With a Smile on His Face

The man read the line, “I’m about to open a can
of Whup-Ass on you,” in a Thomas McGuane short
story and then he thought to finish the line with
“and feed it to you with a dry, wooden spoon like
you used to get with a cup of ice cream,” feeling
the dry spoon pull at his lips and decided to use
it on his friend with a penchant for metaphors
and similes who enjoyed his own homey, southern
slang sayings more than anybody else did. His
friend would say, “Hey, you’re a writer. When
are you going to write all these down and put
them in a book so I can get rich, retire and
live off the royalties?” His friend would laugh
heartily at the Whup-Ass line and then the two
of them would indulge in a few potato vodkas.
When the two of them would then part, the man
might say, “I’ll be all over you like a bad suit.”
and stick his finger out making a Steve Martin-
esque gesture. The only other time the man used
that Whup-Ass line was in his car when a fellow
ran up his ass, swerved around the front of his
car and cut him off. The man, with a smile on his
face, said it through pursed lips to the then distant
driver, then said to himself, “You just can’t be too
careful these days.”

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