“I’m going to Mecca,” my wife said.
Anyone listening in our conversation might think we were Muslims, and my wife was preparing to make some spiritual pilgrimage. But as it happened, she had previously enjoyed the ‘foundation sample’ — whatever that is — she had gotten from the pimped-up, pouting retail assistants in this schitzophrenic make-up shop and was going back for more.
I end up sitting outside a lot of shops when we go shopping.
I casually nod at the other husbands sitting on benches staring into their phones. There is an unwritten bond between us. In a world where chauvinism is dying, at least we still have our benches outside of our shops where we celebrate our masculine non-desire to check out row after row of overpriced makeup made from petroleum waste products. Some things never change.
Although most bench husbands might be looking at football or pizza or muscle women on Instagram, I am busy doing fuck all. This bench outside the clothes shop is my Mecca. I am pretending to be bored shitless but in reality I am bored out of my mind and it’s making my perineum throb like several thousand clitori at a Harry Styles concert.
She takes longer in this store than in all the others. I wondered about this once and followed her into this Mecca of capitalism to see what all the fuss was about. Mecca is the brightest shop I have ever seen. There are neon signs and televisions everywhere featuring models of various cultural and socio-economical backgrounds (or so we are led to believe). They make faces like horny seagulls trying to attract a mate. They laugh and faff around with each other, which makes the sixty-nine point four women customers in this shop want to pay $192 for some wet, peach-coloured cement that they can smear over their cheeks. It’s a fucking God damn mystery.
A fat but cool man sits on the bench opposite me.
We nod in the usual recognition of our Secret Men’s Bench Waiting Society (SMBWS), but instead of resuming his phone staring, he stares at me. I look up again and give him a toothless, lips pressed together smile.
I notice his Nikes are beautiful — most unlike the Nikes you see on many American tourists with their drainpipe jeans and fucking fanny packs (which in England are rucksacks that you wear on your fanny using the fanny flaps as arms. It’s handy as fuck, especially if you have long flaps.)
I’ve never been a Nike guy, always preferring the refined criminal look of Adidas. But these Nikes aren’t normal. A moment ago, he never seemed to be wearing the gold tracksuit he was now wearing, nor the red firestone necklace which hung from his neck and matched his firestone rings, all of which must have weighed more than Shaq’s nutsack.
“I see you looking,” the guy said.
I looked both ways, but no one was around — only me.
“Excuse me?” I said with the confidence of a young trainee priest about to be raped by a Samurai.
He leaned in closer.
“I see you looking. AND I know you wanna know what’s happening.”
I wondered if he was trying to sell me drugs or proposing mutual masturbation. Either way I just wasn’t interested
“No thankyou” I said.
The man stood up, wandered over and sat down next to me.
“I know yer wondering where I get my clothes from,” he said.
I really wasn’t. I was just admiring them. I don’t go to trainer shops, preferring to shop online to avoid dealing with Sociopathic Sneaker Salespeople (SSS).
He handed me the most stunning business card I had ever seen. It appeared to be some kind of mellowed willow pulp, possibly cold treated. It was a minimum of fourteen ply with gold trim, the most exquisite ivory micro edging and ink from the royal lion squid.
“Smell it,” he said.
It smelt like Calvin Klein’s arsehole.
“It’s roasted miso and aged honey,” he said.
I wanted to explain that he was wasting his time with the wrong person.
I didn’t really give a fuck about his clothes although they were nice, I just would never wear them myself as I would look like Jimmy Saville on acid.
“Lick it,” he said before I had a chance to explain. I pulled a face like he had asked me to lick his scrotum.
“Go on, lick it,” he said. I hadn’t seen someone this pumped about me tasting something since Peter Chen, owner of the Chicken Palace.
I looked around and couldn’t see my wife. I knew she was buried somewhere in the heart of Mecca, chatting happily about petroleum waste products and whether a cute beagle had been forced to put on a dress and wear makeup like a hooker in some factory somewhere. If she was here she would tell me not to lick it. I mean, it could be laced with ketamine or anything. This whole thing could be an elaborate date rape strategy.
Fuck it. I licked the business card. It tasted like Calvin Klein’s arsehole.
“It’s roasted miso and aged honey,” the man said.
I still didn’t give a flying fuck. The business card read:
Shop 11Z Highpoint Shopping Centre
“It’s down the end past Myer,” he told me. “Do you like rare beads?”
He nodded at the mala beads circling through my fingers.
“I suppose,” I said. The man stood up, took one last nod at me, and walked away.
My wife emerged from Mecca just over a year later.
“I want to go to this shop Electric Presley,” I told her.
“That’s not a shop Frank,” she said, looking at the card.
My wife knows that shopping centre probably better than anyone that works there. “There’s no 11Z.”
I told her it was just up next to Myer and I dragged her along to check anyway. When we got there, she was right. It was a shop called Legends and Cunts. It sold nothing but framed pictures of celebrities with their signatures.
I looked at the card again to check the address and flipped it over. On the back was more writing.
- ) Only accessible between 12 pm and 2 pm
- ) To access, you must not have masturbated in three days.
- ) To access, you must have a blood sugar reading of 22.2
I looked at my watch. It was 12.53 pm. By some coincidence, I hadn’t masturbated in a week due to a horrific herpes outbreak.
But the blood sugar —
“Darling is 22.2 a high bl — “
My wife was gone. I checked my phone.
I’ve gone into Adairs. Let me know if you find your weird shop
To be fair, it wasn’t the first time this kind of thing had happened.
I looked across the way and saw Koko Black — a place where you could get hot chocolate that was like drinking Nigella Lawson’s Diarrhea directly from the source.
I sat down and ordered two classic Belgians, a giant chocolate chip cookie and two chocolates — a dark chocolate whiskey liquor and a strawberry-shaped cock with lime spunk in the middle. I reluctantly paid the $37.50 and waited anxiously for my chocolate feast to arrive.
Since I had recently been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, I knew it was a bad idea, and I was glad my wife had gone to Adairs since she would never have approved.
Finally, the chocolate woman arrived and placed my chocolate items onto the chocolate table. I took a significant slug of the classic Belgian and then another and then another.
Next, I took a large bite of the greasy giant cookie. I popped the strawberry-shaped cock in my mouth and washed it all down with another two slugs of classic Belgian. I felt nausea start to wash over me. It was the start of that reflux that throws hot acid into your throat. But I knew I had to push through.
I swallowed the rest of the first hot chocolate, munched hard on the rest of the golden cookie and swallowed the whiskey liquor chocolate like paracetamol. Next, I began to chug the second classic Belgian. By now, I noticed that people were staring at me. I chugged again and again until the final mouthful of blissful choc descended my golden gullet.
I knew I must be hitting the sugar high because the waiters all looked like raccoons and I thought for a microsecond I was at the Oscars waiting to win the Ballon d’Or.
I stumbled back out of the front door like a drunk hooker, purchasing one more cookie along the way. I wandered over to Myer and stared into the window of Legends and Cunts.
A drumbeat started that sounded like the beginning of Modern Love by David Bowie, and some purple curtains dropped in the windows. When they swung open again, there were cats with peanuts for eyes dancing in the windows.
The fat man in the Nikes appeared at the entrance.
“Ah, you made it then,” he said. “Please come in.”
The first thing I noticed after the peanut-eyed cats were a series of walking sticks all lined up. Each was made of a gradually darker wood beginning with the blackest wood you’ve ever seen right down to the whitest wood you have ever seen. Then there were rows and rows of Nikes and tracksuits, some glittery gloss, some morbid matte, and so many colours, including at least seven colours I had never seen before. Finally there were rows of rare beads. I was drawn to the walking sticks.
“Go on,” the man said. “Try one”.
I’ve never needed a walking stick but always liked the idea of them. I took one that looked like walnut with a silver severed dog’s head, and I leaned on it regally.
“Smell it,” he said.
Not this shit again. “Let me guess,” I said. “Roasted miso and aged honey?”
His smile turned to a scowl like I had spoiled the party.
“Actually, it’s fermented blackberry and elderflower,” he said, annoyed.
I smelt the walking stick. It smelled like Calvin Klein’s arsehole.
“Just kidding,” the man said, laughing like an epileptic ape. “It’s roasted miso and aged honey.”
“Lick it,” he said.
“No, I don’t think so,” I said. “Look, thanks for showing me your shop.”
I tried to leave, but I realised that my hands and feet were now both tied from each side. I was strapped in four directions.
“What is this?” I asked the man.
He didn’t answer me. He just began to strip off his golden tracksuit.
“I DEMAND to see the Manager,” I said to him louder than I would have liked.
“Oh,” he said. “You don’t want to meet the Manager, BOY.”
I wasn’t sure what he meant by that. The ropes were getting tighter around my hands and feet.
“You don’t remember me, do you, Frank T Bird?” he said in a familiar voice.
He flipped his Nikes across the room and took off the rest of his golden tracksuit, which now seemed like golden skin. He peeled it off, revealing raw bleeding flesh interspersed with rotten pus and maggots.
“ALL I WANTED WAS SOME SALT N VINEGAR KETTLE CHIPS”, he yelled, releasing his cock, which was now seven feet long with the head of a hissing cobra.”
“Professor — Jones?” I asked.
His stinking head came close, right up to my face. His breath hummed like Calvin Klein’s arsehole.
“Are you going to fuck me?” I asked him, weeping in fear.
“You’d like that, WOULDN’T YOU?” he said. “Open your anus, Frank.”
“I don’t want to open my anus,” I said. “And besides, my hands are tied, so I can’t.”
In an instant, my hands were free and I considered running for the door.
But there were no longer any doors. I was in a round chamber with a shelf all around. Marching around the shelves were cats with peanut eyes. They were stomping spears as if marching into war. They chanted in union:
We, the pussies love to rape
We promise you by the code of Ape
And don’t go eating Lawson’s slaughter
Its so much worse than Knittel’s water.
“OPEN YOUR ANUS FRANK” Professor Jones yelled. He looked like Saddam Hussein.
“No, I won’t open my —”
The cats began grabbing me from all sides and pinning me down.
Five Years they chanted, Five years — Five years — Five years — Five years — Five years — Five years — Five years — Five years — Five years — Five years — Five years — Five years — Five years — Five years — Five years — Five years — Five years — Five years —
“HELP HELP HELP. I WON’T OPEN MY ANUS. I WON’T OPEN MY ANUS.”
“FRANK. FRANK, are you okay?” It was my wife.
I looked around at the patrons who had all dumped their hot chocolates and were gathering around my table, which had a spilled hot chocolate and a half-eaten cookie.
“What were you thinking?” she said. “You know Doctor Jones said you can’t eat sugar.”
The friendly waiter brought me a water bottle, and my wife walked me back to the car.
“I was trying to find the shop. You know the Electric Presley shop. I needed to get my blood sugars up,” I told her.
“Frank, you are making no sense. Why were you shouting about not wanting to open your anus? You made a real scene in front of all of those patrons.”
“Darling, do you remember that time I drank Knittel’s water in the desert? Nothing has been the same since then. That Professor Jones, he —”
“Stop that right now, Frank,” she demanded. “You have to accept that you just had a diabetic episode. Now, no sugar for you anymore, okay? We are going to get you healthy.”
That fucking Professor Jones. Now she is going to try and get me on the Stevia. Still, I don’t blame him. It’s the tantric way. If I have to blame anyone, it’s that bastard Mike Knittel, the God of Travel.
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