Thursday, September 06, 2001

Crumpled, Dollar Bills - Episodes From My Youth : Part 1/ Part 2

A small, forest green plaque adhered with super glue to the entry of the video booth warns:

"No sexual conduct of any kind is permitted. One person per booth. Violaters will be asked to leave the premises - The Management".

The Bush and Clinton administration combined issued edicts more grounded in the truth and more certain to be followed through on than this banal threat. Since the plaque is eye-level and is afixed to not one, but to the entry way to every booth - my fellow vagabonds of the night are also aware of the rules. So it is with mob-mentality that we deliberately disregard these posted rules of acceptable behavior. For in a bookstore there are unspoken "rules of conduct" as in all sports, all board games and all horror movie trilogies:

  1. Do not speak, unless first spoken to. This is less courtesy then helpful to the mystique, some hot, rough trade guys - only look that way, open there mouth and your hanging with the gay version of "Screech" from 'Saved by the Bell'.
  2. Ask him if he's a cop, if he looks like one and says no ask him to just play along for fantasy sake. Woof!
  3. No chewing gum - what horrific blow job catastrophe could come from an over-eager, Doublemint-chewer turned sword-swallower in the dark.
  4. Never give your real name - sure your not Dirk Diggler, but hey this is your dollar bill, your booth - you're calling the shots.
  5. Never show the goods first. If his package looks like it was deliberately lost by Fed-ex then you'll be able to make a quicker exit.
  6. Keep your eye on the goal... and on your wallet.

    Honestly, we have all come here hoping to break the posted rules and the third unposted rule we breathe, each time, only to ourselves:

    I am never allowed to come back here again

    This is usually spoken softly when we pull into the parking lot and then mumbled loudly as we exit the parking lot wiping here and there and "aw shit, how in the hell did it get on there!"

    A pale bluish glow off the video screen affords the only light one finds in the booth (WARNING: This lighting often makes it possible to mistake a Tom Arnold for a Tom Cruise, it is safer to make decisions on conquests once your eyes have adjusted to the light). Images - sexual, erotic, disturbing and sometimes seemingly impossible, flicker from the screen - a pornographic strobe light giving way to your movements. "Forest Hump" ( Go Forest, Go!) plays on one screen, a soundtrack that would make the producers of 'Kojak' tap their shoes and well dialogue that leaves you reaching for the volume control - only to regret that it's already been touched (INSERT HERE: "Rule of Conduct" # 7 - Always carry a hankerchief or a roll of Bounty). A second screen offers previews of the other 1,185 channels of 'adult entertainment'. I feel vindicated with this buffet sampling of pornography as if I have hit double-coupons at the Piggly-Wiggly or stumbled upon a 2-4-1 at my favorite bar.

    Look at me - I'm multi-tasking! I'm thrifty!

    The floors never fail to make you shudder, elliciting a sound like masking tape pulled of shag carpet, with every step you take on the floor. A veteran knows to never, NEVER, retreive any item dropped to the floor. A dollar dropped becomes the priceless diamond around Rose's neck in the 'Titanic'; it, the neckless and some guy named Jack, are all forsaken once they disappear into the mysterious, murky darkness of the floor.

    I settle into the seat, a bright orange, plastic scoop creaking with distress under me. As I fumble with my belt and pull down my zipper I curse the choice of confining briefs. Urges build, among them a terrible simple yearning for release. My mind vascillates between shame and want.

    I grasp to remember the rosary - "Hey! I've heard them recite it in those 'Exorcist' movies".
    I fall to my knees - OOOOOH SHIT, BAD MOVE! - in prayer.
    Caught like a fly in a S&M flytrap, I struggle both physically and mentally to escape my sin.

    "Our Father who aren't in Heaven, who sure as hell wouldn't be caught dead here. Please forgive my trespasses and forgive those who trespass upon me - unless it's that really, really hot frat boy in the hall in the snug grey tshirt with the faded Abercrombie & Fitch logo and cargo pants - he can trespass ALL OVER my sweet little ass...uh, never mind - just please forgive me and unstick me from this floor and I promise I will never, NEVER come here again (is this being tape recorded?)"

    A confused passer-by mistakes my position to be an invitation and finds me unwelcome, unfriendly, embarrassed and quite filthy.

    To Be Continued.