But I guess maybe somehow it kind of is because I didn't open the car door and roll into traffic when I saw her flip the turn signal as we approached the Krispy Kreme driveway, to let the world know that we too were about to stuff ourselves like cows on the way to the gas chamber. So ten minutes later I'm sitting there, sullen, nursing a coffee and staring at the gastric bypass candidates in XXL sweat pants when she says, oh, get yourself a tee shirt.
Right, I say. I will wear a Krispy Kreme tee shirt when I can do one million sit ups without stopping. Because nothing screams Hey Fatso! like a Krispy Kreme tee shirt. It says, Hey I ate so many Krispy Kreme doughnuts that they gave me this for free so I'd keep coming back until I couldn't fit behind a steering wheel anymore.
You spoil everything, she said. I just said you'd look cute.
So I felt bad and I got up and I bought a tee shirt, extra small, just one step above a kids size. I went into the bathroom and changed into it. There was about an inch of skin showing between its bottom and my belt. An inch that screamed, Twenty years of Budweiser. Good. Very, very good. I stuck my shirt and sweater into my jacket, which I swung over my shoulder as I swaggered back into the dining area.
Which mysteriously fell silent. I know what you're thinking, I said. Justin Timberlake.
So we're in the car and we've somehow made it onto 95 without incident after the cop with the box of blueberry cré me filled said he'd forget it this once if I promised to keep my coat on for the rest of my life. She has this oldies station turned up really loud and whenever I start to say something she turns it up even louder. Eventually we get off the highway and we're in Westport and we pull into the parking lot of Heyday, which is a grocery store right around the corner from where Martha Stewart lives, where you too can shop if you don't mind buying groceries for several multiples of what the meal they made cost in a restaurant. She gets out of the car without saying anything so I figure because she didn't actually handcuff me to the wheel it'd be okay to go in too, especially if I waited until she was inside.
See, Heyday may be expensive, but they have a lot of tasty free samples. If you hit it just right you can have a really good brunch, at least, if you eat fast before the security guys escort you out. So I've jammed down half a dozen mango chunks and sopressata slivers when I get to this stand on top of which is tub of buffalo mozzerella balls floating in what looks like bathwater. On either side is a plastic cup full of toothpicks. On the floor, well out of the way, is a little plastic garbage can for used toothpicks.
I spear one and just as I jam it down I hear this noise like a hog spotting a truffle and this big blonde woman pushes me out of the way and drives a toothpick through three cheeseballs at once like she was Ahab or something . As I regain my footing she does the same thing again and another time still, jamming it in faster than she can swallow. Her cheeks are bulging like a chipmunk's.
As she snorts and snuffles her eyes bug out and the soft cheese runs out the corner of her mouth like she's a porn queen savoring a money shot and all of a sudden she looks familiar. Why should I be thinking K Mart and SEC at the same time?
I run my eye over her. Yes— clothes two sizes too small; electronic ankle bracelet.
Mrs. Stewart? I say shyly.
She keeps eating. The toothpick jabs up and down like a needle on a Singer sewing machine.
Shut up, she says around a mouthful. Leave me alone. No autographs. I got the chows in the van. Don't fuck with me.
I was going to tell her how much my mother idolized her but something else came out instead.
I just wanted to tell you that you're using a used toothpick.
Yeah, I say. Used. It's been in someone else's mouth. See, the fresh ones are on the left. Used on the right.
Yeah, I say, pretty sure the guy who used that one was the guy who dropped off the newspapers about half an hour ago.
She's dropped her cheese ball and has her hand over her mouth and is stumbling towards the door.
Yeah, I say, from about a foot behind her, Bridgeport Post. I'm kind of talking loud at this point which explains why my wife has followed us through the sliding doors out into the parking lot where Martha is struggling to open her Lexus SUV while I'm stripping off my coat and screaming, YEAH, SOME BLACK GUY. DON'T WORRY, I THINK HE WAS JUST PRETENDING TO PICK HIS ASS WITH THE TOOTHPICK!
Martha is whimpering and gagging as she tries to open the Japanese battlewagon with her remote. Her three chows have picked up on her distress; foaming like rabid mink they bound over her leather upholstery, tearing and clawing at one another until the windows are spackled with blood.
At last Martha remembers the combination. The lights flash; the alarm hoots; the chows are on her. Just as the first one hits her she screams No, Tito, no!
She is a big woman and fights hard, but she is only human, and old. The largest dog buries his teeth in the back of her neck and shakes her like a rag doll. A snap and she is limp.
Dogs are, after all, pack animals. Together the chows drag her into the underbrush. Soon there is no sound except the crunch of bone and an occasional muffled laugh from the crowd that now rings the parking lot.
I turn to face them. My coat drops to my feet. I bounce lightly on my heels. I feel the fat ripple across the tight stretched fifty-cotton fifty poly. KRISPY KREME BABY! KRISPY KREME!
I raise my hands over my head. The applause begins.
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