Gutter Balls

NP-UnionSuit2017.gifCustomer: “Ooh, you have union suits!”

Me: “Aren’t they cool? We just got them in.”

Customer: “I love a man in a union suit.”

Me: “Well, the Misfits are hosting our annual Union Suit Night on December 16. You should definitely check it out.”

Customer: “Who are the Misfits?”

Me: “We’re a local social and service club, and we bartend at Ripcord once a month to fundraise for our beneficiaries.”

Customer: “How fun! You know, my husband and I just moved to Houston, and we’ve been looking for ways to get involved in the community. He’s really into bowling, and I enjoy group sex.”

Me: “Okay…”

Customer: “Yeah, we’re going to like it here. So… think you could model one of those union suits for me?”

A quick memo to future Forge patrons: If you ask me to model something for you, and I say no, asking me seven more times will actually not magically cause me to cave. In fact, I will be strangely less agreeable about it than the first time you asked. That said, and owning there’s nothing new under the sun, I do hope he and his husband find a nice, welcoming, polyamorous bowling league, because the couple that plays together stays together. And I also hope that he never, ever comes back into the store to tell me about it.

Deep Down Under

Customer: “Hi, I have a question.”

Me: “Yes?”

Customer: “What colonoscopy caps do you carry?”

Me: “Pardon me?”

Customer: “What colonoscopy caps do you carry?”

Me: “Um… I’m sorry, could you repeat that?”

Customer: “I want to know what colonoscopy caps you carry.”

Me: “I… I don’t think we carry colonoscopy caps.”

Customer: “Argh, no!” [through clenched teeth and what I suddenly realize is an Australian accent] “What. Color. Nasty. Pig. Caps. Do. You. Carry?”

The lesson here is that proper enunciation is critically important during international travel. Hit those consonants, people.

PS: We were out of the color he wanted (which thank Zeus and Jesus wasn’t brown).

Marjorie in the Mist

Me: “May I help you?”

Customer: [languidly] “Zipper…?”

Me: “We do. Are you looking for pants or briefs?”

Customer: [staring off into space] “Bottom…”

Me: “Yes, but only in a neoprene singlet.”

Customer: [possibly astroplaning] “Gah…?”

Me: “Right this way!”

And you know what’s funny? Until that moment, I didn’t even know I was fluent in Vacant Gay Barfly.

The benefits of cultural immersion can really sneak up on you.

We may never know what happened to that barback.

My friend Orin has loyally followed me through any number of my online writing endeavors (both successful and abandoned), and he never fails to entertain me with his running commentary. He recently messaged me some thoughts on Marjorie’s Forgeries, and while reading them I realized that a) he remains as hilarious as he is adorable, and b) damn, you guys, the boy pays attention.

Here’s an excerpt from his latest missive:

I’m learning a lot from your online training program. (No, we don’t sell poppers; cockrings are on the endcap; largest lube is 16 oz; we only have that shirt in medium; the fitting room is right behind this curtain… but be careful, because a barback went in there once to try something on and may not have ever come out; closing the fitting room curtain requires a feisty flick of the wrist; only stuffed animals are allowed to have sex in the store; inventory requires counting a bajillion hankies.)

At this rate, I think I should be ready to help run the seasonal booth at the mall come Christmas time. (No, you may not try on the assless leather pants just so you can sit on Mall Santa’s lap and have your picture taken.) See? I’m ready.

I really should fly him in to interview for a holiday help position. I’ll bet he’d look delectable as a leather elf.

Chin Up, Young Leatherperson

Customer: *gasp* “You’re not wearing leather!”

Me: “Well, I’m not wearing a ton of leather, but I’ve got on wristbands and boots. Plus I brought a leather jacket with me.”

Customer: “I am very disappointed. I’m a leatherman, and this is supposed to be Houston’s leather bar, but there’s hardly anyone here, and no one is wearing leather! And it’s the perfect weather for wearing leather!”

Me: “It’s also 9 p.m. on the Saturday before Halloween. Everyone’s either at the big costume party at Rich’s, or one of the annual block parties. It’ll pick up later in the evening.”

Customer: “You know, I bought the kilt I’m wearing here.”

Me: “It’s a great kilt.”

Customer: “It’s not made correctly.”

Me: “It’s not?”

“No. It should wrap all the way around and button on the sides, not in the front.”

Me: “Ah. I see.”

Customer: “Oh, and I went by your main store this afternoon. Why don’t they keep any softer leather in stock?”

[Ed. Note: I pulled a double shift this particular day and was working in the main store when he came in. He complained that all the leather shirts were too small.]

Me: “We’ve got softer leather on order. It’ll be in soon.”

[Ed. Note: Pants on fire.]

Customer: [picking up a pocket flag] “What is this… a power symbol? Like, power top/power bottom?” [gesturing to all the hankies with a sigh] “I don’t understand all these colors. I’m just a leather guy.”

An hour later, my buddy Enzo came in and was all, “Um, some dude on the patio is thanking Carlisle for wearing leather.”

Me: “Is the dude wearing a kilt?”

Enzo: “Actually, yeah, he is.”

Me: “But it doesn’t fit correctly.”

Enzo: “How did you know that?!

I really should’ve smiled mysteriously and responded with something like, “The veil between worlds is thin when All Hallow’s Eve is at hand.” Instead I just told him that the guy had been in the store earlier, but it was extremely validating to have someone else interact with one of my customers and come away from the experience like, “the fuck just happened?” At least now I’ve got a character witness.

Bonnie Tyler Owes Me Serenity

In recovery, we are sometimes encouraged to “remember our last drunk.” While this sounds dangerously nostalgic on paper, in practice it’s a technique to combat those occasional thoughts of “I could have just one,” “I’ll be able to control it this time,” etc. After all, how better to convince ourselves not to drink than to think about whatever gutter incident made us realize how alcoholic we actually were?

I personally do not remember my last drunk, on account of I was asleep for most of it. However, after tonight, I have a new memory to work with in its place. If I ever catch myself thinking it’s okay to have a drink, all I’ll have to do is conjure up visions of being trapped in a leather shop and listening against my will to a barful of sloshed gay men belting “Total Eclipse of the Heart” at the tops of their lungs.

If that shit doesn’t keep me sober, nothing will.

The Royal, Wooden Sceptre of the Notary of the Realm

So a couple of weeks ago, I was telling Carlisle about the time I spanked a customer while making bad notary jokes, at which point he unwittingly uttered a comment that revolutionized my entire existence.

Carlisle: “You know what would be funny? If you had a paddle with a notary seal on it.”

Me: [awed silence]

Carlisle: “Uh-oh.”

Me: “You are a goddamn genius.”

Carlisle: “Thanks, I think?”

Me: “There’s got to be someone out there who could make that happen.”

Carlisle: “Well, if it does happen, you should notarize me first.”

Me: “Deal.”

[two weeks later]


Carlisle: “What?”


I’m calling it the Notarizer. Or possibly Mjölnir.

Carlisle: “…”


Carlisle: “Where the hell did you find this?”

Me: “I ordered it from a shop on Etsy called L.V.X. Supply & Co. They specialize in occult and esoteric BDSM products. I am so damn happy right now.”

Carlisle: “Understandably.”

Me: “So, all set for your notarization?”

Carlisle: “Um… perhaps?”

It turns out that Carlisle had never been spanked before, and also that he didn’t think I’d go through with having the paddle made in the first place (he hasn’t known me that long). But I bribed him with the promise of top-shelf tequila, so he came into the store last night and begrudgingly dropped trou.

Me: “Ready?”

Carlisle: [bent over the front counter with his jeans around his ankles] “No.”

Me: “Great!”

[insert the most satisfying whack in the history of impact play here]

I immediately fell to my knees and stared at his ass like I was waiting for a Polaroid picture to develop, while Carlisle put some quality time into reassessing our friendship. And then…

Carlisle's Stamp
Identity verified. Please don’t sue me, Texas.

To sum up, I have never regretted an online purchase less in my life, and Carlisle has learned an important lesson about encouraging me to follow my dreams.


PS: While searching for customizable paddles, I also came across an Etsy shop called (wait for it) Deadhorse. Shut up and take my money, you marketing savants.