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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mary Be Squeezy

Neatly coiffed, hands clasped behind our backs, Mary and I rock gently on our heels, striving for a look that says both “I’m here to serve” and “Please don’t ask me for anything”.

We are standing in the banquet hall, just outside the swinging kitchen doors.

Church service over, a 30-minute bar/reception follows.

Christmas dinner is right around the corner.

“You look nice,” I say.

“No, you look nice,” Mary says.

Ice waters filled to a three-quarters height, butter pats and creams center-table, silverware inspected, we await the storm that will be the next four hours.

“Oy vey,” Mary says.

A man in a suit, comfortably nestled between “old” and “elderly”, is approaching with a surprisingly sturdy gait.

“Mary!” he shouts.

My head swivels to the right, where I watch a blush creep up Mary’s neck.

“You know this guy?” I say out of the side of my mouth.

“Everybody knows me,” she mutters.

The man in the suit wraps an arm around Mary’s shoulders, rubs her upper arm vigorously. “How’re ya, sweetheart? Say, I’m wondering what a guy’s gotta do around here to get a glass of ice water. Can you do that for me, sweetheart?”

Mary, ever the sweetheart, can indeed get this guy a glass of ice water.

I follow her into the back. “No, seriously,” I say, “How does he know your name?”

She shakes her head. “When I was setting up that table just outside the double doors, he was out there.”

“Did he hug you then, too?”

“I’m irresistible to the old guys,” she says, wide-eyed. “They want to squeeze me.”

It’s true. “You’ll probably get a proposal out of the evening.”

“Shaddap,” she says pleasantly.

Thirty minutes later, and Mary comes flying into the back kitchen. “Ack!” We’d just finished serving the salads: huge, glass-bowled affairs passed around tables of eight, family-style. I hold out a piece of fresh fruit to calm her nerves.

“That’s not going to help,” she says, popping it into her mouth. “Mmmm,” she says, “pineapple.”

“So what’s going on?”

She dabs at her lips, checks her lipstick in the polished steel of the hand-towel dispenser. “Do I look like I want to be hugged to you?”

“I personally find you almost indescribably attractive,” I say.

She narrows her eyes at me. “Why I oughta…”

“Why you little…”

We laugh.

“You busy? Come with me. Watch this.”

I follow her out to the floor, where she is engulfed by old- to elderly men. “Mary!” they shout.

“You gotta meet Pearl,” she says, grinning. She pushes me forward.

“Pearl!” they shout.

One of them throws an arm around Mary, rubs her on the back. “You’re nice people, you know that? You’re just nice people.”

And we smile at each other.

Because, darn it. We’re just nice people.

Nice, huggable people.


vanilla said...

Nice, huggable, irresistable people!

NotesFromAbroad said...

Pearl, if I saw you today ( in real life in person) I would hug you. and Mary too.

Shelly said...

I can identify with this in several ways.

ThreeOldKeys said...

Why am I thinking of Cheers?

Because everyone yelled "Norm!" when he came into the bar. You wanna go where everyone knows your name.

joeh said...

I often have to resist the urge to hug, but i limit it to shameless flirting. I am now so glad that I resist the urge.

There is something about the age between creepy/inappropriate, and harmless old fool that makes one want to be a huger.

Anonymous said...

Old guys get away with lots of stuff.

Joanne Noragon said...

Personally I consider them old lechers. They hugged too personally in their younger days, too.

jenny_o said...

Old guys don't want to hug me. They do want to talk to me, though. What does that mean? Is that a good thing? And can we please define "old"? This conversation is taking an alarming turn. Because I'M old. How old IS old? The same age as your parents?

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
((((HUGS)))) YAM xx

Elephant's Child said...

And did they hug you too? Sometimes those men have more arms (with sticky tentacles attached) and an octopus...

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

You have yo watch out for those guys that are nestled between old and elderly. Remember that old saying, while there might be snow on the rooftop, there is fire in the furnace.

River said...

If I was there I'd hug you both too, but I'd ask first, that's my way.

Catalyst/Taylor said...

I've been told that hugging a waitress is rude. I've been told that more than once.

Linda O'Connell said...

A squeeze, a hug, pat on the back without a tip is considered a free feel, isn't it?

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Now I want to go and hug someone

Daisy said...

Hmm. Well, at least she shared the love! Haha! :D