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.

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