I Don’t Know Is in Third

Customer: “I’d like some Scorpion, please.”

Me: “You mean Double Scorpio? Sure. Which one would you like?”

Customer: [looking over my shoulder to the Double Scorpio refrigerator on the counter behind me] “Hmmm… I’ll take the one in the third quadrant.”

Me: “Um… which one?”

Customer: “The one located in the third quadrant.”

Me: “There’s actually a display of all the solvents we carry just to your right, if you’d like to…”

Customer: [not looking to his right] “Third quadrant!”

Me: “If you could just look at the display and point…”

Customer: [pointing forcefully at the fridge] “It’s the one right there in the third quadrant! How do you not know where the third quadrant is?

Me: “What color is it?”

Customer: “SILVER. SILVER IN THE THIRD QUADRANT.”

[Defeated, I turn to look at the fridge. There are no silver bottles.]

Me: “Okay… I think the one you want is the Double Scorpio Black. The printing on the label is silver, but the lights reflecting off of it kind of make the whole bottle look silver.”

Customer: “NO. I WANT THE SILVER ONE IN THE…”

Me: “Third quadrant. Got it. But seriously, look.”

[I take a bottle of the Black out of the fridge and hold it up next to the same bottle on the display.]

Me: “See? Not silver.”

Customer: “BUT THAT OTHER BOTTLE IS…”

[Before he can finish, I swing around and grab a bottle of Double Scorpio Gold.]

Me: “Gold. The other bottle is gold. There are no silver Double Scorpio products.”

“… Oh. Well, then.”

I went home that night and did some research, and guess what: The Black and Gold bottles are actually in the second quadrant of the refrigerator.

So fuck that guy. I mean, we clearly both flunked high school geometry, but at least I’m honest about it.

You Never Even Call Me By Whatever Everybody’s Calling Me This Week

Customer: “Hey, Thomas.”

Me: “Hello.”

Customer: “Oh! Sorry. I mean, hey, Thumper.”

Me: “No apologies necessary. I pretty much answer to anything at this point.”

Customer: “Okay. Hey, asshole.”

Yeah, I kinda walked into that one. But I’ll add it to my tragically expanding list of Nicknames For All Occasions anyway.

That is… not how math works.

Customer: [pointing to a bottle of Rush] “May I see that yellow bottle, please?”

Me: “Sure.” [I hand him the bottle.]

Customer: “Hmm. No. This has a red top. I need the Rush with the black top.”

Me: “I’m afraid the only Rush we carry has a red top.”

Customer: “The Rush with the red top doesn’t work for me. I bought a bottle over at that sex store…” [waves hand vaguely to the Southwest]

Me: “Hollywood?”

Customer: “Yes! Hollywood. It was like water. I’m going to go back and demand a refund and throw it in their face!

Me: [speechless]

Customer: “Yeah, okay, I’m not going to do that. But I bought a yellow bottle with a black top at the bathhouse the other day, and it worked really well.”

Me: “Oh! That’s Pig Sweat. Yellow bottle, black top.”

Customer: “No. It was Rush.”

Me: “Well, like I said, we don’t carry Rush with a black top, but…”

Customer: “I need to invent little disposable, one-use solvents and sell them for like $8 each.”

Me: “That would certainly fill a niche.”

Customer: “I buy three bottles a week at least. It would be a lot more convenient to just have the little one-shots. Because I’m at the bathhouse every night, and I go through a lot of poppers.”

Me: “Solvents.”

Customer: “Solvents. Hundreds. There are hundreds of bottles around my house, just from this month alone!”

If he’s not exaggerating about how much he consumes in a week, there should really only be like twelve bottles around his house (minus however many he loses at the bathhouse). So if he’s seeing hundreds, then either he’s turning into a human fly, or his friends and family need to get about the business of staging the world’s first solvent intervention.

Unless the solvents are what’re turning him into a human fly, in which case his friends and family should just lock their windows and not leave any raw meat laying out.

Breakthrough Performance

[Our front counter, weakened from years of abuse, finally died the True Death when an extremely intoxicated and/or high as balls customer tripped and grabbed onto it for support, thus bringing it down to the floor with him. The following afternoon, the staff got together to rebuild and reinforce it.]

Rok: “Okay, I think we’re good. Thumper, pretend to be a customer, and we’ll see if it holds.”

Me: [slamming into the counter and flinging myself across it] “WHEEEEE, I’M DRUNK AND HAVE BOUNDARY ISSUES. POPPERS POPPERS POPPERS.”

Rok: “Wow. That was… actually pretty accurate.”

It held, by the way. We’re very proud of ourselves. Plus I’m probably going to win like a Daytime Emmy or something. About damn time, really.

I’m sorry too, but for different reasons.

[My Misfits brother Chris and I are brainstorming possible keynote speakers for GLUE Weekend 2021, when a customer walks in and stares at him.]

Customer: “Were you just smoking a cigar out on the patio?”

Chris. “Yes, I was.”

Customer: “Oh. Sorry.”

Chris: “…”

Customer: [to me] “Look, I don’t want to be mean…”

Me: “Then don’t?”

Customer: “… but could you fit me for a harness?”

Me: “Okay, not what I was expecting, but sure.”

Customer: “It’s just that some people who work at leather shops are new, and they don’t know how to fit harnesses. Are you new?”

Me: “I am decidedly not new.”

Customer: “Oh, good. I just don’t want to be mean. Thanks.” [to Chris] “And… sorry.”

[He takes a business card and leaves.]

While I’m a little concerned about the customer’s long, dark history with incompetent leather salespeople, I’m mainly just happy for Chris, who can now join the growing legion* of friends who have witnessed first hand the odd shit that happens here.

*I think the technical term is “support group,” but “legion” has a more satisfying, New Testament ring to it.

Circumvention

Customer: “Hello. I have a question for you.”

Me: “Sure. How can I help?”

Customer: [gesturing at his partner] “I want you to fit him for-”

Partner: “No.”

Customer: “I want you to fi-”

Partner: “No.”

Customer: “I want yo-”

Partner: “NONONONONONO.”

[He makes a break for it.]

Customer: “COME BACK HERE.”

[He slinks back in.]

Customer: “I want you to fit him for a cock ring.”

Partner: [shakes head furiously]

Me: “I mean, it seems like the question’s been answered for you…”

[Undeterred, he starts rifling through the leather rings.]

Partner: “Aaargh! I already have one of those, Marvin.

Customer: [dejectedly] “… Oh. Okay, then.”

At which point they left, and I was thankful. Because I have a master’s degree in reading between the lines, and what ol’ Marv was really saying was, “I want to watch you touch my husband’s junk against his will.” And that is far above the realm of my pay grade.

Passing on the Left Pocket

Customer: “OMYGOD, HANKIES! IT’S THE HANKY CODE!

Me: “… Yes. It is.”

Customer: [waving a navy blue hanky at me] “WHAT DOES THIS ONE MEAN?”

Me: “Navy blue stands for anal sex.”

Customer: “SO WHAT DO I DO WITH IT? WHERE DO I WEAR IT?”

Me: “Well, do you want to fuck or get fucked?”

Customer: “WHAT?![to the other customers in the shop] “DID YOU HEAR WHAT HE JUST SAID TO ME?!”

Me: “…”

Customer: “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU FUCKING SAID THAT! [squaring his shoulders and dropping his voice two octaves]Do YoU wAnT tO FuCk Or GeT fUcKeD?”

[He switches back to his normal speech and mannerisms.]

Customer: “WHY WOULD YOU ASK ME THAT?! DON’T FUCKING ASK IT LIKE THAT.”

Me: “Okay… are you a top or a bottom?”

Customer: “THANK YOU.”

[Exeunt, with Divers Alarums and Excursions]

There were a couple of thoughts running through my head as he flounced away, but more than anything, I just really appreciated his impersonation of me. He made me so butch, you guys! Shade really is the sincerest form of flattery.

And speaking of Things Manly, I’m heading out to that men’s retreat this afternoon. My sponsor (who’s attended several of these things) has assured me that it’ll be a rewarding experience, but my love of horror movies is working against me, and choice scenes from Sleepaway Camp and Borderland keep flashing before my eyes.

If you don’t hear from me tomorrow or Sunday, I’m probably just out in the woods, communing with nature and having a good time. But if I haven’t posted by Monday night, either here or on Twitter, assume I’m about to be sacrificed to the Old Ones and contact the Texas Rangers immediately.

The Texas Ranger Division of the Department of Public Safety, that is. Not the baseball team.

Actually, send either. The baseball players will have blunt weapons and decent aim.

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 FORGE, 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.