Hot Dogs by Patricia Q. Bidar

This story was originally published by Wigleaf on November 21, 2018.

They were newlyweds. I was the interloper. Swan diving into their Fourth-of-July barbeque.

Vitalized by three Bloody Marys, I’d called a cab. Walked into the Baldwin Hills mock Tudor without knocking. Strode up to the host in my fitted retro sundress and punched him on the arm. “I came for the celebs!” I cried, and I saw his bride cringe.

They were playing at being settled and rich. The host—the groom—was an old lover of mine. He’d availed himself of my instability, then taken a powder when things got too deep. He’d moved to Los Angeles, and a year later I pretended to have gotten a job there. Lulled him with fake normalcy. He and his new girl met me for dinner in West Hollywood, and I’d gotten out without drinking, crying, or slandering anyone.

The now-wife’s mother was a film reviewer for the Times. She was out of town leading a writers’ retreat in an ice hotel somewhere.

I’d said that bit about celebs to be funny. But here one came, milky shoulders covered with a wrap. She was not the celebrity I may have been thinking of. That one was shooting a movie with Harrison Ford.

“Bonnie? She had an early call,” the groom said. Her name felt great in his mouth, I could tell. What a marvelous life he and his wife were going to have.

The other celeb, who wasn’t well known then but is very much so now, sat in the shade. She would only talk with the bride. The groom said to help myself to one of his mother-in-law’s suits. I went inside, first stopping in the kitchen for two Coronas, which I drank bouncing on my rear on the absent hostess’ bed.

I found a black suit, very Bain du Soleil. Grabbed another beer on my way out. The celeb had vanished. The sun oozed down behind the backyard fence. The groom was playing “Taps” on a plastic recorder. I’d loved how boring he’d been. Boxes of sparklers sat on the main table’s edge: they’d clearly hoped for their guests to stay longer. The bride’s shoulders and arms rested on the pool’s edge while her pale legs paddled.

 “You skinny dip here?” I hollered over the sound of Taps. In the corner of my eye, I registered that the groom had heard.

“Beautiful playing,” came a voice from over the fence. We all looked. An older man, years of shouldered responsibility dragging his features down. Kilroy was here.

The groom aborted a guffaw and said thanks. The face disappeared.

“Seriously?” the bride asked me.

The groom gathered plates and bottles, hustled into the house. I was pretty drunk. A crazy woman is like catnip to a bore like him. I shucked the mother-in-law’s suit. The bride met my gaze, shrugged herself free of her suit. She lobbed it to a chair, where it landed with a dainty sucking sound.

Flat chested and sleek. Good for her.

We swam and chatted about nothing. The sultry weather. The Harrison Ford movie. Their honeymoon trip to Cabo. The light was perfect. I knew the groom was checking me out from inside.

My head hurt. Suddenly, I wanted to be dressed. But the dry suit wasn’t where I’d left it at the pool’s edge and I hadn’t thought of a towel. The bride’s white teeth flashed. She’d thrown the suit when I wasn’t looking.

I climbed out of the pool without regard for my curvy frame, my round and springy tits. Hoisted myself from the pool, perfectly lit and dripping.

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