“Fifty Shades of Speed”
by Kelly Anneken
Greetings from the San Fernando Valley, Readers! I’d apologize for the absence of my column in the last issue, but I’m not about to give Isa goddamn Hopkins the goddamn satisfaction or any sort of formal admission of wrongdoing she can use against me in a court of law. She hasn’t brought a lawsuit against me yet, but she seems like the overly litigious type to me, what with her “breach of contract” this and “I’ll show you wrongful termination” that.
I did eventually tire of my nirvana-esque existence at the Duty Free store. No, I didn’t tire of it—it was more like attaining a level of perfection and personal fulfillment of that caliber, one that allowed me to indulge my weakness for kleptomania, alcohol, and wacky disguises revealed to me a need for some higher purpose. Surely there had to be more to life than stealing tax-free chocolate and sleeping in a bathroom. I didn’t quite believe it, but I had a nagging feeling I couldn’t shake. A feeling that I needed a change of scenery, a change of occupation—after all, I could always move back in to the Duty-Free store of my dreams if I turned out to be wrong.
But the prospect of travel was daunting. After all, I still lacked any sort of identification, which meant an international destination was out of the question. I had retained a fair amount of gold specie and cash since the Duty Free store had been covering most of my expenses, but I knew any travel agent worth her salt water wouldn’t so much as reserve a seat on the Megabus for a bewigged woman with no ID and piles of potentially illegal tender.
My salvation came in the form of a young woman named Shana. Shana lived in Lexington, KY, but she was in Washington as part of a Fifty Shades of Grey bus tour of the Pacific Northwest. She chattered excitedly about seeing all the places that inspired the tepid-sounding sexual shenanigans in her favorite book as I perched on the sink counter, realizing that this rube was ripe for the scamming. Shana revealed that she was on the bus tour alone—her best friend was supposed to come along but had to cancel at the last minute because she got a set of Ben Wa balls stuck in her “hoo-ha.” I leaned in and asked Shana if she’d like to meet the man who the main character of Fifty Shades was based on.
I didn’t know the character’s name (I have since discovered that it is Christian, which is the least sexy name ever, apart from Englebert Humperdinck), but that didn’t matter to Shana, whose eyes grew as wide as one of those anime chicks my ex-boyfriend Roy used to jerk off to when he thought I was passed out. I might have felt bad for tricking her except that I was so obviously scamming her and she didn’t bat an eye—like, literally. It was kind of creepy. Maybe she was a robot. In exchange for her seat on the bus and an Amtrak ticket to Van Nuys, I gave her some cash and an address in Vancouver, WA, which is hopefully still the home of a dominatrix I once knew, but if not, well, I guess Shana will learn a valuable lesson either way.
I donned my most sexually repressed-looking wig (“the Kathy Bates”) and boarded the bus with dozens of other women sporting the same style. I gazed wistfully back at the Duty Free store as the bus pulled away, wondering if I would ever know its uncomfortably carpeted embrace ever again.
The next few days were a blur, since I scored some speed off a truck driver at a stop just outside Seattle which I shared with the bus driver in exchange for letting me forego the official tour activities so I could feverishly work on my own erotic novel in the back of the bus (I had brought nearly nothing with me, save many rolls of receipt tape.) I figured this mainstream erotica bubble would be bursting any day now, so I better try to cash in with my own sordid tale like Zalman King and Paul Verhoeven before me. I attempted to avoid conversation with the other women on the bus—their giggly descriptions of convincing their husbands and boyfriends to tie them up and limply spank them while a light rain fell and they listened to Phil Collins tended to kill my buzz.
At last, the bus made its final stop in Bellingham, Washington, where the whole group boarded the Amtrak that would take us to Hollywood, where each of the women had an appointment with a representative from the studio producing the film version of Fifty Shades to make casting suggestions. Two women nearly tore the dining car apart feuding about whether Alexis Bledel or Nina Dobrev would make a better Anastasia Steele, and with a few Sapphic embellishments, I incorporated the scene into my novel, removing the least plausible part of the story (the idea that anyone in Hollywood would actually be swayed by these women’s casting suggestions).
Deprived of my supply of trucker-approved smack, I slept through most of the two-day journey, which was just as well, since anticipation of our arrival in Los Angeles had worked these women into a near-bacchanalian frenzy. They drank the train completely out of white zinfandel and orchestrated a bloodless coup in order to stop for more in wine country. I certainly admired their tenacity and hoped their fervor would extend to my own novel when it inevitably took the sexually unadventurous by storm.
After disembarking in Van Nuys, the women who spearheaded the passenger mutiny were arrested, and the rest of us were left to our own devices. I put the finishing touches on my novel just as an argument kicked up about whether actually picketing against certain rumored contenders for the role of Christian in front of the movie studio would help anyone’s chances at influencing the corporate shill who would soon be smiling and nodded at them, having successfully duped these women out of hundreds of dollars and a truly satisfying sexual awakening. I pulled my wig off and hailed a cab.
I directed the driver to the offices of Chad Braverman, COO of Doc Johnson Enterprises. Chad once employed me as a quality control technician in his sex toy factory and encouraged me to come back and work for him “anytime you’ve got that whole batshit insane thing worked out.” I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d worked it out until I’d bribed my way inside, showed him my novel—all 14 rolls it—only to be politely informed that what I have produced is actually a word for word copy of Justine by the Marquis de Sade. Naturally I was embarrassed, but Chad told me that one of his assembly line dildo vein painters had just defected to another facility and offered me her job. He warned me that it would be temporary, just a measure to “keep me off the streets.” As if I need the help! I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, though, so I agreed.
I don’t think painting veins on dildos is quite as rewarding as my life in the Duty Free store, but it’s definitely been helpful as I brainstorm my next erotic novel, which Chad has promised to publish, assuming it’s an original work of fiction. The title is Lady Chatterley’s Lover, so look for it soon wherever trashy erotica is sold!