My friend, crime novelist Charlie "Charlie Opera" Stella is also a gym rat. Due to a combination of factors including being busy with professional priorities and laziness, he strayed from his passion for quite some time. Recently he informed me that his hiatus from the workout room is over. (See his blog at: temporaryknucksline.blogspot.com).
The part of Charlie's news flash I liked best was his proclamation, "The 'Bull' is back!" He was referring to his high school nickname and that he had bench pressed 392 pounds, cold turkey." He also bragged, “Not bad for a fifty-six year old. Hell, you should've seen the shocked faces of the babes struggling to lift half that weight.” He looked at me with an odd expression when I said, “Your admirers would have been even more impressed if you told them that in dog years, you'd be the same age as the 392 you lifted.”
Later on FACEBOOK, I congratulated him again and added, “Even if I used the dog year conversion chart in reverse, I doubt I could lift fifty-six pounds.”
On FACEBOOK, Charlie occasionally writes hilarious dialog sequences involving his mother...that may or may not have have actually happened. As homage to both of them, here’s my feeble attempt to address the passage above:
C – (enters his mother's apartment) Hi mom. Why aren't you watching your "MENTALIST" reruns.
M - The rat bastids put golf on.
(They both laugh)
M – Where were ya? You were supposed to be here at 4:30.
C – You’re breaking my balls over ten minutes…can’t I at least get a decent hello kiss.
M – Kiss ya? I don’t want ya near me. Ya stink like ya been fishin’ off Fountain Avenue Pier.
C – I went back to the gym and came straight to you. I benched 392. (He sarcastically bends towards her and puckers his lips),
M – Who’s the Patron Saint of not giving a shit! Where’s my Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and chocolate cruller?
C – No really. You have seen the faces on the gorilla-juice-heads…
M – Heh?
C - The young guys at the gym who think they know what's what...
M - Those young bastids’ll be more impressed with me when I slap ya face with a Fountain Avenue white fish…
C – Oy vey mom. You know what oy vey means?
M – Yeah. It’s Latin for, my son has shit for brains…
C – Fuhgeddaboudit! The coffee’s here…
M – Even Stevie Wonder could see that...but something’s missin’…
C – I got the coffee but (points to his belly) we don’t need any more doughnuts.
M – Are ya out of your friggin’ mind? After three years, ya go to the gym once...
C – Wait a second…
M – No you wait! I know ya better than you know you. In the morning, you’ll call and be cryin’ like a baby; I’m dyin’ over here, I’m sore, I pulled a muscle, blah, blah, blah.…And then you’ll stick a nipple in a bottle of Chivas…and good-bye gym till the twelth of never.
C – No ma not this time…I weighed myself yesterday and already lost a pound…
M – Whaddya moron or what? You losing a pound, is like Bayonne losin' a mosquito…
C – There was a time when I could count on you for support…
M – Fatso, you want some damned support? Before I stick my boot up your ass, get me my cruller. You’re on the clock for forty minutes…and don’t come back without a shower or Sunday’s dinner will be catered by friggin' Chef Boyardee...and the spaghetti sauce will be out of a jar.
On my way to work, the same night that Charlie informed me that he was back in the gym, I was running late going to work. While I was speeding through Galloway, I got the idea to write my above version of Charlie's conversations with his mother.
At about 7:30, on a bright sun-shiny early evening, I turned right onto Route-9, (one lane in each direction). I accelerated to fifty as I passed the country club. In the distance, a sleek red Jaguar convertible came out of the health spa parking lot and made a right. In a matter of seconds, I was applying my brakes in this 40 MPH zone as this fancy car with Quebec license plates preceded at 20-25 miles per hour.
I was cursing my bad luck as our ally from the great white north puttered along like he was taking the fifty-cent tour. My frustration was mounting as the next three miles of twisting road made it dangerous for passing. On the rare straight-aways, the poorly timed traffic from the opposite directions sealed my snail's paced fate.
In the next town, (Absecon), Route-9 branches off. I was hoping Pierre-Froggy would turn but he didn’t. I didn’t want to jeopardize my perfect attendance at work and recognized that this residential area would be my last chance to pass the slow-poke. I thought I had my opportunity but as I veered to pass, an oncoming car zoomed into view.
I resigned myself to making up time later, on the causeway into Atlantic City when suddenly, Frenchy slammed his brakes. An adult-sized deer ran into his path, crossed Shore Road and leapt over a five-foot chicken wire fence that was hidden by bushes. While the Quebecer was counting his blessings, I inched around him and continued my race to work.
In a short time, I realized how close I came to meeting that deer, “up close and personal.” I managed to get in on time but was weighed down by the bloody scenarios that were churning in my mind.
I had been looking forward to writing a rough blog draft about Charlie and his mom. Instead, I told everyone at work about my narrow escape from hitting that deer.
I must admit, I felt anger towards the other driver. But on the way home that night, I was thinking evil thoughts about that deer. There are so many deer accident stories that don’t have happy endings, (I was reminded that my reader THEDONALD totaled his truck in May and was fortunate to escape without injury).
Luckily, as rage against animals surged through me, no squirrels, rabbits or aardvarks crossed my path. The trip home at 4:00AM was uneventful until I pulled into my driveway. In the dark, contrasted by the white aluminum siding next to my front door, I saw two silhouettes, the size and shape of El Stinkadora cigars. They of course were my arch enemies…slugs.
At that ungodly hour, all I usually want is, to take off my uniform and vegetate. But at that moment, I was ready to drop my personal comforts to kill these bastards. But if you know anything about slugs, always remember, you don’t want to handle those slimy buggers in any way.
I didn’t have any weapons or protective gear…but I was impatient. So rather than going inside and taking newspapers from the recyclables, I lifted my right leg high and smooshed the slug that was lower on the wall.
My second target seemed just as easy except it was a little higher and in the small alcove that separates the siding from the door's wood frame. In explicably, I missed. I raised my vengeful shoe again, nipped the frame and re-missed my target. By the time I missed five times, my dog Roxy (aka Muttzilla) was barking her head off.
Due to fatigue, I was having difficulty raising my foot high enough for another attack. I didn’t want the dog to wake-up the whole house so I mulled changing my strategy. But this was no time to get fancy...or use my hand. Motivated by hatred, adrenaline careened from my brain, through my body and into my right foot. With one last gasp of strength, I strained to get my leg higher and aimed carefully, at my obscured yet stationary objective.
Eureka! It was a direct hit! Bullseye!
In the foyer, I pet my trusty watchdog and took off my shoes. My first step to the garage (to toss in my splatter soiled shoes), I came up limping. I couldn’t believe it; I sprained my big toe killing the goddamned second slug.
Something tells me, if my mother was around to hear that I was hobbled for two days from smooshing a slug, she would have sounded just like Charlie’s mom.. Anyone see the nipple for my