Mulholland Books Popcorn Fiction Popcorn Fiction - Double Penetration by Matt Olmstead
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A guy blackmails former porn actresses who have escaped their pasts in this tight crime story from screenwriter Matt Olmstead.

Double Penetration

After the second time viewing the scene, I paused it right before Nikki Doveheart fellated the taller of the two pizza delivery guys.  Not out of squeamishness or modesty, but because the frame where I paused it, the image, gave me the best angle of her face before it was to be contorted in ostensible pleasure or discomfort or blocked by her hair or obstructed by one of the pizza guys.  I leaned forward and stared at the woman.  It was from a scene from a 1985 porn flick called Every Woman Has a Hunger.  Back when porns had fancy names.  She was 18 and it was one of only three movies she did before dropping out of sight.

She was pretty -- elegant, even.  Italian/Mediterranean blood.  Straight jet black hair -- which help set her apart from the poofed-out peroxide blondes of that era.  Very composed and self-assured.  She was also a good actress.  Anyone who can make a scene where a pizza guy shows up with a trainee credible is a good actress in my book, regardless of the venue.  I leaned closer to the screen and I realized I was actually being drawn to her.  My next thought was she was too good to being doing porn.  But then I always thought that.  Who does this shit?  Whatever.  Whitey told me Nikki Doveheart -- real name Kara Famighletti, now Kara Price -- was married to and had kids with a wealthy and socially prominent developer in Phoenix and he'd be good for $50,000 in let's-keep-keeping-this-a-secret money.

Whitey was a loose-limbed weirdo I met at a classic car convention in Alhambra.  He was wearing a Love and Rockets concert t-shirt and I pointed at him and said "Hey!  Love and Rockets!"  We chatted a bit and come to find out he's in video production and I was between editing gigs so he offered me a job.  When he leaned in and whispered that it was porn and did I have a problem with that, I laughed out loud from the irony.  I'd been around the scene a bit, but never worked in it, by choice.  But I was at the point in my life where I didn't see how it made any difference.  I wasn't going to be President of the United States.

After six months of working for Whitey, he approached me with a "little side thing."  As accountant for various porn companies throughout the years, Whitey was Keeper of Records and his main job was to make sure all the actresses were of age.  As such, he had access to all their real names and DOB's and social security numbers and he kept them all.  From day one. 

The first one was a woman named Rebecca Reichert who, 15 years out of the business, was living in Tuscaloosa with her husband and daughter, selling real estate.  My hands were shaking when I met her at a Starbucks under the pretense of wanting to buy a condo.  I'll never forget the look on her face when I discreetly showed her a still from one of her movies.  It was a mixture of nausea, panic and self-loathing.  I probably had the same expression.  

Rebecca was good for $7,500.  Her mom paid it to me in twenties, as instructed, in the parking lot of a Hardees.  As I counted the money, Rebecca's mom called me every name in the book.  After Rebecca there have been ten others Whitey identified and I shook down.  Four paid.  The threat of distributing photos to family and coworkers was not enacted on five of the six who didn't come up with the money.  But that last one...  I don't even really like talking about her.  I was ready to blow out of town when she sent her boyfriend over with a couple of his buddies from the dojo they trained at.  A Guatemalan lady in housekeeping rolled by the room and is probably the only reason I survived.  The next day I limped down to Kinkos and licked envelopes until my tongue was raw.  Half of Milwaukee got an 8x10 still of that woman -- in flagrante delicto -- I believe the Italians call it.  She brought that on herself, I figured, and I never did end up losing sleep over it.

I flew into Phoenix.  Whitey said he was going to meet me there.  He never came on these capers but the potential score "was too big a whopper" on this one and he wanted to be there for back-up if need be.   I went to rent a car.  The gal behind the counter was nice enough.  I upgraded to a sportier model.  I always did on these trips, to treat myself, I guess.   I'd stay in dumpy motels, but I'd splurge on the car.  The gal took my I.D. and said my name out loud.  "Preston Miller."  She smiled pleasantly and then went to typing on her computer terminal.

That's half my problem, right there. I should have never been a Preston.  I was misnamed.  People treated me differently growing up. Aunts and uncles gave me more respect than I deserved.  Great things were expected of me.  For awhile I bought into it and felt I was destined for something and that's why I went to college, studying liberal arts, thinking I was going to be a famous film director.  But it was all fraudulent and at a certain point I realized if I'd been named Ken, or Mike, or... pick one -- given an average name, rightfully, none of this would have happened.  I wouldn't have been knocked off a perch.  I wouldn't have found myself, lost, at 43.  I would've been Ken Miller, renter of jet skis in Hawaii or framer of houses in Bakersfield and been happy about it.

First step was to check out Kara's husband, the land developer.  I followed him from his office to a car wash.  He was one of those busy guys.  Always on the phone, foot tapping, hand running through his frosted hair.  Even though he was late-fifties, he was dressed like a dance club doorman.  Pointy shoes with brocade embellishments on them, fancily-faded jeans that belonged on a woman, and an untucked burgundy dress shirt with a large design on it that was hard to decipher.  My best guess was two roosters fighting over an oversized diamond.  When his Mercedes was ready he went over and walked around it twice.  Pointing out errant drips and dribbles to the attendant, who promptly wiped them off.  Finally, the guy just took the rag and wiped something off the bumper himself.  His name was Lou and I already didn't like him and I was going to have no problem breaking him off for 50K.

I drove the Mustang back to the Sleep Tite Inn and got ready for my meet with Kara.  I had a bit of a tradition before these showdowns, not that they warranted special ceremony, but I patiently prepared for them nonetheless.  I'd shower and shave and get changed and look presentable.  "Business casual."  Almost like I was going to an interview.  I tried to look "tougher" in the first few shakedowns (flannel shirt rolled up, leather bracelet, unshaven) but it seemed to lower my standing in the women's eyes.  I gave the impression that I was a meathead and could be gotten over on.  So I switched up to the more professional look and it seems to have made a bit of a difference.  I drank a tall boy of Coors that I got at the corner liquor store -- again, a tradition --- and then I popped a mint in my mouth and drove to the parking lot of the yoga studio where I knew Kara would be.  After casing the women, I always preferred to ambush them after exercise.  They were usually calmer.

I waited outside the yoga center, wedged in between a bike shop and a florist in this beige stucco mini-mall.  My hands began to sweat and my heart began race.  Not unexpected.  And not problematic.  If part of this whole deal was for me to launch into some five-minute pitch, the nerves would have shut me down and I'd look like a complete amateur.  No pitch was needed.  All I had to do was make a brief introduction, show a picture and follow it up with some simple instructions.  They usually did most of the talking.

The women -- and a couple of scrawny guys -- started walking out of the yoga studio, chatting about post-yoga bullshit, on their way to their SUVs.  These types used to bother me, with the matching yoga gear and their yoga mats in their yoga quivers.  Now?  Who am I to judge.

Kara finally walked out of the studio, chatting with no one.  She'd kept her looks.  And her body.  And she still had that air of mystery and confidence that made you lean forward a little.  At that moment I got a visual of a pretty deer prancing down a path -- a bear trap, unseen, fifteen feet ahead.

I got out of the car and walked over to her Lexus, taking a few deep breaths as I did.

"Kara?"

She turned to me, her keys in her hand, sweat stains on the chest of her grey yoga top.

"Yes?"

"My name's Ken and we're gonna be in business soon and I want you to know up front that I'm a straight shooter."

"Are you...?  Do you... Have the right Kara?"

I flipped open the manila envelope and pulled out the 8x10, face down, and extended it to her.  She had a Kabbalah bracelet on her right wrist.

I got a quick high as I awaited her response to the photo.  I always did, though not proud of it.  My nasal passages opened wider from the adrenaline rush as she turned the photo over to see herself --  -- as Nikki Doveheart -- getting doubled up by the pizza boys twenty six years ago.  

She had no reaction.  Zero.  I looked down to make sure I had the right photo.  I did.  And then she smiled.

"Oh my god... Wow."  Her eyes lost focus for a bit, staring through the photo, remembering God knows what.

And then she started to laugh.  She closed her eyes and just chuckled, her chest vibrating slightly.  It was the damnedest thing I'd ever seen.  A couple of the yoga enthusiasts looked over, but Kara didn't seem to care.  Pretty soon I started to laugh a little, and then we both were laughing, although I kept one eye open because as soon as she was done I was going to be as well.

After she ramped down a little, she took one more look at the photo, sheathed it in the envelope and handed it back to me.

"What a trip..."  She looked me up and down, then straight in the eyes.  "What are you looking for?"

"Money."  

"How much?"

"Fifty thousand."

"Oh Christ."  She let out a big exhale and jiggled her keys in her hand as she looked up into the mountain range.  The laughter was gone. Wheels were turning.  And that was a good sign.  If they had to think about it, they could get the money.  The ones who immediately blurted out "you're fucking crazy" or "I don't have any money" or the like - they always came up empty.

"I'll be here tomorrow.  Same time."  I pointed at a nearby Irish pub called This Auld House - which was wedged in next to the dog groomers in the same mini mall.  "In there.  If you bring the cops or whoever, a lot of those photos go out.  To places you wouldn't want them to."

She stared at me.  Her eyes were completely black, no gradation between the iris and the pupil.  It was tough to focus on her.  You didn't know where to look because there really was nowhere to look.  Then she nodded.  "No, I get it.  I'll be here tomorrow."

I tapped the envelope against my left palm twice.  "Alrightee."  I turned and walked away.

"We've met before."

I slowly turned around as my stomach did a couple flip flops.

"I don't think so."

"No, I have a really good memory.  And I've definitely met you before.  Back in Los Angeles.  Back in…"  She pointed at the envelope in my hand.  "…those days."

"Maybe in line at the DMV."

"No, at a party or something."  She got this sly look on her face.  Like she was beginning to think she was getting over on me.  

"Fifty thousand.  Tomorrow.  That's what you need to be concerned about."  And then I walked to my rented Mustang and drove off.  She was still standing by her car.

I guzzled a tall boy of Coors as soon as I got back to the motel.  That shook me a little bit back there, with her saying she met me.  Thing is, we possibly did.  I was around that porn scene for awhile, like I said earlier.  But I was in the throes of a drug and alcohol problem for a good chunk of it that greatly impeded my ability to recollect events in the following years.  What I did remember I chose not think about.  No need.  What good would that do me now?  So sure, I could have met her.  But big deal.  Didn't change the fact that she'd have to cough up 50 grand.  

Whitey called to check on the progress.  He was staying at a hotel nearby.  He didn't tell me which one because he didn't want us seen together in the event somebody blabbed.  I told him everything was on schedule.  I didn't sleep much that night.

I waited in a corner booth at This Auld House.  Kara was late.  They're always late.  It's as if that's their chance to get back at you.  Yes, I'll pay you XX amount to keep the secret, but I'm going to inconvenience you by showing up five minutes late.

I heard the high heels first.  I looked over and saw her walk past the hostess stand.  She was wearing a borderline sexy teacher outfit.  Every guy in the place - all three - looked over at her.  She slid into the bench seat across from me and I could smell perfume.  She had it all working.  I'd had girls try this before, though.  Try to ply me with sexual promises in exchange for walking away.  I never took one of them up on it, though it made for an aesthetically-pleasing second meeting.

I nodded at her purse, on the table near the shakers and napkin tin.  "Do you have the money?"

She smiled.  I looked her in the eyes, still not sure where to look because there was nothing there.  Just two voids.  "Do you mind if I order a drink first?"

"Yeah, I do.  Where's the money?"

She reached into her purse and pulled out a manila envelope like the one I had yesterday.  She removed a photo and placed it, face down, on the table.  Then she leaned back confidently and put her arm on the back rest of the bench seat, the buttons on her blouse straining.

I turned the photo over.  It was a still from a porn.  The woman in the scene, getting fucked, was Alexis DeVille.  Real name Melinda Skikos.  She was my girlfriend when we moved to Los Angeles.  

I didn't really feel much when I saw the image.  Although I had to give it to Kara for finding it and connecting me to Melinda.  I looked up at Kara.  She stared at me with very little expression.  Empathy, if anything.  Which was good, because if I had seen a smug look on her face I would have hit her.

"I told you I had a good memory."

"Clearly."

"Prescott?  Bartlett? What's your name?  I remember it was something fancy."

"Do you have the money or not?"

"Is that what this is all about?  Getting back at women who were in porn because your girlfriend left you once she got in?  I'm just asking."

"This whole deal… wasn't even my idea.  It was someone else's."  I didn't know why I was explaining myself to her.

She leaned forward.  I caught more of her perfume and cleavage.  "Let's do this.  We order a pint and toast to the old days, then we both walk away, secrets intact."

"She's dead, honey.  And the only person in my life who'd be ashamed of me being the boyfriend of a girl who was in porn 25 years ago is my Grandma Gert.  And she's in an assisted living facility in Destin, and can't tell the difference between a tv remote and a chocolate bar."

I slid the folder back to her.  "And the price just went up to 75 grand."

She stared at me, now suddenly scrambling for a Plan B.

"I'm not fucking around.  I want the money or I send those photos to your kids' schools."

"I can't get it.  I mean, only my husband can get it.  He has a business manager and those two control everything."

"Then get your fucking husband on the phone."  I was loud enough to where the bartender looked over.

I wrote my cell phone number down on the Manila envelope.  "If I don't get a call in an hour, the photos go out." 

I called Whitey when I got back to the motel.  I told him something didn't feel right and maybe we should pull the pin.  "Whoa whoa whoa, are you insane?  Where are you?  I'm coming over."

I met Melinda when I was in college and we fell in love and moved in together.  She worked at a bar called LaSalle's.  I was in full Preston mode back then and I had just read an article about how many successful visionaries either never went to college or dropped out early, and that was that for me.  I told Melinda about how fate was calling and I needed to leave now for Los Angeles to be a film director.  She said she wanted to go to and pursue acting.  A year after we got out there it gets fuzzy.  Money got tight.  She posed for some nude photos and then it was banana peel city after that.  I don't really think about it much, and when I do,  I've gotten good at putting it out of my mind.  Every time she came up in my head, I'd picture getting into a head on collision, where I emerged, engulfed in flames, running down the middle of the road -- and that stopped that Melinda train of thought from continuing.

Whitey knocked on the door like a woodpecker on crank.  I opened the door and he barged in, arms flailing.  "We've got to stick to the plan, Presto."  He called me Presto.  "This is a big one.  We're not walking away from fifty grand because she's playing hard to get."  I realized I hadn't told him that I had pushed it to 75K.

"Could you use 25 grand, tax free?  Could you?"

"Of course."

"Well me too.  Caitlin is in club volleyball.  You know how much that shit costs?"

"No."

"Ten grand."

He suddenly came over and put his arm over me, sympathetic coach-style.  "What's the hiccup?"

"I don't know.  I think I'm just done with these.  We've made some money.  And I just don't want to do it anymore."  I meant it.  My stomach was in knots.  I felt a little light-headed.  I wanted to go home.

My cell phone rang.  Whitey jabbed his forefinger toward it.  "After this one."  He made a noise with his mouth like a slide whistle.  "And then we're done."

"Hello."

"You son of a bitch."

I assumed it was Kara's husband.

"What do you want?"

"To wring your goddamn neck."

"Listen, dude.  I'm about done with this.  Either you have what I talked about with your wife or you don't.  If you don't, I'm handing this matter over to my associate."

He gave me their home address and told me to be there in a half hour.

Whitey clasped his hands together, prayer-like.  "Sixty/forty, you.  Okay?  C'mon.  Do one more for the White-ster."

On my way over, parked at a stoplight, Melinda popped into my head.  It was when she came back from her first porn shoot.  I wasn't employed.  She was overly affectionate, but off.  How could she not be?  We went out and saw a showing of Honey, I Blew Up the Kids, then got burritos.  We didn't talk the whole time.  But after the burritos I reached over and held her hand and she burst into tears.  That memory started to get my esophagus kind of tight and I felt my eyes start to sting.  It was then that I realized that I'd never cried about Melinda.  Regardless, I immediately switched over to the visual of emerging from a burning car - just as the guy behind me honked because the light had turned green and I snapped out of it and drove on.

Kara and Lou lived in a large beige stucco house in a beige stucco subdivision called Lobo Falls.  She opened the door and let me in.  She had a black eye and her whole affect was different.  She was slouched, skittish.  I felt sorry for her.  She pointed at the other shoes by the door, so I slipped out of my loafers and she led me towards the living room.  I looked at all the photos on the wall.   Two younger kids who evidently played a lot of soccer.  And an older, sullen teenager who was Lou's kid from his first marriage.  I knew all their names from having researched Kara before coming out here.   "They're at Lou's mom's" was all Kara said.

Lou was in the living room, pacing and smoking.  He was dressed the same as yesterday.  I figured Kara picked out his clothes, or he wore them for some mistress.  Somehow, some way, a woman was involved in his ridiculous get-up.  He stopped and stared me.

"The reason I invited a scumbag like you to my home, besides the fact that you probably already know where we live, is to show you that there are other people involved here.  Our children.  Who didn't ask to be brought into this and who I'm damn sure going to protect."

"Lou, I don't think…"

Lou spun on her.

"Shutthefuckupyouwhore."  He stared at her, wild-eyed, breathing heavily.  She looked away and slouched a little more.  I started to get the picture here.  He met her when she was in her late twenties.  He was ten years older and divorced.  She probably threw a hump into him that he'd never experienced.  She'd never had stability nor luxury, and was wide-eyed and appreciative.  But now, fifteen years on, what was once a treat was now expected for her, and all the reassurances he'd given her about being in porn had faded and he was left with pure resentment.  Your basic May/December face-plant.  

"Do you have the money?"

"I will tonight.  My business manager is getting it right now."  

Normally I would have protested or threatened, but I was off my game, so I just stood there and nodded.

He walked right up to me and got in my face.  "There's another reason I wanted you to come to my house.  You're on my security camera footage now, asshole.  So if you ever try and extort money from me again, I'll know who you are and how to find you and you'll be killed.  I know people who owe me favors."

I'd been threatened before.  It was just something they needed to get out of their system. No big deal.  

"What time tonight?"

When he didn't see any fear in me, he kind of puffed-down a little and stepped back.  "Ten o'clock."

Back at the motel, I got fidgety.  I wasn't comfortable sitting, or standing, or watching TV.  I didn't feel like eating.  I just wanted to be out of here.  And at that moment I was glad Whitey talked me into seeing this through because I was going to take that cash and drive down to Baja and park it on a beach for six months.  I needed to get away from things and clear my head.

A visual of Melinda popped in my head again.  When I came home and she was there with her bags packed.  She already had started to look different, with the make-up and tight outfits.  I was sad to be losing her, but more sad because I felt I'd done this to her.  Brought her into this.  

My stomach tied up into one knot too many and I barely made it to the bathroom and vomited into the toilet.  My cell rang and I answered it with a string of saliva hanging from my lip.

It was Kara.  She was crying.  And she said she needed to see me immediately.

I met her in a McDonald's parking lot, back by the dumpster.  As soon as I pulled up, she got out of her car and got into mine.  She was worked up.

"I'm done.  I can't handle him anymore.  The names he called me.  I fucking hate him."

She turned to me.  The parking lot light was coming in pretty bright through the windshield.  That, coupled with the fact she'd been crying, loosened her eyeballs up a bit and I could finally see color in her irises.  Just the slightest.  Like when you hold a dark marble up to the sun. It was the color of root beer.  I realized we were kind of in the same boat.  At least, I had more in common with her than anyone I'd met in a long time.

"Then leave his ass."

"I can't.  He's got the money all wrapped up. Him and the business manager.  He's kept me away from all that and I wouldn't see a dime."

She leaned forward and put her hand on my bare forearm.  "Ask for more.  He'll pay it!  And then split it with me."

I told her I was obligated to bring 50K back to my partner, and that he didn't know about me asking for 75K.  And then I told her I'd give her the 25K difference.

"That's chicken shit!"  I assumed she meant to say chicken feed.  "Ask for a quarter million!  I'm telling you, his family is here, his business is here…  and he has the money!"

I told her I'd see how it played out when I got there.  In an hour.

She nodded and calmed down a bit.  Then she leaned forward to kiss me and I let her.  Softly, but it lasted awhile.  Then she got out of the car.

I reclined my seat and closed my eyes.  My stomach still in upheaval, my mind unsettled.  The cell phone rang.  It was Whitey.

"All systems go?"

"Yeah."

"Chuh-ching!  See you back at the motel, Presto."

I disconnected the call and closed my eyes again and concentrated on taking deep breaths.  Melinda popped back in my head again.  Two months after she moved out, I saw her at a diner.  She was with a couple other girls who looked to be in her business, and an older guy who probably ran one of those companies.  She looked up at me and it was like she was seeing a ghost.  I just kept on walking, all the way to the back of the diner and out the back door.  

I squinted, trying to get that memory out and the burning car wreck visual in.

At 9:59, I pulled up to Kara and Lou's house.  I knocked on the door and Kara let me in.  She gave me a wink.  Her plan - our plan, I guess - gave her some newfound confidence.  Which rubbed off on me.  I shook my hands a little, in a get-the-jitters-out type move as I followed her into the living room.

There was Lou, pacing and smoking again.  

"The price has gone up, Lou."

He didn't answer.  He just kept pacing and smoking, more agitated than last time.  I repeated myself and he still didn't answer.   Kara and I shared a look.    She appeared to be as confused as I felt.

Then she quickly looked over my shoulder.  Her lips parted, as if she was going to say something or ask a question - when the gunshot made my right ear go deaf.

As I flinched from the noise, I saw Kara lurch backwards.  She regained her footing and looked down as a blood stain started to blossom on her white blouse.  

I turned and there was Whitey, gun in his hand.  He was wearing gloves.  He fired again.  My head swung back and the second bullet sent Kara careening back into an end table and lamp and, ultimately, onto the floor.

My ears were ringing and I couldn't form words.

I saw Whitey mouth "sorry."  I turned and Lou had a gun of his own.  I held my hands up right when he shot me in the chest.

I went down.  I just heard buzzing.  Whitey stood over me and put the gun he had in his hand in mine.  Lou walked up beside him and pointed his gun at my forehead.

I thought of Melinda.  When we were driving out to Los Angeles.  The windows were down and the wind was tossing her hair around.  She had her bare feet up on the dash board.  I looked over at her and she'd been staring at me.  She reached over and took my hand and kissed the back of it and said "I love you so much."

As Lou's finger tightened on the trigger, I felt tears travelling down my temples, toward the back of my head.  

About the Author

Matt Olmstead is a writer who lives in Los Angeles. Breakout Kings, the show he co-created, has its second season premiere March 4 on A&E.