“Okay, so do you just want me to wait here?”, I asked
"Well, yea? I don't exactly have any other way of getting home do I?”, he was halfway out the door looking at me kinda surprised.
"Okay, yea that's find. What if I need to leave for some reason?”
"What? you're gonna go get a drink? Another pack of smokes?”, his exasperation floweth over.
"Nah, fuck it. Go i'll steal some off one of these little shits if I need some.”
He shook his head at me and headed off towards the front entrance to the school. It being LA and Glen having the money his kids went to a middle ground private school. No uniforms or any shit like that, but a decent education. I rolled up the windows and cranked the air conditioning.
Iisac may be a prick but he's right. At least in this instance. My son is inside that school and until i actually go in and talk to whoever it is that's holding on to him I 'm going to know what the damages are. Once I reach the front doors I turn around and looked back at Iisac's Beamer sitting calmly in the visitor parking lot. There's a thing trail of smoke streaming from the driver's side window. Fingers reached out and shake at me. Asshole. I turn and made my way into the school.
I pay this much for tuition and they can't even afford air conditioning? This is LA, what successful anything doesn't have air conditioning? Fuck this my kid's can go somewhere with uniforms for all I care, as long as it doesn't cook their brains. I make my way to the visitor information desk, where a pudgey black receptionist greets me with a gleaming crooked smile.
"Hi there I'm Glen Reuben? I'm Demetri's father?”, I ask my face less than confident. I realize this is my first trip to my son's school.
"Yes Mr. Reuben, I was informed that you'd be here sometime this afternoon you're going to want to follow this hallway down and then make two lefts. There will, well there should be at least, a door that read's “Neil Proctor-Principal”, just knock and go right on in.”, She was friendly enough pointing me in the direction I need to go before smiling and returning to her paperwork.
"Neil Proctor? What the hell kind of name is that? Was this guy born a principal? Sounds like it's got sharp edges. Remember that, you can use it in the script. Need an asshole name use Neil Proctor. Wonder if he really is an asshole? I keep going down the hallway. Funny how high school hallways seem so small after you've long outgrown them. The pale blue lockers lining the walls and the smell of teenager and photocopying assaulting my senses. The first day of school always smelled different, until everyone had a chance to get used to it. I start to daze off remembering my years in high school but am snapped back to attention after almost running into a shitheel looking teenager. He sneers and i barley pay attention. I make it to the door of Neil Proctor, his name spelled in black on the thin frosted glass. I knock.
"Yes come in”. A narrow but deep voice answers me.
I go in.
Apparently the budget of the school extends to the administrative faculty's offices.
"Hi Mr. Proctor?”, I extend my hand as I cross the room, only just taking notice of Demitri sitting in one of the two chairs across from.
"Mr. Reuben, nice to meet you. I only wish it was under better circumstances”
"I agree, oh...excuse me, pardon me I'm terribly sorry about this”
My phone had begun to ring playing the theme from Magnum PI. I looked down and checked the caller ID. Rachel. I held my hand up as if to say just one moment, and turned around flipping it open. Goddamn I love Magnum PI.
"Hi sweetie, what's going on?”
"I uh, I kinda need some help?”
"Did you get a flat? If you got a flat you know you can call triple A right?”
"Ya, i know that dad. I didn't get a flat.”
"Well, what's goin' on...I'm kinda busy right now?”
"shit....Um...Dad, I'm...don't get mad Ok? I'm at this guy's house and stuff is happening and my...the car is blocked in and they won't move their cars, and I can't get out and I just need someone to come get me. I'm freaking out”, Her voice is nervous and scattered. I'm not sure if I need to be mad or worried or both.
"Ok. I can't...fuck”, I look over my shoulder. Proctor has his arms crossed and looking at me suddenly impatiently, “I can't come but I'm going to get someone over there as soon as possible...ok? What's the address?”
I fish out a pen from my pocket and quickly scratch the address into the palm of my hand.
"Ok, you hold tight, just wait by the car”.
"I hang up the phone, and then immediately hit the first number on my speed dial.
"Hey what's goin' on?”
"Iisac, I need a favor”
"...am i going to hate you?”
"Probably. I just need you to do this and I need you to do this now”
"Fuck, ok tell me”, I hear him rustling with his pack of smokes and firing another up as he rolls down the window.
"I need you to go to...977....Granito drive”
"That's way the fuck out on West Hollywood!”
"God dammit Iisac, it's Rachel ok? I need you to go get my daughter. Just do it ok?”
"Oh, shit. Ok yea I'm going right now”
I hang up the phone and put it in my pocket turning back to my Son and his principal. Demitri is barley concerned with my presence. He's either scared and doesn't show it at all, or he doesn't really give a shit and is wondering how I'm going to react to this. Either of these options puts him in the same boat as me.
"So what seems to be the problem Mr. Proctor?”, I ask.
"That's way the fuck out on West hollywood!.....oh,shit. Ok yea I'm going right now”.
I hung up the phone and fumbled with the smoke in my hands for a few seconds before starting up the car and backing up out of my parking spot making my way out navigating the quickest route to West Hollywood.
People cite LA as being an urban wasteland. A morally ambiguous sheet of crumpled paper with different currents of ink flowing through all the cracks. It certainly is. I can't think of any other place that I've been where the rich and poor run such separate lives which still being parallels. Everyone wants to get high, everyone wants to get fucked and everyone wants to get rich. And quick.
I drove the car up and down the back streets cutting my way across the city in the most timely fashion avoiding the dense ripe traffic. Car jackings aren't the big deal that everyone makes them out to be and in fact rarely happen in the poorest neighbourhoods. Still this being said I didn't feel bad about locking my doors as I passed a couple of young hispanic guys wearing black bandanas. Pulling back out onto a main street I put foot to floor and carted off to the address that Glen had given me.
It was a goddamn pornstar mansion. Big empty villas in the thick of high class suburban sprawl that the adult film industry bought for the sole purpose of filming. On the outside they looked completely normal, but on the inside you've got several big cocks and a variety of fake titties conglomerating for the sake of en masse nut busting. The residents near by these dens of sin were either usually completely oblivious to the goings of of their neighbours, to self obsessed. God bless America. There were three large SUV's parked in the driveway as well as a Catering truck, all of which were blocking in Glen's Audi sedan. The second chorus of “sympathy for the devil” died as i cut the engine in my car and opened the door, muttering something about how I wished I'd had another drink.
Does one simply walk up and ring the doorbell of a porn mansion and request the freedom of a sixteen year old girl? Fucked if I knew, bu it was really the only thing I had in mind. I approached the house taking a good look around, wondering what the resale value of the place was after they used it for something like this. The high vaulted ceilings and bay windows, which were covered, were pristine and free of typical Californian sun bleaching. The place was probably brand new, maybe even constructed for it's purpose. I walked up the front steps and ran the small pearl doorbell. After about a minute someone answered it. He was a tall but severely thin bald black man with a silk shit halfway unbuttoned. He spoke in a marked gay accent.
"Uh, hi there? I'm looking for someone?”
"Yes? Who's that?”
"Rachel? Is there a Rachel in there?”
"Sweetheart I don't know, today if feels like everybody's in here”
"Um...can I come in?”, I had turned my head sideways completely unsure as to whether or not this was an appropriate question.
I entered the house and made my way past the empty foyer, following the slighted and unnerving groans which appeared to be coming from the living room which was open and adjacent to the kitchen. The catering crew was cleaning up the remains of the lunches, mostly salads and a little bit of Sushi from the looks of it. They gave me looks of despondance, just another day on the job for them I supposed. Something didn't feel quite right. This was not the menacing hard edged porno production I had assumed it would be. No coked out whores lying spread eagle on the floor, no abusive looking guido director, or even a single mullet. This unexpected peace and prosperity still didn't sway my weary feelings and nearly parental fear for Rachel. Any second I might find some muscular hammer cocked jag off defiling her for the gratification of the camera. I turned the corner on the living room and was treated to the sight of a pair of spread ass cheeks being delved into with the lapping tongue of a burly hombre. It took me a second for the initial surprise of this to pass before I realized that the asscheeks in question was that of another male. I suppose it was the pristine baldness of the O ring that threw me from determining this in the first place that or the fact that it was bleached. There was significant groaning from both men. The ass licker being jerked off by the lickee, and complete silence among the rest of the crew who massed around manning lights and mics. The guy getting his ass spackled was considerably younger than the other guy, eighteen at a stretch. Rachel was sitting in a folding directors chair a few feet away from the camera man, arms crossed looking sullen. All my nerves and fear washed away by her petulant glare of disgust at the two men's activities. I started laughing. All eyes in the room turned to me, including Rachel's which increased in size by about triplefold.
"CUT! What the fuck? Who the fuck are you?”
A normal looking white guy wearing a baseball cap and faded blue jeans stood up from his place next to the camera and turned toward me, indignance across his face. The two guys in the scene had stopped and leaned on their sides. The ass licker was taking a drink of water handed to him by a PA.
"I'm, Hey I'm sorry. I'm just here to pick her up?, I jutted my thumb towards Rachel who was now covering her face.
"Ok, but who the fuck are you?”, his hands were on his hips and he jutted his chin forward at me.
"I'm, I'm a friend of her dad's, it's a long story, really I'm just gonna get her and then we can get the fuck out of the way, oh and I kinda need someone to move one of their cars outside? It's blocking in that Audi, which is actually her dad's”, I stumbled along not sure if there was any proper etiquette I should be presenting myself to this guy with.
He just stared at me dumbfounded not entirely sure what to make of this strange guy who had seemingly wandered onto his set in search of a teenage girl that wasn't supposed to be there anyway.
"Ok...fuck...ok everyone take five I'll deal with this!”, he had turned back to the cast and crew throwing his arms up in the air.
I spotted a boom mic man lighting a smoke after removing his headphones and lit up my own smoke. Rachel stood up and walked over to us sheepishly for a second. But the director still wasn't done with me.
"Ok, I'm glad you're here to pick her up but seriously man, did you have to interrupt my shot like that? You know how fucking hard it is to eat an ass and get jerked off at the same time? It's like playing fucking Tetris while reading War and Peace! Can I have a smoke?”, rising up and down like a seismograph's etchings, his voice had settled at a low level complacency as I handed and lit him a smoke.
"Listen I'm really sorry, I work in the movies too and it was totally unprofessional of me, it's just she said she was in some kind of trouble so I had to rush over here, and I walk in here expecting it to be like some scene from Blow and instead I walk in on that guy chin deep in a chocolate starfish...it shook me a little”, I shrugged and made a meshugeh expression.
He straightened up from his hunched over stance of beratement and looked at me slightly taken aback.
"Oh you work in the industry too?”
"Yea, well...not the industry industry...like not porn, but movies yea”
"Me too! Well, that's the dream...but you know fresh out of film school and I realize that my certificate doesn't mean dick and I'll still be running coffee for three years, so I decided to make some money...y'now? Pay off the student loans?”
"Uh yea, that...that makes sense”, I said shifting my glance back towards Rachel, raising my eyebrows trying to get her to move, “She's not high or anything is she?”
"Her? Shit no. Despite what you'd think the people that work in porno aren't really coke pigs anymore...I mean we've still got it around, a little hit every now and then is fine, fires you up but for the most part nah”, He spoke in a way that suggested Rachel being high was laughable.
"Oh really? I mean that's one of those bad myths?”, I asked gesturing with my hand beside me for Rachel to get going. This guy was going to pop the question any second now and then I would be trapped forever.
"Yea, I mean Porno's too lucrative these days. You can't shoot a movie in one day if you're all burnt out and shit. So what movies have you worked on?”
"Uh, not really anything that big. I mean I'm a writer and stuff so-”, I had only dug myself a bigger hole by bringing up my status as a writer.
"Oh really?! What have you written?”
"Rachel had stood up and was now making her way towards me, her head slumped down as if she was embarassed. She stood waiting next to me while the director waited for my answer.
"Uh...just some stuff, you've probabl-”
"C'mon don't be so modest just tell me”
"You see Hammer Down?”
"You're fucking kidding me! I love that movie! That part where Dom shoots the crocodile?! AWESOME!”, His eyes had gaped and his hand was half extended as if he might try to shake mine.
"Yea, well. Glad you liked it. Um listen who do I talk to about getting those car's moved out front? It's just blocking in the Audi and that's actually her car and it'd be nice if we didn't have to leave it here”, I pointed out to the front.
"Oh shit, yea she was saying something about that, Lenny was just in the scene and y'now can't really break the actor's method, but yea sure I'll send him out there right now. LENNY! Where the fuck are you?”, Forget just moving the cars the guy probably would have sucked my dick if I asked. He shouted into the air making a makeshift megaphone with his hands before turning back to me.
"So what are you working on right now? Is it another horror? your horror was tight holmes!”
"Uh yea thanks, where do I?”, I akwardly held up my hand with my smoke butt unsure of where to ditch it in the house.
"Here! yea I'll take that”, He snagged the sad stubbing filter from my fingers and momentarily held it aloft the way one might examine a diamond to the light.
This creeped me out a little and I stared at the oblivious guy, eyebrow raised.
The young pornstar who had been getting his salad so rigorously tossed approached us a towel around his neck and a scraggy pair of boxers around his waist.
"Hey Rachel are you leaving?”, he spoke towards Rachel his voice sounding like that of any other teenage male, his smile that of a set in the mold douchebag.
"I turned my head eyebrow still raised from the increasingly fanboyish director to Rachel who now had re-crossed her arms releasing a “harumph”.
"Yes Dennis. I'm leaving. Like I would have left an... hour ago if.... that guy...Lenny! If Lenny would have moved his damn car!”, The youthful inexperienced candour in her voice would have normally produced a laugh from me but the situation was just getting entirely too weird. She knew that guy. What the fuck.
"Woah, why are you so pissed off?” the guy was defensive holding the towel out between his hands still wrapped around his neck.
“Whatever forget it, Iisac can we go?”, Rolling her eyes she turned back to me.
"Yea that's probably a good idea, is Lenny moving that car?”, I turned back to the director.
"He will be. LENNY!”, He walked off yelling and I watched him pocketing my the butt . I sure hoped that it didn't end up on Ebay.
Rachel, what? what's so-”
"Back off Junior”, I said turning Rachel towards the door with my arm.
"Hey fuck you man! She came here with me!”, I turned back to see him indignantly puff out his chest.
"Sit down, your ass probably needs drying off more than your neck”
"What the fuck Rachel!? This is bullshit”, His hands were now in the air above his head.
"Don't bother calling me”, she said not bothering to turn around.
"What?”, his voice cracked.
Outside Lenny wearing his own pair of boxer shorts moved his Lincoln SUV as Rachel pulled out from behind it and I attempted to ward of the director's further attempts to get into my good graces.
"And that's my card, but I don't really use the Fax, it's probably just best to e-mail me, ok? Can you do that?”, He shoved the thin and poorly made business card into my hand as I made my way down the front steps.
"Yea that's cool man...”
He grabbed my hand and brought his face right up next to mine and whispered intensely.
"No seriously. If I have to do this much longer I'm going to hang myself in my closet”, his frantic tone caused me me to involuntarily turn and look at him with a uncontrolled expression of disgust. I took a few more steps and had to yank my hand away from his.
I walked up to the car where Rachel sat in the driver's seat tensely gripping the steering wheel.
"I'm not going to tell your dad about any of this, but for me...for how goddamn weird that was...you have to tell me what the fuck just happened”, I lit a smoke.
"I don't...grrrrmmm...shit, ok like....Dennis, he was all like hey you want to go hang out after school, I've got this really cool thing we could do. I was like sure, I mean I thought he was cute, and we might just end up-”
"Yea Ok, yea I get the picture there”, I raised my hands to stop her.
"But then we got here, and there's all these people doing fucked up shit, and then Dennis starts going off about how if you do gay for a while, what...what did he say...if you pay your dues? If you pay your dues you get to do strait shit? Like he'd get to have sex with girls?”, She stumbled through her memories of the past hour looking more and more confused every second.
"Ok. That's fucked up”
"Where's my dad?”
"Probably having more fun than us.”