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american gothic redux
the church bake sale
by robert a. melos
4.14.03
writing


“Gentlemen, this advertisement is for you,” the voice-over announced. “Men. Now you can be Big! Big! Big! Thanks to the wonderful discovery of Dr. Clyde Hickham, you no longer have to worry about not pleasing the lady in your life. After taking Dr. Clyde Hickham’s miracle enlargement pill, your lady will be shouting your name and praising her maker for a man like you.

“This miracle pill, UrberMaxx, will change your life and add two to three inches where it counts. It’s completely organic, therefore totally safe to consume with alcoholic beverages. This miracle pill is ideal for those of you who shy away from the opposite sex out of fear of rejection due to being below average in “that” area. After taking Dr. Clyde Hickham’s miracle enlargement pill, just $39.95 plus shipping and handling for a one week trial supply, it’ll be bye bye Wee Willie and hello Bob’s Big Boy.

“Call now, while supplies last. Only $39.95 will have your lady exclaiming ‘come to mama, big boy!’ So don’t wait. Call today.”

Jean Crawford glanced over her glasses at the television screen, and stopped her knitting. She made a mental note of the 800 number and then looked across the room at her husband of forty-five years, Floyd. “Honey, would you be interested in trying that little miracle pill?”

Floyd peered over the top of his newspaper. “I’m sorry sweet pea, did you say something?”

“Turn up your hearing aid,” Jean snapped.

Floyd fumbled with the small apparatus hooked over his left ear. “What did you say, sweetiekins?”

Jean huffed, ever so slightly. “Sugar, I asked if you’d consider taking that wonderful enlargement pill of Dr. Clyde Hickham’s?” She resumed her knitting.

Floyd glanced at the television. “Darling, why would I want to take an enlargement pill?”

“So I can praise my maker for a man like you,” Jean replied.

Floyd glanced at the television again, and then at his wife. “Don’t you do that already?”

Jean sighed again, and looked around their neat contemporary furnished living room. “I just thought you might want to try to improve yourself.”

Floyd shook his head. “Ever since we got that satellite dish, you’ve been after me to try these organic pills, and contraptions to tighten my buttocks, and flatten my stomach. I’m beginning to think you aren’t happy with me as I am.”

“Oh pookiekins,” Jean said, putting down her knitting. “Of course I’m happy with you just as you are. We’re still married, aren’t we?”

“For forty-five years,” Floyd said.

“Yes. And I just thought, after forty-five years, you might want to try to do something for me.” Jean turned her attention back to the television.

“I bought this here hearing aid, didn’t I?” Floyd asked.

“Yes, dearest, you did. And that was very thoughtful,” Jean paused, “if you would only leave it on more often.”

“When I leave it on, you ask me to buy some damned fool thing like enlargement pills,” Floyd hissed. “If you weren’t happy with me as I am, you should’ve said something before this.”

“I’m not saying I’m not happy with you as you are,” she said. “All I’m saying is, there’s room for enlargement. I mean, improvement.”

Floyd flopped the newspaper down on his lap. “So you are saying you want me to change for you. I knew it! My parents were right. They told me I could never make a flighty girl like you happy. And apparently, in forty-five years of marriage, I haven’t.”

“Now Floyd, don’t go getting all worked up. I didn’t say you never made me happy. Wasn’t I thrilled when you bought me that dishwasher in the kitchen thirty-three years ago?”

Floyd glanced down at the newspaper. “Well, yes. But with you it’s always ‘what have you done for me lately?’”

“Floyd, the dishwasher was thirty-three years ago,” Jean countered.

“What about when I helped out your brothers with the funeral expenses for your mother? Huh? What about that?” Floyd snapped.

“My brothers paid you back with interest,” Jean said, crossing her arms and staring at the television.

“It took ‘em long enough,” Floyd said.

“So you helped bury my mother, and bought me a dishwasher, and got a hearing aid so you can hear me,” Jean listed her trophies for forty-five years of marriage. “I would think a husband would want to do something to bring his wife untold pleasure, wouldn’t you?”

“I’ve clothed you, and kept you warm and safe and dry for forty-five years. What more do you want?”

“An extra two or three inches would be nice,” Jean answered.

“You’re always after me to do something, or get you this or that. I’m seventy-nine years old, and I’m tired of running and fetching for you,” Floyd said. He picked up his newspaper, shook it out to straighten the creased pages, and resumed reading.

“You selfish man,” Jean grumbled. “It’s not like I’m only asking you to do this for me. I thought you might like to try something new for yourself. Yes I would benefit from it, but so would you. Maybe I am being a little selfish. After all, I don’t want to die and unfulfilled woman.”

“It’s that damned satellite television!” Floyd said, fighting back the anger in his voice. “Ever since we got it, you’ve been unhappy. You don’t hear me asking you to get implants, or tighten your buttocks, do you? I haven’t suggested you get liposuction or collagen injections, have I?”

“Do you think I need implants?” Jean asked.

“No, that’s not the point. I love you as you are,” Floyd said. “I don’t see a need to improve on you.”

“Oh Floyd,” Jean cried. “That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.” She jump up off the sofa and hurried across the room, as fast as her bad hip could carry her, and lowered herself onto his lap. “I love you too.”

Floyd embraced her and gently kissed her cheek. “If you want, I’ll take some of that horny goat weed you bought for me, and we can go upstairs and fool around.”

Jean laughed. “Oh Floyd, do you think you should? I mean, after what happened the last time?”

“Doc says I should just limit it to the recommended dosage. Damned print on those bottles is so tiny. I thought it was an eight, not a three. I’ll be careful this time.”

“Oh, we can’t.” Jean said, sitting up. “I’ve got to bake a cake for the parsonage restoration bake sale tomorrow.”

“Skip it. I’ll donate twenty bucks to the parsonage restoration committee instead.”

Jean smiled, as she climbed off her husband’s lap. She had told Betty Thompson she would get Floyd to donate more than Betty’s husband, Willard, would donate.


ABOUT ROBERT A. MELOS

Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.

more about robert a. melos

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