The Fat Lady And The TV

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Meet Pete Kelley. A good 'ol country boy with a big fat problem at home.

Submitted: April 05, 2009

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Submitted: April 05, 2009

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The Fat Lady And The TV

Cara Black is my girlfriend. She's been that for a while now and I'm at the point where a nervous breakdown, or a loaded pistol to my head, would probably be the only options I have with this here relationship. I can tell you that this woman is so fat that she's beyond weight. She walks like a goose, and has problems breathin', almost sounds like she's gaggin' on ‘er own spit, or is ready to puke out somethin' heavy like maybe her ex-boyfriend. As for myself, I'm on a high cholesterol diet and I'm, believe it or not, half the size of what Cara is. My doctor tells me to eat lots of boiled veggies and skinless chicken breast, not fried, but broiled in the oven. Sometimes I tend to slack off where I work at my barbershop and I'd have a bag of chips and a cream soda like the good little hillbilly that I' am. Cara has never gone for a check up, well, maybe the only time that I know about is when she first told me she had somethin' with ‘er thyroid. This girl use to be a hundred pounds back in the day, and wish I knew ‘er then. Now She just loves to eat a lot and blames everybody for it.

We have her brother Rory livin' with us as well. Cara has given' ‘im a key to my apartment without even asking me. Now what do you call that? I think it's a darn shame for a forty-year-old man to be freeloadin' in my house while he can easily go find himself a job. I mean he's always in my refrigerator. You see him in there head first with his legs stickin' out from his shorts, skinny little legs with squiggly veins that run from his calves, all the way up to his skinny little forearms. He drinks my beer, and smokes my cigarettes. I don't think Rory has ever bought himself cigarettes before. I don't think he's ever bought anything in his life. He'd lie in my bed and use my ashtray, and go through boxes of tissue paper for God knows what? He'd watch TV all day long with the curtains drawn. He'd complain' about my TV. He'd say that the screen gets fuzzy and has a hard time making out what's playin'. I kinda' like it the way it is. But what do you expect from a twenty-year-old Zenith anyways.

The other day I got back early from the barbershop and we got into a little tiff ‘cause he had two of his closet queer friends drinkin' hard liquor in my livin'room. They were both loud and drunk, and of course, there was Rory with his legs stickin' out in my refrigerator again. I thought he had past out right there, or maybe even died. But what really happened was he somehow got his head stuck behind the bottom shelf, and was movin' around in there like the way you would see a fly on its back tryin' to free itself from sticky paper. And if that wasn't the cherry that topped it all off, one of his friends asked me if I wanted to have a Bud.

Can you believe that! All of a sudden I was a guest in my own house. And when was the last time I was a guest anywhere? Immediately after that,
I got Cara on the telephone, and before I could say anythin', she told me to go fuck myself ‘cause she don't like it when she's bein' bothered at ‘er job. She works part time at Drug-Mart and is trying to get more days. She'd be up and down the aisles stocking shelves and doing general clean up like sweeping floors, or collecting shopping carts from outside. Every once in a while she'd take a break and spray the ‘pump' down her throat. She can't work for a very long time you know. Anyhow, She don't want to hear anythin' about ‘er brother and hung a couple of more names on me like, "old fart-motherfucker," and I just plain and simply told ‘er to go to hell, and smacked the telephone down where it belonged.

No later than that, I pulled Rory out from my refrigerator and gave ‘im a beatin' in front of those queers. I hit ‘im with anythin' that was in front of me. I hit ‘im with the teapot, the blender, and used the stool from the pantry over his back. I hit ‘im with my fist. It was clenched hard and carried a lot of grit when it reached his face. For someone way over fifty like myself, it made me feel good to know that I could still wallop the youngsters. I even kicked ‘im in the gut when he fell to the floor. Then I dragged his no good for nothin' body back into the refrigerator and with the door, I kept punishing ‘im again, and again, ‘till it came apart. Through it all I thought about Cara. I thought about a lot of things, but mostly about ‘er. If I leave ‘er it'll be the best decision I've ever made. The problem with that is that I can't decide when I'm going to do it. Maybe she'll just pick up and leave on ‘er own? But I can't go on by just hoping for it. I keep thinkin', how do I allow these farm animals to step all over me? I always says that there are three types of people in this world. The one's that are mad, the one's that are angry, and the one's that are just plain ol' stupid. And I kinda' have an idea where I fit in to all that.

Rory is in my bedroom and hasn't come out of there since last night's thumpin'. The door is locked, and the song from ‘The Price is Right' is hummin' softly from the TV. Every so often, we can also hear bedsprings squeaking.

Cara and me are both sittin' at the table discussin ', or should I say, try to discuss what went on with Rory. She's over a mish-mash of scrambled eggs with onions and ham. I'm not feelin' too hungry and I'm only havin' a glass of orange juice and maybe a cigarette. As I open my pack, I find nothing but the lighter inside and slowly close it back up and toss it on to the table.

" Can't even have a smoke in this place." I says to Cara, lookin' the other way.

" Oh Yeah, well maybe you should quit. Ever thought of that, Pete?" She says, as she swallows ‘er food before she can chew.

I drag my chair backwards and make a smear on the hardwood floor. I cross my arms and stand by the kitchen window, staring outside. It's Friday morning, birds are flying around and the trees begin to open out in the sun.

I says to ‘er: "Cara, It'll make no difference what I do with my smokin' habit. What will make a difference is maybe you puttin' your brother in an institution someplace where he can't bother me no more."

Cara adds more syrup on her eggs and loads ‘er fork up. Her plumpy arms jiggle like the Jell-O that's waitin' for her for desert. Then she points her fork at me.

" Now you wait a minute, Pete Kelly! You break his face over a beer and you're sayin' he should be in an institution!

" All I'm sayin' is that the boy needs help, and he won't get it here, that's all." I calmly walk to my refrigerator and remove the door and lean it up against the stove.

" Look at all this, Cara. Just take a look!" I says, showing ‘er half empty beer bottles, open yogurt containers that are overturned and blue with mold. Some still have spoons in them, but worst of all, I find that remote control all covered in ketchup behind everythin' else. And guess what? We've been lookin' for that gizmo for almost a week now.

" What do ya think about that?" I says, holding the remote in the air. " Do ya think this is a normal thing?" I wipe my hands. Then I turn my body towards my bedroom and those squeaky noises that we were hearin' before begin to sound more like Rory jumpin' on the bed or somethin'. "Goddamn!" I says, shakin' my head. " What's your brother doin' in there, jackin' off?"

Cara throws her fork in ‘er plate and closes her hand into this large, chubby fist. Her fingers are swollen, and turn red as she tightly grinds them together.

" I'm gonna come over there and give you what ya deserve, old man!" She says harshly, now wavin' her fist at me. " You have no right!" She carefully gets up holdin' onto the table with the other hand.

"He has no respect for nobody. Why can't you accept it for cryin' out loud? I feel like I never get any support from you at all."

" I hate you!" She says with spit flyin' from her mouth. "I hate this house, and I hate you pickin' on Rory all the time!" She loses her breath, and then regains it somehow. I try to settle her down by placin' my hand on ‘er shoulder, but that just makes it worse.

" Don't touch me!" she says, slappin' my arm away. " You don't love us anymore! Why don't you leave for work, or go to your girlfriend. You must have yourself some pretty girl waitin' somewhere, ay?"

A pretty girl waitin' for me? Maybe twenty years ago a might've had a few put away somewhere. Nowadays I'd be lucky if I could get it on with a pork chop, or a baked potato. Then I see Rory comin' out from my bedroom like some turtle in a race. He's got on my black suit, with my favorite white shirt and black tie.

"Rory are you all right?" Cara says.

" Yeah! Where are ya goin' with my suit? I tell him.

Rory stops, turns around and gazes at us with unfilled eyes.

" I'm goin' to church." He says.

" To church?" Cara asks. "Your face." She says. "Your face is all swollen. Where are ya goin'?"

"Yeah, Rory, is there like a funeral or somethin' you're goin' to?" I says. " ‘Cause if there is one, this is a pretty small town and we would know about it, now wouldn't we, Cara?"


" Why don't you just shut the fuck up?" Cara says.

I remain silent. Patients are somethin' you cannot buy at any convenience store, that's for sure.


" Now tell me, Rory, Where are ya off to?"

"I told you's already. Why can't anybody believe me?"

" Rory, Rory." Cara says. If there were any church service today we would both be goin', ain't that the truth?"

" No." Rory says, shaking his head. And before he could open the door to leave, he says. " The volume don't work on the TV. Maybe somebody should fix it."

Cara follows after him.

Hell, I sure ain't no hairstylist and I sure as hell don't work in any beauty parlor. So if you think I could make miracles on somebody's hairdo you've got the wrong man. All I'm sayin' is that I'm nothin' but a two-bit barber with no diploma that could give ya the shave of your life and some good advice on just about anythin'. Ask anybody about Pete Kelly and they'll tell ya. You'll find out that I'm a very generous man. A man that would give up the souls of his shoes and walk a mile on blisterin' coal just to get ya on your way. Ask my buddy Rollie who's been comin' to my place for twenty years now. Yeah, that's right, twenty years of croppin' his mop and spit shinin' the top of his head. Where has all that time gone to anyways? Between the both of us I can say we've done a whole lot of man gossip over the years. And that's all right ‘cause what's life without some tittle-tattle anyways. Yes sir, Bederrock County is no Chicago or New York City where nobody gives a hoot. I mean, people here find out things faster than you can get cotton candy stuck on your face.

Rollie says to me: "Pete, ever since Freeda died I haven't been myself."

I spin ‘im around real fast in the chair while tiltin' the headrest and stretch way up to change the channel on the TV to my favorite show, ‘General Hospital.' I says to‘im: "You don't mind if I watch my soap opera now, do ya?" And I put a nice hot towel on that leathery face of his and answer what he said to me before. I says: " A' right, Rollie, nothin' to worry about. I haven't been myself lately as well. I'm sixty-two and some change, and I'm not gettin' any honey from my girlfriend, Cara. I'm goin' bananas, and the masterbatin' just doesn't cut it for me no more."

I take the towel off his face with my eyes glued to the TV and softly begin to lather ‘em up. I smother the soap above his thick upper lip and work my way around his rough white whiskers. I even cover that big dimple on his chin. I figure not too shabby for a man of his age. Unlike myself who's got wrinkles and long connectin' eyebrows that can be very popular with the girls. I leave the burnin' water run along my blade, and then between two fingers I lift his chin so I can start shavin' ‘im from the neck up.

He says: "You don't understand, Pete. I do things on my own now. I cook; I clean, and even baby-sit my grandson when my daughter has nowhere to take ‘im. Ya know how it is with my son-in-law bein' an airline pilot and my daughter working part-time at the bank. I miss Freeda, you know." He says. He then swallows and says again:

"Pete I'm telling ya, it's getting' outta control. There's not a night that goes by without me holding ‘er photograph and calling out ‘er name."

He says he can't stay in the house for a minute without wanting to scream. He gets so nervous at times that he don't know what to do. He says at least if he could drink hard liquor or smoke some cigarettes that he would have somethin' to pass the time with. But he don't. He don't drink, and he don't smoke, and that makes it twice as hard.

"I don't know how long I'm going to last?" He says, shakin' his head with his eyes closed. And when he does that it makes me lose all of my attention. I tell ‘im to stop movin' around like the way he is ‘cause I'll cut his nose off with my blade. But not that I'm gonna really chop his nose off for heavens sakes. I just say it to calm ‘im down ‘cause he's gettin' a little too excited. Everyone here in Benderrock knows I've got the steadiest hand.
I now wanna put my arm around Rollie as a matter of fact, and tell ‘im that I ‘m really aware of what he's goin' through. I tell ‘im that it's maybe time for ‘im to find a new companion. Someone that could take his mind off the past and rattle his cage a little. It's been two years today since Freeda left us, and there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about ‘er as well.

I says: " Wait a minute. If you had the woman that I'm goin' with right now, you'd be already six feet under. So thank your lucky stars, and maybe one day you and Freeda will be back together again. Maybe I'll have me a barbershop somewhere close by and we'll pick it up from where we left off. But for now ol' buddy, ya gotta move on."

It gets a little quiet for about a minute, ‘til I could think of somethin' else to tell ‘im while he's knockin' himself over his dead wife. Meantime, I clean my blade and keep lookin' at the TV as finally Agent Marshall on the show is tellin' Sonny Corinthos that she's too ‘emotionally involved' with ‘im. And that's just it. Everyone has had a love affair once in their lives isn't that the truth. Too bad for Rollie losing Freeda to lung cancer and all, but he's doin' just dandy collectin' his pension from deliverin' mail for good ‘ol Uncle Sam, and having a fine family to take care of ‘im. As for Freeda, well, she was a gal and a half if I do say so myself. Everythin' about that girl was down right female to the core. She had tight round curves and skin so smooth you'd think it was whippin' cream. She had light brown hair, but use to dye them golden blond ‘cause she once told me that Roland, or Rollie like I call ‘im, never paid any attention to ‘er. And let me tell you after she had changed the color of her hair for that very first time, I couldn't stop makin' googly eyes at ‘er; and I'm not lyin', honest to God. One night I can recall holdin' ‘er hand in this very barbershop. It was a long time ago, and I had just finished givin' a haircut while she had come right in to thank me for the money I had lent them for their home repairs. Anyhow, I was holdin' ‘er hand in the back where I'd keep my brooms for clean up when I just couldn't resist no more. I mean, I had given ‘er a peck right smack in the lips and she liked it a' right. Oh, yeah, she sure did. And then I held ‘er even closer and felt ‘er bootie a bit. I'd put ‘er on my counter and ‘er skirt came off just as fast as ‘er panties did. All you heard then were the brooms rattlin' back and fourth.

I'm just about finished with Rollie and I'm thinkin' what he don't know won't hurt ‘im. You know how it is when you know someone for that long. Why would I wanna mess that up? I trim his sideburns and bring out my little ‘ol duster to remove whatever hairs are still left on his shirt collar.

" There ya go Rollie," I says showin' im the mirror and dabbin' some of that baby powder on the back of his neck. " That's free ‘o charge, my man. And don't say nothin'." I says.

He says: " I don't want to hear about it. Take ten, or I'm never comin' back. And I reply: " Then don't come back, if you want it that way."

On the TV it's now showin' this big explosion and Agent Marshall, well, she gets all blown to pieces leavin' Sonny Corinthos holdin' his head. " Holy cow!" I says. " I never expected anythin' like that." As I try to help Rollie out from his chair, the bell hangin' on my front door starts to ring. And goodness to Betsy I can see Cara and ‘er brother standin' all nutty and everythin' like they're ready to burn down the place or somethin'. All I can say is that she's even fatter than the last time I saw ‘er. She's all red in the face. She's got a triple chin and she's movin' ‘er chunky arms around as fast as a windmill with fat on it. I'm beginin' to feel fat just by lookin' at ‘er. Fat, fat, fat. Oh my god! I think she's gonna give ‘erself one of them heart attacks. But this is nobody's fault except for mine. Someday I wish I could just open my eyes and says it's all a bad dream. The more I see ‘er the worse it gets. And I keep clingin' on to ‘er like some monkey onna tree. I mean there's no strings attached here. Why is it so hard for myself to do the right thing? This is a woman who once threatened to punch me in the mouth for not goin' to give confession. This woman once had twenty corn dogs at a bowlin' alley and threw up all over the inside of my truck. Not only that, but I have ‘er dumb brother to deal with as well. The poor boy is all screwed up and it's easy to know why. I shoulda' had myself a girl like Freeda. But at my age I just have to settle for what I can get.

She says: " You thought I was goin' to leave it at that, ay, didn't ya. Well, you got another thing coming, Mista."

" Yeah," ‘er brother Rory says crossin' his arms. " You're gonna get yours now, just wait and you'll see, boy."

I try to remain as calm as I can. It's not my style to go flyin' off the handle if you know what I'm sayin'. It's two o' clock and the light from the sun is streamin' through the windows blindin' me from anythin' that stands in my way.

I says to Rory: " Rory, I ain't talkin' to you so why don't you just bud out." Then I turn and says to Cara: " Cara, I've just about had my fill with you. Why don't ya please take your brother over here and leave."

" Yeah," Even Rollie puts his ten cents in. " Why don't ya leave us alone, Cara." He says, cleanin' his ear with his little finger. "What's my friend doing with a fat lady like yourself, anyways?" That's when Cara goes haywire and grabs the jar of VO5 hair cream from the counter and points it to my direction.

" You cheap bastard!" She says, with all the hate in ‘er body. " Ya never, ever, buy me anything and ya expect me to love ya."

" Yeah, that's right." Rory says, like he didn't hear me the first time. "Boy, ya never buy us anythin'. Why don't ya buy us a TV like that one up there so we could watch us a show?"

I says: "Why don't ya go get yourself a damn job and buy your own things for once in your life, queer boy."

And after that we all start yellin' at each other. But it sounds more like we're singin' than fightin'. We almost sound like a Barbershop Quartette gettin' ready for a show at ‘The Grand ‘Ol Oprey'. I watch as Rory gets up on the stool. I can't believe my eyeballs and I don't do nothin' about it when he shuts my TV and takes apart all the wires from the back. He slowly brings it down on his shoulder and puts his other hand on Cara to balance out. " C'mon, Rory," Cara says, givin' Rollie and me a dirty look. " We sures as hell don't need people like that." And they both strut right out the front door, and go on their way down the avenue with my brand new TV. Maybe I should call the po-lice, but I ain't gonna waste anymore time with it. Rollie and me keep glarin' at them as they slowly begin to fade. I figure, if it'll cost me a color TV to get rid of a women that I met through some personal ad, then why don't I just let it be.


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