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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Penultimate Hustle: L.A. - Chapter 13

Chapter 13 – Advancement

Chris and Janique spent the weekend nesting at the apartment, and while it was pleasant, he practically had to tie her down to keep her from the office. At one point, he even did so literally.
“Work can wait,” he told her.
After the excitement of the previous week, she was a bit bored and lonely. Chris made up for this as best he could by reading to her and taking her out for a few nice meals.
On Monday, they arrived early, just after Janice.
“I got with Melvin this weekend,” she said. “We're putting the bid in on the building today.”
“Aww, Janice. You didn't have to do that.”
She shrugged. “I like this place. It's a good investment, furthermore. Plus, I was bored.”
“I know! Me, too.”
“The Variety ad is out. Six calls so far this morning.”
“Wow. Things are blowing up.”
“Indeed. And it's a go for the Palladium next Friday, too. I'm running the recruitment ad today in the L.A. Times, Variety, and Adult Film News. Expect a big turnout.”
“Not a moment too soon, either.”
They reviewed Maria's audition footage, and it was their best shoot so far, nearly an hour and a half long.
“So how many movies is that?” Chris asked.
“Six, so far, I think. Eight? That's the thing. By the terms of the contract, a movie is sort of what we say it is.”
“Sneaky.”
“No, just business. Besides, in case you didn't notice, the girls don't seem to care. I think they're just happy to belong.”
“They're getting off light with only twelve movies each. I mean, I know we're making money...”
“I was thinking about that. I'll have Janice modify the contracts to specify eighteen a year for the new hires.”
“Smart girl.”
Within the next hour, the offices were bustling again, and Janique was in her element. The girls had shown up, along with Kiki, who was carrying Dulce.
“We brought toys and coloring books,” she said.
“That's good,” Janique laughed. “The ones we have aren't for kids. But I'm making the nursery the next priority. Maria and Gia, go start training with Romeo at the print shop. Mia and Lateesha, back to Creative Computers. We've also got a bunch of jobs coming up. Things are about to get busy.”
“Yay!” Gia said. Her outlook had improved considerably after her talk with Janique. Plus the advance seemed to bolster morale for everyone concerned.
When the girls had gone, Janique said, “I really appreciate you helping out, Kiki.”
“It's nothing. Otherwise, I'd just be at home, or going to munches with my girlfriends.”
“Munches?”
Kiki laughed. “Lesbian brunches.”
“Heh.”
Natalia arrived next, and the three discussed ideas for the nursery, which would double as a porn set.
“I want an oversized rocking chair, like Emily Latella on Saturday Night Live.”
“I don't watch T.V.,” Natalia sniffed.
“Well, it's Gilda Radner, but she dressed like a little girl, and the huge chair makes her look tiny.”
“Custom,” Natalia said.
“Of course.”
“Ever watch this kids' show 'Big Comfy Couch'?” Kiki asked.
“No, what is it?”
“It's sort of similar. It has a giant couch, and a woman dressed like a doll. She also has this big rug with a clock on it.”
“What are you doing watching it?” Janique asked with a smile.
“Oh, it's fucking hot. Every show, she lays on the clock face and does exercises... I'm usually masturbating. By the time she reaches five-twenty, I cum hard.”
“You're a freak, Kiki. I like that.”
Kiki blushed and smiled.
“So, there's this guy Dana knows. Paul Reubens. (SP) He does a thing on stage called 'Pee-Wee's Playhouse'. It's like a kid show, but for adults. There's a lot of innuendo. Kids and grown-ups both love it. He has a talking chair with eyes named 'Chairy', a clock named 'Clocky'. Maybe we could do something like that?”
“Love it!” Janique said. “Also, I want a changing table big enough for an adult.”
Natalia clucked. “Sick.”
“Janique's Playhouse!” Kiki said.
“Movie title! So, how are the other rooms coming along?”
Natalia showed her the bathroom design.
“Wow!”
“I'm getting bids from contractors this week. Also, authentic sixteenth-century furniture is being shipped from France. I went over budget.”
Janique shrugged. “I don't care. I just want it beautiful. Also, redo the break room. Make the kitchen like 'I Love Lucy', or 'Leave It To Beaver'.”
“'Father Knows Best',” Kiki added.
“Movie title!” Janique said, laughing.
“The chair stays?” Natalia asked, unamused.
“The chair definitely stays.”
“Very well,” Natalia said, and went back to sketching.
In Janique's office, Kiki said, “So when do we...?”, indicating Chris.
“Oh, not yet. Slow down, girlfriend.”
Kiki blushed with embarrassment. Janique loved to see her pale skin redden.
“I'm sorry. Brad's just so busy with the store, school, his projects. He's worse than ever, now. I mean, girls are fun, but...”
“They lack a certain something?”
“Right!”
“Well, it will probably be when Natalia finishes the bedroom and adjacent torture chamber.”
“Yummy! Brad and I go to renaissance festivals. I have some great outfits. Princess, bar wench...”
“Oh, wow. That'll be fun.”
“I also majored in drama.”
“You graduated?”
“No, I eventually dropped out. Brad takes good care of me. He's a little old-fashioned.”
“Nothing wrong with that. I think he's sweet.”
“He really is,” Kiki agreed.
###
Payback showed up with a carload of books, and Chris spent nearly an hour hauling up boxes with him.
“So how's Tokio's case?”
“Looking better all the time. I think we have a real shot at getting him off, at this point. We just can't find that damn girl.”
“Talk to Janice. She may be able to help. She's very connected.”
“It's going to be expensive. The lawyers say two million.”
“Don't worry about that. It's his money, anyway.”
“Roger that.”
When they had finished, Chris said, “Want a computer?”
“Yes, that'd be great.”
“I already told Brad. Look, you get back on the case, to school, whatever you need to do. I'll shelve these.”
“Cool. Thanks, man. We should know something by the end of the week.”
“Peace,” Chris said.
###
Brad arrived with Leo a few hours later, and Kiki greeted him with a heartfelt kiss, handing him Dulce. He bounced her in his arms a few times, and handed her right back. Leo laughed.
“So, I'm done with the store,” he announced. “The girls are in good hands. Dana's sharper than I give him credit for. They just dress kind of...”
“Slutty?” Janique laughed.
“I was going to say revealingly.”
“Are the customers complaining?”
“No. In fact, we're busier than ever.”
“I thought so. Good. So what's on the agenda?”
“Well, I have a bunch of stuff downstairs. Desks, chairs. I got most of the stuff we need from the store. Uh, I also bought a protocol analyzer. I've always wanted one.”
“That's great.” Janique said.
“Don't you want to know what it is?”
“Don't know, don't care. If you need it, buy it.”
“I need a drawing tablet,” Leo said.
“Like a sketch pad?”
“No, it lets you draw on the computer with a stylus.”
“Get it.”
“Leo's an animator,” Brad said. “He's going to redo the graphics for the games.”
“Excellent. Look, don't worry about costs, too much. I spent a million and a half on whores alone. This computer stuff is only going to get bigger. Right?”
“Yeah, according to Moore's Law.”
“Brad, I don't know Moore's Law from coleslaw. Do I need to?”
“No, I guess not. Yes, personal computers are set to be the next big tech sector. In fact, there's no end in sight.”
“The sky's the limit, then. Whatever makes you boys happy and productive.”
“We need a Quantel Paintbox,” Leo said.
Brad glared at him. This was getting ridiculous.
“What? It would improve the videos tenfold.”
“They're a quarter million dollars!”
“Brad, are they cool?” Janique asked.
“Yes, very. It's the best edit bay on the market.”
“Then get one. We'll build the edit suite upstairs.
“Yes!” Leo said, feeling pleased. “Who dares, wins,” he told Brad.
“Payback's business comptuer?”
“On the truck. We'll need to get him a dedicated phone line. He'll probably want to access legal libraries and BBSs.”
“What's a BBS?”
“Bulletin Board System. You access it via modem, and-”
“What's a modem?”
“Modulator, demodulator, it-”
“Brad, you're just making it more complicated. Keep it simple. Pretend you're talking to a girl.”
“You are a girl.”
“Yeah, but I'm not Kiki. Pretend I know nothing about computers.”
“Said the girl who produced the most cutting-edge computer graphics work of all time,” Chris said.
“I really have to see that film,” Brad said.
“Heh. All I did was have sex with the guy.”
“I really have to see that film,” Leo added. “You're quite the motivator.”
“Try again, Brad,” Janique said.
“Uh, a modem is a...thingie that lets computers talk over the phone lines.”
“Good! Go on...”
“A BBS lets people talk to each other via text on message boards.”
“Like at the grocery store?”
“Right.”
“See, that I can understand.”
“So, you can post want ads, have discussions, upload and download pictures and programs...”
“Pictures?”
“Sure. Then other people can look at them.”
“Is there porn?”
“Yeah...” Brad admitted.
“I want one. Now,” Janique said, laughing.
“Leo?” Brad said.
“I can set up Renegade. We'd need a dedicated PC and phone line, of course.”
“Make it so,” Janique said. “Talk to Janice for phone stuff.”
“I'd need a film scanner and a capture card,” Leo said.
“I need a BBS,”Janique reiterated. “Upload pictures of me and the girls, with our phone number and logo on them.”
“So, basically, my job is to write games, do graphics, design hardware, and look at porn?” Leo asked.
“Pretty much,” Chris said.
“What a job. Fuck school.”
Everyone but Brad laughed.