Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bloomingdale's, New York

We'd already been in there over an hour, and nerves were fraying.
"This is ridiculous," exclaimed the Wife. "There has to be an exit."
"No signs. No functionaries. How do people find anything in here?" I cried forlornly.
"What's that over there? That door! Is it freedom? Freedom at last!"
He pelted over, feet slapping that wide run of the desperate.
"It's the changing rooms," I called out after him.
He returned, his head held low. "Oh, it's the changing rooms."

"This is weird. There's no-one about."
"It's a ghost store!"
"Don't be silly," he said. "We have to think about this rationally. We've been walking around for..."
"Two hours," I prompted.
"-Two hours, and we have simply been unlucky."
"It's a conspiracy."
"So customers buy more Calvin Klein's? Don't be ludicrous."
"How else do you explain that all the signs we follow for 'Exit' lead us back to the men's clothing department?"
He thought for a moment. "Perhaps everything's in Russian, or something. 'Exit' is Russian for 'men'."
"Not according to most of my Gentleman's Recreational Videos, no."
He humphed.
"In fact, it's more like 'entrance' from what I've seen," I muttered to myself.
We walked on.

Time passed.
"What are you doing?"
I looked up, mouth full.
"I'm starving," I muttered. "We've been in here three hours, unable to find an exit. Or a nicely-appointed café."
"You're sucking on the arm of a leather coat!"
"Stop that at once!"
I put my hands on my hips. "Look. I tolerate your vegetarianism as long as you don't impose your views on me. In fact, I was-"
"Hush!" he said, smoothing down the coat's arm in the manner one strokes a child's hair. "This is Gucci..."

An hour later.
"God I'm hungry," he exclaimed.
We walked on some more.
"Do you think they've got any tofu trousers in here?" he asked.

"I think I've figured it out!"
The Wife was startled by my sudden shout up after another hour's silence. "Gah! What?"
"We're gays!"
He spoke carefully: "Ye-ee-ees. That's why your iPod is so full of mary music, it sweats glitter in the heat..."
"No, you big silly. We can?t find our way out because we're Gentlemen Who Are Good With Colours! Our natural affinity is to shop!"
"So we have to pretend we're straight! That way, we'll instantly be propelled towards the exit, just like embarrassed dads in a lingerie section!"
"Lets give it a go!"

So we walked on. I'd screwed up my eyes, moving into a new department, thinking of football and ladies and more football. I wanted to smell the heady scents of the perfume department that always prefixed liberation from a department store.
I opened my eyes. The place was full of dangerous looking metal pointing towards us. An unearthly squeal could be heard in the distance.
"Where are we?" I whispered, drawing close to my partner.
"I'm not sure," said the Wife under his breath. "But that thing over there is labelled 'carburettor'..."
I clutched his arm, and whimpered in fear. "Dorothy, I don't think we're not in Kansas anymore..."

Some time later. We'd lost count of how many after I'd eaten my watch. It tasted like jerky.
"You smell that?" cried the Wife.
"What? What?!"
"Well, that's me," I said, fanning my hand a little. "I'm accidentally wearing the same pants we used as a glop-mop this morning..."
"No, you fool! Organza! The woman's fragrance! We're by the perfume section! See?"
I raised my head. The blinding sunlight streamed through the doors beyond a metropolis of fragrance. It also answered why there were no functionaries anywhere else in the building - the department was teeming with them; worker bees fussing over their pollen.
"To get out, we have to go via them," hissed the Wife. "No sudden movements. Keep close and we may get out alive."
We shuffled forward. My breathing was deep. "Don't show you're afraid," I whispered, possibly a little too loud. As one, the entire workforce swivelled to see us.
"Would sir like to try this fragrance?"
"Sir, there's this new -"
"-with a twenty percent-"
"Buy now and get a free-"
"-in this gorgeous little bottle!"
Voices overlapped into a cacophonous, incoherent buzzing. I felt the Wife's hand slip into mine. "Run!" he yelled.
We pelted for the door, mad-crazed with fear and hunger. Almost there. Almost there!
"Would sir just like to-"
But the bottle was brought up and squirted anyway.
"My eyes! My eyes! I can't see!" shrieked the Wife.
"Come on! I'll lead you!"
And... all of a sudden... daylight. Fresh air.

The Wife rubbed his eyes. They'd calmed down a lot in the past half hour.
I leant against the wall, still trying to catch my breath and breathe out the poisonous fumes of the functionaries.
"Can you see yet?"
"Almost. It's all a bit blurry, but it's slowly coming around."
"Good, good. Fancy a tofu burger?"
"Hey!" he said, looking up at the window of the store. "There's a sale start tomorrow morning!"
"What, here?"
"Yeah! You fancy?"
I shrugged. "Sure."


CyberPete said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
CyberPete said...

It sounds like my trip to Selfridges

epicurist said...

I think I am the only gay that hates shopping. I know, blasphemy.

Snooze said...

Brilliant! I've felt trapped in department stores too, but I got lost in Honest Ed's, a vile tacky low-end bargain store in Toronto. The stench of man-made fibre and patrons who hadn't bathed in days just made it more alarming.

Broderick said...

Oh Honest Ed's is fab! Scary as hell, especially the prison doors at the entrance and the section full of religious paraphernalia. Melted Virgin Mary candle for 1.99? Yes please!

Bob said...

Ah, Bloomie's ... it's all smoke and mirrors. Great game is to try to maneuver through first floor without getting sprayed and/or distracted by one of the latin fragrance models. Did you make it to SAK's? Best cosmetics floor ever.

paddalumpakins said...

I can't believe I missed you guys while you were in New York!

Cheryl said...

I remember you blogging about the first day of the Doctor Who exhibition at Brighton. As you are out and about, I thought you'd like to know that the police raided it and arrested three illegal aliens.......... :-)

Jaclyn said...


Next trip, be sure to visit that American bastion of cheap crap and clever marketing - Wal-Mart. Talk about walking through Dante's fifth level of Hell....

goblinbox said...


Jay said...

I had a similar experience in Macy's - the stores are like mazes!

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