As earthy and wide open as the North Texas spaces Vickie Smith hails from (she grew up in Mexia -- pronounced Ma-HEY-YA -- pop. 6933), she tells the truth no matter how uncool it may sound. Her biggest fear, for instance: "Water! I feel foolish admitting this, but it scares me when there's any more of it than you can fit into a bathtub." She doesn't like showers, either -- maybe because Vickie, who devours horror films like so much buttered popcorn, has seen "Psycho" one time too many. Two things she's not crazy about, she volunteers, revealing her old-fashioned sensibilities, are men who do drugs and men with long hair. She saw a lot of both on the streets of Los Angeles during her recent visit there. Otherwise, the California trip, taken at Playboy's behest, was, in a word, "fantastic! I stayed at Playboy Mansion West, which was incredible. Tony Curtis was visiting the Hefners one evening" she recalls, sitting cross-legged on the black leather sofa in her Houston apartment, "and he sketched a little picture for me." Grabbing a black leather datebook from a black lacquered coffee table ("Black is my favorite color"), she proudly shows off Curtis' autographed sketch, a whimsical pen-and-ink drawing of a cat atop a piano, eyeing a goldfish whose days seem numbered in seconds. As Vickie recounts her L.A. trip -- her first foray outside Texas in her 24-year-old life -- we are sitting in the tidy studio apartment she has shared for the past five years with her six-year-old pixie-faced son Daniel. Living-room and stairwell walls are adorned with some 20 framed photographs of Vickie's idol, Marilyn Monroe.