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Bewildering Stories

Walter Giersbach,
Cruising the Green of Second Avenue

Laura Lard Takes No Prisoners


Cruising the Green
of Second Avenue
Author: Walter Giersbach
Publisher: Wild Child Publishing,
October 2007
E-book .pdf: $4.75 U.S.
Length: Novella 71 pages
ISBN: 978-1-934069-78-3
New York City is a lean town. Not mean, just full of thin-to-middle-weight people who walk fast, talk faster and move through pedestrian-clotted streets the way a Giants running back weaves toward the goal line. Money, and the potential for getting more of it, motivates them. Fear is also part of the equation for making it in the city.

Combine the driving impulses of acquisition and apprehension and you leave no room for calories to collect and twiddle their thumbs on your thighs. There’s no place for slow-moving vehicles in the fast lane of commerce.

And that’s a sad state of affairs, if you think about it. I was thinking about it, because this unnatural state can get personal. It was in the late ’60s that a gal named Suzie something-or-other came in to interview for the secretarial opening my boss had posted. She was obese. Very obese. I asked Nordstrom, publisher for our stable of trade magazines, whether Suzie’s weight was the reason for showing her the door ten minutes after she arrived.

“She’s fat,” he said, as if that was self-explanatory. “You want a second opinion? She’s also ugly.”

He laughed. I didn’t. I was thoroughly depressed, but I didn’t say anything about his unconscionable attitude or his worse joke. Blame my fear and greed. I didn’t want to short circuit a raise I was due. Now, to those emotional sins I could add guilt for not speaking up. Obesity wasn’t a protected class back then.

Allen the Stockbroker was outraged when I mentioned the incident. “She should sue!” He turned red in the face — red in his thin face, and his skinny body shook. “I know a lawyer. They can’t do that to a person just because she has a few extra pounds.”

He had another reason for being angry, I think. He took it personally. Every woman I’d ever seen him date was heavy. There were plenty of slow vehicles in his tunnel of love.

Allen Messing lived near me in what he called the Lower East Side arrondissement. Tompkins Square. This used to be the Ukrainian section until the students moved in, followed by the hippies, who were followed by the... But that’s another story. We called him Allen the Stockbroker even though he did backroom paper shuffling at Merrill Lynch and wasn’t a registered broker. He lent a little class to our group without being overtly offensive about being a capitalist. Still, I had more faith in his haberdasher than his stock picks.

When it came to Allen being curiously attracted to overweight women, no one felt it was anything but individual choice. It wasn’t that the women of the moment tended to be heavy, but that heavy was a prerequisite to their getting it on with Allen. Working in midtown, earning a decent salary and wearing a clean shirt every day, he had a wide selection of sleek professional women to date. Living downtown, he could explore a choice of personalities that would have left P.T. Barnum dumbfounded. But without fail, the women who appeared on his arm were heavy-set.

They were all good-looking. Well-educated. Cultivated. But morbidly obese. Eye candy equally laden with calories. Laura Lardner was no exception.

Copyright © 2007 by Walter Giersbach

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