I got another scene request from a director at Anabolic. It was for someone named Pro Trusion. This was not his real name, of course. The video line he directed was called Oral Consumption. I was hired for a blowjob scene that included some male ass-licking and man-toe sucking. Fine with me. I hadn’t licked any man-ass before, but I was always up for trying new things. I didn’t care what I put in my mouth. I was literally a sucker for a new sexual experience.

My boyfriend wanted to come with me. He still wanted to be in with the guys at Anabolic. I was glad Tyler was coming with me to this shoot. It was at night, and I had to drive all the way out to some remote part of Chatsworth. I didn’t know that Chatsworth even existed until I did porn. Apparently, the district of Chatsworth, deep in the San Fernando Valley in the city of Los Angeles, has a higher concentration of porno companies doing business than any other place in the world. Every major street is decorated with adult industry offices. Anabolic was on Nordhoff Street, at the corner of Owensmouth. The building was ominous, a grey cement two-story warehouse that said ANABOLIC and DIABOLIC in large letters on the front.

Tyler’s eyes were shining like it was Christmas. He was told that any chick that went to the Anabolic warehouse and blew someone could have free shirts and hats. Tyler really wanted some free Anabolic gear. I told him that I would not blow a guy for clothes. That was where I drew the line. What would be next? Fucking for food? Tyler remained hopeful though. He knew he could persuade me to do anything if he threw a fit or made a big enough commotion about it. I was easily convinced. All he had to say was, “Ori, do you love me? Well, then…?” How could I argue? Of course I loved him.

We met a friendly Asian-American guy in the parking lot. His name was Voltron or Wanker. Either one of these fake names was fine to address him by. He had a big beer gut and brown skin. He was probably in his late twenties, but I couldn’t be sure. Asian people have great skin. My mom is half Chinese and has almost no wrinkles. I immediately liked this guy, Voltron. He giggled constantly. His face had an infectious humorous expression that seemed to say everything around him was a permanent joke. I liked that he didn’t take this porno shit so seriously. I felt the same way, that all of this was still a big laughing matter. The sex I was having and the money people paid me made me feel kind of silly. I never intended to do porn, it was a mistake, a happy accident, a detour. This was going to be something I was supposed to look back on and laugh at. Like, can you believe how stupid I was?

Voltron was completely harmless. I would have never suspected that he had previously done time for pistol-whipping an ex-girlfriend. He didn’t even seem like he had a dick. He was entirely void of sexuality. He had a mean sense of humor, but so did I. He was a very sick person, though. He turned out to be a serious drug addict. He is still suspected of murdering his girlfriend, a porno girl named Haley. We will never truly know because Voltron, aka Wanker, killed himself shortly after her death.

Led by Voltron, we walked through the empty office building to the back, near the warehouse. It was past seven at night, and all the employees had long since gone home. There were several lights, called Kino Flos, set up near a couch. Kino Flos are packages of fluorescent lights, the most common lighting equipment in porn. A few dudes were there getting things ready for the shoot. I can’t remember who they were because they were shy. And I was still embarrassed to be there. I wasn’t able to proudly say, as I can now, “I’m Ashley Blue, and I’m here for the blowjob scene and ass-licking.”

Pro Trusion introduced himself. “Hello, pleased to meet you, I’m Pro. Ashley Blue? And, is this your boyfriend?” He was sneering too much to be sincere. He was downright sarcastic. But he was funny. You could tell that he meant to be entertaining. It was clear that he liked attention. Pro Trusion had a speech impediment and sounded like an exaggerated character from The Simpsons. Maybe he had to develop the comedic personality because of his lifelong problem. Spit, white spittle, was flying as he talked.

Bitterness also exuded from this man. He was very unattractive, in looks and personality. He was around fifty years old and was bald and a tad overweight. He told us right away what he wanted us to know about him, his own story, his mythology. At the time, Tyler and I believed everything people told us about themselves. I didn’t think anyone had a reason to lie in porno. I thought everyone was already a degenerate, so there’s no reason to lie and make yourself sound better, because everyone already thought of you as a lowlife. I was wrong about that. Pro explained that he was a rich real estate developer and just directed porno for fun. What he really got off on was rough sex. His Rough Sex series of videos were so abusive that he had to discontinue them. Stores banned his work for the sheer violence toward women. This made him prouder than anything else he’d accomplished in life, he said.

Pro was an incessant talker. When he spoke, he looked straight into Tyler’s and my eyes for reactions. He wanted us to be scared and shocked. Pro Trusion was desperately excited to put fear into me. It was confusing, because he also made us laugh with his clever humor. He was obviously a smart guy. But at the same time we were very uncomfortable by how vulgar he was. He smoked a putrid smelling cigar and bared his yellow-brown teeth around its soggy butt as he talked. He used intellectual words. He was testing my comprehension, trying to see how intelligent I was. He even remarked a couple of condescending times that I was “pretty smart for an ass-licking, little anal whore.”

I just let Pro Trusion talk to me any way he wanted, which was down and rude. Yet another thing to get used to in this porno business, I thought. I shouldn’t expect any better treatment from these pornographers, really. Why would I need his respect? In a few minutes he’s going to see me with my tongue in some guy’s asshole. Respectfulness had a vague meaning to me. It didn’t really bother me to be disrespected on a porn level. Pro wasn’t going to be my friend. I was young and seeking his approval as a porn director, not his respect as a human being. Some sick and sad people in life are incapable of paying such common dignities. I wanted this cretin, Pro Trusion, to be singing my praises by the end of this blowjob scene. Through sexual performance, I was going to gain–I was going to earn–some recognition.

I sat down on the couch with a light pointed at my face. The dude I was about to blow, Bent Brent, was sitting nearby on a chair. He was rubbing his cock through his pants. So was Tyler. Voltron worked the video camera, and Pro Trusion started with his questions. One of his specialties was to ask a girl just the right questions to make her cry on film. His interviews always came first, before the sex. he asked me about my parents–did they know? No, they didn’t, and I didn’t care if they did. He inquired about my aspirations before I decided to suck cock for a living. His goal was to make me feel like a piece of shit. He said, “…because that’s what you are, aren’t you, a piece of shit?” I told him I wanted to be an artist. I was unshaken by his insults. He couldn’t make me feel bad about myself, no matter how much of a jerk he tried to be. How could this guy think he had any grounds to judge me? To Pro’s disappointment, I didn’t cry. He said he wanted to continue the interview some other time, for another scene. Good. Another gig meant more money.

We had to start the blowjob. Bent Brent had a long, uncircumcised penis. It was about ten inches with a curve in the middle. It was like an elephant’s trunk, but I managed to get the entire thing down my throat. It was better to deep throat than to suck because of the foreskin. The smell underneath foreskin grosses me out. It’s sour and resembles the stench of what is in between sweaty toes. Brent’s had a lot of white, cheesy stuff under it, too. Every time he stroked his cock, more would appear. It was like a butter churn.

During the blowjob and ass-eating, Pro berated me. I just licked away at the butthole. It was freshly swabbed with a baby wipe. The ass was much less offensive than cock cheese. Brent had pretty clean toes, too. There wasn’t any visible fungus like so many other porno guys had. The feet were dry and rough with calluses. I sucked each toe individually, then stuck the whole foot into my mouth, as far down as I could. Then I choked myself, taking the extra step. I wanted to show everyone how into this I was. I didn’t want anyone to pity me or think I was doing it just for the money. I don’t–I didn’t–think I was doing it just for the money.

Pro saw me choking myself with Brent’s cock and foot. “Do you like to get choked?” he asked after Bent Brent had dumped his load all over my face. Tyler had gotten turned on during the scene and decided to pop on me as well. Now I was wiping both of their cum off of me. Without much thought, I replied with a yes. I remarked how much I liked it when Mark Davis had done it to me, that I loved it. Mark Davis was the sexiest porno guy ever. He was English and handsome. It didn’t even matter that he was uncircumcised. He could make it work–he could make you feel happy about foreskin. I swooned when I worked with him. He was charming and sexy, just like my own boyfriend, only a  little more. Doing scenes with Mark Davis was like acting out a romance novel.

“Can I choke you?” Pro asked with a dark gleam in his eyes. My compliments about Mark Davis struck a nerve. Pro Trusion didn’t like it when girls talked about Mark Davis choking them. According to Pro, Mark couldn’t do it the right way. “I am the only one who does it right. Let me choke you.” I said it would have to wait until the next shoot. Fair enough.

“Do you like to get pissed on?” Pro asked. He was relentless.

I thought about it, then laughed, looking at Tyler. “No, no one’s ever done that to me.”

Pro gasped, “What? You’re kidding me! You have to try it. You’ll love it! I swear on my children! All girls love piss. Every girl I’ve ever pissed on absolutely loved it! We can do it right now. Can I piss on you?” His yellow-brown teeth were gnashing together with delight. This was a real treat.

I stared at Tyler, sort of in disbelief. I never thought anyone would be asking if they could piss on me. Especially someone I barely knew. I didn’t have a ready answer. So, I responded, “No, you can’t piss on me. If I were ever going to do that, it would only be with my boyfriend. He’s the only one who ever could.” Thinking Tyler was on the same page, I thought I had gracefully dodged the situation. I didn’t want to get pissed on for the first time in front of people. I liked to do everything at home first. Instead of remaining on the same level, Tyler lit up with excitement. “Okay, let’s do it! I’ll piss on you!” This was his chance to finally be in on the action. He’d been sitting on the sidelines for so many shoots and wasn’t satisfied with just being an extra pop shot. He jumped at the chance to piss in my mouth. I don’t know why I thought he wouldn’t.

“No, Tyler, you can’t just piss on me right now. Your pee is too yellow. It’s gross.” I was looking for any reason at all to stop what was already sadly in motion.

“My pee is always clear. Can I piss on you?” Pro wouldn’t give up trying to gain first pissing rights to my mouth.

“No! I’ll drink water. Look, I’m drinking right now.” Tyler chugged down the bottle in his hand, and Voltron handed him another.

“All right, fine.” I gave up and laughed at myself. Not ten minutes earlier I had wiped the cum of two guys out of my eyes. Soon, I would be wiping out piss. Who knows, I thought, maybe I really will love it. I did love it in the ass. Part of me looked forward to any possibility of enjoyment. It would definitely be the most hardcore thing I could be into. Anal sex and piss. There was a ring to it.

Tyler filled up his bladder as much as he could. Voltron and Pro went into one of Anabolic’s employee bathrooms with Tyler and me. The door was wide open for all of the others to watch. I got down on my knees and made sure my face was positioned over the toilet bowl. Ha, now I’m the toilet bowl, I thought. I looked up at Tyler as he unzipped and pulled out his soft dick. I watched the peehole until the pee stream appeared. Then it was steadily flowing into my mouth. It was warm and gross, salty and stinky, all vinegar and sour herbs. There wasn’t a lot of yellow to it, but it was still sour. All the water he drank didn’t make it exactly clean.

The piss filled up my mouth a couple of times there was so much. I just spit it into the bowl. No way I was going to swallow it. After about thirty seconds, Tyler stopped pissing. He couldn’t pee anymore. He was completely hard. Pissing in my mouth gave him a huge boner. I looked at him and said, “Are you serious?”

His erection was very serious. It turned him on big time that I was kneeling over a toilet getting pissed on. I even put my hair into pigtails for him, at his request.

I took the piss into my open mouth with a smile. It was totally ridiculous. I was thinking, Okay, done. Now I’ve tried piss and I can say with truth and conviction whenever someone asks me about it: It’s not that big of a deal. I didn’t love it, and I didn’t totally despise it. I guess it was more for the guy to get off on. Voltron captured it all on video. I consented to have it be taped, and Pro paid me an extra two hundred dollars in cash. He said it would never be seen by anyone else but him, that he had a whole collection of private videos that he kept at home to jerk off to. Stupid me, I believed him.

A few months later, the piss scene in the bathroom ended up on one of Pro’s websites called PissMops.com. I felt like an idiot for trusting this guy. It was out of my control. Once you sign that model release, it’s over. What you did is no longer yours. As the performer, I surrendered absolute consent after I was paid for the footage. It didn’t really bother me to have this surprise video resurface later in life. To tell the truth, I like that people can watch me getting pissed on my first time. I like piss now. By the time Piss Mops was put on to DVD, I was ready for it. Pro Trusion even put me on the front cover.

Saknussemm in Guandong

I hate to big note myself (unless I’m ill-advisedly tilting at the windmill of a luscious younger woman who I think may not see through the act quickly enough)-but, as a certified paranoiac, I do occasionally have moments where I draw some grand albeit dark and discomfiting conclusions about the impact of my psychic state, perhaps just even my physical presence, on the larger scene.

For example, I can’t help but feel some twinge of that famous sinking feeling when I think of the Chinese province of Guandong.

Things can start off innocently enough-say with a tea-buying spree in Shanghai or some casual misbehavior in Hong Kong (although I do have my friend, the San Francisco writer Leland Cheuk, to thank for bailing me out of an embarrassingly large bill once at a girlie bar in Wan Chai)-but by the time I get to Guandong, things start to openly wobble.

Each visit, some catastrophe has taken place. I lie. Multiple crises have ensued, erupted-and just plain exploded. I’m left with the nagging question-am I a DISASTER MAGNET?

Guandong is China’s most populous region and the driving wheel of their economic empire. Guangzhou (Canton) is the principal city. To say it’s possibly the world’s densest manufacturing center today is no overstatement and doesn’t really begin to capture the emotional-psychological aspect. We’re talking the intensity of a termite mound during a thunderstorm.

Guandong produces a signficant percentage of China’s entire GDP, and there’s an excellent chance that right around you now are a whole lot of things made there-from clothing to electrical goods, to things inside other things-to stuff you don’t want to know about. Anything you can think of in fact, may very well be made in Guandong.

Hong Kong and Macau were historically parts of Guandong, and Cantonese remains the main language spoken there, despite the recent flood of immigration from other parts of the country because of the employment opportunities. The bulk of the men and women who built the railroads of America and Canada originated from Guandong, and that same work ethic is very much alive today.

Which isn’t to say that all is well there. Not by a long shot. Most of the wealth produced is consolidated around the Pearl River Delta. Actual wages generally are often pitiful. Sweatshops, battery farms and bizarre factory scenes from out of the 19th century sit right alongside complexes that conjure the 22nd. Unidentified clouds of smoke hang over vast sections. I worked one summer on Neville Island in Pittsburgh, back when steel and coke were manufactured there, and it doesn’t even begin to compare.

Toledo painted by Saknussemm

I first went to Guandong because of this painting (ironically titled Toledo).

A gallery in Hong Kong had taken me on and had sold it to an advertising executive visiting from Guangzhou. The gallery owner’s tip was to pay a visit there. There was talk of the Chinese government turning an immense decommissioned military base into a magical arts colony, where artists from all over China and the world would be welcome to live for free, providing they fixed up their own studio quarters. I was on a plane to Guangzhou quick smart-and that’s when the pattern began to form.

I could be sitting peacefully at a Western style breakfast…and a fiberglass factory has burst into an inferno of flames flash-frying 400 workers in an instant. Phosphates are found to be leeching into a major waterway. 300 school children suddenly lose all their hair. The principal railway line suddenly gets closed for unstated reasons and men in strange uniforms appear. The next morning an “incident” has occurred at a sulfuric acid plant. (Incidents don’t occur with sulfuric acid-more like total havoc and mayhem.) And then there are the agricultural industry outbreaks.

Meat Pig Head

We all know that chickens go supernova when the computers malfunction and too many hormones are administered. We all freaked out about Bird Flu. But what about suckling pigs with two heads? What about several baby pigs with two heads?

Yes, we’re willing to overlook a few oddball mutations. What would the traditions of the NBA, the freak show, and a good portion of next year’s admitted class to M.I.T. be without some wiggle room on this point? But it’s not a good look to be eating some Western style bacon in Guandong-overhearing that several hundred factory workers have been cooked like bacon, and only a few miles away, pigs are being born with two heads.

Now, I concede, it’s very possible-it may even be likely-that my coincidental presence has had nothing to do with these calamities. No one wishes that more than me. But I’ll tell you the thing that worries me the most. When this weird shit has been going down-and I count a total of thirteen “incidents” over the course of my visits that would’ve made front page/top of the TV bulletin news where I live-only one made it onto the radar of the world media that I’m aware of. One. (In a particularly worrisome instance, 4,000 people were exposed to toxic chemicals and I’m certain nary a whisper reached CNN or any outside news source.)

China has become much more media transparent than it was only a short while ago. The recent spree of attacks by lunatics on school children is a case in point. That news might well not have reached us once. The Olympics in Beijing helped. The influx of western businesses has helped. But in my view, we have the Chinese students and folks under thirty to thank for opening some windows that were previously sealed-and not always for reasons of some kind of political dissent. In fact, many Chinese young people are far more conservative than you might think.

The reason these younger people are conduits for news is that they’re often dislocated across great distances from their homes to study in the major cities, and like many of the population, they’re forced to occasionally seek employment at great distance from home. A lot of news that otherwise might not get out is carried in very personal ways by this mobile section of the populace.

It helps that these younger people are computer fluent, usually have cell phones, and have some degree of multilingual skills. But theirs isn’t for the most part any active attempt to subvert the official government spin on anything. The many students I’ve met are working hard just to cope with the challenges they face, and they have a great deal of pride in their cultures. Take my young friend Su, for instance.

She comes from an isolated rural village in the far north and lives in a shoebox, attending university in Shanghai. She’s the first person of her generation to go away to university, and in recognition of her achievement, her village named their most prized asset after her-a large earthmoving machine. When the government presented it to them, they had her name stenciled on the side. It sounds like a humble honor, but as everyone knows, 20 year olds don’t tear up all that easy-and she does when she shows the photograph-meekly but with reverence.

Her goal is to get educated and to help her family. She has no political radicalism. But she gets concerned when she hears from her brother, who works in Guandong, that several of his fellow employees have suddenly fallen gravely ill or that a few hundred at a plant nearby have been incinerated.

What did the plant manufacture? That’s another very big problem. It’s not just that industrial accidents occur far too frequently (whether I have anything to do with it or not), there’s a much bigger issue.

I have a friend who’s been a senior chemical engineer for DuPont (The Miracles of Science™). Their history, like Monsanto’s and others, is pretty checkered too. I don’t pretend to understand all that he does, but here’s how he puts it. “It’s very wrong to think the problem with developing giants like China and India is a matter of quality control and safety standards. That makes it sound like there are lapses in protocol that create accidents. It’s a lot truer to say that there are practices and processes at work that aren’t safe period. You don’t need a Ph.D. and twenty years of industry experience to know certain things aren’t only dubious, but highly dangerous. You can see them from the road. There are manufacturing facilities involved in multiple kinds of production that would simply not be allowed in the U.S., Japan and in all of Western Europe.”

Chinese Money

It doesn’t take a genius to understand why this is allowed to continue. It’s not a question of there being no photographic evidence, no chemical analyses, a tell-no-one conspiracy on the part of the government and its leverage over their media. We’re all engaged in the “conspiracy” because it’s right out in the open. We’re all stepping and fetching to the beat of China’s economic drum, with India’s juggernaut not far behind.

And yet, it’s a great mistake, too, to assign national blame in this regard, when multinational corporations are involved. Large portions of America have been similarly blighted in the past because of money and expedience (Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and on and on). Think of the Midlands of England. Industrial devastation is nothing new-but it takes on a new meaning with both the scale of production in Guandong and what’s being produced.

Can any region, anywhere in the world sustain super-dense manufacturing across such a huge spectrum of industries, even if the highest quality work practices are in place? What if they’re obviously not?

It’s easy to think the problem is somehow “over there.” It’s easy to ignore what you hear only vaguely about, if at all. And sadly, it’s all too easy for whole nations to turn their backs on commercial negligence and malfeasance for financial reasons.

But sooner or later, a catastrophe occurs that inevitably does make the news-and like news-can travel. Look at BP’s tragic fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico.

Thank You, Good LuckI confess that I knew only generally what the situation was like in China until I physically paid a visit. There are thousands of legitimate enterprises that are being well run there-coping with a multitude of complex logistical problems. But while we may worry at large about China’s carbon footprint, I had some serious tactical concerns for my own, when I stepped through a marshy area and later felt a distinctly warm sensation. By the time I made it back to my hotel, the soles of my new Shanghai shoes were partially dissolved. Those shoes were dramatically cheaper than anything I could buy in America or Australia. But I can’t help wondering if there’s another price tag involved.