ANOTHER TRUE TALE: "Hi, Jesse. I'm just dropping by to see if you've got any copies of Hustler I could look at."
It's my neighbor J., the UFO abductee, knocking on my door in 1996. At the time I'm living in the rural hamlet of Port Townsend, Washington, population 8,000; my apartment is upstairs from a convenience store, adjacent to a trailer park, across the street from a funeral parlor, and maybe two minutes' walk from the production offices of an infamous survivalist catalog. It's also close to some sort of outpatient clinic for people who've been diagnosed as schizophrenics, which is why J. lives next door.
I don't know where she got the idea that I might be sitting on a pile of skin magazines, and I tell her I don't have any.
"Oh," she replies. "Well, do you know how I might get in touch with Larry Flynt? I need to write him again."
"You've been writing Larry Flynt?" I'd known about her one-sided correspondence with Alan Greenspan, but Flynt was a new one.
"I used to write him a lot, but it turned out I was sending them to a fake address." I offer her a seat. "This was back in the '70s. I read an article that said that both fundamentalists and feminists hated this man and his magazine, and I decided that I had to see it for myself. So I went down to Pike Place Market and found a copy of Hustler. The cover showed a woman being put through a meat grinder, and the caption said, 'We will no longer treat women like meat.' And right then, I felt the Tap on my shoulder. It was a really spiritual experience. I felt the Tap on my shoulder, and God whispered in my ear: 'Larry Flynt is Jesus Christ.'
"And so I wrote him and I told him about it. But he never wrote back. Later on I found out they'd given me a fake address and my letters weren't getting to him."
As always, I don't have much trouble getting into the spirit of the conversation, which is probably why she and I are friends. "I think Paul Krassner used to publish Hustler for a while," I comment. "I have an address for his magazine The Realist; maybe he could tell you how to get in touch with Larry."
"Oh, The Realist? I've got some issues of that. Thanks, I'll try him." She gets up to leave. "I hope you don't think that I'm interested in the pornography. I hate porn. But I love the articles."
"Oh, yes. If I get some copies of Hustler, I'll let you borrow them, and you can see what I mean. They're brilliant, really funny."
"OK," I say. She never follows up on this promise, which is probably just as well.
posted by Jesse 9:55 PM
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