Saturday, June 15, 2019

Tank N Tummy #16

“You should start working out,” a customer said as Dominic handed back change. “You’d bulk up quick.”

“Yeah? And what would I do after I get swol?”

“You’d feel and look better. More manly. Also, women like a man who can protect them.”

“I can do that without muscles. Very few will attack someone who has soiled their pants.” The customer took the change and gave Dominic a dirty look before heading out of the store. “This job would be great if it weren’t for the customers,” Dominic sighed.

Ryan walked into the Tank N Tummy. “Sorry I’m late, I wasn’t in my own bed and I wanted a quickie before I left.”

Dominic looked at his watch. “Must not have been very quick.” He took a drink of his pop and went back to reading his magazine. Ryan sat down on the other stool behind the counter and began going through his phone.

“Hey, have you seen this?” Ryan leaned forward and showed Dominic his phone.

“Ethel Wysocki is getting married?” Dominic slowly stood and took Ryan’s phone.

“Apparently.”

“She was my first girlfriend,” Dominic said. “My first everything really.”

“Yeah, I know,” Ryan reached for his phone but Dominic pulled away.

“We made a pact that if we were 30 and single, we’d get back together,” Dominic said. “So close.”

“You seem disappointed,” Ryan reached for his phone again but Dominic got up and walked away.

“I was starting to look forward to getting back with her.”

“What would the odds be that you two would be single when you both turned 30?” Ryan followed Dominic around the store as he continued to look at the engagement announcement.

“I don’t know. It was just kind of fun to think about,” he stopped walking and smiled. “I knew it probably wouldn’t happen.”

“You should send her a congratulations or something. I’m sure her parents will you her address in California.”

“Her parents don’t like me.”

“Why not?”

“Because I deflowered and debased their daughter. Although, to be fair, a lot of what we did was her idea.”

Someone came into the store. “Do you guys sell popcorn?” he seemed panicked and in a rush.

“Yeah, this aisle,” Dominic pointed to the next aisle over from where he and Ryan were standing.

“Maybe MaryJane has her address,” Ryan said.

“Maybe…”

“This is microwavable popcorn--unpopped,” the customer said. “I want popped popcorn--the caramel, cheese, and cinnamon kind.”

“Like what they sell at the mall?” Dominic questioned, giving Ryan his phone back.

“Yeah.”

“I don’t know if you noticed but this is a gas station,” Dominic went over to the aisle the customer was in.

“So you don’t have the caramel, cheese, and cinnamon popcorn?”

“No.”

“What do you recommend?”

“Well, I guess you could buy the microwave popcorn, mix in some cheese balls and melt a Caramello bar and Hot Tamale candies to pour over it.”




Ryan was stocking the candy and softly singing to himself. “Bimbo, Bimbo, what you gonna do e oh. Bimbo, Bimbo, what you gonna do e oh. Bimbo, Bimbo, does your mommy know, that you’re going down the road to see a little girly-o.”

Ryan kept softly singing as Dominic watched. “What are you singing?”

“Bimbo. It’s an old song,” Ryan said. “He’ll clap his hands and sing and dance and talk his baby talk.”

“Sounds racist.”

“It’s not racist,” Ryan defended.

“His friends are making him perform for them? I don’t know. That sounds pretty racist.”

“My mom used to sing this to me at bedtime. He’s just a little boy. They even mention his eye color. Bimbo’s got two big blue eyes that light up like a star. And the way to light them up is to buy him candy bars.”

Dominic sneered. “I don’t know. I feel like it’s still supposed to be racist but the songwriters caught themselves and changed it. Wasn’t there a black kid named Bimbo like back in the twenties or something?”

“Are you thinking about Sambo from the kid’s book Little Black Sambo?”

“Maybe…” Dominic thought. “Still sounds racist.”

“The song is about a neighborhood boy that everybody loves just hanging out with his friends, having fun, and eating candy and chewing gum. Besides the part where his friends make him sing and dance for their enjoyment, what else seems racist about it?”

“Just that one thing but that’s enough.”

Dominic and Ryan went behind the counter. “You never catch him sitting still, he’s just the roving kind. Okay, I kind of hear it now.”

“Told you. It is a catchy tune though.”




“Hey, Chief,” Ryan said as the large Native American silently came into the store. “Are you still coming over when you’re done here, Dominic?”

“Yeah, I’ll grab me some dinner and be over and we’ll show those Canadian twelve-year-olds what-for.”

Ryan chuckled. “Okay. See you in an hour or so.”

Dominic continued wiping down the beverage area. The bell over the door rang again as someone came in. “Dominic?” a girl asked.

Dominic looked up and his eyes went wide. “Ethel?”

“Do you want to grab dinner or something?” she asked.

“Sure. I have about another hour here,” Dominic answered.

“Okay. I’ll be at Pizza-A-Go-Go. I’ll see you in about an hour.”

“Okay,” Dominic had a dumb smile on his face as Ethel left the store.

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