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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
One subtle and overwhelming industry, on the streets, on the screens, in the minds, in the lives.

Submitted: February 17, 2010

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Submitted: February 17, 2010



Content: Obscene

I parked the car by the sidewalk, and looked to the building on the left, straight to the top floor, 17: the headquarters of an empire in concrete and glass. In the hot afternoon, while the cars would disappear down the avenues, I went in and told my name at the reception. A black man took me to the top floor and opened the door for me. By the vast table was sitting a man around 60, with white hair, wrinkled face, his cheeks were pale. He made a gesture, I came closer to him and sat down. I usually look with a bit of condescension to the big money guys but his money was really really dirty so I felt sympathy. His voice was low and husky, they say he has a throat cancer. He took a photo out of the drawer and left it in front of me. Tall, brown Latino macho, naked, perfect body, black sleazy hair, aggressive eyes. This, the big money guy said, was Rory Sanchez. Rory Sanchez was a trouble maker. Strong, handsome man, 25, sometimes bisexual, professional porn actor, a real star on the porn scene, he was worth hundreds of thousands. Rory was playing in the major movies of the big money guy, so he was quite important. But he was also a crazy idiot who loved alcohol (daily), drugs (occasionally) and law-breaking (often). You can find him in a scuffle in a brothel, or high in a bar while the police breaks in searching for coke, or looking for innocent virgins in the dirty Latino slums of the city. So Rory was a real trouble maker but the big money guy needed him. Often Rory would disappear, they would sometimes find him in the jail or down south, beyond the border in Tijuana, or away with a woman 30 years older, or simply drugged in depression in a hotel room in a small town miles from here. Now he had disappeared again so the big money guy wanted me to find him and bring that big naughty boy home. Ok, I said, I can do it. I know the slums and the bars, I’ve been to Tijuana quite a lot (with girls or without girls) and I will find him; I knew him personally as well. The man gave me the list of the last people Rory Sanchez had talked to before he disappeared 2 weeks ago. I looked at the names and shook my head – it was time to embark on.

I like Cadillacs. Big, cantankerous, arrogant. I would put my white panama and sit behind the steering wheel, driving for hours through the Mojave. Now it was very hot in the city, I wanted out but I first had to find Rory and get some cash. Then – Vegas or further. I don’t know. When I was 14, I gambled, won and lost – and my principle in life became – try the risky business, it would turn right one day. One day, fellows, sooner or later. I think Rory thinks more or less like me, he is a crazy boy but these are sometimes quite wise, have you noticed? But I would not have his life though. The city is a porn paradise, all these machos coming down for the big money, I don’t like their arrogance, often we get in a bar brawl, but it’s ok because, hey, they are real man, no ties and jackets, no nine to five, you can have a strong drink with one of them…After all, we are all running on the edge.

Neil spoke to Rory 27 days ago. Neil lived in a nice house by the beach, with a small swimming pool, a replica of a bigger mansion that Neil saw once somewhere. He met me by the gate, we shook hands – his was wet and sleazy, and sat by the pool. No ripples, the water was still. Gosh, Neil said, that boy is wild, we talked about the new movie I am going to shoot, and he said – yes, I am ok, I will come on time, ok. But he is a real woman, real woman, he changes his mind every ten damn minutes, yes. So he just vanished in the air when I started shooting the movie. I have the girls, I have the other two actors, and my leading actor, my star – he is missing! Neil was angry; he was almost entirely bald, getting fatter, I am sure he secretly dreams of all the girls in his movies and perhaps sleeps with most of them. He graduated from an art school, wanted to go to Hollywood, contacted several studios, but they all turned him down. He wanted to try a new technique, a new trend in movie-making and they could not understand him quite well, so he started to despise big studios. Then he met the big money guy, the one I saw at noon, and he gave him the opportunity to use his technique and experiment while shooting naked bodies having sex. Alright, said Neil, I don’t care. And the job was well-paid. He could talk for hours on the angle of the camera he was using. But nobody cares, ‘cause we’re all watching the sex, right? But for Neil it was art. Neil was an artist. He said he was a follower of Fellini and the Italian directors of the 1960s. And, he said, I am doing what they did, can’t you see it? Yes, I said, that’s great, but do you know where I can find Rory? Do you know something of his plans? Intentions? A ticket to the Bahamas? A hotel room booked in Vegas? Neil did not know anything but asked me if I had checked the hospitals. Why? Rory has a problem with blood-clotting. If he gets into trouble, it would surely be a big one. Very big one.

I left the house by the beach, Neil standing at the gate, looking at several half-naked girls heading to the ocean, and he stepped towards them just to have a chat. The car roared, it was so hot, and I put on my panama, yes, I am a handsome guy, you know it, and the girls in the streets know it too. Let’s face it, how many of them are out there just for the good time? You sell, I buy. A basic principle of commerce. Don’t tell me it’s not a trade. You know that guy, the Roman thing, the emperor, I studied about him back at school – he wanted to tax the toilets, and said – money can’t stink. He was right, fellows. No colour, no smell, but so hot in my pocket, like a burning wire. And these girls, God, they want it too.

The next one on the list was a woman called Jessica who worked on the 49th floor of a skyscraper. On the entrance I read – Jessup and Halliwell, Chartered Accountants. She looked at me confusedly. Her colleagues stared at my panama. Jessica said we’d better go to a bar on the 37th floor, and we took the lift down. The bar was empty. She sat next to me, wanted only a lemonade, for me – a cold beer. Jessica was a beautiful woman of 31 years, tall, very athletic, with long blond hair. She was an accountant, god bless all accountants and make them so pretty! And she was an independent woman, single, earning quite a lot. She came to the city to study at the university, and later got into the firm. How did she meet Rory? Well, after work, she would not stay at home and watch tv. While she was still a student, she took part in her first adult movie, so she kept doing it for more than 10 years. The money? Not really, not really, she could earn much more here in the skyscraper. I love being watched, she said, and moved her long blond hair to her left shoulder, slowly inclining her head. Very beautiful woman. I am doing it because I like it. I would not sit at home making dinner for a lazy idiot. She looked at me. Cat eyes. Do you know Rory was very good? One of the best. We’ve been in 4 movies together. He called me about two weeks ago and said: Jess, I am off for a while. Off? Where to?, I asked, and she shrugged her arms. Vegas. Frisco. A cheap motel by the motorway. By the way, he loves young girls and boys. No, Jessica, I don’t want to know his perverted affinities. She smiled, the tip of her tongue gently touching her upper lip, and she was staring straight at me, calmly. As if I were a fly caught in a spider’s net. She shook her head and stood up. It’s time to go, I have a lot of work to do. Afterwards? I asked, a drink somewhere? Maybe. She walked away, the heels rhythmically hitting the floor, her white skirt swaying, then disappearing through the door, gosh, she was away in a second.

You know, that’s my job, fellows, it is not the best in the world, not the worst, but I enjoy it. The girls – well, they find richer and more handsome man, but I will always try to meet each one if I like her. Just one night, or a weekend, or maybe more, but nothing really serious. You see, I am not made for this. Come to my flat, it’s all cardboard boxes, my stuff is there, I don’t need more. I put the boxes in the boot of the Cadillac, and my panama is on, and I would disappear, just like Rory. And I don’t want a woman at the back seat. Why? ‘Cause it’s bad luck, fellows, it screws your brain. Thinking all day of her, while she is basically *****ing around – sorry for the language, fellows, but I am a tough guy, you know it. So, I was saying, it screws your brain. And, after all, I am mine, guys, mine.

I parked the car in front of a white house, but it was a real dirty slummy place to live, with dirty windows and dirty front door. I knocked twice, the door went ajar, then opened wide. A pale girl in a simple greyish dress looked from inside. Katie. A short one, long auburn hair, slim body, nothing special. Big blue eyes that could talk instead of her own voice. I want to speak to you, Katie. She looked at me in astonishment, then let me in. Rory had talked with her exactly 13 days ago. The last person to speak to him on the phone before he disappeared. I repeated his name but she said she know one Rory but he was from her high school many miles away from here. When I described him to her, she said that she knew that guy.

Katie and her husband Benny moved to the city a year ago, they were originally from the countryside, far from here. A nice young couple, really wild, Benny was drinking heavily; he worked in a small factory and in the weekends played baseball with his mates, sometimes getting too drunk and venting his workman’s frustration on Katie. Then once, just for a change, they replied to an ad seeking couples for a sex movie. This was the first time they went on camera, it was very funny, they were happy. Later Benny was fired, the factory was closed, so he got more angry and drinking, yes, and did not like the porn because he could not stand watching Katie with other men. But she was having fun. They quarreled, he beat her several times, and when it was too late, Benny beat her for the last time and went home to the farm of his parents. But Katie remained in the city, taking up the porn industry professionally. Yes, it’s ok, it’s fun and I get paid, I really like the job, she told me. But the guys would not pay her that well, actually, and she was only in a few movies, so she started going out in the street. She was not particularly beautiful so she was not making a fortune but it was not that bad, and she was independent, yes, it’s risky, she got robbed once and beaten two times, but that’s the profession. So that’s how she met Rory – as he was wandering at night round this slummy quarter, and she liked the guy ‘cause he was very passionate, real Latino. He called her and said – find me young girls from your quarter, really little ones, 15-16, I need them. I found them, yes, and called him. He said he would call me back, but I have not heard him since then. As I was about to leave, she took my hand, looked to me with her blue eyes and mumbled: Do you want?...I turned around - not this time, sweetie.

I came home late in the evening, after a couple of drinks at the bar, and saw that Neil had left a message for me. On the next morning, I stopped my car in front of his house and went in. He was by the pool, shooting a movie – a guy was holding the camera, there were two girls next to the pool, kissing each other, naked, and a man was waiting several meters away to join them at the director’s command. Neil greeted me and said this movie would have great close-ups, I am doing it like Bergman, he said, it would be a fantastic piece, Bergman-style. The girls were kissing in the water and the camera was slowly exploring the shapes of their bodies. Neil had a very satisfied outlook. But he took me few meters away and said that a friend of his had seen Rory at a gas station on the way down south, ten days ago. Was he alone? He was not sure, maybe not. Okay, I said, I will check. I left Neil who went to the pool to give instructions to the girls but they apparently knew well what to do.

So I headed south down the motorway to the border, stopping at almost each wretched motel and asking about Rory. The day was very hot. At the gas station where Rory was last seen nobody could recall him but at the nearest motel, a small two-storey place with big flashing blue letters M-O-T-E-L at the roof, the receptionist said that a man called Rodrigo Sanchez came here several days ago. Of course, this was him. He was with a girl, a 14-year-old, god, he loved these Lolitas, and they took the room for a couple of nights. Quarreled a lot. The receptionist had heard several times the magic word, you know it fellows, say it together with me – m.o.n.e.y.
Yes, I am sure she was with him ‘cause he said he had thousands of bucks. She, a nice little creature, living in a slummy neighbourhood, beaten by the elder brothers or the drunk father; they usually begin at 12-13, when their womanhood start to spring, or, say poetically, grow like a flower, and the boys, you know, all have their needs. Raped, paid, casual prostitutes or simply waiting for the best price, they all go down the same avenue, used and frayed at 25, getting old at 35, one or two kids who she would have to feed, waiting on the sidewalk for the car to stop and take her to a motel room. Or, if she is quite lucky, she would go into the industry, entering the homes of millions cable tv customers at night. I imagined this was the kind of girl that Rory brought here. As far as he is concerned, he loved such girls. The younger, the better. He appeared to them very rich (in his expensive car, he always drove expensive cars), handsome, though he would pay them less than many others. The receptionist said that Rory had a small camera so he was filming his new little friend, and probably she liked it, they all like it.

However, as it always happens, things went wrong. Rory was not lavish with money, so perhaps he decided to pay her less than agreed, or she simply wanted more than he would give her, and they quarreled again – the receptionist could hear cries, screams, fights. On the third day, in the evening, the girl tried to get Rory’s money and disappear while he was sleeping, but he woke up, hit her, and she took out a knife out of her bag – quite a clever girl, never go out without a knife – and, you know, Rory was bleeding in seconds. She took the money – and it was, I guess, less than she expected, and jumped through the window. She broke her leg and they found her very easily later. But Rory’s problem was a big problem because, the wretched soul, he really had some blood-clotting sickness, and he lied there in the room, while his blood was running out of his chest and stomach, and he quickly passed out. The receptionist, having heard the screams and then the sudden silence, waited for a while and a few hours later decided to check whether the couple – gosh, what a couple – was ok. He found Rory half dead, called an ambulance, but it was too late, he died in the hospital. The body was sent to the family in Mexico, where they would bury it wherever they wanted. The police took Rory’s camera but the receptionist had had a glimpse of the film and, with temptation in his black eyes, said it was a high quality hardcore one, well, you usually pay a lot to see such on the net.

I told the story to the big money guy, this industry mastermind, sitting in the 17th floor of his building. He was very disappointed. Now I would have to find a substitute. Foolish Rory. I told him to leave the little whores, but he would not listen. Nobody could control him, but he was a good actor, one of my best stallions. I did not know that his name was Rodrigo. The guy showed me a catalogue of photos of young men, candidates for Rory’s role. Two or three of them were really impressive. Then I got the cheque for my services, said goodbye, and headed to the door, but his voice stopped me – if you need a girl, my friend, just give me a call…Yes, that guy had a pervert empire, but, after all, I (and perhaps guys like Rory too) loved the smell of the hunting game, the evening dusk when you go down the streets past the lovely creatures waiving at you like sirens, and you stop and take one; otherwise, I would have to choose from a catalogue as if I lived in a world of machines. Or, what is better, just walk straight into the bar and have a drink with one…I called Jessica, but she was busy, and I dropped the plan. The night was coming on, dark and dry, I hanged round the neighbourhood, strolling with my panama on, breathing the air, the air that Rory could not breathe anymore, and then went home, took out a small piece of paper with a phone number on it and called Katie.

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