What's in a Name?

What’s in a Name?


He goes to a house party in North Philly and takes shrooms for the first time.  He eats an eighth, but after thirty minutes he doesn’t feel anything so he eats another. 

Soon the graffiti stricken walls of the house are pulsating and he sinks deep into the cushions of a dirty couch.  

The next thing he remembers is his tongue inside of another person’s mouth, swirling around with their tongue.  He stops and pulls away.  He is relieved to find this person is a girl.  Cupping her face, he looks into her eyes.  In a moment of clarity, he discovers she is the most beautiful creature he has ever seen before in his life. 

“What’s your name?” He asks.


“Allie.  Do that again,” he says, pulling her lips back onto his. 

Soon one of her friends comes and grabs her, takes her out of his arms and out of reach.  Too much too soon.   

Then the drug begins to turn. 

Everyone in the house mutates into gross caricatures.  Panic sets in.  He needs air.  He stumbles around and comes face to face with his reflection in a hallway mirror.  He freezes in terror at what he sees.  Thankfully someone bumps into him, breaking his trance, giving him the strength to run outside into the night air and puke on the front stoop. 

Delirious, he discovers the city has morphed into a fiery post-apocalyptic hellhole.  Tears well and he falls to his knees, crying.  The world as he knows it disappears, and he loses all sense of time and space.  Picture fades to black. 

He wakes the next morning in a stranger’s apartment amidst half a dozen outstretched and bare skin bodies strewn across a couch and the living room floor. 

He looks down by his side and finds Allie nestled in his arms.  He can’t believe it.  He can’t remember how he got there or how she came to be with him, but he didn’t care; having her here is what is important.  He runs his fingers through her long brunette hair just to make sure she’s really there, and as her soft waking eyes look up to meet his he feels a calming sense of warmth in his stomach. 

He likes this moment.  He wants this feeling to continue.

They make plans to see each other again, then again, and again, and again. Allie and him soon become exclusive, and after two months into their relationship he figures it's time to tell her what he plans to do in Los Angeles, his porno pursuits.

It isn’t the most ideal conversation, but it's necessary.  She can’t understand what is driving him, and he can’t seem to offer her a reasonable explanation. 

Honestly, he doesn’t even have one for himself; He wishes he could verbalize why he is so drawn to Porn and what he hopes to find when he gets there, but he cant.  Not yet. 

Maybe that’s the motivation, to answer Man’s most plaguing question of, “What if?”   

He tells Allie he’s sorry, and he reassures her that this won’t affect the way he feels about her.  He tells her he’ll make enough money to fly her out anytime she wants.  He tells her they can stay together, and they can make it work; they will make it work because they are hopeful, they are idealistic, and they are in love.

He jokes, “And like, it won’t be cheating, I’ll just be doing it for work.”

Not Funny.

*          *          *

The time comes for him to leave and he realizes he has yet to pick a stage name.  It’s a task he’s been avoiding.  A name is everything; its an identity, it’s a brand, and it’s a major fucking responsibility.  He wants something memorable, distinct, and empowering, something strong and yet something warm, inviting, and casual.

He and Allie brainstorm together in his bedroom one nigh after sex.

“What do you think about Guy Pierce?”  He asks.  

“Like the actor?”

“Exactly.  Except, I would change the name to spell P-I-E-R-C-E.  You see?  Double entendre.” 

“Piercing like a sword.“

And like a cock.”

Oh yeah?  Pierce is fine, I think.  Not too crazy about the name, Guy, though. It feels so impersonal, you sound like a prop.” 

“I think that’s usually what the guys are.”

“See, Guy.  You’d just be another ‘one of the guys;’ another anonymous penis.” 

“You think it sounds too porny.”

“Too porny or too corny?  Is there even a difference?  Anyway, you’d probably get sued by the actor or something, right?” 

“I never thought about that.  I guess that’s fair.”

“You know what name I love?  Logan.  I’ve never met anyone named Logan before, but I love the way it sounds; it just rolls off the tongue.” 

“Logan.  Yeah, when I hear it I think of Wolverine.  That’s not a bad look.”

“You could pass for a Logan.” 

“You think?  Logan…Pierce?” 

“Logan Pierce: Male Performer.  Ha, Kind of has a ring to it.”

“Yeah, it sounds good; natural, a sophisticated character.” 

“The kind of guy who will take you out for wine and then bang you in the back of a dark alleyway.”

"Now that I like!” 

“Me too.”

“Logan Pierce.  I think I’ll keep it.”

“Good.  Now get out there and make it happen Mr. Pierce.”  

And just like that, he is given a name.  He is born.       

Two weeks later, he packs all of his clothes, his books, his DVD collection, his X-box and his video games into his car.  He kisses Allie goodbye and leaves, driving four days across the country toward the Pacific, diving head first into dark waters, unafraid, ready to make a splash.