I found Thurston ranting and raving all up and down Santa Monica Boulevard that very same day, going on and on about how in fast-food ads, advertising companies put shoe polish on the burgers to make them appear browner, insert tampons into baked potatoes to make them seem steamier, spray grapes with foot deodorant to make them look more natural. Either he was having a complete meltdown right there in the middle of Santa Monica Boulevard, or just letting off some long overdue steam.
Even crazier, Thurston was wearing a ten-gallon hat. You know, like the one Hoss Cartwright wore on Bonanza? What a sight.
Thurston was really letting ‘em have it, but when I tried calming him down he accused me of being in conspiracy with Madison Ave. and the whole medical profession on behalf of alien invaders from outer space. The really sad part was, he looked me right in the eye and still didn’t have any idea who I was. I left him to it.
Anyway, that was about a month ago, and I hadn’t seen Thurston since. I was, at the very least, concerned.
So I decided to go and see if he was okay.
I must have rung the bell twenty times before he eventually came to the door, and even then he only cracked it open just enough to pass me a bottle of hand sanitizer.
He insisted I wash thoroughly before letting me in. Still, as soon as I walked inside, he ran back into his bedroom where apparently he was holed up.
I had never actually been inside Thurston’s apartment before, but it looked exactly like I’d imagined: clothes strewn everywhere, books piled high, pizza boxes all over the place; but there were no test tubes and there wasn’t that “Bzzz” thing mad scientists always have. While quite mad, Thurston wasn’t, after all, actually a scientist.
There was some old blues record playing, all scratchy and slow on a turntable in the corner. It was Last Kind Word Blues by Geeshie Wiley. I wasn’t so much into the Delta Blues, but I remembered the song from the movie Crumb.
All throughout his living room, dining room, and kitchen, there were empty cans of Lysol everywhere. There was the distinct smell of Pine Sol and a white film caked all across the floor. It took some doing to get into the bedroom, but when I finally did I found him standing there, stripped naked. He was rubbing hand sanitizer all over his body, literally dripping with the stuff. It was a disturbing sight to say the least. While in public Thurston played the part of the reputable businessman, in private he more resembled Frank ‘n’ Furter from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
When he finished, he threw the bottle to me. “They’re coming after us,” he said. “If you don’t suit up, they’re going to get you too.”
I tried moving closer to him, but when I did he jumped into bed, pulling the covers up over his head. Personal bubble.
Hiding in bed and pulling the covers up over your head is a big thing with germaphobes. I think it goes back to childhood, when pulling the covers up over your head helped keep the boogeyman away. I guess the logic is: if it’s good enough for the boogeyman, it’s good enough for germs.