My contrarian Mother’s Day tribute: Words I haven’t heard in far too long…

I’m currently sitting at the entrance to an enormous furniture warehouse filled with stuff I couldn’t even begin to afford. At the far end, Ben is taking stills of Monique Alexander on a $4,600 sofa, which she’s going to get fucked on for Naughty America. Everyone is taking a beating in this economy, and the owners of this high-dollar store are happy to get a few extra hundred for giving us the location.

I was going to post an in-depth review of Inception, which is, without doubt, one of the most spectacular and original movies I’ve seen in my lifetime. I would fuck that movie if I could. But I’m far too distracted by the knot in my gut.

Instead, I’m writing as therapy, trying to relieve the mounting stress of an increasingly ridiculous life. As I take on more and more work, consistently making less for doing more, watching the bills pile up as the income dwindles, I wonder when I will finally crack. I’m not being melodramatic. This isn’t a growing panic but rather an idle concern, like guilt over not going to the dentist.

I’m trying to pay attention to the band playing Nearer My God to Thee as I rearrange the deck chairs.

Last week I worked four of the hardest days I can remember for Burning Angel, shooting and gaffing Joanna’s Angels 3 for Joanna and James Deen. 2 16-hour days, an 18-hour day and a 20-hour day, and practically every minute of it, I was on my feet and running around. I didn’t just feel old when we wrapped, I felt ancient.

To make matters worse, I’ve agreed to edit the movie. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that I haven’t finished cutting Kiss of the Strangler, which is turning out great, but taking far too long. Hot Video have been very understanding about it, but for how long? JA3 has a rigid due date in a little over 2 weeks, so it’s going to demand every moment I can devote to it.

Except that I’m going to Florida for four days to shoot Tristan Taormino’s documentary right in the middle of that 2 weeks.

Oh, and I still have to work my NA job, just to keep body and soul together.

Okay, instead of relieving my stress, putting this in black-and-white has sharpened it to a keen edge. Bad idea.

I’m fucked.

Well, as the saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough go fishing, so I’m having a last gasp attempt at recreation this weekend. Tomorrow, Mischief & I are going up the coast to see a band she loves in Santa Barbara, staying overnight, and then banging around the coast until Sunday evening. We planned this over a month ago. If I had any sense I would have canceled. As it is, I’ll be curious to see if I can even pretend to relax.

Afterwards, I’m essentially going to have to tell her – and everyone else in my life – to forget that I exist for a few weeks and try to dig myself out of the hole I’m in.

Either that, or pull it in after me.

Obviously, things have not been sparkly of late. Friday just put a fine point on the feelings of utter defeat and despair I’ve been struggling with since the spring. Or perhaps I should say an even finer point. Every single man who is at or near my age will understand when I say there is a strong desire in me to sell everything I own (and perhaps a pile of stuff I don’t own), and vanish into the Great Unknown, never to be heard from again by a single human I currently know.

Of course, this is a purely romantic notion. Right? I still have five little furry monsters I have to feed. Six, if you count Mischief.

On the topic of the Goth Biscuit, last weekend, she fell while attending Anime Expo and jacked up her right arm pretty successfully. Emergency room and doctor visits ensued, and we’ve discovered it isn’t broken. Just a major contusion and probably some muscle and tendon damage.


She’s been fairly gimpy as a result, and I’ve learned to do things I never imagined, like how to properly brush and wash hair. For the first half of the week, she was pretty dependent, and I felt like a responsible adult. It was creepy. But it did net a great doctor’s office story.

However, since I enjoy telling stories backwards, let me drop a few details about this most recent weekend first. Having spent most of Friday crying my eyes out and trying to function, I was looking forward to being über-geek on Saturday night, playing Magic (I know, I know) with my friends Jim, John and Brusta, decompressing, distracted.

I hadn’t seen Allison for a few days, so I was thrilled when she arrived at my loft on Saturday night, looking great and equally happy to see me. I was even happier when she proudly slid my hand down her ass to find the butt plug she’d been wearing for the last several hours. She takes her homework very seriously, this girl.

You can infer the rest from there. I mean, I have an issue with being completely rude, so I excused myself from the game for a few rounds to indulge in an office & closet quickie. In my world, you just don’t waste a soaking-wet 26-year-old with a butt plug in her ass. But, eventually, I did return to my “guests.”

On Sunday, we slept in, completely failed to get out of bed about three times by my count, and then finally hauled our asses up to start the day. Mischief made herself extremely cute, and I did my best with jeans that no longer fit (I’ve lost a lot of weight this year) and a shirt I know she likes.

We made our way down to Venice beach to wander and people-watch. Personally, unless I’m in Jamaica or the Dominican Republic or somewhere equally resort-ish, I’m not a really “beachy” guy. As an abstract concept I love the beach, but in L.A., the beaches are cold, dirty, bum-infested and crowded. As a result, I haven’t been to Venice in, oh, five years?

We had a great time. We looked at clothes, books, art both good and bad. I copy-edited shop signs (including the hand-carved wooden sign which advertises clothing imported from “Katmandu,” wherever that is). We ate, snarked each other and argued about precisely how crazy Allison is (I’m gonna vote for somewhere between “Special Olympics” and “Batshit Crazy,” but well shy of “Nurse Ratched Will See You Now.”)

We stood for a long while at the drum circle, both trying to “get it,” but failing on some mutual lack of chemical alteration and/or spiritual depth. We watched a rumored former Solid Gold dancer do some amazing moves on roller skates, which only made me more disdainful of the small flotilla of self-important punks on skateboards whom Mischief was quite enamored with.

Ah, youth. Sadly, none of them seriously injured himself while we watched. (Hey you kids! Off of my lawn! GET OFF OF MY LAWN!)

We ended the day with Allison buying us dinner at a terrific Lebanese place where only one of the women truly looked like Jamie Farr. Over dinner, we continued a discussion about my personal brand of applied psychology and social anthropology, and the way I “read” people from a distance. Mischief is fascinated by this, and we’d been discussing how she presents herself in different situations.

On Wednesday, with her right arm still more-or-less completely KIA, I picked Mischief up from work and took her to see her orthapædist. This doctor’s office is in a very conservative part of the very conservative Orange County.

Since I probably haven’t mentioned it, overt PDA is one of Mischief’s favorite pastimes. Inappropriate PDA, even moreso.

Sitting in the OC waiting room were a thin, young, gay Asian sales rep for a software firm, a 40-something blonde real estate agent trying too hard to hit that “vaguely sexy but completely bland” look right in the center of the bullseye, and a burly, red-faced mid-40s contractor waiting for his wife; a guy you just know was climbing into a white F-250 with a crew cab and a bedliner when they left.

The main receptionist was a surly, sour-faced, Christian, Republican, 43-year-old single mother of four who was every inch the female version of the contractor in the waiting room. She stood about 5’ 11’ and had to be three bills. If you picture the feminized John Lithgow in World According to Garp you’re right on target.

Just seeing a man her age (and aren’t all fucking men just the fucking same!) with a girl Mischief’s age turned her bitter blood to cold vitriol, and if looks were daggers I would have left in a basket. Naturally, Allison took this as the signal that she should climb all over me in the waiting room. At one point, she even decided to sit in my lap. If it wouldn’t have led to police involvement and defeating the purpose of the trip (by getting kicked out), I’m sure she would have tried to blow me.

The realtor was scandalized. The contractor tried not to be envious. The salesman was oblivious.

Ms. Lithgow seethed hatred from behind the counter.

In a quiet attempt to keep Allison from alienating her doctor (I was imaging some first-generation Indian immigrant who can’t look a white woman in a bikini in the eye), I stayed in the waiting room while she went inside. At one point I caught the realtor’s eye, and I realized she wasn’t seeing me; she was seeing her husband, who coaches the girls’ volleyball team, and her imagination was running rampant.

When Allison returned from the bowels of the building, I joined her at the counter for checkout. She spent a few moments harassing the desk flunkies about details, doctor’s notes and appointments, and then asked the nurse, standing next to Ms. Lithgow, to clarify what she could and couldn’t do.

“No typing, no writing, no repetitive arm movements.”

“Oh, good,” said Mischief. “So I can still use my mouth.”

They’ll be scrubbing Ms. Lithgow’s brains off that wall for a week.

On Monday night (May 31), Mischief returned from San Francisco and had dinner with the Once and Future King. The purpose of dinner was negotiating the terms of the marriage. In my mind’s eye, I like to picture it as 17th century Burghers negotiating a nuptial contract.

“Yes, zee bride vill perform oral sex upon rekvest. Her dowry, howefer, vill haf to be kompensated zignificantly!”

Allison would get marriage, but agreed to sacrifice the Mischiefettes. Metaphorically speaking, you understand. Unless you’re Abraham, there’s little point in having them just to sacrifice them. In exchange for little Zamboni and Peripatetica remaining theoretical ovum, Gríos would support Mischief (apparently, he has money… not, y’know, Money, but more than, say, any of us reading this) in a fairly lush style, send her back to school full-time to finish her Masters, and let her work on her book.

Gríos would agree to compromise on monogamy, working out a sort-of closed swinging contract that he and Mischief would only fool around together, and with both having veto authority over potential partners.

The first red flag went up for me when I learned that Gríos thought it would be a “great” idea for Mischief to keep me in her life, and even for us to continue exploring a D/s relationship (minus actual sex). I’ve encountered this kind of thing before, and it amounts to a man who isn’t interested in the work and effort needed to properly foster a BDSM dynamic farming it out to someone else. Like kinky globalization.

It’s one thing if you’re discussing a couple who’ve been together for ten years, and the wife just wants to eat at a fancy restaurant once in a while rather than cook at home. But making this play when you haven’t even, oh, say, figured out your vows? That’s pure disinterest.

Trying to convince herself that everything was working, Allison took Gríos to meet her parents, which threatened to be awkward since he was three when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, and she was three when the Challenger exploded.

Everything went smoothly, and the first weekend (Mischief works a normal schedule, so weekends actually matter) as reunited soonlyweds loomed. Their first real time alone in months.

To mark the occasion, Gríos took her to a nice dinner, after which they spent the evening alone at home, getting reacquainted BDSM play party at a house in Hollywood. A really shitty party attended by drunken, unconcerned doms taking things too far with submissives too heavily altered or emotionally damaged to say “Red.” I’ve been to parties like this, and it’s bad juju. You feel like you need a shower afterwards.

Mischief started texting me, playfully at first, and then more distressed as the anxiety built. Finally she called, needing an ear to absorb her discomfort and growing frustration as she perceived that Gríos was testing her. Auditioning her to see how she would handle his fantasy world of the swing club he owns and the constant sport-fucking. Even if that were acceptable behavior, once you’ve signed the contract, you’ve agreed to the sale. What’s left to test?

They left the party, stopped at Mel’s Diner for food, and when dinner was over, so was the engagement. Mischief had once again stood her ground, which is how she ended up here. We stayed up into the wee small hours, just her, me and the left half of my face, and I did my best to give genuine, thoughtful responses rather than simple platitudes.

Mostly, I think she just needed someone to be a sounding board while she worked it out. And it was convenient to have a man who valued her and found her attractive doing it, even if that man was Quasimodo. It was still good for her ego.

Since then, she’s slept here every night except Tuesday. I think, in a way, the loft has come to represent a place of safety and security for her as it used to for me. A funhouse-mirror version of the life she’s walked away from, complete with the distorted reflection of a man.

Also, she’s poking and testing to see if it’s only her trust in Gríos that’s been shattered, or if it’s trust in general.  I have a slew of my own opinions about Gríos’ underlying motivations, but I wasn’t there and I don’t know the man, so I’ll leave my conjecture unspoken.

As for what we’re doing, we don’t know, and right now isn’t the time to try and work it out. She primarily needs someone to be constant, honest and capable of displaying affection. Whatever this is, though, it’s easy. Effortless, like we’ve known each other for years. If I were prone to rebounding, I’d think I were, but it isn’t that. I’ve already turned down advances from other girls I would have jumped at on the rebound.

It’s just… a really good synergy. Even with the offspring question kind of tabled, we’ve still got bridges to cross. And we will. But right now, we’re just kinda happy running around on this side of the river.

P.S. The face is now fine.

So where was I? Ah, yes. The face.

Antibiotics and hot soaks aside, the swelling continued. I woke Saturday morning with half of my face looking like Brando in The Godfather. If I’ve learned nothing else from this experience, it’s that I need to set aside money for a face-lift in my 60s because I do not look attractive with jowls. How Winston Churchill could muddle through all those bulldoggy mornings during the blitz I’ll never know.

My doctor had asked me to call him with a status report, and when I reached him his advice was “Probably going to have to be drained. Emergency Room.”

This kind of thing fills me with dread because, of course, I don’t have insurance.

“How can this be, Bryn? A professional man in his 40s, no insurance?”

Well, ya see, I’m hypothyroid. The $26-per-month prescription constitutes a pre-existing condition, so the only way I can get insurance is through Cal-COBRA, at the low, low cost of $1,471 a month. That’s with a 50% co-pay and $3,000 deductible.

So yeah, no.

I got to spend a few hours in the gentle embrace of St. Vincent’s ER. No draining, but IV antibiotics and two new prescriptions. If you’re ever in the same boat of paying cash price for meds, let me give you a hint; call around before you fill your script. Prices… uh… vary. For the more expensive of the two antibiotics, Horton & Converse had it for $84, Rite Aid for $49 and CVS for $305.

When I got home, I called my doctor again, trying to figure out if I should add these to the drug he gave me (more, more, more!) or supplant it. When I told him the hospital had given me x and y, he said, “Oh, good. Those are for that type of infection.”

That reaction you’re having? That one, right now… yeah, that was my reaction. But I resisted the urge to scream it into the phone. There was no point. I just said goodbye and hung up. Then I turned into Les Grossman.

“Then why didn’t you give me this shit in the first place, MOTHERFUCKER?!

Cats scattered. I resisted the urge to fling my phone across the room.

The new antibiotics are strong. Kicked my ass for about three hours. As I flopped around on my office couch in a cold sweat, feeling like I’d taken a few too many sleeping pills, I was vaguely aware of cats coming and going. My phone ringing. The Ex-Box and The Souvenir making dinner below.

When I finally woke up, I was dreaming I had fallen out of a helicopter. Onto rocks.

I have felt at various times massively unattractive, but how I felt Saturday was pegged on the red side of grisly. I smelled bad from sweating, the drugs were making my face oily and my scalp dry, I hadn’t groomed my fuzz or fur in days… oh, and I had a giant, swollen, glowing, pus-filled radioactive blister where the left half of my face used to be.

Naturally, this was the night I would have a visitation from what Ray Stantz might have called “A full-body, free-roaming vapor.” In short, my phone rang at midnight-thirty, and one look told me it was an ROF – Randomly Occurring Female – calling for moral support, and most likely, an actual, physical shoulder to cry on.

Luckily, since I felt like Quasimodo, I had shoulder in ample supply.

to be continued

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If I commit suicide, it will not be to destroy myself but to put myself back together again. Suicide will be for me only one means of violently reconquering myself, of brutally invading my being, of anticipating the unpredictable approaches of God. By suicide, I reintroduce my design in nature, I shall for the first time give things the shape of my will. — Antonin Artaud, On Suicide