I've recently received a copy of the first volume of Ash vs. Evil Dead via Amazon Prime. This is an odd occurrence for a number of reasons: one, I don't have Amazon Prime; two, I don't like Evil Dead very much; three, I didn't know this series existed; four, I didn't order it.
After tracking down everyone else in the house and checking, nobody ordered it under my name, either. In fact, nobody ordered it at all. Why it turned up without a packing slip I'll never know - I ordered Mara Wilson's book and the third volume of the Glee soundtrack.
I know the return address to send it to, though, because I ordered some soft porn in my youth and got the wrong stuff. So, naturally, I called Amazon to ask.
"I've ordered an item from Amazon," I said to the helpline person, "but I've received the wrong one. I think it's in the same category, but it's not the right film."
"We can replace it," he said. "What item did you order?"
At this point I realised that I had to admit to a complete stranger that I'd bought a sex film. I was 16 at the time and shouldn't have been allowed to buy one, but I trusted that they didn't have my age. In any case, I thought it best not to make any mistakes. My voice had broken by then, but I decided to make sure I wouldn't be found out by Mr Customer Service.
"Oh, well, I ordered Emmanuelle: Queen of the Galaxy," I said in a Barry White voice. "I'm 18," I lied, in an attempt to add some authenticity. I cleared my throat and proceeded with, "I got a film called Justine: In the Heat of Passion. It's not the same film," I clarified.
I didn't go so far as to claim I didn't know it. I did, in fact, know it. It's another seven-part softcore series made by the same team behind Emmanuelle in Space, to the point of having the same cast and a lot of the same crew, the difference being that Justine is an original creation (played by Daneen Boone), as opposed to a new version of an established character. It even retains the 3D aspect, merry-go-round effect and nauseating theme song about the title character aspects from the Emmanuelle series. It's basically the same thing. But not exactly.
It's not the same film.
"Have you opened the packaging?" he asked. "Is the plastic seal damaged in any way, or have you watched the film at all?"
"Well, it's a VHS," I said in the bass clef. "It didn't have a plastic seal. I haven't watched it."
This was another lie. Of course I'd watched it. I knew enough about this series to remember one particular sex scene that I'd been desperately wanting to find since first seeing it on cable in the late '90s. And I knew, furthermore, that it was this instalment that contained it. I'd put the tape into my VCR, hit play, and then fast-forwarded through the storyline until I found the scene where Justine's friend and teacher ride random men on rotating four-poster beds (...), which I then watched two or three times before stopping the tape, rewinding it, putting it back in the case and calling Amazon.
Writing down the freepost return address seemed a lot harder with the raging erection I still had half an hour later.
"Thanks," I growled like an angry dog. "I'll send..." [pause while I descended into a hacking cough, which went on for about thirty seconds] "...it tomorrow."
There was a moment of abject horror on my part when I realised a fraction of a second too late that I'd said the last bit in a frightened squeak as my throat tried to recover while I was just trying to speak.
"Are you all right?" asked Mr Customer Service.
"Yes I'm okay thank you for your help have a good afternoon bye!" I gabbled in my normal voice, before dropping the 'phone like it was a poisonous spider and went to hide under my bed in case the Underage Soft Porn Police came to find me. Or my mum. Either way.
In any case, I sent it back and got my copy of Emmanuelle. This proved a fruitless endeavour anyway as I was too scared to have it in my possession and watched it all of once before giving it to my token black friend and then ordering it again, on DVD this time, a couple of years later. This time, Amazon got my order right. This DVD's now on my shelf in public view, because frankly, I no longer give a fuck.
But now I know how to return my mysterious copy of Ash vs. Evil Dead. I may even get some money back from Amazon which I should only really use on another purchase.
I wonder if they have Justine...?