I am standing in the produce section of the Wal-Mart at 4 a.m. in the morning, looking in all directions at once to be sure nobody walks up while my sister-in-law Gloriosa does what she has to do.

She is weighing her bosoms, one at a time, on the produce scale.
She says, “Two-pound-10 …” and I say “Hst!” because a guy in a blue vest is wandering up the aisle. She crouches behind the cantaloupes until he passes by. When the coast is clear, she weighs the other one, (“Two-pound-nine …”) and we hustle out of there.

I got to explain.

My sister-in-law Gloriosa is drop-dead gorgeous. When she was single, she never got asked to be a bridesmaid in anybody’s wedding because if she was a bridesmaid, the bride could walk up the aisle stark naked and playing a trumpet and everybody would be looking at Gloriosa.

 But like all drop-dead gorgeous people, she finds a flaw in her gorgeousness. She has what you might call ample bosoms and now she gets the idea in her head they’re maybe too ample.

Now, I personally got the opposite problem. I would love to be bigger, bosom-wise, but my credit ain’t good enough, so I got to do the best I can with what God gave me, plus a quarter-inch of foam in my bra.

Anyway, to top it off (so to speak) she goes to the doctor about a backache and he says her breast size is causing it. Now, I tell you. Her breasts makes her back hurt? Not only did he flunk anatomy, he must be blind, I say.

But no, she says, they put a strain on her bra and that’s what hurts her back.
She tells her mama, Ms. Larda, about it, and Ms. Larda comes up with this brilliant idea. Her cousin Myrnette is teaching Polish dancing and she says it’s great exercise for losing weight. Plus it’s good for your back, because the Polish dancing outfit you wear in this class, has a wide belt that laces up the front, pushing up your boobs. She says it’s better for your back even than them back support belts you see delivery men wearing.

Besides, Ms. Larda says, Grandpa Gunch was a Pole, so Gloriosa probably has natural Polish dancing talent, along with all the other talents she got.

 Myrnette’s boyfriend is a fireman, and they let her give the lessons in a firehouse near my apartment, so Gloriosa talks me into taking lessons with her, for company.
I am surprised how excited my gentleman friend Lust gets about my Pole dancing lessons at the firehouse. He is practically drooling. He asks if I want my own pole. I tell him, no, I don’t need no Pole; he’s enough for me.

Next, he wants to see me dance. I tell him he can come to practice after a few weeks, when we get good enough to show off. Gloriosa says her husband Proteus is dying to come too. We think it’s kind of cute that they are into ethnic stuff.
So, after a month, we ask Myrnette if they can come to the next practice and she says of course.

We all troop into the firehouse together. Lust and Proteus stop short when they see the pole that the firemen use to slide down on and gape at it like they never saw a pole before. Myrnette’s boyfriend strolls over and says, “Yeah, we thought that too, when we said they could use this place to practice pole dancing …”

I don’t hear what else he says, because Myrnette is motioning for us get in the back and get our outfits on. Then she starts “aaannd a-one and a-two …” and we all polka out and try to remember which way to whirl and keep time to the concertina player.

Lust and Proteus are very quiet on the way home. But Gloriosa picks that time to ask me, in a whisper, to keep watch for her in the Wal-Mart. She tells me about her produce scale idea, which she got from her sister, Larda, who also has a ampleness problem with her bosom (along with a lot of her other parts, poor heart.) Larda says the secret is to go in after midnight, when almost nobody’s there. She says this is how everybody who’s trying to lose bosom weight checks their progress.

I don’t believe it, because if it was true, they would be a mob of people lurking behind the cantaloupes at Wal-Mart at every morning, holding up cell phone cameras. It would be more popular than dangling beads off a balcony.

But I go with her was because if she don’t have a lookout, she might get arrested. 
And can you believe, afterward, she ups and spills the beans to Proteus. He is horrified. Not because of the people with cell phone cameras behind the cantaloupes.

Because of the whole idea of shrinking her bosoms. He says if he knew that was why she took up Pole dancing, he would never have let her put it on the credit card. He says he loves her just like she is, every ounce, every place. And she gets all mushy and promises to quit Polish dancing.

Then he lets it slip that when she said Pole dancing, he didn’t think Polish. He thought she was going to learn to slither up and down and around a pole, like the strumpets in the strip clubs. When she tells me about it the next day, I realize that Lust must have thought so too.

I ask him if he’ll mind if I quit dancing, and he says “Nah,” without even looking up from his box scores. So then I know for sure.

I kind of liked it better when he was excited. Maybe I should tell him what goes on in the produce section at the Wal-Mart.