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Long Time Reader, First Time Writer

When you’re brought up in a rural environment, some aspects of adult life are seen at a distance and create enormous curiosity.  Mark drove to and fro from school and would often see the dark small building at the end of a crumbling strip-mall.  Mark’s eyes would often only see the huge Indian Jewelry Trader Billboards in dusty New Mexico, but this building captured another interest. The building was right on the edge of the strip building as though it was on the brink of falling into oblivion. The business was painted in black with scream-out loud yellow lettering with the words “Adult,” “XXX,” and “Arcade.” The actual name of the business was meaningless when the description of what was inside did all the talking. Mark had never heard of such words and only knew these references pointed to what is taboo. Mark had to embark on a secret mission into this foreign on the fringe business establishment. He didn’t know what to do to prepare, but only could remember having enough dollar bills in his pocket and making sure he had easy access to them. Mark tried to act “middle-age,” or an “old pro,” who done this a million times before.

Once the entrance door was breached, there was no turning back and he even parked his car down the street next to the nearby restaurant so as to throw off onlookers. Inside the “Arcade,” thousands of magazines were seen wrapped in heavy and suffocating plastic as though a huge rain might come. Mark saw the line of booths which seemed odd and inviting at the same time probably due to the concealment they provided.  Once inside, the door was closed and he saw a very small screen in front of him and a dollar bill slot.  Mark found his money and moved it swiftly into the lighted machine. The dollar was taken and Mark heard some rumblings in the background as though an old rusty machine had finally started up again after a long wait. Mark was seized with anxiety and he had tried to remember to breathe and not pass out in a state of anticipation of viewing these first scenes of what is known as pornography.  The movie started to play and the color of the film was faded and had a yellow tone to it. The scene was in a hospital and a male actor was recuperating from a perceived “illness,” and then the fun started when his attending nurse appeared. This was probably the first “porn star,” seen by Mark whom he found out later was named Vanessa del Rio. In those times, the movies had some dialogue and some prelude to the sex, but nonetheless it did arrive. Ms. Vanessa Del Rio had to show empathy and care to her patient and then added something extra to break the spell of his illness. As the movie concluded, Mark knew this arcade was a capsule into a whole new world.

~Long Time Reader, First Time Writer

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