Mr. Peanut came into our lives about four years ago.
Rachelle (my lady) and I were drifting through a flea market shortly before close, and because I have great ideas, I proposed that with a budget of less than $20, we should each head off to buy the other person a gift. (Oh, I see. She has spoken, and apparently I have a “self-serving and very selective” memory, and it was Rachelle who made this proposal. Whatever.)
As one might expect, I won this competition, purchasing Rachelle something that she absolutely adored, while she got me something lame that I don’t even remember. It might have been a shot glass with a Dachshund on it or some “antique” shoelaces.
But what’s important is what I did, and I got Rachelle a taxidermied squirrel that was perched on a branch. Since he looked pretty ragged— as if he’d perished from a wasting disease— and the stall was getting packed up, I decided to play hardball.
Seeing me inspecting the squirrel, the vendor— who looked like a hung-over carnie who had long since given up on the dream— said, “Really, you want that fuckin’ thing?”
“Yes, sir,” I nodded, “I will give you $15.”
“Sure, but be careful he don’t give you a rash like he done my mom.”
As fate would have it, Rachelle absolutely adored the squirrel, “He’s so vulnerable and small, just like you!”
She named him Mr. Peanut, and he’s been a part of our family ever since.
Unfortunately, after a friend used Mr. Peanut as part of a stupid Mother Nature themed Halloween costume, and then got messed up on “some pill people were crumbling into their drinks at the party, ” Mr. Peanut is now missing both of his ears and has a bald spot on the top of his head. This disfiguration has always upset Rachelle, and she’s been looking, without success, for an appropriate hat to cover this up ever since.
As I am thoughtful and kind of awesome, I decided to surprise Rachelle with the gift of a hat for Mr. Peanut. Amy Sedaris, who is one of Rachelle’s favorite human beings— and a very crafty and taxidermy friendly person— was doing a signing for her new book Simple Times: Crafts For Poor People in Toronto on Monday. I decided to take Mr. Peanut in with me to see if I could get her to craft him a hat and sign a copy of her book, which I would then give to Rachelle at Christmas.
I even went so far as to send Amy a Christmas postcard informing her of my plan.
“My dead squirrel needs a hat. Would you make him one? Such a gesture might just be good for your career, which seems to have stalled at cupcakes and cheese balls. I will be the man with the squirrel at your book tour’s stop in Toronto.
Thanking you in advance,
For the record, I think Amy Sedaris is awesome, pretty and utterly hilarious. Light seems to beam out of her eyes. I would very much like for her to come over for dinner every week and join our floor hockey team The Jesus Cobras. I would make her an assistant captain in a second, as Seiko’s game has gone soft since her pregnancy.
At any rate, before the signing I had to drop off some money at a local pub, and ended up staying a little longer than I had intended. As a result I was late for the signing and hundreds of people formed a long, serpentine line that terminated with me, in the Biography section of the bookstore. I could hear Amy Sedaris’ small, sunny voice from a great distance, but I could not see her. I flipped through Lauren Conrad’s book Style (no nudity), and listened as Sedaris answered questions.
What were her favorite television shows?
What should a fan do in NY for the weekend?
Why do so many gay people love you?
It was true, this.
There were gay people everywhere.
Men wearing skinny jeans and argyle sweaters talked excitedly into cell phones that had Katy Perry ring tones. Women, built to anchor tug of war teams and work for the post office, drank coffee from masculine looking thermoses purchased at the Value Village. Still other women, stylish enough to be in a Rockabilly band, date Lindsey Lohan or make whimsical crafts out of reclaimed materials, peeked out from behind every bookshelf.
As I figured it would be a couple of hours before I got to seeAmy Sedaris, I started up a conversation with a couple of the women in the line around me.
“The fucking Maple Leafs suck this year, eh?” I started.
A stern looking woman with a short haircut looked at me.
“Why would you say that to me?”
“Well, because you’re gay I figured you’d be into hockey.”
“You’re not into hockey or you’re not gay?”
“I can’t believe how rude you are!”
“Well, I’m really into hockey,” and then I began to talk about my fantasy hockey team The Rapture.
She gave me a look of disgust and turned away, and then a moment later, spun back to face me.
“Are you drunk? I smell rum.”
Defensively, but perhaps drunkenly, I told her it was my cologne that she smelled, and then I said, “What are you, a lady cop or something?”
With her hands on her hips and her voice rising, she shouted, “And what is that sticking out of your pocket?”
“That’s Mister Peanut.”
“Is that a dead squirrel?”
“It’s actually a sweet story,” I began.
“People like you disgust me. You kill for sport, stuff the animal and then keep it around as a trophy in an attempt to compensate for your little dick!”
Her friend gave her a high five.
“You should be nice to me, I gave blood today,” I lied.
“Amy Sedaris would hate you if she knew you. She would hate your guts,” the friend spat.
Just as things were starting to escalate a woman in a tweed suit with a weird accent interceded, ” You know, I think you should all take a time-out. Amy would probably like everybody, if you just calmed down, ” and then she offered us some candy she had in a tin.
She seemed nice enough and as I was feeling pretty stressed I asked her if she would save my spot in line while I stepped out and got some fresh air. After about an hour— having enjoyed some drinks at a nearby tavern with my two new friends Billy-Jack and Goran—the three of us returned to the bookstore to see if I was any closer to meeting Amy Sedaris. As we were entering the place, the mean woman that needed a time-out, was on her way out the door.
“You missed her. She’s finished. Amy has left the house.”
She said this with great satisfaction, and as she pushed past me, she gave me an elbow to the ribs. It turns out that “Billy-Jack, and anybody who runs in Billy-Jack’s pack, don’t take shit from nobody!” and a melee broke out on the sidewalk.
I really don’t like fighting very much, as my asthma can be rather inhibiting, and so I slipped into the night— a white ghost passing unattended through Chinatown but for a bedraggled Santa sitting cross-legged on a street corner, imploring of me, “You give to Santa, you give to Santa, now!”