Sunday, January 6, 2008

Jayne & the Satanists --Chapter 15

After Ed had gotten three scotches down him he started talking about the smut business. He was garnering some extra coin making dirty loops, little three-minute fuck films. Again, he was casting transvestites, for those who favored more exotic couplings. That whole area was hazy --where drag queens, homos and bondage and sadomasochism met. He told me he was interested in getting Bettie Page back into the business and had recently scored her phone number in New York.

“Bettie’s retired, Ed. She left the business two years ago.” Bettie Page was one of the most gorgeous creatures in creation. Jet black hair with her trademark, short rounded bangs, crystal blue eyes, the face of an angel and the most perfectly proportioned body I’d ever seen. Except for Jayne’s. Through the early 1950s, she had been the pin-up queen for those who wanted something a little naughtier. Photographers Bunny Yeager and Irving Klaw had made fortunes shooting Bettie en dishabille. But, her most rabid following came for Klaw’s sessions with her wearing stiletto heels, seamed nylons, black leather garter belts and corselets. In many of these sessions she allowed herself to be trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey or to be seen as the stern mistress domineering and spanking another female subject.

Through it all, Bettie had remained the charming Tennessee farm girl that she had been when she stepped off the bus in Hollywood. She never saw anything wrong with what she did for a living and always brought great spirit and humor to the proceedings, no matter how perverse. I’d had some dealings with her a few years back, but that’s another story. I figured she probably retired from the biz in ’57 because she finally found some nice rich guy, or else she figured that too many guys were obsessed with her and one of them was bound to have a screw loose and hunt her down. I’d met her a number of times and she was radiant, the absolute doll of dolls.

“Besides,” I said to Ed, “she didn’t ever do any hard-core stuff and I don’t think she ever would.”

“There are films,” Ed said cryptically. “If you’ve got the right contacts.”

“I’d love to see them, Ed. Not necessarily to blow the whistle, but just for my personal interest. Bettie’s a goddess.” Ed said he would see what he could do, but then he got off on a fetish tangent. “The sets for these things are great,” he said. “You wouldn’t believe, once you start looking into this, how many dungeon clubs there are in this town. Great places with manacles on the walls, bondage crosses, stocks, hammock-type harnesses from the ceiling that they strap people into. And the babes that do this stuff, gorgeous in all these expensive corsets and high-heels, made up like showgirls, wielding bullwhips while guys lick their shoes and pull their willies. It’s outrageous. I was scouting the other night and there was a circle of these dames and when I took a look inside they were forcing a guy give another guy head. Amazing. And these things go all night and all day, little secret societies.”

My nerves were jangling. “Ever hear of a place over in East Hollywood on Normandie. Just a doorway and the members have their own keys?”

“Sure, that’s The Demon Club. I’ve been there, to scout locations a while back.”

“How’d you get in?”

“Well, that satanist guy Szandor Scream has some interest in it, part owner or something. He’s got this crazy woman friend, Ariana Blacquelord, and she was wanting to do some loops there. They were thinking of me to direct.” Ed took another drink. “They are some weird people.”

“Ed, don’t take offense, but since you are one of the most deeply weird people I’ve ever met, that is saying something.”

“Heh, heh, but wait till I tell you. I go there and it’s real dark. Bunch of people drinking and smoking in the shadows. Then a light goes on this little central stage they have. That Ariana, she’s a strap-on Sally...”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, she comes out all in fetish garb and there’s this phony johnson sticking out from between her legs. Then they lead out these two naked guys. Sailors from Diego, I heard. Anyhow, they are out of it, but still into it, I mean they were hard as Clydesdales. So she spanks them and stuff and they start giving her phony thing head. Well, as the scene unfolds, she ends up boning them both up the ass while the crowd claps and cheers. It was really sick.”

“How did Scream get your name.”

“Oh, he’s a fan of my stuff, loves it,” he said, proudly. “Says Glen or Glenda was the most evil movie ever made. I don’t agree, but I’ll take praise anywhere I can get it.”

He looked balefully toward the bar and I ordered two more.

“Scream had me over to his house and everything. Odd guy, wears a mask all the time. Anyhow, I showed up drunk and he’s never got back to me about the film. Guess I blew it.”

I downed my drink and bought us two more. My head was spinning with options. “Ed, Ariana was just killed in a car accident.”

He shrugged. “Wonder if they’re getting rid of any of her outfits. Maila would fit ’em.” Ed was referring to Maila Nurmi, one of his stable of movie stars, aka Vampira in Grave Robbers.

He told me about the new movie and I took notes. I would give him a few inches of promo for tomorrow’s paper. I told him I thought he might need a bottle for the evening and that I would be willing to subsidize it. He almost drooled. “But first, I have a question. How bad do you think you blew it with Scream? Do you think you could get into his house again? Under the guise of making a film, maybe.

* * *

After I watched Wood shamble down the street, I grabbed a payphone and called into the office. Jayne had left a message and she had said it was urgent. I invested another dime. “Oh, Dan, it’s awful. Anton called and Serena’s gone missing. She went out to do some grocery shopping about four hours ago and she hasn’t come back.”

“Maybe she’s just out doing what she wilt,” I said, feeling the drinks.

“It’s not funny, she never stays away this long. Anton’s beside himself. He thinks she might have been snatched as retribution for Ariana’s death. He thinks her life might be in danger. He can’t leave the phone in case she calls and he wants to call in a favor from you. He figures that since you’re a reporter you could ask around the shopping area.”

“Why didn’t he contact me directly.”

“He’s embarrassed, Dan. He’s a proud man and he’s quite distraught. She means a lot to him. Can you do it.”

I owed the guy and I figured there might be a story in it, so I said yes. She said to meet her at LaVey’s as soon as possible.

Jayne & the Satanists --Chapter 14

We found Lex lying by Zoltan’s cage. The two seemed to be enjoying each other’s company. The sixteen-pound cat and the four-hundred-pound cat. Selena came to say goodbye and she picked up Lex, gave him a good fluff that set him purring, then handed him to me. “Take care of our Lex,” she said. “And he’ll take care of you.”

* * *

Back at my apartment, Jayne and I made our way through a bottle. Lex curled up in a corner and dreamed, his legs twitching in his sleep.

“Do you think anything will come of our little ceremony?” I asked.

Jayne smiled slowly and marvelously, loaded and peaceful. “You felt the wind.”

“There are such things as fans and hidden vents. It could be easily faked.”

“But it wasn’t. You’ve got to have faith for these things to work. Faith is the most powerful force in the universe.” She leaned her head on my shoulder and her rich perfume warmed me. She began undoing the buttons of her jacket. “Jayne, I don’t think I’m up for this...”

“Have faith,” she said. “Have faith in The Boys.” And she shrugged off her jacket revealing a spectacular pink bra. She pulled my head to her rich, scented cleavage.

And my healing began.

Chapter 14:

I got back to work, chasing down errant movie stars, speculating in print on their dalliances and personal habits, caught the usual amount of flack from incensed managers and publicists. A story I did on Rita Hayworth received some particularly vicious comments from her manager, Lee Ellroy, who seemed a volatile type.

I even did a nice big feature on LaVey, who, in the interview situation, was a complete gentleman, articulate, sincere, though always mysterious and cryptic. I asked him if he had ever killed anyone and he had shrugged and said, “I don’t get my hands dirty, circumstances kill people. I may have arranged some circumstances. If people die, it is because of their own stupidity or carelessness. One must always be alert in this life, for there are forces forever conspiring against us and one ignores them at one’s own peril. We must learn from the animals who are always alert and wary.” We ran the piece with a front-page picture of LaVey hugging a snarling Zoltan. It was a big seller.

Neither the cops, nor I, were getting anywhere on the baby/Stirling/Hughes business. Pat Kennedy had interviewed LaVey and various other Satanic types. Scream, it was claimed, was vacationing in Haiti.

Jayne was ever optimistic about her career, though the movies she was doing were decidedly third string and she was relying more heavily on corporate work, supermarket openings, nightclub appearances. She still came by, though we never quite hit the sexual peak that we had that night after my run in with Ariana and LaVey’s hex ceremony.

My dreams were tortured things, loaded with perverse sexuality and indistinct faces. I would wake with my sheets soaking. Yet, in the morning, Lex would always be there.

Since I had no interest in dating, I spent my evenings at home with Lex as my desired company. I also spent my time reading books that LaVey had recommended to me.

Occasionally, I would employ a hooker. My male desires had not left me, merely my willingness to go through the whole sham of conversation and dinner. A friend at work once cracked that men hired hookers not for sex, but in order not to have to talk afterward. I felt there was something to that. I found I wanted anonymous sex and the less personality the woman revealed, the better I enjoyed the experience. After I paid them, before we began, my first words were always, “Don’t talk.”

Eric Boyer’s byline came back in The Hollywood Pipeline with regularity. Terrance Weigel and I called each other less often and he hired a replacement for Al Stirling.

And so time passed until, early one morning, I was in the office checking the overnight stories and noticed one written by one of the staff reporters. At 3 a.m., a convertible Cadillac going at high speed on the Coast Highway had run into an insecticide tanker truck that had stalled angled on the road. The impact cleaned the top off the car, the driver was beheaded, the head smashed beyond recognition. However, the driver was identified as Ariana Blaquelord, a figure known in local occult circles. After the initial shock wore off, I let out a resounding single laugh, “Hah!” I scrambled to the phone and got the overnight reporter out of bed. Grudgingly, he gave me the details in a half-asleep growl. Dom Simone had done the on-site and the body had been identified a short while later. There was no family. The body was at the morgue waiting to be claimed.

I felt too jittery to stay in the office, so I lit out saying I was going to check on a few stories in person. I drove over to a diner and loaded up on steak and eggs while I waited for it to be a decent hour to call Jayne and LaVey. I had gone to a place where I could get a shot and washed down bites of steak with swallows of scotch. Then I cruised the streets. I felt reborn, alive and vital. I found myself in an area where a few streetwalkers were trawling the commuter trade. When I saw a young lady with long black hair, I got her in the car and she took me to a hotel room where I paid extra for some back-door action. It was worth it. I was insatiable.

After that, I drove back to my place. I danced Lex around for a while. Then I called Jayne. She was just getting it together and when I told her the news, she replied, hesitantly, “That’s good, I guess.”

“You bet it’s good, Jayney.”

“Sorry, I’m just not good at sounding cheery at the news of someone’s death.”

“Me neither, but I’m getting to like it. I’m going to call LaVey.”

“Sure, do what thou wilt.”

I hung up and called LaVey. He was, of course, cool about the news, though he could not resist a dry cackle. “At 3:30 a.m., of course, just then I was repeating the ceremony. I believe at that time I was just cutting up a picture of Ariana to add to the sacrificial fire. I remember cutting her head off at just that time. Well, Baphomet has claimed that which I prepared for him. I’m sure he is enjoying our lady Ariana in his corner of Hell right now.”

* * *

I was sure that Scream was behind the baby mutilations, Stirling’s and Hughes’s deaths, Boyer’s beating. But, I had been afraid of him. He was likely involved with whatever Ariana had done with me during my blackout. He probably held photographs of me in compromising situations. I had simply retreated from the problem like a sick kitten. I reported on the cops; I didn’t do their work for them. But they did not have the information to make the Scream connection. And since the blackout, I did not care for them to make it. Let Kennedy get ahold of those photos and I’d be ruined in this town.

Still, Ariana’s death had given me some kind of closure to that incident and that period of sick loathing in my life. I had taken out one of Scream’s top operatives, perhaps even his lover. He had reason to be afraid of me now.

I called up Bianca Hughes’s former employer, Chris Canyon. I asked who owned the house at 14569 Visconti. It was a legal question, anyone could ask. He called me back in five minutes saying that it was owned by a Sharon Michelle of Baltimore, Maryland, that whoever resided there was likely a renter or a houseguest. He gave me Michelle’s phone number. I called it and hung up when someone answered, “Dark Corridor Books.” Hmm, sounded like an occult shop.

I called in to the office for messages and the secretary gave me a few numbers including one for my old pal Ed Wood Jr. Woody was a character on the Hollywood scene, a down-and-out writer and filmmaker who worked for chump change to feed a relentless booze habit. He had been a wonderfully handsome fellow, though these days he was bloated and wasted. His looks had given him a fondness for women that somehow twisted around into him wanting to be like them. He liked to wear women’s clothing, especially angora sweaters.

He wasn’t queer as far as I knew, always had a girlfriend. He had made some movies that were laughed out of the studios, such as Grave Robbers from Outer Space, which starred that old junkie Bela Lugosi. Lugosi had died during the filming and Wood had employed his dentist to complete the scenes. To disguise the change the dentist walked around with his cape drawn over his face below the eyes. Still, I liked Woody. He probably could have made a pretty good movie if someone had given him the right budget. These days he was making ends meet by cranking out sordid little paperbacks. And he could whip off a 200-page novel in a weekend. Trouble was, they often focused on his obsession with transvestism. Still there must have been enough closet pretty boys out there that bought them, because he published dozens of these trifles.

When he called me, there was usually another film in the works, or he was hungover unto death and wanted to hit me up for a hair-of-the-dog. I called him up and I could tell he was hurting, but he was upbeat about a new project he was working on called The Sinister Urge. He wanted to meet at Sharky’s, a seedy bar on Sunset. Why not? Eddy had given me a bunch of good leads. He always knew who was queer and who enjoyed wearing nylons under their business suits, who was on the hop or puffing reefer. Ed was a piece of work.

Jayne & the Satanists --Chapter 13

“How do you pay him?” I asked, as we got in the car. I had showed her Lex’s hidey-hole. She thought that I was a pretty considerate guy. Now, Lex sat upright on her lap, peering out the car window, occasionally nuzzling into the Boys.

“I told you, I do my little tinkle trick.” Jayne had knocked back a couple more tumblers of rye while I got ready. She was loose and mellow.

“Well I’m sure LaVey doesn’t care to see me make water.”

“No, he does things for favors to be called in at a later date. He’ll do this for you because I asked, because he hates Scream and for a pledge from you that one day, when he calls, you will drop everything and come running to do his bidding. Actually, he’ll make you sign a document to that effect in your blood.”


“Oh yeah. You’re a writer. You know that saying, writing is easy, all you do is open a vein. Well, at LaVey’s it’s true.”

Fair enough I figured.

We pulled up in front of the black Victorian house. “Should we leave Lex here?” I asked.

“No. Let’s take him in to his old stomping grounds. He’ll want to say hi to Zoltan.”

The small front yard sported a carefully disarrayed show of weeds, not a blade of grass. “Nice lawn,” I cracked.

“Anton says, ‘Why create something artificial? Let the land be true to its nature. These are the plants of the Los Angeles area. Except for that,” she said, pointing to a clump of devil’s club, “that’s for show.”

The windows had been blacked out, which made the house stand out on the working-class residential street. Sharply peaked dormers gave the place a cathedral-like facade. The black wrought-iron fence had spikes along the top. Someone had impaled a doll’s head on one of the tines. Flanking the top of the stairway, two concrete horned and winged gargoyles snarled at visitors.

LaVey opened the door, his patented glower in place. Until he saw Lex, whereupon his face broke into the most incongruous grin of glee. “Ah, Lex,” he said, taking the cat from Jayne and holding it to his chest, burying his moustaches into the black fur. When Lex’s full throttle purr began, I felt a pang of jealousy.

LaVey showed us into a living room. Then he called, “Selena, can you see what our guests would like to drink? Rye for Miss Mansfield, if I’m not mistaken.” Then he turned away. “Give me five minutes with Lex and I’ll be right with you,” he said, walking out of the room.

I looked at Jayne. “He likes animals better than people,” she said. “He says there is no hypocrisy in animals, that they are true to their savage nature. Lex is a valued companion. They’d been together a long time. Before...”

Before she could finish, a young woman entered the room. She had wavy blonde hair to her shoulders and a pale, pretty face, though with striking bone structure and luxuriant lips. She wore a black gown to her feet, which were bare. She smiled graciously and introduced herself and took our drink orders, then swooshed off efficiently.


“No. Selena is LaVey’s current girlfriend and acolyte. She’s nice.”

“Just a real cozy little homestead here in Transylvania.”

Our drinks came and Selena smiled and asked how I was enjoying Lex, before she slipped away to other pressing matters. I killed time by looking around the room, which was studiously dim. I jumped a bit when I noticed that the coffee table was made of a large headstone. The walls were all draped in what looked like black velvet and on little tables were small grotesque statues. Many, I noticed featured prominent penes. On the walls were several framed prints that I identified as being from etchings by William Blake. On framed item was a calligraphy quotation from Blake’s Proverbs of Hell. “Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires.”

After five minutes, LaVey entered the room. He certainly played up his part with his shaven skull and meticulously manicured jet black Vandyke beard. He wore a long-sleeved black shirt buttoned to the neck, black trousers and slippers.

“Mr. LaVey, the reason I’m here...”

“No need to explain, Mr. Holcomb, I understand the situation completely. You wish to experience the most sublime pleasure known to man: revenge.”

“Yes, that’s true, but...”

“No need, Mr. Holcomb. I possess an ability to understand the language of animals. Lex has told me of your situation.”

He waited for that to sink in.

“He also says that, though weak, you are a man of whom he has grown fond. He likes his hidey-hole very much.”

I was speechless. How could he have known about that? I was willing to believe that he saw that Lex was happy in his new home, but beyond that....

“Ariana is not to be underestimated, Mr. Holcomb. She is a drug addict and an alcoholic, but, for all that, she sees into other realms more clearly than most. She is a most powerful sorceress.” Then, he grinned maliciously and I was taken aback by the two feral fangs that protruded past his other teeth. “But, I believe I am more powerful.

“Now, we will need a link, something to connect us to Ariana. A piece of hair, an article of clothing....” He looked expectantly at me with raised eyebrows.

“I have photos of her.”

“Yes, of course you do, and Lex told me that you brought them with you. May I see them?”

I handed the manila envelope into his extended long-nailed hand. I had figured on something like this, though not Lex’s complicity, and I had removed the pictures that showed Stirling.

“Ah, yes,” he said as he leafed through the shots. “The lovely Ariana, careless with her graven image. Tut, tut, such a flaw. Oh, how dearly she will pay for this indiscretion. Now, from you I will require something as well. Blood or semen make for the most powerful spells. As Jayne has no doubt told you, a modicum of either is to be let for this transaction, thus rather than sequestering you in the bathroom with a Playboy magazine featuring your lovely companion, I suggest you let me take a little blood.”

“I agree, but how will you do it?” I asked.

He opened a drawer on an endtable and withdrew an ornate silver dagger and a small glass vial. “Just a small nick below the crook of your arm will suffice,” he said.

He may have been evil, but he was not messy and he put a small plastic funnel in the mouth of the vial to catch the trickle of blood from my arm. When he caught enough, he handed me a tissue and a Handy-Tape bandage. The essence of cool.

LaVey ushered us downstairs. Though again barely lit, I could feel that the area was large. As my eyes adjusted I saw several doors closed off from the central hub section. LaVey opened one and we entered a room lit by candles, black, naturally. He indicated large cushions on the floor where we could sit.

“We are about to enter a realm which no man can accurately predict. Not me. Certainly not you. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that you do nothing, unless instructed by me.” LaVey waited for no response. That his statement might be questioned was not countenanced. Withdrawing the eight-by-tens from the envelope, he selected one and snipped it so that Ariana’s head was neatly bisected from her shoulders. Then, he smeared the cut edges with my blood. He placed the blooded photo in the pentagram around which we were seated. Then, he withdrew from his robe an onyx dagger. I almost leapt out of my skin when Jayne grabbed my hand and gave me a hold-onto-your-hat look. LaVey took the knife and raised it to the uppermost point of his skull and gently pierced it. He drew the knife down his brow, between his eyes, down the center of his nose and, as he did so, it seemed his corporeal form parted like so much whale blubber. And what was released...little golems, lizard-like things , shadows delineated by a paucity of light, simulacrums that sucked light out of the air to become perfect darkness. Trudging things. Dusty, though from a moist body.

Flames atop the candles began to writhe and I felt a breeze slap my pantlegs and lapels. And the little beings trudged on, dissipating as they reached the edges of the pentagram lifting upward as swirls of dust and aggregate, slipping through the ceiling and out of sight.

I looked over at LaVey. He sat, whole, his bare head and face bathed in sweat. He offered me the meekest, mildest smile I ever thought he would be capable. Then his eyes rolled back in his head and he fell to one side in slow motion, his shoulder taking the impact, his head contacting the floor with a soft smack.

I jumped when Jayne touched my arm. “It’s all right. It was a success. It just takes everything out of him. Jayne found blanket behind him and pulled it over his huddled form. “We should leave him now. He needs to rest, protected in the pentagram.”

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


This is a great video for Search and Destroy, one of the top five rock songs of all time. It was put together by a fan who edited together segments from Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket. Click it open to full screen, turn the volume up and make 3:28 minutes of your new year count for something.
Happy New Year,
El Dub