Between the Sheets.

 

Between the Sheets.

What I enjoy most about the writing process is the moment during long sessions when I stop thinking about what to write next and just let my body be the vessel for the genius inside. That’s when I know I’ve finally cracked the code, and I can see the scene so perfectly clear in my mind’s eye. I just have to hope that my hands can keep up.

I have been writing since I was a kid. As a teenager I would craft short stories and screenplays for my friends to produce and act in. Most of those projects remained unfinished due to sheer size of scope, but those that we did complete ended up on YouTube and circulated through a few local film festivals. This eventually landed me in film school, where my writing continued to swell. In my third year, I applied to and was accepted into an internship program that would take me to Los Angeles for my spring semester. Unbeknownst to everyone else, I had an ulterior motive.

My affinity for writing was only matched by my obsession with porn; ever since my first time using the internet (back in the first days of AOL), I discovered X-rated sites and was immediately hooked. But watching wasn’t enough – I wanted to be part of the action. Before the start of my internship, I contacted multiple adult performers, who then directed me to agencies. Young and hopeful, I emailed those agencies and sent in photos. Most went unanswered, but there was one (which is no longer in commission) that liked my look and was willing to give me an opportunity. That was my in, my foot in the door. A couple months later, in January 2012, I arrived in Los Angeles and on just my second day in town was already shooting my very first scene.

Cut to: 2013. I was now a full-time male performer in the industry.  My writing hadn’t stopped, but it took a backseat while I focused on work. That’s when tragedy struck. A moratorium was called because a veteran performer had tested positive for HIV.

I remember being flooded with second thoughts and fear. Desperate for an outlet, I purged onto the page. I had a sudden realization that our time as performers in this industry is limited, and while HIV cases are incredibly rare (almost nonexistent), the fact is that it has happened and it can happen to any one of us. I made a promise to myself right then and there to document my days, to share my story, and to immortalize my experience. This led to daily journaling, which was then digitally transcribed and molded over time to finally become my autobiographical fiction novel, Between the Sheets: Rise of a Working Stiff.

Between the Sheets, as detailed in the synopsis, loosely follows my real life trajectory through adolescence up to my first full year in the business, focusing on the literal ins and outs of the industry as well as the harsh realities that result from pursuing a life of fantasy. I can’t deny the fact that when the days are good, they areexceptional, a rush unlike anything else. When I’m firing on all cylinders, I truly love my job, but that isn’t to say it is completely without baggage. There is a flipside to “living the dream;” sacrifices are made and crossroads must be faced. Sometimes it’s hard to gauge whether the moments of bliss outweigh the lifetime of stigmatization, but I know for me, the struggle is worth the story.

This is Book One of an intended three-book series. I felt the need to split everything into separate parts due to excess of material. I believe I have found the perfect length to keep readers invested and then leave them hungry for more by the end. So long as I’m in porn, my story will never be officially finished. I didn’t intend to write one giant book as an end-all-be-all, I just wanted to compile moments and experiences. With Book One, I have set the stage, created the world, and introduced all of the major players. Between the Sheets is a definitive origin story.

Who is Logan?  Get your copy today and find out.  

Shit Happens.

Shit Happens.

 

After getting home from another hard day at the office, my pal Mitch invites me to join him on a sunset hike at Runyon Canyon.  

I bike to the metro station at Vermont and Santa Monica, which must solely operate on a sort of honor system or something because in my experience no employees or anyone even remotely "official" ever seem to be there to check tickets or monitor the platforms.  With the nose of my bike I nudge the plastic retractable bumpers of the handicap turnstile.  The light stays red but the doors open anyway.  I pretend it's an accident, but I still go through, I always do; honor system, my ass.  I ride to Hollywood and Vine, biking the rest of the way down Hollywood Boulevard past the iO theater and the Rise and Grind Coffee toward Mitch's apartment.  Once there, he decides he wants to break a sweat of his own, so we jog about a mile or so to the trailhead off Fuller Ave. 

And that’s when I notice a curious feeling creeping into the pit of my stomach, the type that forces my skin to break out in a cold sweat and usually sends me clenching on the way to the nearest bathroom with a swelling wave of haste.  It was the feeling of diarrhea.  I take a deep breath, hoping to alleviate the tension with a few fortunate farts, and after some controlled contractions, I regain my composure and write off the occurrence as a fluke. Onward and upward. 

We press forth toward salvation, soon reaching the top and gazing out toward the Hollywood skyline cloaked in a golden haze.

"Ah, can't beat LA sunsets," Mitch says, filling his chest with pride.  "whattya say, kid?"

"What do I say?  I say..." But before I can finish my thought the gurgling in my stomach returns, and with a splash, the unwanted houseguest sinks to the bottom rung of my lower intestine.  "Shit."  I stay frozen, caught like a deer in headlights, sphincter tight as a knot. I close my eyes and slow my breathing, focusing all of my energy south.  In a moment of brevity, I'm able to shake it off and we begin our descent.  Along the way, I start analyzing the depth of the bushes to see if I’d be able to hide away if I just duck slightly off trail.  No such luck; Runyon is a place to see and be seen no matter where you are. The clock was ticking; soon, my body would triumph over my mind and purge itself, social suicide be damned.  I just hoped I’d be locked away in privacy when that time inevitably comes.  But for now, I have to press on, have to persevere.   

We make it back to the entrance where I half remember seeing a Porta-Potty nearby, but of course it was just my imagination; wishful thinking.  Back on Fuller, we now have another mile to trudge back to Mitch's apartment. Briskly, we walk along Franklin Ave, and upon nearing The Magic Castle I feel confident.  I tell Mitch we should try jogging the rest of the way, so we do...at least we attempt to.  Less than a block later, there is another drop lower into my bowels, and I remain drenched in panic.  I trot down a side street and crouch behind some trees—No, not here.  I turn and walk down an alleyway toward a dumpster thinking I could jump inside of it or maybe I could squeeze behind it and just fucking let it rip. But I don’t. I refrain from total and complete dehumanization.

Instead, I clamp my cheeks and speed walk back to Franklin, hastily trekking every painstaking block to Mitch's building, my forehead boiling and my skin infested with goose bumps.  Three blocks, two blocks, one block; I could almost see it now, snow at the end of the rainbow. Outside the complex, inside the front door, racing up the stairs to level 2.  Key in the hole, I rush inside and Mitch tosses me a bottle of Febreeze.  I slam shut the bathroom door, drop my shorts, and for the first time in over an hour I relax--cleared for detonation, green light, Go, Go, Go!  It's a cathartic cacophony of groans, grunts and panting followed by sighs of relief, joy, and then finally, elation.

Crisis averted.  Mission complete.  The demon is exorcised, and the house is clean once again.    

Death in a Flying Tin Can.

Death in a Flying Tin Can.

 

I left my friends on the shores of Venice and hopped in my car, gunning it toward the Hawthorne Airport to meet Sal Shooter and the rest of the Pinnacle News documentary team.  They were in town shooting a piece on a twenty-one year old female jet pilot, and at her special request, they were about to ascend into the skies with me—pseudo celebrity porn stud, Logan Pierce, as their guest of honor.     

Suddenly my car broke down without any semblance of a warning, save for the flashing battery and brake lights which had just started sporadically flashing a few days earlier--something I didn't think much of at the time what with other parts of my car's computer system already in turmoil. 

I drifted into the shoulder and threw on my hazards, parking along the 405 in front of the large green "Florence Ave" sign.  I couldn't bear the thought of sitting in my now-lifeless hunk of steel as some drunken asshole swerved onto the shoulder, so I quickly killed the engine and trotted ten yards away.  I found a small grassy knoll and sat on a tree stump surrounded by mulch, trash, weeds, and insects. My mouth was dry from the salty waters, my skin was simmering from the burning sun, and my body was hollow from the severe lack of food I hadn’t eaten. I was wearing Hurley board shorts, white flip-flops, and, in bold print, my graphic T-shirt bore the word, "Reckless.”  Go figure.     

Fifteen minutes later a tow truck arrived, but not the one my insurance said I should be expecting. This was a different truck, one that worked for the city and not for my insurance company, therefore, one that couldn’t do jack-shit for me.  The driver came and said some of his coworkers passed and saw my car.  Thinking it was abandoned because I was nowhere in sight, they called him and told him to come take a look.

“Yeah, it sounds like you got a busted alternator,” he said.  “I feel bad.  Wish I could help, I really do, but I’m sure your truck will probably come soon.” Then he walked off, leaving me alone with no food, no water, no money, and no hope.  

I know the money wasn't exactly his doing, but still, I was broke and mad as all hell about it.  What can I say?  Sometimes the money would go almost as quickly as it came.  And right now I was just another penniless porn star, drifting lower, so close my feet could almost touch bottom. 

Soon enough my truck arrived.  There were Triple-A decals strewn across the cabin doors. That should have been my first clue that something was amiss, but like most other overt foreshadowing in my life I overlooked it and regarded it as trivial.  

"But, believe me, nothing is trivial."                                                

The driver strapped up my car and we were off.  En route, he got a phone call.  It was his boss. Apparently, he just found out that I wasn't a Triple-A cardmember.  Of course, this was something I knew all along, but I chose to keep my mouth shut and hope for the best.  The result, he concluded, was that he would either have to charge me $150 for the tow, or I could call my insurance as a last ditch effort and try to figure out why they decided to call a members-only tow service.                        

I picked up the phone and dialed.  Naturally, they couldn’t seem to do a goddamn thing for me. The only thing they could offer was the option to call another tow truck. Meanwhile the current driver's boss told him to just drop me off.  So he did, leaving me in a strip-mall somewhere in Inglewood.  

And there I sat in my metal coffin, stewing like a little bitch-boy, hating the world and everyone in it when a man wearing flip-flops, plaid capris, a lavender polo, and a black fedora barreled past my car and toward the communal bathrooms.  Not reaching the door in time he suddenly spewed vomit, something putrid. It looked like jungle juice, treated red fluid and fruit chunks everywhere. Then he had the decency to recompose himself, spit one final loogie in the swamp, and saunter away as if nothing ever happened, leaving some poor unsuspecting employee with the dignified task of mopping it all up.  Maybe bottom was further from me than I thought.

Eventually I was picked up, and as I sat in the truck's cabin I considered my options.  I could have the driver take me back to my cottage in little Armenia and attempt to find a parking space big enough on the street for him to drop my car, or we could thread the truck through my shoestring driveway and then push it (in no less than five-points) into my glorified shed that served as a pathetic excuse for a garage.  Of course, I could just have the driver bring me to the nearest shop and bite the bullet by unsheathing the credit card I had been desperately trying to pay off and taking care of the problem like a grown, mature adult.  Decisions, decisions.    

Admittedly, I knew less than dick about auto-garages so I called the nearest Pepboys.  The voice on the other line informed me that a new alternator would cost an estimated $250 for both parts and labor.  Ah, not so bad, I thought, all things considered.  So we went straight to the garage.    

There, the driver dropped my car in one of the assigned "waiting" spots with practiced precision.  "Hey man, hope it works out," he said, honking his horn as he drove off.  

I went inside and talked to an employee.  He added my name to the list.

"How far down the list am I?" I asked.

"Well...if you want to wait around we could probably get to it tonight," he said.  "But it would be toward the back end, like closing time."

"What time do you close?"

"Like nine, nine-thirty depending on how much work we got."

I looked at my phone.  It was 5:30 pm.  It would be ridiculous to taxi home and then taxi back later, I thought, so what choice did I have?   

"Okay, I'll wait," I said, peering out the lobby window and spotting a McDonald's across the street, accepting my fate.  

I left my keys with the Pepboys certified auto ambassador and meandered toward the hamburger haven where I ate a Big Mac with fries and a medium iced coffee.  I wasted time scribbling in my notebook, people watching, and leafing through the current book I was reading, Portnoy's Complaint--Can't say it was a worthwhile read, but I did power through about a hundred pages that day. Not too bad.  Closing time was soon on the horizon, and I bought two McDoubles and McChicken to go.   

Back at Pepboys, a mechanic with stained hands told me my car wouldn’t be ready until the following afternoon--a bit of information that would've been helpful before I completely wasted what was left of my day.  He also hit me with a quote different from the one I received over the phone.  Now the going estimate for parts and the labor was $600.  Peachy-fuckin-keen.

I taxied home, locked my door, and drew the blinds.  I smoked a bowl of resin and hosted a pity party for myself.  The last thing I did before falling asleep was eat my last McDouble in bed after jerking off to a crappy foreign porno where a man came on a woman's face, and oddly enough, she wasn't offended by the notion; in fact, she seemed rather smitten.          

The following day I spoke to Sal on the phone.  He told me their flight had been "a bit fucking turbulent.”  Apparently, heavy clouds rolled in and forced the pilot to land prematurely.  They attempted a second round but only lasted a few minutes in the air before descent was "absolutely fucking necessary."  Sal said that for a moment he honestly thought the plane was going down.

"It was WILD, man, you should've been there."

"Yeah, I'm so sorry I missed it," I said, imagining just for a second what could've happened if I was there.  Maybe my weight would’ve made all the difference.  Maybe the plane would've lost altitude and plummeted.  I wondered if my car breaking down on the highway was what allowed us to narrowly escape death in a flying tin can.  Then I stopped because these aren't the types of things a person should think about.  

But if it were true, that would be one hell of a silver lining.  

The Return of The Police.

The Return of The Police.

Friday morning he wakes, brushes his teeth, puts in his eyes, makes his bed, and does fifty pushups.  He drinks a soufflé cup of ginger tea and eats an entire kiwi including the skin and half a cup of cottage cheese for breakfast. 

He pedals the Golden Dragon to Yoga and submits to Bella, the Spanish goddess yoga instructor (think Penelope Cruz) who he may or may not be secretly in love with; another story altogether. 

“Namaste mi yogis,” Bella whispers in the darkness, her students in scattered shavasanas around the studio. 

“Namaste, mi amor,” Logan whispers back.      

Pure and on a natural high, Logan bikes through Hollywood, weaving between cars crawling in midday traffic; in the land of gridlock, bikers are king.

He gets home, packs his dirty laundry, drives to the Laundromat, and dumps his clothes in the wash.  He walks across the street to Queen Bee for a steaming cappuccino and a croissant sandwich while he waits and reads Desert Solitude.  During the dry cycle, he drives to Pavilions and buys milk, produce, cereal (Honey Nut Cheerios) and two bottles of red—well, one cabernet and one rose. 

Normally, Logan wouldn’t consider buying a rose, but tonight he has something special planned.  He’s been sexting with a new female starlet by the name of Penny Sparks.  They met on Twitter because that’s how true and honest connections are made these days.  Penny is twenty-two years old and of Korean descent; her skin is a perfect butterscotch complexion. She’s been working in the industry for less than three months.  Penny is scheduled to arrive at LAX in a couple hours and has planned to spend the evening with Logan, so he took the initiative and bought a bottle of her favorite light and fruity libation.

He drives back to the Laundromat, folds his clothes, and packs them in his car alongside the groceries.  He drives home and unpacks everything.  He hangs his clothes, he vacuums the carpets, he mops the floors, dusts the appliances and window sills, cleans his cat’s litter box, scrubs the countertops, tabletops, and shower tiles (he’s trying to make a good impression, damnit).  As a coupe de grace, he stands in the middle of each room and sprays Michael Kors Cologne toward each corner of the ceiling, letting it disperse and slowly rain. 

He trims his dangly bits, showers, and soon Penny arrives.  They sip wine (rose) and chit-chat about nothing in particular; he plays piano and sings for her, he decimates her in Mancala, and he explains to her the rules of the card game Cinelinx and how it’s purely for nerds who love film—a topic about which she admittedly knows next to nothing. 

Logan asks her to sit on his lap and make-out for a few minutes; she eagerly assents and straddles him.  They suck face and dry hump and he runs his hands along her body, slipping underneath her clothes with ease.  After some adolescent debauchery they compose themselves. 

They finish their rose and Logan calls an uber to pick them up and take them downtown so they can attend Janice "Spunky" Spunkmeyer's fundraiser for her upcoming work/share art space for marginalized artists in LA.  Spunky is the proprietor of the giant pink stickers of Drake’s face seen prominently plastered across the city.  The party is held in a small gallery in Chinatown.  Provocative nude art adorns the walls.  Logan introduces Penny to Spunky and they delicately pet Spunky's micro teacup Pomeranian, delightfully named, “Dwayne Johnson.”.

“Because, he’s like def the most inspirational person to follow,” Spunky says, nuzzling Dwayne Johnson.  “And this furry ball of love inspires me to be the best me everyday.”

There is a keg of PBR in the corner and pink solo-cups stacked on top.  They have a few drinks and watch a live mock “TED Talk” about Britney Spears and her schizophrenic Instagram.  Afterword, an all female Blink-182 cover band called Pink-182 plays and everyone head bangs and sways to the sounds of nostalgic 90's punk. 

Logan and Penny step outside to get some air and smoke a joint, during which time Penny drops her cup and inexplicably faints.  Thankfully, Logan catches her before she gets a face-full of concrete.  He walks her over to a nearby bench where she comes to and claims to have no recollection of passing out.  She says she didn’t take any pills beforehand, and as far as she knows the only person to hold her cup besides her was Logan. 

“Trust me,” he says.  “I would never do something like that, not cool, not my thing.”

“Well, what about your joint?”

“Are you kidding me?  That weed was like twenty-five an eighth; mid-shelf, at best.”

“Do you think it’s because I didn’t eat any dinner?”

“…Yeah, that might have something to do with it.  All right, let's say goodbye and get some food, huh?”

They leave the party and on the way home Logan orders an extra large Garage Pizza.  At his apartment they watch It’s Always Sunny and he eats four slices while Penny eats none.

“I’m just not very hungry, you know?”

“If you say so.”

They go to bed and fuck.  They wake in the middle of the night and fuck again.  They fall back asleep naked in each other’s arms.  They wake; they fuck.        

Saturday afternoon Logan leads Penny on a hike at Griffith Park.  Afterward he takes her to brunch at the Bowery Bungalow and they (he) devour a Lebanese platter for two while sipping Turkish coffee from tiny espresso mugs. 

They get home and fuck again in the shower.  He drives her back to where she’s staying, and conveniently, she’s downtown right next to The Last Bookstore.  This is a relief from the typical fare of starlets flying in by the dozen to stay in unkempt and overcrowded Valley McMansions. 

Logan spends the afternoon with his filmmaker friend Geoff—a recent NYU Grad and the closest thing in Logan’s life to a living, breathing personification of Billy Walsh--in his newly acquired editing bay provided by the production company he recently signed with.  Together, they (Geoff) edit his latest music video in which a young boy kills and eats the family dog out of sheer curiosity.  Later the two of them discuss locations for Geoff’s upcoming short film, entitled, “Nazi Punks, Fuck Off.” 

“It’s an art piece, but nobody’s gonna fucking understand it,” whines Geoff. 

“Isn’t that the point?” Says Logan.

“I don’t even know the fuckin’ point anymore, man.  This fuckin’ oppressive sun zaps all my energy and it’s turning me into a zombie.  I just want to walk to dive bars, shoot pickle-back and get some dollar slices, but no, there’s not one fuckin’ good slice of pizza in this town and nobody fuckin’ walks anywhere.”   

“Alright, so why don’t you cry about it?”

“…I wish I could cry, man.  I wish I could.”

Saturday Night.  Fox Theater.  10:00 P.m. 

In bold black print the marquee reads:

Go away.  Nothing to See HereKeep Moving, folks.

Inside, a once forgotten about dance-punk band is playing a secret show with all of their friends around watching.  This is the band’s fifth pop-up in the last five years since their cathartic departure at Madison Square Garden in 2011, but now they’re back, and he, Logan, is there with his friend Budd, getting innocuous with the rest of the privileged few.  

The atmosphere calls for something cinematic, so, naturally, he falls in love. 

While he waits for Budd to hit the slopes and get drinks he notices her standing nearby talking to her friend, waiting for the arena to fill and the show to begin.  Out of his periphery, she reads well--petite, dark brown hair, caramel skin--but once again succumbing to his shyness out in the wild, Logan never garners the courage to crane his neck to make affirming eye contact, let alone introduce himself. 

Thankfully, Budd handles the situation and makes it look easy.  With bright eyes and flared nostrils, Budd notices her and her friend, and without even the slightest glimmer of doubt, he enters their space, and puts himself out there, stealing their attention, and it works, of course it works.  They like him, as they should.  He is genuine; forward, but harmless; loud, but complimentary.  They smile and laugh at his jokes, and suddenly their social bubbles merge, proving yet again that all it takes is eye contact, a soft smile, a small sense of affability, and the willingness to interact and play the game.  

The four of them already have something in common: they’re all fans of the band; the music is what brought them together. 

Logan shakes her hand.

“Megan,” she says, smiling.

“Megan, hi," he says.  “So, where are you from?”

“San Fernando City.”

“What would you say is your Favorite Song?”

“Umm, Pow-Pow.”

“Pow-Pow? Me too,” he says, half-lying. 

He takes a chance and asks her one of the renowned 36 questions:

“So, if you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be?”

She deliberates for a moment, intrigued, willing to play along.

Charles Bukowski,” She says with earnest.

He remains silent, observing her deep brown eyes. 

“…Perfect answer,” he says, sincere.

The band soon takes the stage and for the next ninety minutes nothing matters but the beautiful lights and melancholic melodies of someone great losing his edge live in front of of die-hards, squares, social media celebrities, and porn stars.

After the hits and out front of the theater, Logan asks for Megan's number.

“We should keep in touch, go downtown sometime and hit the Last Bookstore.” 

“Yes, please.  I’ve never been.”

“Really? An LA native who actually reads and you’ve been to the Last Bookstore?”

“I’ve been bad,” she says, playfully.

“We should definitely go; I’ll give you the tour.”

“Okay.  What are you doing tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow…taking you downtown?”

“Really? You want to?”

“Absolutely.  I’ll text you tomorrow.”

“Call me in the morning.  I try to avoid texting; I’m weird.”

“I like that.  Okay, cool, I’ll call you tomorrow.

They hug and part ways.  Logan struts to Budd, renewed. 

“Gotta date with her tomorrow,” he boasts.  “Gonna take her to the bookstore.”

“Oh, fuck off,” Budd Laughs. “The second I heard her say Bukowski I was like, ‘My god, I think Logan just nutted himself.’”

“Fuck yeah.  To say I’m excited right now would be the understatement of the year.” 

They get into Budd’s dented 03’ Corolla with expired plates and drive back to Hollywood, stopping first to get some celebratory fast food. 

Sunday.  Logan meets Megan out-front of the Last Bookstore and before entering they walk through the farmer’s market, wandering and absorbing the scene. Inside, they saunter the aisles and shelves and talk about their favorite authors and titles.  Logan buys copies of Choke, Into the Wild, and, Sex, Drugs, and Coco-Puffs—A book of essays, Megan's recommendation.

They leave and get lunch at Cole’s.  Over beef French dips and IPAs, Logan learns that Megan has lived in Los Angeles (the Valley) her entire life; she’s of Mexican descent and speaks fluent Spanish.  She has two back tattoos of different wilderness landscapes and a tattoo of a lighthouse on her left shoulder.  She teaches pre-school and also works as a TA for a high school teacher who once taught her and was the first adult to encourage her to read Bukowski. Megan read Women when she was fourteen; one can only imagine how that must’ve shaped her teenage years.

Eventually she asks, “So…what do you do?”

Logan sighs and asks if it’s obvious that he’s trying to avoid the conversation (or at least put it off until after she decides she likes him).  He tells her everything, his years in the business, and his “success” as a performer.  Megan is initially shocked by his admission, but it’s a pleasant surprise; it appears so, at least.  She’s eager to know the gritty details, the ins and outs, yearning for good story.

After lunch and a couple more drinks atop the Ace Hotel, they make plans to see the Dodgers play next Friday.  They share a goodbye hug and Logan gives her a kiss on the cheek.   

On his way home Logan receives a text from the 2016 AVN/XBIZ Best New female Starlet, Abella Danger; her body is a handcrafted personification of Hedone herself. 

About a week ago, Logan and Abella ran into each other on set and reminisced about the one and only time they’re worked together in the past, conjuring fantasies, stimulating the senses. 

In her text, Abella says she’s been craving him since their rendezvous.  Logan loves hearing this.  He invites Abella to come over and get intimate, the details of which will remain private, but rest assured they have a sloppy and slaphappy good time.  Abella leaves around 1 a.m. to drive back to her apartment in the valley. 

Logan lay in bed relaxed, reveling in the wake of the weekend.  Sometimes when he’s down and feels small he wonders if it’s all even worth it; if he’s just wasting his time in this business and in Los Angeles, but then he has a weekend like this, full of adventure, spontaneity, lust, love, and such prospect.  These experiences are what fulfill and nourish the spirit; he feeds off the constant and complex chemical reactions.  He relishes these moments where he can reflect on a life he never imagined possible, this life; his very own beautiful dark twisted fantasy. 

Going Out.

Going Out. 

 

After work he dresses in a grey suit with a periwinkle shirt and a black tie.  He gels his hair.  He takes a cab to meet his friends at a new speakeasy; it's entry: by reservation only.

Lou’s superior from his internship at Gersh made the call; their reservation being held under the name "Vincenzo Espinosa."

They approach the doorman, say the magic words and are granted access.  They walk up a derelict stairwell outlined with burning prayer candles leading them to a room resembling a shabby hotel lobby.  In the lobby is a woman dressed as a provocative bell-hop.  She greets the boys and sets the guidelines:

“No flash photography of the in-house band or the burlesque dancers, and the only exit is located on the ground floor, that is, once you go down you don’t come back up, got it?”

“Got it.”   

She opens a double door closet; in it are maroon velvet curtains. She pulls the curtains aside to reveal a dark passageway.

“Gentlemen, welcome to El Baile.”

They walk through the darkness onto a metal grate walkway; the sounds of live music reverberate off the floor and through the walls.  The music crescendos as more light reveals itself.  The walkway leads to a spiral staircase overlooking a sea of elegantly dressed patrons sipping crafted cocktails and salsa dancing as an Afro-Cuban jazz band jams on a private balcony.

 “Ay dios mio!” The boys cheer.

They descend and approach the bar.  Lou chats with a girl who’s waiting for her date to arrive.  

Yeah, but it's not like he’s here right now, sweetheart,” he coaxes.

“No thanks, Kid.”

“…Ouch,” he says, looking back at a laughing Logan and Bernie.  “Fuck it, I’m buying the first round.”

“Hey, what a guy, “ says Bernie, slapping Lou’s shoulder.

Logan leans against the bar and scans the room.  He takes note of  a  beautiful blonde just out of earshot wearing a red cocktail dress and sipping wine while swaying her hips to the music.

Woman in red, he thinks.    

Suddenly she makes eye contact.  Logan stares but he hesitates, looking away and burying his face behind Bernie’s shoulder.  

See, Logan may be a “Porn star,” and he may now define himself by his superior ability to fuck, but when he’s outside the parameter of porn, Logan lacks a certain air of confidence.  With no set to approach, no dangling paycheck, and no director telling him it’s okay to be a pervert, that he is allowed to objectify another person, that it’s time to act, Logan feels at a loss, unsure of himself, inferior. 

No matter; he forgets about it and lets the moment pass.  Onward and upward.     

The boys finish their drinks and Logan buys the next round. They wander around the bar; in the back there’s a dimly lit cigar lounge shrouded in thick clouds of Cuban tobacco smoke.  They step inside and take a collective savoring whiff.   

“You guys thinking what I’m thinking?” Says Lou.

“Stogies!” Says Logan.   

“I’m on it,” Says Bernie, already approaching the bar.    

Two minutes later they’re sitting on fashionably ripped leather chairs, legs crossed with stogies and drinks in hand.

“To the night!” They cheer, clinking glasses and gnawing cigar heads.  

Logan’s eyes widen as his woman in red returns.  With a couple friends she saunters into the backroom, and Lou, being of pure brawn, immediately perks up and gets their attention.

“Thank you, God,” Logan says to himself.

Introductions are made all around and group conversation follows.  Logan and the woman casually gravitate toward each other.  

Shaking her hand he says, “Hey, my name’s Logan.”

“Eira.”

“…I’m sorry?”

“My name is Eira.”

“Oh…I don’t think I’ve ever heard that name before.”

“It’s Welsh.  I’m from Sylvania.”

“No shit?  Funny enough, I am from Pennsylvania.  How interesting!”

“Yes, very.”

“So, what brought you to Los Angeles?

“Oh, I’m visiting a friend in the states.”

“You said you’re moving into your own place?”

“No, I’m visiting.  You know, tourist!”

“Oh, cool.  Sorry, it’s pretty loud in here.  So, Sylvania, that’s where Dracula is from right?”

“I don’t think I know who that is.”

“No?”

“No.  Um, I’m going to talk to my friend for a minute.”

“Oh, okay, cool. ”  

She turns her attention away and Logan retreats to Bernie. 

“Hey, how did that go, stud?”

“I’m fucking blowing it.  She said she’s from Sylvania and I made some stupid joke about how coincidental it is that I’m from Pennsylvania.”

“Awe, come on, man.  That’s like telling Dorothy you're not in Kansas anymore.”

“Yeah, no shit, she walked away.”

Defeated, Logan resorts to a desperate act.

“I got an idea,” he says to Bernie.

“Good luck, tiger.”

Logan approaches Eira from behind and taps her on the shoulder.  He leans in to her ear, hijacking her attention away from her friend.

“Hey, how about I get you a drink?

“…Sure,” she says.  "A glass of red wine, please.”  

“A glass of red wine. Easy.  Be right back. “

His first mistake is leaving Eira alone as he goes to the bar.  The minute he steps away another man swoops in, a taller man who Logan realizes to be better dressed, better looking, and probably in better financial standing than he.   

“Son of a bitch,” Logan mutters.

Caught up with the inconvenient arrival of the new hunk, Logan blindly orders “Sauvignon” from the bartender with a certain sense of assurance in his voice.  Then he realizes his mistake.  In horror Logan watches the bartender pour a glass of white wine, and feeling too embarrassed to admit it, he just pays for the drink, and sulks back to Eira and her new date.

Logan sheepishly hands her the glass and apologizes that it’s white, fabricating a story to make the bartender appear like the idiot.  Eira smiles and nods, returning to the taller, more attractive bastard.

Logan retreats to Bernie. 

“Wanna get out of here?” Logan asks.

“What’re you  thinking?”

“Get some food?”

“Tacos?”

“Fuck Yeah.”

“Let’s do it.”   

Logan grabs Lou, and together the three of them exit the club and reenter the city streets, back into the wild.  Soon they gorge on al pastor and carnitas and wander around the block. 

They notice a side street apartment complex with an accessible fire escape perfectly composed up the center of the building, something not too often seen in Los Angeles. 

“Man, I never thought I’d miss having a fire-escape.” Logan says. 

“Yeah, there’s something really cinematic about it.”  Says Lou, framing the shot with his hands.   

“Well…What do you say, boys?”  Says Bernie.

Logan and Lou look at each other.  Maybe it’s the alcohol, the tobacco high, or just the thrill of spontaneity that makes them primed for adventure, but without contemplation they declare, “Fuck it,” and start climbing.   

Their ascent is rewarded with a panoramic view of the Hollywood high-rises, the downtown skyline, the Griffith Observatory looming from the top of distant cliffs, and the blue hum of the Church of Scientology. 

“Damn.  Can’t beat roof access.”  Says Bernie.   

“This is peaceful.” Says Logan. 

“Yeah, LA ain’t so bad sometimes.” Says Lou.

“Take it in, boys.”  Says Bernie.  “Take it in.” 

They stand and revel, looking from outside into the chaos of bright lights, plastic faces, and false advertising, and for a moment, life is calm, just a cool breeze on a private rooftop in Hollywood.          

The Visit.

The Visit.

 

As promised, Logan flies Allie out to LA to celebrate Spring Break.  They spend afternoons in Venice and on the shores of Zuma Beach, they see a movie at the Landmark, have dinner at Umami, drink at The Den and The Surly Goat.  They carry on like kids in love.

Logan is invited as a special guest for a radio show called “Probing the Industry.”  The show is hosted by a flamboyant ex-performer named Roy Genoa, and staying true to his name, Roy looks as if he ate a few too many salami sandwiches.  Nowadays, Roy mainly works as the porno equivalent to a character actor—non-sex rolls--as the industry refers to them. 

Roy is proud, always raving about his show, his frequency of broadcasts, and his “millions” of viewers.  Logan figures his appearance on the show will be good press, and a great way to introduce his civilian girlfriend to the industry. 

The day of the show, Roy calls Logan.  

Through labored breaths he says, “Hey Pierce, I wanted to make sure you were bringing tail tomorrow night.”

“You want me to bring girls?”  

“Oh yeah, bring some of the new girls.”

“Well, I mean, my girlfriend is in town. I was going to bring her.”  

“Tell her to bring her friends, but only if they’re hot.”

“…It is a radio show, right?”  

“Oh yeah, but no one wants to hear a guy talk.  Bring a couple girls.  I like to have fun in the booth.”

“Right.  I’ll see what I can do, Roy.”

“Be there by 7:00.”  

“See you then.”  

That night Logan and Allie drive to the studio.  In the car, Logan prepares her for what she might expect. 

“Just be warned that people in this business tend to be a bit more, uh, hands on.”

“Hands on? Like groping and stuff?”

“No, no, not like that, just like a bit more friendly.  For example, Roy may hug you a little too long or compliment you on your body or say weird, kind of creepy things, but I promise it’s all in good fun.”

Fun.”

“I’m just saying I have yet to meet anyone who is a complete jerk.  Everyone is just kind of chill and super comfortable with their bodies and stuff. Just roll with whatever happens.”

“Yeah, sure.”       

They arrive at 6:45.  They take an elevator from the parking garage up to the studio.  When they enter, Roy is already in the booth, on the air, and has a naked girl sitting on his lap.  Across from him sits another girl with her tits out, attempting to fit a soda can into her mouth.  

Logan signals Roy through the glass window, but he waves him away.  Logan can’t understand why, so he signals him again.  This time Roy puts up his index finger as if to say, “Wait a minute.”

So they do.  Allie and Logan sit outside the booth for fifteen minutes before Roy opens the door to let them in.

“Oh, boy, another plaything.” Roy says to Allie, returning to his seat.  He pats his knee, and says,  “Come sit on daddy’s lap.” 

Allie throws Logan a look of confusion.  He shrugs his shoulders and raises his hands as if to say, “Don’t worry, its cool.”   

She reluctantly sits on Roy’s knee and Logan notices him resting his hands on her hips, squeezing her abdomen.  

Logan sits across the table in between the two naked girls who are now wearing silk robes.

Roy says, “Ladies, say hello to Logan.  He’s the new stud on the block.”  

The one to Logan’s left, a dark skinned girl with pink hair and a septum piercing, drapes her right leg over his left knee, exposing her pussy to Roy and Allie.  

“Hi new stud,” she says.

The girl to Logan’s right, a middle-aged blonde with fading tattoos and cesarean scars, grazes his shoulder with her long acrylic nails.  

“Cougar snack.”  She purrs.

“Hi ladies.” Logan says, casual.      

“Okay, so this is how it’ll work.”  Roy says.  “We are back in a minute and when we go on the air I’m going to talk for a bit and finish chatting with the girls.  Then I’ll introduce you and ask you a couple questions.  That’s it.”

“That’s it?” Asks Logan.  

”Yup.”

“But, I thought--”

“Hush, hush, we’re back in 5...4...3…2” He pushes a button, the on-air sign beams red, and they are live.  

Logan puts on his headphones and listens in.

Roy lowers his voice to bedroom volume and says, “Hello, Hello, and welcome back all of you fellow perverts and pervettes.  This is the human foot long himself, Dr. Genoa, here with my analysis.  Speaking of anal, I am once again joined by my two beautiful co-stars, Tammy Cumz and Jade Jackson.  Ladies, please say something for your adoring audience.”

“Oh, god, I’m so wet,” says the punk princess.

“I’m ready for sucky-fucky,” says the M.I.L.F.  

“Also in the studio with us here today,” Roy continues, “is an alluring new starlet who’s name I have yet to receive.”  He looks at Allie and asks, “My little teeny-bopper, what is your name?”  

In a soft, unassuming tone, Allie says, “Um…well,”

Roy interjects, “Lean a little bit closer into the microphone dear.”

She leans her head down toward Roy’s microphone.

“That’s a good girl,” Roy encourages, placing a hand on the back of Allie’s head, her body tensing at his touch.  “Now, open nice and wide.  Don’t be afraid.” 

Allie continues, “Um, well, I’m not actually a performer.”

“Oh no?” Asks Roy.  He starts humping the air.  “Maybe we ought to break you in right now, eh?  What do you say, Darling?  You wanna play with Daddy?” 

The girls cackle and cheer.  Allie’s skin pales and she is speechless.  She stares at Logan with contempt.  

Roy continues, “Also here with us is new male talent, Logan Pierce.  Logan, tell the audience, did you ever harbor any naughty feelings for a family member?”  

“What!?”  Logan shrieks, taken aback.

“Maybe diddle your little sister?”  Roy asks, “The topic of the night is incest.”  

Tammy adds, “Yeah, I had a crush on my cousin and gave him a hand job when I was a kid.”  

“…Right” Logan says.  “Um...to answer your question, Roy, no I didn’t.”  

Roy pushes a button and a buzzer goes off.  “Boo! Boring!”  He yells.  He reaches under the table and pulls out a bottle of vodka.   “You know what that means, everybody.” 

The girls cheer, “Shots! Shots! Shots!”  

Roy takes a swig of the bottle and hands it to Allie, who refuses to drink and hands it to Logan.  He can’t stand the taste of liquor, especially vodka, but he wants to be a team player.  He takes a swig and fights to swallow it.  He gags and his eyes water.  

Logan hands the bottle to Jade who says, “Awe, poor baby.”  She takes a swig and hands it to Tammy cheering, “Hot damn, baby girl!”  

Tammy holds the bottle and takes an extended gulp, theatrically spilling vodka on her face and down onto her chest.  “Whoopsie,” she says, licking her lips.  She hands the bottle back to Roy.

“Okay,” he says, “Be sure to join us tomorrow night as we probe deeper and deeper and deeper into the industry.  Goodnight, everyone.”  

He pushes another button and the on-air sign goes out.  They are off the air and the show is over.

“Wow, that was great.”  Roy says.  “Fantastic show, everybody.”  He shakes his knee, pushing Allie away.  “You can get off me now, sweetheart.” 

Roy walks over to Logan and sticks out his hand.  “Come back anytime, kid.”  

They shake.  “Uh, yeah, sure, thanks for having me,” Logan says.  

Roy shifts his attention to the girls, who have resumed drinking from the vodka bottle.  “So, my little troublemakers,” He says.  “Where shall we eat?  Daddy’s starving.”

           

Allie and Logan leave the studio and take the elevator down to the parking garage.  The tension is palpable.  In the car, Logan breaks the silence. 

“Look, uh…I’m sorry if that was uncomfortable.”

“I don’t want to talk about it. 

“Hey, it was weird for me too, okay?  Seriously, Fuck that guy.”

“Can we just go home, please?”

“Yes.  I mean it, though, I’m really sorry.” 

Later, in bed, they fall asleep in each other’s arms, estranged but together.  In the middle of the night they both wake, sleepy eyed and longing for affection.  They kiss, they grope, and they tear each other’s clothes off. 

Logan eagerly goes down on Allie, pinning her legs in the air, opening up the action like he would for the camera, performing his duty, his job. 

Just another day at the office.

Suddenly, he hears whimpering and looks up to see Allie fighting back tears.  The moment is lost. Allie closes her legs and turns away, embarrassed. 

Logan holds her, unsure of what else to do.   

As she cries in his arms she confesses, “I can’t get the thought of that creep out of my mind.  He was disgusting.  Is that really what you want to become?” 

“Baby, that’s nothing like me.”

“His fat fucking hands on my body.  I could feel his hot gross breath in my ear.”

“I promise I will never become like that.”

“It doesn’t even matter, those are the people you work with, that’s the company you’re in.”

“I don’t know what to-“ 

“This is wrong, okay?  I don’t…feel right.  I feel used, like you’re doing to me exactly what you would do to those random girls tonight.  Like there’s nothing special about our sex anymore.” 

Logan doesn’t have anything to say to convince her otherwise.

He should have expected this day would come sooner or later.  “It’s not cheating, its work.” Total bullshit.  Just a fabrication repeated in his mind for a false sense of security.  Of course it’s cheating, he’s having sex with other people for money.  A relationship like that can’t survive; that’s no way to treat someone he claims to love.  If he loved her he would climb out of the hole before he sinks too deep.  Then again if he cared at all he wouldn’t have exposed her in the first place, but he did anyway.  He broke what they had, and now he would have to let her go. 

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.”

“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.  

Walter Neff and The Los Angeles Narrative.

Name: ***** ************

School/Class: SCT/L.A. Plays Itself

Assignment: Walter Neff and The Los Angeles Narrative.  

Date: 20 March 2012

 

    The film Double Indemnity paints the picture of what should have been the perfect crime committed by the perfect criminal, but as cinema always reminds us, nothing ever goes according to plan. 

    Walter Neff had a stable career as an insurance salesman.  He lead a fairly average and maintainable lifestyle, something one could refer to as traditional.  And maybe that was his downfall.  Walter Neff found himself unhappy, found himself longing for something a bit more exciting, something darker, taboo. 

    That’s when he met femme fatale, Phyllis Dietrichson, and that’s when he allowed himself to be seduced by desire.  Phyllis convinces Walter to kill her husband in an attempt to acquire insurance money due to a loophole known as “double indemnity.”  And thus the stage was set for Walter Neff’s demise. 

   My story.

   Prior to entering Los Angeles I was nearly finished writing two feature screenplays – one detailing a group of survivors during the ZPocalypse, and another chronicling a duo of psychotic deviants (Hello, Man Bites Dog meets Following.)  Of course I keep trying to coax my mind into forgetting the fact that I have been writing these screenplays since early 2009. 

    Feature screenplays aside, I have actually produced some work; work I am proud to say I created.  I wrote, directed, and produced a short film entitled, One Step.  One Step observes a young man as he inexplicably decides to rid his body of its biological need for food and the fatal effect it has on his life.  One Step is to this day, my only “real” body of work.  Real in the sense that I had an idea, ran with it, and assembled like-minded budding artists to help bring the story to life.  Together we scripted, storyboarded, cast, scouted, and financed; you know, all the basic facets that go into producing a short film, hence the term, real.

    After its completion, One Step was accepted into a few local film festivals.  It didn’t win any awards or anything, but just being accepted was validation enough.  I thought I was well on my way to becoming a blossoming young filmmaker. 

    Coming off of One Step, I undertook another project, a big project, a big project that shouldn’t have been assembled in the first place, a project I started with such high hopes and charisma, a project that took over a year to shoot, with every day longer and colder and slower and less artistic than the last.  “Grey Matter,” as the film was called, soon suffocated and fell dead in its tracks.   Even today the fucking movie still sits on my hard-drive – cut up to the best of my ability, but still missing final sound effects, score, transitions, color correction, titles, and what would probably be some of worst ADR since Tommy Wiseau's, The Room.  

    Months later, I saw the short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth on Youtube.  I was enthralled by it.  In the wake, I longed to shoot a video game adaptation of my own.  Max Payne-- a brutal noir about a fugitive cop who dual wields through the night streets of New York City mercilessly searching for the killer of his wife and baby girl-- was my all-time favorite video game series, and thus my adaptation, “Max Payne: Defrayal” was born.   I went full throttle into this production with prop guns, stunt dives, bullet time, and CGI.  My team and I shot my 12-page script over the course of 3 days.  I was beyond ecstatic; I thought my story was original, faithful, and a pretty damn good attempt at an independent reimagining.  But just like that, just as headstrong as I was in the beginning, the second we wrapped principal photography the entire team disbanded. Editing was painstaking, and soon I realized I did not have the capacity to complete it.  Much Like “Grey Matter”, “Max Payne: Defrayal” was abandoned and later died a slow, painful death.   

   I wanted these projects completed, I wanted them circulated through festivals, I wanted those scripts shopped around, and like everyone else who dreams of Hollywood, I wanted to be somebody.  So then, why has Double Indemnity--a story about desire and fantasy, crime and punishment--why has it been the most relatable film to my life, and how does it so perfectly parallel my Los Angeles experience? 

  You see, I have been seduced by fantasy, entranced by the promise of women and wealth, coaxed into the underbelly of the city; the sub-market, the world everyone sees but no one discusses.   Like Walter Neff, I’ve longed for a radical change, for something raw; unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before, and soon after arriving to the west coast, I found solace in the adult film industry.   I have since been working fulltime as a stiff, a swordsman, a male performer; that’s right, I am a Porn Star.   

    I suppose YOU—Reader--are the ‘Barton Keys’ in my story.  You are the one who must hear my tales, my confessions, and you are the one who must make the final conclusion, the final judgment.  Rest assured, this is not a cry for help; rather, this experience has been cathartic, awakening.

    I realize people will criticize me for my choices.  I’m sure my reputation as an “artist” will certainly be tarnished, and even perhaps later in life I will retrospectively look upon my decision with regret, but right now I don’t care.  I am experimenting.  I am having fun.  I am living out a fantasy.  Under no circumstances do I believe I have degraded myself or am a victim of any kind.  I am not afraid to admit that I enjoy what I am doing; it offers me liberation in a way I never thought possible, an escape from the parameters of the reality we are conditioned to expect and abide by.  I am ready for the consequences, and I understand this career--if that’s what you want to call it-- will be more taxing, both mentally and physically, than I may be prepared for, but at this moment I am ready for battle.  My scenes, my work, my body, and my soul are now forever stamped on the lower back of Internet, so I will embrace it.

    Now I ask you, is that a crime?

The Cool Kids.

The Cool Kids.

Part One.

I met fellow swordsman, Vincent Vanowen, on a movie set where we played brothers who swapped girlfriends for a night.

The first time the two of us hung out we tripped on shrooms and walked around Hollywood Boulevard with his girlfriend/fellow performer, Mischa Bear, and their friend, Budd--the acting drug dealer of the group.  Budd walked around with the contraband hidden in a Hello Kitty backpack.

Budd gave me his number with a wink, saying, “You know, just in case you want to party.”   

While tripping, the Hollywood stars came alive.  They transformed into a scroll of credits to the greatest movie of all time, my movie.  I was the star, front and center.  I felt invincible, and Vincent--my Sherpa--appeared to me as a God.     

Weeks later, Vincent introduced me to his poly-amorous and free-spirited Burner friend Fiona Day. Through Fiona I met her artist boyfriend, Oz.  Fiona and Oz were living together in a small one-bedroom house in the depths of the Valley in a long forgotten about town called Winnetka.

One night, Fiona and Oz invited me over for dinner.  At the table we discussed psychedelics.  Oz and Fiona reminisced about the crazy experiences they had while tripping on acid.  I admitted I never tried acid before.  Fiona said she had a few tabs left over from the previous weekend.  She suggested tonight should be the night to drop them.   

 I am cool, I thought.  If they can do it so can I.  Fuck it.

The three of us were sitting on the couch when the drug was in full effect.  My body began to feel light.  My brain surged, my eyes sharpened, and I couldn’t stop smiling.  Fiona and Oz began flirting and soon they were making out.  She began stroking him as he fingered her.  I watched the action with growing anticipation.  

Oz whispered in Fiona’s ear, “Give him some attention.”  

Fiona crawled over toward me and started playing with my cock through my jeans, making out with me while Oz ate her out from behind. Soon Oz was fucking Fiona doggystyle as she was blowing me.  Fiona turned around and pounced atop Oz.  She road him in cowgirl.

He asked, “Can you fit two?”

Fiona pulled me towards her and told me to stick my cock in her alongside Oz’s.  I entered with almost no resistance.  She could fit the two of us rather comfortably.  I was enthralled by this seemingly impossible feat.  Before I knew it both Oz and I were simultaneously fucking Fiona.  

My first private threesome ever and here I was doing double Vaginal penetration on this girl while tripping on acid.  This was unprecedented.   

Shortly thereafter, Oz began to lose wood for some reason.  Frustrated, he pushed Fiona and me away and walked into the bathroom.  As quickly as it had started, the threesome disbanded.

“Did I do something wrong?”  I asked.  

“No, you’re fine,” she reassured.  “It was my idea for him to take the lead.  He is still getting used to threesomes.  I have to go talk to him.”  Fiona walked away and left me alone on the couch.  

My body was tingling; I still felt the drug coursing through my veins. Anxiously awaiting the couple’s return, I sat on the couch and stroked myself as I listened to the faint sounds of their voices wafting from the confines of the bathroom.  I don’t know what they were arguing about, but soon their conversation escalated and the volume of their voices intensified.

I sprawled across the couch and stared at the adjacent wall toward a hanging portrait of a tranquil deserted island.  With two hands, I firmly grasped my third leg and tugged with intent.  I closed my eyes and drowned out the sounds of reality with the symphony of my mind.  I transported myself to the island.  I imagined the island to be populated by beautiful Nubian princesses and myself.  I was king and the women worshipped me properly; a dozen soft hands and wet lips caressed every square inch of my body.  The women poured red wine on my cock and lapped it all up, savoring every drop when the bathroom door suddenly burst open and Fiona stormed out and into the bedroom, slamming the door behind her, breaking me from my trance.  

As my mind returned to this planet, Oz walked into the living room and literally caught me with my pants down.  We laughed.  I got dressed and he joined me on the couch.

“You guys okay?” I asked.

“She said I embarrassed her.” Oz confided.

“I guess she just really wanted to fuck.” I said.  

“Yeah, I’m just too high for sex right now.  These days...I don’t know, man, times have been weird since I got back from Afghanistan."

“What the hell were you doing there?”

“I was a soldier.  Served for five years.”  He turned and pointed to the back of his rib cage.  “Check it out.  I was shot.”

“No shit?” I said as I reached out my finger to trace the circular wound.

Oz continued, “I was walking through a poppy field, and thwack!  It felt like a bee-sting.  Next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital.  Bullet missed my heart by an inch.”

“You were so lucky,” I said as I pressed my palm flat against his back, feeling the complex intricacies of his exercised shoulder. 

“I was discharged, flew to Cali, and now I’m just trying to focus on my art.” 

His skin grew warm in my hand.  I had a sudden urge to lean forward and kiss his back, but I suppressed it.  Oz turned to me and our eyes locked in a lingering stare.  He began to study my face. 

“Your features are so strong,” He said.  “So masculine.  Would you mind if I painted you?”

 “I’d like that.” 

Oz put on an album from the band Polica and poured himself a glass of red wine.  He sat Indian style on the floor and placed a blank canvas in his lap.  While admiring me, he painted a portrait of the face of LSD as I lay on the couch.  I remember thinking about my future, the places I’d go, and the people I’d meet.  I wondered who Logan Pierce was and what would eventually become of him on this journey.  In that moment, I was content; I had no worries.  I then closed my eyes and let the sounds and vibrations of the music carry me away on my trip. 

Her Name Was Hannah.

Her Name Was Hannah.

I was at LAX catching a flight into Phoenix to shoot for the company Nimble Films.  I don't know why they chose to set up shop in Phoenix of all places; cheap rent, I suppose.  I would have never associated Phoenix with porn, and yet, here I was flying out of state. 

I do not like airports; they make me nervous.  Really, the entire act of flying puts me on edge.  I typically like to arrive at airports with almost no time to spare, so I don’t have a chance to re-evaluate my decision to put my life in the hands of a stranger at 30,000 feet.  In either case, I arrived at the airport with twenty minutes to spare.  I only brought carry-on, and had checked in for my flight in the morning, so I made my way straight to security.  There, something caught my eye.  I spotted somebody, a pretty young girl.

She was a tanned and leggy brunette sporting a sundress and Vans sneakers.  I stared at her until she felt it burn.  She then turned in my direction and when her eyes fell upon mine I flashed her a soft smile.  She smiled back and timidly bit her lower lip.  Then she looked away, and I noticed her nonchalantly run her hand through her long brunette hair.  

Yeah, she saw me and thought I was cute.  The animal was now loose and on the prowl.  Let the games begin 

The security line moved slowly, which was great because it gave her and I plenty of time to covertly steal glances at one another.  

I noticed she was with someone – an older woman.  “Bye mom,” my leggy brunette exclaimed as she reached the TSA agents.  Interesting.  Leggy brunette’s mother accompanied her to the airport.  Maybe she’s a bit younger than I originally thought.  I mean, she’s tall, well built, and appropriately filled out; she couldn’t possibly be any younger than eighteen, right?  A freshman in college, perhaps?  She’s probably enrolled in an out of state university and was just in town, visiting family for the weekend.  Of course, that makes perfect sense, and would explain why her mother would be was waiting for her in the security line; she missed her daughter tremendously, how sweet.

I passed through security; made my way to my terminal, and found a seat.  I closed my eyes and focused on happy thoughts to keep my mind at ease.  I envisioned my leggy brunette on her college campus, wearing floral patterned summer dresses and driving all of the boys crazy.  

I opened my eyes and suddenly there she was, my leggy brunette, sitting directly across from me in my terminal.  Alright, looks like she was coming with me to Phoenix, after all, but before I could actually work up the courage to walk over and say something, our flight began boarding.  She was in the first group of boarders, so she quickly disappeared from sight along with any hope of getting her name.  Well, for what it’s worth, it was nice lookin' at you.   

As I stood waiting to board, I realized that by the time I would enter the plane all of the aisle and window seats would most certainly be occupied, leaving nothing but the dreaded bitch seats for me to choose from.  I wondered if a seat next to my leggy brunette would be available.  I doubted it, but if by some miracle I could sit next to her I had better do it, I thought.  This was not the time to be passive, remain in the safety zone and forever wonder, “what if?”  In my mind, I promised myself that I would do it.  I already knew a seat next to her wouldn’t be available, so there was no harm in taking a hypothetical vow.  

I stepped onto the plane and assessed the situation; I could either sit between the business suits, the portly gentlemen, the new parents, the elderly women, or, what’s this?  My god, there she was, my leggy brunette, and, no, that couldn't possibly be an open seat next to her--could it?  

It seemed our meeting was pre-determined.  This was no accident.  This was fate.  I sauntered through the aisle and asked the mildly attractive older woman in the aisle seat if she wouldn’t mind standing up to allow me access to the middle seat next to her--her and my leggy brunette, of course.

I did it; phase one complete.  Now all I had to do was say something.  I couldn’t even begin to recount the many experiences I’ve had on a plane where I never said a word to either one of my neighbors, but now here I was sitting next to this cute girl I had been drooling over, and I suddenly was at a loss for words.  I had to find some way to strike up a conversation without sounding like a total creep.  

The plane hit the tarmac and as we began to speed up I carefully squeezed the book I had been reading at the time—Bukowski’s, Ham on Rye-- while muttering, “Uhh, this is my least favorite part.”  I did this all in a carefully calculated effort to inform her that not only was I an avid reader, but I was also in touch with my emotions, AKA, I was a pussy.  

My leggy brunette laughed and said, “Really?  I love takeoff,” and with enthusiasm she boasted, “I especially love when planes make banking turns.”  All I could imagine was getting a clear look thirty thousand feet below toward the distant ground.  My hands clammed up at the thought.  

We reached our cruising altitude and that’s when I noticed she was reading passages from a textbook and transcribing them into a personal notebook.  I asked,

“Are you a student?”  

“Spanish Homework.”

“Oh, do you study in Los Angeles or Arizona?

“Arizona.”

“ASU?”

“No.  Actually, I am a sophomore in high school.

Our conversation effectively came to a screeching halt.  This was dangerous territory.  My leggy brunette, as it turned out, was hard candy.

Incredulous, I tried to read my book but it was hard to keep focused.  I couldn’t contain myself and I burst out laughing.  I looked at my leggy brunette and she knew exactly why I was laughing.

I said, “So, I saw you in security.”

“And then I saw you at the terminal.” She replied.  

“I was hoping this seat would be open.”  I said.

Flattered, she asked, “Really?”  And then,  “How old did you think I was?”

“At least eighteen.” I joked.

“Almost.” She smirked.

We continued talking.  I kept the conversation light, and the two of us reminisced (well, I did anyway) about high school literature.  We talked about Lolita, The Scarlet Letter, and Othello; you know, all the appropriate English class staples.  

The plane soon landed, and as we both left to go our separate ways and continue living our separate lives, I finally introduced myself.  Her name was Hannah.   She was the first Hannah I had ever met, and for that small reason alone, our short interaction would be forever engraved in my memory. 

Meridian

Meridian.  

I have but one tattoo. It is subtle and unobtrusive.  At a first pass it may be overlooked entirely.  It is a small red triangle located right above my left pectoral muscle.  I received this tattoos alongside my two best friends.  They too received the very same small and unobtrusive red triangle above their respective left pectoral muscles.  

The date was September 19th, 2014.  It was a Friday.  

In the afternoon, Ryan, Joey, and myself took a walk to our local Trader Joe’s to get dinner supplies.  We settled on one bag of frozen orange chick, one bag of frozen chicken pot stickers, one bag of frozen pork pot stickers, and three six-packs of Trader Joe’s own, “Simpler Times” beer.  Simpler Times - in case you're unaware - is sold as 12oz cans filled with fairly flavorful lager with a 6.2 abv. percentage all at the cost of $3.50 per six-pack, and although they are only sold at room temperature, for the price and alcohol content alone Simpler Times cannot be beat.  

We returned to the apartment we had been renting in the Design District of West Hollywood and prepared the dinner while rapidly cooling the beers in the freezer because we were all quite parched and in these dire situations who honestly has the time to use the refrigerator?  

In time the orange chicken was a sticky golden brown, the pot stickers were crisp and sizzling, and the beers were ice cold and frosty.  With our plates in hand we relocated upstairs to my bedroom patio where I had set up a small picnic table for the evening.  There we gorged our food and guzzled our beers over great conversation and grandiose laughter.  We finished our first six pack during dinner and then as we moved on to the second we passed around a freshly rolled joint.  

We reminisced about our collective time spent in Los Angeles so far, recalling accomplishments, goals and unfulfilled promises.  We recalled a fantastical idea we had to get dropped off at the sands of Manhattan beach one Friday afternoon and then spend the next 48 hours traversing the coast on foot all the way up to the shores of Malibu – our self proclaimed Social experiment.  We remembered a road trip to drive north to San Francisco and then after a few days exploration continue onward to Napa Valley; a road trip that we had been planning for and failing to act upon for what felt like two years and counting.

We also recalled a pact we made to get matching tattoos to commemorate the completion of a short film the three of us created and were all particularly proud of.  The film was titled Meridian.  Meridian detailed three men immersing themselves into nature and ultimately becoming one with their individual elements in poetic ambiguity.

Taking a moment to contemplate we decided to amend the previous pact.  

We came to a general consensus that if any one of us were to ever leave Los Angeles and stop chasing the dream we would make good on our tattoo promise.  Only this time it would serve to symbolize a chapter in our lives and if and when this pact were to ever come to fruition there would be no bickering and no backing down. 

More beers were consumed.  Another joint was passed.

...There was no sense in waiting until a prolonged and unidentified end as an excuse to make good on a promise, if we were at all serious about these plans we would need to start acting on them.  All of our talk up until this point had been cheap and trivial.  No more procrastination, if we wanted tattoos than we should fucking get tattoos. 

And what better time than the present?  We agreed we would do it and we would to it tonight.  

We planned to walk along the sunset strip and get our first tattoos, but meanwhile we had another six-pack to finish and a discussion about proper tattoo design and premise placement.   

Considering the three of us created Meridian, and the fact that Meridian detailed, among other things, a man climbing a mountain; add to that the fact that the universal symbol for a mountain is a simple triangle, and Sub-text aside, a small and unobtrusive triangle would be the perfect way to get our feet wet in the world of body ink.  It seemed only logical.

The questions of what, when, and why were determined.  Now the only thing left to discuss was where.  

I was adamant about getting the triangle in the small webbing between the left forefinger and the thumb, itself is already in the shape of a triangle.  Unfortunately the guys weren’t too keen on the idea of a hand tattoo, I guess that’s a fair concern.  Next we considered the vertex of the elbow and then we moved up to the upper-inner-arm between the bicep and the tricep, and then we moved laterally across the chest.  Something about the area right below the collar-bone and right above the heart intrigued us so that's where we decided it would go.    

Then we continued drinking the final six-pack and passing around another freshly rolled joint.  

10:00 Pm.  We decide it was do or die, win or cry, so we put our shoes on and shuffled our feet toward the door and outside onto the streets.  The train was now in motion.  The night air was brisk but comfortable enough to walk with a mind full of wonder.   

The strip was about two miles away so we had a bit of a trek ahead of us.  Now the weight of our decision revealed itself in the form of a lump in our collective throat.  Conversation was sparse but we continued moving forward.  We had plenty of time to recollect and think and over think and ponder our options and possibly get cold feet.  I started to reconsider this decision but I kept it internalized.  On the surface I was calm and stoic but on the inside I was panicking like a little child.  

Our feet kept moving forward.  We had to press on.  We had a goal in mind, we had to stop living a life full of what if and should’ve done.  We had to act.  We couldn’t back down now.

Twenty-five minutes later we arrived on the strip. 

We walked into the first shop we saw.  I don’t even remember the name of this place; I don’t think either of us could.  We just saw the word Tattoo strewn in bright neon letters and like gnats to a light we were subconsciously lured in.  

As an Acapella group we glided over to the counter top, and following each other’s speech in turn, we told the girl behind the counter exactly what we wanted in great detail.  As a matter of fact she informed us that there was a shop minimum of $100.  We retreated and conversed for a minute.  We deduced this particular tattoo may not be worth such a steep price, so we left in search of a new shop.

On foot I began thinking that perhaps that was a sign that this venture wasn't necessary and the tattoo should just be forgotten about like the million other dumb and fleeting ideas we constantly regurgitate.  I am always battling myself internally and I need to learn that it's a big a fucking waste of time.  

We made a promise to see this through to the end.  We would succeed.  Until the fuckin' wheels come off.  

Stumbling down Sunset we searched for another shop.  Joey declared, “We need to get off Sunset.”  This kid did have a point.  We were on a major strip of expensive boutiques and tourist traps.  Every tattoo shop around here was bound to be grossly overpriced just based on location alone.   However, Sunset was the only street that guaranteed us a litter of tattoo parlors on every other block, not to mention the fact that we were such a long way past drunk that referring to Yelp or any other kind of directory for assistance would've proven to be entirely impossible.  No, we would just have to accept the excessive cost as being worth the convenience and continue onward in search of someplace reasonable, er, somewhat reasonable.  

Soon another neon sign beckoned our arrival.  Once again the name of this place eluded me.  I remember us walking past a group of bikers and guys in wife beaters sitting out-front of the shop smoking cigarettes and I remember the three of us looking like we just stepped out of American Eagle, and I remember walking into a small shop where three men covered head to toe in black tattoos greeted us.  

We approached the counter and gave the same song and dance as before.  This time around the artist, who introduced himself as Sam,  told us the shop had a minimum of $70.  I mean, sheesh, its $30 less than the last shop but still not exactly fair, from my layman’s perspective at least.  All I am saying is this tattoo would literally constitute three straight lines and would be no larger than the size of a quarter.  

We retreated to our corner and yet again deliberated.  We considered the fact that we were already here and the fact that the deal was immediately 30% cheaper.  With fiery determination in our eyes we chanted our unofficial slogan of the night and in brotherly unison we declared, "Fuck it," while simultaneously popping off our shirts so Sam could apply our respective tattoo stencils.  

Ryan was the first one in the chair.  He was visibly on edge, his right leg twitched with anxiety.    He closed his eyes and clenched his teeth as he prepared for the needle to enter his skin.  Upon contact his demeanor didn’t change much except his grimace softened when he realized the needle didn’t hurt nearly as bad as he imagined it would.  Literally, thirty-seconds later he was done and then it was my turn to take the chair.    

Since childhood, getting a tattoo had always been a goal of mine and up until this point I had always shied away in fear, but now it was time to jump, time to dance.  I was so far past the point of no return.  The safety bar was down and locked.  As Sam prepped the needle I took a few deep breaths to slow my breathing and effectively calm my nerves.  The singular trajectory comforted me, though, and I liked knowing what was about to happen next.  In that moment I was more excited than anything else.  

Upon puncturing my flesh the needle sent a sharp and constant vibration through my body.  I could feel my teeth rattling.  It wasn’t a painful vibration, mind you, it was just a bit of a shock.  I must admit I enjoyed the sensation.  The thirty-seconds it took to apply the tattoo wasn’t enough for me.  I wanted more of the shock surging through my body.  Something had begun here, something had changed.  I knew in this moment that I had opened a door for myself.  This would most certainly not be my last tattoo. 

Joey was next in the chair.  He sat through the very short bout of pain which he deduced to actually be more painful than he had anticipated.  Its funny the different ways in which people deal with pain; some just cope with it while others find comfort in it.  

After Joey’s session in the hot seat Sam pointed us in the direction of the shop’s full length mirror.

There the three of us stood and flexed our muscles while admiring our new ink. 

These tattoos signified the bonds between us and the time we’ve shared together since the day we all met.  These tattoos were a simple representation of solidarity and kinship.  With these tattoos we became eternal brothers and no matter where would all individually go, or how far we would separate, or who would eventually become in life we will always be able to reach our hands to our chests and trace the small red lines forever etched into our skin.  Taking the good with the bad we will never be alone in this life and every conflict we individually face we will be able to face with the strength of three men.  We must embrace the struggle in order to persevere because it is within the pain where true pleasure is derived.  

We rejoiced in our decision to live in he moment and push against the grain.  Much like Our bodies our lives were now forever altered.  We would never forget this night. 

The Stranger.

The Stranger.

Johnny and I are standing in line for the bar at The Surly Goat praying the sexy brunette bartender in the daisy dukes notices us. 

Suddenly a hand grabs my shoulder.  Delirious, I turn around and I see a girl, a normal, average, run of the mill girl.  I have never seen this girl before but I already know she is nothing special. 

Without warning she presses her face against mine and starts kissing me.  I reluctantly reciprocate.  There is no passion between us.  Her lips are dry.  No Tongue is utilized.  Between smacks I utter,

    “I.”

Smooch.

    “Don’t.”

Smooch.

    “Know.”

Smooch.

    “You.”

She quickly pulls away and disappears back into the crowd.  I turn back to Johnny and mumble, “That was weird.”

* * *

Why did she do that?  I cannot rack my brain around it.  Why did this random individual grab me and start kissing me?  Did she mistake me for someone else?  Did she recognize me?  Maybe I didn’t recognize her?  Was it a dare?  It was a girl, right?  Admittedly I was approaching blackout status, so anything is possible.  I guess stranger things have happened

I wonder if she remembers what she did.  I wonder is she is now chatting with her friends, incredulous by her brazen behavior…

She wanted him and with confidence she glided toward the most beautiful man she had ever seen.  Their lips locked and she was overcome with emotion, her body was pulsating with energy.  She could not believe what she had just done.  She pulled away in amazement, longing to share a look at the man she so tenaciously claimed, but he was disinterested.  He quickly turned back to his friend; oblivious to the amount of courage it took this poor girl.  And so, on this night her heart was broken…  

Or maybe it was a sick and twisted game; a bet to find the most pathetic and ugly guy at the bar and kiss him in public.  Probably make the little guy’s night; shit, probably make his entire week.  He’ll probably waste time retelling the stupid story of how some girl made out with him at the bar, exaggerating and glorifying the story with each passing telling.  Soon the normal girl becomes a butterscotch blonde and the kiss evolves into a public finger blasting

The dream of the dweebs: go to a bar and be an anti-social, loser, curmudgeon, misfit, but still get the hot babe at the end of the night. 

And yet another possibility is that she doesn’t even remember; an act so insignificant in the grand scheme of life that it probably is best to just forget the whole thing. 

Still, I dwell on the mundane and the asinine.  The wackness of life.  All of my concerns are petty and selfish.  I swear I have good intentions.  The inadvertent narcissist.  But, hey, I made out with a random chick at one of my favorite bars, so all things considered, it was a pretty good night.

On The Road

On The Road.

I accompany my friend Bernie on his daily five-mile morning bike ride from little Armenia to the Grove for work.  En route we stop at a red light at the intersection of June and Melrose.  A man is standing on the sidewalk with his little daughter in his arms.  He calls out, “Hey, can you please help us?  My daughter dropped her ball in the street.”  He points to the median and we turn around to spot a small plush Dodgers baseball resting on the double yellow lines adjacent to a growing line of cars.  The opposing cross-light counter is dwindling indicating an imminent change of light so we act without thinking.  The light becomes green; I toss my bike over my shoulder and run to the middle of the road, grab the plush baseball and run to the sidewalk before an onslaught of cars pass. 

The man and is standing on the opposite side of the street from us so we patiently wait for the lights to yet again switch before we cross and return the ball, at which point the man cheerfully declares, “Look baby girl, he found your ball, God sent you an angel to return your ball.”  He expresses his gratitude once again before the light changes and we continue biking, leaving behind the thankful man and the little girl with her plush Dodgers baseball.   

Bernie heads into work and I continue biking to a local Jewish diner where I sit alone at the bar and order Corned beef hash and a side of fruit and cottage cheese. 

While Sipping coffee I reflect; the man actually referred to me as an angel.  In my lifetime only my mother has ever called me an angel and even then it was only during my young and pure adolescence.  Sure, this experience may in fact be trivial in the grand scheme of life, but I realize this event would have never occurred had I slept in an extra thirty minutes or had my supposed scene today not been cancelled.  I don’t know if I necessarily believe in fate but I most certainly believe that things tend to happen for a reason.  Today I did a good deed, I put forth positive energy into the world, and I made a child smile.  I was rewarded with a divine compliment and a new story to tell, not to mention it’s a Sunday, so that has to account for something, right? 

Later, My friend Hank invites me to accompany him on an extended bike ride along the coast of Huntington Beach and up toward Marina Del Ray. 

We plan to begin our journey Monday morning at 10am but have to make adjustments due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts, that is, I meet a new friend and this wonderful young lady is kind enough to spend the evening and sleepover.  In the morning I have to drive her home, well, back to her respective model house in the armpit of the valley, but for all intents and purposes, home.  This leads to Hank and I getting a slow start to the day and we end up leaving towards the shores at 1pm. 

We alter our plan accordingly.  I bike to his apartment in Hollywood but forget to pack my lights; together we bike back to my apartment and while there I realize I have some uneaten edibles so we both eat 10mg chocolate cookies.  Then we begin our sixteen-mile back-road trek using Bernie’s exact route to bring us through West Hollywood and further to the Santa Monica Pier all in mid-day traffic.  Needless to say we have our work cut out for us. 

Upon reaching the sand we ride leisurely along the bike path taking in the near setting sun before getting a table at a respectable restaurant where we can have an indulgent meal.  We settle on Barney’s Beanery in the promenade so we can have a couple beers and watch the first quarter of the Eagles game while eating Reuben sandwiches and Mac N’ Cheese bites. 

After, we are homeward bound.  We decide to alter the route back in favor of a more direct approach.  Biking Wilshire is akin to riding alongside the shoulder of a gridlocked highway; we are weaving in and out of four lanes of standstill traffic.  We turn left onto Veteran and it then I discover my headlight has burned out; meanwhile Veteran turns out to be a three-mile long pothole ridden hill cast in complete darkness. 

We turn right on Sunset.  West of Beverly Hills Sunset Boulevard becomes a Hot Wheels racetrack.  We fight and pedal like beasts up and down winding roads and unrelenting inclines.  I can’t even see twenty feet in front of my face but I continue wrapping around the bends. 

Ten miles later and we find ourselves in the heart of the design district of West Hollywood with flooding memories of the previous year. 

Five miles to go and the rest is a cakewalk; I bike this neighborhood on an almost daily basis, in fact this is Bernie’s work route, from here on in the remainder of the journey is mere muscle memory. 

East on Beverly then north on Fairfax then east on Oakwood then north on Orange then east on Rosewood then north on June then east on Melrose then South on Wilcox then heading east on Clinton we come to an intersection where the adjacent street has a stop-sign but Clinton does not.  I am leading and as I pass through the intersection so does an oncoming van without turn signals.  In a split second I saw the blinding headlights turn into me and I heard Hank scream, “Yo!”  The van and I simultaneously slam our brakes – theirs creates an ear-piercing screech and mine sends my bike into a nose wheelie.  Then we kiss.  My front tire gingerly bounces against the van’s front bumper in a gloriously anti-climatic fashion.  Recollect, Deep breath, crisis averted.  The driver and I lock eyes – he is pleading, “Oh my god, I am so sorry!” In complete shock stare at him and utter, “You are so fucking lucky.”  Then we part ways.  The van disappears into the night and we continue biking; traffic resumes, business as usual.  Shortly thereafter Hank and I say our goodbyes and go our separate ways.  

I return home and recollect. I honestly can’t believe I survived tonight.  Head on collision aside, the second half of this trip was not meant to be biked, we were not supposed to be on these roads in the dark.  We should have quit and we should have submitted, but we didn’t, we kept pushing forward until there was no other option but to succeed and we preserved through it like men. 

I like to think on this night I looked death right in the face and with a shit-eating grin I commanded, “Suck my dick.”

Or maybe that’s just my arrogance, my human condition, and my hubris talking.  Maybe I am the one who is really fucking lucky and somebody was out there tonight watching over me, for whatever reason I can't even begin to imagine but you just never know...stranger things have happened.  

Jon Favreau Comes to Weho.

Jon Favreau Comes to Weho.

I am sitting stoned on my wooden fold out picnic table on the upstairs patio one afternoon reading, “Less Than Zero,” listening to Circa Survive radio on Spotify and observing the few pedestrians who walk past on the road beneath me. 

I watch an immaculate 1950’s white convertible Thunderbird pull up and idle in front of the apartment complex adjacent to my own.  From where I am sitting I have a near perfect view of the back half of the car. 

Driving is a man wearing a fitted white t-shirt, black wristwatch, and dark sunglasses – I can’t determine the respective brands but given the car he is driving I assume they aren’t cheap.  I notice the man clenching his jaw incessantly like he’s nervously chewing a big wad of gum; he can’t seem to sit still and he keeps checking his presumably expensive watch and his rear-view mirror.  He must be tense. 

I observe his passenger; a caramel skinned female with long curly brown hair also sporting dark sunglasses and a white top – I see spaghetti straps and I imagine her to be wearing a form fitting white sundress but, alas, I can’t see that far to confirm.  I can’t quite make out the details of her face but once again, given the quality of the car, I gather she is expensive as well. 

I return my gaze to the driver and observe his face or at least what details of it I can make.  I surmise he looks an awful lot like Corbin Bernsen, no, Jon Favreau.  I notice the Thunderbird’s license plate reads, “New York.”  I realize Jon Favreau is a New York Native now living in Los Angeles as one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, furthermore I am currently living in a rather affluent part of West Hollywood on the cusp of Beverly Hills; its not entirely improbable to imagine Jon Favreau driving through this neighborhood to perhaps drop off his “girlfriend,” or pick up a new friend, or meet a friend, or do just about anything.  The point is that it could happen and I think it is happening right here before my very eyes so I remain tuned in.  From my perched and elevated recon position I act as the hawk and watch them with strong intent. 

I see Jon Favreau’s mistress equip her cell phone, answer an incoming call, and exchange a short and unintelligible dialogue before promptly hanging up while simultaneously another car, a non-descript, nothing special, pseudo gold but more of a spicy brown mustard colored SUV, pull up and park maybe twenty feet behind the thunderbird.  Out of the mustard mobile walks an average white guy, mid-late thirties, pasty skin, slightly overweight, sporting presumably cheap sunglasses, a faded blue t-shirt, khaki shorts, and flip-flops.  The average white guy walks to Jon Favreau’s mistress’s side of the immaculate thunderbird and without making eye contact with one another they share a very simple exchange of greetings where I notice the average white guy reaching his hand into the car and along the interior side of the passenger door.  He quickly retracts his hand and without any exchange of goodbyes he walks back to his nothing-special mustard car and drives away.  Then Jon Favreau and his mistress peel out like outlaws and the Thunderbird effectively disappears from view.        

I excitedly run downstairs, wake up my roommate Johnny who is napping on the couch, and exclaim, “I just witnessed a drug deal!”  I recount the entire occurrence with great detail, highlighting the beauty of the immaculate Thunderbird, the driver’s uncanny likeness to Jon Favreau, and how this drug deal, while occurring on a backstreet of a rather prosperous neighborhood where every other car is a BMW and the average female resident is a certifiable dime piece, is the most blatant and stereotypical drug deal I could have ever witnessed. 

I then toast myself a bagel, slather it in cream cheese, take a big rip of weed from my steamroller, and return upstairs to my wooden fold out picnic table on the patio where I dive back into the dejected and disaffected lives of young Angelinos in Bret Easton Ellis’, “Less Than Zero.”

One Night Stand.

 

One Night Stand.

I attended a house party hosted by my friend’s friend; her name was Alexa.  

Alexa and I hit if off almost immediately.  In fact, less than five minutes after shaking hands with her, she took me into her bedroom to show me her proud but admittedly minimal dildo collection. 

One drink later, she was lamenting her disappointment the previous morning where she woke up a lover (one of many?) with a blowjob only to find him rather ungrateful and turned off by the notion.  She said he wasn’t “too happy” about it, whatever that meant.  Curious.  Perhaps she just wasn’t too apt in the oral department?   

Around 12:30 the party cleared out to continue drinking at a local sports bar.  My pals Johnny, Budd, and I followed suit.

At the bar,  Alexa and I played a game of air hockey because what respectable bar these days doesn’t have an in-house arcade.  The game was short and I emerged victorious.  Alexa sauntered over to my side of the table and crossed me to enter an adjacent photo-booth.  She sat inside of it, looked up toward me and softly asked, “Should we do it?”  I noticed a sign pinned on the outside of the booth and responded, “it’s out of order.”  

We shared a quiet laugh and she slowly stood and leaned (stumbled) toward me, I held my position and our bodies lightly touched, our faces came together and I raised my hand to caress her abdomen.  She leaned closer and we shared a slow and impromptu kiss.  

Sharing a first kiss while pressed against a broken down photo booth in the middle of an arcade on a Friday night.  I mean come on, that’s a ’90’s kid’s wet dream.    

We kissed and caressed one another for a few more seconds before Alexa stopped and mumbled something along the lines of, “This is a secret, no one can know,” as if we weren’t just making out in the middle of a bar surrounded by thirty of her party guests and close friends.  

Apparently the ungrateful gentlemen from her earlier story was more like her boyfriend, or as she referred to him, “somebody I am hooking up with.”  She said they weren’t dating, but “it’s serious.”  

Yeah, sure, it’s none of my business anyway.  I didn’t really want to make a big deal about it.  So with the alleged boyfriend in mind, I backed off and kept the kiss in my pocket as Alexa and I meandered about the bar, going our separate ways. 

Thirty minutes later I was sitting on a leather couch in between my friends Budd and Johnny.  To my left, Budd was playing the game with some cutie who I think earlier told me she was a lesbian.  To my right, Johnny was slack-jawed and swaying back and forth.  He was struggling to keep his eyes open--the tell-tale sign of a man who had exceeded his limit. 

Alexa resurfaced and challenged me to a rematch.  Longing for some more excitement, I quickly accepted her invitation and we excused ourselves from the boys.  

We walked back into the arcade.  As I walked over to the coin machine to exchange my cash for arcade tokens, I checked my wallet to find that I only had a ten dollar bill in my possession.  I contemplated.  That’s an awful lot of tokens, but, who knew, maybe we’d play a few games and make a little tournament out of it. In my mind, I declared, “fuck it,” and broke the ten dollar bill anyway. 

I returned to the table and the game began.  It didn’t take long for me to score twice on her.  

Abruptly, a hyperventilating Budd approached the table and through labored breaths he uttered, “We…have to leave…Johnny just got thrown out.”  Goddamnit.  

With nine dollars worth of arcade tokens shoved in the pockets of my skinny jeans, the three of us hurried outside to find an aloof Johnny wandering up and down the sidewalk completely oblivious to the events that just transpired.  

According to Budd, the sole eyewitness of the event, Johnny had been  falling asleep on the leather couch when a bouncer approached and told Johnny to either wake up or go home.  At this point the belligerent drunk felt compelled to throw his empty glass toward the bouncer where it thankfully missed, but instead hit the wall behind him and shattered into a million pieces.  

With prejudice, Johnny was immediately escorted outside to the gutter which was exactly where we currently found ourselves.

While waiting for a taxi, Alexa and I sat close to one another and continued our earlier flirtation.  She asked if she could come back to my place.  I said, “That’s cool.”  She said she liked me because I was “interesting,” whatever that meant.  

She then asked if it was cool if we slept together but she did not want to have sex with me.  Okay, I enjoyed her company enough and could respect her decision, I guess.  not to mention I tend to sleep much more peacefully when I have a partner by my side, so I was content with having a cuddle buddy for the night.   

“That’s cool,” I said.  

The taxi arrived.  Budd and I hoisted Johnny into the backseat.  Budd lived only a few blocks away from the bar, so we said our goodbyes.  As a trio, Johnny, Alexa, and I taxied back to my apartment.  Immediately upon arrival Johnny passed out on my couch.  

Alexa and I relocated to my bedroom.  Our flirtation naturally evolved into more kissing, which evolved into more caressing, which itself evolved into groping, which culminated in dry-humping.  

It was there we plateaued.  There we treaded water for about twenty minutes before we decided we were both tired and wanted to sleep.

I stripped down to my boxer-briefs.  Alexa decided to keep on the entirety of her outfit, which to me resembled a modern and form fitting mu-mu, but I would later learn this type of outfit to be called a Romper.  In either case,  She looked damn good in it, but I just couldn’t imagine what possessed her to wear it while she slept. 

We fell asleep in each other’s arms and awoke peacefully in the early morning.  Upon waking, Alexa and I momentarily continued our teenage rollicking.  

Eventually we (I) got dressed and together we went into the living room to find Johnny awake and sprawled on the couch reading Raymond Carver while the morning sun cascaded through the arched living room window.    

Johnny and I decided to walk to a nearby cafe to get a quick breakfast.  

Alexa said she was  going to hang back and order a taxi in a few minutes to take her home, but I told her the coffee shop was less than five minutes away and convinced her to hang out until we returned. 

Johnny and I took our walk.  We ordered black coffees and everything bagels with cream cheese.  Less than ten minutes later we returned to my place 

The second we walked through the door we realized something was amiss.  Alex was nowhere to be found.  She had left with no text, phone call, or even a little note left behind.  She simply disappeared without so much as a goodbye.  I didn’t even get her phone number.  

Now, I’ve had one-night stands in the past, and usually a clean-cut departure is ideal, but never before had I experienced such a blue-ball inducing one-night cuddle stand.  

I suppose they can’t all be home runs.