They had started out so well together, that afternoon in the jungle, when the sun hung like an opalescent bauble in the still grey sky and they had no cover set and the rest of the day was theirs. The soft rain fell antiseptically and Sondra seemed to draw all the badness out of him.

“, Baby,” she moaned as Sloane finally found his way into her. She felt like Queen’s Velvet wrapped around him, pulsing warm and wet, involuntarily now, then on purpose, expert, amazing. Where had she learned to fuck like this?

Sondra raised her ass so he could take her deeper. Heels on the cot, knees high above his head, powerful calves wet and slightly scratchy in his hands. Sloane loved it when a woman’s legs were unshaved. Three days’ was perfect. He rocked quickly in and out of her, like they were on ball bearings, just a little movement, a matter of fractions of inches, over and over again, enjoying, gradually obliterating evil.

They were very good together. He knew that from the very beginning.


Sloane had turned to leave, but Fellini had to have the last word:

“You think I don’t talk to people?!” he thundered. “You think I don’t know what goes down!?”

Sloane stood in the office, hands jammed in his jeans pockets. He’d lost weight on the shoot. The heat and the drugs and the work and the girl. Always the girl. It occured to him that he’d do anything for her.

Fellini glared and smoked, smoked and glared. The jester’s stick he kept on his desk lay there, red tongue lolling obscenely, ass’s ears flopping stupidly, pinkly, over the edge.

Sloane had the distinct vibe of being in the principal’s office. On the carpet in front of the captain. In the producers’ dining room that time when they’d suckered him into leaving the picture when it was the director who was really to blame. He knew he didn’t really have to say anything, but he felt like talking anyway:

“We do what we have to, Fellini. You always have.”

“What I have to do, asshole, is find me a new client! Somebody who can walk it like he talks it and will play motherfucking ball! This isn’t fucking high school, Shitforbrains!”

Sloane shrugged.

“You’re not the greatest goddamn cameraman to come down the pike you know! Francis won’t return my calls and Fred and Gary tell me they think it’s cause he’s finally tired of your schizohfuckingphrenia.”

“Right! And that fat fuck is the easiest guy in the world to get along with!”

“Last time I looked, getting along was part of your job description, Gordon. You can’t afford this prima donna shit you’re pulling!”


Manila. A lifetime ago. He thought he’d beat the needle after Vietnam. He was a lousy clapper/loader on the second unit with too much time on his hands. Francis flew fresh meals in from the city every day. He was an old hand at bumming helicopter rides. Once in a while he thought about jumping, just jumping. Wondering how those green palm fronds would feel when his aching body hit them. Wondering how the black oblivion that he could find for free compared to the white one which was so expensive.

Those little Filipino boy/girls. The great white rush of pure alkaloid abandon. Nobody knew who you were. Nobody cared. He should have just stayed there, in the capital city of Hell on Earth. Like Kurtz. King of all he thought he surveyed.



Sondra’s voice brought him back. She looked anxiously into his eyes:

“Baby? You OK?”

He could see himself reflected in her dilated pupils, his head like a bauble bobbing in blackness. He startled back into something approaching consciousness. He had developed, he realized, a great fear of death.

Sondra had a bruise on her left cheekbone, blue and new. Sloane couldn’t remember if he’d put it there or not. He had a sense of being lost in time.

“I think it’s over for them,” Sondra said as she poured him coffee.


“Evil and his lover.”

“Already? Why?”

Sondra shrugged. She looked so beautiful as she prepped the pipe. Her breasts hung heavily out of his denim workshirt, half-unbuttoned.

“A taxi came after you left. Pedro got in. He had a suitcase.”

Sloane rushed to his feet, engulfed in sudden terror.