man enjoys liberty street video

My friend, Laura, owns a few video rental places in Ann Arbor. Yesterday, I got the following email from Laura. The message is about Steve, the manager of the stores, and a run-in he had with a customer earlier in the afternoon.

I was driving home and called Steve to ask a question. He told me that moments before there had been three men in the adult room. Two were a couple looking for a movie and the third was on his own, looking through the books. Michael and Steve both felt the man was a bit creepy and started watching him closely, but really didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Finally the couple made their selection and headed to the counter. They told Michael, who knew them before this encounter, “It’s getting pretty weird back there.”

Steve went back to investigate. As he was going back there, he was also on the phone trying to get someone to cover a shift at the other store. He had Paul’s stepmom on the phone and she had just said, “Oh sure hang on let me go get Paul.” She said this at the exact moment Steve encountered the lone man, reaching into his sweat pants and “really going after himself” (this is how Steve described the masturbation). Steve, pulling the phone away from his ear slightly said, “Hey get out of here or I’m calling the cops!” The guy started walking to the front door but kept pausing slightly as if taunting Steve into arguing further. He would say things like, “Hey man why you gotta say that to me? Why are you making me leave?” Steve couldn’t take it anymore and yelled, “HEY, you were jerking off in our porn room!!” There were about 8 customers at the counter. The guy just looked down as if to say, Well that’s a fair reason and left the store. Steve put the phone to his ear just in time to hear Paul’s stepmom still there saying, “Are you okay??? Do you need me to call the police!!???”

When Steve told me the story he paused at the end waiting for me to tell him how sorry I was that had happened or what a good job he had done or something. I think he wasn’t pleased when I asked, “Did you let him finish before you kicked him out?”

Today, after work, I decided to stop by and see if I could locate Steve to verify Lauras story.

I walked in and saw the man who I thought might be Steve, standing there behind the counter. He was helping another customer. Although I think I might have been introduced to Steve somewhere a few years ago, I didnt really know him, and it was clear from his occasional glance that he didnt know me. I stood there, behind the paying customer, and just stared at Steve intently. When the other fellow left and we were alone in the store, I said, Hello, are you Steve? with the same blank, emotionless expression on my face. He said that he was, and then I asked, Could you please accompany me into the adult video section? His expression was priceless. I wish that Laura had been there to see it. I dont think that anyone had asked him that before After a few seconds of silence, I followed up by saying, I brought my camera… Its OK… I cleared everything with Laura.

Before he had a chance to throw the register into the side of my head and run away screaming, I said, Oh, maybe that sounds bad the way that I said it. My names Mark Maynard and Im a friend of Lauras. She told me about the incident the other day and I thought it would make a nice story for my site. I wanted to take a few photos to put things into perspective for people. I also thought that it would be a good excuse to see whats going on in the porn room.

This is Steve.

Once the ice was broken and Steve determined that he wasnt in any real danger, we began to discuss the events of the previous day. Steve walked me back to the adult section, which is separated from the rest of the store by strings of filthy beads.

This is the adult room. Notice the beads which have probably touched tens of thousands of perverts over the course of the past few years. Fortunately, they were tied back at the time, so I didnt have to crawl beneath them.

Inside the adult room, there were huge, bound volumes of hardcore porn covers on a counter. I asked Steve if he happened to remember what it was that the guy was looking at as he was masturbating. He said that he did, grabbed a book, and flipped past a dozen images of what looked like truck stop waitresses covered in buckets of Elmers Glue. He stopped flipping when he came to The Babysitter 4.

This is the very much cropped cover of The Babysitter 4.

You probably cant read it here, but theres a poem on the front on of The Babysitter 4 box. It reads as follows.

Not so innocent
not so sweet
for a few
extra bucks
shell suck
your meat!

At any rate, this is what the man was apparently looking at when he was caught.

Not wanting to be caught by a coworker with a camera in the porn room, I decided not to continue my research there. Steve and I headed back up the front counter, where I began to question him about the appearance of the man. I asked Steve to sketch something out. After a few minutes of thought, he presented to me a stick figure with no arms, no face, and large, swollen knees.

I decided that I had better give it a shot. I began to sketch while asking him questions. This is the image of the man that formed during our conversation.

To the best of Steves recollection, he was a Caucasian male in his mid-twenties. He had circles under his eyes, and dark, almost greasy, hair. He did not smell of alcohol, but did seem to be on some type of drug. He was wearing sweatpants and a jacket.

My goal initially, was to make wanted posters from this drawing and to post them around Lauras neighborhood under the heading, Liberty Street Video kindly asks that you wait until arriving home before jerking off to our hard core pornography. I dont have the energy though.

I also thought about renting the movie to see if there might be some clues, but I chickened out.

Heres another thought that I dont have the time to fully develop. Isnt it possible that this man might have some grounds for legal action? Couldnt he argue, perhaps, that since he did not have a VCR that Laura and her co-conspirators were keeping him from the joy of masturbation? Im not an attorney, but I think that there might be something to that. Masturbation is a right, right?

OK, I just looked at the clock and its almost 11:00 now. Id wanted to go and see Bob Log III at the Elbow Room, but I dont think thats going to happen now. I hate being old.

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  1. Emma
    Posted June 15, 2008 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    I was just babysitting two kids (9 and 6) for 2 days, 7-4:30 and got $50: am I being ripped off? I calculated my rate I’m normally paid (5) by the # of hours (18) and got that I should be making that a day: with what I got paid, I was getting $2.77/hour.

  2. egpenet
    Posted June 15, 2008 at 7:22 pm | Permalink


    According to your times, you actually sat 20 hours. 7 – 4:30 = 9.5 hours x 2 days = 20 hours x $5/hour = $100.

    What was your agreement with the parents?

    Most of us get ripped off in life every once in a while because we do not have firm agreements about things or are unsure and do not clarify or ask the right questions or are too timid to ask or assume we will be well taken care of.

    I think you should have gotten the $100. But you may not have been clear with the parents. So, $50 divided by 20 = $2.50/hour. Any way you slice that … it’s a rip-off.

    And … a good lesson for next time.

  3. egpenet
    Posted June 15, 2008 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Wrong 19 hours … oh, well. $2.63/hour … well, that’s an improvement … still it’s a rip-off.

  4. Posted February 12, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Worth noting: How often is there light-pornography on this site?

    Worth noting: Whoa, when you posted this on Facebook, I didn’t know it was nearly 11 years old.

    Worth mentioning: THIS IS AWESOME.

    Finally: I found it weird you were posting about a video store. I was going to say, “Well, at least people are going in? I mean, shit, who still visits video stores?” Especially FOR PORN. I was going to look up how much “The Babysitter 4” is online (iafd, etc), but I’m at work.

  5. Dan from Austin
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Shit, I have to do math for this site now?

    Have you ever thought of a second career as a caricaturist at the beach, a police sketch artist, or a courtroom artist?

  6. Posted February 12, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Why did you write this?

    I remember Liberty Street Video. I was sad when it was apparent that they were finished.

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