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  • Writer's pictureDomenic Marinelli

Beautiful Faces, Bad Places (From Strays In The Cold by Domenic Marinelli)

Updated: Feb 19

Take a frightening glimpse into the life of John Santiago, an adult film star trying to make it big in one of the world's shadiest industries.


My name is John Santiago. Remember it; don’t forget it.

I’m an actor from the barrio.

The biggest thing you may have seen me in was Cum 2 Daddy #34. Critics said I really shone in that one; really lit up the screen. The movie got five stiff dicks, and for those of you in the industry, you know what that means. They said I even out-shone the starlet, Cassandra Teen, and she takes it in just about every one of her holes! I haven’t been in anything quite as big since, and that was about five years ago. But hey, I’m holding out.

As Motique always said: You never know, bro. You never know.

I have the type of face that can pass for forty-five when I try real hard, but I can also look twenty five if need be. Truth be told, I’m thirty-six.

So yeah, I’m a porn star, if you wanna call it that. I don’t do any of that small time shit … you know those videos you can download on Porn Hub and … videos that any Tom, Dick or Harry can upload.

Nah. None of that shit for me … only feature films for me.

And lately, I’ve been trying to get into more serious work, but unfortunately, I’m being type-cast. I tried out for a horror movie being shot nearby, but I was shot down instead.

It’s okay. I’ll get the next one.

And if not that one, the one after that.

You’ll see.

I speak six languages; I can do my scenes in any one of them. Comes in handy when we work with girls from down south and even Europe.

Can you say: I need more lube in German?

What’s my name?


I sit at my old PC. Not all of the keys work, but it remains my trusted friend and confidant. I used to toil on it day in and out, writing a movie for myself to star in, like that guy from the seventies. You know who I’m talking about … black hair, ripped to shreds. Or even those buddies from Philly, or was it Boston, who wrote that really good movie from the late nineties: The one with the comic who died a little while ago. What was his name? The little guy. The one who played Peter Pan and the alien on TV? You know who I’m talking about. Man, did I love him.

But every time I sit down to write, I can’t seem to get that same old story out of my head that’s been done a million times over. No matter how I write the fucking thing, it still sounds like something I’ve either seen or read.

Did I mention that I read a lot?

I do.

Was ist mein Name?


I’m also an amateur bodybuilder.

I got into that about the same time I did my first porno. I met Ike Shlong on the set of A Finger In The Rear, A Sausage Down My Throat. He’s a giant in the industry, and yoked to boot. He can do four scenes in a row, and without narcotic help. He’s a beast, and I don’t know how he does it.

He told me I had good development for a Latino, and I should consider lifting.

So I did.

A lot.

Turns out, I got so good at it; I was told I should enter competitions.

I did.

I never won shit.

For real.

But the body has gotten me some good tail though … for a while at least; then my pecker stopped working so well without … help. Girls got wind, and I got a rep.

“Fucking guy’s a porn star; he can’t get no pussy?”

If they only fucking knew.


Do they know what we have to go through just to get our dicks up to shoot load after load of jizz on those silicon tits we see all day?

Do they know what the girls have to go through before doing an anal scene?

Do they know the shit that comes out of an ass after a douche the morning after a girl has been partying, drinking and eating tacos all night?

Fucked if I know what they know. All I know is that they think they know it all, and they think they know enough to know that I don’t have it.

Fucking they.


Money isn’t great; never was since I left home. I do a few scenes a week for decent green, but I still can’t eat the way they tell me to in the fitness mags.

The fuck I could afford chicken breast three times a day!

I eat down at Pete’s where I can get spaghetti in Meat Sauce for a buck ninety-nine. I get two slices of pie down at Giordano’s. I eat sardines out of the can. I buy loads of nuts and dry fruit. I eat at Mickey D’s … I think the hormones are good for me, because I get wicked good pumps when I train … especially after four double cheeseburgers and diet soda.

And … I hope for the best.

Oh yeah, and I take roids.

Injectables; none of those pills for me.

They say injectables are better for the heart. Or is it the other way around? I guess only time will tell.


I met Motique on the set of another porno I was doing somewhere between 2004 and 2006. He was the caterer, and he was yoked too.

Told me he lifted at home; had all kinds of gear.

I went over to his place one day, and truth was … he did have a lot of equipment: barbells, dumbbells, plates, benches, chains, rubber bands, and even treadmills.

My gym membership was getting expensive.

In laymen’s terms (for you S-L-O-W folks out there) … I stole his shit.

It took me three whole hours to load all his junk into my bro, Guzman’s truck and then into my 3rd floor apartment one night while Motique was visiting his parents down south. Mrs. Waverly from downstairs complained about the noise.

And when he came home, and he found all his shit gone, Motique cried, they said.

I wouldn’t know … I wasn’t there. I was too busy using his gear.

I hear he’s fat now.

Walks with a cane.

I didn’t take the treadmills though. Too heavy and not enough space in my crib. I always wondered why the cat got fat if I left him the treadmills, though.

So, anyways, I do my cardio in the barrio.

I liked Motique.

Too bad.

I always liked saying his name. Reminded me of the word, motif.

Others called him Moe, others Tique. But not me. I called him Motique. It made me feel smart.

I like feeling smart for a change.

Quel est mon nom?


I used to like to think of myself as an artist, but really, I’m just an actor.

Fifteen years is a long time to wait for my big break. You can say I’m stubborn. I just always knew I’d make it in no time.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Dead wrong.

I can’t even get a commercial deal.

Mostly I do scenes for Riley. He’s been giving me steady work these days.

My name is John Santiago, remember it and don’t forget it.



I can hear the cockroaches scurrying behind the baseboards late at night. The old dump of a building moans with sounds every now and again like an old ghost no longer feared by the inhabitants that now flood its abode, unafraid of what it once was.

Outside the snow falls in increments throughout the day, littering the dirty streets with its clean, sheer whiteness. It somehow looks wrong, obtrusive and assaulting. These streets should not be clean; they don’t deserve to be.

The streets of the barrio take … they never give.

I look out the window at an unimportant intersection: a spec, a forgotten world, an unspoken territory in a large and important city. In all the work published about the city, this place sits forgotten and unmentioned; it’s forlorn and destined to fade away in decay and damnation.

Whoever would miss such a place? After all, its only descendant is us: the lost and the damned.

Some of its inhabitants believe they are successful, but we once believed the world was flat too. These people are specs too.

I am not a spec.

I will never be a spec.

I watch them and I’ve seen them a thousand times. My vantage point is not so high that I can’t see their faces. After a while the faces all seem to be the same; features meshing into one look: misery, boredom and pain.

(I sometimes get deep and introspective when I’m high! Hey everybody needs a moment to reflect now and again.)


People like talking shit.

As I stretch the muscle group I’ve decided to train, the naysayers come to mind, and I get angrier and more determined to lift more and train harder than ever before, and more than anyone else in the free world.

As I pick up the dumbbells, I think of the people who say I won’t make it, and the thoughts of them cause me to lift even more.

My desire to succeed vanquishes any laziness that threatens to creep into me, and, as I train, I think only of proving them all wrong. To be able to defeat the naysayers, the people around me who want my failure like trophies and talk about me like they had a hand in my demise and unsuccessful attempts.

“Yeah, did you hear, he got another rejection. Poor fucker.”

Poor fucker?

At least I’m not the one who has to stoop so low that I have to talk about other people’s failures to make myself feel all important and powerful.

Fuck you all.

I mean it.

No, No, No …

That’s all I ever fucking hear these days.

(It may be getting to me, but I’ll never admit it … never)

As I heave the weight above my chest, I feel that all familiar feeling. The only success I feel these days: blood is rushing to my chest, filling the area, so that my muscles can grow.

I smile the smile of a maniac and bark up at the ceiling and pump out ten more reps. I’ve lost count by this point and I don’t care. I’ve done more than the fitness mags tell me to do, so I’m happy. Later, I can rest easy knowing that I bested them, and I think on about doing it all over again tomorrow … maybe work on my bi’s.

And I will, of that I am sure.

I shower, letting the warm water cascade over my rippled body. Fat and flab are nowhere in sight. I shave with a disposable razor, my whole body, being careful not to cut myself … a cut can show up on a cheap camera shot like an eye sore, especially in the buff. The warm water rinses away all the sweat and generic soap. As I towel off, I nod in the mirror at the gains I’ve made, reassuring myself because no one else will, ever.

Remember that.

I remember that.

I’ll always remember that.

I’ve no job to go to, nothing much to do, so I sit at my TV and watch my latest scene. I watch how my gluteus flexes with every forward thrust. I’d like a little more definition in the area, so I make a vow to overload the rack on leg day. Besides, if my butt looks full on camera, I’ll grab the attention of all the gays and bisexuals watching my scenes, and dude, I can use all the fans I can get.

Will it be the last scene I ever do?

It won’t.

(It might)

Fuck, I hope not.


When I ride the subway going to unsuccessful auditions, I see people buried in their phones, texting, watching videos of men getting hit in the nuts and cats being chased by dogs, listening to pop stars that sing about ass and buying houses for their mommas … singers that think their pop shit music can be considered art. People would rather watch that shit than read a fucking book!



I just did a scene with Mary-Anne. I made her bleed.

She said it was alright.

I still feel really bad, though.

Not fifteen minutes pass and we’re doing it again.

She grunts a little louder this time as I push into her pink.

It doesn’t feel so good; especially knowing she’s bleeding all over my dick.

It hurts my cock.

I hope the director likes it.

I really want to be in his next project.

They say they’re gonna film it down in Florida.

They have great clubs there. Would be nice to lie on the beach and get some sun.

I have to go to the john.

I yell cut and go take a crap.

I have to shower before I go back on camera.

Riley fucks Mary Anne to keep her lubed, as I do my business.

Sometimes, I wish I would have listened to my mother.

Qual è il mio nome?


Sometimes I wish I could write the great American Novel.

Even though I’m Canadian.

Maybe it can be about a porn star like me?

I just feel that porn stars have a lot to say, you know?

Maybe I will when I’m starring in my own feature films. Write about my adventures and sexcapades.

Maybe I can be in that new wave of action movies they’re making these days.

I have the body for it. I can run along some dock, and catapult onto a moving boat with the best of them.

And let’s not forget the beautiful face. Come on!

Какое мое имя?


For all you Americans out there, did you know Canada got rid of the penny?

That means that things that were 99 cents, now have to be a dollar.

Fuck … still pissed about that one.

I miss the penny.

I liked collecting them and looking at them, and yes, sucking on them.

When I was a kid I’d suck on them and wonder about all the people who’d touched them, dropped them and paid things with them.

I sucked and wondered, and when I’d take them out of my mouth, they’d shine like new.

Hey, I’ve sucked worse.


In the summer I walk the streets for two hours, shredding body fat before going home to lift. Now its winter and I seldom leave the house unless I’ve got a scene to do. So most winter days, I wear a garbage bag as I go through my lifts for the day. I usually really work up a decent sweat.

Suzanne says I’ve kept trim even though it’s cold outside.

I tell her thanks, as I watch Riley pour some oil into the crack of her ass.

I also ask her how her kids are, and if her youngest started school yet.

She says yes and tells me how hard the first day of school was, and how hard it was to leave them there. Especially because her kids used to come to the set with her, and while she did her scenes, Riley’s wife, Marlene, would take care of them and feed them cereal.

I remember once playing catch with her oldest kid, a boy … Parker was his name. I don’t think he liked me very much, though. I can’t imagine why.

Riley’s done. “Let’s try to get this in one take, guys. I’ve gotta go Christmas shopping with Marlene tonight.”

I dig in and hold on to my load as I pummel away, thinking of the mundane.

The scene goes off without a hitch, Riley pays me and I go straight home for a shower, and some much needed sleep.


I’m at an audition.

This is a legitimate film being shot at an abandoned construction site just up the street from my building.

The director’s there, so is the casting director and the screenwriter, I think. But a huge actor, the star of the film is there as well, and I’m beyond excited. I tell him this the moment I see him.

“Great. It’s always nice to meet a fan,” he says, his teeth glinting in the sunshine being thrown into the room.

“Absolutely, man. I loved you in that war movie you made.”

“Thank you. So, we’ll be reading from scene one.”

I say, “Man, you were yoked in that one. The scene where all the Germans are running after you on the bridge, and you had just escaped the prison, and your pecs were bouncing around, and your abs were all rippled up, then you turned around and gave ’em all what for, shooting them all up, screaming the name of the son you had yet to see.” I squat down and point both my hands like guns towards them, and give them my best impression. “JEREMY!” I scream, really dragging out the name.

They all jump in their seats.

I do my impression again for effect, and hope he likes it.

The room is silent for the longest time.

Damn, I’m good.

Well, as it turns out, they tell me to have a nice day and they’ll call me.

Don’t they know I’d suck an old man’s cock for this chance? I think, maybe I should tell them that, but there isn’t an old guy in the room.

Instead, I leave. I wave goodbye to the star, but he doesn’t wave back. Maybe he didn’t see me.

What a nice guy.

Can’t wait to tell Suzanne who I just met.

¿Cuál es mi nombre?


I rise from my chair, make my way to the fridge and get some food, and again I think of my growing muscles and my leaning body. I go for the boiled rice and canned tuna.

The rice tastes like soap. The tuna smells like Nancy’s snatch.

I eat as again, I look out the window. I eat hungrily as I watch and wait. I watch other people’s successes and gains in life and I wait. I read the old words of writers long dead. Are these the same words that the world will be reading hundreds of years from now?

Hey, I wonder if they’ll be watching my scenes then.

My, what a cock he had!

What a body!

I hope my work makes it to you all someday. It means something after all.

Doesn’t it?

Is there room for me out there beyond the horizon, beyond the wall of pain and addiction and poverty?

As I fill my stomach with the food, I feel myself on the cusp of change.

I feel.

I look at the ice and snow, and at the gray of the slush collecting by the side of the road, and pray for an early spring.

I can’t wait to see the tufts of green sprouting here and there, breaking through the melting, disappearing ice and snow, promising growth and rebirth.

Promising a new beginning.

The sky is gray and overcast. I see only a promise of more snow and cold, so I wait.

I’ll wait.

I’ll watch and wait for my time.

So please … my name is John Santiago. Remember it; don’t forget it.

Copyright © 2018, Domenic Marinelli

First published in Strays In The Cold

All Rights Reserved © Domenic Marinelli

See the BIO section on this site for the full Domenic Marinelli biography.

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