Four Dollar Empress: A Heart-Rending Short Story by Daniel Crockett

When she won ‘American Starlet of the Year’ at the Las Vegas Porn Awards, eighteen-year old actress Virginia Lane felt that she had reached her peak. In the opulent backstage bathroom the tears dropped from her huge, round eyes as she stared into the immaculate mirror. Someone had extinguished a cigarette in the soap tray of the sink. This is it, she remembered thinking through the champagne and cocaine and adrenaline. The high road from the low road, I am the star in the gutter. This is me, she thought. This is what I am.  

Cock in her mouth, pussy and ass. Six days a week. So many cocks – the cocks of stars, of hopefuls, of cameramen and fluffers, cocks of men she met who paid for things, cocks of random hookups in search of love. Big cocks, small cocks, wide cocks, thin cocks, veiny cocks, freakish cocks, scarred cocks, black cocks, cocks red with her own blood and the blood of other girls. Oh, the girls; perfect pussy, tiny pussy, wide pussy, dry pussy, wet pussy, pussy juice on her chin and on her fingers. And the toys, dildos the size of baseball bats, beads that men stuck in her ass and twirled, purple vibrators the shape of shovels.

It was all in a day’s work for Virginia Lane, the currency she knew and understood. For a time it was fun, before the drugs. Fucking on cocaine, on ecstasy, on acid, on xanax, on k, on meth. Fucking on crack a handful of times. Fucking so pissed she couldn’t stand up, but she didn’t have to. Fucking so stoned she couldn’t see or hear. And finally, uncontrollably, fucking on heroin. Then that horrific drug came creeping up and fucked her back.  

She got work as a stripper, shitcanned it after two shifts. More heroin there than tips in the cup 

About three lost months and 10,000 lost dollars later she came to in a motel room in Compton, sleeping between two guys she never even spoke to. She shut the door gently, and with it that episode in her life. But there were scars – she’d seen a girl choked to death in an S&M orgy that went too far, could still taste her. Saw a beautiful model tumble into an overdose and, just like that, become a cold corpse. These things dragged along like tin cans behind a wedding car.

She got work as a stripper, shitcanned it after two shifts. More heroin there than tips in the cup. Girls, wonderful little girls with dead eyes, strung out and showing their pussy for a few hundred dollars a night. She went back to porn. Somewhere along the way her utter conviction that she was in control took a knock. Her femininity, something she once wished to share, started to feel private. The world makes me sad, she thought, but I am happy, so fuck them.

He had acquired a near mythical reputation as a fucking machine

Back in the industry she had a major break. A chance to star alongside Gerome, a stud by any reckoning, but not known for his speaking roles. He could stay hard all day, cum two dozen times, and was built like Arnold Schwarzewhatever. He preferred a few choice lines as he brutalised line after line of eager young starlets, some of whom took his reticence as something other than total stupidity. He had acquired a near mythical reputation as a fucking machine, making big waves in the small and nebulous world of sleaze.

The morning she was due to star in Starshit Penetration IV, Veronica Lane woke up feeling weary. She ached, and not in a good way. Suddenly, someone had decided to switch off her immortality button. She realised that she was dreading the set, the eager eyes and cow-like approach of the stud, the enormous camera lenses themselves like dicks, probing her again and again. For Veronica, this type of insecurity was an entirely new experience. When you’ve done gangbangs and double anal, new experiences usually seem trite. This did not. She phoned the director who had given her the break, Cherry St. Patrick.

“Er, Cherry, I’m not going to make it today.”

“Veronica, Gerome is due any minute. You can’t let us down. What’s up?”

“I’m tired, Cherry, I just don’t feel like it.”

“Okay. Okay. Let me think about this for just a minute. Okay. We are six grand deep without even paying Gerome yet. I’ve got two rigs and I’ve hired a studio. We have Russian teens turning up at midday who’ll do anything for a line of coke and a dream. Okay. What the fuck do you think this is? Even pornstars get the blues?”

“Sorry, Cherry, but I just can’t face it.”

“Face this, Okay. You don’t show today, you don’t show again for one of my films, ever. I’ll see to it you never work in this industry again. You’ll be nothing. Okay? I don’t want to do that, but this is work, V. Now come down, Okay?”

There it was, everything to play for. She held the receiver away from her ear as Cherry shouted, and then she gently started to place it back into the cradle. This is where I walk away, she thought. Do I fall apart? Have I lost control, or gained control? Am I the currency or the star? Am I in their possession, or are they in mine? Who is fucking who here? Cherry was still there, insistently bleating into the phone.

“You know what, Cherry.” Decided. “Fuck you and fuck Gerome.” There was abject silence on the other end of the line. “I’m bigger and better than both of you, and right now I’m walking away.”

She never caught Startshit Penetration IV, but had no doubt Cherry had pulled something out of the bag. Veronica pulled back the curtains on her life and let out a long, crystalline laugh. It echoed about the globe, became caught up in its own sound. It was the laugh of a woman who has known the true weakness of men. She weighed up their impoverished spirits, and leapt.

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