Trout is truly a nice person. Mamie and I agree there’s no way Trout would ever do something deliberately to hurt anybody, so we think she hangs around with us to tarnish her karma a little bit. When I met her, I was 14 and trying to stuff my whole body into a 24″ gym locker. She was 17, busty, topless and making smutty jokes. I like that in a person.
On Tuesday nights, my girlfriends – some of whom lack a critical X-chromasome – gather in a restaurant with a fireplace to eat dinner and hoot like monkeys about the intervening week. Lala’s daughter’s wedding date is nine days after Miss Sasha’s. Both our families are undertaking interracial weddings. Both families include members the outside world regards as *so nice* but we know they’re ruthless, controlling bastards. Neither of us can keep our mouth shut.
We should hire a film crew.
“You can’t beat the food club prices for pudding!” says Mamie, gesticulating like a Sicilian traffic cop. “Or cheese slices! You can’t beat those!”
“Can’t you get pudding and cheese at the grocery store?” I ask, because I’m both lazy and driven, and grocery shop once every four weeks at midnight on weekends for Larry, the little black cat bent on stealing your soul, and myself. I see the same cashiers on a monthly basis. We’re very close. They think I have six kids and a petting zoo.
“In the grocery store, you get six for $3.89. At the food club, it’s 18 for about $2. Three times the pudding for half the price! That’s THREE TIMES THE PUDDING! And cheese – “
“Some of us like to poop,” Trout chirps.
“I was going to say ‘If you like American, the food club pack means you can have a slice for three months,” Mamie says, staring, arms frozen in mid-gesture.
“That’s it,” I howl, getting a pen and paper. “What did you just say?”
“‘Some of us like to poop,’” Trout chirps again for the home audience.
“Some…of us…like…to poop,” I say and write on the back of a list of windshield glass replacement companies. One is coming to my car in a university parking lot Monday morning, hopefully before the graceful tilde-shaped crack implodes the pretty, pretty auto glass into a big pile of shiny art supplies. I have a bucket of the stuff collected off the streets of New Brunswick. I’d rather have a car windshield than a second tub. Lala hasn’t skipped a sip of clam chowder. I’m still holding a pen. “Where’s your daughter registered?”
“Bloomingdale’s,” she sips. “Crate & Barrel.” Lala has a metabolism and she knows how to use it.
Trout has a gift for wicked understatement. Once she sidled up behind me in a bar and whispered provocatively in my ear. “Did you know musicians make the same faces when they’re playing music as when they’re having sex?” She’s a musician and she’s dated musicians, so I know she’s telling the truth. Just that second, I was watching my brother play one of the blistering guitar parts on “Radar Love.” I went completely spastic and spent the rest of the evening with a beer in each hand, facing the back of the bar. I couldn’t finish a sentence. Audrey, dating my brother at the time, sprained a shoulder pointing at me and laughing. I say, “This is like that time you said guitar players – “
“Fuck like they play,” she purrs. “Only: dairy products.” Lala made for the salad bar. Finally, all the girls were eating, while the restaurant’s waiters and waitresses were squeezing one another’s young, firm bottoms at the bar, which is to say directly behind Trout and Lala. College basketball was on the differently color-balanced TVs behind Lala and Mamie. I’d eaten at home. Everyone was chewing as if her life depended on it except me. This was not their first mistake.
“So Mamie and I went to the bridal shower and I so wished you two instigators were there,” I say, as if putting out fire with gasoline were an original idea. “My dad catered the event, which means the food was really good. Sister #1 set up the banquet table and displays, so it was really beautiful. Colorful. Rustic.”
“Rustic?” Mamie frowns.
“Yeah, there was bread coming out of EVERYWHERE.”
Mamie slaps her forehead. “She’s right! There was bread coming out of EVERYWHERE. And she had stands and risers so the food was at all different levels.”
“Sister #1 is a professional. Also: Sister #2 and Sister #3 made a really sinister-looking room very nice with a bolt of orange tulle and some safety pins or something. It was a miracle.”
“The room wasn’t…so nice?” Lala ventures, spearing a grape tomato.
“You had to walk through an old man bar with a disco ball to get there. Or down three flights of wooden dune stairs. Keep in mind we’re all carrying giant serving dishes in lovely floral designs that turn into shrapnel on impact.” Mamie dips cauliflower in cream sauce, as foretold by the prophet Atkins.
“Ooooooooooh,” breathe Trout and Lala together.