Words by Aron Simkins
Art by Jordan Brough
It wasn’t David Burnsides’ ideal assignment, but Christmas was just around the corner, and he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to peddle Medicare to the geezers at Wrinkled Oaks Senior Living Community in Ornamentberg, Florida. After all, those gray hairs would line up for anyone offering the promise of health care at the holidays, even if it was government issued—and an absolute nightmare to figure out.
Old folks’ homes weren’t David’s favorite place to spend a minute, let alone several afternoons. Maybe it was the constant cacophony of throat clearing or the inordinate number of Jazzy scooters parked haphazardly in the halls of the clubhouse. Whatever the reason, the annual enrollment period deadline couldn’t come fast enough. “Just set up your table and ready your pamphlets,” he told himself. “They’ll all be off to dinner and bed by 4pm.”
What David didn’t count on, however, was Ethel Pearlman, a 96-year-old ash-tray-of-a-resident, filled to the wig with piss and vinegar. The moment she ambled feebly to his table and crumpled into his chair like an overcooked piece of bacon, it was love at first sight. There was no way he would dream of conning her into a Part D plan. Not this fine piece of ass. She was getting a Part C Advantage Plan—and his heart—for sure.
Before he knew it, his daily visits became less and less about hocking Medicare, and more about spending time with Ethel. And not the type of time you spend with grandma either. But the prison-visit type that would make the orderlies cringe at the couple’s overly public displays of disgusting affection. It was a hot Christmas romance—and whether anyone liked it or not, you couldn’t help but feel its smarmy, unsolicited grip invading the air. In fact, David himself was often heard to over share about the tantalizing jingle of joy that would pulse through his veins at the very thought of sliding his tongue passionately over her smoke-stained, gingivitis-swollen gums. It truly was some kind of magic—until Ethel’s grown children and grandkids came to visit for the annual Wrinkled Oaks family Christmas pageant, that is.
How would the family take the news of their matriarch’s newfound boy toy? Will they be willing to accept David as their new dad/granddad, as well as the Medicare Plan he enrolled Ethel in, with open arms, or will they send him and his disturbing old-lady fetish packing?