It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Call me Ishmael. Hop on Pop. Dear Penthouse Forum. All great stories start with a memorable opening line. Not this one.
‘Puter really should start with some backstory. But, ‘Puter being ‘Puter, he won’t. The reader will just have to figure out Meaux and ‘Puter’s preexisting relationship for themselves.**
Our story begins in high school. ‘Puter and Meaux attended the same high school, which is odd because ‘Puter attended an all-male Jesuit school in DC and Meaux went to some Sconnie public school co-ed hellhole. But that’s not important right now.
Meaux was a vision of loveliness. She was a cheerleader, ran with the cool kids, and had the bitchin’-est beauty school perm of anyone in school.*** ‘Puter wasn’t any of that. ‘Puter was chubby, obnoxious, wore wide-wale corduroys, and had a bowl cut. ‘Puter and Meaux were anchoring two very distinct ends of the high school cool bell curve.
One day as classes were changing, Meaux stopped ‘Puter in the hall. ‘Puter remembers it as if it were yesterday. ‘Puter was in shock and, to be honest, a bit in awe. The early morning autumn sun glinted off Meaux’s dime-store permed hair as it does off a new Brillo pad. Meaux smiled her most fetching crooked smile, the drool pooling at the corner of her mouth only barely noticeable as it dripped in a near-constant stream to the linoleum below. Meaux clutched her Hello Kitty Trapper Keeper tight to her chest, popped her massive wad of Big League Chew gum, and asked ‘Puter to be her date at the movies that night, her treat. ‘Puter managed to control his bladder and squeaked out a barely audible, “Sure. Whatever.”
As Meaux languidly glided down the crowded hallway trailed by her phalanx of cheerleaders (tripping only twice and managing for once to avoid walking face first into the glass principal’s office door), ‘Puter nervously farted as he wondered what had just happened.
‘Puter arrived early for the 7:30 showing of “My Little Ponies” at Downtown Cineplex and Gun Shop and waited nervously outside for Meaux to arrive. Five minutes before the show was to begin, a small plane flew over trailing a banner reading, “’Puter, Meet Me Inside. Meaux.”**** Never one to disobey a plane-dragged sign, ‘Puter dutifully bought a ticket and went inside to find Meaux.
The previews had already started, and the theater was nearly dark. ‘Puter couldn’t find Meaux anywhere. Eventually, ‘Puter grabbed a seat and waited for Meaux to show up. Thirty minutes passed, and no Meaux. ‘Puter told himself he hadn’t been stood up, but he knew in his pudgy, cholesterol-clogged heart he had been. After softly weeping into the sleeve of his Members Only jacket for twenty more minutes, ‘Puter collected himself and left.*****
To this day ‘Puter blames himself for not seeing it coming.
As ‘Puter walked sullenly to his car, a 1972 puke-green Dodge Dart Swinger, his wide-wale corduroys softly voop-vooping as his fat thighs rubbed together, he saw them. Meaux and her cheerleading horde clad in matching uniform skirts, tops, and Tretorns in a perfect pyramid blocking ‘Puter from getting to his car. ‘Puter’s heart stopped. He knew at this moment he’d been set up, and there were only two outcomes for him: abject humiliation or super-uber abject humiliation. ‘Puter was betting on the latter, and he was not to be disappointed.
Meaux and the Golden Cheerleader Horde expertly disassembled the pyramid and assumed their (kind of) individual identities. Mocking me merciless, they encircled me while chanting savage cheers at me. ‘Puter vaguely remembers hearing “YOU’RE A LOSER! YES YOU ARE! YOU’RE A LOSER! SO’S YOUR CAR!” and “TWO FOUR SIX EIGHT! YOU SHOULD LOSE SOME F*CKING WEIGHT!”
Jennifer Schultz and Kimmy Santorini soaped peppy school slogans and profane words all over ‘Puter’s car windows. Patti Melrose, the hot but dumb as a sack of hammers girl who wanted Meaux’s job as head cheerleader, dumped the warm remainders of her second two-liter bottle of wine cooler on ‘Puter.
‘Puter cried and covered up as the bloodthirsty pack of cheerleader set upon him like fat college girls at all you can eat Ben and Jerry’s night at the dining hall. There were fists and kicky pleated skirts and matching Tretorns and color coordinated bows everywhere. ‘Puter couldn’t tell where one cheerleader’s fist or foot ended and the next one’s began. Blows rained down on ‘Puter like dollar bills on strippers named Chlamydia and Fondue at an NBA player frequented nudie bar.
Then it got dark. Really dark. Like approaching the event horizon dark. Time slowed, and ‘Puter’s senses heightened. ‘Puter could hear the steady drip, drip, drip of Meaux’s drool hitting the ground.
‘Puter heard Meaux yell to one of the marauding cheerleaders to stop beating me for a moment and to bring her the antenna off “that crappy ride of his.” Snap! Meaux laughed menacingly, like Ursula the Sea Witch from “The Little Mermaid,” but hotter and droolier. ‘Puter heard a fast woosh. ‘Puter wasn’t sure if it was the biting early autumn winds off the Lake blowing through Meaux’s immovable perm or something else.
‘Puter soon got his answer. The crazed pack of cheerleaders parted as their alpha-Meaux approached wielding ‘Puter’s car’s antenna. A sharp crack followed, and searing pain drove ‘Puter to the edge of unconsciousness. Meaux continued beating ‘Puter with his own car’s antenna until sirens sounded in the distance. It took four cheerleaders to pull Meaux off ‘Puter.
“Meaux, if you don’t stop beating ‘Puter now, the cops will catch you, and your parents won’t let you go to the district competition where you can make out with that totally hot college guy with the Flock of Seagulls haircut who drives the team bus!”
That seemed to snap Meaux out of it. She dropped the antenna, hopped into a subordinate cheerleader’s brand new Volkswagen Golf drop-top, and slowly, lurchingly made her escape******
‘Puter regained consciousness in the hospital covered with stripes from the savage antenna beat down Meaux had put on him. The doctors say the only thing that saved ‘Puter was his Mexican tuxedo.******* Its thick denim dulled the blows enough so ‘Puter escaped with only a collapsed long, severe blood loss, and a lacerated kidney.
‘Puter returned to high school a broken man. He survived the remainder of his high school career by avoiding Meaux-positive situations like parties, the cafeteria, school hallways, the boys’ locker room, public transportation, grocery stores, Christian churches (all denominations), and the red light district.
‘Puter went on to junior college and an unaccredited law school in a vain search for respect and meaning in his pitiful life. To this day, ‘Puter has found neither.
‘Puter wonders the bleak, gray Upstate tundra, collar turned up against the frosty gales. People see ‘Puter coming from a distance. They hurry their children inside, pull their blinds, and double-check their doors are locked. I can feel their eyes upon me as I’m shaking off the cold. And I hear the hushed whispers of “Loser Matlock,” the name Meaux required the state bar association to put on my license.
I shall forever be Loser Matlock and live in shame. And it’s all because of one night in high school and a cruel, unforgiving cheerleader.
Oh, and “My Little Ponies.” Don’t forget that part.
* Sure, ‘Puter could’ve titled this “The Ballad of Meaux and ‘Puter,” but that’d just be dumb because this ballad’s all about ‘Puter. Plus, ‘Puter’s a sexist bastard who’s hell-bent on keeping women down. So there.
** ‘Puter doesn’t like boring his readers with superfluous factoids, like Meaux and ‘Puter are evil twinsies, born of the same mother. First Mom had to choose one kid for reasons that were never clear to ‘Puter, but it was probably Meaux’s doing. Meaux’s pretty damned evil. And it’s also not important to know that First Mom and Meaux set ‘Puter adrift on an ice floe in Lake Michigan in January to get rid of him. Or that ‘Puter’s Second Mom found him adrift in the reeds in Milwaukee, like a fat, white, goyim Moses. So forget all of that stuff.
*** Meaux had also learned through extensive operant conditioning to stop her involuntary and copious drooling. This small victory probably had something to do with the cool kids accepting her.
**** Remember, we 1980s kids didn’t have your fancy cell phones with your instant massaging and BDSM texting and whatnot. We had to rely on our wits and ancient technology.
***** ‘Puter’s still pissed at Meaux for making him miss the denouement of the Harvey Weinstein produced, Roman Polanski directed “My Little Ponies.” Marlon Brando won an Oscar that year for his gritty, gut-wrenching portrayal of the crack addicted Twilight Sparkle who turned to a life of prostitution and coding to support her unholy appetites. People say it’s the best performance by an actor ever, but ‘Puter just can’t bring himself to watch it. The crushing heartbreak is still too fresh.
****** The Volkswagen Golf was a standard transmission. Girls can’t drive stick. So to speak.
******* Yes, ‘Puter knows his clothing lacks continuity. STFU, already. How else was ‘Puter going to work the totally awesome wide-wale cords going “voop-voop” imagery in as well as the life-saving Mexican tuxedo, ‘Puter’s denim armor? DOO NAWT JUJ ME, PEEPUL!!