Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk by Rob Pierce

Punk Noir Magazine

The joint was called Morty’s; it claimed to be a restaurant. I was from out of town and it sounded as likely a name as any. I needed food and I needed a drink so I stepped to the far end of the bar and grabbed a stool. It wasn’t a crowded bar but I wanted to be away from the other customers. Unfolded napkins sat on the bar. I sat beside them.

A waitress appeared. “Getcha somethin to eat, hon?”

“Gimme a menu, and one with the drinks on it too.”

She brought it but I swear she had to have been in hiding, waiting for me to approach. I’d walked right past the bartender and he hadn’t been eager to serve me. I was good with slow service and now I had this across from me. She was pretty, with a fat round face. Probably ate too much cattle.

I glanced at the menu and ordered a plate of fried chicken, a beer and a scotch. They had single malt, thank God.

She took my order. “You don’t mind if I stay down here, do ya?”

“That’s fine,” I said. Really I did mind but I didn’t want to get on the bad side of a woman who was at least talking to the kitchen staff and the bartender. I could always shut her down if she talked too much.

Which she started to do, but she still held my order ticket in her hand. She set it on the bar to her right, like it would magically run to the bartender and the kitchen. She started to fold the napkins.

“You know,” she said, like I gave a fuck, at least until my order was processed, “I love doing this. Working in a restaurant, I mean.”

Thank God, I’d thought she meant folding napkins.

“I had an office job. It only lasted a few months. Every day, by the end of my shift I was dozing off, staring at a computer and answering phones. But this? I could do this all day.”

Jesus, she thought this was a rush. If I told her about what I did…

She folded several napkins, started to talk about how her cable had gone out and she’d wound up watching some terrible movie with an Oscar winning actress whose name meant nothing to me, and she went into details on how abysmal it was. Suddenly she said, “Oh!” and grabbed my ticket, showed it to the bartender and dashed into the kitchen with it. Thank fucking God. I wondered how this place stayed in business (maybe just out-of-towners drawn to the name?) and damn near devoured my scotch when it came, ordered a second from the bartender and drank my beer while I waited for the chicken.

Still, there was something about the ditzy waitress, and I was glad I’d said nothing to upset her. She was nice, and I didn’t mind fat. Wouldn’t be the first time.

“So,” I said, as she started up folding again, “normally you have cable and watch better movies?”

“Oh yeah,” she said. “Usually they got somethin good on, like Fifty First Dates, Dreamgirls, and Miss Congeniality, the first one and the second.” Just mentioning the movies had her on the verge of coming.

“Chick flicks, huh?”

“Do I look like an adventure flick type of gal to you?”

“I could show you some adventure you’d like.”

She laughed like I was joking. Like I was too good-looking for her.

“I’m serious. When are you out of here?”

“Bar closes at twelve. Night like this, probably done by ten after.”

“So if I leave here after dinner and get back before closing, we can go somewhere.”

“Now Mister, I don’t know where you’re from but this is a small town. This is about the last place open.”

“Number one, the name’s Dale. And number two, there’s a bar around here open til two, I promise.”

“Well, Dale,” she smiled, self-conscious at calling a new customer by his first name, “I am not the kind of lady to go to a bar with a stranger. Tell me the place and where to find it, though, and maybe I’ll meetcha there.”

“Sure,” I said, “didn’t mean to imply nothing. But you gotta tell me your name.”


My turn to smile now. Big name for a big gal. I got out my phone, looked up the place, handed my phone to her.

“We meet there,” I said. “It’s nearby. Maybe 12:30.”

She tore off a meal ticket, scrawled down the name and address, handed me my phone. “Funny, though, a place that close. Weird I never heard of it.”

Weirder if you had, I thought.



At 11:30 I left my room and drove to the bar. I bought a beer as soon as I got seated but had no concern about getting too drunk to drive back. For one, I could walk it if I had to. The other reason was the bar. Judgment Day, it was called. Like in the Robert Johnson song. Like the Hell I lived in now would not condemn me to anything worse. It would allow me to go on, doing as I did. Any woman involved was of little consequence, same as any man. Same as me, only I served a different role in these proceedings.

The beer I’d ordered bored me. I downed it fast, ordered another with a double scotch back. Doubling back was what I’d do when I left this town. The place too tiny to hold me, but certain as I was that Magdalene wasn’t large for a Texas woman, she was certainly large for a young one. And a damn sight more attractive than anyone else her size I was likely to find, certainly in this town.

She walked in, pulled up a stool beside me and sat down.

“Hey,” I said.


First date jitters? Not on my part. “What’re ya drinkin?”

I expected her to say something served with an umbrella.

“A margarita,” she said. “With salt.”

Better yet. I’d order one with extra tequila, impress her and get her drunk faster. The sooner we got out of here the better. Which meant I had to turn on the charm. I waved to the bartender, placed the order.

He stepped away.

“Extra tequila?” she said.

“Gotta catch you up. I got here a little while ago.”

“You knew when I was getting here.”

I shrugged. “Nervous, I guess. I didn’t expect you to say yes. Not without being coerced.”

It was an aw shucks moment, totally out of character.

“But you…” She grinned. Her mouth, already pretty, got prettier. She refrained from the compliment I knew was in her head. Probably scared I wouldn’t reciprocate.

“Look,” I said, “we barely met but there’s something about you. I had to get to know you better.”

“Funny. I felt the same way.”

Exactly what I wanted to hear. She was surprised a guy like me hit on a gal like her. “Hell,” I said, “ain’t nothin wrong with bein big. I like a big gal myself. One in particular right now.”

I took her hand. She let me until her drink arrived. She only needed one hand to drink. Maybe she needed both hands for balance. She placed the hand I’d held palm down on the bar. I didn’t cover it, didn’t want to overstep.

“If you weren’t here,” I said, “what would you be up to?”

“What would I be up to? Well, I ate at work and it’s too early to sleep when ya work late like me, ya know. Probably find a movie on cable. Or watch some Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Seen em all before, of course.”

“Yeah? Never seen it. What’s it about?”

“You know, it’s a mother-daughter thing. And it’s sweet and funny.”

“I’d like to see it. With you, of course.”

“Yeah, well, I’m in the middle of rewatching it.”

“That’s okay,” I said. “You can catch me up, I’m sure. You’re a natural born storyteller.”

I said it straight-faced.

“Thank you,” she said. She drank but I kept my mouth shut, let her continue. “Not everyone seems to appreciate it.”

God, she bought it. Never decline a compliment, I suppose. 

“Ain’t you drinkin?” she said.

It was true, I’d been talking and not drinking since she got here. I drank. “Better?”

“Depends how good the beer is, I suppose.”

“It’s good. Not as fascinating as you, but it’s good.” I chugged the rest of my shot.

She smiled thanks and finished her margarita. “Okay if I get another?”

“You see how slow I’m drinkin this beer? Of course it’s fine.”

I got out my wallet, waved to the bartender again, ordered one more for her and a fresh shot for me. I continued to nurse my beer and encouraged her to prattle on about her interests, all of which I responded to with curiosity and fascination. She drank between her words, and while she drank I sprinkled in basic questions that elicited new responses, each as vacuous as the one before. I moved a hand to her knee outside her dress. She didn’t move it away. After a couple of minutes I moved it to her thigh. Still no resistance, just a smile. I started rubbing up and down, not even a complaint about rumpling her dress. We kissed.

“We should finish our drinks,” she said.

I smiled and drank my beer faster. As she finished her margarita I reached for my shot and downed it.

We walked away from the bar, where I had known everyone all too well but spoke to only the bartender, who acted like we’d never met. We walked to my car, and as I drove I knew everything we’d just left would soon disappear.



I opened my door and followed her into the apartment, nearly walked into her when she stopped two steps in.

“Wow. This is so much nicer than my place. What do you do for a living?”

“Sales.” I brushed against her ass, lingered a moment before stepping beside her.

“Selling what?”


Her eyebrows came together. “Marijuana.”

“I guess the weed and I have a slang relationship.”

“You can’t do that here.” She shook her head slow. “It’s against the law.”

“Makes for a more lucrative market.”

“Are you serious? You’re joshin me, ain’tcha.”

“You asked, I answered. You wanna continue the q and a, or should we get to why you came here.” I held out a hand, gently took her shoulder.

She didn’t move away, didn’t move toward me either.

I moved directly in front of her. Leaned in for a kiss.

Her face met mine.

I held the kiss until her mouth opened, then my tongue went inside. I pushed her back. “I also sell guns.”

More socially acceptable, I guessed, as she stepped into my arms and wrapped hers around me. She held the back of my head and we kissed again.

I groped her ass, let go and started to unbutton her blouse.

“Stop,” she said.

I kept going.

“No, stop. You’re too slow.” She finished the unbuttoning, threw her blouse behind her.

I didn’t know they made bras that big. I liked the educational experience, took her in my arms and unsnapped her bra, let it fall. I dropped to my knees and pulled her down sufficiently that it was convenient to suck her massive tits.

She groaned and we both lay on the carpet. We removed our shoes, our pants, our underwear.

I did love a big woman. And I loved what I was doing to her, licking her inner thighs, nipping at them, then her pussy. I got something right because her groans turned ecstatic. I grew hard, got onto my knees. She waited as I dipped in slowly, teasing her but I could tell it felt good. Then she was moving, me inside her, and I moved too. Until it was my turn to groan, and to spill inside her.

“You didn’t,” she started.

“Use a condom? No.” I pulled out then reentered her. I moved differently, and she got excited, made a lot of noises. She was really coming now. I wasn’t, had more to do first, changed my movement again.

She made a gurgling sound.

“Sorry, Magdalene. This is what I really do.”

Her head jerked, her hands raised up but without any effect on what I did. Dying did not need to be difficult. It could be easy. It could even be pleasant. 

I kept going, long after she was dead, and when I came again something indefinable happened to her. I stood, left her lying there, walked naked into the shower and left the bathroom door open. No one would have heard anything more than sex noises. I cleansed myself and sat on the floor, naked, my back against the tub.

I sat there, cold but not feeling guilty. Sure, she had been nice, but it was necessary that my life continue, whereas she added nothing positive to the potential human genetic pool. That wasn’t justification, it was a fucking fact.

I sat naked in the bathroom while she lay naked in the living room. I could save her, but then I would die. I sat there, getting colder by the second.

At last something moved.

I looked up, straight at her corpse, which had risen on my bidding though I hadn’t said a word.

“You killed me,” she said. “Why am I standing here?”

“I was made into this. I have no answers. The sex was excellent, am I right?”

“Yes,” she said, although at this point I thought I was generous thinking of her as a she instead of an it.

“Would you like it to happen again?”

It thought a moment. “I don’t want to die again.”

“The only way to fuck like that.”

“Maybe once more.”

I rose from the floor, but did not stand. She floated toward me. We remained naked.

My tongue was in her mouth again, my hands on her breasts. She grabbed my dick. It hardened immediately. Then it was inside her, and we gyrated above where we should have stood.

Our bodies remained where we had left them. They would collapse from the absence of our spirits soon enough. And we would fuck forever, in this eternal embrace. At last, someone had said yes to dying twice. She didn’t know it was all she would do for eternity. She didn’t know how many lives she had saved.