Fat Man In The Bathtub

Jose who?James tried to sing part of “Dixie Chicken”, but he was too drunk to carry the tune, and in any case, the tidbit that slurred out of his mouth came from “Fat Man In the Bathtub”. Sherry slapped him. “You call this good clean fun?” she demanded as he reeled away from the blow. “You can barely stand up.”

James remembered another line and sang, “Juanita, my sweet torpedo…”

“Torpedo?” Sherry’s voice rose an octave. “Torpedo?” She collared James and forced him to sit down. “It’s chiquita” she hissed.

On James’ other side, a man said, “No, he’s right. Torpedo. Watch Lowell George’s mouth on Youtube sometime.”

“Thank you!” said James.

“Torpedo, huh?” said Sherry. “That’s pretty damned funny.”

“Well, think about it,” the man went on. “Billy wants to check her oil.”

“He wants her to be a car, not a boat,” Sherry argued.

James sang, “Built like a car,” under his breath, half to himself.

“Wrong song, “ said Sherry.

“Always the wrong song with you,” James muttered. His head sank into his arms, and Sherry went on talking with the man on his other side. After a couple of minutes, James lurched off the barstool. This time, Sherry didn’t drag him back.

He staggered outside where the fresh air cleared his head just enough to give him his balance. He remembered the words to “Fat Man in The Bathtub” and thought he and Billy had a lot in common just then. He wished for a hat and found a pizza box in the gutter. He clapped it on his head and started to run. It flew off at once, but he didn’t stop to get it. A rumbling yell built in his chest until he was bellowing down the sidewalk. “Throw me a line,” he sang.

But of course, no line was thrown, and he was well beyond the bounds of good clean fun.


This is my entry for Trifecta, this week sponsored by the third definition of the  word “clean”. You really need to join this meme if you haven’t already. It’s one of the best on the web. Last week, I won third place for the Trifextra competition with “Lost“, and given the editors’ love of all things ‘three’, I couldn’t be more thrilled

For the record, and because I don’t want to hear about it in the comments, Sherry was right the first time. Chiquita. I’d guess Sherry’s new paramour sings Red Hot Love instead of “Radar Love”, too, just exactly like James, when Golden Earring’s signature tune comes on. The woman’s clearly got a problem with picking up musical duds in bars and should elevate herself to higher dating grounds at once. And if you can see Lowell George’s lips clearly through his beard when he gets to the second “Juanita, my sweet…” please, send me the clip.


Edit. I don’t typically embed on my blog. However, I just assumed I was calling on a collective collective consciousness here. I thought most people knew Little Feat, “Dixie Chicken”, and “Fat Man in the Bathtub”. (I’m not posting T-Rex’s “Bang a Gong” – if you listen to the radio you’ve heard that.)  You can skip the videos, as I’m picking boring ones. Just listen to the songs. Little Feat will change the way you hear music. All music. Forever. Even if you hate them. (Which I do not.)

“Fat Man In The Bathtub” Yes. Lowell George is the really stoned liquid guy up front. Yes. He is nonetheless playing rhythm AND guitar, AND he is singing.

OK, I lied. This is an awesome video of “Dixie Chicken” and features Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, and Jesse Winchester. Lowell looks like he may be a bit less jacked up here.



About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Fat Man In The Bathtub — 36 Comments

  1. Music is great for showing people's character and humor isn't it? I really liked the dialogue.
    Hop over and visit Lance’s recent post Sick GirlMy Profile

    • Thanks Lance. And that means even more since now I realize that a lot of the folks reading the story don't know the songs I'm playing with here!

    • Confession – I totally assigned James my badly misunderstood lyrics. Even though I'm the music person in our house, Scott is ALWAYS (well almost always) the one who hears the words right!

  2. Although I know not one of these songs James is singing, I can imagine how many songs I tend to jumble when I've had a few too many. Made me giggle just thinking about it.

    • I'm delighted that the point came through even if the songs were unfamiliar. I added embeds to the videos because those are some of the songs that modern rock is grounded in.
      Hop over and visit jesterqueen’s recent post Fat Man In The BathtubMy Profile

    • Oh God, I'm Never EVER EVER right. Except once. But I forget which song about, so I can't even get smug about that!! I added embeds to the songs because they are so so so worth hearing.

    • Thanks, Andra. My misunderstandings are never, ever logical. It's like I have to take the fact that poetry can be symbolic to outrageous extremes and think it just doesn't have to make any sense at all.
      Hop over and visit jesterqueen’s recent post Fat Man In The BathtubMy Profile

    • I always always ALWAYS manage to give myself away. I don't know what it is, but I can't just be wrong about it. I'm wrong and I'm just dead sure everybody ELSE is wrong and I'm right. It doesn't matter that I've only been right like ONE TIME in this situation. That one time gives me this absurd pavlovian feeling that THIS is time number two, NOW I'm finally right, I am SURE OF IT.

  3. It's *almost* funny. It veers into sad and frustrating pretty quickly — which is, I suspect, exactly as you intended. It not only got me remembering drunken sing alongs, I now remember mis-heard lyrics, as well.

    • Yes — the thing about a drunk's tragedy is that, when the drunk does oddball things, his tragedy is almost always someone else's comedy. It just looks funny.

      I was my Mom's designated driver for Jimmy Buffet concerts starting when I was seventeen. Don't get the idea that she was some kind of irresponsible parent. It was like the one time of the year she could actually let go, and I felt really good being able to give her that. I loved the trust, and even more than that, I LOVED watching her friends get drunk. Of them all, I think one guy was alcoholic. This was just a bunch of goofy drunks, none of whom drove (to get to the show, we had adult designateds or shared public transportation), and all of whom got a little kooky.

      James? He's pretty much a sad sack. And I have a feeling that something unpleasant happens to him just past the end of the story. The next line after "All I want in this life of mine is some good clean fun" in "Fat Man In The Bathtub" is "All I want in this life and time is some hit and run". Lowell George was thinking attachment free sex. James? I think before the evening's out he'll have a much more literal understanding of the phrase.

  4. Such a lot of wonderful comments, JQ! A wonderful story, with a wholly different take on "clean!" Love it. You are indeed wonderfully talented. I am subscribing. Let me know how .org works vs. .com! Not sure I want to pop for the bucks, but maybe I could be persuaded. Especially if it yields you a greater readership?!? You have a lot of comments here – of course that is probably due to the fact that you are a great writer! 😆
    Hop over and visit Paula Tohline Calhou’s recent post Theme-less Thursday: Trifecta Challenge – CleanMy Profile

    • So far readership is a wash. I'm liking the greater control over things like comments and themes. I do a lot of memes, so even non-trifectans comment on the trifecta posts. But we're also really good about commenting on each other in trifecta. There's a strong sense of community and reciprocity. Thanks for the compliments! I'll take them! And thanks for subscribing. I'm working up a post series about migrating for those considering it.
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  5. I'm glad you did grab the videos! I am not familiar with them, but I'll check them out in the morning. I don't think there is anything wrong with sharing a video, when it helps to illustrate the point. I know I just did this last weekend, even…………….
    Hop over and visit TikkTok’s recent post Clean #2- Trifecta ChallengeMy Profile

    • I don’t object to it. I just don’t do it much. Unless I’m really confident about copyright issues (Little Feat has its own endorsed Youtube channel with a lot of their modern stuff, so I’m less awkward feeling about these than some) I want to only put in my own stuff here. But I don’t hold to that strictly. And I certainly enjoy embeds on the blogs of others!
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  6. Ha! Little Feat! My hubby introduced me to them. This was a great short story. Very easy to visualize the bar scene and the characters. My wild days are O-V-E-R. I really do prefer the clean fun of Karaoke on my neighbor's Xbox. :o)
    Hop over and visit The Mommy Patient’s recent post Spring BreakMy Profile

  7. Thanks for linking up to Trifecta this week. What a quirky, fun response to the challenge. I have to say, one of the things I love most about it (aside from the genius pizza box) is your discussion about it before the comments. You write as if these are strangers who came into your home uninvited, not as if they are people you created. I find that fascinating. Nice job. As always.
    Hop over and visit trifecta’s recent post Trifecta: Week NineteenMy Profile

  8. I’ve been a fan of Little Feat for years, “I will be your Dixie chicken if you’ll be my Tennessee lamb.”
    Thanks for sharing this story, it was a lot of fun! I’ll have to check out the Trifecta writing challenge, thanks!
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