We first met at an acting class in Melbourne around the time when ‘Mad Max’ and Paul Hogan had just hit international screens. This had brought about a change: for the first time Aussie blokes could admit they wanted to go into acting without being suspected of being ‘poofters’.
In fact, there was a sudden demand for tough-looking Aussies, usually to play beer-swilling hard-nut heavies.
I wasn’t that type, but the new vogue made it easier to mask my own guilty secrets, plus giving me an opportunity to meet up with a few real rough diamonds in a new sort of street-wise acting school.
I even opted for the name Clem rather than the Clement I was born with.
Rick wasn’t exactly an archetypal Aussie man’s man either. From New South Wales, he’d bummed around quite a bit since leaving some god-forsaken outback town. Although new to Melbourne, he soon knew his way around, was totally self-confident - and, God! did I wish I was more like him.
In one acting class, we were paired off to do a series of improvisation exercises. This involved us getting together on our own to decide on a situation or scenario, then work out a few details of the action before improvising a scene in front of the class. I’m not sure whose idea it was, but the first ‘improv’ we worked up involved Rick as a Pizza bloke delivering to a straight guy who he mistook for being queer although he wasn’t at all. It got a few good laughs from the other wanna-be actors, and a quite decent ‘crit’ from the woman who ran the class.
We got along OK together Rick and me, so next we decided to develop a follow-on scene for the next week; a sort of more dramatic take on the same scenario. Sticking with the same two characters, we decided to just improvise a stronger conflict between us. After we’d agreed on the basics, Rick suggested it might be more like genuine acting if we didn’t do too much preparation together beforehand. I was disappointed, because work sessions alone with this street-wise bloke were great. But he thought to really improvise on the night would give our characters more spontaneity.
I decided to make my character quite a bit more assertive this time - and did some preparation on my own, planning to make the character’s behaviour more angry over the suggestion that he/I was a poofter. But nothing prepared me for the line Rick took - or the physical action it involved.
We used the classroom door as the door to my character’s apartment. Rick outside it, knocked and called out that he was a Pizza delivery - but when I opened the door, there was Rick in a leather motorcycle jacket and ski mask. He shoved me roughly into the room - and soon let me and everybody else in the class know that he was a punk who had robbed the pizza bloke, tied him up and was now going to systematically empty my apartment into a van waiting parked downstairs.
Before I knew what was happening Rick had me on the floor and was cinching my wrists behind me with a plastic cable tie. Producing a roll of black duct tape, he had me gagged before I could object, and then there was more over my eyes. He then taped my ankles before taking his mask off. I was in no position to see this, or see the acting performance he then put in - but, by god I could hear it - and it was powerful. He really strutted his stuff as a mean criminal type. He threatened all sorts of violence on me, but seemed more interested in humiliating me (my character).
He actually ripped my shirt and was in the process of threatening to fuck me before the teacher called a halt to the scene. Perhaps she had noticed that I had got a raging hard-on.
Certainly Rick must have noticed, but he was quite friendly while cutting me out of the cable tie and removing the sticky tape from my face as the class discussed the action. It seemed to have gone down very well. The teacher certainly didn’t have much to say ... and neither did I. I was too embarrassed, mainly because I’d been so turned on by the experience.
Afterwards, we didn’t hang out with the rest of the group like we usually did. I was still shaken and my cheeks were still burning from the tape - or was it the embarrassment? Rick was quite definite that we two should go and find some quiet place on our own. He was still wearing his beat-up old bike jacket which I’d never seen before the day. As we left the building I realised that he continued to sustain some of the character of this punk petty criminal. He acted as though I was still in my character, but now we were going into a nearby bar. It was not one I knew - quite seedy - and it didn’t take long to realise that there were more of the sort of character he was pretending to be, drinking in the bar ... which was quite dark. He told me abruptly to go sit in a booth in the far corner.
I waited there not knowing what to expect next in this slightly sinister drinking hole. He was playing a dangerous game coming here, but Rick was still on something of a high from the reception his performance had earned him from the blokes in the group. When he walked back to the booth I noticed he’d bought a pint for himself and a small larger for me. His character then began to explain that he knew I was turned on by street-wise punks, and probably fantasised about being smacked around, humiliated and perhaps more. Very insistently this tough character (who wasn’t the Rick I knew, but was very convincing) then suggested that I probably even fantasised about kidnap scenarios - and he forcefully demanded that I admit it.
When I hesitated he became even more aggressive to a point that other people in the bar began to look. I tried to make him drop the character, but this was what made him suddenly grab me by the front of my already ripped shirt across the booth table, and drag me towards him. Right into my face he hissed “Look fuck-face! When I ask you a fucking question you give me a fucking answer - right!” He then repeated his question even more menacingly. “I said! ... you fantasise about punk street kids roughing you up, right?”
His glaring eyes held mine and he breathed into my face which was held inches from his.
I could only gulp and nod, because my chest was so tight where his fist held my denim shirt, almost lifting me off my feet. He was nearer the truth than he knew - or did he know?
“Good”, he said releasing me to flop back into the seat on my side of the table. But then he leaned across to me, and I knew he was still in character.
“And have you ever jerked off over the fantasy that a gang of them kidnapped you?” His eyes held mine and demanded an answer - and I nodded again. I knew I must be blushing - but he wasn’t finished.
“And did they fuck you - in this fantasy?”, he demanded.
I hesitated and again his arm shot across the table. But this time an open hand smacked me across the side of my head before it again grabbed the front of my shirt and hauled me towards him again. In my ringing ears I heard him demand in a forceful whisper. “I said! Did you fantasise about getting fucked?”
I hesitated - and he physically shook me like a rag doll.
“Yes?” he hissed.
“Yes,” I confirmed quietly.
“Be more specific,” he continued. “Skinheads?”
“Yes,” I admitted.
“Punk petty crims,” he demanded.
I nodded, but it wasn’t enough for this character who seemed to be getting off on the situation - or the power. “Say it,” he insisted. “You fantasise about getting fucked by punks!”
“Yes,” I said closing my eyes.
“Look me in the eye!” he growled.
I met his eyes and they were not the familiar eyes of the easy-going bloke I knew. Was he acting or was this the real Rick? I knew he’d bummed around before settling in Melbourne.
“Have you ever been fucked in the ass,” he demanded quietly without releasing me.
of times - as a kid - long time ago,.” I stammered.
“And now you’re bigger - you’d like a big hard dick forced up your backside. Say it!” he said more loudly.
Suddenly another voice cut into my reeling mind.
“Having a bit of trouble, Ricky-boy?”
There was a tough unshaven twenty-year-old standing close to the table.
He wore a sweat-stained tee shirt, cruddy jeans and clapped-out biker boots. He looked like one of the baddies out of ‘Mad Max’.
“Nothing I can’t handle, thanks Len,” said Rick without releasing me.
The two men obviously knew each other. The leather-jacketed Rick continued to hold a handful of the front of my shirt in his grip as his eyes travelled from this new-comer to me and back again. “Just exploring a few possibilities for a bit of fun and games.”
Rick’s gleaming eyes turned back to me as he informed me, “Lenny here knows all about the sort of games we were just talking about.”
A slightly twisted grin appeared on the face of this character who used to be Rick while he continued to hold me quite close to him. I felt powerless to try and break the hold, andI was becoming aware that others in the bar were now watching the scene - and Rick seemed to be playing to this audience.
“Well,” said this Len character, “let me know if you need an extra pair of hands. You know that me and a few of the blokes are always up for a bit of ... fun and games. You name it”.
“I might just do that, mate” said Rick to this sleazy-looking individual as I was lowered gently back against my seat. “I’m working on a range of scenarios that might just need a couple of extra pairs of willing hands - and you might get a kick out of a bit of improvisation. I could teach you the techniques for improvising scenes. And you might enjoy demonstrating to Clem here a few of the techniques you’re so good at.”
He turned his attention to me and quietly explained ... “Lenny and his mates have developed a whole raft of skills over the years, ain’t that right, cobber,” asked Rick with a meaningful and obviously lewd grin?
was aware that Rick’s character had developed a distinctly down-market accent. I’d never heard him use the word Cobber before. It seemed a bit false.
The other character appeared to be more puzzled by the meaning of words like techniques and skills.
“Lenny here is well known for having a way of getting people to see his point of view and persuading them to do what he wants them to do - or else”.
“Or else?” repeated this skinny but obviously tough character - and a light dawned in his flint-dark eyes.
“Oh yes! I’m very good when it comes to - or else! Fuck, yes. Very good at ‘or else’ when necessary.” He grinned a broken-toothed grin as he added, “And I’ve got the police record to prove it.”
He too was now aware of the others at the bar, so his voice became slightly louder as he asked Rick: “Is this character here in need of a bit of persuading, mate? Fuck! If you want a hand persuading him - I’m very good at getting people to agree to whatever. Fuck yes!” confirmed Lenny.
“Fuck, yes” repeated Rick looking at me. “Fuck - definitely yes,” he continued. “Lenny here knows a lot of different ways to get his own way.”
The leather-jacketed punk character that Rick had so convincingly become, suddenly changed his tone.
He obviously knew he was a cut above this other low-life character.
“Lenny - I might indeed have a little job for you and the boys sometime quite soon.”
“Good on yer mate,” said Lenny suddenly quite serious. “You know me, always up to earn an extra crust - or have a bit of ... fun and games. Fuck, yes!” he again confirmed.
“Fuck - definitely,” agreed Rick with a slightly disconcerting emphasis. “Always game to get your end away, right Lenny”, persisted Rick.
“Get my ... “ a light dawned in the gleaming eyes, and he chortled lewdly. “Fuck - any time - any where - that’s me. That’s my reputation.”
“Man, woman or dog. Right, Lenny?” joked Rick.
The youth frowned. “Now wait .... “ he cut in but Rick didn’t let him finish.
“If the price is right?” Rick added seductively, leaving the question hanging in the air.
The glint in Lenny’s eyes seemed to grow more shrewd. He glanced over towards the other characters at the bar. “You want somebody fucked over? I mean fucked over?” He seemed to be considering his options.
The person who was no longer my friend Rick looked towards me before saying:
“That is a distinct possibility - and I think I might enjoy standing by and watching it happen”.
He seemed to savour the idea for a moment, and then smiled a reassuring smile at me.
“My buddy Clem here and me’s working out this idea for a movie. Quite a tough scenario. In it there’s a gang of punks - and we need to do some research into the sort of shit they might get up to ... if it was for real. You know, initiation stuff and power-play - rough stuff - punishment within the group if somebody steps out of line. Bit of not so gentle persuasion - deliberate torture even when asking questions that need to be answered. You know the sort of thing.”
“Yer, I know the sort of thing. There has been times when ... “ he checked himself. “And - this job - there’d be some dosh in it?”
“Some. Not promising a lot at this point, but if you and perhaps a couple mates ... there’d certainly be a few beers in it for starters. Just for giving us some background ideas about the sort of shit you don’t usually admit to. Showing us how you ... whatever. I set up a ... a pretend situation ... then you show us how you and your mates might handle it - put the pressure on - get the better of somebody - get them to tell you what you need to know - give them a seeing-to unless they do exactly what you tell ‘em to do ... like it was for real?”
“Sounds great,” decided the scruffy tough.
Rick smiled reassuringly to the punk before giving me a cheerful wink.
“I bet you know some mean tricks - effective threat stuff when it’s necessary. I mean ... mean!
I mean rough.”
“Oh rough stuff’s no problem - we enjoy it - give it, take it. When we gets bored ... even between mates - I could tell you stuff about rough stuff just for fun - for devilment. Serious physical shit, sometimes.”
The punk now winked at Rick, and smiled across at his cronies at the bar and pool table - before returning to the nitty-gritty. “But - there would be a few bob in it?” confirmed Lenny shrewdly.
“Surely would - specially if we get to shoot some convincingly realistic heavy-handed ‘improvisational’ footage to show to potential backers.”
This information seemed to be lost on the youth but his mind was on what might be in it for him and a couple of willing helpers.
“Anything for a laugh, that’s us - just for the hell of it - specially if there’s a few drinks to fire up our ... creativity”.
The stranger sitting opposite me who was no longer Rick, glanced at me before suddenly adding a tone of seriousness to his pitch to this Lenny.
“There - er - might be some less playful stuff too, though, Len. Bit of quite realistic - heavy physical action? Would need to be believable. Methods that might result in a few bumps and bruises but ... (again his eye caught mine) ... but no broken bones, permanent damage, you understand.”
His eyes questioned Lenny - who looked disappointed for a moment before Rick reassured him:
“But I’m sure you could have a lot of fun in the process. And if you and your mates play your cards right - do as you’re told but ... feel free to improvise when showing us just how heavy-handed you can be when necessary - to get your own way and come out on top ... there might even be some cash ... “
“Oh, I always manage to come out on top.” cut in Lenny. “Fuck, yes! One way or another, I always end up on top - and fuck yes, I’ll fuck anybody who tries to get the better of me - one way or another I’ll ... fuck them to prove it.”
“That’s what my buddy Clem here, wants to hear? Right mate?”
This was addressed to me, and I sat dumbly, not knowing what was real and what was acting any more.
Then Rick smiled up at Lenny.
“Keep this under your hat for now, mate. I’ll get back to you on it. We need some sort of space where you and a couple of your mates can sort of - crash around and improvise a few ... convincingly heavy situations. Perhaps show us a few alternative ways you might handle a hostage/prisoner/captive situation. You know! A person you need to work over ... until they agree to ... come round to your point of view. Different ways. It’s called ‘improvisation’ - but, don’t worry I’ll be there to give you details of the action I want to see. Then it’ll be up to you to do your own ‘thing’ the way you might do it in real life. No holds barred. I know that kinky mind of yours - and would like to see you put your own spin on it. See you enjoy yourself - have a few laughs at some poor sods expense. Make ‘em squirm - knuckle under -scare the shit out of ‘em - do whatever it takes to get them to do what it is you and me together decide we want to force them to do.
“Force,” confirmed Lenny, beginning to appreciate the possibilities.
“Make ‘em cry perhaps, really cry. Make ‘em scream even - and then gag them so they can’t scream. I’m sure you will know how to make them do anything and everything that YOU decide you want to make them do.”
I was breathless at the thought - and the tough youth was now convinced that he could rise to the occasion described. In fact, the bulge in his grimy jeans was noticeably bigger.
Rick produced ten dollars. “Len, don’t say anything about this to the other blokes yet, but get ‘em a drink on us. Clem and I will get back to you when we’ve firmed up a couple of situations we’d like you to act out for us.”
“Me act - why not! What’s fucking Mel Gibson got that I haven’t got.
Rick laughed. “Fucking Mel Gibson. Now there’s a though to go to bed on! Or being fucked by Mel Gibson? What do you say, Clem, boy?”
Lenny was suddenly puzzled. “Mel Gibson’s not gay is he? I know he’s an actor but ... “
Rick’s voice was low but challenging as he asked the young guy standing by the table. “Come on now, Lenny! Haven’t you ever fucked a guy - just to prove you can do anything to him you want to and he's in no position to stop you?
“Well now ... “ said the youth but Rick cut back in, dobtfully.
“Can you think of a better way to prove that you’re better than somebody ... than to force them to suck your dick or ... “
“Oh, I’ve done that!” confirmed Lenny with no hesitation. “Couple of poofter’s we found fucking out at the paddock - we forced them to suck us all off ... “
“But you didn’t fuck them?” challenged Rick - and Lenny, perhaps against his better judgement decided to come clean.
“Well, yer, we did. All of us. But they were poofters, so they asked for it.”
“Asked for it,” I echoed almost unintentionally.
“Well, no not - I mean, they were asking for it - being queers.” said the youth almost defensively.
Rick egged him on. “I bet they were really gagging for it,” he suggested encouragingly - and Lenny picked up the hint.
“Well, they were certainly gagging when I rammed my dick in their mouths. We had them tied to this fence. We soon made them open up - both ends before the end of the night. Both of them.”
Rick was triumphant. “Now that’s the sort of scene I’d like to recreate - as an experiment. What d’you say, Clem? I guess Lenny and his mate would welcome an opportunity to recreate that situation - just for the camera, of course. See, Len, that’s the sort of ‘scenario’ my buddy Clem and me would like you to help set up for us. You and a couple of mates - a couple of cameras - couple of actors to play the poofters”.
“What,” asked Lenny, “you mean - do it for real?”
“Oh, you’d be surprised just how far some actors will go to make a scene feel real. Aren’t I right, Clement?” he said looking me squarely in the eye.
I could only nod dumbly as Lenny’s eye glowed with the thought of being invited to do for real some of the things he had, until now, kept quiet about doing - perhaps only fantasised about doing. His mind raced.
“I bet I could make it real real”, he decided. “After that time in the padock I thought of other things - real mean things I could have done. I could have kept them prisoner for longer and made them real sorry that they’d been caught. Teach them a lesson. Make them sorry they ever met me. And a couple of the boys would have been happy to try a few more things, too.”
“A few more things! Now that’s what I like to hear, Len,” said Rick. “You and me need to get together and plan a few alternativest - just the two of is planning in private, first - so that what's going to happen can come as a surprise to the person it’s happening to - to make it more real-looking. Don’t you agree, Clem? Lenny and me plan an improv.”
He was on a roll and gave me no time to agree or disagree. “Len and his mates primed to show us the sort of thing that comes naturally to them ... all in a good cause ... so we can plan our movie.
Len, mate, you’ve got the sort of mind that would make our project feel much more real. You could be our sort of Technical Advisor.
“I could?” asked the bemused punk swept away by this enthusiastic pitch.
“Sure,” confirmed Rick, “don’t you agree, Clem?” he suddenly demanded of me. “Lenny here could probably dream up a trick or two that would really surprise us both - have a ring of authenticity. Am I right, Clem? That real hard edge of reality - the sort of thing I know you were imagining, Clem-boy.” His eyes glinted at me in a way that challenged me to deny it. “Just between ourselves ... very private ... before we get as far as filming anything. Although, I might bring a camera along - to get some footage just for the record - for us to evaluate together afterwards.”
Rick had addressed this to me, but Lenny seemed to latch onto the point.
“Me on camera - doing ... “
“Would that be a problem for you?” asked Rick.
I wondered if Rick’s project had suddenly hit a snag.
The tough kid repeated, “Me on camera ... doing ... “ and he ground to a halt.
“Doing ... whatever,” suggested Rick seductively. “Doing whatever it entered your mind to do to prove that you were the one in control - the one making the rules - the one coming out on top.”
Lenny, his mind on a flight of fancy, speculated: “Making somebody squirm - fucking the bejeebers out of them. Forcing them to suck me off - just to humiliate them”.
“That’s the spirit,” encouraged Rick as he looked across at me.
“Clem, I think we’ve found ourselves a willing partner for the sort of experimental improvisational film company I have in mind - and, Clement-baby, you’re going to be getting all the leading parts.”