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Marcia, Marcia, Marcia 

None of us said a thing. We knew Marcia was serious. We had never heard her say so much without cursing before.

The Professor likes to call her by what he says is her full un-Christian name of "Muck-Mouthed Marcia." Only he usually says it out of the corner of his mouth when she is nearby.

"She is a woman of matchless probity and high profanity," Prof has been heard to remark with unusual accuracy. "Most invective is both fueled and leavened by liquor and used to cover gaps in vocabulary. Not hers. Hers is sheer cruelty. Her mother's milk must have come from a spitting cobra."

"How come," Yogi asked her one night when she brought us our refried beans and sopapillas, "you never look at the good side of people?"

"I'm sorta lazy," Marcia admitted. "I don't want to have to work that hard." Then, almost as an afterthought: "You stupid [expletive deleted] mother-loving [expletive deleted]."

It can doubtless be difficult to sling pico de gallo around our favorite Mexican hashhouse. Yet even so, Marcia shoulders a copious amount of cynicism, especially in one so sober.

"Yeah. Whatever. You [expletive deleted] camellia-eating, dung-sniffing [expletive deleted] master of the obvious."

"Say, girl. Your mama knows you talk like this?"

"Probably not. She's likely too [expletive deleted] preoccupied with manning her [expletive deleted] prayer line. Another round of mojitos?"

When she walked away, Yogi said, "You know, if you look real hard, she ain't so bad."

After that, nobody said anything for a while. Then Professor said, "Well, she feels more contempt for us than we do for her. Did you ever see when she waits on our table? She's like a snake among rabbits."

The reason we needed a ride this night was that Ike -- Yogi's wife's cousin -- who'd driven us all there got in a big argument with Professor about voting like the union likes you to vote and he stormed out of the place before his empanada ever got there.

So Marcia made the offer, and we said yes ma'am. We got an extra round of drinks and waited for last call. When we got out into the parking lot, we noticed that Marcia has one of those cars painted that shade of Tweety-Bird yellow that is so popular these days. It hurts my teeth.

So we got rolling and Jimmy had the bad idea of bringing up something he saw in the paper about the SPCA's latest ad campaign. "They got a dog standing in a police lineup with a sign around his neck that says, ŒI'm no prison bitch.'"

"They're trying to erase their image as a killer of small animals," declared Prof. "Just bring us your pet. We'll love 'em to death."

So now we all take turns discussing the mortality of various beasts. Jimmy talked of hogdogging rodeos. Marcia told of a Buddhist neighbor who scolded everybody for hanging out those bug-zappers, standing up strong for the sanctity of all lifeforms.

"Then, one day, he found a snake in his yard. I watched him cut that poor little snake into 400 pieces with his hoe, cussing him with words even I hadn't heard before."

Yogi's story is about his late Uncle Boo-Boo, who used to go "shopping" for "popcorn-flavored" ducks in City Park. "He would walk with a sack and a sawed-off pool cue packed with lead and lure the park ducks with buttered popcorn. Then he'd knock 'em in the head, stuff 'em in the sack, and we wouldn't see 'em till Sunday dinner."

Yogi sticks his head out the passenger window, closes his eyes and smiles. You have never seen a dog stick his head out of a car window any happier.

Just then, Marcia lets out this shriek and slams on the brakes. "I think I just ran over a little squirrel. He may still be alive. I'm going to look around and see."

None of us said a thing. We knew Marcia was serious. We had never heard her say so much without cursing before.

The door opened and Marcia got back in the car. But she looked like she had just come across Brad Pitt in the shower.

"It's a squirrel. I hit him. He's squirming all around in agony. Someone's gotta do something. He's gotta be put out of his misery."

With that, she put it in reverse and backed up a couple yards, then threw it into drive, forward some more yards. Then she repeated the process.

"I think I see a little white flag waving," Yogi whispered. "I think he's surrendering."

We all started giggling like we were at our eighth-grade graduation. All, that is, but Marcia. Her silence was real loud.

"I think maybe the little feller didn't even see us coming," Yogi finally gasped. "He musta been blinded by the paint job."

"I hope you got your Adidas on," Marcia finally said to Yogi. "Because you're about to do more walking than Barry Bonds." Then, almost as an afterthought, "You sorry [expletive deleted] yellow-bellied sap-sucking [expletive deleted]."

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