American Horror Story: Day Drinkers

The Forge’s main store recently received a restorative coat of paint. While certainly not to everyone’s taste, I appreciate spending my afternoon in a building that could pass for a satanic temple and/or murder house.

It would be best not to ask what we keep under the porch.

Although a customer just walked in and looked around in confusion and was like, “Oh. I… thought this was a bar.” So, y’know, I guess we pass for a speakeasy too. I’m cool with that.

Where in the World is Caber Sandiego?

Customer: “Do you carry metal paddles?”

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.]

Me: “…”

Customer: “Everything okay?”

Me: “Hmm? Oh. Yes.” [I point to the man about to get spanked.] “It’s just that I know that guy.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “Yeah.”

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.

Gag Me with a Lead Balloon

[A straight girl and her gay male friend enter the store. He goes to look at the cock rings, and she strides purposefully to the counter.]

Straight Girl: “Do you have any gags?”

Me: “No.”

Straight Girl: “No?”

Me: “No.”

Straight Girl: [eye roll]

[She leaves the counter and hastens over to her friend to give him a full report.]

Straight Girl: “Did you hear what I asked? I asked him if they had any gags, and he said no.”

[She giggles at her naughtiness. He seems unmoved.]

Straight Girl: “I should work here.”

Gay Friend: [to me] “Excuse me, but what is this?”

Me: “That’s a parachute ball-stretcher. The leather strap snaps around the top of the scrotum…”

[They both flinch.]

Me: “… and once it’s secured around the scrotum, you can hang weights off of the ring at the end of the chains under the scrotum, which will pull on the scrotum, creating a stretching sensation.”

Them: “…”

Me: “In the scrotum.”

Gay Friend: “Do you sell the weights?”

Me: “We do not.”

Straight Girl: “Why not?!

Me: “There aren’t weights made specifically for an accessory like this. You can really just hang anything you want off of it.”

Straight Girl: “Like a cat.”

Me: “…”

Gay Friend: “…”

Straight Girl: “Okay, yeah, that was fucked up.”

And that right there is why she should never, ever work here. I do not need any more dead cats in my life.

Flowers for Al-Anon

[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?”

Customer: “…”

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.”

Truth in advertising is hard, you guys.

Left Holding the Heads

[Carlisle has come by to keep me company on a slow evening, and since it’s near freezing outside, he’s dressed head-to-toe in leather. Without warning, a mildly hysterical customer bursts into the store.]

Customer: [pointing at Carlisle] “OH, MY GOD. I thought you were a mannequin, but then you moved and scared the shit out of me!”

[A friend of said customer suddenly bursts in right behind him, brandishing a black, plastic shopping bag.]


Customer/Chad: “NO. YOU FUCKING HOLD IT.”

Customers Friend: “FUCK YOU.”

I honestly thought they were going to come to blows, but instead they just glared at each other and stormed back into the bar. So that was kind of a let-down, although it did inspire Carlisle to create a self-portrait via a photo editing app and the styrofoam head we use to display garrison caps:

Oh, don’t mind me. I’m just here to eat your fucking soul, Chad.

As a side note, I watched Hereditary last night, and halfway through the movie, a precariously-balanced bottle of melatonin slid off my coffee table, and I was like, “Huh. It’s ironic that melatonin is the reason I’ll never sleep again.” But I only bring this up as comparison, because the thought of a demon ghost child somehow escaping my television in order to knock shit around my living room creeped me out nowhere nearly as badly as the above picture does. I may print it out and tape it to the front side of the counter (where I won’t actually have to see it) and add, “Don’t forget, kids: Carlisle is watching,” as a shoplifting deterrent. It’ll be like the Elf on the Shelf, except everyone will be too unnerved to make memes out of it.

Well, I mean, Robert will make memes out of it. But everyone else will just avert their eyes and follow the damn rules.

PS: I told Ben about the melatonin poltergeist, and he was like, “This is the kind of thing that would only happen to you,” which makes me feel vaguely insulted but also totally validated. And like I might need and old priest and a young priest.

And by that, I mean I am “deeply skeptical” about his “alleged sexual orientation.” Thank God for air quotes.

Customer: [arms spread wide] “You took care of me.”

Me: “I did?”

Customer: “Yes! I bought all the leather I’m wearing at your main store.”

Me: “Ah, I see. Great! I’m glad we could help.”

Customer: “So, what do you have that’s new?”

Me: “When were you last here?”

Customer: “Yesterday, when I bought all the leather.”

Me: “Okay… well, we did just get some interesting nipple clamps in…”

Customer: [noticing the Double Scorpio solvents] “Are these… you know, nasal?”

Me: [subtle but affirmative head movement]

Customer: “How much are they?”

Me: “Those are $19.99.”

Customer: “What?! That’s way too much! For $20, I could get a baggie of something a lot more fun to sniff.”

Me: “We… we don’t sell that here.”

Customer: [smiles crookedly and wanders into the bar]

Rok dropped by a little later in the evening, and when I told him about this customer, he was like, “Yeah, I’m the one who sold him all that leather. Apparently, he’s ‘straight,’ but this one time he put on a harness and invited some girls over, and at first, they ‘didn’t get it,’ but by the end of the night, ‘Oh, they got it.'”

Personally, I fall squarely into the “still doesn’t get it” camp, but I guess it’s not really my place to tell someone they’re doing straight wrong. And hey, at least his story was about a harness, versus, say, Maximum Impact. I like it when Forge employees just have to smile and nod instead of call the cops.

Garnish the Bluff

Bartender: [to a grabby customer] “DO NOT TOUCH MY HAT. I would rather have a man SHOVE AN OLIVE UP MY ASS than touch my hat.” [then, to me] “What can I get you, baby?”

Me: “Oh, I just need an olive.”

Bartender: “…”

And he didn’t even offer to let me touch his hat. I feel mildly cheated and also wish I wasn’t craving tapenade right now.

The Queer Duck Says [Sad Trombone]

[A handsome, bearded customer enters the store. While his mannerisms are masculine, he’s wearing long, dangly earrings and glitter nail polish, and he’s carrying a tasteful, silk clutch. Immediately, Inner Me is like, “Non-binary! Genderqueer! Role model! Mentor! Instruct me in your liminal ways, Ascended One!”]

Me: “Hello! How can I help you tonight?”


Alrighty, then. Not quite the spiritual advisement I was looking for. I think I’m just going to go back to quietly venerating Tilda Swinton.

Keep the Turn in Saturnalia

Customer: “This place needs to be more festive!”

Me: “I’ll touch base with management, but I’m sure they have plans to decorate.”

Customer: “There’s a lot of red in here, which is good, but you also need, like, a dildo with antlers.”

Me: “Of course we do.”

Customer: “You could contact a company in Japan and have it made cheaply.”

Me: “That would be one option, I guess.”

Customer: “Or get one of those big, inflatable ones.”

Me: “A… big, inflatable dildo?”

Customer: “Yeah, you know. Like in ancient Greece?”

Me: “Oh. Yes. Those.”

Customer: “Saw the horns off of something, glue ’em on, BAM. Christmas!”

It’s heartening to know I’m not the only one with plans to worship the generative force in nature this holiday season. The conceptual design is a bit ambitious for the Forge’s limited space, but man, if I had a front yard and lived in a conservative HOA, this would be the best Christmas ever.