The Lumberjack


There once was a young lumberjack who was very skilled at what he did.  This lumberjack was so strong and so talented that he could cut down nearly twice the number of trees in one day as anyone else and he was widely regarded as the best in the land.  All the girls wanted to get with him and all the boys wanted to be him.  He was happy and proud of himself. He was comfortable in the idea that he would always be at the top of his game.

The other lumberjacks had a great respect for him so they studied his techniques endlessly in hopes of some day being like him.

As the years passed the once young, but now aging, lumberjack began to notice that he was no longer cutting down twice the number of trees as everyone else because everyone else was cutting down more.  Not only that but, even though he was still working just as hard as he always had, his actual yield was going down.  Every day it seemed he worked harder than the day before but his work continued to decline.

After awhile, not only was he no longer the industry leader but he found himself at the back of the pack in last place.  Even the newbies were cutting down more trees than him!

With great exasperation, he would complain to his friends, “I am doing the exact same thing that made me a champion but now I can’t even keep up!”

At the end of the day, the lumberjack could always be found drowning his sorrows at a sketchy watering hole that stank of grease traps and toilet sanitizer. It was on the dark side of the tracks and fly paper hung from the moose head by the door. Men with dull hair whose wives never saw a paycheck and women with skinny legs and no last name sat mesmerized in the glow of Deuces Wild, hoping to win but planning to lose.  It was a sad and predictable scene at the bar called Diminishing Returns but it was still a step above going home. One night while the lumberjack was taking up space and once again regaling everyone with his tale of woe, the bartender’s ears started to bleed so he leaned over and very quietly asked him one question.

“When was the last time you sharpened your ax?”


Missing: The King Of Porn

I have an obsession and it’s growing like a tumor. It all started with one little thought: I wonder whatever became of the self proclaimed King Of Porn, Samuel Crimson? Upon consulting the Googles I learned that he directed 40 films in 7 years and then vanished right off the Earth 4 years ago. When I say vanished, that’s what I mean, not dead; there would be news stories about his death but vanished and no one seems to care. Well now, if there’s a finger guaranteed to fondle my obsession trigger it’s not being able to find out something I want to know. What started as an innocent question is rapidly becoming a compulsive preoccupation. Like digging for lost keys in that duffel bag of a purse I carry around, I will turn this country upside down and shake it until I unearth what I’m looking for.

You could say we had a love/hate relationship; mostly hate, but not entirely. My boyfriend, Nathaniel, coerced me into a renting a house with Sammy, who was his best friend. He neglected to mention that, while weird on surface, Sam was an insane, tortured creature that liked to drink and cry in public. I didn’t like him but was willing to take his rent money. He struck me as a garden variety intellectual drunk; sloppy, rude, insensitive, twisting complex ideas into ugly banter – you know, the usual suspects. Sam was of Russian decent and had hair like a red tumbleweed. It was about shoulder length and totally unkempt, making it a sizable tumbleweed; like the kind that race you down the road on a windy day and then get stuck in your grill. One time ‘the weed’ got so bad he had to go to a salon to have the tangles professionally removed. I remember him wearing the same sweater vest over his bare chest and cut off sweat pants every day for like 3 years. He was on my nerves most of the time, I thought of him as a well spoken troll.

As a term of endearment, Sam and Nate called each other fag. Any given day of our life together would consist of Sam knocking on our bedroom door every five minutes. Knock knock knock “fag” knock knock “hey fag” knock knock knock knock “hey you fag” and most of these interactions would inevitably result in me having to get up and drive somewhere in the middle of the day when I was supposed to be sleeping. This happened all the time and contributed greatly to the hate factor. Sam did not have a car and was usually too drunk to drive and Nathaniel had neither driver’s license or car so you see the problem. Sam could generally be counted on to relieve the kitchen of it’s contents and to use odious quantities of toilet paper, likely the result of having devoured everything in sight and washing it down with a bottle of Jagermeister.

Should we talk about the crying? Every year at Christmas Sam would pace around the living room in a wide orbit, bottle of Jagermeister in one hand, growing progressively more delirious with each rotation and wearing a threadbare path the carpet. I accidentally interrupted this ritual once, finding him red eyed and sniffling. He told me how, when he was 12, his father dragged him out to the shed behind their house and amputated two of his own fingers with a table saw all the while screaming “Look what you made me do!” Apparently, being a mad genius comes at a price. Having no sense of personal boundaries Sam would often like to confide his torments to me while I was in the shower. I would be washing my hair in the phone booth sized cubical I had then, keeping an eye out for any of those terrifyingly huge water beetles that liked to crawl out of the drain, when the glass door would be flung open and crazy Sammy would be there in some state of panic, regaling me about his metamorphosis and seemingly indifferent to the fact that I was naked and in the middle of something. Then, there were the phone calls. Should Sam be missing from the house for more than a couple hours, something ugly was usually underway. Eventually the phone would ring and he would gurgle out his plans to walk the streets of downtown Las Vegas until God called him home; not asking me to come get him but just filling me in as a courtesy. I would, of course, get in my car and go looking for him, likely finding him urinating in an alley.

By trade Sam was a writer and an adult film director. He wrote innumerable pieces for every adult magazine there is, mostly reviews and on the set type stuff. He and Nathaniel had a dream of owning their own adult film production company. This was possibly the most disastrous idea ever. They were both alcoholics, but incompatible in their inebriated ways. Nathaniel was a lazy chicken shit; always hatching good ideas but never having the balls to execute. Sam, on the other hand, was manic depressive and would work furiously for days at a time and then short circuit and try to kill himself. With no voice of reason between them, these were not two people who should’ve been in business together and Sam did not reach his legendary status until after our relationship had ended. Sam once tried to recruit me to ghost write for him, figuring we could do twice as many jobs that way and he would pay me for my part. Having already sustained considerable personal and financial losses as a result of supporting Sam and his brilliance I was naturally leery of this idea but he was insistent so I agreed to write a short piece reviewing a scene that he had chosen for me. I really didn’t care for the scene, finding it to be awkwardly ridiculous and I described the star whore as a hapless deer in the headlights. When I handed in my assignment Sam informed me that “This is not jack off material. It’s condescending and sarcastic.” Raise your hand if this surprises you. He never asked me to write anything else.

Sam’s true gift was in script writing and film direction. When it came to conceiving of, and committing to film, lurid and savagely extreme sex scenes with profanely blasphemous overtones Crimson was second to none. This is the guy who would lash a Ted Neeley look-alike to a crucifix with Christmas lights, making him wear a barbed wire crown while bleeding profusely and receiving fellatio from a nun. A scene which would no doubt culminate in the simulated rape and anal decimation of the nun by some Roman guards while “Jesus” would passively look on and proceed to bleed out muttering “forgive them father, for they know not what they do” with his dying breath. Yes, that Samuel Crimson, in case you were wondering…

Our little company did manage to produce one little gem of a flick. For the sake of protecting the guilty I shall refer to it as our debut film. We shot for three straight days in our house and, despite near constant conflicts and impending budget shortages, we managed to get the thing edited and distributed by a major label. Our debut film was the best selling video in the country the week of it’s release, received a fully erect rating from Hustler Magazine and was nominated for an AVN award. The biz was off to a great start but then, like anything managed by two alcoholics, it crashed and burned; exploding in an apocalyptic mushroom cloud. There were no survivors.

I have a gift, or a curse, depending on how you look at it. It’s a morbid curiosity coupled with an acute intuition that compels me to understand people and to want to pick at all their scabs until I can see them better. Sam drove me fucking bat shit crazy but I was a little fascinated by him too. There were some occasions, albeit few and far between, when we would have very lucid conversations and he would predict the future. Of course, I couldn’t have gauged his accuracy then but I see now that he possessed a certain clairvoyance. For instance, he once told me that Nate wasn’t who I thought he was and that I would be better off to cut my losses and move on stating that in ten years time he would have burned out, lost his good looks and would be just be one more pathetic drunk sitting at the bar. He told me “you may think I’m just a lunatic but someday, mark my words, you’ll look back and say to yourself Crazy Sammy was right “. A few months ago, approximately ten years later, I got a phone call from Nate who is now unemployed, renting a trailer in Pahrump and calling me from his neighbor’s house because he has neither phone or computer by which to communicate. It seems his unemployment benefits had run out and would not be reinstated for two weeks. He was flat broke and could not pay his rent or buy food for himself or his dog. He needed $200. This was a very depressing phone call because I had hoped that he would have gotten his shit together. The only other time I had heard from him in the last ten years was about 5 years ago when he sent me an email saying that he urgently needed to talk to me because he thought God was punishing him for the way he had treated me. I assured him that, though he was probably right, I had not petitioned God to torment him and could therefore not call off the dogs. Crazy Sammy was right.

My involvement with the films was mostly administrative but there was one night when I crossed the line to the other side of the camera. Nate was sleeping and I was having a rare pleasant evening hanging with Sam during which I agreed to let him shoot me in a solo scene with a double headed dildo. We shot in the living room for at least an hour and, to be honest, it was not unpleasant. He was very cool and focused, directing the scene with a calm detachment and occasionally offering some pointers to ramp up the drama We had a great time. Sadly, or probably fortunately, that footage never made it into an actual movie. Some time later I discovered that he was keeping it as his personal jack off material, and since things weren’t going well at that point, I destroyed the tape.

On another occasion I had just returned to Vegas after an eight week hiatus to Magdelena. Nate was at work and Sam and I were in the kitchen having a rousing conversation. Sam, with shenanigans in his eyes, wanted to know if I had been on any dates while I was away. It goes without saying that I had been with Dean but Sam didn’t need to know that so I just said that I had spent most of my time hanging out with my friends. I could see he didn’t believe me but I stuck to my story, knowing that, at any moment, lucid Sammy could turn into crazy Sammy and would almost certainly repeat anything I told him to his “brother” Nathaniel. We talked for hours about all kinds of things including the boxes of weird shit that my dad would send about once a month. I had been away and Sam had missed the care packages. My dad will gestate an idea and then hold on to it with fierce, but irrational, determination. For instance, I must have been sick once, maybe when I was 13, and required some cough drops. That meant that every month for the next 12 years my dad would send a care package containing, among other things, two or three huge bags off Halls Cough Drops which are, in my opinion, one of the most vile things one could put in their mouth. We had one of those big utility drawers in the kitchen that was quite literally over flowing with Halls Cough Drops. Sam thought this was wildly entertaining. He asked me “why don’t you just tell your dad that you have enough cough drops?” I said “if he can’t see that for himself, me telling him is not going to make any difference. I mean why would he even think that I need this many cough drops in the first place?” We laughed hysterically as Sam reenacted the scene of my dad packing the box contemplating “hmmm, I wonder what my little miss needs this month? I know… cough drops!”

As it turns out my return marked the beginning of the end. Conflict in the house reached new heights with Nathaniel and Sam fighting constantly and, with both of them trying to put me in the middle, I wanted nothing to do with either of them. One day after a big fight I was sitting on my bed when Sam let himself into my room and told me he was going to be doing most of his work in L.A. from now on. He asked me what I wanted out of the whole mess and I said ” I want my life to stop revolving around whatever you and Nate are fighting about. I don’t care about porn and I want to pursue something that is important to me. When is someone going to give a fuck about me, Sam?!?! That’s what I want to know!” I spit these words out in the most bitter tone I could muster. He closed the door. It was our last conversation.