RECORD STORE TALES Part 38: More Wood
As I said before in chapter 14, record store guys have the best parties, ever. In the beginning when things were less corporate, we also had the best staff parties. There were kegs, which automatically meant keg stands. We were outdoors. There was music. There were burgers and dogs and even vegetarian options. One year, a bunch of guys (including our buddy Dave “Homer”), pulled up in a pickup truck with a couch in the back! Fucking perfect! We would go all night, no complaints from the neighbors. This was long before Spoogecakes. This was summer, 1999.
In my humble opinion, the epicenter of these parties was always Tom. He brought the best tunes. He said the most random things (“Frosted Lucky Charms, they’re magically delicious!”) at the most random times. Tom brought the fucking party.
The triumvirate of Tom, Trev and myself were usually ready to rock out to something a little on the heavier side. Tom brought the Fu Manchu, which was my first exposure to the band. From The Action is Go, he played “Saturn III” on repeat.
Certain time and place
Floatin’ up in space
Tom brought the tunes, and Tom brought the chicken wings. Tom used to pull this stunt where he’d eat several wings, bones and all. (Then, he used to put the rest of the bones in a jar and say he would use it to make soup?) Well, it didn’t turn out so well for Tom this time.
Trev was working with this one kid from Egypt who didn’t last long. Boutros was his name. Well, Boutros used to boast that he could eat “anything” no matter how hot. Trevor used to laugh at this, having tasted the terrible delights of the habanero pepper himself. Boutros, despite his boasts, had never heard of this pepper. He had no idea what he was getting himself into with his boasting.
Trevor made a special trip to get one pepper, just for this party. It was a mean looking little thing, like a tiny tomato. He presented it to Smelly. Smelly laughed.
“That little thing? That’s what I’m supposed to be so afraid of? That little thing?”
Boutros was about to insert the whole thing in mouth.
Trevor responded with a chuckle, “Be careful! Don’t have a bite. Just cut off a small slice.”
“Yeah whatever!” he said as a slice was prepared for him.
He ate it. He laughed. He laughed some more.
Then, his eyes grew wide. His mouth squeezed shut as he began crying. He assumed the fetal position. I didn’t see him again for the rest of the night. He never boasted about being able to eat “anything” again.
Enter, Tom. Tom was already well lubricated from generous amounts of cold, frothy beer. He had also already performed his standard party trick: the eating of the chicken bones, much to the delight of us. So, when a very inebriated Tom grabbed what was left of that pepper and bit, we all shouted “NO” at once! After all, chicken bones and habanero cannot feel good coming out the other end!
As far as I know, Tom spent much of the rest of the evening drinking milk in the washroom. I do not know what the next day was like for him. I have never asked. I don’t want to know.