As we were walking down the narrow corridors of Salem, I noticed a rather run-down side street that didn't appear to be well populated by tourists. What was down there, I wondered, ever the fan of the out-of-the-way and just plain different.
"Ashes, let's take the road less traveled," I said to my daughter. She grimaced and whimpered a bit, but went along.
We traveled about three blocks. The day was overcast, and the cramped space between buildings make it appear even darker. I started to seriously question whether I had made the right choice, and contemplated turning around, when suddenly, my eyes spotted a small red sign located on a rather decrepit looking house.
A tourist attraction, here? Curious, I stepped forward to read the sign. It red, in extremely neat print:
"The Salem Bitch Trials."
"Surely this must be a typo," I thought to myself, and started again to turn around, ready to take my leave of this off little alley.
"Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom!" whimpered Ashley.
"Can't it wait for a minute?" I asked, "WE'll just get back on the main street and then--"
"Daddy, I have to go NOW!" whined Ashley, in her best Veruca Salt.
"Well, okay," I said, turning to face the red sign in front of me. "Let's try this place."
We made our way up the steps and opened the door in front of us. It was black, pitch black. The windows were covered with a filmy curtain, offering not a hint of what lay inside. I grabbed the handle and pulled it open.
A small lady with a beehive hairdo sat behind a counter, little half glasses furiously scanning a well-worn copy of "The Sword of the Golden Stud." The minute she heard the cheery "ding ding" of the door, she looked up. A lizard-like snarl spread across her face.
"What do you want?" she asked.
"My daughter has to go to the bathroom," I explained.
"She does, does she?" she asked, snapping a huge wad of gum on her mouth. "So why should I care about that?"
"Well, I was just hoping that--"
"Buy a ticket and you can use the commode," she snarled.
"But can't I just--"
"Buy a ticket!" she screamed testily, flinging the paperback novel in in my direction. I ducked. "$20 per person!"
"Um, any children's rate?" I asked, meekly.
"YEAH! $25!" she replied.
Reluctantly, I forked over $45, all so that Ashes could go to the bathroom. "By the way," I said, "Your sign's all wrong. It says 'The Salem Bitch Museum," instead of 'witch.'"
"And what's wrong with THAT?" she asked, her arms by her side.
"Well..." I stumbled with my words. "I was just thinking..."
"YOU THOUGHT WRONG!" she screamed, spittle flying into my face. "THIS IS THE BITCH MUSEUM, BUSTER! AS IN JUST PLAIN MEAN! WE'VE GOT EM ALL HERE!! EVA BRAUN, LEONA HELMSLEY, IMELDA MARCOS...if they were mean, nasty, and downright power-hungry, then they're all here, on trial for all to see!"
"Hmmm, well, that doesn't sound very pleasant.." I stammered.
"But it is," said the caretaker, a broad smile playing across her tight little face. "Watch us as we sentence Joan Crawford to an eternity of being beaten by wire hangers! Thrill to Linda Tripp being forced to insert a bug up her ass, and then listen to her own bowel movements in Dolby stereo! And then listen to the coup de grace, the kindest unkind cut of them all..."
"Who? Who?" I asked, interested.
Her eyes squinted to narrow slits and she pointed a sharp little fingernail to her right.
"Go down that corridor..." She said, and jab her nail on 'that' to make her point. "You'll see."
Intrigued, I started to make my way down the corridor. Who could it be? Dorian Lord? Nancy Reagan? Brittney Spears?
At the end of the corridor, there was a turn to the left (not a jump to the right). I made the turn and found myself staring into a small antechamber. I gasped in horror...
(END OF TRANSCRIPT)