Good Times With Hal and Lardo
By Christine Tierney

Hal says, “Let’s play a game, Lardo.”

Lardo says, “What game?”

Hal says, “Every time I call you fat, you have to pull off a piece of your skin.”

Lardo says, “No way!”

Hal says, “But if you pull off enough of your skin, you’ll be skinny like me, and then I’ll rename you Tinker Toy.”

Lardo says, “I’ll play, but I’m really not in love with the name Tinker Toy.”

Hal says, “Tough shit.”

Lardo says, “When do we start?”

Hal says, “Right now, Fatty Pants.”

Lardo says, “Does Fatty Pants count?”

Hal says, “Of course it counts, Fatmandu. Now I said it twice, so pull off two good strips.”

Lardo says, “Ouch! This hurts, and what are we gonna to do about all of this blood.
Mom will kill us if we get it on her new couch.”

Hal says, “Use this grubby dish rag, Tubblicious.”

Lardo says, “If I pull off a piece from behind my ear, maybe it won’t sting as much.”

Hal says, “I could give two craps where you pull it from. Hey, Pig, what if I started calling you Gut Punch or Liver Slime?

Lardo says, “I don’t know, what do you think?”

Hal says, “I think you better peel off another piece of that beefy skin, Shit Stain. And now another piece on top of that.”

Lardo says, “No, you said Pig and Shit Stain, not fat, or anything with the word fat in it.”

Hal says, “I changed the rules, Widest Load. From now on, every time I speak to you, or even look at you, you have to peel off a piece of that nasty skin.

Lardo says, “That’s not fair. But I’ll still play if you’ll stop calling me Lardo.”

Hal says, “I changed my mind about that too. I’ll call you whatever I feel like calling you, Pork Bag. And when all of your flubbery skin is gone, I’ll write whatever floats my boat on your stupid headstone; Lardo, Tinker Toy, Gut Punch, or maybe even something sweeter like Swampy Ass Swill Hog or Blubber Galore.”

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My work has been nominated for Best of the Net, a Pushcart Prize, and the Best New Poets anthology, and has appeared in theNewerYork, Fourteen Hills, Skidrow Penthouse, Sugar House Review, Poet Lore, Monkeybicycle, Pismire, Lungfull!, and many others.
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