Bell Bottoms

By Mayweather Lofty

I made a lot of amazing costumes for Unicode Gamma, if I do say so myself. People loved the outfits I did for the Seventeen Down Episode, how the clue to the mystery was hidden right in the clothes. I even won a Golden Needle award for those dresses in the Western Canon. But the outfit I want to talk about is the outfit nobody talks about: those beautiful bell-bottomed jeans.

It was that crazy flashback/flashforward storyline, which I never could keep straight. All I knew was that Fat Tony had to have an outfit from the 1960s. Marshall walked into my workshop trailer and handed me his favorite pair of jeans. "Make me bell bottoms," he said.

I handled those jeans with tender loving care, shaping the seams around his body. He kept coming back for fittings. "Make the legs wider," he'd say. "Make the hips tighter."

"Everyone will laugh at you," I'd warn.

"That's the point."

Marshall loved playing Fat Tony, loved it and hated it. He was a master of the small screen. Sometimes he'd throw himself across the set. Sometimes he'd stay very still. He held the audience captive, either way. And sometimes, more often than he should have been, he was the comic relief. The jiggling belly, the double chin, the towering plates of food. In my hometown, a man could win a girl's heart by cleaning his plate, but here in California, his appetite was an endless joke.

"Make them tighter," he'd say. "Make them louder."

He didn't mind the jokes, not really. He loved attention, loved entertaining people, even at his own expense. He was a Yankee, but I never held that against him.

In my girlhood, I tried to woo a man as large as Fat Tony. I chased him, shamelessly, with cherry pies and low-cut dresses made from the brightest fabric I could find. The pies were politely eaten, and the dresses were retired to my trunks until I used them to make Fat Tony's riotous bell bottoms. That man gave me my first broken heart.

Marshall gave me my last.

See: Canon Divide, Fat Tony, Seventeen Down Episode


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