Lips pulled back, it looked as if he had what might be called a sardonic grin. But no, it was no grin and his lips weren't pulled back as much as thinned. Age does that - thins the lips. Even pussy lips! What with the loss of subcutaneous fat, elastin and collagen, old people are notorious for their atrophied sneers, dry teeth and bad breath.
Every day, at least once and often twice, Alfred Gomes shops at the Winn Dixie on Military Trail. Some years back, six to be precise, he and Erna Sturdivant-Gomes moved to a Florida flat topper in Snug Harbor. For eleven months a year the street was ho-hum but during the Christmas holiday season things go kerfluey. Al was one of those people who went overboard with the need to decorate the house, making the move there logical. But even the best laid plans...
Erna's number had come up snake eyes. Two malignancies in two years almost killed her. Who beats pancreas and then colon? Well, she did... until Doctor Massaluonga overdosed her chemotherapy and left her without a white cell. Whether it was West Nile or hantavirus is irrelevant. The octogenarian died septic a year ago. Sad Alfred. Dead Erna...
Funny thing about skinny 80 year old men, they look like skeletons covered in skin. That is, once they lose their wives. While this observation is difficult to explain, even Al has come to learn that this is a fact. Florida is a grand place to study pre-death phenomena, inasmuch as 14% of the population is within three months of dying at any given time. That is, except in December when old people hold on until New Years Day making January a high mortality month.
Today's news has Al buzzy. He can't wait to see Sam. Ole Manalapan has been overrun with antisemitic graffiti. Houses owned by Jews have been defiled with swastikas and "kill the Jews" blather. These kinds of things get old men going, brain Viagra... While Sam remains filled with life's entropy (a job will do that), retired Gomes lives news piece to news piece with a clear head.
As for Gomes, his grandfather on his mother's side was a Jew... Abe Rosenstein. Abe, who lived with his family in New Bedford MA, was not a religious man nor much of Jew for that matter. His children were raised Portuguese. Maria Rosentein Gomes was not considered Jewish and the Hebraic lineage died off like a cinched mole with her and her three brothers. Nonetheless, a person NEVER forgets his roots. Thus, the Manalapan red face was more than general news to Al. It was a slur, a hateful example of what people there can be!
But, no luck today... Sam is on vacation with the grand kids. Al has no one to mouth guzzle. As he cruises the aisles in the hope of finding a chat buddy, the best he can do is Nelly Sidewates. But he is young and dense (Nelly that is) and the pimple faced clerk is only interested in his lowered Honda Civic. That is, until Gomes espies Dottie Rae standing behind the pharmacy counter, tits apert and lips full and red. Moving in her direction as if his hips didn't hurt, he smiles. No lips, all teeth, he could be a rabid dog as he approaches.
Hey Alfred, see ya' got sandals goin'. Old men in sandals with black socks, yuck! Dottie was dissing him but he didn't know it, making it all the more fun for her.
Was lookin' for Sam, but he's out...
Yea, with Julie and her kids... sweatin' Disney. Never could understand how anybody goes there in the summer. So what's with you... like your dripping from the mouth.
Oh man, up there in Jersey, where Sam and me come from, they are doing stuff against the Jews. It was not that kind of town when I lived there.
Ummm, people can be so mean... and insensitive. Hey, you a Jew? Dottie Rae was between men and she had decided that she ought to get herself a rich old man. Her well worn plan was to find one with money, fuck him to death and live loaded ever after. In her underpowered mind, all Jews were moneyed.
No, well, sort of... non practicing if ya' kno' what I mean?
Yeah, I know what you mean. She lied.
He went on for a full five minutes. She could see his lipless mouth moving, but all she heard were blah-blahs. She knew he was widowed and he lived in Snug Harbor and that he took meds for his prostate and cholesterol. No cardiac meds... a bad sign. Allegric to penicillin. Maybe he has a strong heart? As he concluded with the word, darn, she took her shot.
Any chance we could, ya' kno', have a coffee or sumthin'? Dottie looked like a school girl, a rehearsed one at that.
Taken off guard, Alfred stammered. Er, er, well yeah... sure.
Dottie Rae Jeppers is 59. Married three times, widowed three times. The first man, Bobbie Jeppers died in a motorcycle crash. The other two fellas, Sidney Abrams and Sheldon June, died from bad hearts. Those guys passed on in '07 and '10, respectively. Too bad that Sidney was bankrupt and Sheldon's kids got all of his inheritance. And both of them had small cocks to boot! If at first you don't succeed, try, try again... is her mantra!
Great... Oh Al, may I call you Al?... do you have any children?
Yes and No... Erna was barren.
Dottie Rae thought "GREAT", but said sorry to hear that. You would have been a great Dad...
Oh she added, How's Saturday for you? Say Friday's for lunch... my treat. 1 PM.
Al, having recovered, spittle said, You bet but only if you let me pay. After all I am gentleman. Indeed! As he turned to leave, he de-lipped to the max showing gum to her. He not so furtively glanced at her rack, which was ample. And the beat goes on...