Rape? A day in the life of an aspiring artist

from New York Press 

A girl yells “No daddy, not in the ass, please not in the ass, plea—… Ugh,” and you think she means it.

I was working at New York Film Academy—a trade school neither accredited nor associated with any university. I never regarded teaching there as anything but a means to an end. Always hungry for real set work, I took time off for any job where I commanded a key position on a film—any film. I saw my students as young (although most of them were older then I was) idiots who were wasting their time and a whole lot of their parent’s money. My co-workers were stagnant and afraid, people who were appeased by careers that were pale shadows of the ambitions they had once held.

I had hit a lull. It was the end of winter and set jobs in New York were sparse. A co-worker of mine—we’ll call him N.—approached me at the end of a long day to see if I would be interested in some set work. “How long has it been since you shot?” he asked me. I never had any interest in being a cameraman, but I had taught several camera classes and knew the equipment well enough that I was sure I could hack it. N., a white, space pirate-type in his mid-20s, didn’t want to talk about it at the school, so we shuffled around the corner to a coffee shop and sat down to discuss the job.

N. had been approached by an evening student to shoot a side project, one that the student had been hired to direct. We’ll call the student A. Everyone called him Big A. I was impressed. Rarely does a student, especially an evening student, get paid directing work before they even complete their course, but as he told me more, I began to understand.

Big A., a gargantuan, bald black man in his mid-40s, had been producing low-level porn for a couple years. He had enrolled in evening filmmaking courses to learn more about, as he put it, “real meaningful shit, like big movies.” While the rest of his class was making silent black and white opuses, he was working on a short for a “fuck-fest compilation.” I never did learn its actual title, but that’s probably for the best.

Big A. had a friend, the night manager of a large hotel near Lincoln Center. This hotel was being renovated and the only inhabitants were a few SRO dwellers who, under New York State law, could not be displaced. My job was to serve as a second camera and to photograph stills of the “actress.”

Because of my foul work tongue, N. thought I might be alright with this sort of work. I’d never been on a porn shoot, but camera work is camera work, and I couldn’t see why there’d be any problem. “Some of the best directors got their start that way,” I told myself.

The day came, and I made my way to the hotel. Outside stood Big A. along with a young black kid donning P-Diddy’s latest, a fat oafish man who kept fiddling with his camera gear and a thin white guy wearing a too-clean Yankees cap. Yankees cap saw me by the entrance and walked over. “Are you, um… here for the shoot?”

“Yes,” I said curtly, leaving him to ask the inevitable question: “Are you the actress?” He looked impressed, I assume in retrospect, at the idea that a young, clean white girl had been roped in for the project. “No,” I said, and laughed. We smoked in silence for a time and then he began to qualify himself.

“My partner is involved with Big A. I don’t usually get involved with these projects, but my associate is out of town.” So this producer wasn’t exclusively into porn. A-ha!

“What do you usually do?” I asked.

“Oh, you know—commercials, music video, promotions, and advertising. We could use a photographer… Do you have a portfolio?… Here is my card…” and so forth. I took his card. N. arrived and we all went up stairs to meet the rest of the crew.

The two girls they had hired were already there. Beside them was their pimp—staid, seated and quiet. Bopping around him was the jovial and talkative “actor,” smiling at the make-up girl and asking the actresses if there was anything he could get them. The two girls, both of whom were black, were gulping shots of Hennessey and dancing around in their bras and jeans. The scene was surreal enough without the sudden high-pitched cry of Big A.: “What do you mean she doesn’t have an AIDS test?”

“Nah, nah—she got it, she jus’ din’ bring the form. We could git it tomorrow,” the oafish one replied.

The little white guy from outside who usually doesn’t do this sort of thing said, “No, no absolutely not. We can’t take that risk… I can’t ask this guy to bang her raw if she doesn’t have the fucking form with her, man! And if we don’t have a raw image, we don’t have a raw film, do we?”

There was a lot of huffing and puffing; Big A. started to look nervous and N. was looking at me apologetically. He had sold the job to me as “soft-core.” In my mind that meant Skinemax-style—no penetration, soft lighting and a fireplace. This was entirely different. This was an empty penthouse in a hotel complete with water damage, torn carpet and a ripped mattress. A chipped headboard was wedged between the mattress and the wall.

I stood and waited as thugs discussed who was going to bang a drunk prostitute raw for the camera.

After countless stories about various girls who had infected unsuspecting actors and crewmembers, all parties involved reached a resolution: The girl who didn’t have the AIDS test was to be sent home.

I set up my camera and started rolling. Big A. wanted behind-the-scenes footage for the DVD. The girls, who’d been waiting, were passing around a blunt. When told to leave, the girl without the AIDS test resolutely shrugged and said, “Shit, nigga, I’m too high now anyway,” but stuck around to see the show. The second “actress,” pushing 30 and already with a receding hairline, pulled her wig down over her eyebrows and got up. Big A. grabbed her by the waist, adjusted her wig, slapped her on her thong-flossed ass and bent her over the bare mattress. The “actor,” who didn’t want to take his shirt off and was clearly a bit anxious, saddled up behind her and started pulling at his half-flaccid manhood. Once he was most of the way hard, he pushed into her and right away she started moaning like Barbarella.

Big A. was yelling at me and N. to go this way or that way, to zoom in here or there and to make sure we were on her face for the cum shot. The cum shot never came, though. The “actor,” who’d already angered Big A with his insufficient size, was now having a problem keeping it up. Big A. was audible in his disappointment, and the poor kid got softer with each disparaging word. He’d fall to his knees and start eating out the actress. I can only assume he did this to offer something for the camera. I gagged when, as he put his mouth to her, she omitted a thick, grainy fluid—like bright orange, putrid Lava soap.

After about two hours it was clear that this poor boy was not providing the money shot. Big A., who had been drinking, was by this time wearing a bright blue ladies wig. His 350-pound form gyrated with every sip. Liquor spilled out of his mouth and coated his t-shirt with wet spots. He laughed and gave the actor money for a cab once the pimp magnanimously volunteered to “fuck this girl right.” By now it was 5 a.m. and I was praying for a pimp to cum quickly in a drunk girl. It’s not a good feeling.

Big A., who was standing in front of the “actress” as her pimp fucked her from behind, threws out his gargantuan arms and proclaimed “Okay—now fuck her in the ass, yo! Right in the ass!” Empty lubricant containers were scattered around the bed—Big A. dropped the liquor and began to squeeze the dregs from a lube bottle. The actress, drunk and stoned, reared her head back and said, slit-eyed and tired, “Nah, I don’ do that ass shit, man.” She was still bucking, only slower, trying to fuck her pimp gently, as if to entreat him with sentiment.

“Please daddy,” she said “not in the ass. Fuck my pussy, my pussy loves you daddy—” Big A.’s giant hand came down on her head and pushed her face into the mattress. His other hand appeared with the lubricant and, leaning over her small form, he squirted it on her asshole, letting loose a long fart sound from the bottle.

I had had quite enough. I didn’t know if this was rape or not. I didn’t know whether her plea was merely a request or a firm stance on the matter. I decided to err on the side of caution. I shut down my camera and reached up to strike the light.

“Listen… listen!” Everything stopped and turned their heads toward me. “I’m not cool with this and I’m not shooting anymore. Pay me and I’ll go.”

Applaud your narrator. This was my grand stand, for what it was worth.

“What—you not cool wit’ anal?” Big A. asked me.

“Nah man, I’m not cool with rape. You don’t have to do this,” I said to the girl as her innards quivered around her pimp’s genitals.

“Keep shooting!” Big A. said.

N. kept shooting.

I looked at him; he wouldn’t look back.

“No daddy, not in the ass, please not in the ass, plea—… Ugh,” and it was in her ass. Big A. walked up to me, still wearing his blue wig, and told me to pack up. This girl was getting banged in the ass and licking her lips for the camera like she loved it. After a few seconds she began to buck back. The fat on her hips shook with every thrust. I thought I would be out of there before they finished, but with one final grunt from the girl, it was all over. The pimp came a bit in her ass but managed to pull it out, flip her around with amazing agility and cum on her breasts. N. had captured the end. Big A. paid me, though he said that my camera work wasn’t aggressive enough.

I heard her ask after it was done what “that little thing of a girl was so upset about.”

As N. and I were leaving I glanced back at the scene. The girl had her head on her pimp’s shoulder and they were watching the last scene in the camcorder flip-top monitor. He was holding her hand, her wig was off, and in the light of the dawn I spotted a few more balding areas on her head.

I didn’t know whether I had participated in a taped rape or just been privy to the inner workings of humiliation porn. I know that I didn’t make any heroic reckoning in my refusal to continue shooting, nor do I think it would have mattered to me now if I had.

A happy ending: a week later N. came up to me and told me, with anguished solemnity, that Big A. had kicked the bucket following a massive fat man’s heart attack. I laughed, and said “Can’t say I’ll miss him.”

N. stomped his foot, called me a cunt and walked off dramatically.

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