Forty Bucks and A Dream, Stories of Los Angeles. Chapter 5: The Biggest Dick in the World
I am publishing Forty Bucks and A Dream: Stories of Los Angeles on Substack. New chapters drop Mondays. Below is the Table of Contents, with links to what’s posted before.
I was in Los Angeles last week, very briefly, and heartened per usual to see that things don’t change: the streets of Beverly Hills are empty at night, the bases of palm trees wrapped in the same little white lights they were twenty years ago; the men’s clothing store features framed photos of Brad Pitt, of Dennis Farina, “the studios send them here,” says the owner, “because we have the best.” And the two little boys at one end of the hotel rooftop ogling the HOLLYWOOD sign in the distant hills, and when you head over barefoot to take a look, notice, too, the broken glass on the ground before heading back to the pool, its temperature such that if there is any difference between it your body, you cannot tell, you could stay in here forever.
FORTY BUCKS AND A DREAM: Stories of Los Angeles
4: The Waxer
5: The Biggest Dick in the World
6: Brown Dirt Cowboys: Meet your Mexican gardening crew
7: Punch Drunk
8: Us Versus Them: The code of the cop bar
9: Who She Took With Her: The husband, the son, the boyfriend… a drunk’s tale
10: Giving: the Hollywood way
11: No Exit Plan: The lies and follies of Laura Albert, a.k.a., J.T. Leroy
12: Porn for Women
13: Sanctuary: Days and nights at the King Edward Saloon
14: Why Not to Write About the Supreme Master of the Universe: A day with the disciples of Ching Hai
15: Playboy: The next generation
16: J. Lo in the House
17: The Marrying Room
18: Meet the Neighbors
19: The Pathos of Failing
20: Bite and Smile
THE BIGGEST DICK IN THE WORLD
I believed my ticket to stardom would arrive in a big car soon after I arrived in Los Angeles. It did not. Nor was it in the Porsche 911 I found myself stepping into one evening, a car that belonged to a man I was told had the biggest dick in the world. Though he told me this himself, I first heard it from my sister-in-law.
Sandra was a northern Italian girl with Gina Lollobrigida curls and a gap between her front teeth. A visual artist, she had no interest in acting but knew I did and thus alerted me to a man she had met—let’s call him Hal—who was casting a movie. Hal had told Sandra he liked her look and asked her to audition, which she did. Why, if she had no ambitions of being an actress, had she auditioned? Because she was a pretty 25 year-old to whom someone had told, “I want you in my movie.” While this might cause someone in Schenectady to scratch her head, in Hollywood, it’s axiomatic that you go.
“I told him about you,” Sandra told me. “He wants to meet you.”
I was, at this point, reading screenplays for a living. I was 28 years old, had no agent, no acting prospects, and was nursing an infant. I will not paint myself as more gullible than I was; I knew Hal’s movie was probably a scam, but what did I have to lose by meeting the guy?
“He’s a Vietnam War hero,” Sandra added, as she kissed me goodbye on each cheek. “Oh, and he’s supposed to have the biggest dick in the world.”
When I told my daughter’s father that I was going to meet a film director about a part and, um, Sandra said he’s supposed to have the biggest dick in the world, Tim gave me the look that said, you know what you’re walking into, don’t you? I told him I’d be fine.
I showed up to meet Hal as scheduled. His West Hollywood office was a legit-looking series of rooms decorated with brightly illustrated Rambo-esque posters, different shots of a he-man running through a jungle in flames, a bandoleer across his shirtless chest and a small Asian child under each arm. An elderly man whose head trembled in an alarming way sat at the reception desk. He told me Hal would be with me a minute, then shuffled off to another room, not to be seen again.
Hal appeared shortly. He may have been in his forties, but it was hard to tell, as his head had the quality of a blob of pizza dough, topped with a few strands of colorless hair. He skin was gray-white, and his body was pure flab, soft petals of fat overhanging his groin, and thick legs encased in shapeless blue slacks with a cheap sheen.
Hal seemed relaxed and friendly as he gave me a tour of the office. “These posters,” he said, pointing to bandoleer man, “are of a docudrama about my heroics in Vietnam.” He sighed, heavy on the humility. “I single-handedly saved my entire platoon, plus a bunch of villagers.”
The tour continued. Hal showed me wall-mounted photos of the actor Rod Steiger, spotlighted on a dark stage.
“He’s reading from my life story,” he said.
Hal’s face, which slumped on the right side, was very close to mine as I leaned in to get a read on the Steiger photos. They looked doctored, as did other shots of Hal with Steiger. Meanwhile, Hal told me how attractive I was and that we should continue talking about the project over dinner.
Hal suggested we take his car, the above-mentioned Porsche, which happened to be parked right in front of his building on La Cienaga. I had no illusions; I was certain the project was complete nonsense, but I was not scared and so settled in for the ride.
Hal drove us about ten minutes, to an Italian restaurant called something like Casa Romano. The valet knew Hal by name, as did the maitre d’, who ushered us to a circular booth, where I was made a big fuss over, and where it was obvious I was girl #178 to have been wined and dined at this very table; to be disingenuously slavered over by an unctuous waiter with a fake Italian accent, who for dessert brought me a complimentary slice of spumoni that he—whoops!—accidentally dropped in my lap. I did not flinch when the plastic ice cream hit me, which I saw put the spook to the waiter, who looked at Hal for direction.
“Heh, she’s sharp,” Hal said, his right cheek drooping now nearly to his collar.
We rode back to the office in silence. Hal said he wanted to give me a screenplay; why didn’t I come up for a second? As he handed me the script, three Polaroids fell out. They were blurry, but appeared to be of Hal sitting on a bed bending over a vacuum cleaner hose.
“Maybe your sister-in-law told you that I have a twenty-six-inch cock,” he said, and nudged me down on the vinyl sofa. I pushed him off and said I had to go.
Once home, I was as nauseated as if I’d spent an hour on a Tilt-a-Whirl.
“You knew what you were in for, Nanny,” Tim said, and went to bed.
I could not sleep. I felt as though I had poison in me, and the only way to get it out was to write, a dense three-page letter telling Hal in gothic detail how revolting he was. It was a great letter, very purgative. I read it to Tim at five in the morning, while nursing our daughter.
“You know,” he said. “You don’t have to actually send it.”
He was right. I wrote instead, “Thanks for dinner, here’s your script back,” and had it on Hal’s doorstep by 6am.
I called Sandra later that day. “The guy is a pig and fraud,” I told her.
“Ma-donna,” she said. “And I don’t think his dick is even real.”
No, she hadn’t…
“Si, I did,” she said, when she’d “auditioned.” She said Hal had gone into the bathroom and come out with some sort of floppy thing she couldn’t make out in the dark. But, I asked her, was it a dick? She said she did not know, only that it lay on the bed like a dead thing before he could get it inside her.
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