Fiction by Edward Porter
Cameron Diaz and I are in love. She calls me when she is in New York. We don’t meet at her hotel because it’s surrounded by photographers and reporters. She escapes them and meets me at a diner. I ask her how she pulls off the escape, but she won’t tell me. She likes having secrets. “If I wanted to,” she says, “I could walk through the hotel lobby, no sunglasses, no wig, right past all of them, and they’d never even look at me. That’s not how I did it, but I could. If I wanted to.” She tells me about Marilyn Monroe. “She’s walking down Broadway with a friend, just window shopping, poking along. This is at the absolute height of her fame, after DiMaggio, after the dress and the subway vent. No one notices her, no one pays any attention. At some point Marilyn turns to the friend and says, ‘Hey, you want to see her?’ The friend thinks about it and says, ‘Okay.’ Marilyn doesn’t whip off her scarf or anything, she just begins to walk differently. Suddenly people are screaming, ‘My God, it’s Marilyn Monroe,’ and flashbulbs are going off everywhere. See, she changed who she was inside.”
Cameron Diaz and I eat at the diner around the corner from the DSNY Manhattan 6 garage. She likes to watch me eat. I get a grilled cheese sandwich and French fries, extra-crispy. She gets a Diet Pepsi, and unbuttered rye toast. The toast is just for show, she doesn’t touch it. She watches me eat the fries. “Do it slow,” she says. “Put more salt on that one. How’s the grilled cheese? Did they butter the toast and fry it on the griddle first?” I nod. “Okay, take a cheese bite now. Oh, that’s good. That’s really good.” She squeezes a dab of lemon into her Diet Pepsi, and takes a sip.
Later that day she says, “People ask me what was it like to be in this movie or that movie, what was it like to act with so and so. I tell them I don’t remember: I was in starvation delirium. We were shooting for ten weeks and all I ate the whole time was three slices of tomato and a carrot. I got incredibly sneaky about food. Like right now we’re lying in bed, we’re naked, but while I’ve been talking to you, I could have eaten an English muffin and thrown it up, and you wouldn’t have noticed.”
Most of the time I don’t get to see her. I do my garbage route in the Bronx with the other guys. We go down 134th Street at four A.M. 134th is the worst street they have for volume of refuse, for lack of proper bagging and containment, and for rats. We keep a sharp eye out for mongo—discarded but usable household items—our chief perquisite. I swing huge sloppy cans up onto my hip, and flip them into the truck. The movements come from low in my body, deep in my power core. I am, frankly, exceptional at my work. It’s all in my back and hips, and especially the muscles in my ass. Even at the age of forty-seven, my glutes are extraordinarily powerful. Of course, my upper body is powerful as well. But I do the key work with my lower body.
The truck’s hydraulics rip a long tear in the fabric of dawn as the gate compacts the garbage. Citizens scream at us from the windows. “Maricons!” they yell. “Cocksuckers!” As if we come at four A.M. on purpose. As if we bounce and roll the cans on the pavement for maximum noise. As if we make sure that the crusher pistons on the truck are never greased so they squeal as loudly as possible. Actually, all of that is true.
Cameron Diaz and I meet for sex in a cheap hotel, the Hotel 17 on 17th Street. We alternate between there and the Hotel 33 on 33rd Street. She stands in the shadows, away from the clerk while I sign in. In the elevator we fall over ourselves kissing and giggling. The tiny room is carpeted with acrylic green shag, the sheets are scratchy and rough, and through the walls we hear other couples banging around and shouting. None of this matters to us. We make love like crazed animals, like monkeys, like goats. She knows that I admire the famous Richard Avedon photograph of Lauren Hutton, the one of her torso and breasts taken from below, her face barely visible. Cameron Diaz recreates this for me now, dropping her head back so I see her breasts lifted high. She is encouraging me to objectify her. Then she flings herself forward and runs her hands madly over my head.
“Does my gray hair arouse you?” I ask.
“Oh God yes!” she says. “It’s like I’m fucking my father!”
Afterwards we snuggle, spent. I talk to her about my work, but I can tell she isn’t listening.
“I’m sorry, I can’t concentrate,” she says. “I’m just so incredibly fucked right now. Fuck like a weasel—nap like a ferret. That’s my motto.”
She falls asleep, and I lie there watching over her for an hour. When she wakes up, she is someone else. She sits up and cries, her back towards me. “I have to go,” she says. She walks out the door without kissing me. I try to think tolerant thoughts. Her life has many pressures. It isn’t easy to be Cameron Diaz.