“You’re really stupid,” said the child.
“No I’m not. You are.”
“She’s right,” said Toad.
We were under the awning of a beach restaurant, Toad and I, watching women, mostly topless, while our own women frolicked in the sea. Me, anyway. Toad was at his phone studying stocks. The rich do that. They study stocks. I study bare breasts.
“Right about what?”
“She’s not stupid. You are.”
“Fuck off, Toad.”
“I’m just sayin’.”
“I’m telling mommy you said that.”
I waved the child away as one would whisk at a fly.
“I can do anything I want,” it said.
“So can I.”
“No you can’t.”
“Yes, he can,” said Toad, scarcely glancing up.
I made a face at the child.
“Just because mommy pays for you!”
“So? Too bad.”
“I can make you un-stupid,” said the child.
“No thanks. I’m good.”
Some women in string bottoms paused in front of us, surveying the restaurant.
“Are you staring at me?” said one of them.
“How can you tell that through my sunglasses?”
“Very clever. Whenever I meet a woman who’s smarter than I am, I fall in love.”
“He falls in love with a lot of women,” said the child.
If it suddenly turned blue and started to choke, I would watch with interest.
“I’m smarter than you are.”
“I said woman. A little pimple like you doesn’t count.”
The ladies smirked and strolled on, jiggling impossibly smooth cheeks. I checked Toad to see if he shared this moment, but he was poking his phone.
“Greed, Toad. Simple greed.”
In the sea Marcie stood knee-deep, the adipose on her inner thighs an incitement to the teeth. When I meet a woman who’s less intelligent than I am I allow myself to be fallen in love with. Which is all right too. Big warm vacant blue eyes, and irresistibly rich—in charm, in money, and she has me!
Beside her was Toad’s teenage bride, an exquisite little thing, if she could be restrained from plucking at her underwear. When you look like Toad you have to be real rich to get a woman like Darleen.
She looked back at me with longing, poor cupcake. I am her dream; Toad, her semi-reptilian reality.
I looked over at him, slaving away.
A fat woman paused before us, one of those flippers-and-flab monsters that once in a while wash up, limp, shining, unidentifiable, but with a human head and mammalian extrusions, for she too was topless. One had to suppose she was wearing a string bottom, but her buttocks and overhang obscured it, and even the patch on her mouse was lost in there.
She squinted into the darkened restaurant and shouted to the waiter, “Aren’t there any more chairs out here?”
“You can sit on Toby,” said the child.
It indicated myself, and before I could think of a decent demur the sea creature sized me up and dropped her naked mass onto my lap.
“Why don’t you take him?”
“Sure. You just have to feed him.”
As the blood drained from my thighs she gave me a second appraisal. “OK.”
I squirmed under her weight, but she took this for foreplay and ground her stuff on me. “You’re good-looking.”
“Thank you. Don’t you have any restraint?”
“Where you from?”
Typical American question. Don’t answer. Could be a process server.
She presented her front as if to nurse me when—
“Tobee!” said Marcie, “what are you doing?”
“She’s taking him away,” said the child.
Marcie marched over and absorbed this. “Oh, yeah?”
“Get off him, Lard-Ball,” said Darleen. “He’s ours.”
“Darleen!” said Toad.
“Whatsa matter with you, Toad? Ain’t you got no esprit de corpse?” And to the large lady, “Get your jelly bag up and moving!”
But I had now become territory to be defended, and there was no sign of retreat.
Marcie, hands on hips, glared at me. “Toby! Why is she sitting on you?”
I stretched around my ravisher and pointed at the child. “Andrea did it.”
“Andrea!” said Marcie, fixing the child with maternal wrath.
“So? He’s just a big ding-dong!”
Darleen put her nose to the squatter’s. “You better git to gittin’. What do I have to do, call a fork-lift?”
My burden tilted and rolled to her feet, at which I withdrew my knees and crossed my legs in the other direction.
A moment of danger as the women faced each other. Then my assailant waddled away, rolling the topography of her dorsal surface. “There’s no chairs here anyway.”
Marcie sat on my lap and hugged me. “Boy, Toby!”
“I’m all right,” I said. “She almost got me.”
Indeed, I could not but reflect upon the fragility of my situation.
“See?” said the child. “Now you’re not so stupid.”