The Human Chandelier. It’s like the Human Centipede, except classier.

[A customer enters with a conservatively dressed, older woman. I quickly realize that she’s his mother, and that he’s brought her into the shop for the sole purpose of shocking and appalling her.]

Mother: [pointing at a pair of handcuffs] “Are those handcuffs? Real handcuffs?”

Customer: “Yes, they are.”

Mother: *gasp* “Like the police have?!”

Customer: [chuckling]

Mother: “You know, my friend Jeannette’s son is into swinging.”

Customer: [suddenly speechless]

Mother: “He and a friend get together and swing from the ceiling.”

Customer: “You mean… suspension?”

Mother: “Yes! Suspension. They ‘suspend’ from rings. He’s got tattoos all over, too. Including his face. I don’t know how he’ll ever get a job, but I’m not gonna judge him.”

I’m normally not real patient with tourists, but in this case, I hope he brings her back. Primarily because she seems like my kind of people, but also because I need her to tell Jeannette’s son that I’m totally willing to give him my Friday night shifts.

It’s Raining Cognomen (Hallelujah)

Customer: “What’s your name?”

Me: “Thumper.”

Customer: “Thumper?

Me: “Yeah. It’s a nickname.”

Customer: “Ooh, you’re a bunny rabbit! Can I call you Bunny?”

[Inner Me: Tell him you’d really prefer he not.]

Me: “I guess?”

[Inner Me: This is why we can’t have nice things.]

Customer: “I have a nickname, too.”

Me: “Oh? What is it?”

Customer: “Dirty Little Cum Whore.”

Me: “Wow. It… must be really hard for you to find novelty license plates in souvenir shops.”

Customer: “But my other nickname is Zinfindel. Want to know why?”

[Inner Me: Because he’s fermented?]

Me: [giggles uncontrollably]

Customer: “…?”

Me: “Um, why?”

Customer: “I’ve always wanted to be a redhead, so the first time I did drag, I decided to wear a red wig. Except I couldn’t find one, so I bought a cheap blonde wig and tried to dye it red. It came out the color of white zinfindel, so that’s what everyone calls me.”

Me: “Well, my other nickname is Marjorie. But it’s more of a middle nickname.”

Customer: “A… middle nickname?”

Me: “THUMPER MARJORIE BLANTON, GET BACK HERE THIS INSTANT.”

Customer: “Oh. Okay. Yes. That works.”

Coincidence about nicknames: I’m going on a New Warrior Training Adventure this weekend, where, among other things, I’ll be expected to adopt an animal name. I’m sure it’ll be fine and make sense in context, but at the moment, all I can think about is this white guy I met years ago at a Radical Faerie campout, who was like, “Hi! I’m Steve, but my Indian name is Running Tiger!” And I was like, “Hi, Steve! That’s a lot of wrong on a lot of levels!”

Here’s hoping the retreat won’t turn out to be a big gaggle of Steves. And that I don’t choke during the Naming Ceremony and introduce myself as Bunny. Any candles lit for either of the above will be greatly appreciated.

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.”

Customer: “THE HANKY CODE IS DEAD.”

[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.