A 36C ON THE LOOSE
By: D.S. Renzulli
Granny never wore a bra. She was from the generation of hippies who flicked their Bics at Grateful Dead concerts and cooked Italian eggs for the Black Panthers Children Breakfast program. I think the last time her breasts were imprisoned in a 36C was back in the sixties at her wedding to my Grandpa. The only reason she wore it then was to please her conservative parents, one of the few times shed conceded to their wishes since she lost her virginity to her gym teacher at the age of fifteen. I know all that stuff because Granny loves to talk about the good old days.
Now, I have nothing against women who dont wear bras. I cant remember the last time that Ive worn one. Of course, Im built more like my mother: two aspirins on an ironing board. These days, wearing a bra is a personal choice. You do or you dont. But, in Grannys case, I was wishing that shed sling those babies into a support bra when Joey picked me up for our first date. Poor Granny hangs low these days. Real low, practically well below her belly button, and that is no exaggeration.
Joey Bartholomew was the kewl king of Walpo Center. There werent many kewl ones around our dink of a town. In high school, he strutted down the hall with a girl on either side of him. They were called Joeys bitches. I lusted to be one of those bitches. In my room, Id set up an altar to the Great One. I cut pictures of him in his football uniform out of the local newspaper. And I prayed to those clippings: just let him look in my direction. Please. PLEASE!
He never did, at least, not in high school. Graduation came and went and so did my opportunity to walk down the hall with Joey at my side. I went away to college, graduated and took off for the big city. Got married, divorcedno kids, thank you Lord, and finally back home to my parents house, just four years after my college graduation. I needed a respite from the rat race. Granny had also moved back home after Grandpas death. My poor parents probably didnt know what hit them. Theyd been invaded by a swarm of family locusts. Granny and I shared the guest bedroom. We argued over who got what half of the bureau and closet, then settled down to a co-existence that bordered on WWIII sometimes. There was a comfort in that type of relationship. I think it left us feeling like two youngsters with no responsibilities except to keep quiet when Mom had her headache. That seemed to happen more and more to my mom and Grannys daughter-in-law: our mutual arbitrator of arguments.
I ran into Joey at the 7-11. He worked there. I found that out when I spilled soap detergent on the floor, and he came out of the back to wipe it up with the mop.
Joey Bartholomew! I screamed in shock. I cant believe that its you.
Do I know you?
Im Sandy Green. I was in math class in front of you.
Oh yeah, I used to peek at your papers. You always had the good answers. He leaned on his mop. Didnt you go off to college or something?
Yeah, but Im back for a short visit. What are you doing these days? I felt like a dork. What was he doing? He was mopping up the mess I made on the floor. Real smart, Sandy.
He smiled that smile, the one that drove all the girls nuts at school. He hadnt lost his touch. My knees started to knock.
I own this place. Im thinking of starting a second one out on Rte. 6. The place is a gold mine.
We chatted more and than, he asked me out for a movie that night. I could barely contain my glee, but somehow, I managed to accept without sounding like too much of an idiot.
That night, I primped and prettied myself. Granny watched me from her single bed.
Hot date tonight, huh? Taking your birth control pills?
I ignored her and applied the mascara on my pale lashes. They clumped and I blotted with tissue. It was the usual battle, one that I lost frequently. There were times when I looked like a raccoon on speed.
So, where you going? And with who?
I told her.
Hes a jerk, she snorted. Dont get hooked up with a loser like him.
When Joey showed up for our date, Granny was nowhere to be seen. I was relieved, afraid of what she might say to him, and what hed think of her. It wasnt loyal of me, but I couldnt help it. I wanted this date to go well.
We said good-bye to my parents and walked out to his car. Except, there was no car at the curb.
Oh, do you mind if we use your car? he asked. I forgot to mention that mine is in the shop for repairs. I had a friend drop me off here tonight.
No problem, I said.
We got into my 97 Toyota, and I drove us to the movie theatre. Since my return home, I hadnt gone to a movie. I was excited about going back to the Grand Theatre on Main Street. My girlfriends and I spent many wonderful hours there.
Joey and I walked up to the window for tickets. He dug into his tight jeans and looked sheepish.
Damn, I forgot my wallet at home.
My treat, I said gallantly. Ill even pop for the popcorn.
After buying the popcorn, we settled down in the dark theatre. I sighed softly, happy to enjoy the moment. Joeys right arm slung around the back of my seat and rested on my shoulder. He nuzzled my left ear, his breath moist and buttery smelling from the popcorn.
I always thought you were sexy in high school, he murmured.
Why didnt you ask her out at the time? The loud voice came from behind us. I jumped a mile from my seat and turned around.
Granny! I said with dismay. What are you doing here?
Watching the movie, of course! She was sitting directly behind Joey. He had turned about like I did, to see just who was talking. Granny sat on the edge of her seat, and rested her elbows on the back of his chair. Like a pendulum, her boobs swung forward from the movement and bopped him in the face.
Thats my name, call me again and Ill tell you the same.
This is your grandmother? asked Joey.
I couldnt answer him. I was hoping for a miracle, like perhaps the earth opening up and swallowing me whole.
He said to Granny, Youre the nutcase that keeps stealing the Playgirl magazine.
You havent caught me doing that yet, big boy. You cant prove that I did it.
But, I know you steal it.
Dont call my grandmother a nutcase, I said weakly.
A man in a seat in back told us all to shut up.
Granny, stop it.
I cant believe shes your grandmother. Joey shook his head. Shes bonzo. They banned her from the store.
On the word of a lousy clerk, said Granny. She was really getting into it now, and I knew that nothing was going to stop her. You cant even count out change correctly.
Hes not a clerk, I said defensively. He owns the store.
This sent Granny into gales of laughter. Her body quivered with merriment. Joey moved away from flying boobs before he got hurt.
He does, I said. In fact, hes going to open another one on Rte. 6.
And I have a bridge to sell you. I just cant believe that a granddaughter of mine could be such a nitwit. She paused to catch her breath. I told you that he was a loser. He doesnt even have a car, and he lives home with his mother.
So do I.
But thats temporary.
I turned to Joey. Tell her that you own the store.
He looked uncomfortable. I dont remember saying that exactly.
Yes you did, I protested.
Well, maybe I exaggerated just a bit.
Hes only been there for six months. He hasnt been able to hold down a real job for any length of time.
You old bat! Joey looked as if he was going to grab her by the throat.
Hey, thats my grandmother. I stopped him from touching her. I think you better take off, buster. No ones going to man-handle my Granny.
After he took off in a huff, Granny moved next to me. We sat there and watched the movie, munching on the popcorn that Id bought for Joey.
I told you that he was a loser, she said.
Now I know where those Playgirl magazines under your bed come from, I muttered under my breath, loud enough for her to hear me.
She cackled and grabbed another handful of popcorn.
After the movie, we decided to get an ice cream cone at Howells Ice Cream Parlor. They were selling balloons. I bought one for Granny with a message on it that fit her to a T.
The red balloon said, I LOVE IT WHEN LIFE GOOSES ME!