Minutes (Chicago)

July 8, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard


As a follow up to the doll-maker minute, I would like to tell an additional story about the fellow.

A friend of mine, Justine, used to work at as an optician at an optical shop on Damen. As she had been working there for many years, she got to know a number of  business-owners on the street. Because she was friendly, they often stopped in to greet her on their respective ways to and from the neighboring café. Esther, for instance, the sexual massoos from upstairs often stopped in with a new story from her last day’s work. She was short, middle aged, stout and earthy with coarse fingers that Justine often remarked upon because they boasted so much assurance, illustrating the words of this woman all the time; her fingers fluttered through the air and, curiously, always aroused Justine a little bit. Enough that Justine felt if she was a man she would certainly visit this massoos. The massoos also had two Irish wolfhounds and she walked them everywhere she went and, if it weren’t for her thick wedge heels, the dogs would come up to her breasts. Instead they came up to her waist.

But the massoos is not the point.

For there was also an e-bay entrepreneur across the street and often he would ask Justine if she could come and model one or another of the clothing items he was auctioning off. While he sold any number of items, one of his specialties were vinyl body suits. They were clear plastic, and zipped over the head so that everything, save a few oriphaces was covered. Justine agreed. She went over after work, took her clothes off, put the suit on (with his help, for the single and snaking zipper is situated on the back) and then he took a series of photos. On her way out she happened to notice a box of skulls by the back door.

“What are these skulls?” she asked.

“They came from China. I sell skulls on e-bay too. I can make a killing that way.”

There was dirt in the box, but Justine didn’t think too much of it.

The Dollmaker:

The Dollmaker went to visit the e-bay entrepreneur in order to see about one of the vinyl suits. The Dollmaker had been shopping on e-bay when he came across the post, recognized Justine and realized that the seller was his friend down the street. They had tea together, they laughed–you’ll remember the Dollmaker is peculiar enough as it is, collecting human hair and making giant puppets, dressing himself up in drag and taking artistic photos of himself, keeping young page boys as lovers etc. So of course, the Dollmaker had any number of stories to tell. And the ebay entrepreneur listened.

When it was time to each to get on with the day, the ebay entrepreneur went to the back room to get one of the new suits and the Dollmaker began writing a check. The ebay entrepreneur happened to get a phonecall and the Dollmaker, a little bored, started to look around. He decided to get a glass of water and went into the kitchen. While in the kitchen he noticed water boiling on the stove. He looked into the pot and saw a human skull in the water. The water was brown. The Dollmaker forgot about his glass of water, returned to the dining room where he began to sweat and, upon purchasing the suit fled immediately to the street where he called the police.

The police shut down the ebay entrepreneur, even though he “had the right papers and everything.”


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