Yesterday evening my lovely lady, who was pushing our baby girl, and I performed our weekly ritual of browsing the VHS tapes at one of LA’s more clean thrift stores, Out of the Closet.

My eyes were browsing a near complete collection of the first 38 Star Trek episodes from the 60s, when a late 50-something man, who smelled like a London public urinal, began shouting for cold water.

“Cold water! Where’s the cold water? I touched a hot iron! Cold Water! Do none of you speak English!? I NEED COLD WATER!” He jutted his hand out and marched up and down the used glassware isle. It was jarring to say the least, but to be fair, the place is run by two older Latino and Thai women who speak very broken English, who probably don’t put much effort into trying to understand shouting smelly guys. The man went on like this for the better part of 30 seconds, being ignored by pretty much everyone in the store as just another wacko on Hollywood Blvd. I admit, I covered up my daughter’s stroller just to be safe.

The guy’s long, stringy white hair was all aflutter as he bolted back and forth, now throughout the store, with his heated demands for cooled H2O to douse his singed appendage. “Do you not have a bathroom I can use? I touched a hot iron! Where’s the water!?” the man frantically continued. At this point, any sort of worry on my part dissipated. The guy was clearly crazy, but how in the fuck could he have touched a hot iron in a thrift store? That’s just ridiculous! All that kind of stuff is sitting in a huge heap on a wooden table.

The ladies at the counter, enduring his shouts and pointed threats to sue, said that they had no public bathroom and told him to leave. After a few more shouted complaints, many more threats of financial compensation, and the exclamation, “I didn’t even know it was there! I didn’t even see it!” The man stormed out of the store, clearly pissed. After his departure, the Thai woman briskly walked to the accused object. She made an exclamation of surprise; somebody trolled Out of the Closet- the iron was hot! The crazy guy was looking for something that wasn’t an iron when he got cooked. Poor fella.

After paying $1 for my “Star Trek: The Galileo Seven” VHS and $2.50 for a Kirkman and Scott “Baby Blues” collected comic book (anyone who has kids should read them) for my lady, I handed the woman at the register my card, telling her to call if the guy followed through on his threat. Out of the Closet is known for donating a large chunk of their proceeds to A.I.D.S. research, and are strong proponents of the homosexual community. They’re good people. Although, I highly doubt that guy will follow through on his threat to sue. Hot iron victims are typically non-committal.

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