Me: “We don’t normally keep them in stock, but one of our suppliers manufactures a really cool one. Here, let me show you.”
[I call up the supplier’s website and click on the link to their impact play items. The first picture to appear is a tableau of two well-developed, scantily-clad men of the homosexual persuasion — one is bent over and grinning seductively back at at the other, who is poised with the paddle in question as if caught mid-swing.]
Customer: “Everything okay?”
Me: “Hmm? Oh. Yes.” [I point to the man about to get spanked.] “It’s just that I know that guy.”
Ben and I were at a Barnes and Noble one time, and he saw a mention of The Orville on a magazine cover and was like, “Oh! Funny story about working with Seth MacFarlane…” It’s a testament to my own career trajectory that I’m able to share similar amusing anecdotes, but only about porn stars and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
[A text conversation with Seth, which occurred as I was on my way to meet him for brunch.]
Seth: “Why is the sun painful?”
Me: “The fact that it’s overcast is indicative of just how hungover you are.”
[long, aggrieved pause]
Seth: “I didn’t ask for my wig to be snatched like that.”
Me: “I mean, the wig was just lying there…”
Seth: “I didn’t even have time to pin it in place.”
I thought about bringing him some of the patented hangover cure that always worked for me during my own drinking days, but it’s really just whiskey, so it probably wouldn’t have helped much. He was pretty salty the rest of the morning, though, so at least his sodium levels weren’t too badly affected.
I try to take Ben to places away from the usual tourist attractions whenever he shows up in Houston, and so this past weekend, we went to the Wilde Collection — a curiosity shop in the Heights — because a) it’s my favorite independent business, and b) I figured it was time for him to have a visual representation of what it’s like inside my head.
We pulled up to the shop, and Ben looked at the vehicle parked by the front door and asked, “Is that… is that a PT Cruiser hearse?” And I was like, “Yeah. It really sums up everything you’re about to see.” I was a little concerned he’d start proactively rethinking his life choices the second we entered the building, but instead, his eyes darted to the contents of a glass cabinet tucked amidst various antique medical specimens, and he was like, “Ooh, raccoon penis bones! These will make great souvenirs for the people back home!” And that’s when I relaxed a lot.
So Ben approached the guy behind the counter (who turned out to be one of the owners), and was all, “Hello! I want to purchase some raccoon penis bones.” And the owner smiled warmly and replied, “Let’s go pick out the ones you’d like,” as if they were baby turtles or hermit crabs or something.
I gave Ben a little space to critically inspect the penises (I mean, if I had a nickel…) and scooted through the next room (which is basically the Department of Dead Animals and Demonological Studies) to the lavatory in the back. I passed two young women admiring a vampire baby doll nestled in a Victorian bassinet, and I’m normally not one to eavesdrop, but one of them said, “They sued Netflix over it, but how can you trademark an ancient image?” And then I heard a voice that sounded remarkably like mine jump into the conversation. And then I realized I was talking.
“The thing is, Baphomet is usually depicted as having male genitalia and female breasts, but the statue commissioned by the Church of Satan has a male chest.”
An awkward silence ensued, which I decided to fill by apologizing profusely.
“Oh, please don’t apologize,” one of the women said, waving off the interruption and gesturing for me to continue. “This is fascinating!”
“Okay… well, the statue used on the set of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina also had a male chest. But see?” I pointed to a conveniently located mannequin dressed up as the ubiquitous Goat God. “Breasts. So whoever created the prop for the show assumed that the Church of Satan’s version was a traditional image and thus free of royalty, when in fact it really was protected by copyright. Which is why the Church sued.”
The women nodded thoughtfully and thanked me for my insight, and I quit while I was ahead and fled to the restroom. I glanced at my reflection in the mirror as I was locking the door, and maybe it was just the mood lighting or whatever, but I stopped for a second and was like, “Wow. I… totally look like someone who would accost a stranger to correct their misconceptions about the Devil.” And so I took a selfie.
I finished my business and went to catch up with Ben, but my attention got snagged on a plastic display box, inside of which was a foam cupcake, with a preserved longhorn beetle (Diastocera wallichi tonkinensis, a.k.a. Thysia wallichii) balanced delicately upon it. And suddenly, all I could think about was the last scene in Secretary, when Maggie Gyllenhaal carefully makes the bed and then drops a dead cockroach on the comforter. And I was consumed by the emerald flames of covetousness.
Ben wandered over, penis bones in hand, to stare at the oddity along with me. And then he was like, “FOUR PEAS. You need this.” And he snatched it off the shelf and ran to the register.
I have spent a disconcertingly large chunk of my life feeling like some kind of tragic, retarded Martian; like I just bumble around saying inappropriate things at unfortunate moments, in a language no one is capable of understanding. Lately, though, whenever self-deprication sets in, the Universe drops someone in front of me who forces me to accept that I’m nowhere near as weird and alone as I think I am. Sometimes it’s one of my co-workers at the Forge, or one of my brothers in the Misfits. Or sometimes it’s a random window shopper who thinks that what I have to say is relevant and interesting.
And sometimes a beautiful man and I both look at a freeze-dried bug and immediately quote the same movie.
Me: “I mean, I didn’t look at the nutritional information, but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t any actual meat in it.”
Rok: [overhearing] “Gas station cheeseburger? Is that the new polari way of saying, ‘I sucked some unsavory dick’?”
Me: “IT IS NOW.”
Seth suggested that I clock in and then run to a convenience store for oral hygiene products, but I was like, “No. Every time I do something I’m not supposed to, Tank magically appears and catches me.” And right on cue, Tank texted to say that he’d changed the lock on the bar store, and that he would come up and let me in if my key didn’t work.
Is there a polari expression for, “My boss is psychic but only uses his powers to terrorize me”? Because there totally should be. Or at the very least a quaint German term.
This month’s Facets of Leather featured Ms. Texas Leather 2019 Elizabeth Lawrence as our first ever call-in guest, and she was gracious and lovely, and she totally didn’t curse at all, provided our censors understand that “asshole” and “a-hole” are two completely separate words with wildly different meanings. She also didn’t say “tits,” and for that we are very grateful (although we did give her the option of talking about bosoms instead).
After her interview, Elizabeth got off the phone and joined some of our listeners in helping Robert and I remember the dates of various upcoming events that were accidentally left off of our calendar. At one point I was like, “Hey, Jessie? I need you to send a Facebook friend request to Misfit Scott, and once he accepts, send him a private message and get the dates for the Mr. Houston Leather contest. But ask him how he’s feeling first, because he’s stuck in Mexico with food poisoning.” And then it turned out we didn’t need the dates after all, so I started yelling, “ABORT MISSION! ABORT MISSION!” Mainly because I’ve just always wanted to say that.
It was fun. I regret nothing.
After taking last month off, the succulent Orin Slade returned with another meme triumph, this one assembled in realtime while we were broadcasting:
I am not sure how he found a picture of an appropriate, old-timey mannequin so quickly, but that just goes to show how talented he is at digital art. In related news, it is also not creepy to collect old-timey mannequins, nor is it unusual to collect old-timey mannequins while raising pot-bellied pigs.
I promise this all makes sense in context. Just listen to the show, guys. And enjoy the following song, which Robert and I have decided is our new anthem. May it inspire your relationship goals as well.
[A text conversation between myself and Seth, the latest Forge employee, who hasn’t quite adapted to me yet.]
Seth: “Double Scorpio just sent us some new solvents for Valentine’s Day. I have a box ready for the bar store when you come in tonight.”
Me: “What’s the fragrance?”
Seth: “Love Potion.”
Me: “So… Rohypnol?
Seth: “Wanna find out?” [mic drop emoji]
Me: “I mean, it’s not a relapse if I don’t know it’s in my drink, right?”
Seth: “… Oh, dear.”
Incidentally, Double Scorpio also makes a Holiday Blend, which is scented like an Old Fashioned cocktail and has sparked the following exchange on a few different occasions:
Customer: “Holiday Blend, huh? What does that smell like?”
Me: “Did your grandpa have a drinking problem?”
Me: “Because if so, it smells like Christmas.”
Anyway, the “correct” answer, I’ve been told, is bourbon and citrus. Oh, and the Love Potion gives off a floral bouquet. And when people ask what Max Impact is for, I’m apparently not supposed to say “hostage control.”