In my early twenties, I put an ad in the Village Voice that said simply, “Bucky Beaver Productions: We videotape anything! Call for details and rates.” The name comes from my mom. She calls all loved children, including mine, Bucky Beaver, but I think it started with me. I was the original BB.
Exactly two people called me about the ad. The first was a man I agreed to meet in Washington Square Park on his lunch hour. He had a pocked nose and was dressed in a white smock which made me think meat packing, or maybe he was a cook. One thing’s sure, he got right to the point saying he knew he wasn’t much to look at and that he lived in Brooklyn. He said he had a beautiful redheaded wife who liked adventure. He wanted me to videotape them together but then he also wanted me to join in. There “probably” would be some play between him and me, but only enough so that we weren’t “in each other’s way.” He said something like, “if my dick happens to be in your face, and you have a hand free, you could stroke my dick until I come.” It’s too bad he was so ugly because if his wife was half as good looking as he said she was, and they didn’t live all the way in Brooklyn, I might have taken him up on it. But then again—well I didn’t. I told him I’d have to think about it and that I would call him back. That was that.
The other person who responded to the ad was an older, well-spoken man. He lived in one of those beautiful pre-war buildings on 5th Ave in midtown. He told me he wanted me to film him masturbating. Now this was more like it. This was exactly what I had in mind. No funny business, nothing where I could get a disease (meat packing—related or otherwise), just good clean weirdness. But then again, of course, how could I really know what I was getting myself into. But I wasn’t that dumb, I didn’t say yes until he gave me the address: 532 Fifth Ave. I was very impressed. Still, he could have done anything to me I suppose. But that’s just the point, I was twenty-two and thought that this was exactly what would make my life richer.
So when I got there with my big old 1990’s VHS camera, the kind that had a little rubber pad on it so you could comfortably keep it on your shoulder, I introduced myself to this very handsome, grey-haired, older, obviously gay man. He reminded me a lot of my high school senior English teacher, Mr. Grace, who spent all his vacations in Tahiti and had a better tan than anyone I’ve ever known. Mr. Grace would sit on my desk every once in a while and address the class with his loosely fitting gold bracelet flying about as he spoke of Keats. I loved him—Keats too.
Anyway, the man at the door of this beautiful pre-war apartment building on Fifth Ave made me think of my Mr. Grace, and he invited me in. The apartment was very spacious, white walls, a wall-to-wall plush green carpet, a convex mirror in the entry way, an urn or two, authentic art deco pieces everywhere. It was just beautiful but gaudy as hell.
He asked me if I wanted anything to drink, and I said no, having learned never to accept a drink in a situation like this from my summers as an appliance delivery man growing up. Not because there’s any danger but because if you accept the drink then the customer is less likely to give you a tip afterwards. So I simply reiterated what we had discussed on the phone. For $75 I would videotape him doing whatever he wanted for up to one hour. At the end I would give him the video directly from the camera so there would be no chance I might make copies. He said “yes, yes” and told me to get my camera out and he would be right back.
He returned a few moments later, naked except for a white dishtowel and carrying one of those tri-fold plastic-strapped beach chairs, the kind with which you sunbathe. He also had a bottle of coconut-y smelling suntan lotion. He put the towel under the chair and asked me to put the camera down on the carpet so that I would be filming what was going on underneath the chair as well as above. He then lay on the chair face down after having slicked his penis and then slid his penis between the straps of the chair. It took him a good five minutes of unremarkably quiet breathing to finish and I got it all. I even improvised a little and got some good footage of his ass squeezing and relaxing as he made the thrusts. But most of my film was him in profile, his dick thrusting in the ill-lit space under the chair. And then, like I said, he spewed an ounce or two of himself very neatly onto the dishtowel and that was that. He didn’t get dressed, he just gave me the money from a wallet on the mantle, and I gave him the tape and that was that.
The next day I took the ad out of the paper; I had had enough I guess, plus the ad was expensive and I needed every dime for drugs—Bucky Beaver Production’s next adventure.
Now, like every other dad, I still videotape stuff. Only it’s with this little white pocket-sized device called a “Flip Video.” It doesn’t even need a videotape, you just stick it in your computer by USB and it automatically uploads whatever you film. I take videos of my son making an angry face then a happy face then a sad face. Yesterday the whole family laughed ourselves silly playing back a short video of my four-year-old daughter falling hard on our wooden floor. She was doing her version of ballet in her nightgown repeating over and over “nutcracker, nutcracker, nutcracker.” One minute she was up and having a great time and then she tried a really big twirl, and all of a sudden—bam—she was down on her face crying like crazy. The video cuts off at that point. They always do, right? Even on America’s Funniest People they never show the kid who fell out of the inner tube actually recovering, we just assume it, we just figure it turned out okay.