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I’ve decided it’s time to start giving back, so 2020 will be my Year of Philanthropy.

“You’re on your own then because no one’s getting any of my money,” Laverne drawled over her latte.

“I’m just saying… it’s a new decade. I need a new project.”

“What was the old one?”

“Don’t remember.”

“Why not join a health club to lose weight like everyone else?” she asked, offhandedly.

“Because I’m not fat.”

“No, you’re not,” she agreed, “but fat people find you attractive. Remember Disney World?”

“They thought I was Edward Norton.”

“They thought you were Donald Trump. You had a bigger queue for selfies than Cinderella.”

“Yeah, it did get a little weird,” I conceded.

“But not without explanation: you’re on the cusp between normal and sturdy. Pods will circle a newcomer until the time’s right – you’re basically chum bait.”

“Hold on,” I took exception. “Is this pod going to accept me or eat me?”

“That could go either way dependent upon when it last fed but I wouldn’t worry about it. When I was growing up we had a fat family across the street and they were really nice.”

“Were you friends with them?”

“Uh huh…” Laverne faltered ever so slightly.

“What were their names? All of them.”

“The dog was called Cupcake, I remember that much, but the point is they were all really nice.”

“Just not worth knowing,” I finished the thought.

“All I’m saying is, when you date one they search out any junk food in your home while you’re at work, like a RoboVac, leaving only the healthy stuff,” she pinched my cheek. “It’s a win-win.”

“It’s not just me though, it’s my clothes as well. I’m sure they’ve shrunk even though the label says pre-shrunk.

“The fashion industry’s ruthless, Sweetie,” Laverne leaned forward, her eyes narrowing. “Picture it… row upon row of little old ladies in the developing world high-fiving each other at their sewing machines every time they attach another counterfeit label. Usually it’s the dress size. Bitches.”

“The pre-shrunk label’s bogus?” I felt somehow violated.

“They put it on everything, like when they give the placebo to both control groups,” she explained. “Anyway, if anyone’s fat it’s that neighbour of yours. She’s the size of a Volvo.”

“Elsie? Give her a break, she’s 84.”

“Really? She looks 94. That could be you one day if you’re not careful,” she prophesied.

“How?”

“Because I know a word that you don’t.”

Candidiasis?

“Shut up or I’ll kick you in the face,” she growled.

“What word?”

Moderation. Ease off the gas pedal a bit. It’s all or nothing with you at mealtimes. Your family’s the same – you eat too quickly – you’re on your third course before your brain even knows you’ve sat down to eat. Except your mother, she’s normal.”

“Anything else? I mean, don’t hold back on my account,” I insisted.

“Your father has the rear molars of a hyena,” she shuddered. “I’ve watched him crush femurs like they were toothpicks.”

“That’s right, just let it out… let it all out.”

“Like you are?” she poked me in the stomach. “I’m just saying, it catches up with everyone eventually.”

“You think I’m a whale,” I pouted.

“No, you’re a tuna. There’s a difference.”

“Anyway, about my project.”

“What about your project and don’t involve me in it.”

“I need some clarity,” but to be honest, I was already starting to lose interest in it myself.

“What’s your gut telling you?” she couldn’t resist.

“That there’s something big inside of me trying to get out, however, it could just be a foot-long jobbie,” I volleyed it back over the net.

“Oh, real classy,” Laverne set down her chocolate muffin. “Ever walk into a prison during an execution and say: Mmm… what’s that you’re cooking?”

“Ever been driving on your own and let rip an absolute stinker? I mean a KILLER, then roll up the window and while basking in your own cloud of evil think to yourself: ooh… I’m nasty.”

“All the time. And do you know what? When we were in The Lake District last summer, during an evening stroll I farted and a frog answered.”

“There’s blood dripping from my dining room ceiling but I don’t want to cause a fuss because I’m only renting.”

“Are you aware that I can smell your earwax from here?”

“Shut up or I’ll wear shorts tomorrow.”

“‘When God was giving out chins you thought He said ‘gins’ and asked for a double.”

“Love your hair… hope it wins.”

“You have lady legs.”

“I feel a song coming on…”

“… well, don’t bother because your Shih Tzus have told me they’re sick of show tunes.”

“Nice Christmas sweater.”

“My grandmother knitted it.”

“What did she use? Crowbars?”

“Tell me: are pyjama jeans as comfortable as they look?”

“Even more so.”

“You’re dressed like a stolen car.”

“You’re so skinny you have to run around in the shower to get wet.”

“Your emotional support animal is a manatee.”

“Your father’s an Avon Lady-Boy.”

“I know you write to Cher every year on her birthday and she’s never replied.”

“Where’s that book you’ve been writing for the last twenty years?”

“It’ll be coming out any day now.”

“Along with your father?”

“Nice red leather sofa. Funny though… I don’t think I’ve ever seen a red cow.”

“And I’ve never met a talking one.”

“Tell us again what it’s like to be from Canada: The Home of Absolutely Nothing.”

[I bet even Andrew Carnegie had days like this]

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