[Preface: The confusion between Satanism and Witchcraft in the public mind came to a head a few months back when an animal rights group returned a donation from a Craft group and forbade them from any further fund-raising activities on their behalf. Rather than get angry, I thought a little humor on the subject would do the job best.]
I peered through the dirty window, trying to gauge what awaited me inside. The summons mentioned something about a "refund" and gave an address on the lower end of 17th street, Falwellville. I'd been eating canned soup for dinner the past few months, and could not afford to pass up any offer which would help me make it from one pay check to the next. My intent gaze could not penetrate the foggy haze which covered the plane glass; my trepidation grew. I glanced again at my watch, and discovered I was over a minute late. Clutching my courage with one hand, and tightening my resolve with the other, I opened the door and went in.
The waiting room was small. Perhaps fifteen feet square, with four dirty chairs placed contumeliously around an equally filthy card table. The closed door against the far wall had no knob that I could discover with my cursory glance. The thick window, imbedded in the plaster next to the door like a cyst on an old man's butt, appeared bullet proof; a young, harried, tight-lipped woman stared fearfully through it's wavy entrails, no doubt making me look as innocuous, as shapeless as she.
"Name!" the shape demanded through the three-inch diameter wire mesh placed squarely in the center of the vacuous surface. The sound might have reminded one of a stifled fart. I leaned forward to the wire port hole to speak my name; Ms. Shapeless jerked back sharply, as if I had attempted to bite her. "Dagger, Lint M.," I screamed into the orifice, articulating precisely. She took another step back, paused to digest this new information, stepped forward. With a long stretching reach, loathing to get any closer to me despite the barrier between us, she pressed a button under the window. A loud buzzing issued from the door. "Go in!" the shapeless shape demanded.
I pressed against the door, opening it slowly, wondering if whatever Ms. Shapeless was afraid of might get me, too. The door opened into a short, empty, expressionless, blank hall, with yet another door at the very end. How Ms. Shapeless got into her cage was a mystery, as there seemed to be no door leading her way. Cautiously I walked down the hall and opened the door. This room was slightly larger than the waiting room. Furniture included one desk, two chairs, a computer. At the computer sat a man wearing nylon pants (the legs came up almost to his knees), nylon socks (which were limp around his ankles), and a nylon shirt (open at the neck, buttoned tightly around his paunch waist). His shoes were missing.
He jumped to his feet, as if caught at some misdemeanor. Striding up to him with my hand out, I smiled warmly at him. He stared at my hand as if it were a snake, snatching his behind his back out of reach. Putting the desk between us, he motioned to the far chair. Shrugging to myself, I sat down. Mr. Nylon sat as well. I waited. I couldn't catch his eyes.
Mr. Nylon pushed a few papers around his desk, twitched his right cheek spasmodically a few time, and shoved a paper over the desk's surface at me like a threat. "Sign at the bottom," he intoned, in a stressed voice. I tried to catch his eyes again, and failed.
Having nothing to lose, I assumed, I picked up the paper and examined it.
United Farmers Of Ohio - $35.00
Childless Parents Of Utah - $25.00
Animal Liberation Organization - $175.00
Save The Parrots League - $16.00
... the list began.
"What?" I muttered more to myself than to the "gentleman" across the desk.
"Just sign it," he groaned, his tone sounding like, "Are you gonna give us trouble too?!" His tonicity, intending to demean, humiliate, and shame, ground into my nerves, causing rebellion to swell up in my veins. I started to scan the list from the top again, reading as slowly as possible, determined to look for any reason at all not to sign.
Black Hockey Players Dental Alliance - $83.00
Republican Party - $0.23
Richard Nixon Acquittal Confederacy - $10.00
Horseless Carriage Restoration Coalition - $15.00
...the list continued.
"What?" I muttered again.
"It's your refund!" Mr. Nylon snarled. "Every damn penny! And 8 percent interest. Just sign there at the bottom."
Making as if to lean across the desk to point to where I should sign, he jerked to a stop half out of his chair. The action was curiously like a person who dropped a quarter in the outhouse and decided he didn't want to retrieve it that badly. The thought that he could have gotten close enough to touch me seemed to make him shiver ever so slightly.
Clown Union March For Independence - $65.80
Tammy Bakker Plastic Surgery Fund - $0.02
Second House Neptune Endowment - $32.00
Dolly Parton Back Brace Support Group - $45.00
...the list yet continued.
At the bottom of the paper was a sub-total, what I had to assume was 8 percent of it (being somewhat poor in the art of mathematics), and a grand total.
"My refund?" I asked. "Refund? This is a list of every charity I've ever given time or money to in the past 25 years. Why a refund?"
The paunchy pile of nylon snorted angrily. "You know why!" His piggie, watery eyes flitted across my forehead, and scurried away again, not quite making eye contact. His hands made wringing motions. I took a deep breath.
"No. Why?" I demanded. I considered the possibility of leaving, but curiosity sometimes pays for the cat food. Mr. Nylon grimaced, winced his eyes insolently.
"Because your a Your Type!" he snapped. This time he did manage to look at my eyes, defiantly, hostilely, just a second, before snatching his gaze away again. "It's obvious!" Another deep breath. "A what type? I'm a what?" I wanted to get to the bottom of the issue quickly. I'm not one to call a harlot a "social worker" if "whore" would suffice.
"A Your Type! You and Your Kind! The gall you've got, giving money to these fine, lawful, NORMAL people! How dare you?!" This time he stared directly into my eyes, hotly, with a gaze full of blistering hate and detestation, demanding with speechless violence an answer to why I choose to be a "Your Type," whatever that was. I was still ignorant to what we were talking about.
"What do you mean about being `My Type'?" I wanted to leave now, but anger started to replace the rebellion in my blood.
"You're a ..." he paused. "You're a =Witch=!" he ejaculated finally, defiantly, accusingly. "You ride a motorcycle! You live in a house full of subversive books! You've been seen talking to ..." he shuddered "... lesbians!" His pallid, flaccid, doughy face was turning red. "You sleep in your back yard instead of inside! Like an animal! You drive an MG, for God's sake! What the hell do you mean, 'What do you mean "My Type"'?!"
"Auhh ..." I began, mind reeling. But he wasn't through.
"You voted against Brother Robertson! You don't eat meat! You and Your Type don't conform! You're an Anarchist, a throwback to evolution! You don't belong here, we don't want you here, and we sure as hell don't want your money!" I was beginning to get the picture, slowly. "You're an Astrologer! A godless heathen! You protested the draft! You listen to Country and Western music! You talk to your vegetables before you eat them! God only knows what else you do to your vegetables!
"You don't want my money? These charities don't want my money? Because I'm a Pagan? Because I'm a vegetarian? Because I like the stars? Because Falwellian Politics makes me throw up?"
"Yess!" he hissed through clenched cuspids. "These fine, respectable, normal, =conforming= charities don't want to be connected to a Your Type in any way, shape, or form. They don't want any kind of support from a Your Type at all! How dare you offer them your money and time?! YOUR money! YOURS!?"
"So they're sending me back my contributions..." This I couldn't conceive. "With interest..." "Yesssss!" he hissed again.
"Because my girl friends are gay? Because I like British cars?"
"Because I apologize to apples for biting them, telling them to take a deep breath and close their eyes first..." He flinched and seethed at this, blowing hot air through his flaccid lips. "... and yell at people who deliberately stomp on snails?"
"Yesss, yesss, all that! A freak! An insult against God and nature! You haven't been to church, a =real=, =normal= church =ever=! Not only that, you've started your OWN church!" He threw his weight into his chair, leaned back, and glared at me. I stared at him speechlessly. "Sign the paper, take the money, and get out!" he demanded.
I didn't even hesitate. "No."
"I said, `No'." I got up to leave.
"You have to! You will! It's yours! We won't take it! Give it to some damn perverted Your Type group!"
I walked to the door. A poster was taped to the back, which I had missed when entering the room. "America: Love It Or Fuck You!" it said, with the Statue Of Liberty standing proudly in it. Her middle finger was raised in traditional "Giving Them The Bird" posture. They had gotten to her, too.
"Use the money to buy yourself some shoes," I said, closing the door after stepping through. As I passed Ms. Shapeless she glared at me hatefully, but I hardly noticed. "Sad fools," I added, stepping out into the street. I felt dirtied, in need of a shower.