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True Pulp

A good friend of mine, Mickey Spillane Jr., sent me a pitch for a novel, perhaps a screenplay. I told him it was too improbable, that stuff like this couldn't happen outside of trash fiction. But he claims it's all true. Says he heard it from some guy called Starr,...
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A good friend of mine, Mickey Spillane Jr., sent me a pitch for a novel, perhaps a screenplay. I told him it was too improbable, that stuff like this couldn't happen outside of trash fiction. But he claims it's all true. Says he heard it from some guy called Starr, who's apparently an aspiring pulp writer. It does sound kind of familiar, like I've read it somewhere already. What do you think?

Okay, have you guys heard this one? If you haven't, you're about to. This'll kill you, I guarantee it.

So there's this guy, and he's in his 50s or something. He comes from someplace in Arkansas or somewhere, one of those places where everybody's name is Vern, and if you divorce your wife, she might still be your sister. That kind of a place.

But it's a little bit different for him. He knows he doesn't belong there. He knows he's different. He knows he's meant for classier places. It's obvious, because his name's not even Vern. It's Bill, short for William. He's not going to pump gas, that's for damn sure.

And he doesn't. When he's a teenager, he travels to the bright lights and big city to meet his hero, John. Bill's in awe of John. He gets his picture taken with him and vows to be just like him. Once he's tasted the good life, you can't keep Bill down on the farm. He gets out of Arkansas when he's still a young razorback. He gets himself to college and law school, pulls a fast one to duck the draft, and next thing you know he's wearing a suit, and sitting at a desk, and going to meetings and making speeches and all that. And he's not exactly doing it for free, if you know what I mean.

Along the way he gets with this broad. She'd been to law school. Not bad to look at, but with something underneath that look, something hungry. You know the type of broad--when she says hello and kisses you she looks like a boxer touching gloves before the fight? Well, that's the type she was.

Anyway, they get together and do what nature intended. He marries her and they have this kid, a girl.

So Bill just does better and better. He's an ambitious boy, and the old lady isn't what you'd call an underachiever herself. Both of them know the right words to say to the right people, whether they mean them or not. Before Bill's even 50, he's applied for this job as the top guy at a firm in Washington, D.C. No kidding. It looks like he's going to get the job.

Then this bimbo who used to be a TV weather girl or something appears. And she's telling everybody that she used to know Bill, and I'm talking about in the Biblical sense. And this is after he was hitched to the old lady. Now, you don't need me to tell you that this isn't good, right? The folks who're thinking about giving Bill the job don't much like it. But Bill denies it, and then apologizes to his old lady in front of everybody. And she forgives him in front of everybody. He never says what he's apologizing for since he wasn't doing it with the weather girl, and the old lady never says what she's forgiving him for. But it's all kind of nice, and he gets the job.

He's not so good at the job, if you want to know the truth, but it doesn't matter because lots of people think he's swell. They like his old lady, too. She likes to get involved and help him out with things. There are other bimbos coming out of the woodwork to say they've gotten their jollies with Bill--or he with them--but he denies that and he seems real sincere about it, so it's all okay. There's some talk about crooked business deals and stuff, and an investigator starts looking into it. But nobody manages to prove anything, so what's the problem?

So, things're just peachy. He's a long way from Arkansas, that's for sure.
Then this girl comes to work for his firm. She's a trainee or something. Twenty-one years old or so. Not much older than his kid, but, hell, she's not his kid, is she? Not as far as he knows. This ain't Arkansas.

Her name's Monica. When it's all over, none of us will be able to figure what he sees in her. (Not that he's Cary Grant, either, now that I think about it.) She's got dark hair and a pretty enough face, but she's not what you'd call an athletic girl. Not unless you think sumo wrestlers are athletes. Still, she's an improvement on the old lady. And, man, what a mouth! Wide, with those big red lips--the kind of mouth that makes you think about. . . . Well, that's what Bill thought about for sure.

But Bill's more than a thinking kind of guy. In fact, he's one of those guys who really can't keep it in his pants, if you want to know the truth. As it turns out, Bill's hero, John, who had gone to glory well before his time, was quite a ladies' man. So I guess Bill's trying to emulate ol' John in every way.

So Monica's working there in his office. And, at office functions and the like, they're giving each other the eye, flirting, and she's doing stuff like showing him the top of her underwear. This goes on for a few months. Then one day Bill invites her into his private study there in the office. A private study. I'm telling you, this guy is in gravy. Anyway, they're in the private study. And Bill needed it to be pretty damn private.

"Can I kiss you?" Bill asks her.
She tells him to go ahead. So he does. Then she gives him her number and takes off.

But she's back about 10 that evening. They're in the study again. . . .
There's nothing subtle about what happens next. There doesn't have to be. Bill and Monica are no longer in Washington, D.C. They're out on the mudflats of prehistory, desire coursing through them as a genetically encoded recording of the first star exploding. They're kissing. She unbuttons her jacket. He unhooks her bra or lifts it up--afterward, neither can remember which. He's got his hands on her heaving breasts, then his tongue.

But, even in the throes of passion, Bill isn't a guy who neglects his duty. He takes a phone call. But, while he's doing it, he's got his hand in Monica's panties and he's groping her moist, velvet vise. Then, while he's still talking on the phone, she gets down there, unzips him, and tries to swallow that throbbing manhood.

He finishes his call, and he tells Monica to stop doing what she's doing. Don't ask me why. Monica doesn't get it, either.

"I need to wait until I trust you more," Bill tells her.
Then he tells her that he hasn't had it in a long time.
So that's all that happens that night. Bill just goes back to work or something. Can you believe that? You've got this babe's ruby red lips all over the skin flute, and you don't get off, and you don't get her off, and you can go back to whatever you were doing just like that. What a man.

Couple days later, same thing again, only better. This time there's pizza involved. And to Bill--a guy whose name just as easily could have been Vern--that had to be paradise. A broad who brings you pizza. You have to wonder if he ate it while she was on her knees. If he did, that's all he ate. Monica didn't get anything except maybe some pizza. And, like before, Bill didn't get to the point you and I would have gotten to.

This kind of hanky-panky went on. Some of the people in Bill's office suspected there was some carnal knowledge being learned around there, but they kept their traps shut. Loose lips sink ships. Seems the old lady hadn't a clue. But it never went as far as you'd think. Bill had a thing about Monica's milky white breasts--he liked to kiss them and touch them--but that was pretty much all he'd do. And he gets that big mouth of hers every time. She wants him to climax, but he won't. "I don't know you well enough yet," he tells her.

No kidding. This is a guy whose idea of getting to know someone is to let them suck his dick. But he's not going beyond that until they're better acquainted.

After a few months of this, Bill's getting antsy. He's afraid somebody's going to find out. Also, he's feeling bad about the old lady. He tells Monica that he's cheated on the old lady hundreds of times, but he doesn't want to do it any more.

It doesn't work, though. Bill just can't stop himself, and Monica doesn't want to stop anything. She's getting sweet on him. Must have some kind of daddy thing going. So they just keep right on going.

One time, Bill offers to reciprocate the oral action. But Monica's on the rag, so she says no. Then, after she'd been doing him in her usual way without anything happening at the end, they're laying around talking. He's chewing on a cigar. Then he takes the cigar in his hand and looks at Monica in what she calls a naughty kind of way. . . .

She looks at the cigar. And then she looks at him. "We can do that, too, sometime," she tells him.

And they do. He slips the cigar into the ol' love grotto, then tastes the cigar. But he never goes any closer to the essence of her womanhood than that.

Eventually, she gets some of what she wants. They're in a bathroom (Bill's a classy guy) and she's doing her usual lip service. And he's getting close, so he starts pushing her away like he always does.

So she begs.
"I care about you so much," she says. "I don't understand why you won't let me . . . make you come. It's important to me. I mean, it just doesn't feel complete. It doesn't seem right."

And Bill's all heart, he really is. He hugs her.
"I don't want to get addicted to you," he tells her. "And I don't want you to get addicted to me." Then he gives her a long look. "But I don't want to disappoint you," he tells her. What a wonderful man Bill is. He lets her get back down there.

There's nothing subtle about what happens next. There doesn't need to be. They are no longer in a bathroom. They're out on the mudflats of prehistory. Her lips engulf him, and they begin to beat out the primitive rhythm of the primordial ooze. Bill reaches that point from which man and woman may never return with their hearts unchanged. The white ambrosia of love spills out of her mouth and onto her dress. She will keep that dress and never launder it, a keepsake of fleeting ecstasy.

And it's fleeting, all right. You know how broads can get. She decides she loves Bill, and he strings her along a little. Tells her that he'll be retiring from the job in a few years, and he might not be married to the old lady then.

"I think we'd make a good team," says Monica.
Bill decides to be a nice guy and try to put her off. "What happens when I'm 75 and have to pee 20 times a day?" he asks her.

"We'll deal with it," she answers, and Bill knows he's in trouble.
The firm moves Monica out of the office and sends her somewhere else. This isn't Bill's doing, but he's got to be relieved. Then Monica starts pestering him to bring her back. He keeps putting her off. Finally, she realizes she's not coming back. She writes him a letter. "All you have promised me is an empty promise," the letter says. "I will never do anything to hurt you. I am simply not that kind of person. Moreover, I love you."

But she's been hinting to him that he'd better get her a job somewhere else or she'll drop the proverbial dime. What he doesn't know is that she's already been talking. Her mother knows about their trysts, and so does this woman she thinks is her friend.

The friend approaches this investigator who's spent years trying to prove that Bill is a crook, and not coming up with squat. She tells the investigator, Kenny the Hawk, about Bill and Monica. Kenny accuses him. Bill denies it. He even denies it under oath.

Well, who the hell wouldn't? It's not like he knew Monica was going to turn stool pigeon and hand over the stained dress. When she does, Bill knows the jig's up. He admits it.

Some people in his firm want to fire him, and that's what Kenny the Hawk's after. But most of the firm's customers want him to stay in the job, since they think he's good at it, and he didn't do anything a lot of them wouldn't do. The board of directors is all in an uproar, but privately, many of them are fretting about their own flings.

Bill says he's not going to quit. He says it's nobody's business but his family's. It seems the old lady decides to forgive him, like she did before even though he said he hadn't banged the weather girl. The old lady forgives him for sure. She just forgives the hell out of him. She's a very forgiving woman.

Contact Barry Graham at his online address: [email protected]

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