The Sheila babe yells for everybody to shut up. She checks the call sheets and says, “Number 21 ... I need number 21.” We’re all not breathing, fingers crossed, ears pointed to hear our number. Checking her clipboard, Sheila goes, “Number 283 and number 544.” One hand, she waves for dudes to follow her onto the set, saying, “Right this way, gentlemen.” On the monitors, we’re looking at Cassie Wright wearing a white slip, playing a frustrated Southern belle desperate to fit into her husband dude’s rich plan-ration family.
The dude’s a used-to-be semi-pro pitcher who drinks too much and ain’t slipped her the bone for so long she’s worried he’s queer. Cassie’s fretting about her dad-in-law, named Big Daddy, and her nieces and nephews she calls little no-neck monsters. Rubbing her hands up and down her white satin hips, Cassie says, “I feel ...” She says, “I feel like a twat on a hot tin roof.” This here was later released as Slut on a Hot Tin Roof. Later re-released as Cunt on a Hot Tin Roof. Cord is playing the maybe-queer husband, and, sitting in a wheelchair, he goes, “Well, jump on, Maggie! Jump on!” Only nobody’s watching. We’re all eyes squinted, watching Sheila and the three dudes, waiting for them to get to the top of the stairs, when Sheila swipes her mag card and the door to the sound stage clicks open. All of us dudes, holding one hand with the fingers spread to block that blast of bright light, the spots and fill lights, halogen bulbs, and the glare off Mylar reflectors, so bright it hurts to look. But dudes look, anyway. The side of every face flashed white as the dark shapes of Sheila, and the three dudes melt and disappear into the bright white. Dudes still waiting, squinting, mole-eyed blind, and peeking through eyelashes, we can’t see nothing but maybe white skin against white sheets, white-blond hair and fingernails, all that faded under white, white, baking-bright lights. The smell of bleach, ammonia, some cleaner. And a draft of cold air-conditioning. In that flash, the silver cross the kid wears, the gold locket I got from Cassie, they both spark and flare, hot with caught light for just one heartbeat. Dudes’ eyes start to adjust, and the door’s already closing, closing, closed. Our basement we’re waiting in, the floor gummy with spilled soda and potato-chip crumbs sticking to dudes’ bare feet, this here’s that much darker after just that look. Our peek at bright nothing leaving us blind. I’m touching the necklace Cassie gived me, the locket, saying something to the television dude with the teddy bear. And kid 72 shows up at my elbow, asking to talk. “Not to you,” the kid says to the 137 dude. Kid’s fingering something that hangs from a chain around his neck, the little silver cross, a church kind of cross, and the kid goes, “I need to ask Mr. Bacardi something.” My bet is the television dude, number 137, has got some dirty blood running inside him. He shrugs and goes off, but not too far, just a couple steps. To the kid I go, this is me poking my finger in the kid’s face, I’m going, “Dude, you here to help your old lady or punish her?” The kid’s, like, all shaking his lips, no, going, “I’m here to save her.” The reason babes in this business, why they don’t do some birth control, is because the pill can make your skin break out. Give you greasy, stringy hair. The diaphragm or the sponge is nothing you want in your works, not if you’re double-teamed with a pair of professional dicks like Cord or Beam or yours truly. No babe doing a double penetration wants anything wire tucked up inside her, I tell the kid. It ain’t half impossible he’s the son of Cassie Wright. “She put me up for adoption,” he goes. “She tried to give me a better life. I only want to return the favor.” I go, “By busting in there?” “If that’s what it takes,” the kid goes, sticking his chin at me. By busting in and embarrassing Cassie when she’s focused on setting her world’s record that’s going to revive her career? Embarrass her in front of the crew and all her professional colleagues? I go, “Kid, don’t be doing her that kind of favor.” Standing around, the four, five hundred dudes shift from one foot to the other. Dudes stare at the monitors hanging from the ceiling, Cassie Wright riding cowgirl on the boner of Cord Cuervo as he sits in his wheelchair, she’s bracing her weight with one arm planted on the plaster cast of his fake broken leg. The fact nobody’s walked out, it’s a testimony to what dudes will endure for a piece of ass. If there was a free, hot piece of snatch waiting on top of Mount Everest or on the moon, we’d have a high-speed elevator already built. Commuter space flights every ten minutes. “Kid,” I go, “believe it or not . . .” I’m tipping my head toward the stairs, the locked door, the lights and set behind it, and I go, “The lady up there, she don’t want to be saved.” And the kid goes, “I knew you wouldn’t understand.” His flowers he’s holding, the leaves and petals went twisted and dark. The kid goes how, when he was little, he come across the picture of a lady on the Internet, more than pretty, and he couldn’t not surf to look at her every day after school. In the picture, she was naked and playing some wrestling game with some naked superhero muscle guys. The private parts of them were showing, but they were all trying to hide them inside each other. Some tag kind of game. The kid sounded out the letters of her name listed under the bottom of the picture, and they said “Cassie Wright.” He typed those letters into the Internet, and a lot more naked pictures popped up. Pictures and video clips, a million zillion results the kid had to track down. “Dude,” I go, “the legal standard is ‘instances of sex.’” I go how the kid can tell her his feelings. Say, “Thank you, Mommy.” Tell Cassie he loves her. But it’s not impossible he maybe slips a finger inside? Maybe, reaching to hug her, his little finger by accident sticks in her ass? I go, “Dude, that way it’s a win-win.” The kid only shakes his head, going how he grew up with her pictures, hunting her movies, learning everything about her. When his balls dropped, his obsession only got worse. “Dude,” I go, “stop being so selfish. This is her big day.” One afternoon, the kid goes how he was beating off and forgot to lock his bedroom door. His adopted mom must’ve got home from work early, and she walked in on him and started hollering. She caught him. “Dude,” I go, “in flagrante?” “No,” kid 72 goes, “beating off.” The kid’s adopted mom starts yelling, asking if he knows who that woman is. Does this kid know who he’s fantasizing about? Does he have any idea, any inkling about the identity of that slut? The kid’s there with his dingus in one hand, a Cassie Wright split-beaver shot on his monitor, and his adopted mom just goes on and on. “Dude,” I go. “She’s yelling,” the kid goes. “She’s screaming: ‘That’s your birth mother.’” His adopted mom’s yelling how he’s pounding pud to pictures of what’s probably his own conception. “Dude,” I go, “if Cassie don’t get fucked by six hundred dudes today, she’s screwed.” And the kid 72 goes, “I can’t.” He’s fingering the silver cross, going, “Maybe if I talked to her first, maybe then I could.” He goes, “But ever since my adopted mom said what she said, since she told me the truth, I haven’t been able to . . .” The kid looks down at his limp, wilted flowers. And I snap my fingers, holding my arm straight up in the air—I’m snapping my fingers, throwing my voice at the television dude. I’m going, “Teddy-bear dude, we got an emergency here.” I go, “The kid needs a pill or nobody’s getting famous today.” A light flares, high up and way off to one side. The door at the top of the steps swings open, and a black shape stands outlined. “Gentlemen,” the shape says, “I need the following numbers ...” And, my hand in the air, I’m still snapping my fingers, waving to get help our way.