Extract from KATHARINE KANE

Marilyn's grave in Brentwood, not far from where she lived - and died. In MY version of Hollywood MARILYN LIVES - still working and married Many (MANY) times!

Marilyn’s grave in Brentwood, not far from where she lived – and died. In MY version of Hollywood MARILYN LIVES – still working and married many more times!

 

Chapter 1.     Baton Rouge, LA

When the future all-time-hottest porno actress was born in 1978, her waitress mother was living in a trailer park in Baton Rouge and her garage-mechanic father was serving time for indecent exposure. The girl whose pudendum would one day be almost as widely photographed as Princess Diana’s face, was the daughter of a serial flasher.

Katharine Kane’s life would be filled with ironies.

Born Joylene Duchat (pronounced ‘Dew-shat’), she was what people used to call an octoroon; her mother Jaynette had a black grandmother. Jaynette was paler than her daughter whose natural skin-tone was the colour another Southern beauty, Ava Gardner, had to be made up to in Bhowani Junction.

From her mother Joylene inherited good cheekbones and a petite body to which puberty would add voluptuous curves. From her father she inherited a wide mouth that smiled easily and mid-blonde hair that in certain lights could seem almost reddish. Her eyes also changed with the light from jade to aquamarine; on film they sometimes seem two distinct shades of green.

* * *

‘Ain’t she a beauty?’ Crooking the telephone between her right shoulder and ear, Jaynette held her six-week-old daughter up to the reinforced glass of the visitor booth at the Dixon Correctional Institute in Jackson, 30 miles from Baton Rouge. This was her first visit since her confinement.

‘She is too,’ her husband agreed. Barton Duchat’s own confinement still had three months to run. ‘She don’t look much like me,’ he added.

‘She’s got your hair,’ Jaynette said quickly.

‘If you can call that bit of fluff hair.’ Bart’s suspicions were not easily allayed. ‘What colour eyes do you call that?’

‘They’re green, sugar. Kinda blue too, but mostly green.’

‘Ain’t nobody in my family got green eyes. Not in yourn neither, I reckon.’

‘It must be somebody way back on your side or mine,’ Jaynette said, trying not to wheedle. ‘She is yours, sugar. I swear to God.’

The baby suddenly smiled at her father through the glass, a dimpled pink-cheeked smile that melted his heart.

‘She’s got your smile,’ Jaynette got in quickly.

Bart twinkled his fingers at his green-eyed daughter who would one day melt the heart of her co-star in Hunt Studios’ most daring re-make, the presently four-year-old John Howell IV.

* * *

Barton Duchat felt entitled to question his daughter’s paternity. Jaynette was third-generation trailer-trash and a second-generation tramp. Her mother had dropped out of both church and high school and gone through four divorces, ending up dumped by her most recent ex-husband in El Paso.

Bart was Jaynette’s first husband – she was sixteen when they married – but she’d lost count of the number of guys she’d slept with, some of them on a cash basis. And she had an abortion and a miscarriage under her belt – two abortions really, since a foetus dislodged in a 30-foot jump from a barn roof onto a hay-bale can hardly be said to have miscarried by accident.

She’d been pregnant when she married Bart but had lost this child, which might or might not have been his, to a genuine miscarriage that was perhaps an after-effect of the two previous terminations. But she’d stayed on the rails during the eighteen months of her marriage, the last six of which had seen her husband incarcerated. And the child whom the world would one day know as Katharine Kane was without doubt the daughter of Barton Duchat.

Twenty when Joylene was born, Bart was a two-time jailbird with prior arrests and fines. He wasn’t a rapist, he just liked to show off his penis. To women. On porches, from shop doorways or from behind bushes, on buses and trains, Bart, every once in a while, opened his coat or his flies to reveal his pride and joy in all its (actually quite modest) splendour.

Small wonder, is it, Katharine Kane would grow up with a shortfall in the area of personal modesty?

* * *

The prison psychiatrist failed to find some murky event in Bart’s formative years to account for his exhibitionism. His ma could have told the shrink it had started in his baby-cart and that no amount of smacks from her and beatings from his father had made a lick of difference.

While he was a kid his victims had tended to laugh or cuss him out or clout him, but a few had filed complaints. Warnings from the sheriff had escalated to fines, probation and finally to a stay at the local YouthCorrectionCenter. Despite her trailer-park background and her reputation Ma and Pa hoped Jaynette might stabilise him, but they didn’t live to see this hope dashed in the third month of her second pregnancy. Just before Jaynette lost the first baby, a favourite levee on which her parents-in-law were picnicking gave way without warning, engulfing them in a sudden shroud of mud and river water.

The year between this freakish tragedy and the incident that sent Bart to Dixon passed quietly. Bart’s share of a modest inheritance enabled him to move Jaynette into a newer and bigger trailer. An uneventful year culminated in Joylene’s conception.

And then Bart went and ruined it all. Queuing for meat in the local Walmart he suddenly hauled out his own meat and walked through the store and up to a woman security officer by the exit with it poking through his fly.

‘The urge just comes over me every now and then,’ he told the shrink at Dixon. ‘I reckon I’m doin’ it before I even know I’m doin’ it. I don’t want to do it, especially now there’s the baby an’ all. Can you help me stop?’

‘I don’t know,’ the psychiatrist admitted. ‘There are drugs that suppress your libido – we give them to the more dangerous types in here to safeguard the rest of you – but I’m not sure they’d work for your kind of problem.’

‘I’d like to give ‘em a try,’ Bart said.

There was no way to tell if they were working since the Dixon Correctional Institute for Men afforded Bart no temptation. The test would come on his parole. One of his brothers owned a garage and gave him a job. Bart was the kind of mechanic who could resurrect an engine from way beyond extinction. His wife – or perhaps it was the baby – kept his wilder instincts reined in. He stopped taking the pills; Jaynette had a demanding appetite for sex.

* * *

God moves in mysterious ways. When, despite Jaynette, the irresistible urge finally overcame Barton Duchat after five months, the door at which he chose, randomly, to knock, two blocks from the garage, was a pretty pink, the colour of most of his daughter’s romper-suits. The lady of the house, who opened the door and its pink fly-screen, was herself a symphony in pink: pink mules, pink housecoat, pink ribbon in her strawberry-tinted hair. She wore no make-up but her skin was rosy from sitting in the sun on her back porch.

‘Can I help you, young man?’ she asked in a friendly voice.

Bart said nothing. He never did on these occasions. He unzipped the last few inches of his coverall to give the pink lady an exclusive view of what he’d paraded in Walmart early last year.

‘My-oh-my,’ said the pink lady. Her tone was still not hostile. And after a quick glance left and right and over the road she flung open the pink housecoat to reveal yet more rose-red, all of it skin apart from a small thatch of mousy hair. ‘How’d you like them little apples?’ she enquired.

Them were actually very small apples indeed. No apples at all. Her breasts had been amputated and not replaced with silicone. There was scarring of the washboard-flat skin over her ribs where it was drawn into two separate tucks that might have been, but plainly weren’t, nipples. Bart could barely divert his gaze to the thatched area lower down. It was now his turn to turn red.

‘Excuse me, ma’am,’ he stammered, zipping up his coverall. It was the first time he’d spoken to one of his victims and the first time one of them had flashed back at him. Embarrassed and confused, he turned to go.

‘Come back here, young man,’ said the lady, covering her rosy disfigured flesh with the pink housecoat. Her tone was firm but in no way sharp.

Bart turned again and so turned a new page in his life.

* * *

The pink lady without breasts was Mrs Grace Goodenough, the 40-year-old widow of a tree surgeon. ‘Amazing Grace,’ Bart took to calling her. She had achieved what harsh words, beatings, fines, Youth Detention and Dixon had not: Bart was cured. Her scarred flesh gave him some sense of that shock to which he’d exposed his victims (not a huge number: two dozen at the most).

No woman other than Jaynette and, once divorce and a marriage certificate legitimised an encore, Grace would ever again be confronted with the sight of Bart’s sometime pride and joy, now – thanks to ‘Amazing Grace’ Goodenough – his shame.

Even before Grace became the second Mrs Barton Duchat she became the second-biggest influence he would ever have. The very biggest influence was her best friend, to whom she introduced him that very day he flashed on her front porch for the first and last time. A friend whose name was Jesus.

* * *

Reformed sinners are apt to make zealous converts. Zealous and bigoted.

To Jaynette the new Bart, praying at the dinette table, singing hymns in the john, was a bigger pain than the one who’d had trouble keeping his pecker in his pants. Her life was focussed on the small bundle of joy and beauty that had been gifted to her after one abortion (or two) and two miscarriages (or one). Yes, she concurred with born-again Bart, this gift was probably from God, but she didn’t feel the need to attend prayer meetings and Bible-study groups five nights a week plus two services on Sunday to prove her gratitude.

Though no longer a goodtime-girl, Jaynette still liked a good time once in a while. Before the year was out she was not only having good times but also giving them to men she barely knew, even some she definitely didn’t. She’d wasted more than two years being faithful to Bart, at home and in prison. She had some catching up to do.

Bart prayed for her to find, as he had, redemption. Mrs Goodenough prayed for her to find, as she had, healing grace. Practically the entire congregation of the Divine Church of the Resurrection And the Pentecost (local cynics and Catholics had coined the acronym Divine CRAP for this assembly) spent one September Saturday evening on their knees begging the Lord to bestow, as He had on them, spiritual favour on Jaynette and other named sheep that had strayed. Their prayers for Jaynette were certainly wasted: she got more than usually drunk that night on whisky-sours at the Ace of Clubs and knelt on the pool-room floor to bestow secular favours on no fewer than four guys – a scenario her daughter would re-enact in her early movies.

* * *

A God-fearing man can only stand living with an unrepentant whore for so long; and sanctimony makes a hard bed for a party girl to lie on.

Bart was not cut from the same cloth as Sheriff John Howell III, father of the future Jason Howl. He didn’t beat her, no longer even laid a hand on her in pursuit of his conjugal rights. Divine Grace had temporarily neutered Bart as effectively as the drugs at Dixon (‘Amazing Grace’ would later restore a natural balance). But Jaynette, a more spirited young woman than Jason’s mom Marlene, liked to have a hand laid on her and might have tolerated a certain amount of vigour behind it. The new Bart was a born-again bore.

The parting, when it inevitably came, was not acrimonious.

‘I’m leaving you,’ she interrupted his prayers over breakfast one morning soon after their daughter turned two.

‘I’m not stopping you,’ he replied with equanimity.

‘And I’m taking Joylene.’

‘She’s your daughter.’

‘She’s yours too.’

‘Maybe she is and maybe she ain’t.’ Bart had taken to speaking slowly in normal conversation as if his every utterance came down from the Mountain. ‘Where you plannin’ on goin’?’

‘Tucson. I’ve been talking to Ma. She says we can live with her till I get a place of my own.’

‘When you plannin’ on goin’?’

‘Day after tomorrow. Can you give me some money to hire a car? I can’t take all my stuff and Joylene’s on a Greyhound.’

‘Take my pick-up. Brew will give me something else to drive.’ Brewster was Bart’s brother and his employer at the garage.

‘That’s kind of you, Bart. I’m sorry things haven’t worked out for us. I’ll see a lawyer when I get to Ma’s.’

‘I hope you find happiness in Arizona,’ he declaimed in his solemn new voice. ‘I hope you find salvation.’ He lifted his hand. For a moment Jaynette thought he was going to administer a blessing but he only scratched his ear.

‘Thank you, honey,’ she said sweetly. ‘I hope you get on all right too.’

‘With God on my side, how can I fail?’ he intoned.

‘I guess you can’t,’ she said, managing not to smirk or tell him to blow it out of his self-righteous ass.

‘God is watching you too, Jaynette. His eye is forever upon you.’

Jaynette cracked up. ‘I’ll try not to give Him too much of an eyeful,’ she snorted.

 

Chapter 2.     The Seldom Motel

 And so Jaynette and baby Joylene headed west in the 19-year-old Ford pickup (the same age as Jaynette) that Bart and Brew had salvaged from a breaker’s yard. It snarled like a cougar at anything over fifty mph and required oil as well as gasoline at every pit-stop, but it made the 1,300-mile journey in three days without breaking down and was still running a year later when Jaynette sold it to a Navajo farmer for two hundred bucks.

Abigail, Jaynette’s mother, had made this same journey in five stages over five years. When Jaynette was fourteen she and her two younger sisters had been left in the care of their black grandmother in Baton Rouge when husband number three, a Texas ‘oilman’ who turned out to be a pipeline maintenance engineer, took Abigail to Houston. This marriage lasted barely a year, considerably shorter than the previous two. Husband number four was quickly in the frame: he owned a third-rate hotel in Amarillo which he soon sold to buy a motel outside Albuquerque that was going cheap and going nowhere.

Abigail, a demon housekeeper and something of a handyman, revamped the motel; once it thrived, her husband mortgaged it to buy another in El Paso that was totally derelict. Leaving Abigail to supervise renovations he returned to Albuquerque and took up with the new housekeeper. In the ensuing divorce Abigail received the near-worthless hotel in lieu of alimony.

Around the time Jaynette was having her baby, Abigail was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Luckily she had a health plan that paid for the hysterectomy. Six months later, broke and with the hotel only half restored, she went back to the hospital to begin radiation and chemotherapy for secondary tumours. The two Mexican brothers who were working on the hotel came up with the money to buy her out. After another six anxious months she was pronounced cancer-free. This was around the time her son-in-law in Baton Rouge was making the acquaintance of Grace Goodenough and her friend Jesus.

While Jaynette resumed her interrupted career as a part-time party-girl, her mother brought down the curtain on her own longer one as a full-time adulteress. Before – and after – her hysterectomy she’d been screwing the two Mexicans; it kept them on-site after her money ran out. But the secondary tumours had, in a very literal sense, scared the willies out of Abigail.

The money she’d got from the brothers wouldn’t go far; it went as far as Tucson where she found a small motel (four cabins) on state highway 79 at a small unincorporated township called Seldom (population: 84 assorted whites, wetbacks and Indians), a farming community struggling against the water crisis. There was a general store, a ma-and-pa restaurant – and the Seldom Motel. What little business the aptly named motel obtained came from long-haul travellers avoiding the interstate, short-haul adulterers from Tucson, 30 miles away, avoiding those who knew them and silent-movie buffs making a pilgrimage to the nearby desert memorial to Tom Mix (the two-foot-tall black iron silhouette of a riderless horse on a plinth of mortared cobblestones). Bald, thin and weak, Abigail somehow found the strength to apply paint to the walls and sew new drapes and bedcovers.

And it was to the Seldom Motel that Jaynette and Joylene came to seek a new life in February 1980. John Howell IV was in his first year of elementary school in San Diego.

Including the front office, the management cabin had about the same area as Bart’s trailer in Baton Rouge. Abigail gave them her bedroom and made the teensy office behind Reception into a bedroom for herself.

* * *

It was a strange cohabitation of three generations.

At 38 Abigail was still, now that her hair had re-grown and her flesh filled out, a fine-looking woman, the colour of oak, big-breasted with a wide strong-featured face and a cheerful disposition. While she worked she sang gospel hymns learned from her own mother and Soul songs from the easy-listening station on the radio.

Jaynette, half her mother’s age and nearer the colour of maple, was less voluptuous, but a pretty young woman nevertheless except when, as now, frustration and boredom often gave her a pouting sullen look. She sang along with Dionne and Aretha, but Bart had soured her taste for hymns.

At two Joylene, whose colour was somewhere between that of her mother and grandmother, was a child of rare beauty with her long curly fair hair and green eyes. She was happy, lively and button-bright. In Seldom there were no other children her age apart from a pair of Navajo kids from one of the remoter farms. Joylene was much fussed over by the Mendozas who ran the general store, by Mabel and Pete in the ma-and-pa restaurant, by farmer’s wives and the wives and mistresses of the Seldom Motel’s infrequent clients.

* * *

Abigail, gradually inducted to climate change in her jumpy moves westward, had come to love the searing heat that laid shimmering mirages across the bleached landscape of southern Arizona. Joylene took to it instantly, romping like a puppy-dog in the sand in just her knickers. Jaynette hated it: hated the arid ochre creeks and washes, the dusty grey highway, the relentless aching blue of the sky. She yearned for the lush greens of Louisiana, and for rain.

Seldom was aptly named from her point of view since she only got laid four times in the first year (three truck-drivers and a farmer’s 18-year-old son on vacation from agricultural school). She hoped her mother couldn’t hear her vibrator through the thin walls of the cabin; it didn’t wake the baby. The cleaning and laundry did not require two women, and once they caught up on the five years they’d been apart and commiserated over each other’s marital misfortunes there wasn’t much left to say. They watched a lot of television.

Under the terms of the Arizona divorce Bart was required to send maintenance for the child he didn’t believe was his. Urged on and helped by Grace, he sent a bit extra that kept Jaynette off Welfare.

* * *

‘This ain’t workin’ out for you, is it, sugar?’ Abigail asked her daughter one morning in 1981 over their fourth cups of coffee. Joylene was outside, playing cowgirl games with her dolls.

‘It’s drivin’ me crazy,’ Jaynette confessed. ‘I’m honestly minded to go back to Louisiana. Jaynice could maybe give us a bed. Or Granma.’ The two sisters were named after their father, Abigail’s first husband ‘Jay-Jay’ (John Jacob), a janitor. Jaynice lived in a tract house outside New Orleans with her bus-driver husband and two infants. Denise, their teenage half-sister by stepfather number one who took tourists on Lake Pontchartrain boat rides, was still in the Baton Rouge trailer park with their grandmother.

‘Don’t go back, Jaynette,’ her mother said now. ‘If you get a job in the city I can go on looking after Joylene and we wouldn’t have to lose touch again. You can stay on here and drive my car to work.’

In the time it took Joylene to reach kindergarten age, Jaynette worked as a waitress in a series of bars and restaurants in Tucson. She fooled around with some more guys and was briefly married to the manager of one bar, a burly man almost twice her age who couldn’t keep his hands to himself or to his new wife. There were no more babies and no abortions. She stayed on the Pill and left Joylene with Abigail, even during the five months that this second marriage lasted; an apartment over a topless bar was no place for a child.

The Seldom Motel prospered. Abigail added four more cabins to cater for a growing clientele of truckers who liked her homely style and the food at Mabel’s Luncheon Diner which inexpensively repainted its sign to Mabel’s Lunch – ‘n Diner and now served early dinners. The out-of-town location kept the other side of the enterprise expanding also: cheating wives and two-timing husbands and a growing number of horny affluent high-school kids. The washing machine ran all day.

* * *

Their mothers couldn’t have been more different but absentee fathers were something the future Katharine Kane and Jason Howl had in common and would one day discuss. Joylene had yet to experience living with a stepfather.

The money Bart sent increased incrementally each year and there was extra cash at Christmas and birthdays. But he never came to Seldom.

‘Do they have banks in Heaven, Granma?’ Joylene asked on her fourth birthday in 1982 when Abigail showed her the $50 from Baton Rouge. Her grandmother’s ample flesh shivered as she laughed.

‘I don’t guess so, pussycat. But this here cheque’s from your daddy in Baton Rouge. To your mommy and me that’s more like Hell than Heaven!’

Joylene thought this through. ‘Is Daddy in Hell, then? I’ve heard Mommy say he can go to Hell for all she cares.’ Abigail laughed and shook some more. She licked her fingers and used the spit to reset a stray curl of Joylene’s.

‘Mommy just says that when she’s feeling mean.’

‘Daddy’s dead, though, isn’t he?’ Joylene had this way of coming out with eerily adult syntax. ‘He’s dead, but you and Mommy pretend he’s still alive and living near Mommy’s granma.’

‘No, he ain’t dead, pussycat. They just divorced, which ain’t the same thing though it sometimes feels like it. My mom told me your daddy’s studyin’ to be a preacher like Reverend Oral and Reverend Jimmy on the TV.’

‘Why doesn’t he come and see me?’ She was a child again; tears welled in her eyes. ‘Even the Injun kids have got daddies. I’d like to have one too.’

Abigail hugged the child. ‘I guess your daddy’s a little too busy right now, pussycat. What with studyin’ an’ all. But I’m sure he still loves you. He sends your mommy some money every month for your keep. So what shall we get with this fifty bucks he’s given you for your birthday? Toys? A new dress?’

Joylene gave the wide smile that had once, in Dixon, melted her father’s heart. ‘A dress and some toys!’

‘And a thank-you card to send to your daddy.’

‘I guess so.’ Joylene sighed a deep adult sigh. ‘I appreciate the fifty dollars,’ she said thoughtfully, ‘but if he doesn’t come and see me he might just as well be dead.’ She paused before adding: ‘That bastard.’

* * *

Her grandmother replaced her mother in Joylene’s affections. When Mommy wasn’t working she was apt to be feeling tired or just plain mean. Granma got tired too, but never too tired to find time for Joylene – and never mean. She played with her and taught her the alphabet and numbers up to a hundred.

By the time she was four Joylene was reading her first storybooks and could count the change from an ice-cream at Senor Mendoza’s store or a soda and a cookie at Auntie Mabel’s. Cookies, sodas and ice-creams were apt to be free, but Joylene didn’t mind paying. She always had a stack of bills from the truck-drivers who couldn’t resist giving the cute little girl a dollar when they checked out. Sometimes ‘the fornicators’ gave her money too, although they paid in advance and usually snuck away leaving the cabin key in the door.

Joylene had picked up on Abigail’s use of ‘fornicators’ to describe this particular clientele although Granma was vague about its precise meaning.

‘You know I sometimes sing songs about cheatin’ men and bustin’ up and women with broken hearts?’ she began when pressed for a fuller explanation.

‘Course I do. Mommy’s had a D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Two of them.’

‘Well, fornication is – kinda like lovin’ the one you’re with when you can’t be with the one you’re supposed to love.’

Joylene went off to discuss the ramifications of this lesson with Ken and his harem of Barbies and Sindy’s. She later explained to Granma and Mommy which combination of her dolls was a happy couple and which were ‘fornicators’. Jaynette and Abigail laughed till they ached.

Less amused, initially, was the 30-something woman who sat outside in her convertible while the man she was with prepaid the cabin in Reception.

‘Are you here for the fornication?’ the entrancing four-year-old enquired. The woman stared speechlessly at Joylene who wagged a finger at her and uttered an admonition worthy of the Reverend Jimmy Swaggart on TV (and, obviously, of Mister Ray Charles):

‘Your cheating heart will tell on you.’

The woman joked about this with her lover in their cabin. But she ended the day by telling him she couldn’t see him any more. She went home to her husband vowing to give it another shot.

In later life Pussy-Kat Kane’s video movies would provide a fixative – not always a permanent bond – to many a shaky union. They would of course do a lot more to stimulate adulterers and solitary masturbators. But here she was, four years old, talking like an adult and providing adhesion, however temporary, to a cracked marriage.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Reader, dear reader, I would welcome some feedback. Is this a book I should continue with? Do you want to read more? Comments – please!

 

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