Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Darby O’KILL and the Little People

I’ve had this fear of dwarfs, well little people in general since this one time in a bar. I was living in a tiny town in the big empty side of the state with a friend of mine. I was blissfully slumbering curled up with my roommate’s cat when my door flew open. “Wake up! We’re going out!!!”
“It’s Wednesday, Renee.”
“Don’t ca-are.”
“I was asleep.”
“Don’t ca-are.”
“I hate you.”
“I’ll buy your drinks.”
We skittered down the street in the chill of nighttime in the desert. The place was pretty empty… not unusual for a summer weeknight in a college town. Renee went to chat with the bartender, a frat brother of one of our closest friends. That day the bar had gotten its first Digital Juke Box- I was mesmerized. It had every song I’d ever heard so naturally I chose Wilson Phillips, “Hold On” as the inaugural song.
People began drifting in and the best seats began to fill up. From our spot at the bar we could peruse the entire room. And that was when I made my error, inadvertent eye contact. With this uhm… dwarf. Now to make this abundantly clear, in spite of the fact that my friend Loren and I watched a three our documentary on little people one Saturday night, I have never had any curiosity about and certainly no fear towards little people of all varieties. In fact growing up one of my mother’s friends and colleagues was a dwarf and I’d always been fond of him as a child. But this guy, he was not freaky because he was tiny, I mean a lot of dwarves are not that much shorter than I am. This guy was freaky because he looked like a dwarf from Deliverance. Actually if you put the Leprechaun from the five Leprechaun movies in a trucker hat, plaid shirt, acid wash jeans and white hightops—that’s the guy.
Renee was chatting up some guys playing pool and I was playing cards with the bartender. The dwarf ambled up and nimbly climbed the bar-stool. He ordered Pabst. Shudder. Then he stared. I hoped he would say something. Really anything, but really I hoped for something awful. Then I could act scandalized and strut off without feeling like a bigot. But he didn’t say a word, he just leaned close and stared. He had the sharpest teeth I have ever seen, they were broken and jagged like Gollum’s.
When the bartender got called away I must have looked panicked, alone at the bar with the silent, staring dwarf. A stranger walked up and said, “Hey there pumpkin, we’re all in the back.” He led me off and quite frankly I couldn’t have picked a more adorable fellow if I’d been trying. But by the time I had joined his little party at the back of the bar I already felt terrible. I was a bigot. I was a homely-phobe and a dwarfo-phobe.
And then I turned back to look for Renee- she wasn’t there, but he was. He had followed me from the bar to the tables and had sat a discreet distance of three feet from me. The fellow, Brian, I think (they are always named Brian, always) seemed perplexed, not wanting to come off as an asshole he just pulled my chair closer and put his arm around my shoulders. Eventually I turned again to find the dwarf had scooched his chair closer to me, I think he was sniffing me. I declared that I needed to go home. Brian offered to walk us home and I agreed. As we left the bar the dwarf exited behind us. We sped up. Brian offered to have us to his house for a night cap to wait out the dwarf. We agreed. He seemed to be nervous, maybe he’d seen The Leprechan too. Later, when Brian was driving us home, he looked in the rearview mirror a lot.
Ever since that night I’ve been kind of freaked out by dwarves. Plus that obsession some folks have with them (think The Man Show or midget porn) definitely doesn’t decrease my worries.

No comments: