By John McDonnell
Larry had “blue” days every once in awhile (although he came from a clinically depressed civilization that recognized 47 different shades of melancholy, so it was complicated). On these days he’d stay in his room and either sob hysterically or turn into a howler monkey and commence a terrible screeching, interspersed with philosophical musings on the Meaning of Life.
During one of these bouts Dolores couldn’t stand it anymore and she told Murphy he had to find something for Larry to do so he’d forget about his spiritual crisis.
“Like what?” Murphy said. “He’s not good at anything.”
“Why don’t you have a contest at your bar? Then he could be a judge.”
“Contest? What kind of contest?”
“A bikini contest, like they have at Hooter’s.”
“Are you kidding? My clientele wouldn’t survive a bikini contest. They’d go into cardiac arrest, and I’d be passing out defibrillators like candy.”
“Oh, come on, everybody likes a bikini contest. It will bring in more business.”
“From who? A bunch of underage guys with raging hormones. Testosterone is a distant memory for my customers, and they like it that way.”
“You never think big, Murphy. It will bring more business to the bar. I’ll organize it. I’ll put an ad in the newspaper, and we’ll get tons of customers. We’ll sell tickets. It will be a big success. Plus, you can make Larry a judge, and it will get him out of the house.”
Murphy knew he was courting disaster by agreeing to this plan, but he also knew better than to argue with Dolores when she got one of her ideas for improving his business. It was better to be like one of the musicians on the Titanic, playing merrily while the ship goes down, than to disagree with her.
He went along with the plan, and Dolores went to work organizing it. As the weeks went by he had to admit that it was at least bringing Larry out of his funk. Larry liked the concept, and he decided to write a 1000 page thesis on changing ideals of female beauty, taking short jaunts back to the Stone Age to make notes. Dolores was not happy when he brought back a Neanderthal princess who tried to kill a deer in their backyard with her bare hands and used the dining room table to build a fire. “Look at those deltoids,” Larry said, watching her tear the legs off the table. “That was a sign of great beauty in her day. And she has an amazing brow ridge--”
At this point Dolores used words like blunt objects to make her point that she didn’t care how beautiful the creature was by Neanderthal standards, she wanted her out of the house immediately.
The day of the contest found Larry dressed in the long black robes and ceremonial wig of a Victorian jurist, and he sat near a runway that had been put in Murphy’s bar expressly for the event. The bar was filled with a collection of hooting half-drunk males in muscle shirts, and there was a suitably oily MC in a tux who announced the contestants.
The girls were of varying shapes and sizes, and as they paraded down the runway in their bikinis and heels the guys in the audience yelled out comments that would have brought a blush to the cheeks of a Viking raiding party. Larry took his job seriously, and was scribbling copious notes on his score sheet, but he didn’t give anyone more than a 5 rating on a scale of 10. When Dolores, who was sitting next to him, saw this, she said, “Larry, you’re being too picky. You’ll just embarrass us if you can’t choose a winner.”
“There’s something missing,” Larry said.
“Well, what are you gonna do? You can’t bring back that cavewoman. . . Larry? No, forget I said that. Larry!”
But it was too late. At the end of the runway stood the stocky, beetle-browed form of the Neanderthal princess, her face contorted in thought as she tried to size up what she saw. The scene looked to her like some strange group mating ceremony, although she was puzzled that no one had thought to slaughter a woolly mammoth for the occasion. She already had her eye on a male in a tight white t-shirt who was staring open-mouthed at her, and she particularly liked the collection of shiny jewelry he had draped around his neck.
She bolted toward him, declaring her love in a series of guttural growls, when the entire bar headed for the exit at the same time. There was general mayhem as the muscle-shirted guys shoved the bikini clad girls out of the way to get to the exit, and Murphy pleaded with them to stay and have another drink, while Dolores screamed at Larry to do something. Larry simply stared in admiration at the raw power of the Neanderthal princess as she flung people and furniture out of the way to get at her true love, who had locked himself in the Men’s Room and was sobbing hysterically.
In seconds she had torn down the door and grabbed the young man, but then the air shimmered and they disappeared.
“Thanks, Larry,” Dolores said, with a sigh of relief. “Although, what happened to the guy that was with her?”
“He’ll be fine,” Larry said. “He’s not dressed for the Ice Age, but he won’t notice how cold he is while he’s running from all those predators.”