Don’t Be a Richard

Customer: [bursting into the store] “We need to fit Richard for a harness.”

Me: “… Okay. Do you have a particular harness in mind?”

Customer: “Yes. Richard needs a bulldog harness.”

Me: “Great! Let me show you what we currently have.”

Customer: “Hmm. No, no, these won’t do. Richard needs a harness with silver buckles instead of these black ones.”

Me: “I’m afraid I don’t have any of those in stock right now, but I’m expecting a shipment within the next week or so.”

Customer: “Oh, good. Once you get the new harnesses in, just put one aside for Richard. Thanks!”

It took me a good 30 minutes to realize that Richard is one of the Ripcord bartenders, and that the customer wasn’t referring to himself in third person. Which? More than a little disappointing. It would’ve been awesome if he’d freaked out over the lack of harnesses and gone, “RICHARD SMASH,” then thrown a shelving unit through the wall.

Then again, had Richard smashed, Marjorie would’ve had to clean up the damn mess, like Marjorie always does. Marjorie would’ve been profoundly unamused by that. Marjorie would’ve smashed back.

Marjorie thinks Richard needs to check Richardself before Richard wrecks Richardself.

A Switch’s Strangled Air

Customer: [while browsing through our solvent selection] “Ooh, you have Maximum Impact!”

Me: “We do!”

Customer: “You should use it in a hot tub.”

Me: “Um… yeah, I don’t know if that’s such a good idea.”

Customer: “It’ll make you hallucinate.”

Me: “Definitely not good.”

Customer: “My friends and I have this inside joke, and every time I use Max Impact in a hot tub, I get the joke more and more.”

And now I can’t stop thinking about Bugs Bunny relaxing in Witch Hazel’s cauldron. Like, I get that it’s all warm and soothing to the bones, but eventually, bubbly death can’t help but become an inevitability.

Mainly, though, I just really, really regret not asking him what the inside joke was. I mean, c’mon, a gag whose punchline hits only through boiling oneself into a vision quest? There’s gotta be some quality revelation in there. And it’s a much less claustrophobic ordeal than, say, a witches’ cradle. Or a Transcendental Meditation seminar.

But oh, hey, guess what else was apparently an inside joke: Bunnicula. That has nothing whatsoever to do with the misuse of chemical inhalants, but it this author’s opinion that a boxed set of novels about a vampire bunny falls squarely into the horned rabbit camp.

Color Guard

Customer: [pointing to an olive green jockstrap] “What does this color mean?”

Me: “Well, according to the Hanky Code, olive green means military, but the color of a particular jockstrap doesn’t really mean anything.”

Customer: “I don’t follow.”

Me: “Some people wear certain colors as flags, but some just wear colors they happen to like. The only way to tell if someone is into a kink or fetish is if they have a hanky in their back pocket.”

Customer: [pointing to another jockstrap with alternating black, white and maroon stripes] “So what does this one mean?”

Me: “That one definitely doesn’t mean anything.”

Customer: “But all the colors have meanings.”

Me: “They do in the Hanky Code, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to other articles of clothing. Like I said, flagging a hanky is the only real way to tell what someone’s into.”

Customer: “No, it’s not.”

Me: “I mean, it really kinda is…”

Customer: “Wrong. I like sucking dick, so I wear a light blue baseball cap turned to the left.”

[Ed. note: If we’re really going to split hairs on this, he should have his cap turned to the right. But let’s not encourage him.]

Carlisle: [who’d moseyed into the store at some point] “A light blue hanky does signify an interest in oral sex. And it’s cool if a light blue hat signifies your individual interest in oral sex. But someone else might not realize that that’s what you’re looking for, unless you’re flagging a light blue hanky.”


[I point to the multihued array of hankies affixed to the side of the lube display.]

Customer: “Okay, fine. But nobody uses them anymore.”

[I point to my pocket flag.]

Customer: “Listen, I’m 60 years old, and I’m telling you that nobody uses hankies anymore. I only carry one in case I need to blow my nose. Say, do you boys ever travel?”

He went on to tell us all of the things we needed to do and see when we go to Amsterdam and Brussels, then asked if we’d ever been to Palm Springs. Carlisle mentioned that he’d recently gotten back from Palm Springs Leather Pride, which naturally led to…

Customer: “Which sex clubs did you go to while you were there?”

Carlisle: “I stayed at the Bearfoot Inn, but I didn’t go to any sex clubs.”

Customer: “I’m not asking where you stayed. I’m asking which sex clubs you went to.”

Carlisle: “I didn’t go to any sex clubs.”

Customer: “But which sex clubs did you go to?”

Carlisle: “…”

I feel like a lot of the above conversation could’ve been avoided if we’d just thrown an “OK Boomer” at him and then hidden under the counter. Lesson learned on that one.

The Hanky Code for Boomer would be either brown corduroy or gray flannel, by the way, depending on whether one leans towards headmasters or business suits. Or maybe it would just be a book of S&H Green Stamps. I’ll do some research and get back to you.

Topspin on the Backhand Lob

Customer 1: [eyeing the solvents display] “How does Amsterdam compare to Pig Sweat?”

Me: “They’re similar in strength, although some people feel that the Pig Sweat is a little stronger.”

Customer 2: “Mmm. My bootyhole just went ‘Oooh!'”

Customer 1: “We know. We heard it. Four ping-pong balls just shot out of you.”

It’s a good thing I’ve got all these paddles, I guess. Just need to figure out what the point value would be if I manage to hit one back in.

It could also be the title of a comedy album, but I want to be taken seriously as an artist first.

Customer: “I don’t like these socks.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. What don’t you like about them?”

Customer: “They don’t make socks for guys like me. My calves are too big. It’s like trying to slip a sausage into… um…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “…”

Me: “Into something smaller than a sausage?”

Customer: “… skinny jeans.”

Me: “Like slipping a sausage into skinny jeans.”

Customer: “Yes. Definitely.”

I am not a musician by any means, but if I’m ever in a situation where I have to produce a hit Gay Country Crossover single, I’m going to call it A Sausage in Skinny Jeans. The Grammy nod will totally be worth the Parental Advisory warning.

Mazed and Confused

[A customer wanders into the store, picks up a bundle of bondage rope, drifts over to me and places the rope on the counter.]

Me: “Are you… wanting to purchase this?”

Customer: “No. I just want to be here.”

[He turns and wanders back into the bar.]

Short story shorter, if any minotaurs are reading this, I think I may have found the dude you’re looking for.

I always kind of expect Greek heroes to be taller, though.

Glass Beholders (or, Must Be Friday)

[Carlisle and I are playing a word game on my phone when a customer strides in and surveys the store. They are wearing pink camouflage sweatpants, a ribbed, skintight, see-through shirt, and a shoulder-length wig the color of cotton candy, if cotton candy were radioactive.]

Me: “Hi! Let me know if I can help you find anything.”

Customer: “Ew. This is the place with all that freaky shit.”

And I was like, “THE ONLY FREAKY THING IN HERE IS THAT WIG, YOU DAMN FRAGGLE.” But, y’know, quietly. To myself. Days later.

I have really got to work on both the timeliness of my snappy comebacks and the wherewithal to defend my modest freakdom against the freak judgement of freaks who think my freakiness is freakier than their freakiness.

I might also need a thesaurus. Maybe I’ll start with that.