by Eric Bosse
The cop scowled at Charlie
and said, Shut up, you fat piece of shit.
So I said, Excuse me, officer, correct me if
Im wrong, but you get paid out of our hard-earned
taxpayer dollars to protect and keep the peace, do
Charlie put his hand on my arm. I pulled away.
The cop slammed the lid on our cooler and stood up
Well, I said, the peace isnt
exactly threatened by us carrying a few beers past
the park, now is it, officer? And you would probably
grant that its not very peaceful of you to call
my admittedly rotund friend here a fat piece of shit.
The cop grimaced.
Charlie flashed me an unkind look, which made the
fatty wrinkles puff up on the bridge of his nose.
The cop cleared his throat.
Charlie tried to look contrite by shrugging in a way
that unfortunately emphasized the fact that his stretched
out British flag T-shirt covered less than the full
span of his belly. The hairy patch around his navel
(Not a good shirt for the Fourth, I had
told him, back at his apartment, but Charlie insisted
that as an English-speaking American of British descent
he didnt have to be ashamed of his heritage.
Besides, he told me, it was a freedom of speech issue.
I said, I beg to differ there, Charlie, its
a T-shirt. He pointed at the Nike swoosh on
my shoes and smirked, as if
that meant anything.)
So, anyway, the cop squinted at us. Were you
planning to drink these in
the park? he asked.
I said, Officer, officer, before we delve too
deeply into the logistical details of why we were
transporting this cooler between us as we chose to
traverse this inconveniently blockaded street, perhaps
we could resolve my friends status as a person
whose abundance of weight does not make him a piece
Charlie hit my shoulder and said, Shut the fuck
So I did. I shut up. And sure enough the officer jotted
down our names and addresses and told us that if we
ever again attempted to enter the park with
beer we would be arrested and maybe even get
deported to some fuck hole country where they
shoot fat pieces of shit who wear foreign
T-shirts on the Goddamned Fourth of July.
As Charlie and I walked away from the park, with the
heavy cooler dangling
between us, Charlie said, Lean to keep your
fucking mouth shut, Pete.
I let go of my handle and let the cooler slam to the
sidewalk. Dont talk that way to me, fatso,
I shouted. Not now. Not ever.
Charlie looked around to see if anyone had heard.
I picked up the handle. We walked silently back to
Charlies truck as red, white and blue flashes
boomed over our shoulders.
I've published stories with Exquisite
Corpse, Zoetrope All-Story Extra, The Absinthe Literary
Review, Linnaean Street, Nubrite, Mississippi Review
and a few others. I'm also a filmmaker, a special
education teacher, an occasional (bad) guitarist,
and the founding editor of The