This morning I received a call from HQ (that's an abbreviation for the term
"Head Quarters") and it appears that I, Pat Freestone, have been cordially
invited to attend the Big Screen Video Manager's Conference in New York
To help keep the company in step with today's dog-eat-dog entertainment
rental market, the brass at "HQ" have put together a seminar and workshop
for the managers and assistant managers of all tri-state Big Screen Video
locations. That means that tomorrow afternoon Pat Freestone will be packing
his bags and hopping the next bus for the City That Never Sleeps!
And it gets even better!
As a manager, not only will I be attending the conference, I will also be
enjoying the accommodations at the beautiful Marriott Marquis Hotel in
world-famous Times Square. Two days and nights, all expenses paid!
Like Morgan Freeman in the last few minutes of The Shawshank
Redemption, I find I am so excited I can barely sit still or keep a
thought in my head!
Get busy living, or get busy dying!
October 15, 2002
There’s nothing like the roar of the wind through a bus window to make you feel SO ALIVE!
In a little less than thirty minutes, I will be standing outside the legendary Grand Central Station, ready to represent Big Screen Store #1170 to the fullest. I’m a bit nervous, perhaps even soiling myself slightly in terror, but greatly excited nonetheless.
Here is the rundown of tomorrow’s agenda, according to the e-mail attachment I received yesterday.
*10:00 AM: MEET & GREET CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST IN TENNESSEE WILLIAMS SUITE
*12:00 PM: PRESENTATION #1 "WE ARE ALL ONE BIG SCREEN"
*12:30 PM: PRESENTATION #2 "CROSS PROMOTION AND TIE-IN SALES: SHREK AND BEYOND"
*1:30 PM: LUNCH IN LOU GEHRIG BALLROOM
*2:00 PM: PRESENTATION #3 "CUSTOMER RELATIONS: WHY 12:19 AM DOES NOT COUNT AS "BY" MIDNIGHT."
*3:00 PM: GUEST SPEAKER - THE BLONDE SPOKESWOMAN FROM THE IMPORTANT MESSAGE AT THE BEGINNING OF PORN
*4:00 PM: PRESENTATION #4 "CARE AND CLEANING OF THE IN-STORE VCR THAT CAN PLAY ANY TAPE PERFECTLY IN FRONT OF THE CUSTOMER NO MATTER HOW DAMAGED OR ASKEW FROM NORMAL TRACKING IT MAY BE"
*5:00 PM: PRESENTATION #5 "THE HOW’S AND WHY’S OF VACUUMING THE STORE AN HOUR OR SO BEFORE CLOSING"
*7:00 PM: DINNER AND BEVERAGES SERVED (OPTIONAL)
Sounds like a full day—but there’s more!
Added to the e-mail was a personal note from Regional Manager Bill Summerall, mentioning plans for a "fellows only" get-together at a genuine New York City Gentlemen’s Club after the conference! Imagine me, Pat Freestone, sitting in an elegant leather chair, sipping a glass of fine sherry, and matching wits with the Regional Manager in an intense game of chess! I might just light up a fine cigar!
Oh, to be Pat Freestone!
Wish you were here,
October 16, 2002
If Pat Freestone can make it here, Pat Freestone can make it anywhere!
Although I have visited New York City on many occasions, this is my first
time truly venturing out beyond the car. And let me tell you, there is
plenty to see in this town!
Last night I barely slept, although the hotel bed was comfortable and free
of debris. Truly, this is the City That Never Sleeps. That, and I was
subjected to a great deal of blinking and flashing from neon light exposure,
as I was unable to operate the complicated curtain apparatus. Being
unfamiliar with such window treatments, I remained bathed in the blue glow
of a 45-foot Planters Peanut Man until dawn.
After a somewhat disoriented shower I put on my best shirt and tie and made
my way to the Tennessee Williams Suite. I won't bore you with the
"industry" talk that went on all day. But let me just put it this way: did
you know that the average video rental outlet updates its inventory tracking
system as often as every 6-24 months? Or that most video stores keep less
than $200 in singles and only about $30 in quarters on hand on regular
business days? Or even that on average, most video rental customers between
the ages of 18 and 45 spend more than six browsing-minutes per selection in
the new release action/adventure genre?! I could quote customer rewinding
surveys that would set your short hairs on end.
And yet despite the plethora of information and insight offered at today's
conference, the big talk was of tonight's planned activities at the
gentlemen's club. It's always been a dream of mine to attend such a venue,
and rub elbows with distinguished, cultured gentlemen. From its name, I
gather that this famed fraternity was once home to Air Force pilots, perhaps
even flying aces from WWII. I'll find out soon enough. Up, up, and away!
Pat Freestone is about to taxi over to Runway 69!
Over and out!
October 17-21, 2002
Oh, God, why?
October 23, 2002
It is only now, after several days of quiet contemplation, that I can begin the process of healing from the emotional and psychological trauma inflicted upon me last week in the dank den of sin and human misery known as "Runway 69."
For those of you joining me here for the first time, I must suggest that rather than reading today’s sad admissions, you scroll down to a prior passage, so you might get to know Pat Freestone when he was still a human being. Because for now, I am but a beguiled, blinded, rouge-smeared leper of the apocalypse.
This is all I can bear to relate to you at this time, dear web guest. Hopefully, as the mending hands of time sweep down upon me, I shall be able to regain my ability to keep hope for the world in my heart. For now, I can only muster this small, desperate prayer:
PLEASE DESTROY THE WHORES.
October 24, 2002
Let me begin at the beginning.
After a full day of video rental industry presentation and professional discussion at one of New York City’s famed conference centers, I joined some of my contemporaries for what I thought would be a pleasant, let-the-hairs-down evening at a local Gentlemen’s Club. It was to be my maiden voyage into the privileged inner sanctum of executive male bonding. It was instead a venture directly into hell.
I first noticed I was surely in harm’s way when the taxicab containing myself, Big Screen Video Eastern Division Planning Coordinator Bill Deale and a colleague I was to know only as Greg--or possibly Craig--came to a stop near the intersection of Broadway and 43rd Street. I was rather forcefully whisked from the car and led several blocks to a gaudy neon and mirror storefront bearing the logo "Runway 69." I quickly realized this was not the stately, subdued, ivy-covered gentlemen’s club I had pictured, but instead some sort of futuristic nightclub, full of discotheque dancing and cigarette smoke.
Lord, how I wish I had been exposed only to such relative indecency.
I am finding it difficult to continue, so I must sign off for now. I feel as if I am beginning to regress to some painful stages from my childhood. I will leave you, for now, with this unpleasant memory:
There’s a place in France
Where the naked ladies dance.
There’s a hole in the wall
Where the men watch it all.
There’s a place on Mars
Where the ladies smoke cigars
And the men don’t care
If they eat their underwear.
October 25, 2002
Although there are large portions of the evening for which I cannot account, I
will now attempt to describe in some detail my wretched experience last
Thursday night at the trollop-infested flophouse known as "Runway 69."
After being led through a sickeningly sweet-smelling lobby, I found myself at
an impasse patrolled by two gigantic, neckless thugs. They directed me
towards a booth containing a young Hispanic woman in a mini-dress who quickly
relieved me of fifteen dollars and smeared the back of my hand with
a hand-held rubber stamp. Moments later I was separated from my companions
Bill and "Greg" as they were swept off into a dark corner by a pair of eleven
foot Amazonian whores.
In a panic, I quickly took a seat in the rear of the ballroom and averted my
eyes from the neon-clad female stalkers who were awkwardly clomping around the
room on garish polyurethane clogs. To my horror, I was soon spotted by the
buxom cocktail hostess, who insisted that I purchase at least two beverages
from her. She then proceeded to misunderstand my order and bring me a
thirteen-dollar 7-up and a tall glass of formaldehyde.
As I glanced around the room, slyly but desperately searching for some sign of
my lost colleagues, I accidentally locked eyes with a bulbous blonde in a
skin-tight, zebra-print chemise. She strutted pretentiously across the room,
stood beside me, and took the liberty of running her fingers behind my left
ear. She asked me if I wanted to dance. Thinking that such an invitation
might provide me the opportunity to dance my way out of a side door, as might
be done by, say, a Huckleberry Hound or perhaps a Snagglepuss, I accepted.
The woman introduced herself as Storm. Then she tore the eyeglasses from my
face and raped me.
Trapped beneath her weighty, perfumed breasts, I was unable to move. The
more I tried to struggle, the more she clamped down on my ribcage with her
powerful thighs. As if to add insult to injury, she began to relentlessly
pummel my groin with her buttocks in sync with the music—a pitifully
over-produced cover of the Guess Who classic, "American Woman." I
closed my eyes and pulled back, deep inside myself, falling deeper and deeper,
searching for some safe place to hide from the terrible reality I was forced
From that point on, I remember only vague, disconnected moments: the bulbous
blonde rapist demanding money from me; the glass breaking on the floor as I
tried to run out the door; being beaten by the merciless, no-neck thugs in the
lobby; picking up my broken eyeglasses from a curbside pool of antifreeze.
This morning, I woke up feeling shame. I now realize I am moving into another
October 28, 2002
October 29, 2002
It's time to move on.
As many of you are already aware, last week I was raped by a
prostitute and beaten senseless by ruthless goons at a despicable
establishment that shall remain nameless. Fine--"Runway 69."
But I shall not dwell on the fact that there are millions of
middle-aged lunkheads in this country who would rather soak their
inexhaustible libidos in boobs and Bud Light than stay home and
nurture the bratty little by-products of their previous ill-advised
coital attempts. I shall not get caught up in the natural law that
states that for every pack of male morons who conduct their
bonding in establishments that feature drinking and nudity there
must be at least one remarkably gullible idiot among them who convinces
himself that the dancing harlot or D-cup drink-slinger is actually
attracted to him. And I shall not ponder the notion that
there are scores of men in this country who would gladly pay to
have their faces smothered by the artificial breasts of a gyrating slut
as easily as they would slip on rented bowling shoes, in either case
never stopping to think how long it may have been since the pair
were properly disinfected.