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Trip to the hardware store

So I wanted to buy some chain...

I bought a nice big candle and some suitably pinchy clothes pegs without attracting anyone’s suspicions. However getting hold of chain was another matter.

Chain might be a controversial choice of BDSM restraint. It’s less comfortable and less widely used than rope, and extra care is needed not to put too much pressure on any nerves in sensitive regions, such as around the back of the knees and front of the wrists. However, in my mind, there is something pleasantly permanent feeling about chains, as when combined with good padlocks and wrapped around a victim in the right way, there’s really no getting out of them without a key or bolt cutters. Both the permanent feeling and uncomfortable nature of chains can add to their appeal, so long as you don't mind some suspicious chain shaped marks the next day.

Where possible, I like to test restraints and other tools on myself first, and I had happily been playing with chains for some time before I arrived in NY (of course, I've never explored complete self-restraint as it is both tricky and seems like a terrible idea!). Chains are also relatively quick to deploy, as snapping a padlock shut is quicker and easier than fumbling with knots and long lengths of rope. Anyway, to begin my New York adventures I decided to start with the chain.

However, buying chains from a hardware store can get a little awkward. I think there are very few innocent uses a guy in New York could have for several lengths of metal chain. Especially when he doesn't really look like a handyman. I invented an almost believable story though. First I wandered into the hardware store and surveyed the shelves. No sign of any chain. I sauntered casually up to this short guy who was standing around as if he worked there.

“Hi!” I said “I’m looking for a safe box, or some metal box that I can just chain to pipes or a radiator to keep documents and stuff in. Nothing that valuable.”

“You wanna safe?”

“Yeah, or a metal box of some kind… and some chain to secure it with”

“Safes’re over there. Chain is in the basement. Come get me when you’re ready to get the chain. I’ll need to take you down.”

“Great thanks!”

I went off and made a show of inspecting the safes. They were all way heavier and more expensive than the sort of box I had in mind to cover my chain purchase. After a while I went back to the assistant at the counter where he was measuring out some aluminium pipe.

“You find what you want?”

“No, they’re all too big, but I think I saw what I wanted online. I’ll take some chain while I’m here though.”

“Ok, one sec.”

He led me to the basement, unlocking the cage like door at the bottom. He muttered something that sounded like a question.

“I’m sorry?” I said, but he ignored me and carried on into the basement, not saying anything else. Dusty shelves stretched off into the darkness sagging under the weight of piping, wood, and other construction materials.

“Mmhhmm,” the store guy said to himself, again unprompted.

‘Ok,’ I thought to myself, ‘I hope this dude isn’t crazy and about to torture and murder me in the bottom of the hardware store… being tortured and murdered in a basement of a hardware store by a short guy who talks to himself isn't on my list of fantasies.'

“Chain… chain, chain, chain...” he said, “Shit where do we keep the chain?”

He looked up and down the shelves. I looked a bit too while making sure I stayed behind him with a clear path to the exit. Every now and then he grunted another “mhmm” or "yeah"

“Aha. Here we go,” the dude said, pointing to a few spools of chain on a shelf under the stairs.

“What kinda size do you want?”

“Err I dunno, how much is it?”

“Oh it don’t say... but it ain’t expensive.”

I pointed to a spool of lightweight but sturdy looking chain.

 “That will do,” I said, “Can I get two 6 foot lengths[1]?”

“K… so I’m like 5 foot” he said spooling out the chain and measuring it roughly against himself.

I nodded. He cut the chain.

“Mmhmm. Yeah that bitch is crazy!” he said.

“Sorry?” I said, really confused at this point.

He ignored my confusion and continued with “Yeah, her and Charlene were really going at it last night at Johnny's place.” And while he was talking, he looked at me with a blank dismissive expression, as if he were talking to someone behind me.

Then I noticed the Bluetooth headphone he had in one ear.

“Oh, I seeee! Sorry!” I said, realising he wasn't crazy... just having a simultaneous conversation on his magic-ear-phone-device.

The shop assistant cut the second length of chain while continuing to talk to the ether about that mysterious “bitch who were crazy”. He then led me out of the basement and handed the chain to the guy working the checkout.

The checkout guy then asked, “What number is this?”

“Oh... Shoot! Man I forgot to check, one sec…” Said the assistant guy, disappearing off back to the basement. I stood by the checkout counter. The checkout guy stood on the other side. The chains sat there in between us. I maintained the facial expression I like to call “polite English smiling face”. I thought about telling the counter guy my story about how I needed to secure a metal box to protect some documents... but that I couldn't find a metal box... so I just bought some chain…

He didn't ask what I was buying chain for though, so I just stood there, smile affixed. Eventually the “assistant” guy returned and relayed a product number, (which could have been anything as far as I knew). Checkout guy entered the number into the machine. “That’ll be 68 dollars” he said.

“68 dollars? What the fuck happened there? That dickhead over there said this stuff wasn’t expensive!” I said… to myself… in my head… while handing over my debit card silently.


[1] Two 6ft lengths weren’t really enough, I ordered another 15 m off the internet a month or so later... It was much cheaper and less awkward!

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