Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The True Story of the Storage Facility Full of Free Erotica from Mr. Anderson

So here's a true story that whenever I tell people this, they tell me it is very interesting. So now I will share it with you!

I work at this crazy bookstore that sells weirdo reading material, like books about wrapping Roy Orbison in clingfilm. We sell some kind of sexy stuff to, like arty erotica and sometimes vintage pin-up stuff, and then some stuff that's a little kinky (horse play!) or just like sex positive sex guides and culture books, etc. One day we get an e-mail from some guy who just went under the name John Anderson, which I am convinced is not his real name. He says that he has a storage facility full of sexy reading material that he would like to donate to the store. And he doesn't want money for it. But the catch is that we need to go pick it up,and we'll need a cargo van. So we get the cargo van and we show up and he's just this nice guy, maybe in his later 40's or so and this storage facility is out in the boonies, probably about an hour and half drive outside of Chicago.

We ride an elevator up to his second floor storage room and the place is practically lined with books and magazines and video tapes that we have no idea what's on them. He loads a rolling cart up with books, magazines and video tapes. My co-worker and I roll into the elevator while the guy stays in the storage locker, and the minute the elevator door closes we dig into the stuff, and we see that ther's varying levels of naughtiness. There's vintage cheesecake stuff, fetish magazines, She-Male books, envelopes with sexy trading cards, a bunch of old Eric Stanton-style Bizarre mags, XXX comics and graphic novels, pin-uppy Bunny Yeager-Bettie Page stuff, fetish-y hardcover photo books of latex bondage stuff -- just a whole bunch of stuff. I think some of the stuff he might even have bought from the store where I work. All in all, we pretty much filled up the cargo van. And it wasn't a small van. Just to give you an idea of the size, let it be known that my co-worker had traveled with his band in it on tour, and they had actually converted it for like 5 people to sleep while also housing all their gear.

John Anderson wouldn't tell us why he was getting rid of all this stuff but we had theories. Maybe he had this secret stash of stuff and he also had a wife who he was hiding it from, but she found out and is making him get rid of it. Or he's getting rid of it before she finds out. Another theory is that maybe he was being investigated for something, and he didn't want it known he had this stuff. Not that he had anything in the stash that was illegal. But there were a few books of photography featuring the work  of Jock Sturges. Some of the subjects in Jock Sturges' work are kind of young, if you know what I'm saying. (It's a controversial situation with his work.) Anyway, all we had were theories to work with why Mr. Anderson was just giving us this stuff for free. He wouldn't take any money either, as if he wanted it to be as clean of a break with the stuff as possible. But what's even crazier, and what makes me discount all of those theories is that there was stuff he wouldn't let us have, that he kept in the storage facility. I still wonder what THAT stuff was.

I remember getting all of the stuff back to the store and when I had more of a chance to look thourgh it all, I wrote him an e-mail to thank him, and I asked him if we could at least give him store credit. He never wrote back.

For what it's worth, it's not like a lot of the material was that shocking to me. (Just as an example, at the store when we received another photo book of women urinating in public, I said real blase-like, "Oh yeah, volume 2. Whatever.") But it was shocking to be given this material freely and in such bounty without any exchange of money. When we got it back to the store I found a number of things in it that made me exclaim every time, "Oh my god! This cover would be awesome in an ad!" It took me months to archive everything and do all the research finding how much everything was worth. Even to this day we still have some of the stuff. I think this all happened around 2004 or maybe 2005 or so.

Even now, whenever somebody buys something from this weirdo stash of erotica and porny stuff, we refer to it as the stash from Mr. Anderson, and we always say it like the guys in The Matrix, when they go "MIST-er An-der-son."

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