A Visit from an Upset Lady

B.S. Pyle

'Male-Female' by Jackson Pollock


A cool breeze, enhanced by the scent of blossoming oleanders, wafted off the Gulf of Mexico, making the seabirds friskier than usual. I was sitting on my front porch, with a bottle of beer, rocking away, enjoying the day, and minding my own business. My brain was nice and empty, and I was at ease with mother earth.

My gaze drifted toward the East, where I observed the Widow Boredus advancing down the beach toward my house like an old pirate ship in full sail. Wisps of gray hair flew about her head like signal flags, her hands were clinched into knotty little fists, and a determined grimace endued her countenance. It was too late for me to do anything about it, such as hide, because it was obvious she had seen me before I had seen her. Before I knew it, she was stomping up my steps and plunking her bony frame into my spare rocker.

Palpably distressed, and, foregoing any sort of greeting, she wasted no time in stating her mission.

"Did you see the news about these male hormone patches they've come out with?" she demanded.

"Can't say that I did," I replied, offering her a swig of my beer, which she waved away as if swatting at a pesky mosquito.

"Well, they have," she huffed, "They're like nicotine patches only they're supposed to boost male hormone levels to help men preserve their youth as they get older."

"Sounds interesting," I offered, hoping it was a safe response.

She scowled at me through narrowed eyes, and sat in seething silence for a bit as she fiddled with the bun on the nape of her neck and clinched her jaw. I was afraid to say anything more. One never knows what to say to the Widow Boredus when she's riled.

"This sure gets my goat," she finally uttered through gritted teeth.

"Why?" I queried cautiously.

"Because," she said, "most of the problems in the world today are caused by testosterone!"

"What do you mean?" I wanted to know.

"Just look around you!" she shrieked, encompassing the world with a broad gesture, gray hair spiking in the wind. "Most of the people involved in all the wars, the crimes and the greedy money-grubbing are men!"

"That may be true," I said, "but what's it got to do with hormone patches?"

"What do men have that women don't?" she demanded stridently. "Testosterone, that's what! It's testosterone that's the cause of all the problems we read about in the newspapers! The terrorism, the murders, the, the ..." with that she sort of ran out of steam and collapsed back into her chair.

I was reluctant to respond to this, being a man, and presumably filled with this noxious poison. After smoldering a bit more, she seemed to regain enough strength to resume her tirade.

"Do you know what I think?"

I didn't really need this information, but being the gentleman I am, asked, "What's that?"

"What we need is a patch that sucks the hormones out of the male population, not one that puts more in!"

Without another word, not even a polite good-bye, she stormed off my porch and sailed down the beach toward her next victim. I think I need to get rid of that spare rocker on my porch.

B. S. Pyle, who resides on Goat Island, Texas, in the Gulf of Mexico, writes a weekly column for a couple of Texas newspapers. He was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 1996 Satire magazine writing contest, and is listed in the 1974 edition of Who's Who in Texas, an error the publishers of that to me have not repeated.