Space Cadets VIII
December 18 1979, Brooklyn
Up and at ‘em at 8. Caught the cute guy from the all-night pharmacy on the way out of the shop. Couldn’t stop to flirt but fired off a smile and got one in return. A 1000 watts output and just about a birthday cake candle back. “I felt absurdly grateful”: sounds like something Gore Vidal might say. Feeling logy, just half-way between a winter cold and full-blown Chinese- flu. I buy something under the counter from the pharmacy manager. He only deals between half-eight and nine. He gave me a tiny bottle of capsules. Uppers of course. I don’t do downers. These are medicinal. ‘Cause I can’t seem to shake anything off, these days.
You’ve guessed it. I tell Velspar I’m doing a post-grad in Motion Picture Studies at NYU. I spin him a yarn longer than Rumpelstiltskin’s prisoner’s about how porno broke into the mainstream thanks to higher production values. As if. We all know that wasn’t the reason, but nobody ever lost a deal by flattering a sucker. I ask a few general questions about his own career. I learn it’s a long descent from porno sound man to Dog-food Infomercial Director. He lets me know he owns Steelex Productions. I don’t ask him why he doesn’t refurbish the missing letters. Maybe he hasn’ t noticed. Then I ask him about Hunt’s Last Film. It even sounds capitalised when I say it.
‘It wasn’t meant to be his last film. He was thinking of a series of movies. We weren’t going to use Bruno again, naturally. Hunt said he had something lined up with a real Italian...’
‘Whaaat? A made guy?’
“Naaawww. Tinto, that guy that made the film with Guccione and Gore Vidal.’
“Penthouse Bob? And Vidal? You’re kidding.’
‘Got a US theater release the next year. Premiered in Rome the following August.’
'Wasn't just Vidal who was legit. McDowell, John Gielgud, Helen Mirren.'
I shake my head, ‘Gore Vidal…’
‘Got his name off the credits for US release. Unhappy with additional material shot without his knowledge. Not enough boys in those parts is my guess.’
Which was most likely as waspishly unfair as anything Gore Vidal ever said himself.
I don’t learn much else from Velspar and the trip looks like a busted flush right up until I get up to make my exit.
‘You could try contacting the British Girl.’
‘Who, Helen Mirren?’
He looks at me like I’m a three-headed alien from an episode of Outer Limits.
‘One of Bob’s Pets who was in the movie Tinto made. She had a part in one of the orgy scenes. Bob gave her the part after the bust-up with Jo Latham, the other British girl. Outta spite, I guess.’
Velspar looks up at me, hands me a business card that reads “Kitty’s Salon: Ayurvedic Massage”. There’s no address but it has an upstate New York phone number.
‘Ya know, you could be in the movies...’
I laugh and say,
‘I’d rather work in a shoe store.’