Colletta and I are sitting in a restaurant in Missouri after driving half a day south. The restaurant is famous for throwing rolls at the guests. I pluck one out of the air and dip it in a bowl of honey. The place is rich in kitsch. Every surface is American flags, Jesus, Elvis, George W. Bush, and the twin towers. Above the bar is a tv tuned to a country music video channel. I glance back and forth between the menu and the tv. I am contemplating hog jowls as a fact, not a concept. On the screen is a new video by country sensation JT McDrew. It’s a twangy number about how he mistreated the woman he loves.
My wife is studying the menu. She looks up and says, “Hog jowls are just like thick bacon. Have you ever had them?”
“No,” I say. “You?”
“No, but I have seen pictures. I might get them.”
“That would be creepy,” I say, “but when in Rome.”
JT McDrew is walking through a field with his woman. There is a quick cut to him sitting on a bench, a hot blond on each arm. Inconspicuous at first is his enormous erection, which sticks out of his pants, nearly reaching his belly button. It cuts away to the field again. She is sad and turning away. The shot repeats in slow motion three times to show how sad and resolute she is. His band takes the stage with steel guitars, and the women in the audience wave their cowboy hats at him. He sings that since she has gone things have not been the same. That things they did together have no meaning since he’s alone. Shirtless, he falls back on his bed, he falls back on his bed, he falls back on his bed three times in slow motion. Then he folds his legs up over his head, and we see his face between his thighs. He’s crying. He takes his erect member into his own mouth as the tears stream down his face. It is the saddest auto-erotic fellatio the world has ever known.
My wife looks up from the menu and says, “Hog jowls.”
A warm roll hits me in the side of the head. I startle, then remember where I am. “Thanks!” I call out to the happy roll thrower.
“No problem,” he says. “Make sure you try the sorghum on it!”
I turn to Colletta and say, “I suppose we are in Rome.”
“Context is everything,” she says.
I admire the spark in her eye, the churlish curve of her lip, the light glinting off her sharp, white teeth. Above her on the tv, JT McDrew tells me never to let her go.
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Editor’s note: Technically it is her vulva, not her vagina.