The Story of a Sex Worker

November 29, 2004

Fucking with a Rapist

Far Out left my apartment soon after I started going out with Andrew. She had only been in my apartment a week but she cried about missing Kirk and moved back. It didn't sound healthy but I didn't stop her. I had too much to handle in my own life.

The first bad news came two months into my new success. Bernard called and said that Al Harvey was looking for me. I had almost driven away earlier problems with Al Harvey. I was too busy living separate lives.

"He's acting very belligerent," Bernard said. "He keeps demanding your phone number. What the fuck went on between you two?"

"Do you really want to know?"

"I've been around. I've probably heard it before."

"He's your boss. You sure you want to go fucking with your boss?"

"Just tell me."

"He raped me."


"The first time I went along with him because I was tired and I was worried what he would do if I didn't. He's a scary man. The second time he forced me to for real."

"I'm sorry, Shirley. I'm sorry I brought you there. That's one part of the business I hate. I mean a rape scene can be a beautiful thing when two people are consenting and nobody gets hurt. But that shouldn't happen to you."

"No. But I've basically forgotten about it."

"That's good."

I really had forgotten about it. The mind had an alarming capacity to repress. People needed to forget certain things to live.

"He keeps calling for you, though," Bernard said. "I don't know what to do with him. He's called about five times and I tell him that I can't give out your phone number. Then he gets pissed off at me and starts yelling. Fucking asshole. It's a good thing you're not listed."

"Maybe I should talk to him."


"I'll get him off my back and get him off yours. I can deal with him now. I'm over him."

"If you want. You sure you want to do that?"


"I can give you his number."

"Give it to me."

"You're a stronger man than I am, Shirl. I hate that fucker."

Bernard gave me the number to Al's office inside his house. I called immediately. He answered. When I said my name he replied, "Good to hear from you," as if talking to a lost friend.

"What do you want?" I said flatly.

"I want you for one thing," he said.

"That's over with. I don't want you to call Bernard anymore asking for me."

"I'm glad your movies have done so well," he replied. "I felt a part of it because you fucked all over my couches and beds. There's a relationship there that's been captured forever on video. It can never be over with."

I was already beaten. His voice was like smooth syrup, so sweet it stung. Sort of like the voice they'd give a robot if they wanted the robot to seem soothing. He was saying hateful things but there was a terrible, terrible smoothness to his voice.

"So when am I going to see you?" he said.

"See me," I stated.

"Yes. Why don't you come over?"

"Shit, I know you heard me. I'm never going to see you."

"I have a feeling you are."

I felt cornered. I tried a different angle. "I have a boyfriend," I said.

"Oh yeah?" he laughed. "I'd like to meet him."

"That's not possible."

"If I don't meet him how do I know you're not lying?"

I sighed. "I could bring anybody to you and tell you he's my boyfriend so what's the difference."

This made him angry. His voice switched from syrup to needles. "The way I see it, you don't have a choice but to come over here. I hold your paycheck."

"You do," I said weakly. But then I thought of something. "You know what? That doesn't matter. I'm popular now. The public wants to see me. I make you money. You can't fire me. I bet you would get in some kind of trouble if you fired your moneymaker. You have no choice but to pay me."

He grunted. "Goddamn you," he said. "You're a fucker. You're small. You're only worth the twenty dollars people shell out for a fucking video." He slammed down the phone.

I sat in my chair with the phone off the hook in my hand. My heart beat slow and deep. I almost felt on the edge of a young heart attack. That was one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, telephone conversations I'd ever had. It reminded me of some of the bad feeling. I sat by the phone, heart beating hard.

But soon, my heart began to calm down. I had the feeling that I wasn't going to hear from Al Harvey for a long time. Intuition told me.

November 19, 2004

Double Life

Andrew and I started spending all our time together. Our relationship got very close very fast. Time apart, when neither of us were working, was impossible. I would miss him in a fearful way and when I saw him I felt as if I'd never feared anything.

Most of my relationships up to that point were used to fill up empty space and after a short while they became empty as well. Four years before, when I was twenty, I had met a guy named Carl who was short and unemployed. For the first two months we stayed in bed. Eventually the money ran out and I had to support us with a waitressing job. He kept living off of me and eventually seemed ungrateful so I got angry and kicked him out. We lasted eight months but I would always remember the first two. Andrew seemed promising in a long term way.

But I felt guilty about lying to Andrew about my work. I told him I had gotten a temp job. It looked too suspicious for me to be leaving for work at a different time everyday. Some days I would have to be on the set at two o'clock, the next four in the afternoon, the next eleven in the morning. I told him that I had to leave for a temp job at ten o'clock everyday. This meant I had to leave some days when I didn't want to. But I had to leave by ten because I didn't want to screw up a good thing with suspicion. In a way, I was leaving for a job. My job was my cover up, my system for seeming like a healthy and natural person.

At the same time, "Bonfire of the Vaginas" became an instant success. Mail orders started arriving by the dozens and then by the hundreds daily. People everywhere wanted to see me. I felt proud and alive and, in a way, very much part of the world. Porn may have been an outlaw business but I had reached a high status. I had never done that before, in any part of my life.

Bernard got recognition for the movie as well. Just like he wanted, there was talk of him getting the nomination for best director. Some people even whispered about lifetime achievement. There were also stirrings about me getting best actress. That was a long shot because it was rare for a first-timer to get the best actress award but I still could have been nominated. I had already done too many films for best newcomer.

The film really was better than most. A movie called "Outer Space Vixens" consisted of a girl walking into a room naked except for a space helmet bought at a toy store. There was no dialogue and they began fucking immediately, a pretty dull way to make another video. Bernard's work paid off. People bought it and liked it. We were pleased. There were more starring roles to come.

For a while at least, I was able to live the best of both worlds. Work was going well and so was my life outside. The good feelings about Andrew and my new success overshadowed the guilt about the strange double life I was leading.

I wasn't going to tell Andrew anything. I didn't tell anyone in the industry about Andrew either. The industry would frown on outside promiscuity. Not that I was being promiscuous, but anything made people nervous. They were worried about entering disease into the scene. They wanted to keep our porn control group pure, although they didn't seem to mind that the men hopped around from gay porn to hetero porn and back again.

My next project was going to be something as base as "Outer Space Vixens." Bernard said demand for me was high and we should throw something together because it was bound to sell. Bernard found a mermaid's tail at a costume store and developed a plot. I played a mermaid who when she was exposed to dry land her tail disappeared and she got horny. We made the movie in a day and a half and packaged it in a week. The box cover had a shining picture of me covering my breasts with my hand, wearing the fishtail. That was my second feature movie, simply called, "Mermaid."

Bernard was right. The movie sold well almost overnight. I never would have thought when I desperately answered an ad in the "Hollywood Press" and had my first tentative interview with Bernard that I would become a porn star. I was Shirley Shave and that meant something. Everything was going very, very well.

I had my feet in two doors, Andrew and box covers, but I wouldn't call it conflict because I was happy in both. I was able to have sex with Andrew just like Far Out had talked about. I shut myself off on the set and saved myself for him when I got home. Our sex was so good that you never would have thought I had been doing it all day. But I was living a right brain/left brain sex life. The right brain went to work while the left brain had the feeling.

November 12, 2004

Modus Operandi

The last day of filming. I was going to do my scene with Betty Able, the finale, and a masturbation scene.

When I got there, Al Harvey opened the door. As soon as I saw his smiling scar my heart sank deeply.

"I don't have to be away on business today," he said. "I can watch you and Betty's scene together. I've been looking forward to it."

I didn't say anything and walked past him into the living room. I could feel him watching me from behind.

The scene with Betty didn't go as well as it should have. Al Harvey stood next to Bernard behind the camera the whole time. As hard as I tried, I always sensed him there, his beady eyes and monster smile.

Bernard was forced to say, "Cut. Shirley, you don't look like you're enjoying yourself."

"Sorry," I said and looked at Al who was smirking, almost as if he was glad to be having a bad effect on me.

I closed my eyes and imagined an empty room and was able to complete the scene that way. The day was soon over.

After the final scene was shot, Bernard said to all of us, "We should all be proud of this. I still have to edit but I think it's going to turn out well. You all did a good job. It's not just another fuck film."

We went outside to Al's vast brick porch and drank beer and celebrated completion. I got congratulations from everybody.

"I feel like we've done something good," Bernard said, sitting under an umbrella.

"As long as I get paid," Ram Baker replied grimly.

"Feel good about it. Especially you, Shirley."

I did feel good about it. I was proud of my first starring role. I hadn't really ever made anything in my life. I thought this was an important step. I was elated with a feeling of accomplishment.

That feeling of elation was curbed by Al Harvey's staring eyes. I was leaning on the porch railing, staring at the ocean, when Al came up to me. He had been looking at me the whole time I was on the porch so I was expecting it.

"Let's go inside," he said.

"I don't think I want to."

"Come on. Just a quick one. I was watching you and imagining that I was Betty and I got all fired up."

I looked up at him. He was blocking the sun so his head seemed surrounded by a burning halo of light.

"I'm tired," I said.

"Just a blow-job."

I looked back at the ocean. He said, "Come with me. It's the last time I'll ask you," and put a hand on my shoulder.

If it was the last time I thought maybe I could handle it. I'd get him off and forget about him. Filming at his house was over. I would never have to see him again.

But then I thought about what Andrew would think and I felt terrible. Right now, staring up at Al's head as if it was on fire, I didn't like what I was doing now any more than Andrew would. Andrew reminded me of the good but he also reminded me of the evil, which Al Harvey might have embodied more than the devil.

"You better come with me," Al said. He put two fingers on my neck and pressed hard. The pressure gave me a quick memory of the security guard at the stereo store I tried to rob as a kid, his fingers, the size of two of my own, pressed firmly against my child-sized neck.

"I don't think I'm interested in doing that," I said and looked to Bernard who was talking to Betty and Ram.

"It's not like you have a choice," Al said, threat in his voice.

He took me by the neck and pushed me toward the house. Bernard wearily watched us walk across the porch. I didn't yell out to Bernard, though I should have. Part of me didn't want to get Bernard in trouble. This was way too selfless a thought, considering, but I figured I'd accept my own hardship. I still had an instinct to be tough left over from childhood. Al's grip on my neck tightened as he pushed me all the way back to his master bedroom.

I sat down on the bed. I wasn't going to undress. "I'm not sure-" was all I was able to say before Al pulled his pants down and grabbed me by the hair. He pushed me down hard on himself. He moved my head up and down, forcing me to suck him off, holding my hair in two hands as if to break it in half, standing on my feet. I couldn't fight it. I could barely breathe.

"Swallow it," he said.

There was nothing I could do. He was holding me down. "That's good," he said, moaning. "That's a good, good girl."

When he was done, he pulled his pants up and went into the bathroom. I slowly walked to the porch cradling my body as if I'd been hit. Everyone was gone. I looked inside. Ram and Harry were loading up equipment. I considered telling them what had happened but then I realized that they wouldn't care. They looked up to Al, down on me.

I went over to Betty who was sitting in the zebra-skin chair. I sat next to her on the couch. We had done a scene together on that couch.

"Al Harvey made me suck him off," I told her.

"He did?"

"He forced me to."

"Shit, that's a pain, Shirl."

"You're not kidding."

She was silent, unconsoling. I stood up to leave.

"You know, I fucked him once too," she said.

"You did?"

"Yeah. He said I was his first black chick. He sure is an ugly sonofabitch."

"Sure is."

I stood above Betty with my head in my hands pinching my temples so they hurt, breathing deep breaths.

"This has got you ripped up, hasn't it, Shirl?"

"Yeah it has. Shouldn't it?"

"Well, if you were a normal person, I'd say you should be bothered. But we're not normal people. We're in the industry. Our M.O. is to fuck. We put up with a lot more where that's concerned than most people."

"I guess," I said.

"Although maybe we're not that different from other people. Everybody in the world is fucking. Fucking's about the only pleasure some people have. It's like a gift from God. You hear what I'm saying?"

"I hear you."

I drove home along the foggy Pacific Coast Highway confused as all hell. Two days ago I was happy alive. Two days later I was wondering what to do with myself, confused and forlorn like Far Out. I passed oceanfront homes and thought about Andrew. Thinking about him gave me a warm feeling. Emotions about Andrew were building. Emotions about the job were building too. I had just done my first starring role, made a great amount of money and finally found people's recognition. The very same day I was raped. My life always had a fucked-up sort of balance. It seemed I could never have the good side of the coin without the drawback side of the coin peeking its ugly head. One of those drawbacks was people like Al Harvey. Another drawback was that it was more than very likely that Andrew would not understand the profession if I ever told him about it. I couldn't have the best of both worlds that Far Out had talked about and eventually failed trying. I wasn't sure if I had to make a choice. I was deeply confused. Some people liked conflict because it made them feel alive. I thought that was bullshit. That was for people who never had to live through real conflict.

I called Andrew that night and he seemed as happy to hear from me as I was to talk to him. I went to his apartment and we had a fine time just sitting and watching TV like an old couple. We slept together again. I thought I could forget about Al Harvey by having better sex with Andrew. It worked. It wasn't fucking, it was sex. Andrew and I hummed with light and color. He fell asleep and I stayed awake, thinking. Basically, I didn't know what the fuck to do with myself.

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