Paul Smith

The Scream

“Just remember to scream,” I reminded her. “Scream his name as loud as you can.” I looked at her to make sure she understood. I wasn’t certain. Her name was Kristina. Kristina with a “K”. She was from somewhere far away – Kiev, Tbilisi, some dumb place in the Caucasus, The Dardanelles, the Silk Road. You get the picture. 

Kristina gave me this blank look. I asked her to repeat what I just told her. We had a reputation to defend, and business was down.

“OK,” she said. “I take the call, I do the, um. . .”

“Front talk,” I helped her.

“Right,” she held up a finger. “Front talk. Then I ask him what he likes, and then I do it.”

“Do what?”

She blushed. “Do I actually have to say it – that word? And where’s Jocasta? I thought she was going to do the camera.”

Jocasta had a problem. “I’m doing the camera. You’ll be fine. And what is it you’re doing for what’s-his-name?”

I stared at her, regretting ever hiring her, especially after the casting fiasco.

She half-turned away. “I’m jilling.”

“Jilling,” I said. “That’s a nice word. OK, you get the picture.” She was a newbie, like an apprentice. Maybe she would always be that.

So we waited for a call-in. There hadn’t been many lately. Too many guys were getting laid on their own and didn’t need our ‘service,’ which I thought was a stroke of genius. Who wouldn’t like to hear the girl scream their name over the phone as they’re both coming during phone sex? Of course they would! What am I, some kind of moron? Some kind of idiot like this Kristina chick from Timbuktu? All she had to do was scream his name when she got her jollies. How hard is that?

The phone rang. A tentative voice spoke up. I could picture him – real loser. He was perfect.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hi,” Kristina said. So far, so good. “Feeling horny?”

“Boy, am I ever.” I could imagine.

“I’m Kristina. What’s your name?”

“Ed.” From behind the camera I waved to her, giving her a sign to make him repeat it. I also had to tape the close, so I wanted to make sure his name was right. Ed. I smirked. Ed. E – D. Erectile Dysfunction. What else could it stand for? No wonder he called us. A real live chick would make him go soft. “Ed,” he repeated. “You know, I’m Greek.” 

 “Well, Ed, from Greece or Thebes or wherever, you came to the right place. We’re going to treat you right. You have a girlfriend?”

“Not right now, but I had one.”

“What was her name, if I might ask?”


“Fionnuala? Oh, I get it. Kind of like fellatio. What a pretty name.” As if she’d know, I smirked.

“It’s a Celtic name that means white shoulders.”

What a buzz kill. I liked where she was going with fellatio.

“You really get around, Ed! You’re from Corinth and your girl is from County Mayo. Well, Ed, give me your credit card number and let’s get started.” He gave it to her and I checked it out. Wherever island or archipelago he was from, he had good credit. Now it was up to her. I put the camera right on her vagina, just the way Jocasta used to when she still worked here. “Can you see me OK?” she asked.

“Well, just your, uh, vagina. Can I see your face, too?”

I backed off. I guess I was getting a little anxious.

“That’s better,” I heard him say.

“I’m taking off my panties now, Ed. Would you like to smell them? Oh, you can’t. How about buying them? Just put it in your American Express card.”

“No. I have a pair of Fionnuala’s right here. I never washed them. I even bought some Irish Spring. ”

“How nice. Now I’m starting to play with myself. Oh, Ed, that feels so good.”

“Yeah,” I heard him say. He was starting to breathe heavily. Then another call came in. Shit! Whenever when we got really busy, Jocasta would help out. I wasn’t much use. Jocasta pulled double duty. She was up for just about anything.

“Hurry up!” I told Kristina. “We’ve got another customer.”

“What was that?” asked Ed. “It sounded like a man. I thought you were alone in your bedroom. That’s what the website said.”

“It was the television, that’s all. Are you enjoying yourself?”

“I’m getting close. And you?” I gave her the sign to just go ahead and fake it, something we usually frown on, but we’ve never had two customers at one time before. When fate intervenes like this, you just have to improvise. Ed was getting close. Kristina wasn’t, and she didn’t even seem interested. If Jocasta were here behind the camera, Kristina would have felt comfortable jilling and everything would be hunky-dory.

But no Jocasta.

Then fate intervened. There was a knock on the door.

It was Jocasta.

“Hey, asshole,” she started. “That last check bounced.”

“What have you got on the television? Porn?” Ed asked. “I thought you were into me, and you’re there playing with yourself watching anal sex?” He sounded forlorn and desperate.

As soon as Jocasta saw Kristina, her eyes softened. “Give me that,” she said, swiping the camera from my hands. She put her index finger to her mouth in the universal sign that meant ‘Sshhhh’ and Kristina now really started going at it, fiddling with her clit, and then inserting two fingers  till she was on the doorstep of ecstasy. 

“Oh,” went Ed.

“Oh, oh,” went Kristina.

“Oh, Fionnuala!” went Ed.

‘Oh, what?” went Kristina. I waved at her. My lips mouthed “E – D.”

Then she came. “Oh, Jumpin Jehoshaphat!!” she screamed.

There was a blood-curdling scream at Ed’s end of the Zoom connection. I guess he came, too. Then there was dead silence, followed by, “How did you know my middle name?”

“Jehoshaphat?” Kristina said.

“Jehoshaphat?” said Jocasta.

Jocasta shushed her and made the universal gesture with the index finger slashing across her neck. It meant either to shut up or I’m going to cut your throat. In this case, she was shushing Kristina and staring at me, which meant she wanted Kristina to be quiet and she wanted to slit my throat. I was broke and a little sorry her check bounced.

“Ed Jehoshaphat Shufflebottom.”

“Shufflebottom? Where are you from?”


“Georgia? Me, too.”

‘Tbilisi,’ I thought.

“Macon,” she said.

“Ed Jehoshaphat Wolfinger?” asked Jocasta.

“Shufflebottom,” said Ed, his voice trembling. “I changed it. Wolfinger was too weird. No one would go out with me. Just Fionnuala.”

“That was your name when you were born. You should have been proud of it – Woolfinger.”



“Mom, I’m so ashamed!”

Jocasta glared at me. “Look what you’ve done to my son with your porn.” As if she was a saint.

“You two actually know each other?” said Kristina.

“Baby,” Jocasta said to our customer, “I never approved of that Irish girl with the weird name. Who wants to go out with a mick or a weirdo? But, look, I found this wonderful girl from Georgia,” she put her arm around Kristina and gave her a hug, “A girl who can make you happy faking it or not faking it.”

This was more than I could take.  “Business has been rotten and you’re masking it worse,” I scoffed. At least I had this moron’s credit card number.

The phone was still ringing from that second customer. He must have been really desperate. I picked up the call. Things could not get worse.

“Hello,” said an authoritative voice.


“Is this Lecherous Loads Incorporated?”

I concurred.

“Sir, this is the Department of Frivolity and Fragrances, a division of the Federal Bureau of Information. We have it on good authority that you are operating a business/enterprise/racket wherein girls of no means of visible support are faking orgasms over the phone, in violation of Federal Statute 13.69. There will be a knock on your door. Answer it.” 

I could feel things getting worse.

“We’re leaving,” said Jocasta. “Don’t worry, son. Momma’s coming home and she has a little treat for you.” Then the Zoom connection went down as they started to head for Georgia.

Then there was a knock on my door.

There were two of them – a dumb one and a smart one. “Are you the perpetrator of the igneous, no, the ignominious deeds disrobed, no, described over the phone you are holding in your hand?” That was the dumb one. The smart one already knew.

I dropped the phone.

“What phone?”

“Should we cuff them?” Again it was the dumb one. The smart one stayed mum.

Then Jocasta gave them the universal sign of a Milwaukee Reciprocating Sawzall slicing through a cord of Mountain Mahogany, her index finger protruding from a fist she held waist high, going in and out. It was also the universal sign for ‘yes, that’s the sole proprietor. Cuff him’. Her sawzall was pointed at me.

“Him?” the dumb one said.

“I faked dozens of orgasms, shot the film, cleaned up after you-know-what, the works.” Her reciprocating finger still went in-out, in-out pointing at me.

The smart one said nothing. He just nodded assent, his head going up and down like the piston of a Wacker Diaphragm Pump pumping toxic solids from a landfill to somebody’s basement. And that basement was mine.  It was the universal sign of someone smart enough to let dumb people ask all sorts of questions while he kept his tongue till the very end instead of making a fool of himself.

Next thing I knew they handcuffed me. Jocasta smirked. She liked stuff like this. Then she and Kristina with a K were gone.

This was not how it was supposed to go. I was supposed to make a fortune with my novel idea of having the girl on one end of the phone connection scream the John’s name as she faked an orgasm. Which she did not do. She did not even give me the traditional blow job when I auditioned her for working in my studio. I could not pay Jocasta for her job of mentoring these young stars, wherever they came from – Georgia, Macedonia or Georgia. Fate had intervened. Fate! Fate as in Gotterdammerung, like Star Wars, like some Greek tragedy. So I did something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time.

I screamed.

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