Beatrice and Shirley were old friends. Their friendship had really blossomed in the awkward glory of junior high and the bond was maintained well into their golden years. Their beloved husbands, Zeke and Dudley, had both passed a number of years ago in a freak hunting accident, leaving the ladies alone to their crocheting and low-impact chair exercises.
Every Monday the old bitties would get together for crafting and fitness (luckily they didn’t have to go far since Shirley moved into Beatrice's basement, which her son Larry finished beautifully for her). Beatrice was really more of a knitting gal, while Shirley enjoyed a good cross stitch. Sometimes their grandchildren would drive them into town for a water aerobics class at the local YMCA, but they typically stayed home and did workout videos together, like “Moving with Mike” and “Stronger Seniors”. Long gone were the days of “Hip-Hop Abs” and “Insanity”. Though they still liked reminiscing about Shaun T’s rippling abs and adorable baby face from way back when, they loved doing his current routine, “Senior Insanity”. He was still pretty hot for an old man.
On one such visit, after a particularly grueling workout, Beatrice and Shirley decided they needed some inspiration for arts and crafts. Beatrice’s son Cory had married Shirley’s daughter Robin in 2036, and they had taken over Beatrice and Zeke’s business as marijuana growers for area dispensaries. They always gifted prime samples to their mothers, knowing they enjoyed a little nip now and then. This visit was one such rare instance.
Beatrice dusted off her vintage glass-blown pipe harkening to their rebellious teen years way back in the 1990s. But today there was no need to smoke in secret, hiding from their parents and teachers like in high school; nor was there any need to hide from their own impressionable young children as they had in the early 2000s.
They could only locate a long red utility lighter with a scorching 3” flame, which proved quite challenging in lighting the small bowl mere inches from their wrinkled faces. Shirley tried to be helpful and light Beatrice’s for her, but succeeded only in singing her friend’s long grey nose hairs, resulting in a great deal of whooping and cackling. Finally they managed to each take a single “hit”, as they used to call it (who knew what the kids called it these days), and Shirley hacked and coughed for several minutes, as she always had.
Almost instantaneously they were struck by overwhelming dry mouth, followed by an immediate and ravenous need to stuff their old faces with all the food of the world. “Not much has changed with all these new-fangled fancy strains the kids are making now,” hooted Shirley, feeling at once so young and so, so old. Then she saw the cereal. “Give me those Marshmallow Mateys!”
“No! That’s for the grandkids. Not for old skanks like you,” squawked Beatrice. “Plus we just worked out. All that sweating with Shaun T will be for naught! Senior speed dating is next month. We have to be good.”
Still, they found themselves side by side in front of the open refrigerator, staring. Shirley started to think that the Metamucil on top of the fridge was looking pretty tempting.
Suddenly Beatrice turned to Shirley (who was in very close proximity) and barked, “Get your good chewing teeth on!” Shirley winced and adjusted the volume on her hearing aid. Then, arm in arm, they trundled eagerly into the living room, cradling carrots, celery, hummus, and prunes like precious cargo.
There was no time to get comfortable. They sat on the coffee table and commenced greedily inhaling all the healthy munchies they could manage, hardly stopping to breathe, spraying bits of food all around as they giggled and guffawed. Everything they said was the funniest thing they’d ever heard. Shirley teased Beatrice about her red clown hair; Beatrice teased Shirley about her blue cloud fro. They laughed about their failing bodies. They laughed about the bad behavior they get away with in public. Even recounting their husbands’ untimely death was inappropriately hilarious: the two visually impaired elderly fellows decided to drink a case of beer before hiding on opposite sides of a clearing where they simultaneously shot at and missed the same deer (which was actually a large stump), but managed to hit each other. Beatrice and Shirley imagined them now drinking Coors Lite on their riding mowers in heaven.
“We should record this!” snorted Shirley at some point in their most hysterical discussion.
Beatrice responded by throwing back her head and emitting a booming cackle. She had always laughed that way, although now she coughed whenever she did it. “So cliché! What are you, twelve?!”
Shirley couldn't answer because she was mesmerized watching Beatrice’s soft, plentiful neck skin ripple and pulse as she laughed. It was especially fascinating at that moment, for some reason. She poked it. Beatrice, who was much taller than she, shoved Shirley off the coffee table.
“My hip!” cried Shirley, but then she collapsed further into the floor and was overtaken by a fit of soundless laughter. Beatrice felt a little bad and tried to help her up, but then she fell over too, predictably, and they both lay helplessly on the floor, choking on silent mirth.
“We need to get Life Alert!” said Beatrice once she caught her breath, gently wiping a chunk of carrot from Shirley’s weathered jowl. “Truth.” said Shirley.
When they were finally able to stand, they devoured the last piece of celery by alternately taking bites, and then they remembered that it was time to get crafting.
Never have carrots and hummus been wolfed down so voraciously.
And never has there been such incredible focus and productivity in cross stitching.
Beatrice ate the Marshmallow Mateys the next day, without Shirley. Beeeotch.