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I was dreaming of little boys on a playground of mud. They were in a circle speaking in a language that sounded like Russian. I was holding hands with the boys on either side as we felt the large raindrops hit us, just every so often, like soft bullets to the backs of our heads. Our shorts were all the same color of red, but our shirts were different colors. Only mine was white. The mud would ruin my shirt.

I kept my eyes shut to try and advance the dream, but I was dreadfully awake. The California sun slanted in the venetian blinds. My first focused glance was on something Pedro had left on the nightstand. It was shining in the yellow glint and I couldn't focus at first. After all, I'd just spent a night haste la madre on the Ferris wheel of something which went so high and wild that I could be seeing things. Again.

I slipped out from under the covers and picked up the trinket which had caught my eye. It was a bejeweled box with a clasp. I opened the clasp. I realized very quickly why my backside was in so much lovely pain. White powder.

I've done as much cocaine as the next queen, but I'd given it up several years ago after an ugly affair down home with a man from Hollywood.

________________

I had been in Illampu on some sort of vision quest, which was my fancy word for trying to end a fascination with child porn. I knew that true evil would actually overcome the Evil One if I didn't at least attempt to stop the elevation of the desire. I was living in a dirt poor hacienda, doing some translations for the local drug lord. He was a miniscule and poor excuse for a "lord of dope," but it was in the middle of nowhere where a small fish could swim large, and he needed someone who could speak the tongue of el Norte.

One rainy day while I had been attempting the rosary ritual (yes, I was desperate and had come to have visions of an older man in a large white hat who wanted to assist me), a Hum Vee pulled into the dirt poor conclave. An acne-scarred man jumped out of the passenger side just as the tires made their final rut in our only road. He looked around like some sort of demon who doesn't allow for the possibility of life in his presence. He kept looking at the treeline and the tops of the huts and doing that thing that movie makers do with their thumbs and forefingers.

I put a jacket over my head and walked out to see what this stranger was about. "Can I help you? I am the only English-speaking person here."

Without stopping at my eyes, his glance went directly to my crotch. Then his eyes wandered slowly back up to meet mine. "I'm Gordon Sloane."

"And you would be here because . . . ?"

"Smartass, eh? I like that in el maricón. Tell you what I'm gonna do. What's your name?"

"Names mean very little here. Just call me the Evil One."

"OK, E, here's the deal: I need some blow and I need it now. You got any connections here?"

"It's $50 American for a gram."

"You are my new best friend. Yes, I want 5 grams and I want two needles; one for me and one for you."

I had been around the drug for quite some time, but the thought of shooting it had never entered my brain. Until now. The cratered face and the awesome ego of this Hollywood asshole had totally overtaken me. Perhaps it was the time out of country. Perhaps it was the forbidden desires I could only stifle and not quell. Perhaps it was his cologne.

________________

I looked at my mariquita, still sleeping with that look of total satisfaction on his brown face. I loved this man more than life, but I was not going to get drawn back into Gordon's world of high-flying trapeze sex and death. I was calm now, for the first time in my life, and nothing -- not even the man from Mexico -- was going to jeopardize that peace.

I closed the trinket and closed my mind to thoughts of perfect love.


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"I'm a writer," she smiled, spreading the legs that stretched her five-foot-ten to his shoulder, steadying herself in the Bolivian mud. The crew couldn't take their eyes off her.

Sloane had always liked tall women. And a blonde tall woman, in Bolivia, after a month and a half with nothing but weed and coke and his own two hands to soothe him when the sun went down, it was like his prayers had been answered.

The director was looking at him funny, anxious to get the shot. Sloane dismissed Pedro, who was grinning ear to ear, like a dangerous Mexican cur who'd brought his master some new trinket to approve:

"Thanks, Pedro. Very nice. Let us get back to work here, hunh?"

Pedro slid away into the shadows in that maleficent way he had. It's surprising they called the other one—that pudgy lapdog with choreographic tendencies—the Evil One. This Pedro looked like he'd just as soon slip a blade between your ribs as go down on you, but—they were all guests in a foreign land. Who's to judge local customs? So long as Pedro kept the flake and the floozies coming, Sloane would reserve judgement.

Taking a wait-and-see attitude; that was Gordon Sloane's way. Method. Observation. A Plan in good time. He'd learned success in the movie business well, from a succession of patient masters who, in their way, had loved him.

He motioned to his gaffer in that surreptitious way all cinematographers evolve, locked down the Panaflex, and appraised this new face on the set. She wasted no time:

"Independent News Service. They like crazy stories and this is the craziest."

She placed her definitely muscled though still slender arm through his and walked him through the maze of cable and crew to a spot in the shade by the honeywagen.

"I mean how did you get all this stuff in here?"

Sloane smiled. She had blue eyes. Her tailored jungle fatigues reminded him of some hopelessly erotic girl scout, the way she tumbled out of them.

"I might ask the same question--"

"Sondra, Mr. Sloane. Sondra Baynes. Independent--"

"News Service, I know. We flew it in, Sondra. Every last applebox and ninelight. All the way from--"

"Hollywood?"

"There it is," he nodded. He held his finger to his lips, anticipating the A.D.'s call:

"Awright, everybody, this is picture." Everybody but the birds settled in for the shot.

"Roll it!"

"Unh…23 Charlie, Take One," said the mixer. "Speed."

________________

Jungle fucking magic, Sloane thought, inserting the Porsche into the flow of traffic the way a junkie finds a vein. I must have been out of my mind.

________________

In fact, they both were, a little. By the time they'd worked their way through a gram and a half of the purest coke in the world, and with the better part of a fifth of some of Pedro's finest imported Herradura tequila to chase it down, it was like their bodies had come together somewhere down the line at the Enrico Fermi Lab.

It was raining, and it had been a dry summer in the poon department. Sloane slid his lips past the edge of Sondra's smile, grazing in the smooth plane of her cheek. Her breath was hot in his ear.

There was an odor of ozone in the air from the storm, and the O3 molecules interlaced themselves with Sondra's own sweet smell, transforming into something like trinkets of the gods, the gift of freshness in a spoiled, decaying world. Sloane brought his head down to nuzzle in the depths of her breasts.

He felt her body relax as she settled on her back. She rotated her hips.

Sloane undid the bass buckle of her web belt and tugged at the tight O.D. shorts.

________________

Fellini hitched up a pair or summerweight trousers roughly the size and shape of a third-rate traveling circus tent. For a man who spent the better part of his professional life exuding ball-busting confidence, he perspired too much.

Sloane bridged his nose with a long-irrelevant copy of Vanity Fair, the better to fend off the faint smell of camel piss in the air. He wasn't in the mood.

"So sue me, goddammit!" Fellini screamed into his faux-bejeweled French Provincial telephone. He rang off in humor most foul. "Sonsabitches, all of 'em. Man can't make an honest living in this fucking business anymore."

He eyed Sloane the way a grade school principal does a chronic offender, full of bile:

"And you, Sloane, are FUCKED!"

"You drag me all the way down here to tell me that? Fuck, Fellini, I haven't worked since I got back from Bolivia. I got expenses, man, I got a new house and--"

"You got shit for brains, Gordon!"

Fellini heaved his fat carcass against the back of his chair and swiveled over to the window ledge that ran the width of the room. On a clear day you could see San Pedro, but where do you find a clear day?

"You still fucking that reporter you met on the shoot?"

"I don't see what the hell difference my--"

"You don't see shit, Sloane! For a Big League Fucking Director of Photography I call that an occupational disadfuckingvantage!"

There was something in the way he said it, something in Fellini's uncharacteristic resignation that bothered Sloane. He watched his agent methodically open his humidor, handcarved with scenes from the Kama Sutra, and extract a torpedo-shaped cigar grown in Honduras from Cuban cuttings.

Fellini let the moment of doubt he sensed in Sloane play out, moistening, nipping, rolling the cigar in sensual flame before he spoke. His words, when they came, cut through the thick smoke like a Muslim death sentence:

"You and I are through."

________________

Sondra stiffened as Sloane found the rhythm that drove her towards the edge. Sweat like jungle rivers ran down her hard thighs, pooling in the salty marshlands of her need. Sloane's beard was rough and she liked it. She pulled him back up to her and he traced his way back across the valley and the hills of her, along her neck that had started to become so wondrously familiar, to her lips again, so full and grateful, nipping at him, whispering alternately, cursing him for his genius with her.

"Now, baby. Gordon. Now."

________________

The Porsche needed a tune-up. She lurched a little as Sloane hit the gas, passing an Average Joe on the right. Joe gave him the finger and Sloane floored it. The Carrera burped again but took it.

My life could use a tuneup, Sloane thought as he cut quickly back into the number one lane. Why do I always lead with my dick?

________________

It was just a little trinket, the fat one explained. From the both of them. Just something to remind him of their time together .

Sloane examined the money clip. Sterling silver. A nicely-engraved rendering of the Aztec Calendar Stone; a small blade hidden along one edge, like a razor, good for cutting a cigar, some blow--or an artery. It was expensive, even in pesos. He looked up at Pedro and Evil, the big lug, who had tears in his eyes. Considering what they'd all been through, he had no difficulty hugging them both.

They surveyed the equipment laid out on the tarmac: aluminum cases by the dozens; grip stands, dollies, mic booms and tripods.

I'm a fucking gypsy, Sloane thought. A fucking clown in a goddamn traveling circus

They'd on-load this shit, kiss the locals goodbye, and tomorrow they'd be back in El Lay.

The jungle would reclaim all their locations and everything would be the same.

Almost everything.


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Trin"ket (?), n. [F. trinquet foremast, also, a certain sail, trinquette a triangular sail, or Sp. trinquete triangular.] Naut.

A three-cornered sail formerly carried on a ship's foremast, probably on a lateen yard.

Sailing always with the sheets of mainsail and trinket warily in our hands. Hakluyt.

 

© Webster 1913.


Trin"ket, n. [OE. trenket a sort of knife, hence, probably, a toy knife worn as an ornament; probably from an Old French dialectic form of trenchier to cut. Cf. Trench, v. t.]

1.

A knife; a cutting tool.

Tusser.

2.

A small ornament, as a jewel, ring, or the like.

3.

A thing of little value; a trifle; a toy.

 

© Webster 1913.


Trin"ket, v. i.

To give trinkets; hence, to court favor; to intrigue.

[Obs.]

South.

 

© Webster 1913.

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