Right Place, Wrong Stuff

I parked my car in a shady spot on the side of the building. It was a typical enough strip mall-type edifice, five storefronts and a bigger, so-called ‘anchor store’ on the far end. From my angle I could not see what type of establishment it was, but it was the only business with any vehicles parked out front.  People walking in, no one walking out, bet it just opened. I walked towards the door nearest me. All I had to go on was the code phrase ‘right stuff’, and an address that led me to this poor argument for urban sprawl.

I’m a private dick, and a major pain-in-the-ass. Sometimes there’s corporal punishment involved in my work, but in general, the days are as boring as this one started out to be. I can’t tell you who hired me, or why. It doesn’t matter, just that I was here, my last hope to put this case in the ‘win’ column. Nothing to show so far for my client’s $400/day except that I was $1600 richer. You do the math. Right, four days. Thanks, I don’t do math.

I knock on the first door. A man answers, a little guy, maybe 5 foot-4 inches. Wearing a suit he’d been growing out of since high school. Or whatever they call high school where he’s from. Just looking at him, I knew he would have an accent. He did. “Yes, I help you?” Middle East, maybe Turkey, outside chance he’s Greek. “I’m here for the right stuff”, I was winging this like a businessman in Hooter’s on Friday, hoping this time the waitress didn’t have a boyfriend nicknamed Beast.

“You right stuff?’ Bingo.

“That’s me. All day long”

“Come, come”, he waves me in. I follow him to his desk. He walks around. I sit in the chair in front. Only then do I realize the door didn’t close on its own. The guy standing mutely behind me likely had a hand in it. A big hand, about three times my size. OJ could wear this guy’s gloves. He could maybe sleep in one. “So you Right Stuff.” Little man’s voice brought my pondering of his security to an end. Was there suspicion in his voice? “What you got? You bring something?”

I needed to be very careful, with the neck-breaker parting my hair with his garlic-tinged breath. “I expect to get for giving”. This dance was getting old. He was going to call my bluff now, have the Human Parthenon cut in, maybe step on my toes.

“You film stuff, I pay you. You right stuff, I pay you. 5 dollars a page. 100 pages per book, max. You give me 101, you get 500 dollar. You bring me 120 page book, 500 dollar. Blondes, big tits.” He holds his hands way out on front of him. “Negroes, big dicks.” He holds hands high up in front of him, moving them up and down, like he was climbing a greased pole. “Lesbian, no homo. Anal, lots of anal.”

Write stuff! I was in the wrong place, making a deal to write porno for the camel-trader. Friggin’ homonyms. “Well, I’m certain I can come up with something…”

“Two books a month. Twin blonde lesbians, secretly man-craving nymphos. You write me stuff like that. Cash after I read, if like. Go now. Write some stuff.”

I got up and headed for the door. It took awhile to get there, as Mount Ararat stood his ground. The porno king was offering character and theme suggestions until I shut the door behind me. “Girls with whips! Rubber suits! Spanish girls in chocolate factory!”

Safely outside. I look down towards the rest of the entrances. Door number two, Monty. A car and a van had pulled up next door while I had been discussing latin dominatrixes and rubber fetishists with Sabu and his elephant. I reached the door in time to open it for a girl carrying a long box. Just inside the doorway was a mirror, and I stopped the gal before her box knocked it over. Except it wasn’t a mirror. I looked back and forth between them, Blonde twins, a double-scoop of vanilla lusciousness. They had to be identical, and I wasn’t feeling fraternal towards them at all. The thought crossed my mind that their neighbor might be expecting me to write about these two Then the one inside spoke. “Can we help you?”
“If you got the right stuff, we will get along just fine, hon…hons.” My not-quite-a-leer took in both mouth-watering babes. Both girls laughed the same. “You could call it that, right stuff.”
“We are just getting ready for opening day, but you can look at what is on display already. I’m Henrietta Himmler Sweeney, and this is my sister, Hermione Goering Sweeney. And if you don’t find what you are looking for, we can get it.” I was in the store by then, finally able to look away from the twin visions of genetic purity and see what was on the shelves. German helmets, SS patches. Mein Kampf, books proving the Holocaust never happened, others declaring that it didn’t happen soon enough or often enough, books about how it should have been done. Pictures of Hitler and Eva, busts of Hitler, paintings of Hitler, DVD’s of Hitler, and VHS tapes for retro fans of Adolph. Nazi flags, swastika-encrusted coffee cups, cribs and dinnerware. That and more stuff from the Third Reich than I had ever seen in one place….Wait a minute, Reich…stuff.  Damn, another dead end. Hermione (or was it Adolphine?) pulled the flag out of the box she had been carrying. “Maybe he meant this, Henrietta. A Reich staff? Authentic in every detail.” I said that I would come back when they had their grand opening.  I pretended not to see them salute me as I left, so as to avoid returning a stiff-armed “Sieg Heil”.

The sun was up high now, Getting close to three-martini mid-morning snack time. I wondered if the Aryan Angels drank before noon, then began mentally constructing a chapter featuring me with them, nude picnicking on a Nazi flag. Nah, not even a little enticing, unless my stunning sexual prowess makes them see the error of their ways. And then I was in front of door number three.

Juanita Wright’s Tough-Ass Nails salon. I didn’t go in. I walked past the fourth business, a tool shop called The Wright’s Stuff as well.  The fifth emporium had a window full of religious figurines, candelabras, incense holders, prayer mats, and build-it-yourself reliquaries.  It took a minute to fit this into today’s theme. Yeah, rite stuff. I walked on.

Then I was at the anchor store, which was a drag, get it? Actually, it was a seedy lounge, with a tubular neon-light simulacra of a rack of balls and pool cues in the window. The sun was getting to me.  I needed a drink, and a bar in a second-rate mini-mall was as good a place as any to get one. The name was visible from the street, not from my point of view. I only saw that it was The Right Stuff Sports Bar & Grill when I was brought out on a stretcher a half-hour later.

“Is good, is good. Maybe next one is write faster?” I was back in store number one again, waiting for Raihid, as his name turned out to be, to finish reading my labor of lust. Three weeks had passed. I had been in the hospital for most of that time. It turned out that the Right Stuff was the right place, and I had recognized my client’s ex-partner, who recognized me. Introductions not being necessary, things got grungy fairly quick, what with him having big friendly drinking buddies and all. I managed a swing or two before being prepped for admission to County Hospital, where I composed my first porn novel. Hey, money is money. In my story, the girls lost their Nazis-R-Us Shop, and wound up working in the nail salon with Juanita, who taught them tolerance and lesbian love tricks while the customers’ nails dried. Their perverted but kindly uncle ran a tool shop and sold sex aids on the side. And after work they would have group sex with strangers in a seedy bar next door. Where do I get these ideas?

“Raihid, honestly, I don’t think I have another story in me. Most likely, this is a one-shot deal.”
He smiled as he handed me $300 dollars. “Is all one-shooters get. Problem you got, talk to my fiscal manager there.” He waved his hand carelessly, indicating a personage that could have been anywhere behind me. Or, as in Orca’s case, Everywhere behind me. I declined the offer to arbitrate; my head still hurt from the last negotiations in which I had been involved. I got up to leave before it was decided that I was too happy with being only 40% fleeced.

“You do another book, maybe we talk. I hold this for then”. And he pocketed my fee for pages 60-102, where the twins pull a train in an Aryan Nation compound until the police can get there with warrants. Classy stuff. I mumbled a ‘we’ll see’, and stepped into the noonday sun. “Fisting!” Rahid shouted after me. “Fisting big seller!”

“Raihid, stuff it!”

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