The "Slyme Factory" was the perfect name for Jim's Studio, as was the "Mind Circus" for what went on inside.
Within the confines of the clay dusted walls and floor, visitors were usually intrigued by the Navel collection affixed to one wall. In this collection there were ultimately as many as fifty individually cast navels and misc. body parts. These were the signatures of Jim's initiates.
Navel casting ceremonies were the central social event of the Mind Circus. Any given night when curious friends, strangers or a blind date might show up, the festivities would begin. Usually having no idea what they were getting into, many would soon have their tolerance for the unknown tested. This was key to the event.
Also key to the event was that the doctor was in. You always new it was so, when you'd hear Jim's liquored booming voice and hysterical laughter, the playful taunting, and gibberish. "The Doctors" presence alone was usually enough to spark ones curiosity, and entice visitors to play.
The ceremony was messy and initiates were given the option of borrowed shorts and shirt as a nice dress or pants might be ruined. Young virgins were the preferred initiates, but hey, who knew any, so we'd take the willing, and poured attention on the fair maidens.
Jim's wheel chair served as the alter of sacrifice. The initiate was laid down, then strapped in with the leather wrist restraints attached to the chair. This was the point of no turning back, and on many occasions, the initiate not trusting, would bolt, never to be seen again. In such a case there would be a hasty retreat to the Slyme Factory, bar and the party would continue.
When the initiate was worthy, and securely tied down with restraint and ropes, they were taken for a wreckless ride around the factory. This was designed to release the last of any fear remaining within the initiate, and would not end until a limit was found with screaming and/or cursing. At times this ride would go outside and onto Sepulveda Blvd. Having survived this the initiate was ready for the next phase. A rush was made for the refrigerator outside, and all liquid, wet, and sticky items were cleared out and brought to the alter/wheelchair. It was here that Jim was at his finest. All his years of clay alchemy came into play as he would whip up whatever vial concoction he could from the ingredients. This was next unceremoniously dumped onto the interned. Eggs, whip cream, shaving cream, and catsup were favored items of preparation, smeared all around but not onto the exposed navel. There was always a test to see how much of the surrounding navel area could be exposed and greased. This limit was also defined by a scream or curses from the initiate.
Now the initiate was prepared for Jim.
Their navel was greased with vasoline so the plaster would not stick. A retaining form was applied (usually a masking tape core) and the plaster poured.
The initiate was forced to remain motionless, not an easy task amid the chaos, until the plaster set.
Once the cast was removed the initiated was freed and sent to the shower in our apartment next door.
Jim would then pour the positive mold from the cast.
After setting, this was proudly signed by the newest member of the Mind Circus and a place of honor was found on the wall of navels.
Over time a desire developed for other body parts, and eventually every interesting part of the human anatomy, male and female adorned the wall, except one, of the female anatomy. This was offered but never taken. Eventually a sculpt was made to complete the collection.