Minnie loves them crazy talk shows, like where fifteen guys all get a blood test to see which one’s the father of some poor jug-eared little baby.
And it’s not like I go lookin’ for them on TV or anything, but if I come in the room and she got one of them on, I don’t mind watchin’ it, because you’re pretty much guaranteed a fistfight’s about to break out and somebody’s gonna get flung across the stage or body slammed off a chair.
The funny thing is, the fights between the women are ten times more vicious than the fights between the men. Men’ll just stand there, maybe lean a little bit to the side and try to get a good angle to puck the other fella in the face. But the women, holy cripes, all bets are off. They’ll go at each other with nails and teeth and feet, and throw shoes and pick each other up by the hair and all kinds of wild animal stuff.
What’s goin’ on here? I says the other day when I came in and one of them shows was on.
This girl here’s tryin’ to figure out which one of them fellas is the father of her baby. The fella in the backwards baseball cap is the boyfriend of the girl’s cousin, the old guy in the middle is her mailman, and the fella on the end is a fella she met at a chicken place.
And who’s the fella sittin’ next to her, holdin’ her hand? I says.
That’s her husband, Minnie says, and they’re all hopin’ the baby turns out to be his.
I meant to ask ya, I said. About nine months before Little Bill was born, you didn’t accidentally meet up with any of my cousins or the milkman or the entire Cape Breton Oilers hockey team or anything, did ya?
Oh, you’re funny, she said. See, the way she got caught was, she left her cell phone layin’ out one day and the husband picked it up and he seen all these messages between her and these other guys. And some of them were sendin’ her pictures of their parts and everything.
Now, Minnie gets a kick out of it when I pretend to be right jealous, so I kept it goin’.
Well if I find any pictures of some guy’s parts in your cell phone, I’m gonna have to have words with him, I said, crackin’ my knuckles.
I don’t even got a cell phone ya tool, she said, laughin’.
Yeah, but you’re on the computer and that, and I seen enough of these shows to know that’s just as bad. What’s that site you’re always loggin’ into, where ya gotta remember your password?
Uh, that would be the credit union, and I’m loggin’ in to pay the power bill or the phone bill.
And are there men on there hittin’ on ya when ya sign in?
On the credit union website? Oh yes, now. That’s exactly how it goes. Ya sign in to pay your power bill and there’s ten fellas there lustin’ after ya. ‘Mmmm, I see you used less kilowatt hours this month. Let’s meet up and go parkin’.’
Well, don’t joke, I said. Now, I wasn’t gonna tell ya this, but while we’re on the subject, somethin’ like that happened to me this week. Remember the other night I came home with fish and chips for us for supper? Well I paid for it, and the old lady behind the counter gave me the bag and she said – get this now – do ya want napkins with that? That’s what she said. And the way she said it, it was right obvious she was after me.
Oh yes, now, Minnie said. Is that what it was? Or was she thinkin’ this poor slob looks like he don’t got much chance of gettin’ all the fish in his mouth?
So I got right offended. I said to her, I’m a married man. And here you are comin’ onto me all dolled up in your hair net, offerin’ me extra napkins like I’m a piece of meat.
You’re a legend in your own mind, Minnie said.
And there was a fella there from one of your tabloids, took a picture of the whole thing, so you’ll prolly see the headlines next week – ‘Big Billy in Fish n’ Chips Love Scandal’. Them damn pizza rotti are always followin’ me.
Paparazzi, Minnie said.
Yeah, them fellas.
A few minutes passed, and we watched the boyfriend dive across the stage and put a chokehold on the mailman.
What’re ya gonna wear? I said.
Wear where? Minnie said.
To the show, I said. It’ll be me in the middle of the stage, with you on my right and the old lady from the fish n’ chips place on the left.
Somethin’ loose, Minnie said playin’ along. Could I take her, ya think?
Ohh, I’d say prolly. She’s about this high, in her early 70s, I’d say. She’d give ya run for your money if they let her take the cane out on stage.
That’s when Little Bill rumbled down over the stairs to ask for money for somethin’ (since he only ever moves that fast to ask for money).
Hey, can I have – but I cut him off.
What ya should do is kick the old lady’s cane out from under her, and then either pick it up and use it against her, or at least get it far enough way she can’t use it against you.
Can I have ten bucks for –
Pack your bags, bud, I said to Little Bill. We just got a call to go on a talk show. I’m sorry ya had to find out like this, but there’s a chance Ma here isn’t your real mother.