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Another Portland Blog

Wednesday, April 07, 2004


In search of "Guts"

[WARNING: This blog post is rated "R." If you read the following and you're under the age of 17, you'll grow hair on your palms, your spine will go crooked and your brain will turn into corn syrup.]

While I'm on the topic of boobs, I may as well relate this wee suburban adventure. A few weeks ago, I attempted to track down an actual, physical, tangible, print edition copy of Playboy magazine.

This is harder than it might seem. 99% of American porn consumers have evidentially made the jump online. Few are still willing to contend with the thought of their mailman seeing a magazine wrapped in black plastic, let alone walking into a store for one. A little iny-net research reveals that Penthouse is on the verge of bankruptcy and even Playboy, the grand daddy of them all, is having a hard time staying afloat. Skin mags are now as obsolete as Betamax.

Now I wasn't looking for a March issue of Playboy to see all the pretty pictures (honest!). I was actually looking for something that would do far more damage to my spine: "Guts." It's a short story by everybody's favorite sick and twisted local novelist. The story earned a nasty little reputation for causing people to faint during Chuck Palahniuk's last US book tour (more on that later).

I figured a quick trip to 7-11 would get me my story. I waited until late on a weeknight to avoid any patronizing looks from other convenience store patrons. The one closest to my house was vacant. I wandered around the store and looked in all the obvious places. If this place was selling Playboys, they must have had them locked in the safe.

Having already spent five minutes perusing the aisles of this 7-11, I was clearly freaking out the clerk, especially with my sneaky attempts to get a glimpse at what lied behind the counter. Out a weird sense of both guilt and embarrassment, I bought a can of Red Bull and quickly made my escape.

Two cans of Red Bull and one tin of 3-D Doritos later, I still didn't have the magazine. 7-11 has apparently phased their adult entertainment products. I was going to have to double my efforts. If I wanted "Guts," I was going to have to make the ultimate sacrifice: setting foot inside a Fantasy Adult Video.

Yeah, I'm a prude. I drove over to location in Beaverton and, strangely enough, it had closed at 11. Aren't these places supposed to stay open all night? Another potential customer was also miffed over the barred access to muff [insert rimshot, not rimjob]. He was now going to have to make the drive all the way to the Burnside location.

Was a mere short story worth all this effort? Naw. I headed for home. Along the way, my eyes fell on a neon Plaid Pantry sign. Would a locally-owned string of Quickie Marts still be selling Playboy? I stopped and the adult mag rack was clearly visible through the window. There was just one thing standing between me and "Guts": a very angry looking goth chick.

Expecting an earful of feminist rhetoric and/or a hearty dose of contempt, I went inside. The conversation went something like this."

"Uh...please...Miss Scary Goth Person can I please...uh... have a Playboy magazine?"

"Why would you want a Playboy? This shows more."

She pulled out a copy of Hustler and tossed it on the counter. Not only was she a Scary Goth Person, she was a connoisseur. The move was pure, razor-sharped sarcasm; a nasty little attempt to make me, an obviously pathetic pervert, squirm. The incident would surely give her plenty of fodder to share with her undead roommates. I had two options: let my face turn red and run, screaming, back to my car or throw down my only card.

"I'm actually looking for the Chuck Palahniuk thing. I heard the March issue of Playboy has it."


I'd suddenly earned this black-haired Guardian o' the Porn's respect. She too was a fan and had read the story. We chatted about all the fainters and the author's subsequent appearance on Conan.

SUCCESS! 45 minutes, numerous unpleasant encounters and $11.23 later, I had my copy of "Guts." But was it worth it?

To be continued...

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