I noticed her as soon as she entered the store. Sex on two legs. A real burner. Very high-class. Heels, black stockings, short skirt, tight turtle, and a mink coat. That, and the gold jewelry, told me she was take-no-prisoners Park Avenue mercenary. She had the looks and the body that easily molded men to her will. Her whim was your command. She was a destroyer. She would eat you alive, and you were going to eagerly pay for the privilege. With fat chunks of your soul.
She started towards me. Oh shit.
It was my first night working at The Pink Pussycat Boutique sex shop, and this sexual villainess was going to be my first customer. Please help me, God.
She put a box on the counter in front of me. It was a vibrator. The box said it was called “The Orgasmatron,” and from the looks of the way it was repacked, it had been used.
I tranced for a second or three trying to take this situation in. She began talking.
“I’d like to return this and exchange it for a new one,” she said.
“Wha-wha why?…I mean, what is the matter of the problem, of the item, of what’s wrong…with it?”
“It burned out on me the first time I used it.” She was very matter of fact.
The room started to spin. Holy holy! Am I really hearing this? She was totally serious, and so openly acknowledging that her wantonness had burned-out a vibrator. Not just any battery tube job, but an actual AC plug-in, drug store quality body buzzer. You know the kind, sold as a “massager” that “relieves sore muscles.” It was The Orgasmatron, the only vibrator we sold with a satisfaction guarantee. And, this woman was clearly not satisfied.
She is a destroyer, I thought, and not just of men, but machines as well.
She wore out the best one we sold. What chance would a mere mortal have? She probably needs something with a water-cooled two-stroke engine. Now I was having a full-on dizzy spell. The blood seemed to have rushed from my brain, to somewhere else. Who knows? But this was all too much for me.
Here’s my first customer and it’s some smoking hot tigress returning a used sex toy that she “burned out” the first time she “used it.” The victim was laying dead on the counter in front of me. Is this really happening? How does stuff like this happen to me? Why does weird always seem to hunt me down?
I looked at her, then the broken vibrator. I knew I needed to be professional, and that I wasn’t supposed to picture what that whole episode must have been like. But I have a very good imagination. Too good sometimes. And, it’s resistant to any kind of restraint. Tell me not to picture the Burning of Rome, and now that’s all I can picture.
But this wasn’t the Burning of Rome. This was the torching of The Orgasmatron.
Steady old boy. Get a grip. Literally, grip the fucking counter and don’t fall over. I looked back up at her. My throat was too dry to talk. I finally managed a croak.
“I don’t know if I can do this. I need to get my manager.”
She crossed her arms and gave me a cold stare. I went to find Ray.
I got the job during one of my wandering job hunts that winter. I would put on a suit and tie and walk around Manhattan looking for help wanted signs. I would act like I was just passing by, saw the sign, and decided to pop in. I budgeted two dollars a day during these forays. It was a dollar for the subway from Queens. If I jumped the turnstile going into the city, I could have a slice of pizza that day. If I chickened-out, I usually still wound up having the slice of pizza, then had to jump the gate to get back to Queens. Those were great days.
I was freezing my ass off wandering around in The Village when I saw the little neon orange sign. It was in the window of a sex shop I had been in with an old friend, Pat Decker, years before. I was visiting the city and we met up and walked around. She took me inside this very place.
It was different from the Times Square sleaze shops that catered to the furtive raincoat crowd. This was a hip modern place, the clientele varying from NYU students out for a laugh, to couples looking to spice up their hump life, to wide-eyed tourists from Oklahoma. Earl no doubt making mental notes for the dungeon basement project back home.
It somehow didn’t seem so sleazy, so dirty. I mean it was still alright, but different. They played rock music and the place was wildly decorated. Most of the sales clerks were tasty little trollops decked out in full ’80’s So Not Like a Virgin attire. The place was upbeat. The vibe was playful. (Pun not intended)
Anyway, it didn’t seem like too bad a place to work. Sure your still doing retail, but at least here, while your selling some woman edible underwear, it was going to be easier to start up an interesting conversation.
Besides, it was bound to be weird, and if there was one thing I was always on the look-out for, it was weird.
I got an application, bullshitted it out, right there in the store, and gave it back to them. The manager said they’d call me. I jumped the turnstile like Jesse Owens back to Queens, and then celebrated with four 40 oz bottles of malt liquor on an empty stomach. You have to stay positive.
They did call a few days later to come in for the interview. This time I had to jump over down and back. No pizza either. My portfolio was getting thin. I needed this job and did my best to make a good impression. I ironed my shirt using the side of a hot toaster and even skipped my morning beer. Success requires sacrifice sometimes.
I got there on time. A woman took me to a back office. They had already done a little homework and actually called all the friends and family I had listed as previous employers. Most had been forewarned, except my mom, who later told me about the call. At first she didn’t know what the fuck they were asking about, but she sussed it out pretty quick and played along.
“Yes, he is a very good boy…as an employee. What is this job for?”
“The Pink Pussycat Boutique Sex Shop.”
“Oh, I see.”
Yeah, that was awesome. As far as I know, no one has ever called my references before or since. It made sense that this place would be the only one, and that it would be to my mom.
I got the job and was told to show up that night at 8pm. The shift was until 2am. Okay, that was my prime drinking time. What about a day shift? No? Just this or nothing. Without this job there would be no drinking time anyway, the eating time had already fallen by the wayside. So once more over the turnstile that night.
I showed up in dress slacks, and a freshly toastered shirt and tie. The manager came up to me right away to tell me he had a problem. The small, stud earring I had in was too much. I thought he was kidding. “It’s unacceptable,” he said. As I took it out, I looked down in the sales case and saw a butt-plug that you pump up to expand. “Yeah, can’t risk offending the customers,” I said, and put the earring in my shirt pocket.
He told one of the bimbos working that night to train me. This one was a piece of work. A masterpiece of unbridled harlotry. Almost, and I emphasize almost, too much. Leather hip boots, torn fishnets, a hairband for a skirt, bare navel, black lace bra with matching sheer lacy vest, a silver crucifix hanging sacrilegiously in her ample cleavage, both wrists covered to the elbows with silver bracelets and bangles…and…lots of stud earrings, in both ears and one nostril. Hey, what the fuck?
She showed me the register, and how to process credit card transactions. I tried to pay attention and not stare at The Son of God hanging on the Cross. And when I did, tried only to think about Him and what He went through.
Then she took me around the store and gave me a run down on the inventory. Besides all the basic vibrators, dildos, blow-up dolls, glow-in-the-dark condoms, dong thongs, furry handcuffs, glitter penis paint, steel spiked leather panties, cinnamon-flavored butt butter and expandable ass corks, there was some weird stuff, too.
“What the fuck is that?” I asked.
“Ball Parachute,” she said. She took it out of the case and handed it to me. It was a small leather poncho that snapped around the scrotum. It had clips to which you would attach the deep-sea fishing weights that were sold separately. According to the package illustration, this was “to stretch, stretch, streeeeeetch your balls!” There was a drawing of a person’s balls hanging down to his knees. Okay, too weird. Really this time. Too. And not the good kind.
“Well that’s handy,” I said, “Now you don’t have to improvise with fishing line and a cinder block.”
She just nodded. This job is going to be seriously weird. I hoped I could rise to the challenge.
Now, I was seeing spots and trying to put one foot in front of the other to walk over to Ray. I told him about the sexy rich lady breaking her Orgasmatron. He sighed and came over.
“So what’s the problem?” he asked blandly. She explained again. Burned out. First time. Used it. Not in enough detail, but Ray got the gist.
“How long did you use it for?”
Can NOT believe he asked her. Right on, Ray. Good fact-finding for the final report.
“I don’t know!” She was irritated. “Forty-five minutes or so.”
My knees buckled a bit.
“Lady, that’s too long!” he says, “These things got small motors. They’re gonna burn-up if you use ’em that long.” Ray was all business. Just telling her like it is. Telling her what the deal is with these masturbation machines and their motors. Not a hint of prurient excitement in his voice.
Meanwhile, she had her arms crossed and was looking up at the ceiling. She didn’t want to hear any of his bullshit excuses. I was reaching weird overload, but not exactly running for safety. I did some math.
Let’s see…45 minutes of Orgasmatron time = an estimated 3.5 actual man hours of banging, and that’s no time off for whiz and smoke breaks. That’s almost a Gone With the Wind’s worth of sustained, focused, hammer time. I once managed to keep it going through Clapton’s 461 Ocean Boulevard twice over, but that, at let’s say, 20 minutes per album side, an hour and 20 minutes, was still way short of getting someone like her to the summit. Hell, that’s barely out of base camp. Could it even be done? I was getting all Sir Edmund Hillary.
“I have an idea,” I found myself interjecting, “What if you bought a second one and switched off? You could be letting one cool off while the other one was working.”
It seemed like a common sense solution to me, and an up-sell to boot, but they both looked at me like I was the most depraved sick-fuck pervert they’d ever seen. I didn’t get it. It was the stud earring thing again. How am I the one that’s totally out-of-bounds? Especially with everything going on around me.
“Can I please just get another one so I can get out of here!”
“Go get her another one,” Ray said, “and put this in the back.” He handed me the box with the dead Orgasmatron. I went to the back room and set it down on a shelf. Good-bye, brave soldier. I picked up a new box. “You have no idea what you’re in for,” I told it, and brought it out to The Sexecutioner. I gave her the box.
What do you say? Enjoy? Good luck? Let me know how this one does? I settled for “Here it is.” She grabbed it, spun on her spiked heel and was heading for the door before I could write down my phone number. As she was leaving, I could see she was wearing the stockings with the line up the back. I winced. Of course she would be. Just to drive it all in a little harder.
I felt very weird. Almost too.
After that whole scene, dealing with the rest of the customers was easy. I confidently sold a short-haired German hausfrau tourist a strap-on with a very large attachment. How can I describe the size? (And this is not hyperbole, this is an accurate size estimate) One of the largest Summer Sausage Beef Sticks Hickory Farms sells.
Man oh man. Someone was going to wind up on the receiving end of that thing, and it wasn’t a sexy thought. When you start doing crazy shit like that, it’s gone from a little spicy fun to just trying to get into the Guinness Book of Records.
One lady came up to me, again a normal housewife type, and told me she wanted to buy her husband a cock ring, but she didn’t know what size to get? So she’s asking me? I said, “Well I sure don’t know either, but I suggest getting the very smallest, that way if it doesn’t fit, he’ll feel really proud.” She thought that was a great idea, and bought a wedding ring sized one. Bang. Making sales. Getting the hang of this shit.
Sold some edible underwear to some chubby Puerto Rican Girls. A breast milk pump to an Asian business man. A ball parachute to a couple of mustachioed motorcycle enthusiasts, who bought extra fishing weights. No doubt trying to set some sort of world record.
I talked a lady out of trying to send a vibrating fake vagina contraption to her soldier husband overseas. “Someone will find it, and he’ll never live it down,” I told her, “They’ll give him a bad nickname. He can go at it the old-fashioned way and be alright.” Just looking out for the troops.
I sold a dildo to a couple that looked like some friends of my parents. Size 14 stilettos to a burly construction worker.
I also sold a Orgasmatron to a couple of lipstick lesbians. Get this. They asked me if they could get a penis attachment for it. I ask Ray and he pointed to one. Sold separately. I rang up The ‘Tron and sold separately penis attachment, and didn’t say the thirty or forty smart-ass remarks that were going through my head. Being very professional.
Body paints to them, and some butt beads to her. Latex hot pants for him, and a whip for his wife. I was racking up the sales, but it was all taking a toll. I was awash in crazy images.
The subway got me home at 3:30 that morning. I was poisoned to the gills with weird. I woke up my girlfriend.
“I need you to help me out a little.”
“How was work?” she asked, rubbing her eyes.
“I’ll show you.”
I was done before you could finish playing “Motherless Children.”
Afterwards I sat up drinking a beer. “I think I need to put in my notice,” I told her, “This gig is going to make me too weird…and getting home this late sucks ass too.”
“We’ll manage,” she said, and rolled over to sleep. I sat up for a while drinking a beer, thinking about all the crazy shit that was probably going on right then in the city. It boggles the mind. And really, who am I to judge any of it? It sure makes it an interesting world. I got up to get another beer. I snapped the cap, tilted the bottle and opened my throat. To weird!
I think I would have fainted about 20 times a day.
You would not have. You’re a brave girl. You would’ve been slanging latex dong left and right in no time. The register just a ringin’! “There’s a girl, Sue Bob, make that bonus!” Management would be saying. Hell, if you could cashier the Oxnard crowd at Mann, you could handle anything. And while making that polyester pantsuit look so fine, too.
Your description of their reaction to your suggestion of having an alternate Orgasmatron had me howling. Good Job as usual. Thanks!
No thank you, Tony. Yeah, this one from the Strange But True department. Those write themselves. Sexy topic lends itself too. Anyway, that makes number 40. Should I take a break? Or will I lose the connection? Sage me, dude. Not like smudge me, but impart some wisdom.
Too funny. The Pink Pussycat is a NYC landmark to me. My first trip to the city, when I was like six, I stayed right across the street from there with my mom at her friends apartment. This was back in like 78. I remember it because I could see the pink lights out front on late at night from the window. I didn’t really know what it was, the pink lights were just interesting. I was back in the city a number of times during the ninetys and I remember it was still there. I was like, wow. It wasn’t as seedy.then though. Too cool that you worked there. Great story.
Hey, go have a falafel at Mamoun’s on Bleecker for me!
Ha-ha, just a little kid dazzled by the pretty pink lights. If only it could have stayed that simple, eh? Btw. Have you ever been to Los Angeles? I’d be interested in your take on it.
Naw, no LA for Dave. Always heard it sucked. Been in the Bay Area/silicon valley, but I’m not much of a Cali fan. It struck me as incredibly facile when I was there. Sorry if you’re from there though, I mean I did meet a few cool people but overall I didn’t care for it much. The punk rock output is good though, for me thats Californias only saving grace.
NEVER been a fan of LA per say. Bay area is cool, and No Cal is nice. So is the area around Pear Blossom Highway outside of Victorville. For setting up a meth lab or burying a body. If you’re going to give it up to Cali punk, you have to give a special tip o’ the tam to Oxnard and early ‘Nardcore. Ill Repute, The Rotters, Dr. Know et al. Hey, I was going to ask you in an e-mail, but now I’m too lazy to switch screens What do you know/think about Billy Childish? Your musikal knowness is bigger than mine. You can e-mail me, you should have that via wordpress. or respond here, I don’t give a flying one. Oh, I think I’m okay with facile when it easily serves my purpose, but not when it bores me.
Yeah, I know some of the ‘Nardcore bands music…RKL was probably my fave, though Dr. Know were pretty fucking great. The Rotters get props for their “Sit on my Face Stevie Nix ” 7″ (which if I owned I could sell and quit my day job for what it’s going for), but I think I only have a song or two by them on some KBD comp, same for Ill Repute Billy Childish, I know the name but I don’t know anything about him really. I’ve seen him referenced a bunch of places though, like in ‘zines and such.
Hi, Marius, et al. There’s so much I’d love to comment on regarding this week’s article, so I shant. And not to butt in or anything, but I know a bit about Billy Childish. He is a true Renaissance man, a poet, prose author, artist using various media, a critic of art and other inside sports, a musician, etc., who by himself and various stunning collaborators has built up quite the curriculum vitae. For a VERY limited taste of his greatness, I invite you to listen to this:
In the meantime, keep it up (as if you couldn’t, hehe…), and know Mortie think’s you’re rad. (Yes, yes, such an articulate expression of my eternal worshipitude—what the fuck am I talking about?)
Mort, Yeah that’s a bad-ass song alright. It’s on the comp cd one of me band mates made for me. He’s the one who turned me on to old Bill. I was talking about him at practice today and the lead guitarist told me he knows him and that he was very good to his old band over the years. I guess, I just let the cat out of the bag, on the band thing. Yes, while everyone else has been going about their business, some friends and I have started the garage band to end all garage bands. Like WW1 ended all wars. Look for The Sots’ CD in your local record store’s clearance bin soon. Thanks for reading, commenting, and enlightening as usual. Peace be with you. And also with me.
But let it begin with meeee….So, I’m honored to be the one to whom you publicly let the cat out of the bag to regarding your band! YOU, from what I can ascertain by reading your blog, are turning into (or coming into your happy destiny as) a Renaissance man, yourself. From your musical references within your writing to your catching my references in my (rare and concise) comments, I suspect our musical tastes are similar, and run quite the gamut, as well. So, wow, go for it, and let us know where you’re playing (I’m in the Hollywood area–sorry to the guy who can’t stand L.A., but your home stomping grounds often remain your home stomping grounds, in this case, happily) or if you put some of that old-time religion up on these newfangled contraptions—computerizers, I think they’re called?You go, boy.
Addendum: So, Dave HEARD L.A. sucked. YOU, Marius Gustaitis, are the one who came right out and talked shit. So I apologize to Dave for my earlier comment “the guy who can’t stand L.A.”—it’s not your you, it’s Marius. But,let’s not all three go to sleep mad—we all pretty much agree on the music, and that’s where it’s at. Night, boys.
I did say it sucked, didn’t I? Wow, that was brave of me. Especially given the proximity of the place, and its natives. This rigorous honesty is going to get my ass kicked. My parents took me to the Ye Olde Renaissance Faire went I was ten or eleven and I saw some topless ladies there that day. That’s pretty much when I started on this path, this Renaissanceness that I’m exhibiting. Renaissance man is a decent gig, as day jobs go. But to be honest, I’ve started to chafe from even the liberal slack in that noose. I think my next self-title is going to be “visionary.” I mean, you don’t have to be specific about what you’re visioning, right? As long as it’s something. No? Put that for occupation on the next form I fill out. Just to see where it takes me. It’s all pretty much arbitrary anyway. Sure you could go out and do and say a bunch of stuff and wait around for someone to call you a visionary. Or you could just snatch the bowling trophy away from judge’s table and declare yourself the winner. Going through the closet this week throwing out all my non-visionary clothes.
Lucky you (meaning, I’m keepin it brief today), I’m too lazy to respond to your “visionary” ideas (however, I think it’s a moniker meant for Marius)–I WILL say– throwing out all your non-visionary clothes is so, so, SOOOO much better for the soul than throwing out your thin clothes. “Nuff said, as they say. Have a great weekend, catch you lederhosen.
It’s not just you. Everybody seems to be too lazy to respond to my “visionary” ideas. I feel like a total failure…again. Wish I wasn’t so zealous about thinning out the wardrobe. Down to a poncho, some old karate pants and flip flops. My version of visionary, I guess. Fuck. Why does everything turn to shit on me?
It ain’t just you, friend. I’m in a muu-muu and black corduroy house shoes (you know of what I speak.) And you’re not a fucking failure, You wanna play “Compare Our Loserish Lameness”? I’d win. How’s that for irony? Yay, I’m The Biggest Lame! My advice, since you didn’t ask, is to shut your fucking head up and get back to your fucking brilliant writing. OK? OK. (I write because I love, being Jewish and all…)
Oh Marius, if I was just a little more awake I’d have woken the neighborhood laughing my ass off instead of giggling quietly to myself…this is very fuckin funny!
Well Damn it, drink some coffee and read it again. Glad you enjoyed it, Colleen.
I saw Carl at the meeting last night. He dropped off a bunch of your AA books. That was sad to see. I’m sorry the pain of life got too much for you, Lass. I’m sure it’s better on the side. I miss you.already, Colleen. I wish you could have seen yourself like we saw you.
Hope heaven rocks,
Thanks for posting this story. It is as funny as i remember, although in your voice with your timing, puts it over the top-funny!
still not sure why you’re giving this all out for free… you need a sweet book/movie deal!
That’s the only difference between me and a whore. They charge for the ride. Other than that, no difference really. What are you gonna do? If I run out of money for soda and trail mix, I’ll look into profiting from this endeavor. In the meantime, I feel like I’ve already reaped the greatest riches. Just from some of all your responses. No need to get all corporate raider about getting paid in filthy lucre. I have the ambition of the guy on the corner who holds the big arrow sign for a furniture store sale. Just need enough to make it through the day. Thank you Candice for suggesting to revive this old tale.
From “setting the dial to ‘Normal’ ” to Hunter S. territory [“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”]. Great stories, told well.
I’m thoroughly enjoying your stories, and taking inspiration from your sobriety. Thank you for putting this out there.
Thanks very much. I hesitated even using the Hunter reference because he was like a God to me, and it would be like a sinner quoting scripture. Glad you’re enjoying our little ride through Hell though, and taking some inspiration as well. Between you and me, this whole thing is a front for that. But you need stories about hookers and beer to get people to come through the door. At least, I always did. Thank you again for the nice words. Makes all the mental trauma and emotional anguish to sit down and write, worth it. Dig your handle, by the by. We’ll get to Crowley in here somewhere. Be patient.
“How am I the one that’s totally out-of-bounds? Especially with everything going on around me?”
Yeah, I feel that way a lot.
Taking more inspiration the second time through. Thanks again.
Also, recommended you to some friends… described you as “Hunter S.-esque.”
Well, I’ve been described worse. I’ll take it. Good to see you again, Muggs.
How’s this for inspiration? One of the women that commented here on this piece just drank herself to death. She was a really beautiful person too. One of my friends went to the hospital and saw her on a ventilator before she passed. She said it was brutal.
I try to remember things like that when I think how nice eighteen frosty Heineken would taste after getting up from a long nap. I ask myself, “Is that taste treat worth being strapped down to a hospital bed or locked up in jail?” Usually it isn’t.
Anyway, hope everything is going smooth for you these days with work and all. And that you’re healthy. And get to laugh a lot. And love a lot.
Are you getting to love a lot, Muggsy?
Which reminds me, I have a sex toy story for you, but I’m going to e-mail it. To protect the other people involved.
Protecting and serving,
Marius, I was re-reading some of your posts and had penciled in wishing you and your a Happy New Year. So, here I am, wishing you and yours a Happy New Year, with an abundance of, amongst other things, health, love, peace, continued recovery, and lots of kitty time. So, there you go. I’m sorry to know that I am replying to a post in which you mention the drinking death of your friend. Truly, a brutal way to go. I gotta believe she’s not hurting anymore. I had an ex-boyfriend, with whom I was still close (as close as you can be to a end-stage alcoholic) who died at age 39 from the drink, multiple organ failure. Hellish.. A man I was with through most of the 90’s died two years ago, same. And this past Dec. 25th was the 1 year anniversary of the overdose death of one of my dearest friends ever. I still can’t mention his name without getting verklempt. We, all of us in recovery, all have lost too many people, and these few I mention are just the latest and most raw for me. I’ve idolized your writing from afar (dreaded L.A./ Internet) for many moons now, and I am especially grateful for your blog because of how deftly you carry your message along on the many feet of your tale-telling millipede. (OK, not the best metaphor ever.) Please accept my condolences on the death of your friend, and please take good care of yourself as you continue to do what you do, as well as you do it. To it. Love, Morty
Morty old chap, good to hear from you. But rotten to hear you lost so many close friends. It’s brutal alright. It’s hard to watch people kill themselves, especially when you feel that they, of all people, don’t deserve that kind of treatment. Right? I never see really ugly people destroying themselves. They’re too busy trying to destroy everybody else. Seems like the good but troubled souls choose to take it out on themselves. Not that they don’t cause massive collateral damage in the process.
Ultimately it’s just as selfish as hurting others.
Glad you’re okay.
My many, many millipede hands salute your sobriety,
Why is it that “we” wish someone to rest in peace when they are already dead? I think that is a most lovely blessing for the living. Maybe then so many of us wouldn’t die in utter un-peace. Marius, rest in peace. Every nap you take. Every night, whether you can sleep well or not, rest with some peace. I say this, too, to anyone else who may be reading this, and to myself, as well. All of us, RIP. Coolio.