The Man Cave

The Man Cave
Jack's Man Cave (Click on the photo to enter the Cave)
Showing posts with label Fashion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fashion. Show all posts

Monday, January 18, 2021

Slippers Review on Amazon

Dear Amazon

I am disappointed my new Sorel bedroom slippers already smell this bad, only a few weeks after Christmas.  My wife bought them for me, and the fleece lining was so comfortable, I did not want to wear socks with them.  I knew something was wrong after about three days of wearing them.  One night, I was practicing a song on my guitar ("Carefree Highway") when I got an itch on my foot, so slipped one of the slippers off my foot partially to scratch it.  That's when I got a whiff.  It was pretty bad, so I figured I better air these things out for one night. I took them off, took a shower, and figured everything would be okay the next morning. I should have known there was a problem when I got out of the shower, and the dog was sitting next to them.  He only comes in my room and sits there when I order the Salt and Pepper chicken wings from the Chinese restaurant across from Southwestern College. Anyway the other night I was in a rush to get up to bed because my wife and I  were going to watch the Tiger Woods special - the documentary about how he cheated and his wife beat him with a golf club. I took the slippers off and climbed into bed  I somehow knew to let my feet air out first before I put them under the covers.  Good thing

"Wait a second.  What the hell is that God-awful smell?" asked my wife Tracy. Yes, it was my feet.  I had to admit it."Oh my God!  Get your feet and those slippers out of this room right now!" I had to go downstairs and take another, unplanned shower.  When I got out of the shower I had a text message. "Your feet left a horrible smell on the bedspread.  You're disgusting."  That text was from my wife. I went upstairs and I did not smell anything that bad, so I think she was exaggerating. But none of this is what I expected.   I've researched on YouTube "How to Clean Your Ugg Boots."  I thought I was just going to be able to throw them in the washing machine.  Like I did with my five-year-old purple Adidas sneakers- they look brand new now. No, instead I have to buy some fancy Ugg Boot cleaning kit.  This is far too much work, and I feel embarrassed to ask Tracy to do it.

I guess I'm just saying that there should be a warning label on the box- "Don't wear these slippers more than three days in a row, without a break," or "Slippers May Stink if you Don't Wear Socks."  It's just a bummer.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs

Is it too late to turn back?

The howling music began to fade out in the darkened studio. Candles lit the recording room, and the lead guitar peeled off the last few mournful notes of the solo in the distance.

Jack St. Desmond opened his eyes and looked over at lead guitarist Davey.  Seated on the floor, Davey's eyes opened, and he smiled and nodded his head.  Davey closed his eyes again and put his head back against the wall.

"Boys, that's the best fuckin' album you've ever made, and that's the best fuckin' closing track I've heard in a long time.  Congratu-fucking-lations" came a deep Southern voice over the speaker from the mixing room." 

 The studio erupted with cheers and clapping.



"Absolutely amazing, lads. Welcome to the rest of your debauched rock star lives," came another deep voice with a British accent over the microphone from the control room.

Catcalls erupted, and a Champagne cork popped.

"Now that was a cliché, whoever popped the champagne!" said the English voice, that of Cliff Daniels, the legendary record producer.

This was the band Mound of Venus' listening party in the studio at the end of a two-weeks long recording session at the engineer Tommy Ridley's home studio in the Hollywood Hills.  No groupies or girlfriends were allowed for this first listen.

"I think it might be better than 'Lotus Eaters' said one of the studio sound men, referring to the MV's last smash album and handing Jack a glass of champagne.

"Dude, I'm on the wagon, remember?"  said Jack.

"Aw shit, Jack, sorry," said the tech.

 "Holy crap, Dude, we did it!  Can you believe it? We made an even better album!" Denny said to Jack, arms pumping above his head, with drumsticks in his hands.

 "Man, that's gonna sound so good on the radio," said Nicky, the bass player.

 "You boys should take a copy down to KLOS right now and get it on air with Julie.  I can call her and tell her you're coming down so she can play the whole Side One,"  said Tommy Ridley, patching through on the microphone from the control room.  

 "Yeah, right when the crowd is getting out of the Gnomes show at the Greek," said Elliot Zinder, the MV's manager.

 "Oh my God, The Gnomes are gonna be so pissed.  How yesterday are they now? After what I just heard?!" said Nicky, smiling at Jack.

 "Aww shit, man.  I don’t wanna get into it with them again," said Jack, the Mon's lead singer, and songwriter. "Cheyne is just such a jealous  . . .  I don't wanna say it." 

Cheyne Eastwood was the cross-dressing, song-writing wunderkind frontman of the band The Gnomes.  The Gnomes had taken L.A. by storm the last week with promotions at the records stores, leading up to the sold-out show tonight at the Greek Theater, up in the hills.

The Mound of Venus was Jack, Davey, Nicky, and Denny.  This was their third album, 'Clean Autumn Afternoon,' and a giant step ahead of the last. 

 "Wait til the Lazors hear this  . . . they're just gonna quit! First, they're gonna shit, then they're gonna quit!" said Denny.

 The British bands 'The Gnomes' and "Lazorzap" were the MV's closest rivals on the scene.  

 Jack hugged each of the guys in the band, then they walked into the control room. 

"Dude, it's like early, folky Phylodelphya meets psychedelic Taintball Gun.  You guys did it this time. How do you feel, Jack?" asked Trevor Gordon, lead singer of the band Gleek. 

Trevor had come to listen with legendary British music producer Cliff Daniels.  Daniels was himself a guest of the MV's manager Elliot Zinder.

"Oh Man, thanks so much, Dude.  I'm not gonna lie.  I'm fuckin' proud of this thing.  We knew right away from the demos.  We could hear it, we could feel it right away!" said Jack.

"Tony's right. You should get it down to the radio station.  How would it be to hear that song "Avalanche Appointment" cruisin' on Sunset Boulevard right now?" asked Trevor.

 Jack got the vision, and it did give him a tingle up his spine.

 "C'mon Dude, let's do it,"  said Trevor.

 "Alright, let's go," said Jack heading into the mixing room.

"Robin Trower called, and he wants his song "Bridge of Sighs" back," said Clyde Stafford, chuckling.  The southern gent producer of "Clean Autumn Afternoon,"  Clyde was seated at the mixing desk with Cliff Daniels, and engineer Tommy Ridley, who was still twiddling the knobs of the huge desk. 

"Lucky for you boys, poor ol' Marc Bolan is still dead, so he won’t be coming after you for nicking 'Mambo Sun' on that fourth track," muttered Cliff, teasingly.  

"Oh, God. There's nothing new under the "Mambo Sun" for you two old bastards.  You're the only people on earth hearing those things," said Elliot Zinder.  "Nobody even knows who T Rex is in this country."

Jack paused for a second.  Now that they mentioned it, he did hear echoes of those songs.

Fuckin' Davey.  He just plays whatever I hum to him, thought Jack.

Why can't he catch these things? How can an idiot savant guitar genius not know shit about other music? 

The Mound of Venus got hit with a lawsuit on their last album for alleged infringement of an obscure garage rock song "Psychotic Reaction" by The Count Five. 

"Where's Davey? I wanna talk to him," asked Jack to Elliot Zinder.

"He's already gone, Jack. Said he was meeting Dianne at the Gnomes show.  What's wrong?"

"Is this gonna be a problem again, Elliot? Are we gonna get sued-again?" asked Jack.

"Honey Baby.  No way," said Zinder confidently. 

 . . . 

"And now, have I got a special treat for all you freaks and sleazes out there . . . Guess who just docked at the Mothership and delivered an early present for the three-day weekend?" said the voice of DJ "Julie Jewel" through the radio.

Trevor slammed down the accelerator on the 70's Lamborghini and pulled out westbound onto Sunset Boulevard.  Traffic was congested on a hot Friday night.

 "Alright, alright, don't get us killed!" yelled Jack, looking for the seatbelt.

 "Jack St. Desmond from the Mound of Venus and Trevor from Gleek just teleported into the control room and dropped a little early Christmas present on yours truly, my little peoply-poos," said DJ Julie. 

Trevor pulled the vintage Lamborghini around the cars stopped at a red light, and they ran the intersection in front of the Tower Records. As they passed, Jack looked at the billboard above the brightly lit music store. 

It was the Gnomes, with an emaciated Cheyne Eastwood looking backward over his shoulder.  Cheyne was dressed in a pink dress and a blonde wig, meant to look like Marilyn Monroe.  

Making a coy face with his finger pressed to his lips, Cheyne was surrounded by the other band members, all dressed in tuxedos.  It was unclear whether the scene harkened back to the original movie, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” or the Madonna video for “Material Girl,” or both. No matter, the effect was hilarious either way, considering how loud and obscene the Gnomes music was. The album title was written in pink satin "Ribbed for Your Pleasure."

"That's right, it’s the new Mound of Venus disc, baby, and it's Fab and I got it in my sticky little fingers here.  I couldn't get those two hotties to stay with me, cuz of the restraining order they got and all . . . but I got Jack Sprat's permission to play all of Side One.  So here's track one of the new album 'Clean Afternoons,' ooooh spooky,  this one's called, well  . . . I guess we have an "Avalanche Appointment."

. . . . 

Trevor sped down Sunset Boulevard weaving through traffic.

"Listen to that song, Man!  You did that!" shouted Trevor.  The tires squealed. "You did that, Man!" he said one more time for emphasis.

Jack grabbed the armrest and put his left hand out towards the dashboard, but it was too far away.  The two of them were practically lying down in the sleek Italian car.

"Here comes the solo!" shouted Jack

 A bluesy guitar played a talking solo, complete with squawk box effects thrown in for good measure. 

"Dude, is that Davey, or Joe Walsh?!  Is that Davey, or David Gilmour?!" said Trevor jokingly.   

"Davey's something else, isn't he?" shouted Jack.

 Trevor weaved in and out of traffic until the road was clear ahead.   He turned down the music. 

"Jack, I see you getting bummed out.  Forget what that dumb bitch Julie said to you in there.   You guys don't owe her a goddam thing.  You'd be right exactly where you are now, whether you ever met her sorry ass," said Trevor.

 Jack looked over at Trevor, unconvinced.

"Hey, did Julie Jewel, or Julie Jacob, whatever her fuckin' name is, sit down and write "Pantomime" or "Jetty Kiss"?  

 Jack smiled weakly.

"Did she ride around in a van and play "18 and up" clubs from Modesto to Tijuana?" Trevor asked. "Let me answer that for you- No! So she can fuck right off!"

"No.  No, she didn't do those things, Man.  But she did introduce us to the right people. And she helped a lot. She's mostly right, Dude. Most of what she said in there at the station was right."

"Well, y'know what I say.  I say fuck it tonight.  Don’t ruin this night.  This night is about you, and the band and, and. . . .  Me har-har! and the soon-to-be-biggest-album-in-the-world.   C'mon, let's go to the Greek and rub it in the Gnomes' faces!" said Trevor.

 "Nah, there's no time, let's just go straight to The English Disco. We'll catch up with everyone there," said Jack.

 "Yeah, ok Man. Yeah, yeah, yeah!"  Rock n' Roll! Rock n Roll!" shouted Trevor cranking up the music and flooring the gas again, making the backend of the car fishtail, before the tires caught and they sped away.

. . .

 Rodney Bigenhiemer's English Disco was the most exclusive spot in town.  A spotlight beamed out in front, and a big crowd waited outside to get in.  Trevor pulled up to the valet stand and pumped the gas to make the throaty exhaust purr.

 The crowd recognized Jack and Trevor, and chaos ensued.



 "Oh my God, Ooooh, oooh, look at me, please Jack!" one girl screamed. The crowd laughed.

Trevor gave the keys to the valet, and three security guards intervened and pulled the girls away from the car.  The guards lifted a velvet rope and ushered Jack and Trevor towards the door, but not before Trevor stopped and leaned over, grabbed their faces, and kissed two of the girls on the lips.  The crowd cheered, and the girls who did not get kissed screamed their disappointment.

Inside, the club was tiny and packed full of all the beautiful and weird people, dancing, singing, hugging, kissing, drinking, and popping pills, and snorting cocaine.  The music and shouting were deafening.  Marijuana smoke filled the air.

A DJ spun records from a booth above the crowd, spinning "In A Gadda Da Vida" by Iron Butterfly.  Blacklight posters glowed on the wall, most of them torn, and the red lights and wood beams gave the impression of being inside a pirate's ship.

 Gradually the faces turned to Jack and Trevor, and a throng started to push towards them when Rodney appeared by magic.

"Oh, Hi guys, what a lovely surprise! Ooh I'm so glad you’re here, let's go to the booth!" said Rodney, sporting a Beatles haircut and mod outfit.

 They followed the elfin Rodney to the tiny VIP area that was elevated above the dancefloor and separated by yet another red velvet rope.  As by magic, a bevy of "it girls" appeared, taking Jack and Trevor's arms and leading them to the big Naugahyde booth.

"'How do' ladies," said Jack

"What’s with the outfit," said the girl on Jack's arm.  "Did you guys shoot an album cover tonight or something?" 

The music changed to "Ride My See-Saw" by the Moody Blues.

"No, Sweetie.  You mean this little number? This is what I wear to the grocery store," said Jack smiling, brushing the sleeve of his burgundy velvet waistcoat, and adjusting the cravat. 

"Seriously?  Is this going to be the new look for the MV's," she asked teasingly, showing she was comfortable and was not at all intimidated by rock stars, or anyone famous, for that matter.

"That's right.  We're channeling the 60's Bee Gees. Or the Hollies.  We're gonna drive around in Rolls Royces and Citroens to each others' Country Mansions too," said Jack.

The young girl rolled her eyes.  It was clear she had no idea what Jack was talking about.  

"You're weird," said the girl.

 "Ooh, I'm getting the vision.  Can I come and stay in the guesthouse.  Maybe I can be your like Brian Jones housekeeper?" purred Rodney, eavesdropping. 

"Didn't Brian Jones' housekeeper kill him?" asked Jack.

"Just a rumor!" said Trevor.

The boys and Rodney scooted into the booth, and no less than eight girls piled in around.

"Everybody's talking about the new Mound album Jack.  They played it on the radio tonight!" Rodney shouted.

"Oh Yeah?" said Jack.

"Yeah, everyone who went to the Gnomes tonight says they heard it on the way over, and they're dying for more," said Rodney, trying to get a waitresses attention. 

"Sissy, get over here," Rodney called out to the waitress.

 A girl who looked to be underage came to the table.  She had large breasts and wore a tank top with no bra.

 "Hello, hello,' said Trevor, in a lecherous voice.

 "What would you guys like?" asked Rodney.

 "Ladies first," said Jack.

 The girls put in their complicated orders while "Sissy' rolled her eyes and chomped her gum, annoyed. 

Scotch and Soda. No, I take that back.  Brandy Alexander please, right, Jack?  Isn't that what you said The Beatles and the Stones drank when they got together?" asked Trevor.

"That's it. At The Scotch of St. James Pub," said Jack.

There was a great commotion near the entrance, spilling onto the dance floor.  Rodney stood up to try to see what was going on.

"Oh shit, it’s the Gnomes," shouted Rodney, looking down at Jack.  "I heard they're kind of pissed, Jack! They think you guys showed them up on the radio."

Cheyne Eastwood and two or three of the others from the band pulled away from some grasping groupies and swiveled their heads, looking around the room.

Cheyne made eye contact with Jack, and Jack knew in an instant there was going to be trouble.

"Oh shit," Trevor yelled, standing up to leave the booth.

"They're dressed like The Furies, from that movie "The Warriors," said Jack

Cheyne and the Gnomes began pushing their way over to the booth, knocking people aside, and climbing over chairs.  Jack reached for the cane he'd brought in.  

The one with the handle that concealed a six-inch dagger.

. . . 

"You're really going to let me go home alone tonight?" said Hermione, in a French accent.

"It will be even better next time, I promise," said Jack. 

"It must be really important if you can resist . . . . this," she said, sweeping her hand around the inside of her exotic sports car. 

"If you only knew . . . " said Jack.  "It couldn't be more important."

"Do you know how bad your good friend Trevor wanted me tonight!  He's chased me all over the world, and now you're just blowing me off!" shouted Hermione.

 "Listen, this is something I have to handle immediately!  Like, tonight!  Please be reasonable, Dear," pleaded Jack.

"Well, I may not wait for you.  We'll see if I'm still around L.A. next week.  I have many invitations all around the world, you know," said Hermione in a sing-song voice.  

"Hermione, I have to talk to Davey tonight, right now in fact," said Jack.  "They're going to stop production on the album, which is supposed to be released tomorrow.”

 "Close the door, then!" Hermione said.

 Jack closed the car door with a solid, satisfying thud.  The window rolled down.  Roxy Music's "The Bogus Man" was still playing in the car.

"I've changed my mind.   I don’t want to see you next week.  In fact, I don’t care if I ever see you again.  I don’t want to see you or your ridiculous outfit, or your stupid cane, or your silly silk shirts and scarves.  Fuck you!" Hermione screamed.

 The tires spun on the dirt shoulder and threw mud against Jack's tapered pants and Cuban boots.

 "God, French chicks are psycho  .  .  ."

Jack turned to walk down the driveway to the house Davey was renting in Laurel Canyon.  The lights were on, and the last song on Side One of  "Clean Autumn Afternoon" was playing full blast.

Hermione's car appeared again, and she rolled down the window.  

"By the way.  Since you're too dumb to figure it out. Trevor told me your guitarist is purposefully copying other songs so you can get sued.  Now you can go have a nice talk with him!  All night long!"

  . . .

A Mexican woman splashed water across the parquet dance floor and began mopping.  As her son lifted the bag out of the narrow trashcan behind the bar, beer bottles clanked together.

A heavy-set white man in his sixties, with a severely pocked marked face, went behind the bar, poured himself a cup of coffee, sat in a high bar chair, and read the horse racing form.  He took off his racing cap, lit a cigarette, and poured some whiskey in his cup.

Above the man’s head read the still lit sign "Rodney's English Disco," and beside it was a small TV mounted on the wall.  A commercial ended, then a news program began, and a male newscaster came on the screen  

 "Thank you for joining KCAL News this morning, we have rather shocking breaking news to report to you this morning . . .

 “The body of rock star Jack St. Desmond, leader of the group The Mound of Venus was discovered by a jogger on Zuma Beach in the early morning hours today . . . 

 The male jogger reportedly came upon the badly mutilated body around 5:00 AM. . . .  

 According to one eyewitness at the scene, the body appeared to have severe wounds on the face and torso. . . .

Now let's take you out to Geordie Coleman on-scene in Zuma.  What do you have for us Geordie?

 "Yes Bill, it’s true, the body was discovered in the early morning hours by that jogger, and as soon as word got out, the crowd started showing up down here, as you can see behind me."

 "What details can you tell us Geordie?" asked the newscaster.

 “Well, this investigation is just beginning obviously, but the questions are piling up.  What was this well-known celebrity doing on this isolated beach in the early morning hours?  Who was with Mr. St. Desmond last night?  Who would want to cause him this terrible harm?”

“Are the police giving any information, Geordie?”

"Well, what I'm hearing informally is based on the violence  . . . As you said, there injuries to the face and torso, the assumption would be that the attacker had a personal motive. More simply put, the assumption is the attacker knew the victim and meant to inflict very personal harm.  We’ve learned that Mr. St. Desmond's wallet and other personal items were not taken.

“A few last details, and I want to warn our viewers that the information is graphic, and disturbing.  According to one eyewitness, the victim was, partially undressed and there was a message scratched or written on the victim's chest.  Speaking to a person who actually saw the body, but wishing to remain anonymous, they said that it looked to be a sequence of musical notes. . . .

Finally, the perpetrator or perpetrators staged, or left some sort of a scene, if you will, with a music player device, a CD Walkman, left beside the body playing a song on a repeat loop- a relatively obscure 70's rock song called "Bridge of Sighs."

© Jack Clune 2020

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Dark And Twisted Dry Cleaner Conspiracy To Steal My Hangers

The Dark And Twisted Dry Cleaner Conspiracy To Steal My Hangers

They're all working together


A Whole New Wardrobe For My Distinguished American Physique

Last year I went a little overboard and bought a bunch of new suits to wear to work. I cleared out some old suits that I had worn into the ground.

I stumbled on an American brand of suit that really fit me to a “T” so I decided to buy a bunch of them. I’m a chubby American guy, so the European suits don’t do it for me anymore.

I’m not on the Mediterranean Diet. I’m on the Chili’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Islands fine hamburgers circuit. This American suit maker understands my physique.

The suit I serendipitously found fit me so well that, over about two or three months, I bought ten of them. I’m a trial attorney, so I need enough suits to go for two weeks without wearing the same one twice. The jurors like some suit variety as the trials sometimes drag along during the boring parts.

You don’t wanna see Pat Sajak in the same suit two days in a row on ‘Wheel of Fortune.’
. . . 

The Hangers Make All The Difference In The Bedroom…Closet

My wife Tracy had a closet company come in and build her a nice huge closet, with a tiny little corner of it devoted to me. One of the nice things about buying the same suit ten times, in different colors, is that the fancy hangers they come on are all the same, and look really cool all lined up.

I’ll confess, I became a little obsessed with those hangers, and that they all be the same, and lined up nicely, a uniform distance apart. If my tiny little corner has to be tiny, at least let it be meticulously organized.
The Author
. . . 

No Fancy Tailors For Me, Strip Mall Dry Cleaners Only

I get my suits tailored at the dry cleaners. The two dry cleaners by my house have on-site tailors, or seamstresses, I should say, as both are women, the Asian Lady, and the Turkish Lady.

The one time, a few years ago, that I went to a “fancy tailor-man” downtown, he did a shockingly horrible job of simply sewing cuffs on a pair of suit pants. He charged too much. Then the threading started to fall apart within weeks of the job he did. No more “fancy tailors” downtown for me. The ladies at the strip mall were just fine.

. . .

The Dry Cleaner That Is Closer And Easier To Get To

The first suit I took to the dry cleaner which is closer and easier to get to at my house. I went into the store, and into the ridiculously ramshackle changing room to put on the suit to show the seamstress. I needed the pants and the sleeves of the jacket altered. The seamstress is the very nice Asian Lady.

When I enter the changing room at this dry cleaner, I feel like I am magically transported to a very far away, tropical location. This is a tropical location that is very humid and has lots of mosquitos. I feel like there could be elephants bathing outside and splashing water on their backs.

But I know none of those things is out there. I know that because the curtain is so poor a barrier between me and the Asian Lady, that I can see her eyes as I pull my pants on and pull up the zipper.

See, the curtain is on a rod, and the rod is much longer than the curtain. So on either side of the curtain, there is a two-inch gap where the Asian Lady and the other customers can watch me change in and out of my pants.

I step out of the changing booth, in my socks, with the pant legs flopping around. The seamstress bends down, folds up one of the cuffs of the pants. She pins the cuff, showing me the break of the pant, and makes some marks with a little piece of white chalk she holds in her fingertips. Then she adjusts and marks the suit jacket sleeves. By this point, I’m sweating like Elvis in Hawaii.

The other customer ladies, and the little children whose hands they are holding, all stare at me. They seemed to be amazed that I am doing all of this right there in front of them.

“Okay, you’re done,” says the Asian Lady.

“You want to pay now, or when you pick-up?” asks the other lady running the cash register.

“I’ll pay later when I pick-up. Who knows? I might get hit by a bus between now and then.” I say, chuckling.

Neither the Asian Lady nor the cashier laughs.

. . .

The Pick-Up

“Hi, I’m here to pick up my suit. Here’s the slip.” I say, handing it to the woman that I’ve never seen behind the counter before.

She goes to the big rack, pushes the button, and the thousands of articles of clothing ride around like a big roller coaster until my suit appears. She stops the ride and pulls my suit down.

“Okay, here it is,” she says hanging the suit on the metal rack near the cash register.

I hand her my credit card, and she puts it in the card machine. The machine spits out the receipt and I am signing it when I notice they have the suit on a janky “fake” suit hanger. This contraption is some piece of thin plastic over a wire hanger.

“Wait a second? Where’s the fancy hanger?” I ask.

“What do you mean?” the lady asks, handing over the receipt, and a pen for me to use to sign.

“Where is the thick black plastic hanger that the suit was on?” I say.

“Oh. I don’t know,” says the lady, stepping back a little defensively.

Now I see the Asian Lady seated at the sewing machine, kind of peeking over her shoulder meekly.

“I need the big plastic hanger that the suit came on,” I say, remaining calm.

“Well, I don’t know where that hanger is,” says the “new” lady kind of being a little surly. “Do you know where the hanger he’s talking about is?” she asks the seamstress lady.

The Asian Lady does not really respond.

“Let me see who handled your order,” says the surly lady. “Oh, Cassie handled it. Let me call Cassie.”

She calls Cassie, right there in front of me, on the store phone.

“Yeah, there’s this guy here who wants to know where the hanger is,” says the surly lady. “Uhm-hm. Yep. Yep. A suit hanger. Um-hm. Yep. Uhm-hm. That’s what I said.”

The surly lady looks up from the phone.

“We don’t keep those,” she says to me.

“What are you talking about?” I say to her.

“We throw those out,” she says.
The Author

Now the blood in my veins turns green. Like the Incredible Hulk, a bead of sweat forms and rolls down my forehead. I swipe it with the back of my hand. Muscles in my back and in my thighs start to expand through the layers of adipose fat and threaten to rip through my clothing.

“Wait a sec. You throw out the thick black plastic hangers, that have the embossed plate on them that say “Hickey Freeman?” The hangers that hang the suit perfectly? And that comes shipped with the suit from across the country in New York. The hanger that the fancy store uses to hang the suit?”

I’m riffing here.

“Let me just make sure I’ve got this right. Somebody takes the suit off of that fancy special hanger and throws that hanger into the trashcan. And then that person puts the suit on this fake flimsy piece-of-crap hanger?”

I keep going. I can’t help it.

“Now we have this hanger. This hanger that they use to hang the fake paper suits that they put bums in, down at the morgue when bums die destitute. The paper suits they put the bums in the caskets wearing. You’re giving me one of these crappy hangers that they hang the fake suits on. That’s what you’re giving me, this fake hanger piece of crap?”

I know there are such fake suits because they showed them to us during the field trip to the morgue in my high school class called “Death and Dying.”

“And you want me to believe that? Is that the story you want me to believe?” I ask.

The surly lady is staring at me with her mouth open, but still letting me know with her gaze that she wishes I would have a cardiac arrest and die on the floor immediately.

“And you want me to pretend that I don’t know that Cassie, or the owner of this place, did not steal my hanger? And that the hanger is not in the back of Cassie’s car. Or is not already in her closet, with one of her dresses on it. Or hanging one of her husband’s suits? Is that the story you’re telling me here, that I’ m supposed to believe?” I ask.

The surly woman is holding the phone, slightly off her ear now, so that Cassie can hear this insane tirade straight from the horse’s mouth. My mouth.

“Tell ya what. I’m going to give you guys 48 hours to get that hanger back to me. And if you don’t, I’ll take the nine other suits I was going to have tailored here, over to the Turkish Lady. Even though its farther away, and a little less convenient, and the Turkish Lady is not open on Sundays.”

I let them know what a big account they’re about to lose. I’m like a dry cleaning “whale.”

The surly lady thinks about it for a minute. Then she snaps back to her usual self.

“You can do . . . whatever . .. you . . . need . . . to . . . do,” she says in a perfectly sassy, sing-song voice.

I gotta admit. That was a pretty good response.
. . .

The Internet Research

“What are you doing?” my wife asked.

“I’m researching how much Hickey-Freeman hangers cost on eBay,” I tell her.

“Oh boy. Are you serious? Don’t you have any work to do? You know, our anniversary is coming up, have you bought me anything? Or researched any romantic getaways? Let me just answer that myself. That would be a ‘No’ right?” says Tracy. “Shocker,” she says.

“Do you know that they charge as much as $20.00 for one of those hangers? And these hangers on eBay are not even the nice ones. Like the one I had.”

“Why did you leave the fancy hanger at the dry cleaner? If it was so important to you” Tracy asks.

“Because not in my wildest dreams would it ever occur to me that they would steal my hanger. Or claim they threw it in the trash. That’s like taking your car to the dealer for an oil change, and when you go to pick it up, there’s a tire missing,” I say.

I’m pretty proud of that analogy I just made.

“You’re a buffoon,” says Tracy.

. . .

The Non-Apologetic Phone Call

A day later, my cell phone rang.

“Is this Mr. Clune?” said the female voice.


“This is the dry cleaner. We have the hanger,” she says.


“Yes, sir.”

“Great! I’ll be right over to get it!” I say excitedly.

“Tracy, I’m going to the dry cleaner! They have my hanger!” I yell upstairs to Tracy as I head to my car.

“Oh thank God! Hoo-ray,” I hear Tracy’s voice upstairs, dripping with sarcasm.

. . .

The Vindication

“Hi, I’m Mr. Clune here to get my hanger,” I say to the woman at the front desk.

It’s the same woman who handled the initial transition when I brought the suit in. It’s Cassie. She looks up and sees me, and I can see her expression change to mild disgust.

“Oh . . . here,” she says, as she reaches under the counter and produces my beloved hanger, and sticks it out at me.

I take the hanger in my hand. I can’t resist . . .

“Where was it?” I ask.

I can see the slight flinch in Cassie’s face. Like the facial tic that Inspector Clouseau’s boss used to get in the Pink Panther movies. I know what she is thinking.

She’s thinking “Can’t this fat bastard just take the thing? Or does he have to rub it in too?”

“Oh, they took it to the other location by accident,” she says.

What does that even mean? I think to myself.

. . .

I Had To Go To The Turkish Lady Anyway

I took another suit back to the same dry cleaner. I bought the suit online, and the dumb suit came with none of the buttons sewn on it. The four buttons that go on the sleeves were not sewn on, so I brought them to the nice Asian Lady.

I kind of knew we were in trouble when she looked at the sleeves with the same shock as I did back home when I saw that we had to sew the buttons on. When I came back to pick up the jacket, she had sewn the buttons on right through the inner lining of the sleeve.

It looked like I had sewn the buttons on.

“You’re not going to charge me for this are you?” I asked as I held the sleeve up to her face.

“No,” she said without a fight.

. . . 

The Turkish Lady

I walked into the new dry cleaner where the Turkish Lady does the tailoring. I showed her the sleeve.

“Tsk-tsk!” said the Turkish Lady, as her eyes bulged. “She didn’t charge you for that did she?” she asked.

“No,” I said.

“Good. You have to undo the lining, then sew it back up,” she said.

“I knew you would know what to do,” I said.

“Pick up in three days, on Thursday.”

“Okay,” I said.

I left the dry cleaner and went next door to the grocery store to pick up one or two items. I even threw in some flowers for Tracy.

I did not have to wait in line long, because I only had a few items and I cut ahead of someone who had a big cart full of groceries.

. . .

When I Got Home

I came into the kitchen, and Tracy looked up from her laptop.

“Oh, flowers, that’s so nice honey …” she said.

“Shit! Goddammit! Shit! No!” I screamed into Tracy’s face.

I just remembered that I left the hanger with the Turkish Lady.

The Author
. . .

Three Days Later

All three days I stared at the ceiling at night.

There’s no way they’ll try to steal my hanger. That’s impossible. That would be like Die Hard. Where he keeps getting trapped in tall buildings with terrorists. That could never happen twice.

On the third day, I went to see the Turkish Lady. When I walked in, I saw that the Turkish Lady was not there, but her nice friendly daughter was working the front desk. I handed her the ticket, and she made the roller coaster spin around until my jacket appeared.

The hanger was gone.

© Copyright 2020 Jack Clune

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