Our favorite erotica peddler, the nearly real Eddy Casanovitch, is forced to drastically pull in his horns when the young rocket scientist Mallory and the runaway Texan teenagers Sarah and Cozette fall on him from out of the beachy California sky.
“You call that a plot?” Alex’s New York publisher Grace bellows. Maybe not, but then the ancient love of Eddy’s life, the gorgeous Keisha, shows up as a world-class madam with her own fascinating flock. And then the other love of his life, Sarah’s Mom Roxie, roars in from Texas to collect her due. All this while Eddy’s doing his best to talk Mallory’s irritated CEO Daddy out of killing her.
The fundamental problem: Eddy’s just a regular guy with a vivid, if degenerate imagination. But the more he tries to explain it to neighbors, lovers, vengeful CEOs, and publishers, the less they understand. After all, he wrote all that porn, didn’t he? But, as the exhausted man keeps repeating, there’s a reason they call it fiction.
To the memory of Veronica Franco, Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, and Xaviera Hollander, three extraordinary women who created their own fates without losing their extraordinary senses of humor.
The following is a work of pure fiction—unfortunately. The names have been changed to protect no one. As a matter of fact—now the author has a chance to think about it—the names haven’t even been changed.
It’s not every Fourth of July a girl falls into your lap from out of the clear blue sky. Literally collapses on top of you from an excess of drugs and alcohol, as you sit out on your beachfront brick steps, minding your own business, with the half-baked, half-naked holiday madness flooding by.
It’s not every Fourth of July a girl misplaces the next four hours of her thrilling drunkard’s life, then wakes up, miraculously still clothed—if you can call it that in her itsy-bitsy bikini—on your living room floor. Yet that is exactly how I met the young woman named Mallory.
Not to be confused with the duck. “That’s a Mallard,” she observed with astonishing coherence for a hung-over beach bum with headache wedged in hands. “My name is M-A-L-L-O-R-Y.”
I’d taken refuge behind the pretend-desk as far across the living room as I could manage, with a sofa, a pair of filing cabinets, and a dead plastic fern for protection. “Glad you’re suddenly so precise. I take it you can float anyway? Although I was planning on waiting until dark to dump you in the ocean.”
“You want me to just leave?”
“Whatever gave you that idea?” Although I was serious about letting the neighborhood toddle safely off to bed before ejecting her.
This Mallory could do defensive when it suited her. “You don’t have to be so hostile, you know. I’ll pay for the damn computer.”
An interesting offer, considering that it wasn’t every Fourth of July your New York publisher forewent a day in the Hamptons to threaten you with bloody murder if you didn’t immediately turn in the manuscript you’d promised her. The manuscript in the laptop that, surprisingly enough, was sitting in your lap out on the steps, when the wingless duck took off in defiance of the laws of gravity and lost control of knees and elbows.
Just then an impatient publisher and a wrecked laptop were the least of my worries. The girl helped neither matters nor my mood by turning her head to focus past the empty salad bowl I’d left next to her once comatose, now airsick, brow for emergencies. Her eyes lit on the bookshelf beyond and brought on an attack of curious. “You really read all that trash?”
Trash? Did she say trash? “What are you talking about?”
She took a minute to recover either her sight or her ABCs. “The Casanovitch books. Aren’t they porn?”
Porn? Did she say porn? “I don’t know what you’re—”
“Holy shit. You’ve got a dozen copies of each. What are you, some sort of…?” But then a lightbulb must have shattered in her buoyant brain. “You’re him, aren’t you?”
“Eddy Casanovitch! You’re the porn guy. I heard he lived around here somewhere.”
I don’t know what I expected from the revelation. Not my ex-wife’s pseudo-shocked reaction when the word had leaked out that all that time wasted scribbling—whatever the hell I was doing—had turned into one of the larger viral sales outbreaks at the more colorful end of the internet publishing alley. Nor the neighborhood’s outrage as they raced to lock their doors and windows against the tidal wave of smut they suddenly imagined flooding out of my camouflaged literary brain.
Nancy hadn’t needed the scandal to justify her flight, but then my ex-wife was always a thorough soul. By the time she and her long-term boss-and-lover parted ways with me, her gossipy, pseudo-Methodist lips had over-publicized my tacky-cheesy nom de plume and left me a pariah from one end of our sand spit to the other. No more anonymous, smutty scribbles out of this molester and pervert. Only, as of the current afternoon, I was a pariah with a young, nearly naked waterfowl passed out on the floor of my living room.
Thank God for webcams and duck-proof desktop computers.
This Mallory girl must have read my mind. Her eyes quickly flitted over the ties and folds of her bikini for signs of unauthorized ingress. It was all I needed to see.
“Time to go,” I told her and crossed the room with a less-than-gentle lift of the nearest sun-fried wing. “No, I didn’t date-rape you, and yes, I can prove it beyond a shadow of your unwashed fingernails.”
“Hey! Lemme go! What’s the matter with you?”
I couldn’t very well tell her that I’d acquired an army of overwrought citizens watching for the slightest kink in my infamously fake and degenerate façade. No question, I needed to move and change my pseudonym. More immediately, I needed to stop admitting ducks in bikinis.
“Why’d you bring me in here in the first place?” Mallory protested, as I helped, or maybe herded, her to the front door.
“It wasn’t my idea. And get yourself better friends. After you passed out on top of me, they talked me into bringing you inside, then left to supposedly get your things.”
The panicky girl glanced past me back into the apartment. “What things? Where are my things? Who brought me—?”
I had no idea what she was babbling on about and cared less. As far as I could tell, the door opened on a clear coast. “Like I said, get yourself better friends.”
“Wait a minute!” She shook off my hand and shoved me away. “I don’t have any money. How do you expect me to get home?”
I wasn’t about to start handing out cash to departing bikinis in my front doorway. The crowds might have thinned from the exhausting day-long beach orgy, but there were always satellites, helicopters, and neighborly binoculars to consider. Not that I was paranoid.
I geared up for a foul-tempered retort, but mysteriously never let it escape my lips. The truth was, this Mallory had somehow struck me as a pretty harmless, maybe even pleasant, girl when she wasn’t airborne or critiquing my literary standards. Not to mention a figure-eight body with an impressive cleavage, muscular thighs, runner’s legs, and skin so smooth and unblemished that it was hard to picture her as a habitual drunk or drug user.
In spite of my earlier snarky comment about her fingernails, she at least looked and smelled like she might have suffered through more than one shower in her short life. But considering my situation, the operative word was short.
I shook my head at the utter stupidity of letting her get a word in edgewise. “Let me see your driver’s license.”
“How do you—”
“It’s stuck halfway up your overdressed butt, young lady. I noticed it when your pretend-amigos were flopping you in here.”
She reached back quickly enough that I was convinced when she insisted, “I’m twenty-six, if that’s what you’re worried about. And I’m not going to accuse you of anything, so get over it.”
“You’re a student?”
“Hardly. I’m a rocket scientist.”
“Very funny.” Yet when I turned over the thin, plastic sleeve she handed me, it included an employee ID card from a high-tech space and defense contractor, no less.
Maybe this genius Mallory would know which satellites and neighborly listening devices to jam if I ever dared to negotiate the beach walk with an unsuspecting, true-to-life date in tow. It wasn’t hard to forgive her twenty-six-year-old smirk, considering, but then she stormed the enemy position anyway with, “I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs. In case you’re interested, I was mugged.”
Interested? I suppose it depended on the definition.