Private Magazine

Tag: Elmwood

The Silver Fox

I have a silver-haired suitor named Mick. He’s a fortysomething banker who proudly goes commando.

As Sunday morning turns into afternoon, light fog permeates the air. A misty gray sky hangs above downtown. It’s calm after last night’s drinking crowd. Mick is driving me around in his ‘01 Beamer, six-foot-two frame squished behind the wheel. He stickshifts around the Harbor Center, taking a meandering route to nowhere in particular.

We check out construction on the new ice rink, killing time before an afternoon Christmas party. This mysterious soiree – hosted by a priest – will contain local politicians. Or so I’m told by Mick. My hunger for adventure made me accept his invitation, which came along at just the right time. I’m going through a Jon Stewart phase.

“Thanks for the wine,” I say. Beringer Estates white zinfandel sits in a little wicker basket.

“I need that basket back though,” Mick says. He lets out a chuckle, peering at me sideways with crystal blue eyes.

This is the first time I’ve gone anywhere with Mick. I definitely didn’t expect a gift. We relax at the Main and Chippewa intersection. All is still. The street, vacant. As the light changes from red to green, Mick shifts the car into gear.

Instead of moving, the turn-of-the-century BMW just absently rolls forward and stalls out.

“There’s something wrong with my car,” Mick says, turning off the ignition and turning it back on again. The car does the exact same thing – nothing.

“This has never happened before,” he says. “Oh my God why is this happening?”

“Maybe you should take the keys out and let it rest,” I say, putting my hand on his thigh.

Mick swiftly exits the car and starts pushing.

“Do you want me to help? I really don’t mind.”

“No, absolutely not. It’s fine!”

Mick steers the car towards a parking lot 30 feet away. A random pedestrian in prison orange appears out of nowhere, and helps him push. I feel like Cleopatra being carried by two male attendants. We make it to the parking lot and I get out of the car.

The random pedestrian asks Mick for money.

“What? No! Get out of here!”

I’m shocked Mick doesn’t toss him a couple bucks, but then again, I don’t either.

“Whenever someone’s car dies, there’s always that random helper nearby, and they always ask for money. It’s a known hustle,” I say.

“That was the same guy?! I was too shaken up to notice.”

We are in a parking lot right by The Lodge. We go there to figure shit out. I left my car on Elmwood and Auburn. The party is around Nottingham Terrace/Parkside, at Father John’s crib.

We take a seat at the bar.

“Look, I have AAA,” I say. Mick orders a martini, straight up. He’s visibly frazzled.

“It’s going to be ok,” I reassure. “The party doesn’t start for like, two hours.”

Mick emits a deep exhale. “You’re sweet.”

The two of us hang out for a while, eventually abandoning the car. AAA would only tow it five miles with the policy I have, and what good would that do? We take a taxi to my car and head to the party.

At the party, the cozy kitchen is stuffed with middle-aged couples. A long table is lavishly spread with various canapes and hors d’oeuvres. The host, Father John, emerges from the crowd in a nubby Christmas tree sweater.

“Hello, very good to see you Mick,” Father John says, giving Mick a long, hard embrace.

Mick introduces me to Father John, who extends a polite handshake. The two of us head to the open bar. A couple older bartenders are mixing drinks in Father John’s cleared-out living room.

Mick and I stand against the wall, close together.

“Father John is in love with me,” Mick says.

“Oh come on,” I say, “In love?” I look over my shoulder. Father John is staring at us from across the room, with a twinkle in his eye.

Guests gradually fill up the kitchen, living and dining rooms. A state Senator who I spot around town all the time shows up. Mick points out another Senator rocking a hideous royal blue fleece in the kitchen. I force my tipsy self to not ask him questions about his latest controversy. They aren’t as attractive as Mick, anyway, and not just because they’re both Republican.

Mick and I make a few more trips to the bar. The martinis and wine are flowing. A carving station opens up, offering turkey and succulent roast beef sandwiches.

After we chow down, I lead Mick down a random carpeted hallway. We find an empty den with bowls of chips everywhere.

“Ugh, finally – we’re alone,” I lean into Mick.

“You are gorgeous and young,” Mick says. “Everyone here is looking at you.”

“No they’re not. I haven’t noticed, anyway.”

We sit down on the futon.

“How could you not have noticed?”

I want to make out with Mick badly, but go figure – the damn door is clear glass. Not exactly the privacy I had in mind. Suddenly, a goofy-looking short guy with a crooked tie enters the room. He slumps in an armchair with a beer.

“Hey, I’m Jack. Sorry – mind if I sit in here? You weren’t trying to have a private moment – were you?”

Mick and I look at each other.

“Uh, it’s fine,” I say.

Jack starts carrying on about his public speaking job with the county.

“Oh you know, I give tours. Looking to retire soon. It’s been very rewarding….”

He carries on and on and neither Mick nor I say much in response. I’m waiting for this Jack creature to vamoose but then…a fiftysomething woman in one inch heels and candy cane socks comes in!

“Oh, this is my wife,” Jack says, rolling his eyes. Jack’s wife sits on the other side of the room. She looks tired and bored. Jack keeps talking about his job while his wife just sits there looking miserable.

After 25 minutes or so, Jack and his wife leave. Mick and I emerge, going back into the soiree. Father John rushes towards us.

“We’re gonna get going,” Mick tells him.

“Oh, Mick, so good seeing you. Merry Christmas.”
We go off into the night, stopping to make out in the Historical Society parking lot.

Later, I fall asleep while reading a text from Mick.

“See – listen to this. I told you Father John has a crush on me. He sent me an email saying he wishes I slept over and that he loves me! And that asshole Jack. I should have told him to give us some fucking privacy! They are so fucking nosy! And then his wife walks in. I should have told them to go away. You are beautiful and amazing. Let’s go to Rick’s on Main next weekend. Good night.”

Movie Date at the Video Liquidators Theatre


My estranged friend and former colleague, Rory from Manitoba, has come for a visit.   We’re trying to decide what to do with our Saturday night. He has crossed the border with grace and elegance, so the least I can do is show him a proper Buffalo Night Out.

“Listen, I had an idea yesterday, for my new blog. It’s kind of sick. Twisted, even.”

“Oh?” Rory replies, with a raised eyebrow.

“There’s a porn store down the street called Video Liquidators. It has a 24-hour porn screening room. What kind of people go there? I need to know.”

Froth from Rory’s Southern Tier has foamed around his beard.

“But! We need to blend in and not draw attention,” I say authoritatively. “We need to be one of them. This is a journalistic expedition.”

“I’ll be discreet!” Rory declares, lacing up his steel-toe boot.

We drive the miniscule distance to Video Liquidators’ Elmwood Ave. location. It can’t really be detected from the street, save for a bland black and white sign. Once you turn into the parking lot, “Video Liquidators” glows lasciviously  in red letters. The building itself is yellow brick. Red and yellow supposedly increase one’s appetite; that’s why McDonald’s employs these colors. It must make those with perv-y predilections salivate for miles around.

“It’s packed in here tonight!” I shriek, eyeing the half dozen cars in the lot.

It’s dark, cold, and silent in the city tonight. My watch reads 9:30 pm. The fluorescent bulbs inside the store snap me awake. I’m half baked. Some guys scurry around the store’s periphery like bugs; they hide in the corners once we strut in.

I lead the way through aisles of sex toys and suggestive polyester “lingerie” vacuum-sealed in plastic. Navigating around racks of nudie mags, we make our way to the theatre door at the very back. There’s not a big to-do with this theatre; the door could be a closet. A neon sign flickers above. I look around helplessly.

“Hey! You need to pay to go in there!” exclaims a blonde, tie-dye clad woman behind the cash register.

“Oh, how much is it?” I say, walking over to her.

“Well, since you’re a couple, you’re free,” she says to me. “For him, it’s $10 to choose either the Couples Theatre or the Singles Theatre. It’s $15 if you want to switch between both.”

“$15 for both of us, for both rooms?” I’m already taking a twenty from my wallet.

“BUT!” The cashier leans into me, eyes wide. “If he leaves the room, you HAVE to go with him. You CANNOT be left alone, under ANY condition.”

“We’ll stick together.”

Rory and I creep down a concrete hallway. We pass a few empty rooms, each with a TV proclaiming “No Signal,” a bench and a mop bucket. This is it? Then, we see the door marked Theatre #2. We go inside.

It’s pitch black. I tip-toe, inch by terrified inch, leading the way. It’s impossible to know what is inside this room. I could be walking into a closet full of violent offenders, with venomous snakes slithering across the floor. Grabbing Rory’s sweaty palm, finally, a dim glow from the movie screen vaguely lights our way.

The theatre is vacant except for a faceless couple in the last row. I can’t tell anything about them, just that they aren’t naked and aren’t engaged in any, um, activities. I’m relieved. We sit down and start to watch the film. It looks like it’s from the 90’s; a blonde is walking around a house in a modest French maid outfit. In the background she speaks a monologue – “He always was an ass man…So I’d be sure to bend over in my maid outfit…” We watch a fuzzy montage of her walking through a house. The man behind us coughs and groans and sucks down an iced fountain beverage.

“This is a boring movie, let’s hit the singles theatre. There might be more action there.”

We go to Theatre #1. Upon entering, it’s easier to see, there’s graphic sexual acts on the screen, and a room of ten guys. The movie screen is much smaller than your standard theatre variety, but it does the job. Two guys in front of us are having a conversation like this is Kelly’s Korner or something.

“Yeah man, the scene down in Cleveland is really something. There was this Canadian couple that would always be there…”

They must be a part of the Public Porn Scene. I realize that now I can finally cross Watching Porn With a Room Full of Strangers off of my bucket list.

The next movie starts. The actress is very beautiful. Both films fit the theme of POV, or Point of View, porn. The point is to be a professionally-directed porn, made to look like a really well-shot amateur movie. The director is also an actor, a participant. I find it to be artsy and Post Modern.

My eyeballs are starting to water profusely. I realize it’s because I haven’t blinked in about five minutes. This is really riveting stuff. I feel something poke me in the arm. It must be Rory’s hand. But was it? I’ll never be sure.

To my far right, in the aisle across from me, a pudgy guy in a dress shirt and tie is casually whacking it. That’s somebody’s dad, I think to myself. Shit.

After the second film comes to a close, I turn  to Rory and we decide to leave. I need a whiskey, neat, and some ice cream. We go back to my car, and check the time. 11 o’clock. Damn, time really does fly. We decide that it was pretty fun.

When we get back to my apartment, I Google “Video Liquidators cinema.” I want to see if anyone has already written about it. Nothing really comes up. The only item of interest is a message board/forum called CityXGuide, which apparently never got off the ground, but should have. On the site, there’s a public forum called Streetwalker Reports, where Buffalo’s gentleman can tip each other off as to where to find a hooker.

“Oh. My. God. This shit is great,” I say. My face is practically pressed to my laptop screen and my contacts are super dry.

I spot a post from three years ago by “Dariusz” that reads “Best BBBJ I ever had was in Bflo. In the Video Liquidators on Elmwood. They have couples nights on Saturdays and one time this hot 40s girl was there with her
husband. Give me a great BJ.”

BTW, the site is a great place to pick up obscure acronyms. Type in “BBBJCIMNQNS.” It’s a real thing.

There’s no excuse to be bored. Who needs cable at home with the Video Liquidator’s theatre a stone’s throw away?