A childhood accident left Emmaline vulnerable to disturbing fugue states that last only minutes, but feel like an eternity. The blackouts are unsettling but manageable…until she meets Johnny Dellasandro.
The reclusive painter gained notoriety in the ’70s for his debauched lifestyle and raunchy art films. His naked body has achieved cult status, especially in Emm’s mind—she’s obsessed with the man, who’s grown even sexier with age. Today Johnny shuns the spotlight and Emm in particular…until she falls into a fugue on his doorstep.
In that moment she’s transported back thirty years, crashing a party at Johnny’s place in his wild-man heyday— the night is a blur of flesh and heat that lingers on her skin long after she’s woken to the present.
It happens again and again, each time-slip another mind-blowing orgy, and soon Emm can’t stop, though every episode leaves her weaker and weaker. She’s frightened by what’s happening to her, but she’s even more terrified of losing this portal to the Johnny she wants so badly. The one who wants her, too, and takes her—every chance he gets.
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The credits rolled. I finished my drink. “Wow. That was something.”
“Yeah, bad. But the sex scene. Hot, right?”
It had been. Even with the porny music and stupid special effects, even with the discreetly placed cushions that blocked even a glimpse of Johnny’s cock but left the woman’s hairy bush in full view. He’d kissed her like she was delicious.
“Good acting,” I said off-handedly.
Jen snorted and got up to take the DVD out of the player. “I don’t think it’s acting. I mean, I think he’s a much better artist than he ever was an actor. And the way he kisses…he fucks someone in just about every movie he’s in. I don’t think there’s much acting going on. It’s all pure Johnny.”
“When did he make all these movies, anyway?” I got up to stretch. The movie had been short, only a little over an hour, but watching it had felt like much longer.
“Dunno.” Jen shrugged. “He made a bunch in the seventies, then stopped for awhile. Fell off the face of the earth. Then came back with the art and so far as I know, only acted in one or two things after that. Mostly guest spots on TV shows. He was on an episode of Family Ties, if you can believe that.”
“Did he fuck someone?”
“He did!” Jen laughed. “But I don’t think they showed his cock. For that you have to watch…this.”
She pulled out a DVD with a plain red and black cover, one word on the front. Garbage. She was already putting it in the player as she talked.
“Okay. I’m not going to tell you anything about this movie in advance. I don’t want to ruin it.”
“That sounds scarier than Train of the Damned!”
She shook her head. “No. Just watch. You’ll see.”
So we watched.
Garbage had even less of a plot than Train of the Damned. From what I could tell, it was about a group of misfits living in an apartment complex a lot like the one on the TV show Melrose Place. The kind seen in so many movies shot in California – a few buildings painted teal or green surrounding a pool. In this movie, the complex was called The Cove. Run by an office manager who I was pretty sure was a three-hundred pound man in drag, The Cove’s other residents included the slutty heroine addict Sheila, mentally disturbed porcelain figurine collector Henry, unwed mother Becky and a bunch of other random characters who didn’t seem to have names but came and went in the background no matter what else was going on.
And of course, Johnny.
He played…Johnny. Male prostitute. The tattoo on his arm had been crudely drawn, probably inked with a homemade tools. It said “Johnny.”
“I wonder if his name’s Johnny in every movie?” I said and was promptly shushed.
It wasn’t a good movie, if I were going to judge by the acting or writing. In fact, I couldn’t be sure there was any writing at all. It seemed mostly ad-libbed, which meant there wasn’t much acting, either. It looked more like a group of friends had gotten together one Saturday afternoon with a camera and a bunch of weed and decided to make a movie.
“I think that’s basically what happened,” Jen said when I told her my theory. “But fuck me, look at that epic ass.”
Johnny was naked for most of the movie. Something happened with a trick gone wrong, a drug overdose, a miscarriage. A body in the pool and then put into the garbage. I couldn’t have told you what happened if you’d held me down and threatened me with a live tarantula.
All I could see was Johnny Dellasandro. His ass. His abs. His pecs. His delicious nipples. He was built like an Adonis, muscular and lean…and golden. God. He was naked and sun-burnished, with just enough hair to make him manly and not so much it looked like you’d have to get a weed-whacker to get at his cock.
And he really did fuck everyone in the movie.
“Look at that,” Jen murmured. “I swear he’s really fucking her.”
I tilted my head to get a better angle. “I think…wow. That’s…is he hard? Omigod. He’s got a hardon! Look at that!”
“I know, right?” Jen squealed, clutching at me.
I hadn’t been this excited about an erection since my first boy-girl party in eighth grade, when I got to go in the closet for Seven Minutes in Heaven with Kent Zimmerman. My stomach dropped the way it does just before that first hill on a roller coaster. Heat stole up my chest and throat, into my cheeks.
“Wow,” I said. “That is…just whoa.”
“Girl. I know. Can you believe it? And just wait…there! Yesssss,” Jen said, falling back onto the cushions. “Full frontal.”
Just briefly, but there it was. Johnny’s cock in all its glory. He was talking as he walked and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to try and listen to what he was saying or just accept my utter, complete perviness and stare at his dick. The penis won out.
“That is some peen,” I said, my voice filled with admiration.
“You know it.” Jen sighed happily. “That man is fucking beautiful.”
I tore my gaze from the TV to look at her. “I can’t believe you’re so into him and you’ve never talked to him. Word vomit or not. It has to be worth a try.”
Jen shook her head. Johnny wasn’t onscreen at the moment, so we weren’t missing anything important. She gestured toward it.
“What would I say? Hi, Johnny, I’m Jen, and by the way, I love your cock so much I put it on my Christmas list?”
I laughed. “What, you think he’d mind?”
She gave me a look.
“Is he married?” I asked the more practical question.
“No. I don’t think so. I mean, honestly, aside from the movies I don’t really know all that much about him, personally.” Jen made a frowny face.
I laughed again, harder this time. “Some stalker you are.”
“I’m not,” she hit me with a pillow, “a stalker. I just appreciate a nice body, is that so wrong? And I do like his art a lot. I bought one of his pieces,” she added like she was sharing a secret.
She nodded. “Yeah. His gallery is really cool. Lots of neat little pieces, nothing too expensive. And in the back room he has different collections. A couple years ago he was showing his stuff. He doesn’t, always. I mean, he usually has his stuff included among all the other pieces, and he never displays it like it’s a big deal, you know?”
I’d never been in an art gallery, so I had no clue, but I nodded anyway. “Can I see it?”
“Sure. I um…have it in the bedroom.”
I laughed yet again. “Why? Is it dirty?”
I hadn’t know Jen all that long, just for the few months since I’d moved to Second Street. I had not, as yet, seen her look embarrassed about anything, or shy. She was pretty upfront with everything, which was why I adored her. So when she couldn’t meet my eyes and gave that little, shameful laugh, I almost told her I didn’t need to see what had made her feel like she couldn’t share it with me.
“No, it’s not dirty,” she said.
“Okay.” I got up and followed her down the short hallway to her bedroom.
Jen’s apartment had been decorated in Ikea chic. Lots of spare, modern pieces that all matched and maximized the small space. Her bedroom was the same, painted white with matching teal and lime-green accents on the bed and curtains. Her apartment was in an old building, with walls that weren’t always quite straight. One, in fact, was curved, with big-paned windows reaching from floor to ceiling and overlooking the street. On one wall she’d hung several of her own paintings. On the opposite wall she’d hung several framed posters of prints even I, the art-idiot, recognized – Starry Night, The Scream.
In the center of those was a black-and-white photograph, maybe an eight-by-ten, in a thin red frame. The artist had painted over the photo with thick, three-dimensional strokes, highlighting the lines of the building I recognized as the John Harris mansion from down on Front Street. I’d spent time looking at a lot of what people had determined art and wondered why on earth they thought so, but I didn’t have to spend a second pondering it about this picture.
“I know, right?” Jen walked to the wall to stand in front of it. “Pretty cool, huh? I mean, you look at it, and it’s not like it’s anything special. But there’s just something about it…”
“Yeah.” There definitely was. “And it’s not even dirty.”
She laughed. “No. I just like having it in here where I can look at it first thing in the morning. Does that sound lame? Oh God, that sounds totally lame.”
“No, it doesn’t. Is this the only piece you have by him?”
“Yeah. Original art’s expensive, even though he’d priced this pretty reasonably.”
I had no idea how much pretty reasonable was and it seemed a little nosy to ask. “It’s nice, Jen. He’s really good.”
“He is. So you see…that’s another reason why I don’t talk to him.”
I looked at her with a smile. “Why? Because you like his art and not just his ass?”
Jen snickered. “Well, yeah.”
“I don’t get it. You think he’s super hot, you’re a big fan…why not just say something?”
“Because I guess I’d rather have him take a look at something I’ve done and think it’s good without me gushing all over him. I’d like him to respect me as an artist, and that’s not going to happen.”
I walked to the wall featuring her paintings. “Why not? You’re good, too.”
“And you don’t know anything about art, remember?” She said it without malice, following me to look at the pictures. “They’ll never hang in a museum. I don’t think anyone will ever make a Wikipedia entry about me.”
“You never know,” I told her. “Do you think Johnny Dellasandro knew when he was making those movies that one day he’d be famous for showing off his ass?”
“It’s a pretty epic ass.”
“Let’s go watch another movie,” I said.