I sneaked another peak at her across the bar, trying my best to not look like I was looking, but it was too late, she had seen me already. Why was I trying to avoid being seen? Because I was shy? Not hardly. I was lonely, and I didn’t want to look like it.
More than that, I was horny, REALLY horny. The only problem was, she was fat: hippopotamus fat. It was nothing a few more beers couldn’t take care of, however, and anyway, there’s no shame in being lonely.
She looked familiar. Maybe I had seen her before. She just had that look about her, like I knew her from somewhere. I looked in the other direction, but it was too late; she was already on her way over.
“Excuse me,” she said, “but you look so familiar. Do I know you?”
“I’m not sure,” I said, still trying to pretend like I hadn’t been looking. Loneliness is a hideous bitch.
“I’m sure I do,” she said. “Do you come here often?”
If a man had said that, it would have been a line.
“Not really,” I said, “at least, not anymore. It’s been fifteen years since I moved out west.”
“It’s just that, you look so familiar,” she said.
“Where do you live out west?”
“Aspen?” she said. “Cool. I’ve always wanted to go to California.”
So she was dumb. So what?
“Are you from here originally?” she said.
“Yes, just down the road.”
“Did you go to Briardale Elementary?”
“Small world. Me, too.”
“Small world,” I said. “Would you like another beer?”
Stupid question. Turns out, the fat cow could drink me under the table.
She said her name was Kelli. Kelli, with an i. Kelli with an i ? That did sound familiar.
“My name is Jeffery,” I told her. “Jeffrey Joe Paul.”
“Jeffrey Joe Paul?” she said. “Of course. I knew I knew you. Kelli Kirkpatrick. We went to McKinley High together.”
“Yes, silly. Mrs. McGonaguill, homeroom. Don’t you remember?”
“In the flesh.”
As we continued talking, drinking more and more beer, it all started coming back to me, where I remembered her from, and it surely wasn’t Mrs. McGonaguill’s homeroom. It was here, right here at this very same bar. My only hope was that she had forgotten all about it. The problem was, elephants never forget.
“You don’t remember meeting here?” she said.
“Not as such,” I said. I was lying.
“Granted, it was a long time ago,” she said, “but I remember it just like it was yesterday.”
Of course you do.
“It was the night of the big fight, remember?” she said. “You and I ducked out just in the nick of time. Then we went down to Lazy Dave’s, then back to your place. Still don’t remember?”
I told her sorry, but I did not.
“We made love until the sun came up,” she said. “Of course, I’ve lost a lot of weight since then. Maybe that’s why you don’t recognize me?’
Lost a lot of weight? Sweet Jesus.
“You told me you would call,” she said, “but you never did.”
That’s because it was a line, you stupid cow.
“I tried calling you for weeks. I called your house, I called your work, I called your mother, I came by your apartment, I left notes on your door, I sat on your porch all night waiting for you.”
Of course I remembered. It’s the whole reason I moved to Aspen in the first place.
“So what happened?” she said. “Why didn’t you call? You said you would call. I was waiting for you to call.”
You’d think at this point a guy like me would have enough sense to get the hell out of there. You’d think that, but you’d be wrong. Remember what I said about loneliness? It’s a hideous bitch, and it’s no goddess.
I decided to deal with it the same way I deal with most of my problems: by drinking more beer. By morning I realized, I was going to have to move again. I hear Atlanta is real nice this time of year.
Philip Loyd loves fat chicks and cheap beer, though not necessarily in that order. His first novel, You Lucky Bastard, is represented by New York Literary Agent Jan Kardys. Loyd lives in Dumbass, Texas. http://PhilipLoyd.com