Hardrock either lucked out or he’s in jail, the thought occurred to me as I stuck Jane Fonda’s fine round rump in my moviola. Either way, he was getting some sleep, a little of which I could use myself. I’d been watching the Jon and Jane show for three days, trying to find a piece or two I could leave in for you poor deprived buckos out there in video zeroland.

“Lose it all!” the boss had said. “I don’t want it on my network! I don’t care if they did a hundred million domestic, and neither does BS&P.”

“You’re a company man!—” Hardrock razzed, as my grease pencil slid through Jane’s tight broad thigh, marking a tail-trim—once and for all—that would never see the half-light of the vast wasteland.

"—A butt-licking network flunky! You wanna spend the rest a your life cutting the balls out of some of the greatest pictures ever made?!”

Hardrock was depressed. We’d worked the weekend, through Monday, and into Tuesday afternoon before we’d run out of coke, uppers, and patience. Hardrock gets crazy and depressed without his dope. We’re a lot alike.

"Television SUCKS!" he wheezed, reeling, his nicotined tongue unrolling, reaching for the cutting room floor which was littered with sprocket holes and dead Dos Equis bottles. I was too tired to agree. I cracked a brew and kicked a trim bin across the room at him.

"You can sit here and take this shit," he said, balling up the memo from BS&P, "but I got better things to do than hang around and watch you kiss some censor's ass." With an attempt at disdain, which came out more like a cut-rate garage door slamming down, he shoved the trims back at me and pointed his earth shoes at the hall.

"We need more dope. I'm gonna score."

It was a bad time for him to take a powder. I usually like him around when Standards and Practices are running. Hardrock's always had the ability to trim those wild hairs before they get too far up some asshole. Besides that, being practical, the freaky-but-charming little jerk can't afford these vacations he takes. His eight a week barely covers his habits, all of which are the same as mine. We're a good team. Unwilling legionnaires of decency by day, when night falls we like nothing more than to party down. Call us anachronisms.

I ran what I call the foreplay: When Jane comes down that ramp in the hospital in her blue dress, backlit, heels and great legs beating on your libido. She’s got different hair by now, remember—the lacquered ladies-who-lunch do is done—and she looks, to a grunt just back from Nam certainly, basically like an angel from home. Like it was worth losing half your central nervous system just to have her sit on your face. I could at least leave that in. Vacuum up a few mini-hardons in the polyester creases.

Who wouldn't want to bone her I thought, reversing, backing her back up the ramp, stopping to watch her legs uncover, bringing her back down again. Muscles tighten and relax. Breasts bounce. Sunlight in her hair. Who wouldn't want to bone her anyway, except maybe Richard Nixon?

Hardrock would've done her with somebody else's prototype prosthetic penis, I know that. When he heard we were taking the coming out of Coming Home, he called publicity and hung stills of Jane they gave him all over the cutting room. The joint looked like Roger Vadim's scrapbook.

I checked the log. We'd lost a little under three minutes so far, most of it little bullshit stuff that any sane network would've run. It always amazes me: America the Beautiful and you can't show tits on the tube.

Put her to bed, my mind yawned. And while you're at it go get some sleep yourself.

I was rolling the last of the trims—Hardrock's job, the little prick—when the knock came tap tap tapping, like Bilbo Baggins with a boner.

"Yeah!" I yelled. "Come!"

Ever so slowly, even meekly, the door opened to reveal a cascade of auburn hair surrounding the most angelic face atop the most dangerously demonic body I have ever seen this side of an opium-induced wet dream. She was poured into a dress that couldn't have looked better if she'd taken it off, slowly, right there in front of me. She was like a breath of fresh Cambodian, and I mentally rearranged myself as I smiled hello.

She shined a smile back and walked over to Hardrock’s bench, not so timid anymore I noticed, but more like she had something to get off her chest.

"Janet Quimby," she said, settling herself smoothly on a stool that did wonderful things to her long unstockinged legs which she crossed. The name didn't ring a bell, but Mr. Happy was doing his impression of Big Ben while she put on a pair of very serious horned-rims.

"BS&P?” she queried, almost as an apology while she uncapped her mechanical blue pencil and found a spot in a book that was crammed with very tiny very particular-looking writing. I must have looked stupid, or come to think of it, tired and horny, but she added: "Let's see what you took out."

I was thinking of loosing the Lizard across her sun-tanned arm when it hit me: Oh! Quimby! BS&P!

A sort of maniacal smile spread across her very red lips. Wouldn't you know it? The Broadcast Standards and Practices guy is a girl.

"Well Janet," I said, with what I hoped was an evil glint. "I'm glad you've come."

She grew stern and uncrossed her legs.

"Uh, so to speak."

I rolled my chair across the room and fired up the moviola.

"I suppose you want to start with the language—"

"--Let's start with the sex, if you don't mind," she said. "I haven't got all day."

"Right." I was giggling to myself, wishing I had a little taste to see me through this thing.

"As I see it, we've got one real basic problem with the picture, and it happens right about--"

"Where the two of them get to his apartment and he doo doos in a bag."

"Oh?" I deadpanned. "I thought he was getting a rubber." Her cool gray eyes grew cooler. "Or something. Deodorant." She stiffened. "Whatever."

I stuck in the trim and ran it. She stood very close. I was flexing my arm about two inches from her supremely rounded braless breast. She smelled like cotton candy on the first saturday of summer.

"Anyway," I said, "this is the whole point of the picture. It's the beginning of a healing process...like they're saying .. 'look America, Jane Fonda can fuck a paraplegic, maybe we can embrace our past as well—'"

"Just shut up and run it please."

A funny thing happened. As the screen started to heat up a little, so did Miss Quimby. About sixty feet down she started throwing body English into the job. Can THIS be her job, really? I was thinking.

Jane's breathing got heavy and so did Janet's. She moved closer. We were touching, and I have to admit, I wanted to loose The Beast on her right there, but she stopped me with:

"Oooh! This is my favorite part!"

When oral sex is being performed in a room with more than one couple present, even if half of them are only four inches high, it can be a very exciting time. I felt Miss Quimby's hand on my pants because just as I was going to straighten out my unit, she did.

"Run it slow," she whispered, coming around between me and the moviola, where she unzipped my fly. "Slow motion, Mr. Film Editor. For Little Janet."

The Lizard oozed out into her warm palm. I thought for a minute she might have greased it with lead from her pencil, it felt so good, but then I remembered she liked it slow so I switched pedals and brought the show down to five or six frames a second.

The sound track wowed in deep slow pulses of unintelligibility as Miss Quimby slid her tongue along my unruly beast.

"Aaaaaarrrrrghghggrruupfff," the moviola said "Ummmph," Miss Quimby said, taking a mouthful of Baby Dragon.

She did it very well. I watched her cleavage deepen as her breasts pressed against my legs.

I was wishing Hardrock could be here to see a censor really give it to me for a change, when Miss Quimby forced my pants all the way down to the floor and grabbed Larry with the hand with a ring on it. She kneaded my puckered pudnuts for a minute, then took a long, loooong lick before moaning:

"Is she coming yet?"

"Ub unh," I managed, shaking my head. "I'll let you know."

Her fingers glissandoed up and down my sweetstick; and then she used her lips and tttteeeeth, and then I knew there was no sense waiting any longer, but I thought about maintaining, just for practice or something.

"Arrrgh, arrgh, argh," the film said.

"Oooh. Oooh," I said. "Yay Janet."

She gave me virtuoso deep throat rock and roll, and as I felt my hot stuff gush down her thrumming tube, I let the trim tangle in her hair and, ffflitt, the film tore right across Jane's climax.

"Mmmmm!" said Miss Quimby.

"Pudding for Janet. MMMmm mmm mmmmmmunhhh!"

*

"So then you fucked her?!" Hardrock was so excited his coke spoon got nowhere near his nose. Take two.

"No shit, Sherlock, you for real plugged the B.S.&P. guy right in this room?!"

His ornate silver x-rated implement of destruction arced over the moviola to me. I tried looking nonchalant, or at least alert, but to tell the truth, Janet Quimby had not only blown my joint but also, in the long night since yesterday, my mind.

"If you weren't such a frigging head, you would've been here," I sniffed. "I coulda used you!"

Good coke, if you're into that. My head felt like Tarzan stroking Jane in the dildobabble tree, if you know what I mean.

"So what's the deal," he said, like a poor kid with a snow shovel on Christmas morning. I recognized the look in his eye. "You gonna see her or what?"

His mind was a blizzard of demented permutations.

"She gave me her phone number," I said. "Maybe I'll call."

"Maybe?! You ignorant asshole! A beautiful, talented, to say nothing of highly-paid network executive polishes your knob, on the JOB for shitsake, and then the two of you fuck till breakfast and MAYBE you'll call?!"

He was quite beside himself. My brain was opening up faster than I could keep my thoughts together. I still needed sleep and my cock hurt.

"Hardrock, you know me, man. I'm a fuckin workaholic."

It's true. TV's a tough gig.

"But there's more to it than that."

I was eyeing the flaky pile he was idly combing through so Hardrock dipped his 'poon to come and get it.

"Go on," he said.

"She's a kinko/psycho, man."

His eyebrows drifted upward in tribute either to my diagnosis or the coke.

"I mean she went nuts."

He chortled, snuffling up another twenty bucks.

"Crying, talking about being crazy for fucking and sucking—"

"—So who isn't?"

"—how sometimes a picture will turn her on so much she wets her pants in the lobby—"

"I can dig it."

"—and here's the thing: I'm not the first cutter she's done this to."

"You mean you trim a picture, Janet Quimby sucks your cock?"

"Yeah."

"Holy film editing, Mr. Bill. What a paycheck."

"That's part of it."

"What else?"

"The trims."

"Yeah?"

"She keeps em."

"Wha?

"Yeah." I motioned to my empty bench. "She grabbed off every goddamn trim I made." I handed him the note, written in Janet's peculiar hand:

"Dear Larry.

I don't know whether you were tired or just completely f-----d out, but thanks anyway. C-----g Home is still one of the great ones."

"Awww, you dipshit."

Christmas morning turned to slush before my eyes.

"What an asshole."

Hardrock scarfed up his flake and generally let his disappointment be known.

"What's the matter?"

"The whole deal's fucked, man. Heavy Herbie's gonna kick my ass."

I sensed trouble. Herbie works in negative cutting. He also deals some mean cocaine, at a price that'd set your teeth on edge.

"I promised to run off a quick viddie on the good stuff." He shook his head sadly. "Balance of payments."

"You were gonna tape the trims?"

"He's got a hardon for Jon."

"To pay off this blow?"

"Uh hunh. I've done it before. I come out ahead. He's a pervert."

"Fuck, Hardrock, why can't you deal in cash like the real world?"

"Some things are more important than money, Larry."

"Like your goddamned life, I suppose."

"Yeah."

I took a deep, fatigued breath. I was beginning to doubt I'd see my bed again.

My freebase-besodden brain stumbled through the evidence: The trims were gone. My pecker ached. Hardrock had come home with more than a little coke and something of a debt. Life was unfair.

"Hey Sleazeball," I reached a kind of decision quickly. "You gotta do me a favor now..."

*

I was very smooth with Janet. She wasn't sure why she was coming, but I think she knew it'd be worth it. I made a second call to SuperVideo, every film-prejudiced bone in my body aching. Ninety bucks they wanted. I was wondering if Hardrock's ass was worth it.

Janet's ass was beautiful. It snuggled under a tight white simple cotton skirt the sun kissed from behind. She knew how to walk too. From the cutting room balcony I watched her lock her BMW and ease across the parking lot. Three guards were mentally undressing her. Six actresses were bummed out cause they knew she'd get their parts.

Oh well, might as well psych myself up for this, tootling one last time a morsel or two.

I blew out the gate on the KEM. I was reminded of an altar, the way the sleek editing machine stood there in the dark, awaiting true believers. Movie magic was the key. The door was creaking open.

"Hi," she said, in a voice that sounded like it was reserved for old friends. "Real glad I could come again."

"Makes two of us, darlin."

I went the boyish route. Be a little soft about what happened yesterday. Grin.

"You're very good you know," she said with a twinkle in her eyes which didn't look tired.

Grin again. This was gonna be easy.

She smiled, and by now I could smell her, a husky natural scent behind something clean and fresh.

"What you do, I mean. Network loves the show."

I nodded. Snip snip at the air.

"I have our film here." She patted her expensive bag. Advancing.

"What is it you're hiding, Larry?"

I guess I looked guilty.

"Got something to show you."

"I bet."

She moved closer so I could snake an arm around her waist.

"Can you stay a while?"

"Depends."

She smiled again and checked her watch. Her eyes grew dewy.

"I'm cutting Last Tango in half an hour."

That figures, I thought. Just goes to prove an old dictum: let the network fuck you once and they'll fuck you every time.

I was feeling combination sleepy-Larry-cut-by-the-numbers semi-enraged-swain when Hardrock crashed through the door, startling us all. He had what I needed under his arm and he gushed: "Hi gang!"

He threaded up the KEM.

"Got tonight's feature here. Gonna put it on this shiny new 2lst century machine here and really give ya a showl"

Janet was mildly amused.

"Uh, can I speak to you a minute, Larry?" said my assistant.

Hardrock knew of no way to proceed but straight ahead. I disentangled myself from my honey of a handful. He whispered as he checked the tension on the takeup:

"SuperVideo's here. They're setting up."

"Don't worry, just give her one for me."

He cocked a lopsided grin at Janet and murmured "nice meetin ya."

I hit the start on the KEM.

Larry's Home Movie Time. The only high points in ten years of network whoredom. Janet's eyes were glued to the screen. I said a little prayer as the leader ran down:

Six...five...four...sync pop.

Three feet of black, and before the screen lit up Hardrock thumbed the bag on his way out.

Loren and Mastroianni. He's lying on the bed and Sophia wears a black negligee and black hose. Don't know why they lost it, but here it came.

She peeled off one smooth stocking and tossed it provocatively on the bed. Janet was smiling.

Splice.

The second sequence was scratched. I'd worked it over pretty good.

Sarah Miles going down on Kris Kristofferson in The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea.

"Oooh," Janet gurgled. She cupped her breasts with opposite hands. "I remember this. Ooh."

I insinuated myself across the room and stood behind her. I figured I could keep her interested with a little selective breathing on her slightly freckled neck.

It's Kris's turn now.

Janet seems to feel his tongue along her own insides.

"…mmmmmmm…. " I ran my finger along her quivering throat. She purred like a twelve cylinder Jag.

"…mmmmmhmmmmmmmm…. That's nice."

I've spent time less enjoyably, that's for sure.

"Just a little history of the snip trade," I whispered.

"Mmmm…I love it, Larry."

"Thought you would, darlin."

Farrah Fawcett—"Oh my God!" says Janet—stroking Raquel Welch under the sheets in Myra Breckinridge.

It was her film debut, if you recall. I think, by the way her body stiffens, that Janet may go for a few of the girls herself.

Impeccable timing brings us Valerie Perrine, naked just for us and Lenny.

Warren Beatty with Julie Christie's legs around his waist finally does the trick.

"Oh baby," says Janet. "Let's play."

I kiss her neck and breasts as she angles down to the floor.

Oh, and here's Jane again, in Klute.

She's working her trick. Just settin' him up with sexy trade secret murmurs. Network hated that you know.

Her epidermis is microscopically taut, each tiny hair erect to signal the passage of my tongue to her most private self.

Midnight Cowboy. Selected scenes. Artfully arranged and with special musical overlay. I smugly lick the curve of Janet's golden calf. My fingers flick out on a recon mission. She is moist and ready, like a new garden. I rub a fingerprint gently on the hard little nub of her excitement. She groans ecstasy. I reach up to kiss her. Her lips are drawn back over her teeth, like a beach bitch guarding the trash cans of the very rich.

My tongue turns insistent, forcing its way into her mouth. She's fumbling with her shoes, then my belt buckle. I remove my hand and help tug my pants down. My man springs up, seeking her out with a mind all its own. We ease slowly in.

Small pulses of the initial stages of orgasm draw us deeper. Janet is wailing her approval.

"Oh yes, Larry! Yes! Yes!"

Barbarella. Jane is breaking the sex machine.

Janet grinds her pubis against me. She's got to still be a little raw from last night, but it doesn't matter.

Jane and Janet. Janet and Jane.

My mind is turning back inside itself, coked to the max and aching for release.

I feel it coming.

The slippery walls of Janet grow moreso. Her cries well up from somewhere deep inside her. We crash against the floor. I force the Lizard deeper, knowing that way the secret lies. Buying time.

I've saved the best for last. I back off a little, pacing her, letting her savor it.

The KEM explodes in sound and color:

The sexiest piece of film I've ever cut out for TV. The absolutely fanfuckingtastic fuck scene from Don't Look Now, Sutherland and Julie Christie making hard almost supernatural love, the way every red-blooded American boy and girl would if they could.

"Ooooooh, Larry! I'm coming…ing…ing…!

She makes little cries with every pulse of herself, and her nails rake my flesh. I hold her tight, as if that's the only way we can breathe.

The screen goes black.

My mind flashes white, the color of a cocaine orgasm.

Tbwap thwap thwap thwap, the leader runs out of the gate and onto the takeup reel.

"Oh baby..." she barely gets it out. Oh Babyyyy... ttthat's fantastic. Oh Larry.. .Oh baby…."

We are engulfed in sudden quiet. Only soft panting from the two of us intrudes on love's silence. I kiss her soft full lips, tasting the sweat from my own brow that's come between us. Her eyes are very bright and large in the darkness. She pulls me back down to her, with both hands, by the hair.

The whole scene has played eight and a half minutes. I shush her with soft and gentle fingers over her mouth, listening for the only sound I know can mean all clear: the high speed rewind of the portable video transfer machine. I think I can hear it.

I kiss Janet one last time and lumber to my feet. She lies there on the floor, her body still wracked with a whole series of little heavings.

She brushes her hair away from her face just as I hear those earth shoes squeaking in the hall. There's a little knock on the door and I hear the sleazeball whisper:

"Hey Larry! Ninety bucks! These fuckers want ninety bucks for three minutes of film!"

Which is nothing when you consider the network pays millions not to see it.

I smile, hand him the cash, and turn back to Janet, who still has twenty minutes before Last Tango.


On Hollywood and filmmaking:

Below the Line

sex drugs and divorce

a little life, interrupted
  1. Hecho en Mejico
  2. Entrances
  3. Sam's Song
  4. Hemingway and Fortuna
  5. Hummingbird on the Left
  6. The Long and Drunken Afternoon
  7. Safe in the Lap of the Gods
  8. Quetzal Birds in Love
  9. Angela in Paradise
  10. And the machine ran backwards


a secondhand coffin
how to act
Right. Me and Herman Melville
Scylla and Charybdis Approximately
snowflakes and nylon


I could've kissed Orson Welles
the broken dreams of Orson Welles
the last time I saw Orson Welles
The Other Side of the Wind


ASC
avid
Below the Line
Charles Durning
completion bond
D/Vision
Film Editing
Film Editor
Final Cut Pro
forced development
HD Video
insert
king of the queens
Kubrick polishes a turd
movies from space
moviola
Panavision
Persistence of Vision
Sven Nykvist
Wilford Brimley


21 Grams
A.I.
Andrei Rublyov
Apocalypse Now Redux
Collateral
Entourage
Ivan's Childhood
The Jazz Singer
Mirror
Nostalghia
Six Feet Under
The Sacrifice
We Were Soldiers
Wild Strawberries

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