Wow, it’s Friday already! You know how I know that? Because I have gotten not one, but three messages asking if there would be another installment of Cliff’ Cadaver’s writing this week.
So, I won’t keep the anxious waiting anymore. To read this weeks installment, keep on keeping on.
Bobby Brady and Other Celebrities
My father urged me to bill myself as “the Piercer to the Stars.” The list of famous people I’d pierced was growing. “Too cheesy,” I told him. “They’ll find me if they want me.” He passed out my business cards wherever he went, a public relations machine that had no qualms against shamelessly hyping his son. Good old Pops.
At Red Devil, Cross thought it would be a good idea to have celebrities sign our wall. “Proof they’d been there,” she argued. It was incontrovertible proof, just as Cross had predicted. It was tacky as hell, just as I told her it would be. Ah well, I ended up with some cool dedications. Alyssa Milano wrote something sweet. Inger Lorre, singer for the Nymphs, wrote “Thanks Cliff, for fixing my tight little hole. You said it, you really did!” Lead guitarist “J” from White Zombie commented on his nostril piercing. He drew a (well-done) caricature of himself, complete with wavy throb lines around his nose. A dialogue bubble said, “Ouch! Thanks, Cliff.” The list went on until our suite looked like a New York subway station. Punk rock.
There was a hall of fame at Cliff Cadaver Body Piercing. To get to the piercing room, clients passed framed eight-by-tens of every celebrity cool enough to provide a headshot. I hounded comedian Billy Connelly until he mailed the one he’d promised. Actor, Malcolm Jamal Warner came to me, with a vibe so good you wanted to hug him. I worked on Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, and Vince Neil-replacement John Corabi of Motley Crue. The split-second before I did Tommy’s nipple, he turns his head to me and says, “Remember, Cliff, a million people are going to see this!” No pressure, thanks bro. I pierced all those Indian dudes in Testament. John Stamos and then-wife Rebecca Romijn brought their extremely attractive friend to me. I did Dave Navarro’s nipples. The navel of international Brazilian supermodel, Natalia, received my undivided attention. I did so many porn stars that I ran out of frames. I visited a book signing down the street from my shop. I asked Russell Johnson, the Professor from Gilligan’s Island, for a special dedication. My one and only fake, Aleister Crowley would’ve been proud. Mister Johnson said “Sure! Anything you want!” I bought a second book. My favorite celebrity photo featured the cast from the best TV show of all time. Handwritten in Sharpie it said, “Thanks Cliff, really love the new bamboo jewelry …the Prof.” Then there was the most memorable celebrity of them all. He never appeared on any stage or screen …until he met us. Tighten your chastity belt, here comes Bobby Brady.
Bobby was a bigger asset to the body piercing industry than he’ll ever know. He was a preferred client, a perverted uncle, a walking guinea pig. He allowed, nay encouraged us to try new things on him, he loved us for it. If he deserved a treat and business was slow, we’d break out the mousetraps or stun-gun. Such a good sport. One time Mike Tuinkhov put a row of needles in each of Bobby’s eyebrows. He went shopping at Macy’s that way. Security asked him for his ID (and this cat was like sixty), they then bid him “Good shopping, Mr. Brady, Sir”. He retaliated by returning to my studio with dress shirts he’d bought for us. Bastard. More on Bobby Brady later.
May I See Your License and Registration?
Tattoo Savage #7 printed side-by-side articles that Mike Tuinkhov and I had written. Mine was “Cadaver’s Commandment #666 – Apprentice to Perfection.” I wrote it in direct response to a growing trend with a destructive potential. Untrained piercers. Mike’s follow-up was titled “An Apprentice Responds.” What had begun as an anomaly, “Cliff, remember your first Love Bead client?” Was now a trend, ”He just opened a shop on Melrose!” No way. In a couple months he’d gone from customer to competition. I called him. He told me, “Some people showed me some stuff.” He was embarrassed. I was disgusted.
We wrote these articles to do our duty. We wanted to raise the level of our beloved industry, inform the public, save the world. I guess everyone needs a hobby. I permanently quit the force when Huck Spaulding, owner of Spaulding and Rogers Mfg. asked if he needed to send someone over to take care of me. “I think I may have been a bit hasty with my word choices,” I said. ”I’d never tell you how to run your business, Sir.” He hadn’t appreciated my response to his new catalog, my knee-jerk reaction to the page advertising generic piercing diplomas for three bucks. “Remove them immediately,” I’d written. It struck me as the beginning of the end. Beginning of the end is exactly what Huck was thinking when he got my fax. My apology seemed to satisfy him. “Well Mr. Cadaver, you have a nice day then.” No interstate visit from hit-men bikers. I’d dodged a bullet. I withdrew a little farther from the world that day. There’d be no more police action. I changed my underwear and took the afternoon off.
A Really Big Shewww
We put on our greatest performance ever for a British television crew. I’m a cinephile, raised in Hollywood. I know my conflict, crisis, and resolution. I love celluloid. This one was Oscar-worthy. To this day I could watch it again and again. It was released in a compilation of deviant vignettes and titled ”Hollywood Sex.” Our segment came after the B&D B&B, with the eccentric madam who kept saying “Slap and tickle.” We were the grand finale.
My second apprentice, Patti Evans, was with Mike and I by this time. We wore white, NASA coveralls with a deluxe Cliff Cadaver Body Piercing sticker over our hearts. The segment opened with our shop security gate being flung with a crash to the ceiling (I told the director if he did it that hard one more time I’d sock him). The three of us were standing behind our chromed-out front counter. An insane, oil-on-canvas original by Guy Aitchison *Organica, page 43* overwhelmed the wall behind us. Our arms were crossed, we looked very serious. We were.
We performed a Love Bead implant for Bobby Brady. Pierced his penis right there on English TV in front of the queen and all her subjects. It brought back memories of when a European Benny Hill episode slipped through the censor’s cracks, and over our family dinner we watched bare boobies cavorting on the screen. Second helping please. No matter that pre-millennia technology hadn’t provided home 3-D systems yet, we put a bead beneath a tattooed fly on Bobby’s cock. Gave it dimension, we made it pop right off that TV screen.
The director wanted some footage of Cliff Cadaver relaxing at home after a hard day. My quiet side. Ha. I’d hired a gay midget to act as my personal man-servant. “Yeth, Mathter.” I rented him a little tux. He draped a white, tea-towel over his arm and served me cabernet. I caressed the kingsnake I’d raised from a pup and talked about my piercings. “What are your hobbies?” they asked. “I’m a cat-fancier,” I replied. I led them to my sunken bedroom. There was a Scandinavian model in a cage. It was big, steel, escape-proof. Jail bars. I’d torn out a wall to get it inside the apartment. She was scantily-clad. She wore cat ears and nose, whiskers, she had a tail. She acted feral, or in heat. I outdid myself.
The clamps Steve Haworth had made at my request worked like magic. He had been kind enough to send two of them, a 14 and a 12 gauge. They took all the guesswork out of piercing septums, just as I’d hoped. They lined up a tube on each side and the needle went straight where it was told. No lost wages from unplanned detours. And no sign of Steve ever again.
Our first call was celebratory. “They work! We rule! Send more!” He said he would. A month later he hadn’t. I offered to pay, didn’t mind at all, I just wanted more. Two clamps weren’t enough for a busy studio. ”Steve’s not in the shop today,” was what we were told. No call-back. They said the same thing the following month. And the month after that. We started calling weekly. Daily. WTF? I was livid. Mike Tuinkhov finally suggested I cut my losses, write Steve off before I got an ulcer, or an aneurism. I listened to the voice of reason.
I made the clamps myself. I purchased a dozen expensive German forceps. An aircraft fabricator machined them, wrought custom bends, brazed on tubes. They were precision-crafted, working art. They were so much nicer than Steve’s.
I never wanted the rights to my invention, I just wanted clamps. I never hit Steve up for money, only clamps. Ass rape is painful and humiliating, and Steve was withholding lube. I called a Lawyer.
The Sherman Oaks patent attorney explained the difference between “design” and “function.” A two-thousand dollar price difference and perhaps twice the time. Shit. “I need something quickly,” I told him. He went against his principles and processed my application for a design patent. Something that only covers how an invention looks. A patent that is never associated with mechanics, moving parts, or septum clamps. I wish he hadn’t done that.
It took nearly two years to be awarded patent #des 397,218. August 18, 1998. Septal Piercing Instrument. I sent a letter to Cold Steel in England when I discovered they had recently begun selling septum clamps. “Would you like to discuss licensing,” I inquired. It took a long time to get their reply. It was snotty. What is with people? It included a letter from a legal firm specifying that I had no case. They told me that the ones they sold looked different than mine. “Your design patent is useless,” they wrote. “And frankly,” the Cold Steel folks said, “We’re surprised the United States would grant patents for tools already in widespread use.” A tool in widespread use. Fuck me. There were no septum clamps when I told my idea to Steve. I wasted a year waiting for him to send more. I placed orders, fabricated, tested, and developed. I waited another two years for word on the patent. Widespread use? How depressing. I was losing faith in my fellow humans.
The Nasallang is Mine
I’ve googled myself. There’s a few pages. The Nasallang is apparently one of my innovations the world will let me keep. So funny that something this simple is what I’ll be remembered for. I used Forrester sponge forceps. I ran a needle clean through the center of Bobby Brady’s nose, nostril-to-nostril, slick as a whistle. It was documented in “In the Flesh #5.” I stole the idea from a National Geographic. Topless natives, no-holds-barred tribal piercings. I divulged all. Uncle Bobby finally got the recognition he deserved. I guess I did too.
I know what your thinking, why a picture of me (Sean Philips) on Cliff’s article? Well if you notice, there is a nassallang on me in this picture. A nasallang I got IMMEDIATELY after reading the above mentioned article in “In The Flesh” which totally justifies my narcissism in this instance.
A letter came shortly after In the Flesh ran my story. A piercer told me he had performed a “Nasal-Sept” before my Nasallang. He’d used a barbell custom-bent to resemble ape-hanger handlebars. He wound it through three separate piercings to achieve a new combination. He included photographic evidence and stood with his client in front of a calendar. His letter was more guarded than negative. I wrote back. I pointed out the differences between Nasalang and Nasal-Sept. I told him to publish his innovations just as I always did. I said, “Hell, call the magazine and tell them we talked, say we’ve both come up with something similar. Let them know yours was first.” Mike read the letter before I sent it. “You were sure cool to that guy,” he said. “Why not?” I asked. Because nice guys always finish last.