The Party
Pirooz Kalayeh

Igloo and Chuck wanted to celebrate. They took me to this Chinese restaurant on the Bowery. They wanted dumplings. I didn't though. I'd had enough of them. It was all we ate when I lived at the hostel. I didn't think I liked them anymore. It wasn't until I was about to eat my fourth plate that I figured it out. I was wrong. I liked dumplings. There just wasn't anything else to it.

"Good," Chuck said. "Now you'll get to have all you want."

He was right. I was in the contest. Igloo had signed me up. He thought I looked too skinny. He wanted me to get back my baby fat. He wanted the grand prize too. A trip to the Fiji's. He thought I had a shot. I just had to keep eating.

"Keep eating," he said.

I tried. It was tough. Bill Unger was in the competition. He was a retired football player. I just couldn't keep up with him. He was pretty big. It got even worse when he took off his shoes to intimidate me. Those were some crazy toes.

"Don't look at them!" Chuck shouted.

"Yeah," Igloo agreed. "Keep eating!"

I think I was winning. There was a big crowd around me. They were all shouting. It was coming down to the wire. Ten more seconds. I put a dumpling in my mouth. I chewed it.

"Swallow!" Chuck shouted.

Igloo stood me up. He pressed his hand on my stomach. He tried to make more room. It didn't help. I was done. Those toes were pretty intimidating. I had to stop. Igloo wasn't mad though. He was real proud of me. Chuck too. I got the second place ribbon, a can of dumplings, and a trip to Kuala Lampur. It wasn't as good as the Fiji's, but it would have to do. At least that's what Igloo said.

"It'll have to do," he said.

He took the tickets and put them in his pocket. Then he picked me up and took me to Smitty's. He figured I needed a drink. He was right. It really helped my stomach. Everything came out after the third rum and coke. I felt a lot better. I even danced with Igloo's friend. Her name was Cassandra. She was real nice. She knew the forbidden dance of Maya. Just like me. It was great. Igloo and Chuck really knew how to throw a party. I forgot all about getting married. I wasn't nervous at all. It was just what the doctor ordered.

Pirooz M. Kalayeh is a writer and artist from Los Angeles. Links to his novels, comic books and music can be found under the blood red skies of Shikow.  

(Ed.'s note: "Pops U," the single off TRANSISTOR RADIO, which is the latest release by his band, the Slipshod Swingers, is fantastic and available @ iTunes.)

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Photo detail on main page courtesy of Gwyn Fisher.

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