Once upon a time when my kids were still small and I still lived in Fresno and was still married to a beautiful, young boy who liked ice hockey, Nascar, Coors Light, and shooting large hunting rifles at small woodland creatures, our little family had dinner one Friday evening at Denny’s. I know it was a Friday because if we wanted to eat out, we had to wait until Friday when he got his paycheck from his job as a welder so that we could pay for it. I was a stay-at-home mommy who liked typing things, reading books about Anne Sexton, eating marinated artichoke hearts with my fingers, and dreaming of a life far, far away from the orchards and fields that quite literally surrounded our tiny, little farmhouse with The Too-Yellow Kitchen.
As per our usual, my husband was eating a cheeseburger and fries, the girls were eating grilled cheese sammies and vegetable soup, and because Hunter was still a baby, I ate my own dinner — spaghetti and meatballs — with my right hand, while nursing him on my left. Young, working-class, Fresno family HEAVEN.
A few minutes into our meal, a trio of strapping, handsome, young men — like late 20’s — came in and sat down in the booth right behind me. All three were wearing brown UPS uniforms and seemed really happy that it was Friday. They ordered a couple of platters of nachos from the waitress, and cold beers to wash them down. As we ate and laughed and talked about our week, they ate and laughed and talked about theirs. They were in great spirits, looking forward to a weekend of lying on the couch, watching Fresno State football, and fucking their girlfriends.
As the beers multiplied and the jovial, celebratory conversation progressed, the language turned saltier and saltier, with “fucking this” and “motherfucking that” being liberally peppered throughout with pretty much no concern for volume nor present company. They were having a GREAT TIME…without a care in the world. As it should be when you are young and everything is still new and exciting and filled with endless possibilities — especially a goddamned weekend for which you have been package-delivering, dog-dodging, and straight-gunning for five days straight in 100+ degree heat.
As I eavesdropped on the big boy banter behind me, my wicked brain kicked into gear. I unpopped my infant son’s pink mouth from my pink nipple, stared a 1000 yard stare through the refrigerated pie case…and smirked the timeless smirk of A Jackal.
And so, we finished our chow, gathered our babies, grabbed our check off the table…and as myself, my husband, and our three gorgeous larvae passed their table, I paused, took a deep breath, mustered up all the moral outrage that I was able, and turned to confront the boys in brown. I stood there staring at them, my baby son perched on my left hip, and said in a soft, Southern accent dripping with righteous indignation, like I was channeling the awesome Piper Laurie in “Carrie” — a voice that I had not even planned on using and which came from out of nowhere:
“Yes, I just wanted to stop and meet the three gentlemen who ruined our lovely dinner with their loud, vulgar language. My husband works hard all week to support our little family, a family that I stay home with so that they might be raised by the mother who brought them into this world, instead of some step-stranger with bootcut sideburns, roadhouse whiskey on his breath, and roamin’ fingers, like I was. So, consequently, we can only afford one dinner out a month here at Denny’s, our favorite family restaurant by the freeway…and I just want to let you boys know that you completely ruined it. My children have have never, ever heard such vile verbiage in their entire young Christian lives. What you have done here this evening is both a moral and ethical outrage. And furthermore, not only have you disrupted our one family meal out with your profanity, drunkenness, and just general carryin’ on, but you have done so whilst wearing the proud uniform of your noble employer. I am sure that you will all be glad to know that I have taken the liberty of copying down the license plate numbers from your trio of brown trucks parked outside — and I shall be contacting UPS first thing Monday morning to report your unconscionable, disgraceful, godless behavior whilst publicly representing their fine corporation. Your asses are mine, boys. Good evening…and may god have mercy on your souls.”
The looks on all three of their faces simply cannot be described. The absolute TERROR that I saw in their eyes was seriously indescribable. They were so shocked and horrified that they just sat there, beers in mid-pull, mouths agape. I sensed buttholes puckering all around.
I moved from face to face, glaring the best Almira Gulch grimace I could muster. And, then, suddenly, I flashed them a dazzling smile, tossed my head to one side, waved one flaming hand in the air like Charles Nelson-Reilly on Match Game, snapped my fingers, worked my neck, and said, “Naaah. I was just fuckin’ witcha.”
It took a moment for it to register, but when it did, the whooping and hollering and belly laughter of relief was EPIC.
“HOLY SHIT…YOU TOTALLY FUCKING HAD US GOING!”
“Oh, my god, lady…you scared the living shit out of us! We thought we were fired for sure!”
“Dude, seriously…I THINK I MY SHORTS MIGHT BE AS BROWN ON THE INSIDE AS THEY ARE ON THE OUTSIDE.”
And then one of them — a tall, blond, corn-fed boy with a sweet face who looked rather like an Austrian shotputter — was apparently so overjoyed and so relieved, that he actually stood up from the table, picked both me and my baby son up in his BUTCH, PACKAGE-CHUCKIN’ ARMS, and spun us around in the air, like we were all in an alpine dance number on the side of a mountaintop with the fucking Family VonTrapp.
May Maud bless and protect all those who wear brown and bravely deliver our trinkets, treats, and treasures — through rain, heat, sleet, snow…and CRAZY BITCHES LIKE THIS:
don’t ever stop bringing your special brand of golden crazy, pony girl.