A Real Woman
By Rodger Jacobs
"A REAL WOMAN"
"Have you ever noticed that you write your best stuff when you're separated from your wife?" Wesley asked as I handed him the two completed porno screenplays.
The two scripts were titled "The Sex Lives of Clowns" and "Lonelyhearts" and they represented the latest in a long string of erotic film collaborations between Wesley and I. Wesley was the director and producer and I was the writer.
"I swear to God, it would be in my best interest to keep a wedge driven between the two of you at all times," Wesley continued, thumbing through the screenplays, "because every time you and Myra break up you sit down and write some of the most
"I never noticed," I lied, stuffing Wesley's check into my shirt pocket, not before
glancing at the amount. One thousand dollars even, more than enough to pay another month's rent at the Glendale Holiday Inn and buy a hell of a good time at the downstairs cocktail lounge that evening.
Myra threw me out of the house two months prior on some flimsy pretext. The cause is unimportant because the fact of the matter is that this was an annual event, something I think we both looked forward to, a chance to rejuvenate and reconsider our marriage vows.
Wesley insisted that I walk him down to the lobby so we trudged the fifth floor corridor to the bank of elevators. The hotel was almost filled to capacity with out-of-state contractors, developers, and construction workers, all of them making money hand over fist in a frenzied effort to rebuild the earthquake devastated Northridge area in the San Fernando Valley.
"How long do you think you're gonna live here?" Wesley asked.
"As long as my cash holds out. It's cheaper than renting an apartment actually. My gas and electric are paid and I get free maid service every morning."
"How do you hide the porno tapes from the maids?" Wesley asked with a laugh. "You must have over a hundred tapes in your room."
"I keep them hidden in the closet," I said matter-of-factly.
"What if the maids poke around while you're out of the room?"
"So what? There's no morals clause in my lease."
Waiting for the elevator, Wesley and I listened to the muted, ghostly sounds of the old hotel. A vacuum cleaner purred somewhere far away but from what direction you couldn't tell. Dull voices carried down the corridor like spectral whispers on the wind, disembodied pieces of conversations spilling out from beneath closed doors.
"This goddamn place is spooky," Wesley commented.
"I know. That's what I like about it," I said with a grin. "It reminds me of the Overlook Hotel from The Shining."
"Let's talk about the scripts for a minute," Wesley said as we stepped into the creaky and dimly-lit elevator. "Who do you see as the interviewer in 'Sex Lives of Clowns'?"
"Sarah Jane Hamilton," I shot back without hesitation, referring to the popular
busty British porn star who is famous for her ability to have "squirting" orgasms on
The role of the interviewer is the thread that holds the narrative of 'Sex Lives of Clowns' together. "The entire show is a parody of BBC-style documentaries so Sarah's a
"Any casting ideas for Lonelyhearts?"
I insisted on Jon Dough for the role of the newspaper advice columnist who goes by the nom de plume "Aunt Annie", and porn legend Jeanna Fine as his heartless, Nietzsche-quoting editor, whose first and only commandment is: Sex Sells. Dough the idealist wants to help people with his column, but Fine the pragmatist insists that the
readers aren't interested in other people's sob stories; they want to be moved "in the groin"
by tales of sex she tells him.
"This isn't a downbeat story is it?" Wesley asked nervously.
"Well, it is loosely based on 'Miss Lonelyhearts'," I said, as if my thievery of
elements from Nathanael West's novel would explain the dark trappings of the screenplay
and not shed light on any bleakness in my own soul that crept into the narrative. "But I
gave it a happy ending. Jon's character ends up serving both masters, writing phony sex letters for the newspaper while he takes the real letters from readers, the ones that are full of heartbreak and woe, he takes those home and answers them on his own time."
"I like it."
"Have you ever read Miss Lonelyhearts?"
"Maybe in college but I don't remember. I was a Huxley man back then."
"A Huxley man!" I repeated mockingly.
"Did I ever show you the master's thesis I wrote on Huxley's novels?"
"No, but you've told me about it something like thirty-two times now -- actually this makes thirty-three."
"I loaned you my Huxley thesis last year," Wesley insisted. "As a matter of fact you never gave it back to me."
"You're thinking of something else entirely; you loaned me a copy of the commencement address that Rod Serling gave to your graduating class."
"Shit. You're right." The elevator lurched to a stop and the doors slid open. "I wonder whatever became of that Huxley thesis? I hope I didn't lose it."
"Why? Thinking of adding it to your resume? Three hundred porno films and a thesis on Aldous Huxley?"
I pushed past Wesley's considerable bulk and made a path for the candy machine that stood in the hallway, dropping a fistful of coins into the slot and trying to decide what jolt of chocolate covered sugar would get me through the next hour.
"What about the sex scenes in Lonelyhearts?" Wesley asked, leafing through the pages of the screenplay.
"What about the sex scenes?" I scowled, always despising the necessity of reducing the story to the commercial elements of sex scenes. "There's seven of them; Jon's character is in two, Jeanna's character also has two, and the rest are pretty much throwaways."
I unwrapped a Snickers bar and stuck a generous portion in my mouth, chewing thoughtfully, careful to avoid getting any of that nougat and caramel anywhere near the painful cavities in two of the molars on the left side of my mouth.
"I've never read Huxley," I said absently. "What's his best novel?"
"Doors of Perception is the one that floored me the most, but I was doing a lot of drugs in college so that probably influenced my judgement a little."
"Wasn't Doors of Perception an essay Huxley wrote about his experiences on LSD?"
"So I asked you what his best novel was, not his best essay."
"Either 'After Many a Summer Dies the Swan' or 'Ape and Essence.'" Wesley responded after a brief pause to collect his thoughts.
"Think either one of them would make a good plot for a porno movie?"
"Why? Are you that dry for ideas?"
"No. I just thought we'd try to justify your education somehow."
"Oh man. You're cruel."
Wesley and I passed through the lobby under the mistrustful gaze of the exclusively Filipino staff. The three desk clerks stopped what they were doing and scrutinized us, certain perhaps that I had loaded Wesley's battered briefcase full of those much-coveted Holiday Inn ashtrays and bath towels.
One of the clerks finally called out to me in fractured English, telling me that I had a package waiting at the desk.
"When did this come in?" I asked, inspecting the package and recognizing the logo of VCA Pictures, one of the world's largest distributors and manufacturers of adult videos, on the packing slip.
"Two hours ago."
"Why didn't you call me in my room?"
"I did," he said with a lopsided grin that begged me to challenge him.
"No, you didn't. I've been in my room all morning."
"No, sir, you haven't."
"Yes, I have!" I practically screamed. He remained cool and calm.
"No, sir, you are not in your room now, therefore you cannot say that you have been in your room all morning."
"He's got a point," Wesley chimed in.
"Shut the fuck up, Wesley."
I signed for the package, a very large box, saw Wesley off, and carted the cardboard container back to my room, once again under the suspicious gaze of the staff.
As I rounded the corner to the elevators, out of sight of the front desk, I distinctly heard a
chorus of laughter erupt.
The box contained fifteen of VCA Pictures' new releases, gay and straight X-rated fare. A hastily scribbled note was at the bottom of the box. Written on the VCA letterhead, it bore the signature of the woman who approved my invoices:
WE NEED BREAKDOWNS ON THESE TAPES ASAP!
The scene breakdowns that I manufacture for VCA Pictures carry me through the rough spots when screenplay assignments are sparse. A breakdown is a comprehensive report on each movie, broken down by individual scenes and a listing of who appears in each scene, what sex acts are committed in each scene, whether the girl or girls in the
scene are blonde, brunette, redhead, or otherwise, whether the guy is well-endowed, and
whether the scene climaxes in a "facial" or a semen blast to another part of the female
anatomy. Breakdowns allow the distributor to know the content of their releases and to utilize the information for assembling specialized compilation tapes -- busty blondes, for
example, or brunettes who take it up the backside.
It would take approximately six hours to scan through 12 video cassettes and, since I didn't have anything better to do that morning, I popped down to the cocktail lounge and purchased three styrofoam cups full of coffee to give me the energy boost necessary to look at porno all day long.
At the front desk I handed the clerk Wesley's personal check.
"I'd like to cash this, please, and pay for another month on my room," I said.
It was the same smart-ass who fucked with me less than an hour ago and I was already experiencing the first pangs of Pornographer's Paranoia ("He knows what I do for a living and he doesn't approve and he's going to make my life a living hell or he will call the police and accuse me of selling porno tapes out of my hotel room or he will call the police and make false accusations that I've been seen loitering around the hotel swimming pool when teenage girls are present and he will say that I've been trying to lure them back to my room because that's the kind of thing that pornographer's do, right, officer?")
"I'm sorry, sir, but I need to see two forms of identification," he said, glancing at the check with a vague supposition that it was fraudulent.
"All I have is a driver's license and a social security card," I protested.
"No major credit cards?"
"Visa? American Express? Master Card?"
"I get the concept of credit cards, okay? Are you gonna cash the check or not?"
"Not without two forms of identification, sir."
"But I live here!"
"Excuse me, sir," he said, leaning across the desk and into my face, so close that I
could inhale the nauseous vapors of his breath. "I am not trying to be disagreeable, but,
you see, there is a problem with this check."
He pointed a long, bony brown finger to the PAY TO THE ORDER OF column.
"The name is spelled R-O-G-E-R on the check but your name is spelled R-O-D-G-E-R. That, sir, is a problem."
"Oh come on! That happens to me all the time. Is that what's worrying you?"
"Yes, sir." And I could tell that he was going to stand firm on this issue, if for no
other reason than to avenge Douglas MacArthur's invasion of his homeland. A racist accusation, to be sure, but since my Pornographer's Paranoia had temporarily abated there had to be some other underlying reason for his surliness.
"Fine!" I growled. "I'll take the check to the bank."
"Good luck, sir," he said with a vague smile as I stormed away.
Gathering my scene breakdown paperwork together, I unwrapped a fresh video cassette, popped it into the VCR, and unsnapped the lid on the first cup of coffee. The coffee was cold and the acid set my stomach ablaze when it touched down.
I leaned back in my chair, clipboard and paperwork in hand, ready to screen 'The Devil in Miss Jones Part 4' when ---
Moving with maximum speed I repacked the porno tapes, shoved the box in the closet with seven or eight similar boxes, each one bulging at the seams and spilling their X-rated contents onto the stained carpeting, and pulled open the fire door to allow the old Salvadoran woman entrance.
It was early afternoon before I returned to the fourth chapter of the 'Devil in Miss Jones' saga. While the maid cleaned I strolled to the corner liquor store and purchased the
evening's supply of good spirits. I always kept a fresh bottle of wine on hand in case I
encountered an agreeable sort of the opposite sex in the cocktail lounge during the evening. So far I drank every bottle alone.
Six hours of solitary confinement ensued. Six hours of raw and raunchy sex playing out before my eyes. Oral sex. Anal sex. Sex in every position imaginable.
There were stocky, hardbodied torpedoes of women; young women with small tits, mere puffs of nipple on boyish frames; and girls with 52 pounds of silicone on their chests (rule of thumb: when a girl lays down and her tits are still standing up it is obvious that she has beachballs implanted under her skin); hour after hour of stunning faces and hairless pussies and pierced clits and pierced nipples and pierced tongues; lots of heavy-duty lezzie action with tongues, fingers, toes, vibrators and dildoes poking in and out of every open orifice; perfectly chiseled mouths and faces and asses and backsides sprayed with hot white gooey globs of nut juice. And every girl was eager for whatever her guy or gal was ready
to dish out.
After six continuous hours of sensual bombardment I lit the drinking lamp, cracking open a bottle of bourbon for a tantalizing sip of the amber-colored nectar before hopping into the shower and preparing for an evening of inglorious inebriation in the Holiday Inn cocktail lounge.
Having endured 720 minutes of sex I was determined to fuck something if, in the words of my late grandfather, it harelipped every cow in Texas.
Somehow I had overlooked the fact that it was Friday night. Friday night at the Glendale Holiday Inn meant that the banquet hall adjoining the cocktail lounge would be packed full of walking corpses with hyperactive libidos. It was the weekly gathering of a forty-plus singles club.
The lounge and the lobby and the banquet hall were overflowing with women with sagging breasts and flappy jowls and clothes that smelled of old mothballs. Some of the women sported more current attire, of course, but I can think of nothing more
disgusting than to describe the sight of a 57 year old woman decked out in a thigh-high
latex skirt with no underwear beneath, her taut and ancient nipples straining against the
confining fabric. One such hideous beast actually flashed her beaver at me one evening and for nights on end after that I suffered a recurring nightmare that is just too gruesome for me to relive on paper.
They arose from their dirt naps and swarmed into the hotel in loud and unseemly droves, like hungry refugees from some great natural disaster at Leisure World. They would assume control of the juke box in the cocktail lounge, plunking in quarter after quarter to play Hank Williams tunes and Patsy Cline tear-jerkers, the soon-to-be-dead
playing songs of the dead.
The men who swarmed around the queen corpses at these weekly social functions all wore stupid plaid golf pants and V-necked shirts, most of them widowers out to get a little nookie before their long-dead spouses reached out from the grave and pulled them into the Void.
But the women, those Vampirellas of the geriatric set, were after fresh blood. As the evening wore on they would set their sights on the younger men seated at the bar, those hearty young men of the earthquake renovation crews who made their home at the hotel. They wanted their putrefying pelvises pounded by a hot young stud, someone who
could make their shriveled up G-spots awaken and unleash one last convulsive orgasm, one last affirmation of their humanity before they disappeared into dust.
After seven bourbon and sodas Chrissy caught my eye. As usual she sat alone at a table near the lounge dance floor, nursing a white wine and wearing the same simple cotton dress and shiny black platform shoes. She appeared to be about forty, with long, straight black hair and full pouting lips.
"Hey," I called out to her as she passed my bar stool on her trek to the ladies room.
No one ever spoke to Chrissy and the surprise registered all over face. When she turned
to regard me her face broke out in a smile so wide that it exposed every crack and fissure
on the surface. A lot of cracks and fissures. In the dim light of the bar I figured her to be
closer to forty-five, maybe even fifty years old.
Within thirty minutes my hand was caressing Chrissy's thigh as she perched on the bar stool next to mine.
"I've always noticed you," I purred into her ear, kissing her lightly on the cheek, tasting a thick paste of rouge that settled on my lips and left a dry, perfumed taste on my tongue. "Every Friday night for the last three weeks. I've always noticed you sitting over there."
"How come you never said anything until now?"
There was a slight twang in her voice that tasted slightly Oklahoman, maybe Texan. I never was very good at interpreting dialects.
"I guess I'm just shy," I said, an inquiring thumb working its way into the crook of her panties.
"Be careful," Chrissy giggled, "people are starting to stare."
"Should we go upstairs to my room?"
"You never told me why you're living here anyways."
"I'm separated from my wife."
"Yeah, for good," I lied and motioned for the bartender to freshen our drinks.
"What a lot of books!" Chrissy gasped, surveying the piles of hardbacks and paperbacks carelessly strewn about my room. "Have you read them all?"
"Of course," I said with little effort to conceal my contempt for the question, and I made a mental note to kick myself later for being such an asshole.
I popped open a bottle of wine and we settled down together on the decrepit sofa.
"Look at this." I produced a dog-eared copy of T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men".
"Have you ever read any of his stuff?"
"He's a poet, right? I never much got into poetry. As a matter of fact I really don't
read a whole lot. I work such long hours and when I get home at night all I wanna do is --
"Listen --- " I silenced her with an outstretched hand and read the marked passage:
This is the dead land
This is the cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they perceive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.
"You know what's so amazing about that? " I asked Chrissy, slamming the book shut.
"It reads like a perfect description of Hollywood; yet, to the best of my knowledge, and I don't profess to be an expert on T.S. Eliot, but to the best of my knowledge he never spent any time in Hollywood."
"Wow," Chrissy muttered, trying to sound impressed.
"I'm fascinated by writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Nathanael West and John
Fante -- all these guys who either destroyed themselves or squandered their talents in
Hollywood. I guess I'm engrossed by self-destructive types."
There was such genuine consternation in her simple entreaty, a very real bafflement at the source of my fascination, as if I had confessed to her that I was obsessed with the origins of the paper bag as a mode of transporting groceries from market to home or some other such useless nonsense.
"Believe me, honey, I've been around enough self-destructive men in my life that you can trust me when I tell you there ain't a damn thing romantic or interesting about any of them." She tipped her wine glass in the air. "Got any more wine?"
"Writers are different," I said, trying to keep my indignation from swelling to the surface as I poured her wine.
"They're people, aren't they?"
"Sure, but you should read Fitzgerald or West to really understand what I'm talking about."
"I don't need to read 'em to get what you're driving at. They were sensitive guys, right? So what? So's every self-destructive person I've known, man or woman. That's their problem, they're too damn sensitive. No need to make a special case outta them one way or the other."
She tried to soften the mood by unbuttoning my shirt.
"What d'you do for a living anyhow, honey?"
"I'm a writer."
I excused myself and adjourned to the bathroom where I scooped handfuls of cold water onto my face in an effort to both sober up and calm down. The objective, I reminded myself, was to get laid, not to engage in literary conversation or to impress this woman with my idolatry of debauched novelists.
"Can you massage my shoulders?" Chrissy hummed when I returned to the room.
She was face down upon the bed. Her ebony hair, which I observed was flecked with dandruff, cascaded over her shoulders and spilled onto the orange and gold colored blanket. The cotton dress was partially unzipped, revealing the straps of a well-worn cream-colored brassiere, and her sturdy legs were slightly spread.
Chrissy's body was strong and firm, not fashioned along the curvaceous, slender lines on view in adult film fantasies. When I touched the bare skin of her freckled shoulders, unhooking the bra ever so carefully with that gentle stealth that most men learn as anxious teenagers and never quite overcome, my fingers were greeted with an
oily sensation. The tactile impression of oily skin immediately sent the word "creosote"
racing to the forefront of my thoughts.
My mind was not with Chrissy as I kneaded her broad shoulders. Every ounce of mental capacity that was not staggering from booze and lust was rallying to supply the answer to a mysterious question: what the hell is creosote, where did I pick up that word, and why does it spring to mind now? Within minutes an alarm sounded in my head and the answer came stumbling into the light, aroused from a deep sleep in some darkened
corner. Creosote is an oil used to treat wood for building materials. The walls inside of
Johnny Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon in Oakland, California, are black from the creosote seeping out of the old wood (that's where I picked up the word, while visiting Heinold's Saloon a few years ago).
"What're you thinking about?" Chrissy murmured.
"Have you ever been up to Oakland?"
"Oakland?" She rolled over onto her back to face me. "Why? You wanna take me there sometime?"
"No, I was just thinking about a place I used to hang out at when I lived up there. There's this old saloon on the waterfront where Jack London used to drink and -- "
"Didn't he write books for kids?"
"Jack London? No."
"That one about the dog?"
"'Call of the Wild' is not a children's book," I said emphatically, as if lecturing a mere child, "despite what you may have heard it's a very mature novel that explores Darwin's theory of -- "
Chrissy's mouth crushed into mine, immediately ending any further discussion. I slid down onto the bed next to her, taking her face into my hands, and when I kissed her Chrissy's tongue laid in her mouth like a lifeless earthworm on a fishing hook. At one moment her inert tongue sprang to life to begin lapping at my unshaven face and I thought that was rather bizarre considering that we were just talking about dogs. And so my thoughts drifted back for a short period to Jack London and I continued in my head the argument that 'The Call of the Wild' was a mature work, a very dark and bleak novel
structured around the principle of natural selection.
"Now what're you thinking about?"
Chrissy's dress had disappeared and my face drifted toward her chest. There was a
leathery texture to her breasts and one of the nipples was inverted. She took one of the
sloping breasts in both hands and shoved it into my mouth as though I were a suckling child. I was repulsed by the taste and feel of it and I moved my lips away from her breasts, down across the soft paunch of her stomach, and sought out the pink of her thighs.
A long jagged scar ran the length of an inner thigh and she directed my lips toward rather than away from it.
I kissed Chrissy's scar gingerly then directed her head and open mouth toward my swollen member.
"No," she protested softly, "I don't know you well enough."
Yet she had no qualms about taking my head in both of her aging hands and guiding it to the soft folds between her legs. I performed cunnilingus on her until she had, or pretended to have, a convulsive orgasm and then we both fell into a drunken slumber.
"Wanna have dinner tonight?" Chrissy asked me the following morning. It was early, too early to be rising after drinking and carousing until the pale hours of the morning. I have never experienced sunlight so harsh as the bright rays that flooded into that Holiday Inn room when Chrissy drew the moth-eaten curtains open.
"Dinner?" I repeated, my mouth barely working and my eyes stinging at the sight of her nude body in the illuminating rays of sun. Her legs were streaked with circuitous varicose veins and her complexion was an ashen gray. And her brown eyes were remarkably sad, bearing all the heartsick expression of a coroner who simply cannot
accustom himself to the unnerving sight of the dead children that show up on his gurney.
Some insults in life are unbearable in repetitious cycles.
"Dinner would be nice. Clancy's Crab Broiler?"
"I like Clancy's," Chrissy said with a weak smile, slipping into her now-wrinkled
cotton dress and stuffing her panties, bra, and black stockings into her purse.
"I'll call you later on in the day," I said, climbing out of bed with a weary groan and throwing myself into a ratty bathrobe.
The last words Chrissy spoke to me as I held the door open for her to depart were, "I have to get my car washed today."
Later that afternoon I packed up my belongings and returned home to my wife. I haven't left home since.
(c) 2000-04, Rodger Jacobs