Turning Blue Chapter Five: The Caterpillar and the Stars (Pt. 1)

Turning Blue Book Cover

Chapter Five: The Caterpillar and the Stars

If Johnny Raw was the most talented actor in the industry, the most famous male performer was undoubtedly a hairy Latino with an oversized belly and an oversized penis, whose stellar luminescence made someone like Tiffany West look like a dim dwarf star pulsing on the edges of the galaxy. The Caterpillar, as he was affectionately known, was a bona fide celebrity, welcomed by Hollywood, and known as an icon throughout the civilized world. An unlikely porn star, nobody could fathom the reason for his success. He was accomplished enough as an actor, especially in comedy, and blessed with the necessary physical endowment for his profession, but his real strength was his charismatic touch with the millions of fans he encountered. When it came to female fans, the encounters went beyond autographs and snapshots, and in his humility, he offered his intimate individual attention to even the least appealing of his lady admirers.

He was paid a small fortune for his personal appearances, which sum was all said to be stuffed in paper bags under his mattress in his low-key Hollywood apartment. He did not really care about money or fine things. For all his riches, he lived a modest existence. He wore the same shirt for days. He drove an old car that might have been made by the finest Soviet manufacturers. He wore his dark locks long to avoid having to waste money on haircuts. He never paid for a meal, and he often had more than three square meals a day, sometimes at the same sitting. He traveled the world–all-expenses paid–to open strip clubs, judge wet-t shirt contests, introduce contestants, attend trade shows, and mark his signature on an assortment of box covers, posters and, often, the exposed mammary glands of his devotees.

Once in a while, he appeared in adult movies, but the fact was that in the valley, the studios preferred not to hire him. His body of work was so large, and his large body was so recognizable that they generally selected to cast handsome men instead. Many of the women preferred not to be partnered with him, also preferring handsome men over charm. Fortunately, The Caterpillar was not easily thwarted, and inveigled his way into many roles, often by working cheaply, or bringing a newcomer in tow who was prepared to perform with him, at a reasonable cost to the producer.

There was only one item on his agenda that topped satisfying his carnal and culinary appetites–he craved mainstream acceptance. The Caterpillar was a relentless self-promoter, and relished being so famous. He was on the red carpet, at all the A-list parties and he hob-nobbed with other celebrities.

Everyone wanted to meet him.

Now that the production for Majestic Movies had wrapped, the next challenge for the producer was figuring out how to get paid. It was no easy task to collect money from the mobster. In pursuit of this objective, Travis planned to have lunch with Klaus Ulrich from the Hamburg Film and Book Company at an upscale Italian restaurant in Encino on Ventura Boulevard. Klaus was staying at the Marriott in the west valley, so he could be near to Chatsworth where he was on a buying spree. There was no doubt that by the time Travis was finished, he would be able to offload a shipment of Majestic Movies’ products to the German distributor, if all went well at the lunch.

But, as a special favor, Klaus requested to meet The Caterpillar. Travis had no choice but to deliver.

He called Billy Dallas as soon as he received the inquiry. “I need The Caterpillar for a lunch.”

“I’ll see what I can do.” This meant yes to the agent and the producer.

“You’re not charging me commission for a lunch,” the producer checked hastily.

“Lunch he does at no charge,” Billy assured him, “But he’s going to want something in exchange.”

The Caterpillar was not at the restaurant, when Travis arrived, dressed in a casual suit and a crimson tie for the occasion. Klaus was waiting at the entrance. He was a compact, dapper man with the bristles of a blonde moustache and fair skin. He wore black slacks, a powder blue shirt with a blue tie to match his eyes, and a mustard blazer. His diffidence, which was based on an aristocratic reserve and the challenges of the English language, made him seem cold and aloof. Travis found him warm and likable, not only because of his deep pockets and his high standard of professional ethics and timely payments.

“What about The Caterpillar?” he asked.

“He will be here.” Travis was not concerned. “But we should go ahead and order.”

They were shown to a table in the center by a stiff maître. The sound of the traffic on Ventura Boulevard did not penetrate the windows. There was a hum of quiet conversation, and the clink of glass and silver, as business people lunched across white tablecloths. Travis wanted a few minutes alone with Klaus before The Caterpillar arrived, so that he would be able to offer the international buyer an irresistible deal on the Majestic Movies inventory, which he had acquired as salary for his services.

“I always like to put my money where my mouth is,” said Travis, explaining how the product had fallen into his hands.

“The trouble is…” Klaus struggled to find the right way to express himself, “You like to put too much money where your mouth is….”

“Well,” Travis said, “I have a big mouth.”

They glanced over the menus; unfortunately, the restaurant did not offer a German language translation.

“What about fish?” Klaus suggested, “The fish we had at dinner in Cannes. The El Dorado.”

“Doraude. Golden Bream. They don’t have it on the Pacific. Try the mahi-mahi.”

“Ach zo.” Klaus found something easy. “I will take spaghetti bolognaise.”

They had already placed their orders, when, through the window of the restaurant, Travis spotted The Caterpillar shuffling up in a pair of shorts, and a tropical shirt, where food stains had merged with the pattern. He had a perpetual nod and a beatific smile. There were patrons leaving, and valet parking attendants scurrying about beneath the awning, and there was nobody who did not recognize him.

“He’s here,” Travis indicated, as the famous star entered the restaurant.

All eyes in the place fixed on The Caterpillar. Polite discourse went silent. Mastication froze in mid-bite, silverware hovered in the air. People pointed and murmured, and the maitre d’ dashed over to his podium with a polite expression stamped on his face like a death mask. As was protocol when dealing with all celebrities in Los Angeles, he pretended to have no idea as to the identity of the unmistakable porn star, in the flesh, as it were.

The Caterpillar spotted Travis and Klaus, smiled beatifically and headed towards the table. He was stopped twice on the way, by other diners who wanted to shake his hand, or at least touch him, as if he were a Buddha whose belly one rubbed for good luck. Now all heads in the room turned to find out with whom The Caterpillar was lunching. Travis felt that the table had suddenly fallen under a spotlight. He gave a sickly smile towards all the staring faces. He felt a sudden urge to check his zipper, or at least straighten the knot on his crimson tie. This was not a comfortable moment for the unobtrusive producer but he forged on for the benefit on his potential buyer.

“Thanks for coming,” Travis said, as the restaurant went back to normal, and everyone remembered to ignore celebrities, “This is my very dear friend, Klaus.”

“Oh-oh,” The Caterpillar began his patter, “If you are a friend of Travis Lazar, you must be a very important person. Are you sure you’re not the Chancellor of Germany?”

Klaus was instantly enchanted. “You are very notable in Europe, you know.”

“I know. I have a fan club in Munich. They have a monthly newsletter, and a website. Once a year, there is a special film festival where they screen my movies. But none of that matters…” He glared at the producer in sarcastic anger. “Because I can’t get a role in a Travis Lazar Production.”

“Come on, it’s not always up to me. The studios….”

“I know. I know.” The Caterpillar chuckled at his own impersonation. “But you could do something for your old buddy. Once in awhile. You know, I’m doing a mainstream thing for Paramount. I’m friendly with the director. Small part. A fishmonger. They will probably cut me out of the final version, but I still get the credit.”

The Caterpillar was working his way around to a solicitation from the producer, when he was interrupted by the waiter, a young man with a lisp who was blushing inexplicably. The waiter tried to offer the star a menu. “Can I take your order?”

“What are you guys having?” asked The Caterpillar, with a royal wave of his hand. “I’ll have the same.”

“We’re each having different things,” said Travis, although he knew where this was leading. He was not concerned because the highest rank always paid, which meant that Klaus would be responsible for the check.

“So, one of each.” The Caterpillar ordered two entrees without apology. “And a Caesar salad. I’m trying to cut down.”

“Very good,” said the waiter, producing a bottle of fine California red wine, “And this is complimentary from the management.”

“That’s very nice,” said The Caterpillar, who was accustomed to perquisites, “But I don’t drink. Maybe a complimentary dessert instead.”

“Of course.” The nervous waiter hid the offending bottle of wine behind his back, as if he had been caught handling a slippery dildo.

The food arrived promptly, and even with two entrees to consume, The Caterpillar was not lagging in his conversation, or his ingestion. He told a lot of comical stories and asked a lot of questions. Klaus was entertained throughout; he laughed at anything resembling a joke, including some of The Caterpillar’s grimaces and mugging. The European visitor had a Nikon camera on the chair beside him, and asked Travis to take a photograph of the two of them together.

The Caterpillar actually stopped eating so that he could pose, his finger pointed towards Klaus’ crotch, and a mock expression of shock on his face, suggesting that Klaus outmatched him in genital size.

“That’s one thousand dollars for the photograph,” Travis kept up the humor, handing back the camera.

“Okay,” Klaus responded jovially, “Then you pay the lunch.”

“It will be my pleasure,” offered the producer, who was in no jeopardy of having to open his wallet, “And, no charge for the photo.”

“No, no,” the German insisted, “I pay the lunch. I invade you.”

“He invades us…?” The Caterpillar was momentarily alarmed.

“He means invite,” Travis explained.

The Caterpillar, who had finished both his entrees and was mop-
ping up the spaghetti sauce with a bread roll, looked at Klaus’ plate.

“Are you going to eat that?” Before Klaus could reply, The Caterpillar, who did not like to see food going to waste, when poor people were starving, switched plates with him, and began to polish off the rest of his meal.

The waiter arrived with the dessert trolley, and since–even after much consideration–The Caterpillar could not make up his mind between chocolate cake and crème brulee, he had a small sample of each, both portions being complimentary. Although there was no charge for the personal appearance at lunch, Travis could tell that, dessert dispatched, The Caterpillar had some additional compensation in mind.

Klaus settled the bill, without much resistance from his lunch companions. The fact that the distributor was buying the meal filled Travis with confidence that he would also buy his stock of Majestic Movies.

As they were lining up for the valet parking attendants, The Caterpillar plucked the producer by the sleeve. “So, let me ask you a question….”

At the back door of the restaurant, waiters and buss-boys gawked and giggled at the celebrated star.

Travis allowed himself to be pulled aside. “I knew there was going to be a surprise.”

“You have anything coming up with Tiffany West?”

A few days later, Tiffany West received a telephone call, followed by a visit at her apartment from The Caterpillar, who, through coincidence or superstition, was still wearing the same outfit that he had worn at the lunch.

Tiffany had known The Caterpillar since she first entered the industry, and she ran into him from time to time at clubs and parties. There was always a motley collection of people in his entourage–celebs, money people, rising comics. He attracted interesting fans. He had introduced her around, and she thought he was funny, even though he constantly tried to get into her pants.

“You can come in, but I don’t want to see your junk,” she said, opening the door in her sweats, with Coochie in her arms.

“I just want to ask you something,” he said, entering the apartment, and heading straight to the kitchen.

“Oh, yeah?” Tiffany was suspicious. “Something you had to come over here to ask me?”

“Yeah.” He opened the refrigerator. “You got anything to eat?”

“Is that what you came to ask me? Do I look like a supermarket?”

“No, I’m just saying. If you got anything to eat.” He noticed a bowl of fried rice from a Chinese fast food place at the back of the shelf. “Are you going to eat that?”

Tiffany slapped at his hands. “Stay out of my stuff.”

They went to sit down on the leather sofa in the living room in front of the TV. The Caterpillar did not drink or smoke, but Tiffany had a few puffs from a bong on the coffee table, primarily to steady her nerves. There was a daytime talk show on the widescreen, and they watched couples bickering, and they could not decide who was more retarded–the people on the show, or the people who tuned in to see it. They decided to insert a porn movie instead; it was titillating to neither of them, but they enjoyed discussing the peculiarities of the participants, and offering their professional critiques. They talked about different directors, and on that subject, The Caterpillar worked his way to a question.

“So, let me ask you something. I heard–from Billy–that you’re doing another movie with Travis Lazar? Is that true?”

“Yeah, I had a call two days ago.” She turned up the corners of her mouth. “It’s an easy part, but I was surprised to get a booking because I walked last time.”

“You walked?”

“Yup.” Tiffany did not flinch. “Travis Lazar is a puckered asshole.” She did not feel it necessary to further qualify her assessment of the producer. “But I’m doing the movie.”

She got up from the couch so that she could put Coochie on the patio, because she could tell that the dog needed to go. She shut the sliding door from the inside, but stood waiting so that she would not have to sit down and get up again when the dog was finished because she did not want her to start yapping on the patio, and disturb the
neighbors. The Caterpillar got up too, having exhausted his hopes that he might receive either sexual gratification or nourishment from his hostess, which offered him no justifiable reason to linger.

“So, let me ask you something…” The Caterpillar got to the point, “Would you be interested in going out with Ryder Mackenzie?”

“Ryder Mackenzie, the rock star? From The Vipers?”

“He’s a friend of mine. He wants to go out with you.”

“He’s hot,” Tiffany said, “But it all depends.”

See more from Stuart Canterbury‘s Turning Blue here

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