“Okay, now do you believe me? She had me by the balls, Frank. And I mean that quite literally. Balls. All of my balls in all of her decrepit granny paws.” Bart took another chomp of his double-bacon cheeseburger and chewed while he spoke, symmetric specks of grease glistened on either side of his mouth under the neon pulse of the late-night Burger Bobby joint. The blue bill of his Pepsi hat seemed to bob upon his forehead as his animations grew. Frank sat across from him smoking, his eyes half closed, blinking mildly to keep out the easy wisps from a fresh pack of Kools.
“Seriously. I don’t have to tell you now because you know, and I don’t want to keep talking because it’s a waste of my breath and a waste of your time, but no shit, that’s the girl. That’s the fucking girl!” His eyes bulged at Frank as he rapped his index finger several times firmly on the cheap plastic of their table. They were the only customers in the Burger Bobby at 3:00 a.m. According to Bart, it was the best time to go. Best lighting, best place for conversation, best food (if you knew what to order), and the best place to talk about why you should not listen to anything a devil grandma waitress tells you about going home to meet her daughter.
“Okay, again, and I know this doesn’t really make a difference, but I was drunk. Frank, don’t you roll your fucking eyes at me. I know you’re judging me right now and that’s bullshit because you’re not giving this a chance.” He waived the last quarter of his double-bacon concoction stringently at his best friend as he promulgated his most recent date. “I was shit-faced so hard that I probably couldn’t have walked, seen straight, or pissed in a mega urinal without hitting the floor, but goddammit, Frank, what happened that night is not some made up bullshit drunk story. She fucking!…” he shot a glance at the register to watch the woman there look up at him and quieted. “She could have castrated me with her nails, Frank. FOOMP! Gone!” he made a sharp slice through the air; a tomato flew from his burger and partly stuck to the plastic of his tray.
“Go head,” he leaned in to Frank who shifted his lips to exhale a misty white into the quiet air of the burger joint. “Go ahead and look at the girl, Frank, and tell me that your balls don’t want to duck and hide inside pelvis when you look at her. Look! …”
Frank made to turn.
“Wait! Wai – wait, wait! Not now,” Bart said.
“Okay now, look, now!” Bart said with an obvious air of trying to be inconspicuous.
Frank turned to look.
The woman in the slender tan Burger Bobby uniform was old. There was no getting around that. Really old. She was Egypt old, I-opened-the-first-Piggly-Wiggly old. She was Jesus-was-my-pen-pal old. Her curly hair was white from where they were sitting, but it seemed so in an unkempt manner. Some of the curls shadowed her face, others seemed to twist with others, ending up in knots. Even as she counted money in the register, Frank could catch a quiet glimpse at her eyes, and the salient hollows behind them.
“Yeah! Picture that, my friend,” he said popping the last bite into his grease-ringed lips. “Picture her at around this time in a dark room with her sarcophagus breath dusting your drunk ass, and she starts playing with your happy trail with her plastic nails, which, by the way, if you listen carefully enough, are also screaming to be away from her. Picture that girl right there with her hair all fucked up, wispy, and haggard and shit, and her wiry tarantula meat claw nails around your testes. Fact!”
Frank turned back around to face Bart and shrugged before taking another sip off his current Kool. “Don’t look that bad,” he muttered.
Bart’s mouth eased open in disbelief. Then he let out a giggle despite himself. “I cannot believe you just said that. Do you – No,” he said and but his hands up in surrender. “Nope, I give up. You know why? Because you’re being an asshole, and you know that kind of behavior, or whatever, bothers me.” He his same table-stabbing finger was in Frank’s face now; Frank smirked.
“What’s the big deal, it’s not like your balls had any other plans that night.”
“No other plans!? You serious right now? Frank, I was going to go back and bang her daughter silly! I was going to be a king that night Frank, a rex, the goddamn Pussy Prince of Peoria. But -“
“She has a daughter?”
“No!” Bart said, and again lowered his voice as well as his hat brim to his eyes while he slid down in the booth. He turned back to a whisper. “No! But I thought she did and, AGAIN…” he said the world emphatically, stretching his lips to their full extent. “I. WAS. DRUNK!”
Frank nodded, took a drag, and nodded to Bart’s empty plate. “You done?”
Bart sighed and looked at the same. “Yeah,” he said.
The two walked up to the register, Frank held the bill in his hands.
“That be all for you,” said the woman. Her voice was a whisper of someone plotting on escaping their coffin. Bart turned and casually walked out of the Burger Bobby. A small bell chimed when he pushed the door open into the cool black morning. when Frank stopped at the register,
At the register, the woman handed Frank his change and thanked him. Frank nodded and turned toward the exit.
“Excuse me, son?” Frank heard the woman’s voice from behind him.
“Should your friend want the same treatment as from the other night, you tell him I’ll take half off.”
Frank cocked his head in response. He imagined it was much like his dog, Jasper, when he heard the microwave sound. “I’m sorry? Half off?”
The woman nodded. “Yep,” she rasped. “And I’ll do whatever he wants. What ever.”
Frank left without responding.
Bart was leaning against the car, an old beat up Ford, when Frank walked out. He adjusted his Pepsi cap before straightening. “Weird shit, right?” He said.
Frank didn’t really know how to answer at first. He walked to the driver side door and unlocked the passenger seat from his seat. “Yeah,” he said. “Yeah, weird shit. Get in.”
The engine cranked over and grabbed the car. Frank put it in reverse, backed out, and strapped his seatbelt on. They pulled out of the Burger Bobby and their headlights blasted the night.