I’m a big-time comic book geek, so when Freddy wrote down “OA” on a piece of paper and handed it to me? I immediately thought of the homeworld of the Guardians of the Universe, the little white-haired blue-skinned dudes that gave Green Lantern his power ring.
“No, dumb-ass,” Freddy said. “It stands for Overeaters Anonymous.”
I felt my mouth form a perfect “O” like the one on the piece of paper and slowly nodded my head. “I see.”
“Do you?” Freddy’s brown face displayed impatience, but when didn’t it?
“Yeah, dude. You think I’ve been eating too much.”
Freddy threw his hands up into the air and grunted at the ceiling, or the sky or maybe God, I don’t know.
“Ain’t nobody stupid like you, dog!”
“Obviously that’s not true or you wouldn’t have said it to me.”
I can’t even describe Freddy’s face. I love when I slam his ass like that, leaving him all speechless and stuff. Reminds him he’s in the same halfway house as the rest of us.
“Jake, why do I always gotta repeat shit like, fifty times with you before you get it?” Freddy said.
“Nuh-uh! How long did it take me to understand that hooker and state trooper scam idea?”
Freddy looked at me and laughed, but I don’t think he thought anything was funny. “Maybe that was ‘cause you woke up wearing a dress and high heels.”
“Yeah, how come you always get to be the state trooper?”
Freddy rolled his eyes. “I’m black, man. With this lovely ass I got, you might not make it to my rescue before some horny sum bitch has deflowered my delicate love petals.”
I nodded. “Good point. That is one tempting…”
Why did he do that every time I tried to give him a compliment? I would’ve told him he was being ungrateful, but I didn’t wanna come off like a slave master or something. I wonder if he thinks I might be a gay. Well, I ain’t. I loves me the womens and the womens…well, you know. We all have our issues.
Mine is drugs. Lots and lots of drugs. If you came to visit me back in the day, you saw a bowl full of what some people thought were assorted jelly beans on my kitchen counter. They were pills, and sometimes I took a fistful of them at the same time. Dude, I was so wasted most times I couldn’t even remember how to dress myself. That’s how I wound up here. Apparently I walked into a mall without any pants on and made a bee-line for the food court.
You’d think somebody would’ve covered me and tried to help me, but bend over in front of one soccer mom and suddenly you got a million SWAT guys crawling up your ass with a microscope and a shop light. They didn’t find anything in there, but my fingerprints were a different story. I had more priors than college calculus.
See? That reference alone ought to show you I’m no dumb-ass; I just forget things and sometimes stuff doesn’t make sense when I hear it. Freddy just likes to feel better about himself because he never finished high school.
“Let me know when you come back from your happy place,” Freddy says.
I look around the lunch room. “Was I daydreamin’ again?”
“I don’t know what you was doin’ but you looked like a statue.”
“Sweet. What were we talking about?”
“Anonymous, right. What’s your plan? Act like diet gurus and get their credit card numbers?”
Freddy rolls his eyes yet again. “That shit only works at church picnics. Besides, we got enough to lay off for a while, know what I’m sayin’?”
I glance down at the table and try to find a spot that isn’t dancing around in my vision. Like Doc Frankel says, I need to locate my focal point so I don’t wind up in la-la land all the time. Fucking drugs. I mean, I don’t regret getting high, but sometimes I wish I’d just gotten into extreme sports or marathon screwing instead.
“This is about love, dog,” Freddy says.
“Aww, that’s nice, Freddy. I love you, too man.”
“What have I told you about the faggot shit? You better put some bass in that voice when you say that to me!”
So I do and Freddy seems cool with me loving him then. I won’t bore you with the rest of the conversation. It took me a while longer to really get where he was going with the whole Overeaters Anonymous thing. Freddy and me, we like women with some poundage. Sure those chicks on the cover of Cosmo and all are good to look at , but bring them home and it’s like putting it inside a yardstick. No curves, no butt, no hips, and freakishly large, probably fake, tits. Don’t get me wrong. We’re not into hogging. The chick needs to look respectable. She can’t be so fat that she looks like she’s sitting when she’s standing. If I hear one kid say her ass has its own zip code and congressman, Jake’s out the door like a deliveryman. But something to hold onto? Something to kneed while you’re doing your sinful bizzyness? No shame in that game, my friend.
Freddy’s idea was to join up and score babes with the money we got from all our scams. The problem was, we had a curfew and most of the meetings took place at night. At best, only one of us could go, and he, whoever he was, needed one kick-ass excuse. Freddy found me a job. A shitty job.
“I’ll smell like fucking hamburgers every night,” I said.
“Perfect, dog! That’s what they like up at O.A.” He started doing that weird dance-thing he does when he thinks something good is coming his way. It consists of rolling his hips in a circle and pointing both hands at the ground while smacking his lips like he has peanut butter on his gums. That’s how they made it look like Mr. Ed could talk, by the way. Man, the shit I remember out of nowhere…
I couldn’t argue with Freddy’s logic and, besides, it wasn’t like he could get a job slinging burgers to late night stoners. Freddy’s record was so long it could’ve been used to pave that famous freeway in Germany.
It took nothing to get hired since one of Freddy’s homies was the assistant manager. His name was Titus and he was a big, bald sum bitch. One of his hands could palm my whole upper body. He was also serious about his career and made sure I know better than to screw around on the clock.
“I’ll cover your ass when you go to them meetin’s,” he said. “You can take a long lunch, but you best do what I tell you when you’re here.”
“My number one rule is simple: Be rude to the customers and we get to find out if your ass if made of rubber ‘cause I will bounce it on outta here, understand?”
“And if you take money from that drawer and I find out? Boy, ain’t nowhere in the world my foot won’t find that ass, you get me?”
“Cool. Welcome to the family.”
I was surprised Titus put me on register duty right away. That’s usually one of those positions people have to earn after spending months getting splattered by grease. But despite my mental state, I could still do math better than the rest of his employees. Maybe my dad was right when he said math is the result of lower brain functions…I can’t believe I remember that.
To be honest, I loved it there. It got me out of the halfway house with the junkies and the retards and I even got hit on a few times. The money wasn’t great but it was more than I was making before, which was nothing. I got discounted lunches and me and Titus hit it off real good. Out of respect for him, I waited two weeks before I visited my first O.A. meeting.
I was nervous as all hell when I walked in. What was I going to say? I wasn’t overweight at all but here I was rolling up in an OA meeting like I belonged there.