NORTH NORTH HOLLYWOOD – Chapter 20 – by Peter Nolan Smith

Two seconds after the woman hung up, Sean Tempo dialed 911.

“Yes, may I help you?” the 911 operator answered within ten seconds.

Sean explained the nature of the emergency and gave the operator the woman’s address. Several seconds passed in silence before the operator stated, “EMS no longer responds to that address.”

“What do you mean? No longer responds?”

>”EMS has logged seven suicide attempts, four domestic violence calls, and four reports of attempted break-ins from that address in the last year. Always from the same caller. Che Chasta.”

The name strummed a chord in Sean’s memory.

“Which means?”

“No one will answer that call. Not the EMS, the Fire Department, or the police. Sorry.”

“So what am I supposed to do?”

“Go over yourself,” the operator suggested and signed off saying, “Have a nice day.”

If the State of California was abdicating its social responsibility, then he would answer this woman’s plea, if only to take her to a hospital. Sean star-69ed the caller’s number. The phone was busy, and he reckoned the caller had dropped it on the floor. He searched the Yellow Pages for a taxi service. A dispatcher informed him that a cab would arrive in less than five minutes and the ride over to Hollywood at this time of the afternoon would take no more than twenty-five minutes.

Sean hung up and stuck the sheets from the bed in the dryer, then plucked a real $100 bill in his pocket. He snatched a set of house keys off the kitchen counter and left the apartment. The door shut behind him. Maybe he should have left a note for the women, but every second counted in matters of life and death.

The corridor led to the elevators. The walls were unpainted sheet rock and the hallway smelled of damp concrete. Most of the doors to the other apartments had no knobs or locks. Light bulbs hung by a wire from the ceiling by a wire.

Whoever had financed this repair project had run out of money, but at least the elevator was working and Sean stepped inside the car.

When the doors opened on the ground floor, Sean ran through the dusty atrium to the waiting taxi.

He gave the driver the destination and the Sikh driver pulled out of the parking lot.

Rain bounced off the pavement of a broad boulevard lined with body, brake, and transmission shops. The lights ran in sequence to the Hollywood Freeway. Sean could barely see out the windows and cracked open the window. The driver chattered in Punjabi over the radio, as the taxi swerved through traffic. The cab narrowly missed sideswiping several trucks, although none of these close calls fazed the driver. At Highland he sliced across four lanes to the exit and slipped past the single queue of vehicles to stop abruptly at a yellow light.

Sorry, sir, there are too many policemen to burn the light.”
“No worries.”

The driver waited out the oncoming traffic, then swerved right onto the boulevard, maintaining the speed limit until turning onto a street of sad bungalows. The taxi halted before a dull green house with an overgrown lawn. The rain had let up, but the air was thick with a cold damp.

“Just wait a few minutes.” Sean opened the taxi door.

“No problem, if you give me something to hold.”

“You mean like money?”

“Exactly, sir.”

Sean was a little hesitant about handing the Sikh a hundred, but this woman might need a ride to the hospital, so he noted the driver’s permit number and said. “I’ll be right out.”

“And I shall be waiting, sir.” The driver held up the bill.

Sean got out of the taxi.

Several stray cats sulked through the lawn’s high weeds, ignoring a crow pecking at a crumbled piece of trash. The only sound was a dog barking in he distance. People lived in these houses, but no one was walking around in this weather.

Overhead dark clouds were preparing for another downpour and a wet wind rustled through the bushes.

Sean tried the front door. It was locked. On a hunch he lifted the doormat and found a rusty key. It turned the lock.

The scent of musty mildew welcomed him into the living room. An old RCA TV was surrounded by stacks of videos and the furniture was buried under soiled clothing. The fireplace was filled with take-out containers and garbage overflowed from two trash cans. Whoever had called him earlier certainly didn’t hold with cleanliness being close to godliness and he heard a phone off the hook.

“Anyone here?”

No one answered him and he studied the life-sized posters publicizing the various adult videos. They featured a big-breasted blonde surrounded by muscular men. The photo told the storyline of the movie in one word.


Many men with one woman.

Sean connected the face and body with the name Che Chasta.

Six years ago he had seen her dance at the Triple Threat Theater in Times Square for ten men at the afternoon show. This had to be her place.

He pushed open the last door. The busy signal was coming from inside. The bedroom was surprisingly tidy in comparison to the rest of the house.

A video camera was pointed at the blonde woman on the bed. She was naked other than the cuffs restraining her to the bedposts. Che Chasta was in the proper position to perform her cinematic specialty, except Sean wasn’t sure she was breathing. After shutting off the video camera and hanging up the phone, he touched her neck. His fingertips felt a pulse under the deathly cold skin. He tapped her face.

“Wake up.”

The blonde opened her eyes and croaked, “Who are you.”

“Me?” Sean stared at how her unnaturally firm breasts were stretched to a translucent thinness.

“Yes, where did you come from?” Her eyes wandered in and out of focus. A needle mark reddened the inside of her elbow. Someone else had shot her up and tied her to the bed. The video was for fetishists into sleeping women. There was an audience for every genre in porno.

“From Sherri’s.” He resisted touching her breasts, but undid the cuff from her wrist and then loosened the restraints on her ankles. “I came, because you sounded like you were in trouble.”

“I still am.” The blonde lazily rubbed her wrists, as her eyes drifted up inside her skull. The taxi blew its horn outside.

“Who’s that?”

“The taxi.” The smell of woman roiling in his nostrils. His arousal felt like a betrayal of Sherri and he stepped back toward the door. Sean was not the type of man to take advantage of a woman in this condition.

Even of a porno star.

“Where you going?”

“I was going to take you to the hospital.”

“No hospital.” An expression of recognition passed over her face. “I know you.”


“You’re the man from the highway.”

“I am?”

“Yes, the man from nowhere.”

“It seems to be my new name.”

Che had fit in another piece in his puzzle.

He saw himself asleep in the back of a car with Lena and Che in the front seat. His mind played a dirty movie. Looking down at Che he started another. The horn blew outside. “I got to pay the driver. I’ll be right back.”

Sean threw a blanket over the blonde and ran to the street. The driver gave him the change and Sean handed him a $10 tip. He returned to the house and locked the door. When he entered the bedroom, the blonde said dreamily, “Funny, you showing up again.”

“Why?” Sean sat on the edge of the bed.

“Just we help you that night and now you help me.” The blonde actress touched his face, as if she were a blind person trying to read his features.

“So I guess we’re even, but who did this to you?”

The blonde licked her parched lips.

“I’d love to tell you everything, but I need a glass of water first.”

“Sure thing.” Sean went into the kitchen. finding a clean glass was impossible. He washed a tea cup in the sink. When he got back to the bedroom, Che Chasta was crashed out in a distorted parody of Sleeping Beauty.

Sean rechecked her pulse.

It was stronger, but she didn’t react to his touch and he surrendered to the temptation of caressing her breasts. They were as hard as they looked. His other hand fingered her soft hair. She was completely at his mercy, yet however easy as it was to think about doing it, which in many women’s minds that was just as punishable as rape, he was incapable of executing the actual deed.

Sean pulled the covers over her body and unplugged the telephone, since Che needed sleep a lot more than any contact with the outside world.

Sean entered the living room and cleared off the sofa room. His body was shaking with frustration. He hadn’t been with a woman in six months and nothing in the last two days suggested that this stretch of celibacy would end in the near future.

The only women he had met in Los Angeles were two lesbian lovers and a drugged sex star.

Both scenarios were promising in his fantasies, but not in reality.

He sank onto the couch and noticed the hundreds of videos scattered around the TV.

They were all X-rated.

Che was in every one.

Sean flashed Che Chasta watching these videos as Gloria Swanson had viewed her old black-and-white films in SUNSET BOULEVARD. He fought off the disturbing image, since he cast himself as William Holden, and picked out a box titled NEW PUSSY ON THE TOWN. The video dated back to the early 80s. The starlet wore her darker hair in a Farah Fawcett shag and her body mirrored the nubility of a teenager out for her first wild fling.

Sean decided to reward himself for saving her life by setting in motion a one-man Che Chasta Film Festival. He armed himself with a remote control and pressed the PLAY button for YOUNG AND BAD, which captured Che right off the pumpkin truck. None of the bearded studs were memorable, while Che demonstrated a star quality ready to blaze nova.

He fast-forwarded through the inane dialogues and the repetitive sex scenes. Hundreds of males spurted semen onto her breasts, backside, thighs, face, belly, yet never inside, for long ago someone in the porno business had decided that the money shot was more visually dramatic than the man just groaning in pleasure.

Psychologically this institutional coitus interruptus also helped the masturbating viewer regard his own onanistic orgasm as the greatest sensation a man could experience. None of it was the truth.

Somewhere in the middle of the retrospective Che Chasta’s body artificially morphed the physical ideal the worshipped by brainwashed American males, though this corporeal modification thrust her into a maelstrom of more and more men and women.

Pornography was supposed to be sexy or maybe even erotic, yet Sean was unaroused, until selecting A THING CALLED LUST whose cover portrayed Che and Sherri embracing a nude statue.

They were both ten years younger and their eyes glowed with scorn for damnation. He slipped this video into the VCR and returned to the sofa, pressing the remote control’s PLAY button.

The film’s quality was low-grade, the dialogue worst, the lighting muddy, however the sex scenes between Che and Sherri was like watching two cougars fighting over the same kill and for the first time this evening Sean wished a time machine would transport him back in time to the two women on the TV screen.

Thwarted by temporal physics, Sean did the next best thing and undid his jeans. Part of him became Che, while his stroking hand mimicked Sherri’s vagina and tightened. A lava flow surged from him with a shudder, though within seconds the fire died out and the dream was over. He was just watching a TV and zipped up his trousers, feeling emptier than ever, for there was something about the act that no longer fulfilled him. He was tired of being alone, but that was not going to change tonight or any time in the foreseeable future.

Worse was that he would have no warning, when it all went to shit, but then that fate went with his territory.

It went with the territory.

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