Okay, you need the set-up for this one. I was Twittering with Carrie Lofty and one thing led to another and I promised her I’d have one of my characters speak the penultimate line here. Now, the dude who speaks it isn’t a regular character; he’s just passing through — no matter HOW much you like him. So… I still owe her that. It’ll come around Halloween. Yep, I’m planning early this year. In the meantime, blame ALL this on Carrie. And then go out and buy her book.
Look. I own what’s essentially a porn store. I mean, I sell plenty of other things, like my signature massage oils and candles, and there are days when my wigs and outerwear sell more than the sex toys in the back room. Not many, but they happen. It’s the bath salts and the silk stockings. Once you start using them, you’re hooked forever.
So what I’m trying to say is that I get plenty of shady characters in my store. Over the years, I’ve come to know most of them, if not by name then by sight. Most usually by preference in brand of rubbers. Not all of them are as shady as they look. In fact, the metal heads are usually the ones who’ll turn the shoplifters in.
Having a band like ShapeShifter come from this city’s been good for us in a lot of ways.
Mom and I were alone in the front lounge when he walked in. We didn’t know what to call him other than Robin Hood. I mean, he was wearing green, even down to the tights. He sorta looked like that cartoon version of Robin Hood where Robin was played by a fox. A cartoon fox.
It wasn’t Halloween. It wasn’t a night when the drag queens would be flooding the Rocket Theater. And even if they had been, no one dressed up like Robin Hood. Maid Marion, definitely. I’ve had to order those fancy dresses for some of my regulars.
I slid around the counter and followed Robin Hood into the toy room. Allegra was taking inventory of the movies; talk about shady characters. This one guy had been in last week, wearing a trench coat, of course, and pumping Mom for everything she’d give him about making flicks. It wouldn’t surprise any of us if he’d lifted a few DVDs; we’d found a bunch out of place after he’d left. Nothing had turned up missing that day, but one thing you learn in a business like mine is that these guys like to case the joint and come back later.
I studied Robin himself more than the way he moved through the store — how a person takes my store, with its rooms that get increasingly sexually explicit tells me a lot about the kind of customer I’m dealing with. I was hoping I’d pick up a clue about who he was, but I couldn’t help it. I kept staring at his legs, right above where they disappeared into the green suede ankle boots.
No help there; I rarely if ever see a guy’s legs below the middle of his thighs. If I even seen that much; I’m not really a leg girl.
His ass, his back, his arms, his jawline… nothing. As far as I could tell, this guy had just walked into town.
Allegra looked up at Robin Hood and licked her lips before giving him one of Mom’s special welcome smiles.
Robin looked from Allegra to me and back again. Right then, I knew I was right: he wasn’t from here. Everyone in Riverview knows Allegra and I are twins. We’re as legendary as Mom. Mom made sure of that, and now with the store, the legend continues. Not that I mind so much; if it gets people to come into the store and spend money, I’m all for it.
I didn’t say anything. Neither did Allegra. At this point in our lives, we’re over the whole twin thing.
“Need some help?” Allegra asked.
I leaned against a wall and watched the guy shake his head. He had shaggy red hair, reminding me again of the cartoon Robin Hood. I don’t know why; I haven’t seen the movie in years.
He got busy with our harnesses, pointing to them and waiting for Allegra to take them out of the case. He even tried a few on over his hose, measured the opening with his fingers.
Allegra shot me one of those looks. The WTF look.
I shrugged. By this point, I didn’t think the guy was shady. Just one of the harmless weirdos we get from time to time.
He proved me right when he picked his harness and carried it carefully up to the counter. I followed him again, slipping behind the counter and ringing him up. He paid cash, of course; I do a huge cash business when it comes to the stuff in the toy room.
And then, he finally spoke. He had this amazing English accent and he said, “Thank you. I doth rock out with my cock out.”
Mom and I managed to not laugh until the door had shut behind him and we couldn’t see his cute little green hat anymore.
If you don’t remember Lyric, click on her category over to the right. You’ll be seeing a LOT more of her at some point in the future. What that point is, exactly, I’m not sure. But the pieces are lining up on my hard drive, waiting for the perfect time.