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      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2011 edited
    a.k.a. the MAD STORIES and BULLSHIT/BOLLOCKS thread.

    So we've had the Bad Roommate thread, the Shit Job thread, the Hilarious Drinking thread, and there was talk for a while of a Terrifying Exes thread. I propose, as part of El Bat-Mano Supremo Spurrioso's ongoing analogy of treating Whitechapel as the greatest pub ever, we set up a table in the corner, pass around some shots and smokes, and tell hilarious, sad, triumphant, unsettling, and possibly (if we can be arsed) life-affirming tales of our wretched, hateful, beautiful lives.

    Govspy says he's scraped the bottom of the barrel for good life stories. I DON'T BELIEVE HIM.
  1.  (10019.2)
    Challenge accepted, though this story may run on, as it took place over several weeks.

    It's November 2003 in Chicago, right around Thanksgiving. I had been living in my little apartment in Pilsen for almost a year, and it was just me and my little lesbian roommate E. I was making decent money, and the apartment we lived in was pretty bare. I wanted a Christmas tree, and maybe some kitschy stuff to go with it. So we go up to Clark & Belmont, there's a shop called the Alley that usually has some weird shit, plus a few other places in the neighborhood that I liked, so we bundled up (it's November in Chicago) and hopped on the El.

    We go to the Alley, but the store was sadly disappointing. On the way out, this little squatter girl asked me and E if we could help her with some money for a place to stay. I looked at E and she made this "aww, can we keep her?" face, and I'm a sucker. We had just gotten rid of a roommate, and we had a spare bedroom, and a spare bed. I said, "Honey you can come with us."

    Then she pointed out that she had a little squatter boyfriend too. So we brought Lindsey and Jeremy home. On the way, we stopped and picked up a Christmas tree. We cooked a really nice Thanksgiving dinner, and afterwards I had the kids help me set up the tree.

    After dinner, I sat in my recliner while the kids stretched out on the floor and we watched Pirates of the Caribean on the DVD player like a normal family. Our cat, Kanga rubbed up Lindsey, who remarked, "Why is your cats butt wet?"

    I realized the cat was in heat, and in perfect Dad-smoking-a-pipe-voice, said, "That's not her butt, honey." And Lindsey ran screaming from the room.

    Lindsey and Jeremy said they were both 17, that Lindsey's folks were abusive, and that Jeremy had helped her runaway. They had come from Valparaiso, Indiana, and I had just seen a news report about teenage runaways in northern Indiana being abducted, or murdered in some guy's basement or some shitty thing like that, and I decided the kids could stay a while. I figured they were safer off the street with me and E, than anywhere else.

    They started calling us mom and dad, and I threw some condoms at them and told them not to get pregnant in my house. Two weeks of being surrogate parents, and then two more kids showed up: Squid & Johnny.
  2.  (10019.3)
    RUNAWAYS Part 2

    Well, there we were, I was about 24, had been working at the prison for under a year, and our little happy home had just gotten crowded, with six teenagers crashing in various spots.

    Lindsey, said she was 17, had to eat ketchup with everything, from spaghetti to pizza to Thanksgiving turkey, was the sweetest of the bunch. Everything she owned had hand sown Crass patches on it.

    Jeremy, also 17, was slow, but not dumb, also had a good heart. He had a very short-trimmed mohawk. He smoked a lot of pot, but obviously cared a lot about Lindsey.

    Squid, aka Nate, but Squid just seemed so appropriate, was tall, lanky, also 17, had a longer greasy mohawk and a plaid suit jacket patched up and had a lot of work done on it. Squid was really intelligent, very sardonic, and political. God, he annoyed me and I loved him like he was my own at the same time.

    John, was 18, his mother had recently passed away, and he connected with my roomie, who had lost her mother when she was a teen. Later, I heard he became a nazi, aka Hammerskin. I wasn't very surprised.

    One night, after discussing politics, etc, the kids expressed dismay that I worked for the federal prison system, claiming I had "sold out" that I wasn't "hard-core" anymore. We talked a lot of shit, and near 9 or so at night, I called in sick to work (I was on the graveyard shift) and we went out.

    It was midnight or so before we got off the train (after I instigated some sort of sit down riot with passengers of the train, including some guy who thought he was Morpheus from the Matrix-- not exaggerating, he wore the long trenchcoat and walked around with his hands folded behind his back and creepy sunglasses and everything). We ran around, acting like dumb kids, spraypainting shit, breaking bottles, causing mayhem.

    We ended up at this retro diner called Clarke's, because it was 24hrs, and we stopped in for food, my treat. On the way in, Lindsey froze, spotting a couple cops. She said, because they were runaways, the cops would be looking for them. I explained because some cops in Valparaiso might be looking for them, it's not like there's an APB out for them in Chicago. So we sat and had breakfast at like 4am. At a table near us, some loud uptown jocks were being obnoxious. The kids kept saying that they wanted to start a fight with them, but I recommended if they didn't want to attract closer attention by the police, to just ignore the jocks.

    On the way passed the front window outside, Squid flicked a cigarette at the window, and the cherry kind of flew everywhere in a really showy fashion. Inside, one of the jocks stood up and spread his arms, like WTF? I flicked him off.

    We kept walking, and got about one or two doors down, when the jock came outside. "You got something to say to me?"

    I said, "Yeah, fuck off."

    Looking surprised, he responded "Come over here and say that."

    I walked up to him, my forehead came up to his chin, I looked up at him, and said, "I said, FUCK, OFF, BITCH."

    Thinking he was really smooth, he reaches inside his jacket and pulls out a Chicago Police Officer badge. "Oh yeah? What do you gotta say now, huh?" (by the way, that's a really dick move. Try to start a fight and then flash a badge. That way anyone with common sense will have to back down, and you get to feel like you got the bigger dick. Real dick move. But that's CPD for you)

    Well, I reach into my red plaid bondage pants, and pull out my Federal Officer credentials, and say, "I still say fuck off, bitch." I had just won Cops, Paper Scissors with this asshole. Now, like I said, normally, I don't condone pulling badges out for bullshit, but somebody had to put this dick cop in his place. Meanwhile, the four runaways are hiding around the corner pissing themselves, trying to see if they should run off.

    The jock/cop looks down at me, and looks all confused. My hair is in this bright green double mohawk, and he can't figure out that a punk kid can outrank a jock. "What the fuck is that? You can't be a fed, you got hair like that...That shit ain't real..."

    I look up at this fat, prematurely balding jock, and I say "What, does everyone have to be bald to be a cop? Man, fuck you, you don't beleive me, call it in, I work at MCC Chicago. I'll wait right here for you." He leaves to call it in. Which I don't even know how he would do that; what he would say, I think he just said that shit so he could back out somewhat gracefully.

    I turn to the kids. They're screaming at me that they want to get the fuck out of here. I tell them, I'm waiting for the cop, I thought they were hardcore? I thought they thought I was a sellout... They're like "Whatever man! Fuck it, you're fucking hardcore, you're not a sellout, just get us out of here." It was cute.
  3.  (10019.4)
    RUNAWAYS conclusion

    It's just before Christmas, and E. comes to me. She hands me her cellphone, and asks me to listen to her voice mail. I listen to an FBI agent, he's discussing how one of the kids that ran away is 15, a missing person, and because it's across state lines, if she's with adults, it counts as a federal kidnapping charge.

    I find out later, one of the kids borrowed E.'s cellphone and called home, and they got her phone number from the phone company. Then I find out that Lindsey isn't 17, she's 15.

    I sit down with the kids, and I explain how the FBI is involved, and it's believed that the kids have been kidnapped. To avoid anyone getting jail, like me, E, or even Johnny, they have to go home.

    I speak with the FBI Agent, and we arrange for one of the kids' moms to come pick them up. All charges get dropped, the kids promise to stay in touch, and they can come visit in the summer. They go home for Christmas. Me and E have a quiet holiday with just the two of us, and we cry a little bit missing the kids.

    We find out that Lindsey ran away because she was pregnant. Had we not taken her in when we did, it was unlikely that the baby would have survived. Later, she delivered a perfectly healthy little girl, who was then adopted by one of Lindsey's aunts. Lindsey later got her GED, is very active in her daughter's life, but just has an older relative who is the baby's legal guardian. Lindsey has come to see me several times, and still calls me Dad. I'm very proud of her (not that I'm taking credit for anything other than putting a roof over her head and feeding her during a cold-as-shit winter).

    The other kids didn't do so well. Like I said earlier, Johnny became a neo-nazi.
    Jeremy got mixed up with heroin, and burnt down a church. Last I heard he's in jail somewhere.
    Squid I guess is doing ok. He train-hopped for a while, and ended up in New Orleans just in time to get arrested too. He spent some time in jail, but last I heard he's out, and he's kinda one of those vegan anarchist types.
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2011
    Oh man, how does anyone follow that? And I already told part of my story in an open mic thread or something once I think. Still, here's the story of the world craziest modeling gig.

    So, I modeled for a sculpture for a man named Woody who works at the college I was attending. He's not the most fantastic sculptor in the world, but I've always been one who is eager to help anyone I can make art. He was going to do a limestone sculpture of a mermaid, using me as a model. This meant it was only my upper half that needed to be nude. My figure drawing professor, and one of my favorite people in the world, told me about the job. Woody was, and is, wonderful friends with another favorite art professor. Because I have so much respect for the people that told me about the job, I completely trusted it would be a great thing for me. Woody showed me the piece of limestone he would be carving into, and shared what he envisioned the piece would be like. I was excited about it. He wanted to cast a mold of my torso to work with while I couldn't be there to actually model so he could finish the piece more quickly, which was fine with me.

    So the day came to actually start the mold making process. My sculpture teacher and others were going to come in and see the process, but weren't able to come the first time, so it was just myself and Woody. He wasn't using plaster, but had a different way of going about things. He first had me cover myself in Vaseline, then he had a sort of mixture that included ammonia that was brushed onto my skin. The area we were working in was good enough for making sure no one walked in on accident, but it didn't have the best ventilation, and ammonia is just about the only thing that I really can't handle the smell of. He had me don a gas mask, but it didn't fit very well, and I couldn't decide whether it was more difficult to breathe with or without it. As he put on the next layer of the mold (little cotton like tufts that stuck to the ammonia mixture), I very nearly passed out. It didn't help that I'd been standing for this process for the last 45 minutes or so without a break. After I sat for a bit, he put on the final layer of the mold, a spray that expanded as soon as it left the bottle. After removing the mold, we ran into another problem. For some reason, this process left me sticky, and we couldn't get rid of the stickiness. Woody tried to help with some baby wipes, but they didn't do much. Also, even though it was just because he was trying to help and everything, he ended up, on accident, touching my breasts a little. I was extremely uncomfortable with that.

    I showered for an hour after the mold making and was still sticky. I was late to one class that night and missed another due to trying to figure out how to get rid of it. A friend of mine suggested Goo-Gone to battle the stickiness and, thank goodness, it worked.

    I told my figure drawing teacher and sculpture teacher, as well as a few others, what had happened. My sculpture professor wondered if the spray was insulation foam, and asked me if I knew what the material was. I called Woody the next day, and found out that indeed he had sprayed me with insulation foam. I told him that I felt like my safety wasn't top priority there, and quit.

    Still, I walked away from this with an extra $50 cash in my pocket and one of the most ridiculous and incredible stories. I laugh about it now, but would certainly never recommend anyone model for this guy ever.
    • CommentAuthorSantos
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2011
    I really liked that story man. Thanks for that.
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2011
    @Govspy - Wow. I mean, I was expecting something awesome, but that's... wow. You had KIDS.

    @Fishelle - I heard all kinds of fun stories from our sculpture department at school, but that's the first time I've ever heard of something like THAT happening. Yikes... Though, probably because I'm a horrible person, I have to admit I was thinking how cool it would have been, had he finished the sculpture, to include the gasmask on the mermaid's face.
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2011
    Despite years of living in Los Angeles and hanging out at restaurants and shopping centers and other places where tons of people go to get shit done, including our industrial mainstays (ie film and TV stars), it's been rare to never that I spy a famous person among the hoi polloi. However, it so happens that musicians that I dig often dig other musicians that I dig and so it's happened twice that I've encountered and touched - and gotten touched by - musicians I wasn't intending to see.

    Common denominators - PJ Harvey, Los Angeles. Both obvious when you think about it. If you don't know PJ Harvey, go an look her up NOW. Go. This will still be here when you come back.

    So it's 1998 (or maybe 99), PJ is touring to support Is this Desire?, I nab two tickets to see her at the Wiltern. The show is on a particular day when it happens that most of my friends will be out of town for some con or something. So I take my sister along with me even though she's not much of a fan. Now, today the Wiltern floor is all General and there are no seats in the orchestra level, but back then there were rows of seats and tickets assigned seating. As we're excitedly getting seated and the audience is calming down(ish - this is a rock show, more or less), my sister spies a group a few rows down front that sticks out some. In the midst of the group is a short blond woman and my sister insists it's Courtney Love. She's bouncing on the chair seat backwards, talking to someone in the row behind her. Someone next to her has to pull her down as the lights come down and the curtain rises.

    It's funny because the show is glorious, but naturally what's memorable about that night is later as the masses are slowly emptying through the lobby and I'm lingering over the merch table a sort of bubble is created around three of the members of Hole. Like pretty much everyone else, I stand there entranced. Now, hate if you want to, but the late 90s were good to Hole and Hole in my opinion were a solid group once they got a decent producer. My sister knew I dug them and understood why I'd think they were celebrities worth my time. She also understood that I need a bit of pushing when it comes to opening introductions with strangers, never mind personalities that will overwhelm a whole room. So I have to say I rather appreciate that she pretty much pushed me toward the bubble until I was more or less standing next to Courtney Love.

    What can I say other than she was pretty well holding court, talking a mile a minute, irrepressible and i finally got what someone means by the phrase "force of nature." I know my sister wanted me to just say hi but getting a word in edgewise was impossible. Furthermore i couldn't fathom what to say or do even to say hello to Melissa Auf du Mar or Eric Erlandson, I didn't have anything for them to sign, I had nothing to say. I just remember looking at them and, I swear, even in my memory they are tall as statues. Even though they were probably just trying to out-wait Love's antics (and I recall them calmly signing whatever material passers-by thrust to them), to my mind they were imperious personages ready to smite anyone who caught their attention without good reason. Sorry... that's exactly the sort of situation where I just shut down. (Hey who's got two thumbs and is a big ole introvert? This bitch!)

    I swear i was on the verge of a plan of some kind when the tornado, er, Ms Love turned her attention toward me. She had been holding forth that fame added a certain element to someone that made them more attractive. That someone could be good looking, but they were all the more gorgeous with celebrity behind them. Before I could work out what happened she turned to me and was mussing my hair and saying, "but you don't have to worry, you're pretty enough." And with that the force of nature moved on.

    Ok, fastforward to 2007. PJ is performing one of exactly two US dates for White Chalk, and this is at the Orpheum in Downtown LA. My friend, a superstar named Jimi, got me a ticket to this show which sold out in nanoseconds. The show is utterly magnificent. It's PJ solo, looking brilliant and sounding like God hand-picked her to save us from every last boring, safe, cliched musical trope on the radio. One big, long music-gasm that defies actual words - well, it's music, innit? I go floating out, barely aware of my surroundings, giddy, nearly hysterical and faintly aware of Jimi grinning broadly. Something he says, make my feet touch the ground a little. He repeats himself, "would you like me to take your picture with Trent Reznor?"

    Right so, again my brain isn't working, again because I'm overwhelmed. And all I can do is stare. I try to tell Jimi, through my staring, that I'm a bit past language at this point, but really that is a dumb question and where in the fuck is Trent Reznor?! I nod dumbly, to help him out. He takes me by the arm and now I am standing in front of Trent Reznor. And all I can say is thank fuck, thank God, thank the moon, thank PJ Harvey, thank every force in the whole world that actual words came out and not quite a number of other things that ran the gamut between gibberish, drool and vomit, as I only barely managed to control the contortions my stomach suddenly went through.

    Reznor was far, far more sedate, as one might imagine. He even had a look on his face (poor man was braving the crowd solo, after all) that bore the mark of thinning patience. He listened, lips pressed together as I gassed on about my love for his work and accepted a handshake from me. Graciously he acquiesced to a photo with me and was polite as he nodded his way out of the conversation and toward the exit. A guy with a tag hanging from a lanyard collected him and, boy, did he look relieved.

    So there. Not all that crazy - I don't tend to get up to crazy too much. But people look out for me and try not let me miss the cool shit. }:>
  4.  (10019.9)
    So, back in '99, I was on the road a lot. I was occasionally roadie-ing for bands, and had left my Dad's crackhouse and I was couch-surfing a lot. My buddy Noah's Dad told us that his buddy owned some bar up in Jim Falls, WI, and that every year there was some sort of "PunkFest", with a bunch of bands and everybody camped out and shit. So we decided to hit the road.

    From what we heard, it was like $20 to get in, you could camp the whole weekend, and there were like 25 bands playing. We get up to the bar, and it's this dirty old country & western style bar, and it's filled with the dirtiest nastiest punks I'd ever seen. Noah and I were punks from Rockford, IL, but man, compared to these guys we were the most clean cut motherfuckers; we might as well been wearing suits & ties. These guys were serious crusties.

    Neither Noah nor I were 21; I think I was 19 and Noah was 18, but Noah went to order some beers and I put a dollar in the jukebox. I saw nothing worth playing except George Thorogood & the Destroyers, so I picked three songs, starting with One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer and ending with Bad to the Bone. Well, everyone was drunk enough that they just loved my music selection. There was a bum rush to the bar as every punk in the room had to order a bourbon, a scotch and a beer, and the next thing I know, most of them are buying me a set because I picked the song. Very shortly after that, we were welcomed into the tribe; and I was fucking drunk.

    We pulled my buddy's car into the campground and Noah ended up passing out on the hood of his car. I stayed up all night drinking with my new friends and getting to know everyone.

    I'll never forget, it was near dawn, and everyone's passing around a bottle of cheap vodka and a bottle of OJ and taking swigs from each and mixing mini screwdrivers in their mouths. I'm sitting next to this gorgeous girl named Faith, we're sitting on top of a hill, and I'm watching the sun rise up from behind her. A butterfly flies up and lands on her mohawk. That image will always be burned into my brain. It was beautiful.

    That morning, Noah breaks out the little propane grill, and starts cooking some veggie sausage patties. About twenty crusties surround us and we hand out some breakfast. Though we aren't part of this crustie scene, after some good music, booze, conversation and feeding everyone; we've become family.

    Noah and I are talking as we hand out sausages, and I ask him when his dad will arrive. He tells me later that night. Some kid expresses how lame that is that Noah's Dad is coming. I ask Noah if his dad is bringing his latest batch. The kids ask what we're talking about; Noah's Dad brews his own beer and is bringing several cases of homebrew. Suddenly, it doesn't suck that his dad is coming anymore.

    Later on I'm talking with Noah, and he spots some hippie girl he thinks is pretty. There are literally hundreds of punk girls everywhere, and Noah spots the three hippie girls at the festival. Noah is an awesome guy; but always lacked confidence talking to women. She's talking to a couple other girls, so I approach one of the friends. We hit it off, I introduce Noah and then develop a headache. The girl I was talking to (referred to herself as "Ranna " - Latin for frog) said she would rub some tiger balm on my forehead, and we retired to her tent for some heavy petting.

    At some point, Noah and I go to the bar, and try to get in without being carded. There was a bouncer, and he ID'd me. I told him I didn't have an ID, so he asks me my birthday. I saw this coming, and had already decided what birthday to give him to make me 21. He puts a wristband on me, and let's me in. He asks Noah the same, and Noah freezes. Bouncer says, "Look, I didn't even believe the last guy, but at least he had a quick answer," and refuses to let Noah in. Behind Noah is the singer of the Murderers, with big, spiky red/orange hair. Bob looked to be in his 50's, but just probably looked old and shit from all the drugs he was on. The bouncer goes to let Bob in, and I say, "Hey! You didn't card him!"

    Bob, without missing a beat, screams at me, in the best drunk pseudo-british drunken slur, "OI! FUCK YOU! I HAVE HAIR ON ME NUTS THAT'S OLDER THAN YOU!" The bouncer let's us all in, having just given up any pretense of actually caring.

    Later that night, as we shared food with the hippie girls, they asked where our tent was. We pointed over to the car, saying we haven't put up the tent, and then Noah and I start arguing as we realize we had each thought the other one had grabbed the sleeping bags out of the house. Ranna and the other girl solve the issue by inviting us to sleep in their tent for the night. Noah looks at me like I'm a genius now, for forgetting the sleeping bags. I curl up with Ranna and the night is good.

    Funny thing is, well, I can't exactly admit to all of the things we were doing (I mean, technically we were drinking underage, but that's okay to admit, here on this government computer, but the rest you'll just have to assume), but I can't remember the whole night, what I do know is at some point I woke up, and the other girl, Noah's girl, was wrapped around me. I raised my head, and as my eyes adjusted to the tent, all I could see was Noah, giving me the nastiest stink-eye. I shrugged, and snuggled on down with the girl and went back to sleep.

    At some point Noah's Dad, Herc, showed up and was awesome, the guy looks like a red haired braided pony-tail having little Hobbit dude, complete with cases of homebrew. He was a hit.

    The rest of the weekend is a blur. There was lots more drinking, and girls. I think maybe? I might have watched one band actually play? There was a mud fight. Someone was throwing rocks. Later I heard a car was set on fire and some people got arrested and others hospitalized, no idea for what.

    I'll never forget... um, what memories I still have from that weekend at punkfest though.
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2011 edited
    The Case of the Missing SS Uniform

    So, freshman year of art school, Sid (my film dept. punker buddy) went shopping a lot. We went to school in Savannah, Georgia, which amongst other things, is infamous for having an antiques store on practically every street corner. Now, what's cool about this is that a lot of the antiques places also double as military surplus stores. Sid is a fucking nutjob for surplus, and his sheer enthusiasm combined with my knack for finding cool shit by tripping over it meant we made a pretty good duo. We probably, between the two of us, cleaned Savannah out of it's entire stock of combat boots, paratrooper braces, and trench coats. Sid collected most of it for props (we ended up using a good chunk of them for his student films, actually - I got to spend a good chunk of an ball-hot Georgia autumn walking around a swamp island in nearly-full MOPP-4 Chemical Warfare gear while dudes-y-duderinas in zombie makeup leaped out of the bushes at me... but that's another tale), but some stuff was for our personal use. I made off with a steel flask that had a leather cover slip with the KGB logo stamped onto it, and a fully-stocked Marine medic's kit (complete with radiation sickness pills) that I keep in my car to this day. So we got some GOOD SHIT on our hauls.

    One store we only visited twice (well, three times. Sort of. Read on). On the first trip, Sid dubbed it the Scary Store.

    Now, most antique places (at least most antique places in Savannah) have at least two floors: the ground floor, where they have the old hand-carved rocking chairs, the fine (or not-so-fine) china, ancient photographs, and the usual stuff that you go antiques shopping for. Some of that stuff was kinda neat, but what Sid and I wanted was almost always in either the basement or a floor right above the main store, both accessed by stairs that the owners often tried to hide so that the little old tourist ladies wouldn't accidentally fine their way up them and see... well, all the stuff Sid and I came in for. The Scary Store had a basement, and there was some decent gear there (an old cavalry saber scabbard was a nice find, but pretty impractical), but Sid and I both found it very shrug-worthy. So we tried the stairs going up.

    Oooooh, boy.

    Now, it's not unusual at all to see places in the south flying the Stars and Bars-

    (A quick aside: All over the damn town, even in the arty-farty faerieland art school that we went to's parking lots, you'd seen confederate battle flags on bumpers, windows, hubcaps even. Sid was a Georgia native, but I was flabbergoddamnghasted at the sight of all these things. Most of them weren't all that bad, but there was one bumper sticker, with the flag on it, which read "if this flag offends you, you need a history lesson."

    Because I'm an idiot [and because Sid was there to egg me on] I pulled a Sharpie out of my bag, and wrote "here's a lesson - YOU LOST." over the sticker. And then we ran like bunnies being chased by a cyborg tiger)

    -in the south, but I'd never seen so many in one place. There were barrels just full of rolled-up, full-size Confederate battle flags, a couple of them hanging from the walls, and full replica uniforms on mannequins. Okay, so someone takes their southern pride a little too seriously, so what, Alan? Well... that was half the store.

    The other half was Nazi shit. I'm talking iron crosses, Lugers, Mausers, an honest-to-God-Sid-and-I-both-check-it-was-fucking-real MG-42 (with the ammo under the counter, according to a sign), jackboots, a STACK of Mein Kampfs, and those weird-looking busts of Hitler that, I assume, you'd place on a little Ionian column in your library, with a gear under it so that when you tilted it forward, your bookcase would swing open, revealing your secret Nazi laboratory.

    It's a shame I hadn't met Cortez, yet. He'd've loved this place.

    The weirdest, scariest thing there, le piece de resistance (if you'll forgive the somewhat context-innaproporiate phrase), was a full, Abyss-black Waffen SS uniform under a glass case, with a price tag claiming it to be real, kept in perfect conditions for "three generations of craftsmen." With the uniform came it's very own Luger, one of those oh-so-Teutonic daggers S.S. officers were all issued, and SWEET JESUS A MOTHERFUCKING SWORD, out of it's scabbard, its sharpened blade shining under the lights for all to see.

    Sid and I look at each other, mouths agape. "Shit," I say. "Those things are illegal where I'm from."

    "They're illegal where I'm from, too," Sid says.

    About this time we notice there is a man on this floor with us. He steps out between an aisle full of (I swear to God) porcelain pickaninny blackface dolls, and he really doesn't look like he wants us here. We high-tail it out as fast as we can.

    A week later, we return, mostly to see if we didn't both just share a terrifying hallucination. To our mutual surprise, the uniform is gone, but the sword, dagger, and luger are all still there. "Item sold," a little card says. It then GIVES THE CONTACT INFO for the person who bought it. We high-tailed out for the second time.
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2011
    Part 2

    Sid went back once again by himself, but when he came back, he said the dude who'd chased us out last time had barred him from even going up the stairs. Sid said maybe that was a good thing: "I probably didn't want to get caught taking evidence photos," he said.

    "What were you gonna do with 'em?" I asked.

    "Send 'em to the local Sharps," Sid said. "See if I could start a skinhead-on-skinhead war."

    College happens. I forget mostly about the SS uniform, and towards the end of our days in faerieland, I don't see Sid as often as I used to. However, a few days before graduation, Sid calls me up. "Alan," he says. "You remember the Scary Store?"

    After a moment: "Shit, oh man, that place with the Nazi uniform?"

    "Head over there, quick." He says this at eleven at night.

    Sid is up a fire escape on a building across the street from the Scary Store, throwing an empty cigarette pack at me to get my attention. He's in something approaching combat gear - a denim jacket that I know has a metal plate bolted into the small of the back, and wearing biker gloves with metal studs. I, not knowing I was apparently walking into a rumble, am in pajama pants and a faded old Metallica shirt. "Shit," I said. "What the fuck, Sid?"

    He doesn't answer, so I go up the fire escape to meet him. So, here's a thing to know - iron fire escape in flip-flops is about half as much fun as it sounds. We make it up the stairs, and crouch down where the streetlights don't shine on us too brightly. Sid takes out a pack of smokes and lights up, tells me to just act natural, and to not stare across the street. "What am I not looking at," I tell him.

    He nods toward the Scary Store.

    The windows on the top floor are open, and the lights are on, but there's no way you'd see anything from street level. Right across the way, though... the room is filled with dudes dressed in black, chrome-domes each and all. There's sitting around, drinking beer, and shooting the shit mostly. Aside from their dress, and what we know of the place, it would look totally innocent.

    That's when a chick - a woman, a female of the species, God this is weird - walks in, WEARING THE FUCKING UNIFORM. Then, someone closes the windows.

    We sat there, smoking for maybe half an hour. "Shit," I finally say. "I didn't know they even did that."

    "Got me, man," Sid replies. "Looks like we're getting out of here just in time."
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2011
    @Alan Tyson
    That story is absolutely incredible. Also, I've been reading a book about Savannah today, so I've been thinking about your story all day. And I don't mind at all.

    I want more stories now.
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2011
    @Fishelle: Which book? If it's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, I will be supremely pleased - never read the book myself, but EVERY SINGLE TOURIST would asked us Scaddites (we usually called ourselves Scaddies, but I think Scaddite sounds cooler) if it was "just like the book."

    Hell, you ever got down to Old Antebellum Herself, I can TELL you where the Scary Store is!
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2011
    @Alan Tyson It totally is! I bought it for 50 cents at a D.I. like 4 years ago because it looked like a neat spooky book (the cover is very misleading), and only just got around to starting it today because I brought it to work and had a slow day.

    I'd love to go see the scary store. But I don't think I'll have any reason to go to Georgia any time in the near future, what with being a poor college art student in Utah.
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2011
    From what people tell me, it's a decent read. SCAD makes an appearance, supposedly, though who knows how accurate the depiction is.

    I am tickled pink that that was the book. Oh, lordy... copies of that book sold like marijuana-laced hotcakes in practically every antique store, too.
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2011
    I think I may just have to go to Savannah to sell the book to an antique store, then.
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2011 edited
    Many years ago I spent a great deal of time on airplanes. Fly here, fly there, fly everywhere. One of the places I flew a lot was San Diego, because the parent branch of our company was there and I had to attend a 1:00PM Monday meeting there once a month. I lived about an hour's drive from Detroit Metropolitan Airport at the time.

    Early one morning I was flying from Detroit to San Diego, with a plane and airline change in Dallas. My Northwest flight arrived in Dallas on time at 9:00 in the morning, and I trundled off to the Delta desk, because that was what the Delta flight departure screen said to do.

    There I found literally hundreds of folks milling about in various states of disarray. It seems all of them had, like me, flown from various points around the U. S. of A, intending to board the happy Delta 747 superliner bound for sunny San Diego.

    Unfortunately something mechanical had gone badly wrong with the 747, and our flight was cancelled. Harried Delta clerks were working fervishly to get us to our destination via other routes, but a 747 holds a *lot* of people. So there were many many folks to be re-booked onto not so many flights.

    The woman ahead of me in line was astounding. She started by raising her voice and cursing. She accused the clerk and the airline of deliberately booking her onto a flight that would break down. She criticized their maintenance procedures loudly and profanely. She was, to say the least, a pain in the ass.

    The clerk, by contrast, was a professional. She let the woman rant as needed, apologizing all the while and trying to get the woman's destination (the cancelled flight went to Hawaii after San Diego). The angry woman finally relented and handed over her ticket, still muttering imprecations about Delta, the clerk, and so forth. After much pounding of keys and chewing of pencils the clerk informed the woman that she had a 5:30PM flight leaving for San Francisco, from which she could get the Delta flight to San Diego the next day. The woman cursed and fussed a bit more, and the clerk apologized some more, and eventually the woman grabbed her bag and ticket and headed off to wait for the San Francisco flight.

    I stepped forward and said "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation with the previous person. I want to congratulate you for being calm, polite and effective in the face of such provocation. I'm headed for San Diego as well, so why don't you book me onto the same flight."

    The clerk said "Thank you. If you can run fast, I have a flight leaving for Los Angeles in 20 minutes, where you can catch the hourly San Diego shuttle and be in San Diego by noon." Then she just stood there and smiled.

    After getting over the surprise, I admitted to an ability to run fast, and she handed me a pair of tickets to San Diego via Los Angeles.

    I ran fast. Well, fast enough.

    To finish my tale, a few hours later I was sipping tea and eating sushi at the 1:00 meeting, thinking a bit about the woman still waiting for her night flight to San Francisco and musing on why it's always a good thing to be nice to service staff.
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2011
    That woman is my hero.
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2011

    Ok so this was mentioned in the drinking stories thread and never really got expanded upon, but even i stil can't believe it happened.....

    The year is 2005, and having been with Sigga for year and a half, i made my first ever trip to Iceland. As she worked in the tourism industry, she worked her contacts mercilessly and got us accommodation in a 5-star suite, half price at the top restaurants and free travel to the airport. Yup, i thought, this one's definitely a keeper.

    Another thing she also organised (Again free of charge), was a big jeep excursion and glacier snowmobile ride. Our guide was a wonderfully charming and amiable man named Ragnar, who on first meeting me said "I've heard many things about you Bob, and i hope they're true as i have a surprise for you later on..." Now i was intrigued.

    Anyway the jeep trek was great. We saw all the main sites and did some real off-roading. When we making our ascent to the Langjökull glacier, Ragnar said to us "I've just found out some interesting news from the tour behind us. Apparently there is a Big Hollywood star and his group and they'Re seeing the sights as well." This big Hollywood Star turned out to be Rob Schneider who was in Iceland promoting his latest "Blockbuster" Deuce Bigalow 2: European Gigolo.

    Anyway, we get to the glacier and have a great time snowmobiling across the glacier and trying not to fall down the massive crevasses. Once we returned to the lodge hut, it seem that Rob and his entourage were already there and booting themselves up to head out to the glacier. Once changed, i ventured inside to find that a lovely spread had been laid on for our star. Bagels, sandwiches, and a couple of cases of beer were waiting for them when they got back. Of course having the morals of a slug, i walk over and start helping myself to some of his sandwiches and a few bottles of beer. It must have looked like a bear raiding a camping site.

    It was then i heard the squeal behind me....


    I turned around and found a tall, thin, serious looking man that looked a hell of a lot like Gok Wan, staring at me like i'd just done a shit on the floor.

    "What does it look like i'm doing mate? I'm helping myself," i replied.

    He looked even madder. "Those are MR Schneider's beers and sandwiches! Put them down at once!"

    I just looked at him. And i don'y know why i even to this day did this, but i calmly said "Fuck off mate, they're mine now!" and then proceeded to lick the sandwiches in front of the flunky! This was followed by me saying "I'm off to my jeep now. If Rob wants to speak to me, tell him i will be on the tour in front of him." And then calmly walked out the Door.

    As i approached our Jeep, Sigga went "Where the hell did you get that food and beer???" I told her that it belonged to our Hollywood friend and that i was hungry. She demanded that i return them, but when i told her that i couldn't as it had already licked them all, she groaned and rolled her eyes. This guy is a total keeper too, she must have thought....

    Regnar though just laughed and said "The strories are true!" and then came closer and said "I think it's time for your present now." He handed me a small key that opened the spare tyre container at the back of the jeep. I opened it to find that it was full of Icelandic beer! Ragnar simply said, "You all have 2 1/2 hours to finish this by the time we get back to Reykjavik." Challenge accepted and accomplished!

    Damn those sandwiches tasted good......
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2011

    OK i have no real recollection of this, but it was apparently seen by several people who confirmed its authenticity. So here goes.....

    We get back to Reykjavik in a glowing mood and head to a close friend of Sigga named Linda. After some more food we receive another visitor. It turns out to be the brother of Linda's husband, a man named Kiddi who was one of Iceland's top DJ's at the time. We started chatting and immediately got right into a large bottle of vodka and started talking about the Reykjavik nightlife. Kiddi then says that he's heading downtown to go partying and wonders if we fancy joining him. I immediately say yes. Sigga however, says that she is totally knackered and drunk too much so she will be heading back to the hotel.

    Once we reach downtown, Kiddi takes me to the club he works at. Luckily he knows everyone so despite our rather drunken states, we manage to get past the doormen.

    However once inside, look who i bump into on his way out but none other than... ROB SCHNEIDER AND HIS ENTOURAGE!

    Now this bit i don't remember, but Kiddi later told me what happened. Apparently i pretty much doorstopped him and thanked him for his lovely sandwiches and beer. I then went on to say that while i thought he was great in Judge Dredd, I thought his film the Animal stunk, "But hey that's coooool man! You've got to do shit like that once in a while. You got bills to pay and mansions to upkeep. And that stuff ain't cheap! Am i right or am it right??" Schneider apparently kept saying "Yup, um thanks", but his face was one of "Who the fuck is this guy??"

    The doormen eventually take me away and Rob was allowed to leave unmolested. Kiddi asked me what that was all about. I tell him about the sandwich. Kiddi laughs and buys me a drink. He would later be found passed out in the toilets. I had no memory of how i got back to the hotel.

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