I’ll quote Professor X at him next time, just to play devil’s advocate.

My Dad: “I called my favorite restaurant earlier, and they’re open for limited seating. Want to go get a burger?”

Me:

in-chess-we-let-the-pawns-go-first-2000-x-39827222

My Dad: “Touché.”

As an alternative, we’re eating pizza and watching Ozark (an attack by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants being about the only thing that hasn’t happened to the Byrdes yet). It’d be good for my dad to get out of the house, but he’s about as panicky as I am, and the chances of him macing someone with Lysol for clearing their throat suspiciously are still fair to middling.

So, y’know, probably best to give it another week.

I can’t wait to watch him enjoy that burger, though.

I Am Nothing Without My Public

Customer in line behind me at Fiesta: [pointing at my purchases] “What’s in that bottle?”

Me: “What, this? That’s Florida Water.”

Customer: “Wow.”

There was a brief, delicious tingle of gratification — like I had just been recognized as a Conjureperson of Great Power by a True Believer — except I hadn’t showered, and my hair was all patchy on account of I haven’t gotten around to shaving my head in a couple of weeks, and also I was buying a pile of frozen dinners. So it’s far more likely that his “Wow” meant, “I thought only Conjurepeople of Great Power needed Florida Water, but I guess so do slovenly homosexuals who don’t eat right.”

Unless by “Wow,” he was saying, “This Conjureperson of Great Power sure scored an excellent deal on frozen dinners!” In which case, yes. Yes, I did, mortal. Thank you for noticing.

Back to My Root(work)s

Other than (obviously) not getting much writing done, quarantine has not been a bad experience. The company I work for is considered an “essential” business, but most of the admin team has been working from home, and the majority of our client meetings have moved to web platforms, so I pretty much have the office to myself. The Forge made the jump to online sales and curbside pickup and seems to be doing fine — I haven’t clocked in there since all of this started, but I will luckily have a place to go back to once the restrictions ease up. And although we don’t have access to the studio, Robert and I have been recording segments for the radio show via Zoom, so we will be on the air well into the forseeable future.

Without retail or bartending nights, my evenings and weekends have been blessedly free of obligation, and after spending a couple of weeks stretched out on the couch watching every horror movie I could think to stream, I branched out into light housework, eventually getting around to dusting my altar.

Altar
Putting the Her in Heretic since 1995.

Turns out, a simple cleaning spree was all that was needed to get my Witchcraft juices flowing again, and within a day or so, my apartment was reeking of seven-day candles and incense matches. [Ed. note: If you have limited ritual space and/or fundamentalist smoke detectors, incense matches are the freakin’ bees’ knees.] There was spellwork I wanted to do, but it required specific herbs, so I started digging through my kitchen like, “Let’s see, what will coordinate with bergamot and licorice? Calamus? Perfect! Too bad I don’t have a good anointing oil, though. Wait, don’t I have a recipe for that?” And then I was all, “But if I’m going to make an oil, I might as well find a use for this lemon verbena. And this angelica root. And these rowan berries. And whatever this malevolent-looking seed pod thing is.” So now…

I’ve got Special Oil #20 steeping and a Van Van concentrate blended together, the remnants of which will be made into Chinese Wash. Up next is a batch of Hot Foot Powder and a big bottle of edible Four Thieves Vinegar, and then I’ll be pulverizing a couple of red bricks, by which time the ingredients for Cast Off Evil oil should have arrived. And since I already have graveyard dirt, I may get ambitious and whip up some Goofer Dust too, except I found a lodestone under a bunch of stuff while I was reorganizing my supply cabinet last night, so I’ll probably just bang out some Attraction potions instead, since I’m more likely to need fast cash or quick favors than for my enemies’ legs to mysteriously swell.

I don’t know how long this obsessive interest in Hoodoo is going to last — thanks to ADHD, my fixations tend to be cyclical, and at any moment I could suddenly switch focus and get lost in a labyrinth of geomancy or notary law or the proper care and feeding of domestic fancy rats. But while I’m right in the thick of it, I’ll tell you this:

Roughly thirteen years ago, I signed up for the Lucky Mojo Hoodoo and Rootwork Correspondence Course. The class itself is only supposed to last twelve months, but my studies got derailed by alcoholism and neurodiversity, and I drunkenly drifted away before finishing. However, I am delighted to say that despite how long it took me to get back on track, I’ll be dropping my last two homework assignments in the mail next week. I don’t know if I’ll get a certificate of completion or anything at this point, but just the fact that I’ll actually be completing it is enough to make me burn a candle or two in my own honor.

Assuming that my anointing oil is ready.

Look! Fancy rats!

ETA: Anyone who uses a mortar and pestle to hand-grind the components of Four Thieves Vinegar without wearing a protective face mask gains automatic immunity to COVID-19. Ask me how I know. Just let me shove a cork in my sinuses first.

The Pied Thumper of Hamelin

[The bar has just announced final last call, and I’m getting ready to close up for the night, when an extremely drunk lesbian teeters into the store, places two beer bottles on the counter, and stares at me.]

Me: “May I help you?”

Lesbian: “Bleuurrrfriend.”

Me: “Pardon me?”

Lesbian: “Girrrrrl.”

Me: “…”

Lesbian: “Friennngh.”

Me: “You’re… looking for your girlfriend?”

Lesbian: [blank stare]

Me: “A girlfriend in general?”

Lesbian: [blank stare]

Me: “Huh.”

[Another customer comes up to the side of counter.]

Customer: “Hi. I’d like to buy this hat, please.”

Me: “Sure.” [to the lesbian] “I need you to move over a little, so that he can check out.”

[She sways to the right just enough for him to reach the card reader. He pays and leaves. She continues to stare at me.]

Me: “Okay. Closing time.”

Lesbian: [blank stare]

Me: “It’s time to close.”

Lesbian: “… No.”

Me: “Yes. We’re closing”

Lesbian: “Girrrlfriennd.”

Me: “You’ve gotta go, hon.”

Lesbian: [blank stare]

Me: “I mean it.”

Lesbian: “Gimme… girl…”

Me: “Nope. Please leave.”

Lesbian: [blank stare]

Me: “Right, then.”

[I take the two beer bottles away from her and walk out of the store.]

Lesbian: [shuffling after me, arms outstretched] “Wai…”

I thought about dumping the beers in the trash, but instead just left them on a ledge by the entrance to the bar. I scooted around the lesbian as she lurched for them and dove back into the store to finish closing, and I whistled a happy tune as a bouncer escorted her out.

Point being, if you’ve got a fair village overrun with inebriated Sapphics, my rates are reasonable. Rats and children not included.

I Don’t Know Is in Third

Customer: “I’d like some Scorpion, please.”

Me: “You mean Double Scorpio? Sure. Which one would you like?”

Customer: [looking over my shoulder to the Double Scorpio refrigerator on the counter behind me] “Hmmm… I’ll take the one in the third quadrant.”

Me: “Um… which one?”

Customer: “The one located in the third quadrant.”

Me: “There’s actually a display of all the solvents we carry just to your right, if you’d like to…”

Customer: [not looking to his right] “Third quadrant!”

Me: “If you could just look at the display and point…”

Customer: [pointing forcefully at the fridge] “It’s the one right there in the third quadrant! How do you not know where the third quadrant is?

Me: “What color is it?”

Customer: “SILVER. SILVER IN THE THIRD QUADRANT.”

[Defeated, I turn to look at the fridge. There are no silver bottles.]

Me: “Okay… I think the one you want is the Double Scorpio Black. The printing on the label is silver, but the lights reflecting off of it kind of make the whole bottle look silver.”

Customer: “NO. I WANT THE SILVER ONE IN THE…”

Me: “Third quadrant. Got it. But seriously, look.”

[I take a bottle of the Black out of the fridge and hold it up next to the same bottle on the display.]

Me: “See? Not silver.”

Customer: “BUT THAT OTHER BOTTLE IS…”

[Before he can finish, I swing around and grab a bottle of Double Scorpio Gold.]

Me: “Gold. The other bottle is gold. There are no silver Double Scorpio products.”

“… Oh. Well, then.”

I went home that night and did some research, and guess what: The Black and Gold bottles are actually in the second quadrant of the refrigerator.

So fuck that guy. I mean, we clearly both flunked high school geometry, but at least I’m honest about it.

Bruise Is in the Heart

I didn’t get flowers on Valentine’s Day, nor chocolates, nor a romantic dinner for two. But I look smugly down upon those who did, and I smile with satisfaction, because what I received from Ben was this:

Bruise Is in the Heart

You are not hallucinating.
It’s a coin purse that turns into a motherfucking paddle.

I absolutely cannot wait to wear this along with my Self-Defense Buddha Beads and begin my new career as a masked vigilante. And while I’m aware that there are like three billion men alive at the moment, I also feel like it’s safe to say I’ve got the greatest damn boyfriend on the planet.

You Never Even Call Me By Whatever Everybody’s Calling Me This Week

Customer: “Hey, Thomas.”

Me: “Hello.”

Customer: “Oh! Sorry. I mean, hey, Thumper.”

Me: “No apologies necessary. I pretty much answer to anything at this point.”

Customer: “Okay. Hey, asshole.”

Yeah, I kinda walked into that one. But I’ll add it to my tragically expanding list of Nicknames For All Occasions anyway.

Devil of a Notary

Although my friend Sarah strongly counseled against it, I went ahead and re-rebranded my mobile notary business. Please welcome into the world of professional witnessing…

Caducifer Notary and Officiant Services!

The backstory is that I wasn’t paying enough attention to renewal notices when I went through that depression last summer, and unfortunately, domtopnotary.com got poached. Caducifer feels a little more evolved to me, though, plus it reminds me of Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle, who had just about the coolest name in the history of third-party designation. (Second only to Moosifer, a dearly departed Savannah cat with whom I had epic food ownership battles during a house-sitting gig awhile back. I miss him. At a distance.)

My standard-issue pitch to follow: If you’re in or around Houston and suddenly realize you need something notarized at an ungodly hour, just give me a holler, and I’ll come a-runnin’. I look forward to both being of service and not judging you if you’re in your pajamas.

ETA: My Zazzle shop is still open, in case you want a DomTopNotary memento or two before I firebomb the place and start over. All proceeds go to… well, me. But I’m definitely worth the occasional kickback.

A Bingo Ate My Baby

The first thing we learned during February’s Facets of Leather was this: Quail and partridge are not the same birds.

Our Superfan explains.

FB_IMG_1581288639223.jpg

And why were we discussing game fowl on a show about leather that never, ever tangents, you might ask? Well, that was because our special guest was my Misfits brother Scott, who a) raises quail commercially, b) is married to an Australian, and c) JUST WON MR. TEXAS LEATHER!!!

FB_IMG_1581346413208~2.jpg
Scott’s the one on the left.

On the Friday afternoon before the official meet and greet, Scott stopped by Leather Masters to have a patch sewn on his vest, and while he was waiting, he espied a twenty-something young man looking at harnesses. They struck up a conversation, and the kid mentioned that he’d never worn a harness before, so Scott went through the different designs with him, helped him pick out a flattering one, and showed him how to put it on. The kid was thrilled and thanked Scott profusely for his assistance (and bought the harness), and after he left, this other customer came over to Scott and shook his hand and was like, “Hello! I’m one of your judges.”

Scott won the contest for a number of reasons, but having a judge witness him accepting and proactively educating a newcomer to the leather community — and doing this without knowing he was being watched — most assuredly did not work against him. We (the royal we, that is, along with the rest of the Misfits) are beyond proud of him.

So, regarding our musical selections, anyone tuning in Saturday night/Sunday morning may have noticed a slight glitch, in which one song with… lets call them questionable lyrics… started playing, quickly faded out, and was then replaced with a trance hit from the early 90s. Please find below a behind-the-scenes look at what happened.

Earlier in the day, I’d sent Robert some suggestions, including “Oasis” by Amanda Palmer, and when he handed me the playlist that night, I noticed he’d included it. So I was like, “Um, did you listen to this one?” And he was like, “No. Why?” So I told him about the song, and he was like, “Alrighty, then. Let’s scratch that one right off.” Problem was, we didn’t really make this clear to our producer, who didn’t find out the song had a controversial history until after she hit “play,” and I bolted into the production booth yelling “NOT THAT ONE NOT THAT ONE NOT THAT ONE.”

I normally welcome all things polemic, but we’re right in the middle of KPFT‘s annual pledge drive, and I’d much rather take calls that are all, “Hello! I’d like to donate a million dollars!” versus “What the indubitable fuck is wrong with you people?”

You can click here to donate, by the bye, and don’t forget to select Facets as the program you’d like to support. (And, if you’re feeling at all punchy today, maybe don’t listen to the following until after you do so.)

That is… not how math works.

Customer: [pointing to a bottle of Rush] “May I see that yellow bottle, please?”

Me: “Sure.” [I hand him the bottle.]

Customer: “Hmm. No. This has a red top. I need the Rush with the black top.”

Me: “I’m afraid the only Rush we carry has a red top.”

Customer: “The Rush with the red top doesn’t work for me. I bought a bottle over at that sex store…” [waves hand vaguely to the Southwest]

Me: “Hollywood?”

Customer: “Yes! Hollywood. It was like water. I’m going to go back and demand a refund and throw it in their face!

Me: [speechless]

Customer: “Yeah, okay, I’m not going to do that. But I bought a yellow bottle with a black top at the bathhouse the other day, and it worked really well.”

Me: “Oh! That’s Pig Sweat. Yellow bottle, black top.”

Customer: “No. It was Rush.”

Me: “Well, like I said, we don’t carry Rush with a black top, but…”

Customer: “I need to invent little disposable, one-use solvents and sell them for like $8 each.”

Me: “That would certainly fill a niche.”

Customer: “I buy three bottles a week at least. It would be a lot more convenient to just have the little one-shots. Because I’m at the bathhouse every night, and I go through a lot of poppers.”

Me: “Solvents.”

Customer: “Solvents. Hundreds. There are hundreds of bottles around my house, just from this month alone!”

If he’s not exaggerating about how much he consumes in a week, there should really only be like twelve bottles around his house (minus however many he loses at the bathhouse). So if he’s seeing hundreds, then either he’s turning into a human fly, or his friends and family need to get about the business of staging the world’s first solvent intervention.

Unless the solvents are what’re turning him into a human fly, in which case his friends and family should just lock their windows and not leave any raw meat laying out.