Accumulating at the foot of the makeshift stage like tumbleweeds along a drift fence, a crowd of beer guts pressed snug against sweaty backsides. Larry slid his sticky tongue between his bulbous lips, methodically patted his pasty, partially exposed belly and prepared to give his audience one hell of a show. An antiquated public address speaker crackled to life and announced the moment he'd been waiting for. "Ladies and gents-boys and girls-welcome to the mayonnaise eating championship of the world! You know the contestants, you know the rules, so, let's get it on!" Larry thrust his personalized ladle deep into the gelatinous lump that lay before him, raised it to his gaping mouth, and let the warm semi-solid slide down his experienced gullet. The field was tough this year, not like the pushovers he'd embarrassed in previous years-they were matching him ladle-for-ladle out of the gate. "Eat ya son-of-a-bitch! Eat! I'm waitin' fer ya, ya worthless piece a shit!" Larry stopped in mid-swallow, registering the voice, its malicious tone, trying to decipher what had been said. It was Betty Sue, his ex, the woman he'd married five years ago on Christmas Day, had four children with and unceremoniously left-leaving the children, a depleted bank account and a promise to never send a dime her way. "That's right ya lard lappin' bastard, I've come fer ya! Got me a paper from a judge right here! Says here I git whatever ya win! Ya best win dammit! I seen ya eat, we all seen ya eat, so, pack it away, fat boy!" Larry was temporarily startled by Betty Sue's rashness, but he wasn't surprised she'd convinced a court to separate him from his winnings. She had warned this was in the works and for the first time in his life he had prepared himself. Larry resumed his swallow, removed the shoveling utensil from his lips and met her fiery stare. "Don't ya worry hunny-buns, daddy's gunna do ya right." Squeezing his fat-laden abdomen to compact its contents, Larry embarked upon a mayonnaise eating spree that will be forever unrivalled. Slurping down huge portions of viscous emulsified fat, he separated himself from the sputtering field. Soon, he was the lone contestant, the clear victor, but he continued to consume. His brow drenched with sweat, Larry could feel his arrhythmic heart begin to labor, felt as if his blood had taken on the coagulated properties of the mayonnaise he was downing, yet, he beckoned the server for another plate. His trembling hand raised a quivering, grease-sweating glob to his waiting lips-then he felt it, a massive jolt of electric pain shooting down his left arm and up his neck. His "Big Larry" ladle slipped from his white knuckles and clattered across the aluminum tabletop, spattering those nearby with a shower of thick mayo and pleasantly warm saliva. Larry shot Betty Sue one final frothy grin before his melon head fell into the mayonnaise before him with a sickeningly muted splunk. "He won! The bastard dun won! Where's his check?" cried an ecstatic Betty Sue. "M'am, this man may be dead. If he's dead he didn't win anything. It clearly states in the third subsection of the official contest rules that you have to be alive to win," responded an authoritative voice from a weasely-looking man. "Then y'all gottuh save his tired ass! Somebody help him!" On the rickety stage the frenetic action of an immediate rescue attempt had come to an abrupt halt. Betty Sue saw a group of white-clad men milling around Larry's motionless mountain of fallen flesh and vented her frustrations. "Y'all gottuh save him! I gots money on that fat fucker livin'!" Her tirade evoked a deadpan, sullen response from one of the few remaining paramedics. "I'm sorry lady, there's nothing we can do." The man brought Betty Sue's attention to a plastic bag containing an official-looking document taped to Larry's freshly shaven chest. "That's a DNR-Do Not Resuscitate order-we can't do anything, it's the law." Betty Sue's eyes blurred with tears, the son-of-a-bitch had gotten her one last time.
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