Big Mary

She wasn’t all that big, actually. Five-five, five-six, tops. And what would you call it, being charitable—heavyset? Plus-size? Somebody within earshot gave a low whistle when she walked in the door at Gabe’s one afternoon and said, “Wow, she’s a whole lotta lovin’, isn’t she?” Which was all right, I suppose, if that was your taste, and it wasn’t mine, or not that I was aware of before things started up between us. She was a blonde, or mostly, though sometimes it was hard to tell because she didn’t wash her hair all that much. As for her style, it was retro by default—she seemed to have two dresses only, probably from the thrift store, one black with red flowers on it and one red with black flowers. She was drunk on pitcher beer and shots of Southern Comfort about 88 percent of the time, and where she got her money nobody knew because she’d dropped out of school and didn’t have a job, unless it was in the mornings when nobody was stirring except A-types and the guy who chucked the newspaper out the window of his car. “Maybe she delivers newspapers,” I quipped when she went to the restroom, which got everybody laughing, and then Stuart chimed in with, “Nah, she probably works down at the Dairy Queen,” and I didn’t get the reference at first, but then I did: dairy equals milk and milk equals tits. Or udders, anyway.

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