Long Island Iced Tea

The argyle socks intimidated me, the way they dimpled just below his big fat ankles. He wanted to swim with them on. Aqua man in bad leisurewear. There were some bricks lying around the pool, and I wanted to pick one up and heave it at his head. His father and his father before him were starting to show more and more on his face. Men that would never admit that they looked a fool in speedos and socks and sandals. I watched him walk over to the poolside, kneel down, and attempt to retrieve one of his sandals that had fallen into the water. He looked like a turnip with socks. Except that turnips don’t have hairy butt cracks. I wanted to look away, but when I tried, I got a cocktail umbrella in my eye. I was feeling very slippery from the suntan lotion, so I didn’t want to move my seat for the sake of changing the view. It didn’t take more than fifteen minutes or so before he noticed me staring at him and decided he might take a shot. I couldn’t really see his face all that well. He had a lot of gold chains snarled in the grey hair that was matted down with cocoa butter all over his flabby man-tits, and the reflection from the sun off the gold and the greased blubber was blinding.

It was a weekend retreat: no deadlines, no budgets, no authority figures, and my horoscope said to accept any and all invitations offered, so when he said, “Would you like to accompany me to the buffet?” I thought shit, you are the buffet, honey, and then I wondered if his kidneys might taste good boiled or fried with or without onions and a little butter. Should I pickle his eyes, his ears, his nose, and his toes? But we could decide all that later, after the salad I ordered, after a few generous glasses of strychnine laced iced tea, and after the thin mint I had for dessert while I chuckled silently at his red jiggling face as he chewed and chewed and chewed, grease from the supersized burger he was eating dripping down his six chins. Through the partially digested cud in his mouth, he asked why women like me — you know, skinny — always ate rabbit food. I felt a gob of sinew hit my cheek as he laughed when he said he liked rabbit burgers. I told him, “Meat never sticks to me,” but that he seemed like he had no trouble. He said dieting was the only thing he never had trouble with. I believed him. His neck was so thick; his muscles, I imagined, marbled with nice creamy fat. He was huge, and it was then that I realized I might actually have trouble choking this one out.

By Cheryl Anne Gardner


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