Meet Maya Endicott--an aspiring starlet with a beautiful face, lush body, and a deep dark secret. She's a female flasher.
From New York to Los Angeles to Paris, Maya whirls through wild fantasies, perverse desires and amorous delights. With her best friend, Z, she plots to win a starring role from a famous producer; to marry Jean-Paul, a millionaire Frenchman; and to enjoy her true passion, an aging King of Kink--all at the same time. But a crisis brings her fast dance to a jarring halt--as Maya begins a tough journey toward sobriety, maturity and a newfound self-esteem.
Never before has a woman written so honestly and outrageously about sex, and Hollywood's double standards. FLASH will leave you breathless, laughing and rooting for one of fiction's most endearing, uninhibited modern heroines.
FLASH was published in America by Poseidon Press, a division of Pocket Books, in hard and soft covers, in England by W.H.Allen in hard and soft covers, in Germany by Rowholt, in Italy by Sonzonio in two separate hard cover editions as well as in soft, in Yugoslavia, in Japan.
* * *
Whenever I touch cold tile, I remember praying for a bathroom lock.
"Privacy. Who wants privacy?" Mom would shout through the door just before barging in. She would hold that worn rubber bag as if it were the Topkapi diamond. "This won't take a second. Get down on your knees and relax. You know you always feel better when it's over."
Then she would work that nozzle in, and did it hurt! That never stopped Mom. She kept shoving. Soon enough it did fit. Mom knew what was best. You bet.
That was then. Tricycle time on Easterly Road, Allentown, Pa. My childhood. Now she's learned to leave me alone. A little.
As I return to the bedroom for a suitcase, my past comes back to haunt me. But then it's all up on the walls and all over my mother's apartment. Paintings from U. of P.'s art classes and covers from modeling days
hang under fluorescent lighting in metal frames from Lamston's in the Lehigh Valley mall. (Mom's a mall groupie.)
When I did the TIME cover, Mom thought my red hot pants were too short. For ESQUIRE the "Pet Me I'll Purr" T-shirt was too tight. In ELLE my bikini was too small, and in VOGUE my neckline too revealing. She approved of the covers I did for MOTHER'S-TO-BE and MC CALL'S.
My father liked them all. He liked anything I wore, anything I did. His sole diappointment was that I was never on the cover of U.S.NEWS & WORLD REPORT.
As I fasten the buttons of my silk shirt, I fondle my breasts. They haven't changed since the days I modeled. Modeling bras for ads paid big bucks. Top manufacturers wanted my pert breasts. I never wanted their bras. My face and voice were bankable too. I still live off the money my body has earned. Just a month ago a former client asked me to be photographed in a bikini for a poster promoting his latest line of swimwear. I gave an autographed copy to Mom at Christmas. She cut off my bikini-clad body and pasted my severed, still smiling head in her scrapbook. I was not surprised.
Grabbing an antique silver necklace and wrapping it around my neck, I return to the bathroom and adjust each strand.
"Maya, what are you doing in there?"
I thrust my chest out and stand erect, just as I did before the camera.
"You'll miss your train if you don't hurry up."
Playing with the chains makes time stop.
Mother's footsteps. Now she barges into the bathroom, wearing a polyester pantsuit. She never wears skirts.
"My goodness, child, you can see right through your blouse."
My shoulders droop.
"Aren't you ashamed to dress that way?"
I try not to listen, and return to the bedroom.
"Put a jacket over yourself!"
I slip on a blazer.
Sometimes I think my mother's perverse. Then again, maybe she's just being Pennsylvania Dutch. Being the eldest in a family of fourteen with a handicapped father and an alcoholic mother had made her feel like the man in the family. When I wasn't angry with Mom, I felt sorry for her and would do anything to make her happy, almost anything.
"Be good," she says, "And stay away from those sex-starved men. Keep that jacket on!"
"Mom, that's enough!" I close my suitcase and carry it to the living room filled with unmatched pieces of overstuffed furniture, a twelve-inch TV, African violets, a small aluminum Christmas tree and a caged parakeet.
"Why don't you get a nine to five job?"
"Didn't I just wish you a Happy Birthday? I take that back." The parakeet squawks.
"Birthdays don't mean a thing to me. Who wants to be seventy-four?" Mom goes into the kitchen and brings back a shopping bag filled with goodies.
I get my ten-year-old mink out of the closet and drop it on the plastic-covered Barcalounger. "Well, I won't come home next year if you keep this up. I'll love you courtesy of Pacific Telephone."
We hug and kiss. My mom, Elsie Mae Dunkelburger (why I changed my name to Endicott), smiles, revealing her one dimple "I love you, Maya, you know I do." I smell freshly baked shoofly pie.
Releasing her four-foot-eleven bundle of willpower, my five-foot-six pillar of anxiety is out the door--suitcase, mink, shoofly pie and all. I run down the hallway past senior citizens looking for action. Back to the real world.
A stocky driver stands by a Red and White cab. His chubby hand reaches for my suitcase and throws it into the trunk. I open the back door and slide in.
Accidentally, I swear it! my wraparound skirt opens to the center of my pink satin bikinis. The driver gets in, looks back, pauses.
Something goes off inside me. Call it a buzz. Call it a hum. It's real. I close the door, and my body tingles. I read his name on the taxi license over the glove compartment,
Raphael Garcia Llopis drives off. I like Mexicans. Black eyes. Black eyebrows, bushy and overgrown. Black hair full of hair cream. His lower lip protrudes, exposing the inner pink lip. His upper lip is hidden by a moustache. Dark curls run down his neck, disappear under his green baseball jacket, pop up on the back of his hands. His fingernails are dirty.
No scratched plastic partition comes between us. In the rearview mirror I study his eyes. He watches me, then the road, then me.
I feel flashes. (Here we go again.)
Where are my sunglasses? They make me feel safe. I hunt down my Ray-Bans in the caverns of my pocketbook and put them on. It begins to rain. He looks nervous.
He had one of those stupid faces that loves sex. He is not into becoming rich or famous. Good old working class. Loves to fuck. Poor idiot. He's as bored with driving his lousy cab as I am close to crazy after three days in my mother's house. Every day the same nine-to-five drudgery. He's given up the fight. His spirit is sucked; he's a follower. Give him a road and a passenger, and off he goes, Whoopee! Schmuck.
I feel sorry for the poor asshole. Better believe it. My legs open wider. His eyes continue to look at me in the rearview mirror. We stop at at red light.
He turns around, showing a mouth of gold crowns.
"Would you like some music?"
"Sure." Why not. I smile as if I don't know what's going on either. I can't think.
"Nice view, Lady."
Who's he kidding? I pull my legs up to my chest. My skirt falls away to both sides.
"Hey, we're about to go on the highway," he says. He can't think either.
"So?" Just as the traffic next to us starts up, I pull off my panties and draw my legs back up to my chest.
He thinks. He recovers. "Maybe," he says. "you want to get off at an exit and have me join ya?"
As we round the bend entering the highway, my chains brush against my breasts. The nipples are standing up like maraschino cherries. My right hand plays with them; my left does things with my skirt.
"Sex-o-matic. Sex-o-MA-tic," Prince screams over WIBG.
Breathing deeply, I squeeze my buttocks to the beat.
Now my right hand undoes the buttons on my shirt. Oh, Mom, if you could see me now. I keep looking at Raphael Garcia Llopis, right in his rearview. I rub each chain over each nipple. My head arches. Poor guy. He is looking back every chance he can. Traffic whizzes by us.
He turns his head for an instant, 180 degrees, like a devil. We're going 60 mph. I spread my knees more and move to the beat. My beige knee socks are still on, and my skirt is open all the way. That's what I used to be. An ad. I sold sex. Look at me, but don't touch me. You can't.
"Lady, I've got to slow down if you keep this up." He looks back again.
He wets his lips. It is a funny chewing gesture, almost grotesque.
I like it. It's very Latin. He's weird. Stupid. I rub on. What do I care about him? Or cars going by? I'm hot. Hot all over. Like I rarely am. Never argue with what makes you hot. Laying my head back on the seat, I stroke the hood. Tip of my pleasure. Trees blur. Billboards pass. Gardner's Gin. That was me once, smiling under an umbrella, selling gin. You drank Gardner's and you got someone like me. Lucky you!
I was on the buses and trolleys of the Northeast corrido for three full years.
"Look, lady, I've got to pull off at the next exit."
"Shut up and drive."
He moans at the sight of my secrets. "We're gonna have an accident," he ways.
I push my pelvis upward into his gaze. I spread my legs on his cracked maroon vinyl. I am about to burst. I let out a scream. It comes and comes and then it's over. My legs fold. I feel clean Empty. Good.
"We're almost there. Want me to pull in an alley?" he asks.
"No." I pull my panties back on, fasten my skirt and shirt. I see Philadelphia's 30th Street Station ahead.
"Wanna get together later, lady?"
"Look, I've got to catch a train."
"I don't believe it! You do this all the time? I don't get it."
We stop in the loading zone.
I gather my handbag and overnight case and step from the cab. Mumbling to himself, he gets out and hands me my suitcase from the trunk. I give him the exact fare and walk off.
"Hey, lady, where's my tip"
"Are you kiddin'? You had it, Mister!"
Why do I do this every time I leave my mother's?
His plane had landed.
There he was. His brown shoulder-length hair had been cut. He was wearing the monogrammed Brooks Brothers shirt I had bought him the year before, a three-piece suit and tie. He looked like a business-man. A beautiful business man. Except for the tell tale harmonica jutting out of his breast pocket. He hadn't spotted me, but Tutu got a whiff of him and his stub of a tail began to wag. He cried, pulled, scratched at the Astroturf carpet.
Jean-Paul spotted me. Gave me a smile. That smile. He was still handsome, still my kinda guy.
He dropped his briefcase, put his arms around me and held me. Tutu pulled at his cuff. Jean-Paul held him, too. We three embraced. Our family was reunited, if only for the moment. Why had I ever left?
Maybe I had acted impetuously. Had I really given Jean-Paul a chance to adjust from pauper to millionaire? I had given him an ultimatum. "Give me a date for the wedding or I'm not returning to Paris after my father's funeral."
No matter how earnest my reason for leaving him, it was still pressure--pressure on a childlike Jean-Paul who was trying to grow up just as I was. Pressure on an emotionally immature man who had both loved and hated his own father. He had been abandoned by Alessandro and was confused with his new role in life, which he viewed as replacing Alessandro. But now his position and his megamillions had given him a larger, more sturdy set of balls. I couldn't play rompe balle (Italian for ball-breaking) as I had in the past.
He was still wearing Guerlain's Habit Rouge. I loved the scent. I loved Jean-Paul. I thought about Sacha. How different they were. But both were stubborn. Somehow that comforted me.
Tutu couldn't stop wiggling. Now he peed on Jean-Paul's foot. Calculated poodle hysteria. Jean-Paul didn't scold, but tapped Tutu on his tete. "Hey, hey, Monsieur Supertoots. Ca va pas, non?"
Tutu laughed. His upper lip went up and his gorgeous incisors showed.
"You haven't changed," I said.
"Are you kidding? Look at my hair. I want a transplant."
"I want a facelift."
"Bebe! You could use a mind lift."
"Lobotomies run in the family."
"I love you the way you are."
We picked up his bags, returned to my apartment, put Tutu in his salle de bain and set up the boutique. He was the shopkeeper. I was the shop. Each night he'd open me. Some days we took inventory. Other days we interviewed help. Or installed new merchandise. Or had a fire sale. Tonight we had a rummage sale and fired angry employees left over from the past. Best of all, I forgot about the delivery man.
Jean-Paul touched me like no other man. I felt like the finest, most delicate pastry in his arms. He would hold me as a baby holds its first toy. His fingertips were special, filled with energy. Transmitters of his mind. He always made me feel he'd take care of me. Never leave me. Never abandon me. Make me whole.
His legs were long, like his father's. He wrappd them around me tight and pushed himself inside. His movements were clear, clean, forceful. And controlled. He had dark brown pubic hair. Straight and long. I liked to comb it. Stroke it. Play with it. Braid it. But mostly admire it. He squeezed his legs, aimed high. A straight shooter all the way.
I loved his sexy body. All muscles. Not a bulge. I would kiss his skin for hours. Everywhere. I would look for blackheads. He would look for mine. I would give him manicures. Pedicures. Shampoo his head. Massage his scalp like his mother did. He liked that. He liked baths together. Long baths. We'd hug. Play around like two kids, happy to be home.
He was the first man I ever loved. We had met when I was twenty-six, I had never felt suc magnetism, such a need for someone. Now, I loved Sacha, too. Sacha could be Jean-Paul's father. Or mine. The three of us could be a family,. I could have sex with both of them at the same time. That's what I wanted. Both of them. But Sacha wasn't interested.
Jean-Paul was. He was younger than I by four years. I wouldn't mess up this time. Not like the last time. I would do as he said. Be smart. Not push him around. Until he said "I do." Then I'd let him have it. PAFF! Then I could see Sacha. And have money for plane fare.
These thoughts (all too many of them) went through my head as we made love. My mind exhausted me. My body was his. My bed was his. My soul was his. My mind wasn't. I stopped thinking. Let him push me around. Control me! Do it to me! Spaces opened up. I felt high. Light. Free. Loved. I cried. Jean-Paul moaned. Tutu barked. My mind shut off. Finally at rest, we all fell asleep.
I had fallen in love with Jean-Paul all over again, just as I had hoped I would.