Fairfax pushed the garbage disposal up into the bottom of the kitchen sink. Chester and Glew yelled at the TV in Chester’s living room. The volume on the Titans game could run a body out of the state. Yet, Fairfax endured and screwed the new garbage disposal into place. They cut the volume down for half-time. Chester said, “Hey, boy! You got my disposal done?”
Glew laughed. “Yeah and get us a couple beers up here!”
Fairfax crawled out from under the sink. He pulled himself to his feet by the counter and placed his screwdriver back into his tool box. He said, “You boys deaf in there?”
The volume shot up above what it had been. Fairfax checked the fridge. A twelve-pack of Budweiser sat next to a twelve-pack of Coors which sat above a couple of Blue Moons. Fairfax grabbed a Blue Moon and walked into the living room. The volume died. Glew said, “Where’s our beers?”
Fairfax walked to the window and cracked open his beer. He looked at Chester. “Now remind me. Why are we here again?”
Chester looked up. “Um…to watch the game? Be worthless?”
Fairfax said, “No. Your neighbor complained about a robber in the area. We’re here to snuff him out.”
Chester used to work with Glew’s dad at a factory. He was now retired and had a generous pension but he kept his living conditions modest. After three failed marriages along with a son who lived across the country, he didn’t see any point in spending his life earnings on any kind of luxury just for himself.
A month or so ago, Fairfax and Glew had been hanging out with him just like now when they cooked up a good idea. They’d leave Chester’s garage open and make things seem like he wasn’t home. Chester’s tools and equipment would be there for the taking. Chester liked the idea at the time.
Chester said, “I don’t know. Do we have to? Do we have to, Glew?”
Glew grabbed them a couple of Buds and sat down. “I say we kill the TV and hang out and see if we get a bite. Really, Chester. This stuff can be pretty fun. Plus, you’ll know what kind of folks your neighbors really are.”
“I don’t want to know that.”
Fairfax said, “Why not give it an hour? It’s dark now and it’s prime time for folks to be passing by. Let’s have some fun, old buddy.”
Chester grinned. “All right. Let’s lock her down. Y’all did park up the street. Right?”
Glew’s brow furrowed.
Fairfax said, “Yes we did. Quit thinking so hard, Glew. You might have a good idea.”
Dudley left the grocery store at nine o’clock. He would have gotten out of there sooner if that one skank with the green hair had shown up. After putting in eight hours at the factory, he didn’t want to go into his second job but bills have to be paid. Don’t they? His stupid boss was never going to punish those idiots he worked with. A fellow works hard to move up but politics get in the way. It’s a vicious cycle.
He had a flat on the way home. He propped the old donut on there. How many times had it been now? Five maybe? He couldn’t afford a new one yet. Every dime he spent went to paying for that one mistake. And what a mistake.
He stopped by the store and stood in line for twenty minutes for gas. Those lottery players always hold up the line but this one knew the cashier and it was like a reunion. He shouldn’t have to do all this just to crawl home to an empty house. But then, what else could he do?
The mistake happened a year ago. He’d traveled to Tunica with a few buddies after work (back when he only had to work one job). They gambled and drank (they give them to you for free you know). He had a limit on gambling money set and he stuck to it.
When they dropped him off, he went inside his house and fell asleep in his recliner. Then he woke up.
He hurled into his toilet and sat there with a sweaty forehead and a gut turning flips. “Oh…oh lord…oh…never again…”
Someone knocked on his door.
Who in the world would be bothering him now? His buddies must have gotten bored. They can eat his socks after this shit.
He wiped his mouth and trudged to the door. When he opened it, he found a young woman standing there with her hands behind her back. She was shorter than Dudley’s five feet, one-inch frame. A midget maybe?
She whipped her hair behind her ear and smiled at him to the point that her white teeth gleamed in the darkness. Dudley sniffed the air. That perfume perked him up which didn’t seem possible after that bout in the bathroom. She talked but he couldn’t focus. So he reached inside and turned on the porch light.
“Well, uh…hello, there.”
The woman was the perfect height for him. Her blonde hair was thick and full. She wore a baby blue dress with matching high heels. She said, “Hello to you.”
He leaned on his doorway and said, “What’s going on?”
“I’ve seen you at work before.”
“You work at the plant?”
“I deliver supplies. I’ve seen you there a few times. I finally got up the nerve to ask your friend for your name and number.”
“Did you call?”
“No. I…used a little search app and found your address. You see, I prefer to meet people in person. I do apologize for it being so late.”
“Better late than ever.”
“I totally agree.”
Wow. He’d said ‘ever’ on purpose. Everyone corrected him on that, too. Except her. She just went with it. “What’s your name, darling?”
She said, “Dina.”
“Dudley and Dina. Now that sounds like a winning combination.”
“Oh, I definitely think you’re a winner.”
He stuck his chest out. The hangover shot right out of his mind. “Come on inside, Dina. You can check out my castle.”
She walked inside. She didn’t even try to step over the piles of clothes on the floor. She plopped down on his raggedy sofa and propped her feet up on a pile and then slid her shoes off. She sure shined in the midst of this hole. Dudley wiped his forehead and said, “Might I get you something to drink?”
She patted the sofa cushion next to her. “I only have a thirst for you.”
He grabbed the seat beside her. She draped his arm over her shoulder and snuggled up next to him. He said, “I’m sorry. I had a shower this morning but well…”
She sniffed his chest. “Oh you are all man. I like a strong musk.”
He pulled her close and kissed her lips. She said, “Oh my. Just like a plunger. I like you.”
“I like you! You ain’t no skank!”
They embraced in a long series of kisses, falling all over each other and then rolling in a pile of dirty clothes on the floor. She said, “Yeah. Get me dirty!”
Dudley took his shirt off and said, “Hell yeah! You ain’t no skank!”
She rolled around with him for half an hour. Then she pushed herself off him and dropped the blue dress. Dudley stripped off his jeans and drawers. She looked at the stained white socks on his feet. “Oh you have two toes sticking out, too. What a man. Follow me.”
Dudley followed her into his own bedroom. She pushed him onto the bed. She said, “You know what I love?”
“You tell me and you got it!”
“I love to lick peanut butter off a man.”
Dudley paused. “You do? Like all of the man?”
“Every damn inch.”
Dudley said, “Hold on.”
He raced into his kitchen, rifling through the cabinets. “Come on, damn it. You got to be in here somewhere.”
He found a full jar of a generic brand(that dumbass at work complained about it missing the other day, the idiot). “Oh sweet mercy.”
He dashed back into the bedroom and handed her the jar. She said, “Now get down there and prepare for ecstasy.”
She took the peanut butter and rubbed it all over Dudley, from his chest to his privates to even his butt. She licked him here and there as she went. Dudley howled. “Tell me I’m the man!”
“You damn sure are.”
“Naw. Say it.”
She took a lick and said, “You, Dudley, are the man.”
She spread the whole jar onto his body. Then she said, “I love to start in that special place.”
“Uh-huh. Here I come, big boy.”
Dudley closed his eyes and waited.
The bedroom light clicked on. Something else clicked. He looked up. She stood there, snapping photos of him there naked with his gut and privates and butt and legs covered in peanut butter. He said, “Wait now. What are you doing?”
She kept on snapping pictures with her phone. He leaned up. “What are you doing?”
She blew him a kiss and then left the bedroom. He took off after her. She pulled on her dress in the living room. A guy stood by his sofa. He looked like he stood seven feet tall and weighed like, four Dudleys. Dudley covered his privates. The guy chuckled through the smoke from his cigar as he flipped through the woman’s phone. “Aren’t you a sight, stud?”
Dudley said, “What’s this all about?”
“A reputation, friend.”
Dina got her dress on and slipped into her high heels. She turned and said, “Dudley, we’re going to send those pictures to all of your friends.”
“But? But why?”
“Unless you pay us.”
“What? What the hell’s going on?”
The guy said, “Ten grand or everyone sees you covered in goober butter, which in this picture, looks like shit. Like you had a shit party in your own bed.”
“But this is just…how can you…naw, you wouldn’t…”
He looked at Dina.
“How did you know where my bedroom was, Dina?”
She smiled. “Your lock on the door doesn’t work. You’re too cheap to ever fix it, though. It’s amazing that you haven’t been robbed but then, this place is such a hole that no one has bothered. And Dina’s not my name. It’s my sister’s name. You remember my sister?”
“Dina. Looks like me but chubbier and taller with glasses.”
“Yeah. And how you met her at TGIFridays and then ordered a steak and cake and six beers and claimed you had to take a leak and then you ditched her?”
“But she was a skank-I mean…”
“Like you’re something special? My dog is taller than you.”
“You were going to slobber all over my body!”
“That body?” She chuckled. “You smell like week-old mayonnaise. And luckily, my taste buds aren’t the best.”
“But this don’t make anything right. Shaking me down? This won’t get me to go out with her again.”
The man stepped toward him. “And my sister?”
“Oh lord. What?”
“You got the biggest steak Chilis had to offer and margaritas and apple pie and then ran out on the check.”
“Hold on, now. I don’t remember.”
The man backed him to the wall. He showed him a fist the size of a coconut. “You need a reminder?”
“No. No, sir. I don’t.”
“And you did the same to a friend of mine. And that friend’s cousin. And a widow woman who trusted you.”
“All right. Well so what?”
“So, now you’re going to make up for all that. We calculate that you have ran up ten grand around town to all these females.”
The woman produced a list and handed it to him. Dudley studied over it, the names coming back to him one by one. Shit. His goose was cooked. If he let them share the photos, he’d be ruined. His friends would never leave him be. If he didn’t have his pride, what else could he have?
So he scraped up the money, draining his bank account and then getting a loan for the rest. All so people wouldn’t see him in his peanut butter suit. They’d stuck to the agreement. No one at work laughed at him. Not for that at least. They did wonder why he took on a second job. In a year or so, he might just be paid up.
So when he turned onto his street and caught an eyeful of Chester’s open garage, he stopped in the street. A car honked behind him. He drove on home.
Those tools were just sitting there. Chester’s dumb ass had left them there for the picking. Dudley might as well cash in since Chester’s just another asshole.
Dudley drove back by Chester’s. He parked next to the curb and checked around. No one was watching on the street. Chester’s house sat empty. No one watched through their windows. Yes, sir.
Dudley backed his car up to the garage. He scrambled out of his car and tripped and fell into the grass. “Shit.”
He got back up and checked around again.
He grabbed up the tools he could find and stuffed them into his trunk. When he got them all, he stuck his middle finger up at the house and then drove away.
At home, he backed his car into his driveway. Then he got on eBay. He could make a quick pile of cash and catch up on his bills. Hell, the world owed him a favor after paying for all those skanks.
Chester laughed until he spewed Bud onto his carpet. “Dudley. That asshole. Of all the people on this street, I’d bet on him.”
Fairfax said, “Really?”
“That idiot came over here one time and showed off his tattoo. It said ‘Dud the Stude’.”
Glew said, “Stude?”
“Yeah. The artist told him that stud didn’t have an ‘e’ at the end but he insisted on it. I laughed at him for a minute. Well, I ain’t gonna lie. I pointed and laughed for a long time. Should have known he might try a little revenge. Let me show you something.”
Chester pulled up a picture on his phone. He laughed so hard that he doubled over and handed the phone to Glew who spewed his own beer. Fairfax took a look at Dudley there spread out on the bed with peanut butter all over him. He grimaced. “Is that shit all over him?”
Chester said, “Oh lord. My gut’s about to bust.”
Fairfax said, “How did you get the picture?”
“I still keep in touch with some of them old boys at work. Dudley works at the same plant I retired from. They got the whole story from this little gal that delivers up there.”
Chester filled them in on the story.
Glew said, “Did they give him hell about it?”
“Dudley paid her off not to tell. So they’ve been playing along. Her last day is next Friday. She’s moving to Texas with her boyfriend. Big old boy. They’re going to drop the hammer when she’s gone.”
Fairfax said, “Man oh, man. I almost feel for the guy.”
“Don’t. He liked to dine and dash the ladies, leaving them stuck with paying the check. Did that to several of them, including her sister. So he had it coming. He also kisses the boss’s ass and has ratted out a whole bunch of guys up there to him. Makes it up and tries to get ahead. But I know his boss. He just shakes his head and gives Dudley hell like the others do.”
Fairfax said, “Well, like I said, I ‘almost’ feel for him.”
Glew finished his Bud and stood. “Let’s go get him, then.”
Chester said, “Hold on. This requires a special touch.”
Dudley chuckled. That idiot Chester finally made his big mistake. He’d come back and see that his stuff was gone. Now, he could point and laugh at him. He’d wonder why. He might even suspect him but he wouldn’t know. It was about time he knew how it felt.
His phone buzzed.
He checked the text message.
It read ‘I know.’
He scratched his head. Then he set his phone down. He swallowed and stood up. He checked the number again. He didn’t know it. He paced the floor. The phone buzzed again.
The text message read ‘I’m willing to trade’.
“Aw hell. Not now. No. Come on, now.”
He paced around.
Just wait it out.
The phone buzzed again.
‘What have you got to trade? Or I start telling people’.
Dudley texted back. ‘Got some tools’.
A quick and easy fix and he wasn’t losing any money on it.
Come on now.
The phone buzzed.
‘Okay. Headed over’.
He texted back ‘Now?’
No. Come on.
This has to be a joke.
They swore they’d never tell.
He paid them after all.
Someone knocked on the door.
Dudley answered the door and then clenched his fists. “What do you want?”
A man stood there. He had a well-trimmed beard and a shirt with the sleeves cut off. He’d be trouble in a fight. He said, “The tools?”
Dudley leaned back. “What do you got for me?”
The man showed him his phone. There lay Dudley on his own bed with peanut butter spread all over him. He winced. “How did you get that?”
The man smiled. “Give me the tools and it’s forgotten.”
The man said, “You got my word on that.”
Dudley sighed. “Follow me.”
He walked to his car and popped open the trunk. “There you go.”
The man said, “Hhmm. Where’d you get these?”
“Doesn’t matter. Just take them.”
“Fair enough. I’ll pull my truck up.”
The man walked to his truck parked by the curb in front of Dudley’s house and then backed it into the driveway. Dudley handed the tools off to him. Either way, old Chester would still get his.
The man loaded the tools up into his truck bed. Then he showed Dudley the picture on his phone and deleted it. Dudley said, “All right, then.”
The man drove down the street. Dudley backed up to his front door.
Wait a minute.
The truck stopped just down the street. Hell, that’s Chester’s house!
The man parked in the driveway. Chester’s garage door rose up. The man returned the tools to Chester’s garage. Footsteps approached from the side of his house. Dudley turned.
A lanky fellow said, “Hey, Dudley.”
Dudley backed up. “Who are you?”
The fellow said, “I know.”
The fellow showed him the picture on his phone of Dudley in his peanut butter suit. Dudley said, “Aw, hell.”
Someone else approached from the other side. Dudley turned. Chester held up his phone with the same picture. “Hey, Dudley. Pick up some tools today? Now is that crunchy or creamy anyway?”
Dudley screamed and ran down the street.
Chester and the other fellow laughed.
When he passed by Chester’s house, the bearded man waved to him.
Dudley kept on running.
A few months later, Chester told Fairfax and Glew that Dudley never came back. A foreclosure sign stood in his front yard. The boys at work never heard a peep out of him. One of the guys put the peanut butter picture up as his Facebook profile picture. This drew hundreds of comments. Then finally, a woman posted a comment at the end that read ‘Wow. I met this guy on a dating website and almost went out with him. Thanks for posting!’ Her profile indicated that she lived in Tunica.
So Fairfax and Glew took a trip to Tunica one night. They visited a number of casinos but never found Dudley. They did find a name tag on the sidewalk in front of one of the casinos that read ‘Dudley’ though.
When they got back, they discovered that a jar of generic peanut butter had been thrown at the front window of Glew’s apartment and Fairfax’s house and Chester’s house. The jars failed to break any of the windows. They searched Dudley’s foreclosed residence but found no sign of him. However, the world has seen him plenty. His picture in bed became an internet meme which most folks call Diarrhea Dan.
Talk about a pay-off.