Friday, August 27, 2010

Forget it Angie, it's Las Vegas!

Some weeks you just want to see end and this is one of them. I was hoping that last weekend would be a quiet one as well as a productive one. The white van had disappeared for a couple of days after I seemed to have scared its occupants off. I was becoming paranoid about it, thinking I might be under surveillance by the LVPD for my online sex site. Since my undercover assignment is extremely top secret for political reasons, no one in law enforcement is supposed to know what I'm up to. After I seemed to have scared the van off, I figured it might be something less threatening like burglars casing residences, although why they would want to rob Lucky's double-wide is beyond me. Anyway, the van was gone and I got back to focusing on my job.

I had been juggling several clients when I was informed by Washington that one of them, whose online name was Hommecornee, turned out to be a close associate of an arms dealer we've been targeting. Their intelligence indicated that Mr. Hommecornee scouts prostitutes for this arms dealer in places where he will soon be visiting. He was chatting me up lately and I was trying my best to lure him in. I knew Saturday night would be a critical encounter and I wanted to be on my A game. Then I looked out the window and saw the white van lurking in the shadows.

For the sake of the job, I temporarily blocked it out of my mind. The session with Mr. Hommecornee went well. He expressed interest in meeting me when he is in Vegas next month. Booo-yaaa! After signing off with him, I was ecstatic. I wanted to jump about the bedroom, but my excitement was tempered by the fact that that annoying van was still outside. So as not to scare them off a second time, I went through my normal routines as if I were going to bed. I turned the light on in the bathroom while I brushed my teeth, then turned it off again. I slipped on a black unitard in front of the window shade to give the appearance that I was putting on night clothes, then climbed into bed and turned out the light.

After a few minutes, I slid from the bed and headed for the hall, making sure to take my automatic from the dresser drawer. Crawling over to the window on the opposite side of the trailer, I slid out the window as stealthily as I could manage and worked my way toward a clump of bushes near the van. It was the same basic approach I had used a couple days earlier, but I was counting on the darkness to better hide my presence. It seemed to work because the van stayed put. Not wishing to blow my chance, I held my position for almost an hour, observing and looking for an opportunity. One finally came when the side door slid open and a hulking man lumbered out.

A scant fog of amber light emanating from the vehicle dimly revealed some of his features. From my vantage point, his face was oddly smooth and shiny, like a waxwork figure. He paced back and forth in an awkward gait, as if he had learned to walk only that morning. Given his less-than-prime condition and casual demeanor, I decided this was my opportunity to move in. Circling around the side of the van opposite the open door, I crouched down and practically tip-toed around the front. When I heard the man move near me, I leaped up and pinned him against the passenger side door by grabbing his neck. It felt more sinewy than any neck I had ever felt before, and his shiny face was thanks to a George W. Bush Halloween mask. With the man pinned firmly against the van, I leveled my Smith & Wesson at the door opening and peered in.

"Evening boys," I crowed, but was stood stuck dumb by what I saw inside.

Two other men, for lack of a better term, were hunched over consoles as if they were operating surveillance equipment. The whole scene would have appeared like something you would typically see in a cop show, except the men had lumpy orange heads covered in brown spots the size of my fist. Saucer-sized onyx eyes swiveled in multiple directions, and their noses and mouths looked like little more than lumps of clay stuck carelessly to their faces. They sat on what appeared to be mounds of glistening flesh and the "console" was similarly organic in construction. Slimy horns and protuberances glowed and wiggled on the console, and the men touched and turned them as if responding to their signals. The two men showed no emotion that I could discern, sitting motionless. In my stupefaction, I had momentarily relaxed my grip on the third man's neck. He reached around my waist and tossed me to the ground like a rag doll. By the time I had scrambled to my feet, the third man was in the van and the vehicle rolled out of the trailer park in a flurry of gravel.

It took me two days to report to The Colonel. I had encountered some odd things in my time on the job, but this made me question my faculties. Had I actually fallen asleep and merely dreamed it? The dust on the back of my unitard proved that I had definitely gone outside, but was I sleepwalking? No, I'm sure it had happened. When I finally spoke to my boss, he was surprisingly calm. He casually informed me that, if the van appears again, I was not to engage in any way. Basically, I was supposed to ignore it. Terrific.

The rest of the week has been dreary. My mom talks about Mr. Huggins with a lilt in her voice that I've heard before from girlfriends. She's really smitten and I suspect they have slept together. Although I want my mom to be happy, I'm really disturbed by the images rolling through my head. I fight them as much as I fight the lingering memories of the freaks in the van.

And Lucky is wearing on my nerves. The other day, he left a bottle of cologne perched precariously on a shelf in the linen closet. After taking a shower, I reached in to pull out a towel and knocked it on the floor. I had to do quite the dance in my bare feet to get out of the bathroom, not only to avoid cutting myself but to keep from tracking cologne through the trailer. It's smells passable on him, but poured on the floor in one big dose, it's really overwhelming. To make matters worse, I found a sparkling gold bra in the laundry. Lucky claims it must've gotten mixed in with his clothes when he got dressed at the theatre, but I can't help but wonder what might go on here when I leave for the gym. Why the hell am I living with this guy anyway?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hell With Rhinestones

The weather report says it's supposed to get up to 107 degrees today, and I think tomorrow it'll be 152 or something. It's just plain freakin' hot here. I mean, Maryland is hot in the summer, but we seldom reach these kinds of temperatures. Sure, back home it's akin to a swamp and Vegas is a dry heat, but hot is hot! You can sort of tolerate it while you're outside, but as soon as you go inside and hit air conditioning, your pores open up like floodgates and you are drenched. Not only that, it takes forever before the sweating stops, leaving you spent and miserable.

Therefore, I've been staying mostly cooped up in Lucky's trailer, which is to say I'm mostly alone. He's hardly ever around since he's at work or out with the cast all night and sleeps most of the day. In the beginning, we would spend his days off going to the movies or wandering around the casinos, but now he seems to find excuses to go elsewhere. It's like we jumped from the early stages of dating right into old couplehood without the nice courtship part in between. Once in awhile, he practically attacks me with a burst of sexual passion, but it feels like he's working off some nervous energy rather than wanting to be truly intimate. I've never actually lived with a man before, so this is all new territory for me.

So I spend most of my day noodling around on the computer and diddling myself in front of the computer for much of the night. I'm way past feeling any embarrassment or humiliation about this whole undercover gig. I just go through the motions like a well-rehearsed play, except that it's largely ad-libbed based on audience suggestions. Detachment is my coping mechanism. I refuse to be upset with these creepy men ogling me from hundreds of miles away. I refuse to get frustrated over Lucky's lack of attention. I refuse to worry about my mother dating a new man. What does any of it matter? It's just one long roasting in the Vegas oven.

Except that it does matter. Everything matters and the only way I can be effective at my job and at life is if I'm totally alert and focused. Sometimes I yearn to be back in the Navy defusing bombs. Back then I always had to be on top of my game or people would die, including me. It wasn't a death wish that drove me. I don't know that I even thought about dying back then, at least not in a real tangible sense. It was all about the adrenalin. I fed on it. I craved it like some people crave chocolate. It's what I lived for and what made me love life all the more. There was nothing better than being in the moment and figuring out the workings of an IED (improvised explosive device to you civilians). Nothing better except for the exhilaration I felt when I knew the bomb was defused and I would live another day. That was when life was worth living.

I thought this job would provide me with a similar focus, but it's so much more ambiguous. The objectives are less clear cut, the plan of attack is less concrete, and the measurement of success less certain. All of this adds up to a very unhappy Angie, and my malaise could get me in trouble. Just the other day, I noticed a white panel van parked outside the trailer. It was idling away with a distinctive sound that reminded me of an old cop show from the 70s (wacka-cha, wacka-cha, wacka-cha). There were no markings on the van and I didn't see anyone getting in or out of it. Still, I just assumed the van belonged to some contractors doing work in the trailer park.

The next day, I heard that distinctive idling sound. I looked out the window and saw the van parked outside again. Oh well, the contractors were back, I thought, even though no one was around. It wasn't until the third day when the van reappeared that I started getting nervous. Could they be conducting surveillance? The LVPD was purposely not informed of my presence in Vegas, and I'm not entirely sure of the legalities regarding an online porn site. Maybe the cops are investigating me. Or perhaps Lucky is the target? He never lets me know what he's up to. Maybe he has some friends with broken noses who would like to speak with him?

Finally, I got off my lazy, self-pitying ass and went to investigate. I slipped out a window of the trailer on the side opposite to where the van was parked. To avoid detection, I took a circuitous route behind other trailers and the dumpsters until I managed to get behind a hedge just a few feet away. I don't know what I did wrong, but they must've spotted me because they took off abruptly and haven't been back since. I cursed myself for being sloppy.

If that little incident wasn't enough to wake me up, I was informed yesterday by The Colonel that one of the men who has been frequenting my site works for a major arms dealer we've been targeting. We think this lackey may be scoping out prostitutes for the arms dealer in advance of his arrival in Vegas. I have to stay totally focused. I can't let this one slip through my fingers.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Raven, a High School Principal, and an Elvis Impersonator Walk into a Trailer

I managed to get all my stuff into Lucky's double wide last weekend, and I've been conducting my little business out of his spare bedroom. It's an awkward arrangement, particularly since I'm now juggling several "clients" through my Web site. Lucky typically leaves for the theatre in the late afternoon, right around the time when my east coast clients start hitting the Internet. These interactions can go on into the wee hours of the morning, but Lucky tends to hang out with people from the show after the last performance, so he usually rolls in when the sun is coming up. By that time, I'm already in bed. This is throwing my sleep pattern all out of whack since I tend to be an early riser. I'm beginning to feel like a cat, catching short naps throughout the day and night, but never really sleeping a full 8 hours.

My lack of sleep isn't the only thing that's contributing to my foggy perception of the world. I feel as though I'm becoming Carla Fontaine for 12 hours and then reverting to little ol' Angie for 12 hours. The sensation is especially disconcerting when it comes to my love life. The other day, after spending hours online conducting long distance sex with a group of anonymous strangers, Lucky came home from work and became amorous. Instinctively, I found myself going into seductress mode like I had been playing all night. We were well into our love making before I realized I was playing a role and not actually focusing on the moment. Lucky seemed to enjoy it just fine, which left me even more confused. As attentive as he is to me in other ways, he tends to become a bit selfish in the bed room. I hadn't noticed that the first time we slept together because, well frankly, I was too inebriated to remember anything much. Now that we've had sex while I've been sober, his lack of skill is more apparent. Just an observation, but it seems like the more blessed a man is in the genital department, the less he thinks he needs to do to please a woman.

Anyway, my life feels like it's settling into a dysfunctional routine. Except for the other night when Lucky came home early and I was still involved in a session with one of my clients. I had to feign internet troubles to end the session quickly and straighten everything up. Lucky still walked in on me while I was dressed in a leather bikini. I couldn't very well pass it off as normal sleeping attire, so I had to think fast. Fortunately, since I already told him that I sell lingerie and other sexy items online, I just explained that I was taking some modeling shots for the Web site. The lovable dope bought it. This is really nuts.

My mom calls me almost every day. She is apparently having regular dates with my old high school principal, Brad Huggins. I don't know what bothers me more: the fact that Mom is dating so soon after Dad's death or that she taking up with my old principal. Actually, I have to realize that it's been almost a year since my father passed away, and my mom is completely on her own back in Maryland. Also, if I kind of stand back and look at Mr. Huggins objectively, he's not such a bad looking guy. I just can't shake the image of him marching around the corridors of my old high school like a martinet, checking the lavatories for wayward smokers.

It's been rather quiet lately. In between clients, I even got to catch some of the Ravens/Panthers preseason game on ESPN last night. Of course, the Ravens won. I think they could go all the way this year. I'm sure my father is looking down on me disapprovingly. Growing up in Bethesda, he was a lifelong Redskins fan while I paid no attention to football at all. Then, during my freshman year of college, I dated a guy from Baltimore who was a Ravens fan. That just happened to be the year they went to the Super Bowl, and I've been a fan ever since.

So that's this week, but I get a feeling in my bones that something's about to break loose. It always does in my life. I guess I have to enjoy the calm while I can.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Carla Fontaine's Second Act

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote "In life, there is no second act," but since my life as Carla Fontaine is largely a fantasy, I think I should have as many acts as I wish. This past weekend, I spent most of my time regrouping to launch my second act. I realized that I was approaching this assignment in a half-hearted way, primarily because I was repulsed by the character I have been asked to play. There was no serious commitment on my part. I was going through the motions, hoping that we might ensnare one of these characters that The Colonel is looking for and he'll call me home. After the fiasco of last week, it's obvious that this is not going to be that easy and I may be in this role for the long haul.

To that end, I've placed more focus on improving my "web presence" by researching better makeup techniques and wardrobe choices. After spending five years in the Navy, I had gotten used to wearing a minimal amount of makeup and dressing rather conservatively. When I started doing the web cam stuff, I tarted myself up the way I imagined a porn star would look and, similarly, bought some cheesy lingerie which I hastily grabbed off the racks without much consideration. This time out, I consulted some people and looked at some actual "high end" pornography to see how the pros do it. I'm going for a look somewhere between slutty and sophisticated. Hopefully, the new look and a serious commitment to my performance might improve my chances of nabbing the right targets. I also need to plan the scenarios better so these guys won't get suspicious or slip away.

Anyhow, that's ongoing. Also ongoing is Lucky's charming but slightly annoying courtship routine. I figured I'd  put him to the test by taking me to an upscale fine dining establishment. There were so many to choose from in Vegas, but I decided on Mesa Grill because I've been watching Bobby Flay on the Food Network since I was a teenager. He sort of came across as a bit of a jerk to me, but I was curious about all his sauces and those "big, bold flavors" that he's going on about all the time. I have to say, the experience was really wonderful and I have a new found respect for the guy. I had the "hacked" chicken with the five spiced mole and Lucky ate the coffee rubbed filet mignon. Both dishes were terrific, but I was actually coveting Lucky's steak. I'll have to see if I can recreate that coffee rub sometime.

Not only was the food great, but the servers were friendly and attentive as well. That's almost as important to me as the food. After a few glasses of wine, Lucky seemed less grating as well. I know I must sound completely bi-polar about this guy, but I truly am on the fence about whether I really like him or not. After this romantic dinner, he takes me back to his trailer to watch Elvis in Charro!. He thought it would fit in with the Southwest theme of our dinner. It's sort of sweet, but kind of strange too. There's so much artifice to him, I want to knock on his forehead and shout, "Hello, is the real Lucky - or whatever your real name is - actually in there?" Maybe even he doesn't really know.

Of course, the big event of the week came on Wednesday night. It's way too complicated to go into here, so I think I'll save that for one of my short stories. The day was going along routinely: I had a conference call with some people in DC, ran over to the gym for a 2-hour workout, and then stopped by a 7-11 on the way home for a candy bar (I know, but my sugar was low). On the way to my car, I found my neighbor's dog poking around by the dumpsters. After a bit of a struggle, I rounded the critter up and took him back to his owner's apartment. Things got pretty weird after that and I can't help but suspect that The Colonel put me in that apartment underneath that crazy old lady on purpose. He has a funny way of putting me in places where strange things happen.

The upshot of it was that her apartment caught fire and spread across most of her floor. My apartment was downstairs, so it was not too badly damaged, but because I was at the scene, the landlord blamed me and kicked me out.

By yesterday afternoon, my belongings were packed into my tiny Tercel and I was essentially homeless. Feeling at loose ends, I called Lucky to grumble and he offered to take me in. Naturally, I was hesitant, but I really didn't want to have to look for a new place. So here I am, typing this blog post in the spare bedroom of Lucky's double wide. Now I just have to figure out how I can conduct my web cam work without him finding out about it.