Here’s the Thing, Lorie, My Name’s not Pauncho

I am not gonna plump shame Sherrie, so let us just say she was a well rounded girl with a penchant for raspberry and apple pies, strawberry ice cream, beef steak, beer, deep fried anything, and etc. etc. There is nothing wrong with having penchants. I have a few myself, but I usually go for not so plump girls and good brandy. And beer. On penchants, Sherrie and me do agree on beer. I also eat raspberry and apple pies—which Sherrie makes a killer—and beef steak. Ice cream? I prefer chocolate. Deep fry goes without saying, etc. etc.

But here’s the thing. The thing is Sherrie. . . . Well, you see, Sherrie—and I got to back off modesty on this because it’s a fact—Sherrie has this penchant, also, for me. I can understand this, being the unassuming, decent, well rounded guy who’s had his share of rodeos, roundups and wrecks. But, like I say, I do not have a penchant for plump. And so it is annoying. I mean it’s nice having the raspberry and apple pies, and the beef steaks she cooks up, but. . . .

But here’s the thing. Here is what I am talking about. So, I am having breakfast at The Sizzle and Fry, kind of keeping an eye on DeLores, which is the name she has embroidered on her shirt, but everybody calls her Lorie. I have set down at one of Lorie’s tables and have ordered a Denver skillet with a side of French Toast and maple syrup. And in walks Sherrie.

So, Sherrie waves at me from the door, grins, then scurries on in and plumps herself down across the table from me like she owns every salt shaker, hot sauce bottle, napkin, and cowboy in the vicinity. See what I mean?

Here’s the thing. I was set on making a little time with Lorie, who is not exactly skinny, but what you might call only a bit more than slender. I have asked Lorie out a few times and she has not said yes, but she flirts like a stick of dynamite. So I figure to keep asking until things work out. Then Ms Plumpness herself comes in and plumps down across the table from me.

“Hey, Cowboy,” she says.

“Hey.”

“What’re you having?”

“Denver Skillet, and French Toast” I say. Lorie is standing at a table of six with her pad and pen out. They are hunters with orange vests on. One of them reaches out to give her fanny a pat, and, POW. I’ve seen it before, that pad comes down, and the edge of it, WHOP, against his wrist. “No touchy, sweetheart,” she says—sweet, like she always does. And I can tell you, the edge of that pad hurts a little bit, also it leaves a mark on your skin.

“Oh, Gawd,” Sherrie says, “If I wasn’t on a diet. . . .”

Finally Lorie comes over. “Hey girl,” she says to Sherrie. “What keeps you hanging with Pauncho here.” She doesn’t mean Poncho, She mean’s Pauncho. But, she doesn’t mean anything by it. It is just the way she is.

“Oh, Gawd,” Sherrie says, “I wisht I knew.”

“She’s not hanging,” I put in. “She just come in and sat down.”

“Right-o, Big Guy,” Lorie says. I don’t know where she gets this “big” business. I’m about five-nine, two-twenty or so, except when they measure me for a physical. So, I ain’t big—but it is nice she thinks so.

“So what are you havin’ sweetheart,” she says to Sherrie.

Sherrie says, “Nothin’ this morning Lorie, I got raspberry and apple pie in the fridge and some chocolate ice cream in the freezer.” She is talking to Lorie, but she is looking at me.

“Your funeral.” Lorie says. Then she says to me, “Yours’ll be out in a jiffy.” And she goes off to pour coffee and bus a table.

Here’s the thing. Sherrie will not leave. She is playing a pretty mean game, what with the mention of raspberry and apple pie and chocolate ice cream. And it does sound like a good idea for desert after I have finished breakfast and before I have to be at the shop at one o’clock for afternoon shift.

So I tuck into my skillet and toast, while Sherrie fills me in on her mother and her mother’s diet, her own diet, her sister’s falling off the wagon, her loser brother’s court date, how stress is not conducive to sticking to a diet, and all the other kinds of things I could just give a square shit about.

Then when I finish, Sherrie says “You up for raspberry pie and chocolate ice cream?”

“Sure,” I say. I look at my watch. It is 10:32.

“Great,” Sherrie says, she puts her hand across the table to mine, but I pick up the cheque on the table and look at it. It’s eleven dollars and forty-five cents.

“Here’s the thing,” I say to Sherrie, “I only got ‘til 11:30 before I got places to be.” Which is to get me out of spending much more time than necessary for raspberry and apple pie and ice cream. I stand up and turn and take the cheque up to the check out.

“Plenty of time,” Sherrie says. She hooks an arm through my elbow and leans in.

Maybe I should just tell her straight out that she’s not my type. But that would be mean. And I am not a mean person. I had people call me things too, back when I had my kid chub. So, I certainly would not tell her plump was not my type.

Tawny Ostergramm is at the check out. She is chewing a cud of gum, as usual. She takes the check and rings it in.

“Eleven forty-five,” she says to me. I hand her fifteen and she does the change, drops it in my hand, and closes the register.

I turn around to drop a tip on the table for Lorie and “CRASH.” I bump into the guy behind me. He was the hunter that was hitting on Lorie.

I hear Tawny say to Sherrie, “I thought you were through with dumpy losers.”

And at the same time as she is saying this, ole Hunter says to me, “Watch where you’re goin’ lard ass.”

Here’s the thing. Here’s the real thing. I let things like that slide. They make me mad. I get pissed. I get red faced and tooth-gritty, but I also get tongue tied; I can never think of anything to say. So I have to let things slide. This means I spend hours trying to come up with what I should have said or could have done. But whatever it is, it never gets done.

Well, apparently not Sherrie. Before I even have a chance to realize I do not have a witty comeback for the jerk, Sherrie turns from pleasantries with Tawny and has her pug nose right against that jerk’s chin.

“Who the hell you think you’re calling callin’ lard ass, skinny wienie.” The way she say’s “skinny wienie” has pretty much the same effect as the edge of an order pad hacked against the arm. They guy staggers two steps back trying to avoid this plump attacker, but she is right there, eyeball to Adam’s Apple.

“Where do you get off, calling people ‘lard ass’ when all your lard is in your SKINNY WIENIE,” Sherrie squeals.

The guy may have been quite the show at three hundred yards from bear with a scoped thirty-aught-six. But at three tenths of an inch from a buxom, furious woman, with nothing but words, he wasn’t much. He manages finally to get around Sherrie and stands at the till, his cheque in his shaking hand out to Tawny.

Tawny looks past him at Sherrie, and say’s “Calm down. Sherrie, Jeez, calm down.”

But Sherrie goes on, “You know the difference between and Lard Ass and a Skinny Wienie,” she says. “Lard Asses know they got problems. Lardy Skinny Wienies think they can fuck the world just because their skinny wienie is skinny.”

“That’s enough, Sherrie. That IS enough,” Tawny says.

Sherry huffs. But she quits. She stands scowling at the back of the guy while I go drop three dollars and two quarters on the table for Lorie. Lorie and the cook are by the kitchen doorway looking back behind me toward the check out. I wave, the cook smiles and waves. Lorie is shaking her head at all the commotion.

Then I pick up one of the dollars and the change.

Here’s the thing.

I have always hated was being called lard ass. Coach used to do it. And I hated it. A five-foot-nine guy just isn’t much good at anything coaches find interesting. And so Coach was always calling me lard ass. It was not unknown for some of the guys to do it too. And Pauncho was always good for a good snicker.

So, here’s the thing, I turn around and start back to the door. There is Sherrie with her plump fists clenched, glaring at the back of this hunter retreating out the door. He casts a sidle glance back at her, but keeps moving, probably thinking women in our town are crrrrrazy.

Here’s the thing. What I was thinking is nobody in my whole life has ever made Coach or the other guys back down before. Nobody. So of course, like I said, I am not going to plump shame Sherrie.

Here’s the thing. I didn’t need to clock in until 1:00. It was a quarter to eleven. We had two hours and I figured raspberry and apple pie and ice cream would take maybe half an hour. The rest of the time, my bet is, we won’t be talking about diets and sisters falling off the wagon. I don’t think Sherrie’s any more interested in that than I am.

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