Fat Head
A Short Story by Jim McCollum
Written using the suggestion "Lincoln"
Originally featured on 08-17-2007
As part of our series "In Presidence"

You know your own stink is bad when you can smell it, and let me tell you, I had a terrible funk going when I got out of my Lincoln Towncar and walked up the drive. I had been on the road for a long time. The driveway was made up of these sparkly white rocks; it looked ok. The doorbell was the bellybutton of a naked baby angel, and I rang it.

“Hello?”

I punched him in the face.

“That’s for trying to fuck my girlfriend, Fat-head.” I said.

I got back into my car, and put the radio on as I drove away. I got a McDonald’s Coke because I needed the ice for my hand. It swoll up.

When I got home, my girlfriend huffed around the apartment, stomping real loud instead of just walking. When I tried to kiss her, she said she didn’t feel like “my baby” right then.

“You’re pissed because I punched Fat-head?”

“His name is Mike, and he’s my friend.”

“Friends, whatever, sure,” I said, “He was saying all sorts of nasty things about you.”

“Only because he thought you were me!”

“That don’t change nothing.”

“He only said those things,” she breathed for effect, “because you were chatting with him, logged in as me, and talking all sweet to him. He would never say anything naughty about me otherwise, he told me so, and he said he ‘respects me.’”

“You talked to him?”

“How else do you think I found out you drove all the way out there just to punch him in the nose?”

“That does it! Now I’m going to bust more than his face!”

I got up to go, and truth be truth, and lies left aside, I would have done terrible harm to that boy. That is, if Theresa hadn’t stopped me.

“Sit down,” she said, grabbing my arm. “I just can’t be with you any longer.” She sat down beside me, and then she cried. She kept crying while she packed up her things.

I followed her, and watched her put things into a garbage bag.

When she left, I sat on the shitter and cried. I ain’t got no luck with women. All the murder I had in my heart for old Fat-head left me then, and I didn’t even feel like destroying him when I saw him with Theresa later. What I felt was entirely different.

I was walking through the mall with my bag of artifacts when I saw them, eating frosty treats and watching the ice skaters on the rink. A girl in a sequined skirt balanced on a single leg, and then launched through the air, spinning and sparkling like a comet shedding ice, or maybe some other outer space miracle.

He pointed me out before I got to them, and she saw me too, but then turned back to the ice rink.

“What do you want?” he said.

“Theresa, how’s it going?”

She didn’t say anything. He put his arm around her, and she sipped her frosty treat drink.

“Are you looking for something?” He asked.

“Fat-head?” I grinned at him. “I didn’t recognize you at first, you look different somehow.” I made a nose crinking gesture with my hand. He reached up to feel the bend in his nose, where I had busted it.

“Arney!” Theresa said, “I wish you’d just leave me and Mike alone?”

“Fine,” I said, “Alls I wanted to do was to say hi.”

I would have forgotten about her and everything, but I just didn’t believe her. I just didn’t think she was happy. I knew that somehow, I had to win her back from Fat-head. She would never be happy with him; I could imagine her at night, lying awake because her shoulder hurt too much from his big head leaning on her, having to rub his temples when he got head-aches, and always getting rained on, because his noggin took up too much room under the umbrella. I realized then that Theresa was too beautiful for that. I walked over to the other side of the ice rink and watched her with Fat-head. She didn’t say anything to him, her head was tilted to one side, on account of his leaning his forehead on her, and they just stood there. Everything seemed to become dimmer as I watched them. The ice skater seemed to shimmer less, the ice became dull, and the neon signs all around seemed to fade; the only bright think in the whole damn mall was Theresa. No, someone like her can’t stick with Fat-head.

Well, maybe I didn’t realize that all right away because I got some food first. I got my red ball cap from my bag and put on my fanny pack. I had some rainbow suspenders I strapped on too, and then I put my shoes on the wrong feet. There’s this one place that has the best Cajun Chicken, and I needed some Cajun Chicken right then. I went up to the store and watched the sign for a while, and then they asked me if I wanted a free sample. I nodded, and then I grabbed their whole sample tray.

“Hey, you only get one!” The girl said.

“Uhmm-duh, duh, duh” I said back, trying to act as retarded as I could.

“Oh, he comes here sometimes,” the manager said, “He’s retarded.”

“Oh,” the girl said, “Do…you…want…more?”

I nodded.

“Just don’t give him too many,” the manager scowled.

After eating chicken, I felt strong. I still had more to do before I could win Theresa back though. I had my bag of artifacts, where I used to keep my most valuable possessions. I had some other stuff to give to people too; greeting cards, lists of people I hate/hated, that sort of thing. I had some stuff that was worth a lot of money though, including a special locket that my mom gave me before she died. It shone really brightly because I polished it each day, and it had a picture of my mom in it. I felt sad when I traded it to the lady at the kiosk for some flowers, chocolates, and a teddy bear, but I had to; those are the kinds of things girls like.

“THERESA!” I said, over the ice rink speakers, “THERESA, YOU ARE THE ONLY GIRL FOR ME!”

She looked up and saw me. She didn’t look happy.

I left the booth, and I went down on one knee, something I’ve never done for a girl before. “Theresa, I love you,” I said, and I gave her the flowers, chocolates, and the bear.

Theresa looked mad for a second, and then her face changed, I knew I had her, because she looked like one of those old movie stars; her eyes sparkled like diamonds.

“Just what the hell are you trying to pull?” Fat-head tried to get between me and Theresa.

I punched him in the face.

He went down, but then got up and hit me back. Truth be truth, I didn’t know Fat-head could hit that hard. I got dizzy for a second, and I saw him wind up again.

“Hey, someone’s trying to beat up that retarded kid!” The girl from the Cajun Chicken place yelled.

Never again will I underestimate mall security because they really took down old Fat-head pretty quick. Of course, his head is such a large target that he’s pretty easy to hit with a nightstick.

“Theresa,” I said, when we were in my Lincoln Towncar, “you are my baby, and you always will be to me.”

I kissed her, and she kissed me back.

“I love you too Arney.”

Read More By Jim McCollum

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