As some of you know (that is, two out of three of my readers, keeping in mind that that’s the entirety of my readership), I’m working on my debut novel. Indeed, I fancy myself an actual writer. (Stop laughing…) And no surprise, whenever you tell someone that, they inevitably ask, “What’s it about?” to which I’ve developed a tagline: “It’s Catcher in the Rye for the next generation, but, like, set in a sex shop and stuff.”™ For a real Salinger nod I may even have an elderly Holden roll to the shop to buy some nipple-clamps. He seemed like the type that would really like those, no? (Excuse my TMI — too much imagination — but we all know Holden was a little bratty freak.)

But anyway, for those of you who used to read The Anti DC and followed my foray into dildo sales last spring (again, to read any Anti DC posts, you will need to e-mail me for an invite), I wasn’t just doing that for fun; it was research. And hopefully fruitful research at that…

But I guess now the world will be the judge of that (well, two out of three people in the world) because, although this novel project is still very much a work-in-progress, I thought I’d preview a tidbit here. And I’m nervous about it. Honestly, what if it sucks?

Like I said, in my mind, I fancy myself a writer and, while I can usually find joy in failing, when it comes to my writing — my passion — I can’t fathom not flourishing.

However, with that said, I’m still asking for honest feedback if you choose to comment (uh, no pressure…). That is, if this sucks, tell me. If you like it, tell me. Either way, it will help me. After all, 2010 sounds like as good a year as any to write a bestseller that will be turned into a sub-par movie (duh, the book will always be better), although I assure you, mine will NOT star Tom Hanks with horrible hair. Or feature any albino monks…although it may feature a cilice or two.

Um, anyway…without further ado, I present my first public showing of fiction. To be exact, this is the first third or so of the first chapter, so, uh, there’s not much to actually go on here, but, hey, this is a blog and, well, I’m rather verbose so consider yourself lucky I chopped it down at all.


We sold a lot of crap to a lot of people, but most of them were nobodies like me. It’s not that I figured the whole of Congress would march into the shop every weekend to pick up a new toy to employ in their respective future sex scandals, but I counted on a little more excitement than the Peruvian dishwashers from the restaurant across the street shuffling into the shop to look at lesbian bondage books on their breaks. But I guess if you’re really a somebody in DC, you have an aide trustworthy enough to come pick up a Dolphin Tickler, Romping Rabbit or G-Spot Massager for you. But if you’re only a sorta-somebody, like, say, a semi-celebrity chef to the political stars, I guess you don’t have an errand boy. In that case, I guess all you have are you, your shame and the 12-inch Vibro Jelly Dong you just brought to the register.

“That’ll be $24.95,” I told Chef Roman Giordano, owner of Il Cibo, as I handed him back his Amex card. A silly move on his part, I thought to myself. It was common knowledge to always pay cash when buying a dildo in DC. Or at least it should be. It snagged on the top of the plain black plastic bag I disguised it in so that Capital Pleasures’ customers could hit the streets without advertising their freaky fantasies. But for Chef Giordano, apparent rubber dick lover, the rustle of the cheap plastic made the awkwardness of the moment audible.

That’s when it dawned on me just how exceptionally messed up my life had become in the last few months.

I, Natalie Goodrich, made Washington DC’s elite shift in their Brooks Brothers wingtips. Or in Chef Giordano’s case, his white Rockports.

Or maybe Signore Giordano couldn’t stand still in anticipation of the fun he was about to have with the vibrating purple penis he just bought. Hard to believe he owned DC’s finest restaurant, at least according to the local press, which gave it that title for three years in a row. Il Cibo means “meal” in Italian. It also means you’ve made it if you can afford to eat there. Or at least date somebody who can afford to eat there.

Congratulations, you’re a DC success story.

Double congratulations, you’re not working a minimum-wage job at a sex shop. And you’re certainly not learning what sexually arouses the man who cooked for the President a couple of days ago. Clearly, I haven’t dined at Il Cibo lately.

I don’t think I meant to embarrass him when I handed him back his card, but being now just one-degree away from the leader of the Free World, I had to ask, what was the President like?

Understandably, I suppose, he was a little taken aback. Bathed in the glow of the shop’s unfortunate track lighting, I could tell he got nervous evidenced by the shiny beads of sweat that glistened on the pock-marked forehead beneath his unexpected floppy black hair. You’d think I was a cop busting him for soliciting a prostitute, a roll I imagined just about every old man who came into the store had probably been in at least once. Indeed, I’ve grown used to seeing that look with its perfect mix of guilt, shame and “Oh shit! Bitch set me up!”

And I guess he didn’t expect a dim-witted dildo jockey to recognize him, let alone be abreast of current events because dude was a bit twitchy when I asked.

“The president?” His salt and pepper mustache wiggled when he said it. Weird. He looked all Chef Boyardee but sounded like Rhett Butler.

“Yeah,” I said. “I read that you cooked for him on Tuesday. What’s he like?”

He stepped out of the makeshift spotlights and lowered his head like a little kid whose mother just reprimanded him for forgetting to say “please” or “thank you” to a grown-up.

“Oh, he’s got quite the appetite.” I think he blushed, but in the shadows of the track lighting I couldn’t really tell. A drop of sweat hit the black faux-Formica countertop. Gross.

“It’s amazing how he stays so thin,” I said and smiled as genuinely as I’m capable of when any old man sweats that close to me. In truth, I didn’t really find the President’s build that amazing. I find little amazing these days, actually.

But damn, I wished Roman didn’t feel so uncomfortable. He may have fallen safely into creepy (and sweaty) old man territory, but he had his shirt on and hadn’t made any sexually lewd remarks to me, which is more than I can say about most of our other customers, so I kind of liked him.

Of course, who knows what he thought of me. I’m just the loser who works a creepy retail job. I wished he knew I didn’t always work at a sex shop. I wished he knew I didn’t always have to end all conversations with “Do you want the receipt with you or in the bag?”

“In the bag’s fine.” His mustache moved again when he said it. It looked like an overgrown caterpillar trying to escape his upper lip — an upper lip that I’m sure’s been in more places than I want to imagine. Then he leaned in close to whisper. He and his hairy upper lip got so close I could smell a mix of cigarettes, after-dinner mints and traces of garlic on his breath. He said, “You know, I would be real grateful if you didn’t tell anyone I shop here…” His voice trailed off.

I looked him in his eyes. They were brown with violet flecks, a purple hue not too different from the battery-operated dildo he now grasped wrapped in nondescript plastic in his smaller-than-expected hands, which I now wanted nowhere near any meal of food I might ever eat. Then I lied to his sweaty face. “Of course. Capital Pleasures is totally discreet. No worries at all.”

I smiled big. He believed it, hook-line-and-French tickler.

I repeated that line to all the gnarly old men who cared about their privacy. But of course I didn’t mean it. Really, the only pleasure in working at Capital Pleasures was spreading inside knowledge to my coworkers about who’s the biggest freak in Washington. Although, like I said, I’ll never know the whole story because the real Washington elite send in their trusted underlings to pick up their foot-long dongs, penis creams and crotchless panties. (Seriously, if I had even just a penny for every uncomfortable 21-year-old house staffer who shuffled in to pick up a pair of size 7 stripper heels and a copy of American Hair Pie…)

But there stood poor Chef Giordano. No assistant in sight. I even felt a little sorry for him. If I was a nicer, more decent person, I’d probably feel worse for knowing I’d betray his trust. But I’m not. I live in DC. Duh, there are no nice, decent people here.

Don’t look at me like that. You know it’s true.

Anyway, after I swore to keep silent on the Kama Sutra Bible (no really, I keep one at the register and actually swear on it in front of these boners who ask), he gave me the type of knowing smile I imagine one criminal would give to another just before they robbed a bank. As he shuffled to the door with his dildo, I even tried to picture him as John Dillinger. It was difficult. Roman gave off more of an old-man-who-just-deuced-his-own-britches vibe  than a dapper-old-bank-robber. John Dillinger in Depends maybe? Nah…

As he opened the door I called after him. “Have a nice night!” I think I even waved.

But he didn’t say anything in return. Most people didn’t. Get in, get out. That’s how sex shop patrons conducted their business.

No pun intended, of course.


Well, not really. The scene goes one for quite a bit longer, but, like I said. This is a blog and I’m pretty sure it’s scientifically proven that people don’t read blog entries more than 500 words long and, sheeeeeeeeeeeit, this one’s pushing 2,000 right now so, yeah. We’ll call it a day for now.

Thanks for reading (if you got through it all). If not? Well, I’ll see you in hell. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to board a bus to Bogota.

©By the way, this sh*t is 100 percent copywrited and if I see it anywhere else on the Web, I will get a powerful lawyer to sue your ass and I might personally come punch you in the face.