This time I got to go to a more upscale address. Not some two-bit bar to discuss smoky innuendo and infidelity over beer, but a nice house in Connecticut. It’s got to be good to get me to cross the state line.
I even knew the guy. James Furwell, son of a noted business associate of the Kennedys. Yes, those Kennedys. Furwell’s dad, Arthur, knew Joseph, and so James and John F. became childhood chums. James was later made a personal assistant to John, and some say he even helped with speeches. But the best bit, the juiciest part for a man like myself and all the scandal-hungry Americans I serve, was that Furwell helped clean up some of John’s messes.
So when I got a call from Furwell the man himself, not an assistant promising me huge up-front money, and expenses, and the goddamndest bombshell on J.F.K., complete with physical proof, and could I be there in the next six hours, I was out the door before my editor could question my judgment.
The name’s Carter Sams, and I write the stories the whole world reads and doesn’t believe or so they say to themselves . I write for The National Expose, the fastest up-and-coming tabloid rag around. We’re even gaining on People. What I or the other writers can’t prove, we fabricate, since it all comes out in the wash. I figure for every beefed-up story and half-truth never a half-lie that’s a forbidden term in our biz , there are two or three untold full-truths.
The Expose is different from the other rags. We don’t publish newspapers, but rather offer slick magazine pages with full color, presenting a huge smorgasbord of titillation. I specialize in celebrity faux pas and any other hint of scandal. It’s a living. We’re an equal-opportunity muckraker. If a sports figure fucks up, we’re there. If a star gets a disease or a speeding ticket, we’re there. We have sexy pictures alongside government scandals. We rip the lid off everything we can find crawling under America’s proverbial rock. That’s what sets us apart, and we sell lots of copies.
Why Furwell had called me instead of The New York Times, I didn’t know. My suspicious mind began to give me encouraging signals. I figured, on the way to Furwell’s house, that he had suspicions of his own and that he could count on there being contacts at the Times who would be ready to squash his revelation. It stands to reason that the Federal Bureau of Investigation wouldn’t bother to set up snitches at the Expose. At least not yet. We would have the chance to run this thing and get it on Nightline and Entertainment Tonight within forty-eight hours if the story was big enough. By then, the Expose in general, and me in particular, would be running point on this operation.
As a guy who spends a lot of time in cramped editorial offices, bars and phone booths where the phone book has been ripped off, I was reasonably impressed with Furwell’s house. I must admit, it was something to roll up that long, lazy driveway, ring the doorbell on what was practically a mansion and have the door opened by Furwell himself.
James Furwell had always been a handsome man. If he hadn’t been close to Kennedy, he still would have gotten nookie. But the years had not been gentle with Mr. Furwell. The man who opened the door was thin, stooped, and his mottled, unhealthy skin hung loose on his bones. His hands shook and his voice was rough and labored. Still, I had to admit that his eyes held a fierceness, and it became evident that his mind was still very quick.
“Mr. James Furwell? I’m Carter Sams.” I stuck out my hand. His jaw shook.
“Let me see some ID first.”
I shrugged and pulled out my wallet. I showed him my driver’s license and my press card.
“They give you one of these for the stuff you write?” He handed my papers back.
“News is news. Some of it ain’t exactly edifying, but it’s news if someone wants to hear about it.” I paused. “Think I could come in?”
He stood back a little to let me through. Before he closed the door I saw him check the horizon. This made me even more hopeful. Don’t think too harshly of me for being gleeful over an old man’s paranoia, but my instincts were screaming, “This could be big!” And yet my pragmatic side cautioned, “If he hasn’t gone loopy.”
“I’ve let all the help off for the day. I don’t want them around if something is going to happen, and I don’t trust them enough to be in on this.”
“And what exactly is this, Mr. Furwell?”
He smiled and his neck wattles shook. “A ten-minute reel of film, Mr. Sams. Ten minutes of black-and-white film taken with a hand-held camera. A camera held by me.”
My heart began to speed up. This was going to be fun. “And what were you filming?”
A smile and a sharp twinkle came to his eye. “The last time John F. Kennedy had sex with Marilyn Monroe.”
In my business, proof is everything. Everybody reads the articles and sees, “An insider says…” or “A source close to…” Can you sue us? Well we can’t reveal our sources, so sorry, next case. So we get away with quite a lot, while our credibility suffers. We have a picture, we don’t doctor it so you see UFO’s or Bigfoot. We don’t touch that stuff anyway. But you catch a drunken star being a floozy on film, and we’ll pay you nicely for the negatives.
Everybody knows our thirty-fifth President had an affair with old Norma Jean. It’s part of our popular mythology. But nobody’d ever had absolute look-it-in-the-eyes evidence that this affair ever really occurred. What was a man’s word worth? It might be worth a check and it might sell some magazines, but it seldom made a fortune and seldom made history.
“Hardened newsman like yourself, and you flinched, my boy,” Furwell said. “Your mouth’s still hanging open, but at least you’re still on your feet.” He let out a dry, rough laugh. “Now you’re only the second living person who knows about me and my camera. Feel honored?”
I nodded dumbly.
“As well you should be. And you should also be sharp enough to know why I called you instead of some flunky at the Times. In fact, we should get this show on the road.” He dropped his eyes to look at the floor. “They’re probably listening in right now.”
“The FBI. You’re smart enough to know this isn’t a matter of national security. You’re also smart enough to know that this particular piece of film history is something the feds would love to turn into guitar picks. It doesn’t look good to have your beloved, tragically slain President fucking on film. Never happened before John, hasn’t happened since. In fact the very existence of this film would say a lot about the character of the idolized President. It’s a bad penny no matter how you look at it.”
“Why come forward now? If you were Kennedy’s friend, why do you want this film released to the public?”
“So you’re finally acting like a newsman and starting to ask questions. Let’s go into the library and I’ll tell you everything. And then we’ll watch the film.”
Furwell drew the shades and his spacious library was enclosed in darkness. I heard a click and a small lamp came on. Furwell already had a home movie screen set up. He moved it in front of the window.
On the long table I was standing next to sat a film projector holding an ancient-looking reel of film, It looked like one of those old loops that we were forced to look at back in grade school.
“To answer your first question Mr. Sams, I am dying. I have the fabled less than a year to live. Lung cancer at first, now it’s all through me. Right now I’m comfortably high on very expensive painkillers The miracles of modern science at least you can go out with a smile on your face, dying happy.”
He walked toward me. “The reason I’m trying to put this film out for public consumption is that I really don’t care anymore. Me and Jack, we were Democrats. Democrats like freedom of speech and fucking. This is about both.” He looked down again and leaned against the table. “You’re right, Jack was my best friend, and I didn’t hesitate to help him with this project. In light of what happened, it would seem that I’m doing him and Marilyn a disservice.” He looked up and smiled. “She really was a nice lady, you know. Not some smart-ass, big-shot Hollywood bitch.”
His eyes grew distant as he continued. “But I don’t think she would’ve appreciated what I did for Jack. You see, there came to be a lot of pressure to break off all the womanizing, especially with famous women like Marilyn. Don’t think too harshly of Jack. If you were in his shoes, it would be a little difficult to cut off the ladies.” He shook his head. “No offense to Jackie, but between her and Marilyn…”
He coughed and went on. “Deep down, Jack was a great man. He was strong and he believed in a lot of good things. He was my friend, but I can say honestly that I think he was a great President. That makes all of it tragic.” He looked hard at me. “Why couldn’t the asshole who shot at that limp dick Reagan have been a better shot?”
I had to ask. “Did the FBI play any role in the deaths of John Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe?”
“Am I Oz the All-Knowing? I can’t say about Marilyn, as I still have my doubts, but no proof. But Jack…” he shook his head. “America hates to believe in randomness and madness. It’s a lot easier to accept if you believe your great man was struck down by a vast conspiracy. Give us melodrama and not senseless tragedy. So to answer your question: Oswald did it. And Ruby? Shit luck. Life’s like that, no matter how much we try to deny it.”
“And the film?” I felt drunk with knowledge. It is power.
“Well, like I said, Jack had to cut out the women. Marilyn was to be the test case.” He gave me another hard look. “Don’t you think if you could give up Marilyn Monroe, the rest would be cake?”
“But Jack didn’t want to let it go so easy. If you had to say goodbye to the greatest sex goddess of our time, wouldn’t you want something more than fond memories? Now if Marilyn had found out, there would have been hell to pay. And the only person he could totally trust was me.”
He walked over to his liquor cabinet and took out two glasses. “Bourbon?” It sounded like a fine idea to me. While he poured, he continued talking.
“I have to admit that, shameful as it was, I was excited.” He finished pouring the drinks. His hands were shaking as he handed me mine.
“Cheers.” And he drank.
“There’s a little bit of the voyeur in all of us. I don’t think there’s any exception. From the dawn of man to The National Expos , people want to see, to know. Especially the weird, the sexy, the forbidden.” He took another sip.
“By now we’ve all seen Marilyn naked in those famous photographs, but not live, not moving. We’ve never seen her cunt, never seen her sucking a cock. I don’t care who it is, if you have hardcore footage of any mainstream star, it would be worth a lot to people.”
“Look at Rob Lowe,” I offered.
“Exactly. Jack had me behind a huge two-way mirror installed by me for the occasion. Marilyn didn’t mind doing it in front of a mirror. Everybody has at least a little kink, right? So in the room where they did it, there was just a big plush rug and this mirror. This allowed me to get really good footage. I got everything.”
“In ten minutes?”
“Well, I chose my moments. I was only going to get the ten minutes worth, so I got the best of the encounter. I was pretty handy with cameras and stuff. And if I hadn’t been, Jack would have made damn sure I learned, because I was the only guy who could do it.”
He finished his drink. “Now it’s time to see what you have come to see. I’ll only run it once, then I’ll hand it over.” He looked suddenly very vulnerable. “When you have it, don’t make any stops. Go straight to your office and do what you have to do.”
“What’s your stake in all this?”
“I get to rub it in those FBI bastards’ faces. Like I said, I still have doubts about Marilyn. What a dumb waste. Just watch the film and you’ll see some of that. But always remember, everybody fucks. That doesn’t change who they are. Jack was still a good man, and Marilyn was still a kind girl. Everybody has sex. But it makes such a goddamn big difference when you’re not just a regular guy. Hell, nobody’d pay to see me have sex with my wife.”
“It’s a tough world.”
“Bullshit.” He wound the spools until the film was tight. “I’m going outside. I don’t want to see it. The next time I want to see any of it is with little black bars over the naughty bits on 60 Minutes. Think you can do that?”
“Hell yes. Set the VCR for this Sunday at seven.”
He nodded and I could actually see his shoulders lift a little, like some weight had been lifted off him. “Good.” He pointed to the projector. “Just turn this knob to here and watch the fun.” He started to leave.
“What, no popcorn?” I tried to joke. But I felt like I was about to jump off a high cliff.
“It’s not that kind of movie, son,” he said as he went through the door. I heard the lock click. I didn’t care. I was alone with destiny.
I found the switch and the projector rattled to life. The sound made me feel once again like I was in school. The leader even had a countdown.
Then darkness and a blur. The blur began to clear and I saw a closeup of John Fitzgerald Kennedy deep-kissing Marilyn Monroe. The shot pulled back to show Kennedy in his boxers and Marilyn in black underwear.
The scene jumped and next I saw Kennedy kneading and sucking the nipples of those beautiful Monroe breasts. I regretted that they hadn’t gotten color film somewhere. This was a weird scene, but you would have to be castrated to not appreciate seeing someone touch Marilyn’s breasts. The scene jumped.
Then I saw one of those sights that can change your view of life forever. Marilyn was on her knees, her naked breasts bobbing slightly as she took JFK into her mouth. I began to understand why he needed to womanize. With a cock that big, you’d want to do it as much as possible in order to whittle it down some. And Marilyn, with her wide mouth, was doing a bang-up job, her lips wrapped tightly around Kennedy’s massive organ, her fingers pulling at his balls. She took him deep, but not too deep, lest she ruin her lovely pipes.
Marilyn on her knees. She really seemed to enjoy it. A good closeup of her rubbing his dick over her priceless features. Christ in a sidecar.
The next shot was of Jack’s cock between her breasts. She held him tight as she rubbed up and down. My throat became very dry. The scene jumped.
Like Furwell had said, we’d all seen her breasts, her legs. But never her pussy. Now before my eyes I saw that famous vagina being fingered and licked by a President. I leaned on the table for support. Who wouldn’t pay to put their fingers in Julia Roberts’ mouth, to give head to Kim Basinger or Winona Ryder? And here was…well, you only needed the first name: Marilyn. She did have a lovely cunt indeed, with a nice swollen mound and thick, loose lips. The kind of cunt I liked. The scene changed.
Kennedy was behind her, his hands on her hips, driving into her. Furwell was a fine cameraman. He had a good eye. I had to admit also that this thing was getting pretty weird for me, like some advanced form of voyeuristic necrophilia. Watching two dead people enjoying intercourse.
Then I was looking at Marilyn astride Kennedy, him squeezing her breasts. And I heard a loud combination of noises outside the door. Shouts, a crash, some muffled bumps. I didn’t look away.
Then the pounding started.
“Open up, Mr. Sams! There will be trouble if you do not open the door immediately!”
I could hear it in his inflection. Feds. I looked at the screen. Now I saw Kennedy’s backside, his ass pumping between those glorious legs.
I guess it was all doomed from the start. Whatever Furwell’s motivations were, the men in the suits never intended for him to get away with anything. They’d probably been monitoring him ever since that day in Dallas. Nothing better to do, I guess. What’s murder compared to ten minutes of film?
Either way I was fucked. When they busted in they’d know I’d seen at least some of the film. No way to rewind it before the gig was up. And besides, they’d have figured that Furwell already told me something about the content. I guessed if I was up front about seeing it then I could avoid sitting in a dark room playing good cop-bad cop.
It might’ve even got me dead quicker, but who cared if I died quick or slow? Dead is dead, and how many people have had a chance to see Marilyn Monroe lying on her side facing a camera she didn’t know was there while John Kennedy entered her from behind?
They began to hammer at the door. I could hear the wood splintering. I looked at the screen.
A closeup of Marilyn in the throes of what appea red to be an intense orgasm. They went out with all the fireworks.
Then her sucking him again. Light poured in as the door gave. On the screen, Kennedy ejaculated on one of the most famous faces of all time. I felt my own semen smear my shorts. Not quite as prestigious as Marilyn’s face, but an orgasm is an orgasm.
A gun was on my neck as the film ran out. Now we could make hand puppets. The film flapped wildly on the rear spool.
“Don’t move, Mr. Sams. You are in big trouble.” A suit turned off the projector.
“Hey, you guys missed a great show” I didn’t care that they saw my stained pants. One of the suits was taking the film off the projector. “You gonna kill me now?”
The suit behind me pressed the gun tighter against my neck. “Don’t tempt us.”
“Fuck you. I can die happy.”
The suit with the film threw it in the fireplace. He soaked it with lighter fluid that he’d undoubtedly brought along for this mission. He flicked in a match and the greatest hardcore film of all time began to bubble and melt.
I should have been incredibly depressed watching the film twist and pop in the flames. I should have been depressed about losing my greatest story and possibly my life. But I’d also seen one of the greatest sights a modern man could see. I’ll bet more than a few women might have enjoyed it too. They could’ve put the gun right up to my temple and pulled the trigger and it wouldn’t have mattered, because I’d watched the whole thing, seen it through to the end.
But I didn’t have that elusive proof my lifetime meal ticket was now so much blackened slag so maybe they wouldn’t have to kill me after all.
But even if they did, then I could die happy with a smile on my face. Furwell had been right. You could, unlike Jack and Marilyn, die happy. Even if it had to be at someone else’s hands.