I was working behind the counter and turned to see Tommy coming through the door—with no shirt on.

Now, to get the full picture, you need to see him in your mind’s eye. Tommy is a beautiful man. Long, flowing blond hair. Tanned skin that covers tight muscles. He rides a motorcycle, so he has on black leather chaps. Yes, the ladies of the neighborhood call him Fabio. Some of them even hire him to mow their yards, so they can peak out the curtains and watch!

So here comes Tommy, and I am slightly annoyed. We have told him again and again that he must wear a shirt inside Joe’s. The standard “no shirt, no shoes, no service” rule generally applies. (In fact, if they need clothes, we can hook them up at the Free Store!) The last time I had talked to him about it, I had even explained, “Tommy, we don’t want to see your nipples.”

But it’s a little hard to tell whether Tommy forgets, or whether he is just a little rebellious and likes to push the boundaries, because Tommy has a bullet in his head.

Years ago, Tommy was sitting in the living room of his friend, while the friend was cleaning his gun. The gun went off, and the bullet, ricocheting off something in the room, pierced Tommy’s skull. Tommy survived this terrible accident, but the doctors determined to leave the bullet in his brain would do less damage than removing it. Consequently, Tommy often struggles for mental and emotional stability.

So when Tommy came through the door that day, yet again not wearing a shirt, I took a deep breath and quickly thought to explain the rule once again—this time with even a bit more strength.

Tommy strode, swinging arms and chest puffed out, right up to the counter. I opened my mouth to scold and then noticed the broad grin on his face. I thought, “Stinker! He is flat-out disregarding the rule, right to my face!”

Then I saw them . . . bandaids . . . over his nipples.

The whole room burst out laughing! They were all in on it!  And they got me.

When I tell you we have fun at Joe’s—these are the people I love!

(Tommy’s name has been changed.)

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