Tom Janikowski is a midwestern fiction author, currently living in Davenport, Iowa. His flash fiction has appeared in print and online on both...read more sides of the Atlantic. His forthcoming novel, "The Crawford County Sketchbook," will be released 15 August 2015, by Red Hen Press of Pasadena.
THERE WAS ONLY ONE PERSON I ever knew who really used the word “yon,” and it was that guy named Cartwright. He was the same guy who used the word “prissy” whenever he could, and people at the bowling alley would stare at him when he did so because he exaggerated the “s” sound in the word. It made him sound effeminate, or so my friend Nigel said. Who was Nigel to say, though? He smoked Benson and Hedges cigarettes – one step removed from Virginia Slims on the manliness scale.
But I am getting off track, Sweetcheeks.
By the way, I only call you 'Sweetcheeks' because I find your cheeks to look ever so sweet. No, sit down, please, I am not referring to those cheeks. You have facial cheeks that are reminiscent of one of the greatest cheek-exhibitionists that I have ever known. Luckily for the length of this story, it just so happens that Cartwright himself was that very person. Cartwright – that man with the occasional lisp who was fond of the words “yon” and “prissy” was also a cheek exhibitionist, and displayed his supple, radiant cheeks at county fairs, tractor pulls and flea markets all over this part of the world. Don't you remember him? Surely you must.
Cartwright blew into town one warm summer day and blew right into my heart at the same time. Oh, mind you, Sweetcheeks, it was a virile, manly sort of respect that I had for this fine cheek-exhibitionist. Get your mind out of that gutter. Yes, that particular gutter. No, I looked upon Cartwright as an icon – a veritable window into all that was holy, all that was pure. And those cheeks of his – my, my...they were beyond belief. Not unlike yours, Sweetcheeks.
One's star can climb only so high, and so it was with Cartwright. With the advent of irradiated chicken at the “Pico-Pico Deli”, Cartwright's visage slowly became marred. He would consume such vast quantities of chicken thighs, you know, Sweetcheeks, that the radiation eventually got the best of him. You know how it is – the doctors say that the thighs of the chicken hold an abnormally large dose of radiation, and those individuals who are particularly fond of chicken thighs are hit particularly hard. Combine this with the fact that the body part most immediately and most powerfully affected by such radiation is the cheek, and you have a story that spells tragedy for such a man. I was and have always been a lover of the leg and the wing, and so I have been spared the awful fate of Cartwright.
In later years, when Cartwright would wander the streets of town, the gaping holes staring out from where his cheeks used to be, the small children in town would hide behind the grease trap outside the bordello next to the Methodist church, and they would hurl such cruel epithets. “Hey, hole-cheek!” they would cry, and “cheeky-cheeky-holey-cheek!” Poor Cartwright would wander with his cheekless head hanging low, a shadow of his former self. I would watch from a distance, from the safety and anonymity of my reflexology clinic, and I would weep bitter, bitter tears for that man who once was possessed of the finest cheeks in these parts. It is a sad tale, for sure.
Now then, Sweetcheeks, could I offer you another piece of chicken? The nether regions are particularly sweet and crunchy.