Monday, March 30, 2009

Tammy Part 2

Even the dog knew something was terribly wrong. That's why he went after this person (because it couldn't possibly be Tammy and it kind of looked like a man)'s ankles like a canine weed whacker.

The person standing on our landing didn't flinch when the pomeranian attacked. She (He?) merely looked down, far down because she was well over six feet tall, with an expression of pity and bewilderment. She made a noise that was a combination cough/ snort and then bellowed with a voice that had truly missed its calling. She should have been a pig caller.


My mother swiped the dog into her arms and out of harm's way. I scanned her face for a sign of how she felt about this individual. I looked at my father. What were they thinking? How had they brought this person home?

"Aren't you going to say hi to Tammy?" my mother asked.

She turned to Tammy and in a stage whisper explained to her that I was shy kid, but I'd get over it. Tammy grunted.

Tammy was as wide, deep and squarely built as a refrigerator and she stood a head taller than one. My mother, who was a chunky five seven and a half, looked trim, petite and delicate beside my new "nanny." Tammy wore a pair of tight, faded zebra print leggings. The elastic had given way and the ankle seams unraveled, dangling black strings over Tammy's feet, each the size of a hearty chuck roast and clad in tattered, Dollar Store flip flops. For a top, Tammy sported a Quiet Riot tee shirt as faded and full of pills and holes as her leggings. She had cut it herself into a half shirt, which exposed her overflowing gut that was as white as raw pizza dough and rutted with screaming red, vertical stretch marks. Her face was worse. Most of it was covered by her shaggy, frizzed, bleach blonde hair. Black roots grew to the tops of her ears. It looked like at some point she may have had bangs, but they had grown out months ago and hung to the top of her ruddy nose. She had a complexion the color of raw chicken. I didn't want to get near her because she looked like she stunk and I was terrified of what she might have in the two, straining black garbage bags she swung in each fat hand. Later she'd explain that she didn't have luggage so she just threw her stuff in some lawn bags and hopped on the Amtrak.

My parents showed her to her room. She'd have the small bedroom off the den on the bottom level. We had a bed for her in there, along with a card table covered with a bed sheet. My mother had made sure she had a portable radio and an alarm clock, but other than that, the room was pretty spare. Tammy didn't seem to mind.

"You people got anything to eat?" she asked.

My mother made spaghetti that night. Tammy went back for seconds and thirds, half a loaf of garlic bread quickly disappearing from her loaded plate. We offered her salad, but she declined, saying she didn't want to fill up on lettuce and tomatoes, and then went back to scrape the bottom of the stock pot for the last bites of meat sauce. When she was done she asked if we had any ice cream. Since we didn't, my dad ran to the convenience store, taking Tammy with him so she could familiarize herself with her new surroundings. While they were gone I asked my mother what had happened.

"She's umm..." my mother thought a second, "She's just a little different. She'll be fine. She was really poor in Utah and couldn't afford clothes. She'll get some now. You can't judge a person because of their clothes. It's what's inside that counts and you know that, so keep your mouth shut and don't hurt her feelings. She just needs to adjust."

Tammy ate two pints of Haagen Dazs by herself as we sat in the den watching a Gallagher special on TV. Back then we had this old TV which had barely survived the U-Haul flood that had ruined our furniture. As if it were possessed by demons, the television would switch channels on its own and often the volume would rise and fall dramatically. To fix it we had to smack the side of it. That would usually do the trick. We explained that to Tammy and when the picture went out just as Gallagher smashed a whole watermelon, she got up and hit the TV so hard that it fell off its stand and knocked over a pony tail plant and my mother's prized ceramic giraffe. She apologized as my mother ran for the vaccum and my father jumped up to put the set upright again.

"I'm still hungry. You got any chips or anything? After having my son last month I can't seem to stop eating. I think its because I'm supposed to be breast feeding or something," Tammy announced.

"You have a one month old son?" my mother asked.

"Yeah. The Mormon's took him from me, excommunicated me. They put him up for adoption and said I couldn't come back unless I got married, but I ain't about to get married."

"How could they take him away from you?" my mother asked.

"My parents sent me to a special Mormon home for unwed mothers and they convinced me to put him up. I was probably brainwashed but I didn't know who the dad was so I figured maybe it was for the best. Then I could get the hell out of that shit hole of a state Utah. Didn't need some baby weighing me down. But my damn titties are still leaking and I can't stop eating. I thought they'd have dried up by now. Man, I'm hungry. Did you say if you had some chips or not?"

A week later I kicked Tammy in her shins.

To be continued...


Missicat said...

I am actually speechless....
Did she eat your dog? :-0

Anonymous said...

A THS investigates (on E!) thing is on talking about that cult you wrote about a while back.

Anonymous said...

I have been glued to Wide Lawns since it was the old Wide Lawns (seriously missed you during downtime). Not only do you write beautifully, your stories are fantastic. Tammy and escape from bad parents have me on the edge of the seat. Hope your finger feels better soon!

Dayna said...

I was thinking Tammy was going to be some sweet Pollyanna type. Long Blond hair, long skirts, running away to keep from marrying.....her cousin.

Greg said...

"A week later I kicked Tammy in her shins."

Best. Segue. Ever.

FreeDragon said...

Aaaah! You always stop at the most interesting part!

Kali said...

My god, what a monster.

That you only kicked her shins is probably a testament to your restraint, even at eleven.

And maybe you can't/shouldn't judge someone by their clothes (though I beg to differ), but you sure as hell can judge them by what comes out their mouths.

Jennie said...

I can't tell you how excited I get to see when you have updated! Your stories always bring the giggles out of me and are a perfect end to the day...thank you.

Joy said...

Oh my god. Woman, you need to write the novel already.

I was thinking about you this weekend randomly while I watched my horse run around the arena. (no connection, don't know why, you just popped into my head.)

I decided right there and and then that you are a real life fairy tale. You're the princess who was treated horribly, and nobody recognized who you were for the longest time. And now you're the Princess married to the Prince and have amazing talents (like writing).

Anonymous said...

wow, you are seriously harsh.

reiven west on facebook

Christi Lee said...


KT said...

I agree with Dayna on the Tammy visual! And I admire your patience in waiting a whole week to kick her in the shins. Geez.

Wide Lawns said...

You won't think I'm harsh when you hear the rest of the story.

Modern Philodoxos said...

this is my favorite one yet.

JoeinVegas said...

Oh - another hanging tease in the comments. Good way to go WL.

MtnMama said...

Just speculation on my part, but she wasn't Mormon after all? ;)

Pat Benatar was seriously edgy to those gals... they wouldn't have had clue one about Quiet Riot. And no, I don't believe zebra print leggings are on the approved dress code list.


Oh, my goodness, the "interesting people" you've had to deal with.

Anonymous said...

On behalf of Mormons everywhere and especially in Utah, I apologize. I haven't heard the rest of the story about why you kicked her in the shins but I feel that I must apologize. I'm sure you had good reason to kick her. I want to hunt her down and kick her now myself.

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