On the TVs, they’re playing the first movie Cassie ever appeared in. Shot on video, maybe one step better than some security camera at the corner quick-stop grocery. On the TVs is her and me, young as Sheila and the kid 72. Cassie’s eyes are rolled up to show only white, her arms flopping loose at her sides, her head rolling around on her neck so far the pull opens her mouth, drool sliding out the corner of her lips. Slack as a blow-up sex-doll version of herself. If you want to know, that first film I did with Cassie Wright, I slipped her a diet soda mixed with beta-ketamine and Demerol. With the camera set up on a tripod next to the mattress, I fucked her everywhere my dick would fit.
Because I loved her so much. That first movie was called Frisky Business. After she got famous, the distributor recut it and released the movie as Lay Misty for Me. Recut as World Whore One. If you got to know, Cassie never planned to make that first movie. That movie’s playing to the empty basement. The kid’s in the John, scrubbing any poison off his gonads, scrubbing the way the teddy-bear dude scrubbed his forehead. Sheila comes down the stairs, blubbering. Dragging her sleeves of her sweater across her eyes, smearing snot and whatnot sideways to her ears, her top teeth meeting her bottom teeth on edge, and her jaw bunched with muscle at the corners. She’s saying, “Fucker . . .” Sheila wings the clipboard across the room, where it hits the wall to explode in paper names and numbers. A fluttering cloud of fifty- and twenty-dollar bills that Sheila took as bribe money. The kid comes out the bathroom door saying, “Don’t cry.” Saying, “It’s what Miss Wright wanted ...” Just graduated from Missoula High School, Cassie had this big plan to go to drama school. She planned to live at home and study to be an actor or a movie star—either way, so long as she was in show business. Either way, she didn’t want to marry me. How she told me was her grades were too good. Cassie said maybe if she was stupid and desperate, really clutching at straws and emotionally needy, utterly destroyed, she’d accept my proposal—so I figured there was still hope. Trouble was, her folks had poisoned her against me with all this self-esteem crap. The Friday night Cassie told me, I said I understood. I said I wanted her to live the full, rich life’s dream she cherished. And I asked, did she want a diet soda? The closest thing that comes to how today felt is when you wipe back to front. You’re on the toilet. You’re not thinking, and you smear shit on the back of your hanging-down wrinkled ball skin. The more you try to wipe it clean, the skin stretches, and the mess keeps getting bigger. The thin layer of shit spreads into the hair and down your thighs. That’s how a day like this, how it felt. Later, Cassie told me the drugs, the beta-ketamine and Demerol, stopped her heart. Her brain cooled, and she rose up out of her body, hovering near the ceiling, looking down, her and the video camera watching my ass clench and relax, clench and relax, as I fucked her until her heart started back to pump. Fucked her to death, then back to life. Humping her dead body around that mattress, I ended the old life she had, wanting to act, and gave her a new life. Sex reincarnated that good, pure girl, but as something else. Cassie hovering, watching the action same as I’m doing now. Behind Sheila, the teddy-bear dude comes down the stairs into the basement. Both his hands clutching the rail at one side. Sheila yanks the stopwatch, snapping the cord around her neck, and pitches the watch against the concrete wall. Another little explosion. Another step down, and Sheila says, “The pig took the pill himself.” The kid crosses to his brown paper bag, pulls out tennis shoes, jeans, a T-shirt. A belt. Stepping into his socks, he says, “Who?” Sheila folds her arms. Looking up at a TV, at me humping Cassie Wright’s limp body, she says, “My father.” The teddy-bear dude says, “Who?” Branch Bacardi. Me. Dead and hovering, the way Cassie floated up after her heart stopped. Six hundred dudes. One gal. A world record for the ages. A must-have movie for every discerning collector of things erotic. Didn’t one of us on purpose set out to make a snuff movie. That’s a lie. If you imagined I was alive, that’s another. I took the pill. Buttoning his shirt, the kid says, “Is Mr. Bacardi dead?” And Sheila says it’s hard to tell. She says, “With his tan, and all the bronzer he has on, he looks healthier and more alive than any of us.” My daughter. On the TVs, I’m popping my load deep inside Cassie’s dead snatch, pumping her back to life. A decent money shot wasted, worthless for nothing except making some kid. Sheila. Stupid, stupid me.