I woke up feeling pretty good, which kind of freaked me out. Living a life such as mine, you can deal pretty well with just about anything that you wake up with. You can wake up with a headache, an upset stomach, an ugly chick, a new scar, or pretty much whatever else you might wake up with that you immediately wish you hadn’t woken up with.
But when you wake up feeling pretty good, it’s a bit alarming. It generally means you’re either in some sort of a hospital or a jail cell. Some institution where they keep you from harming yourself further with what you so nonchalantly call daily life.
I tried moving my right arm, and it moved freely, which meant that I wasn’t strapped down. I opened my eyes and looked around. It was either the Drunk Tank or a cleverly-designed set that was designed to look like the Drunk Tank.
“You awake?” That was Mandy’s voice. It scared the hell out of me for just a second. Then I realized that it was her that had caused me to wake up in the first place.
“Yeah. What, do you just watch me all night?”
“Nah, you guys have it to where all the cameras turn off. I still have audio, though, and I just logged on. You really snore.”
“It’s a glandular problem.” Truth be known, I’m not a hundred percent sure what a gland even is. I’m probably not even two or three percent sure. One time, in fourth grade Phys Ed, there was this big fat girl would couldn’t climb that stupid rope along with the rest of her class. She mentioned something about a glandular problem and told the gym teacher that she had forgotten her note in her locker. And he didn’t make her climb the rope. It was that easy. I told him the same thing, and convinced him that me and the fat girl were cousins. And it was that easy.
Of course, through the rest of my formative years, I was teased relentlessly about being related to the big fat girl, but it got me out of most of the horrible exercises that the rest of the kids went through, and I figured it was a small price to pay. I’ve never really been too fond of pride. It’s that little sting you might feel right before you take your fall, but you can’t let it get to you, just like that bald black guy tells the white boxer on that movie Pulp Fiction.
To those of you who are thinking that using examples from Pulp Fiction is a little out of style, a little out-dated, I say shut up. You’re all idiots, and probably haven’t watched that movie in a long time, and you should probably go out and rent it right now. To those of you who think that I am secretly Quentin Terintino, and that I only write this Portly Boy crap so I can get my older movies back into the mainstream…well, if any of you are saying that, you’re probably on some of the best drugs that money can buy so I say to you that, yes, you’ve figured me out, now send me some of your drugs.
But I digress…
Anyways, so I don’t really know anything about glands. I don’t know how many we have, what they’re for, what color they are. Anything. But I’ve learned that the word kind of makes people uncomfortable, I don’t know why. It sounds creepy and personnel, I guess. Gland. Like something you might play with after the lights are out, but then feel really bad about playing with the next day when all the lights are back on again. Gland. Gross.
Anyway, so you mention anything about glands, and people get all uncomfortable, and they generally just accept your answer and scoot slowly away from you, hoping that you don’t do something gross on them before they can get away. (A little side-note—this does NOT work with doctors, who must be about the only people on the planet to understand what a gland really is. You tell those sons-a-bitches about glands and they just tell you to quit eating so much and quit smoking.)
What I’m saying is, any time that anyone brings to my attention any of my numerous shortcomings, I usually just blame it on glands and move the conversation right on along.
“Snoring can be caused by a glandular problem?” Mandy asked.
Because I was totally unsure, I just said, “That’s none of your damn business, and I think we should change the subject right now. Talking about my glands is off-limits.”
“You’re pretty weird when you first wake up.”
“I’m pretty weird all the time. And speaking of weird, what’s up with you bailing on us?”
“I told you, I got a night job. I can’t be babysitting your ass anymore.”
“Okay, two things. First of all, you were a pretty horrible babysitter in the first place. Second of all, I think that whole ‘night job’ thing is complete crap.”
“I think it’s crap, man. You aren’t the type to work through the night.”
“Have you started trying to drink Arnie under the table, or did you just get dumber since last time we talked?”
“I may actually be a bit dumber, but that’s beside the point.”
“Why is that beside the point?”
“Because it has no bearing in the case at hand.”
“It doesn’t matter right now. You’re trying to avoid the subject right now, don’t think I didn’t pick it up.”
“Wow, someone fancies himself kind of alert this morning.”
“It’s a rare thing, but I seem to be on a roll, as they say.”
“Well, by all means, continue. I don’t want to be the one that knocks you off your roll.”
“People who only live in the night, they don’t work through the night. Doesn’t fit the personality profile.”
“Maybe you should back up a step.”
“The night thing is crap, man, because you aren’t the type of person who would ever take a night job. That’s what I’m saying.”
“Well, you certainly took your time getting around to the point.”
“You’re stalling again.”
“Look, man, I didn’t really log on to talk about this. I just wanted to see how things are going.”
“You haven’t been watching the stuff on the website, either?” I don’t know why, but that kind of hurt my feelings. Being a fat guy, you don’t expect people to do things like fall in love with you or fantasize about you or any of that kind of thing. But Hollywood has led us fat guys to believe that we’re entertaining. You’ve got Chris Farley, you’ve got John Candy, you’ve got Kevin Smith, you’ve got Rush Limbaugh. I mean, these guys have taught us that fat people—although not necessarily loved—are funny. And that’s our acceptance. Entertainment value, that’s what fat people have to offer. We aren’t love gods, but have you ever seen one of us fall down? Hilarious, man, hilarious.
And that was Mandy’s main draw to Arnie and I. It cracked her up to see what numb-nuts we were. I mean, I could have understood if she just got sick of talking to us—hell, man, I get sick of talking to us—but to stop WATCHING us, that one really floored me.
“I’ve been really busy.”
“Yeah, I understand. We’ve been really busy, too.” This was me baiting my trap. “I mean, the other night, I didn’t even have time to set the TV to record The Simpsons.”
“Oh, you’ve already seen it. It was the one where Homer got his head stuck in the bridge while he was trying to help Lisa.”
“I thought that one was on Wednesday.”
“Nope, on Wednesday it was the one where Bart makes friends with that movie star’s daughter but then he breaks up with her and she starts dating Milhouse.”
“You haven’t been working at nights.”
“It was a clever ploy, Mandy. Do you think I’m the type of person who ever forgets to record The Simpson’s? Oh course not! I was just testing you to see if you really were at work. You weren’t.” See, because if she had been at work, she wouldn’t have been able to watch The Simpsons. What can I say—I’m a freakin’ genius.
“Very ingenious. Like I said, you seem very alert this morning.”
“And like I said, I seem to be on a roll. So what’s the big idea, man? Why’d you bail on us?”
“Do you want to know the truth?”
People are always running around the planet asking each other stupid questions. Among the top, at least in my opinion, are the ones like, “How are you doing?” “How many other men have you slept with?” and “Was it good for you?” These are questions that we just don’t need to ask. Questions like these, they mostly have answers that we just cannot deal with. Oh, we’ll tell ourselves we can deal with them, we’re tough, we just need to know. But that’s all a big lie. Questions like these, they are better left unanswered, because we generally don’t want to know the truth.
And then you have the top of the list: Do you want to know the truth? This question is easy enough to answer, but it seems like nobody ever answers it right. No, that’s the correct answer. Because none of us really want the truth. I don’t care what you tell me about how you can handle the truth, about how the truth shall set you free, how honesty is the best policy. Pick your cliché—it doesn’t matter which one—and I’ll call you full of shit. We generally don’t want to know the truth, because it usually just turns out to be something that will make us get really depressed and then run out and buy like three bottles of whiskey and then sit around and drink them and watch daytime television, which is even more depressing, and then about the only thing to do is to try to drown yourself in the bathtub or play some video games or something.
The amazing thing to me is the huge number of morons who will say something stupid in answer to this question, something like “yes.”
“Of course not,” I said.
“I lost both of my legs in a recent car accident.”
I had no idea how to reply to that statement. I mean, I’m used to ME having the worst luck in the world. “Are you serious?”
“Of course not.”
“You’re evil,” I said. “You’re not supposed to joke about stuff like that.”
“It wasn’t a joke as much as it was just a flat-out lie.”
“Still. Fine, so tell me the truth.”
“It’s too cheesy.”
“Just tell me.”
“The thing is, man…I don’t know—it’s hard to talk about. You and Arnie, I’ve kind of gotten to like you, you know?”
“What’s not to like?”
“We don’t have time for a list like that.”
“Hey, that’s funny.” If sarcasm could literally drip off your tongue, I probably would have drowned myself.
“So I kind of like the two of you. And I mean, you know, like friends, not just a couple of buffoons who are constantly bumbling into trouble and falling down and making me laugh. I mean, you still do that, and it’s great. But…”
She left it hanging there, like I would be able to fill in the rest or something. But I’ve never understood what the hell chicks are talking about, so I just had to wait. I thought about telling her to just finish the sentence, I didn’t have all day, but I do know enough about women to know that you don’t say something like that in a moment like this unless you really want to piss them off.
Chicks need their little moments of feelings, emotions, and drama to get through day to day life, I think, and if you dare to rob them of these things while they’re really getting into it, God help you. But He won’t, because He even put that one part in the Bible about how Hell hath no fury and whatever, so you’re basically on your own. What I’m saying is, when a chick’s getting all soap opera on your ass about whatever, the last thing you want to do is bring her back down to the real world where life really isn’t that important.
So I just waited.
“It really freaked me out, you guys almost getting killed. I mean, the scene at the gas station was bad enough, with all those guys and guns and stuff. But then when that guy kidnapped you, and Arnie got shot-“
“Oh, please! Arnie BARELY got shot! In the movies, he wouldn’t even have gotten a bandage for that kind of wound.”
“Yeah, well believe it or not, this isn’t the movies, Howie. It’s not the movies, it’s not a comic book, it’s not cartoons. This is real life, and you need to start dealing with it as such.” Oddly enough, this is almost word for word the exact same speech my last three girlfriends had used when breaking up with me.
“You know what’s weird? That’s almost word for word the same speech my last three girlfriends have used when breaking up with me. Is that thing on the internet somewhere, or do they just teach it to chicks in school?”
“I’m not breaking up with you.”
“You’re breaking up with me and Arnie, both, dude. You’re dumping us.”
“I’m not dumping you. It’s just really hard to watch the people you care about as they’re about to get killed. Can’t you understand that?”
“You want to talk about hard, you should try being the fat bastard in the line of fire.”
“It’s not a competition, you jack-ass! I’m just saying I can’t do it anymore.”
“What’s going on?” That was Arnie. He looked all sleepy-eyed and out of it, like he was trying to wake up. I figured he had just woken up, but it’s kind of hard to tell with Arnie, because he always looks like that.
“Mandy’s breaking up with us.”
“I’m not breaking up with you, you weird-o.”
“What did we do?” Arnie asked.
“We almost got killed.”
“I thought chicks dug stuff like that. Remember in that movie Speed? Sandra Bullock was all over that guy after they almost died.”
“And Lost Boys,” I said. “That part where they got away from the bad vampires.”
“Yeah, just about any horror flick ever made, really.”
“Or action movie,” I said. “Just about any movie ever made, if there’s a guy that about gets killed, there’s some chick to fall in love right after.”
“This is real life, you morons!” Mandy sounded a little flustered. “This is not the movies!”
“Hey, isn’t that what that one girl said when she broke up with you?” Arnie asked. “Jessie?”
“And Tina,” I said.
“And Tammi,” Arnie said.
“No, Tammie was the stripper at that one club. What she said was, ‘Unless you have another sixty-five dollars, you’re going to have to stop doing that.’ You’re thinking of Liz.”
“Oh, yeah, Liz. And Jessie.”
“You already said Jessie.”
“Oh.” He stood there for a second, trying to think of any other girlfriends that had broken up with me because I was stuck in a perpetual state of immaturity.
“That was all of them,” I said.
“But you didn’t almost get killed with any of them,” Arnie said.
“Would you two shut up for a second so that I can finish my piece?” Mandy asked.
“Maybe she’s just falling in love with one of us. Or BOTH of us.”
“There’s an idea,” I said to him. “Is that what this is all about, Mandy? You’re falling in love with one or both of us?”
“Oh, HELL no!”
“I’ll bet that’s it,” Arnie said. “She knows us as friends, and she doesn’t want to ruin that relationship, right? But each time we go out to fight crime, she just falls harder and harder. But she’s scared. She’s scared to open up, she’s scared to acknowledge her feelings, she’s scared these feelings won’t be reciprocated, she’s scared she’ll get hurt.”
“Okay, you know what? You’re both insane!”
“Just admit you’re falling in love, and we’ll be fine with the fact that you can’t be around us anymore,” I said.
“That’s insane. You know, at first, I just wanted a little distance, I just didn’t want to see the two of you about to get hurt or killed. But after this talk, I’m kind of looking forward to it. I’ll see you tonight.” And then she logged off.
“That was pretty good, man,” I said to Arnie, “With all that ‘scared’ crap. Where’d you hear that?”
“Some asshole programmed my TV to switch on to Oprah ever morning at three. I can’t figure out how to turn it off, so I’ve been listening to that nonsense everyday for about three days now.”
I laughed, and felt good about the day. Mandy was going to be around tonight, and Arnie still hadn’t been able to fix the damage I had wreaked on his television—the programming of his television to turn on for Oprah re-runs at three in the morning had seemed like a pretty low blow at the time, but I felt good about it now. I smiled.
“Was it you?” He asked me.
“No, man, I wouldn’t do that to you.”
“Could you help me figure out how to re-program it?”
“No, man. You need to learn how to do these things by yourself.”
I grabbed a couple of Hot Pockets out of my little freezer and tossed them into the microwave. I generally dread good days, because it means I’ll have to pay extra hard later, but I was actually enjoying myself. I figured what the heck—if I had to pay for this nice feeling pretty soon, anyway, I might as well enjoy it now.
A good cliff hanger at this point would be to say something like, “Will Portly Boy pay for his good time?” Something like that. But I think we all know that I will. So I’ll leave you with this, instead:
How will Portly Boy have to pay for his good time? What manner of evil awaits? And will Arnie drink himself to death? To find out, join us next time, SAME FAT TIME, SAME FAT CHANNEL!