Carey's four-hour nighttime appearance at the store on Southeast 82nd Drive starts slowly at the back of a fluorescent-lit room filled with porn and sex props. With a hoarse voice and cough, she chats politely with each of the 15 or 20 men plus one wife already there when she arrived. Next to a display of her DVDs, she perches at a table with a half-dozen 8-by-10 glossies on a white plastic tablecloth between a vase of yellow roses and pile of Sharpies.
At 25, she's as jaded as an industry veteran.
"I'm getting taken advantage of and ripped off," she says, describing the guy who made her last, still-unreleased video as "a creepish, grossish little scumbag who's friends with Satan."
The sprinkling of fans waffle over which $10 photo they want her to sign. The splits, naked, shot from behind as she flashes a cheerleader's smile? Or a full frontal of her clean shave and back-breaking boobs, which she defends as real, oddly disproportional on her 36DD-26-36 frame.
A DVD purchase for $30—among them, Lick My Balls—gets you a Polaroid with Carey. She nestles up against each fan, one hand pulling down her pink mesh tank top to reveal her braless claims to fame, the other hiking up her denim mini-skirt just slightly in the only attempt at subtle sensuality all night.
On heels, she's taller than most of her wide-eyed admirers. Against a backdrop of countless sex toys, she bares her extra-white teeth as if for a family portrait.
Without a recent movie or political campaign to promote, it's more of a PR stunt for Fantasyland. Store owner Steve Wiener says the company flew Carey in and paid her an undisclosed fee to appear.
Posses of young gawkers don't care why she's there or that she got 11,000-plus votes for California governor in 2003 to place 10th among 135 candidates. Having squeaked by the age requirement of 18, they blush under their ball caps from behind displays of fake vaginas and blow-up dolls and linger after the initial crowd leaves. A few late fans rescue awkward lulls, their arrivals triggering the store's electronic doorbell, which drowns out the Billy Squier.
"Ooooh, she is hot, man," a guy in his 20s says to his friend. Ed Curtis, a fiftysomething guy in a wheelchair, sticks around for hours. Meanwhile, a woman getting a lube recommendation shows no interest, and a young threesome dildo-shopping ignores her.
"Boo Boo," Carey calls to her golden 2-year-old Pomeranian prancing around the store. Carey complains to her boyfriend/manager, Harold, that she's feeling cold. They met in June. They're starting a production company together, hoping to get into TV.
As Carey maps out her future as an ex-porn star, even considering a run for governor in her home state of Florida, she confesses she doesn't know where she's headed. "I'm really confused," she says.
"I think I'm gonna be a Christian soon," says Carey, who adds that she looked to a Bible club for guidance before deciding to fulfill her Fantasyland commitment. She shrugs, "God forgives everyone."
Despite the suggestion of raunchy fun in the event ad's invitation to "Get Mary's signature on almost anything you want," there's nothing sexy about it. Another picture, and Carey smiles on cue. As Dire Straits sing "So Far Away," the bright lights and absence of clamor for Mary Carey leave you feeling like you've been flashed in a 7-Eleven.