I. I listen, phone pressed to my ear as she weeps. She lets out a wail which echoes inside my skull and a light shines through the phone’s earpiece.

 

I’m being nudged…My eyes open to Amanda shaking my shoulders. She hands me my phone ringing cell phone. It’s M.A.I.M.

“Erik Robinson?”

“Yeah, that’s me.”

“Your final test results came back. HIV ‘Not Detected’”.

I hang up and tell Amanda. She nods. Then she gets up and goes into the bathroom and the shower hisses. The door shuts.

When she returns she’s wrapped in a white towel and her hair is held up by her scrunchie. She sits on the bed and looks at me.

“So, now what, Erik? You planning on going back to work?”

“The quarantine list hasn’t cleared, and moratorium on shooting has not been lifted.”

“‘Moratorium’, my ass. I know people are still shooting, and some people who are quarantined are still trying to get work with forged HIV tests. I read it on the message boards. Regardless, that’s not what I asked you, and you know it. After.”

I say, “After the quarantine list clears and the moratorium is lifted? No…I think I’m done.”

“Good.”

She goes to the closet and lays out some clothes on the bed. She begins to dress.

I say, “Who knows, maybe the industry will be better for this experience.”

She turns to me and shakes her head.

“What?”

She says, “People don’t change. Adversity doesn’t build character. It reveals it.”

#

Amanda and I lay on our sofa. A warm breeze blows through the windows and the first movement of Beethoven’s Ninth plays in the background on auto repeat. She’s sleeping with her head resting on my chest and our fingers are interlaced. On her lips, the hint of a smile.

We met at my last real job, a part-time gig for company that evaporated during the tech bubble burst. The firm was bleeding market share in an atrophying market, and it was an open secret the Great Layoff was coming. The day the firm gave everyone notices I was sitting in the cafeteria contemplating the upcoming rent and my non-existent job prospects. I looked up and she was there. She smiled, and that was it.

That night over drinks she told me she’s from a Latin American country where violent death is a fact of life. Everything I really know about her is from the day we met and onward. Details of her life before she first entered the States are black. While going through her things one day, I discovered the name on her university degrees are slightly different from the name on her birth certificate, which is a bit off from the name she used to introduced herself to me. Some things are best left buried, so I left the issue alone. Without her, I’d be dead or wish I was–that’s all the clarification I need.

Once, while she thought I was sleeping she climbed out of bed, knelt beside it, and began to pray in Spanish. Prayers of hope? Penance for past sins?

Maybe I’m her albatross…Maybe she’s mine.

My phone rings. The caller ID says it’s a director. I thumb the volume down before it wakes Amanda, and let the call go to voice mail. I listen to his message: I have some scenes coming up for you. Call me.

Delete.

I turn the phone off and let sleep come.

A knock on our open front door by the mailman wakes me but not Amanda. I extricate myself from Amanda’s grasp, ease her head onto a pillow, and greet the mailman at the door.

Past-due bills I could swear I’ve already paid, asking for their money plus late fee charges…and returned check fee charges tacked on to the original sums.

Then there are a couple of letters from my bank. Enclosed with the first bank letter are two checks from Sexual Deviants: the original check I re-deposited, and a second check Sexual Deviants sent to cover the bounced check fee for the first check. They both bounced. The letter says my bank charged me returned check fees for both.

I rip open the second bank envelope. The letter says some checks I wrote (to pay the now past-due bills) have been returned due to insufficient funds. They’re charging me fees for those, too. The sum of all fees and charges I’m slapped with nearly equals the amount of the original Sexual Deviants check.

I grab my car keys.

#

I’m waiting for the light to change at an intersection. School just let out for the day, and a group of kids cross in front of my car. The girls wear knee-high boots, caked-on makeup, and carry fake designer bags. They walk to a Carl’s Jr. parking lot, where a much larger group of girls, most dressed like their favorite Hollywood celebutants, are hanging out. If these girls knew what adulthood has in store for them would they still be in such a rush to look grown up? The light changes and I cross the pull into the Sexual Deviants parking lot, across the street from the Carl’s Jr.

A procession of official-looking men streams in and out of the Sexual Deviants office. The ones leaving the office carry boxes of files, which they load into the back of an SUV. One of them holds the door for me.

In the reception area, a man in a vintage “STYX WORLD TOUR” t-shirt plays grab ass with a woman wearing pig tails, knee socks and a backpack. Laugh lines etched into her face by a lifetime of acidic tears give her age away.

I say to the man, “Are you Kiran?”

He says, “Yeah, and who are you?”

“Tyler Knight. Alex passed me some bad checks. I want my money.”

“You need to learn how to read.” He points to a sign on the wall: Talent checks may be picked up only on Tuesdays between the hours of 2:15-2:20 pm. Failure to follow the rules may result in permanent ban from Sexual Deviants Studios.

I glance at my watch: 2:28.

“Fuck that, get me Alex. Now.”

He says, “I’m sorry, but you just missed him. He left for Europe this morn–”

I take the bad checks from my wallet and hold them up. “I’m not here to fuck around with you. These check bounced enough times and for enough money to be a felony. Either you pay me right now, or not only will I see you in court, I’ll make it impossible for you to book talent from several agencies. The grief will cost you more than the value of the checks.”

Kiran says, “Hold on.” He leads the girl by the hand into the inner office.

More men walk in and leave with boxes.

He returns with a three-to-a-page checkbook.

I say, “I don’t think so. Cash.”

He leaves again. When he returns, he’s got a brick of hundred-dollar bills in his hand. He tears off the paper band and counts out my money. “Don’t spend it all in one place. Alex says you’re not worth your rate, and you’re not worth having to book two weeks in advance.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I say, “‘The food is terrible and the portions are too small…’”

I take a counterfeit money marker out of my pocket and draw on a bill. The line turns yellow and fades.

I say, “If you really want to impress me, deposit that money in your bank account and pay your goddamn bills.”

On the way to the car I roll calls to the directors who sometimes shoot me for this studio, including Dana Devine, and I tell them all to beware of bad checks.

 

While driving home from Sexual Deviants, I decide to swing by Eris’s motel room. I couldn’t tell you why, and I’ve no idea what I’m going to say to her. As soon as I knock on her door, I find myself hoping she doesn’t answer. She doesn’t. The clerk at the front desk says she’s moved out and does not know where she went. There’s a feeling of relief.

Before I sit in my car I notice something on the floorboard, glinting in the sunlight. A dog hair. I remove it from my car and shut the door.

I’m cruising along the freeway, windows down, radio off, listening to the 350 V8 rumble, when in typical LA fashion the traffic ahead of me slows to a crawl for no apparent reason. I step on the brakes.

Nothing!

Red tail lights come up on me fast; pumping the brakes doesn’t slow me. I thread the needle through slower traffic while stomping the brake pedal onto the floorboard. I don’t bother with the horn because it doesn’t work. Heart pounding, I pull the emergency brake, glide to the right side of the freeway and down the exit ramp. Coordinating driving, sobbing to Christ and stopping with the hand brake, I pull off into a side street and kill the engine before the car kills me.

I sit still. Cars drive past me. People walk along the sidewalk. I wipe my face on my sleeve, and then reach for the crucifix where it should be hanging from my rear view mirror, but it’s not there because I ripped Jesus down. He’s neither under the front seats nor on the back seats. He’s not in the glove box, but the pink slip is there. I write a note on the back of a traffic ticket explaining that the foot brakes do not work, and I toss the note and the pink slip on the front seat.  Leaving the windows rolled down and key in the ignition, I get out of the steel sarcophagus and walk.

#

Amanda and I are napping on the sofa when the mailman knocks on the door. Amanda gets up from the sofa to greet him. She hands me the mail: bills, junk mail and more bills. No checks.

Even though the last of the exposed people have been cleared from the quarantine list, the moratorium has been lifted and my phone hasn’t stopped ringing, I’ve yet to step foot on a set. Among the work I’ve turned down, a director who wanted to shoot me in a premeditated sex tape with a celebutant. I hung up without even asking who.

Amanda and I haven’t put much thought into what I’m going to do for money going forward. We’ve got money saved to last for a little while, but then what? The mailman will keep bringing bills. At least we have each other…things will work out.

We put our shoes on and take a walk to the ice cream parlor down the street. We finish them on the way back home, and when we return home we sit on our steps and watch the kids play.

My phone rings. Work. I let the call goes to voice mail.

Amanda says, “Go ahead and call back. When you’re done, we need to talk about how it’s going to be from this point forward.”

 END.

 

And though all streams flow from a single course to cleanse the blood from polluted hand, they hasten on their course in vain.

-Aeschylus

 

December 18th, 2011 by Tyler Knight

Oneironaut At Wrest

The van loops lazy figure eights in the parking lot, tossing me side-to-side in its backseat, while the Swap and Spit Girls spit and swap my cock. My mind re-lives this morning’s fight with Amanda. The van flies into a curve too fast and teeth scrape my shaft, ripping me back into the Now, and I remember to moan the way you’re expected to when a redhead and a blonde are throwing a rainbow party in your lap. I’m not convincing.

The director says, “Cut.”

Thank Christ. Me, shooting smut in the back of a speeding van with two white girls–bald cunts, panties around their ankles–is a game of “Pin the Felony on the Negro” waiting to happen.

While the girls wipe their mouths and re-apply their lip gloss, Dana, the director, explains the rest of the scene will conclude in her compound.

Today’s scene is a reverse pickup. For the part we just filmed, I’m an Armani-clad executive out for a stroll when some girlies in a van skid to a stop next to me and fling open the door. Instead of baiting with a puppy, it’s hiked-up skirts and glistening pussies. I drop my briefcase, dive in, and the car screeches off.

Tracy, the redhead, sops up the puddle of da-glo drool in my lap with a paper towel while the blonde, whose name I forgot, tucks me back into my suit pants, but I stop her before a zipper mishap occurs.

Perfume, Amanda’s, coats the inside of my nose…probably from this morning. When I’m together, I call her. It rings and rings. No answer. I regret this morning…What I’d give for another chance to do it all over again…

#

I sit on the sofa. Dana sets up the lights and goes off somewhere. I hear Tracy and the blonde in the bathroom freshening their makeup, and then their pussies with douche. Right now is when I wash up and take a pre-scene piss, but I decide to wait until the girls are done. While I’m alone I call Amanda’s cell again…busy signal. I close my eyes…and the toilet flushes but I don’t hear clicking heels, so they’re not done…

…highschool bathroom…where I lost my virginity…Moonlight Sonata echoes off the tile…

I push open a stall. She is there.

The blonde girl who took my virginity…The gossip about her is, she only does things with black boys, but I don’t know why and nobody will explain it to me…She lifts her skirt and spreads her lips and pees on the floor…The stream splashes off the tile…Hot spraylets of salty piss pellet my lips. Steam rises from the floor, filling the bathroom.

Moans…

…I open my eyes to a stiff dick and the extreme urge to pee, so I run to Dana’s bathroom. Dream-like smoke fades from my consciousness as I laser-pee a hole through the back of the toilet. I’m rock hard, so this takes some gymnastics.

When I return to the set the girls are rubbing their pussies.

Dana says, “Action.”

#

…and I feel my bones sink into a sofa after the blonde gets up from riding me cowgirl, and my eyes follow Blondie’s ass as she walks away toward the edge of visibility.

Fading…

Fading, as Tracy lowers herself onto my rod and drapes her arms around my neck.

Tracy’s mouth shapes the words, I’m next, then blossoms into a smile. Hands from behind me pull my shoulders down…It’s Blondie. She straddles my face…

Blondie sits…

Darkness.

#

It’s after the scene and Tracy and I sit on a bed. I rub her shoulders. She turns and kisses me.

Would things be any easier with a girl who’s also in the business?… I mean, seriously, could you handle it if Amanda went off to suck some mope’s cock?…Coming home with dick on her breath every day to pay the bills?…And kissing me?…That flake of dried come on her ass that she missed in the shower?…Shit, how much better would your life look if you weren’t in the business?

Tracey bends over. I insert in her pussy.

What would your life look like if you never met Amanda?…There wouldn’t be one…She saved you too many times to count…Jesus, what are you doing? You’re such a piece of shit. Your entire life is a failure and your not smart enough to break the cycle…not man enough…put your .45 in your mouth and be done with it…Amanda’s life would look better, that’s for sure…But don’t do it at home…can’t let her find you…But…if you just disappear she’ll think you left her and that would only hurt her further…It’s never too late to be a better man, Erik…

Tracy comes. I roll off her, get dressed, and drive home.

#

Amanda should be back from work already but the house is dark and the only sound is the ticking of the kitchen clock. Still smell her perfume, though. I grab a bottled water from the fridge and sit on the bed and kick off my shoes. I strip down, lie back, and listen to time, the betrayer of lives, tick away from the kitchen…

…and I’m standing before a desk with a Newton’s cradle…those steel balls in constant conflict with one another, crashing time…

click-click-click–

Behind the desk hangs a mirror in a gilded frame. On the right side of the desk, a window with vertical blinds runs the length of the wall. The only light radiates through the blinds from the setting sun outside, which casts deep shadows, like long fingers reaching across the room.

A painting, also in a gilded frame, hangs on the wall to the left of the desk. It shows a man wearing medieval battle armor, mounted on a rearing horse with flaring nostrils. Skulls at its feet. Plumes of smoke swirl around in a crimson sky. A plaque on the frame’s bottom says, Gilles de Rais.

click-click-click–

Deep-pile carpet covers the floor that gives the sensation of sinking, slowing time with each step as I walk toward the desk.

A laptop on the desk. I walk around it to see its screen. There’s a video camera embedded into the laptop screen’s lip. The screen itself displays a document file. A contract. Scrolling down as I read, I learn the contract is an exclusive performing deal…Along with the performance contract is an agreement to have my body parts, specifically my genitals, cast and molded into sex toys…

My pulse quickens as I scroll down to the compensation section. click-click-click–

I read, my mouth dries and I have to re-read it to be sure the numbers are right. The cardboard I stuffed into my shoes as inserts to cover the holes in the soles are long since worn through, so I can fondle the soft carpet with my toes. I read my compensation again…and again. I’m on the edge of losing it, maybe even dancing, until I remember the camera in my face. I wipe my face and type my name on the space designated “signature” and click the “send” button, executing the contract.

The contract on the screen dissolves into a real-time image of me from the video camera’s point of view. The shadows cascading across my face from the window gives the appearance of bars. The combined effect of the seeing myself simultaneously in the screen in front of me, as well as reflected in the mirror behind me, renders the effect of two opposing mirrors angled in such a way that both the front and back of my head are cast into infinite regress. I swallow.

click-click-click–

Amanda’s perfume bottle sits on the desk. There’s a sensation…that whoever is on the other side of the video feed is no longer watching me…It’s as though their presence is in the room…with me.

Amanda’s voice calls me from somewhere…I stand. My feet trod in hushed footfalls across the carpet, and the world is shaking…

“…Papi, wake up.”

My bed. The kitchen clock ticks. Amanda, dressed for work, stands over me. Her hand waves something in front of my face.

She says, “Whose red hair is this?”

I take it from her. Tracey’s.

“I dunno…”

“How can you not know?”

I take my time sitting up and I rub my eyes to buy time.

“Jesus,” I say, “It’s from work. One of the girls–” I look out the window. Sunlight. “–yesterday?”

“Why are you yelling, Erik? Don’t yell at me. Never yell at me. People only yell when their guilty of something.”

“I’m not yelling, damnit. I’m just sick of these silly questions the first thing when I wake up, fucking up my mood for the day. You know damn well I go to work and–”

“How many times do I have to tell you to shower those putas off of you before you get into our bed? You smell like pussy, and you bring those…those bitches into my bed–”

“I’m sorry, okay. Christ, I sat down…and I must have fallen asleep, or…”

Amanda moves the water bottle and sits on the bed beside me. She says, “Remember, the exit date from porn is coming up.”

I know.”

When are you going to marry me?…Are you ever going to marry me?”

“I uh…I can’t…not while I still do porn…”

The silence. It’s a third person in the bedroom.

She says, “I already told you we can’t go on like this forever, Erik.”

She’s right. This isn’t fair to her…she deserves a lot better than me.

I say, “I know…”

“I trust you.”

…hands that look like mine knead woman’s flesh. It’s not Amanda’s…

“…yeah.”

“Well?”

“…Amanda–”

“Asshole!”

She cries. Heels click down the hall. Keys jingle. The front door slams. A car starts.

But I’m not really alone…her perfume lingers.

And that clock ticks.

I sit in bed wishing for a do-over, but I don’t know if that would do any good. I’ve been repeating the same mistakes, three girlfriends running. And I’m not any more clever today than I was yesterday…

I get dressed in my wardrobe for this morning’s scene, a suit, and I drive to the Valley.

#

I check my cellphone. It’s time, so I walk along the sidewalk. I can still hear Amanda crying in my ears, which makes me tear up, and when I wipe my nose I smell her perfume on my hand…I’m losing my girl and I’m working twice as hard for half the money I made the year before…Diminishing returns all around…Keep adding to that “Fuck You Fund” and move the fuck on….Screw that, you can turn around right now. Your car is right behind you. Get in it. Go–

A van skids to a stop next to me. The door swings open and a blonde and a redhead, skirts hiked-up, show me their pussies.

I drop my briefcase and I get in.

The door slams shut behind me.



December 18th, 2011 by Tyler Knight

The Woodpile

I shake the bottle. A Viagra tumbles into my fist. I pop the pill and crush it between my molars.

Jack, the director, looks like a Hollywood screenwriter who never sold a script. We stand knee-to-knee in a makeup room the size of a parking space. This close, I taste the menthols on his breath. The fluorescent lights from the bank of vanity mirrors settles on our skin like a layer of soot.

He says, “You strike me as a man who understands the value of money. He laughs and flops down onto the futon. A head taller than me when standing, he sinks between the fold of the mattress like a forgotten nickel. Jack stops laughing, looks at me and says, “We’re going to have April call you a ‘nigger’ during the scene!”

“…What?”

Jack says, “It’s not racist. It’s porn!”

I hear a muffled, woman’s voice from the other side of the closed door: “Do what you’re told, you purple-lipped beast! Obey me!” There is a loud smack and a man wails.

“Goodbye, Jack.” I grab my shaving kit from the counter and turn for the door.

“Wait!” He springs to his feet. “Where are you going? I’m paying cash!”

“There is no way I’m letting anyone call me a nigger.”

He says, “There’s a dozen guys I can call right now that’ll do it for half what I’m paying you.”

“So call them.”

He sighs. “Okay, fine. We won’t say ‘nigger’ in your scene, but how-a-bout–”

He pulls out a piece of paper from his shirt pocket and reads:

–darkie…jigaboo…coon…spade…spook…jigaboo, ha-ha, I said that already–”

I take the doorknob and twist it.

“Wait!” He pulls a fold of one-hundred-dollar bills from his pocket, peels one off and holds out in the space between us. “I’m sorry.”

Amanda and I are short this month’s rent. I snatch the cash from his hand and shove it in my pocket.

The woman on the other side of the door says, “Oh my God! The stereotype is true–you don’t eat pussy!”

Jack holds up a fist to give me a pound. “It’s all good, Playa!”

“Fuck off.”

“Sure, sure,” he says. “Go ahead and out the paperwork, and I’ll have a talk with her. There’s only one scene up before yours–April with Jim Crowe, which shouldn’t take long.”

Jack takes my IDs and my HIV test, then opens door a to leave–

GET BACK HERE AND FUCK MY WHITE CUNT!”

Jack steps back in the room and slams the door shut behind him.

I hear her yelling from set, “NIGGER!”

#

I follow Jack through the warehouse. He has long strides and I have to trot to keep up with him. He tosses sentences back to me over his shoulder as we talk.

We pass several set build-outs. A doctor’s office with an examination table…a college dorm…

He says, “I already spoke to her, and she promised not to say anything offensive–”

We pass an executive’s office…a graffiti covered wall with a waist-high glory hole…

We stop at the set where April and Jim Crowe just shot their scene. A Jail. April is gone. Jim, behind bars, sits on bench. He looks wild-eyed and disheveled. He stands up and approaches the cage door when he sees us.

A rape kit sits on the floor. Jack picks it up and hands it to me, then slides the (unlocked) cell door open, releasing Jim. He pulls his fold of cash out and shoves some money into Jim’s hands and says, “Okay, here you go.”

Jim counts the money. He speaks. The deep, rumbling timbre of his voice sends my adrenal screaming. He says, “It’s a hundred dollars short.”

Jack says, “Do you think you gave a performance worthy of your full rate? Because–”

“Yeah, man, I did my job! I mean, it was kinda hard to concentrate on the pop shot with her beatin’ on me and all, but–”

“Immaterial. If a bukkake-line mope can come at will–”

Jim says, “My clothes are torn…ruined!”

“The budget for this movie is inflexible! Because of you I’ve got to pay overtime on location fees! Every extra dollar has to come from somewhere–”

I slide my hand into my pocket, where the c-note Jack gave me rests. I run my fingers over the paper’s crisp texture and caress its folds. Then I stuff it down deeper.

–and the location owner doesn’t care why you struggled,” Jack says. “And neither do I. Time. Is. Money–”

“Yeah, but–”

“–and right now, you’re jeopardizing our business relationship by wasting more of it!”

Jim’s shoulders slump. He shuffles through the door. He never bothers to put his wad of cash in his pocket, so he drops a bill as he walks past us. Jack picks it up and pockets it.

“Ha-ha-ha…”

#

April sits on a schoolteacher’s desk, holding an eraser. Her legs dangle and swing over the edge. She looks like she dove into her mommy’s makeup box, then got bored with the game of dress-up and stopped somewhere in the lingerie drawer. The kid looks up at me with big Disney princess eyes, smiles, and opens her legs. The bald folds of her cunt peek through the sheer fabric of the panties.

She says, “Hello, mister.”

A blackboard looms behind the desk. Columns after column of chalk-scribbled writing say:

“I will not say nigger in this classroom.”

She hops off the desk, and skips to the board. Her butt wiggles as she erases “nigger” from each sentence.

My jaw clenches. Lava churns in my gut, but some of heat seeps down to my crotch. A desire…to grab her and rip her panties down…but to spank her bottom red, to spit on my cock and force my way inside her cunt. I look at Jack. Jack looks at me through the camera’s viewfinder. The camera’s greedy lens sucks my image through it, and splashes my pixilated ghost across his face as pale blue light.

I open my mouth to speak, but her hand tugs my chin so that my face is square with hers. She wraps her arms around my waist and pulls herself into me. We kiss.

#

Stephanie stops kissing me and the girls giggle and laugh and laugh… Eileen slides my backpack off my shoulders…All of us are in the house next door to Eileen’s house…Eileen told me that she had something that she wants to show me and I said okay and followed her and Stephanie and Krista into the house…The house is not finished being built and I wish I wore my jacket and my hat because there’s no wall on one side…Just some wood…The floor is cement…I’m sitting on it now…It’s cold…

Krista says, “It’s my turn!” but Eileen pushes Krista out her out of the way because Eileen is a lot bigger than Krista. She is bigger than I am too.

Eileen says, “Now we’re gonna play ‘Show us yours and we’ll show you ours.’”

“What do I hafta show?”

The girls giggle and laugh and Eileen says, “Your penis.”

“What’s a penis?”

“Stand up.”

I stand up.

“This.” She unzips my pants and pulls them down and then she pulls my underwear down too. She grabs my thing. “This is a penis.”

The other girls…They don’t giggle…I can see everyone’s breath in here but my face feels very hot.

Eileen tells the other girls to pull their pants down but Stephanie doesn’t. She leaves. Krista doesn’t pull her pants down either so Eileen grabs her but Krista gets away and she runs away too.

Eileen lifts up her skirt. No underwear.

I know I’m not supposed to look but I can’t help it…She has hair…A lot of hair.

“Have you ever seen a pussy before?”

I nod.

“Come here.”

My thing kinda hurts and I look down and I see that it’s standing straight up.

Eileen says, “Wanna touch mine?”

I look over at the front door of the house. It kinda feels like last week when I got in trouble for fighting and my teacher said she was gonna call my dad at dinnertime and when we’re sitting at the table and dad asks me why I’m not eating. I’m looking a the phone and hoping that it doesn’t ring…I shake my head no and Eileen gets mad and pulls her skirt down again…

Someone is coming. Krista’s mom walks in the house and Eileen starts crying and runs away past Krista’s mom. My pants are still down and I try to pull them up. My belly feel like it did when I went to sit down and Johnathan pulled my chair away.

She stops in front of me and I have to bend my neck to look up to see her face…Krista’s mom looks kinda like Cinderella…She has yellow hair like Krista and all the daddies in the neighborhood talk real sweet to her. Her perfume smells really nice.

SLAP!

My eyes are full of water and I see her all blurry.

She says, “You dirty goddamn pervert! I knew something like this this would happen the moment you niggers moved in. I’m telling Krista’s father, then I’m going to the police so we can get rid of you!”

They leave. I still feel her hand on my cheek.

I hate living out in the country. I hate my new school and the kids. What’s AJ is doing back in Philly? I wish he was here. He always stuck up for me. He stutters. I can’t stay here because the cops are coming.

I walk past my house and hide behind a station wagon…The lights are off and dad’s car is gone. It’s starting to rain. My clothes stick to me and I shiver, so I keep going. I know where I can hide.

Robert answers the door and we walk to his back yard and he opens the woodshed…I sit down on a pile of firewood…It smells like Christmas in here. He says he’ll be right back and leaves but he takes a very long time to come back…When he comes back he gives me a piece of cake. Sometimes Robert sits next to me at lunchtime when nobody else will.

I tell him what happened, and I tell him what Krista’s mom called me and he tells me what a pervert is. We eat some cake.

He asks if sometimes don’t I wish was white like everybody else?

There’s a safe…like in the cartoons…It’s tied to my heart and falling off of a cliff…

I say…Yeah.

Somebody bangs on the shed’s door.

My dad yells, “Get your ass out her, boy!”

#

I open the bathroom door. Jack is there.

He says, “Great job. April had to go but she wanted to tell you she had fun. We’re going to add you to our male talent rotation. What are you doing next Thursday?”

I grab my towel from the shower door, and pick up my shaving kit. The money earned from today is already spent, but Sun Tsu says when dealing from a position of weakness, feign strength.

I say, “I’d have to look at my schedule.”

We don’t speak as we walk though the warehouse. When we get to the front door, Jack hands me my money. Unlike Jim’s crumpled wad, he hands me my cash in crisp, neat bills. I count it. It’s all there.

I push the door open, pause, and turn to Jack. I say, “How many guys let you call them a nigger?”

He looks down at me and laughs. “All of them.”

December 18th, 2011 by Tyler Knight

Something’s Rotten In Chatsworth


I’m hopped up on Viagra tossing an Asian girl back and forth with Malik like we’re Joe Montana and Jerry fucking Rice. Chemically enhanced, my skull is crunchy cereal caught in a vice and I’ve got a tone in my ears from my own private emergency broadcast station, wailing just for me.

“Cut,” says Jackson. “We got enough vag, let’s get the anal.”

Great, ass spelunking. I’ve never been a fan of the Sodomy Arts. When you see me digging in a girl’s asshole, it’s all about the money.

“Are you clean?” I ask the girl.

The female talent’s preparation for an anal sex scene begins a day before the she sets foot on set. This is when she stops eating. In a perfect situation, the girl has the discipline to fast for the entire day. If on the day of her scene there are pages of dialogue to shoot, the girl may still have to wait around for an additional half day before the filming of the sex actually starts.

Food catering, a.k.a. craft service, offers temptations. Because of expediency, craft service is almost always fast food like Mexican. Or Chinese. Often there’s Starbucks on set, which could restore her food depleted energy levels. Today is no different.

A right before filming the anal sex, the girl takes an enema bottle and a box of baby wipes to clean out whatever residual matter may still be lurking inside her colon. The amount of food material remaining depends on the individual’s digestive system. And her discipline. The starlet alternates between the enema and warm water. When she’s confident she’s clean, she chews a couple of Imodium tablets, slowing her bowels.

She says, “Yeah, but lemme clean up a little bit more,” and goes off set to the bathroom, taking a box of baby wipes from the rape kit with her.

With no girl on the bed, I’m self conscious lying next to another dude while we both stroke our cocks to keep our motors running in feminine absence. I stand up.

Jackson, the director sits on the foot of the bed and says, “You been doing an aight job for us, dog. You really stepped up these past coupla months.”

DVD Gangstas reneged on my performing contract without paying me a cent, so I’ve moved on and am shooting for any studio that’ll use me as a hired gun. Business is spiraling down the toilet industry wide thanks to Internet piracy and torrent sites, and to a lesser degree, the economy. This studio is taking care of me on a per-scene basis, and they shoot me a lot. I perform well, I’m insulated from economic pain.

“Thanks, man,” I say. “I always give it my best.”

Malik is the new “it” kid. He’s on his back stroking his cock, using two hands but it’s really a job for three. His dick is a baby’s arm holding an apple. Malik busts a freestyle rap.

So,” I say, “I figure since I have a normal-sized dick I’ll warm Maite up with me doing the first anal position.”

“Nah, nigga,” says Malik. “Lemme tap that ass first while I’m still hard. You got a smaller dick so you don’t need as much to keep you going.”

Pulling the size card. Nice.

“Sure,” I say. “Whatever.”

I’ve popped two, 100mg Viagras in the past hour. This is many times the doctor recommended dose. When I was a rookie, a chip of a pill could get me up but after so many scenes, it’s diminishing returns. Even at best Viagra only helps me for an hour, two at the most, before it works against me. The drug screams through my system full force. For now. Where this girl? This is fucking with my Viagra timing, let’s go!

“Okay, back! Let’s fuck!” Maite says, as she bounds onto the bed and into Malik’s arms. They fall down together in their own little laughing pile of youth, and I’m as welcome as a speck of rat shit in your vanilla ice cream.

Let’s shoot this fucking thing,” I say, and the kids stop their grab-assing.

“Action!” shouts Jackson, and back into the melee I go. I’m laying on my back, my dick in Maite’s mouth while Malik is widening the gauge of her asshole. The blowjob sucks, and in this case it’s not a good thing. Malik is a battering ram and each impact either scrapes my dick against her teeth or knocks it out of her mouth entirely. I’m getting blown by a blender’s hungry blades on puree. I feel the drug’s window of efficacy closing and that’s a motherfucker because my heart wants to leap the fuck out of my mouth and I’m getting a serious case of Viagra-numb dick.

Malik is going DEFCON 4 slamming into the gates of her ass, he’s a barbarian laying siege.

“Switch,” says Jackson.

Malik stops the assault and I position myself behind Maite’s ass. Her sphincter is open, red and raw. Her gaping O-ring is damn near blown out, offering a clear shot of her textured, pink innards that seem to tumble on to Infinity. On her rim, flecks of fecal matter that have the consistency of gruel and the color of bread gone bad. A scent, no, an unholy stench of slaughtered cows suspended in a vat of mayonnaise left to turn in the desert leaps out of her exposed cavity and slaps my face like a dame in a Bogart movie. The worst part of this is, the Viagra-and-exasperation cocktail has left me short of breath. And my mouth is open.

I snap my mouth shut and vacuum seal my lips, but the phantom taste still lingers on my palate.

Jackson peeks over the top of the camera’s viewfinder. “Go ahead, nigga. Fuck ass. I’m rolling camera.”

“I need a minute,” I say.

Malik and Maite, giddy with porn-induced psychosis, continue their sport fucking while I kneel next to them, cold cock in my hand. Normally if my dick goes down I just have to look at a girl’s ass and I’m dealt back in the hand but I’m taking a bad beat on the river because sewer cheeks has eliminated my last out. Looking at her ass is not an option.

I’m rubbing a brittle, dry-rotted eraser passing for my dick with the business end of her ass, seen through peripheral vision, aimed at me. I get off the bed and go into my mind.

Within the time it takes microwave a bag of popcorn, an eternity in pornnoland when timed location fees are ticking away like a taxi meter, I manage to conjure up some depraved shit from my wank-bank to get me going.

I’m fucking the girl’s ass, not looking down, mouth closed and taking sips of air from my nose because smell is the lesser of two evils.

Jackson is behind me holding the camera next to my head, shooting over my shoulder and down for the point-of-view/you-are-there shot. His dragon breath blows hot on my neck. He can tongue my ear if he chooses to but instead he whispers, “Gimme some in-and-outs, nigga.”

What he wants is for me to pull my dick out of the girl’s asshole entirely so he can zoom in and shoot the gape. Every bit of common sense in me screams not to do it. Even if I was in a “normal” scene it’s a challenge because I’m fast becoming erection impaired, and I’m still thinking of the sloshing tempest I’m stirring up inside the girl’s bowels.

I extract my penis, millimeter-by-millimeter; Jackson’s stubbly face over my shoulder is making us some kind of fucked-up, two-headed porn chimera; I’m cresting the apex of a roller coaster mountain looking down. I pull the penile finger out of the dike–

–and nothing.

I shove my cock back into her asshole and get a few strokes when Jackson whispers voice-of-God style into my ear, “Do it again.”

My heart goes supernova and my field of vision diminishes to a speck. Could be from the adrenaline dump, could be from the side effects of the Viagra. Who the fuck cares? What difference does it make at this point? Again, I back my dick out of the asshole and–

–the barrel clicks on empty.

I look down. Her sphincter puckers and protrudes like a toothless old man’s lips with a mouthful of Skoal. There is some seepage.

My dick free falls. I stroke three or four times, not looking at the flecks of fecal matter on my shrinking shaft. I could point the leakage out to Jackson so the girl can clean up, but it’s camouflaged into my skin, and the last thing I want to do is stop the camera. I won’t ever get back anything resembling an erection for the rest of the 21st century if we delay. I don’t want to quit but my options are grim. So, I rub the shit-flakes into my dick, using it as lube. A python plays grab, twist, and pull with my guts, and there’s an acrid bite of bile in my mouth, singeing the back of my throat.

I settle my gut and play Enter the Asshole once again. This time I have to death-grip the base of my shaft like a carnival balloon to milk enough blood flow for penetration. Once again, fucking away with my flatlined dick, not penetrating past the sphincter and I’m so soft Stan does not have to tell me to pull out. Maite shits my pathetic nub of a cock out and I concede defeat.

I’m still behind the girl, in the line of fire, when it happens. The aperture of her asshole snaps open, convulses and puckers like a heaving cat struggling with a hairball…and her hole is a water cannon. Well, fecal cannon to be accurate.

She gatling-guns feces, cabbage chunks, lo-mein broccoli bits, sesame-sprinkled shit, and more kung-pao crap–all held together by a matrix of translucent, Starbucks-steeped globs onto me. Stan uses me as a human shield.

It’s The Running of the Bowels. Malik leaps off the bed and across the room as the girl scats on me. Nothing unshielded in her asshole’s line of fire will even be the same. Starting from the nexus of her dripping sphincter, and radiating outward is a wet, sloppy, Cone of Death.

I hyper-ventilate, and I may as well be huffing a colostomy bag. The fetid air is seasoned with intestinal spices; its taste coats thick and heavy on the back of my throat.

“Okay, cut!” Jackson says. Not a drop on his white track suit. “You need a minute, my man?”

I take a moment to control my breathing, but I can’t. I say, “No, I do not need a ‘minute’. It’s a wrap for me, I’m done for the day.”

“But you gotta finish. This is only the first anal position for you, and you gotta fuck her ass to pop, dog.”

The mattress has dookie islands bobbing in a lake of hot shit. My stomach folds itself inside out. Dry heaving fits. I nearly blow chunks, adding to the geography with a puke archipelago.

Enough!

I grab my pants and my soon-to-be-ruined underwear.

“Jackson,” I say, “I can’t imagine anything that will get me hard again, let alone be able to fuck her ass to get off for a pop shot!”

He inspects his delicate camera lens for flyaway spew, peels off what looks like a Corn Flake glued in place by yogurt, then sets his camera down. “Don’t be a punk, man. You’re a professional, take a Viagra or something.”

My heart is no longer beating. It’s vibrating so fast it glows in my chest like E-fucking-T.

“If you don’t finish the scene,” he says, “it’s gonna jeopardize our business relationship.”

Malik snatches Maite, throws her on the floor and fucks away.

Many seasoned porn whores develop an ability to check out at will. The girl, on her back, has unlit vacancy signs where her eyes once were. She reminds me of the lizard I saw on the Discovery Channel that flips onto its back and plays dead until danger passes. Hard to tell if she’s even breathing. Apparently, this was as good for her as it was for me. I follow her flat gaze upward. A string of goo hangs from the ceiling the way drool dangles from a Doberman’s mouth. It stretches past the point of plausibility, then it stretches some more. It drips.

I say to Jackson, “What are you insinuating?”

Jackson says, “I think it’s clear. This studio is putting cash-money on your black ass.” He looks at Malik, masturbating with Maite’s body. You can almost see a bit of her soul escape from her open mouth with each savage thrust. “I don’t have to tell you it’s competitive out there. There’s a gang of niggas that want your slot, and they all got bigger dicks than you.”

My pulse thrums in my eardrums and my mouth feels as though it’s full of hot sand. I want to say something but when I pass my tongue over my cracked lips it snags like a cotton ball dragged over sandpaper. My skin should be drenched with sweat but it’s dry. Signs for the onset of heat stroke.

I see the ice chest by the door. It has a lid, so its refreshing contents shouldn’t be contaminated. I drop my clothes, stumble to the ice chest and rip it open. No ice. Room temperature cans of Colt 45.

I make it down the hall to the bathroom and into the shower, and turn the knob to cold. The spray of water sizzles and pops off my skin. I lift my head and open my mouth.


November 28th, 2011 by Tyler Knight

Bukkake



The line of mopes wraps around the warehouse. It moves, I take a step. These men are not the chiseled, two-hundred pound studs with eight-inch-plus penises of the A-list. They will never get the call to work with even passable looking women in a scene for a mid-tier studio, and they know it. This is the bukkake line.

Sure, I’m in line just like these mopes are, but I’m different. I’ve done scenes for top-tier studios already. Christ, look at these guys, then look at me. I’m not like them. Even my shirt, the sample I modeled in a designer fashion show may be old but it’s a tangible link to what I’ve done. Proof of who I was. More than these mopes will ever accomplish in ten lifetimes.

Conversations include: a group scene where one mope brags about actually getting to fuck the girl for a solid minute before another mope tapped him on the shoulder to swap out; another man boasts of his one-on-one scene with a used up, twenty-year porn veteran, milf that he managed to not fuck up, which he proclaims, “We had a connection!”; to the porn parties they lie about being invited to.

The line moves. I take a step.

Directors for other bukkakes and group scenes (most not any better off than the mopes) rove up and down the bukkake line handing out business cards. One director poaches talent for a fifteen-on-one scene with a burly and pregnant woman that’s shooting down the street in an hour. The man front of me is swallowed by the building. I follow.

Inside the processing room we’re tagged and packed like cattle along an assembly line. I fill out the release and show my HIV/STD test to a production assistant that doesn’t even glance at it. Next, I hold my IDs next to my face and another P.A. takes a snapshot with a digital camera.

The line moves. I take a step.

The next P.A. keeps the beef line moving and into the killing floor. He tells me to be quiet as I enter because the filming has started. Through the doors I hear it. Panting. Snortling. Not unlike a kennel of English bulldogs. I enter the room.

Take a step.

The first thing you notice in the main room is: the line has congealed into a clump of man asses. They sag, and drag. Some pinch together, others hang down, flapping against the backs of legs. Hair covers some, puss drips from sores on another. Probably one hundred have packed in before you; you hurry to the side to strip your clothes to make room for the men that pile in behind you. The brightness of the lights is obscene and it’s cold like a meat locker–your breath hangs in the air in front of you, and the hairs on your legs and forearms stand erect. You pick an unoccupied spot on the floor for your clothes, and your bag, then walk to the crowd.

Take a step.

The other men are naked except for their shoes. The mob surrounding the girls (the rumor is there are actually two girls) has to be ten men deep because even though you’re taller than the average mope you can’t see the center. You hear, though. What you hear is squishy, wet, two-inch cocks jerking off in unison, like a thousand teens smacking chewing gum. With the sheer volume of men in the room the sound echoes off the walls. Punctuating this sound is the frequent moaning of your fellow man ass-mates at the front of the line as they dump their loads, followed by gargling.

Take a step.

Naked, you take your place in the pack, and no sooner than you do this does the trickle of new arrivals fill in around you; the group absorbs you into its mass. Inch by inch, the current moves you closer and closer to the front. Still, nothing is visible. Just the occasional cheap phone sex voices:

“Ooooohh yeah baaaaybeee. Gimmie that hot load, you stud!”
Another woman’s voice says, “Yeah, I’m soooo horny!”

Take a step.

Now you’re now at the middle ranks of the Man Ass Organism and are absorbed into it as yet more naked men pack in behind you. You’re trying to stroke your cock up to an erection with the only spit in your hand for lube, shoulder to hairy shoulder, surrounded by hundreds of strangers, and it’s harder and harder to breathe because there are no windows in this room and the used-up air that enters your mouth has exited the lungs of scores of other men. You taste the staleness.

Take a step.

When you are closer to what you think is the front, the odor invades your nose and there’s no way to escape it. Hygiene is not a big priority for some of these guys, but you’ve been around unwashed people before. No, that’s not it. It’s too acrid and burning to be just body odor. You look straight ahead because heaven forbid if you look down you see that you’re stroking your cock millimeters from some hairy, saggy ass. This gives you an acute awareness of the fact that there is some dude pulling his pud directly behind your ass at this very moment. His breath blows warm on your nape. Is he looking down at your cheeks as he strokes?

Take a step.

The Man Ass Organism spits you out to the front of the line the way an amoeba excretes waste through its membrane. There they are. Two girls, on their knees, caked from head-to-toe in the multi-shaded come of a hundred men. Drenched baby bibs are tied to their necks. Faces covered, you can distinguish them only by their breast size. The studio lights above them heat the jizz on their foreheads, creating swirling spunk currents the way a lava lamp would, solving the mystery of the stench. Both women’s breasts have space on the undersides where the semen dried to a crust–crackling, and splitting, and flaking when a tit moves.

Two men stand ahead of you in line. An unseen, megaphone amplified voice screeches over the ambient din, “You two! Snowball! Go, go, go!”

The two men take their steps.

A dripping slot opens just above Big Tits Girl’s chin that can only be a mouth. She sucks one man, and Small Tits Girl sucks off the other. Gooey hands grasp at the men’s doughy asses for leverage as the girls shove mope dicks into their faces. Big Tit’s man pumps her face and after ten seconds, convulses, howls, then slathers his load into her mouth and onto her face. She swishes spooze around her mouth and teeth the way you’d rinse with Listerine. The second man shoots his load into Small Tits Girl’s mouth. Both girls gargle their ejaculate in unison as the men step away and are re-absorbed into the crowd. Small Tits leans over, places her head in the Big Tits’s lap, and opens her mouth like a hungry baby bird. Big Tits then purses her lips. Come mixed with spittle, phlegm, and yet more come drips from Big Tit’s mouth in long strings, and into Small Tit’s mouth. Small Tits sits up, kisses Big Tits, and the women snowball the loads back and forth, fingering their pussies all the while. The opaque liquid, now well mixed, drizzles down their chins and onto their tits, and the floor. This is when you see for the first time that the girls are kneeling in a pool of semen and it’s clear why the other men are wearing shoes. You recall among the gossip in the line, one story was about some shoeless man at a previous bukkake that slipped and fell into the primordial ejaculate pool.

Eye-spots surrounded by semen lock in on you, and a soaked princess beckons you over. The megaphone screams, “Go!”

You take a step. When your foot lands, it squishes deep into what feels like warm hair conditioner. Your foot sinks and the gelatine goo oozes hot between your toes. When you lift your foot the sticky floor doesn’t want to let it go. You stand in front of the girls, cock in hand, no erection. The Big Tits Come Princess scoops spilled seed from the floor and feeds it to Small Tits Girl, whom sucks her friend’s finders dry. She smiles at you, blowing come-bubbles. Your stomach flips inside out, and your breathing comes shallow, and it feels as though your bones have been sucked out of your legs. You sway.

The megaphone shrieks, “Stop! Half-time show!”

The director’s minions–dressed in rain coats, hats, fly-fishing boots and gardening gloves–cattle prod their way through the crowd carrying industrial strength blow dryers. The appliances roar to life and the minions glaze the women’s faces with the come, glazing them like pottery. Fresh broiled spunk wafts into your nasal cavity. You look around and see the dead eyes of the Organism reflecting your feelings back at you; the Beast Of One Hundred Penises is looking through you to the girls, stroking away. Moaning and the sound of smack-smack-smack–

Enough!

You push your way through the Organism, not caring that you graze past someone’s loose genitals in your haste, which is good because as you rush, greasy penises brush against your wrist and your hips.

Once in the back, clear of the Organism, your body doubles over, resting your hands on your knees, sucking in air until the roof of your mouth tingles and your pulse throbs in your eardrums, and you get the tell-tale tunnel vision from hyperventilating.

Your pants are in your hands but you remember there’s not enough bus fare in the pockets to get you out of the Valley, let alone get something to eat, and you still have a week to go until you might get paid for the three-on-one you did last week–assuming the check clears. Your gut, heaving a moment ago, now bellows to be filled. You take a step. To the back of the Organism.

The moaning mass of flesh wraps itself around you once again. You step, wait, and step again until the Organism shits you out once more. There is only one Come Princess, now. She rests upside down on the back of her neck and shoulders. Legs open, speculum prying her vagina open. The guy ahead of you drops his load down the pried open vagina. You’re up.

A gas masked minion squirts cheap lube into your hand from an industrial sized drum. You close your eyes and go through your wank bank of images in your head to get you cock hard. You stroke, thinking of that sweet-smelling bank teller with the low-cut blouse who took your deposit, and this jars you from the fantasy because you remember that you have to give the inverted snatch in front of you her deposit. You keep stroking but your curiosity nags at you to peek, but you’re so close to coming and don’t want blow it, but your eyes have minds of their own. You peek. Her clamped open cunt is infinite, raw, and teeming with mottled, bubbling spunk. Still clutching your penis, your eyes roll back and the floor comes up on you hard and fast.

When your eyes open, you’re at the back of the crowd, next to the pile of clothes, semen stuck between the webbing of your fingers, a tightening feel of crust drying on the left side of your face and lips. You lick your lips and are rewarded with a bitter-salt taste on the tip of your tongue.

Your feet kick away a pair of skid-marked tighty whiteys to get to your socks, but fuck it, do you really want to put them on again? You’ve got one pant leg on when you stop and look to the dried sperm crusting on your feet. Your shirt, the one you got paid $1,500 to wear down the runway in Milan, is missing. Scanning the back of the room, you spot it. A mope is using it as a come rag. You struggle to control yourself from weeping and manage long enough to sling your bag over your shoulder and walk.

As you are leaving a minion stops you. He says, “Don’t forget your cash.”

He hands you fifty bucks, a baby wipe for your face, and a t-shirt that says:

“I Got Cummed On and Left For Dead In A Bukkake And All I Got Was This Stupid T-shirt.”

The minion says, “Can you come back to do the Gangsta-Land Come Slam next week? There will only be ten of you, you actually get to fuck the girl, and the pay is $150.”

At first you think he doesn’t know you’ve failed, but then you realize he doesn’t care. You’re walking corpse, there to make the set look full. As a mope, nothing you ever do will matter.