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I usually did the lighting myself, because I found that it mattered.
It made all the difference, in fact. You didn’t necessarily notice it, but when you were watching the movie you weren’t in a cold room. The soft edges, the warmth. It influenced how you felt. I didn’t kid myself that this was some kind of artistry, or that there were people out there appreciating me for it. Have you ever read the credits in a porn movie? I rest my case.
But some of the stills were beautiful. The stuff I did for magazines. Well, it was a pity it got thrown away. Then again, I knew that some of the images I created stayed with people. For years, even. Perhaps for life.
Hell, they stayed with me.
Take Wednesday, for example. The address was a down-town garret, kind of bohemian rather than slummy. Located at the top of an old-fashioned wooden staircase, with an actual bannister. Ten blocks down, the factories began: canning fish, packaging dog-food. Not good smells. But the loft had retained a kind of age-old industrial chic, and I suspected someone, possibly the guy who usually did this shoot, lived there. It was much like a studio: big, open spaces, slightly chilly. A bathroom tucked away behind a discreet door and a kitchenette in the far corner.
I put my stuff down and greeted the client, a burly, lazy-looking man called Stan who was clearly just going to get me started and disappear. That was fine by me. I worked better alone. Otherwise it was a bit like being watched while you are wanking. It has possibilities, but generally impedes performance.
The bed was behind a diaphanous curtain on a rail. I started setting up the lights, establishing power points. The client was perched on a bar stool, absorbed in his cell phone. Or perhaps he was just watching the clock. The talent wasn’t here yet, but I also preferred it that way. It gave me a chance to envisage things, get the story going in my own mind. I had the brief, I knew the actors would have the brief, and that the rest would unfold.
That’s the way fantasy works, you see.
It’s full of surprises, twists and turns in the plot, happenings.
Stan the Man, a lackey dispatched by the magazine, could basically go home and he knew it. Perhaps he’d actually have a quickie with his wife before heading back to the office. I know I would. Hell, I’d do it for him.
The door opened and the players swooped in on a castanet clatter of heels. Two girls, Asians, followed at a slight distance by a strapping Caucasian guy. I paused momentarily in my work, glancing at them to get a sense of their heights. The girls were rather petite, as was intended. I added a candy-coloured filter and some wings to the light nearest me, then bent its head so that it considered the bed.
“I need some skin,” I said to the room at large and one of the girls emerged from the bathroom in a state of semi-undress, still in her heels. She gave me the once-over as she stalked past me, then dipped a knee as she hit the mattress, rolling onto her back in one smooth movement.
Perhaps the best description is kittenish, that’s why they invented the term. Sex Kitten. To say she was like a Japanese Marilyn Monroe would be to misrepresent her heinously though. In her economy, she made Marilyn look quite sloppy. And I can never look at Marilyn without thinking about her wretchedness, the booze-and-pills mess that was her life. Never mind sexiness. What’s sexy in that?
“Done?” the woman on the bed asked. She was a consummate professional. Excuse the pun. Long black hair already styled up into two school-girl ponies for the shoot, eager, candid, lucid eyes. Skin like satin. I felt myself harden.
I adjusted the light tone to her skin, then nodded. Her shirt, a loose, soft affair with buttons open to the waist, had slipped halfway down one arm and her shoulder emerged, nudging her chin as she lay on the pillow looking up at me.
“I’m Suki,” she said.
“I’m the Photographer,” I said with a smile.
Then her friend called for help with a zip and she scooted her ass off the bed, but not before I had caught a glimpse of the edge of her red panties beneath that skirt. The skirt was clearly Costume. Pleated tartan. Short. It needed some socks and school shoes. Some regulation underwear. I knew it was going to get them.
Meantime the other man had been chatting to the client, with barely a nod in my direction. I wondered about him; I couldn’t recall a guy in the brief. And this wasn’t exactly a zone for audience participation.
“Let’s get started,” the client said and within moments the girls were hurrying towards me. Suki’s friend had dyed ginger hair with purple ribbons in and a bit of a tomboy thing going on. Wiry. Possibly a wig. Her “school clothes” were rugged, rakishly worn. She was marginally older than Suki and had obviously been cast as the Bad Influence. By contrast, Suzi looked virginal. She had teamed the little skirt with a tight, tight blouse with epaulettes and I could see she had changed her panties. White cotton. She bit her lip as she took up an open-legged standing pose at the foot of the bed, looking back over her shoulder at the camera.
Oh, these girls.
You guys think that we must be immune in this line of work. Seen it all. Like watching heaps of porn on your lonesome: after a while you can’t appreciate the real thing anymore. It’s bollocks. Put a woman in school uniform on her knees in front of you, and see what happens.
What happened is that we did the shoot. The girls, as is the way on these sets, were very, very good. They could work a story board. And the sex, oddly enough, was in the details. It always is. Facial expressions. A hand straining on a taut tie. A strand of hair across a cheek.
The client, as I had foreseen, left after the first ten minutes. His sidekick, the tall guy, took up residence on the bar stool.
“You joining the action?” I asked, irritated. He snorted.
“Just shoot them,” he said.
Suki caught my eye, licked her finger, and inserted it slowly into the woman next to her. That got my attention. Then she shifted herself up onto her haunches so I could see that her panties were half-way down her thighs, and voluptuously lowered her tongue onto the woman’s sex.
I got the shot, thankful that my back was to the peanut gallery and my erection partially obscured by the tripod. Even so, Suki gave it a smile.
“Not friendly, hot,” the man said tersely. He sounded disinterested, transactional.
The girl with ginger hair sat up and spread her legs, throwing her head back. Suki mounted her, removing her panties completely in the same motion. I don’t often think about keeping copies of stills for myself. But that day I did. I don’t like porn much, you see. Though I can make it.
The other woman, whose name I had heard in passing was Calypso, took some more clothes off and thrust her mannish little chest into Suki’s face. We did some close-ups of tongue-tips on nipple, Suki’s gaze intermittently meeting mine. Then she took her own shirt off, slowly, casting it to the floor. I took shots even though they weren’t scripted. Some, I knew, would be blurry. Unhooking her trainer bra, she turned to face me and I saw a pair of the most perfect, pert breasts I have ever seen. Nipples straining in the cool air. Suki arching her back. My hips moved involuntarily.
“Take the photograph, Photographer,” she said. She was right, I had almost forgotten to.
The man behind me stood up and went to smoke a cigarette on the balcony outside. It was ten on an autumn morning and the day was just beginning to warm up. We finished the series, in which Calypso had her hands all over Suki’s breasts and ass, and ultimately produced a pink dildo. She placed it suggestively near Suki’s clit.
“It’s a wrap,” I said. Calypso tossed the dildo like it was an empty soda-can, grabbed her gown, which wasn’t a kimono, and sauntered off to the bathroom to get dressed.
“That can’t be her real name,” I said to Suki, turning the lights off. In the semi-dark she looked even lovelier and more vulnerable, like a damp butterfly unsure of where the sun was.
“Oh but it is,” she smiled. “And the man on the balcony’s her husband.”
I understood, or thought I did. Was he worried about infidelity? Was he here to censor… friendliness?
“At least he’s not yours,” I said quietly.
She cocked her head to one side. She was still naked, just in the skirt. Her breasts rose and fell slightly with her accelerated breathing. “He works at the post office,” she said, as though that answered me.
“Pass you something?” I asked, picking up a nearby towel and throwing it at her.
She caught it. A slight frown creased the little space between her perfect eyebrows.
“Oh yes, I forgot. You’re just the Photographer.” She slipped quietly off the bed and took a last glance at my bulging cock, which was straining through the fabric of my jeans to get at her. Then she threw the towel over her shoulder like a boxer and padded barefoot to the bathroom. I leaned on the nearest light, which was hot, and burned myself.
Half an hour later my gear was stowed. I cast around the room to see that I hadn’t forgotten anything, then hoisted my stuff onto my back and headed for the door. En route I checked the exit to the balcony was locked. I felt responsible because the guy whose pad it was was in hospital after a fall down some stairs, which was how I got the job. Then I flicked the ugly fluorescents off near the kitchen cubicle and hauled the door open. It was heavy, like it was made of iron. Maybe a fire door.
She was standing on the landing outside, leaning over the bannister with her back to me, and she was wearing the skirt. She had put the red panties on again. She must have thought those were my favourite. I put the gear down. I used it as a door-stop so the door wouldn’t crush me, or lock us out.
Perhaps he was her husband after all.
She turned around without any show at all. I thought of Marilyn, and the President. Of the night she died. Of her photographs.
Then Suki crossed the landing, came up to me, and kissed me. I had never kissed a Japanese woman before. She had to stand on her toes to reach me. She was still barefoot. Ever so gently, she stepped up onto my boots and stood with her full body weight on my feet. I barely felt her. But then she ran her hand over my crotch, and I felt all of her. Images of the last hour came flashing through my brain like visions of a bomb site during the Blitz. I told you fantasy was a strange thing. Here she was, flesh and blood beneath my hands and all I could think was, that dildo.
She pulled away, took me by the hand, and led me back into the studio. Pausing in the doorway, she stopped to eye the gear.
“Put the lights back on,” she said.
They say a concubine reads your mind and meets your needs, just like porn. She’s selfless, you see. I want to be your Geisha. But this girl wanted me, for reasons of her own. Wow. Does the porn star desire the voyeur? Isn’t that the ultimate fantasy, when you look at her?
“You coming?” she said, from the bed.
I took one of my lights out of its bag, the biggest one, but this time I whipped the filter off. I couldn’t imagine my own ass in soft-focus pink. Although I’m sure there’s someone out there, or perhaps back there, who can.
“Do you want to take photographs?” she asked. I shook my head, aiming it at her, plugging it in, flicking the switch. The bed was warm once again. She had lost those ridiculous pony-tails, the Peeping Tom blouse (how could one not look) but she lay with her legs open and her knees up and she had unfastened her shirt. Her breasts basked in the light and she stretched out appreciatively.
I came over to the foot of the bed and stood there, watching her. She was offering herself to me, as much as I had refused her. But I felt taken anyway.
She sat up and undid my belt buckle, letting my jeans fall to my feet. Then she slipped those small hands into the back of my jocks, rubbing my ass cheeks, and slid them down around my thighs so that my cock suddenly sprang free. I groaned as she took me in her mouth, her beautiful breasts nudging my thighs. The touch of her skin sent me. Suddenly I wanted to rub myself all over her. Up inside her cheeks, my excitement mounted and I started bucking that mouth.
Raising herself up, she withdrew momentarily. Then she was slipping out of her panties, throwing them to the floor. In a second she had wrapped her legs around my hips and was grinding me with her naked, shaved pussy. She was wet and her breasts moved in little thrusts as she pleasured herself all over me, one hand gripping my ass, the other supporting her up on the bed. Her head was back and she was giving desperate little cries.
“Wait…” I said, and struggled to free myself so that I could get some protection out of my bag. She meowed impatiently, flipping onto her hands and knees so that I had a rear view of her. I thrust the condom on and seized her skirt, pulling it up so that her buttocks were revealed. Reaching my hands around her body, I gripped those golden orbs in the palms of both of my hands, and plunged into her. My body was working like a machine, wild at the feel of her skin up against my thighs and balls. Inside her, my cock seized that wet pussy over and over again, determined as the pleasure grew unstoppably to a mind-blowing pinnacle.
I was making sounds, or someone was, and I was moving fast. The little skirt rucked and shimmied. Her hair beat against her shoulders. Then I saw her take her finger, lick it deliberately, and slide it between her legs. The next moment she penetrated me with smooth, fast strokes and I came so hard I briefly lost my vision. I shut my eyes in surrender.
We were both panting. I fell down next to her.
“Do you always fuck with your eyes closed?” she said in my ear. Husky, like Marilyn.
I waited until I got my breath back. But still I didn’t look at her.
“It helps me see the object of my fantasy,” I said.