She closed the door and turned the lock even though she really didn’t have to. No inventory left in the store. No store left. Her lawyer told her that she didn’t have to close up, there were ways around the new law. It just didn’t sit right with her. Good Vibrations was a feminist sex shop and calling the products “personal massagers” just did not fit that ethos. It sucked, because now her customers had less access to good information and good toys.
The first week she was open, a tiny store in a forgotten part of town, there was that one, middle-aged guy who had started to blush the moment his hand was on the door. It was just her (she couldn’t afford staff yet). He looked at the ceiling or the floor mostly. She gave him some space for a little bit, but when he looked like he was gonna leave and she hadn’t had a sale yet, she asked him if she could help. He said no, and she just started talking about the products, as if it was no big deal, and he relaxed. Well, he at least started looking directly at what he wanted. A half-hour later, he walked out with his first butt plug and a good bottle of lube.
He had wanted to try one since his twenties, but he was straight and thought it was weird. “Perfectly normal. Sexual orientation is different from what you like in bed.” He had actually smiled, slowly. This is what she wanted: a store that is honest, informative, and supportive.
The store had struggled, financially, but had been a great success in terms of the neighborhood. She always had free condoms available (specialty ones were for sale though). When the store wasn’t open, she offered the space to the community for meetings. A group of sex workers had organized to stop a police practice of targeting transgender women. Her employees (once she had them) started holding donation suggested workshops, filling a huge need for adult focused sex ed.
The newspaper did a write up three years in. The hate emails started then, but the sales skyrocketed. She finally stopped worrying about making ends meet; she wasn’t flush with cash, but she wasn’t in the red anymore.
The new law shouldn’t have been a surprise. People were nervous about the economy, about terrorism, about school shootings, about everything. Apparently these things can be fixed by interfering in people’s private sex lives. She’d joined with other sex shops (some she wasn’t a fan of) to fight the passage, but enough loopholes were added that most of the coalition stopped fighting, and eventually it was just three feminist shops against state government.
They had a lawsuit going with the fancy pro bono attorneys, but that was going to take years. And if she ran things like she did now, she was guaranteed fines and possibly some jail time. So! She decided to go out with a bang and threw a massive going out of business party the night before the law went into effect.
Her friends covered the entire neighborhood in flyers announcing the ORGASM SALE!: DEEP DISCOUNTS ON GETTING OFF. She DJ’ed, the staff decorated, the neighborhood came.
And that was it. She slid the key out of the lock and slipped it into her pocket. Just like always.