Next table over there’s an infant who can’t stop staring at his face. It’s the beard. Babies just can’t get over beards. It’s fucking bizarre, all that hair on a face. Fucks everything up in their little heads. Roy mugs as he tries to close the deal. Look, he’s saying into the cell phone. Look. I know. I know. It’s part of the fuckin’ Honey Ryder mystique. But it’s like, it’s like that show. The one with the guy, wants to fuck that girl, first she doesn’t want to fuck him, then she does, except now he can’t stand her. Right? Well, sooner or later the audience gets tired of that shit. Right? Sooner or later, bam! They got to get it on. Am I right?
Shit yeah, I’m saying it’s that time. This would be major. Think of the press. Think of the interviews. AVN, Flynt—what? What’s that? You’re breaking up. I said you’re breaking up!
He sighs. The kid’s still looking at him. Kid’s mama is yammering away at her friend, the one with the bad dye job and the sunglasses. He’s in a tunnel, says Roy. The kid blows a bubble of spit.
The cell phone chirps. He stabs it with a finger. Yeah. Yeah. All very good— Yeah. But I gotta tell you, the mystique thing is wearing thin. Everybody knows about the video with her and whatsisname. Guy had that big hair band back in the eighties. You know what the fuck I’m talking about. The video. Two of them going at it like rabbits. Kinda blows the whole— Shit yeah, I’m telling the— You can download the motherfuckin’ thing off the goddamn Internet— What? What? I’ll sue your— What? You want to tell me that one more time? You want to tell me that one more time? No, fuck you. Fuck you. I’m not making fuckin’ Dickless Wonder VII here, okay? I need—I need—
He looks away, listening. Looks back. Kid’s still staring at him. Mama’s laughing a nasty two-pack-a-day laugh. Rare sound in California these days. He takes a deep breath, sighs. He tried.
Okay, he says. Okay. You made your fuckin’ point. But I want two giggles out of her. Two, and I want some a. Bad enough there’s no dick. If I can’t get anything in the back door, it’s fuckin’ useless to me. Might as well cuddle for fifteen minutes and go home. You—what? What? You want to tell me that again? The scalp? You want her to get the scalp? Let me get this straight, you might be going through another fuckin’ tunnel or something. She breezes in, does two giggles, blows me a fuckin’ kiss, and gets the goddamn scalp?
He sighs explosively. The kid is still staring at him. Roy screws up his face, makes his eyes tiny little ball bearings, bares his teeth in a snarl, sticks out his tongue. The kid bursts into sudden frightened tears. Fuck you, thinks Roy.
All right, he says into the phone. What? Yes. I said yes. Fuckin’ kid is wailing over here. All right. Twelve, though. Twelve and that is as high as we go on this. Absolutely non-fuckin’-negotiable. And the scalp. Yes. Standard fuckin’ deal for the scalp. Twelve plus five for the fuckin’ scalp. Are we done?
Roy slaps his phone shut and drops it in his pocket. Prima fuckin’ donna. He drains his cappuccino and drops fifteen percent to the penny on the counter. You want to shut that kid up? he says on his way out.
Where is he?
The first words out of her mouth. Honey’s a vision, she is. She’s wearing one of those long-line sports skirts and a spaghetti-strap crop top with barely enough room for her tits, much less a bra. Her hair’s a wind-tangled mess and her face is bereft of makeup, which makes her look oddly naked to anybody familiar with her, shall we say, public persona. She kicks open the glass door to the house. One hand is struggling with a big black bag that’s trying to fall off her shoulder, the other is holding one of those ubiquitous bottles of water. She’s wearing puffy athletic shoes for some sport that hasn’t been invented yet. Looks like they were molded on her feet.
Where the fuck is he? she says, dropping the heavy black bag on the white shag carpet.
Out back, Honey, says the naked man on the couch. The girl squatting between his hairy legs doesn’t even look up. Just keeps stroking his mostly tumescent cock.
Honey storms towards the back of the house, past the kitchen, a glaring vision of chrome and black and white and nasty fluorescent light. She throws open the sliding glass door. Out on the concrete deck by the pool, three guys are bent over a pool chair. One of them has a little hi-8 video camera. One of them is fiddling with a couple of big black lights on tripods. And one of them is Roy, in a big billowing ridiculous pink silk shirt.
This is fuckin’ nuts, says the guy with the camera.
They’re fuckin’ antiques, says the guy with the lights. Give me a fuckin’ break.
Hey, Roy, says Honey. Since when do you spring for a fluffer, you cocksucking motherfucking shitheaded cheapskate?
They all stand up and turn around. Roy snorts. How you doin’, you skanky-assed crack-whore slit-lickin’ bitch?
What’s with the chippie in there? Viagra doesn’t work on Scottie any more?
That girl’s strictly freelance, says Roy. None of my concern. He starts walking towards Honey. There’s a woman lying on the pool chair. She’s naked and nut-brown and gleaming with suntan oil like a greasy sausage. Her face is buried in a hardcover book big enough to club a burglar with. She has a dark tattoo coiled around one breast like a threatening clump of mutant ivy and a gold chain around one ankle. She doesn’t appear to care or even notice that one of the guys is waving a light meter over her shaved cunt.
By the way, says Honey, that tape is a myth.
Tape? says Roy.
Don’t give me that bullshit. I never fucked Sammy Dane, so he sure as shit never got it on tape. So ain’t nobody downloading mpegs or jpegs or any such shit. So if I hear you say that to anybody else after this moment right here that we’re having I’m gonna sue your lousy ass for libel. Honey grins. It isn’t a nice grin.
Who said it was Sammy Dane? says Roy.
Who said it was fuckin’ Sammy Dane? I just heard it was some hair-band reject. It’s what I heard. Word on the street.
Fuck the word on the street.
Okay, okay. I spoke without what do they say. Attribution. Fuck it. I’m not a reporter. I’m makin’ a fuck flick here. So you want to get your game face on and fuck, or what?
You’re lucky I don’t walk right this instant, Roy.
Go ahead. Roy shrugs. I’m sure the freelance fluffer in there can lick cooze as well as she can suck dick.
If Scottie’s fluffer can prove she’s a day older than seventeen I’ll kiss your fucking ass.
That a threat?
There’s a minute where nobody says anything. The guy with the lights says, Okay, I think I got it, and the guy with the camera agrees with him. Somebody go get Scottie. Without putting her book down the girl on the pool chair scoops up a tube of lube, squirts some out on her palm with a deft one-handed twist and rubs it on and around her cunt.
Mikey got you the scalp, says Roy.
Mikey insisted. My girl gets scalp or no deal. I told him there was no way you’d want your face on the box of a Roy Smolin fuck flick, but he wouldn’t hear otherwise.
I have to pose for fucking stills?
You have to do me two giggles with a and then you pose for stills and then we go back to our respective fuckin’ homes and toast a job well done.
Hey. Honey. You know why you’re doing a Roy Smolin fuck flick?
Scottie’s walking out of the kitchen, his cock bobbing in the air, the tip purple and swollen and wet. His fluffer hangs back, away from the Teamster rejects. She sure looks like a groupie. Honey’s about to answer Roy when the fluffer looks up and meets Honey’s gaze. She holds it for a moment with big brown eyes that blink once, twice, and then look away, somewhere, anywhere else. Honey frowns. I have bills to pay, she says to Roy.
You’re on my set because you’re on fuckin’ stage four, says Roy.
Speed, says the guy with the camera. Scottie grunts. Oh, oh God, says the girl on the pool chair. Oh, God, you’re so big, oh. Cut, says the guy with the camera. I can see your fucking book, Deedee. Jesus Christ.
What the fuck is stage four? says Honey, when it’s clear Roy won’t tell her unless she asks. Roy holds up one thick furry finger. Who’s Honey Ryder? he says. He holds up a second. Get me Honey Ryder. A third. Get me someone looks like Honey Ryder, she’s too fuckin’ expensive. A fourth. Get me someone looks like Honey Ryder, but younger. He waves his fingers a little in the air between them.
And what’s five? she says, voice even, calm. She knows there’s a stage five. Has to be.
He sticks out his thumb. Who’s Honey Ryder? He grins. You’re on stage four. You’re this close to fuckin’ stage five. He jerks his thumb toward the house. So you want to get naked and earn your goddamn money or what?
Honey turns on one artfully molded athletic shoe and marches back inside.
Speed, says the guy with the camera.
Scottie grunts. His ass starts pumping up and down, his skin pale and white compared to the roasted tan of the girl on the pool chair.
Oh, she says, oh God. Oh, God, you’re so big, oh. Unh. Unh unh unh unh unh oh ohh!
Scottie says you’re a dyke.
It’s Scottie’s freelance fluffer, sticking her head around the bathroom door. She doesn’t seem to mind that Honey’s naked and in the middle of lipsticking her mouth.
Well, says Honey. You’re going to come in, you might as well come all the way in and shut the friggin’ door.
Which is what Scottie’s fluffer does.
Sonofabitch can’t even be bothered to spring for makeup, says Honey. Her face is creamed and blushed and powdered, her cheekbones shine, her eyes are shadowed green, her lips are cocksucker red. She blots them and smiles, grimaces, then suddenly dabs her nipples with lipstick, one, two. She grins, looks over her shoulder in the mirror to see Scottie’s fluffer, her face solemn, biting her lip. Well? says Honey. What do you think?
Are you? says Scottie’s fluffer.
What’s your name?
Honey tries not to roll her eyes. How old are you, Barbie?
I turned eighteen last week. Honest. I could show you my driver’s license and everything.
Scottie says you’re a dyke. Are you?
Honey turns around so she can look at Barbie directly and holds up her left hand. There’s a thin silvery ring on her ring finger. The diamond isn’t very big at all, but it catches the light. I’m married, says Honey. I like girls. But I’m not a dyke. I just don’t fuck guys on film for money.
It’s just something I don’t do. Why do you care?
I just... says Barbie. He said you were a dyke. That’s all.
Scottie know you’re in here?
Barbie shrugs. They’re doing the come shot. When he’s done, he’ll go take his vitamins and drink a protein shake. He says I can’t mix his protein shakes right. I always fuck it up. They’re going to shoot you next. He won’t need me for a while. You want me to...?
Do I want you to what?
You need help getting ready, or anything?
I already hosed myself out. But thanks.
I mean, says Barbie, and she steps closer, I know how to eat pussy. I’ve done it before.
Honey blinks. I don’t need fluffing, if that’s what you’re asking.
I just like to make people feel good. I just want to make you feel good. That’s all. She takes another step. Her hand drifts over, floats unsteadily, fingers trembling, over Honey’s tiny, carefully trimmed patch of bleached pubic hair. It’s really pretty, she says.
Thanks. Grew it myself.
Can I, says Barbie, but Honey is already leaning back, resting her butt against the bathroom counter, spreading her legs a little. Barbie’s fingers are feather-light. She doesn’t look Honey in the eye at all, just looks down, and down. She takes a deep breath and holds it a minute, then lets it out and kneels all at once.
Maybe she’s done it before and maybe she hasn’t. She’s clumsy but enthusiastic. She sucks up Honey’s outer lips and worries at them with her mouth like a teenaged boy. Honey hisses and Barbie starts licking ferociously, great swooping licks from bottom to top like she’s trying to win a pie-eating contest. Her tongue rasps like a cat’s over Honey’s suddenly sensitive clit. Easy, she says. Easy. Barbie’s eyes flick up from Honey’s cunt, worried, and Honey makes a face, ooh, oh, oh that’s nice. And it is. Barbie’s calming down, she’s settling into it, and in spite of everything Honey can feel the cold greasy knot of tension that’s been tangling in her gut all day start to loosen and melt. Maybe she has done this before. Honey rests a hand on Barbie’s head.
The bathroom door opens and the girl from the pool chair, Deedee, looks in. Hey. Twenty minutes or so. They’re having problems with the lights again.
’Kay. Um. You my first?
Yeah. You doing two?
Deedee leaves. Barbie never even looked up.
Honey closes her eyes, smiles a little, to herself. Mm hmm. Oh. Hey. Sweetie. She runs her hand through Barbie’s hair, strokes her temple with a thumb. Sweetie. Let me ask you something.
Barbie pulls her mouth away and looks up with those puppy’s eyes, big and brown. Want me to stop? She lays a sticky kiss along the crease of Honey’s thigh.
No. No. Let me just. Ah, let me—your dad. Let me just say something and see if I get it right. Your dad. He left at some point. He died, or, ah. Honey feels Barbie’s jaw working under her fingers, and she feels weirdly detached. That rolling, chewing motion of Barbie’s mouth is somehow more real, more immediate, than what her tongue and lips are doing so far below, so very far away. He just up and left one day, says Honey. She swallows. And your mom, she took up with somebody, or maybe a couple of different somebodies, and one of them, ah... Honey shifts her butt against the counter, arching her back a little, her hips forward, as Barbie falters. Barbie’s fingers dig into Honey’s ass, her thigh. She looks down and away, her chin leaving a smear of spit and juice along Honey’s hip. It was my uncle, says Barbie.
Honey reaches under the girl’s arms and pulls her up on her feet. Look at me. Look at me. She kisses Barbie’s forehead, and then tries to kiss her mouth. Barbie looks away. No. It’s gross. Don’t.
Are you saying I’m gross? says Honey, gently.
She kisses Barbie’s mouth. She can taste herself. She can taste Barbie’s lip gloss. She can taste an actinic hint of the shaving cream from the trim she just gave herself. No, Barbie’s mumbling. No. You aren’t.
Honey unbuttons Barbie’s cutoffs. Tugs the zipper down. I can’t, Barbie is saying. I have to go back. Scottie’s—
Scottie is making a protein shake, says Honey. Scottie’s popping Viagra. Scottie’s lucky if he can even remember you’re here.
The zipper catches. Screw it. Honey tugs the cutoffs over Barbie’s hips. She’s wearing cotton underwear, white cotton underwear with little flowers sprinkled all over like marshmallows in some kid’s cereal. Honey slides her hands under the waistband and feels Barbie’s skin, cool and a little clammy. She pushes the underwear down, too.
I wanted... says Barbie, as Honey’s fingers spread her open.
Shh, says Honey. Barbie’s so wet one of her fingers almost falls in. Barbie gasps. I wanted to make you feel good, she says.
Honey slips her finger almost all the way out, and then back in again. You are, babe, she says. You are.
You found Dixie yet? Roy is saying.
She’s not answering, says the big bald guy. His name is Marvin.
She’s not answering?
I don’t get an answer. Just her machine or voice mail or whatever. I left a coupla messages.
Did you try her cell? I said, did you try her fucking cell? Jesus, you shit-brained lunkhead. Think! Roy picks up his bag in a sudden fury and fishes a battered black Daytimer out of it and throws it at Marvin, who ducks. The thing bounces off one of his meaty forearms and sends business cards and tattered notes and post-its fluttering away like moths. Look up her goddamn numbers and find her!
Christ, says Linus, who’s been trying to keep the lights lit. It’s not like we’re even ready for her yet.
I don’t give a flying fuck! She was due on the set a fuckin’ hour ago! Haven’t you people ever fuckin’ heard of professionalism? Jesus! Why are you still here? he shrieks at Marvin, who’s trying to pick up the cards and notes and post-its, looking for Dixie’s phone numbers. Call!
Roy’s head turns like a slow gun turret on his massive neck. His mouth is twisted under his beard and his eyes have turned into ball bearings. Honey’s standing there wearing a white terrycloth robe, her black bag slung over one shoulder. She’s made up, hair’s done, ready to go. One eyebrow’s cocked and she’s meeting Roy with a cool glare of her own.
What’s the build? she says.
For the fucking scene, she says. What’s the build? What am I doing here? What am I wearing? What’s the scenario?
This ain’t Stanislavski, he says, his voice low and dangerous. You want your fuckin’ motivation? Go do dinner theater.
I just want to know what the fuck I’m doing.
You’re horny! She’s a chick! You dig chicks! You want to fuck her! She says why not! You fuck! End of fuckin’ story!
We could do something with me swimming in the pool, says Deedee, not looking up from her book. You know. I’m swimming, she walks up, I climb out of the pool. Now she looks up, her mouth half-grinning. And Honey’s so blown away by my awesome bod she gets down on her knees right then and there.
You wish, says Honey.
We could shoot it a couple of times for coverage and then set up for the master, says Terry, loading a fresh hi-8 tape into his camera. He starts hooking it to what looks like a tripod jerry-rigged with a couple of trucks from a busted skateboard.
Whatever! screams Roy. Where the fuck is Dixie? He goes storming back towards the house.
So, says Honey, looking into her bag, you’re thinking swimsuits? I got this bikini...
Nah, says Deedee. I’ll just hop in. It’s like maybe I want to get clean after fucking Scottie.
There’s a round of chuckles at that. Scottie’s inside, he can’t hear.
And I just happen by? Naked?
Just wear the robe. Keep it simple. Deedee stretches and lifts herself off the pool chair in one easy motion, steps up to the edge of the pool, and dives in. She surfaces, playfully spitting water. You getting this?
Speed, says Terry. Honey shrugs, ditches the bag, and steps up to the pool ladder, watching Deedee swim.
Whenever you’re ready, ladies.
Hey, says Deedee, treading water.
Hey, says Honey.
You want to come in? The water’s fine.
Actually, I’m pretty wet already.
They manage not to giggle.
Deedee strokes over to the ladder as Honey steps down into the water onto the first rung. Deedee hoists herself out of the water, gleaming like a dolphin, face uplifted, eyes closing, mouth opening. Honey meets her kiss, sliding one hand—left hand—down Deedee’s flank. She tilts her head to the left—the right, the right. Terry’s over there with the camera. She tilts her head and showily licks Deedee’s lips.
Want to come in? The water’s fine.
Actually, I’m pretty wet already.
Deedee rolls her eyes at that, which is fine for her, since the camera’s close in on Honey’s face. Terry backs away a little, the camera gliding back smoothly enough on its primitive dolly, as Deedee hoists herself up the ladder, gleaming like a dolphin, her skin bare and brown all over, water streaming in a little rivulet down the pursed furrow of her smooth, bare cunt.
You should come in. The water’s fine.
I’m wet enough already, thank you.
Honey’s step is a little unsteady on the ladder. When Deedee hauls herself up she nearly tumbles into her, and she grabs Deedee for support. Left hand? Right hand? Fuck it. Deedee grabs her and gets her robe. They manage to kiss, but it’s clumsier. The robe slips off Honey’s shoulders and she crushes Deedee to her to keep them both from falling.
Oh, Terry’s saying. Hey. That works. That’s hot.
As the robe slides down her arms, Honey tips one shoulder back and lifts her head so Terry’s camera can film Deedee kissing her neck, licking, taking one of Honey’s nipples into her mouth.
Damn, says Terry. Can we get that one more time?
She remembers to step with the right foot first. Right hand on the ladder’s rail so her left hand is ready to slide down Deedee’s flank. Deedee explodes out of the water, gleaming. Cool, wet skin, smooth and bare, the weight of her in Honey’s hand. The sunlight is bright on the water, lapping in Deedee’s wake. It blazes from the lens of the camera as Terry crab-scuttles behind them. Rough terrycloth slides down Honey’s shoulders. She tastes coconut oil and chlorine.
The double-headed dong is the color of grape Kool-Aid and has bubbles trapped inside it like seltzer water. About six inches of it have disappeared inside Deedee. Honey kneels beside her, her fist wrapped around it, watching the bobbing head on the other end as she pounds it into Deedee, her fist slapping against Deedee’s groin with every thrust. Deedee’s grunting and making her come face. Honey leans over Deedee’s hips and licks the head of the dong and then takes it in her mouth. Deedee’s still bucking her hips, but slower now, so Honey can blow the dong and lube it up a little with some spit. Deedee’s hand reaches up and cups the back of Honey’s head.
Hey, Terry’s saying. You wanna do spoon or scissors?
Did we get a spit take? says Roy.
Yeah, we got a spit take. Spoon or scissors?
Let’s get more spit. I don’t give a fuck. Give me another spit take.
Honey doesn’t roll her eyes as she lifts her head up off the dong and lets her mouth fill up with spit. She dribbles it off her lower lip onto the tip.
Yeah, Roy’s saying. Yeah.
Honey rubs her thumb along it. It’s pretty much ready. Deedee scootches back in the pool chair a little, lifting one leg. Looks like it’s going to be a scissors. Which is fine. Honey gets to her feet and straddles the pool chair, crouching over Deedee, who’s holding the dong steady for her. Everything’s bright. Sunlight and movie light bounce off water and sweat and lube and suntan oil. Honey braces herself with one hand and reaches down with the other to spread herself, hooking the head of the dong with her forefinger and guiding it home as she slowly sinks down. Trying not to think about how goofy this must look. Trying not to think about Terry zoomed in tight, watching the purple dong slide into her, getting it all on tape. She barely feels it, she’s so slick with lube and concentrating on trying not to fall over and maybe even look a little bit sexy while she’s doing it. Not that Terry or his camera can see anything but Deedee’s cunt and her cunt and the purple dong like a fat gummi worm stretched between them. But hey. It’s the thought that counts. Right?
So they kiss and they fuck for a minute or two. Honey’s trying to figure out if she’s worked with Deedee before. She’s pretty sure she hasn’t. She saw one of her tapes once—that tattoo’s pretty unmistakable, it’s a nice piece of branding, really. She liked it. Deedee’s good at making it all look like something fun, spontaneous, hey, let’s fuck on camera, it’ll be a blast.
But even though Honey’s pretty sure she’s never worked with Deedee before, there’s something familiar about her. It’s not the body, the body’s pretty much standard issue Southern California porn star: flat stomach round ass long legs jacked boobs like perfectly formed patties of ground beef wrapped in smooth plastic the color of burnt butter. It’s the ineffable stuff: the way she moves. The way her mouth opens when they kiss. The way her weight shifts, and one slick hand trails up Honey’s spine and then back down again, to grab her ass. It’s all of it full of deja vu, and it’s making Honey vaguely horny in spite of the lube and the sun and the camera and the lights and Roy. It’s all professional, mind—fucking Deedee is like dancing in a Broadway chorus line, where everybody knows what everybody else is doing and there’s almost no need to think about any of it, leg here hand there kiss lick thrust and pump! Not at all like holding Barbie in the bathroom, turning her around on unsteady feet, tripping over discarded shorts and underwear tangled about one ankle. Not like pulling her back against you and wrapping your arms around her and feeling her clammy ass against your cunt and fingering her until she comes, shuddering. Not like not knowing what to do or what to say next, and just watching her without saying anything at all as she pulls up her shorts, not looking at you. Opens the door. Leaves.
Fucking Deedee is not awkward.
Until it’s suddenly darker, and cooler—it’s still bright and hot, but not so much. Like half the white-hot sun went out at the flick of a switch. For one absurd moment Honey thinks it’s somehow her fault. The lights. The lights just died. Goddammit, Roy’s saying. Don’t move, Terry’s saying. Don’t move, girls. Hang on, says Linus. You fucking idiots, says Roy. Don’t move? says Deedee, annoyed.
Don’t move, says Linus. I’ve almost—
Don’t fucking move? says Honey.
Yeah, just—we’re not done, we just need to get the lights back on and we can get back to it.
Can we at least... Deedee’s shifting a little under her, their skin chafing now, no longer lubricated by motion. Strange how this sort of thing is actually comfortable when you’re moving, but stopped dead—legs stretch, muscles protest. Fuck not moving. They just won’t get up. Won’t take the dong out. Honey shifts her weight from her knee to her other foot, puts out her hand. Deedee’s resting the weight of her upraised leg on Honey’s thigh. Roy and Linus are arguing. Just break the fucking thing up and start something else. No, no, we don’t have enough coverage, the scene will suck and you’ll yell at me, why didn’t we get more? I’m yelling at you now, you little fuckup. Honey sighs. Deedee rolls her eyes.
Hey, says Honey. This is weird, but, I mean—have we ever worked together before? I mean, it’s totally embarrassing if I forgot, but...
No, that’s cool, says Deedee. It was before the tattoo. And I wasn’t Deedee Lick then.
Yeah. It was on, uh, one of the Girls’ Club shoots. The one with the big orgy on the soccer field? I was one of the goalies? We did a 69 under the net, and then a strap-on with Heidi and whatshername, Lexi Day?
Because, says Honey, who vaguely remembers the soccer orgy and who’s never liked working with Heidi, the thing is, she says, I’m horrible with names and faces, but I never forget a body. So. The dong is starting to feel not entirely pleasant inside her: it’s slowly becoming a dull, persistent ache, like a pulled muscle in a really weird place, filling her up, doing nothing at all for the vague need, the unexpected horny hum in the back of her brain.
My third flick, says Deedee, looking away. We gonna get this show back on the road? she says. In a minute, I swear, Christ, how the fuck much is this costing me? Deedee grins. It was so cool, she says. I got to work with the famous Honey Ryder.
Honey rolls her eyes like she’s supposed to, shucks. And then you got the tattoo? she says. She doesn’t touch it, even though she sort of wants to. Lying naked one on top of the other, a double-headed dong stretched from one cunt to the other—touching the tattoo would be an imposition. An unwarranted advance.
I met Cece dancing at the Cosmos, and we were gonna be the Lick Sisters. It was spooky: we looked so much like each other we could be twins. We got matching tattoos, except on different sides. Like a mirror. We were gonna clean up.
She found God a week later.
I’ve seen a couple of your tapes.
Well, Lunchbox got nominated for a couple of AVNs.
Yeah. Yeah. Best anal, video, right?
Cool. I mean, I like what you do. You’ve got a way of enjoying yourself on camera—it’s rare, you know?
Thanks, says Deedee, flatly.
Christ, thinks Honey. Could that have been any more condescending? I mean, she says, I like working with you. That’s all. Christ, this is getting ridiculous, she says, looking up at Linus and Terry, jiggling cables and plugs. Can I get up already or what? she yells.
Just a minute, almost got it, need you there to focus the lights, we’ll have this in a jiffy, stop your fucking whining.
What Deedee says then is almost buried by all that and Honey almost misses it and wishes she had, or wishes at least she’d stopped herself before saying the reflexive What?
I said, you looked like you were enjoying yourself. In there.
Because now Honey can’t ignore it.
You mean with Barbie?
Scottie’s fluffer? That’s her name?
I know. It was weird, I just... And suddenly Honey wishes this conversation would stop dead. Go some other direction. Because all of a sudden she’s asking herself, why did you do that? Why did you let that girl do that? What were you thinking? And none of them are questions Deedee would ever ask, any more than Honey would touch her tattoo, but still, the very fact that the questions exist turns her stomach, dashes something icy along her nerves, a cold front that collides with the warm aching itch around the goddamn dong still shoved up her twat, and between the two of them there’s suddenly a storm inside her that has nothing to do with oiled skin and swimming pools and one half of the Lick Sisters and a double-headed dong the color of grape Kool-Aid.
Hang on, Honey says. She stands up. The dong slides out of her with a slithering sucking wet plop. She feels—empty. Moved. Numb. I gotta go— she starts to say.
What the fuck?
I gotta go piss, she says. You keep me here any longer you’re gonna end up paying extra for a goddamn golden shower.
You have any idea what this is going to cost? How far behind schedule we are?
Maybe if you sprung for decent equipment in the first place, she says, thumping Roy on his pink silk shirt, you wouldn’t lose so much trying to jerry-rig this shit when it breaks down.
You want I should maybe send Scottie’s girl in to let you know when we’re ready for your high and mighty ass?
Shut the fuck up, Roy, she says, trying to sound more tired than anything else, which isn’t hard to do.
Walking away, back to the house, she feels more naked than she is. She feels eyes crawling on the back of her scalp like immaterial bugs. She feels like her ears are twice their normal size. She’s listening for anything, a whispered remark, a chuckle, a laugh. She hears the clank of tools. The breeze. Water lapping in the pool. Whatcha reading? asks Terry, trying to make conversation with a naked porn star while Linus ratchets away at the lights.
A book, says Deedee, bored.
What’s it about?
Whores, she says, and rolls over on her side.
Oh, uh. Hey.
Honey, wrapped up in her white robe, sits on the carpet next to Barbie, leaning back against the couch. Honey’s drinking water. Barbie’s got a bottle of one of those Seagram’s malt coolers that she ostentatiously does not try to hide.
Now what? So. About your uncle? Look, about what happened in the bathroom? You know, I’m not that kind of girl?
Honey’s still trying to think of something to say and trying not to look like she’s trying to think of anything at all when Barbie says, You done?
With Deedee? Yeah. Finally. I’ve got one more giggle to do, though. With Dixie Bangs, if she ever shows up.
Yeah. You know. A lesbo fuck scene.
Oh. Why is it called a giggle?
Cause it’s girl-girl. Get it?
Oh. So. We were, uh, giggling, back there, then, huh?
Sure, says Honey, even as she’s thinking, no, no, not at all.
What does Barbie look like? She looks young, yes, but how? Still a little pudgy in her face and arms, her neck and belly and thighs with traces of leftover baby fat. Her hair is thick and dyed an artificially rich auburn with dark roots and comes down to about her shoulders and is lank and damp with the heat and a little greasy, her eyes are big and brown when you can actually look into them, her mouth is wide and if she ever really smiled it would be big and guileless and light up the room. Her nose is not as small and cute and pert as it could be, and she’ll probably end up getting it chopped about the same time she has someone slide bags of silicon into her tits, which are just big enough to do fine on their own, though they’ll start to sag when gravity finally catches up to her. But she won’t listen to anybody who tells her otherwise. She’ll chop and stuff and tuck. She’ll do abdominal crunches at the gym where she’ll pay the trainer with money from her first couple of flicks. One of Dick Hardin’s endless Gonzo Jailbait tapes, or maybe a magazine spread for Home From School or Just Come of Age. Penny loafers or mary janes instead of dirty white canvas Keds, white ankle socks like she’s got on now, a schoolgirl kilt and a black thong instead of tight cut-offs and white cotton underwear with flowers, a white blouse unbuttoned enough to show off the bad girl black bra, instead of a baby tee with a faded silkscreen of some seventies movie star. Lip gloss. A cigarette, maybe. They’d definitely play up her sullen bad girl vibe. Sunglasses. Dick pretending to pick her up on the street, following her around with a handheld hi-8, hey, girl, you wanna make a movie? Gee, mister, I don’t know. I’ve never. It’s so big. Can I lick it? Oh. Oh. They’d eat her up for about six months or so, and if she doesn’t blow it all on stupid shit and unemployed musicians, she’ll be doing okay. She’ll get a tattoo on the small of her back if she doesn’t have one already, either something Chinese or something Celtic, and she’ll buy a new VW bug to match the color of her new latex minidress. She’ll burn through a disposable Bic or two a day shaving everywhere because waxing’s too inconvenient and maybe she’ll kid herself that all-natural shaving creams with aloe and herbal extracts are better for her pores. She’ll practice sitting upright with her back arched, her legs folded just so, her hair bleached blond now and spilling back over her shoulders, she’ll work on her lustful pout, her lip lick, her come face. She’ll stop drinking those sickly sweet alco-pops and start drinking water and juice blends, and if she ever takes up smoking she’ll spend years on the verge of quitting because there’s nothing else to do with your time while they fiddle with lights and cameras and big dopey slabby men, their bland, lifeless faces gone red from too much Viagra. She’ll marry her agent and they’ll forget to have sex, and she’ll come up with some stunt to set herself off from the pack, like never fucking men on camera, and somewhere along the way all the fat will melt out of her face, eroding away from her cheekbones and chin but leaving her eyes somehow smaller, hidden in a mask of eyeshadow and mascara, and her smile will be buffed and polished into something slick and gleaming and professional.
She’ll have to come up with a better name, though. Barbie just won’t cut it.
It’s hot, says Barbie, draining her Seagram’s.
I wish to God I had a cigarette, says Honey.
You could bum one.
Honey blinks. No, she says. No, I quit. Honest.
You actually want to break into this business, don’t you.
You shouldn’t drink that stuff. Not on the set. Never fuck on film while you’re drunk.
Shyeah, says Barbie, with just enough adolescent snottiness that something inside Honey makes a decision and she doesn’t stop to worry about whether it’s right or even sane. She stands up, suddenly. Come on, she says.
Where? says Barbie.
You serious about breaking into porn?
I said I was.
Then come with me. Someplace a little less open. And bring your cigarettes.
Whoever Roy’s friend is, he’s got a big house and bad taste. The master bedroom is all white and black and chrome like the kitchen, with mirrors and a king-sized duvet and ankle-deep shag, and a chrome butler’s stand holding an expensive rumpled Italian suit in ugly green sharkskin. A giant painting over the bed looks like some deranged kid scribbled all over it with chalk and crayons and left it out in the rain. Cy Twombly, says Barbie. Honey cocks an eyebrow. Art criticism is the last thing she expected. Barbie shrugs. Hey, she says, I read Interview magazine. She tosses the cigarettes to Honey. The cold feeling is sluicing through her nerves again. Why are you doing this? What are you thinking?
We gonna fuck? says Barbie.
Honey shakes out a cigarette and lights it. Oh, God. It tastes good. It’s been too fucking long. She takes another drag on the cigarette, and she can feel Barbie’s eyes on her like lasers, the girl’s finally looking at her, not the floor, not her own navel, not the sky, but another person, her, Honey Ryder. Blowing out the smoke, Honey locks her own eyes cool and calm on Barbie’s defiant gaze and reaches down, undoing the belt to her robe. Shrugging it off her shoulders. Letting it fall to the floor. Naked, she has power. Naked, she is strong. Barbie blinks, and Honey, still cool, sits on the big soft bed and smokes her bummed cigarette.
So you want to be a porn star, she says. Do something sexy.
What? says Barbie.
I shouldn’t have to tell you, says Honey. Make me horny. Make me want to fuck you. Make me come.
I knew it, says Barbie. You just want to get back into my pants.
Do you know who the fuck I am, little girl? I’m Honey fucking Ryder. I own half my own production company and I make twelve hundred dollars a day doing pieces of shit like this. One phone call from me and you’ll have a movie deal and if you impress me, I just might remember to make it. Go along to get along. Give some head to get ahead. But do something real soon here because I gotta tell you, babe: right now you ain’t doing nothing for me.
Make or break. Honey honestly has no idea what she wants to happen. Barbie could just walk out of the room and she’d be fine, and maybe the cold would just leak out of her and she could finish this fuck flick and go home. Or Barbie could do what she’s doing—look up from staring a hole in the carpet with eyes suddenly sly and determined, her mouth set just so, her Keds whispering through the shag as she slowly struts up to Honey with an absurd sway to her hips. Honey covers the impulse to laugh with another drag from the cigarette. Barbie licks her lips, her eyes hooded with a girl’s idea of what lust must look like, and tilts her head, leaning forward to kiss Honey. Honey turns aside at the last moment. Nope, she says, looking away. No touching.
No touching? says Barbie, close, not backing away.
Porn’s a visual medium, babe.
Not even a lapdance? says Barbie.
Honey cocks an eyebrow. You can give a lapdance?
Well, says Barbie. Let’s see. She plants a knee on the bed on one side of Honey’s hips, plants the other knee on the other side, climbing into Honey’s lap as Honey lifts the cigarette out of the way. Barbie grinds her crotch into Honey’s and then rolls it back, swiveling in and out in slow motion. Threads from her raggedy cut-off jeans tickle Honey’s skin. Barbie catches Honey’s arm and starts to lean back and Honey grabs her back with the hand that isn’t holding the cigarette as Barbie leans way, way back, her tight tee riding up to reveal her deep dark navel, peekaboo, stretched out in an oval in her flat belly, taut as a fucking drum. Honey’s arm is full of girl. She’s small but she’s not little, she’s solid. She’ll be in the gym a lot over the next few years, eating breakfast bars and salads. Barbie pulls herself up slowly, slowly, her back rippling in a perfect sultry wave, like stacking one vertebra on top of another until last of all her head rolls up, eyes shining, lips parted just so, and Honey lets her have a kiss, one kiss, wet and soft. Barbie reaches out for the cigarette and plucks it from Honey’s hand, takes a deep long drag and blows the smoke up at the painting. Well? she says, one hand still on Honey’s arm. How’m I doing?
Pretty shabby, says Honey. First thing you’ve got to do is come up with a new name. But actually, before you even do that, you’ve got to get rid of Scottie.
What, so I can hook up with you? Scottie’s going to get me my first flick. So I don’t need your help.
Only thing Scottie’s going to get is himself a meal ticket. He’s already got a reputation for losing wood. He’s just this close to being called a balsa boy and when that happens not even Roy Smolin will return his calls. But he drags you to enough sets to fluff him, some director says, hey, we can use her for Eighteen by Seconds III, starts shooting next week—and he’s got it made. He’ll ride you till you crash and burn, and then you’re turning tricks in Studio City or Reseda while he’s moved on to another chippie. So cut him loose before he gets his chance.
And you’ll treat me so much better? I knew it. I knew you were a dyke.
You came on to me, remember? In the bathroom?
Barbie looks down and away. I told you. I like making people feel good.
Well. I’m not feeling the least bit horny, you know.
Which is a lie: that warm, empty itch is back, clashing with the cold and if Honey were to hold up her hand right now, it would tremble. Her thighs are getting sticky and the heat she can feel coming off Barbie’s arousal through cotton and denim is only making things worse, or better. But Barbie doesn’t need to know any of that. Barbie grinds out the cigarette on the black formica nightstand and unbuttons her shorts, pop! and tugs on either side of the fly, pulling the zipper down a little. Leaning back, biting her bottom lip in a gee-I’m-gonna-do-this grin, she slips one hand flat along her belly under the waistband of her underwear and sinks it into her crotch. Rolling her hips again. Breathing in sharply through her nose. She’s smart enough to know she shouldn’t fake it, shouldn’t cheat it, not here, not now, not so close. What she’s really feeling is enough, and it shows.
Now I’m starting to feel something, says Honey.
Barbie’s grin really is amazing.
Why are you doing this? Why are you letting this girl do these things? What are you thinking? What on earth do you want? Honey has no idea. She wants—she wants to take Barbie home. Throw her in the shower. She wants to soap her till she squeaks, scrub her till she smells of talcum powder and citrus and sandalwood. She wants to wrap her naked in thick white terry cloth and bundle her off to bed. She wants this girl to fall asleep in her arms listening to Stars or Alpha and then to lick her awake from head to toe and eat her out till she sees fireworks. She wants to watch dumb old movies with Barbie’s head on her shoulder. She wants to kiss her on the balcony while rain falls in the courtyard. She hasn’t felt like this in a long time and it’s dangerous, and there’s no way she can stop it now to save her life.
Barbie takes the hem of her baby tee in her hands and slowly peels it up and off. Her hair bounces as it falls through the neck of the shirt, and her tits bounce as she throws it across the room. Nice tits, not perfectly round soup bowls like Honey’s or Deedee’s, but drooping tear drops just the least bit pendulous with fat little nipples the color of pale lips. One hand back in her pants, she plants the other on Honey’s chest, between those geometric tits, and pushes, and Honey gratefully falls back. Hiking up on her knees, Barbie’s second hand joins the first, doing something seductive down there with her fingers. She closes her eyes, humping gently to a slow beat only she can hear. Your love, she’s singing, in a small clear voice that’s mostly on-key, is better than chocolate, it’s better than anything else that I’ve tried. Your love is better than ice cream, and everyone here knows how to cry—
She stops, dead. Her eyes flash open. Her hands pop out of her shorts and she plants them on her hips akimbo. She cocks her head and looks down at Honey and there’s a lot there in her look: glee, trepidation, a little defiance, that so-cool ironic gotcha, arousal. Not a little arousal. Well? she says, breathing just heavily enough to disturb her studied nonchalance. How’m I doing now?
Honey can’t help it. She bursts into laughter, delighted gales of laughter, great whooping gouts of laughter that toss back her head and shake the bed and make her lungs ache. Barbie blinks, taken aback, her mouth falling open, until Honey grabs her arms and pulls her down into a voracious hug, kissing her between quakes of laughter, rolling her over on her back and tugging her shorts over her hips and down her legs, laughing, and Barbie, her grin cracking open to light up the whole damn room, Barbie begins to giggle.
Ten minutes later it’s serious indeed, Barbie crouched over Honey in a tightly knotted 69, legs jackknifed and interlocked with arms, mouths busy. Barbie’s still wearing her Keds and her socks and even her white cotton underwear covered in flowers. Honey’s shoved them aside with one hand so she can lick at Barbie’s lips while two fingers sink in up to the palm with practiced grace, careful with the nails, and Honey can tell Barbie’s about to come yet again and she does, groaning, shivering, trembling, transfixed. She falls, shuddering, on her side, away from Honey’s mouth. Honey tries to follow, reaches for her, but Barbie’s scooting her hips away, mumbling no, no, it’s your turn, it’s your turn, dammit. And Honey’s hand falls away from the leg band of Barbie’s underwear and she lifts her legs, letting them fall open as Barbie, still on her side, licks at Honey with her sideways tongue. Her fingers are plucking around the edges of Honey’s cunt, and her nails thank God are short and bitten down, not glossy porn star claws, and she’s peeling Honey open so her tongue can slide in like a thin elastic dick and it’s cool and wet and delicious. And her fingers and tongue together are building something marvelous, this hum that’s swelling in the back of Honey’s head and Christ but it’s stupid, it’s a dumb little quotidian epiphany, as her toes knot up and her calves clench and the muscles in her thighs set like concrete, right, she’s thinking, as she realizes she doesn’t care what her face looks like, as her belly cramps and her back arches and she groans in spite of herself, an ugly groan, right, she’s thinking, right, this is why we do this, this is the reason, as the tidal wave crashes out of her cunt and sweeps everything away, all of it, a drowning roar of white noise that finally starts to recede, slowly, so slowly, leaving her gasping on a beach somewhere far away.
Okay. I’m starting to think you really have eaten pussy before.
And you said you weren’t a dyke.
They’re lying up by the massive white pillows, away from the large wet spots soaked through Roy’s friend’s white king-sized duvet. Honey’s sprawled on her back, playing with Barbie’s thick red hair. Barbie’s lying on her side, her head pillowed on Honey’s shoulder, her leg crooked up over Honey’s legs, and she’s finally naked, her shoes and socks finally off, her underwear gone, and her wild and thick and untamed pubic hair is pressed against Honey’s hip.
I haven’t come that hard in—a while, says Honey.
I thought, says Barbie, you were married.
Honey’s face screws up. Babe, she says, thinking of Michael sitting on the edge of the bed, jerking off over pictures of his latest client. Of blowjobs in limos. Of the infamous quickie with Heidi at the post-awards dinner last year, in the service corridor. Don’t ever marry your agent, she says.
Oh? says Barbie.
He’s like a kid in a fucking candy shop. Literally.
So I should maybe not hook up with your production company?
Hey. He’s a great agent. He’s just a lousy—everything else. Honey looks down at Barbie. I’m serious, you know. You say the word. You’ll get your flick. It doesn’t have to be with me. I can set you up with good people—Jack Zorn’s Revolution X, the Orgy Grrls. Say the word.
Okay, says Barbie, not looking up. Okay.
They lie there, not moving, not speaking for a bit. It’s so incredibly relaxing. It’s a comfortable bed, even if it is ugly and white. So soft. Honey closes her eyes. Thinks about Deedee or Marvin or Scottie or even Roy, God forbid, busting through that door to catch them here, asleep. Realizes she doesn’t care. Bring ’em on.
Barbie starts quivering against her and for a moment Honey thinks she’s crying, half sits up, alarmed, her heart thumping, what? What? But Barbie’s pointing to the wall at the foot of the bed, and she’s laughing almost soundlessly, little gasping giggles sputtering at the back of her throat.
Somehow, in all that, they managed never to notice that the entire wall at the foot of the bed was nothing but one big mirror.
Laughing, Honey waves at herself. The naked blond SoCal porn star with her red-headed protégée on someone else’s fuckpalace bed waves right back. God, she says. The height of taste.
Mary Contrary, says Barbie.
Instead of Barbie. Mary Contrary.
I don’t think so, says Honey. Too—smart. Porn names have to be real dumb. Think of your audience.
Because Barbie’s my real name. Barbara Sue Dickerson.
From Iowa or Indiana.
Well. Say hi to Juliet Schorstein from Cadillac, Michigan.
Barbie takes her hand. Hello, Juliet Schorstein, from Cadillac, Michigan.
Please. Call me Julie. They start giggling again. But doors are being slammed and footsteps and thumping and someone’s yelling about something. They both freeze, listening.
I don’t think it’s you—
I don’t hear your name—
Thump. Thump. Well, get ready, goddammit. The fuck you think I’m paying you for?
Shit, says Honey. It’s Dixie. She finally showed. Honey sighs, sits up, starts to crawl out of bed. I have to get back to work, she says.
Yeah, says Barbie. I should see if Scottie’s done. Honey tosses Barbie her tee shirt and she catches it and scrounges for her socks. Honey slips into her robe and fishes around in her pocket for her cell phone. Here, she says, plucking a business card from the pocket on the side. Here.
Your card? says Barbie, holding her shorts.
Yeah. Call me.
Barbie takes the card.
And not just for business, either, okay? says Honey. Call me. I mean it.
And there’s that amazing grin again.
Dixie Bangs is maybe the only brunette ever to come out of Finland. That’s her mystique. Doesn’t hurt that she’s cute as a button, wears her hair short and spiky and dyed even blacker than it is, has those mysterious flat dark eyes and just enough of an accent to round off her words like they were turned in a lathe. Sexy as all hell. She’s currently lying on her stomach on a blanket spread on the grass above the pool, her arms folded under her, her knees hiked up a little and her back arched so her bare butt sticks in the air at a good height for Terry to catch a shot of Honey sliding a chrome dildo into her ass. He’s in close and tight to get what they call the pee and pee: pimples and penetration.
And Dixie’s cooing.
Ooo, she’s saying, oh, ooo, that is soooo good.
Dixie, hon, says Honey, working another inch of chrome into the girl’s ass, they’re not miking this for real. You don’t have to sell it quite so hard.
But it does feel good. Oooh.
Honey, who’s just had the best fuck she’s had in the past six months courtesy of someone else’s fluffer in a bedroom she’s never going to see again, whose thighs were still sticky with snail trails of come and spit till she blotted them with her robe as Linus was checking the light, because she hadn’t had time to clean herself up, she’d barely had time to fix her lipstick and hair—Honey, who’s still feeling loose and wobbly, her legs like noodles, her lungs like meringue, her heart like some tiny furnace—Honey just shrugs. Her second giggle of the day, this one with a, but she gets to slip the dildo into Dixie’s ass and not the other way round—since even though Dixie’s an up-and-comer, lots of buzz, no big breaks yet but she’s already copped the scalp a couple of times, still, Honey’s got seniority. Age has its advantages, she thinks, working the dildo in another gleaming inch.
You got coverage? says Roy. He doesn’t seem to care his shadow’s lying across the blanket, standing there with Marvin beside him for all the world like a couple of duffers trying to plot the lay of a golf ball on the seventeenth hole.
Yeah, says Terry, backing up, I’ve got it. So Dixie hikes up her butt even more, turning her head to face Terry, nibbling on her thumb as Honey works the dildo with one hand and lays the other along Dixie’s belly, reaching back with a couple of fingers to spread the girl’s cunt open so she can go down on her. They hadn’t even bothered with a build for this scene. She has no idea how this will fit into whatever sketchy storyline or theme Roy has planned and she officially doesn’t care. She isn’t even too sure about what’s going to happen next. Probably Dixie will go down on her, close with a 69. Whatever. Dixie tastes like suntan oil and smells like some artificial fruit. It’s all that lube leaking down from her ass. That tang there, maybe that’s what she really tastes like, a hint of salty musk under all the chemicals. Honey’s tongue feels tired and furry. She’s remembering Barbie’s taste, rich and funky like some unknown ethnic food, her smell like fresh bread in some weird way.
So she’s distracted, which is maybe why she doesn’t notice what’s going on until she hears Scottie’s voice. Hey, you girls look like you could use a hand. She jerks up her head from Dixie’s cunt and there he is, big as life, his six pack and his chiseled tits and his ropy arms and his balding head red with sun and blood from the Viagra that’s kicking awake his erection like some sluggish zombie in his grey athletic shorts.
You have got to be kidding me, says Honey.
Don’t stop, Terry, says Roy. Don’t stop. Honey. Honey, listen to me. We’re running out of time. I had to compress a couple of scenes. You don’t touch him. Okay? I am not breaking our deal. You do not touch him. It’s just a little variation on the 69th Street Bridge, okay? You do Dixie, Dixie blows Scott. We all go home happy. Okay?
Honey’s shaking her head, saying no, no way—
—when it hits her.
It’s visceral, like a kick in the gut. The cold is back. It fills her body like a tornado, spilling tendrils down her shivering arms and legs, freezing her brain with the sudden, certain knowledge. It’s in Scottie’s grin. It’s in Roy’s cocked eyebrow. It’s in Marvin’s puzzled little smile. It was in Barbie’s look. That very first look. Those big brown eyes.
It’s a set-up. The whole goddamn thing was a set-up, for this.
Roy is saying somewhere out there, we good? Honey? And she wants to throw up, she wants to smash the camera, she wants to kick Roy and Scottie and Marvin rolling down the hill, she—she doesn’t want to do anything to Barbie. No. Dixie’s saying, you know, it’s just sex. No. It’s like she’s cut off from the world by a soft curtain of static, a ghost channel on an old television set, and even her own thoughts are turned way down and she has to listen hard to hear them. Losing her temper would be enough. And Roy has the goods on her and Barbie to make her life hell, now. She’s fucked.
Honey? We good?
She’s pretty sure she nods to that. Yeah, she hears her voice say, somewhere far away. It’s just sex. We’re good.
Scottie loses his shorts and Dixie hikes up on her hands and starts to lick his half-hard cock, and Honey wonders if Barbie fluffed him, you know, for old time’s sake.
It seems like it takes Scottie forever to come.
Honey goes back to licking out Dixie’s cunt under the theory that she won’t see Scottie at all from there. But something, an image, gets planted in her brain and grows there like some nasty weed and won’t go away. She sits up, leaves the dildo sticking out of Dixie’s ass like a banderilla in a bull, shoves a couple of fingers in Dixie’s twat and plants herself behind her like she’s fucking the girl doggie-style. Leans over so she can watch Scottie’s thick, hairy fingers cup the back of Dixie’s head as he fucks her face. So she can watch his belly, his thighs, gleaming with sweat.
God, it’s taking Scottie forever to come.
Oh yeah, he’s saying, oh yeah. Shit yeah. He’s gonna blow. Dixie’s moaning around his cock as he pumps a couple more times.
It’s a delicate operation, coming into someone’s mouth for the benefit of the camera. Takes two seasoned practitioners working at the height of their craft, judging timing, intensity, arc, and velocity in a split second, and even then you’re going to make a mess. Scottie leans back pulling out his cock as Dixie opens her mouth and then he’s coming in three long pumping ropy pulses that mostly splatter into her mouth.
Yeah, Roy’s saying, as Honey lays a hand on Dixie’s shoulder. That was... Honey’s pulling on Dixie’s shoulder, turning it a little as she rolls onto her side by the girl, and Honey turns up her face so Dixie can look down and without really thinking about it kiss Honey. And Honey opens her mouth and Dixie opens hers and they’re sharing Scottie’s slimy, tasteless load, vaguely salty, like medicated snot. Honey pulls back, letting the honey kiss’s trademark strand of come dribble between their lips, and then for good measure she licks up a shining spot from the corner of Dixie’s mouth.
That was, uh, Roy’s saying. At a loss for words.
Honey stands. Terry’s right there, his mouth hanging open. The camera had been tight on her and followed her up, instinctively.
She leans forward and spits a load of come on the lens.
Walking away from them all, naked, scrubbing her lips with the back of her hand, she hears Roy’s awestruck voice, my God, Terry, please tell me you got that.
I got it, says Terry. Fuck.
There’s an enormous crack in the bathroom mirror, and a crunched-up shattered place where the cell phone hit. Honey’s rinsed out her mouth five times and still her teeth feel filmy, her tongue feels slimy. She wants a cigarette. She wants a drink. She wants to be mind-numbingly drunk. She doesn’t ever want to hear the voice that says, hey, Honey? You okay?
Get out, she says, looking up to see Barbie in the mirror, standing in the doorway behind her. Her face flat, her eyes gone dark, hidden. Honey remembers her pulling the fake-out with the lapdance, stopping dead. How’m I doing?
Get out! she says again. Barbie blinks. I just, she starts to say. I don’t care! yells Honey spinning around to confront her for real. Grabbing the door. You lied to me, she says, and she slams the door in Barbie’s face.
Honey? says Barbie. Julie?
Get out! screams Honey. She throws her ruined cell phone at the door.
She’s calmer when Roy knocks. She’s as ready for him as she will ever be. Toilet seat down, she’s sitting on it, her robe spread beneath her. Naked, she is strong. Naked, she has power.
He sticks his head around the corner. Look, he says. I don’t know what possessed you out there, but this is gonna be huge. Okay? Word of mouth is gonna double my sales alone, but if you play along—I mean, I’m willing to cut you in for a taste. Strictly net, but...
I don’t want it.
Honey. Babe. That’s great, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but think twice. You just broke your mystique out there, babe. We just made the tape of the year out there!
It’s bigger even than that, Roy. You just shot Honey Ryder’s last fuck scene. So. There. You’ve got your place in history. How’s that?
How old is she, Roy? Sixteen? Seventeen?
Dixie? says Roy. Honey, are you—
Barbie, you fuck. How old is Barbie?
Roy frowns. Barbie’s eighteen, Honey, he says.
Cut the shit. Yeah, I know you have to pretend that’s what you think, but you’ve also got to gloat and warn me that if I make any trouble, queer this up for you at all, breathe funny, well, you’ve got somebody waiting in the wings, ready to testify, certainly Your Honor, the defendant knew she was underage. And engaged in carnal relations anyway. Statutory rape.
You, uh, you fucked Barbie? says Roy.
Don’t be an idiot!
And Roy turns and gently closes the door, then leans his bulk against the wall, folding his arms over his absurd pink shirt. Honey. Listen to me. I’m, well, I’m flattered you think I’m that Machiavellian. Really. But if somebody’s told you I treat my people like that, setting them up like that, I want you to tell me who it is so I can hunt them down and cut off their balls and shove ’em down their fuckin’ throat. Okay? I did not set you up to fuck Barbie or be fucked or whatever you think has happened, okay? I did not let an underage girl on my set. I’ve had enough trouble with cops. We really were running out of time and I figured I could maybe sweet talk you into a sort of king triad with Scottie and Dixie. Fuck, it was worth a shot. But that honey kiss out there—babe, that hits the racks, your Q-rating is going through the fucking roof. Now is absolutely the worst time to quit. Hell, I’d be willing to broker something with Mikey, get an absolute top-drawer guy, maybe Lance—
Shut up, Roy, says Honey.
Or maybe not, says Roy. Maybe not. Maybe later.
Honey feels dizzy, like if she doesn’t brace her foot against the tub she’s going to topple off the toilet. And Barbie’s really... she starts to say.
Her birthday was, like, last week. Me and Scottie are talking to Jerry Kepnick. She’s got a shot at Eighteen by Seconds IV, starts shooting next month. She’s gonna be a hit with that jailbait stuff, you know.
She wants to laugh. She wants to yell something, anything. She wants to burst into tears. She feels nothing but numb, and a little vertigo. I thought they’d only made two of those damn things, is all she manages to say.
Honey Ryder leaves the way she came in: face bare, hair mussed, kicking the door open with one puffy-shoed foot, her big black bag slung from one shoulder. Outside, a flash of white catches her eye on the gravel path to the driveway, and she bends down, picks it up. It’s the torn corner of one of her business cards. There’s another piece, there, caught in the grass. And a third, under the tire of Marvin’s van.
Dixie Bangs drives a black VW Jetta that matches her black pleather miniskirt, her black bandeau top, her black leather jacket, her black Chuck Taylors All Stars. It’s a brand new car and more powerful than she’s used to but she loves it anyway, loves the way it roars into the courtyard of the condo she bought with the money from Topping Tushy II and III. She climbs out feeling slinky and skanky, sexy and sleazy. Slutty. Her legs still tremble from the rush of the engine.
Eric’s sitting on her new denim couch eating some kind of puffed-up chip from Japan and playing Twisted Metal on the Playstation. He doesn’t look up, doesn’t say anything, just hammers away at the touchpad with his thumbs.
You know you are getting jaded, says Dixie, if a porn star walks into the room and you do nothing.
Oh, says Eric. Hey. Um. How was your day?
I did a quickie for Roy Smolin, she says. Fucked an over-the-hill porn star for twenty minutes and a big beefy guy for an hour and Roy is going to put my photo on the box for doing this.
Who? says Eric, who still hasn’t looked up. Some murderous clown is threatening him on the big flatscreen TV.
Who what? says Dixie, starting to get annoyed.
Who was the porn star?
Honey Ryder, says Dixie.
No shit? says Eric. You fucked Honey Ryder? Damn. She’s hot. She like, never fucks guys.
I, says Dixie, shucking out of her leather jacket, am going to take a shower. If you are still here when I am finished, I shall call the police.
What? says Eric. The fuck? Babe, I, uh...
Please do not take it personally, says Dixie. I just don’t like you. So go.
Where the fuck will I spend the night? says Eric.
That is not my problem, says Dixie, kicking off her Chuck Taylors.
She wanders back to the bathroom, where she strips off the bandeau and the miniskirt. She never wears underwear after a shoot. It would be—wrong. She’d have to burn it, she thinks. The smells never really come out if they’re rubbed into fabric like that.
The shower is hot and strong and long and by the time she gets out and pads naked into the living room, Eric’s gone. He left the TV on, though. She sits, damp, on the denim couch, fishes the remote out from between the cushions, goes surfing. She’s restless. She draws her heels up to the edge of the couch, flips past the Spice Channel, flips back. There’s a shot of Honey Ryder from a year ago, the AVN Awards. She’s smiling. Her hair is glossy and artfully tangled. She’s wearing a silvery mesh minidress that’s practically hanging off her nipples and she looks like a movie star. She’s saying something about how much she loves the industry, how it’s, it’s a cliché, you know, but it really is like one big family. Everybody loves everybody else.
God, says Dixie, to nobody in particular. I’m horny.