|The movie I refer to is an amalgam of several actual films, like this|
|I actually turned down a dinner invitation|
from this lady, because I was a fool.
To be fair, she wasn't dressed like this at the time.
Here is another tantalizing taste of my work in progress (Chapter One and some background info can be read in the previous blog entry). I plan to publish one more chapter on this blog before I put it entirely under wraps. The character of Estrella is inspired by my encounter with the real life movie star Sonia Braga, a guest at The French Hotel in Berkeley when I was a desk clerk there circa 1990. Nothing much to report, but she did invite me to join her for dinner at Chez Panisse across the street, which I stupidly declined because I didn't want to abandon my post - the chance of a lifetime blown due to a pointless work ethic, what an idiot. But in my mind, the character of Estrella more closely resembles Mexican B movie legend Lorena Velazquez. Anyway, that's the inspiration for this one small plot thread from this carefully woven, intricate mosaic of the mysterious and the macabre. Enjoy. Cheers.
FREAKS THAT CARRY YOUR LUGGAGE UP TO THE ROOM
A Novel by Will Viharo
NOTHING BETTER TO DO THAN DIE
NOTHING BETTER TO DO THAN DIE
There’s nothing worse than dying alone. This is what Estrella Margarita Moreno believed, and since the only way for her way to die was to commit suicide by sunshine, she felt she could control the destiny of her ultimate demise. Loneliness was normally lethal when left untreated. In her case, it was merciless torture, not a fatal illness. The only way to kill her loneliness was to kill herself.
She’d first been infected with blood-lustful immortality while making a monster movie in Mexico City, way back in 1962. The actor hired to play the vampire wore phony fangs and a cape. This only served to disguise the fact that he was a real vampire, as Estrella discovered one dark, sensuous night after the movie had wrapped. The movie, entitled La Lucha Contra El Vampiro, about a masked wrestler battling the undead, was a cult favorite. Estrella was only twenty-four at the time. She had made the film under her real name, Maria Munoz, but changed it in 1974 when she appeared in her first “art” film, Estrella Estrogena. Critics and audiences marveled at how she hadn’t aged very much since that film was made, and she denied she was the star of La Lucha Contra El Vampiro, claiming that was her deceased cousin. Her friends in the Mexican drug cartel - big fans of her work - helped fabricate credence to this cover story. Many of her criminal friends were vampires as well. The ruse worked. Estrella actually wore makeup in public to make her appear somewhat older, but not so old as to eschew erotic love scenes, her stock-in-trade. She was indeed a living miracle. Actually, an undead miracle. But she was lonely, and she wanted it to end.
Though she had many, many lovers over the years, she had fallen in love only once, with a member of the French Parliament, in the late 1970s, whom she'd met at Cannes where one of her films was premiering, but he was married, and when intimate photos of them surfaced, she was denounced by her lover as an evil temptress and effectively ostracized from that country, though her fans still loved and worshiped her. Her lover later committed “suicide,” found hanging from a balcony, drained of blood.
Estrella fled France and traveled next to Spain, where she lived and loved and worked for many years, appearing in several films for the director Jess Franco. But despite her many affairs, she was very lonesome. The fact that she often fed on her lovers disturbed her soul, and she was convinced she still possessed one. Her spirit was just trapped. Only love could free it from this prison of undead flesh.
|Lorena Velazquez, who looks a lot like Estrella Moreno, in Ship of Monsters (1959)|
She returned to her childhood town of Tlaquepaque and decided to retire, sleeping by day, painting by night, feeding only on the blood of small animals, mostly mice and possums, but never cats, because she loved them too much. She often stole human blood from hospitals as well. Her sudden disappearance from the screen concerned her many fans worldwide, but her films gained new audiences and popularity via video and then DVD. She could live on these royalties alone. She became a restless recluse. That’s when she decided to travel….
Danny Falco was on the run from people in Philadelphia to whom he owed a lot of money. Danny was a gambler and a drifter from Pitman and then Atlantic City, New Jersey, though his last address had been in Chicago. He took odd jobs to survive as he wandered the country. He’d finally quit his gambling habit via GA - Gambler’s Anonymous - only to replace one addiction for another: sex. This was an easy addiction to fulfill, since he resembled a young Elvis Presley. He always thought he'd die young, too. He just didn't think he'd live to tell about it.
When Estrella dissolved into dust before his very eyes, Danny instinctively swung into action. He hid the bodies of the two dead hit men in the bathroom, because of the sirens in the distance. Then he returned to his post, though the morning clerk, a suave poseur named Dick Reid, who was obsessed with Japanese women, was already on duty, talking to the police, who were responding to reports of a disturbance in one of the rooms. Dick had already given the cops all the guest logs, including Estrella Moreno. Danny decided to play it cool. Mendacity had become a lifestyle for him.
"What's up?" Danny said. "I fell asleep in one of the rooms, sorry, man."
"These policemen said someone called to report some loud noises, possibly gunfire, in The Purple Room," Dick said as he checked his hair in the mirror. He was swarthy and handsome and quite vain. His suit was neatly pressed and he smelled strongly of expensive cologne.
"That was me, sorry," Danny said. "I was watching 'The Untouchables' on TV, too loud, I guess."
"Can we see the room?" asked one of the policemen.
"Ahm, I'd rather you didn't," Danny said.
"Why?" asked the cop suspiciously.
"I wasn't alone," Danny said.
Dick smiled. "So...that was the real Estrella Moreno you checked in?"
"Yes," Danny said.
"The Mexican porn star?" asked one of the cops, wild-eyed.
"Art films," Danny said. "She doesn't make porn."
"Whatever you want to call it, works for me," Dick said.
"I'm sorry someone complained," Danny said.
"You work here?" asked the cop.
"Yea, I'm the...night clerk."
Dick winked at Danny, who ignored him.
"Okay, well...we only had one call, and it seems quiet now," the cop said.
"It is," said Danny.
The cops left. "You look pale," Dick said to Danny. "She must've drained you dry."
"Where's Boris?" Danny asked, unaware that Boris had tipped off the men looking for him. Boris knew Danny must have been in Estrella's room. He planned to go watch her taking a shower later on, through his customized peephole, but then Boris didn't know Estrella was dead. Boris had keys to all the rooms. He lived in the basement of the hotel, where, when he wasn’t reading or watching pornography, he conducted his secret experiments on stolen corpses from the local morgue.
"He was already gone when I got here," Dick said. "Nobody was here. Nobody."
"I was only gone a few minutes before my shift ended," Danny lied. "Sorry."
Dick shrugged. "Just cover for me next time I'm late. I met this fine Japanese lady last night, I need to tell you all about her - "
"Not now," Danny said. "I'm too tired."
An Afro-headed part-Jewish, part-German, half Cuban would-be musician from Miami named Mortimer Schmidt, though his friends just called him Morty - or they would if he had any friends - accosted Danny. Morty frequented the café on a daily basis, careful to avoid The Mantis Man, with whom he did not get along. "What happened?" he asked Danny in his usual pushy tone.
"Nothing, mind your own business," said Danny. "I need to go get cleaned up."
"You look like shit," Morty said. "Why were the cops here? Something happen?"
"I said mind your own business, man," Danny said.
"Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay," Morty said. "Just askin'."
"Poke that big nose up somebody else's ass," Danny muttered as he returned to Room 001 to find a way to clean up his mess.
But when he got there, he only saw Boris the dwarf, with his pants around his ankles, sitting on the bed.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I come here to pleasure myself. I thought you had left. I come on rug. There was dust on rug. The dust came to life. My semen, it brought the dust to life. Like semen should do, create life. She was a beautiful naked woman, fully grown. She went into the bathroom, and ate the bodies in there. She ate them all. Even the bones, very quick. Then she kissed me." Boris wiped his mouth.
Danny gulped. "Where is she now?"
"Beneath this bed," he said. "I am very sorry. I need to go now."
Boris hopped off the bed, pulled up his pants, and left the room. When he was gone, Danny peered beneath the bed and saw Estella resting peacefully in the cool darkness. Danny smiled. He was in love. Feeling weak and nauseous, he climbed underneath and lay beside her, and soon fell asleep.
"I have something better to do than die now," he said to her, though she could not hear him. She was dreaming of her own death, which had once again eluded her.
At dusk, when she awoke, she leaned over and kissed him. He opened his eyes and smiled. “Estrella,” he whispered, kissing her hand.
“Call me Maria,” she whispered. “That is my true name.”
“Are we…dead?” he asked.
“Not quite,” she said. “I was dead, at least, but…now I no longer wish to die, now that I’ve found you.”
“Am I…like you?” he asked.
“Not yet, but soon.”
“Yes,” she said. “Forever.” A tear escaped and ran down her cheek. He kissed it off.
“I’m not afraid,” he said.
“You should be,” she said.
“But now, we’re safe,” he said. “My enemies cannot harm me.”
She kissed him. “Let’s go above the bed, and make love.”
He looked at his watch. “I have to go to work soon. Would you like to have dinner with me?”
She suddenly looked forlorn, and stroked his thick, black hair, then kissed his forehead. “That’s the hard part,” she said. “Feeding…the thirst.”
“Did you really come back to life because the dwarf jerked off on your remains?” he said.
“Yes,” she said. “Blood and semen. I live on these fluids. They are…liquid life. I do not have to consume human flesh and bones, except when I must dispose of evidence from a kill. I try to choose my victims...carefully."
“But…why did you try to die?” Danny asked. “Especially after last night?”
“Because…I wanted it to end perfectly,” she said.
He kissed her. “Now it will never end,” he said.
“But it won’t be perfect,” she said.
“I don’t care,” he said, and then they climbed up onto the bed and made love. He was very hungry when 11PM rolled around, and he had to report for work, and the pizza that Juan and Carlos, the Mexican cafe workers, offered to share with him just didn't appeal to him.
"Estrella Moreno is staying here?" asked Carlos, whose raucous laugh often filled the cafe.
"May I meet her?" asked Juan, who sent his entire paycheck home to Mexico, living on his tips and some male hustling on the side. They would be quite impressed - and appalled - to know this famous Latina star was residing in his place of employment.
"Maybe," said Danny. "She may be staying here...for a long time." He tried not to notice the veins in their necks. "Here," he said. "Take the pizza with you."
"You not hungry?"
"No," Danny lied. "Just thirsty. Bring me...some sangria. Please."
The Mantis Man was watching Danny from the cafe. He went to the phone booth and made a call to a private eye named Vic Valentine.
Copyright 2011 Will Viharo
All Rights Reserved