Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Magazine Odyssey, Part One by Greg Dziawer

Souvenirs from Ed Wood's days in the magazine writing biz.

NOTE TO READERS: As you may know, one of this blog's more popular features, Ed Wood Wednesdays, has been on hiatus since late June. Those articles are time-consuming and research-intensive, so I had to take a break from writing them. Luckily, however, one of my readers has stepped in to carry on the series. Greg Dziawer has been doing his own intensive research into the life and career of Edward Davis Wood, Jr., and he has agreed to turn his findings into a new series of Ed Wood articles for Dead 2 Rights. In other words, Ed Wood Wednesdays is back, and I couldn't be happier. The following article is Greg's work, which I am proudly presenting to you. The crude censoring of images is, I am afraid, a necessity to appease the Google gods. - J.B.

Pendulum's Savage Sex and Dick Trent's "The Responsibility Game"

A Pendulum magazine.
"When Bernie Bloom left Golden State, Eddie went with him, then all of a sudden one day Bernie called Eddie and said, 'I'm going to start my own company, Pendulum Publishing, come and help me.'"
Kathy Wood, Nightmare of Ecstasy

Bernie Bloom filed Pendulum Publishers, Incorporated as a Domestic Corporation in the state of California on April 15, 1968. Its address, 5585 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019, would become home to numerous lines and imprints under the Pesndulum label in the next few years, including a plethora of theme-based adult magazines. Most titles were published bi-monthly. Savage Sex – its dominant theme BDSM – ran under the flagship Pendulum imprint, circa 1969-1972. Thanks to page scans here, we have a complete short story published in Savage Sex in 1972 and written by Ed:

The issue containing this story.
"The Responsibility Game" by Dick Trent
(Savage Sex, Vol 4 No 2 April/May 1972)

Dave Caulfield pulled his head slowly away from the gilden, silken crotch of his secretary and wiped his chin in the crook of his arm. It had been a long affair. They had both climaxed twice during the previous hour but there was a tremendous reluctance between them both to stop their actions. However, there was simply a limit to both their capabilities. Enough was enough . . . for the time being.
     "Drink, Tina?" 
  "I need one," replied the luscious blonde as naked she came to a sitting position on the leather couch with her legs hanging over the edge. The words had come slowly, softly, almost a whisper, but through a rush of hot breath.
     "You take all the hell right out of a girl."
     "Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?" And he was also naked. He crossed his plush office and pressed the switch which moved a false wall and the well-stocked bar was revealed.
     "As I remember you take Scotch?"
"You know I do!" She pulled her pink satin mini slip to her and draped it across her exposed pubic region. "I think I could use a strong one . . . even if it is during working hours."
     Dave started pouring the stiff jolts into the two chubby Scotch glasses. "You don't have to worry about working hours as long as you're with the boss." His grin was tried, but honest. Then when he had finished pouring, he lifted the glasses and carried them across the room. He gave one to the girl and noticed where she was looking . . . and that there was the same glint in her eyes which had been there every time she had looked at that thing.
     "Don't you ever get enough of that?"
"Is there enough?"
"I do believe you're insatiable."
"I hope so."
"Maybe you'd better join a group club."
"Show me the way."
Dave picked up his tie from the back of a leather chair and draped it over his almost limp manhood. "There, that better?"
"Looks a little bit like a gift-wrapped sausage now," she laughed then took a long swig of her Scotch. "There, that does feel better." Then she sighed broadly. "I've thought about swinging clubs. But I've also thought about the trouble I might get into. I think you're man enough to handle me. You have been for the last three months. Say, you know! I'm glad you hired me."
"That goes double right back at you." Naked he moved to sit behind his massive desk, and he put his feet up on the polished mahogany. "I've got big plans for you."
"I'd say you've already given me something big."
"With the business I mean."
"Honey," she furthered. "You've been giving me the business."
"Ahh, now cut it out. I mean I've really been thinking about you. About us! I'd like to keep you with me."
"Lord, I'd rather have it no other way."
"You really like it here, don't you?"
"The pay isn't that much," and she grinned and flipped the mini slip on her lap. "But the fringe benefits are something else."
"How'd you like to be a vice president?"
"I love anything to do with vice."
Dave took his feet down from the desk and the grin left his face. He formed the most official look he could muster. "You've got to take this seriously or we might just as well forget what I'm about to say."
The grin also faded from Tina's face. "Sorry Dave. I thought we were still kidding around."
"I never kid when business is concerned."
"I'll listen quietly."
"You haven't answered me."
"About what?"
"How would you like to be a vice president here in my firm? I think you'd find quite a jump in your salary."
"Such a promotion and after only three months."
"The time is unimportant. It has been the way you handle things. Of course there are many of my employees who have been with me for years. But there isn't one of them that I could honestly say is right for the position I'm offering."
"I'm flattered."
"Of course, you should be," he replied matter of factly. "But you must also realize you've more than earned it."
And her mind was laughing at the big jerk. Earned it! He could bet his sweet ass she'd earned it. How many times had she lied to him, to herself, to the silent world around them about what a great stud he was and how long she could stay with him . . . and how much torture she had put herself through to stay in the saddle with him so that he could have a double blow-off when he really wasn't even good for one?
A young man, a good looking man, a well-built man and a jerk. You bet she earned it! She'd like to have narrowed her eyes and told him so. She would liked to have thrown the Scotch into his face then spit on him. But that had not been the plan even from the start.
Of course he had hired her on the spot. It was all part of her master plan . . . there had been the club he generally frequented about cocktail time . . . she knew he had a wife somewhere . . . she knew he had a big bank account . . . a big firm . . . she couldn't get to the bank account because of the wife . . . but the firm was wide open . . . it was a corporation with dummy officers. He ran the whole thing. All she had to do was get in with him. That had been easy . . . a green mini cocktail dress of slippery satin . . .  shoes and mini purse to match . . . her blonde hair streaming down her back . . . those luscious red lips . . . she didn't really like to paint them at the bar . . . but it was an attraction getter . . . there was no doubt about that . . . and Dave Caulfield always had a couple of drinks at the bar before he went to the table which also was always reserved for him.
She marked her time until his arrival. Then when he took a stool at the bar she moved from her chair at a table and took the second stool from him.
That's when she ordered a Scotch and water and did the lipstick bit. Naturally it looked like a pick-up bit and naturally Dave was a guy who had been around. He couldn't have missed such a come on.
"Finish that one and there'll be a second one waiting for you right in front of the stool next to me," he had said.
"Why wait for the delivery?" she had grinned and moved over to the stool.
Then there were the introductions and there were several more Scotch drinks, then there was his car and then there was his apartment . . . the one he kept as a home away from home . . . and there was his bedroom.
Did she ever give him a ride that night. She rode him to a complete standstill. He thought he was something else . . . and she proved to him that she was something else . . . she was the best bronco on the range and she made him believe he was the best broncobuster in the world . . . and he should believe it . . . she told him enough times that night.
Then the following morning she discovered a closet full of nighties and negligees where she selected a sexy pink set with marabou trim, and went about making coffee for them both before he woke up. But they were not to drink their coffee the moment she brought it in to him.
His eyes had opened only slightly . . . too much of the night before. . . but all that dropped away when he caught sight of the vision of loveliness, the sex goddess which stood before him. To hell with the coffee! He jumped, naked, out of bed and took her in his arms. Their tongues had met and twisted and turned as they had the night before. His legs went around her so that she fit down his "V" and his hands pawed at her back, then into the front of the negligee and nightgown . . . then when the hand was free again it went up under the nightgown and negligee and played with the golden pubic region. . . .
He was steaming all over again and Tina knew that she was not going to have the coffee she so much desired at that moment. She would have to go into her act once more. But there was going to be much more in the act.
His hands flew from her and he backed up a step and his eyes narrowed. Suddenly his hands lashed out and tore the flimsy nightgown and negligee until there was nothing left to hold it together and the material fell in soft cloud-like folds at her feet. Then he knelt before her and took her as he had not taken her the night before.
Later when they both sat on the edge of the bed with the coffee in their hands and they were sipping of the hot brew he looked at her with his boyish grin. "My wife never let me do that to her."
"She doesn't know what she's missing."
"I've wanted to do that with a lot of the girls. I . . .I . . . I . . . just never had the nerve."
Tina had grinned. "I'm glad I turned you on like that. I liked it."
"When I saw you standing there all pink and blonde and I thought about last night, I simply couldn't keep my hands off you. I've always wanted to rip the clothes from a girl and do that other. I'm not sorry I did it."
"I'm not sorry you did either." He was falling into her plot . . . how well she knew the symptoms.
"Now what can I do for you?" He was serious.
That had all been three months before, and during the three months they made it every afternoon in his office and at least twice a week when he had to remain in town on business. And then the moment came to which she had been waiting for. . . .
"You really do mean you'd like me to be a vice president?"
"There are a lot of responsibilities connected with the job. But as I said. The money will be well worth your acceptance, and you're very well qualified for the position."
"Do I also get a silver key to the executive washroom?" The tension was broken and they both laughed.
     Tina slipped into her short brown mini skirt and white angora cardigan after she had straightened the slip down over her exotic body.
     "You'll even have your name on your own office door."
"I guess it pays to be a vice president."'
"Almost as much as it would to be president."
"I think I'll let you keep that position." She grinned. "You fit the chair better."
"There will be a lot of papers to sign." He pulled on his trousers and shirt, then started fixing his tie.
"I write a good signature . . . took a penmanship award in school."
"Miners have been known to transfer millions with a simple 'X' ."
"Well, I guess I've gone beyond that stage. I'll make sure anybody who reads the message over my signature knows who it came from."
"Always efficient, aren't you!"
"If I weren't you wouldn't be asking me to take over as vice president."
"Well we might also say I feel that running this corporation with a dummy board of directors is for the birds. It was alright in the beginning, but now with the firm as large as it is I'd like to have some of the decision responsibilities taken off my hands. I'm just tired of the full responsibility. A couple of minds put together are always better than one."
"I only hope I can live up to your estimation." She didn't give a damn about his estimation . . . the only estimation she had in mind was just how big is the company. That was going to be one of her first investigations. Then she would make further plans from there.
Dave, fully dressed and once more the business executive, pulled open the top drawer of his desk and took out the official document. "Come over here Tina."
Tina adjusted a tiny brown nylon scarf around her neck to top off the angora sweater, then moved across the desk. He handed her the paper . . . the very official looking document.
"It's all ready for you . . . witnessed and all." He pointed to one of the lower dotted lines. "Just sign there."
"Shouldn't I read it."
"Sure, if you want to. But it's a waste of your time." He stuck out the pen.
She shrugged. After all, it was the paper she wanted. She signed. "I'll have your copy notarized while I'm out this afternoon. By the way, your office is right next to mine . . . right through that door. It will make it even more easy for our get-togethers than before."
"That's what I call real cozy."
"Another drink? To celebrate our sort of partnership." He walked to the bar and poured. She didn't have to answer him. Then he walked back with the fresh glasses and they clicked glasses and drank.
    "I guess that makes it official."
    She thought it was wise. She put the glass down and locked her arms around his neck and their lips and their tongues met for a long moment. "What was that for?" he asked, grinning.
"Just for being you."
"Okay. More of that later. Go on into your new office and sign the papers on your desk. There's a lot of them. And I'll be out of town for a couple of days, so hold down the fort and keep those lazy characters outside busy. And when you get those papers signed have them mailed out right away. And you're nuts if you try to read all of them. I don't."
"You're the boss."
"No, you are," he grinned, then moved to his door and went out.
The papers were signed. They were mailed. And the company books were brought to her upon request. And over the following week she realized what had happened . . . . She knew or almost knew when she found the reservation note on Dave's pad. A reservation for Argentina.
She had played him for a sucker and he had played her for the dummy she was. And when the auditors came it was only a short while until the officers came with the warrant for her arrest . . . . The vice president had become the important one. After all the president was in Argentina and there was no extradition proceedings possible. And after all . . . she had signed all those papers which directed the banks to shell out the money to the bearer of the copy . . . Dave's copy . . . .
Dave had had all those other people's money in the bank . . . and he really had become tired of the responsibility. The only responsibility he wanted was the money in his own name.
In time Tina might be able to play the responsibility game again . . . maybe!


A Dick Trent book.
  • Characteristically eliding narrative detail – sole details are 1) what kind of alcohol (always Scotch, in this case) is in the glass; and 2) lingerie specifics - Wood here propels his Darwinian male/female pair forward almost entirely via dialogue.
  • The office was a milieu oft-explored by Wood, and its politics commonly fodder for derision. The turnabout is swift, suspense-less and untelegraphed, but nonetheless inevitable. Though we fully expect Tina's comeuppance, Dave's fully successful turnabout erases the possibility of any comforting morality tale.
  • What to make of that final line? After she gets out of jail? If she makes it out of jail?
  • It's easy to imagine Ed pushing this one of his typewriter in an hour or two while at his desk at Pendulum, never proofread. The apparent speed translates into the read, save those "huh?" moments, like Tina's discovery of Dave's "reservation for Argentina." A hotel reservation...a plane ticket?
  • The evocatively awkward syntax throughout conspires with said lingerie specifics (a white cardigan angora and pink marabou)  to produce a representative Wood short story of its era.
  • The dramatic hinge is perfection: She had played him for a sucker and he had played her for the dummy she was.
  • Dick Trent was one of Ed's most-frequently-employed  pen names, across both books and magazine articles/works of short fiction.