Big Bill holds the door so everyone in

IHOP can see how big his arms are, sleeves

cut at the shoulders, BIG GUNZ tattooed on

his right deltoid, barbed wire wrapped around his


left, boldly spanning those well-built biceps.

Bill stands against the door jamb, a sentry

of sculpted consumption, as the well groomed,

elderly, smaller stranger approaches.


The older stranger steps deliberately,

a quiet cadence up the walkway in his

Sunday best, slightly hunched with ninety years,

intent on getting his wife’s favorite table.


Bill makes no eye contact with the man

he holds the door for, but rather scans the

room, making sure he is seen, arms and all.

He waits for the little man to walk under.


The BIG GUNZ weren’t free; Billy benches three

days a week at the gym, and will drive the

one block to Circle K—in his full sized

Ford—for his milk to mix a protein shake.


Bob Whitney, the little man now before

him, carried a gun as an infantryman

in The Battle of the Buldge, stepped on

the severed arm of his dead buddy in a trench,


clipped through yards of rusty barbed wire;

whispered the Lords Prayer as they were shelled

twelve hours straight and made a Sea Ration last

for days as he forgot what dry feet felt like.


Bob Whitney rode his Schwinn ten speed to work

three days a week; June made him a sandwich

for lunch; as children they had shared the same

stingy schoolmaster: The Great Depression.


Big Bill plays Mortal Combat on Xbox with

his bros; he’s been known to yell, Eat that lead,

motherfucker! after a virtual kill.

And when he is killed, he pushes reset.


Old Bob Whitney, eyeing that armpit shrub,

does not wish to brush his newly groomed white

hair against the protruding, rank black bush.

There they stand, staring at one another,


until Bob Whitney taking hold of the door,

his wife making her way behind him with

her walker, says Thank you, but I don’t care to

sniff your armpit this fine morning young man.


Photo By: Tony Fischer