Excerpts

Edger: Underwearld Excerpt Edger: Excerpt The Cow in the Porn Store Ted, Ed, and the A-Team Chapter One
Edger Crown

The Cow in the Porn Store

The store is not large. The lighting is dim, yellow, and hazy. The stench of barn and patchouli permeates everything; it is in the worn corduroy sofa behind the register; it is in the drab, no-color carpet, the beads hanging in the doorway. And it is in the box of buttless red leather pants on clearance for only $7.99 in Aisle Two.

Until this moment, it has been business as usual in the El Cerrito Adult Emporium, where the highlight of Dhruv’s nights is to harry the sneaking underage teenage boys, bellowing at the top of his lungs, and swatting the Purple Paddle of Passion at their fleeing rear ends. But on this night, even the teenagers are in short supply. The place is dead. Has been for hours. And then…barn stench.

Dhruv had just stepped out for a quick trip to the john. The Maker’s Mark he’d started an hour earlier had broken the seal. He’d figured, what’s the worst that can happen? Not like he can’t keep an ear on things from the back. The orgasm doorbell’s plenty loud. That’s what drew him out, hands dripping wet, shirt corner crammed through his fly hole.

The brown cow’s chewing mandibles are hypnotic. Peaceful. Like it doesn’t have a care in the world, despite it having wandered into his store. Dhruv folds his arms. His forehead tightens. Is this cow even eighteen?

He glances over his shoulder. No one there. Good. No one around to get the wrong idea. He certainly hadn’t left that pile of hay in the middle of the store. He isn’t trying to attract cows. Cows aren’t his thing. His thing is to stock a cornucopia of pornography. And while he did recently shelve a DVD called Graze Anatomy and Udder Offal Tales, never once did he imagine selling it to a literal cow.

Dhruv scans the four security mirrors. Whoops—not alone. Aisle Ten. Short guy. Asian. Mid-twenties. Long bangs sticking out like black straw from beneath a pantyhose cap. Not one of the regulars.

“This your cow?” asks Dhruv.

The customer’s gaze darts left and right. Dhruv’s stomach knots. The customer snatches an inflated blowup doll from the display stand and squeezes it against his chest.

“Hey,” says Dhruv, uncrossing his arms. “Stop that!”

The customer squeezes harder, and the doll’s head swells and tips back like a pornographic Pez dispenser.

“Hey!” yells Dhruv.

Yanking the pantyhose down over his face, the customer bolts for the door.

“Stop!” yells Dhruv at the same time a loud slap issues from the cow’s backside. The animal squeals and lurches forward, a large dart now protruding from its flank. Dhruv, his heart racing, scampers backward—

A crash from behind wheels him around.

A second man emerges from beneath a toppled lingerie rack in Aisle Two. One bra is hooked to his ear and a second is hooked to the diving flippers he has inexplicably worn into the store. Tall, salt-and-pepper hair, linen shirt, Bermuda trunks. This man’s eyes widen at the sight of Dhruv, and then he reaches into the pile of lingerie at his feet. Bras, G-strings, and corsets are chucked into the air before he comes up with a dart gun and clomps for the door like it’s the Frog Olympics.

Dhruv dives for cover behind a six-foot-three cardboard zucchini. Can dart guns shoot through cardboard zucchinis? He has no idea, but the erectile-dysfunction display is the nearest hiding spot, so it will have to do. Pulling in his arms and legs, panting, he tracks the invaders in the security mirrors.

The doorbell emits an ecstatic moan as the thief and blowup doll exit first, followed by a second, louder moan as the flipper-footed gunman triggers it again. He swats the beads hanging in the doorway, shoves the thief’s back, and chances a glance over his shoulder—but the cow skids to a halt at Aisle One.

A droplet of sweat falls from the tip of Dhruv’s nose. The drubbing inside his chest won’t slow. He silently berates himself for having ever stocked Graze Anatomy. He thought he’d been so clever at the time. Oh, look at this title. I bet it’s a real cash cow. He’d like to go back and slap himself. He couldn’t say whether the movie had caused all this trouble. He only knew stocking it seemed to him now to be the mother of all cock-in-bull ideas, and one he was unlikely to repeat.

In the security mirror, the cow’s dizzying black eyeball scans the movies on the shelf. Enlarged nostrils flare. A tail swats back and forth. The cow snatches a plastic case in her mouth and lurches back to a sprint, catching the still-closing door just in time and nearly blasting it off the hinges. The door rebounds off the exterior wall and bangs shut. The hanging beads crash to the ground and scatter. Then—silence.

Dhruv does nothing at first but pant and sweat from behind the cardboard zucchini. A high-pitched tone glows like a clarinet in his ears. A DVD case, one near the spot where the cow had stolen the other, slides from the top shelf and slaps the floor. Minutes later, Dhruv emerges from his hiding spot and picks his way through the beads to the front door. He flips the bolt. He turns the sign from OPEN to CLOSED. He pulls down the security gate and locks the bottom. Having managed all this without further incident, Dhruv then resolves to do what any self-respecting porn proprietor in his situation would do—he fetches his bottle of Maker’s Mark and commits himself to finishing what he’d started over the next hour and a half.

And he vows never again to stock animal porn of any kind.

David Beem
David Beem 0983872422