Past, Over: The Astor Place Porn Vendor

Rod Townsend (aka our commenter Momo), sometimes receives telephone calls from The Past, a mysterious entity that remembers where things used to be in New York before Starbucks and Whole Foods came to town.

"Hello?"

"Cuddlecrotch! I'm calling you from a pay phone, because I keep forgetting to tell you about this guy that's perfect for you."

"You're setting me up on a date?"

"Nah, I don't really see you with Earl."

"Earl who?"

"Earl, the guy who sells porn on the street."

"Why would I want to date a street porn vendor?"

"I didn't say you would, but last time we talked you seemed to be afraid to go to a porn store, so this guy is perfect for you."

"He isn't one of those homeless junkies who sells stolen stuff, is he? Because I have a problem with that."

"You and your problems. No, Earl's the awesome. A total professional. He sets up three banquet tables laid out with long boxes full of porn mags and a couple of boxes of videos. The majority of it is straight porn, but there's always gay stuff in the boxes on the far right."

"Sounds decrepit."

"Earl runs a class act, fancytits. He always sets up patio umbrellas over the tables to protect the merchandise (and you) from exposure, and he sits behind the tables on his lawn chair. And he's very customer-focused."

"That's a potentially creepy statement."

"You're such a ... Oh! Hold on. LADY MISS KIER! ... Smoochie booches baby snooches! ... See you at Makeup Room Wednesday? ... Fabulous! ... Sorry, where were we?"

"Earl. Stares down his porno-buying ..."

"No, no. I was saying he's client-oriented. Like, if you're standing there a long time, and it seems like you've gone through every book twice, and you're still not getting anything? He'll totally be like, 'Whatcha looking for?' You tell him and he promises to get it for you the next time you see him. Sure enough, the next time you visit, that obscure issue of Torso you were looking for? He'll have it."

"A real saint."

"Don't get me wrong—somebody comes by getting rough with the merchandise, or standing around just getting his or her jollies looking at magazine after magazine? He'll totally tell them to get the fuck away. He's a professional business man, you know?"

"Um, he's a street-porn vendor."

"And that's mutually exclusive to being professional how? Rumor is the guy used to have his own porn shop upstate that got closed down and now he drives his old stock to the city every day to clear out of it and to make some money. You should check him out, buddy. You might even find love."

"With Earl?"

"No, dimbulb, with the other clients. The way I do it is I stand by The Alamo and scan the customers for the guys that are checking out the boxes on the far right—the gay stuff. If there's a hot piece perusing, I'll soon be cuh-ruising!"

"Hold up though. The Alamo? Are we talking Texas?"

Past, Over: The Astor Place Porn Vendor

"No, you uneducated slingbanger, you know that cube in Astor Place? That's its name. Earl sets up by the parking lot just to the south, on the corner of Astor Place and Cooper Square."

"Oh, dude, that's not a parking lot any more. Heh. Granted, you could still find dicks there. And lots and lots of assholes."

"I'm getting a feeling this is ass in a bad way, but I'm out of quarters, so I need to let ... Please insert twenty five cents. ...Okay, buddy ... Thank you for using NYNEX... we'll talk soon!"