Part 2: Enter Sporty Shorty
Ron was not alone in running this "Buy Some Jellies to Keep the Kids Off Drugs" operation. As it turned out, he was in cahoots with a thirty-something year-old guy who went by the name of "Sporty Shorty." Simon had Garfunkle, Batman had Robin, and Ron had Sporty Shorty. As big a con man as Ron appeared to be, he paled in his crookedness when compared to this guy.
Sporty Shorty, who walked around wearing a dark brown corduroy sport coat, insisted he be called by his nickname. Like Ron, he also had a mouthful of rotted teeth as the result of chewing tobacco. Yet he just thought he was the end-all, be-all ladies man. He spent most of his time strutting around the office, bragging his superiority. Sporty always called you by your first and last name, and he always referred to himself in the third person. The minute he found out from one of the girls in the office that I liked dancing at clubs, Sporty walked up to my desk and boasted, "Sporty Shorty will out-dance you any day of the week!" Sporty found out that I liked to play billiards at a local bar and proclaimed, "Sporty Shorty can beat you at pool!" Like I even cared. People in the office snickered whenever they heard this guy talk. Put it this way; if making yourself look like a complete hillbilly ass-wad was an art form, Sporty Shorty had a masters degree.
his kid chewed Skoal too!!
One evening, a few of us decided to go out after work. We drove down the street to a local bar that had a DJ playing your typical 90's era dance music (i.e; Vanilla Ice). We kept it quiet since we did not want Sporty to show up. Well, somehow he found out about it because right after we ordered our first round of beers, there he was, coming through the doorway. "Oh god" was pretty much the collective response from us. Without wasting time, Sporty walked out to a nearly-empty dance floor and proceeded to dance so we could all pay witness to the event. Remember the animation cycle Hanna-Barbera used when they wanted to animate Barney Rubble dancing? You know; where his upper body did not move, only his short, stubby legs were going? That's what this dancing douche bag looked like.
Another bizarre moment I experienced while working at this (supposedly legitimate) company: what I refer to as the "Fish Sandwich" incident. One evening while we were all "smilin' an' dialin'," Ron yelled out to Sporty that he was hungry. Sporty told him that he was heading out to grab some food and that he would get him something as well. Ron said, "Bring me back a fish sammich!" Sporty left to grab the food. Fast-forward 45 minutes. Ron yells out, "Hey! Where the hell is that son of a bitch with my fish sammich?! Where the hell is he?! Anyone have a car?" I was trying not to make eye contact with him, but then he turned to me and said, "Hey... you got a car, don'tcha?" I said, "Uh. Yeah." Ron said that we needed to track down Sporty, if I recall, "on the double!"
Ron and I get into my white hatchback and I ask, "So what restaurant did he go to? Where are we going, Ron?" Ron replied, "I don' know... just drive that way!" (pointing ahead.) So we're driving for about a mile or so and again I inquire as to where we are going. "What kind of car does he drive?" I asked, to which Ron replied, "It's a red se-dan!" (that's how he pronounced it, SEE-dan) As we were coming up on a small pub, Ron yelled, "Hey -- that looks like his car! God damn son of a bitch!!" I slowed down to get a better look and Ron told me it was not Sporty's car after all, but that we should "pull over anyway and have a drink."
So we go into this bar and start drinking beer. Hey, as far as I was concerned it was better than begging people to buy jellies to get kids off drugs. I made him pay for each round since I was merely a starving art student and he was the criminal mastermind with all the jelly money. Anyway, as we drank, Ron would brag about all sorts of things (what is it with these hicks and their bragging). One thing he bragged about was that he recently had a date with a wo-man (that's how he pronounced it... WO-man), and that she was what he called a "ten-speed." Never did figure that one out. In any case, we didn't leave that bar for two or three hours. And we never did find Sporty. I did drink a lot of free beer though. Not too much free beer however; I remember not wanting to get too drunk because in the back of my mind I kept thinking, "This guy might try to ass-rape me or something..."
I would go to school during the day, and sell jellies to keep the kids off drugs at night. Five bucks an hour under the table was keeping me in beer. As I continued my employment with Ron and Sporty Shorty, I began to get more and more suspicious of the operation. We all did.