My First Porn Star

Sometimes half the fun of these things is coming up with a title.

Last night (or two nights ago, technically. This happened Saturday, June 28th.), a local bar hosted an event called Judigras. And it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: Mardis Gras in June, or at least a facsimile. It went how you’d expect. There was revelry and beads for boobs, body painting and heavy drinking. A live band played (a live band is almost always playing at this bar), there was a wet t-shirt contest, a twerk contest (for fuck’s sake, why?) and some other stuff I missed because I spent the bulk of my night on the deck.

See, my friend is the bartender on the deck and he and another friend and I tend to spend most of our weekend nights shooting the shit and getting some fresh air. Most of the people go out to the deck to smoke. I don’t. I just prefer the atmosphere out there. Plus there’s a grill set-up and this guy cooks a mean reindeer hot dog like you wouldn’t believe.

I was there Saturday night to get drunk and have a good time. I had the following day off, I knew my pals would be out there and I feel like I keep making an ass of myself with a girl I like. Additionally, in a twist I should have seen coming but did not, Judigras ended up scoring about a half dozen women I dated and/or slept with as rabble-rousers, so I was on the edge of losing my mind.

I did run into an exotic dancer friend of mine I hadn’t seen in quite some time. She’s a beautiful, creative soul who shares a lot of the same tastes as I do in terms of fiction, film, fashion and art. She’s very intelligent, which made it an absolute delight when some almost-jocks recognized her from the club, talked to her as if she were on the clock and she promptly shot them down so hard and brilliantly that all they could do was stare and mumble something.

Gentlemen: strippers do not give a shit about you. They do not mean the nice things they say while you’re fishing your money out to buy a drink that costs way too much. They don’t want to fuck you just because you pay them to pretend that they do. And if you forget that they are actually women with a job and you treat them like objects when they’re not at their job and thus have no reason to tolerate your sexism and idiocy, they will put you in your place. Hopefully I’ll get to see it again. It’s a goddamn delight.

Anyway, I hung out with her and her friend for a couple hours, catching up, engaging in witty banter. They got painted; I did not. I did get green glitter brushed all over my face. I haven’t looked closely in the mirror since then, but I’ve already prepared to look like I took a fairy money shot for the next ten years.

The biggest draw of the evening, however, and what brought the three of us together for a little bit, was that Jenna Jameson was IN THE HOUSE. She had done a meet and greet up in Fairbanks and then flew down to show up for one night in Anchorage.

I didn’t think I would get excited. I don’t think of myself as the kind of guy who gets easily star-struck and seeing as how Jenna is mostly known for being naked and often penetrated, I don’t know that being star-struck as a single male in this case is necessarily a good thing.

But I did get excited and I ended up being a little awkward and once I had a chance to think about it, it didn’t surprise me all that much.

Before I ever knew Jenna Jameson was a porn star, I knew her as a knockout blonde that I thought was a model. Sure, I had heard she did Playboy, but so did Marilyn Monroe. Discovering later that she did porn didn’t change my perspective or make me think less or more of her, that’s not what I’m trying to say. I just want to point out that I had this deep and abiding crush on her as a teenager that continued for years based on knowing almost nothing about her.

Was it shallow? Absolutely. I was a kid with hormones whose hobbies were trying and failing to hook up with girls, and masturbating. And comic books.

Come to think of it, that list has pretty much stayed the same for ten years

Anyway, I thought Jenna was one of the most gorgeous women I had ever seen. I haven’t read it, but by most accounts her autobiography (How to Make Love Like a Porn Star) is prettt excellent, and my respect for her grew just by knowing that. She was also married to Tito Ortiz, because I also apparently needed to know her significant other could, in fact, kick the shit out of me.

I grew older and grew wiser (probably) and developed relationships of my own with a wide variety of “types” and found beauty in many different areas. My single-minded lust of that poster image faded into the past as I matured while the respect for the woman more or less stayed the same.

Truth be told, before a week ago, I hadn’t thought of Jenna Jameson in a few years,  not since the girl I was dating at the time (and yes, she was at the bar Saturday, too) was telling me how great the autobiography was. And that’s probably natural, not thinking about porn stars regularly, so I feel like I’m in the clear. All the same, the nostalgia of this hypersexualized image that I looked at every day for four or five years (I neglected to mention I worked in a comic and collectible shop that sold posters; hers was on the outside) came rushing back, so I was curious to see what was up.

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The first thing I was surprised to find out was that she was letting people take pictures with her for free. Not just one picture, but at least a few. Not only that, but she was a fucking champ. She adapted easily to whatever pose requests she was given. She didn’t try to rush anyone off the stage. She was friendly to everyone and eye-banged the hell out of whichever camera was flashing.

The second thing that impressed me was that she was charging $10 for an autographed photo of herself, but that it was going to a breast cancer charity. I hadn’t intended on buying one before that knowledge, but:

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“Take me,” it says. Oh, Jenna.

Finally, it was my turn to go up and meet her. She was skinny. Tan. The work she had done on her face was obvious, and yet when she smiled or puckered her lips, if you looked into her eyes, that beauty was still there. She seemed a little flighty, but if I had to meet a bunch of drunk assholes with dirty thoughts in Alaska, I’d be drunk or high off my ass. The guy she was with, and I don’t know who it was because – and I can’t stress this enough – I really need to not be invested in the love lives of porn stars…the guy she was with was a gentleman. He smiled at everyone that came up, he made sure Jenna knew to sign a photo (it got a little crazy on the stage considering how many people were there), and was just generally really chill.

I shook Jenna’s hand. I don’t know why I did that. That’s such a weird thing to do. Then I kind of awkwardly suggested some poses. The conversation went like this.

“I was thinking it would be funny if, maybe, like if you grabbed my tit.”

“You…want me to grab your…tit?”

“Well, my chest. Yeah, like if you were groping me instead of being groped, cuz…like a joke.”

“Uh…sure.”

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And then I did this, because I’m a fucking weirdo.

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And then she signed my picture, blew me a kiss, and I left to go get another drink and think about how I couldn’t possibly have been less suave about the whole situation.

Jenna Jameson has changed a lot in ten years, as would any person. I didn’t go in expecting to see the woman from the poster I adored. Shit, I didn’t go in expecting to meet her, take a picture with her or have her grope me, either. I went in curious and though our encounter with each other was brief and not terribly special or noteworthy, I felt a deep sense of satisfaction anyway. Seeing how receptive she was with her fans, how willing she was to just provide a good time and a fun picture, it was rewarding. It was such a deep pleasure to see someone who has achieved notoriety and fame still be an absolute gem to a crowd of people who each weekend largely seem to try to prove that they’re horrible.

Jenna Jameson is not the first woman I’ve seen naked. She wasn’t my first fantasy. She wasn’t the first adult starlet that I turned my filthy eyes on. But I had a big, fat, ol’ crush on her for a long time. She’s incredibly sweet. She’s the first porn star I’ve ever met, and I couldn’t be happier at how it turned out.

An Unexpected Invitation

This is a contuation of the story that began in Beer Run. Let’s just jump right into it.
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The staircase fell away from them like a set of impossibly clean, crooked teeth. There were no railings to guide them,  only darkness that fell away to nothing. Both men stepped carefully as they descended, arms held out a ways from their sides to provide a balance. They walked for several minutes; a look back showed the freezer door growing distant while the block of light at the base of the stairs came only marginally closer.

“You’re sure this isn’t your basement?” Clarence asked. There was a tremor in his voice, but it could have been attributed to a loss of breath as well as it could fear.

“No, it’s not our – what kind of basement is this far below ground? We don’t even have a basement.” Brandyn paused and looked back over his shoulder. “Do you want to go back?”

Clarence hesitated, considering. He shook his head. “No, let’s keep going. If anything, I just wish we had grabbed a drink before coming down.”

“Yeah, me too. Just one, though. Last thing I need is to stagger down these steps.” Brandyn looked off the edge of the staircase, continued to see nothing. Both men laughed nervously and continued on.

It felt like a half an hour had passed before they reached the block of orange light and stopped again. It was shaped like a door, but only darkness surrounded it. There was nothing that resembled a structure supporting it and though the glow wasn’t bright enough to be blinding, it obscured whatever may lay beyond. Brandyn reached out with the tips of his right index and middle finger; the passage was warm and pleasing to touch.

“What are you thinking?” Brandyn asked.

“That this is fucking crazy. Can you put your foot through? Feel for something solid?”

“What if something bites it off?”

Clarence’s eyes grew. “Do you think that’s a possibility?” he asked incredulously.

“I don’t know. Maybe. Hold on to my arm just in case. Move so if you have to fall back, you fall on the stairs.”

Clarence muttered something unintelligable and shuffled his feet to the side. He took a firm grip on Brandyn’s bicep and held tight as the other man stretched his foot out experimentally. He disappeared through the orange up to his ankle.

Brandyn leaned forward slightly, putting his weight on his outstretched limp. He felt resistance. Solid, like concrete. Certainly not carpeted and definitely not a substanceless void.

“There’s ground. Or something. It’s not giving way, anyway. I’m going through.”

“Right behind you, buddy,” Clarence said tightly through clenched teeth. He didn’t let go of Brandyn’s arm.

Nothing builds a friendship like weird shit.

Together they stepped through the passageway and into a large, open room. Almost everything was the same white as the stairs they had come from, immaculately carved from what looked like ivory. Massive pillars lined all four walls, sculpted like arms holding up the ceiling with seven-fingered hands. Two golden doors were set in the back wall, one to the far left and one to the right. They had no doorknobs, but the hinges – also gold – seemed to indicate they swung in and out.

These doors were not the first thing they noticed.

In the exact center of the room was a long dining table. The cloth that covered it reached down to the floor and was the bloodiest red either man had ever seen. Golden dishes, chalices and silverware were set at up in front of seven spots. The chairs, like the tablecloth, were a deep crimson. Everything was empty, save for an untouched roast of unknown origin in the middle, next to a golden flagon of what they assumed to be wine.

The dinner set-up was not the first thing they noticed.

On either side of the table sat two men, four total, dressed in white robes. Their arms rested on the table, palms down. Their backs were straight. Their eyes, all blue, were the only things that moved and they rolled as hard as they could in the direction of the newcomers with a silent plea contained within. Silent, because these frozen men had only a stretch of skin where mouths should have been. They looked to the two empty chairs nearest to the newcomers and the indication was clear for them to sit.

The diners and their invitation were not the first thing they noticed.

As Brandyn and Clarence walked through the doorway of light into the room, their eyes were drawn to the last seat, the one at the head of the table, the one facing them directly.

A man-like creature sat there with perfect poise. His alabaster skin matched the room he sat in. The large, shark-like black eyes matched the charcoal suit he wore. Black, ridged horns like that of a goat started at the edge of his brow and crested backwards and down. He held a fork and knife in his hands and smiled through paper-thin lips. His teeth were as needles.

“Welcome,” the thing said, its voice like polluted air. “Feel free to join us for dinner.”

Brandyn had never whimpered before, so the one he swallowed down felt strange. Behind him, Clarence groaned softly.

“I should have just told my wife she was right.”

Checking In

I’ve been remiss in updating my blog as often as I was growing accustomed to. My Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule hasn’t kept up, though I’ve been at least trying to update three times a week. It’s tricky, trying to balance a full-time work schedule (which is growing busier and includes more shifts while we’re short-staffed), a blog, a social life, and (finally) work on a book.

I’m pleased to say, though, that in the last two days, I’ve clocked in over 4,000 words on this fantasy novel. That’s almost four times what I’ve done in the last two months! So there’s that. That’s good.

I want to keep this nice and short for now, but only because I have a short fiction update I’ll be posting tomorrow. I just wanted you to know that I’m not dead, I am writing, I’m ridiculously handsome (according to my mom), and I’m shitty at math.

Happy Hump Day!

The Last Few Days

I’ve been a little preoccupied the last few days. With work, with my mind, with other people. It’s been frustrating not writing, but it’s also been nice not to worry about it.

Thursday night I went out on a date. Part of me was worried she wouldn’t show up because part of me always thinks that. I’ve been stood up before. A lot. It always kind of baffled me because I never thought my personality was so bad that someone would pass up a free meal, but whatever. I started carrying a book with me, just in case. I’d still eat. I mean, by that point I was hungry so hell, I might as well buckle down and have a good dinner and a good read.

But this girl didn’t stand me up. It was our second date, the first being a dinner on my birthday. The second was even better. We had a good dinner. Followed it up with a local film festival that was delightful not only because the films were good but because the crowd was so interactive, knowing or being someone that was involved with the short films.

Following that, we hopped across the street for drinks and karaoke. I didn’t sing. She did. I’m absolutely addicted to her voice. I could listen to an album.

We went back to my place afterwards. I had chickened out on my birthday, but I took a gamble here and kissed her. It paid off. We went inside and watched whatever was on at 3AM in the morning which, and this shouldn’t be a surprise, consisted of divorce court and Nicolas Cage movies and I’m here to tell you that is totally fucking awesome.

We didn’t talk much, instead curling up with each other and losing ourselves in Academy Award-winning Nic formerly-Coppola’s riveting performance in National Treasure. And that was perfect.

It has been a long, long time since I’ve been on a date where I didn’t feel out of place or pressured to be a certain way. It was easy and it was fun. And regardless of where it goes from here, it was a night I needed after losing two friends and being stressed out at life. She makes me want to write and writing is my life.

She left around 4:30, I went to bed, woke up renewed enough to trudge through eight hours of work and then went out to see Crystal Method play at a local bar. I like electronica alright and it was solid, but I found myself out at the deck bar more often than not. And it was raining. In fact, it was pouring and I was drenched and I kind of loved it.

I’ve talked about my love for rain before, but this was a different. Very little is similar between hearing the chatter of rain drops on rooftops and being in the middle of a downpour. I felt cleansed. Lightning flashed and thunder roared, rare occasions for Alaska. As people staggered around me and even as I slipped into a more inebriated state, I was fascinated by the sheer naturalness of the weather. It felt amazing. I think I’m going to get pneumonia, though.

Cut to yesterday and I’m at work again. A customer at the table next to me sagged in his chair and then collapsed onto the floor. My co-worker and I both tried to catch him but were too late. He hit hard and seized a little. Coincidentally, one of the other customers in the store happened to be an EMT and he took care of the man until the emergency services arrived. He was responsive and coherent as he left and I hope he makes a full recovery.

The entire thing left me shaken and I resolved to get a beer after work. Just so happened the Spin Doctors were in town to play a free (to the public) show down by the railroad station just a couple blocks away. I got off in time to catch the last hour or so of the set.

I stood on top of a hill under a grey sky, plastic cup full of beer gripped tightly in my hand, looking over hundreds of people of all ages. They were dancing and drinking, fighting and kissing, sitting and staggering. I saw dozens who stood in one spot, eyes closed and bobbing their head to the music. I had arrived wondering how many people showed up hoping that they would hear Two Princes because that was the only song they could sing along to. I left realizing that it didn’t matter. Music – like paintings or sculptures or prose – is art and people take in art to escape from the world for a bit. Fans are nice. They’re the bread-givers to artists. But here it didn’t matter if these people had bought every album or just needed to unwind; the Spin Doctors had showed up to give their gift and these people received it by having a goddamn good time.

I don’t know that there’s a point to this entry. It feels like I’m writing into my diary, hoping that the other end of it isn’t Voldemort. I do know that I have spent the last month mourning and sulking a bit and doubting and the last few days have kind of put things into some perspective.

I forgot how nice it is to be liked and to hold someone in your arms. I was reminded how fleeting life is and how suddenly something can happen. I found myself in positions where I appreciated the smaller things in life, be it music or rain, and made a promise to try and do so more often.

Our planet is not the biggest, but that doesn’t mean it’s small. There is so much that happens on every level. Chemical reactions, volcano eruptions, animal friendships. We create incredible things to be shared. We have relationships.

All the same, we are mortal. We spend so much time worrying about what we’re doing or how we’re going to make something work or pining over someone or something and we aren’t literally taking the time to smell that gorgeous bouquet of flowers. To smile at someone who looks blue. To pet the sweet dog that ran up to you at the park. To say hi to the girl or boy with their nose in a book.

I spent the last few days celebrating and appreciating life in a way I haven’t in a while and I liked it quite a bit.

The Anatomy Of a Kiss

A strange thing, the anatomy of a kiss
Drawn out into a million seconds
Vivisected with the respect it deserved
I observed the curvature of her words
Through two lips as delicate as tulips
Flushed with blood and a flood of
Electricity that tingles the touch
Through the skeleton holding up loose limbs
The heart pumps, thumps and
Despite this, the mind is stumped
High temperature with sighs and
Eyes close, rose rises and like
Fine wine grows sweeter as
Time slows and grows deeper
Words wither as tongues grapple
Becoming sign language with…
Is that a hint of apple?

The anatomy of a kiss is a body of work
A volume of life
Sometimes a twist of the knife as the kiss cuts back
A duet or a bid adieu
It’s a strange thing, always anew
A fine science with limitless truths
The anatomy of a kiss

4AM

Took the last few days off to clear my head and get my thoughts straight. Wrote this to hopefully tide you over:

4AM is for lovers
Loners
Kissers of stars
Crafter of dreams that have escaped the confines of sleep
Choosing to dance instead behind
Tired eyes and under dark skies
4AM is a thousand miles of journey in an hour
A thousand wanting words in a whisper
One thousand plans wrapped in regrets and served with a side of promises
More than midnight, 4AM is past and present
The cradle of tomorrow in the last waking moments of yesterday
4AM is for the darkest parts of artists clawing for the sun because

4AM is for lovers
With hope and pain rolled into one

Daddy Issues

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads and people who have ’em. Where I’m at, it’s a little windy but the sun is out, the air is warm and the birds are singing. I’m walking down the street as I type this and some guy just drove by in a three-wheeled motorcycle contraption. He looked happy. I’m glad for him.

Father’s Day is always a little weird for me on account of never knowing my biological father and not even finding out there was a biological father to not know until my checkered stint as a teenager. It was kind of a fucked up time for me, to be honest. I was working and hanging out with a bunch of 21 and ups at the time. My grandparents, who I lived with and who knew them,  were more or less okay with it, although they had their reservations. My dad, who I did not live with and who did not know them, forbade it.

Now, at the time I didn’t realize my dad had adopted me in the aftermath of his wife’s liason with someone who may or may not have been a marine biologist. As far as I knew, he was just the drunk promise-breaker who couldn’t get a driver’s license anymore and who had only recently been released from the jail sentence he spent two years in Nevada trying to avoid. We had a very public falling out in the hall of a mall I worked in. I said some pretty shitty things about his failures as a father and how dare he spend years out of my life just to come back and suddenly try to tell me how to live it. I left him there in the mall, biked home to my grandparents and stopped taking his calls.

It was a November. I don’t remember if I spent Thanksgiving with his wife and him. I know I ignored him on Christmas. The following February was when I found out that he wasn’t my biological father, that my grandparents weren’t mine by blood.

Emotions can be a difficult thing to articulate. Needless to say, it was the shittiest I’ve ever felt in my life. I saw my dad, Rick, in a different light. Was he a great father? Not even good, not even close. But he was a man who did his best to step up. He knew his wife had cheated on him and the baby she almost didn’t keep wasn’t his. But he put his name on my birth certificate and he named me after his late best friend.

He had his demons and he slipped up, time and time again. But when my mom went back to rehab and while my stepdad was tearing shit up on the hillside, Rick took me to his parents because he knew them to be good people, and they were, and they taught me how to (at least try) to be a good man.

My grandparents told me later that Rick would call them up in tears, wanting to tell me that I was adopted, wanting to apologize for everything. My mom had sworn my grandparents and him to secrecy. Now my mother had told me, my grandparents knew I knew, but I asked them not to let Rick know. I wasn’t ready for the conversation because I was wracked with guilt over the way I treated him, so I let him go a few more years torturing himself about not telling me. I didn’t think that through. I was a kid and I was selfish.

Eventually, Rick and I were in the living room at my grandparent’s house. We sat next to each other on the couch. Everyone else had gone to bed. The tv was off. Rick said, “I have something I need to tell you, something I should have told you a long, long time ago.” I responded, “You’re my dad. My father.  Nothing will ever change that.”

I hugged him tight. I left him to cry. It’s the only time we’ve ever spoken about it. I haven’t seen him in years now, nor have I spoken to him. He texted me this last birthday. I’ll try to call him when I’m finished with this.

I’ve written before about the lessons I’ve learned from Rick, and his father Dick, my adopted grandfather who was more a father to me than anyone. I’ve written here about what it’s like to grow up with a stepfather like Terry, a hard man who exposed me to the beauty of women and the ugliness of the world.

There is one father, though, that has given me nothing but life and a shitload of issues: John Buchanan.

I’ve heard conflicting things about the man. I heard he was working up here as a marine biologist. I heard I look just like him. I heard he babysat me a few times as an infant before fucking off forever. Everyone knew but me, and when I found out, I told all my friends. I was torn up at the time because a huge portion of my life was essentially a lie.

My mom gave me an address to reach him at, and I did. I wrote him a letter about myself, my interests. I told him I wanted to know more about him. I included a picture of my date and I from our junior prom despite the unfortunate mustsche/goatee/long hair combination I decided to rock. He sent me a letter back, no picture. He was living in Sacramento, said he owned a bike shop. He had no family at the time, no kids. That was 10 years ago, so that may have changed. He sajd he wanted to talk with my mother more before we had any future correspondence.

I told my friend Amber the next day. We had, ironically, marine biology together. She gave me a hug to keep me from breaking down. I’m a sensitive guy, you see. I never figured out what happened to that letter. Frankly, I don’t give a shit.

A few months later, I was at my brother’s birthdat party with Melissa, my first love. She and my mother had never met. My mom found us by the banquet table. This is the brief but unforgettable conversation that followed.

“So John called me.”
“Oh, yeah?”
“He said he’s interested in meeting you.”
“Wh- really? Wow, that’s…”
“But he won’t come up until a DNA test is done.”
“Seriously?”
“And he doesn’t want to pay for it.”
“…you know what, fuck him. I’ve gone this long without him in my life. If he doesn’t want to be a part of it, I don’t need him in it.”
“And I don’t know what to tell you, Jered, but if he’s not your father, I don’t know who the fuck is.”

My mother, master of tact. I haven’t told many people that story. Melissa took my hand instantly, I accepted a joint my mother graciously offered and I went to my friend’s to get completely hammered on Jack Daniels.

I’ve never talked to John again. My friend and I stopped by his Sacramento home during our road trip move to Los Angeles. I knocked on the door, not sure if I would hit the first person who answered. Nobody did. A mail check revealed that he had moved. I have no idea where he is now, if he’s alive or dead, married or not. If I have more brothers and sisters.

It’s a strange feeling knowing that someone who should give a shit about you doesn’t find you worthwhile to be in your life. It’s stranger still to find a bunch of people who have no reason to care who will love you unconditionally. I have had many father figures in my life, including the phantom form that was the absence of one father. I’ve learned a lot from them, about them, about myself, about the world.

Part of me wants so bad to be successful just so John will see me on TV or buy one of my books and realize that he fucked up and I’m awesome. It’s a petty dream and one I’m sure holds me back on some level. But I get to see so many of my friends step up and be incredible, loving dads to their children. My best friend has brought me into his kid’s life as an uncle. And you know, there’s a freedom to not have a legacy of fame or infamy to live up to or be crushed under.

I’m my own man with my own talents and a future that is completely my own. Whatever impact I make on this world will be of my own doing, because I summoned the strength within myself to do it. There is something empowering by that.

So Dick, thanks for bringing up another child, one you had no reason to.

Rick, thank you for loving me like your own and for trying your best.

Terry, thank you for giving me strength, for taking away fear and for showing me that a hard will can take you places.

John, hell…thank you for showing me that the only person who can truly put value on me is me.

Dads: love your kids and keep up the good work. Happy Father’s Day.