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Archive for Sidewalk Smut

SMUT STAND REPORT: Oct. 8, 2014 (New Orleans)

WHEN: 4 hours (8pm-midnight), Oct 8, 2014. WHERE: mural fence next to the Art Market, Frenchmen Street, New Orleans.  OUTPUT: one custom work, a hardcore doin'-it-standing-while-no-one's watching piece in a nightclub. (I wonder how often that particular scene actually unfolds. Some clubs get really crowded.)

This was one of those nights that I knew would happen, even here, when the crowd was just not buying smut. Few people stopped, even fewer had legit questions about the process. The only commission I got was two hours after I started, and while her interview and response to the piece was gratifying—her husband's birthday is on Sunday, and he "always wants to fuck!"—it was not enough to carry my mood past midnight. I actually rejected one piece soon after that, because it was two members of a stag party wanting something for their soon-to-be-married friends. That goes against both policy and good practice. I only do consensual smut.

On nights like this, I never know how much of it is really the crowd, and how much is the new location—I decided to just stay set up in front of the mural fence, across from Michael's Bicycle—and how much is my mood. Because I hadn't drunk nearly as much coffee as usual right before setting out the stand (normally I'm getting a large coffee in the hour beforehand), and it was SO FUCKING MUGGY that I could not stop sweating, and I was sitting with some personal shit that was really distracting, and it was the gushiest day of my period so I was anxious about that, and it's possible that all of those things were just messing with the vibe that I put out.

Never mind. Today I make a sign for the fence behind me, something to hang over my head, red lettering on white background, with lots of red lights: SMUT WHILE U WAIT. And I get another red bike light for the other corner of my typewriter table. And I drink lots of coffee, and I bring enough water, and I do it all again.

SMUT STAND REPORT: Oct. 4, 2014 (New Orleans)

WHEN: 5.5 hours (8:30pm-2am), Oct 4, 2014. WHERE: in front of Michael's Bicycle, Frenchmen Street, New Orleans.  OUTPUT: two pieces of microsmut and five full-length works, including a lazy morning blowjob; a desperate fuck in the restroom of a bar, complete with the doorknob rattling; and a good thorough eating-out with strong overtones of cuckolding.

I need to remember to write these reports up within a day, max, following the smut session in question. I take pictures of all the custom pieces that I write, but it's not always easy to recall my customers, on that busy busy street.

This night continued the trend of referrals. One middle-aged woman came sweeping up earlier in the evening; her young friends had gotten their two pieces done the night before, and nothing would do but having her own done. She was able to be marvelously articulate about the positions and sensations that she really enjoyed—sleepy slow morning sex—and she actually said, "My fantasy is something that we do often anyway." Would that everyone could say that about their own sex lives!

Closing out the night were two dueling parties, both related to weddings. A fellow who had just been a groomsman in a wedding that day wanted to get a piece for himself. He talked too much during the interview, and used the word "consensual" too often for my comfort, like he had memorized a vocabulary word of the day and was using it just to show that he knew it, but he was otherwise nice and had the cash. Not 30 seconds after I had tucked his money away, a stag party came up. This was the second time this group had come by, in fact. They had stopped in front of me an hour earlier, but when I had suggested getting someone's cell phone and texting when a spot was available, no one had taken me up on it. So they had taken their chances and somebody else had grabbed the next spot.

At this point, the groom-to-be turned to my actual customer, the extremely consensual groomsman, and began begging with him, loudly, please, he needed some smut, could he go first. My customer took it in good cheer, but argued back loudly. Things were starting to get very loud, and I lost my patience. SHUT UP. SHUT UP, ALL OF YOU, I yelled to the mob in front of my stand. My command rang across the sidewalk; the mob quieted, all except the two principles, who were still talking to each other. I SAID SHUT UP, I MEAN YOU AND YOU, and pointed at both of them. The overwhelming vibe of the space at that moment was, "Yes, ma'am." It felt good.

We got it sorted to everyone's satisfaction, how things were going to go. At the end of the night, I couldn't reach the bridegroom-to-be for his interview, and wrote it off as a lost cause. But one of his friends happened to show up, and asked if I could do something for the groom, even without the interview. I was like, well, what do you know about his sex life? "A little." I can swing something on an index card, I said. Rather than charging $5 up front for it, as I would for a normal piece of microsmut, I said I would treat this transaction as the poets do, and he pay me what it's worth after he got it. I knew he was desperate to get something from the smut lady, so I knew he was going to come back, and I was counting on his guilt on behalf of the stag party, for putting me through so much hassle. He would pay handsomely for this little piece, I guessed. And he did: $20 for four lines about his friend, his friend's fiancée, and a drunken blow-job in the mirror.

SMUT STAND REPORT: Oct. 3, 2014 (New Orleans)

WHEN: 5.5 hours (8:30pm-2am), Oct 3, 2014. WHERE: in front of Michael's Bicycle, Frenchmen Street, New Orleans.  OUTPUT: one piece of microsmut and six custom works, including a quasi-spiritual beachside scene with cowgirl and crashing waves; a softcore, just-made-it-to-the-house piece where the proper gentleman becomes a pussy-craving maniac; and one that included so many elements of kink that it's shorter to just give you its working title: Human Zoo.

Last night I experienced again the power of both positive peer pressure and word of mouth. Four of the five full-length commissions came in pairs, and of those, two were referrals from last night's end-of-shift customers. This is  a thing that happens, even in sidewalk literary pursuits.

Last night had a couple of hours of waitlisting, and then a lot of hours of waiting. A few of the pieces were definitely worth considering for the next Bang It Out volume, and I even did up a couple of non-com pieces based on my lover's prompts and emailed them off to him (and received enthusiastic praise for them this morning, yes, I might let you see). Thank you, Spotted Cat Club, for your wireless signal! Matt-the-Poet and one other poet were there; Matt wasn't very talkative, but he was working on a piece in his notebook, so I left him alone.

In short, it felt like a fine evening until the very end. I was packing up the stand, and Matt turned to me and said, "We need to talk."

That is never a good sentence.

What followed is this: he loves what I do, admires me for it, he loves working next to me, but he cannot continue to work next to me every time he's out there. "The brightest star dims the others around it," he said, or something like that. Poetry cannot compete with pornography, and on the last three nights he's been out and sitting next to me, he has made either zero dollars or as close to that as makes no difference when paying his bills. Normally he makes bank on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in particular, but this week nothing.

This is stuff that I don't deal with anyplace else, because there are no other literary buskers, anywhere else I've been. Here I have to sit with this situation all the time, when I'm doing smut next to the poets-for-hire. I mentioned it in yesterday's smut report, that I notice a decent demand for smut many nights, but I remember other nights last year when poetry was the big seller. That has not happened yet this year. I regularly draw more attention than the poets; I normally shrug and figure, well, I put in my time doing lonely stints out in Cincinnati or Houston or wherever. I put in a lot of hours there on Frenchmen Street. I am always polite to other typists. I came up with the signage. It is not my fault that smut is my peculiar talent. But my presence was having a deleterious effect on Matt's livelihood.

Gah.

I am actually confused about why this pattern is happening this year and not in years past. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say it's a result of the Bourbonization of Frenchmen Street, that is, the people who like the style of Bourbon Street, but are freaked out by the crime there, are coming in droves to Frenchmen Street and they may be less the poetry types.

Which all makes for a very interesting discussion about social trends and street-level capitalism and blah blah blah, but in the end it just comes down to the fact that I am not willing to lose Matt's friendship over this. We talked, or mostly, he talked and I listened and tried really hard to keep from crying, and then we came to the following agreement: I will set up somewhere else on the street on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which are historically his moneymakers. If people ask, "where's the smut lady?", he will point them in my direction. And he would walk with me, right then, after we packed up our shit, and scope out the street for likely alternative spots for me.

Well, there are many reasons why in front of Michael's Bicycle is the historical gathering spot for the typists. No other spot is nearly as suited, with the flow of traffic and good lighting and the shelter from the elements. In the end, I settled on across the street, in front of the mural fence. That's where I first set up my stand in New Orleans, in fall of 2011. It is badly lit--I might get a battery-powered clip-on lamp--and there is no cover. If it rains, I'm fucked. But that's really the only option, unless I want to take Tuesday and Thursday nights off.

I feel resentful. I know I am doing the right thing with regard to Matt, but … look, I know it seems like I'm rolling in it, with some of these Sidewalk Smut reports, but that shit is GAS MONEY to get back to Montreal and fucking RENT when I get there, for at least another couple of months until I've been back on call for 16 hours a day for a couple of months and that income stream levels out. That shit is GROCERY MONEY, in an autumn where performances are sparsely scheduled and ticket sales have been less than inspired. My survival instincts, my anxiety around food availability, is at a constant background hum when I tour, and during and after yesterday's conversation with Matt, that anxiety spiked into moderate panic. I remind myself that I did all right in that alternate spot in 2011, but still.

I feel sadness, that I don't get to sit with Matt on those nights. His company is precious to me, and he says mine is too him, but not more precious than paying his bills. I hate that our time together has to be sacrificed to that.

And I feel shame, for needing that money so bad. I feel guilt for pursuing my work, even though it is having, has always had, a noticeable impact on the local street poets' trade. I only care about Matt, but it affects all of them. There is nothing dodgy about being a traveling busker, and there is no rota system for this, the poets generally co-exist fine amongst themselves. But right now I feel like I am an invasive species, destroying the natural ecosystem for a month, and then moving on.

My lover, the one who gave me the writing prompts last night, emphasized that the situation it is no one's fault, and says that I am doing the right and good thing by making the concessions. Maybe. But I wouldn't do them for anyone else. And I still feel really, complicatedly bad.

SMUT STAND REPORT: Sept. 30, 2014 (New Orleans)

WHEN: 5.5 hours (8:30pm-2am), Sept 30, 2014. WHERE: Frenchmen Street, New Orleans. OUTPUT: one piece of microsmut and three custom works, including a surprise picnic lunch out on a remote hiking trail and a structurally unsound reverse-cowgirl scene where a thumb in her ass was the only thing keeping her from falling over.

The night before last was slow-ish and boring and not very lucrative—$60 for the four-hour session. LAST NIGHT was slightly better on the money side and INFINITELY more interesting.

First of all, Matt-the-Poet came out for the first time since I've been back. I will say it again, for the people who have joined this party since last October: Matt is the one person who I have found in the world to be a true friend and colleague in the realm of literary busking. I know there are other street poets in the world, and I work next to some of them some nights here, but he is the only one I've met so far who I really like and respect. I respect his attitude, toward the work and the passersby; I respect his process; and I respect the material that he produces. In turn, he is the only poet there who a) really gets the value of the work that I do, and b) doesn't look down on me in the slightest. I love it when we are out there together--we converse easily, but also seem to know when we need to work—and also, and not insignificantly, I have someone to watch my stuff while I run off for a pee break in d.b.a.

My first couple of commissions were pretty standard and good, for their type. First one was a young German man, out to party with some friends, who clearly thought it was a joke at first, but as the interview progressed he sobered up. The second one was a lovely straight couple, clearly still in love and in lust with each other, totally ready to step up and lean in. The fact that the woman listed "receiving anal" as one of her favorite activities, that was just the icing on the cake. Yay, butt-sex sisterhood!

The third and final commission came at the witching hour, around midnight, when, as Matt has observed, things can start picking up and getting weird. On first read, this would be a fairly straightforward consultation: straight couple, mid- to late-30s, husband considerably more drunk than the wife, but she's buzzing, too, and they're both into it. She had mentioned being curious about some of the stuff in Fifty Shades of Grey; okay, I can work with that. However, as the conversation continued, I found myself wanting to lean further and further away. This was the most dysfunctional relationship that I have ever had the misfortune to write smut for, BY FAR. I don't know the details, I don't know how they got to be that way, I'm sure there was a lot going on behind the scenes. but I found myself blaming the man, his actions were the asshole ones, right there in front of me. Hear me out:

He kept jumping all over her answers, interrupting her to explain something further about his shit, egging her on to be more open with me. He clearly had a few more ideas rolling through his head, but godDAMMIT, his aggressiveness and jumping around and grandstanding was working against any amount of trust that I could build with her. The real kicker was the way he used a not-really-stage whisper in telling me, several times, that she was "sexually retarded." First of all, NO, NOT THAT WORD, NOT EVEN THAT CONCEPT. Second of all, SHE'S RIGHT THERE YOUR WIFE OF 15 YEARS IS RIGHT FUCKING THERE SHE CAN HEAR YOU EVERYONE PASSING BY CAN HEAR YOU AND BY YOUR OWN ADMISSION YOU ARE TRYING TO GET HER TO TRY NEW THINGS AND THIS IS HOW YOU DO THIS INSULT HER SEXUALITY FUCKING FUCK FUCK WHY ARE YOU EVEN TOGETHER ANYMORE. She finally walked off while he was answering the last question, she actually walked off. I took the twenty dollars and his cell number, and was so profoundly relieved when he walked away. That was a challenging piece to write; I tried to give them each a little of what they wanted, but the lingering bitterness of their toxic life made it very difficult to focus. They never came back for the piece. (I will text them again today.)

My host pointed out that New Orleans can be a relationship catalyst like that, as people drink and get drawn in by the anything-goes atmosphere. People let loose and see other options, or just feel a certain kind of freedom, for the first time in a long while, maybe ever, and if a couple's dynamic is already weak, that kind of experience can do serious damage to the facade. I have seen people having wonderful and powerful healing and joy and love connections as result of my work. I don't think I've ever catalyzed a breakdown, though. It was terrifying.

FORTUNATELY, the night picked up after that. I was ready to pack it in, but I'm glad I stuck around to hang out with Matt. First, a balding older man, who I had seen passing and circling us as part of a group of other men (a convention, I'm guessing), he approached. I had been tracking him for about a half-hour; I was sure he was going to pull out something sleazy. Instead, he said, to both of us, "I'm from Australia and I've never seen anything like this, poetry and smut right here on the street. Can I take your picture? I'll give you money." I was, like, "we'll take your money," and Matt laughs. The guy takes his pictures, and then takes out his wallet, and I'm thinking, maybe a fiver. Nope. He hands me a 20 and asks me to split it between us. Suh-WEEET.

And then, maybe 15 minutes later, a young man in a maroon patterned dinner jacket stands before us swaying, points at Matt and says, "Bourbon." Matt and I blink at each other. What? He then points to me and says, "Gin." Ohhhhhh. You want to buy us drinks! "Yes." In that case, I will have a rum and coke. Matt says any kind of whisky is good. The well-dressed drunk comes back in five minutes, somehow managing to carry six cups of booze without spilling anything. He then asks us each to write something short in our respective genres for $5. Fair enough. He's respectful, and he just bought us drinks. He surprised me a little during our mini-intake interview, by requesting softcore, and something to do with water. I was pleased with the result, and so was he, so much so that he gave me another dollar. Then… he just stood there, or sat in front of us and talked. About writing, about a girl that he never got over, about doing food service in this town, about what we're doing is really real.

Toward the end of the conversation he was fumbling around with his phone, and Matt's poem for him fell out on the sidewalk and was about to blow away. I felt myself getting suddenly maternal and said, here let me. So I reached right into his inside jacket pocket where I had seen him put my microsmut, pulled it out, nipped the poem out of his fingers, put both works into one of the letter-sized envelopes that I bring out to the stand now, sealed it up, and slipped the envelope into his outer pocket. There, I said, patting the pocket. Now reaching for your phone isn't going to endanger the literature.

He walked away, weaving from one edge of the sidewalk to the other. What is that called, I asked Matt, in a sine wave, the height and depth of the wave? "Amplitude," he said. I pointed at the receding figure of the patron, who was very nearly bouncing off walls and garbage cans, and Matt laughed. "Yes, that is a high-amplitude drunk."

SMUT STAND REPORT: Sept. 26, 2014 (Houston, TX)

WHEN: 4 hours (8pm-midnight), Sept 26, 2014. WHERE: On Brazos Street near Little Woodrow's (Midtown), Houston, TX. OUTPUT: one hardcore threesome for a basically nice guy, who nonetheless could not stop talking about threesomes in his interview, so I gave him a fucking threesome already.

I had chosen this location after driving through it on Thursday night with Bill, my host. It had been hopping on Thursday, just swarmed with people at 12:30 in the morning, with seven or eight major clubs in a three-block stretch, and I had thought, fuck, if it's this busy on Thursday, imagine what it's like on Friday. These are people coming for a good time. This is the spot.

But I made that decision from the safety and isolation of a car. I let greed make that decision for me, instead of actually getting out and wandering in the crowd and feeling the vibe. Ten minutes of hanging around outside the food truck would have told me what I needed to know: oh, my lovelies, this was the wrong place for me to be last night, absolutely the wrong place.

These were not my people. These were very young adults (average age 22) who were bent on getting laid, and insufficiently literary to appreciate that a gift of erotica can TOTALLY enhance your sex life better than alcohol. It was an almost toxic concentration of drunk or getting-there dude-bros, and the girls who want to get with them. Which, I mean, these folks are there in most neighborhoods that I smut in, but if I've chosen my spot right, the indifference, if not outright hostility are cut with the right blend of other, more interested/excitable/polite demographics.

Last night was PURE toxic party people. Well, almost pure. I won't say that my one custom piece made up for the rest, but it was kind of inevitable and awesome: "Wait. You were on Comedy Central. I saw you a couple of nights ago. Oh my god, I totally have to do this." The gentleman was easily 15 years older than anyone else in the neighborhood, and ended up being a bit racist and fetishizing in his sexuality (banging on about the ethnicities of EVERY GIRL HE TALKED ABOUT), but I will always love him a little bit for being the first person to recognize me out on the street from my "appearance" on @midnight (look for me at about the 14-minute mark).

SMUT STAND REPORT: Sept 13, 2014 (Cincinnati, OH)

WHEN: 4 hours (7-11pm), Sept 13, 2014. WHERE: On Ludlow Avenue near the Esquire Theatre (Clifton), AND on Hamilton Avenue near Chase Avenue (Northside), Cincinnati, OH. OUTPUT: three custom pieces, including a nice homo-erotic face-sitting scene; a loving bondage scene for a straight couple, with nipple pinching; and another bondage piece, this one for a straight guy who wanted her bent over a chair and helpless.

Last night started out fine, if a little slow. I picked the same spot as last Saturday—in front of the Mexican restaurant that was not yet open for business—and hoped for the same luck. I got the gay face-sitting commission early on in my time on Ludlow, and then just got the same sort of foot traffic going past, a combination of couples on dates and a few family units, a couple of groups of impertinent youth, who are generally easy to brush off.

Around 8:30 is when things started getting weird. I saw a cop car roll by. I always notice cop cars. This one rolled by REAL SLOW. Uh oh. Ten minutes later the cop car had pulled up in the parking lot across the street and the cop lady came up, a short lady with a blond ponytail looking a little incongruous under that hat. "You're going to have to leave," she said, without much preamble. "This is a public sidewalk." I thought it was legal, I've seen buskers, I said. "No," she said, "we close them down when we see them. And you can't block the sidewalk." Ah, I said. Now, I wasn't blocking the sidewalk, there was totally room for a wheelchair or a stroller or 2-3 people to pass, but whatever, so I started packing things up.

Twenty feet away some young people had been setting up some kind of amateur film shoot, but their attention was obviously drawn to the cop talking to me. At some point one of the young men came over with a video camera and started taping my encounter with the cop. She got a little edgy, but kept going. "Also, we got a number of complaints. The Mexican restaurant doesn't want to be connected with what you're doing, and a few people called in about the obscenity." What obscenity, I said, there's nothing obscene on my signage. "No, but this is a family-friendly neighborhood, and the words 'smut' and 'erotica', when a parent has to explain that to their kid…" Ah, I said again, loading as much scorn into that one syllable as I could, and kept packing up. "Have you considered trying this in Northside?" she said, after a short silence. What, I said. "The Northside neighborhood, down over the bridge over there. This would probably go over really well there." Wait, I wasn't being shut down, I was being Moved Along. What the hell. Thank you for the recommendation, I said icily. The young man finished with the videotape and then came over and gave me his email address so I could get the video of the encounter. When I walked past his group to my car, the cop was talking earnestly to him and his colleagues, and when drove past the location on my way out, they were no longer there; I'm pretty sure they were "blocking the sidewalk" too, and that the cop had told them to leave too.

NOTE: I don't ever argue with cops about the law. I might ask them a few questions, or ask them to clarify what is the problem, or who is complaining, but that's just for my own internal database of Places That Suck (it's a very small database, but it needs to stay detailed and up-to-date). I don't ever try to hold my ground or argue about ordinances.

I was tempted to just pack it in for the night, for the rest of my time in Cincinnati, and then I was overcome by a serious case of FUCK-ITS. Fuck it, it's not even 9pm yet. Fuck it, I need to make some money. Fuck it, that cop lady suggested Northside, and I don't know what that's about, but she's not the first person to recommend Northside, it's kinda the queer part of town, so fuck it. So I went and rolled up to Northside for a couple more hours. AND THE NIGHT GOT WEIRDER STILL

I found a spot right away, a little triangular patch in front of a closed private tattoo parlor space, definitely not on the public sidewalk, but still very much in the eye of passersby. Within 15 minutes, a straight couple walked up, a very tall leggy lady and a short barrel-chested dude (I mention this because I have a fondness, for obvious reasons, for straight couples who defy the gendered height expectations.) ANYWAY, they ask, I give them pitch, they are both like FUCK YES and he runs off to an ATM, and she turns to me and says, "Weren't you up at Mount Adams last night?" I mean, yes? "I knew it, I saw you from across the street, I was out there meeting some friends and I saw you, that's why we had to stop." Her man came running up and she said, "Honey, didn't I tell you about her last night?" He nods, a little out of breath. "I said, you'll never believe what I saw out at Mt. Adams last night, there was a lady selling erotica on the street. And now here you are." They did the interview, and then paid me extra to mail it to them, because they were running off to see a movie… down at the Esquire Theatre on Ludlow Ave. Whoa. They were destined to find me, clearly.

Wait, there's more weirdness!

  • An older gentleman with lots of tattoos on his arms walks by and says, "whoa, you write erotica? Me too!" He writes a lot of things, in this sort of doing-research, "oh, and I have to find an agent" sort of way, but he was interesting to listen to. Somewhere in the middle of his writerly enthusiasm, he says, "But haven't I met you online?" Ah! Hello, OKCupid person! I thought you looked familiar, too! We had had a brief exchange online, and then I said, I'm only here for a little while, but drop me a line if you want to try to get together. The ball had been in his court, and then there I was on the street corner, pounding out pornography. It's a great place to get to know what I'm all about, that's for sure.
  • A young pair, boy and girl but not dating, stopped by the stand. No, they came to a screeching halt by the stand, enthralled. The girl in particular was just stunned, and expressively so; she was blown away by the whole concept. This happens sometimes. We talked about erotica, and about what exactly I do on tour, and when I handed her a leftover Phone Whore card, she actually jumped six inches into the air. "Oh my god, I've seen this card!" she shrieked. "I saw this, last week, it was sitting out somewhere at UC (University of Cincinnati), I picked it up and wanted to go, but it had already passed, I TOTALLY HAVE THIS CARD ALREADY OMG I WANT TO SEE THIS SHOW." When she found out I was going to Atlanta, she got even more excited: "A friend of mine in Atlanta just invited me to visit sometime this year, I NEED TO GO AND SEE THIS SHOW." So. A little excitable, but I appreciate the sentiment.
  • We further discussed good times and neighborhoods for setting up the smut stand in Cincinnati, and when I explained that I had been pushed out of Clifton by the cops, and briefly described the encounter, including the fact that the cop lady had recommended Northside, the young man was like, "Wait, did she have a blond ponytail? Pretty short?" Uh, yes? "That's the LGBT liaison for the police. There's only one cop lady with a blond ponytail in the Fifth Precinct, and that's her." Whoa. What. Really? How did you guess that? "She suggested that you move your stand to Northside. This is all queer shit down here." I don't… um… I really don't like cops, but … now I don't know what to think. "I know, right? It's kind of her job to be a slightly less shitty cop."

I'm still emailing that guy for the video, though.

SMUT STAND REPORT: May 19, 2014 (Bath, UK)

You see now that the four-post bed is more than decorative...

You see now that the four-post bed is more than decorative...

WHEN: 2 hours (9:15-11:15pm), May 19, 2014. WHERE: the back garden of the Bell, Wilcot Street, Bath, UK. OUTPUT: Two custom pieces, two "off the rack" (e.g. out of my head). I ended up falling asleep for a couple of hours after arriving in Bath and picking up groceries, so left the billet considerably later than I had intended. On the recommendation of the director of my venue, I decided to check out the Bell, the tavern which seasonally houses the Fringe office and is where a lot of performers hang out, apparently. My venue director said it was in a bohemian part of town; however, when I met the Fringe director there and explained Sidewalk Smut and what I was looking for, he laughed and said the area was less boho than it had been, and gave a couple of suggestions for better areas, neither of which were appropriate for 9pm on a Monday night. But I had lugged the Smut Stand down there on the bus, and I thought at least I could arrange to store it at the Bell, as a place more convenient to downtown Bath. THEN I met Jamie, the manager, asked about setting up in the back garden and could I store my stuff there, and he was SO AMIABLE, goodness. So! Nobody really knew what to do with a lady and a typewriter back there, but I did get some people asking for my show card—everyone knew about the Fringe, what a relief!—and two custom orders, including a nice little public fingering on a summer-hot riverbank and a suspension by the wrists over a four-post bed that lead to a near-fisting. The young lady who commissioned the latter piece had to run home to get the payment: "My mom asked me what I was doing, and I said I needed to pick up my school work and was going to stay the night at a friends." Combining the fact that she was still living at home with what she gave me in the interview, I guessed that she didn't have much chance to play as hard as she wanted to, so I learned heavy on the brutal stuff, and she loved it.

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