after much searching to find a fast forum that can easily integrate into other things, I've found MiniBB!!
I read that it can be called from a PHP include, and was hooked that second.
I downloaded it this morning and have got it looking pretty decent in with the rest of my site (Mac gaming shop)... man I love that this thing is only 6 dB tables... just threw them in there with my shop's dB.
now that I've got the visual integration pretty much done (was EASY since I can call the forums from an include), I'll prob take a little break and then start on integrating the shop's and the forum's signup and logins. (fun fun fun)
We go live in less than a week... man I am SOO glad I came across miniBB.