studio parking lot, her long black hair bright in the
Southern California sun. She was wearing a snug white
cotton blouse, a short black skirt, and sneakers with
white ankle socks. She had a purse slung over her
shoulders, sunglasses over her eyes, and an air of busy
distraction. In fact, she was distracted; she'd just
come from a meeting with one of the studio's producers,
and this was on her mind as she walked.
It had been a good meeting, but only in the sense that
it wasn't a disaster; she hadn't gotten them to take
the deal for her newest project, but at least they
hadn't turned it down. She was trying to think of some
way to get them to come across with the money, some
hook she could throw them, or a bone, and she was so
preoccupied with her thoughts that she didn't see the
man approaching her from between two cars.
"Priyanka?" the man said suddenly.
Priyanka jumped, startled, then focused on him and said,
"What is it?"
"Um, hi," the man said. "My name is Martin and, um, I
worked as a production assistant on your
movie, five years ago. Do you, um, do you remember me?"
Priyanka's first impulse was to tell the guy that she
would have no reason to remember some nobody production
assistant, but she checked it; one of the first things
she'd ever learned in Bollywood was that the place was
loaded with weirdos, perverts and losers, and she had
to be careful. This guy could have been telling her the
truth, but he could just as easily be trying to catch
her off guard.
So instead of just putting him in his place, she paused
and pulled her sunglasses down, pretending that she was
trying to recognize him. What she was really doing was
committing his face to memory; that way, if he did
anything creepy, she'd be able to pick him out of a
Martin (if that was his real name) was in his mid
thirties, about six feet tall, 200 approximate pounds,
brown hair and eyes, a little bit pudgy, acne scars on
his cheeks, blue work shirt and jeans, and thoroughly
awash in a dork aura. Priyanka suspected that even if she
had met him five years ago she would have forgotten him
about five seconds later.
"Oh, sure," she said, forcing herself to smile, "I
remember you." It was best to humor these types. "What
can I do for you, Marvin? Do you want an autograph?"
"It's Martin," Martin said. He was fidgeting slightly
and obviously trying not to wring his hands together.
"And, um, no, I don't want an autograph. Or, actually,
that would be cool. But that's not why I, um, why I
stopped you. I was wondering, Priyanka, if you would
maybe, um, like to um, go out with me."
It was all Priyanka could do to keep from laughing in his
face. Go out with him? Was he out of his mind? Did he
know who she was?
"Gee, Marvin, I dunno," she said as she let her gaze
drift to her left. She was looking for her car. "I
don't usually go out with guys... well, like you." Oh,
shit that was the wrong thing to say. "I mean, you seem
nice and everything." Yeah, right. "But, you know,
we're not really friends or anything. But I'd be glad
to sign something for you. You know, your autograph
book or whatever."
There was her car. Her darling silver Porsche. It was
already three years old and still worth more than this
creep made in a decade. Unfortunately, it seemed a
really long way away. Didn't this parking lot have a
"It's Martin," Martin said again, and the tone of his
voice made Priyanka return her gaze to him. He sounded
pissed for some reason. Kinda looked it too. "And I
don't want your autograph. It was nice meeting you,
Martin turned and walked away, hands crammed into his
pockets. Priyanka watched him for a moment, wondering
what that was all about, then she too turned and
resumed walking to her car. She tried to get her mind
back on the meeting, the possible deal, but for some
reason she couldn't. The incident with Marvin had left
her feeling unsettled.
There was definitely something not right about him.
Fans usually didn't just leap out at you like that, or
ask for a date right out of the blue. And they always
wanted an autograph. Even stalkers wanted autographs.
So, what was the deal with this guy? Had to be a very
wrong number. Maybe she should plunk down the money for
a bodyguard. Yeah, a bodyguard. That was a good idea.
Nice big handsome body guard.
With that problem solved, Priyanka was able to return to
the dilemma of what to do about this new project. She
recalled that, during the meeting, that one guy, the
producer guy, she couldn't remember his stupid name,
he'd spent most of his time working her tits over with
his eyes. Maybe that was the key, she thought. Play up
to him, flirt with him, let him think he's going to get
some. Hell, maybe even give him some. He was a fairly
good looking guy, despite that he was old enough to be
Yes, it was slutty, sleeping with the producer, but it
wouldn't the first time. Not even the fiftieth. Sex had
almost always been a bargaining tool for her. If you
wanted to be a success in Bollywood, you had to face
that reality. Sometimes you had to put out just to
That was how she'd gotten that role on The Wonder
Years, and also how she'd landed the starring role in
The Aitraaz (and lost her cherry, too). It got easier
after that, especially after fashion, but there were
still times when she had to at least tolerate some
creep trying to get into her pants.
Not that she didn't like men. She was straight (for the
most part, anyway), she loved to fuck, and, if she was
with the right guy, she could have totally mad fun. But
"the right guy" was almost a myth in Bollywood. It was
a world in which the assholes ruled, they lived in the
woodwork, and they came out at the mere presence of a
hot young chick. Sometimes they jumped out at you in
Priyanka finally reached her car and paused to get her
keys out of her purse. She was still somewhat deep in
thought (as deep as she could get, anyway), and so
didn't notice the man in the ski mask coming around
from the back of the van parked in front of her
Porsche. He came up behind her, walking almost
casually, and without a word reached out and grabbed a
handful of her bright blonde hair. He instantly yanked
on it, hard enough to pull her off balance and sending
her sunglasses flying.
Priyanka dropped to her knees and gave up a surprised
yelp, but she had no time to make any other kind of
noise before the man's fist smashed into her temple,
causing her to fall sideways onto the asphalt. She
managed to call out, "Marvin, help me!" before the man
kicked her in the stomach, knocking the wind out of
her. Priyanka doubled over, in part from the pain and in
part from an instinctive attempt to roll into a ball.
It didn't do her any good.
He kicked her again, then bent over and hit her several
times with his fist, on the head, the shoulders, and on
her arms when she brought them up to try to protect
herself. She cried out again, but it was a low,
frightened sound that didn't attract any attention.
When he was done hitting her, the man grabbed her by
the arms and seemingly without effort hauled her up to
her feet. He wrapped one arm around her midsection and
clapped a hand over her mouth.
Priyanka struggled feebly as the man carried her like a
rag doll to the van. The side door was open and he
easily tossed her through it. Priyanka landed roughly on
the carpeted floor, and a moment later the man in the
ski mask was in the van with her and sliding the door
Priyanka, though stunned and disoriented, managed to get
to her knees and crawl to the back door of the van. She
grabbed the handle and pulled but found it locked.
"Help me!" she called out desperately. "Marvin, help
That was all she had time to do before the man closed
in on her, grabbing her by the hair again and slapping
her several times across the face. Priyanka cried out
from the pain, and tears began to spill from her eyes.
The man shoved her down onto the floor, jamming her
lovely face down into the carpet, and for the first
time spoke to her.
"Don't fight me, bitch," he told her in a rough voice,
"or I'll beat you to death. You understand?"
"Please...." Priyanka begged, "please don't hurt me.
Please don't hurt me...."
"Too late for that, you stupid cunt. But if you don't
wanna die, you'll keep your shitty mouth shut and you
won't yell anymore or try to get away." The man hit her
hard on the shoulder. "'Got it?"