Friday, March 7, 2008

Jayne & the Satanists --Chapter 18

From their caverns in his skull, LaVey’s eyes lit up when he saw Betty. “My Lord, Miss Payne...,” he stammered.

Betty held out her hand as he ushered us into his living room. “How do you figure into this mess?” asked LaVey.

“I better field that one,” I said, as we took seats. Lex slid out of my arms and scuttled off to see Zoltan. “We think Scream has Serena. Betty and a friend went over to meet him in regards to filming part of his Halloween party.

“And the party’s centerpiece is to be the sexual humiliation of a woman. I think it’s probably Serena and that Scream wants to film the act so he has something to lord over you, to keep you in your place.”

LaVey stood, barely containing his fury. His shoulders trembled with rage. “I’ll kill him,” he shouted. “I’ll destroy everything he’s ever loved. I’ll see his eyes plucked out and his teeth smashed down his throat. I’ll burn his house to the ground.”

“We have a way of infiltrating the party, Mr. LaVey,” I said, trying to calm him. “We’re in charge of the film crew that’s been hired to document this and Betty has been offered the job of dominatrix. She’s on our side, a key operative.”

LaVey stroked his beard. “So what the hell does that get you? You have access, then what do you do?”

I felt myself flush. “I don’t know. Presumably, we infliltrate the place, ascertain that it is Serena, get to a phone and call the cops. We have possession of the film, so Scream doesn’t get it and the bulls bust him for kidnapping.”

“That house of Scream’s has dozens of hidden chambers,” said LaVey. “Serena would be secreted away at the first sign of trouble and no one would ever find her. Then, he would know that someone was working from inside and the most obvious shills would be your filmmaker and Betty. They wouldn’t get out alive.”

“What’s the alternative? Do we go in armed and try to hold an entire party and his security goons at bay while we nab Serena?”

“You couldn’t get guns in the house, his security goons would check everyone extremely well. He’s known for that.”

“What about a curse,” I asked.

Betty guffawed, “A curse.”

LaVey stared at her for a moment, then turned back to me. “A spell would take too long to take effect. The concerns of mere mortals are not a top priority for the unseen ones. We don’t have time to wait on the whims of a lesser demon.”

“Well then what?”

“Let me think....”

* * *

I let Betty off at her house. “Would you like to come in?” she asked.

“Sure,” I said, then joked, “but I don’t have much cash left after the other night.”

She locked eyes with me and unleashed a glorious smile. “Oh well, some other night then.” She turned and headed up her walkway.

I was devastated, but started up the car and drove away. Was this how it always was with her? Hell, Jayne Mansfield found me attractive enough to boff without being paid. Then I started wondering about that. Jayne got paid in publicity. Was I deluding myself? Did women only see me as a means to an end? Betty’s quick remark had thrown a wrench into my self-esteem.

I drove around and cruised hookers for an hour and talked to Lex who moved into the passenger seat, fascinated with the smells coming in through my window and with the glittering lights of Hollywood Boulevard.

I wracked my mind for a plan.

* * *


Ed and the camera crew arrived two hours before the party was to start. When I had left him, he was done up like a ten buck hooker. Blonde wig, mint green angora sweater with impressive falsies, calf-length gray gabardine skirt, black high heels. Betty had done his makeup, so he looked good --as drag queens go. Somehow his gear loosed him from the binds of something that always distracted him and he was all business, more professional than I’d ever seen him before. Betty was in a plain black sweater and pleated slacks, her leather and silver domina gear folded in her overnight bag.

Ed’s crew were two young rummies, Tom and Peter, that had been warned to be on their best behavior with the promise of a bottle each at the end of the night. A UCLA film student named Trixie Thomas was handling continuity and setups. This was a bit of a joke, since how much continuity could there be in a straight one-camera loop? But Ed liked her and wanted to milk Scream’s pocketbook. Trixie was a rough piece of work. She made her tuition by hooking. I thought she looked familiar, as if I’d seen her on the street. She was blonde and stacked and had a hatchet face, all sharp angles and nasty looking eyes under tarantula lashes.

Ed had stashed my gun and another .38 I’d picked up in the body of a tower lamp. We’d wrapped them in insulation to keep them from getting too hot and to hide them even if someone happened to open the light. We’d use it as an extra and just have it lying on the floor. I’d removed the screws on the lamp’s backing and held the back on with gaffer tape for quick access. It didn’t look out of place with the rest of Ed’s well-used equipment.

Jayne had been advised of the guns’ location as well, in case anything happened to me.

Betty the beautician had done a good number on me as well. I was pretty confident of my disguise. I’d shaved my mustache. With a Beethoven-length black wig, slick white pancake makeup over my face and my eyes and lips made into black holes, I was a fearsome vampire. I also had a cool cape and Ed advised me that if I felt my disguise slipping, just hold the cape over my face. “It worked for me in Grave Robbers,” he said, completely unaware of how that gambit had not worked for him in Grave Robbers.

To give the crew continuity, the light and sound men were given the vampire treatment too. They didn’t get swell capes though.

Betty backcombed Trixie’s hair and sprayed it with temporary flame red. Then she dabbed her with pancake white and made her eyes up in red and black, with black strokes outlining her lips and pulled down at each corner to give her a perpetual frown. It worked spectacularly with her own face’s contours and she looked remarkably like some insane banshee fresh from the fires of Hell. Her costume was only a red body suit that showed off her awe-inspiring figure. Sex and damnation embodied. I thought she was giving me the eye, but in that getup, I didn’t want to meet her eyes. Too damned scary.

Vampire Tom drove the truck over to Scream’s and, as instructed, we pulled around the back to the service entrance. Two muscle boys patted us down for weapons and showed us where the action would take place. It was where the ceremony that Jayne and I had attended had been held. The sex thing was set up in a slightly raised alcove to stage left from the podium. There were two bondage crosses, Christian and inverted. There was a stocks. Chain manacles had been attached to the rear wall. A tubular metal harness chair was shoved against one wall. At the back of the stage was a black leather chesterfield and a couple of giant mirrors, one angled over the stage to give a bird’s-eye view to the audience. The alcove was about ten feet deep with exits to backstage and the dressing rooms on either side. Lord knows what sort of tableaux had been enacted here before, but this was a serious setup. A black velvet curtain could be drawn across the front of the stage, which was why I had not noticed the area on my previous visit.

Tommy asked where the power was and one of the muscle boys showed him an outlet, but, as we had planned, Tommy shook his head and threw a coil of electrical cord over his shoulder. “We’ll have to see the fuse box,” he said. “To see where your 220 volts comes out. We might have to run a line from the stove or hot water tank outlet.” It was complete bafflegab of course, designed to get us familiar with the house layout. “You there,” Tommy yelled to me. “Come with me.”

The goon looked doubtful, but shrugged and we went backstage, past the dressing rooms and down a corridor. I recognized a furnace room and a laundry, but it was a labyrinth down there. Finally we came to the end of a dark hallway and Muscles stepped up a flight of wooden stairs to a platform landing. He opened a door there and the outside light came in. “You need some light to see things,” and he showed us the fuse box and beside it the massive breaker for the whole house. Tommy looked things over and then pointed to the wall. “That’s your 220 right there,” he said. “Perfect.”

“You’re not going to fuck anything up, like the lights or the kitchen or anything are you. The boss would get fairly shirty if that happened.”

“Hell, no. The 220’s on a whole different circuit. There’ll be no problems.”

I looked out the opened door and saw there was a stairwell running up to ground level. I ran up the stairs and saw the truck and the service entrance. “We’ll probably have to go in and out here a bit to get set up, saves us traipsing through the house, okay?”

Muscles shrugged, “Just stay on the pathway or you’ll get lost down here. And a lot of the rooms are off limits so don’t go snooping. Everything valuable’s locked up anyway.”

“We’re not thieves; we make movies; we’re respectable.”

“The fuck you are, Muscles laughed. “I know what you’ll be filming tonight and it ain’t fuckin’ Ben Hur. Besides I’ve seen a couple of that Wood guy’s movies at the drive-in. They’re the worst pieces of crap I’ve ever seen.”

“Well, regardless, we’re not out to steal nothing, this could work into a regular gig for us and the bread is good, so we’re not going to fuck it up.”

“Okay, pay attention on the way back.”

“I’ll just run the cord back,” said Tom and he plugged into the 220.

Always good to have 220 volts at your disposal, I figured, though I hoped no one would plug it into anything, it would fry any of our equipment.

When we got back to the stage, Peter and Ed were setting things up. I nodded to Betty and she and Trixie grabbed Muscles and set off to find out about Miss Payne’s dressing rooms and the modicum of cocaine, reefer and champagne she had demanded in final negotiations. Presumably Scream was going to put the moves on her and he wanted her as whacked as possible. Betty was also to ask for a glimpse of her submissive and then be able to tell us definitely that it was Serena. Once Betty had engaged Scream’s attention, he would be easily maneuvered away from me, who stood as the only real liability in this crew.

Betty buttonholed Muscles and he was happily led away when she asked where she could change into her costume and lifted a corset out of her bag. Muscles waddled as fast as his musclebound thighs would allow him, waving Betty to follow.

I fell back into the sidelines with Peter and we made chalk marks on the floor, marked spotlights and essentially did nothing stuff under Ed’s watchful eye.

* * *

When Betty returned, she wore a black satin kimono over her gear, though her hair shone and her face was done up in extreme dominant makeup. Even without her body exposed, she was the ebony glass of sex.

She cocked an eyebrow at me and made a motion for the curtains to be drawn and I shouted, “Rehearsal, please.”

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