Not As I Do

[Conversations with Douglas cont’d.]

Me: “I feel like my recovery program is getting kind of stagnant.”

Douglas: “Are you sponsoring anyone right now?”

Me: “Not at the moment, no.”

Douglas: “Well, that might be something to think about. If you’re in a slump, working with another addict could pull you out of it.”

Me: “You know what? You’re right! I’m going to be a sponsor again.”

Douglas: “Awesome!”

Me: “BAM.”


Douglas hasn’t responded, but I’m pretty sure it’s because he’s so awestruck by my commitment to both literalism and the modern NeoPagan movement that he’s can’t form coherent words. Or else I finally pushed him over the edge, and he’s facedown on the floor of a roadhouse. Hard to say with that one.

I should probably call his sponsor.

The Broken Hearts Solidarity League

[A telephone conversation between myself and Douglas.]

Me: “Argh. My ex-boyfriend keeps liking everything I post on Facebook.”

Douglas: “Why don’t you just block him?”

Me: “Because I need access to his timeline in case he posts something about his new boyfriend, so that I can get irrationally upset about it.”

Douglas: “…”

Me: “…”

Douglas: “Yeah. That’s why I haven’t blocked him, either.”

I wish we were bonding over something a little less unapologetically neurotic, but it’s nice to be on the same page.

My Safeword is Director’s Cut

Customer: [looking around] “Is this, like, a dominatrix store?”

Carlisle: “Well, BDSM.”

Customer: “What does BDSM mean?”

Carlisle: “It’s short for bondage, domination, and sadomasochism.”

Customer: “Sadomasochism…?”

Me: “A sadist likes to inflict pain, and a masochist likes to experience pain.”

Customer: “Oh, okay! I just saw a movie about that. It was called 8MM.”

Carlisle: [petit mal spittake]

Me: “Um… that’s… actually about snuff films.”

Customer: “Oh. But it’s all sorta in the same category, right?”

Me: “… No.”

Customer: [nodding] “Fair enough. Fair enough.”

On the bright side, at least he was confused about a decent movie. I can handle a lot of shit, but I am not yet prepared to deal with anyone dazzled by the subtle complexities of 50 Shades Freed.

In His House at Ripcord Dead Marjorie Waits Dreaming

Customer: “So… I’ve been talking with one of your co-workers…”

Me: “Okay…”

Customer: “I told him that I want to learn more about [whispering] dark spirituality. And he suggested I speak with you.”

Me: [that sideways head thing dogs do when they’re confused]

Customer: “So maybe you and I could discuss [whispering] dark spirituality sometime?”

I’m not quite sure why he felt the need to whisper, considering he had no problem asking if we carried “alligator clips for tits” a couple of minutes before. Nor do I have any idea what he means by “dark spirituality,” although my guess is that he’s looking for an NC-17 interpretation of Wicca versus anything related to Jungian shadow work or Luciferianism.

Either way, I’ll be happy to share whatever knowledge I have with him, even if he’s going to come away disappointed when I don’t offer to initiate him into the Sordid Underworld of Ritualistic Naughtiness. And on the off chance he’s an actual, earnest seeker, I’ll of course do whatever I can to be of assistance.

But secretly, in the back of my brain, here’s how I hope things play out (click to embiggen):

Parody artwork created by Howard Hallis, who also designed a Tarot deck based on Beyond Valley of the Dolls. I’ve got a new God now.

The first rule of Mala Club is that we only talk about Mala Club with our fellow service providers

[Ed. Note: The following story takes place prior to me ordering a set of Self-Defense Buddha Beads, which, incidentally, arrived yesterday, and which also set off a manic desire for even more accessories that double as surprise armaments. Anyway, before I complete my transformation into a terribly fashion-forward weapons locker, let it be known that I have, in the past, utilized spiritual devices for their intended spiritual purposes, and not just to smack people around at kink awareness seminars. With that understood…]

Hindustani Convenience Store Clerk: “Hello! How are you today?”

Me: “Doing well, thanks!” [I place my purchases on the counter and notice a strand of prayer beads wrapped around his wrist.] “And hey, I like your mala.”

HCSC: “What?!” [suspiciously] “How do you know what a mala is?”

Me: “Because I have one, too.”

HCSC: “Did you get it as a souvenir somewhere?”

[Inner Me: He thinks you’re appropriating his culture. Nice going, colonizer.]

Me: “I… found it at a curio shop over near the Galleria.”

HCSC: “Okay… but why do you have one?”

Me: “Well, sometimes I use it to meditate, and sometimes I use it to pray to Ganesha.”

HCSC: “You pray to Ganesha.”

Me: “I do.”

[uncomfortably long silence]

HCSC: “Pray to Him on Tuesdays. He likes milk and fresh fruit as offerings.”

Me: “Noted.”

In related news, I seem to have wandered a wee bit too far down the personal protection rabbit hole: What started as, “Neat! This pendant can be used to break a window in case of emergency,” has become, “Interesting! I did not expect the Smith & Wesson heat-treated baton to receive better performance reviews than the ASP Agent-40 series, although the United Cutlery Night Watchman is really a bargain, considering the comparable construction.” This might be a good time to check in with Ganesha and ask Him for clarity as I weigh out my options, or maybe see if He’d be willing to disable my credit cards until I confirm that I’m caught up on bills.

ETA: All bills paid. And I’m going with the Smith & Wesson, because I’m from Texas, and that’s how things are done around here. Ohm Shree Ganesh, y’all.

Double Entendre, Pursued by a Bear

Day Job Co-Worker: “Can you come to the kitchen for a minute? The Sparkletts guy just brought us a new water cooler, and he wants to show someone how to refill it.”

Me: “Okay.”

DJCW: “It’s a bottom loader.”

Me: [dies laughing]

Heavily Tattooed, Musclebound Sparkletts Guy: “Hey there.”

Me: “…”

And then he showed me how to refill the water cooler and left. Thanks for the unrealistic expectations, Adult Entertainment Industry.

Exchange of Fools

Customer: “Hi. I just bought this BDSM starter kit, but the collar is too small for my neck.”

Me: “You know, the collars in those kits are all the same size, so I’m afraid there aren’t any larger ones available.”

Customer: “Well, can I switch it out for a different item?”

Me: “Since it’s part of a kit, I’m not able to exchange it on its own. But you could run by our main store tomorrow and see if they can add an extender for you.”

Customer: “I already tried that. They said no.”

Me: “You… just now went over there?”

Customer: “Yeah. I know the owner. He said he couldn’t do it. Can’t I just exchange it?”

Me: “You know Rok and Tank?”

Customer: “Who?”

Me: “I ask, because the main store is open Monday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., and it’s currently 8 p.m. on a Sunday.”

Customer: “… Oh.”

Me: “So maybe you can drop by there tomorrow?”

Customer: [weakly] “Yes, please.”

Thing is, nobody’s tried the “I know the owner” trick on me in ages. If more customers don’t start lying to my face, my natural cynicism is going to atrophy, and since it’s the only thing that keeps me going, I’ll waste away and won’t even be able to bathe or feed myself, much less work in retail.

Someone send over a bevy of sociopaths ASAP. I’ll stay open late for them and draw renewed strength from their woefully overconfident attempts at manipulation.

I Should’ve Trusted My Instincts and Bribed Him with Burnt Offerings

[Rok and I have opened the bar store early in preparation for LUEY Weekend. We’re bustling about when a customer slinks in, places his elbows on the counter, rests his chin on his hands and regards us dolefully.]

Me: “Hello!”

Rok: “Welcome!”

Customer: [limpid gaze]

Me: “…”

Rok: “…”

Customer: “Do you have a large?”

Me: “…”

Rok: “…”

Customer: [limpid gaze]

Me and Rok: [in unison] “A LARGE WHAT?!”

Customer: “Shirt.”

Not a specific T-shirt or leather tunic, mind you: just… y’know… “shirt” as an archetype. Rok can normally keep himself composed when facing even our most abrasive customers, but I honestly kind of thought he was going to punch the guy.

Okay, I kind of hoped he was going to punch the guy.

Fine, I prayed for him to punch the guy. But he never did.

Conclusion: Rok is abysmal at answering prayers. I will be taking my future requests for prompt succor elsewhere.

Today, matching earrings. Tomorrow, the WORLD.

I walked into work a few minutes ago, and Tank (Rok’s partner; our other owner) handed me a package that had been delivered to the Forge but addressed to “Marjorie Thomas.”

Remember when I had that meltdown and refused to be GLUE Weekend run captain without a tiara? Well, I legitimately have no clue who sent it, but I owe one of you monsters a whole mess of tacos.