Release the Hound

[Scrappy and I are looking at my phone and cooing over those ornaments I found on Etsy, when a bearish customer wanders in, towers over us, and points at a pup hood.]

Customer: “How much is that there dog mask?”

Me: “It’s $69.99.”

Customer: “I want my ex to buy it for me for Christmas. Can you write down the price, so I don’t forget?”

Me: “Sure.”

Customer: “I’m gonna wear it to the homeless shelter I work at.”

Me: “…”

Scrappy: “…”

Customer: “…”

Scrappy: “But… but why?

Customer: [shrug] “Just cuz.”

Scrappy was deeply concerned with how the homeless might react to a gargantuan, neoprene werewolf tearing through their safe space, and I can sympathize with that. On the other hand, our worry is probably unwarranted, since I suspect dude won’t be working there much longer.

While I do have what it takes to make a pro blush, I’m sad to report that none of the boys think I’m a spy.

[A customer walks in without a mask.]

Customer: “Hi, I have a question.”

Me: “Okay, but first I need you to put your mask on.”

Customer: “It’s in my pocket.”

Me: “And I need it on your face.”

Customer: “WELL, I DON’T WANT IT ON MY FACE.”

He immediately showed himself out, which saved me the effort of banning him, but honestly, at this stage in the game, I do not understand why people still get uppity about masks. Personally, I plan on wearing them long after the various vaccines become available, for three basic reasons:

1. They’re an inexpensive way to satisfy that normally irresistible compulsion I have to buy and hoard T-shirts.

2. I did not survive alcoholism, nor any number of questionable life choices, just to be taken out by some random queen breathing on me.

3. I have gotten so good at smizing, y’all.

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First row, l to r: Bam, bam, bam. Second row, l to r: Bam, bam, bam. Third row, l to r: Bam, ka-pow, bam. Congratulations, Marjorie — you are America’s Next Top Vers Top.

In Which I Win by a Lot

[Two customers are standing in front of a display, contemplating the attached “Everything Orange Must Go” sign.]

Customer 1: “What’s wrong with orange?”

Me: “We’re celebrating the election.”

Customer 1: “I don’t get it.”

Me: “The very orange person currently holding office is no longer going to be president. To mark the occasion, we’ve put discounts on all of our orange merchandise.”

Customer 2: “He means Trump.”

Customer 1: “YES, I UNDERSTAND THE VERY BAD JOKE.”

And then he stormed out, muttering, “Y’all are gonna be upset [grumble grumble] second term [grumble grumble] voter fraud [grumble grumble] stop the steal [grumble grumble]…” with Customer 2 trailing meekly behind him.

Humor is always subjective, of course, but I submit that it if it sends a gay Republican into a fit of fuming rage, it is in fact a very good joke. And I, for one, am very proud of myself for coming up with it.

Demidaddy of Lies

[I’m wearing a heavily decorated denim vest, which includes a pink and orange devil pin that Dean gave me for my birthday. A customer meanders in, stares at me for a bit, then approaches the counter.]

Customer: “Are you a practitioner?”

Me: “Pardon?”

[He points at the pin.]

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I have so many names.

Me: “Oh! Gotcha. Yes, I am.”

Customer: “Me too!”

Me: “Cool!”

Customer: “Card-carrying?”

Me: “Um…”

[Inner Me: I mean, you’ve got ministerial credentials and a Pope card, but I feel like neither is the correct answer here.]

Me: “I am not.”

Customer: [disappointed] “Ah.”

Me: “Are… you card-carrying?”

Customer: “Yep! We just moved the temple into a new house downtown.”

Me: “…”

Anyway, that’s how I found out that the Satanic Temple has a Houston chapter.

There have been several times in the past where I’ve had to explain to someone that I’m not a Satanist, but — had the customer not suddenly left to take a phone call — this would’ve marked my first time explaining to a Satanist that I’m not a Satanist. It’s been awhile since my life has felt like a B-rated horror movie, though, so I’m looking forward to spooky tomfoolery when he turns back up with the rest of the temple in tow to recruit me.

Symbiotes, My Lord. Kumbaya.

[Despite the signs all over the damn place that state we can only have two customers in the store at any given time, a group of four people — including a straight woman wearing a purple unicorn horn — try to squeeze in at once.]

Me: “Hey, guys, I can only have two customers in here.”

Straight Woman: [pointing to the man next to her] “Oh, it’s fine. We’re married, so we count as one.”

Me: “That is not how this works.”

Straight Woman: [winning smile]

Me: “Two of you need to get out. Now.”

She huffed a bit at that, but realizing I would not be swayed, the group had a brief conference in the doorway (right next to the sign that says, “Please Don’t Block the Doorway”) and decided to take their business elsewhere.

I probably could’ve been a little nicer to them, but frankly, her unicorn horn was pissing me off ferociously.

That and, y’know, her attempt to use heterosexual privilege to override the rules in a gay bar, because her marriage is ever so much more authoritative than our piddling little sodomite health guidelines.

But mainly just that fucking horn.

I told Ben this story, and he was like, “You should’ve said, ‘You may be one in the eyes of God, but He doesn’t work here.” This is why Ben has a career in Hollywood, while I have a desk job.

Alice Doesn’t Sling Here Anymore

Customer: “I thought Black Hawk Leather closed, but someone just told me it reopened?”

Me: “The owner of Black Hawk retired four years ago. After that store closed, the Montrose Forge opened up in the same space.”

Customer: “So Black Hawk reopened.”

Me: “Black Hawk closed, but a new store opened in the same location. That new store is called the Montrose Forge. This is the Forge’s bar store. Our main store is in the building where Black Hawk used to be.”

Customer: “Let me put it this way. Around the corner from this bar, there is a house. If I were to walk into that [air quotes] ‘house,’ would I find a shop similar to this one?”

Me: “… Yes.”

Customer: “Okay, so like a sex store or something.”

Me: “Sure. Just like that.”

Customer: “Great! I’m going to go check it out.”

And he zipped away before I could give him the main store’s hours of operation.

I am 100% looking forward to his angry online review about the Black Hawk employee who misled him.

Opening in Circles

Customer: “Could I get a bottle of Double Scorpio, please?”

Me: “Sure. Which scent would you like?”

Customer: “Hmm. What do you recommend?”

Me: “I’d go with either the Amber or the Gold.”

Customer: “Okay, sounds good. I’ll take that one.”

Me: “Which one?”

Customer: “The one you recommend.”

Me: “So… would you like the Amber, or would you like the Gold?”

Customer: “Yes.”

It’s the returning sense of normalcy that I treasure the most.