Aunt Linda’s Hindenberg rear end was so big that it would be easier to jump over her than it would be to try and walk around. She was married to Uncle Freddie. Once, when we were up north fishing, he took a leak off the side of the boat. I saw his crank. It looked like a pencil. Uncle Freddie smoked continuously, like a smoldering Sunday morning mattress on a fire escape. And Aunt Linda hated it. She always did. She hated it bad. But since his retirement as night manager from Jiffy Lube he smoked even more, that is, when he wasn’t watching Aunt Linda’s ass blow up bigger than a channel buoy.
“Freddie … goddamnit, Freddie … nuts … more nuts!!” Uncle Freddie spent most of his time fetching Aunt Linda and her fat friends cashews when they played cards, which was all the time now. Like most of my distant deadbeat relatives, we had nothing to say to each other. And whenever, by some strange twist of disharmonic fate, we found ourselves in the same room together, we trolled for something to say. I thought about mentioning the one time he took me fishing, but opted to make small talk about smoking. Expecting the standard mantra I plan on quitting soon, Uncle Freddie was straight up. “I love to smoke. I love it. It’s like eating fat pussy. I love the feel of it in my fingers, the way my lips lap the sides, the smell, the taste … I love it.” He did an audio-visual by tonguing the end of his Camel while yodeling. He looked like a sword swallower on Star Search and sounded like the refrain in Lil’ Wally’s Beer Barrel Polka. I laughed, as I glanced over at the picture of Aunt Linda eating cotton candy, on an Atlantic City boardwalk, in 1950. She was thick then.
“Freddie … Freddie … more nuts … goddamnit, Freddie … more nuts!!” She slammed the cashew dish on the card table so hard that it made her tits wobble like refrigerated gravy.
“Ever figger’ on quittin’?” I asked.
“Nah … never.”
He heaped up the cashews like a pyramid and said nothing. I thought he was ignoring me. Then, on the way out to refuel the Hindenberg, he stopped to light a Camel and took a big first drag. His eyes lit up, as he smiled a wry smile, while repositioning his pencil crank.
“Why don’t I quit?” He said back to me.
“That’d make the pig happy.”