Draped over a rock still warm from the day’s scorcher, a lizard gazed thoughtfully at the ghost town silver-lined by a full Arizona moon. A saloon glowed softly among the deserted buildings. Tinkling piano music, mixed with the occasional clamor of loud voices and guffaws, drifted into the night sky.

The desert iguana slithered off his vantage point and moved soundlessly through thirsty weeds and baked red rocks.

Cautiously, he darted beneath the rotting boards of the old boardwalk running the length of Main Street. He paused to chart the slope of the saloon wall. His eyes rolled in a full circle to check for danger before he scampered up the rough-hewn timber. Upside-down and hidden by the shadow of the overhang, the desert sentinel gazed through the dull glass window into the amber haze of kerosene lamp light.

Something definitely had the customers riled up inside.

Buttery yellow and dirty-white shapes clustered against the inside walls. More shapes waddled side to side around the room. The choking odor of rancid grease hung in the air.

Yessir, the iguana thought, Blubber Gulch Saloon was like no other saloon this side of the Rio Grande. It was known in the West as a place where outlaw fatty globules and lost, angry pounds could hang out with no diets breathing down their double or triple necks.

“Bartender! Give me another!” shouted a clotted, ill-shaped Pound at the bar. He lifted a shaky mug toward the serene Pound behind the bar.

“You betcha, Blob,” said the bartender, quickly filling Blob’s mug full of motor oil. Blob downed the liquid in one gulp, burped an oily belch, spat on the floor.

“Yeah, I shore did. I dropped off ol’ Jodi and laid on her floor shaking like curdled cream. That is, until I got mah wits back together.”

Blob’s wheeze sounded like a sack full of angry cats. He turned to the crowd gathering around him. “When I got mah head workin’ right again, I rolled over to a corner and waited. Couldn’t even sit up at first.” Once again, Blob extended his mug toward the accommodating bartender. “It ain’t no fair. That Jodi Lea never appreciated me. Fact is, she flat out hated me!”

A collective gasp rose from the onlookers. Blob’s eyes narrowed to slits as he leaned toward his audience.

“Don’t you feel sorry for old Blob, gents. I’ll bide mah time and hang low for a spell. You just mark my words. Before that ornery Jodi can wear those new…” he looked around with fiery cinder eyes “… SKINNY… jeans, I’ll be right back where I came from, right in the middle of her left thigh!”

Commotion broke out among the Pounds.

The bartender wagged a stubby protrusion at Blog. “Now listen here, Blob. This is a respectable place. Don’t come in here using bad language! You cuss out that ‘skinny’ word again, and I’m gonna have to ask you to leave,” he warned.

Blog growled and dipped his fingers in a jar of complimentary bacon grease sitting on the bar counter. After noisily slurping them clean, he turned around and pulled a grease-smeared photo of Jodi from his pocket. He stared hard at it. “I’ll be back, Miz Hotsy-Totsy Jodi Lea Stewart, and I’ll be bringing mah renegade friends with me. You ain’t seen the last of me and my kind! Jes when you think you got yerself under control, we’ll be waiting!”

With that, Blob fell backward in a greasy stupor. His cohorts strained as they pulled him toward the wall, leaving a broad streak of liquid fat on the floor.

No one noticed the lizard shaking his head and sighing above the smudgy glass window. Slowly he made his descent and disappeared into the darkness. He walked until the light peeked over the horizon, his tail leaving curvy “S” marks in the silent sand.

DIETS! We hate them. We do them. We succeed. We fail. Some of us… again and again. Sometimes, we do pretty well, but THOSE PESKY POUNDS ARE ALWAYS WAITING FOR US, AREN’T THEY? I’m just about an expert at losing  and finding them again.

Did you ever think about where all those pounds go when we drop them… maybe a little ghost town in the Arizona desert? If you’re like me, my pounds don’t have to wait very long before “coming home.”


About Jodi Lea Stewart

Author Jodi Lea Stewart ~ Laughing Makes it All Worthwhile!

Jodi Lea Stewart is a fiction author who believes in and writes about the triumph of the human spirit through overcoming adversity via grit, humor, and stubborn tenacity. Her writing reflects her life beginning in Texas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, later moving as a youngster to an Arizona cattle ranch next door to the Navajo Nation, and, as a young adult, resuming in her native Texas. Growing up, she climbed petroglyph-etched boulders, bounced two feet in the air in the backend of pickups wrestling through washed-out terracotta roads, and rode horseback on the winds of her imagination through the arroyos and mountains of the Arizona high country. Her lifetime friendship with all nationalities, cowpunchers, and the southern gentry allows Jodi to write comfortably about anything in the Southwest, the South, and far BEYOND.



Watch the Book Trailer for THE GOLD ROSE HERE.

I write historical fiction centered around the early to mid-twentieth century. My latest novel, THE GOLD ROSE, involves the Japanese invasion of China and the ensuing civil war that ushered in modern-day communism. No matter what the circumstances, eras, conflicts, or main plots entail… my goal is always to create characters everyone relates to. I believe that’s the kind of connective reading in which the reader and writer actually share a point in time. 😊 Happy reading, y’all!






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