I had spied the listing a few weeks back tagged with the suspicious 'Local Pick-up Only.' Sweat immediately began to form over my brow and the pucker factor went into effect as I read these words, recalling my only other 'local pick-up only' encounter. Remember that? A Q Lazarus synthesizer began to reverb in my ear. The 'pick-up' was rather close by so I shook the Buffalo Bill images out of my head and waited with baited breath to bid on the 600 discs.
The day came and I won the discs for a cool $276 bucks. An e-mail with a phone number to call the seller quickly appeared in my inbox. As I dialed the number sweat began to form again. What kind of weirdo was I gonna be speaking to on the other end? Of course, that's a terrible thought to think? Maybe he/she was a nice fella/gal? But I was quickly ensured that the person I began speaking to was a 'special' character. A few brief pleasantries and a meet-up at his home was set up for later in the day. Before hanging up, the gentleman on the other end asked if I was interested in any Japanese porno or karaoke discs? I said, "No thank you. I don't collect that stuff. I'll just take the Chinese movies." He replied, "OK. Some weirdo or pervert will take 'em i'm sure." Oh lordy?! What was I in for?
Being behind in this electronic age of ours and not having a GPS had me driving around the sticks at dusk, looking for this dudes house. His home was located a little more out east on Long Island. Not too far out but far removed enough for us central Long Island folks to think of Deliverance. It's either woodsy or farm-like. I was unfamiliar with the area and realized I wasn't in Kansas anymore when a teen driving a tractor down the middle of the road wouldn't let me bear left. Douche!
I pulled into the driveway of a rather enormous house. There was trash all over the lawn and at least a dozen garbage cans lined up on the side of the driveway. A huge mound of compost and trash (and quite possibly a dead body?), at least 6 feet high and 15 feet wide greeted me as I opened my car door. Before stepping out I took a pic of the house an it's address just in case my immediate future had me locked in a closet like Patty Hearst. I texted to my fiance my exact whereabouts as well. I walked up to the front door, side stepping animal feces on the front walkway, and knocked.
Two tiny dogs began to bark their heads off., scratching at the front door. I was hoping that these were the creatures responsible for the walkway turd's and not some other monsters. A woman answered the door, pleasantly, with a smile and a warm hello. Rather easy on the eyes and kinda hippie chick looking. Long blonde hair; crimped. A long purple and white skirt. Bare feet. Though I didn't whiff patchouli oil or see Birkenstocks I figured her name was probably 'Moon Beam' or something to that tie-die effect. "He'll be right out," she said. I thanked her, she turned and walked away, and I waited on the front porch where a handful of large boxes of laserdiscs sat. My laserdiscs. Out in the elements. Did I just get ripped off?
From the Ebay photo in the original listing I was fully aware that the discs came without their original covers. Even though I am kind of a stickler for the original product, cover and artwork intact, I just couldn't pass this deal up. And I quickly overlooked the covers as I thumbed through a few of the discs. I was already a very happy little boy.
The seller came out, shook my hand, and said, "Hey. Nice ta meet ya." As he shook my hand I noticed an orange 'PAID' sticker, the kind cashiers slap on a newly purchased item at a grocery store, on the underside of his forearm. I not once thought of telling him. I wanted this to go down like a drug deal in the movies. Quickly shake hands, get the goods, and get the F outta there. He was a stocky man. Short messy hair and a touch cross-eyed. He pointed to the discs on the front porch and said that he would help me carry them to my car. These bad boys were heavy as hell and as I struggled down the steps of the stoop he advised me I could cut across the lawn but to watch out for all of the dog shit. I thanked him and first box in hand, clumsily side stepped white petrified shit bombs peppered ALL OVER this fellas front lawn.
We loaded up the boxes and awkwardly chit-chatted for a bit. He handed me his business card and told me he was a professional picker. I looked down at his card and indeed he was. The card said so. 'Professional Picker.' I had no clue what that was and briefly thought to ask him if he was grinner, a lover, and a sinner as well, but let that moment zip on by. Car keys in my hand, I was ready to bolt. He was also a DJ but there was no way I was gonna tell him that I was in the market for one to cover my upcoming wedding. Hell no.
I was about to turn and leave when he once again asked, "Are you sure you don't want those pornos? I don't know what to do with 'em?" I again told him that I wasn't interested and he again told me about the weirdo's and perverts that he's sure will take them. He reiterated that the discs were Asian. I began to realize that he wasn't sure what he had as when he listed the Hong Kong movies on Ebay, they were listed as Japanese. So, I asked to see the porn and karaoke discs, just so I could possibly decipher what they actually in fact were? He led me into his garage, a two car, which was wide open and full of crap. He freed up a few boxes, another 100 or so discs, from the clutter resting on top of them and took a few discs out. These discs had plain white covers with letters and numbers printed on them. Obvious former rentals, like the rest of the batch I won. The first two he pulled were MILLIONAIRE COP and MR. NICE GUY.
I instantly became elated....and ok...maybe aroused, as I spurted, "This is not porn! These are regular Hong Kong movies!" He thumbed through a few more and took out ROYAL TRAMP and GREEN SNAKE. He replied, "Really? I though they were all porn because the cover has the letter 'L' on them. I thought it stood for 'Lust'?" Oy vey!? We thumbed through a few more and it was clear to see that these discs were not porn, just regular Hong Kong movies. He offered them to me for 50 bucks. Sold. He helped me carry them to my car, shook my hand again and again I noticed the orange 'PAID' sticker on his forearm. He was a rather nice guy and this is where I realized, once again, that I'm such a shit. Preconceived notions about people really make me a dick sometimes.
Just before I left he told me that he gave a box of these 'porn' movies to his friend who was also a picker. He gave me his number and said he would let him know that I would be calling. He actually lived in my hometown. A few days later a meeting was set up to acquire another big box load of discs for only $50. That 'pick-up only' story was brief and smooth. So now i'm 700 laserdics richer! A few of the discs are scratched up and dirty but have been tested and are in playable condition. I have since ordered plain covers for them and I hope to try and preserve them the best I can. I don't have room for this stuff and my fiance, though supportive of my HK collecting illness, i'm sure worries about our future home. It will most likely look like that dudes house? Hopefully sans the petrified dog shit but only time will tell.
Please forgive me for blathering on and on. This is the kind of blog post that I just can't stand. Long. So, I will STFU and just leave you with a few pics of a few of the cooler titles that were in the bunch. For all of the ROCK 'N ROLL COPS and FEEL 100%, ONCE MORES there are a bunch of obscure titles. I have the vast majority of these laserdiscs in other formats, so, it wasn't a huge win in terms of adding new movies to my collection. But it was a win none the less. I also scored over 100 CAT III movies in this lot as well. I was, and still am, a very happy little camper. I know looking at disc labels isn't as sexy as looking at laserdisc cover art in all of it's coolness and splendor but, thanks for humoring me and enjoy!