Sunshine Sketches of Another Little Town

Barry “Big Deal” Davis sat down at his table and gestured to the young lady in the caravan that was also the food truck that he wanted a cup of coffee. Davis had hardly had time to get properly settled in the white plastic chair when the waitress came out with a paper mug and set it on the table in front of Davis. 

He liked to tell people that he had once been kind of a big deal – hence the official nickname – but when asked to elaborate on the topic, he clammed up, and changed the subject. That, naturally, as was his intention, only made people to want to know more. It also made them believe the story.

And that’s why that nickname stuck, instead of one of the many other names people called him behind his back.


Fat Bastard.


Orson Welles.

And of course: Fat Elvis.

You don’t have to be Einstein to deduct that Barry “Big Deal” Davis was a big man, in every way imaginable, a man whose comparables were some of the biggest and, frankly, fattest individuals in the world, fictional and non-fictional. (And creatures with big ears). While Fat Bastard most definitely wasn’t the wittiest one, it was the latest one, it being a reference to the new Austin Powers movie – Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. 

Somebody had been enjoying a cup of coffee and a donut at the market square coffee shop when Barry walked across the said square. The person took a bite out of his donut and said that Barry really looked like Fat Bastard, and it made his friend on the other side of the table chuckle. He then told it to his friend who told his friends and by afternoon the next day, 85 percent of the people in the sleepy seaside town that was Aurora Beach had heard it, and by the end of the week, half of them called Barry Fat Bastard – but only behind his back. 

None of the nicknames were particularly witty but at least “Big Deal” couöd be shortened to BD, just like “Barry Davis”. 

There’s no scientific explanation to why it was “Big Deal” that stuck but it did. Everybody in town knew who Big Deal was that made him a true big deal in town. A self-fulfilling prophecy? Coincidence? Fate? Who knows. 

And people did yap about Big Deal. He was one of Aurora Beach’s celebrities, or at least one of those “characters” that gave the town its charm. Tourists came for the sun and the seaside breeze – and they came from everywhere – and when they left, reluctantly, they did so with an Aurora Beach shaped hole in their hearts. 

For many tourists, Barry “Big Deal” Davis was their first encounter with a local. He liked to hold court in one of the coffee places along the maple-lined avenue that guided people to the beach and the promenade along the shoreline. Not that they’d want to stop at a coffee shop when they were in a hurry to get to the beach but it was the end of the road for cars so the corner was often crowded with families and groups of people getting out of their cars, juggling bags, beach chairs, and sometimes small children, as they got off the car and then stood there waiting for the driver to find a parking spot and walk back. 

First they heard a boisterous voice coming from the table closest to the street, and then they saw the man that matched the voice, in every way. Not only was “Big Deal” 201 centimeters tall, he looked even taller than that thanks to his posture. He stood up so straight it looked like his spine might snap. His chin was always up and his jet black long hair – obviously dyed – on top of his head resembled a motorsycle helmet. 

He wasn’t there all day every day, but it felt like that. “Big Deal” was there in the morning when locals going to work stopped by for a cup of coffee with a slice of gossip, he was there at noon when locals bought lunch to take back to the office, and he was there in the afternoon when the coffee shops were mostly filled by the tourists looking for a late lunch. 

“Big Deal” wasn’t originally from Aurora Beach, and he still had something of a hint of an Northern accent, but nobody knew or cared where he had come from, or when and how, just like nobody really knew what he did for a living. Some people said he was a math genius who spoke eleven languages, and who had crossed that invisible line from genius to insanity when working on a mathematical theorem at the MIT (where he had enrolled at the ripe age of 14, on a genius scholarship, by personal recommendation of Einstein himself). 

These facts had naturally all come from “Big Deal” himself, in one form or another. He would never say, “I went to the MIT when I was 14 because Einstein thought I was a genius” but he’d say something like, “When I studied with the Professor” and somebody would ask, “Professor?” he’d reply, “Yes, Al Einstein” and everybody would laugh at Big Deal calling Einstein Al. “Classic Big Deal”, they’d say. Somebody had tried to make it his new nickname – “Weird Al” – but it didn’t take. 

Then again, there were slip-ups and confusion, like when he talked about his very good friend, professor “Alfred Einstein”. There was the fact that Albert Einstein had never taught at the MIT, but Princeton – but once the story was out, it was out. 

Truth doesn’t matter when you’re building a legend. Hell, sometimes it’s even an obstacle to it. 

And if there’s one thing to be said about Barry “Big Deal” Davis, that was it. 

He was a legend. 

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