HE IS TALKING TO THE FAT LADY
I am sitting in a lawn chair. The lawn chair is on some lawn. It is a hot day, and I am in a spot where the shade of a tree is intermittent because the sun likes to move and the breeze likes to blow and the tree is not full-fledged. It is a sparse tree. A second-rate tree. It was all there was available. All the first-rate trees were occupied.
But I don’t move my ass out of the lawn chair to move because it’s a hot day and I am eating ranch-flavored rice cakes. They are crunchy and airy.
I look over. He is still talking to the fat lady. To the right of them is a bald barbequing guy. There is lots of smoke, and sizzling noises. The smoke drifts by and smells like Fourth of July. I think it’s hot dogs or hamburgers or sausage or steak or pork ribs or chicken or shrimp. Probably not shrimp.
I eat more rice cakes. I try to savor all the breezes. I try not to get mad at the sun burning my face or the inadequately leaved tree. There is a softball game. Girls cheer loudly. The satisfying sound of a bat hitting a ball. I see the ball rise above a fence. Girls cheer louder. I feel excited.
I look over. He is still talking to the fat lady. What could he be talking to her about for so long, I wonder. I am annoyed. He has my water. He went to get me water. My mouth is dry with rice cakes. I need to wash it all down. I need to cool my face. I need the water. I imagine it is cold and refreshing. I am more annoyed.
The bald man is still barbequing. The meat is stacking up. A meat pyramid. I don’t see anyone he might be feeding with all of this meat. I am confused/concerned.
I stop eating the rice cakes. I have glue in my mouth it feels like. I want the water. I try to read something to take my mind off the heat, the glue in my mouth, my laziness, how good the water would taste right now.
I feel a hand on my shoulder. I am not startled. The touch is soft, almost ghostly. I do not even turn which proves I am not scared of the invisible touch. I think maybe it might be a trick of my skin or my clothes. That is how barely there it was.
I feel it again, and turn my head to the right. There is a small face right in my face. The face has tiny blue eyes and a dirty mouth. Brown curls. The face has no expression. It mirrors my own. I hear a woman yell SABRINA LEAVE THE NICE LADY ALONE. Sabrina looks at me and sort of steps side to side and clicks her tongue around her dirty mouth, using my shoulder to steady herself. She is mouth-breathing staring into my eyes with no expression. SABRINA GET OVER HERE NOW she yells and this time it makes me scared. Sabrina seems nonplussed. She hesitates for a heavy moment before complying.
Good for her I think.
He is still talking to the fat lady. Although this telling doesn’t convey it, it’s been a long time. I can prove it because the bald man’s barbeque meat pyramid has collapsed the table it was on, and the man is now standing on a dais of cooked meats. He is still alone. A meat king on a throne of blackened meat, ruling nobody, full of cooked-meat pride.
The fat lady is gesticulating with her hands. Her hair is over-permed and over-bleached. She has a fanny pack. The fanny pack is dwarfed by the rest of her. A tick on a mastiff. He is talking animatedly as well.
Sweat beads up underneath my sunglasses and pools where the plastic connects to my face.
I know now I will never get my water. He will never stop talking to the fat lady. The shade will never cool me. Sabrina will never love her mother. The softball game will never end. The Meat King will never stop barbequing. I will never move from this lawn chair.
xTx is a writer living in Southern California. You can find her writing in places like PANK, Dogzplot, Thieves Jargon, elimae, decomP and >Kill Author. She has a free e-book entitled Nobody Trusts a Black Magician available at nonpress. She says nothing at www.notimetosayit.com.