work in progress
Think Black Thongs
Boomer McWillie had never been much of an athlete.
For many decades, he had treated his body like you truly should not treat even a bad dog’s body, abusing it with excessive soft drugs and rich food, pummeling it into bad posture, rarely exercising at all. By his mid-sixties — predictably enough — he began to develop the usual health problems.
One sudden day, walking (without a shirt) to get his mail, he heard a kid two houses down the block (there were a couple of them wandering around an above-ground pool): “Hah! There goes a man!” He went back inside and thought Hey! They meant me! They were being derisive, those kids! It was not a good feeling. One night he saw a girl wearing a t-shirt that read “I Dink Therefore I Am” and when he asked what it meant, and she told him, he became a convert to the church of Pickleball.
“Ah, fuck this grief counselling shit.”
McWillie couldn’t help but overhear the guy talking on his old-fashioned flip phone. He’d been attending the Garalusa Grief Group (led by Larry, local poetry professor) for several months, really for no reason aside from the joy it gave him to hear womens’ voices. He rarely spoke and was rarely given a reason to do so. He sat at the edge of the chair-crescent in a state of benevolent receptivity, quiet but not scarily so, secretly slightly high from the reefer he almost continuously consumed.
“Whatta ya say, man?” he asked the guy on the phone.
Putting his hand over the phone, he looked at McWillie, widened his eyes, and said, “Fuck this grief counselling shit. Let’s go get a beer.”
There was a bar several streets down from here. “Alright, let’s go.” Nobody would miss him. He’d apologize next time he attended.
He introduced himself as Sammy. “Mine is court-mandated, you know, so I have to attend at least x number of meetings. I had the choice of grief or trauma, I chose grief.”
“Uh, or — what?”
“Lose my clown license.”
McWillie frowned. “Oh. You’re a professional clown, then?”
“You’re gullible, aren’t you? I like that in a person. What do you do for fun, dude?” He eyed McWillie sympathetically.
“Aw, naw. Me too.”
“How long? I been at it a few months.”
“About the same here.”
“You want head to Gray Rock and play a few games?”
“Singles? These legs ain’t built for single matches.”
“Hah! There’ll be somebody there. But let’s have that beer first.”