OK, look, I probably shouldn’t be telling you this. But you know what, I’m feeling really good about Life today and I like your hair.
So listen, you know that, like, antique store off of Tremont, by the Commons in Boston? Its like two or three blocks from Emerson. No, no, not that bullshit store with the pianos and bullshit for the Berkeley students. The antique store, its got all those Russian babushka dolls out in the front, you know, those weird dolls that hide another smaller doll inside itself? OMG, could you imagine a Kim Kardashian doll that holds a Paris Hilton doll that holds a Nicole Richie doll, who holds a Lindsay Lohan doll, who hosts a tired little drunk Tara Reid?? I mean, could you imagine getting to the bottom of anything and there’s Tara Reid? Totally the kind of sick twisted joke the universe would play, right?
Anyway, the antique store. I forget the name. You can’t pronounce it. Which is pretty clever, I mean, if you’re going to have an antique store, what better to associate with antiquity than a word you can’t pronounce? So anyway, if you’ve ever been in there, you’d know those old ladies who run the joint. They’re like Clash of the Titans old. They’re over a hundred years old, not even shitting you. Can you imagine? Sometimes I can barely get out of bed for the sheer weight of my burdensome experience, I’m so exhausted, and I’m not even thirty yet. Can you even handle the thought of standing upright with the experience and memories of a hundred years? Check, please.
Anyway, they’re total witches. Like, serious. I’m not even talking Wicca here, ok, these hoes are the real deal. These bags see your Melissa Joan Hart and raise you a Fairuza Balk, ok? Seriously, its some Maya Deren shit up in there. They come from a long line of Masons. I know this because the first time I went in, one of the ladies started to chat me up. She gives me the side-eye and then, fondling one of her chin whiskers, says “You must be a Scorpio.”
Which, I know what you’re thinking: wow, how’d she know that? But c’mon, fishnet-stockings, eyeliner, black hair, big nose, leather boots? Yeah, clearly, lady, tell me some jive I don’t know. Anyway, I wasn’t impressed. UNTIL she then blurts out that I have two mothers, one I know, one I DON’T know, which, is totally true because, like, I’m adopted. So then I’m a little intrigued. So she’s chatting me up and then pulls aside this curtain thing and behind the curtain is this wooden sculpture thing with a big thirty three carved in it, and some other symbol shit I dont know. Looks sort of shriner-ish. So, she then informs me, it was her father’s. He was a 33rd degree Mason. Like, the 33rd degree I think is the highest you can get. You know, how like, the occult has a major boner for the number three, right? Whatever, anyway, her and her sister are of the Blue Stars, which is like, the Lilith Fair of the Masons. Like, the girl sector. Anyway, she’s pushing these books about the Tarot and Masonry onto me. I buy them, we talk a little more.
Thats when I hear someone in the back. Another old lady. Except this one sounds scary. Like she just ate one of the Goonies for lunch. Her voice is all, “Whooooooooo are yooooooooou talking toooooooooooo?” And the original lady tells me that’s her sister and she’s even older than she is, and they run the joint together. Have since their father died. The older sister is ill she says, and that’s why she’s in the back. They live back there. Can you imagine? Chicken bones, shrunken heads, jars filled with formaldehyde, some real X-Files shit. There’s probably a little ancient television set that constantly plays cartoons. Ever notice some of the most fucked up situations involve a television set playing cartoons in the background? Maybe even some My Little Pony dolls with half their hair pulled out by some kid you used to be around but isn’t anymore–you know, some really deep and tragic Unsolved Mysteries crap.
Anyway, so that was like three years ago, when I still lived in Boston. So, you know, this summer I visited and stayed with my friend Katya, who’s a Russian drag queen. Well, she’s not Russian, but like, her “drag persona” is; whatever, don’t worry I won’t bore you with the details. So anyway, I was visiting Boston, staying with Katya, and I decided to check out the old antique store again. Well, I go in, and the original hag is still there. Some small talk happens, doesn’t seem the ol’ bitty remembers me, which is perfect for my plan, and I ask how her sister is doing. Seems the other lady finally croaked and she’s the only one left running the store.
So I watch her, this well-worn woman trolling around, her long bony fingers going over the glass casing that holds all the really good jewelry. Not the pentagrams and silver crescent moons and snakes, and all that kind of teen angst Dungeons & Dragons crap–nah, man! the good shit: Giant emeralds, diamonds, rubies, ornate rings, elaborate bracelets, vintage brooches. The old lady is rattling on, something about her sister, getting all sad-clown, and all I’m thinking is this jewelry is probably worth a LOT.
I see the woman, she looks tired, something in her eyes is different. Her scary child-eating sister being gone must really bum her out. She says “You can call me Maureen.” Which, by the way, anytime anyone says, “You can call me blah blah blah…” it’s total bullshit. Fake name. Being a mason cult lady she probably has three or four names. Whatever. Who am I to judge? I’m from Kentucky. So I’m staring at “Maureen,” looking around the place, and I see no cameras. All this place has holding it together is a bunch of ghosts, memories, and Maureen. Pretty shaky, if ya ask me.
You see where i’m going with this, right? You pickin’ up what I’m laying down? Look, I was gonna tell this to Katya, you know, cuz she lives around the corner maybe four blocks away from the joint, so it WOULD be easy for her to conspire with me. but hey, like I said, I ‘m having a good day and you have cool hair. So maybe you can help me out, you know, help me come up with a plan.
Think about it. The jewelry. The statues. The babushka dolls. I could put on my blonde Lady Gaga wig and ol’ Maureen would never be the wiser; besides, she’s clearly ready to check out anyway. But seriously, think of the shit in that joint. The loot. Once I got my hands on all those jewels, the necklaces, all the really good shit, I would triple the going-price and sell everything on eBay to some private seller on behalf of some snotty museum in London, and then…..then I would have enough money and power in the world to expose (insert name of misogynist here) for the misogynist pig he is and ruin his life and career forever.
Ben McCoy is a writer and performance artist. McCoy has toured the country twice, most recently with Sister Spit, and has starred in several short films. Ben’s writing has been published in Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, an anthology. McCoy also contributes to http://ironingboardcollective.wordpress.com/