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The Fat Kid’s Girlfriend by Jamie Iredell

The Fat Kid had had a girlfriend. In fact it was unclear if he still did, or if that girlfriend was a girlfriend no longer. Such semantics tired even the Fat Kid. She was around, a “friend” who was a female, and sometimes even still the Fat Kid put his penis inside some of this girl’s orifices. That was a kind of mutual agreement not unlike which one makes with a bank in respect to one’s dollars and cents.
     The Fat Kid had met this girlfriend at the Bar and she called herself Sheri. Sheri was a curly-haired brunette. She sat at the end of the Bar’s bar tipping back Budweisers and did so so frequently that it was inevitable that the Fat Kid, Cooter, Gunther—all of them—got to know Sheri and so she became a girl friend to all of them, except that only the Fat Kid put his penis into her. All of them except one of the Nicks who had also put his penis into her at one point before the Fat Kid made of her a girlfriend. She never was Nick’s girlfriend, with the exception of her being friendly and a girl, as has already been stated. But with the Fat Kid she was much more a girlfriend in the sense of that compound noun as opposed to the two separate nouns “girl” and “friend” in which case the “girl” functions much more like an adjective that describes the noun “friend.”
     How to say what the Fat Kid thought about the fact that Sheri had done the dirty with one of the Nicks? It both repulsed and excited him. Sometimes when fucking Sheri the Fat Kid imagined her fucking Nick, sometimes fucking random strangers. There was something about Sheri having reckless drunken sex that turned the Fat Kid on. That said, the Fat Kid felt a little tug on his heart (not literally of course, but something inside of him moved when he thought of Sheri) and he thought of her as special, and so the thought of her getting down with random dudes about made the Fat Kid jealous enough to throw something.
     Both the Fat Kid and Sheri became proficient throwers of things. Hence the distinction of Sheri as an actual girlfriend remained complicated. For a short stint they had attempted a shacking up of their mutual items and bodies into a two bedroom Victorian down the street from the Bar. However, short lived that remained as windows shattered and Home Depot trips grew exponentially, all for cut glass and window caulk. Thus one discreet and cloud-covered day while Sheri disappeared for where the Fat Kid could not fathom, for Sheri worked no bar nor any other job and where her money came from the Fat Kid never bothered to ask, he—the Fat Kid—packed his things into the bed of his pickup truck, a scraggly dried up monstera hanging limp near the tailgate, and the Fat Kid himself disappeared—at least from Sheri’s world.
     Days later she wandered into the bar where the Fat Kid worked and had a few choice words for the Fat Kid. What the fuck did he think he was doing? Where the fuck had he gone? Was he ever coming back? Did he not love her anymore? What the fuck is your fucking problem? I know what your fucking problem is, Fat Kid, it’s that you’re a fucking Fat Kid. You fat fucking piece of shit.
     The problem had always been that Sheri, no differently than the Fat Kid’s daddy, called the Fat Kid a fat kid. And that was something the Fat Kid had put up with his entire life. When those words came out maliciously like that, a stream spit out in a drunken rage, sometimes even the spit dribbling from Sheri’s chin and her eyes squinted so hard the Fat Kid thought she might squint her head in two, again something moved inside the Fat Kid. The Fat Kid had a temper that he worried could well up when he heard Sheri calling him a fat kid. It was different than, say, Cooter calling him Fat Kid. Cooter, also, was a fat kid. Even Gunther, lean and cut up like a statue, could call the Fat Kid lunchbox, and the Fat Kid knew that Gunther loved him. But when Sheri swayed in front of him in the dim of that Victorian, after the Bar’s closing, in the spare light, a beer in her grip, and she hissed out, you fuckin fat kid, the Fat Kid grabbed lamp after lamp and hefted them at walls, through windows. He even grunted up the thirty-six inch TV and chucked, sparks flying after it crashed against a wall and settled, setting a corner of the carpet ablaze.
     The big question of course is why Sheri insisted upon going right to the Fat Kid’s fatness when trouble arose in their together times, like a cat that no one owned or fed. Sometimes even the Fat Kid didn’t know. But on occasion an old friend would call—a female—not a girlfriend but a girl friend, now that that’s all been established. That was something a girlfriend like Sheri could not stand by and take, especially not after a few Budweisers, without letting the thought of that old pussy reeking into her mind like a stink. Once even, after finishing his bar shift, when Sheri kissed the Fat Kid she said, your moustache smells like cunt of woman. The Fat Kid had had no cunt of woman other than Sheri’s cunt, so if anything she must be smelling her own cunt. And that incensed Sheri to no end, when the fat Kid said he stunk of her own stinky cunt. Then Sheri started in on the Fat Kid and soon he wielded a knife and ripped apart the blouses and dresses that collected dust in Sheri’s Victorian closet—clothing that went unworn, for Sheri had little use for blouses and dresses in a place like the Bar, the one place the Fat Kid knew for sure she ever went.

When one of the Nicks had fucked Sheri it came about as most these things do on a blurry beer and whisky filled night, with the neons raining down like cigarette ash from the smoke that filled the bar’s atmosphere.
     The Fat Kid was working the Bar’s bar that night, and he’d noticed Sheri, but not with any kind of attraction, for the Fat Kid didn’t realize yet that Sheri was attracted to him.
     She sat at the bar against the wall near the Pabst clock, with the wood grain seeming almost to grow into her arm and shoulder and into her curly brown hair that sometimes also rested against the wall, as she leaned, a few beers and at least one shot in. Nick had gotten off early, had worked the delivery driver’s shift, one that lasted a mere couple hours, for the deliveries Steve shut off after ten, thank god, because some drunk assholes would call in till two in the morning—assholes that kept up the apartment walls in buildings not two blocks away—jabbing away to Cooter or the Fat Kid about a delivery pizza, and they had to say shut the fuck up already we stopped delivering at ten PM and what do you want a delivery pizza for anyway when you could walk over and order one you lazy piece of shit.
     This Nick, it should be established since there were two, was the smaller, blond-haired, wiry like a weasel. In fact Steve sometimes said, where is that fuckin little weasel Nick, when Nick had been on a delivery for forty minutes and everyone knew he’d stopped somewhere along the Lake with the Bar Car, parked upon a dock looking at the mountains and the water while he sucked down a bowl of green weed.
     Now that Nick had finished he ordered a shifter and a pitcher and the Fat Kid poured out both and went ahead and dribbled the gold of the whisky into the shot glass and set all three before Nick, because the Fat Kid knew that even though Nick didn’t order the shot he was going to sooner rather than later and he might as well get that over with. Nick sat drinking and Johnny Cash sang.
     That saxophonist—sax player, whatever they are called—the drunk, his name was Chris, but his name doesn’t really matter, he came in and ordered a beer, setting the sax in its case against the bar rail near his feet. Nick sighed, his lips downturned. Here we go. This drunk would get drunk and start talking and eventually talk to Nick and Nick sure as fuck didn’t want to talk to the sax player. Last time he did so the sax player turned into an out of tune sax and sat there blowing for an hour and Nick wobbled off after grabbing him by the collar of his jacket and tossing him, a limp sax, so that he crumpled against the Pole Position set against the wall behind the bar.
     Nick slammed his shot. It went down so smooth he yelled, Hey Lunchbox! And he shook the empty rocks glass at him and slid it across the bar. Nick picked up his beer glass and pitcher and moved down the bar, away from the sax, and toward Sheri. She—at least so far as Nick knew at that time—wouldn’t annoy the fuck out of him.
     Even before Nick had settled his ears were assaulted as that goddamn saxophone started up with the Fat Kid. Poor Fat Kid, stuck there behind the bar, no choice but to listen to the stupid fuck sitting there gleaming gold in the beer lights and pealing like a dying mountain goat. The Fat Kid manhandled the remote to turn up the skipping CD, for even that was better.
     Couldn’t handle any of that, eh? The voice was hers, Sheri’s, at Nick’s other ear, and it was so soft and rational that he welcomed it, a blanket he could wrap himself in, in the softness of her voice.
     The Fat Kid lumbered over with Nick’s second whisky.
     For Sheri’s part, Nick never said anything that interesting or funny, but she laughed. His teeth floated in his open maw and the scraggle of blonde up above gleamed like something new. Sheri said things like, I’ll bet you’ve turned out a young lady or three.
     Nick kept the shots coming, ordered for them both. The Fat Kid got rid of the skipping Johnny Cash and settled for Foghat. The sax began reeling on its barstool, out of tune. Nick kept the jabber going. What was he saying anyway? He was from Colorado. He’d seen mountains, mountains like these here, where the Lake was. Maybe he’d never seen a lake like the Lake, but he’d seen mountains all right. He put in some time while trying to get out west for speeding. Speeding? He had a warrant out already. He’d missed a meeting with his probation officer. But once he got that done, he was back on the road, hitching his way in cornfields. He shacked up one night in a guy’s shed, and then that guy’s daughter came out around midnight. She had silk-like hair, was all Nick remembered.
     That was when Sheri laughed, said, Sounds like a joke, the farmer’s daughter. She said he must’ve done it to lots of girls he was so dirty. She said it and play-slapped him on the shoulder, and when her hand dropped it dropped against Nick’s thigh and she went ahead and let it rest there. Why not? It had been a little while. He was cute, in that shady, skinny thug way. He was a cornstalk himself, withering. Nick kept the shots coming out. The Fat Kid stared at a NASCAR race.
     In the Bar, the men’s and women’s bathrooms sit side to side, near the hall that leads to the backyard beer garden. When Nick came out of one, so too came Sheri. They joked: Fancy meeting you here!
     Sheri said, Let’s see what it’s like outside, because it wasn’t winter then, and the nights were steam off the lake and sweat without the bar’s swamp cooler to cool things down. She led Nick out the back door.
     The stars were coming down, streaking blond like Nick’s own hair, one after the other. The mountain tops still dusted with the snow that never melted reflected the light and the mountains rose up and kept rising as Sheri led Nick to the horseshoe pit. There was a picnic table where fat guys, and sometimes even the Fat Kid, set their pitchers and glasses while tossing shoes.
     She had her hands on Nick’s belt buckle and stripped it open deftly the way one flicks out a knife blade. She felt him grow hard in her mouth, his smell coming off him, like salt, like the sea, like sea salt. Nick grunted. The animal came up out of him. The stars kept falling.
     The hairs bristled on his back, on his shoulders and arms. He ripped off the wife-beater stained with dribbles of pizza sauce. The air thickened. His cock pulsed. He lifted Sheri up onto the picnic table, shoving her skirt over her hips. His nails had grown. He scratched a thigh. She let out a short yelp. The animal in her. He pushed into her and they both grunted and panted, heaving against one another beasts they were.
     It lasted seven minutes and thirteen seconds. Neither Nick nor Sheri knew. They became human again. Nick’s pants pooled around his ankles, he pulled and buckled tight again. Sheri straightened her skirt. They finished their beers and had one more shot, and by then the bar was closing and the Fat Kid said to them and the saxophone, It’s time for everyone to get the fuck out.

Jamie Iredell lives in Atlanta and is the author of Prose. Poems. a Novel., and The Book of Freaks. His writing has also appeared in literary magazines such as 3:AM, The Pedestal Magazine, Necessary Fiction, and Action, Yes. This piece is excerpted from a novel called “The Fat Kid.”