Saturday morning, Kevin laced me into the corset, which he hadn’t seen me in before. I readjust all the bits, turn around, and watched his pupils dilate like a bad trip to the opthamologist.
Kevin: You are gonna make soooo much money…
I went down to the convention floor, where Steph of the Dada Detective had ALSO dressed up and was smokin’ hot (although she was more Roarin’ Twenties than House of Leather.)
Brooke: We are gonna make soooo much money…
Saturday afternoon, Ahmet Zappa drops by the table. Now, Ahmet and I have the same agent and have known each other for awhile, we did a little work on a project together, he calls me up for a graphic novel proposal now and again. He wanted to talk about another possible project, we chatted about that for a bit, and I introduced him to my cohorts. (Ahmet is a charming guy, and has a great deal of presence. Possibly it’s hereditary. He also has a tendency to end every conversation with “Love your balls!” regardless of gender, but hey…)
I turn my back for two seconds, and Ahmet has descended on Brooke, and says “So! Ursula says you’re her security! Are you gonna kick my ass if I get out of line?”
There was a brief pause. Brooke gave me a look that said “I cannot BELIEVE you just told Ahmet Zappa that I was your security guard.”
Brooke: I don’t beat up large bald men. Or old ladies with canes. Everybody else, sure, but those two, she’s on her own.
Ursula: Some security guard YOU are…
After Ahmet had left, she turned to me.
Brooke: I cannot BELIEVE you just told Ahmet Zappa that I was your security guard!
Ursula: Well, he wasn’t going to believe that you were my lesbian lover!
…which lead directly into an incident Sunday. I was, at the time, wearing a leather halter-top and a cut velvet skirt. This will be important later.
Two guys had come up and were buying something or other, and chit-chatting a bit, very nice guys. (Pair, not couple, I b’lieve.)
Ursula: I need a bag! Right behind you, Brooke… (I was bent over behind her digging through boxes.)
Brooke, still in mid-spiel: And this is the artist, right here in the corset…
At this point she smacked a hand down behind her, intending to slap me on the back. But, as she said “And then I realized my hand was on velvet, not leather…”
Never let it be said that Brooke does not react well under pressure. She spanked me a few times and said, with flair, “We’ll be doin’ the show for the rest of the day! Come on back by!”
I straightened up–it’s the third day of a con, nothing fazes me any more–and saw the two guys looking somewhat poleaxed. They eventually stumbled off, and I looked at Brooke.
Brooke: Look, once I’d started, I figured I better finish off the joke.
Ursula: Next time, charge admission up front.
The best line of the Con, though, went to a woman who’s name I didn’t catch… I was in the bathroom with a nice woman applying her Borg makeup. We chatted for a minute, and she was very nice, and had a very thick Southern accent. As I left the bathroom, another woman leaving at the same time and I made brief eye contact, and she said “Y’all’ll be assimilated!”
I was still snerking on the way back to the booth.
And then there was the drive home…
Brooke and I were carpooling, and I was taking her back to Greensboro. Now, Brooke and I get along way too well.** Dead sober, well-rested, in public, we will eventually reduce one another to hysterics. But by this point we were past punch-drunk and into punch-obliterated, giddy as hell, and dead tired. It was bad.
So we’ve packed up the car, with the very kind aid of Matt, Steph, and Matt’s girlfriend Cassie, and we drive off. Since all my clothes are packed, I’m still in leather/velvet/boots, and we’re both ravenous, so we stop on the outskirts of Charlotte for a sandwich.
Somehow we find ourselves on Dale Earnhardt Blvd, which is hung with signs proclaiming it to be “The Dale Trail.” Mmm’kay.
We pull into the sub shop just as the rain is starting to pour down, run in, and…I felt uncomfortable. Couldn’t really put my finger on it, but I was just gettin’ a bad vibe. Not that anyone was rude, exactly, but…just bad vibe. I expecting somebody to stroll up at any moment and go “You’re not from around here, are you?”
Well, I’m a little naive. It takes me a few minutes. (It took Brooke about a quarter-second, by contrast.) It’s worth noting at this point that Brooke, by her own admission, despite being unrepentantly heterosexual, looks kinda stereotypically butch. (Not to say unattractive, mind you, but short hair and rather boyish look.) And here I am, still in leather and the Boots, and eventually the penny drops and I realize that ohhhhh…the staff is ALSO playing “pair or couple?” and has arrived at the wrong conclusion.***
Brooke claimed it wasn’t just that. “It’s not just that they think we’re lesbians. It’s that you stroll it in leather and studs, heavily tattooed, with your butch girlfriend, and obviously don’t belong here.”
“So if we were local lesbians, it’s be fine?”
Regardless, we finished our sandwiches in a hurry and got out. The Dale Trail had rejected us. Time to go. (I have a new sympathy towards the plight of homosexuals in America. I mean, I’ve always been sympathetic, but dude. That was really kinda uncomfortable.)
By the time we rolled into Greensboro, we were so giddy that youcould have replaced the air in the car with nitrous oxide with no noticeable effect. Somehow we came to the conclusion that the perfect end to a convention trip would be to visit a sex toy shop.
Unfortunately, it turns out that you can’ t buy sex toys at nine at night on a Sunday in Greensboro. There will be no vibrating on the Sabbath! You are screwed (or not, as the case may be.) We drove around looking for an open shop and only saw…one.
Ursula: Well, that one says “fantasy superstore,” but it looks a little shady.
Brooke: That’s the one that caters to men. We’re not going in there.
Ursula: We’re not?
Brooke: Not with you dressed like that.
Ursula: …oh. What would happen?
Brooke: Excellent customer service.
I bowed to Brooke’s expertise, and took her home.
By the time I got OUT of Greensboro, mind you, in torrential rain, having fought my way through a maze of streets by reading mapquest backwards, I was less giddy and more on the fine edge of hysteria. I called Kevin up to get directions.
“You sound a little punchy,” he said, in the soothing, pleasant tones one uses on drunks and mental patients.
“I’m a little tired. I have…um…noun.” I began giggling.
“…please have coffee.”
So I made it out to his place, was declared probably unfit to drive in my current state, had coffee and a brief rest, felt infinitely better, and headed home.
All in all, a most excellent con! Money wasn’t fabulous, since everybody’s broke ‘cos of gas prices, but it paid for itself and I had a blast, and that’s pretty much the important thing. Will definitely do it again next year!
Now, to prepare for Anthrocon…
*Look, you’re stuck behind a table for three days, you take your amusements where they come.
**The fact that after being being a table for three days together, we were still talking on the ride home is kind of a giveaway. Eventually we will be in jail together.